Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Tuesday Trauma

Julia had her first major scooter accident today. She biffed it pretty hard and lost a big chunk of skin on her knee. She has several other scraped-up spots all up and down her legs. I had never seen that much of her blood all at once so it was pretty unsettling. I even had to run to the drugstore and get extra-big band-aids. I would post pictures, but if it grosses ME out -- and I'm her mom -- it would be a whole lot worse for you.

Jenna had a fun day, too. After cleaning out my purse, she decided to eat a pill she found in one of the pockets. (Which was wrapped in cellophane that I usually have trouble tearing into, but it was no problem whatsoever for my 2-year-old.) It was an AZO pill, which is for bladder infections. (Any woman who has ever suffered through one of those keeps AZO with her at all times.) We're pretty sure Jenna only got part of a pill down. She figured out pretty quickly how gross it tasted and spit out a pill that was still two-thirds intact. A call to poison control reassured us that she was probably going to be OK. She might pee neon orange for a few days.
We are back on soccer Saturdays now. Julia's playing Upward Soccer this time, which she played in Baytown and loved. She was excited to learn that a church here is starting it this year so we signed her up. Her team is the Lady Bears and their uniforms are really, REALLY orange -- about the color Jenna will be peeing for the next several days.
Jenna quickly lost interest in the game and amused herself at the nearby playground.

We got a lot of work done on the house over the past several days. Our house church met over here Sunday night for our house blessing so we wanted it to look really nice. We all had dinner and then members of our house church prayed blessings over our new house, which was so touching and another reminder of how much we love being part of this church family.

Living room,
Julia's room,
And Jenna's room.
And we even got our room, the one room we had completely neglected, in a lot better shape. And check out the nightstand -- I've had it since I was two!

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

That's one fat president

I'm a fan of those educational placemats you can get at Wal-Mart. Julia started learning her ABC's on a Sesame Street one years ago, and I've been buying them ever since. Her favorite has been the one showing all the U.S. presidents, how long they were in office, and random trivia about some of them. She has been fascinated by the fact that Taft was the heaviest president (a bigger bathtub had to be installed in the White House because he kept getting stuck in the regular-sized one). She's also into everything having to do with the Titanic, so she was interested to learn that Taft was president at the time of the Titanic disaster.

"Maybe he was on the Titanic," I said at dinner the other night. "And that's why it sank."

This produced a fit of giggles from Julia and her two friends who were eating with us. Now I'm afraid we've made a hobby out of thinking up "fat president" jokes. Tonight at dinner, Julia was quizzing us from another placemat.

"What is the biggest continent?" she asked.

"Taft," I replied. More giggles. Is this good parenting? Probably not. But it's fun.

I'm still taking pictures around the house, as the rooms look presentable. Here's one bit of insight I've gained since we moved in: If you put lotion on your feet and don't quite rub it in all the way and then start off down the hardwood hallway, you just might break your butt.

Anyway, here's a painting my grandparents bought from a street artist in Venice, Italy in the mid-1960s. My grandpa was stationed in Italy for a few years, and Venice was one of their favorite cities.

Our entryway. I took this today and it already looks different because I put more stuff on the table later.
The garden tub in our yellow bathroom. When we lived in Baytown, some good friends helped us paint our bathroom yellow to help pull me out of my funk after all my miscarriages in 2003. I was really sad to leave that bathroom behind. So when we looked at this house, the fact that the master bath was pretty much the same exact shade was a sign that the house was for us. We want to put a bigger picture up there eventually, but the magnolia works for now. And wouldn't Taft be proud of that tub!

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Monday, March 19, 2007


The other day, I got all my china and crystal unpacked and into our hutch. This stuff has been in boxes since August so it was nice to see it all again. So I'm going to show some of it to you.

This is part of an eggshell china tea set my grandparents brought back from Japan in the mid-1950s. My grandpa had been serving in the military in Tokyo. It's called eggshell china because the china is very thin and delicate. The teacups are extremely fragile, so I keep them put up.

My grandparents and my 8-year-old mom came home with something else from Japan: an 18-month-old boy they adopted. He's now my Uncle Ed.

This cookie jar belonged to my great-grandmother on my dad's side. I'm not sure how old it is, but my great-grandparents were married around the turn of the century -- so it could be from the late 1800s.

This is part of a demitasse set I got at my bridal shower in 1993. Julia and I used to have tea parties with it and when she was four, she asked if she could have it when she grows up. I said yes. I guess Jenna will have to register for her own.

Some of our wedding china and crystal on display in the hutch.

And this rare piece. Are these plates so exquisite and old that they've been mounted in a frame to keep them safe? No, I got this at Target when they were closing their Global Bazaar stuff out. I scored it for six bucks. Hey, not everything has to be an heirloom!

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Hangin' with Mom

I still can't figure out, with this WONDERFUL new Blogger, how to put pictures where I want them in the post. So I'm just letting you know that the above pictures have to do with something later in this post; I just can't get them down there where they go.
This week my mom came to visit for a few days on her way back to Houston from a conference in Baltimore. Mom was a big help: She helped me grocery shop with Jenna, she helped me pick out a window treatment for the living room and helped me catch up on laundry. (I had several big deadlines the week before we moved, and then I was very sick the weekend before we moved, so Chad and I ended up moving big trash bags of dirty clothes to the new house.) She also went with me to CBS (Community Bible Study) Wednesday morning, and to Refuge (our weekly teen event at our church) that night. Before she flew out yesterday, we hung out at Midtowne Little Rock (love the Williams Sonoma there. Not that I've ever BOUGHT anything, but still) and had lunch at Pei Wei. The restaurant was pretty crowded so we got it to go and walked down to the tables outside Starbucks and ate really good food outside on a nice Little Rock day. Then I took Mom to the airport and my dad greeted her in Houston wearing a suit (just for her, since he was off work yesterday) and holding a dozen roses. How's that for almost 44 years of marriage?

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Back in the day

Yesterday was an extra-fun Sunday because I got to hang out with Marcia, a friend of mine from long ago. Marcia and I met the summer my family moved to Beaumont, TX, between 6th and 7th grade. We met at Camp Red Oak Springs and she was really my first southeast Texas friend. We stayed friends through junior high -- and even survived liking the same guy (who later married our other friend, Carol). And we stayed friends through high school even though we went to different churches and schools and lived 30 minutes apart. We had a lot of hilarious times together, but I can't really think of a funny story that would be appropriate to share here. I will say that one story involved a bra tied to a car antenna during a drive through Beaumont. Whose bra was it? And why was it there? I'LL NEVER TELL.

Anyway, we roomed together our freshman year at ACU, and then different majors and life in general took us different directions and we eventually lost touch.

We got back in touch recently, and it turns out Marcia's husband is from Little Rock and his parents still live here. So Marcia and her family came up for spring break and she and their oldest daughter met us at church on Sunday. Marcia was something of a celebrity at our church because quite a few of our members used to go to church with her in-laws and knew her husband when he was a kid. So all these people were chasing her down saying "You're Greg's wife! I used to babysit him!" It was pretty cool. Then Marcia and Eva came to our house and we hung out all afternoon. Our girls played while Marcia and I looked at photo albums and caught up on the last 17 (!!!) years. We even called the guy we both used to like and his wife Carol (who is my best friend, so it was OK) and harassed them during their Walt Disney World trip.

Marcia and I plan to see more of each other since they travel up here pretty often. Who knows -- maybe she'll pull into my driveway with a bra flapping from her car's antenna.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Family Values

Even though I'm an Arkansan now, I'm still loving Texas Monthly. I've been reading it for years, since junior high when my mom mistakenly subscribed thinking she was getting "Texas Highways." Texas Monthly consistently features the best writing you could find anywhere. It's always been my dream to see my byline in its pages.

This month the magazine features an interesting story about gay parenting in Texas.

Also in this issue is a collection of survivors' accounts of the school explosion in New London in 1937. I haven't been able to get through this one in one sitting. It's absolutely heart-wrenching -- on the level of the Texas City disaster in 1947, in which a ship packed with ammonium nitrate (the same stuff used in the Oklahoma City attack) exploded at the Texas City docks, killing about 600 Texas City residents. (No one knows exact numbers because some bodies were never found.) It remains the worst industrial disaster in U.S. history. Several years ago, I wrote a three-part series on the Texas City explosion for The Baytown Sun. Texas City is about 30 miles from Baytown, and there are still a lot of blast survivors living around there. An elder at our church in Baytown survived the blast (he was a teen then) but lost a younger brother that day. He gave me a book of eyewitness accounts for my research and as I studied it in the city library, I had to keep getting up and walking away from it. The images were too much to take in all it once, and it's the same with the New London story.

Anyway, thank you, Texas Monthly, for such well-written, insightful stuff. (And please ask me to write...)

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Turns out that according to the rules at, you're not supposed to send the bills to people. You're just supposed to spend them and get them back in circulation. So my bill that made its way from Germany to Arkansas is now making its way to Houston. I had already sent it when I found out I was a rule breaker. Oh, well -- now it can become my dad's problem.

And now for the Target report. I was walking around there this morning and did a double-take when I came across melamine lunch trays in pastel colors -- EXACTLY like the ones we all carried to our cafeteria tables in elementary school. I just had to pick one up and hold it and reminisce about all those lunches all those years ago. Then I put it back. Who wants to remember that?

Last Saturday we did Target with our friends Tod and Jan Traughber from Searcy. We found a delightful clearance aisle where I got Simply Shabby Chic placemats (kind of off-white with light blue flowers) for NINETY-EIGHT CENTS EACH. And I hadn't even come down off my high from the week before, when I got this Global Bazaar ceramic jar (and a blue one just like it):

... for 90 percent off because they were getting rid of all the GB stuff. They are on my kitchen window sill now holding teabags and sponges.

Also at Target today I got a bottle of Tazo Iced Green Tea. Really good stuff. But check out what I found on the label under a picture of a rather Zen-looking guy: "The only thing about reincarnation that bothers this Tazo holy man is having to go through junior high school over and over again." That's one thing I like about Christianity. Life sucks, then you die, then you don't have to do it all over again.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Where's George?

We've been in the new house for almost a week now. Here's Julia reading to Jenna the other night in Jenna's new big-girl bed. (Which is actually Julia's old big-girl bed.) See the color on the wall? That's "Tinkerbell," and it was painted by Chad and our friend who probably doesn't want to be named. But get him high on paint fumes and hey, who knows what he'll do. Anyway, they also painted Julia's room, and Chad has pictures, but I promised I wouldn't post them here because he wants to put them on his blog. (I've been in trouble for picture-stealing before.)

Here's Jenna waking up on the morning we moved, which means it was the last morning we would get her out of her crib. The crib is now in pieces in our new garage. And you know what? I'm OK with that.

In other news, my friend Linda in Germany sent me a one-dollar bill with written on it. You go to the web site, enter in a bill's serial number, and -- as long as future recipients of the bill log in to the site and record the bill's whereabouts -- you can track the bill's journey around the country. Or in my dollar's case, around the globe. I think I'm sending it on to my dad next. He really gets into this type of thing. Oh, you can enter as many different bills as you want, and you can even set it up to have an email sent to you whenever there's any activity involving one of the bills you entered. I think it's kinda cool.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Home for good

We've been in our new house since Monday. There is stuff everywhere and we don't know where anything is, but we love it here. The paint in the girls' rooms looks great. I'll post pictures -- as soon as we find the camera.

A few weeks ago, I blogged about the new Norah Jones CD and someone asked what my favorite song is. Right now, it's "Wake Me Up," with "Be My Somebody" as a close second. I also love "Little Room," which, as far as I can tell, is about being poor and so much in love that it doesn't matter. It has a WHISTLE SOLO in it, which Jenna loves. (I'm hoping she's too young to understand what's going on in the first verse.) And if you get a chance to listen to the song, listen to Norah count it off at the very beginning. She has such a cute little speaking voice.

Here are the words... I also like this song because in one of the houses Chad and I lived in early on, our room was so little that the doorknob was right next to my head when I was in bed. (Did I ever hit my elbow on it? I'M NOT TELLING.)

Here are the words:

Little Room

You and me and, Me and you,
In my little room,
There's room enough for us to do,
The things we like to do.
Oops, I hit my elbow on the doorknob, Its right there,
It's by the bed next to my head, But I don't even care.

There's stars up on the wall, And they all glow in the dark,
And we can hear the children playing, Outside in the park.
There's bars on the window,
And if there were a fire, We'd burn up for sure,
But that's just fine by me 'cause, We would be together ever more.

In this little room, In the big city we're so far,
From the people that we knew in, My big ol' blue car.
But if we stick together, Then I know we'll be ok,
'cause when it gets too cold outside, This room is where we'll stay.