Saturday, December 27, 2008

Texas again

Here we are in Houston. We've only been gone two-and-a-half years, but we're still completely shocked at how warm it is down here. My kids are walking around in jeans and long sleeves while most people are wearing shorts and tank tops.

We had a lovely Christmas. Here's Julia opening the big Santa present. She looks surprised because she thought Wiis were only for "rich kids." (Turns out Wiis are for rich kids AND poor kids who have generous grandparents.) The Wii has been great fun. Well, it was until Jenna grabbed the Wii Sports disc (which is only available with the purchase of a Wii) and bit down on it. That disc lasted us a grand total of three hours on Christmas day. I don't know what got into that child. We have a ton of CDs and DVDs that she's never felt compelled to chew on. Anyway, just let me sing the praises of the Nintendo company because when I called and explained what happened, the customer service rep (after laughing rather heartily) said they'd send us another one free of charge. Thank you, Nintendo! Jenna will NOT be handling any more of our Wii discs until we are certain she is capable of keeping her teeth off of them.

Here's Jenna with her big Santa present, the seven-doll set of Disney Princesses. Yes, the same set I kept rolling my eyes at whenever I saw it at Target. The same set I thought was ridiculously priced. The same set I returned to Target for five days before Christmas because I knew deep down the whole time that Jenna would love it. Which she does.

Another surprise under the tree this year was a package from WorldVision containing information about Vandana, the 7-year-old girl from India we are sponsoring. Chad and I decided to sponsor a WorldVision child at the Third Day concert last month, and we surprised the girls with the news on Christmas morning. Vandana lives in a society in which men and boys are the first to get food when it's available, so many women and girls are malnourished. (How MESSED UP is that?) Our monthly sponsorship will help feed Vandana as well as pay for her education and other needs. We look forward to sending her letters and hearing back from her and including her in our family's daily prayers. For more info on sponsoring a child through WorldVision, go here and click on "sponsor a child."

After looking at photos from last year's Christmas and this year's, I discovered Julia and I have committed a holiday fashion faux pas. Look carefully:

Christmas 2008

Christmas 2007

Christmas 2008

Christmas 2007

That's right. Julia and I wore the same pajamas two years in a row. We'll have to plan better next year.

For something we DIDN'T plan on this year, we managed to work in Jenna's first ER trip over the holidays. A cart holding a folding wall partition rolled over her finger in our church gym last week and basically peeled the end of her finger off. It looks much better now, but at the time, what with all the blood and skin hanging off, it was pretty icky. The staff at Arkansas Children's Hospital was wonderful and got her all bandaged up before sending her home with some nice pain meds. The whole experience gave me an idea though. Why not equip children's hospitals with wet bars? I think parents who are rattled from carrying their blood-dripping children into the ER might appreciate it.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008


I tend to get annoyed by blog posts that go on and on about why the blogger hasn't been blogging lately. So I'll be quick about it: It's not that I don't have time to get on the computer. It's that I don't have time to get on the computer and complete any kind of thought process. So let's catch up.

Here's a photo I forgot to share with you from my quick trip to Texas last month. One thing I've noticed about Arkansas is that you don't see humongous state flags flying all over the place. So it's something that stands out to me when I visit the Lone Star State. Here's a photo I took in Waco while driving AND trying to find a radio station that wasn't playing Tejano music. Am I talented or what.

We had Thanksgiving -- just the four of us -- right here at home. It was very nice to not have to go anywhere. The last time we had a just-us Thanksgiving at home was in 2003, when I miscarried the day before we supposed to leave to spend the holiday with Chad's people in Lubbock. I have a foggy memory of me wandering teary-eyed through the Baytown Wal-Mart to get stuff for a last-minute Thanksgiving for three at our house. Very depressing memory. So I was glad to replace it with a happy, stay-at-home Thanksgiving memory this year.

I went all out and freed the china and crystal from their prison in my china hutch. I mean, why not?

And what do the Nall girls wear to such a grand occasion?

Their jammies, of course.

The next day, we decked the halls for Christmas. You might notice Jenna is still wearing her jammies from the day before. That's how we roll in our house. The less laundry, the better.

Speaking of rolling, this is how a youth minister's family finds out last year's graduates are home from college:

"Great to see you guys! How long is your break? That long? ... Oh."

Now Christmas us almost upon us. Chad's mom has been with us since Dec. 1, and she'll go with us to Houston on the 23rd. For you Baytown folks, we plan to be at MoSt the Sunday morning after Christmas. Hope to see you then!

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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A Meeting of the Passions

You know when two things you really love come together in one heavenly moment? I had one of those moments this morning. The sheer brilliance of Handel's Messiah and a Sonic banana milkshake. At the same time. There are no words. I almost had an out-of-body experience right there in my car.

It helped make up for the unfortunately eventful morning I had. About which I will say nothing else.

I made the yummiest soup the other night. Not healthy, but yummy. And easy. It's the kind of dish that impresses people because they think you worked hard on it when you really didn't. On the next really cold day, try this:

Tomato-Tortellini Soup

2 14-oz. cans reduced-sodium chicken broth, or if you're veggie like me, vegetable broth

1 9-oz. package refrigerated tortellini (again, since I'm veggie, I used the cheese kind. You might prefer the chicken kind.)

1/2 an 8-oz. tub cream cheese spread with chive and onion

1 10 3/4- or 11-oz. condensed tomato or tomato bisque soup (you have a choice here, but use the bisque! It increases this recipe's yumminess like you wouldn't believe)

Snipped fresh chives (optional) (I didn't have these on hand, so I didn't use them. But they add color to the soup and would get you points on plating, if you were on Iron Chef America.)

In a medium saucepan, bring broth to boiling. Add tortellini, reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for five minutes. In a bowl whisk 1/3 cup of the hot broth into the cream cheese spread until smooth. Return all to saucepan along with tomato soup; heat through. Sprinkle with chives before serving. Makes 4 servings.

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Thursday, December 04, 2008

December rush

Chad's mom has come to stay for a month, I have deadlines looming and our computer is dying a slow, agonizing death. So that's why my blog updates are a little scarce lately. I'm actually writing this from Chad's office.

You CAN, however, find my writing (free of snide comments about Precious Moments and other collectible creepiness) in the December issue of Arkansas Life magazine. I wrote an article about the health care worker shortage in Arkansas. This crisis is nationwide, and if you know any young people pondering what career to choose, talk to them about the health care field. The shortage is not just in nursing, it's in all areas of the field: physicians, physical therapists, pharmacists, you name it. If you look at the numbers and the shortages that are predicted for the future if this trend continues, it's actually pretty scary.

Latest bit of wisdom from Jenna: The other night I was putting her to bed and the child would NOT stop asking me questions. I finally said, "It's time to stop asking questions so you can go to sleep." She said, "But Sid the Science Kid says it's good to ask a lot of questions!" So thanks, Sid the Science Kid.

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