Thursday, November 30, 2006

What Child is This?

Here are Julia and Jenna partying it up the other night. Photos courtesy of babysitters extraordinaire Teresa and Kayla. Yep, that's "High School Musical" on TV.

This week hasn't been so much fun. Monday I took Jenna to the doctor and found out she has bronchitis. She never started acting like she felt bad until I started her on her meds. Yesterday, with a few short breaks, Jenna cried from 2 p.m. until about 6:30 p.m. (Carol got to hear some of this on the phone.) The day before that was about the same. It's almost like she's a newborn again -- crying unless I hold her, only eating if I hold her and feed her, throwing a fit if I put her down to go to the bathroom. Bless her heart. Bless MY heart. She seemed to feel good today so I took her to school. We'll see how that goes.

I figured I had earned some Target therapy, so I stopped by on my way home from Jenna's school. We have a monster cold front headed our way, so I got Julia this really poofy jacket:

I also got egg nog, candy canes, and other required items for decorating for Christmas, which we might try to do tonight.

My brother Brian has a new MySpace for his jazz band, NeoTrio. Go check it out and listen to some of their music. Brian actually wrote "Jayindiem" when he was in 2nd or 3rd grade (he originally called it "Jazz in D Minor") and has developed it since then into what it is now. It's pretty cool!

Lunch with Julia today so I gotta run...

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

At least he tried...

The Christian Coalition really bugs me, and now I'm adding another reason why:

Christian Coalition Pres.-Elect Leaves

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- The president-elect of the Christian Coalition of America has declined the job, saying the organization wouldn't let him expand its agenda beyond opposing abortion and gay marriage.

The Rev. Joel Hunter, who was scheduled to take over the socially conservative group in January from Roberta Combs, said he had hoped to focus on issues such as poverty and the environment.

"These are issues that Jesus would want us to care about," said Hunter, a senior pastor at Northland Church in Longwood, Fla.

Hunter announced his decision not to take the job during an organization board meeting Nov. 21. A statement issued by the group said Hunter left because of "differences in philosophy and vision." Hunter said he was not asked to leave.

"They pretty much said, 'These issues are fine, but they're not our issues, that's not our base,'" Hunter said.

His resignation is the latest setback for the once-powerful group.

The Christian Coalition, founded in 1989 by religious broadcaster Pat Robertson, became one of the nation's most powerful conservative groups during the 1990s, but it has faced complaints in recent years about its finances, leadership and plans to veer into nontraditional policy areas. The group claims more than 2 million members.

Saturday, November 25, 2006


Chad made it back from Texas last night. He has worked out a temporary arrangement for his mom, but there's a good chance she'll be coming to live with us soon. For now, we are very glad to have him home. I've been noticing funny little things, like how good his toothbrush looks next to mine.

Yesterday morning, before my parents had to leave for the airport, we decided to avoid the holiday shopping crowds and go to downtown Benton. Benton is a town just a few miles down I-30 from us. It's a cute town -- very small-town America. People get it confused with Bentonville, where Wal-Mart's corporate headquarters are. Benton does have a Wal-Mart (as does every Arkansas town with two or more goats -- state law), but no corporate office.

Jenna goes to Mothers Day Out in Benton, so I drive down Benton's Market St. every Tuesday and Thursday. I had never stopped to check out the shopping around there, though. Probably because I'm always in a rush to get back home and enjoy the rarity of using the bathroom in a house by myself. So my parents and the girls and I checked out what Benton had to offer.

We had lunch at the Burger Shack, which is or used to be owned by Jerry Van Dyke, or his brother, or something like that. You can't tell from this picture, but Jenna was perfectly AWFUL while we were there. You probably can tell from the picture that I am about to COMPLETELY LOSE MY PATIENCE.

After lunch, we walked down to the Saline County Courthouse, which is all decked out for Christmas.

"Hey! That's my nose! Someone get this vicious two-year-old away from me! Blitzen! Donner! Help me out here!"

Benton is such a cute town that I'm even willing to overlook this.

Then it was time to head to the airport. Bye, Granny and PaPa! See you in a few weeks!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Pinnacle Mountain

My parents, the girls and I went to Pinnacle Mountain today. Pinnacle Mountain is a state park just west of Little Rock. The last time we were there was in June so the cooler weather made today's trip a lot nicer.
My dad and Jenna. Jenna wasn't much for sitting still for pictures today.

A walk in the woods.

I took this one. Pretty good, huh?

Julia inside the trunk of a massive bald cypress.

Julia started our hike saying she didn't want to go because a half-mile was too far to walk and she was going to get tired. A half-mile later, Julia said it was the best nature walk she'd ever been on and that she now wants to be a nature photographer when she grows up. She took about 75 pictures, including this one of the autumn-leaf-covered forest floor. I think she has potential.

"Jenna! Look at the camera! Come on, honey, look at Mommy! Please! Just for a second!"

More photo art by Julia.

Tomorrow we are having Thanksgiving at the home of some friends of ours. (One of them is veggie like me, so I'll be sitting with him at the turkey-free end of the table.) Chad will be with his mom's family in Lubbock. We will all be back together on Friday. Thanks to everyone for all your prayers, phone calls, etc. this week! And have a nice Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Pop-Tart Nirvana

I almost went to my knees right there in the cereal aisle when I discovered these in Wal-Mart the other day:

Forget the toaster -- these are yummy frozen. They taste a lot like Baskin-Robbins Mint Chocolate Chip, which is my favorite ice cream flavor ever.

Both girls are in school today so Mom and I are headed to Target, Old Navy and Kohl's. Life is good!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Movie Quotes

You can go here to generate your very own personal movie quote. Here's the one I got:

"Lions and tigers and Deana, oh my!"

Saturday, November 18, 2006

WLR Adventure

Thanks to everyone for their suggestions. We decided to venture to West Little Rock to hang out at Barnes & Noble, where the girls picked out books and I picked up a copy of a magazine that has a couple of my articles in it. Then on to IHOP, where Julia had a Funny Face pancake, Jenna covered herself in ketchup and I managed to leave Jenna's diaper bag. I called and said I'd come get it early next week.

Two exciting things so far today:

- Julia loves listening to Radio Disney. She's tried calling their 1-800 number for weeks trying to get through. We even tried calling one night at 2 a.m. and the line was still busy. Well, today on the way to WLR, she got through! She chatted with the DJ for a second and then a tiny part of their conversation was played on the radio after the commercial break. Definitely made Julia's day.

- On the way home, Jenna got a car nap! Which means she should be in a decent mood this afternoon but ready for bed EARLY. Definitely made MY day.

Reason for my single momness today: Chad has had to travel to Texas to take care of his mom, whose health has suddenly and drastically taken a turn for the worse. So please keep us all in your prayers. And Chad has a new blog now: Please leave him a comment -- it will really cheer him up.

My parents will be here tomorrow, and that will really cheer ME up!

Friday, November 17, 2006


Let's say...

- You live in the Little Rock, Arkansas area.
- Your spouse will be gone all day Saturday, giving you a day with nothing to do and two daughters (7 and 2) to do it with.
- What would you do?

NOTE: The two-year-old is very high-energy and does not do well with one parent in crowds or around lots of traffic. Or in Target, so that's out, too.

I'm thinking the Museum of Discovery downtown. Any other thoughts?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Pillow talk

Jenna and I had this conversation the other night when I was putting her to bed:

Jenna: Jesus loves me.

Me: Yes, Jesus loves you.

Jenna: Jesus loves... (looking around her room) ...butterflies?

Me: Yes, Jesus loves butterflies.

Jenna: Jesus loves... bunnies?

Me: Yes, Jesus loves bunnies.

Jenna: Jesus loves... cookies?

Me: Yes, Jesus loves cookies.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Road Trip in AR

Here are some of the fall colors I blogged about the other day. This is Sugarloaf Mountain in Heber Springs, where we spent last night and today. (I won't mention the incident that nearly caused emergency marriage counseling on the way to Heber Springs last night. It all turned out fine, and I'm going to forget about it and move on with my life because I would never dream of making a big deal out of whose fault it was.)

ANYWAY, we stayed at the lakehouse (which is really a river house, since it is on a river and not a lake) that belongs to some friends of ours from church. It was very nice and pretty and great weather and a nice break, since I personally have not spent a night away from our house since we moved here.

Here's Julia on the dock behind the lake/ riverhouse.

Jenna lovin' the Natural State.

The fine man I married.

Look at this tree! It's BRIGHT YELLOW! Outside the Heber Springs courthouse.

One more of the girls. Because it's my blog and I can.

Friday, November 10, 2006


I need to take some pictures of some of the fall foliage here. I've always lived in Texas or New Mexico so I've never seen anything like this. When the trees turned brown in Baytown, we figured Exxon fumes were killing them.

We had a very happy phone call last night. Let me back up first. The hardest thing about leaving Baytown for me was how hard it was for Julia. We moved there when she was 18 months old and Baytown was the only home she knew. She loved her school and her friends and our church and the beach and all the fun stuff to do in Houston. So taking her away from all that was pretty tough.

What she's really been missing since we got here are her friends at school in Baytown. She had two best friends who lived in our neighborhood and the three of them did everything together. That's the three of them at the library last summer. They played at each others' houses after school, they went to each others' Vacation Bible Schools, they hung out at the neighborhood pool in the summers. When word got around that we were moving, a few of the other parents from school told me, "I can't believe you're breaking the three of them up."

So Julia starts school here and naturally, does not have the friendships at school like she had in Baytown. I happen to be a "moving-as-a-kid" expert (see My Whole Entire Life Story, which I need to update to include our move to AR), and I've been telling her it just takes time to make friendships like that. She does have some good friends at church, but she only gets to see them a couple of times a week. Then Julia started talking about a girl named "A." She was talking about her a LOT. "Can A come over today?" "Can we take A to church with us?" I got the idea that a lot of the kids in class liked A and I worried that the thing with Julia might be one-sided -- like ALL the kids wanted to be friends with A.

Then out of the blue, A's mom called us last night. Turns out they've been hearing as much about Julia at their house as we've been hearing about A over here. A wanted to invite Julia to a thing at their church next week. So next Wednesday, Julia is going home with A and then to the church thing later. Julia is ecstatic. I talked to A's mom on the phone for a while. They haven't lived here long, either. She teaches at Julia's school, are active at their church and they seem like "our kind of people."

Maybe we moms shouldn't get so wrapped up in the things our kids worry about. But last night it felt really good to pray with Julia and thank God for new friends. And all the guilt I've had over "breaking up the three" started to be replaced by a sense of peace.

Other highlights from the past week or so:

- Jenna can sing the words to several songs from "High School Musical."
- I scored "The Open Door," which is the latest from Evanescence. How many different ways can I say that it ROCKS? In fact, it rocks so much that I usually only listen to it when I'm alone in the car. My favorite tracks so far are "Call Me When You're Sober," "Weight of the World" and "Lithium." I like those songs so much that I keep listening to them over and over, which means that I haven't actually made it to the end of the CD yet. That's how I listen to new CDs. Drives Chad nuts.
- And now for the Target report: Tuesday. Jenna and me. Wandering around the back of the store because Jenna wanted to look at the Christmas stuff. And what did we happen across but Halloween stuff at NINETY-PERCENT OFF. I had to lean against a shelf of Christmas wreaths for a while to take it all in. You know those cute Halloween T-shirts for kids that they sell for four bucks? I bought the girls a bunch for next year for FORTY CENTS EACH. I called Carol, one of my sisters in Targethood, right away. And my mom. Why experience such joy if you can't share it?

Monday, November 06, 2006

Losing my Religion... and My Skirt

I'm posting this mainly for two reasons:

1) So Beverly will know she's not alone in this world,

2) and because I figure word's gonna get around anyway.

Yesterday I wore a new skirt to church. This was no ordinary skirt. I had actually stepped out and bought it from somewhere besides Target. It cost quite a bit more than I usually spend on pieces of clothing, but this was a one-time thing to which I believed I was entitled since I buy pretty much everything else at Target.

So I put the skirt on yesterday morning. It looked nice. It felt nice. We went to church.

During worship, Jenna was a struggle as usual. Chad and I took turns wrestling with her and trying to keep her happy. As the congregation stood after the sermon, I picked up Jenna and stood up. At this moment, our friend Scott Williams leaned over and whispered, "I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your skirt is about four inches lower than you want it to be."

I looked down and sure enough, my skirt had suddenly become very afraid of heights. Fortunately, my slip prevented the situation from becoming even more mortifying. I think that as stood up, Jenna's shoes got caught in the fabric and pulled my skirt down. I quickly got everything back into place and for the rest of the service, thought about all the cheap clothes from Target I bought over the years and how they had never failed me on such a grand level.

Later Scott said he didn't know if he should tell me or take a picture. He decided to tell me because he knew if I picked up Jenna again, "...we were going to have a funniest home video." Thank you, Scott.

So join us in the journey at Little Rock Church. At our church, you can grow in your relationship with God. You can deepen your relationships with your family in Christ. And if you're lucky, the youth minister's wife's clothes will come off right in the middle of church.

So this post won't end on such a horrifying note, here are some photos from the shopping trip I took with Julia on Thursday. She had the day off from school, so the two of us took Jenna to Mothers Day Out. It was also Chad's birthday, so we needed to go shopping. But where?

Well, duh.

Here's Julia in her favorite Target aisle: Polly Pocket!

You know it's a good day when you're out of school, your baby sister is in school, and your hands are full of Target bags. (We did get Chad some non-Polly Pocket presents, by the way.)

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Veg Report

Eating out as a new vegetarian is always an adventure. Here is some wisdom I have gained over the past couple of weeks:

1) Taco Bueno WILL make a meatless Chilada for you. The key is to ask the employee who doesn't look grumpy.

2) Beware of the vegetables at Cracker Barrel. The cooks there like to hide meat in them. They call it "country cooking." I call it a conspiracy.

Here's a cartoon that, for some reason, made one of our church members think of me:

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Pop, pop, pop... pop to the top

Here's Julia in her popcorn box costume. This was the end of the night, so the popcorn (strategically crumpled tissue paper) was getting a little wilty. But isn't she cute? And guess who made the costume? The coolest mom ever. Yeah, you know it.

But wait! What is that glowing orange orb next to Julia? Did my camera pick up some paranormal activity?? Oh, never mind. It's just her candy bucket. Guess I've been watching too much "Ghost Hunters."

Here's another angle. Chad and I had fun calling her "Orville Redenbacher" all night.

(Note the mysterious glowing lights in the background!)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Halloween 2006

We've survived our first Halloween season in Arkansas. It was fun. A few nights ago, Chad and I dressed up as a monk and a nun, respectively, carved the word "REPENT" into a pumpkin and left it in the yard of some people we know from church. Yep, we know how to make friends!

Julia was a giant box of popcorn this year. I made the costume, but I can't show the world the fruits of my labor because Blogger is not letting me post pictures. Hey, Blogger -- I realize every other mom in the world is trying to upload pictures of their kids' Halloween costumes, but work with me here!

Jenna was a cheerleader, but she went trick-or-treating earlier in the day at Mothers Day Out so we decided that was enough for her. I didn't get her picture because of The Law of the Nall DigiCam. The law goes like this: The digital camera will be at the Nall house at all times. Unless there is a holiday or special family event going on. At that time, the camera will be on a shelf in Chad's office at the church with a dead battery. By the time we got it home and working, Jenna was in bed. I'll get her dressed up again and get her pic some time before the camera disappears again.

Yesterday's quote of the day:

Julia (looking at the cover of my "O" magazine): "Why does Oprah's hair always look like mine does when I wake up?"