Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Old School Peter Pan from the Old School Mom

   I was about six years old when the filmed stage production of Peter Pan aired on national television. I remember watching in awe as Mary Martin ala Peter flew over the stage and sang her famous songs that I still can sing as if it were only yesterday. I am sure if I were to view the film now, it would seem both awkward and contrived, but back in the day no one knew about Pixar and special effects other than the Disney folks so you can imagine the impact that flying humans made. And speaking of imaginations, I also believe, that unlike children of today, our imaginations were actually a muscle that we exercised quite frequently. No one questioned the fact that Tinkerbell was really just a sound and a light that moved across the stage. This was perfectly acceptable to the baby boomer generation because we all undersood that no one has really ever seen a fairy, have they?
   Oddly enough, the song from Peter Pan that I have carried so close to my heart to this day is the lullaby that Mrs.Darling sang to Wendy and the boys every night in their upper story nursery. It is the very lovely and very simple ballad, Tender Shepherd. It made a deep impression upon me. Through the years I vividly remember singing this song in the back of a station wagon with my cousins, both of whom had beautiful voices. They suffered greatly through my off-key renderings and hideous attempts at harmony on more than one occasion, but despite their best attempts to teach me, I remain woefully deficient in the pitch department. I have always laughingly concurred that I "make a joyful noise unto the Lord!"  Yet I somehow managed to sing (or butcher) this lullaby to my own children each night when I put them to bed during their own growing up years. Nothing could be more fitting as they were my very own Darlings, of course!
   I even added another short verse which my daughter was surprised to find was not part of the original version. Mothers are always full of surprises. The added verse was borne out of desperation when my children were clamoring for more Tender Shepherd, an excuse I now understand was simply a ploy not to have to close their eyes quite yet. This additional section (you can hardly call it a verse) is listed below.
    It is not odd how the simplest things become the most profound memories? From a childhood memory of a televised play probably only seen once or twice, came the sound of a sweet lullaby that would comfort my own children on their journey toward their dreams, and this selfsame lullaby is now comforting Little One as she finds her way to the secret world of sleep with all the promise that it holds. May you dream sweet dreams Little One, for your Tender Shepherd in Heaven is indeed watching over you.

Tomorrow is another day
For you to run and jump and play,
Close your eyes,
Close your eyes

Tender Shepherd, tender shepherd,
Let me help you count your sheep

    I am thankful that He has not only counted His sheep, 
but He has redeemed them by the precious Blood of the Lamb.

The Daughter: Naps and Lullabies

Did you all grow up hearing a favorite lullaby? I did. I recently found out the one Honey sang is from Peter Pan (the old school musical). I have now started singing this to Little One during the day for naps and at night (you will never hear me sing it as I have a really bad voice, oh well!). This one seems to soothe her pretty well.

Here are the lyrics to Tender Shepherd:

Tender shepherd
Tender shepherd
Let me help you count your sheep
One in the meadow
Two in the garden
Three in the nursery
Fast asleep

NEXT VERSE: Tender shepherd
Tender Shepherd
Watches over all his sheep
One say your prayers
And two close your eyes
And three safe and happily
Fall asleep

Here is Little One after a nap. She will wake up and coo to herself for a bit which always makes me smile. I sneaked up on her to find this. I recently started putting her "lovies" in with her but am still hesitant to have things in the crib/Pac n Play. The colorful flower is hanging above her even though from this angle looks like it is in the crib with her. What are your thoughts on things in the crib? I am always a bit more nervous than most after working in a hospital ... no stuffed animals for quite some time!

This one is blurry but too precious to not post!

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Daughter: 3 Months & Snow

I am currently doing a no-no by allowing Little One to sleep on my chest which makes typing a bit more of a challenge! I am soaking in these moments as I return to work next week. It is mind boggling to me that my child is almost 14 weeks and I have been out of work that long!

It is looking as though my return to work will not be long-term due to wanting to be home with my precious one and lack of childcare openings. What a dilemma for parents ... work or being home with your child during the day. I know that I am blessed to even consider this a dilemma as many are not. I have been wrestling with the work/stay at home mom concept for several years and of course this heightened when I was pregnant. My dream would be to work 2 days a week and stay home the rest of the week. This does not seem to be a viable option in this season at my current job which honestly grieves me. I do not want to sound dramatic, but I love what I do. I am passionate about my job and feel as though I make a difference. So, yes I will grieve if I have to leave this part of my world (maybe I will return to my current employment at a later time!), but I have someone that has captured my heart more than any job in this world.

Check out this girl. She is a 3 month smiling, babbling, spit bubble making, ADORABLE girl.

A dear friend made the pants and did the monogram on the shirt.
The sweater was mine when I was little that Honey saved.

Dad & Little One in the snow.
Dad is trying to make the same face as Little One
... don't they look alike!

Me and Little One in front of our house.

I had to have a close-up in her precious bear-suit.

Oh the joy in this home!

I love my co-workers, manager and work environment, and please pray that along with me that I am able to serve them well for this season.
Winter came down to our home one night
Quietly pirouetting in on silvery-toed slippers of snow,
And we, we were children once again.
~Bill Morgan, Jr.

And this scene brings to mind one of my all-time favorite 
poems by the inimitable Robert Frost

 Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
We are enjoying what has become a relatively rare occurrence 
in our area: a magnificent snow.
The air is dry and the flakes are light and fluffy. The snow has been coming down steadily since mid-day, and I can no longer even see the taller tufts of grass in my yard. Along the fence line, it has blown into deeper drifts. My dogs have been in and out all day, running their noses along the ground, snorting the snow, chasing the birds and squirrels and coming inside to shake themselves dry. They run to welcome me with noses wet and eyes glistening. They are happy, and so am I. My refrigerator is stocked, I have soup simmering gracefully on the stove, 
and my loved ones are all home safe and sound. 
I love the quiet of the snow. I am taking time to listen today.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Updated Book List from The Mom

I have been second guessing myself about this update for about a year. If I add another book, does it mean I have to remove one? My favorite books are like old friends. They hang around in my head for a long time. As I have said before, the List is almost akin to a living entity for me; it is in a fluid state, a state of flux, and I am constantly sifting through various books in my mind to see if they are worth making it onto "The List." So, please bear with me; I will probably find myself continuously editing this, or at least adding to it. I am already asking myself, "Why, oh why, did I ever commit to listing my 100 favorite books?" They are not in order of preference, because on any given day, the order can change.
   A special note: I am not listing the Bible on my list because it is THE BOOK, the one book that has ultimately changed my life more than any other, and I believe with all of my heart that it was not written by mortal men, but is the inspired Word of God. The Bible therefore has a separate category all its own so that is why you will not find it on the list, even though I am tempted to put the Psalms of David, Job, Romans, and Revelation as four of the books on my list...

Again, in no particular order:
My Top Twenty-Five  -- Give or Take a Few
  1. East of Eden ~ John Steinbeck
  2. Brothers Karamazov ~ Dostoevsky 
  3. Chronicles of Narnia ~ C.S. Lewis
  4. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy ~ J.R.R. Tolkien
  5. The Fountainhead ~ Ayn Rand
  6. Absalom, Absalom and Go Down Moses ~ William Faulkner
  7. The Great Divorce ~ C.S. Lewis
  8. Night ~ Elie Wiesel
  9. King Lear, Hamlet, Twelfth Night ~ William Shakespeare
  10. The Man Who Was Thursday ~ G.K. Chesterton
  11. All the King's Men ~ Robert Penn Warren
  12. Shadow of the Wind ~ Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  13. One Thousand Gifts ~ Ann Voskamp
  14. Frederick Buechner's Autobiographical Series: Telling Secrets, Sacred Journey, Now and Then
  15. Can You Drink the Cup and The Wounded Healer ~ Henry Nouwen 
  16. The Scent of Water ~ Elizabeth Goudge
  17. Anna Karenina ~ Leo Tolstoy
  18. Hyperspace ~ Michio Kaku
  19. Wise Blood ~ Flannery O'Connor
  20. The Sparrow ~ Mary Doria Russell
  21. Tale of Two Cities ~ Charles Dickens
  22. Pride and Prejudice ~ Jane Austen
  23. The Glass Castle ~ Jeanette Walls
  24. Prince of Tides, Beach Music, South of Broad ~ Pat Conroy
  25. Cry the Beloved Country ~ Alan Paton
  26. Out of Africa ~ Isak Dinesin
  27. The Dispossessed ~ Ursula Le Guin
  28. The Dune Series ~ Frank Herbert         
The BEST of the REST, at least according to The Mom...
  • Pensees ~ Blaise Pascal
  • Seven Storey Mountain ~ Thomas Merton 
  • Ulysses ~ James Joyce
  • Paradise Lost ~ Milton
  • Odyssey ~ Homer
  • Inferno ~ Dante
  • The Art of the Commonplace ~ Wendell Berry
  • Pilgrim at Tinker Creek ~ Annie Dillard
  • To Kill A Mockingbird ~ Harper Lee
  • The Tapestry ~ Edith Schaeffer
  • Peace Like a River ~ Leif Enger
  • Ragamuffin Gospel ~ Brennan Manning
  • A Wrinkle in Time ~ Madeleine L'Engle
  • Winston Churchill, The Last Lion Multi-volume Biography ~  William Manchester
  • Of Human Bondage ~ Somerset Maugham
  • Walking the Bible and Where God Was Born ~ Bruce Feiler
  • Reading Lolita in Tehran ~ Azir Nafisi 
  • Anne of Green Gables (Series) ~ Lucy Maud Montgomery
  • The Dark Is Rising (Series) ~ Susan Cooper
  • The Children of Men ~ P.D. James
  • The Collected Poems of Robert Frost ~ Robert Frost
  • Exodus ~ Leon Uris
  • Jane Eyre ~ Charlotte Bronte
  • Wuthering Heights ~ Emily Bronte
  • Age of Innocence ~ Edith Wharton
  • Huckleberry Finn ~ Mark Twain
  • On Walden Pond ~ Henry David Thoreau
  • Lost Horizon ~ James Hilton
  • Tess D'Urbervilles ~ Thomas Hardy
  • Contact ~ Carl Sagan
  • Candide ~ Voltaire
  • The Road ~ Cormac McCarthy
  • Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns ~ Khalid Hosseini 
  • House of Sand and Fog ~ Andre Dubus
  • A Lesson Before Dying ~ Ernest Gaines
  • The Awakening ~ Kate Chopin
  • Beloved ~ Toni Morrison
  • Time Traveler's Wife ~ Audrey Niffenegger
  • The Historian ~ Elizabeth Kostova
  • Edgar Sawtelle ~ David Wroblewski
  • Integrity ~ Stephen Carter
  • Redeeming Love ~ Francine Rivers
  • Catcher in the Rye ~ J.D. Salinger
  • 1984 ~ George Orwell 
  • The Stranger ~ Albert Camus
  • Metaphorphosis ~ Franz Kafka
  • Faust ~ Goethe
  • Doctor Zhivago ~ Boris Pasternak
  • Mists of Avalon ~ Marion Zimmer Bradley
  • Le Morte D'Arthur ~ Thomas Malory
  • Bullfinch's Mythology ~ Bullfinch
  • The Constant Gardener ~ John Le Carre
  • Hunger Games ~ Suzanne Collins
  • A Severe Mercy ~ Sheldon Vanauken
  • Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret ~ Howard Taylor
  • Amy Charmichael: A Chance to Die ~ Elizabeth Eliot
  • Christy ~ Catherine Marshall
  • Catherine the Great ~ Henri Troyat
  • Ten Little Indians, et al ~ Agatha Christie
  • Works of Edgar Allen Poe ~ Edgar Allen Poe
  • The Civil War ~ Bruce Catton
  • Band of Brothers ~ Stephen Ambrose
  • Lonesome Dove Series ~ Larry McMurtry
  • Snow Falling on Cedars ~ David Guterson
  • Joy Luck Club ~ Amy Tan
  • Memoirs of a Geisha ~ Arthur Golden
  • Shogun ~ James Clavell
  • Pillars of the Earth ~ Ken Follett
My Favorite Books I Read as a Child and Loved Again When I Re-Read Them as an Adult
  • Winnie the Pooh ~ A.A. Milne
  • Black Beauty ~ Anna Sewell
  • Little Women ~ Louisa May Alcott
  • Black Stallion Series ~ Walter Farley
  • Last of the Mohicans ~ James Fenimore Cooper
  • The Velveteen Rabbit ~ Margery Williams
  • The Secret Garden ~ Frances Hodgson BurnettE.
  • Where the Wild Things Are ~ Maurice Sendak
  • Heidi ~ Johannah Spyri
  • Treasure Island ~ Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Peter Pan ~ J.M. Barrie
  • The Sword in the Stone ~ T.H. White
  • Charlotte's Web ~ E. B. White
  • A Swiftly Tilting Planet ~ Madeleine L'Engle
  • Misty of Chincoteague ~ Marguerite Henry
    Addendum: (I knew that this was going to happen)
    Special Note: There are so many books that I could have included and did not include, but I tried to list those books that changed or altered my perspective on life, influenced my worldview, or challenged me in some way; I have also tried to remember those books that stayed with me long after the pages were closed. Some might quibble with the fact that the list is so weighted heavily in the area of fiction, but the majority of my lifetime experiences with reading have been for pleasure and therefore I have been drawn to books that offered the best hope of escape, travel, or adventure!
    • Diary of A Young Girl ~ Anne Frank
    • The Killer Angels ~ Michael Shaara
    • The Bright Shining Lie ~ John Paul Vann
    • We Were Soldiers Once...and Young ~ Harold G. Moore
    • Siddhartha ~ Hermann Hesse
    • The Glass Menagerie ~ Tennessee Williams
    • The Scarlet Letter ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne
    P.S. My apologies to one of my favorites apologists, Chesterton, for listing him as Chesterfield...what was I thinking ?

    Saturday, January 23, 2010

    The Mom: A Confirmed Bookaholic

        I have a little plaque in my den that reads:
    "When I get a little money, I buy Books, 
    if any is left I buy food and clothes."  
        I totally get it. The quote is attributed to one medieval scholar, Desiderius Erasmus, who lived in the fifteenth century around the time that Gutenberg invented the first printing press. Way back then a book had to cost an arm and a leg or at the very least the price of a house or a farm. I know this because I read somewhere that during this time period, the Cambridge University library, which was considered one of the most extensive libraries in Europe, only possessed 122 volumes. Can you imagine? That's why Gutenberg is one of my all-time heroes. I shudder to think how it would have been to have been born prior to the literary revolution that the printing press brought to the world of academia, an invention so magnanimous in scope that it has impacted all of our lives and is certainly a cornerstone of the education system as we know it today. After I discovered the aforementioned little known fact about the Cambridge Library in 1422, I counted the books on my shelves in the den and realized that I had long since exceeded that number. In old Erasmus' time I would have been hard-pressed to satisfy my addiction.
         My books are my friends. I have a few that I read over and over again, and I love them like I love chocolate: I can never seem to get enough. Others I keep on my shelves just so that I will remember that we were acquainted at one time; others I keep because they call to mind some particular emotion that they invoked in me that I cannot relinquish -- sometimes it was joy or sheer happiness, sometimes angst, sometimes a disappointment so profound, yet tantalizing that I simply cannot let the book find its way into oblivion. Sometimes I was transported to another place and another time or even felt that my psyche or even my soul had been altered by the words I read. These are books that I will often reread to see if my perspective has changed (and sometimes it does and has). Honestly, however, there are very few books that I do not find commendable in some manner and these unfortunate few very quickly find their way to the Goodwill box or (if I consider them to be trash) to the garbage bin, but this happens very rarely. I do enjoy passing my books around to friends and even strangers and since I have them stacked in drawers, inside cabinets, under the beds, in the corners, and in every possible place that you might think to find a book (even the bathroom), I am happy to have someone else find a space for them.
         I suppose I come by this love naturally. My mother is a librarian, even though she refers to herself as a media specialist. I am old fashioned enough to still call her a librarian behind her back because I love all that the word implies. Plus I don't think Erasmus or Gutenberg would find the title of media specialist too appealing.
        A few years ago I looked over several different reading lists to see if the rest of the world agreed with my tastes and found, surprisingly enough, that over the course of time I had read a great number of what others perceive to be classics (the Penguin list) or at least notable books (not that I liked them all). The book that introduced me to consider my reading canon from a comprehensive perspective was a book by David Denby entitled appropriately, Great Books (My Adventures with Homer, Rosseau, Woolf, and Other Indestructible Writers of the Western World). How about that subtitle? He must have had some pull with his editor to get all of that on the front of the book.

       We are belatedly celebrating two birthdays tonight for a son and son-in-law, so I fear that the stove is calling. I'll post my own personal top 100 books and then a few links to some of the reading lists I like on another post. Until then, Happy Reading!

    Thursday, January 21, 2010

    A Hope That Does Not Disappoint

    I found this stanza of a hymn referenced on a friend's sister's blog, and I cannot get it out of my head. It is resonating with my soul.
         "Come and find the quiet center in this crowded life we lead, 
    find the room for hope to enter, 
    find the frame where we are freed; 
    clear the chaos and the clutter, 
    clear our eyes that we can see all the things that really matter, 
    be at peace, and simply be."
    - Shirley Erena Murray

          This is Johnny.
                      Yesterday Johnny was an orphan. Today he has a home.
    Thank you Karris and Danita. (
    May the Lord continue to bless you and keep you
    and keep all those you are mothering with the precious
    love of Christ safe from harm. 

    Tuesday, January 19, 2010

    My Heart's Cry

        Most of the time I open my newspaper or watch the news and comfort myself that I am insulated from the struggles or heartache of those whose names and faces are unknown to me. I often find myself thinking, "I am so grateful that I am not the one in this or that situation." How supercilious of me. I wish that I could say that I frequently pray before I fold my paper to move on to the next task at hand, but sadly, it is not so. The vast majority of the time I am just too comfortable in my well-insulated temperature controlled cocoon of a life to be pierced to the core or deeply troubled by what I read or what I see. Not so with Haiti. I wake up in the morning with a prayer on my lips and when I go to bed at night I cannot stop thinking about her people and the suffering. I, who can fall asleep before my husband can complete a sentence, find myself tossing and turning through the watches of the night. It is Haiti that is calling to me. It is Haiti that makes me cry out. It is Haiti who is ruining my sleep and forcing me to re-examine my love affair with my comfortable life. 
         I do not know whether to be happy or sad that I cannot get this tiny country and her people out of my mind. I keep having this weird feeling that I had when my children were away from me, and I was convinced that they were in danger or harm. I knew then that the Lord was calling me to pray (what else can a mother do when her children are possibly under seige and out of the reach of a telephone?) And so I pray. I do not know the names of those who are at this moment crying out to the Lord in desperation for mercy, or peace, or help, or freedom from the crushing weight of loss that seems to have no end. I do not know their names, but I know the one who does. He calls himself faithful, and I can honestly say that I believe He is who He says He is. I believe He has not turned aside His head nor forgotten a single one of His precious sheep. He is not asleep. He has not left the throne room unattended. He sees. He hears. He understands. He knows. He went to the cross, the grave and the skies for such as these. And His power and might are great. I am humbled to know that He loves his children who are there every bit as much as He loves me. He longs to gather the mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters and little ones to Himself like a mother gathers her chicks. He is calling out their names. 
        Like so many others before me, I have given money out of the great bounty and ease that I have been given, but with each passing day, I become more convinced that prayer is the true and lasting gift I am called to give. Will you join with me as the cry goes up before the throne of the Lamb Who Was Slain for you, for me, and for them? 
       Our Savior says that our prayers matter and that the prayer of a righteous man availeth much. I do not have any righteousness of my own to commend myself to Him, but He has gladly traded my sinful soul and imparted his magnificent righteousness to cover my unworthiness. It is almost incomprehensible, yet true. It is why I can run to His throne room day and night and have confidence that the King of the Universe hears my smallest prayer. I am thanking him right now for Haiti and the fact that He has used this tiny land to shake me out of my shameful complacency. I truly want to be different today, and tomorrow, and the day after that. I want to pour out my heart for the people of this tiny country and pray that as I pray that the Lord will somehow not only answer their cry, but He will change me. 

      "What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like." -Saint Augustine

    Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my sighing.
    Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray.
    In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice,
    in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.
    You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with you the wicked cannot dwell.
    The arrogant cannot stand in your presence; you hate all who do wrong.
    You destroy those who tell lies; bloodthirsty and deceitful men the Lord abhors.
    But I, by your great mercy, will come into your house;
    in reverence I will bow down toward your holy temple.
    Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies -- make straight your way before me...
     But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy.
    Spread your protection over them, those those who love your name may rejoice in you.
    For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous; 
    you surround them with your favor as with a shield.
    Psalm 5:1-8; 11-12

    Sunday, January 17, 2010

    A Young Woman in Haiti

    I had the honor of serving as the guidance counselor/college counselor for this young woman when she was in high school. Karris Hudson is a remarkable individual who has heeded the call of God from the time that she was but a girl. Please read her insights into the situation in Haiti and learn about her love for the children and the people of Haiti here:

    Isaiah 58:10-11  If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

    Saturday, January 16, 2010

    Prayer for Haiti

    My prayer for Haiti and her people who are the beloved of God:
    Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
    2 Corinthians 4:16-5:8

    Friday, January 15, 2010


    I have wanted to post some nursery pictures for quite some time. The above picture was taken by my Wonderful photographer I will do a post on that later. This is the changing table (without the Pottery Barn Kids pad). Two of my dear friends made the name in flowers.

    The rest of the pictures were taken prior to Little One's birth. I was looking through these and decided to add some that include me. I truly enjoyed being pregnant but now that I am not, it is nice to not have to waddle or slowly sit down or have a really round face! I felt great most of the time but these pictures were taken right before she was born. I felt really big at this point.

    Please take note of one thing in particular ... the beadboard paneling. My sweet and very talented husband did this one panel at a time when I was away one weekend. It was a true labor of love. We are just waiting for it to be covered in handprints and crayola crayons in Little One's future! Also, please do not judge the little mess' everywhere. I do not know how to edit pictures and also just realize this is real life ... at least this is my real life!

    This is the entry to the nursery.
    These are some of the sweet toys and books that I received at my shower.
    The rocker was the one my parents used to rock my brothers and me to sleep
    ... my mom and dad had it re-covered. It will be available for each grandchild!

    Here is one of my FAVORITE things in the nursery. The mobile is from HenPeck in
    Downtown Franklin.
    My parents gave us the bedding as a present.
    I LOVE it! It is Elizabeth Allen and has a vintage feel.

    These are the many dresses that my mom made for me and Little One is now wearing ... AMAZING!
    The precious rug ended up pulling all the colors together without being too "matchy" and is
    from Brentwood Interiors. Curtains are from beloved Target.

    Roman Shades are Pottery Barn ... yes, the ones that got recalled.
    The dress behind me is from London, and Little One will wear it for her baptism.

    I am so happy with how the nursery looks. I am not a decorator but really enjoyed doing this. Each piece as special meaning to me. Please check out this blog to see other nurseries: Her blog is one of my favorites.

    Tuesday, January 12, 2010

    New Addition to Food Fetishes!

    I wasn't in my right mind when I left off another favorite of mine as a child...The Banana Salad...a culinary delight which was indigenous to our summer beach culture. I know some of you may find it hard to believe, but we grew up eating our hot meal in the middle of the day. Part of this was designed to keep us out of the midday sun because we were required to rest for two hours after eating to give our food time to digest. (Do any of you remember that ever-popular myth that you could develop cramps if you swam too soon after a meal?!) Nevertheless we were not allowed back down to the water until around 2:00 p.m. Thus dinner was replaced by supper (a light meal as opposed to a heavy one) and the banana salad was a standard supper time treat. No cooking was involved, and we children were taught very quickly how to make our own so our mothers were free to pursue whatever mothers pursue when their children are otherwise engaged. The directions for the banana salad are as follows: take one large banana and slice in quarter size round pieces, put the sliced banana on a plate with a dollop of mayonnaise (that other Southern food group) and an even larger dollop of peanut butter. Take a fork and drag the banana slices through the peanut butter and then the mayonnaise. Ummm...delicious and believe it or not, very filling. Another no cook meal that the mothers loved! My own children would occasionally eat banana salads when growing up, but they considered it more of a snack than a meal (that's what having three boys will do for you) but now, they would not touch the stuff. However, when I go home to visit my mom or I get homesick for a bit of Cinco Bayou, I will fix myself my very own banana salad! You should try it some time! As Julia would say, "Bon Appetit!"

    Monday, January 11, 2010

    Odd Food Fetishes from the Mom

    I got to thinking tonight about the strange foods or, in our case, combinations of foods that families eat and enjoy that seem to be indigenous or endemic to that particular family. I will share our odd food fetishes, but hope that this will be a trade-off as I would love to know some of yours!
    1) Crackers in Sweet Milk. The crackers must be saltines and only one brand will do: Nabisco Premium Saltines. I hate to plug a particular brand unless it is absolutely necessary, but in this case it is -- all other varieties simply get too mushy too quickly or are not crisp enough to begin with, and believe me, in an effort to save a dime or two, I have tried them all. In defense of crackers in sweet milk -- this is purely comfort food for the weary. It is also a quick and easy supper that is very filling although the health conscious among us would be hard pressed to find any decent representation of the food groups. To prepare this culinary delight, take one large glass and fill with almost one sleeve of crackers; crushing the crackers slightly to get them to the brim. Then pour sweet milk (translate that to regular milk because in the Deep South any milk that is not buttermilk used to be called sweet milk)two-thirds of the way to the top of the glass. Immediately begin squishing or crushing the crackers down into the milk with a spoon. Once you have reached the desired consistency, eat immediately. The beauty of this dish is that there is no cooking involved and clean-up is minimal. If Julia Childs had known about this culinary treasure, it probably would be famous.
    2) Field Peas with Mayonnaise. In addition to milk, butter, and sweet tea, the next most important food group in the South would be mayonnaise. I don't know why my Opp grandparents started putting mayonnaise on field peas, but folks in my family have been doing it for 80 years or so. Field peas are not readily available outside of Lower Alabama. I know because I spent more than a few years hitting all of the farmers' markets in Tennessee looking for field peas. Well-intentioned farmers tried to sell me crowders and purple hulls and even tempted me with limas, but I know a field pea when I see one, and I wasn't having any of it. There is a variety of pea that is close enough (the Lady Pea) that if I get desperate, I can boil me a batch and be relatively happy, but when I head home to Lower Alabama, you can rest assured that I will soon be eating some field peas slathered in mayonnaise...just the way I like them. If you would like my recipe for field peas, just let me know. Oh, and it does involve another favorite Southern food group: bacon.
    3) Spaghetti Sandwiches. Somewhere along the line my family developed a taste for spaghetti sandwiches. I have two theories about this odd combination. The first one is that I simply forgot to buy the obligatory french bread that is usually served with spaghetti and simply threw some white bread (this was in the days BEFORE wheat bread was all the rage) on the table and told my kids to eat it with the spaghetti and since the bread was so soft, it was easier to just spread the spaghetti on the white bread and roll it up like a little sandwich. The second theory is that spaghetti was always a terribly messy meal at my house (four children, three of them boys and three kids under the age of four at one time -- can you call this insanity?!) so in desperation, I made a little spaghetti sandwich for whomever was the toddler at the time and the others decided that they would like to try it as well. Then it was a "Hey Mikey, he likes it moment," and the rest is history. As a side note, spaghetti sandwiches are a great way to stretch that little bit of spaghetti you have left over that is not quite enough to make a second meal out of. And we all know that spaghetti is even better the second time around.
    I hope this post will get you thinking about the strange foods that your family likes to eat. I am sure that we have more, but at the moment all I can think about is running to the kitchen for guessed it, crackers in sweet milk!

    Sunday, January 10, 2010

    The Club from the Mom

       There are five of us in the Bosom Bottom Buddy Club. We are first cousins and the children of identical twin sisters. The odd thing about being daughters of identical twins is that genetically speaking, we are all half-sisters. The cousins have different fathers but the same genetic mothers. It makes for a weird confluence of relationship and heredity. Ours is an exclusive club, and we have never been tempted in bring in any other initiates. I find it hard to believe that the Bosom Bottom Buddy Club has been around for nearly 50 years. I am not certain when we named ourselves officially, but it was likely about the time that I and my cousin turned six or seven. The name we chose was definitely scandalous to us at the time (bosoms and bottoms were not then topics of general discussion among the populace) and therefore worthy of the secrecy and exclusivity with which we viewed ourselves. Instead of a secret handshake or password, we devised a special greeting: standing side-by-side in pairs, we would butt chests, then bottoms, and as a finale, throw our arms around one another to conclude with a big bear hug.
       Our official meeting place, our erstwhile clubhouse, was an old bird coop at the back of my grandmother's house in Samson, Alabama. While in reality it was was little more than a dilapidated wooden shed, it certainly seemed like the Taj Mahal to us. The shed had a door and two glass paned windows, and the former chicken yard was bordered by a fence that even boasted a gate. The ritual of occupancy demanded that the entire membership be present before one member could enter. Thus it was with great impatience that my sisters and I would await the arrival of our cousins each year. The five of us would be up and outside at dawn's light, and we would play until we were called for lunch and then return to our hideout until we were called again for supper. Lest I give the impression that all was harmonious, 'tis true that we argued considerably among ourselves at times (most usually over the assignment of duties), but I somehow remember that despite our squabbles, we had a deep and abiding joy in that place. We treasured our independence, our protection from what we perceived to be our parents' prying eyes, yet we almost always closely followed the rules they had devised for us. In our private sanctuary, we were as free as only children can be. Sticks became arrows in the hands of a fearless warrior. A piece of rope became the reins for a great steed. The tall magnolia was a lookout's post for an army fort surrounded by marauding Indians. The hours slipped away from us even as the memories grew. I did not know then what a treasure I was amassing for myself.
        The clubhouse we claimed and made our own is there no longer. The winds of change have driven us from that distant shore in the picture above to different cities and different states. We are no longer girls, but women grown and even middle-aged. Yet the tie that binds is still blessed. It is a bond that has endured the passage of time and the warp and woof of life.
        Where have the years gone? They melt away into nothing when I remember how we laughed with delight over the smallest of things and how we can still chuckle and even howl when we get together. When sorrow slept outside the doors of our lives, our friendship, laughter and love have helped each of us to keep the darkness at bay. It was an honor to be with each of you this fall when we laid our dear grandmother to rest. She loved family, and she loved each one of us. As the days pass, I am thankful for the legacy that she has imparted to each of us. The scriptures remind us to owe no man anything except the debt of love. If that is true, then we owe one another and certainly her a great deal. My cousins, my sisters, my friends. I look forward to renewing our ties, our love, and our laughter in April. See you then!

    Friday, January 8, 2010

    Lessons Learned in 2 months

    I have only been a mom for 10 weeks, yet I feel that I have gained a world of knowledge. Some of these lessons have been learned the hard way (through many errors) and others were through dear family (Honey, GiGi, YaYa, and Kelly) and friends. So this is a thank you to those that have given much needed advice and also a reminder for myself of how little I knew about taking care of a baby when I first started. I am sure this list will continue to expand for the rest of Little One's life!
    First off, pregnant moms: 1. You finally get to sleep on your stomach post baby but watch out as you might wake with wet spots on your chest! 2. I loved not having to go to the bathroom every two hours at night, but I have peed on myself more times in the past two months than I had in over 24 years! She is totally worth all the quirks!
    Here are some tips for new moms or those taking care of a baby:
    Savor EVERY moment. This child is such a sweet blessing.

    • Set up a system with your spouse/helper so both of you feel involved and one person does not feel too overwhelmed ... My husband rocks and does diaper duty at night after I feed and burp ... everybody's system is different
    • If your baby has spiky hair just embrace it ... hair gel does not work. Trust me.

    • Curved baby fingernail scissors over filing, biting (scary) or clippers. Red Cross baby scissors from Target are definitely better than the Walmart brand. Also, always run your finger nail underneath the baby's nail prior to cutting.
    • Pampers all the way with the green line
    • Have someone show you how to do the "spit bath" prior to the cord falling off because we traumatized Little One...she peed twice and pooped because we didn’t know what we were doing. First real bath: I really like bathing her in the sink without any baby tub/holding device as she loves being buoyant.

    • Clean under arm/leg creases and belly button really well otherwise they start smelling sour. I felt awful the first time a smelled under her arm. I just didn't know it could smell that bad without being active!
    • Buy lots of cheap washcloths (Target or Walmart) and have some upstairs and downstairs
    • Have a diaper caddy upstairs and downstairs (basket with diapers, wipes, bibs, a toy and some socks)
    • Love the sound lamb from Pottery Barn. Don't buy the high tech Pac N Play with the bassinet, changing system, etc. Just get the regular one.
    • Wish i had a good night light ... maybe I will buy in the future
    • Booties actually stay on unlike most socks
    • Keep the brush the hospital gives you and the nose bulb as it is better than the one from Target or Walmart
    • Just plan to change lots of diapers at first and then you figure out a system i.e., if she is dirty I try to feed her before changing as she always goes during a feed (saves diapers)
    • Buy diapers in bulk from
    • Have husband go to first few visits as doctor limits visitors and he needs to hear why!
    • Put the swing in the bathroom so you can take a bath or shower and she most likely will go to sleep swinging
    • Always put clean diaper under the diaper you are changing as she might go on you if you don’t! We have some good memories from learning this one.

    • Have lots of swaddle blankets ...Carters are bigger than Targets which makes swaddling easier
    • Have lots of blankets for tummy time, one in pac-n-play and one in crib
    • Use a bassinet especially one that can rock by the bed is nice in the beginning, and it is glorious when you graduate to her sleeping in her crib during the night!
    • Side snap onsies are better than over the head as mine hates things pulled over her face
    • Lay child on back to give vitamin (talk with nurse)
    • Have a friend like Jamie Burton make you an awesome sling
    • If baby has blocked tear duct, don't let the green gunk freak you least that is what my doctor says

    • Buy the Lansinoh cream and breast pads and be mentally prepared for fever in your boobs when your milk comes in (thankfully the discomfort subsides after a bit)
    • Don't be shocked when you get home from the hospital and your baby doesn't sleep four hours in a row. I thought she did as she had gone to the nursery. I realized she wasn't sleeping but was being held by sweet nurses. Very unrealistic idea of newborn sleep patterns on my part!
    I would love for people to add to this!

    Friday, January 1, 2010

    Happy Twenty Ten from The Mom

         I quit coming up with New Year's resolutions a long time ago because I don't think I have ever been able to keep any of the many that I have made. So...I am going to come up with a list of things that I will probably HAVE-TO-DO this year whether I want to or not....
        1.The Dentist. After avoiding this for a whole year (plus probably another year if I am honest), I will be compelled by the fact that I can no longer chew on the right side of my mouth to drag myself to the dentist and allow someone who looks like he is wearing a Hazmat suit put his giant paws into my mouth while he and his friends (he calls them technicians) poke around with all manner of shiny metal implements, scraping my gums raw in the process and looking for all those little corners and crevices where things called cavities love to hide. And somehow I am supposed to not only submit myself to this process not once, but twice each year, and to actually say thank you for taking me to the River Styx and back when I walk out of the office. In addition I also know that I am supposed to encourage my children to undergo this same torment all the while reminding them that they will thank me when they are old and still have all of their teeth. I, however, am not yet ready to thank my mother for introducing me to this heinous form of torture at ANY age. I also think dentures don't sound so bad.
       2. The PERPETUAL DIET. I think if Dante had ever been confronted with a post-modern post-menopausal twenty-first century more-than-middle-aged and aging-not-so-gently woman who lives in the midst of an exceedingly thin and body-obsessed culture, he would have included "the diet" as one of his levels of hell. It certainly is on my list. Furthermore it is never any fun getting on the scales at the beginning of the New Year and realizing you are about six or seven pounds away from Your-All-Time-High. This moment of reckoning comes of course the morning after you have consumed a rich and sumptuous four-course New Year's Eve meal accompanied by all manner of high calorie beverages that tasted good at the moment, but give you more than a pause the day after.
       3. The Cleaning. You know when you open the closet where the washer and dryer reside and can no longer maneuver your way through the detritus of life that has accumulated there to even know what lurks within, and your husband (who does his OWN laundry so you cannot assign blame to him in this area) has a slight conniption fit and asserts that he has had to scale the heights of Mount Everest while simply attempting to change the dryer setting, that some radical form of cleaning accompanied by numerous trips to the dump is more than likely in your near future. You are just hoping that he does not go into any other closets in the meantime because the cleaning might have to commence sooner rather than later and today you still want to be a slug.
         4. The EXERCISE. It's bad when you drive by the YMCA nearly every day and feel a deep desire to duck your head in shame because you pay good money each month for a membership that you hold in name only, but the truth is that you would rather go to the dentist, eat a very fattening and delicious meal with friends (even if you pay for it later) and deep clean your mess of a house than climb on a bicycle, lift a weight, or do anything that could remotely be construed as exercise (unless it involves a fork or a spoon and the last time I checked the calorie counter, using those implements did not even register on the scale). It is not that you don't need to, because point number 2 clearly indicates that you do, it is, honestly the fact that exercise is anathema to you. You seem to be allergic to it. Deeply allergic. But this is the year to begin to expose yourself in small doses to see if you can tolerate EXERCISE without keeling over.

    Whew. Just thinking about the dentist, the diet, the cleaning, and the exercise has exhausted me. I think I am going to be forced to comfort and console myself with a bowl of homemade macaroni and cheese made with real cream, real butter, real eggs and real cheese and wait until tomorrow....What a realist I am!
    Happy Twenty Ten!