Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Doodling in the shower

Do you "doodle" in the shower too? Please tell me that I'm not the only one who does this. That would make me eligible for being on the verge of crazy. I do not need to add another title like that to my resume.
Most of you know that SAHM is an acronymn for stay-at-home-mom. After the birth of Ava (I had 5 children when Teagan would have still been 6 years old- Ava was born 4 days before Teagan's 7th about me being crazy! I was pregnant and/or nursing for like 10 years straight!!) Anyway, I lovingly coined myself a SAHM- but I referred to it as being a stuck-at-home-mom, not stay at home. There's a big difference. You see, IF I wanted to go somewhere, it meant strapping 4 kids into carseats and getting somewhere and then figuring out how to get all the kids in or out of a place. Nearly impossible. Sometimes I pushed a double stroller and "wore" one of my babies in my Baby Bjorn carrier on my front, while prodding or dragging Brock along. Not a pretty sight. Ahem. Cute, maybe...
Some of you ladies can relate to me. Seriously. Others of you feel sorry for me. And still others are simply glad you are not me. My point is that I had to REALLY WANT something or REALLY NEED something before I would venture out on "my own". Which means that I crossed my fingers and prayed long and hard that I wouldn't be too stressed out and that at least half of my kids in tow would be in the kind of mood where I could bribe them into behaving while we were out on our errand. So, if you see a frazzled mom somewhere out and about this week, please cut her some slack. I thank you for her. She probably doesn't want to be there or bother you, really. She would rather be home doing laundry. Been there.
That is my long explanation to my theory behind "shower doodle art". I doodle in the shower not as a way to express my inner being and enjoy the process of creating- but simply because as a mom with lots of little kids I have learned to adapt. And compromise. And entertain. And survive- while still smelling good- like caramel cappacino shower gel. You should try this stuff. You smell like a fresh baked Krispy Kreme for part of your day. It's part of the Jaqua line at Bath and Body Shop. If you are a frazzled mom- don't drag all your kids there. Call your hubby or friend and have them stop and pick this stuff up for you. Okay. I'm getting off the topic a bit, about shower doodling.
I learned early on that if I don't get a shower before the kids wake, I have a few options. Option #1) Skip it. Some of you have seen me on days like this. I wear colorful bandanas and head bands and sometimes I throw on some make-up to trick you into thinking I actually did have time for myself that morning. Love these days. Option #2) Skip a meal and take a shower instead. This is not a bad idea and helps to shed extra pounds especially in the beginning after having a baby. But as the kids grow, it can mean a lot bigger mess in the dining room once you get out of the shower. Unsupervised toddlers at mealtime can spell big mess. Been there. Option #3) Doodle in the shower. This is the one I choose most often.
The girls stand outside the steamed shower door and shout out pictures they want me to draw for them. Sometimes they're simple- like hearts and flowers and stars. Other days they ask for things like Christmas trees and cupcakes. I do this not just for the love of my children or the love of art- but because I get a longer shower, my dining room stays clean, and I get to soak in the smell of Krispy Kremes that much longer. Selfish really. We moms are good at disguising what we really do all day long.Doodling in the shower. I know I can't be the only one out there doing this. I guess I could be. Until Elsie has kids of her own. She will totally do this too. Others of you will follow. You just might.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Two more scrap page layouts...

Here are two more layouts that I completed this weekend- both highlighting Teagan and some of the thoughts I've entertained since she was killed, back in July 2001. I'm finding out that scrapping is a good way for me to get my memories down on page that, in the future, will probably benefit my kids. I think it will help them to know how much Teagan was a big part of my life and how her death shapes the way I live my life today.
I won't go into all the details of the products I used on them- but if you see something and you really must know what it is or where I got it, email me and I'll be happy to tell you more. Also, I am hoping to get enough layouts completed and printed out somehow so that I can submit them for a contest. Therefore, I probably won't be sharing too many more layouts; the contest asks that the majority of the pages should not have been posted on any online forum. I don't know if a blog is a forum- but I might as well not do something stupid to get disqualified.
Hope you all had a good weekend remembering and enjoying too- as you can see- my thoughts were of Teagan and that's always a good thing for me.
You should be able to click on the pictures to enlarge them, but I still don't think the journaling is "readable". So here it is typed out for all to read:
"Coke floats & Pinky Promises"
One month after I took this picture, I curled my littlest finger around Teagan's and promised to love her forever. [~for the very last time~]
This picture is now among my treasures. I wouldn't trade the moment depicted in my life here- for anything.
It taught me that it's okay to bend the rules sometimes. It taught me to savor and enjoy every little moment...because you never know when it may be the last.
I find it interesting that life's biggest lessons can be learned in the simplest things. Like Coke floats and pinky promises. (Under the picture says, "Teagan and Daddy enjoying a Coke float at 11:00 pm~ just a month before she died.)
The next page is titled, "because of you" and reads:
because of you...
I have laughed my loudest, cried my hardest and searched the deepest part of me. I have realized my weaknesses and discovered new strengths. I have shared my soul with others.
because of you...
I have learned to live in the moment and appreciate the present. I have learned to be quiet and to reflect on the past. I have gained new insights & sought new purpose in life. I have learned when to hold on and learned to let go. I have learned to embrace what I cannot see and have deepened my faith in the future.
because of you...
I am more grateful, more humble, more sensitive and more forgiving. I am more open, more joyful, more confident and more hopeful. Although you only physically touched me for four short years, your spirit still inspires me each and everyday.
Dear Teagan~
My life is enriched beyond measure...
because of you.
I don't claim to be the best scrapbooker in the world; I'm still figuring out the whole page process and trying to find out what "works" for me. I am enjoying the final product and I love seeing my first album fill up with pages. And you already know I can write and journal about anything as proof from reading this blog- so I'll never have a shortage of scrap ideas. If my pages do more than I expect (which is for me to enjoy making and looking at them), they might even inspire you too! Happy "back to your regular schedule" Tuesday.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Backyard S'mores

We didn't stray far from home this weekend, but we did get a taste of the great outdoors and enjoyed some gooey s'mores by our backyard firepit. Chip and Brock are spending the night in a new dome tent too, complete with a queen airbed and bedding (not just sleeping bags), a dvd player and wireless internet too. They've got a bathroom just inside and down the hallway, fresh hot microwave popcorn and cold beverages to enjoy while they "stay up late". That's about as rough as we all like to "rough it" around here. I know. It's just not the real thing. As far as I'm concerned it's not how far one travels to go camping- it's about the amount of dirt that gets dragged home. There's was more than enough dirt on my kids faces and clothing today that it counts as "real camping" in my book. I'm climbing into a freshly made bed (clean sheets!) after having a steamy shower. That's how I like to end my day of camping!

Friday, May 26, 2006

My week in pictures-

It's Friday and we've had a busy week as ususal. Thought I'd post some pictures of the kids and Chip as they appeared at different times throughout this week. Nothing extraordinary or earth shattering. But I've learned from experience that "nice & normal" is exactly the way I love my life most.
Tonight I'll be working another wedding. The weather is warm and sunny and all is well in our corner of the world. Hope you are loving an ordinary week in your own little place in this world. Have a Nitty.Gritty. enjoyable long weekend. Gotta love "Monday Holidays".

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Sipping me an 'Extra Hot Grande Coconut Latte' right now!

As if you just had to know what I was doing at this exact moment in time, huh? Well, I am, as I stated in the title, enjoying a Coconut Latte. I order mine extra hot so it not only stays hot longer- but it forces me to sip it more slowly and I find I savor it more. Might as well- at over $3.00 a pop, these lattes should be making my bed for me in the morning too. =)
One side note for all you scrap fans, I left my blog card and number with my nice barista today and she said that it's very likely I can have all the Carribbean/Coconut/Banana/Bahama-inspired paraphanelia that is hanging and displaying things all around the Starbuck's store right now. Yep. I asked her what they do with all their stuff when the gimmick is up and she said she thinks they just throw it out. So, I asked her if that's true, would they please call me and in 6 weeks or so, I would be happy to take all the leftover products off their hands.
Just thought I'd pass this on to you. Just think how cute that big poster Banana-Coconut poster would look hanging in your scrap room. And there's the adorable banner that has little stamped palm leaves and stuff strung up along the top of the coffee menu boards...I could hang that up or cut it up and use it on my pages! Go there. Look at all the stuff around the shop, and then leave them your name and number. I'm thinking I may have to start doing this in other retail shops as well. You know they are wasting a lot of good "scrap material". See? I told you I've got this scrapstuff coursing through my veins! That and Coconut Latte at the moment. Talk about a wonderful Nitty.Gritty. morning. I'm off to a good start!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The latest product marketing flavor of the month...

Have you noticed this too? I am a happy girl with this latest flavor. Coconut. I love coconut. Coconut anything. I found the special edition Coconut CoffeeMate and my son, Brock is hooked too. He drinks this stuff in his milk- you know, like chocolate milk, only this is coconut. In the morning he likes a few splashes of coffee in his milk too. We call it creamy cool milk.
The latest Starbuck's Frappacino is a Banana Coconut one topped with whipped cream and toasted coconut. I personally haven't tried this one yet- but it looks tasty. I did look up some info online and found a Grande "regular" Frappacino in this flavor has 450 calories. (That's in just 16 oz.) The Grande "light" version- no whipped cream or coconut still has 310 calories- I think the whipped cream and coconut on top is worth that extra 140 calories. Of course, you could always skip the topping and go grab yourself a small Almond Joy bar on the side. I think that's the way I'll go when I get around to this baby.
And now Huggies baby care product is on board too with this new Mango, Coconut & Aloe shampoo. I can't help but love a clean, coconut-smelling baby. Especially around my house. Remember? I've got 4 little ones that I bathe at least every other night- sometimes more often. If you stress out at bedtime, just think of me. Most of the time I've cooked dinner, cleaned up dinner, I get 4 kids in and out of the tub, brush lots of teeth, one gets a shot each evening, I try to pick up a bunch of the toys that they've scattered everywhere, and we then there's a short devotion and finally I get them tucked in. Which can last anywhere from 10 minutes to 2 and a half hours. Depending on who stays in bed, who falls asleep and who sings as loudly as possible.
Now add to that routine- scrap pages-and it's no wonder I'm worn out by the time my head hits the pillow!
Just reading what I typed here makes me realize I deserve that big new Starbuck's Frappacino loaded with all the extra toppings. Make it a Venti!

Monday, May 22, 2006

I say, "Skip the take-out and stay in."

Remember when I posted the recipe for Spaghetti Pie a week or so ago? {Scroll down about 8 entries and you'll find it sooner or later.} That's Ava helping me top it with mozzarella before popping it into the oven. The other night when my kids were eating something "kid-friendly" for dinner, I was standing with the fridge door open wondering what could jump out at me that would be tasty, healthy and easy for me to make. I was secretly hoping God would drop a Panera sandwich onto my kitchen counter from Heaven- which is part of the reason I was stalling with the fridge door open.
Then I spotted the package of Sundried Tomato Wraps. I had planned on grilling some chicken breast with Chip in a day or two and using these to make some quesadillas or something. So, I pulled out the wraps along with some deli turkey, crumbled feta cheese, a bag of spinach and baby red lettuce and some new Asian Ginger dressing. the next thing you know, it looks like I've just sat down to a casual gourmet dinner. I was feeling pretty good about my dinner creation just because I was enjoying the look of it on my plate. My kids all wanted to eat my "orange taco" too. I took the first few bites and was pleasantly surprised. Granted, I'm not going to be the "Next Food TV Network Chef", but it was really good! So good in fact, that last night I whipped them up again- for Chip and me. He was surprised at how good and easy they were too. And in case you don't know this about Chip- if he wasn't a golf pro, he would most likely be a chef. He loves cooking; gourmet-style, and the bigger the mess when he cooks, the better. I think maybe some of the creativity I am feeling in my new scrap-room is rubbing off on me in other rooms of the house too. Including (but not limited to) the kitchen. =)
Here's to enjoying making dinner again. Go on, try this one. I know you'll like it. By the way, I used T.Marzetti's Asian Ginger dressing- it's right in the salad section of our local grocery store. It comes in refidgerated jars. It's my new favorite!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

All {3} of you Scrappers~ This one's for you.

I realize that there are a few scrap-fans out there who maybe didn't even realize that I wasn't a "real" scrapper until about three weeks ago when I started creating traditional scrap layouts. This is a layout that I finished last night titled "Ordinary You". I snap so many pictures of my kids that it's actually hard to get them to look at me anymore. The top photo in this layout was taken while Bella lounged on the floor watching a video. I imagined her thinking, "Why is my mom interupting my show for a stupid picture? I'm not even doing anything!" I imagined my response back to her. I'd say, "Why would I want to forget even the most ordinary moment with you? I wouldn't."
That's the inspiration behind this layout. Using everyday snapshots of Bella to tell her how special she really is in my life. The black and white photo in the corner reads, "Ordinary? You? Never." The ledger paper journaling adds, "That's why I take so many seemingly, unimportant pictures of you, Bella. To me there is no such thing as ordinary or unimportant when you are concerned. You make my life extraordinary just by being you- no matter the moment."
Now if I keep scrapping and growing this hobby of mine, in the future, some of you will be able to tell you friends, "I knew her way back when she posted her first layout online." Your friends will say, "No way! You've been following this Nitty.Gritty. thing that long?!"
Okay, since I know a little bit how crazy some of you are about "I just have to know this- or I have to find out where she got that- or how did you do that?"'s a few technical details.
First, that awesome, funky flowered paper is Junkitz Shabby Chic multi-flowers. I love it! And the sad part is I only bought one sheet of it at the time. I must get me some more of that! Next, the title is alpha-chipboard letters from JoAnn Etc. I got 'em on clearance so they probably don't carry them anymore. I distressed them and used my corner rounder punch on them too. I'm telling you guys, I'm REALLY scrapping! Although I used a nail file from my bathroom to rough these letters up because I'm all about using what I have around the house and making it work for scrapbooking.
Next, the polka dot frame was made my yours truly. Can't buy it. Sorry. I used the chipboard from a puzzle my girls ripped up this week. I was practically happy that they ruined their puzzle because I got a free scrap out of the deal! I [freehand] cut it out with an exacto knife and glued some Colorbok blue dot paper to it and then used that old emory board on it and Voila! Cutie, patootie frame! You can make one too! Tied a bunch of miscellaneous ribbons on the side and smiled to myself with each knot I tied. Man- if I had only known how much fun this was years ago!!!!
Now I'm getting a little excited myself. If you are reading this and you're not a scrapper, I cannot explain to you how this stuff causes an adrenaline rush- just trust me- it does. Somehow. Most of the other little goodies are Heidi Swapp products. You do know who SHE is, don't you? For the one person who answered, "No", go here: and see for yourself. I used her photo corner, pink polkadot tape and tissue flower and puffy dot center. The font on the small photo is Elsie's CK Bohemian font. I think that about does it.
And if you didn't take my advice yesterday, you're missing out. NittyGrittysNanny posted some real "dirt" about me. So, if you just can't get enough Nitty.Gritty. go there now. She's a trooper for putting up with me and my family- I can't say enough about her! I think I better start sketching a layout for her soon. Goodness knows she deserves a 12x12 page of her own. =)

Friday, May 19, 2006

"Free Time"

In between making krispy treats and costumes for end-of-the-year school programs, and cleaning up puke and doing my usual loads of daily laundry, meal prep and grooming kids, you will find me here- immersed in the latest obsession of my life. Scrapbooking. I have found my new love.
In fact, it practically consumes my whole being- body, mind and spirit. If you don't believe me, just ask my nanny, Rachael. Better yet, stop over at her blog and ask her any question you want answered objectively about real life Nitty.Gritty. She hasn't updated in awhile and maybe all of you leaving comments asking about me would be just what she needs to get back into the game. She's gonna love me for this, I just know it!
By the way, I find it flattering that she would do a spin-off blog from me. I've considered doing my own, like
Anyway, back to me =), I've gotten lots of emails and comments about my thoughts and feelings the past few posts and just want everybody out there to be perfectly clear that I have no hard feelings or sad thoughts on what transpired here. My biggest fear is that people misunderstand me or take what I am writing the wrong way. I don't expect everyone to agree with my thoughts and opinions all the time. In fact one of the cool things about blogging is getting to read and think about other people's viewpoints. I appreciate that you all want me to stick around and keep it real, and that is what I fully intend. Remember? This blog isn't actually for anybody, except me...sometimes I just happen to touch on issues or experiences that you can totally or totally not, relate to.
As you can see, I am loving my new-found hobby, I am stretching myself and thinking things through and trying to learn how to use stuff around the house to pull pages together. If you haven't a clue what scrapbooking is all about, stick around here, because I am exploring this whole concept in a way I never looked at it before. For me it's not about cutesy pictures and sweet sayings to tie in with them- but instead, it's very similar to what you see and read here. Yep. I call it, {what else?} Nitty.Gritty. Scrapbooking and for me it means capturing my real-life thoughts and pictures on paper with cool embellishments and funky colors and stuff. It's about watching my own stories unfold in front of me. It's about remembering the quirky details or silly dreams I have in life at this very moment. It's about not wanting to forget the details- even if they're not all pretty and perfect. In fact, those are the moments and pictures that I find most scrapworthy.
Oh yeah. This hobby is gonna be my downfall, I just know it. It's gonna take me away from being the blogging madwoman I am, to something more intense. Remember when I asked you to go ask my nanny about me and scrapbooking? I wasn't kidding. I have scrap-dreams at night, I see page layout ideas while I'm reading CD covers, I'm saving cans of soda because I like the logos and colors and even imagining what kind of embellishments I could make that look like the little designs on my kids t-shirts. I thought being a fontaholic and making "font pancakes" was obsessive. Just you all wait! Okay. I'll have to admit it- a little bit of this blog is about YOU!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Nitty.Gritty. stuff revisited

These pictures here have all been posted at various times in my archives. I pulled them out because I like them and because I've had enough "controversy" within this blog the past couple of days. Besides the comments I had some thoughtful emails in my inbox too. (Feel free to send me mail- anytime...remember? I LOVE mail. =)
It's not that I am running from other people's views. I just want to be careful in the things I do say here. And so, I'm taking a day or two to chew on all the comments I have had presented to me before I would think about adding or taking away from anything I've already written here. I love good debates (I have a degree in communication, remember? Debate was one of the topics I studied in college- good stuff.)
What you get today is a little bit of my Nitty.Gritty. fluff- the stuff that I like or am good at. Good at lip balm? Actually, I'm good at using it and enjoying it's cute packaging and taking pictures of stuff that doesn't move around while I'm trying to get the shot, makes me happy. That dessert? It's Raspberry Shortbread Tart from the second issue of Rachel Ray's Everyday food magazine. I've made it a couple of times. I posted the recipe somewhere here- I think back in February or March. It's tastes as good as it looks. And the t-shirt? I still haven't made this design. I know I should check out CafePress- I've heard that from more than one of you. I was thinking the last day or two, "maybe I do blog too much". I say what's on my heart and mind without thinking twice. Maybe I should just stick to tshirts and recipes and things that don't move. There's a lot less emotion involved. Hmmm. I guess I'm gonna think about all this a bit. Feel free to send me your thoughts too.
They help me to sort out mine!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

My response to you...

After reading my post from yesterday, an anonymous person left a comment to which I would like to respond to today.
Here is the comment left for me:
Unfortunately for too many, having a number one fan has not so much to do with the life they are living as with the cards they've been dealt where people in their life are concerned. I know people who have every right and reason to expect Mom or Dad to be their Number One Fan, and yet, one or both is totally disinterested in their lives. But I'm glad your mom appreciates you. You are lucky.
Here is what I have to say in response:
Yes, I AM lucky. And I realize that and I am thankful for the relationship I have with both of my parents. What makes me sad is for people who get hung up in life or turn bitter towards others or use their poor relationship with their parents (or any other person who lets them down) as an excuse in life. As an excuse for anything. I totally agree that it's not fair that some people grow up with all the love and support in the world. I agree that it's not fair that some people deserve love and care and never get it- no matter how hard they try. I agree with that- but that doesn't give someone the right to be angry, or bitter or violent or selfish or greedy or hurtful or pitiful, or a lot of other less-than-wonderful qualities out there one can choose to be.
I say choose- because I fully believe who we are comes from within. While we can be affected by our circumstances, we ultimately choose how to respond to our events and surroundings. For me, I cannot begin to imagine who I would be without knowing God as my personal savior. He is the One who has allowed me to become who I am. He alone, I believe, is the one who can satisfy all the longings of our hearts. He is the only being I know of who will never let you down or disappoint or turn a deaf ear to. He alone is able to change all the past experiences you have into teachable moments, He can use your pain and disappointments for your good and personal growth.
I admit, I was lucky when I was born into the family I was raised in; I had no part in choosing my surrounding. But I have made choices all along the path of my life. I am believe that when life hands us brokeness and pain and troubles, that those are opportunities for us to grow as individuals. For me, again, I couldn't imagine getting through some of the events in my life without having the relationship and belief that I do, in God. He is the one I turn to for peace when my life is spinning, for comfort when my soul is hurting, for strength when my heart is breaking, for reassurance when I am doubting, for joy when I am empty, for hope when I can't see any, for grace when I am undeserving. He is my all in all. Through nothing I did on my own; I believe He has sought me. I believe I have been blessed in this life because of His mecry. I believe I wouldn't be where I am in life today without all He has given me. I guess I believe I am more than lucky in this life- I am divinely blessed.
And the greatest thought for me isn't even to glow at the thought of how fortunate I am. No. The greatest thought for me is knowing that all I have received and been blessed with in life is available, not just to me, but for every single person out there. That means YOU! I truly believe that anyone who seeks God will find Him and all the blessings that He gives- if they seek Him with an open heart. I believe God can be found in the saddest home, in the most dysfubctional relationships, in the most evil environment, in the most depressed society. It has nothing to do with the cards we've been dealt in life- but everything to do with how each individual chooses to play them.
Thanks, Anonymous, for the opportunity for me to share in a more personal way, why it is I am the person that I am. It's not because I had parents that loved me and accepted me- although I believe I was fortunate for that. It has to do with God, who lives in me and keeps working in me and helping me become the person He has created me to be. I don't live up to His expectations all the time, and I find new areas in my life that need to be worked on all the time. But I know He is real and I am humbled every day that He cares enough about me to want me to become more like Him. I don't deserve the goodness He allows me, but I accept it and try to use it to bless others around me. It's the least I can do for Him.

Monday, May 15, 2006

To my Number One Fan~

I got a phonecall from my Number One Fan the other night. How great is that?! I answered the phone and heard, "Hi Jody. I just got done reading your lastest blog post and had to call and tell you that I'm your biggest fan."
It was my mom.
It made my day. Actually it's still making my day when I stop and think about it- so I guess it's making my week.
How about you? Do you have a number one fan? Someone that loves and supports you and gets excited about you when you simply share your thoughts, ideas, concerns and dreams? Who would miss you most in life if something unexpected happened and you were gone? Would you leave a hole in the lives of other people? Would there be a void that just made others realize that they had something really great- but didn't realize how great, until now?
I hope you are living that kind of life. One where you are adding something really wonderful to the lives of people around you. One where, even though you may have moments in which you aren't at the top of your game, people still want you on their team. They want to be a part of your life. They miss you when you aren't around. They look forward to the next time you're all together. I hope you are living a life that is consistently making you and/or those around you better people.
I am proud of the fact that my Mom will admit to being my biggest fan. We've not always seen things on the same page. Sometimes we've been each other's biggest critic. Oh yeah. I've not always earned her respect and adoration. So, to hear her say that she loves who I have become in life is a really wonderful compliment, and it's humbling too. I have to admit one tiny thing though; I've had some really great role models (yes, Dad...I typed models-plural- meaning you too). I've learned from the best.
I hope in writing all of this that I haven't disappointed some of you other great people out there in Nitty.Gritty. land. I suppose I could make more than one "Nitty.Gritty's. Biggest Fan" t-shirt and let you all think you're the one. Or I could hold a mini-online competition. But I think in the end there would be no doubt. My mom would win. Happy Mother's Day [yesterday]. I've been one to celebrate this day for more than 24 hours. As any mom out there knows, we certainly don't need an excuse or explanation to justify celebrating motherhood for more than a day. We've earned the right to stretch this holiday into a weeklong celebration, wouldn't you all agree?!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Life's simple goodness.

I uploaded these pictures in a more orderly fashion, but blogger just randomly posts them here. Anyway, this is just a fun post of some of the simple, good things that I have been fortunate to be a part of during the past 24 hours. (Lucky me! This isn't even all the pictures; I could have shown you more.)
As you see here, we indulged in some hot-n-now Krispy Kremes. I totally ignore all calories or fat grams involoved with these glazed and creme filled babies, and just enjoy every ounce of sweet sensation! Yum-o. My kids woke up to a couple of dozen original and assorted donuts. To top it off, they each had a paper hat to wear- the mood was one of delight. It was almost "Christmas morningish". And we wonder where we get the whole food/emotions connection in life. Hello?! Fattening, sugary-glazed donuts make people happy. It's a simple fact of life. I'm all for eating food to make one happy as long as it's done in moderation.
Another picture here is of Chip and me. We went out on a date last night and fell in "like" with one another all over again. =) Really. I used to tell Chip when we were dating that I was in "like" rather than love with him. I think it more accurately expressed my feelings. I was not one of those kind of girls to scribble love, love love all over my notebooks as a kid. Back to last night, Chip opened the door for me when I "let" him, and that kind of stuff. He had a surprise for me when we hopped in our Benz. He pressed play on the CD player and pulled out the new album released by Nick Lachey. I watched bits and pieces of Nick talking about the making of this CD and all the struggles he has had in life and how all the songs express his feelings of losing Jessica and so on and so on. I was feeling so badly for him and the hurt that appeared so real on camera. I thought his lyrics were right on the money. So last night, I got the CD- which meant Chip was thinking of me when I wasn't even with him at some point during the past few days. That is always a sweet thought. My hubby- being thoughtful! Oh yeah...I was definitely falling back in like with him.
He let me "be myself " out in public with him at my side. I was in rare form. I am still enjoying the "high" from getting a new CD (sidenote here: I NEVER buy music CD- so that makes it all the more indulgent for Chip and me!), enjoying dinner out with my hubby, eating Krispy Kremes right off the conveyor belt, and taking pictures of my kids being happy eating their donuts.
Life is all about the simple goodness. Look around and enjoy it in your own little world!

Friday, May 12, 2006


What is it about toes that everybody seems to love these days? Especially baby toes. They can bring women to tears. I know this for a fact because it happened at the scrap event I attended last month. Grown women, crying at images of baby toes, while listening to Eva Cassidy's version of the song, "Time After Time". Maybe it was the simple fact that the toes had been photographed by the gifted, Tara Whitney. Maybe. But I think it has more to do with the idea of growth and change and wanting to hang onto the time that we adults realize flies by all too quickly. Maybe toes remind us of our own childhood and how we ran barefoot, carefree, as kids.
I've taken some pictures of toes on occasion. The toes pictured here are of my 3 and a half year old, Isabella. She is full of life and energy. She has begged to go to school like her grown-up brother and sister all school year. She has a sense of adventure. She loves to climb on the back of the couch and play loudly and run and jump and dance. She loves to run ahead of me in parking lots to get to wherever we are going first. She loves to push the limits and rules as far as she can sometimes.
But in this picture, she took one step onto the rock I wanted to snap a picture of her sitting on, and then she stepped back. It happened about four times. She wouldn't put both feet on the rock. She thought there might be a bug. Or it might be too scary. She held back.
I took the picture of her feet, not quite willing to take the next step. For me this picture is more than just toes. It is a picture of my Bella still being a little girl. As much as she wants to grow up and explore the world as soon as she can, she still has a lot of growing up to do. She still wants me to be there and tell her that everything is gonna be okay. To me this picture snapped the reality of just how innocent Isabella still is. Sure, she can get herself into trouble. Sure she has days she does things that need correcting. She has moments that frustrate me and test my mothering abilities. But I recognize that she is learning and growing and still has a lot of things to figure out. She has a whole lifetime ahead of her. Her destiny has yet to be determined. It starts with small steps, with me at her side.
Maybe that's why toes can bring people to tears.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

My scrap event~ Part Deux

This is a Nitty.Gritty. personal blog entry. If you think you want to get into my head for a few paragraphs- read on. I make no claims that what I am thinking will translate into something interesting, usable, profound or enlightening in your own life. This is all for me. Mainly because I need to hear this and I'm not getting it from anyone else out there- so this is it. Nitty.Gritty. self talk.
I keep looking at the pictures I have from my recent scrap event weekend where I spent a few days with mainly women who are seeking to get their memories and pictures down on pages and put them in a scrapbook. I find it intriguing and love the mediums- cool paper products, paint, chipboard shapes, tiny jewels and ribbons all over. I love that kind of stuff. I was lovin' every bit of it- including meeting people in person that I feel I have gotten to know in some regards just by reading their blogs the past several months.
There's "Knitandpurlgirl" that hung with me from California. I probably wouldn't have been at this event if it hadn't been for her. We had a blast together, laughing and learning and enjoying adult conversation. There was Kelli Crowe- a tiny, fun-loving kind of "girl" who has a hubby and three boys and makes funky scrapbooking pages look easy and effortless. She was sweet. Then there were the class instructors.
I overdid it with a few of them, I've been told. But it all seemed to happen so naturally. I mean, I'm not the kind of person to want to hang out with someone for the sake of being "seen" or to get all starry-eyed. I bumped into Cathy Zielske, [] first thing in the morning on day one and when I asked about getting a picture with her I simply asked for more than just a cute smile together. I asked if we could somehow make it seem like we were actually good friends hooking up after a long while without seeing each other. I was just being my playful self and it just so happens that when I'm in my element, I end up acting like a junior higher having a really good time- thus the candid shots of me and CZ. She was more than a good sport with me. She acted like she was a junior higher and pretended to have as much fun as I did. Sure, I admire her. Sure, I wish I still lived in MN so I could do lunch with her every so often. I think she's a great person in person and that's why it was fun hanging out with her. Not because she has such great talent and abilities and a couple of books on the market. That's all just secondary stuff.
Then there was Elsie and Carrie and Heidi. But I can't write about everyone in one post now, can I?!
What am I actually trying to tell myself? I'm not 100% sure. I do know that I've hardly been happier than I was at this event. Okay- I didn't have any responsibilities for kids or husband- so that may be part of it. I mean, I actually spent more than 10 minutes on self-care each day. That means I got a hot shower with nobody yelling in the background or me hurrying so I could get some Eggo waffles in the toaster oven for breakfast. I had time for my own thoughts, journaling, praying and actually being totally quiet and listening to my own mind "speak". I never have that kind of time. That alone was worth the price of my trip.
But now that I am home and back into the life routine we live around here, I am trying to find ways to get a part of that experience back. I don't want it to totally fizzle out. I want to hang on to the way I was feeling- the fact that I felt like I have something to contribute to the world I live in, besides just cooking and cleaning. I am reminding myself that "my story" is valuable- if only to me and those closest to me, that I have abilities and creativity and a unique perspective and gifts and talents in there somewhere too.
I owe it to myself to write it down (and maybe even go so far as to "scrap" about me) and recognize the worth in myself.
It wasn't so very long ago that I remember myself very differently. I remember being the one that never went out on dates. The girl who had a lot of fun, but didn't have that many close friends. The girl who stuffed her feelings and pushed people away. The kind of person who got lots of A's on stuff in school without trying- but never felt that good at anything. The girl who always felt like she was never gonna measure up to anybody quite the way she wanted to- so sometimes she just didn't try her best. The girl who compared herself to others more than she should have. The girl who never really believed how great she was because she was so busy always questioning who she wanted to become.
I know now. That girl sure doesn't seem like Nitty.Gritty. girl we all know and love today, does it?! I am realizing now, after many years of disbelief and poor self-image that this girl is more than enough.
I am telling it to myself today, straight up. In front of everybody- because it means I believe it enough to "say it" in front of others. I guess there's that part of me that wants to turn and go back. It's easy being average and not trying your best or pushing yourself to become better. But at the core of me, I know I am worth more than that. It's taken a husband showing me years of love and gushing about me a lot in the beginning. It's taken lots of kids and their undying love to me- even when I'm not perfect, for the reality of who I am, to sink in a bit deeper. It's taken the belief and love of my parents and family for me to accept that they aren't just telling me things to be nice.
It's taken the loss of a daughter- one who meant the world to me and still does every minute my thoughts bring her back to mind- to make me accept the value of an individual. It's taken a weekend of surrounding myself with other women who love telling stories about their families and themselves, for me to see that we all are worth celebrating. For no big reasons at all.
Simply because we are here. We matter.
I've always known that I matter to God. I think I am finally starting to realize just how much I do and all the reasons why. And I don't want to forget this. Ever. {Thanks, Nitty.Gritty.Me}

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


I had a couple of kids in the tub and two more to go when I realized tonight that most of what I do isn't all that difficult. What is tough is the ongoing maintenance involoved in keeping a big house and four kids and a husband clean, fed, groomed, and entertained- in a fairly educational manner...sometimes all of these simultaneously! I guess it can be difficult- but for me it's more of a mental challenge than a physical one most of the time.
The biggest challenge is to not think of each day in terms of a whole, but instead, I have to constantly break tasks and routines down into their separate little jobs and time slots. But the trick is to not break it down too much or I find myself overwhelmed even more. There's a fine line here- that's why it's a mental challenge for me to be the mom in my house. Like clippping nails, for example. Sounds simple when I say I clip the kids nails. But if you take that one step further it actually means I am responsible for keeping my own nails clipped (10 fingers/10 toes) and that of four kids (40 fingers/40 toes). If you're good at math that adds up too 100 nails!
So, I keep life in perspective the best I can. I encourage nail-biting and that helps keep me on top of some of my weekly chores. (I'm just kidding!)
It must be the fact that Mother's Day is not far off. I'm still amazed and humbled to be the mom of so many great, busy little kids. They could do me in on most normal days. Instead, I pray every morning before I roll out of bed and so far I'm still sane and fairly content most of the time. I may not be up for any Mother-of-the-Year awards, but I have to admit I'm pretty good at what I do. Just go ask my kids!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Playing the game...

Another round of blog tag- which just means you are about to learn some unimportant random facts about Nitty.Gritty. me at this moment in time. Ready? Here goes...
List 5 things in your fridge:
1. Hazlenut International Creamer & Southern Butter Pecan too- (the big size!)
2. Mediterranean Spaghetti (because I brought a pan over to my neighbors who just had a baby- Gabe- on Saturday. Congrats, Chad & Angie!) I'll probably have to post that recipe soon too, huh? It's from Cooking Light Magazine- love that one!
3. Zucchini- for baking bread in the next day or two
4. 3 gallons of milk (we go through a LOT of milk at my house each week)
5. Diet Coke with Lime

List 5 things in your purse:
1. Sony Visa Card...we pay for everything with this (well, almost everything)'s how I got my last two cameras "free"- buy stuff, earn points, get free stuff! I love my camera, by the way
2. Nitty.Gritty. blog cards
3. Lime Tic-Tacs (Can you figure out that I like lime? Both the flavor and the color)
4. Bath & Body Foam Hand Sanitizer- Hubby thinks I'm a "germ-a-phobe"
5. Pouty Pink Lip gloss

List 5 things in your closet:
I have a good-sized walk-in closet (I actually vacuum it once a week), which houses more than clothes...
1. Ironing board & iron that hubby uses every morning
2. Lots of scrapbook supplies- which hopefully will start getting used for making actual scrapbook pages
3. Lots of Gap t-shirts- I really need to start wearing other brands of clothing- I think I'm secretly hanging on to the dream of going out with the "really cute guy that worked at the Gap when I was in highschool named Jay" [sorry Chip- now everybody knows!]
4. diapers/pull-ups/wipes
5. My wedding dress that needs a good cleaning and proper storage

List 5 things in your car:
1. 3 car seats- It's a major event getting everybody in and out of my vehicle!
2. A "Teagan" mix CD- songs she loved or remind me of her...including "With Hope" by Steven Curtis Chapman and a couple of Tony Bennett songs from his album "The Playground"
3. Miscellaneous Happy Meal toys
4. A handicap tag for my rear-view mirror to use when Wyndham is with us- it was a while before we got one- it's still hard for me to stick it up because I feel like I'm announcing to the world that I've got problems- and that's hard to admit when you think you're doing pretty good with what you've been dealt in life. And I'm sorry for all the times I've remarked that certain handicap users don't look like they have any "problems". Trust me. I'd much rather not have to use the parking space. Hopefully it's something we'll be able to turn back it before the expiration date of 2010!
5. More foaming hand sanitizer. Okay. Maybe Chip is right a little bit about my germaphobia, but hey, I've got lots of kids and sticky hands, so I do what I have to do for my own peace of mind.
Pretty exciting stuff, I'll admit. And if you really want to be "tagged" and you haven't been it yet, consider yourself tagged. And now I'm no longer the "IT" girl. That was fun!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

What's-for-Supper-Spaghetti Pie

All you frazzled people out there who need a quick dinner idea- here it is- and just because I always loved bonus points when I was in school- I'm giving myself bonus points that this recipe is healthy AND my kids eat it up. I got my original recipe from the Feb. 2001 issue of Midwest Living. I'm fairly certain you can make this recipe even if you live on either coast...or in Australia- like my cute blog friend, "Glo-girl". =)
Here goes:
Cook 6 oz. of spaghetti noodles according to package directions. (I always cook more noodles- but that's just me.) Cook 1/2 pound of ground beef in a skillet until browned, drain fat. (Yep, I cook more beef too.) Next, drain spaghetti noodles and return them to warm saucepan-toss spaghetti with 2 Tbsp. of butter or margarine. Stir in 1/3 cup of grated parmesan cheese and 2 beaten eggs. Lightly spray a 9-inch pie pan with cooking spray and press the spaghetti mixture into pan and up the sides to form a "crust". Spread over noodles 1 cup of cottage cheese (I use ricotta most of the time- and yeah, I use more than a cup too.) Add 1 1/4 cups of spaghetti sauce to browned meat- mix well and then spoon over the top of cottage cheese. Sprikle with 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese. Bake in 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, or until it's bubbly. Makes 6 servings.
There you go. Dinner figured out for one night this week! Don't you just love blogging!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

I'm "IT".

When I typed the title, I realized for this brief moment in my life I am the "IT Girl". No worry- I won't let that go to my head. In fact, I most often feel sorry for people who are being splashed all over the entertainment headlines and who get followed and mobbed by people and cameras and all the media hounds out there. I feel sorry for people who get so "big" that they don't know who their real friends are anymore, or who can't go out for a simple meal without being interrupted by fans. I feel sorry for people, like Nick and Jessica, who had to throw away their marriage because life was moving too fast and pulling them in different directions and their careers were too demanding and probably their heads were always spinning and suddenly they didn't think they could be or should be married to one another because it was all stress and no fun- and...
Don't they know that marriage and life can be stressful even without half that stuff in their lives? Couldn't they have stopped long enough and had a few quiet moments together to remind them that they really want to be together and they would rather throw away some of the other "things" in their lives- in order to focus on what really matters in this life?
Okay. So I'm not a marriage counselor and I admit I don't have the slightest idea what it was that made them end this relationship- but I am willing to bet that a big part of it was the lifestyle they were living and that makes me sad. That people will put things- jobs, money, their own wants and needs, lots of things- ahead of their spouse, and call it quits. It makes me sad that they and a lot of other people fall victim to the belief that someone else in the world is going to solve their problems, make them happy or simply do it better.
Here's a true statement that I think a lot of people {sometimes even me} forget. Sooner or later everybody in this world will let somebody down. Everybody has faults and problems, habits or disease, struggles and issues...nobody is perfect. It's okay to have expectations and dreams and wishes and desires- but to think that they will all be fulfilled perfectly is unrealistic. It's not gonna happen. Ever.
I came here to list some things in my fridge and closet and purse- instead I'm typing run-on sentences about celebrities and marriage and stuff. I have no idea how that happens- but it just did. Maybe one of you out there needed to hear my opinion on this matter. I don't claim to be the perfect wife (unless you're talking to all my hubby's friends- they LOVE me!) nor do I claim to have a perfect marriage. It's definitely important to me and therefore I WORK at it- but it doesn't just happen. Somedays I don't feel lovely or feel like loving. Somedays I wonder how Chip and I ever got hooked up in the first place- we can have totally different ideas when it comes to even the smallest things. But that's what marriage and relationships are all about. For me I think it is so cool to look back and see how I've grown and changed in the past 10 years. I am not the person I was when Chip and I met- and yet I am happy with who I am becoming. I know I will continue to grow and change and mature- and that my experiences and attitude and other influences affect that growth. I wouldn't trade Chip for the world- even on the challenging days. Or should I say especially on the challenging days- for I believe that is when most of my growth occurs.
I guess I went totally off the subject for today. That's okay because it means I will be back to play tag another day. And I'll get to be the "IT" girl a second time. A self-proclaimed "It" girl. Oh yeah. I'm sure that Chip is gonna LOVE calling me that!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

What was I thinking?

Okay. You all win. And no, I don't have 4 scrap pages to post here for you all to look at. I'm thinking there must have been an imposter Nitty.Gritty. Jody who left yesterday's post- it didn't sound like me- I never put deadlines on myself if I don't have to! It would just make me procrastinate and we all know I don't need that in my life.
How kind of more than 20 of you to leave me such nice comments and threats too! I expected to finally see some notes from my family and close friends who read this {which is one of the main reasons I got into this whole thing in the first place- to keep them updated on my monotonous homelife}, and instead all you other wonderful, interesting people encouraged me instead. In addition, one of you tagged me via email and that was just a sneaky trick to get me to come back here and blog. I guess it worked- and I will probably play the tag game in another day or two. I'm sure you're all just dying to find out what kind of food I have in my fridge midweek!
I do have some funny quotes and happenings from my kids this week- for my family when they do come by and read this. First, Brock lost his one of his top front teeth yesterday. He was hoping for $22 dollars from the tooth fairy and instead got only $5. I still thinkit's cool to know that $5 bucks is all I have to pay to sustain the innocence and dreams of my oldest child in my house. That was probably the best five dollars I've spent since buying scrap embellishments in Alabama!
Next, instead of saying "she's scared" or "come and lay by me" or any other bedtime excuse kids come up with, Isabella's latest line is, "I can't do this." It's so funny but at the same time I am asking Chip, "What does she mean 'I can't do this'?...what kid can't go to sleep?" That's my Bella. Then there's my ever-progressing, Wyndham. She's been doing so great at rehab and in preschool. Today when I went to pick her up at school- with Bella and Ava in tow as well, she took off "running" the other direction and laughing the whole way. She was halfway down one hallway, Ava was dripping at a drinking fountain, and Bella was laying in the middle of the rotunda trying to make snowangels on the carpet. I know all the other parents are thinking I am the most incapable person in the whole school. Oh well- somebody has to be that person! So, I managed to get Wyndham to come back and she followed me over to Bella, Ava came running- trying to whiz past me and the next thing I know, all three of my girls are in the middle of the rotunda making imaginary snowangels on the floor. If only I had brought my camera- it would have been a perfect Kodak moment. Not of the girls on the floor- but of the look on my face. The one where I'm so glad that the VH-1 Pop-up video text bubble doesn't actually hang above my head sharing my thoughts with the world. Incidentally, I do that all the time. I imagine what other people are thinking or saying in certain situations. Fun. Good fun. If you don't already do this, try it sometime. It will make you laugh- especially at McDonald's drive-thru. Or in line at the grocery store. Or even at a gas station when you see someone get into their car wearing skin-tight hot pink stretchy pants, when it shouldn't even be legal for this person to own stretch pants.
I'm sorry. Looks like the real me is back. I just wanted to make sure. So, thanks for all those comments. I made spaghetti pie for dinner tonight and the kids actually all ate fairly well. So, if you want me to post a picture and recipe- like more than 2 of you, let me know and I'll get right on that. And before I go, just wanted to add that it gives me great pleasure to make so many of you happy inside knowing that I'm not going away anytime soon. It was nice almost being missed by so many of you. =)

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Miscellaneous thoughts...

I'm still here, in case you were wondering. Been busier around my house because my friend and nanny is in GA and so there is more for me to do around my house! It's not as fun here without Rachael- really- for me or the kids. Golf season is in full swing, which means Daddy is gone longer hours at the course and we miss him too.
Some days I imagine the future in which I won't have any sippy cups lying around the house or diapers to change. Which, by the way, don't you ever wonder why God didn't do that whole thing alittle differently? I mean, really. It would have been just as easy to make diapers smell good (I'm thinking like cinnamon or vanilla or even orange zest-scented) as it was to make them smell horrible. Did he think we moms would just let our kids run around in dirty diapers just because they smell so good? I'm not sure what the real reason, but I plan on asking Him about that when I get to Heaven someday.
Also, been thinking more and more about making scrapbook pages. Some of the stuff I saw and heard at my scrap event is kind of sinking in a little bit- besides I've got some awesome products to use, so if you don't hear from me for a few days it because I'm challneging myself. I think I may put my blogging on hold until I scrap at least 4 pages. I want to see if I can do the pages, but I also want to see if the pressure of not being able to blog gets me more motivated to do pages.
So, that's what I'll be up to for however long it takes. I've been a little down in the blog dumps too- wondering if it really matters in my life if I keep blogging or not. Maybe some of you have had the same thoughts. I do this for me, but I'm wondering if it's a good use of my time or not. If you have any inspiration or encouragment for me now would be the time to share. I promise I read all my comments and emails too. I feel like it's a big part of the deal. If I blog, I owe your thoughts my attention. So, if you want me to read your stuff or check out your site, drop me a note and/or link. Hope to see you around!