Friday, March 26, 2010


Introducing Adoby...

or as mySamuelson nicknamed him as a toddler, Dude...

Dude will be 11 this July.  During my 4th year in college at Marshall University, I picked him out of a litter of pups listed as "free" in the newspaper.

Do the math and you'll discover that he's been my friend, my companion before even Sugar entered the picture.

We've been through alot together in the past 11 years: good, bad & ugly.  Not the least being he was the first to greet us as we brought each of our three children home when they were born.

Dude tested heartworm + this morning.
To quote Forrest Gump, "That's all I have to say about that."
(For now.)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tutorial: Overhauling a down-on-its-luck dresser

I realize now I have been in metamorphosis.  A metamorphosis that my Sugar couldn't be happier about! 
 He would say, "It's been a long time coming."  I do admit to a few screams and kicks along the way.  However, I can say, and with just a tad of resignation, that I have turned from my prodigal, spend thrift ways and morphed FRUGAL.

Now don't get me wrong.  I've never been one to spend excessively.  Now that I think about it, have actually never had the opportunity.  In college I lived financial aid/loan check to financial aid/loan check.  Combining incomes when marrying allowed for a bit of breathing room.  But along came the children close on the heels of the "I do's" and any self-respecting parent would agree, the rest is history!  The money that is! :)

Since Punk's birth on September 9, 2008, she has shared our bedroom.  This was decided on for two reasons: 1) We have a three bedroom house and didn't want to throw an infant in on Miss Gracie whose middle-of-the-night feedings would surely interrupt her beauty sleep.  2) Last child we plan on having...  Enough said??? ;)  So Sugar set her crib up in an empty corner (decorating seems to be a continual work-in-progress for me!) while I put her clothes in baskets to stash away under the crib: easy to pull out when needed.  As for the headbands, wipes, baby lotion, etc., we attached an "organizer" to the side of the crib that corralled it all and satisfied the ocd in me. ;)

 I do realize it's not the most attractive set-up.  Especially when comparing to mySamuelson and Miss Gracie's elaborately decorated rooms.  However, as I've repeated many times since Punk graced our lives, and what I consider my new mantra, "That 3rd child, blessing though she is, has changed my entire life!"  Unbelievable for those who knew me pre-Punk days, but have arrived at a place where I'm o.k. with "not perfect", "a little disorganized" and "out-of-place".  "O.k" up to a point that is!    

The inevitable has now happened and Punk is exercising her developing, large gross motor skills in the attempt to escape!  It will not be long before the glorious crib days are over and we're pulling out Miss Gracie's old toddler bed; Have to mention here that it's DARLING!  It has a canopy that hangs over the four posts...  But I digress. :)

O.k., o.k.  On with the tutorial! 

Taking into consideration the lengthy intro above (my alter ego is a storyteller), I found myself (well, actually, Punkl has) in dire need of a dresser.  Miss Gracie's room is average size, about 10x11.  However, besides her double bed, long, squat dresser, a rocking chair, nightstand, and of course bookshelf (certifiable bookworm here!), I have to fit in a toddler bed and another dresser!  Another long and squat wouldn't fit with the little space I had left to work with.  It would have to be an upright: tall and thin.  Checked with a local furniture store (Haverty's); Good quality furniture, but not high-end.   

$850.00 for a large, upright dresser!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! embellishments, no inlaid gold or marble.  Just a white, unadorned, simple but graceful dresser.

The newly-adopted frugal instict kicked in and the wheels began to turn.  I knew most consignment stores carried dressers.  And anyone who consigns knows it's all a matter of timing when looking for a particular item.  I started with a very good friend's consignment and was tickled pink to run across not one, but two upright dressers!  Since I had already decided to cut a path to save as much as possible, was no longer "cornered" into finding a white dresser.  Actually, was now looking for a good, solid dresser whose appearance mattered not, for I would need to overhaul it anyway to match Miss Gracie's dresser.

I went with the larger upright given the closet in their room is small and bursting at the seams with their Sunday dresses: leaving no room for any other clothing.


A mere $75.00!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

After unloading this solid monster myself (Sugar seems to disappear when these jobs crop up), I immediately went to work.

First, I removed the handles from the drawers.

Though classic and antiquated...

not suitable for the color scheme or dress & toile theme of the room.

However, they are tucked away for use in some future endeavor.  Waste not want not! :)

I filled the holes the handles left behind with "Wood Filler".  Very inexpensive: a few dollars at Lowes.

30 minutes later, when it had dried, I sanded it down with fine grade sand paper.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Be sure to sand it down level with the surrounding wood for a smooth, uniform finish.  Even the smallest nodule (e.g. imperfection) is visible when the paint goes on.

Then the first coat of Kilz (a paint primer) went on with Sugar nipping at its drying heels with the drill.  Have determined that most men, whether handymen or not, can't resist a power tool! 
 [Aside: Drilling the new holes for the new handles can be done before applying the Kilz.  The order in these two steps are just a matter of preference.}

Once those holes for the hardware were drilled, I added another coat of Kilz to the drawers.  However, I neglected to include the dresser itself.  Don't even ask.  I have no idea why I would do that.  Take this as a wonderful learning opportunity from my mistake mishap. ;)  Subsequently the drawers took just 3 coats of paint, while the dresser itself took 7 (I think).  I quit counting after the fourth coat at 3 a.m! 

Lastlly, the new handles went on, wrapping up the project. (You can imagine my relief that Lowes still carried the flower handles I had bought a few years earlier when I switched out the handles on Miss Gracie's dresser!) 


{BTW, that small dark spot in the lower right corner of the bottom drawer is a chip in the wood.  It was there when I bought it.}

Dresser     $75.00
          Flower Handles     $40.00                      
                                                                  (12 in all)
    Misc.     $25.00
                                                     (Wood filler, Kilz, 
                                                      paint, paint brush,  
TOTAL: $140.00

 $850.00 - $140.00 
= $710.00

I'd say it was time and money well spent...

wouldn't you???

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Black & White Wednesday: Karate Kid & a rant

7 years ago when we moved into our current home, we contracted with Charter Communications to provide our internet and cable.  I ended up making the mistake many do, and giving my email address out to the "wrong" companies.  It wasn't long before I was SLAMMED with spam.  I closed that email account and began pondering a new one.  At the time, I was pregnant with our firstborn, Samuel.  Of course, as a new mother, I wanted to incorporate that distinct honor (motherhood) the Lord had endowed me with, along with something about the blessing in my belly into my new email address. ;)  Hence, mySamuelson was born. :)  I NEVER made a connection between Pat Morita's fond nickname for Ralph Macchio in the "Karate Kid" when deciding on it.  It wasn't until mySamuelson started karate in November 2006 (at 2 years and 8 months old, I might add!) that the correlation hit me.  Scarily ironic! LOL! :)

Now, 3 1/2 years later, mySamuelson is showing signs of passing up Macchio's famous character, the Karate Kid himself!  He took to karate (well, technically 'Kempo") like a fish-to-water, a bird-to-air, pig-to-muck....  Bet you get the point. ;)  He literally hit-the-ground running, or should I say kicking and pucnhing, and hasn't stopped!  It's absolutely AMAZING to watch a person matched with his/her talent.  It doesn't happen that often, but when it does, that old adage, "Feels like time stood still" takes on a meaning so tangible.  Michael Jordan, Vincent Van Gogh, George Washington, Steven Spielberg......

This past Saturday, March 20, 2010, mySamuelson competed in his second karate tournament and won 1st place...yes, I said 1st PLACE!!!!  YIPPEEE!!! YAY!!!! WHOO HOO!!! HOTDIGITTYDOG!!!!!!! :):):)  I thank our most gracious heavenly Father for blessing mySamuelson with the physical might and brain power to excel in this sport.  A sport that has been so beneficial in helping his developing character embrace qualities such as self-respect, self-control, concentration and teamwork.  Proverbs 11:2 states, "When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom."  I am humbled anew, each and every time I witness mySamuelson's gift.  Am no Saint, however...actually QUITE far from it.  Thus, I have to carefully monitor my heart to protect it from the toxic tonic of pride.  Webster defines "pride" in a few different ways:

"1 : the quality or state of being proud: as a : inordinate self-esteem : conceit  b : a reasonable or justifiable self-respect c : delight or elation arising from some act, possession, or relationship
2 : proud or disdainful behavior or treatment : disdain

While I think it safe to say definition 1 b would be scripturally "sound", I have no doubt 1 a most definitley is not!  I happen to agree with well-respected, Christian author and psychologist, John Rosemond on this subject.  "Self-esteem" is the antithesis of all that Christ stood for and will continue to stand for, forever.  It is esteeming oneself, holding oneself in high regard.  Christ taught, while He walked His earth, to hold others above ourselves.  Specifically, in one of Paul's letters to the Romans, he says, "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves." Romans 12:10.

Where am I again???  Huh???  Oh, yeah...Lisa's Black & White Wednesday. ;)

Sorry to get off on a rant.  "Pride" and I have been in battle a long time.  Therefore, it should come as no surprise to learn I have very strong feelings on the subject!

But back to mySamuelson. :)

He geared up...

played hard...

 broke a little sweat...

and won!

We were all overjoyed...

ESPECIALLY his self-proclaimed coach, Dad...

whom I warned I would be pumping s few tranquilizers in before the next tournament! ;)

Madalyn'ism I

{Setting:  Mom walking with Miss Gracie into bathroom, attempting to wrap-up the bedtime routine.  mySamuelson standing on his head at the bathroom entryway.  Punk falling asleep.  Sugar...well, Sugar spinning his wheels in conversation with mySamuelson.}

mySamuelson: "Mom, Madalyn's boobies are red."

Mom: "What???"  (Mom turns to Miss Gracie, bends over and inspects her boobies.  Miss Gracie has naught but a diaper on: no favorite nightgown clean.)
Miss Gracie: "Look Mommy, my boobies are red." (She's pointing them out as we both closely inspect them.)

Mom: "Hey, Sugar?  Come look at this." (OCD Mom with a touch of Hypochondriasis on the precipice of full-blown panic!)

Miss Gracie: "Mom, my boobies are red that means I'm an old lady."

Mom: "What??????" (Anxiety temporarily displaced with perplexity.)

Sugar: (Finally arrives on his steed.) "Oh, that's just from that big ball they were rolling on downstairs."

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sam'ism I

{Setting:  mySamuelson & Miss Gracie playing with a ball in our Den late one afternoon.}

Mom: "Make sure you include Punk and roll the ball to her, Sam."

mySamuelson:  "But she doesn't know how to roll it back, Mom."
Mom: "Well, teach her."

mySamuelson: "I don't know how.  I'm not a parent."

* Boy is that final comment packed with a child's persepective on "parenting", or what?!?!?! ;)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Black & White Wednesday: Christening

These are two of the most important people in my life.  One christened me "mother", and the other I christened "memaw".

This picture was taken in December, 2004 in Sterling Heights, Michigan.  At the time, mySamuelson was an almost walking, all hands, rambunctious 9 month old.  Actually, it was on this very trip that he reached a handful of milestones...

...took his first step!
...introduced to his great-grandmother (aka "memaw").
...took his first airplane ride.

And for a new mother, I felt like I...

...took my first step!
...met my grandmother (aka "memaw").
...took my first plane ride.

Children are a blessing in many, many ways.  One of my favorite's is the gift of the "newbie" lens they arrive with.  It's a long-suffering mystery exactly how infants manage to not only slip the lens by the OB/GYN and nurses at birth, but how they get them on the faces of unsuspecting parents???? ;)  Regardless, there is nothing but the purest joy in rediscovering and reliving life through the eyes of a child, as an adult.   

As much as I love to talk about my son, he is not the overriding reason I chose this particular picture, for this particular "Black & White Wednesday".  It's that lovely lady whose lap he's climbing all over!  And that "lovely lady" happens to be the greatest memaw in the world.

Memaw (plural Memaws)
  1. (Southern U.S. dialectal) grandmother
Similar to Pepaw and Bempaw (grandfather). Meemaw and Memaw both mean, "grandmother", and are often used to refer to both grandmothers. Also can refer to great grandmother.

Source:  Wiktionary

 Memaw'sr right arm was amputated from just above the elbow, a scant few hours ago.  [Aside: PLEASE read my last entry, "Black Fingernails; Beautiful Hands", for a snapshot of memaw.]  For me, the overriding characteristics of her steely faith, joy in family and strength-of-mind pour through that smile so full of sunshine.  I look at this photo and can just hear that sing-song voice, a voice that rivals any songbird's, singing many a gospel tune to me as a child, then an adolescent, and now an adult.  Her week-long fight to keep her arm has left me quite an emotional wreck.  I hate to even say that, for this is not about "me".  For crying out loud, I berate myself, she's the one who's lost 3/4 of her arm!

My heart aches for her...

Fortunately, a beautiful friend put some perspective on it for me that vanquished the guilt.  She wisely counseled today, "You are sad for her loss.  For what this may mean to her life."

Yes I am...desperately so. 

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Black Fingernails; Beautiful Hands

My mind came to a screeching halt when I heard about the black fingernails. All I can see in my mind's eyes are the beautiful, strong hands that set me on the path that led to Jesus. The hands that would rub my back as a small child sitting on the arm of her recliner when she returned from a long, hard day at work. Hands that would work the earth, planting and harvesting both crops and a legacy in me, her namesake (Cleo).  And the hands that had, as long as I can remember, bore the loveliest of nails. "Lovely because of AVON" she would say. She was religious in using their hand and cuticle cream...every day EVERY DAY. Some of my  happiest memories are tagging along with her during her AVON deliveries.  Hmmm...perhaps there's something to AVON.'s not the AVON that makes this beloved mother, sister, aunt and grandmother (my Memaw) beautiful.  It's the GLORIOUS light of Jesus in her heart, which undoubtedly belongs to HIM, that makes her a sight to behold.    

The arm at the beginning of those black fingernails died yesterday.  Two surgeries to "un" clog the arteries and a host of blood thinners...and the arm those black fingernails belong to dies anyway.  Dr.'s have scheduled amputation early this week.  



Beautiful fingernails???

No arm???

My dearly beloved Memaw!

This is a horrible tragedy of the worst sort.  Have been on an emotional roller coaster since she was admitted to the hospital last Tuesday, March 9th: arm regains natural color, heart beating at a dangerously fast pace, nails start to go black, heart stabilized, blood furiously clotting....  I am past the point of "distracted"..."preoccupied".  Since Tuesday, I have been pulled over for speeding (not watching speedometer) and worn my pants backwards 3/4 of Saturday (finally noticed when I tried to stick my phone in my pocket), to name but a few "oops'es".  I just thank God they have been minor in nature, for am not so far gone I don't recognize the very real threat of  major catastrophes when one's mind is a million miles away.

The one undeniable truth and bright light in these dark days?  My God is still in the business of miracles.  While MUCH happens in this life I don't understand, including this looming, life-changing procedure, I cling to HIS assurances in Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  I hope for my Memaw.  I have HIGH HOPES for my Memaw, for as King David shares in Psalm 126:5, "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy."  Am doing my absolute best to stand my heart and mind firmly on these promises with which I claim for my Memaw and I as daughters of THE KING.  I am certain that one is only as strong as their faith and love in Christ.  With this in mind, there's no incertitude to the absolute truth that she's THE strongest woman I know.  I beseech our Lord for a remnant of that strength I will certainly need...
Memaw & Punky - January 2010

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Black & White Wednesday - "A Whale of a good time"

This picture was taken at the world-renowned Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, June 28, 2009

The whale itself is white, which started the wheels spinning as I was searching for a memorable photo for Lisa's Black & White Wednesday.  I knew it would be the focal point of the picture because of it's size and color.  And that's ok, as long as a poignant memory accompanies it.  Yes, for me, the picture has to jog a thought... tell a story... a voice without a voice.  As James Barrie put it, "Memory is what God gave us so that we might have roses in December."  In this photo, mySamuelson and Miss Gracie are watching the whale: surely in awe?  Perhaps a tinge of fear????  Without being able to see their faces, one is left to wonder, which in turn demands even closer inspection.  Unfortunately, I don't remember the type of whale.  However, I do remember we had a whale of a good time!  

This was our first trip to Atlanta.

As well as our first family outing with Aunt Sair Sair and Cousin Adam.
And "Yep", those are a series of un-finished tattoos on her arm.  I have yet to create a post on "Aunt Sair Sair".  It's in-the-works. :)  In the meantime, you can hop over to my blog Snapshot Sundays and read a small piece about her.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Saturday's Special Spa

O.k., I admit: I'm not exactly what you would call a "girl's girl".

You could probably even get away with saying I have a touch of tomboy in me.

HOWEVER, this in no way means that I don't know how to be "girly".  Given that I am a girl, I darn-tootin better know the basics of girlhood!  Furthermore, I rather enjoy this "state-of-girlhood" our Father saw fit to knit me into while in the womb (Psalm 139:13).  Well, with a few minor exceptions: pms, unwanted & unsightly hair, hormones... but I digress. ;)  Now, as far as our Miss Gracie is concerned, she's got a monopoly on ALL things feminine.  She is the proverbial Princess.

And everyone knows only girls can be Princesses!

This past Saturday Miss Gracie and I enjoyed a morning spent together in feminine bliss.  Watching this most precious Daughter Wemmick flourish under her mother's tutelage and loving attention was a blessing beyond measure.  A mother she is normally sharing with mySamuelson and Punk.  A mother who spends a good portion of her days cleaning and cooking.  A mother with one hand on the keyboard, another holding a cell phone to her ear, a wad of coupons under one arm and a load of laundry in the other.  One foot on the gas pedal, the other pounding the pavement running 5K.

Therefore, this day was special extra-special.

We began with a very warm 15 minute foot bath.  Yes, even though only 3 years old, this Princess-in-the-making sat for every bit of those 15 minutes!  Aladdin, playing in the background, might have helped a smidgen. :)   Sugar and I keep a very tight reign on "what" and "how much" television our children watch.  It's a privilege in our home.  And when it's on, they really watch it.

She was quite excited over how soft her feet felt when we pulled them out of the bath!  Got to admit, I was pretty amazed myself.  Maui, Hawaii, 2006 was my last pedicure. :(

I then rubbed an exfoliating mud mask on them.  (I do realize, at this point, some of you are shaking your head going, "No, no!  Wait  a minute!  You're supposed to do the mask first, then the foot bath.")  Remember how I mentioned at the beginning of this post that  I knew how to be "girly"...that I knew the "basics"?  While that is most definitely true, keep in mind that knowing "basics" is one thing, while knowing "in detail" is another!

10 minutes later the mask came off and the lotion went on...

then a soft shade of lavender.

*And yes, just in case you were pondering, her second toe is longer then her first!  She comes by it naturally: they are carbon copies of mine and her Aunt Sair Sair's.  Aunt Sair Sair's are so long I kid her that she could swing from branches with them!  Sugar stands by his conclusion that they're "goat feet". :)  There is an old wives tale that stipulates a person bearing a second toe longer in length than any of the other toes on their foot have a strong personality...are "the boss" as my MeMaw puts it.  The three of us are living, breathing testimonies to that! ;)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Meet Baby Wemmick

Baby Wemmick
(alias: Leah Ella-Sue, Leah, Ella-Sue, Peanut, Punk, Punky, Sunshine, Punky Humphreys, Punkster, Punkamaniac, Punkerooni, Punkmaster, Punkin, Punkarooski)

A charismatic Baby Wemmick...

already known for her smile...

so full of sunshine...

sporting the most adorable curls...

with a budding sense-of-humor...

and a smidgen of imp...

enjoys adores her big brother...

with a zest for life...

a warm and loving disposition...


lightning-quick to laugh...

with a 'firecracker' temperament...

did I mention a smile that could launch a thousand ships...

loves climbing into & sitting in chairs...


that childhood staple: spaghetti & ice cream...


and playing in water...


recently began to accessorize...

most happy in her mommy's arms.