Monday, October 4, 2010

Happy Birthday Papa

Today would have been your 92nd birthday.  I can't remember how you sounded when you said my name anymore, but do still remember how you would say, "Shit, Billie!", which in a funny way cheers me up for forgetting the latter.

I would steer the tractor sitting on your knee while you would sing and whistle "Zippidy Doo Dah" in my ear. Yup, I still remember that.  You would put barrettes in my hair everyday for school, even though you were missing your right arm.  You could drive a stick, cut a steak, tie a tie - there was nothing you couldn't do.  I can still smell you - Old Spice, onions, fresh cut grass, and gasoline.

There will always be a hole in my heart that no one will fill.  I think to myself it would all be easier if it hadn't felt like you were already taken away from me early due to Alzheimer's.  I wish the greatest man in my life could have really met and given me his blessing when meeting the man I would marry the day I announced I was engaged.  Thank you for always making me feel like a princess, Papa.  You'll always be my Superman.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Thank You Jenny

So yeah, this song probably wasn't written in mind in what it means to how I interpret it, but it touches at me.

"We all have a weakness; but some of ours are easy to identify, look me in the eye...
So when weakness turns my ego up; I know you'll count on the me from yesterday if I turn into another. Dig me up from under what is covering, the better part of me..."

For about 3 or 4 months, I've felt something is off with Sammy.  I hate to admit, but I am a cynical person.  I'm not outwardly pessimistic at all, anyone that hangs out with me would probably describe me as a lot of fun to be around. I was a counselor at a camp for special needs kids for 2 1/2 summers.  I had the autistic and ADHD kids in my groups those summers.  I know what autism looks like for sure.  But with Sam, I kept it all inside to myself.  Maybe I didn't want to admit it?  I made up tons of excuses for everything. 

Why does he have no interest in Little People and their playsets like Dylan did?  Sam just thinks that sorta thing is boring I suppose.  He loves trucks, but not to roll them around; he wants to spin the tire and moan at it for an hour.  He is just really super smart and mechanical minded like Cliff is all!  That's why he likes opening and slamming a door for hours - just figuring out how it works.  Oh, that's kinda cute, he's making himself dizzy spinning around in circles.  He's just teething right now, that's why he's not talking so much right now.  He walked early.  Sam is just more focused on moving around to chase his brother instead of talking and playing with toys.  He's independent, that's why he won't sit in my lap for me to read to him.  -- This list of things seriously just goes on and on. --

Then I started to realize the only words he says anymore are "Momma" and "Daddy".  Then that even condensed down to "Ma" and barely any "Da" sounds.  He used to even say Spongebob and kitty cat for goodness sakes.  Why won't he answer to me when I call him?  Why doesn't he point?  Or clap?  Or at least shake his head yes and no?  What has happened?  I took him to the doctor and since he's only 19 months, Sam is "classified" for right now as suspected autism or however they wanna word it.  I don't want this, but it feels good to know I'm not crazy and there really is something going on with my Baby Sam.

I never got "oh woe is me" about all of this, which surprises me actually.  I'm a little offbeat and easy-going, never like those perfectionist Stepford type wives.  If my child gets weird looks for spinning in circles and moaning, I'm the type that would join in with him.  I'm not trying to make this about myself, because it definitely isn't; but this is sort of a little pep-talk I give myself.  God knew I was strong enough to handle this.  I've always been about preserving the child-like spirits in children, catering to their little quirks so they can become their own person.  It may mean I have a rambunctious child - a.k.a. Dylan, my oldest son - but when I hear his imagination and creativity when he tells me the stories he makes, I know all is worth that.  So if Sammy wants to walk around the outside of the yard and pass his hand over the chain-link fence instead of playing on the kiddie slide, I'm okay with that.

Word got around about Sam and tons of well-meaning people were soon calling me and emailing me.  I'm not embarrassed about Sam at all, but it was just something I didn't want to discuss with people that I am just acquaintances with.  And all these people seemed to think autism meant my son wouldn't hug me anymore, be in some sort of catatonic state, and would start confusing symptoms with all sorts of crazy things.  Being the Southern raised girl I am, I smiled and nodded; but oh my goodness, I was done with even listening to any of this anymore.  The tid-bit that would make me roll my eyes the most and I kept hearing was about how Jenny McCarthy cured her child with a diet.  I was at the point that if one more person mentioned Jenny McCarthy and if it wasn't related to MTV, I was going to scream!  Then, that day a family member dropped off her book to me at home.  May I mention it was a family member I barely talk to and found out about Sammy through a chain of 3 people - all which none I had told myself.  But again, I smiled and nodded and the moment the door closed, threw the book across the room.  I got us all ready for church that night and was taking Sam for his first time to Awanas where he would get to play with children his own age.  I stayed with him and that's when all of this really hit me.  Seeing him in comparison of all the other children is when my heart really broke.

I got over myself and read the damn Jenny McCarthy book.  And holy crap, besides the seizures, her child and Sam could have been twins - all the way down to playing with straws and slamming doors for fun.  Then it dawned on me, Sam's speech regression started around the same time I was weaning Sam from his bottle of soy formula to Lactaid to sippie cups of whole milk.  I started the autism diet the next day.  It's been about two weeks now and there are DEFINITE improvements.  I don't care what any news article or doctor wants to tell me, it works.  We had to get rid of his favorite nutrigrain bars and no more spaghettiOs, but it's a lot easier than I had originally thought.  I make up a huge batch of a dinner type food like lasagna or a casserole at the beginning of the week and pop in a portion in the microwave.  Sam is a picky eater and likes eating the same things over and over.  I add the veggies he hates by grating them in to hide them.  Thankfully, he loves fruit and yogurt.  I know these foods that cost more and all the explaining I have to do to family members that want to give him Oreo's and Cheetos is all worth it when I see my husband bust into tears because his son looked him in the eye and said, "Daaaaaaaaaaaddy" with his arms open to him.  He's not looking out of the side of his eyes.  He's cut down on all the stims/tics/obsession type things.  He's recognizing people.  He's saying words again - UP!, Dylan, Martha, Papa, No, Ba-ba.  When he looks at things, it seems as though he's finally looking at them, almost like he had cataracts before and that's been removed now.  There's a lot more, this is just what comes to mind now.  Family members can tell as well, so I know it's not just me imagining things with too much hope.  Everything about him just seems genuine now.  Even if this is the most improvement that results because of the diet, it's still worth it.  And no matter what, I will strive to let my Sammy be Sammy.  I love him. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Wends of Texas

I had always been told by my Grandma (on my mother's side) that we are German descendants. Her mother was even able to speak back and forth German and English I've been told.  After some more genealogy research, I've found out that's not entirely true.

First let me tell you, my Grandma is like a character from a movie. Everything is overly-dramatized and stories are acted out with a lot of flair and probably exaggerated.  I know I am just like this and will be worse than she is when I'm an old lady.  The best way I can describe is her is as the mother in "The Glass Menagerie" play. Now don't get me wrong, I love her to death, really I do, but getting some sorta actual, factual info out of her for my family research is pretty hard.  Instead I get anecdotes like about her Aunt Emma having 44 yellow canaries in gilded cages on the back porch, which is pretty interesting, but are you starting to get my point here? 

She led me on to a very good clue for me to research this time.  My entire life I have heard my Grandma go on and on about the Wends of Texas.  She says it in such a dreamy type voice.  She would made it sound like we were born from kings and queens of Germany.  She always made a point to mention there's a book written about The Wends of Texas.  And hey, guess what?  There actually is.  And google and are full of info with just that little key word.

Do you know how the Mexicans have come into the US over in the Southwest area? They may be Americans; but would identify more so as being Mexican.  (Just go along with it for my analogy.)  This is somewhat how my ancestors were in Germany.  The people related to me were Wendish Sorbian people living in a concentrated area of Germany.  They were from Bautzen in Saxony, Germany (aka Upper Lusatia region).  The Wends from this area are more so of Czech descent.

The Wends immigrated over to Texas on a small boat less than 146 feet long named the Ben Nevis.  There was about 588 people stuffed on this boat where they would stay for about 3 months at sea and another month at dock quarantined for illnesses in 1854.  On my maternal grandma's side, members from her daddy's and mother's side were on this boat.  Grandma's parents are a good 2 generations younger than those on the boat, but still kinda cool to think all the family is from the same town in Germany.

Traditional traditions of The Wends are extravagant egg painting, corn husk dolls, and black wedding dresses. 

Cultural foods include sausage and thin egg noodles.

They would decorate the insides of their churches with images I can only relate to looking like the drawings from fairy tale books.  They enjoyed wood crafts - burning or carving folksy drawings into wood.  I notice a lot of these have a serpent type creature, which I haven't exactly figured out yet.  Some even have children playing with these snake-dragon like things. 

One of their holidays is called The Bird's Wedding which takes place on January 25th.  Children would leave out a little food outside for the birds and in turn receive a small gift or piece of candy. 

The women dressed very colorfully and decked out in dainty lace.  It's all so pretty and colorful. And such a change from now-a-days.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Etsy Fave Item of the Day - Why did the ostrich cross the road?

Probably to get a latte

If you don't know me personally, you should probably know now that I am terrified of birds. Hysterically scared of birds.  Ostriches even more so.  All alien, dino looking and huge.  As a child, an ostrich (or was it an emu?) ate my Keds while I was on a trampoline.  More like trapped on a trampoline, because about 4 or 5 of them surrounded me taunting me.  How does this type stuff always seem to happen to me?

Annnnnyways, even with all that, I love this painting!  I love the street lines with the shadow.  I love the textures on the ostrich.  I can feel the story of this mega-bird.  He knows where he's going, why are you asking?  That's the attitude I get from him at least.  This original painting by revampedart on Etsy is sized at 8x10 and you can view it for sale by clicking here.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Etsy Fave Item of the Day - Ruffle Bag

aka: the only fanny pack you'd catch me wearing

I love ruffles!  The material of this bag is nice too, looks to be corduroy.  You can view this item on Etsy from seller Kinies by clicking here.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Finding Family & Tracing Roots

We've been watching that show, "Who do you think you are?"on NBC, that traces back the ancestry of celebrities.  Cliff went ahead and signed up for a free 14 day trial on  We decided we were going to track family as far back as possible before we had to pay.  In 2 days, I have found super interesting stuff.

I live in a town in Georgia.  Not the big city, not the country.  Take it this way; we have 1.5 Starbucks and 2 Walmarts.  ( I've always gauged town sizes by the number of Walmarts, big indicator in the South believe it or not. )  On my dad's side of the family, we have literally been planted in this exact same town since about 1830. This is before the town even had an actual name.  My town wasn't really built til around 1950.  The home I lived in growing up is a 5 minute walk from the family land border.  I know there is a street in town with our last name, but didn't really realize we had that much to do with the history of the town until now.  Before living in my town, the preceding ancestors came straight from England to Dublin, Georgia; which is only an hour south of my town and considered the same region of Georgia.  I seriously am a local native.

My mother's side of the family is a bit more interesting.  My mom never knew her real dad.  He divorced my grandma when my mom was 4 years old.  Grandma won't talk about it, so Momma has been clueless.  Well...  I found out a ton of information!

Her father was in the Army during World War II.  He was stationed in Hawaii for a very short time before being sent to Marseilles, France on a "hospital" ship during the war.  In the war, he is listed as a night watchman.  At the age of 18, he was 5'10 and 150 lbs.  The most random, bizarre fact of all the documents was that he was a part of undertaker services/embalmer as his job in the military. 

 Hardy "Dit" Clarence & Bertie A.
Hardy and Bertie are my mom's grandparents!  Here they are as a young couple.  I think Hardy looks a lot like my brother in ways.  Hardy was a collection agent for a loan business.

Bertie A.
My mom resembles Bertie a lot too.  Eye shape, nose, cheek lines, same snaggle-tooth before Momma fixed hers' with braces.   I see my chin in this photo.  I only can find evidence of them having one child.

"M.H." (Martin Harkin) & Wiley F. 
Wiley F. (right) is my mom's great grandfather.  M.H. (left) is my mom's great, great grandfather.  Wow, right?!  Both men were farmers with many children.

Herbin Leroy "Lee", Dink Calloway, & Moman Talmadge "Tal"
Now here's a picture I was unsure about at first.  How could these 3 men be brothers of Wiley F. from the photo above when there's a car in the background?  These men lived a very long time, all into the 90's age range into the 1970's era.  So Lee, Dink, & Tal would be my mom's great uncles.

 I have a lot more photos saved than just these and can't wait to get them printed out.  I'd like to take all the official documents and photos made into a scrapbook for my Momma.  If you ever doubted trying out, I say go for it.  (And no, they ain't paying me or anything.)  I have both sides of my family traced back to 1675.  I have paperwork with my family's actual handwriting on it.  I've discovered one of my far-back grandfathers was the Colonel of the 4th Regiment of the Revolutionary War, detailed with reports of what he did in the war. I can look at silly wills promising each child a bed, a cow, and $200. I can gawk at the great, great, great, great, great, great grandpa that had 4 wives and over 30 children.  (Yes, this is all true of my family. LOL!)  It's all extremely interesting, even more so when it's your own family.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Can we really, Gaga? Please?

 This part was too cute!

I usually just kinda close my eyes to all the Gaga kookiness.  I think of her as the new Madonna: catchy dance songs by a girl dressing weird and trying to shock.  My favorite song is still "Just Dance." 

 Cooking with Lady Gaga, Thursdays at 9PM EST

I'm loving the "Telephone" song to pieces!  I have been waiting for the new video to release and then be pushed back about 3 or 4 times now I wanna say.  I loved the Beyonce and Gaga collaboration for "Videophone" and I don't even really like Beyonce too much. 

In the "Telephone" video, (besides all the Kill Bill-ness) the sandwich part is my favorite part.  I read some statistic somewhere that said the demographic of 18-34 year olds buying Miracle Whip has dramatically increased some crazy percent since being featured in "Telephone."  Lady Gaga just put Miracle Whip in there, they didn't actually pay for a sponsored bit in the thing.  I can't wait for a video edit to be made that is shorter with more of the song VS. acting now that we have seen the longer one.  I want more dancing in the kitchen please. :)  Youtube it if you haven't seen it yet.


Oh!  And you gotta see this!  I found this art print on the net tonight.  It is by Bara-chan and you can buy your own print by clicking here.  If I didn't have kiddos, this would go up in my kitchen in a heart beat.  It's really adorable.  I would love it in post card size to place up on an inspiration pic board too.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Etsy Fave Item of the Day - The Sims Charm

I love The Sims!

So yeah, I'm addicted to The Sims.  I got Sims 3 for Christmas and the internet was ignored for over a month.  The Simmies I create aren't even outrageous, I keep them pretty goody two shoes and have tons of babies.  And yup, I'll admit when my first Sim died, I may have been hormonal at the time but I did cry.

I thought this phone charm from Etsy seller phatloots was pretty cute.  This is a handmade charm that has a lobster clasp to attach it to your cellie, but I personally would probably use it as a zipper pull on a hoodie or zip purse.  It's at a nice price and you can view it on Etsy by clicking here.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Etsy Fave Item of the Day - Gold Belt Bracelet


I mostly wear gold toned jewelry.  I really like this bracelet that looks like a tiny belt from Etsy seller diamentdesigns.  I'm always on the look out for cute, affordable pieces that aren't ginormous.  I feel like when you have something too big in gold, it ends up looking gaudy.  This is simple yet still unique.  Again, in my usual taste for things, it could be dressy or casual.  You can view this item in her shop by clicking here.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Etsy Fave Item of the Day - Strong Coffee Poster


I love this poster print from Etsy seller howfab.  It is oh so true in my home!  I was stuck with Dunkin Donuts medium blend coffee yesterday and was a complete zombie the entire day.  Nothing got done.  I like the distressed, stamped typed lettering and that it is red.  One day, I'll eventually have a red and pea-green picture wall collage in my kitchen.  This would be perfect.  You can view this item on Etsy by clicking here.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Etsy Fave Item of the Day - Vintage Deer Planter

I do not have a green thumb.  

I get urges every now and again to play in the dirt, but never follow through.  I tell my ambitious, dreamer mind to start small.  I wouldn't mind doing some sort of herb we use a lot of like cilantro or oregano in my kitchen window sill.  I think I would pay more attention to the plant if it was potted in something cute.  I will eventually get one of these vintage Shawnee type planters.  I like this one a lot, probably because it has a deer, solid colored, and yellow!  You can view this planter from Etsy seller dixiepearl by clicking here.

The Oscars

So, I am very bummed I didn't get to watch the Oscars this year.  Apparently, ABC and the TV networks couldn't agree on the amount of money for their yearly broadcasting contracts.  So my channel that should have been showing the Oscars was showing sitcom reruns.

I did get to watch the Red Carpet Pre-Show on E!  I'm no fashion expert (completely a jeans and t-shirt type girl), but the dresses this year were just disappointing.  Between this and watching The Rachel Zoe Project, it makes me think I'd be a great stylist sometimes!  Let's look at the pretty dresses though.  Here's my picks of top 3 dresses:
#1 Cameron Diaz
She's making weird faces that are almost "Uma Thurman"- looking in these photos, but I love this dress and how her hair was styled.  Glamorous!  I'm not even a Cameron Diaz fan, so no bias here!  This is what I would imagine the Barbie Oscars Edition would look like.  (Although after reading a Best Dressed list review that mentioned Cameron Diaz looked as though she raided Taylor Swift's closet, I can't get that image out of my mind.)

#2 Meryl Streep
Again, not a fan girl of Meryl Streep, but holy crap, AMAZING!  And I didn't pick her as #2 because she is 61 years old and looks good for her age (which she does), but because she's genuinely beautiful here on Oscar night.  Makeup looking fresh, perfect fit, etc etc.  She definitely outshines those younger actresses.  This is how it's done.  Oh!  And did you know this is a dress from Big Chris of Project Runway?!
#3 Miley Cyrus
I hate how people automatically judge what Miley wears to be "too sexy" because of her age.  If this had been Britney or Beyonce at 17, no one would have said anything.  I really love this dress and how it wraps at the stomach area.  I like the cuff paired with this.  Her hair is fun and young.  I wish her the cup area in the bodice was about an inch taller or maybe she just needs some better posture.  I think a delicate thin choker necklace would have been nice too.  There's a lot of blank space going on from the top of the dress to her face.

Honorable Mention: Carey Mulligan
I love the cut of this dress.  Her shoes are rockin!  From what I understand, she's a pretty short girl and doesn't look it at all here.  It could have easily drowned her down and looked like a prom dress if not for this too-cute cut.  I like the sparkly details and everything.  Minus points for her hair.  I do not like this blonde dye job.  It's almost elderly looking when paired with the cropped, pixie cut.  If she had still been red-headed and not styled with blunt bangs, I would have rated her higher.

What do you think?  What was your favorite dress of the evening?  Oh, and if anyone has a link to the John Hughes segment, please link me.

I give up trying to format this post anymore!  All photos are snagged from The Huffington Post

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Etsy Fave Item of the Day - Mare Satin and Pearls Ribbon Necklace

I got the idea of doing the "Fave Item of the Day" posts on my blog after noticing Twillypop's Twitter tweets with her picks of the day.  I discovered her Etsy shop not too long ago and could have easily hearted her entire shop.

See why?!

I have a bit of a love affair with pearls.  I've paired them up with t-shirts, but sometimes it just didn't work.  I wanted that classic look, but felt too stuffy.  The necklaces Twillypop make are perfect for this type of look!  Change your top and you can still go from casual to a sophicated outfit.  I have a lot of blue clothes and overall it looks well with my fair skin.  You can view this necklace from Twillypop by clicking here.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Etsy Fave Items of the Day - Atomic Era Starburst Wall Clock

It's something about the items of this time that get me all giddy.  I love to watch the documentaries on how people in the 1950's and 60's thought the future would be.  Like how we would all have our own Rosie robot and fly to work like on The Jetson's.

I dream about these clocks!

I'm not kidding!  I really do!  I've seen updated, similar versions in the stores; but they aren't the same.  I do not like the wall clocks with the filled in metal prongs or triangle pointed edges.  I love this one from Entwife on Etsy.  It's still in working condition and you can view it in her shop by clicking here.  I would style this wall clock behind a bright colored wall to really make it pop and its' little details shine.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Etsy Fave Item of the Day - Aerial No 2 Painting


I absolutely love this! 

This is an ORIGINAL painting from crystalljackson.  You can view this item in her shop by clicking here.  It is titled Aerial No 2.  It is part of a pair, hence the No 2.  I really like the colors and think it's a really fun piece to put in your home.  It makes me think of the crop dusters at my grandma's house when I was a little kid and that makes me smile.

I appreciate this painting, because I am a bit literal when I look at things to draw them.  It can be good thing or a bad thing for myself.  I like how this is still a bit modern.  I don't know crystalljackson, but did notice she was somewhat of an undiscovered seller on Etsy.  Give her a heart if you liked it too!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Etsy Fave Item of the Day - Vintage 70's Henry Lee Dress

I haven't decided if I'll make this a daily blog thing or not just yet, but do intend on tweeting one favorite per day.  (You can follow me on Twitter by clicking here.)  I like to window shop on Etsy.  It's one of the ways I fill the time when I'm up with Baby Sam when he should be sleeping. :)  I have hearted a million, badillion things.  I figured maybe I should share some of these things with yall!

Today's pick is from a seller local to me, although I don't know her.  Her shop is named GeorgiaVintage.  If I was a few sizes smaller, trust me, this would be mine!  I love the crisp lines and the waisted fit.  It comes with a belt that isn't pictured too by the way.  You can view this item on Etsy by clicking here.

Savvy N Sassy Ribbon Kit Giveaway

I love giveaways.
I was on the Savvy N Sassy Design Team last term and have to tell you that these ribbon kits are high-quality, perfectly matched, and pretty big for the price you pay.   This kit above is 8 yards in total and you could win it by going to their blog, here, and registering to receive their update emails.  After you do that, visit Katie's blog and leave a comment, here.  

You can gain another entry by visiting their online store and leaving a link to your favorite item on Katie's blog post of this giveaway, here.  Do this as a separate comment.  Katie will reveal the winner on March 31st.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Yes, I coupon!

I never used to coupon.  I can't be hassled driving to five different stores.  I have no interest in buying random things I'll never use to earn Extra Care Bucks at CVS.  Lots of people do well with this, but it's just not for me.  I don't want to get a newspaper subscription for a sheet or two of coupons I may or may not even end up using.  I explained this to my friend, Katie, aka The Coupon Queen.  I just wanted to print out some coupons of things we actually use and go to one store!  Katie says, "You can do that at Kroger."  Did you know that?  She explained it all to me...

Kroger doubles all paper coupons that are .50 and below.  They also have one of those swipey cards you put on your keychain.  You can go to the Kroger website and it will direct you to 3 sources to where you can load up Ecoupons to that swipey card.  You can combine a paper coupon with an Ecoupon.  That's how you really save!  I usually get my instant potatoes, frozen vegetables, and tuna for free.  I get my brand name diapers and wipes at the price of store brand ones.

Another bonus to the Kroger swipey card is that you can earn college money by loading Ecoupons from  You can't actually reduce the price of your shopping trip with these Ecoupons though.  When you buy a specified item, that company will give you the amount to add to a college fund.  It's normal everyday stuff like toilet paper and shaving razors.

Right Guard Sport Clear Stick Anti-Perspirant Deodorant, Cool, 2-Ounce Tubes (Pack of 6)

Here's an example of how I got men's deodorant free last week:
Right Guard Men's Deodorant was on sale for $1 at regular store price. had a printable coupon - Save $2 on any 2 Right Guard products

I don't spend hours comparing prices to the ads to what coupons I need to print off etc. by using Southern Savers blog.  Jenny at Southern Savers does it all for you and has it all up and organized for you the day the new sales go in to effect.  She will also give you links to have coupon booklets and free samples mailed directly to you.