the sunday six: stuff i'm lovin'


one of my favorite things is a consumer review, especially from someone i actually know.  i know i'm not alone in that, so that is the service i'm freely offering to you today.  

next time you have to pay. 

(no you don't.)

 i am giving you my personal reviews on various and sundry items, which is all basically two thumbs up because that's what the sunday six is all about anyway.  a whole list of a bunch o' crap that i love. all for the price of: nothing. no one is paying me to say nice stuff or even sending me samples.  

ingrates, that's what they are.

anyway, let's get this thing under way!

urban decay shadow primer
a long while back i'd tried this product and thought "meh". i didn't understand the cult following.  true to form, i was using it incorrectly.  now, NOW, i see. i once was blind... blahblah. go get this.  i live in south louisiana where the humidity is infinity times infinity til death. when i wear this, my eyeshadow lasts all day through BRUTAL heat and humidity.  my lungs almost fail me, but my shadow fails me not.  oh, and the "trick"? let the stuff dry completely before applying eye shadow.  that's all. kinda like with nail polish.  
things ain't nobody got time for:
1. that.

(no but seriously, let it dry.)

i'm still on the hunt for a really great face primer though, if anyone has any recommendations.  i've tried a few but haven't quite struck oil.  

garnier nutrisse anti-puff eye roller
this one is not so much a miracle product as #1 but i am a fan.  when i arise in the morning (as close to 9 as possible) to greet my cup of coffee with dragon breath, my eyes are puffy and dark.  this product does nothing for the dark circles. (that junk takes concealer.)  however, this does help de-puff the peepers. it does what it says it does, so i like that.

greek gods yogurt
this tastes like it really was made by yogurt gods.  zeus and aphrodite i bet.  it is fabulous. not at all acrid.  not at all tart.  smooth and creamy.  that's all you get.  
well smooth and creamy, and a big ol' craving for some more. that's what you get.

wedge pillow
for all you baby mamas out there, this is a back SAVER when your (my) belly starts to round out and cause you (me) problems with your (my) beloved sleep.  there comes a point in every pregnancy where my belly conspires with my spine to ruin me in the night.  this pillow is my blessed savior in the form of a stuffed, lavender cheese wedge. it is my bestie until delivery.  me and this wedge, we tight.  

buxom sculpted lash mascara
i particularly like this one, with the weirdly shaped wand. i sometimes struggle with doing things properly in the cosmetics world (see #1) but this comes with a tiny instruction manual.  read it and you'll know just exactly how to use that wand and have long, luscious lashes.  my only gripe is that the tube dried up faster than i'd like, but i'm still going to buy it again because it has out-performed every other brand i've tried.  it's nice and thick and it really does lengthen my lashes.  i'm a big fan.  

isn't progress such a lovely thing?
we're making way for baby, rearranging our very lives to make a place for him, and it feels good.  we're simplifying, subtracting "stuff" we've accumulated over the years and already i'm breathing easier and the white paint is not even on the walls yet (but that's coming!).  
my style has been folksy and "cluttered" and i have loved it for a long, long time (while danny has tolerated it). he's always let me do whatever i want in the house. he (is a smart man so he) does not interfere with decorating, and thank Heaven because God knows i couldn't tolerate THAT.  
if not for him though, all of the things that look so good in my mind that i'd like to do now might never see the light of day, and undoubtedly everything hung on the walls would be so much more crooked without him.  (y'all should see the holes behind the shelves i've hung over the years.)  what i'm saying is: my man can wield tools and the progress we're making is mostly to his credit. and progress? it's my new favorite thing.

+ + + + +

do you have anything that you just LOVE? (especially in terms of products that the rest of us could love right along with you?)
share share share, so we can all join the cult!  

and happy (day after) sunday to yous!


a boy baby

well it turns out this baby is indeed a boy baby.

wait, let me back up.

the morning after i wrote my last post, i woke up completely blindsided by my own feelings of disappointment. deep disappointment.  i cried. i cried not because i reallllly wanted a girl, but because i felt frustrated and confused, and i cried because i felt so sad.  i've never had a gender preference.  i guess leading off with a boy and then a girl erased any pressure that might arise from "needing" to have one or the other.

but you know how you can feel so certain about something, so sure that your assessment is right?

have you ever been there?

it can leave you feeling shipwrecked.

totally lost in your own mind.

where what you think you know about a situation (so cocksure) can cast doubt and make you question what moments before you knew to be true about God?

nothing could move me from my position that i knew that this baby would be a girl.  we've since had another ultrasound and this is definitely, most assuredly with evidence to prove it, a baby boy.  a month passed between the last two sonograms, and i needed that month.  i needed the time to make peace with the possibility that i was wrong.  i needed time to learn to love the idea of it being a boy, and to lick my wounds over being wrong.  do you know how many people i told that it was a girl and i just knew it? my pride was hurt.  my ego was limping. i needed that month to get over myself.

it's so funny because "theologically" i don't think God is the kind of person that tricks people, that He would take any pleasure in doing that and then watching me wrestle with the disappointment.  but sometimes what you walk through reveals what you really believe, and i guess it means there are shadowy corners of my heart that think, "well, maybe... maybe He would do that."  i have much to learn of the nature of God.  still.  i have much to correct to right my thoughts.  and situations like this are perfect proving ground.

i'm still not entirely sure what all of that meant but it is clear that i jumped to conclusions about what i knew God was doing and saying, and i know that Hell would like for me to believe that i do not, in fact, hear from God, that i do not, in fact, know His voice.  but i reject that. i'll have none of that. i will not allow Hell to (again) use my own lapse in judgment to paralyze me, preserving me here in this place, causing me to put roots down here... immobilizing me from moving forward, from growing out of this place.

i have purposed this year to get to know better who God is and who He is for me.  i will not allow Hell to take that from me because of my own false reading of a situation.  i am open to being wrong about that and then asking God in curiosity, "then what did all of that mean? what did i miss? i know You meant something by it.  what was it?"

and if i go into it and get wrong ideas again i know that He is gracious and kind enough to correct me until i can see the truth of what He meant by it all.

a small seed of doubt has killed my faith before. a small seed of doubt can do that.  but a small seed of faith can move this mountain, so i can embrace what it is that God is actually doing in this moment. i choose Him over my wrong idea of Him.  and i choose to embrace this sweet boy because of who he is. i will not reject him over my own wrong thinking. he deserves Love and he shall have it.

p.s.: eden is holding up just fine. i think she's adjusting, too. her only requirement is that i have another baby. i'm not opposed.


the God of disappointment?

when we first told the kids that we would soon have a new baby in the house, eden was the most excited.  sitting on the couch, curled up next to the arm, she sat up straighter and smashed her hands together real tight. i wish you could've seen her. "REALLY?!", she said, beaming.  then she fell onto the arm all dramatic like and said, "i'm so happy!!!" we all smiled with her.  and then she said, "i've been praying every night for a sister!"

today we had a sonogram.  i'm 17 weeks along, and although we couldn't really get a good shot of this fantastic little marvel (there was so much squirming going on!), there was some indication that this baby is a boy.

i'm going to need another sonogram in a few weeks to be convinced.  so many things pointed to this being a girl.  things like:

i've had a name in mind for years.  in some of the healing work i've been doing, 
God has been dealing with some 'girl' issues, some of which are mother/daughter things...  
things that are difficult to articulate, but those things finally made the name make sense. 
 at first i just liked it because it's pretty.  but now i understand... 

but today, i am so flummoxed.

this is what i know: when i saw those two lines on that pregnancy test, i immediately felt like, "it's a girl. i just know it."  i started called her by name that day.  only a girl baby made any sense at all to me. (even still...)

and then eden's prayer...

i've said from the beginning that i don't need it to be either. i never have hoped for one over the other but today, looking at that screen, i felt confused.  and i felt sad.  i LOVE boys. i love HAVING boys.  they are fantastic little creatures and i am entirely smitten with them.  so my sadness was not over my own disappointment.

it was for eden.  when we were walking back out to the car, she said, "it's not fair."

we got about a block down the street and i saw her begin to retract. curled up the front seat, her face fell, and then her tears. it was so hard to watch, and i had no words to console her. i reached out and rubbed her arm, i told her it was okay to be disappointed, and that we weren't really sure yet. a child's faith is such a fragile thing and it hurt me to see her struggle this way.  i know that God is not a vending machine and we don't get everything we ask for but she was the only one who cared either way what we had.  she's asked me for years, years... "mama, please can i have a baby sister?"

i don't want this to be the beginning of her thinking prayers don't work, God doesn't care, He isn't dependable, faith is stupid.  

those lies are hard to come back from.  i know, because i remember when my heart turned the same corner.

i want to make this easier for her... i want to fix it... but i don't know what to say.  all i have is a prayer. God, please...  please help her.

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more time, please.

a few months ago, all the kids needed new undies. (they'll love me for sharing that someday.) standing there looking at the character underwear, i ask noah which ones he wants. i could see he was standing back a little from the rack and when i asked he was like, "um, can i just get plain ones? i'm not really into the character ones anymore."  and just like that, at nine years old, he crossed over. 

no warning.  

no heads up so i could prepare my heart, and standing there in the aisle i felt the squeeze of the going away. 

it steals your breath. it does.

+ + + + + + +

this week, i walked into my room, to put myself to bed.  when i opened the door there was a box resting between my pillow and danny's.  

(there was also a little zipper pouch addressed to me, filled with dried rose petals.)

the box was addressed:

mom and dad, not mama and daddy

nothing could prepare me for what it contained.

i opened the box, and my heart lay inside.
she put my heart in a box.

this monkey has been her favorite stuffed animal for years. she fell in love with it when she first laid eyes on it. it has been her Velveteen Rabbit.  Monkey and Bugs (her blanket) have gone everywhere with us.  

i walked into her room, holding Monkey, and said, "you're done with Monkey?" "yeah", she said.  

just like that.  eight years old.

i said, "ok, now listen, you can't do that with Bugs next week, okay? i can't handle that."  to which she responded by shoving her unraveling, tattered blanket under her covers to signify that she wasn't giving it up any time soon.

naturally, i've spent the last two nights with my fingers wrapped around Monkey.  she may be able to let her go, but i'm not ready yet.

i'm going to need more time.


paint, chaos, and Bob Ross

ya'll.  years ago i went through a huge rachel ashwell phase.  HUGE. i mean, i wanted everything in my house to be white.  white walls, white trim, i wanted every piece of furniture to be painted white, white slip-covered duck cloth sofas, white painted floors even, and white candles! lots and lots of white candles!  i was drunk on The White.

and then i became sort of bored with that idea before it ever materialized, so maybe i have to revoke my "HUGE" assessment, seeing as i never actually put it into practice and how can one be a real fanatic but only in her mind?

anyway, i think it was the birthing of a couple kids, what deterred me.  not only that, i never really could sell danny on it, and  it was never in the budget to get rid of EVERYTHING we owned and start over.  which is what i tend to want to do when i get a wild hair.

as it stands, every room in our house is "colored" and i have really enjoyed that, but i'm beginning to feel a bit 'over it'. i'm not kidding when i say it makes my breathing tight and shallow.

we painted the living room when i was last pregnant and it's this bold, yellow color that has been so much fun!
valspar | midnight bonfire
i've been looking at it now though for almost six years and my trigger finger is itchy.  itchy, i say! enough already! all of a sudden it feels too dark. i'm feeling a little bit suffocated by it, and lo! what color would i want but white.  life always circles back on itself, don't it.  

i think the appeal right now is simplicity

white feels...
the opposite of chaotic.  

i need to create an environment in my color scheme that is not chaotic, to combat the internal chaos i'm feeling, of course (and also the impending external chaos that is to come).  (how many times can i say chaos but i think you get the point.)

in my mind i have become a little bit frank costanza:  SERENITY NOW!

so here's what i'm thinking, somewhat...

the bright accent colors make me happy. so do the bright white walls.
another with dark trim + floors, because that's what i'm working with...
this one's a bit more creamy, but still very peaceful.  (SERENITY NOW!)
white feels so open, doesn't it? so spacious, and i am feeling the need for SPACE.  even just the illusion of space is fine by me! add in a little color in other places, i.e.: new curtains, a rug on the floor, new throw pillows for the couch... and i'll breathe easier than julie andrews, twirling in a Bob Ross painting.

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tired + bossy. it's like i'm a teenager all over again.

sweet mother of pearl, i think i had forgotten the suffering of the first trimester. i keep trying to do stuff (bathe, brush my teeth, empty the sink, feed someone) and then ending up back on the couch or sleeping in my bed, lambasted.  i can barely make it to mid-day without sleeping at some point, and THAT after staying in bed 'til 9, so.

d calls throughout the day to check in on us and even the shortest of conversations is exhausting to me. the simple act of vocalizing, insufferable.  i am delightful.

we should've told everyone sooner about the pregnancy, like maybe the day we found out about it. yeah, that's the day we should've gone public because then when i say that i'm happy about it people might actually believe me.

right now i get a quizzical look.  'oh, wow... congratulations.  are y'all excited? i mean, how do y'all feel about it?'  i know their confusion is because of my face.

well, it's not exactly incontrovertible.  my face, that is.

i will say this though (and i hope it lasts): i haven't had any real strong food aversions.  i remember being pregnant with noah and not being able to handle chicken on the bone.  disgust.  i cooked it once and let it stay too long in the crockpot. by dinnertime the crockpot was filled with shredded chicken and bones.  consequently, i couldn't eat chicken til long after he was born.  i could barely say chicken without my stomach rising to greet me.

the food cravings, though, they are pretty bossy.  give me a burger and fries right now. and a coke! move it or lose it, sister!  very bossy. and not very health-conscious, either.

the love will return, i know it will, but if it follows the course it always has, it'll arrive magically at the beginning of the second trimester.  oh dear sweet baby moses, please don't follow that course.  come quickly, magic! show me the meaning of haste!  and bring me a coke!


the sunday six: edition 47 | i should really be dusting.

so i'm pregnant, and i have a head cold.  it's a very particular brand of "not feeling so hot".  i have logged more hours on the couch in the past week than i care to admit.

..sitting on the couch staring into space or crawling back into bed and napping.  lots of hours.

the kids, bless their hearts (and hungry bellies), ask how long i'll be sick.  i say, with as much enthusiasm as i can muster, with them i was sick for 3 months but hope it doesn't last that long this time.  they're understandably horrified at 2 more months of this madness (as am i) but mostly i think they're worried about getting to eat something besides sandwiches and cereal they made for themselves.  

my little one asked me today if he could have marshmallows and bread for lunch.  he wanted a marshmallow sandwich.  he was not happy when i said no.

i'm hoping most of the misery is the cold though because that won't last as long.  maybe it's just wishful thinking though.  sometimes you have to lie to yourself to get through the day intact. 

graham cooke
i know i talked about him in April and now i'm talking about him again... i just can't get enough. 

 i am learning the affection of God. who could ever tire of that?

his teaching is changing my whole approach to walking with God. i want to have it running all day and night long.  i want it to wash over me until i am changed.  it is so, so good.

it will feed and nourish you and change the way you see things. it's brilliant.

"whatever God is, He is relentlessly." 

february 4th

that's the day i finally took my Christmas tree down.
i PR'd.

(for those of you who may not know what that is, it means "personal record" and in the running world, it's sometimes used as a verb.  when you beat your personal record, you say you "PR'd".)

speaking of running, i haven't done any of that since early November, so, i needed a PR somewhere else.  you know, if you believe in yourself and you try real hard, you can be just as ambitious as i am.

i got such a sweet email this past week, from a complete stranger, no less.  someone named "anonymous".  weird.

here's what was said:

you are truly a just right webmaster. 
("just right", did you hear that?  and they said "truly" so it has to be true.) 

The website loading speed is amazing. 
(oh good! i was concerned about that. just the other day i was thinking, "man, i sure hope my website loading speed is amazing".) 

It seems that you are doing any unique trick.
("any unique trick"! wow! i am a prodigy!)

 ("Moreover"... oh there's more?! i'm dumbstruck!)

The contents are masterpiece. 
  ("are masterpiece".  singular.  apparently, i'm very good at my craft.)

i hope you guys get really good feedback like this, too.  affirmation is important.

four. that's how many children we'll have by the end of this year.  i knew 2013 was going to be a big one, but this? 

in my short energy bursts, i have a strong urge to go through every room with a very large trash bag throwing stuff away all willy-nilly, and also to (commandeer my husband to) repaint the walls (white!)  

i haven't executed any of that, but in my head, there is a whole lot getting done.

i need less stuff in order to make room for more people!  

also, i should probably just get a new house.

it should be stated (in case it's not clear) that we are all thrilled.  a new baby!  there is just nothing so precious and so yummy-delicious-smelling!

so while i do feel a bit like that bird at times (when i think too far into the future), i also feel peace. i feel God.  i feel this sweetness, and look forward to bathing this sweet beauty...  after this video, who wouldn't...

also, i'm gonna need a bigger sink.

while we're on the subject of babies.... this is my new favorite homemade gift for newborns. if you are in my vicinity and you have a baby, you are getting some of these burp cloths.  

the only difference is i use flannel because i loathe sewing with knits.  i am terrible at it. 

the worst.  

but flannel... i mean, is it the fabric of the angels or what?  it's so easy to work with and so soft for those sweet baby cheeks.  it's made out of angels. it has to be.

maybe my favorite thing about making these is that they're made using fat quarters so i never get tired of the print.  i make 2 cloths of each print and then move onto the next one.  boom, never bored.  for the win.

valentine's day is coming up.  danny asked me yesterday what i wanted and at first i was all NOTHING. I HATE FLOWERS AND CRAP.  and then today i texted him, 'hey, remember that thing i once said about not wanting anything for valentine's day? i lied. i want a haircut.'

people dream of this kind of romance.  

it took us ten years to cook it up too, so if you're newly married, don't think you'll get here overnight. be patient.  it takes time.  try to rush it and you'll only be disappointed.


it took me forever to get through those six things.  i breezed through the first five alright, and then gridlock.  you'd think after so many MONTHS of not saying anything i'd be flowing like some sort of free-flowing geyser or something.  (my metaphors are very strong. i know.)

how did i ever come up with six things every week?  

maybe my skills at doing "any unique trick" are waning.  or maybe it's just nap time again.


y'all have a good day, pretty things.

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