Monday, February 28, 2011

Not so Many Adventures in Potty Training

Little Miss was potty trained in 48 hours.

I know some of you right now don't believe me, others are jealous, and others are dying to know my secret. Here's all I got - she's smart, and God is merciful! lol


Here's the deal. I've been dreading potty-training since I was pregnant. It was always this huge, lurking milestone ready to drop on my head like an anvil. It went against every single one of my OCD, Type A, neat-freak tendencies. If there had been a potty training boot camp I could have sent her to like obedience school for dogs, she would have been there, paid up, on the first row.

I put it off for months, taking the slower-is-better approach of putting her on the potty once a day before her nightlty bath, all the while making excuses as to why we couldn't really get started and do it "for real". (my excuses included I wasn't home enough days in a row to give her consistency, my mom who watches her two days a week didn't have the training seat yet for her house, etc. etc. etc.)

As it turns out, maybe those excuses worked in my favor because when I finally bit that bullet, she was READY.

About a week and half ago on Thursday, Little Miss asked me to change her diaper, which she had barely wet, twice in one hour. I finally got fed up and said "here" and stuck her in a pair of slightly lined/padded training panties. NOT PULL-UPS (mothers, hear me! NOT PULLUPS!) Then I held my breath and away we went.

That day we had several "tinkle" accidents. Each time she wet her panties, she'd immediately panic and tell me and run for the potty. AND FINISH GOING IN THE POTTY. I thought that was huge. She could stop going, wait, and finish where she was supposed to. That day, every time she sat on the couch with me, I'd make her sit on a towel just in case. She didn't mind. I got lucky that night, she didn't go #2 until later when she was in a diaper (her last one) because we had gone to Walmart to buy pull-ups. I dodged the poopoo bullet for the first day. Ha!

Second day, much of the same. A few tinkle accidents though not nearly as many. Not even half. I put her on the potty every 1-2 hours despite her occasional protests, and she tinkled every single time. At Walmart the night before, I had bought a Princess calendar to hang in her room and a bunch of stickers. Every time she went in the potty, she got a sticker to put on a calendar page. She was ecstatic about this, and it definitely kept her motivated (but I honestly think she would have been anyway because she did not like having messy panties. At one point she apologized to her panties for getting them wet and making them "sad")

She had a #2 accident Friday night in her training panties, which she didn't like. Again, she stopped when she realized what had happened, called for me, ran to the bathroom, and finished in the potty. Amazing! I was praising God by now for that particular blessing (and yet still gagging as I dealt with the mess)

You know what? That was her last accident. Starting Saturday, I stopped telling her when to go and she started telling me when she needed to, and we've been accident free since. For awhile she wore pull ups when we went out to shop or to church etc. but I stopped that, since she got to the point of willingly telling her nursery workers and her mother's day out teachers that she needed to go. Now she only wears pull-ups to sleep, which is perfectly fine with me. We'll keep that going for a long time, since her waking up dry is usually 50/50. No need to stress either of us over that when she's done so well.

So, my worst nightmare was actually a huge blessing that had me praising God for His mercy. I honestly feel this was something special He did for us, to give us a break.

So, my secrets? Prayer. A smart kid who is READY to train and not being forced to do so too early. Wearing panties instead of pull-ups (though it's messier initially for Mom to deal with, it teaches them so much faster because honestly the pull-ups are still very much like diapers to them in regards to texture and absorbancy) And more prayer. :)

Did I mention praying?

My adventures in potty training turned out to be not so adventurous, and I'm ecstatic. Little Miss has a drawer full of happy Dora panties and a calendar full of stickers, and I have a heart full of gratitude and healthy mommy-pride. :)

Friday, February 25, 2011

And the winner is...

And the winner of Jenny B. Jone's fantastic novel SAVE THE DATE is...

(my Little Miss is doing the big drawing!)



Congrats! Please email me your mailing address privately at and I'll get that book to you ASAP!

Thanks to all who entered! Check back again for more giveaways and book reviews and chats about life, love, toddlers, writing, reading, and a little bit of the in-between ;)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A delicious read...

I'm a big fan of Rachel Hauck's, not only for her as an author, but also for her heart for God. She's a true inspiration and watching her lead worship at the ACFW conferences every year is a real blessing. This is one woman touched by God, who is constantly blessing others through her writing, her singing, and her heart.

So, when I realized I somehow missed Dining With Joy, I had to remedy the situation right away and bought a copy. Having really enjoyed Love Starts with Elle and Sweet Caroline, I couldn't NOT read the next in the Low Country series! And I wasn't disappointed. Rachel's writing is smooth and delightful, her characters real and relatable, her stories intriguing all while not being afraid to dive deep into issues of the heart.

I highly recommend this novel! (and everything else Rachel has ever written)

Here's the blurb:

Joy Ballard has a secret: she’s a cooking show host who can’t really cook.

When her South Carolina-based cooking show, Dining With Joy, is picked up by a major network, Joy Ballard’s world heats up like a lowcountry boil.

Joy needs help. Then she meets chef Luke Davis who moved to Beaufort after losing his Manhattan restaurant. A cook at the Frogmore Cafe, he’s paying debts and longing to regain his reputation in the elite foodie world.

Luke and Joy mix like oil and water…until Joy is exposed on national television. With her career and his reputation both under fire, they’ll have to work together to fix the mess. Is it possible that they can learn to feast on God’s love and dine with joy?

Me again -

How can a story about a chef who can't cook NOT be fantastic? Add a hunky hero who CAN cook, and well, things "heat up" quite nicely ;)

Visit for a backlist and more info on how to order your copy!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

An absolute MUST READ - and I'm giving you the chance....

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Save The Date
Thomas Nelson (February 1, 2011)
Jenny B. Jones

I've been a big fan of Jenny B. Jones ever since the Katie Parker series she did for YA. She's had other successful YA series since but once I read her previous novel "Just Between You and Me" I knew she could write contemporary romance just as well - and still be just as hilarious. :)

I had the honor of meeting Jenny personally at the ACFW conference in Colorado a year and a half or so ago, and she was just as charming and witty in person as she is in her writing and through her characters. She wasn't around to accept her Book of the Year win that night, so her agent read a previously prepared note from her that had everyone in stitches. I've never met a more naturally funny woman in my entire life!

SAVE THE DATE is no exception. Jenny's downright addicting voice shines through her characters and her storyline in ways that have you, the reader, connecting and relating before you even know what hit ya. I laughed so hard I almost peed my pants in one chapter, the next I cried and ran my mascara. Jenny doesn't yank your emotions around though, rather, she takes you through the life of the character in such a way that in a sense, you become the character and feel, sense, live, and love what they do.

Thanks, Jenny, for the journey!


I write Christian fiction with a few giggles, quite a bit of sass, and lots of crazy. My novels include the Katie Parker Production series and So Not Happening. I would also like to take credit for Twilight , but somewhere I think I read you’re not supposed to lie.When I’m not typing my heart out (or checking email), I teach at a super-sized high school in Arkansas.My students are constantly telling me how my teaching changes their lives and turned them away from drugs, gangs, and C-SPAN.Okay, that’s not exactly true.Some facts that are true include:I've always been refined!A. I got my camera confiscated by big boys with guns at the American Embassy in Europe this past summer. O la la!B. I once worked in a seed mill office and cleaned out mice on a regular basis. Ew.C. I’m a former drama teacher.D. I didn’t pass my drivers test the first time. Or the second…E. I attract stray animals like a magnet.F. I used to assemble and test paint ball guns for a local factory...Since my current job leaves me with very little free time, I believe in spending my spare hours in meaningful, intellectual pursuits such as:-watching E! -updating my status on Facebook -catching Will Ferrell on YouTube and -writing my name in the dust on my furnitureI’d love to hear about you, so drop me a note. Or check me out on Facebook.


You’re invited to the engagement of the most unlikely couple of the year. When the funding for Lucy’s non-profit job is pulled, she is determined to find out why. Enter Alex Sinclair, former professional football star and heir of Sinclair Enterprises—the primary donor to Lucy’s Saving Grace organization. Alex Sinclair has it all . . . except for the votes he needs to win his bid for Congress. Both Lucy and Alex have something the other wants. Despite their mutual dislike, Alex makes Lucy a proposition: pose as his fiancĂ©e in return for the money she desperately needs. Bound to a man who isn’t quite what he seems, Lucy finds her heart – and her future – on the line. Save the Date is a spunky romance that will have readers laughing out loud as this dubious pair try to save their careers, their dreams . . . and maybe even a date.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Save The Date, go HERE

Purchase your copy of this don't-miss novel HERE!

AND GUESS WHAT???? I'm giving away a copy!! YAY!!!! To enter the drawing, which will be done Friday the 25th, simply leave a comment to this post telling me why you need a good laugh in your life lately ;) It's a chance to vent AND the chance to win a fantastic novel.

Sign up now!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

A month of love

Finally loading pics from last week!

So Little Miss had a super fun Valentine's Day, as you can see! It lasted about 4 days, since we celebrated in pieces on Friday, Sunday, and Monday. She got cards, candy, stickers, and lots of hugs and kisses from Mama, Dada, Nana, Papa and Mammaw and Pappaw, to name a few. She passed out Snoopy valentines at church and at her mother's day out class, even hand picking which card to give which kid.

And she chose the "be mine" valentine for the class trouble-maker! Oy! lol

Hope you and yours had a lovely "love" holiday! Little Miss got a date with my parents over the weekend while Hubby and I got a date to ourselves. Good times. On actual Valentine's Day Little Miss and I (while Dada worked) took Valentines to friends/family around town. She had a blast!!

We got all dressed up.

I can't believe February is on it's way out! But March is my birthday month so bring it ;)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Clocks and Blessings

I can't believe it's already mid-February!

Usually January drags for me, it's sort of a depressing month. You know? Long, slow, bleak, winter, gray, drab. The days after Christmas and New Years are usually pretty dull. The excitement of the holidays is over and now it's time to eat right and start exercising. Blah =P

But when your family is sick back and forth, you're planning your mother in law's funeral, your husband starts paramedic school, you discover melanoma on your leg and an A-typical mole on your toddler, and your sister moves across country, well, the days tend to fly.

Is time dragging or flying for you so far this year?

I have to admit 2011 got off to a ROUGH start. But I'm counting my blessings today, instead of counting days passing on the calendar. I'm counting that my family is almost well again. My mother in law is resting peacefully with her Savior in heaven now, no longer trapped in a useless body. My sister is adjusting to her new life in west Texas. Me and my daughter are mole free, cancer free and just fine besides mild surface scars. Hubby made a 99 on his recent paramedic test, I'm making significant process on my new YA novel coming out next January, know what? We're employed! Yeah, I'm sooooo not taking that one for granted after 2010!!! =P

What can you count today?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sniff sniff cough cough

I think the entire world is sick.

Seriously, I see it on everyone's Facebook status. Even church attendence Sunday was at an all time low this past week, and the few quiet moments of the sermon were punctuated by a chorus of sniff sniff, cough cough...hack hack...sniff...sneeze... We created a new type of choir!

How are you and yours fairing this flu and cold season?

Little Miss was sick last week, which was an excellent distraction for both of us from the 2 stitches she had in her head from her A-typical mole removal. She's doing much better, now me, Hubby, my mom, and even my sister in El Paso are all sniffy coughy yucky.

Actually, right now I'm googling "home remedies for ear congestion" because I'm that desperate and that determined NOT to pay a doctor co-pay. (for several reasons - don't judge me. I don't hate going to the doctor, but I've shelled out $200+ in co pays for the dermotologist in the past 5 weeks and just spent $30 on Mucinex that I'm going to give a try first, PLUS I don't want to go sit in a waiting room and catch something worse...shudder.)

You do know there is only one reliable solution for a sore throat, don't you??

Ice cream.

And on that note, I hear a Bluebell cookies and cream pop calling me from the freezer ;)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Through a child's eyes...

It's been over a week now since the funeral of my mother in law. Hard to believe! Seems like yesterday. We didn't tell Little Miss much about it, since she didn't know her Mimi well because of the long distance, and also because Little Miss was only 11 months at the time of the accident. Little Miss just knows pictures and knows "Mimi gave her" a special toy from the hope chest we took from her house a year ago.

She saw Mimi one night at the nursing home, 24 hours before Mimi's passing, for about ten minutes. We told Little Miss later that Mimi had gone to heaven where God lived, way up in the sky. It was a one time mention over a week again.


Two nights ago, Little Miss and I arrived home in the late evening after dinner out with my parents. We were walking up the walk to the front porch, stars pinpricking the velvet night sky. I pointed out the stars like I always do (gotta love country life!) and told Little Miss that God made the stars, again, like I always do.

Usually she looks up and says "Yeah! God made those." Or something in agreement along those lines.

But this night...

She craned her neck back, head tilted up, and beamed that precious childlike grin of delight at the sky. She stared for a long moment and said with excitement "Mama! Mimi's up there!!!!"

I almost cried. It was so childlike, so innocent, so sweet. She probably remembered us telling her that Mimi lived waaaay up in the sky where God lived in heaven.

But you know what? I honestly wouldn't be surprised if she really saw a glimpse of her Mimi among the stars. I also wouldn't be surprised if Mimi got to see her in that moment too. I don't know how all that works in Heaven or what God allows but I have a feeling. :) Regardless of what happened, it was beautiful.

May we all have such faith like a child!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Blessings in the dark...

The past few weeks has been very off routine for us with everything we've had going on with my mother in law, the funeral, the snow/ice closing roads, me not being able to work, etc. Not to mention my sister's move to El Paso, my parents driving cross country with her to help her settle in, and all the drama Little Miss and I have had with the dermotologist. (Ps - my stitches are out, my wound is healing, I'm investing in $15 scar cream that says to apply 3-4 times DAILY!!! and so far so good...but its just this funky mark on my leg I doubt will ever go away completely. Oy.)

My Little Miss is like her mama and thrives on routine. She's used to having a schedule, used to a concept of normal, used to seeing her nana 2-3 times a week, etc. Instead this week has been a blur of babysitters and Mama gone more than usual, then all of a sudden Mama AND Dada home more than usual, but no Nana's house and no getting out and about because of the weather. It's enough to throw her into more tantrums than usual, and enough to have her suddenly clingy to me at bedtime and naptime.

We've never done the co-sleeping thing. When she was very little we'd nap sitting up together in the chair, and we shared a bed on vacation in Gulf Shores last September because it was the only option, etc. But she's always been happy and content in her bed (crib) in her room and that's been something we've stayed firm about.

But because of the upheaval, every time I've gone to put Little Miss in her bed this week for nap or bedtime, she cries, sobs, wails, begs me to stay, uses creative stall tactics, the works. "Don't leave mama", "mama I need you", "mama I wanna sleep in your bed". It's really hard to stay firm but I refuse to start a bad sleeping habit at age 2 1/2 when we've made it thus far so successfully!

So I decided to get creative too. The other day I started telling Little Miss that if she felt alone or scared in her room, she could talk to God and that God was always there. She knows God from prior conversations, from church, from us talking about God making the moon and stars, from bedtime prayers, etc. So she understood. But she didn't get why she couldn't see God. She kept asking if He was hiding. I said no, God was there, she just had to talk to him even though she couldn't see him. She thought about that a while, but we kept struggling to make it clear. Finally, I said "well why don't you pretend that you can see God and talk to Him that way?"

She shook her head with such force her hair bounced. "Noooooooo! I don't want a pretend God! I want a real God!!!!!!"


I just sat back and stared at her, eyes wide, my heart heavy and suddenly light all at once. How true is that? How many times had I cried the same thing silently in the dark? I WANT A REAL GOD! I've wanted a God I could see better, trust more, hear more clearly. I wanted a God to fix it, heal it, ease it, erase it. I wanted a God I could understand. A "real" God.

But then that would mean He wasn't the real God at all.

My definition of real had somehow started easing, in the midst of tragedy, toward fake.

Sometimes its easy to let our faith play pretend, to go through the motions of make believe without fully participating. I committed right there in her room that I was going to focus on the REAL God and quit doubting, quit lamenting, quit whining, quit trying to understand. Quit trying to expect God to be something He wasn't.

Because He's SO much more.

After gathering myself, I quickly assured Little Miss that God is very, very much real. And in that moment I FELT the truth of that statement more than I had in a long time...

Blessings in the dark.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Snow Day Shenanigans

These are some pics from our snow day last Friday!

As you can see Little Miss had a blast and we all had a nice morning outside, free of the drama and heaviness of the past week. Much needed! :)

Friday, February 04, 2011

Snow Day!

It's a snow day today. We have several inches of accumulated snow and ice! This is rare for us in North Louisiana :)

I woke Little Miss up at 8:30 and while the snow was still falling we bundled up and played outside with Da-Da for awhile! She immediately flopped down and made snow angels and then chased me with snow/ice balls. haha. She was waddling from her many layers. (and made me put on her clean shoes because her dirty outside shoes were leaving muddy tracks in the snow - not acceptable! Yes, somehow I am raising a diva) ;)

Now we're inside by a roaring fire, coloring and eating apple turnovers. Not a bad way to spend a Friday!

Happy Snow Day!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Larkspur Cove by Lisa Wingate

I haven't finished this novel yet (been a hectic week as you all know for my family) but so far I am enjoying it. It was very different for me, since the most recent Lisa Wingate books I've read were her Daily, Texas series which were romantic comedy, heavy on the comedy! This novel by Lisa is still beautifully written as always and intriguing, but at times very heavy.

Probably my personal mood from my own family's crisis these past weeks are making it seem heavier than it might for someone else. But I'm not quite halfway through the story and I have high hopes for a happy ending ;)

Lisa's penchant for detail gives this story a beating heart of reality. I love her writing style! I recommend this story already, and hope to finish it in a few days.

Here's the back cover:

Adventure is the last thing on Andrea Henderson's mind when she moves to Moses Lake. After surviving the worst year of her life, she's struggling to build a new life for herself and her son as a social worker. Perhaps in doing a job that makes a difference, she can find some sense of purpose and solace in her shattered faith. For new Moses Lake game warden Mart McClendon, finding a sense of purpose in life isn't an issue. He took the job to get out of southwest Texas and the constant reminders of a tragedy for which he can't forgive himself. But when a little girl is seen with the town recluse, Mart and Andrea are drawn together in the search for her identity. The little girl offers them both a new chance at redemption and hope--and may bring them closer than either ever planned.

About Lisa:
Lisa Wingate is a popular inspirational speaker, magazine columnist, and national bestselling author of several books, including Tending Roses, Talk of the Town, Drenched a Thousand Voices, and A Month of Summer. Her work was recently honored by the Americans for More Civility for promoting greater kindness and civility in American life. Lisa and her family live near Waco, Texas
Purchase your copy of this heartfelt read HERE!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Of funerals and snowstorms

"I hope the limo driver didn't see me in my underwear."

That's a direct quote from my hubby the morning of his mother's funeral. I'm pretty sure in Heaven, she was cracking up as hard as I was. Leave it to her son, my husband... :)
The morning started out rough. I set my alarm for 7:00 am and thankfully woke up at 6:58 as the power went out. It was storming something fierce. I begged God to turn the power back on. I had to get dressed, we were already running a little late, and I couldn't go to a funeral with wet hair. The power came on, I praised God, and ran around getting dressed quickly as the storm continued to rage. I pleaded with God to next stop the storm. My grandma was coming out to our house to watch Little Miss for us, and that was going to be strange enough for her, much less with the threat of thunder outside. (Little Miss is terrified of thunder!) I finished drying my hair, turned the hairdryer off and voila - the lights went back out.
"Really, God?? Really? Today?" I was stressed.
Hubby got up and tried to get the generator going to give my grandma and little miss power to watch and tv and keep the fridge cool, etc. He couldn't get it going for awhile, and kept running outside in various stages of dress to try next tactics (hence the opening line to this blog)
I meanwhile was in my closet, reading outloud from Matthew where Jesus calmed the storm. I figured I'd try everything I could! Slowly the storms subsibed, thank you Lord, and hubby got the generator to work (though he could have flashed the limo driver at some point in the process)
We finally left, just a little bedraggled and only ten minutes late.
We got to the service early enough, thankfully, and the rest of the morning remains a blur of hugs, love, tears, sobs, music, encouragement, and hope. Everything was done so beautifully, the flowers were gorgeous, the music perfect, the testimony from my MIL's best friend lovely, the mini sermon from our pastor so encouraging and heartfelt.
The day before the funeral, Hubby had gone with our music minister to the church and recorded himself singing "Praise You In This Storm" by Casting Crowns. Hubby's song was then played during the service (the same song he sang to his mother in her last hours) and I think I used every tissue in the place. So touching. Not a dry eye.
And it even snowed at the gravesite :)
I wore a dress and a thin sweater wrap and wow, it was cold. But it still seemed appropriate. There were many jokes and teary laughter about "leave it to Cindy to have this done on the day it suddenly and shockingly drops 30 degrees in an hour" :) She'd have liked that. She's gotta go out with some drama...
I think it was all a success.

Here are some pictures I took of the visitation of the flower arrangements and some special touches. I wish I had pictures of other special moments but some things are too sacred to mar with film.
This first arrangement one was sent to us by our SS class at church and made by a sweet friend with super crafty talent. I love the butterflies incorporated and the bird on the stand. Flowers and animals - that was SO my mother in law. The other one with the purple flowers is the one my Little Miss "sent" to her Mimi. All the grandkids "sent one" even though they're young. I thought that was a special touch and great idea my sister in law and her aunt had. The third flower arrangement is a beautiful one my grandparents sent to the funeral home. I love the purple. So cheerful!
The picture of the boots are my MIL's boots that she wore the day of the accident. They didn't leave my husband's truck from that day until 19 months later, the night of the visitation...