Jude Landry Store

Friday, December 30, 2011

Our Christmas Angel(s)

Jude and I, sans Joan and Charlotte (more on that later), arrived back to our home in Starkville this evening. Despite the slight chill in the house from being without heat for the past week and a half, our hearts are warm.

The stack of mail that our landlords collected for us contained a thick red envelope with no return address. Inside? Three Visa gift cards totaling $225.

We're a bit stunned, but mostly humbled, that someone (or more than one) thought about us this Christmas season and shared their blessings.

Immediately, we start to wonder who might've done this for us and look for clues, but to no avail. And as we verbally list everyone who it might be, we realize a great thing. There are several people in our lives that are generous and charitable, supportive and loving and it could be any of them - we recognize that our gift is not only the money, but the sheer number of people in our lives that bring us great joy, when so many others go everyday, literally or figuratively, with no one.

Was it you? Is our Christmas Angel reading right now?

If so, thank you.
Thank you for sacrificing, for giving - and for doing it so humbly. You are an example for all, especially us. And it is in that same spirit that we share your gift with someone close by who recently lost their home in a fire, days before their husband was deployed again. So you bless not just us, but those who need it more.

May God be generous to you, as you were to us,
and may His ever-loving presence be with you always.

P.S. You have cute handwriting.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

This is your Christmas Card...

We won't be mailing cards out this year, but that doesn't mean we don't have adorable Christmas photos for your viewing pleasure. Here's a sneak peak of what you'll find when you go to the entire Facebook album:

(Thanks for helping us get this shot, Amy!)

Thanks for the adorable Christmas outfits, Tootsie and Big Poppa!

Can you see Joan's rosy, tear-filled face?

Charlotte just looks skeptical.

We wanted to shake up our store-bought gingerbread house kit, so we made it into a manger scene. I wonder if the Church would consider adding yellow sprinkles to the host, because Baby Jesus was pretty yummy. (That's a Catholic joke. I hope it doesn't offend anyone. Especially Catholics...)

We took that other photo first because I was sure it was going to cave in in a few seconds. I was wrong, the stable supported a few more gumdrops.

This was supposed to be a picture of our first "snow" of the year, but, we live in MS...

I hope you can hear Charlotte singing. It's so hard to catch her. Turn up your speakers.

This is Joan's first pre-school performance.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Verbatim (The second one of the day...)

"I love you, Momma."
"I love you, too, and I'll always be in your heart - (pointing) right there."
"In my breast?"


"Joan, your friend is Catholic, too."
"Oh, is me Catholic?"
"Yeah, that's where we go to church."
"Ohhh... I know what you're talkin' about - we're holy."

"Oatmeal is soft... like... fluffy pillows."

"Thank you, Momma."
"Oh you're welcome - such sweet manners, it makes my heart smile."
"That's a miracle!"

"I smell popcorn in the air..."

"Momma, when are we moving?"
"Oh, we're not moving. Our house is just right and we'll probably be in it a long time."
"Well, maybe we can just paint it or something. Maybe pink and purple."

"Ok, Joan, do you need to go Pee pee?"
"Nope. And Charlotte already pooped, so we're ready to go."

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

It's nice being able to go back to last year on the blog and see how we celebrated this day back then. Today was not as elaborate, but still it was special.

The girls colored their Mary images and now she's hanging above their heads, with fluffy clouds this time around.

And now the babies are asleep and Joan's watching her Bernadette movie. Have a great Feast Day!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

St. Nick's Day!

(Yes, it's only 10:40 am and I'm already posting. But I've got to go to "work" in a few minutes so this'll be fast.)

This morning, we found our resident "Elfie" hanging from Joan's stocking. He must've helped old St. Nicholas put chocolates and toothbrushes in the girls' stockings (kind of hypocritical if you ask me).

Design your own toothbrush, best. gift. ever.

Apparently, Elfie tip-toed into the bathroom and stole Charlotte's 
gently used toothbrush and put it back in her stocking. 

Aren't these pj's that Nanny Chloe and Art got the girls adorable!

We quickly got dressed and honored St. Nick by bringing our gifts for the poor to church - our second year in a row, so technically it's a tradition now.

St. Nicholas, Pray for us.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Making things makes life better: Repurposing Momma's clothes

We got some much needed babysitting services this weekend, and here's what I did...

This was one of my dresses that I only wore twice. Now it'll get more use. And I've done a dress like this before, but here's the tutorial if you need it again.

This was an old maternity sweater repurposed into a sweater dress. I used this link as a loose guide.

Also done while kid-free that day: 
Driving somewhere, getting out of the car, shutting my door, and walking away. (If you have 1+ kids, you know what a blessing this is.)

Eating an entire meal without cutting up baby bites, saying, "take a bite," or almost cussing because someone knocked over the drink again, and carrying on an uninterrupted conversation with my husband.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I don't even know what to type here.

We got bad news today.

The bank denied our buyer's offer on the house. If you remember, we were going the short sale route and asking the bank to accept an offer below the amount of our loan, hoping that the value loss of our home and our incredible hardship history would be enough for them to forgive our debt. Well the amount we were asking them to accept is actually $20,000 too low. Our buyers are walking away and now our realtor is trying to find investors who might be interested in buying a rental property.

It makes decorating the tree with ornaments like these, a little less enjoyable. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Let me just catch you up to speed.

I'm thankful that Thanksgiving is over. But only the part involving a puking, whining 1.5 year old. And in case you were wondering, yes, regurgitating strawberry yogurt 6 times over a 6 hour car ride is as terrible as you'd imagine. Did you know that nightmares can have smells? Charlotte seemed to get better and then sick again over our vacation (someone obviously didn't get her the memo) and now that we're home we've had no puking sessions, but just as much whining. Trust me, the whining is better. (Sarah, we'll talk about sweet Evelyn tomorrow.) By the way, crushed garlic with olive oil rubbed on the feet of sick children should be right up there with, but still below, Holy Water.

Speaking of sweet Evelyn, we've been taking care of her for almost a month (I say we because Jude has been so involved when he gets home and Joan's been so helpful, too) and it's been going great. She really is an easy baby and my days aren't nearly as stressful as I anticipated. I hope it continues to go so well because it's been a great arrangement so far.

Joan's excited about the Christmas season and is currently watching Charlie "Brownie."

I guess this is old news, but did you hear Demi and Ashton are getting a divorce? I was really erked when I saw an article entitled, "How Strong Women Dump Their Misbehaving Men: Demi Moore's Powerful Statement." What bothers me about this and so many other high profile marriages ending the same way is how the media describes the woman (or man) who leaves as strong and it implies that the one who stayed is weak. Let's be honest, it must take a strong person to get through that type of betrayal either way, but doesn't it seem like it might take an even stronger person to forgive and faithfully honor the vows they made even when their spouse didn't? And I'm sure lots of factors come in to play when people are choosing how to move forward, like abuse, the presence of children, the nature of the betrayal, the unwillingness of the spouse to be faithful, etc., but when spouses choose to forgive and honor their commitment, I don't think they're weak. Do you? Think of all of the wives of politicians who've stood by their husbands at press conferences, only to be labeled by the world as weak, stuck because the're financially dependent, or easily manipulated, while women like Jenny Sanford, South Carolina's former first lady, are applauded and cheered. Shame on us.

Sorry, guess that turned into a soap box shpeel. But in other news... I have a new best friend. My pocket calculator. Since moving to a cash-envelope system for groceries and toiletries, I get to the cashier with exact change before they tell me the total. I love the look on their faces.

You know when musicians on TV say that they've been singing since before they could talk? Do you roll your eyes, too? Well, I won't be doing that anymore because we've got proof. Charlotte, who barely says anything (especially words you specifically request) is constantly singing, humming, and making melody. It's a pretty cute sight and if I could ever sneak a video of her, I'll prove it.

Getting your phone out of a guitar's hole is pretty difficult, but putting it in is quite easy. Ask Charlotte.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Making things make life better: Baby Carriers

I made these doll carriers for the girls for Christmas. I would link to a tutorial, but I just kind of winged it. Charlotte's carrier (the one without pink...) was made first and should be a bit taller. I might add a piece at the bottom to lengthen it. But either way, I think they'll like 'em.

Oh, and Charlotte might not be wearing it properly, so real baby-wearing mamas, please don't jump on my case... ;)

Yes, I just used an emoticon. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Making things make life better.

Meet Evelyn. She's the sweet little red-head that I take care of everyday.

She's turning one on Monday and since I'm off next week, she got her birthday present today.

I repurposed one of Jude's old sweaters into a hat with ears.

I think she likes it.

And because it would be a crime to hide all that red hair under a cap...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Why do I feel this way?

*Mom, I know you'll be reading this, so please don't take offense.

Anyone who knows my mom, knows she goes above and beyond what most people would expect of her. She's generous, selfless, and seemingly numb to sacrifice. We're talking the I'll drive 7 hours on Monday to babysit while you go to dinner and drive 7 hours home on Tuesday kind of generous.

Sometimes I feel like I'm taking advantage of her willingness.

Sometimes I feel like I'm giving her the greatest gift, accepting that willingness.

Sometimes I feel like a neglectful parent, letting my 1.5 year old spend the night somewhere else for a week or so, and enjoying that time away from them.

Sometimes I feel like a confident parent, raising a perfectly secure 1.5 year old that can thrive under someone else's supervision for several nights.

We trust my parents, we trust Jude's parents. We know that when our children are with them, they are being treating with love and surrounded by safety and they honor our parental wishes (most of the time - chocolate before dinner? I don't want to know.). But for whatever reason, this internal dialogue is going on.

Maybe it's because I can often remember spending the week at my grandmother's house in the summer, but Jude never did. But, he lived in the same town as his and saw them often. Mine lived in other cities. Maybe it's because I don't know many friends who send their kids away overnight. Even my sister is hesitant to send her children to MS with my parents when they're coming for a visit. Maybe it's because I'm a well-adjusted product of parents that both worked and utilized daycares and babysitters, but now I'm a full-time mother responsible for the large majority of the caregiving.

It seems like my gut is saying, "It's fine. You love your children and are comfortable with the people they're staying with - what's the problem?" And my all-to-aware self-consciousness is saying, "But they don't do it, they don't do it. They're your kids - you should be taking care of them."

I don't really know what I'm looking for here - someone to affirm my gut or lists reasons why they agree with the opposite. Just typing it all out has already helped a little. But feel free to chime in on the discussion. I'll try not to worry too much about what everyone else is doing, although it sure would be nice to hear, "Oh, Alisha, you're not a terrible mother," from someone else besides my gut. Though, she's usually right...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Nothing worth sharing

Jude and I are going to see The Avett Brothers play for free tonight in Starkville. And particularly on this Veteran's Day, certain lines from their song, "Murder in the City," speak to the incredible sacrifice so many military families have made for the safety and comfort of my own. In case you don't want to listen to the whole song, the beautiful lines:

Make sure my sister knows I loved her
Make sure my mother knows the same
Always remember, there is nothing worth sharing
Like the love that let us share our name

A "thank you" seems lacking.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Everyday, I'm so thankful that these girls have each other.

To see more photos like this, click here!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Verbatim. One of the sweetest.

"Momma, I want freckles all over my body."
"You do? Why?"
"So I can be a mommy."
"You don't have to have freckles to be a mommy. Do you still want them?"
"Because I love you."

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I'm glad that's over.

I'm so glad to be done with Halloween. You know you've gone to too many costume-wearing events when you've had to wash the costumes at least once before real trick-or-treating even begins. It started with the Pumpkin Palooza event downtown (you've already seen those photos here), followed by costume day for Joan's class, a Saturday Halloween party for the entire school, Trunk-or-Treat at St. Joseph's, costume day at the library, and finally the real trick-or-treating.

Halloween shouldn't be this big of a deal. Next year won't be for the Landry's. Promise.

But still, these photos sure are cute, huh? (You have to click "photos," remember...)

Sauteing sucks.

Why can't I do what should be the most simple kitchen task (other than boiling water), sauteing?!

Too much butter or oil? Too little?

Too high of a flame? Too low?

Cooking too long? Too short?

What's the deal, people! Send me your suggestions on how to successfully saute onions and such before cooking. Why do I keep ending up with crunchy and sometimes crispy ones? And give me specifics.

And Kristi, if you're reading, I tried really hard - for like 30 minutes on low heat - to get those veggies soft. I hope they're ok...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy All Saints Day!

This day was a little low-key for us because it was my first day taking care of a friend's little girl full-time. But we made sure to get some halo donuts this morning before Pop left for work.

Before Evelyn came over, I cut Joan's hair short - you know, like St. Joan of Arc probably had it (minus the bow, of course).

(Yes, she's holding a bag of Whoppers. 
How do you think I was able to cut 3 inches off in a straight line...)

For night prayer, we lit four candles for our deceased family members, friends, clergy, and those forgotten and we watched this short litany of the saints video that Bonnie posted on our tv (a nice feature of having our computer connected to it). Joan just loved all of the images and by the end of the song, she finally started singing, "Pray for us."

I'm not really sure what's planned for tomorrow. Maybe something will come by Divine Inspiration.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

My Sweet Cloth Diapers,

What has become of us? We used to be so in love. Remember when we were gonna change the world - make it a better place? What happened?

I know I messed up with the Desitin in the very beginning, but I was young and naive. I thought you had forgiven me. Why do you keep punishing me with your stench and leakiness? Can't we just get past it?

I don't know what else to do to show you that I'm in it for the long run. I've tried, and tried, and tried. The ever changing detergents, experimental washing routines, Dawn stripping sessions for countless hours, and intense scrubbing baths have done us no good. Remember when I even tried to spice it up with calgon and vinegar, you didn't even notice.

I'm not saying we're over. I still want it to work. But you have to meet me half way - you've got to do your part. I think we should just take some time and think about things, maybe see other people for a while.

But I'm serious, if we decide to try it again, and you don't straighten up, you're gone and you can be someone else's problem. I'll talk to you next week. Don't try calling.



Friday, October 28, 2011


I don't really have a great St. Jude Feast Day sort of post because all we did was go bowling and eat pizza per the request of our very own special resident, Jude. But we all know it's almost a hopeless cause to try to break a 100 when you let your 1 and 3 year olds push a pink 8 pounder down the ramp. Even more so when you forget to ask for bumper pads...

"Momma, what's this?"
"That's a credit card."
"Aw. Is it broken?"
"No, we cut it up."
"Why did you do that?"
"Because we don't want to use it anymore to buy stuff. We want to use our real money - like from the piggy bank."
"Oh, ok... I'll take your money, then."
"Don't worry. You already do."

"Look, Charlotte! It's the light of America, the Sun!"

"Mom, when they're ready for me, I can go to high school. Is that cool?"
"Yeah, Joan. But I don't know if high school will ever really be ready for you."

"Do you know how boo-boos can come off? They come off in a few weeks."

"I said hi to the cat, but he didn't answer me because I'm in the car and cats can't talk."

"Momma, there's not gonna be any 'thank yous' today."
"What do you mean? Why not?"
"Because Charlotte's never gonna learn."

"Joan, please pick up all of these colors."
"But I can't. With all my heart, I can't."

"I'm the new queen of America. Nice to meet you, y'all."

"Oh, Joan - your toenail polish looks pretty. Papa did a good job. But he didn't paint your fingernails?"
"He did. I just licked them off."

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cautiously Optimistic

That's what we are right now.

We received an offer on the house Tuesday (the 4th one we've accepted), and for a while I was thinking that we'd keep it to ourselves in the hopes of keeping our emotional roller coaster in idle, just in case things went sour.

But we realize that your care, concern, prayers, and encouragement have been such a vital part of our sanity (or lack thereof at times), and we'd like for you to keep it up in the very near future - unless of course this is all too much for you. You are free to hop off at any time... the loan, after all, is not in your name.

So yeah. This is the beginning of what could be the end. But first, we have lots of paper work, hardship letters, financial statements, and other dead trees to fill out. It could be a few months of all of this and then a big fat, NO! 

And so we remain, cautiously optimistic.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Just another evening with Those Landrys.

Look familiar?

Honestly, this sort of stuff happens every night without my prompting. It's very easy to "catch" this Papa in such a moment.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Making things make life better.

Wee-Wee Wigwams for my friend who had her first baby boy after three little girls.

It makes me want to change a boy's diaper.

A tail gating dress for little Liza

I desperately wanted this comforter for the playroom and I shuffled around money in my haircutting budget to pay for it. (One of Jude's design students cut my hair for free this month.)
I found it at Dirt Cheap (a crazy weird, and messy discount store) and there was only one for a twin mattress. I cut off the sides of the original khaki bedspread and sewed it to my new one to widen it for our double bed. Voila! 

And just in time for cold, fall weather... a bright, cheerful, ruffled apron dress for Joan. I guess that's what long-sleeved undershirts and tights are for...

I had lots of issues with this dress and this little tie in the back was the best and most feasible solution. I'm calling it done, even though it's not exactly what I envisioned. 

Ruffles were meant for twirls, right?

The tutorial for the wee-wee wigwams and the inspiration for the ruffled dress were found on my go-to repurposing blog, Make It and Love It.