This is My "Real" Blog: September 2006

Angie's Blog!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

And now it's the 30th. . .

Alternate title: "Hey, Mom. . . look what I can do!"

We dug out Edison's old Little Tikes slide from under the house. After some serious elbow grease and T.L.C. by Daddy, the slide was again ready for action. It only took a few times for Caroline to get used to the idea of going down the slide after being "plopped" onto the top by Daddy or Big Brother.




But, today (Saturday) after I got home from work, Mark says to me, "Look what she can do now. . " and the rest is history. My daughter can climb UP the slide, sit down without falling on her head, wait for a "ready, set, GO!" and slide down her slide. By herself, ya'll. This is BIG stuff!!!!





The 30th. . . it's a good day!

Friday, September 29, 2006

the 29th

Caroline was born on April 29. We learned, just after we scheduled her C-section. . . well, it was really my C-section, that her birthday was going to coincide with our friends Pete C. & Brittany L. And more importantly, she would share a birthday with Dale Earnhardt (senior). Where we come from, that's big news. But, the 29th was to be the day.

Five months later, we were awaiting a phone call from Vanderbilt Children's Hospital (VCH) confirming a date for her open heart surgery. They chose September 29. Again, with the 29th.

Here it is the 29th of September -- two years later. In on sense, it feels like only yesterday. In another, I think I've lived a lifetime in those two years.

I have done a couple of digital layouts of Caroline's time at VCH. In my "regular" scrapbooks, I have six or seven pages dedicated to our time in Nashville.

Part of me would like to chronicle the whole day for you. Another part of me just wants to quietly reflect with the layouts, and let the pictures tell the story for me. I don't suppose I have to tell you it was a difficult day. It was an emotional day. It was a scary day. But, most of all -- it was a LONG day!

After her surgery was complete, the surgeon came in and told us that she had come through the surgery just fine. She said that we could go see her -- we assumed -- right then. We waited a few minutes, shared a brief prayer - and went upstairs to the 5th floor. We would become very familiar with the 5th floor.

Unfortunately, the girl at the desk buzzed us in about 45 minutes before we should have gone in there. Caroline looked pretty rugged, and I was quickly instructed to get the heck out of there, and come back after an hour or so. I obliged, ate dinner, and came back. When I did, this is sort of what we saw.

These pictures were actually taken 2-3 days after surgery. Those first couple of days are rough. In fact, there was one day, I believe the 2nd, where she was so swollen, you really couldn't recognize her. But, it was still my baby girl.

The staff at VCH is phenomenal. They are caring, dedicated individuals who treat every patient as if they were their own children. We ended up staying in the PCCU (Pediatric Critical Care Unit) for a full 19 days, rather than the 4-5 we had been told to expect. Caroline's heart was damaged during the surgery, and she would require a pacemaker. She still has a little disk in her tummy - kind of reminds you of a scrapbooker's tape runner.


The journaling on that one is hard to read. I have printed the lyrics to an old Steven Curtis Chapman song, "As I look back on the road I've traveled, I see so many times He's carried me through; And if there's one thing that I've learned in my life, My Redeemer is faithful and true. Everything He has promised, he will do. Every morning His mercies are new. My Redeemer is faithful and true."

During her stay, we listened to her Praise Baby DVD over and over and over. The songs, "I Could Sing of Your Love Forever," and "Wonderful, Merciful Savior" will forever remind me of those days in the PCCU. However, it was the song I sang to her that will forever be Caroline's Song. It is a song called, "I Will Sing" by Don Moen. I didn't have an original available to listen to, so I just sang the chorus over and over to her. And you know me, A/R musician that I am -- I sang it in tune & rhythm with her heart monitor. The pitch of the monitor, actually, fits quite nicely in my alto range. It's one of those "when life gives you lemonade" kind of things.


That's where I'll leave you for today. For those of you who have known, loved, and supported us through the past couple of years, we thank you more than words can say. For my newer friends, welcome to my little world. This is where and why and how my heart beats. Thanks for enduring my longest post yet. You all are awesome!!

Oh. . . and. . .Happy 29th!!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

And the word for today is. . . .


Yep, the princess has bronchitis! Not fun to spell. Not fun to have. Not fun to treat. But, we at least have a diagnosis, a bottle of antibiotics, and our late-night sleeping hours back to ourselves.

It feels like ages since I've blogged, and it probably hasn't been that long . . .but I feel the need to update on various stories. So, here goes:

* Edison played in the football game on Tuesday night. He played in the 4th quarter - they were winning - and he played three series of plays. . . defense, then offense, then defense. We're very proud of him. He may not have HOURS of playing time under his (ahem) belt, but he's learning the value of being part of a team, and working together. So, we are pleased and proud.

* Our family is getting all ready for the Buddy Walk, which will take place here on October 8. We set a family goal of raising $2,000 this year. We are over halfway there. That's very exciting. Our church is walking in honor of Caroline, as well. They have a team of over 130 people, and they've raised over $1,500. This is going to be an exciting walk. And yes, there WILL be pictures a plenty on the blog after we're done.

* Although we haven't seen the actual report card yet, Edison seems to have "skated right through" his first six weeks of school. He loves middle school--and his teachers are really wonderful.

* I haven't had any time to post any new layouts that I've done. Primarily because I haven't had time to DO any layouts since Caroline became sick the other day. I am planning on getting something done in the next couple of days. Tomorrow especially. . .

And that's where I want to leave things today. Tomorrow is the 2-year anniversary of Caroline's open heart surgery at Vanderbilt. I'm hoping to find a couple of digital pics tonight, and scrap a page or two reflecting on the road we've traveled. It's not been easy, but it's been good. She is such a gift. She's our treasure. She's sent straight from the Hands of God.

. . .and as I type, the treasure straight from the hand of God is avoiding her afternoon nap. It may be time for "Mommy Intervention" to get her to sleep.

There will obviously be more tomorrow. Fair warning: bring your kleenex, because I know I'll be needing them tomorrow. Until then. . . .

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Ridin' the Media Train

. . .but I think the train's just about to pull into the station for the last time. Our local paper just came out with this week's edtion, and they featured a story about Caroline on the front page. The owners/editors are friends of ours from church -- but I firmly believe they would have run the article even without the "connection."

I was asked to write the article to go with the picture of Caroline being featured on Times Square for Down Syndrome Awareness month being kicked off in New York. It was hard to write the article in the third person, but I feel like I did allright.

Mark's cousin Karen and her husband, Andrew drove from Philly to New Jersey - and then took the train into the city, so that they could see Caroline's picture. Unfortunately, taking a picture of a jumbotron is like taking a picture of a computer monitor or TV screen. The pictures they got were fragmented--but we could tell it was Caroline and Jan on the screen. . .and that's all that mattered.

Our local paper took the pictures from Karen & Andrew, and photoshopped in the original picture we submitted. Pretty doggone amazing.

Then tonight, my dear, sweet, and too-talented friend Melany photoshopped the picture into the jumbotron AND photoshopped in Caroline's name on the scrolling LCD screen. She even photoshopped in an ad for Pediasure to replace the Budweiser ad that was originally there on a different version. That Melany is way too cool for school!

So, here's what it looked like on September 17 on Times Square. Of course, the picture is missing the hundreds of Ds families who were there to celebrate our amazing children. And, missing is the photo of our family watching Caroline on the big screen.

. . . but we'll be there next year -- count on it!

Sunday, September 24, 2006


I got a little more digi-scrapping done today. I had hoped to do some "regular" scrapping, but it didn't happen. I'll probably have more to post - but if not, here's a couple new offerings.

I said in the comments about this layout that I'm not really that big a fan of "You Raise Me Up," and I can't explain why. The boy has a beautiful voice, and the song is nice. It just doesn't move me to tears, goosebumps, or even dry heaves like other songs do. Give me a good "I Can Only Imagine" (MercyMe) or "Blessed" (Elton John) and I'm toast. BUT, for this picture of Caroline and Mark, it just seemed so appropriate.

Last fall, we came home from church on one of those Sundays where the sky was clear, and the air had a slight chill to it. We had been given some of the coolest (oddest) shaped gourds and pumpkins. I took the opportunity to take some pics of the kids. Sadly, this is the only picture where they're not squinting from staring into the sun. Sure, it burns their retinas, but it was for a picture. Come on people, you'd do the same thing in a heartbeat!

Here's a last-minute addition I just finished. I'm sleepy. I leave you with our bathing beauty. . . until next time!!!!


Saturday, September 23, 2006

Scrappin' Again!

Yes, I finally got back to some digital scrapping. 3 layouts of the Princess. . .and a recipe that I promised. You will never make an easier beef stew than this one. Originally called "Stayabed Stew," but I call it EASY!!!


Friday, September 22, 2006

A Light in the Window

Years back, Steven Curtis Chapman recorded a song. He's a Christian music artist who writes most of the songs he records. Great guy. Very talented. But I digress (that happens a lot).

Way back in the late 80s, his debut album included a song called, "Do They Know?" the overall theme of the song is irrelevant. However, there's a phrase in it that has always stuck with me.

"A vacant house comes alive
When somebody moves inside
A light in the window
Means someone's home."

For some reason, I love that line about the light in the window indicating that someone is home, which leads me to a quirky confession:

I love being at home in the afternoon and having to turn on a light.
And it has to be a table lamp or a floor lamp -- not the overhead light.

As I type, it's rainy and cloudy outside. It's only about 65 degrees, so it's kinda cool. And, my living room light is on. There's something heartwarming about that light being on -- even though most days, it wouldn't be on. . . .I said it was quirky. I can't explain it.

I don't know if it has something to do with all those blustery midwestern afternoons that I walked home from school Maybe I saw lights on in homes as I walked. I don't know if it's a security issue. I don't know. . .maybe I'm just weird. But, there's something very comforting to me, to be in a home where there's a light on in the middle of the afternoon.

And, don't get me started about driving down the road and seeing peoples' lights on in the afternoon. . . especially their living room windows, where the curtains are partially open, but not fully open. I just get this warm, cozy feeling--especially when the table lamp is sitting on a table in front of the living room window.

A couple of notes:

NO. . . I don't go looking in peoples' windows.

YES. . .I'm just as much of a freak over having Christmas tree lights on in the late afternoon. Especially when we do the "time change" thing, and it gets dark in the late afternoon.

Okay, there's your peek into the bizarre psyche of Angie. I warned you, it's a quirky thing about me. I will always offer you the truth--albeit odd at times. You have my word.

Well, that's about it for now. Weather update: the sun may be peeking out. Bummer.

. . .oh, and yes, I DID watch The Office last night. I'm sure inquiring minds wanted to know. Was I upset? A little. I realized that the Michael character is an idiot. Were the writers trying to make a point? Maybe.

I still like the show.

I was just (quietly) disappointed.

But then, that's me.


Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Entry I Wish I Didn't Have to Make

I'm sad. I have been disappointed by the entertainment world again. But this time, it's more personal than ever. Tonight, while watching Steve Carell on the Tonight Show, I was saddened to see a preview of tomorrow night's season premiere of The Office. I've already blogged about how much I am looking forward to tomorrow night's episode. I really am looking forward to the episode, but it won't be the same.

The sneak peek incuded Michael using the word "retard" and the word "retarded." You can imagine where my heart fell. . . .straight to the floor.

What is it going to take? When will people realize that using that term in a derrogatory manner -- even in jest -- is wrong?

What's my response? Right now, it's quiet reflection, prayer, and gentle reminders.

On Sunday night, a new friend used the word in my presence. She knows my family, and loves Caroline very much. She described a situation where she did something foolish, and referred to herself as being "retarded." Shockwaves went through my entire being as she said it - but I couldn't say anything at the moment. I just listened to the rest of her story, and laughed at the (truly) funny parts.

I chose not to confront the issue for two reasons. 1) I was exhausted, and 2) I knew that I'd end up in tears. I told myself that I would let some time pass, and talk to her when I had slept some. To my shock and utter surprise, she had her husband turn the car around--JUST to apologize.

Of course, I wound up in tears anyway. As I hugged her, my body was absolutely shaking with sobs. God did the work for me! I didn't have to confront her--she was in tune enough with the Holy Spirit to realize what was going on. God is so good to us sometimes!

The next day, when I saw her husband at work, I asked him if I had scared her. He just laughed and said that she didn't say anything except that she was glad they had turned around. Me too.

But that was Sunday. . . and this is Thursday. What will I do? I will probably watch the show, and die a little inside.

But, it needs to stop. Now.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Another fan of Fall!

If you are tired of all the people who are RAVING about how much they love autumn, you need to just click on another blog. Because, yes, I am going to extol the virtues of fall.

I love bright, clear mornings where the sun is shining, the sky is blue, and when you exhale - you can see it! Granted, I haven't had many of those mornings since moving to Tennessee--fall is beautiful, but not cold enough. But, when I lived in Chicago, some of the most glorious mornings were spent outside my little cherry red Toyota Tercel, watching my breath disappear into the gleam of the bright sun which was offset by a blue sky.

Okay, I'm done waxing poetic. But, I really do love autumn, and I'm not just saying that for blog purposes.

Part of what I love the most is something I say while blushing. I love new TV show premieres. I am desperately waiting to see what happens on The Office with Jim and Pam. Will they get together? And, what about Dwight and Angela? Will they emerge as a couple. How much do I *love* that show?! And on CSI. . .will we see more of Grissom and Sarah together? How weird was that season finale?! Needless to say, we won't answer the phone on Thursday night at our house!

But, everywhere you look--blogs, catalog descriptions, Letterman's monologue, and newspaper articles--everyone is talking about the sights, smells, and delights of fall. I do love me some pumpkin bread. I love making beef stew in the crockpot, and baking bread on cool mornings. I love apple cider--especially caramel apple cider at Starbuck's. (Which is heaven for folks like me who despise coffee!)

So, join me in celebrating this season of cinnamon, cloves, warm stew, burnt orange plaid and gingham quilts, and crackling bonfires. I'll be with you -- if nothing else -- in spirit!

Oh, and an update. . . Caroline's first day at the new sitter's house today was phenomenal. When I picked her up, Steph (the sitter) and her little girl and Caroline were coming through the yard in the wagon - after having played on the trampoline. It's a 6-minute drive home, and Caroline was unable to keep her eyes open for the drive. She took a three hour nap!

I am one very happy mom! Thanks for good wishes on our behalf. We'll see what next week holds.

Just When You Think. . .

. . .go ahead, finish the sentence. I'd be very interested to read your responses. For me, it's the old, "Just when you think it's safe to step. . . " Reminds me of the classic thriller movies that were so prevalent in the 80s.

I survived my weekend. Enjoyed the big program at church for which I was responsible. Lots of hard work. Lots of great team members. Lots of hungry people. Lots of sore muscles. But, always worth it.

Arrived home. Bed? Nope. Had to watch football. . .checked the computer. . .Edison's science project needed "oohing" and "ahhing" before bed. Talked to Dad on the phone. He's home from the hospital. I eventually made it to bed. Once I got in, Caroline started to cough.

You know. . .THAT cough. The one that says, "Mom, this is more than just allergies." "Mom, you'd better take me to the doctor." "Mom, I need to be upright to sleep."

Thankfully, my better half (in so many ways) let me rest, and spent half the night up with the Princess. She eventually came and slept on my right arm while he took the middle-schooler to school. But, as soon as he was home, she wanted breakfast and wanted no part of snuggling with Mommy.

I took a shower, called Mother's Day Out, and called the doctor. Appointment set. Time to call into work.

I took her to the doctor. She's fine. Slight upper respiratory infection. Not contagious. No medicine prescribed. In other words, there was no point in going. But, my wonderful pediatrician did NOT talk down to me. Instead, he went over her full file (not a small feat) and really rejoiced with her ability to walk across the exam room with no assistance. You gotta love a good pediatrician!

So, we came home without stopping at the pharmacy. She napped. I worked. Baked a cake. Cooked chicken. The usual.

Tomorrow? We're going to the sitter's house. It's a new sitter, but she's one of my favorite people. Caroline will get to spend the morning with Gretta. All will be good.

So. . .now I think that it's safe for me to . . . . .

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Postcards from the Edge

Sorry for the lapse in time between posts. Not only are we enduring one of the craziest weeks on record--I have been hit by the step-sister of Montezuma's Revenge. I am sore beyond words from yakking yesterday, and then spending 12 hours off and on the "loo" (for all my British friends). And yes, I did say "yakking" in a blog post. WOW. So, after spending nearly 18 hours in bed, I think I may be on the other side of illness.

Because of that, I'll be brief. . .just a few updates:

*Please be thinking/praying for my sweet dad. He's in the hospital doing his best to pass a kidney stone. The doctors have "gone in" and tried to assist in the process. I would love to be up there with him, but at this point, me walking into a hospital is probably one of the worst ideas since the inception of "New Coke."

*Please note that I know DIDDLY about html. I want so desperately to link blogs, add photos, and channel Bill Gates through my blog. But alas, all you've seen and read -- other than these two posts -- is the work of my dear, sweet, wonderful, HTML-savvy friend, Melany. And, she's so humble--she didn't even link her OWN blog on mine. (Silly girl!)

So, there you have it. I'm back - but moving slowly. I am thrilled that you all have visited and even left comments. I will try to do better. But for now, my couch is calling me back to a little "nap-let" while re-runs of the Cosby show entertain me.

Friday, September 15, 2006

TV Interview With Caroline **NEW LINK**

The following video can be watched (Melany says so) by clicking on the "play" button (maybe twice) and being very patient. Remember, it's a HUUUUUUUUGE file. . .but oh, so worth it!

**If you can't get it to work in this window, click HERE to see it directly on Youtube.**

Thursday, September 14, 2006

My First Post

Yes - this is it! I officially have a "real" blog. For the past two or three months, I have enjoyed what I call a "quasi" blog at

It is easy to post, easy to edit, and all I did was answer a few simple login questions, and "presto" it existed. Suddenly, tonight, while talking to Melany on IM - I get this link to a blog that has my beautiful kids' pictures in the header, and papers and elements from my favorite digital scrapbooking designer. What could be better?!?

. . .well the fact that Melany did all this for me, that's what!

So, here it is - my REAL blog. Enjoy. I don't promise Walden-esque essays. Nor do I profess to write poetry like Maya Angelou. I'm just me. Simple. Uncomplicated (ha!). Blessed.

Give me time to get used to having a "real" blog, and it may turn into a real work of art. But for now, please enjoy my ramblings. Most will be about my kids, family, friends, or random thoughts. If you enter with an open mind and medium to low expectations, you shoud have a good time.

Melany - my friend - where would I be without you? Probably still posting on a "quasi" blog at a very friendly place. But, you have done it again--you have totally flabbergasted me.

Now, how do I save this thing? I want to go play web sudoku!!!