This is My "Real" Blog: October 2007

Angie's Blog!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Star is Born

Yes, that is my daughter. Singing Karaoke. It was just a matter of time. Actually, today was all about the pumpkins. That's right, it's the Great Pumpkin!

I have to say, Halloween is not my favorite holiday. In fact, if you break down the word origin of the word, "holiday" to be a derivitave of "holy day," Halloween definitely falls outside the realm of all things holy. But, as a dutiful citizen of the planet, and wanting to be a "cool mom" while maintaining my spirituality (ha!), we participated in a Halloween Alternative at church tonight.

The teenagers did a "Disco Lounge." We were especially impressed with Jenna's white go-go boots. They're regular boots that are completely engulfed in white duct tape. Necessity truly *is* the mother of invention!

This year's event was called "Door 2 Door," and it really was a lot of fun. Different groups (small groups, Sunday School classes, etc.) decorated rooms in the church. The themes varied from "Down on the Farm" to a Hawaiian Luau, to the "Karaoke" lounge. (The last was the room that my choir sponsored.)

This is my (insane) boss and his wife. Bob & Sue Berry have to be two of the coolest people in the ministry. For some reason, Sue is willing to dress up for as many of these crazy events as we come up with. Always with a smile on her face--and willing to help with all the details. (I asked where the coconut bras were. . . .Bob actually brought one, but it stayed under the table). Phew!

The Karaoke Lounge was a big hit. We had glitter, lights, and music. Everyone loved it. . .the teenage kids, the middle-school kids, and the younger kids. . . uh yes, mine included.

Caroline didn't actually *sing* in the microphone, but toward the end of the evening, she started talking into it. It was amazing to see those little wheels in her head start to turn, as she figured the whole thing out.

Melissa, our church administrator, greeted guests in the office area. She gave glow-in-the-dark bracelets to everyone. Caroline was more interested in the candy. (Can't see where she gets that from!)

Of course, there was face-painting. . . Ruth and Ginger do it very well. We didn't attempt it. We could barely get Caroline to sit still to sing "This Little Light of Mine" so face painting had to wait for another year.

This was the "Farm" room which included this great barn. Lots of families used it as a photo spot.

Mike, one of the guys in my choir, brought his guitar for the Karaoke Lounge. It came in handy when kids wanted to sing the national anthem. . . .no, I mean "Rocky Top." In Tennessee, that *is* the national anthem. Caroline just liked strumming while he played chords.

All in all, it was a great evening. I'm pooped, but that's allright. It was safe. It was clean. It was wholesome. It was outreach. You can't beat that. . .can you??


Who Needs a Crystal Ball. . .?

When you come home to see this. . . .

. . .you know your daughter is going to be a hairdresser, right?!
Thanks for a memorable evening, Grandma!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Return to Sender. . . ?

On Friday, a package arrived in the mail from Wisconsin. We were very excited to receive this package. Inside was a doll which was hand-made by our friend Joni (Yummers). Joni and I have become friends through our mutual interest in scrapbooking. . . but it's become so much more than that.

I'm not sure what happened in this second picture--but Caroline decided to really put on the "pout," a skill that she has honed into an artform.

Shortly after opening the package, she decided to "re-pack" it. . .baby and all. Then, as you can see. . . she decided to send herself back to Wisconsin.

Return to sender maybe??? I don't think so.
Thanks Joni, we love the baby!!
Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 26, 2007

A Mother Knows. . .

We've all said it. "Mother's Intuition" gets a lot of high marks around here. There's just that sense when the house is too quiet. . . or the door suddenly closes . . .or you hear that splash. . . and you know that your presence is needed in another portion of the house.

Mark and I have walked a very fine line the past 3-4 days with Child #1. We're having a hard time knowing what is genuine fatigue, pain, distress, etc., and what is exaggerated. The mounting piles of homework have only multiplied the stress level around here. He doesn't seem nearly as stressed about the homework as we are, but I suppose that's natural.

But yesterday morning, knowing that he was still hurting, but according to the textbook should be on the upswing. . . .I lost it. That's right. I lost it. One hour after taking a mega-dose of Tylenol, he was sitting on his bed, watching "A Pup Named Scooby-Doo."

sidenote: I never liked that show. I love the original Scooby-Doo. I love when Velma says, "Jinkies." I love when the old man (wearing the rubber mask) is revealed and talks about how he would have gotten away with his crime if it weren't for those "pesky kids." I even liked the episodes where they mysteriously met up with the Harlem Globetrotters. I love Scrappy-Doo, Scooby's nephew. And, Scooby's cousin who is a bit, uh. . . . dim? Hilarious. But, the "young" version, when Scooby is a puppy? Not so much.

Sorry for that digression.

Anyway, I went into E's room. . .found him watching an annoying cartoon. . .and I lost it. I reminded him of the time he's wasted watching mind-numbing TV (SpongeBob fits in this category). I also brought to light the fact that over the past week and a half, we had purchased many, many, many items for him to eat. . . .and he's touched NONE of them. I pointed out the fact that when he goes back to school on Monday, he'll be given a couple more days' worth of makeup work--and the work for Monday. I also pointed out the fact that I knew what it felt like to recover from surgery. And yes, I pointed out the fact that my surgery included an incision and his didn't.

Yep. I went there. It probably wasn't fair.

I told him that the TV was not to come on again yesterday. He was to work on homework, and when he got tired from doing that, he was to take a nap (something else we've recommended that he hasn't done).

Yeah, I lost it. But, it worked. I turned in two envelopes of school work when I went into "town" to pick up Caroline. The school secretary was dully impressed and pleased that he's been so fastidious. I guess it was when I rolled my eyes at her that she realized I needed a hug. I told her that we would gratefully be sending him back to school on Monday. I think, if he's honest, he's looking forward to going back, too.

Anyway, back to my point. . . a mom knows. I knew. . . .and my mom knew.

Mom called yesterday, and offered to keep the kids either last night or tonight -- because she could sense that Mark and I needed a break in a big, bad way. We opted for last night. Wow.

What a difference four hours can make. We went out to dinner at a place that could (almost) become a favorite for me. Green Hills Grille. Fun food, nice atmosphere -- except for the meeting that was taking place in a semi-secluded room adjacent to the dining area where we were seated. There was the loudest woman I've ever heard in that room. She laughed loudly. And, apparently Tyler Perry or Billy Crystal. . .or you fill in the comedian blank. . . .was in there with her, because she never stopped laughing. The couple next to us asked the waitress to close the ineffective sliding doors just before we did.

Dinner was delightful. My favorite part was the salad I chose. . . . Granny Smith Blue Cheese Salad. . . .Mixed greens with thinly-sliced granny smith apples, blue cheese (TONS of it), spiced pecans, and a blue-cheese vinaigrette. Oh my word. It was the bomb. The Reuben sandwich was the SOTD (sandwich of the day). It was good. The bread was a bit too wet for me. . .and if you know me, you know that's not a good thing. But, it was still an enjoyable dinner.

Because we were dining on gift certificates we'd won at the Buddy Walk Silent Auction, we opted for dessert too -- splitting a Creme Brulee. OH MY GRAVY. I love creme brulee. This was very good. Washing it down with a cold Diet Coke was a bit odd, but it was fabulous, nonetheless.

The neatest part of the night was the fact that this restaurant, unbeknownst to us, was having a fundraiser for Breast Cancer. The entire wait staff had voluntarily agreed to sacrifice all their tips and gratuities for the Susan G. Komen foundation. We left a hefty tip. Neat night.

After dinner, we went on the hunt for our new entertainment center. We found it. Mark's going to purchase it tomorrow. While looking for that, we also found our new computer hutch. It coordinates well with the E.C. -- which is good, because they will be about 10 feet from each other.

They will, hopefully, be delivered and installed before our family descends from places west and north for Edison's birthday and Thanksgiving.

We rounded out our evening by going to Target. We don't have a Target here in our part of town -- so whenever we are near one, and need things, I gravitate there because I love it so much. Found some fun trinkets for a care package that's heading north. Also found new PJs for the girl, and a few new long-sleeve shirts. Our one ceremonial bag of H-ween candy was purchased, as well. We're going to be at church, so I doubt we'll see many trick-or-treaters.

Just a good night all around. Today's Friday. I have lots of work (real work) to do today. I also have two kids at home. I don't know what type of score I'll get for effectiveness, but I'm going to try. We have rediscovered the bliss of Caroline taking a nap in the afternoon, so I have that to look forward to, as well.

Happy Friday!!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Promise of a New Day

No more sorrow.

There will be days that are a bit "cloudy" but for now, I'm rejoicing because of victory.

The promise of today was the fact that I had super-planned it down to the minute. You see, I love when an intricate plan comes together. . .and I'm willing to laugh when those plans fall apart all around you in a matter of minutes.

I was going to take Caroline to Parent's Day Out, with Edison in tow. We were going to visit his school, and pick up the necessary textbooks for the homework he's been given. (He also wanted to visit his friends) Then, I was going to attend a staff meeting at church this morning, again with Edison tagging along. (He was going to do homework in my office) After my meeting, we were going to pop by the grocery store and pick up bread, milk, Pull-ups, and some more raspberry sherbet (it's really good). Then, Edison and I were going to come home and enjoy a quiet morning and early afternoon. I even got up and ironed a "real" shirt and had put on khakis--I was looking good.


Edison woke up with sore ears, and an achy jaw and throat. We were told to expect Days #3 & #7 to be bad days. Day #3 (Saturday) was a bad day for Edison.

This is Day #7.

So. . .

  • Mark took Caroline to Parent's Day Out
  • Mark took the garbage to the dump.
  • Mark went to work.
  • I called into work, and excused myself from my meeting.
  • Edison is still in his pajamas.
  • Edison has taken a dose of pain medicine.
  • I'm going to change out of my "work clothes" and put on my sweats.
  • We're going to enjoy the quiet morning. . . all morning long.

And yes, I still need to go to the grocery store. Edison's textbooks still need to be picked up.
But for now, I have a son who still needs his mom. I'm kinda cool with that today.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


There are people in this life that you know you will never matter how much time passes.

I will never forget Mrs. Kampenkel, my 2nd grade teacher. This sweet lady was the quintessential "old lady teacher." Seriously. I suspect she was younger than I think. But in my mind's eye, she had to have been 80 years old -- and she taught a class full of 2nd graders back in 19. . . (We won't go there) There was nothing extraordinary about her--except for the fact that she was a more "seasoned" teacher, and we were 2nd graders. Seriously, ya'll. . .spend some time with 19 or 20 second graders. You'll see what I mean.

I will never forget Mrs. Wells, my first piano teacher. She taught in her basement. Her kitchen -- you had to walk past its entrance to get to her basement steps -- was always a mess. But, she always had dinner in the oven. I don't know how many piano and organ students she had, but the 1-block walk to her house, and the half-hour spent in her music room each week was always so special for me. She understood me. She knew that although I could read music, I could feel it. She let me feel it. She let me express it. That's a gift.

I will never forget Lily Mae Sample. I worked with her at my first job--the Zondervan Family Bookstore in the Lincoln Mall. She was one of the coolest ladies I have ever known. She worked days, and occasional evenings. I worked evenings and Saturdays. We really enjoyed the times we got to work together. She was an avid fan of Grace Livingston Hill books. She had read them all. She loved cardinals. She had grandchildren that she loved and doted over. She was a widow--and talked about her husband, George, every day. She worried about me as I went off to college. She even sent me letters while I was away. She died while I was away at school. I was home on break when she died.

I will never forget Becky Jones. She attended our church (here) about 8 years ago. Becky had the most exhuberant spirit when it came to worship. She danced. She danced to our worship songs. It wasn't obnoxious. It wasn't for show. She was praising God in her own way--and it touched hearts. It freaked a few people out, too, admittedly. But, it changed my view of worship. Becky died just a couple of years after coming to our church. I remember the morning she died. It was a Sunday. We were in the middle of our worship service--suddenly, Sue, our pastor's wife, walked up to the podium, and handed Bob a note. We all knew what the note said. Becky had been ushered to heaven while we were singing. And, I truly believe that as she ascended to heaven, she was able to hear us. I really believe that.

Tonight, another unforgettable friend received her heavenly reward. Beverly Zoppa was another one of those people who just couldn't sit down when she worshipped. She danced. She swayed. She lifted her hands in absolute surrender and worship. It was so beautiful. It was so heartfelt. It was so moving. . . . and now, she's doing it around the throne. She's not bound by a body racked with cancer. She's not in pain. She has no fear. She has no concerns about the temporary (meaningless) things of this world. She is with Jesus.

Tonight, at choir practice, we sang this really cool song. . ."I'm Not Ashamed" which has this awesome carribbean feel to it. We are scheduled to sing it in a couple weeks, so I was really pushing them to get it right tonight. Sometime in between our first run-through and the third (which winded us all) Mom called Dad's phone with the news that Bev had died.

We stopped practice immediately, and prayed. I'm not sure how I did it. . .but I led in prayer. I'm not one of those people who can cry and do anything else at the same time. But tonight, just for a few minutes, I kept it together long enough to pray. Then, we went back to practice. I did allright--although a couple of times, I nearly lost it as we sang.

Beverly is survived by a devoted husband, Dave, and a daughter and son. She has two grandchildren--one is in Caroline's Sunday School class. She is also going to be memorialized by a church family that loves her very, very much. We will miss her more than we will ever realize. But, tonight we're celebrating with her.

So, I'm remembering some unforgettable ladies tonight. I have more. I could write volumes about my grandmothers, and some of the women I knew growing up. But, I'm done typing for the night. I am ready for a little down time. . . there's a book to read, some more sewing to do, or some other "non-computer" activity that will occupy my hands and mind while my heart hurts.

Monday, October 22, 2007

It Wouldn't Be So Bad. . .

. . . but yesterday morning, our youth led the worship services. They did a good job. Really, they did.

But, the morning started out so "crappily" as Tim, our youth minister, gave a challenge by pulling the pocket change from his pants pocket. He pointed out the intricate designs of some of the state quarters. Then, he mentioned a nickel that he found. It was minted in 1964. As he spoke, he mentioned the fact that he was born in 1982, so something minted in '64 seems kind of old to him. He repeatedly emphasized that this particular nickel had been around for 43 years.

What had it accomplished in 43 years?
43 years is really a long time--or short, depending on your age.

Yeah, I was born in 1964. What do you want to make of it?

And, all that wouldn't be so bad. . .but today I had to go to Walgreen's. I could have pretended that the only reason I was going to Wally's place was that I was picking up some Burt's Bees hand salve for Mark. But, that wouldn't be completely accurate.

I was buying glasses. Reading glasses.

That's right. I'm finding it increasingly difficult to thread needles.

Check your pockets--the proof is right in there!

Friday, October 19, 2007

I Believe He'd Like a Bell. . . .

. . .but that's NOT gonna happen. Last week, Edison suggested that we get him a bell that he could ring after his surgery. You know, in case he needed us, and we weren't immediately at his side. Yeah. . . that sounds like me, doesn't it?

Then, on Monday, he asked me to go to the store and get him an individual-sized whiteboard. You know, with the (expensive) dry erase markers. So that he could write notes to us when he needed something. I reminded him of this amazing invention



Suddenly, he's Al Gore, III (without the DUI) because he claims to be a tree-hugger, and wanted the whiteboard.

I reminded him that I am a republican.
Republicans use paper.
Oh my gravy.

This is testing my "God-given quotient of mommy-sympathy." Of course, all this time, I find myself running interference when Caroline goes into his room. She wants to make sure that he's covered with a sheet AND comforter, and that those two (sheet & comforter) are wrinkle-free.

There's just a bit of OCD in these precious ones with an extra #21. I plan to make it part of her lifepath, by harnessing that tendency for good, not evil. But for now, it's cracking us up. Unless, of course, we're trying to get her to eat a cup of Jell-O pudding, and the whole lid didn't peel off, and she just CANNOTEATTHATPUDDINGUNTILTHELABELISCOMPLETELYREMOVED!!

Yeah, I'm living the dream these days. Between my wannabe bell-ringer and my comforter-straigntening daughter. . . this is a dream, baby!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

We're Home

He's snoring.
I was told to expect it.

Acc. to the doctor, the adenoids and tonsils were QUITE enlarged. He said the adenoids were actually growing into the sinus cavities. (eeeewwwww!)

He has his DVD player running with the movie "Rudy" (thanks Nana & Papa) and his watermelon slush from Sonic at his bedside (thanks, Grandpa!)

Caroline's at Kroger with Mark picking up pain medication (thanks, Dr. Little) and I'm eating a slice of pumpkin pie.

. . .What?! I deserve it after the day I've had.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

You Know You're Nearing Extinction When. . . .

. . .your middle-schooler has to help you order at Starbucks. Yes, Laura, that's right.

I took Edison throught he drive-thru at our new Starbucks. Seymour, TN - three traffic lights. . .four pizza joints. . .three fried chicken places (not counting the grocery stores) and a Starbucks.

Edison is having his tonsils & adenoids removed tomorrow morning. As you read this, please say a little prayer for him, and for us. This is totally minor in comparison to other surgeries we've allowed to happen on our children in the past, but it's still surgery. And, he's still my son.

To help him "cope" with the tension, I took him to Starbucks. He ordered a "Grande Double Chocolate Chip Frappuccino" which to me is a chocolate chip shake. (a very expensive chocolate chip shake) I opted for this.
This, my dear friends, is a "Tall Orange Creme Frappuccino" or, in my world, heaven through a straw. If you're a fan of dreamsicles, this is the drink for you. Bring your ATM card, or some sort of collateral. It's worth it.
No, it's not low fat.
No, it's not caffeinated.
No, there's nothing "chai" about it.
It was like the orange shakes they used to serve at McDonalds. It took me back to the ice cream truck that came through my neighborhood as a child.
That's right, for a mere $9 (I tipped the guy) I was able to make my child's day, and reminisce about 25-cent frozen confections.

Bloggin' on the Job

That's right. I'm sitting at my desk. I should be working. Tonight's song service isn't going to plan itself, now, is it?

But, I couldn't help but comment on the fact that I enjoy this "finetune" thing (music player) on my blog oh, so much!

This morning, I was greeted by "Aubrey" by Bread. I love that song. That was followed by my all-time favorite AM radio song, "Hello, It's Me" by Todd Rundgren. I'm serious. This song takes me back to spring and summer days when all I had was a little transistor radio. I just love that song!

Then, it was "Ventura Highway." You can seriously do some harmonies (if your office door is closed) to that song. . ."Alligator lizards in the air. . . in the air. . ." Then it went to Boz Scaggs' "Heart of Mine" which I've blogged about before. I think I'm sentimental over that song because I played it over and over and over after a breakup in college. He also has a unique voice, and there's just something about that song.

Just before I switched over to blog this, Steely Dan's "Josie" had begun. Of course, I navigated away from that window to write this, so I'm not sure what will be there when I go back. But, it's such a cool thing to have my favorite songs playing - - in random order - - and not have to deal with obnoxious "Williams Door Company" commercials every five minutes.

Wait a minute. . . I want an mp3 player. A good one.

Mark. . . . are you reading?
I think I just answered your question from this morning!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


. . .is what happens when the Buddy Walk is behind me. I was able to get a layout done tonight. I took the kids outside and took some great pictures of them. This was my favorite.

I'll post others later. It was just fun to digi-scrap again. This is with a new kit from Christina Sturmaggio (Henry's mom). The kit is called "Grandmere's Etagere" and it's very, very pretty.

Hope you enjoy the layout!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Tired. . .EDITED!!

doesn't even come close. But, it was a great day!! Mark is still downtown, packing up the stuff from the walk. He has the camera. When it comes home with him, I will try to describe our day in pictures.

Our local news was there--and Caroline not only looked into the camera---she tried to hug it. (seriously) So, she might get news coverage -- the up close and personal kind. I reek of hot dog liquid smell. . . and a little sweat. . . and just a hint of Lysol disinfecting wipes. So, I'm going to go clean up, and wait for Grandma & Grandpa to bring Little Miss Celebrity home to us.

Until later, I leave you with a HUGE debt of gratitude for your love and support and good wishes for this year's walk. It was a day and a half!

Edited. . .to add this exciting stuff:

Caroline indeed *was* on TV tonight. Here's the link to our local NBC affiliate's website. I believe the link takes you directly to the video. Not only do you see Caroline about 2/3 of the way through, but one of our dearest friends' son, Sam, is the cute 4-year old waving during the walk. [He has on a Caroline "bib" on his shirt!] Oh, and you wanted pictures? Okay. . .here you go. . .
At first, we thought that we forgot Caroline's "walking" shoes, so she paraded around in her dressy shoes. (Daddy had them in his bag)

I don't know what someone (Mom) had said to me to cause this reaction. Maybe that there was a news crew around the corner. Regardless, you get this crazy face from me.

This is "Caroline's Crew" (minus a handful of people who came later). We had 124 walkers, by the most recent count. And, Marsha (our team leader) turned in over $3,000 today. Mark and I have not yet turned in our collection, so Caroline's Crew will raise well over $4,000 again this year. Thanks so much! Here are a few more pics:

Again, with the faces. I *know* Caroline wasn't thrilled with RM - even when we tried to tell her that he is the source of all things "Chicken & Fry Fry." Didn't help. But, my reaction is probably scarier to her than seeing the big man in Red & Yellow.

Oh, did I fail to mention. . .? Uncle Steve & Aunt Bettie "dropped in" on their way back to Ohio. That was, for me, the highlight of the day. Totally cool.

This little guy - emphasis on the word "little" was introduced as the youngest attendee with Down syndrome. He's two weeks old.

Mind you, when Caroline was 2 weeks old, I could barely walk -- much less appear in public. But, I'm proud of him--and his mommy--for getting involved and charged up at such an early age. We also met a mom and baby (4 weeks old). She said that the hospital gave her *no* information about Down syndrome--but she heard about our walk. With tears in my eyes, I turned to walk away from her (concession stand business) with my hand on her arm and said, "You are NOT alone. We are here for you."

Such courage. Such excitement. Such promise. My heart is full, and my back is sunburned. Thanks for walking this journey with us. (yeah, there will be more pictures. . .I promise!)


Saturday, October 13, 2007

Bit by Bit. . .Little by Little

As I type this morning, Caroline is watching "The Wiggles" and they're singing the song, "Bit by Bit." I love that song. I don't know if I like it so much because it is reminiscent of the songs of my youth, or just the message that it conveys.

"Bit by bit. . .little by little
Block by block we're building it up
We're constructing a TV set
And you can help us build it, too."

Of course, now they're singing the "Vegetable Soup" song. So, the mood is gone. Sigh.

I guess I love that imagery. . .bit by bit. . .little by little. Most change in our lives happens in small chunks -- but over time, those little bits add up to some big change. I have really lost my vigor in losing weight. I've tried, but sadly I have let the demands of my life (family, work, civic responsibilities, etc.) take over. When I get overworked or overstressed, I reach for food.

I'm ready for things to settle down enough to get back on track. So, maybe after tomorrow (D-Day) I'll be able to pull myself back together.

That's right--24 hours from now, I'll be on Market Square, helping get ready for the Buddy Walk. I am very excited about the prospect. I think it's going to be a great year. The weather is supposed to be excellent - high in the upper 70s. You can't ask for better.

Please, pray for us. Pray for strength, endurance, patience, and long-suffering.

You might also stick a little prayer in there for Edison. He experienced his first "Lock-In" at the church last night. We dropped him off at 6 p.m., and picked him up at 9 a.m. this morning. In that 15-hour stretch. . .no sleep. He gave me a quick synopsis of the night/morning and all the fun they had. Then, he got in bed. It's been absolutely still since then!

Have a great Saturday! I hope you'll have a chance to enjoy the beauty of creation--and get a chance to rest a bit. There's a NASCAR race on tonight, so I'm especially excited. I hated the idea of missing the race tomorrow because of the Buddy Walk. (*But, I would have done it without complaining) My favorite - Jeff Burton - won the Busch race last night. That was fun to watch.

Oh, and I tried a new show that I think I could really like. It's on ABC . . .called "Women's Murder Club" and is based on some of James Patterson's characters. I liked the first episode. There's also a new show coming, "Samantha Who" with Christina Appelgate. . .it looks funny. I'll keep you posted. . .I know you're on the edge of your computer chairs!

Happy Saturday!!

Friday, October 12, 2007

48 Hours - EDITED!!!

. . .and no, I'm not referencing the news show. . . or the Eddie Murphy movie(s). I just looked at the clock on the lower RH corner of the screen, and realized that in 48 hours, we'll be cranking up the Buddy Walk.

I will be glad when it's over. And I say that, fully acknowledging that I am *not* one of the coordinators of this year's walk. I am, however, pretty well entrenched in it. Case in point: the errands that I have intended to run all day today (since 9 a.m.) have not happened. They won't happen. I even ordered something online to prevent having to go shopping.


This has been an especially stressful week in the other arenas of my life. Things at work (church) were somewhat distressed earlier in the week. Feelings and relationships have been restored, but it's never easy when there is conflict. It's amazing how much that can invade your entire life--even when you try and "leave it at the office."

Edison is beginning to get nervous about his surgery next week. I have to admit, I'm going to get nervous as it gets closer. But right now, there are so many other things demanding my time and attention, I can't allow myself to think about it just yet.

In other (more happy) news, I am pleased to transcribe a letter that went out to the other parents of children at Caroline's Mother's Day Out program. The entire program is collecting dimes for Caroline--"Dimes for Down Syndrome" to support her in the Buddy Walk. This letter came from the director. I guess, in sharing it, I hope to show you the impact that one little life can make on others' lives. I'm obviously very proud of this little girl--and look forward to what she will accomplish on this earth. I think we're getting an inkling here. . . .

"Dear Parents,

Many of you may know a special little girl we affectionately call "Baby Caroline" in Ms. Lyndsey's room. She is a bubbly, loving, and downright cute little girl who also happens to have Down Syndrome. Her parents, Angie and Mark Aubrey, are very involved in the Down Syndrome Awareness Group of East Tennessee. This group is in charge of the "Buddy Walk" held each year in the fall to raise funds for their organization. Last year, Caroline had a team of 132 people walking in her honor, and raised over $4,000! This year we would like to help her exceed this amount. The Parent's Day Out Program will be sponsoring a "Dimes for Down Syndrome" drive. This will involve collecting your dimes (at home) from October 1st - October 12th. We will then bring them in for collection to PDO on Friday, October 12. This is a small way to make a huge impact on the lives of families affected by Down sydrome. Please take the time to support "Baby Caroline" by hanging onto your pocket change and donating your dimes. Thank you all so much for being so loving and caring to one of our precious children! Be sure to check out the Buddy Walk flyer on the calendar in the hall -- Caroline is the little superstar featured this year!

Blessings. . . "

And, it's signed by the director. The cool part? Not only did Ms. Erin send this letter to all the PDO families, she also created a bulletin insert for their entire Church and asked their church to support Caroline as well. (And that has worked, too!)

Yeah, I got a little "verklempt" as I typed that. I mean, I love this girl to the moon and back -- but it's so awesome to see one of her little communities rally around her -- and love her just as much.

When you think you can't make a difference because you're not a good speaker, or you're too shy, or you can't write letters, or you think you aren't pretty (handsome) enough to make an impact. . . remember that every one of us can make a difference. It may be a drop in the huge bucket of humanity--but it's one more drop than they had before you got brave!

Now, I've got to get over to PDO and pick up the dimes! Actually, I just called them -- and they're having them counted and changed into REAL money before I get there. Phew!

Edited. . .to add: I just got back from her school. They collected $176 for the Buddy Walk. This is amazing, everyone! When I got there, Miss Susan's class (preschool age) wanted "Baby Caroline" to come for a visit. We took her in there, and as I thanked these precious children, of course, I cried. God is so good!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Can't Believe I Didn't Mention

. . . that you are welcome to show up at the Knoxville Buddy Walk.

1-4 p.m. - Market Square, Downtown Knoxville
The walk itself begins at 2:30 - and it is more of a symbolic walk -- we're not doing a 5K or anything!

Activities include:

  • Dance performance by the Sunshine Ambassadors - a local dance troupe made up entirely of children and teenagers with Down syndrome.
  • Our guest emcee is Bill Williams, former co-anchor of the Channel 10 News (WBIR).
  • Kids' Fun Zone. . . .face-painting, crafts, popcorn, cotton candy.
  • Silent Auction. . . . including a HUGE basket of scrapbooking supplies (I helped with that one).

. . . and of course, the chance to hob-nob with Caroline.

Who could ask for anything more?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A Shameless Plug

I have to apologize for not blogging for the past couple of days. (It's been since Saturday) Between some external/internal stresses at work, and the upcoming Buddy Walk on Sunday, I have just been overwhelmed to the point of not blogging.

But, I wanted to put something out on here about the Buddy Walk. I know, I've talked and written about it many times. But just today, an old friend called because they had heard about our family walking--and about Caroline. They asked for online giving options, and I was more than happy to share them.

So, here we go. And please know that I don't have any expectations of you. I just want to share the opportunity.

Beth has continued to update Caroline's story - as I have written it. That took up a significant portion of my Saturday. It was a great emotional exercise for me. Here's the link.

Speaking of links. . . .

DSAG - will get you to our support group's website. Once there, you click on "Buddy Walk" at the top of the page. On the left hand column of the Buddy Walk page is an icon for "" which will take you to an online donation site. At, you can make a donation for DSAG and it will go directly to us. If you do, please make the donation in the name of "Caroline Aubrey" so that we'll get notification. If you also reference my e-mail address (shccangie@yahoo(dot)com) I'll receive an email. (The things I've learned. . . .)

Thanks for at least checking out the sites. We appreciate all the love and support of our friends and family who are taking this awesome journey with us and a charming little girl named Caroline.

Saturday, October 06, 2007


First of all. . . happy Saturday!

I could write a lot today -- because so much has happened, but quite honestly, my fingers are exhausted from writing the completely updated (but seriously needing to be edited) version of Caroline's story. It's available on Caroline's page that her "Aunt" Beth has created for her. (Notice I didn't say "Great" Aunt? That comment got me in trouble)

So, since I'm tired of writing, I'm going to borrow some words from my friend, Christy. Her son, Henry shares the same extra chromosome as Caroline. . . Henry has Down syndrome. Henry is going to be four later on this month. And for those of you keeping track of all things Caroline, Henry is my daughter's intended. His mom and I have decided it. . . and that settles it.

This is what Christy posted on her blog yesterday--and I'd send you there, but I guess I like the potential for even more varieties of people reading her beautiful words because of our extended circles of friends. Please read her words, and see that it comes from the heart of someone who not only loves my daughter like her own. . .but see it as coming from someone who has walked in the same shoes that I have walked. She fights the same battles I fight. But, most importantly, she receives the same kind of amazing love from Henry that I receive from Caroline. (oh, and if I can, I'm going to put in a picture of him, too. He's the cutest!)

Here's what she had to say. . . .

What you might not know is that October is another awareness month that doesn't get a whole lot of press. But it's one that's near & dear to my heart. It's Down Syndrome Awareness month. It's a month devoted to promoting awareness about what Down Syndrome REALLY is. About how amazing people with that little extra chromosome are. About how we've spent centuries treating them as if they can't do anything simply because they do it more slowly & deliberately. Because they look different than neurotypical people. But that they're showing us "normal" people every day that they can do far, far more than we've given them credit for.

It's difficult, as the mother of a child with DS, to not get frustrated with the way the world views these people. To constantly hear jokes with Down Syndrome as the butt. To hear the word "retard" bandied about as we insult ourselves & one another. I cannot imagine what it must be like to live in this world as a person with DS. Because they aren't deaf. Or brain dead. Or blind. They know that people stare at them. They hear the jokes. They get hit between the eyes with the insults. They hear the whispering. It must totally hurt. But, in spite of it all, most of the people with DS I know don't hold hatred or bitterness in their hearts about it. I admire that. Because I? HATE IT.

Let's educate ourselves about Down Syndrome & what it REALLY means, okay? It doesn't mean institutionalizing people. It doesn't mean they're "retards". It doesn't mean they can't learn or love or do much of what we all do every day. They go to work. They go to school. They play sports. They love music. They have friends. They go on dates. They're even going to college & getting married. They are JUST LIKE YOU & ME. From what I can see - here's the only difference.

They do what we do - just a little more slowly & deliberately.

It's not that they CAN'T do something - it's just that it takes them a little longer to learn how to do it. Having seen the strides we've taken in just the past couple of decades, I wouldn't be surprised to see a future when people with DS regularly drive, live on their own, and do a lot more. Of course, I'm speaking in generalizations, but I see it. I believe it.

THIS is a person with DS. I WISH I could be that flexible. :hee: Don't be fearful of him or other people with DS. They're people. They like to be treated like it. Talk to them. If you see someone with DS working at your store - say "hi". Ask how they are. Don't stare. Don't whisper. If someone tells you a joke who's punchline is something about DS, tell that person "that's not funny". Seriously. If I never hear another joke about Down Syndrome or "retards", it'll be a glorious world.

Love ya, Henry. And Caroline. And Jenni. And Danny. And Trevor. And Gigi. And Veronica. And Rhett. You're all beautiful, awesome people.

Christy, you continue to inspire and encourage me. Thank you. I love you, my friend. Can you imagine what the blog entries are gonna be like when we actually get these two kiddos together?!?!

Friday, October 05, 2007

FINISHED!! [updated]

First off. . . this is probably my favorite picture of all today. . .

Do I need to say any more? Of course, I could bemoan the fact that it's October 5th, and my children are wearing shorts. . . .and sweating profusely. But, I'll be quiet. Today, it is all good.

Papers are signed. Checks have been written. . .and deposited. No furniture has been purchased - yet - but there's time. Tonight, while feasting on tacos, we sighed at the completion of the day.

Then, there's this. . . .

One of the major steps in a rag quilt is clipping the seams that have been sewn - all turned out. After clipping, you wash the quilt in your washing machine. This is the quilt just before it took a dip in the Maytag.

After it comes out, you have this (above) which is scrunchier, more raggedy, and much softer. Of course, you have to clean your lint trap on the dryer about sixteen times. . .and don't get me started at the frayed strings all over my living room.

But, this is what you see as you snuggle up to it. . .

And it's warm, and soft, and smells like Downy. It literally couldn't get much better than this!

And. . .a small note of clarity. . . THIS is my creation. The one from the other day was a random one I found through Google.

I like this one better. Please say you do, too.


Thursday, October 04, 2007

She's Got Her a Man!

Meet my daughter's boyfriend. Okay, well, he's not her boyfriend, so to speak. But, he has affected her heart more than anyone else has. This is Dr. Jeffory Jennings, Caroline's cardiologist.
We went for our bi-annual visit this morning--all of us getting up earlier than usual. Fighting traffic, and slightly wet roads, we eventually made it to his office.
When we arrived, we had to fill out the obligatory paperwork (four pages) because we moved 800 yards. That's right--we can almost see our old house from the roof of the new house. (No, I haven't checked -- but if I got up there, I strongly suspect you could see our old house.)
Anyway, four pages later, they had our new address and phone number.
After doing an EKG and getting a read on her pacemaker, he let us know that he didn't see any need for us to come back until next October. This is big, people. This is very, very big!
Before we left, I pulled out the camera, and both he and Caroline obliged me for a new picture for the scrapbooks. I may even do some digital scrapping with this one.
So, there you go. . . she's really doing quite well. In fact, while getting the reading from the pacemaker, we started reciting "names" which is one of her favorite things to do. By the time we had worked our way through our immediate family, the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, Dr. Jennings stopped us. "Where did you learn all those names, Caroline? You really are an amaing little girl!"
Yeah, I was blinking away a couple of tears, but he's right. She's an amazing little girl. As Billy Joel puts it, "She's got a way about her. . .I don't know what it is, but I know that I can't live without her. . ."
Oh. . .and tomorrow is the big day! That's right, in just over 18 hours, we are set to close on our old house....and become the owners of just one home. It's been kind of stressful -- being "land barons" of two "estates," so we're ready to just own one. (Did I say "own?" Because really, I should say "OWE" instead!)
God has been extremely good to us this past year. Dr. Jennings' wife, Marianne, is his nurse. She and I encountered each other one night in the ER. She was there with her mother, I was there with my kidney stone. This morning, Marianne said to me, "So, the last time, we just saw Mark. . . you were having surgery or something?" [Mark popped in for a visit once, while I was having a post-op visit with Dr. Personality.]
Then she said, "You really did have a wild summer. Any more surgeries on the horizon?" Of course, I said no - and then remembered that Edison is having his tonsils & adenoids removed in two weeks.
You gotta love Blue Cross Blue Shield. No, really, you have to. I do.
Have a great Thursday!
p.s. The quilt is nearly assembled. One more row - and it's done. I will post pictures as soon as it's together.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I Learned Something New!!

IF you go to the NDSS/Buddy Walk site (see yesterday's post) you can see the 2006 Buddy Walk video.


IF you go watch that video, you'll see Caroline at exactly 1 minute into the video.


IF you go to the NDSS/Buddy Walk site, there's a photo gallery from the 2006 Buddy Walk.


IF you look at that slide show, you'll see CAROLINE!!! It's been there for nearly a year, and I'm just now discovering it.

IF yours truly was more observant, I wouldn't be scrambling to show you these things before they disappear! Oh what the heck, here's the picture I "scalvaged" from the site. (Mark and I learned that word at the Bristol Motor Speedway)

That is a "for real" picture. (Photoshop was NOT involved in this at all) I'm still shocked!!!

Oh, one final "if" statement:

IF I don't get my rear in gear, Edison will be late for his orthodontist appointment.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Links to Click

As if you don't have enough things to do in a day. I'm gonna give you more.

First of all, please go visit our DSAG website--DSAG stands for the Down Syndrome Awareness Group of East Tennessee. Mark and I are currently serving on the board of directors. He's the president. I guess that makes me the first lady, eh? Trust me, I'm much more like Laura than Hillary, so we're good.

Mark has created the site--I'm very proud of it, and of him. On its pages, you'll see some of our wonderful friends. What a blessing to be surrounded and uplifted by so many wonderful people.

As I think I've told you - or most of you - we are participating in the Knoxville area Buddy Walk on Sunday, October 14. Our side ( has a link to the national Buddy Walk, as well as information about our Buddy Walk. If you go to the national Buddy Walk site, there is a spot where you can click to see the NYC Times Square video from 2006. If you watch it, you only have to wait about 60 seconds, and you'll see Caroline. Seeing as the 2007 walk was yesterday, it won't be long before they replace the 2006 video with the 2007 video. HURRY!!

Okay, I just watched it again, and I can't help but cry. Please go see it, if you can!

If you are interested and/or willing to support Caroline, as she walks this year, there is a button for "" where you can support the Knoxville Buddy Walk, and Caroline. (You just have to be sure and specify that it's for "Caroline Aubrey") Thanks.

Then, you have to go to the National Down Syndrome site. NDSS is our "mother ship" as it were. At that site, with some navigating, you can read about research that's being done. You can also read about accomplishments by some of the most outstanding kids and adults in the world. I guess I am a bit biased. Sue me.

Another place to "hang" would be my buddy Beth's blog. She has an amazing family--I swear there are 45 of them in all. (Actually, I think it's closer to 10, but still. . .) They are an active, loving, supportive family--unfortunately for me, they live up in Canada. And, the chances of us getting together anytime soon are pretty slim. Beth's daughter, Jenni shares that 21st extra chromosome with Caroline. Jenni is Caroline's "adopted aunt" which makes Beth her "adopted GREAT aunt." The outpouring of love that we have received from the Cain family just blows me away. One of these days, I'm going up there for my HUGE hug in person. Until then, we just send love and prayers and hugs over the internet "waves."

Beth has created a page about Caroline--part of the goal is to raise money for the Buddy Walk--but the other is to give Caroline a place to "visit" on the net. It's also a place where Caroline's story can be told. One of the things that I know to be true is that God created Caroline for a reason. He had big plans for her life, and as much as we are able, Mark and I are committed to carry out those plans while we can.

Stop by Caroline's page. . .browse around a bit. I think you'll see that not only is Beth one creative friend. . .but she has fallen head-0ver-heels with my daughter. And, the feeling is totally mutual!!

Allright, enough typing. It's time for some more serious seam-ripping! If this quilt goes together as easily as I think it will. . . history be darned. . . .I may just be able to get a few more made by Christmas. No promises. Just some hope!