This is My "Real" Blog: May 2008

Angie's Blog!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Butterfly Kisses....sent straight to Heaven!

God just continues to amaze me--in so many ways. Last week I told you Baby Leilani. She is enriching the lives of all sorts of people around her. And her family is getting stronger and stronger every day. These are her parents, Kym & Pat. They are amazing. . .and I am so glad to have gotten to know them.

Today, their neighbors held a "Butterfly Release" at a local park. It was a fundraiser as well as a chance for them to celebrate this sweet little girl. Mark and I went, thinking that we would be the encouragers. However, God had an entirely different plan. We were the encouragees. . . is that a word? I'm making it one.

(pictures from the release)

Another DSAG family was there with their son, Houston. He is one of the greatest kids EVER. He's got a phenomenal sense of adventure, an enormous vocabulary, and so much life and spunk -- he just does me in. Case in point -- when we first located him, Houston was in the creek. That's right. He decided it was too warm to play on the swings and slides. He got in the creek. Then, he decided to start taking pictures. Wanna see?

That is Houston -- taking my picture -- taking his picture. He thought the idea was hilarious--and the fact that he agreed to be silly with me makes me love him all the more!

Back to the star of the day. . . .Leilani is being moved tomorrow to another hospital in town. Kym and Pat will be able to spend much more time with Leilani -- only having to leave during shift changes. . . which is typical. They are very excited for this location change -- and for the chance to spend more time with her.

Please continue to pray for Lelilani. She is doing some better, but Kym shared today that she has begun choking -- for no apparent reason. Houston's mom said that he did the very same thing, and eventually outgrew it. This made Kym feel so much better -- because she knew that she was walking a road that someone else has already walked.

. . .and that is why Mark and I are so dedicated to DSAG. Parents of children with Down syndrome need to know that they are not alone. They need to be given hope. . .not percentages and ratios. (Percentages and ratios have their place, don't get me wrong) But, they need to be reassured that life with a child with a disability is not the death sentence some might make it out to be. They need to celebrate one of God's most precious blessings. (Can I get an "Amen" here?) And above all, they need to know that others have been where they are -- and that they'll make it.

So. . . along with my re-statement of our family purpose, I wanted to give you an update on Leilani. But, I also wanted to pass along to you a little dose of the hope we were given today. Are you ready? Seriously. Make sure you're ready for this one. This is good stuff.

This particular park is very nice. Lots of trees, playground equipment, benches, etc. Caroline decided (as she is prone to do) that just hanging around and talking isn't good enough. She found a chair swing -- with a new friend already swinging -- and she decided to go for it.

Kym (Leilani's) mom walked over with Caroline to the swing. She helped Caroline climb into the swing, next to a mom none of us knew. This mom (Rachel) took one look at Caroline, and said the following words that changed everything:

"I've got a daughter just like you."

Kym was bowled over, because right next to Rachel, was her daughter Lavonne. Lavonne is 26 years old, and has Down syndrome. She is a beautiful young lady. And, I have no doubt in my mind that she was placed in this park, on this afternoon, by God's hand.

Rachel, Mark, Kym, Lavonne, and Caroline all began to get to know each other. It was amazing. I eventually made my way over there. When I got there, here's what Lavonne told me -- which, by the way, is the greatest thing I've heard in a long time -- again, here's the part where I want you to sit down.

Lavonne just got her driver's license.

Ever since Caroline was born, the one thing we were told that she'd NEVER be able to do was drive a car.

Now, let me clarify this one thing. . . .I don't want EDISON to drive a car, much less Caroline. But, my heart is rejoicing tonight because I now know that it is possible. This girl defied the odds, and achieved what I was told would never be possible.

Now, I have to qualify all this with the statement that I realize this may be the EXTREME exception to the rule. And, it may not be possible for my daughter -- or for other families we know. But today, I met a girl who did it. And, I'll never be the same.

Sound extreme? It may sound like an extreme reaction, but it's very genuine. And I think by now, you (my dear readers) know me well enough to know when I'm exaggerating, and when I'm being totally real.

For real, friends. For totally real.

And, an update. . . . about house stuff and scrapbooking. Tomorrow, my plan is to take pictures of the bathroom update (as far as we've gotten -- there's still a ways to go) I also plan to take pictures of the scrapbook layouts I did last week while I was away. The layouts I've posted the past couple of days are digital layouts.

Friday, May 30, 2008

A Couple More. . . .

I got a couple more layouts done tonight. The first one took a very long time--just because I kept changing my mind on how I wanted it to look. I also used ALL SORTS of elements from ALL SORTS of different designers on both of these layouts. So, although they may seem relatively easy, they both took a significant amount of time.

Oh. . . house update. I FINALLY got the towels and shower curtain for our bathroom. The colors are a deep red and a light gold. The shower curtain is an ivory seersucker. One of my fave colors with one of my ALL-TIME favorite fabrics. How could this end in anything but tears of joy??

My next step will be to go find a wallpaper border to go in there. I'm thinking a twig border with red berries and small gold stars. We'll see. I've also got some more things to put on the wall. . .but for now, there are towels and a rugs. And, the colors are BEAUTIFUL coming out of our bedroom.

I took the kids on a Church/DSAG errand run today -- to a promotional materials company. The lady was gracious, but Caroline was all over the place. At one point, Judy taught him about the adding machine and the fact that if she hit the right button, the paper would feed out automatically. (We killed a tree)

But, it was fun, and productive.

Speaking of fun and productive. . .here are the layouts I came up with. It's starting to thunder -- which means that we've FINALLY got a thunderstorm on the way. I think I'll hop off here -- upload these pics to Facebook, and go solve a few sudoku puzzles before bed!

Have an awesome weekend. Not sure how much time I'll spend on the 'net tomorrow!

Yes, you probably *do* recognize that picture in the 2nd layout. It was taken the same day as the picture in my header. It's one of my favorite pictures of Caroline. It seemed to be perfect for this layout.

Bye, ya'll!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Layouts and a Recipe. . .as you wish! (Edited!)

I've had a fairly productive evening tonight. After dinner, we went for a family walk. Of course, Edison "walked" on his bike. He did enjoy himself, though. You can't argue with that. Here are some scenes from the walk . . .

Then, after the kids were in bed, I spent some time working on a few scrapbook pages. Okay, I worked on five scrapbook pages. Digi pages are just so much fun, while you're doing other stuff. Tonight, it was watching reruns of the Office and new episodes of Last Comic Standing.

. . .that's right. We don't watch Lost. I realize this makes me completely out of touch with most of my friends. That's a risk I'm willing to take.

Here are the layouts I mentioned.

I still love the pictures I took out in the backyard last year. Seriously some of my favorites. I used Christy's new "Summer Solstice" kit.

Edison and his buddy, Sam, after Awards Day last week. I was, and still am so proud of him.

This picture is of Mark's Uncle Leonard, when he was a boy. I love the smile on his face, as he sat with his faithful companion.

When Mark's family was here during Caroline's birthday weekend, we went out to Ruby Tuesday for lunch. While we waited for our food, Uncle Steve helped entertain Caroline with the crayons and kiddie placemat. Thanks, Uncle Steve!!

This is one of my favorite old pictures that came from my Mother-in-Law's family. I love the imagery of the woman looking out the window at this precious little boy.

Oh. . . and Judy? Here's the crisp recipe. I totally made this up myself, using the splenda ingredients.

Individual Blueberry Crisp

1 c. fresh blueberries
1/4c - 1/3 c. splenda
1 - 2 T. flour
1/2 t. lemon juice

Mix together and put in a lightly buttered glass container. (small)


1/3 - 1/2 c. quick oatmeal
1/4 c. flour
2 T Smart Balance "butter" (melted)
1/3 c. Splenda Brown Sugar substitute
1/4 t. cinnamon
dash of salt

Mix these ingredients together and plop little blobs on top of the berry mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

Edited. . . thanks to my wonderful brother-in-law (the fave), I corrected the grammar on the last layout! (Thanks, Steve!)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Feeling Vegetationally Vindicated

. . . or something bizarre like that. Today was a good day. I've said that before in the past couple of months, but this time I mean it gastronomically. As many of you know, if you've read this blog long enough, I have been trying off and on for the past year or so, to lose weight. (More "off" than "on" lately!)

It's funny, there has not been a Sunday in the past two months where someone hasn't stopped me and asked what I'm doing -- because it looks like I'm still losing weight. I swear I'm not. Seriously. I have fallen off the wagon, or gotten back on. I can never get that right.

But today. . . well, today was different.

This morning began with NO breakfast, which I know is a mortal sin.

It happened because I was in too much of a rush to eat. We were having our pictures taken at work today -- head shots for promo stuff, website, etc. So, I needed to spend every last second leading up to work making sure I didn't look like crap.

Of course, having sleep apnea, I'm greeted every morning by a reflection with "strap marks" on my two cheeks. Yeah, it's like bed-head and bed face meet tight knee-hi stockings. . .only it's ON YOUR FACE.

I believe that Cover Girl and I were able to take care of "strap face" before it was time for pictures. My hair actually cooperated. . .which is odd. I'm due (if not overdue) for a haircut -- so it was really a gamble.

But, these things all aligned themselves, and I was able to get out the door looking halfway pleasant. I guess my pictures turned out. We'll see in a couple of days.

. . . but THAT wasn't what I was writing about. I was confessing to omitting breakfast. Sorry, I got distracted there.

At lunchtime, I had to take Edison out to lunch because he'd been helping out getting set up for the annual Church Rummage Sale this weekend. He's working again tomorrow, as am I. . .and there I go again, off on a tangent. Lunch. Lunch. LUNCH.

So, lunch was at Wendy's -- because, quite honestly, the drive-thru at McDonald's was wrapped around the building, and the parking lot was full. I prefer their caesar salad to just about anyone's, but we didn't have that much time.

We opted for Wendy's. I had their new grilled chicken wrap thing, and a caesar side salad. Edison had ordered bacon on his burger, and didn't get it -- so I gave him the bacon bits off of my salad. I know. I'm a giver.

After we got done at church, I went to the grocery store. I was aiming for fresh fruit & veggies. I really was wanting to get back on track. So, once I got home, I was all about getting supper made.

Unfortunately, it was hotdogs. But, I can easily stop at just one. I loathe hot dogs. . .unless they're cooked on the grill. These were, and two of them were what we affectionately call "Hiroshima" dogs. (Burned beyond recognition) That's just how I like 'em. So, I had one for supper and a small helping of kettle chips. (A girl needs her potassium, dude.)

Dessert? Yes, I had dessert. And it rocked.

I made the boys (and Caroline -- who didn't like it) a fresh blueberry crisp. I had some frozen berries and a pint of fresh, big juicy berries that NEEDED to be used up. Little sugar, flour, oatmeal, butter, and brown sugar, and VOILA!!!! We had dessert.

Me? I made myself a miniature crisp with 1 c. of berries, splenda, flour, oatmeal, diet butter, and brown sugar splenda.

One word: ohmygoodnessthatwasamazing.

What? It's one word.

So why did I say vegetationally vindicated? Well, that would be the snack I just consumed. Normally, I would go for chex mix, peanuts, cheese crackers (or just one of those).

But tonight? Carrots. Broccoli. Low-fat Dill Dip. Yeah, I'm feeling mighty proud of myself right now. And, kinda healthy, too. Go figure.

. . .and yes, Beth. . . I have been drinking water today. (of the Crystal Light variety) That was another thing I'd forsaken for a long time. I've had three full-size glasses this evening.

Yep. . . it's gonna be a long night.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

It's Grandma to You. . . .

Caroline has begun referring to my mom by her first name. Her name is "Nancy," so we have started to hear the name "Nancy" being thrown around the house quite often.

Why does she do this?

Well, we have a couple theories. Mark's theory is that when he said, "Thanks, Nancy!" to her a couple weeks ago, Caroline "parroted" Mark, and said, "Thanks, Nancy!" too.

My theory centers around the fact that Grandma is Caroline's Sunday School teacher on Sunday mornings. The other kids call her "Miss Nancy" and "Nancy" and Caroline, not wanting to miss out on anything her peers are enjoying--is just trying to fit in.

Regardless, when she walks past the picture of my parents which is sitting on my side table in the entry way of the house, she says, "Grandma. . .Nancy. . . Grandpa." I keep trying to tell her it's "Grandma," but I'm excited to see her making more real-life connections. Every one brings us a step closer to our dream of a limitless future for her.

And speaking of limitless futures. . . .

We met with our new friends today. Their baby girl, Leilani, was born on my birthday two weeks ago today. Leilani has an A/V canal defect which is affecting all four chambers of her precious little heart. She was born 5 weeks early -- and tipped the scales at nearly 7 lbs. So, she's a healthy little girl. But, she's a little girl whose heart needs to be fixed as soon as possible.

Mark and I got a chance to sit down with Pat & Kym, her beautiful and wonderful parents, today. They are tired. They are making treks back and forth to the hospital to see her. But, the part that breaks my heart is that the hospital where precious Leilani is staying has the most bizarre visiting hours for a newborn baby in a NICU. They can only be there two hours at a time -- and have to be gone for two hours.

So, they are weary, and discouraged by the fact that they want their baby HOME. I remember those days -- and fortunately for us -- there were only six days of traveling back and forth from home to Children's Hospital. And, I want to go on record saying that Leilani is NOT at our Children's Hospital. If she was there -- they would be able to spend as much time with her as possible (except for shift changes). And I am confident that their overall hospital experience would be exceedingly more positive than their current "digs."

Please pray for this family. Pray for little Leilani -- that her health will continue to improve so much so that they can bring her home. And pray for Pat & Kym, as they make this adjustment to life with a beautiful little girl. Pray for their strength, sustenance, encouragement, and strength to face the challenges that lie in front of them.

They have a phenomenal outlook about Leilani's future. They are very positive about the future when it comes to raising a child with Down syndrome. But, they are concerned about her heart issues--like we were with Caroline -- and until those issues are resolved, those concerns will always be there.

Mark and I are very grateful for opportunities that continue to be placed in our path -- meeting families with a new baby with Down syndrome. Each time, we pray that God's words would come flowing out of our mouths. We pray for clarity, wisdom, and discernment. We don't know whether we hit or miss the mark, but we rejoice that He's faithful and strong when we're weak.

So, that's about it from our Holiday weekend. Mark wrote a nice post about Memorial Day. I haven't really addressed it here -- but I am extremely grateful for the men and women who died in the pursuit of freedom. I am grateful to be able to speak and worship God however and whenever I wish to, without fear of punishment. . . and most of all, I am humbled by the sacrifices they made for me, and for the example they set for the men and women who are currently serving to preserve these precious freedoms.

Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Two-Fold Post . . but I think it will be worth the read.

"The Least of These"

We are currently in the midst of a series of messages at church -- about becoming an "externally focused church." Taking our cues from this book. . . we are working toward that change in focus.

Randy (my new boss) talked about how we need to find a balance in our lives between doing good deeds and sharing the Good News. But, doing good deeds opens the door for sharing the Good News. It's a great process.

One of the scriptures was from Matthew 25. He talked about our need to get "outside" and reach out to the lonely, the poor, the forsaken. . . the least of these. A couple of times he mentioned these people and referred to them as people "on the margin" of society.

It took a few minutes for me to make the connection. But it hit me. . .I am raising one who could be considered "one of the least of these," and through her, my life has changed forever.

The scripture from Matthew 25 (The Message translation) says it this way:

"Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.' "

People in our society with developmental delays are teased, tormented, and ignored by huge numbers of people. And yet, every one of these special people is making a huge difference for their peers. They offer unconditional love to everyone they encounter. They teach us more about ourselves than we will ever learn from books or "experts." And yet, because of their delays, they are "marginal" people who "can't do anything to make a difference in this world."

I've realized it before -- but it really hit me this morning -- that the work that Mark and I do with DSAG is a natural fit for us. . . because of Caroline. We enjoy the people we work with (for the most part) and are willing to give our time and resources for this group. . . because of Caroline.

But, what frightened me was this:

. . . if it weren't for Caroline, would I have cared about this "marginal" group?

Let me take it a step further.

If it weren't for Caroline, and my (constantly growing) heart for individuals with Down syndrome, would I know Christy? Would I have met Melany. . .through Christy? What about Lois? Would I have to talk daily (sometimes 2 or 3 times) with Beth? Would I have fallen head-over-heels with Hannah, Jenni, Melinda, and the other "42" kids that Beth and Tony are raising?

It scares me to realize the answer may be, "No." (Although I still have this crazy theory that God would have seen fit to bring our families together in other ways. I just have to believe it!)

Growing up, my parents' best friends had a son with Down syndrome. I've mentioned Brian before. He was a constant in my life -- from my earliest memories until today. He was my younger brother. He had a disability, but he was Brian. He loved Jesus more than just about anyone I think I've ever met. He was a HUGE fan of Elvis, Superman, and he loved Raggedy Ann & Andy. He gave the toast at my wedding.

He was a part of my life I will never forget. And though he is gone, he remains that part of me that I see in my daughter from time to time -- when she squints, or when she smiles that HUGE, wide smile that just takes your breath away.

(. . . and yes, now I'm crying)

So, back to today. . .

I realized that Caroline's destiny was two-fold. 1) It is, like all of us, to glorify God and to enjoy him forver, but it is also 2) to cause me to reach out to "the least of these." She helped me see this community of people who have unlimited potential, and unconditional acceptance for the world around them. She's living out her mission by changing the lives and hearts of people around her.

So, today, I am thanking my daughter for helping me be who God created me to be. I am thanking HIM for providing this little catalyst in a 28-lb body with impish hazel eyes, and an infectious smile that lightens my heart everytime she laughs or when she hugs me, and says, "I love you, Mommy." That last one especially gets me when we're walking through the grocery store, and she just hugs me for no reason and says, "I love you. I love you. I love you." right there in the cracker aisle. Seriously. Right there in front of the Wheat Thins. She slays me.

Ah, but there's more. . .

"In His Grip"
(You've made it this far, we're almost done)

Max Lucado has used this phrase as the title of one of his books. My former boss used to sign his letters with this closer. I loved it.

This morning at church -- yeah, this was a pretty monumental morning -- I had this huge (to me) revelation during one of our songs. We have begun using the song, "In Christ Alone (My Hope is Found)" and, it is truly one of my favorite songs EVER. I have already told our worship band that they are to sing it at my funeral. You know. . . when needed.

Up until today, the line with the most impact on me had always been, ". . .from life's first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny."

That was especially meaningful to me this past spring as I waded through the murky waters of a mammogram/biopsy/surgery scare. Jesus commands my destiny.

And, until today, I thought those were the "power phrases"of this song. Until today.

Our youth minister's wife, Katie, was one of the two American girls that were victims of the London bombing back in 2005. You can find the story here. If you click on the story, there are two pictures--the 2nd picture is Katie, my friend. (aqua shirt)

A few months ago, she told me that the song, "In Christ Alone" is a favorite of hers. I believe we agreed that if you can sing it without the words catching in your throat, you need to have your pulse (spiritual or otherwise) checked. Because, dude. . .seriously.

Anyway, this morning, as we were singing, I remembered our conversation. As I sang, my mind drifted to our talk. . . and eventually, I remembered the bombing, and all that she's been through in her extremely young life. (I didn't know her at the time of the bombing, by the way)

Then we sang these words -- and needless to say, my throat immediately closed as I thought of my friend. . .

"No power of death, no scheme of man can ever pluck me from his hand."

She and her sister were the innocent victims of an evil scheme of men intent on spreading death and destruction. . . and they were firmly held. . .in HIS hand. And it goes without saying that I will never sing that song again the same way.

Katie and I attended the same wedding shower this afternoon. I shared my epiphany with her. We both shed a few tears. But, I have this new appreciation that every day of her life -- as God the Father watched her grow -- HE knew the destiny that lay in front of her. He knew how her testimony would impact a nation. He knew that her experience would cause words to catch in my throat today, as I attempted to lead this song. And, he knew that it would bring him glory.

. . .and tying these two somewhat-disjointed entries together. . .he was watching my life. . and Mark's. . .and Brian's. . . and Edison's. . . and He was seeing how they were all being stitched together -- through Caroline -- to bring Him glory.

I'm sorry. . . if you don't find that amazing, or at least something to ponder, then we need to talk.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

NEXT Saturday!!

I'm living for next Saturday. Wanna know why??

Our church is holding a rummage sale where all the proceeds go to missions. I am using this event (as are many of my friends) as the "2nd Annual Aubrey Clean-Out" event.

There is still one-half of our garage that cannot be accessed. That is going to change this week. We still may not be able to park Mark's car in it by June 1, but we'll be closer. I swear it's true.

Today's going to be an interesting day.

Mark's off to the farm to get Dad's truck. We have some yard "junk" to clear away, and a pressure washer to pick up. The sidewalks and driveway are gonna get "spiffed" up today --as is the trim and siding on the house. One drawback from living near so many trees is the "gunk" that builds up over time. We're going to remove some of the biological experiment that's growing on the gutters around the house, as well as remove the "stuff" that's taken residence on the sidewalks. Edison is going to get to operate the pressure washer, so he's excited. I'm nervous that he'll take off a toe, or something. But, he's growing up -- and can handle some more responsibility.

Just last night, he reminded me that he'll be eligible to drive in 2.5 years. I nearly fainted. Of course, he told me this after Caroline's closing program for her Mother's Day Out. (Where, by the way, I realized -- again -- that she'll be entering Kindergarten in a year and half) What is going on here? How is it that time is moving so fast, and I'm still plodding along at 35 mph??

After a few hours of home maintenance junk, Mark and I are off to one of our local hospitals to meet with a family whose baby (born 2 wks ago) has Down syndrome. The family had pre-natal testing done, and everything came back clear. So, this is a bit devastating to them. The baby has cardiac issues, which to me, is more difficult than the Ds diagnosis.

Mark said when he called to set up the appointment yesterday, he congratulated the mom (first thing) on the birth of her baby girl. She got choked up and said he was the first person to do that in two weeks.

My friends. . . this has got to stop!

The message of devastation to new parents with a child with Down syndrome has somehow got to be seasoned with joy, hope, and promise. And, as time goes by, I realize that's what God made Caroline for. . . and that's why He gave her to Mark, Edison, and me.

Yep -- it's humbling. But, it's also exciting. . .just depends on how you choose to look at it.

I'm choosing promise. I'm choosing joy. I'm choosing opportunity.

What are you choosing today??

Friday, May 23, 2008

I Was Right. . . .

It was just what I needed.

Two days of scrapbooking was good for my soul. I completed 32 pages. Some of those were 2-page layouts. But, the fourth installment (book) of Caroline's scrapbooks is done. I'll need to order a new coverset to begin the 5th one. (Well, actually, I've got the filler pages. . .so I don't have to wait to get started.)

I have a couple of memorable layouts that I need to photograph and put on here. Ironically (or not so) they were both done later in the evenings. Both are "scraplifts" from magazines (so glad I took them!) and both are layouts I wouldn't have come up with on my own. . .ever!

Being away from my family was hard. And NO, I did NOT make a thousand phone calls. In fact, I talked to Edison & Mark Thursday morning, and then didn't talk to them again until bedtime on Thursday evening. (That was the night I thought I'd be the loneliest)

I never actually felt lonely but certainly was glad to see everyone this morning, when I arrived home. In fact, I opened the garage door, pulled the van inside, and as I got out of the van, I could hear Caroline squealing through the door -- and she was right there -- waiting for me.

So, that part was cool.

Oh, and scrapping while listening to my mp3 player may just become a way of life. Kinda anti-social, but so wonderful.

I listened to (in no particular order): The Eagles, Toto, Michael McDonald (2 albums), The Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan. . .basically the list I mentioned in a previous post. It was great. And, because my room was at the end of a long hall, and I didn't notice anyone else around, I felt perfectly comfortable singing along with the mp3 player.

So, there you have it. And me. I'm back. I need to do some laundry, make a "thank you" gift for Caroline's teacher (MDO) and photograph some layouts . . .because the masses will want to see them.

One last thing. You should always listen to me. I know things. Even when I don't realize it, I know things.

(keep scrolling -- I know, it irritates me when people do this. But I want to build suspense)

He won the award I thought he would win.

It took me about an hour to stop feeling like the worst mother in the world. I kept reminding myself that it was an award for Christian character. . .and that he had so much Christ-like attributes that surely he would forgive me.

Yeah, I'm Mother of the Year!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Outta Here!

A few years back, I read "Ladder of Years" by Anne Tyler about a woman who just up and leaves her husband and children. She assumes a new identity, and begins working and living in another city. I was drawn to this book -- not because I *ever* wanted to leave Mark or my kids. . . but by the notion of a woman just LEAVING. And, reinventing herself. Always kind of mystified me.

I'm still perplexed by it. . . guess it's 'cause I'm heading out. But I'm coming home. (You can start humming that Daughtrey song, if you must)

I thought I was posting my last blog entry last night, but reading Beth's recent post, and Judy's. . and so on and so on. . .made me want to leave one more entry before hitting the road.

So this is me .... outta here.
I hope to post lots of pictures of successful scrapbook layouts on Friday afternoon.

. . .after I take my kids out to lunch, of course. And, after I go by and hug & kiss my wonderful husband at work.


OH. . . in that book? She does eventually come back to her family. If you've never read any Anne Tyler books, I would recommend her as an author. My recommendation? Begin with "Breathing Lessons," or "The Accidental Tourist."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Wrapping Things Up.....

. . .I am nearly the mother of an eighth grader. For some reason, saying I have a son in 7th grade has been easier than the thought of having a son in 8th grade. Thankfully, I have the summer to get used to it.

Edison went to school today -- or should I say, "Edison went to the movies today." He and his 7th grade class, went to see "Prince Caspian." He enjoyed it. He analyzed it. (It has been so long since I read it, it really didn't matter!)

So, he has 1.5 more days of school. Since they cleaned out their lockers and have turned in all their books, I have *no* idea what he's going to do all day tomorrow. But, he will go. Then he'll go for a half-day on Thursday. It's Awards Day. And yes, I *do* realize that I am going to miss his Awards Day on Thursday. My mom and dad, and Mark will be there. I have been assured by everyone that it is really allright that I'm going to be away on Thursday.

Which brings us to the inevitable. But before I tell you how close I am to leaving, let me recap a couple other things that made today a good day.

Staff meeting--these weekly events really are a lot of fun. In fact, my boss said today that he really enjoys them -- because he enjoys *us* which is so refreshing.

Band practice tonight. Man, what an awesome rehearsal. Our regular drummer isn't available on Sunday -- so a guy "filled in" at rehearsal tonight. This is usually a cause for hair sticking up on the back of one's neck. But not this guy. He was awesome. And our rehearsal was enjoyable, productive, and there was even a little bit of "real" worshipping going on while we were practicing. It was awesome. (did you count how many times I said "awesome." I did. It's scary)

Tonight, after practice, I got a chance to sit and talk with Mom. It was pretty fun. I realize how much we think alike. And, I realize how much I appreciate what she's brought into my life.

15 hours from now. . .you knew this was coming (Sorry, Beth!). . . I'm hitting the road. Here are the vital statistics:

My clothes are packed.
Makeup and toiletries will be packed in the morning.
My scrapbooking stuff was bundled up last night.
Mark is loading up my mp3 player with all the necessary tunes (Eagles, Steely Dan, Toto, Doobie Brothers, Michael McDonald --- you get the picture)

And the best part? My boss, who will be out of the office tomorrow, stopped in my office today to wish me a good "solitude." It's kinda cool having this crazy notion encouraged by the people around me.

So, until Friday afternoon, I bid you a fond adieu, my beloved friends.....

Monday, May 19, 2008

Leaving. . .in 48 hours

Yep, that's me.

I'm leaving in. . in a Caravan
Don't know when I'll be back again. . . (that's not true)

All my pics are packed, I'm ready to go.
Scrapbook supplies outside my door
Already I'm so lonesome, I could cry. . . .

Okay. So maybe I'm not so lonesome I could cry.

But, I am starting to get a little excited about Wednesday afternoon - Friday morning. That's right. It's like solitary summer sleepaway camp for TWO nights. I'm still pinching myself. Last night, I finished sorting out pictures to get them ready for scrapbooking purposes. Such an excitement I find. (Sorry, Yoda talk)

Anyway, I was sorting pictures, and getting them chronologically organized. (Yes, I am a chrono-scrapper!) Many SBers don't subscribe to that notion. But, I started that way, and I'm just OCD enough to not change directions mid-stream.

So. . . . taking it all in. . . I have one photo box FULL of pictures of Caroline's life events (from Fall '06 until recently) and a half of a photo box of family pictures (from 1/07 - until now). So, I've got plenty to work on to keep me busy. I think I'm actually going to only take the Caroline pictures and try to get them caught up. There's enough variety in those pictures (Buddy walk, school, therapies, birthdays - 2 of them, and Christmas) that I shouldn't get too bored.

Tonight, after our DSAG meeting, I am going to start packing the SB supplies to be ready to go. It's becoming very real.

Like I said, I'm really getting excited about this. The longest "stretch" of scrapbooking I've ever done has been about 10 hours -- at a NSD 'marathon' session. We're talking nearly two whole days!! I'm excited to see what I accomplish. And, of course, Edison has been helping me plan my "snacks" for the road. Such a fun kid.

So, any fun stories to wrap this up? I can't think of any. . . . none that can top last week's physical story, at least.

I will, however, give a little "shout out" to my son -- who worked in the sound booth at church yesterday morning. He did a great job. He kept up with the song slides, and even managed to get the words on the back wall for the choir during their song. It was actually a very "frantic" morning -- with lots of "dog & pony show" stuff going on. So, I'm really proud of him.

Oh, speaking of dogs, ponies, and other portions of God's creation that don't necessarily stand upright. . . Mark dispatched one of the rodent 'types' to its eternal reward last night. I was in our room, sorting pictures, and he came in (Mark, not the mouse). And, he said, "I don't want you to worry -- but I think we have a mouse."

We indeed did have a mouse.
We no longer have a mouse.

Need I say more?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Checking In Quickly. . .

Just popping through quickly to say "hey" to everyone! We're getting ready to head out to TroutFest, of all things. Edison is volunteering some time today at this fundraiser for Trout Unlimited. A couple families from Church are very involved, so Edison's volunteering is kind of a neat thing.

The wedding last night was beautiful. Brent and Brittany are a couple from the local Bible College that have gotten invovled at church over the last couple of years. It was an honor to be asked to participate in their wedding.

So now, as I'm typing this, we're getting ready to go. I hope you're all having a wonderful Saturday. I trust you had a good NASCAR Day yesterday. (It's not a national holiday. . .yet)

More tomorrow from Chez Aubrey!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Keeping It Real

. . .because that's what I'm all about, really.

I made it out to West Knoxville today to get my dress for the wedding this weekend. Actually, it will be the dress for the weddingS this summer! There are at least four of them -- maybe more. And, I gotta tell you . . .it was fun buying this dress because I had a gift card from my birthday!

(Thanks, Mom & Dad)

So now I'm going to try and redeem the last hour and a half before Caroline gets off the bus. Edison is done with football practices, so he needs to be picked up each day at 3. Yeah, life is back to "normal," whatever that means.

Oh. . . and here's something kinda funny for ya'll to mull on today.

As much as I am psyched about going away for a couple days next week, I'm starting to get a little freaked out about being lonely. (Stupid Beth Moore. . .only kidding!) Seriously, I'm starting to wonder if I'm going to end up making all sorts of phone calls because I need someone to talk to.

Actually, what's probably going to happen is that I'm going to talk to myself. .. over the sound of my mp3 player in my ear. So it will be LOUD. . . and I'll be totally oblivious to how loud I'm talking.

Yes, my friends, you are reading the words and thoughts of a true goober.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Trying Not to Disappoint. . . .(Long Entry -- be warned!)

Over a dinner discussion at church tonight, I learned that the circle of people reading my blog is bigger than I thought. I also learned that I "provide a pick-me-up" for one particular friend, and that she was disapponted that I haven't blogged lately. (Hi, Julie!)

She's right, and I apologize. Because? I do the same thing. . . that list of names you see to the right? I go to these blogs three, sometimes four times each day for updates.

So, why do I not blog every day?

1) I'm not signed up for the 365-blog entried per year "challenge"
There is one. But I thought (seriously) "Nobody reads my blog enough to care whether or not I post every day." Ahem.

2) Sometimes I think "wordy" blog entries are boring. You want pictures.
Case in point: I've been asked for Mother's Day pictures and Birthday pictures. Steady yourselves. There are none.

3) I have nothing funny to say.
This worries me a lot. Because I think sometimes I get too "preachy" and you don't necessarily want that. (especially if you're looking for something to brighten your afternoon)

4) I'm busy.
That's really not a good excuse, though. [see confession above] If I were really busy, that wouldn't be happening.

SO. . . .what does this mean, looking at the Big Picture?

Well, I want to do better about blogging. I want to continue to hone my craft of writing. In fact, they're talking about us having blogs at work, and I love the idea of getting paid to blog. And I will try, to provide fun blog entries. . .and pictures. But, sometimes I'm gonna get preachy. I apologize in advance. If you notice, I don't get political. I have my reasons for avoiding politics.

Okay, you've made it this far. Are you ready to smile?

This afternoon, the middle school football team had to undergo sports physicals. There are two doctors here in town that provide low-cost physicals for our boys. TSSAA (state sports officials) changed the regulations for sports physicals and they're not just a weight/height/blood pressure check. They're sports physicals.

So. . . when Edison got in the van this afternoon, he had this "interesting" look on his face. We of course, started in the "How was your day?" conversation. I went for the "So, how was the physical?" conversation starter -- being the conscientious mom that I am.

One word: "THOROUGH."

The nervous laugh continued as he told me that he had to "drop trow" and be examined by the doctor. But the part that had us laughing out loud (Caroline and me) was that NONE of the boys knew this was coming.

So, each one left the exam room with a shocked, horrified expression on their faces. Some said, "You won't believe what just happened." or "WHY?!?" And my favorite response? "It gave me the hiccups." We laughed all the way home. Like I said, Caroline laughed too. She had no idea what we were laughing about -- but she was right in there with us.

Edison was the first one in line, so he had no advance warning. he tried to warn his friend who was next in line, but there wasn't time. I guess there were quite a few squeamish boys walking around the rest of the afternoon. And, I'm guessing their moms were laughing, too. Well. . . .if they told their moms.

The other incident happened tonight at church. I've been leading a Beth Moore study called, "Stepping Up" on the Psalms of Ascent (Psalm 120 - 134) It's been a good study so far. I'm behind on the homework. (When you spend time reading blogs, homework gets neglected!)

Tonight, Beth talked about "virtual" friendships and how women today allow these relationships to take the place of REAL friendships. I agree, to some extent.

BUT many of you reading this blog have never seen me in person. We've never "met" or "embraced" other than through posts, emails and such. (Although two of you live VERY CLOSE to me -- and I'm going to find you both!)

But she encouraged us to develop REAL friendships and DEEP relationships with people. I still consider my friends online to be good friends.

After that, she talked about loneliness. Many of us are lonely. We have isolated ourselves, when we really do NEED each other. We've all experienced it from time to time. Loneliness sucks.

Well, when the session was over, I encouraged the participants to encourage each other. I reminded them how much it means to someone to receive a note in the mail. And to reach out to someone because we need relationships.

Here's the "Only in Angie's World" part that made me laugh: I mentioned to them that next week is our last session. I then apologized for missing next week's session . . . .because (keep reading -- it really is funny) . . .

I'm going away by myself for a couple of days next week.

I felt so stupid. But, they found it as funny and ironic as I did. And they laughed. . .with me.

It's true. I am going away-- scrapbooking supplies in hand -- for two nights next week. There's no trouble in paradise--I just want some time to get caught up on the things I love to do--and I want to stay up late and sleep in, and stay in PJs all day. . .you know what I mean. So, I guess I can talk the talk. . .but I obviously cannot walk the talk!

Again, if that didn't make you laugh, I apologize. I'll try to do something really stupid tomorrow just so I can make you laugh. You really do mean that much to me.

Seriously, I want to thank you for reading my blog.

And if you've made it THIS far -- you deserve an award! I never dreamed that people would enjoy, much less care to read -- the stuff I had to say. I try to be proper. I try to be encouraging. And yes, I try to be funny.

I don't always hit the mark . . .sometimes I miss it by a mile. . .but I'm humbled and gratified that you're reading. . .and commenting.

Monday, May 12, 2008


That's my day.

Lots of birthday greetings from friends and family.
Lots of laughs . . .at my expense.
Lots of great food -- my family took me out for dinner.

I am older.
I am not necessarily wiser.

But, it's all good.

Thank you to everyone who made today such a great day.

I'm exhausted. Maybe it's my age. . . .?

I love you all!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

My Mother's Day Parade

I have truly had a Mother's Day like no other. Of course, I had to work. That's a given for a Church Music Director.

But it was after we got home from church that all the magic started happening. Like, for instance:

Driving home from church, we saw leaves and small branches lying around on the road. When we got home this is what we saw:

Yep, that's right. We lost our beloved Bradford Pear tree to the east of the driveway. This was a big tree. I'm amazed that it didn't damage the neighbors' cars.

We lost a couple of trees in our old yard a couple of years ago. In May, actually. It's funny. We were talking to our friends who bought the house -- about losing those trees. Little did I know that this tree was down while we were talking.

We really couldn't do anything about it right then. . .so we headed out to Mom & Dad's house for dinner. We were planning to celebrate Mothers Day plus a couple family birthdays, at the same time. (Mine is tomorrow; Mom is Wednesday) So, we pulled up at Mom's house. She met us on the porch. They had no power. Obviously the high winds that sent our tree over had damaged a power line somewhere between our house and theirs.

We decided to stay - -because we were going to grill steaks. . . .and the potatoes baking in the oven were nearly done. My salad was already made, and was ready for us, too. Once Dad got home from taking communion to a few of our shut-ins, we'd be set. (Remembering all the while that Mark was mulling the tree that needed to be hacked up, and taken away)

So when Dad got home, we ate. . . and had delicious pie. (My mom makes the best pie crusts EVER -- it really doesn't matter what's in them -- it's the bomb) Coconut Cream and Strawberry were the choices today. Caroline opted for a few strawberries, and then just ate her body weight in sugar-free cool whip. The girl's living a charmed life, really.

Oh, I failed to mention that the power came back on about midway through lunch.

So, we leave fairly hastily after eating and opening presents. . .because again, there's this tree in the driveway. . .?

We get home, and put Caroline down for a nap. She's still there -- and actually needs to get up, if we intend for her to actually sleep tonight. But, blogging is important, too. : )

Mark is now working on the tree with our friend Jimmy. Jimmy helped haul away the old trees. Only this time, the tree is much bigger -- and so the method of "removal" (as it were) is slightly different. See?

Yeah, that's right. . . they're dragging it down the road. It's my Mother's Day Parade.

Ah, life in East Tennessee. It truly doesn't get better.

Happy Mother's Day!!!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Green. . . is good.

It really makes the title more fun and "punchy" if you say it with a quasi-french accent. Kinda like the little shrimp guy on the muppets. He cracks me up every time I see him.

I just "wikipedia'd" him (it's not a good a verb as 'googled,' but it may catch on). Here he is. . . .

Anyway. . . if you say my title with a french accent, you'll smile. And, somehow, I'll know you did it -- and I'll smile, too.

And no. . . .I've never seen the movie "Wall Street" I think Michael Douglas's character makes some monumental speech where he says, "Greed is good." I'm not quoting him, nor am I making some sort of tribute to him. So, if that's what you were thinking. . .stop it!

Actually I'm saying "Green." You know, it's not that easy being green. (My alternate title) But, it's kinda fun. Here's where I'm going. . . .stay with me. I think it will be worth it in the end.

Mother's Day is upon us. I've already gotten (and have been using) my mother's day gift from Mark (and the kids, I assume.) A couple weeks ago, he bought me a seven-knife set and knife block at the Smoky Mountain Knifeworks. Yes, we live very close to the world's premiere knife store -- kinda makes you want to come visit me even more, doesn't it?

It's a Henckel set of knives. We had one (1) Henckel paring knife which we got for a wedding present -- nothing says "Have a blessed & happy life" like a paring knife, does it? (of course, nothing says, "Happy Mother's Day" like knives, either)

Somewhere along the line, in the past 18 years, we lost the paring knife. NO clue where, obviously, because then it wouldn't be lost. But, I really liked that knife. Well, now I have that knife back -- along with a host of others -- including a Santoku (?) knife. (the fancy "scalloped" kind you see on all the cooking shows") Sadly, one of the things I can claim is that it really can cut through butter. . . . I had a 1-lb block that needed to be separated. It works. : ) So, I really love my Mother's Day gift -- and am using it all the time. Yay, Mark!

But, getting back to green. . .and Mother's Day. . . I went to get gifts for my mom and Mark's mom. And yes, it *is* the day before, and yes, Mark's parents *DO* live in Arizona. So, naturally, her gift *will* be a few days late. (If it winds up being just a few days late -- I'm doing better than most years)

I was going to go to Goody's . . .which is a locally owned company (Knoxville) and buy them each some sort of nice blouse, or summer sweater, or something. But to be honest, I didn't even want to venture that far. But, thinking I had very little choice, I drove through Seymour -- and then I remembered "Tieke" which is a privately owned store (by a former church member, actually) here in town.

I've been thinking a lot about supporting local "mom & pop" sort of stores, when I can. Nothing against the big guys (Kroger, Walmart, etc.) but supporting local artisans and business owners helps MY community.

So I went in.

Now, knowing that my mom will probably not read this until Monday, I could be safe in posting what I got her. My mother in law will most likely read this before I get her stuff in the mail -- so mum's the word (HA! So to speak) But, I was excited to spend (a little more) money with a local business rather than chuck money at some of the national chain stores.

So, I went a little green.

AND. . . . just this morning, I had to run to the grocery store---Food City/big chain (don't judge me!). While I was there, I saw the green eco-friendly reusable grocery bags and realized that the four of them I had bought two weeks ago were still at home. So, I bought two more.

. . .honestly, six bags of groceries is average for me. So, I will definitely use them. Again, don't judge me.

I used them. They're HUGE! They easily hold 50% more than the typical land-filling plastic bags -- and their handles don't rip. I felt so . . .ooh, I don't know. . . ."with it" by using my green bags.

While I was out this afternoon, supporting local industry, I realized that I'd forgotten two key ingredients for tomorrow's salad. (The apple/swiss cheese/cashew one -- YUM!) So, I hopped over to Kroger (it would've wasted gas to go all the way back to Food city) to get what I needed. I still had my FC "green" bags with me -- so I took 'em into Kroger (gasp!) with me. After I got my stuff, the girls checking my groceries out teased me for using the wrong bags -- but I used them anyway.

And, I have to say, it felt really good. It kinda felt good being rebellious, too. But, that's another blog post for another day.

Last green story, and then I promise I'll stop. . . .

Our new "Sonic" Drive-in has "Happy Hour" every day from 2-4 p.m. All fountain drinks & slushes are half-price. I love happy hour. And, since the day has this great green theme running through it, I drove through the drive through and got a GREEN APPLE slush.

Oh my gravy. . . green is good. It's really, really, really good.

. . .of course, it's served in a styrofoam cup. But I can't save the whole planet. Just a part of it!

Happy Saturday!!

p.s. I did a new layout yesterday afternoon. It's based on an earlier blog entry about Caroline's artwork. You may recognize the journaling -- I shortened (greatly) the couple of paragraphs I'd written about her uniqueness and her creativity. Here it is. . .


Friday, May 09, 2008

Two Words: Nap and Sleepover

These are two words that give me a ray of hope today. It's not that today is bad, necessarily. It's just not a stress-free Friday like I'd hoped for.

Caroline's home with me today (which is typical). We're still not getting the hang of potty-training (again, typical). I've been on the phone some (so very typical). And, I can't seem to get things done with "two extra hands" (yep - you guessed it - typical!)

Honestly, I don't know how mothers of multiple kids (That's YOU, chick) handle two, three, or even FIVE four-year olds at once. They are a handfull by themselves -- let alone in a pack. . .or gang.

Anyway, I'm hoping that she'll take a nap. She's in bed right now. I have to be optimistic and look at it and declare that even if she doesn't take a nap -- she's contained. In the meantime, I have clothes to wash -- wet training pants (oy) and the like. Then, once I get Edison home from school, he's going to a sleepover.

That's right. You've stumbled upon today's other priceless word: sleepover.

Very little sleeping will be done -- but it will be "over" at his friend's house. (see what I did there?)

Oh, last night's orchestra concert? Let's see. Where would I even begin?

The Flintstones theme song was the highlight for Edison's group. However, they also did the "Surprise Symphony" and as he put it -- they ended together. (I think that was the surprise!)

The high school orchestra played selections from "Phantom of the Opera." I guess "played" would be the proper verb. Although other possibilities would include butchered, massacred, sliced & diced, and of course everyone's favorite: crucified.

That's right. Mark and I, at one point, were handing Caroline pretzel crackers to keep her from talking out loud, and were stifling our laughter (that's right I said laughter) from the rest of the audience that was there to listen to their executioners -- I'm sorry, their children -- play "Music of the Night" and "All I Ask of You."

. . .and the sad fact is that Mark rarely loses it in situations like that. When he started laughing, it was something akin to getting cracked up during a funeral. You know it's totally inappropriate for you (or anyone for that matter) to laugh, but with every fiber of your being -- you cannot help but laugh. Think Seinfeld . . a Pez dispenser. . and a piano recital. That was us.

So. . .yeah. That was the experience we had last night. For a brief minute, I considered taking Mark up on his offer to take the kids, and let me stay home. But I couldn't do that. I may not have musically enjoyed every note I heard last night -- but by cracky -- I'm going to continue to support the arts (loosely defined, of course) whenever I can. And, I know it meant a lot for Edison to have us all there . . .we could tell by the way he scoured the audience until he found us. (Those tender teenage egos)

Now, if I may step on my soapbox for a moment. . .allow me, then I'll close, because I really do have housework to do while my baby girl is jailed.. uh, er, I mean in bed.

I was appalled at the audience last night. (No, I don't mean Mark and me -- although we were deplorable at one point). The students that came to the concert had HORRIBLE manners. But, even more obscene were their parents.

Kids were getting up and walking in and out -- using the FRONT DOORS by the stage -- in the MIDDLE OF A SONG! At one point, a girl was playing a beautiful piano solo. Seriously -- Rachmaninoff. This girl was doing an awesome job. But two students (who had finished their part of the program) came in to the auditorium to "deliver" their performance clothes to their mom (who was sitting in the row in front of me). They walked in -- came all the way down her row -- handed her the clothes. (she didn't bat an eye) She asked them (OUT LOUD) where they were going. They said (again OUT LOUD). . ."I don't know."


This precious Korean girl who had worked so hard on her Rachmaninoff piece was still playing. And these two idiot children and their IDIOT mother showed absolutely NO respect to this girl.

Oh, they weren't the only ones. . .there was this family sitting on the FRONT ROW. The "dad" (I assume) kept getting phone calls. Instead of, oh, I don't know, turning OFF HIS PHONE -- he would see that it was ringing (he at least put it on vibrate, I assume) but would ANSWER THE PHONE in the auditorium---then leave out the front side door...have his conversation....and WALK BACK IN THE FRONT SIDE DOOR when he was done.

This happened at least four times.

So what am I to do?

Well, on the one hand, I want to send emails to the two music teachers and express my appreciation. Because I have been where they are. No money. No resources. Limited time with kids to rehearse. Uncaring parents who don't make their kids practice at home. I know. . .I remember.

I want them to know that I appreciate their hard work (even though I've not been the biggest fan of Edison's orchestra teacher). And I also want them to know that it broke my heart every time some rude student/ teacher / parent got up and left -- or came in during the performances. But, sadly, I think they're used to it.

And most likely. . .I'll send them emails.

But I also want to write a letter to the principals of the middle and high schools and encourage them to teach the kids to be more respectful--and to tell the parents when a concert begins that they expect them to set good examples and stay until the bloody thing is over. (Can you see how mad this made me?)

Why am I not going to do that? Two reasons:

1) Edison came into the auditorium to "talk" to me during the concert. I nearly bit his little pointy head off.

and (more embarrassingly)

2) We had to get up and leave the concert early because Caroline was being a little pill.

I suppose we had a better excuse than the parents who left because their kids were done performing. . . but still. A part of me died last night.

Make that two parts -- one was the part that loves Andrew Lloyd Weber, and the other was the part that directs music and has higher expectations.

Sigh. I have dishes to do.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

One Word: Productive

I got a couple of layouts done tonight -- and it's been such fun. Of course, a majority of the fun was talking to Melany on "hello" while scrapping!

Here are a couple new layouts. The first is one about Caroline and her new swing set. The other is a series of pictures Edison took of my gerber daisy. I'm very proud of him. Hope you like the layouts!


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Speechless. . . in more than one way!

My dear friend Kate (from "across the pond" as it were) gave me this award. She was given it -- and she heartily deserves it. Her giving it to me? Not sure why. But I like it. (Thanks, Kate!!)

Now, if my award has left YOU as speechless as it has me, this will be an easy assignment for you. You are welcome to take this and run with it.

Please answer each question. . . BUT, you can use only one word in your answer and each word CANNOT be used twice.

1. Where is your cell phone? Purse
2. Your significant other? Recliner
3. Your hair? Short
4. Your mother? Hero
5. Your father? Cherished
6. Your favorite time of day? Midnight
7. Your dream last night? Bizarre
8. Your favorite drink? Diet Coke
9. Your dream goal? Skinny
10. The room you're in? LivingRoom
11. Your ex? Nope
12. Your fear? Suffocation
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Here!
14. What you are not? Disciplined
15. Muffins? Poppyseed
6. One of your wish list items? Retreat
17. The last thing you did? Email
18. Where you grew up? Illinois
19. What are you wearing? Clothes
20. Your tv is ? On
21. Your pets? Nonexistent
22. Your computer? Lap
23. Your life? Blessed
24. Your mood? Finicky
25. Missing someone? Monica/Julaine
26. Your car? Caravan
27. Something you're not wearing? shoes
28. Favorite store? Target
29. Your summer? Busy
30. Your favorite color? Blue
31. When is the last time you laughed? Tonight
32. When is the last time you cried? Yesterday
33. Your life? Fulfilling
34. Your children? Precious
35. Your future? Held
36. Your beliefs? Firm
37. Your ego? Semi-fragile
38. Your image? Upbeat
39. Your appearance? Inconsistent
40. Would you live your life over again knowing what you know? Absolutely.

You don't have to do this -- but it was a fun challenge for me. . . especially because I tend to talk and talk and talk and talk.
Oh, and this award thing? You're supposed to pay it forward. So. . . I would bestow this award to everyone on my blog listing to the right. For those of you who are so inclined, feel free to take the award and put it on your blog. You deserve it.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

I guess I wasn't too tired. . .

I did manage to eke out a scrapbook layout tonight. I like it. Hope you will, too.


When You Know You're Going to Come Home Tired. . .

. . .you do a blog entry early in the day.

Tonight is a "two-fer" at church. I have band practice at 6:30, and choir practice at 7:30. I know--before even going to the car to drive down there--that I'm going to be exhausted when I get home. So, I'm posting now. So I don't feel guilty later.

Of course, I'm also hereby allowing myself to watch reruns of "The Office" on TBS at 10:00 and 10:30 respectively. I'm sorry. . .I love that show. When we were at my office staff retreat a couple weeks ago, I made a (vague . . .really vague) reference to The Office in one of the games we were playing. (I claimed to be 5/16 Native American--Michael claims that in "Diversity Day" and it's hilarious) Of course. . .no one got the joke. Not even my husband.

At one point, our youth minister's wife said, "Wait. That's not genetically possible." (Which also is said in the episode) She's studying to be a vet. I guess genetics would play *some* part in a vet's studies.

Regardless. . . no one got the joke. I felt stupid for using that example. I realized that I truly am an island on this one.

Oh well. It could be worse. I could have made some reference to shows like "Sex and the City," or "Entourage" (which I don't watch, by the way) but that would have *really* put me in a spot now, wouldn't it?

Let's see. . . Caroline's some better. The augmentin is working. We're still waiting to see whether or not it takes its toll on her digestive system. (Yes, Doug -- this is a poopy statement) It seems to me that the last time she took augmentin, it was ugly. It's only been 24 hours, and two doses. . . so we're still holding out to see what's up. . .or, well, not so much up. [sorry]

I've mentioned two practices tonight. . .so I'm covered there.

OH! I can't believe I nearly forgot this....I 'fessed up at our staff prayer meeting this morning. I admitted publicly that I could very easily become addicted to Guitar Hero -- and of course, I projected the blame onto my co-workers. I mean, really, it's their fault for getting me to play "Rock Band" in the first place.

Last night, I spent well over two hours playing GH. Edison had gone to bed....we moved the game out to the living room. He only "snuck out" to go to the bathroom once--and, for whatever reason, at that time, I wasn't playing.

My repertoire thus far? It's pretty cool. . . and pretty random. (A number of songs I don't know, by the way)

Surrender (mentioned this yesterday)
Message in a Bottle
Jessica (Allman Brothers Band) Dang, this one is hard, ya'll.
Crazy on You (Heart) -- also harder than it looks
Monkey Wrench (Foo Fighters)
You Really Got Me (Van Halen)

. . .and a host of other songs that are available for your humiliation on Guitar Hero2. If I weren't the dedicated blogger you all know and love, I'd be in there right now....hammering out some sweet tunes.

What does Edison think? Actually, I was quite surprised. He's kinda in an admiration state with me. When we talked about some of the songs this morning on the way to school, we laughed about how hard the "medium" level is. (I'm stuck on Easy -- and may LIVE there!) He's nearly passed through the medium level. (At that level, you get Kansas' "Carry On my Wayward Son" which I adore)

The moment I cherish? When I told him that by going back and re-doing one of the songs--probably "Surrender" but I'm not sure--I got 5 out of 5 stars. He actually said, "Good job, Mom!"

Yep, there's my mother's day gift. Not really. But at least I didn't make him squeamish. At least. . . not yet! (bwaa haa haa!)

Happy Tuesday, everyone. I may squeeze in a "set" or two before he gets home from school. I can't let him catch me playing -- especially when we've told him NOT to play until all his homework is done.

We're such mean parents. . . . .

Monday, May 05, 2008

Not Eating Bon Bons. . . .

I'm home today, with Caroline. She has a slight ear infection and some swollen glands, so we're back home -- and she's resting right now. Still has a slight fever. Just not fun.

Me? Well, I've discovered the all out fun to be had playing "Guitar Hero 2" on Edison's PS2. I cannot believe I did this. . .but I figured playing GH while he was at school was far less humiliating to him than playing when he has a friend over.

So yes, I've started a band appropriately called, "MOMSSS" (I couldn't figure out how to accept it -- so the extra letters are on there) I've achieved the first "set" of songs in the easy level. I actually played "Surrender" by Cheap Trick . . .

"Mommy's allright, Daddy's allright
They just seem a little weird. . ."

Seemed fitting for my first venture into Guitar Hero -- on my child's computer -- while my child is at school -- and while my other child is napping. I'm really allright. . . I just seem a little weird.

That's right. I'm above all that. I'm not wasting away the hours watching "Days of Our Lives" and eating bon-bons. No. That's not me at all. I'm hiding out in my son's bedroom, playing "Cherry Pie" and "You Really Got Me" on a computer-generated guitar.

Sigh. It's the end of the world as we know it.

Ooh. I like that one. . . . and I feel fine.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Nothing LIke a Corny Post. . .

Yeah, I couldn't resist the pun. I did a quick layout tonight. . . Christy came up with a freebie kit called "Raspberry Lemonade." And, I love it. You will definitely be seeing it again in the near future. Fair Warning!

One night last week (can't remember which one) Caroline decided that she wanted corn ON the cob, rather than cut off the cob. We figured why not?! She loves it.

And yes, she IS her Grandpa's girl!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Just a Swingin'

Yes, I am old enough to remember that obnoxious song released in the early 80s about a redneck crooner who enjoys sitting in a swing with his beloved, Charlotte.

Not one of the great epic songs of the 80s, but as I type these words, I cannot help but hear that haunting melody echo through the recesses of my mind. This is my way of sharing my joy (agony) with you. And yes, you ARE welcome

Seriously -- Caroline and I spent some time outside yesterday afternoon. It was lots of fun. She is obviously enamored with her new swing set. And, I'm glad we made the investment.

Need further proof?

I didn't think so. This girl loves her swingset!
Today? We were supposed to go to a ladies tea (OUTSIDE) at a friend's house from church. It's raining, blowing, and (did I fail to mention?) Caroline woke up in the middle of the night with a fever.
We're staying home. Dreaming of swinging.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Today's the Day!!

NO, it's not my birthday.
It's not Groundhog Day
It's not even National BeeKeeper's Day.

Nope. . .today (or this weekend at some point) is National Scrapbooking Day.
Scoff, if you must. But for someone like me, it's a national holiday. How will I commemorate this auspicious day? By cropping, of course.

I've already done a couple of digital layouts for Christy for NSD. Here's one I did last night. . .

. . .and if I'm honest, I have a few more that I need to do before the weekend is over. But, you scoffers might ask how this day is also being celebrated the world over. Well, let's see. . .

  • QVC is devoting much of its programming time today to scrapbooking. (too expensive for my blood)
  • Creative Memories is promoting a NSD event through independent consultants. That's where I'm going tonight.
  • Sites like Butternug Squash Designs and Natural Designs in Scrapbooking (to say nothing of and Simple Scrapbooks (my favorite SB magazine -- hint, hint!) are promoting this holiday.
I'm not asking for a day off. (Friday is my day off) I'm just saying give some "props" to us, the home memory assimilators and preservers. We're doing this for future generations. There's nothing selfish about our need to congregate in various locations, with tons of paper, glue, ribbons, and stickers -- to preserve our family's heritage in acid-free environments.

It's about the children. How can you look down on that?

Happy National Scrapbook Day!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Happy Birthday, Aidan and Melinda!!

Today is Aidan's first birthday, and Melinda's twenty-fifth birthday.

Who are Aidan and Melinda? Well. . . . if you visit two of my favorite blog friends, you'll see that May 1 is their kids' birthdays.

Aidan is my friend Jeannette's youngest boy. I call her Wonder Woman. . .as do many of my SB buddies over at Butternug Squash Designs. Jeannette has four PHENOMENAL kids. She has been an army wife for a number of years -- toughest job in the army, right Wonder Woman? She is a lover of her family. . .her Savior. . .and a dear friend to me. I've never met her in person, but just the fact that she knows lyrics from songs by the Imperials from back in the 70s makes her a kindred spirit. Aidan's arrival last year was traumatic for everyone involved. His life, to this day, is a testimony to God's amazing, miraculous healing power. God spared Jeannette, too. So, today, I am celebrating a miracle that I was able to observe from a few hundred miles away.

Melinda is Beth's 2nd born. Melinda is one of the funniest and funnest people I've ever met that I've never met. That's right. . . I know of her only in my heart. . .and in cyberspace. But, she and her wonderful family have welcomed my family into their hearts. She fiercely loves her older sister, Jenni (whom I've talked about many times) and she loves her entire family with that same ferocity. She's got this cool gig in LA -- where her husband plays in a Christian band. (So jealous I am) And, to top it all off, her sweet, creative mom (Beth) is celebrating her birthday with a series of "25s" on her blog. I have yet to write mine. . .but I'll get it done soon.

Edited to add my layout. . . Happy Birthday, Melinda!!

May 1 is also the "peace and quiet" day. . . sigh. Mark's mom and dad are on their way back to Arizona. In fact, as I type, they should be boarding their plane. Their first flight takes off around 4, and I'm not sure when they'll arrive back in Tucson. Tomorrow, they will make their way back to Sierra Vista.

I always dread this afternoon, after they've headed back. I dreaded it when Edison was younger, and now Caroline goes through the same "withdrawal" that he went through. As soon as we walked through the garage door today, she started calling for them. . . "Nana! Papa!" Ever the optimist, she decided that they were at the store, and that they'd be right back.

So, then I heard, "Nana and Papa be right back. Nana shopping."

Well, explaining that they had gone home. . ."bye-bye" . . .or in an airplane just wasn't going to cut it. It will take a few days, and then she'll stop asking for them. But for now, it's sad. And, I wish I knew how to make it all make sense.

That's pretty much the long and short of things. I worked today--because I took Monday off to be a Ds ambassador. (ha!) Thursdays are generally quiet days in the office, so I got some much-needed work done. Honestly, if Caroline had Mother's Day Out or school tomorrow, I'd probably go back in (voluntarily) just to get a few more things done.

I guess that it's the tremendous flurry of activity the last couple of days that has made everything seem so bizarre. I'm exhausted, but excited to be (nearly) done with stuff. And yes, you know me. . .there's always something around the corner for me to do. . . like finish a baby gift for a baby shower I'm hosting on SUNDAY!! (yikes) [Kathy--you might just get to peek at James' gift if I don't get it all finished!]

There you go, my friends.

Happy Birthday, Aidan!
Happy Birthday, Melinda!