This is My "Real" Blog: September 2008

Angie's Blog!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Pressure to Perform -- with a twist!

So. . . .Caroline was hesitant to "perform" for the doctor today. We literally sat in the office -- danced around, tickled, laughed, jumped, tickled some more, all the while drinking apple juice and PowerAde.

She refused to go to the potty for a UTI test.

Yep -- baby girl has got her bladder control issues figured out. We are so much closer to completing potty training. But still. . . .

today was NOT the day to show such restraint.

I cried. I cajoled. I bargained. Finally, I asked for a catheter. For her.

When it was all said and done? No bladder infection. No UTI.


Yeah. . . precious. But I'm grateful that she's allright. Edison's going to live, too. Just a sinus infection with drainage & coughing. He has medicine. He'll be fine.

My inlaws are arriving tomorrow afternoon. They, along with my parents, and Mark's brother and sister-in-law are going to be with us through the mayhem of the weekend.

We had a meeting tonight -- our last planning meeting for 2008. This is gonna be a great walk. I'm very, very excited. And, very very anxious to be done.

So. . . the blog "fast" starts back up tomorrow. But, I didn't feel good about leaving you all hanging about the kids' health. . and my mental well-being. Talk about hanging. . . .

Love to you all -- be back real soon!

Oh....the twist? Well, this is my 500th blog entry. Pretty cool.

Under Pressure

I love that song.
I'm living that song.

Okay. . .so you all have made me feel somewhat guilty -- but I have to say, the break has helped.

Quick update. . .

Both kids are sick as of today. E has a cold -- coughing his head off. C may have a UTI or some sort of "personal" issue. They both have appointments at 1 p.m. Pray, please?

Mark? Helping out as he can. Very busy.
Me? Losing my ability to think straight.

Buddy Walk? I figure with all the shoo-shoo that has hit the fan this past week and today, this puppy is gonna ROCK!

The thing is? Unless I tell people about said shoo-shoo, no one will know. It will be a rockin' good time for everyone, and will be declared a success (even by my standards)

Now, if you'll excuse me, there's a little girl that wants to trace my hand on a Magna Doodle.

I know, it's sweeter than honey around here sometimes.

Love you all!!!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Needing a Blog Break....

I think the title kinda speaks for itself. But, I need a break.

I promise I'll come back. Probably after Buddy Walk. . . maybe before.

It's time.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

That would be some hurricane. . . .

Edison helped me run some Buddy Walk errands today.

This year, instead of hiring out a Coca-Cola trailer and having a "tap" with coke, diet coke, and sprite, we're buying cans (cheaper) and icing them down the night before/day of. Right now, Walgreens has Coke products on sale 4/$12. That's a great price ($ .25 per can).

So, I packed Edison up in the car with me. . .and we headed out for some soliciting and purchasing. We bought 12 cases of grape soda, orange soda, and root beer (4 each) at the grocery store. We also hit up a "dollar" store for masking tape, packing tape, sharpie markers, scissors, toilet paper, diaper wipes, etc.

We had to make the obligatory stop at Starbucks for his favorite drink. Then, we went next door to Sonic for Happy Hour for me!

Then it was off to Walgreen's for the nectar of the gods (Diet Coke) which is one sale. Once we got home, and stacked it in the kitchen, Edison declared, "Wow Mom, it looks like we're stocking up for a hurricane or something."

Granted we *did* also buy two big jars of peanut butter -- crunchy & creamy -- because we were out. But still, that would be some mixed up hurricane if we had nearly 200 cans of carbonated soda, and no bread in the house!

What can I say? This is going to be my life for the next two weeks.

. . . but I'm grateful to have had an opportunity to get the stuff NOW rather than running around like a maniac 24 hours before the walk.

I'm going to go sit down and watch a UT football game. And yes, I *am* going to crochet an afghan for part of a BW gift -- but other than that, I'm going to enjoy my Saturday. Tomorrow, we're headed to the Knoxville Museum of Art to see the Gees Bend quilts that are on exhibition until Monday. We're going to our favorite restaurant for lunch. . . Aubrey's . . .and then we'll pay a visit, hopefully, to the family I wrote about a few months back. Link here. Mark and I want to encourage you to pray for this sweet baby girl -- she will undergo open heart surgery on Wednesday, October 1. If we get a chance to see her tomorrow, I'll be sure and take pictures to give you a face to put with your prayers.

Happy Saturday everyone!! Go Vols!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Breaking All the Rules

Mark is flying home today -- in fact, he just called from Detroit. He's halfway home. I'm glad.

However. . . .I have seen the sunrise for two mornings in a row. This is rare for me. I normally get up at, or before 7 a.m. on Sunday mornings. But weekday mornings? Not so much.

Caroline's bus comes at 7:08 a.m. each morning (except for Wednesdays) and Mark is very sweet, and lets me sleep (on weekday mornings) until 7:45 or so. By that time, Caroline is out the door, and Edison has been taken to school (also by Mark). What I *intend* to do is get up while Mark is taking Edison to school, and be done with my shower by the time Mark gets back home -- so he can have the bathroom. Sometimes it happens. Other times? Yeah, not really.

Both Mark and I start our workdays at 9 a.m. Both our work schedules are extremely flexible. It's not unusual for Mark to get into work at 9:17, and the same would be true of me. So, our system works, for the most part.

But, with Mark gone, I have had to "do it all" with a smile on my face. And for the most part, that's not been a problem. Getting Caroline up and out the door this morning was fine. She's got such a sweet spirit. When I woke her up at 6:42 this morning, she sat up -- smiled, and talked about getting on the bus. After her PJs were thrown in the hamper, she immediately laid back down so I could take her diaper off and put on a Pull-up. She knows the drill. She's all over it.

Edison got up, ate breakfast, and was ready to go by 7:30 a.m. We made it to school with no major hangups, and by 7:42, I was back home. I watched the sun burn through some misty fog as I drove back home this morning, and kinda remembered how I like early mornings. . . .of course, I always forget how much I like early mornings when I'm staying up late at night. My affection for morning and evenings would be best summed up in the classic 70s ballad, "Torn Between Two Lovers. . . feeling like a fool, loving both of you is breaking all the rules. . . "

As much as I love staying up late at night -- especially when syndicated TV shows are on and I'm sewing, scrapbooking, or just laying around -- I also love sleeping. I love going to sleep. I love staying asleep. I love my bed. I love when it's just chilly enough outside to snuggle under my comforter. Yeah, I love sleeping.

But then I thoroughly enjoy the quiet, mystical peace of the morning. The earth is waking up and that dew-y scent in the air is truly invigorating.

So, I'm torn.

But, I'm grateful that tomorrow morning, my knight in shining armor (a gray t-shirt and PJ pants) will be home. And, knowing him, he'll let me sleep in. I will snuggle down in those blankets and squeeze out another 27 minutes of sleep, even though I'll know I need to get up. And I will forget the bliss that is found in the serenity of the moist morning air.

. . . until he goes out of town again.

Ooh, and another plus? I won't have to be the one killling Daddy Long Legs after tonight. The one that "came at me" last night was as big as a chihuahua. Yes, it was. I'm ready for someone else to attack and kill them.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wrong Side of the Mason-Dixon Line

Do you hear banjo music?
Are you sure?
Listen again.
Mark's in NY at the funeral.
He's staying at a Microtel in Ithaca, NY.
His cousin, Karen, is there.
She's staying with him at the Microtel.
They're first-cousins.
She's married.
It was my idea.

She could have gone back to the house with the rest of the family and slept on a couch, or the floor. So, unless you're hearing some strange echoes of banjo music wafting through the leaves on the trees. . .I'm think we'll get through this just fine. It just made sense.

But, guess the guy at the check-in desk looked at them funny. I'm sorry I missed that.

Back on *this* side of the M/D line. . . .this single-parent thing is taking its toll on me. I am amazed, humbled, and blown away at what other women do ALL THE FREAKING TIME. I just have 36 more hours until he gets home.

To protect my sanity, I bought "Dad's Away Survival Food" (which translated, means "Pop Tarts" or "Krispy Kremes" for breakfast!) Shhhh. I also had Domino's deliver pizza tonight. And tomorrow night, I have a meeting, and will stop at Burger King on the way to, or from my meeting. Yum.

So yes, I'm in survival mode. Step off.
I have pop tarts. . . .and I'm not afraid to use 'em.


And yes, I am fully aware that Mark reads my blog and will know about the Pop Tarts and Krispy Kreme donuts. He made his cousin tell me on the phone tonight that they were going to Dunkin' Donuts for breakfast tomorrow. Ptooey on both of them!

Monday, September 15, 2008

You. . .Asked for it. . . you got it. . . on youTube!

Okay, if you're as old as me, you're humming a jingle from back in the 80s by Toyota. (Maybe it was the 70s?)

Anyway, being the obliging friend that I am, I am pleased to give you a link to the youTube video where Caroline is singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" with the Hawaiian guy. And yes, Steve, it is the one you talked about.

We are very proud of our little girl, as you can imagine. I don't think anyone who regularly reads this blog would think otherwise. But, in this particular case, I am REEEEEEEEEALLLLLLY proud!

We showed the video in church yesterday, in an effort to encourage participation in the Buddy Walk (BW). From what I heard, at the conclusion of yesterday's services, we had fifty (50) people signed up to walk (not including the 4 of us) and there were people willing to volunteer. (That 2nd part made me even happier than the first part!)

So, it worked. As per my experience, pulling. . .nay. . .tugging at the heartstrings usually works.

Here's the link:

And, for those of you that missed when Caroline was on TV 2 years ago, here's that link:

It's "all youTube all the time" around here. Caroline knows that she's on the computer, and whenever she hears ukelele music, I fear she's going to assume that she'll be prominently featured.

And really. . . what's so wrong about that?

Weather update: I had my windows open today, and it was GLORIOUS!!! It actually got too cool to leave them open when the sun went down. Could this mean that fall is on the way???

Nah, it can't be.

Oh. . .and just because I'm going to seize every opportunity possible:

If you are interested in supporting Caroline in the Buddy Walk, you can go to *her* personal website and make a donation. You don't have to, but I thought you might at least like seeing the site:

Love to all. . . be praying for Mark. He's flying out to NY tomorrow morning and will fly back Thursday morning. Thanks!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Steve said it best. . . .I'll say it simply

Mark's mom called this morning to say that his Aunt Shirley had passed away. Colon cancer won a battle -- but Jesus won the war with death long ago.

Mark will go to the funeral on Tuesday. He'll come home on Thursday morning.

Sometimes simplicity is best. . . .

Mark will represent the four of us. He will celebrate a full life that was lived well.

There are other things to say. Scrapbook pages to brag about (even if they're not done by me!)

But now. . . in this moment. . .I'm remembering someone who loved me. Someone who prayed for both my kids (especially the little one). Someone who showed me that it's never too late.

Someone I truly loved.

I will miss you, Aunt Shirley.

Friday, September 12, 2008


For years, the letter/symbol/letter combination"B/W" has meant "black & white" whether referring to television, pictures, or any other definition you might imagine.

But, around here. . . when I see "BW" it means Buddy Walk.

I know, you're having to pick yourself up from the floor in absolute shock and awe. Otherwise known as S/A. No, not really.

But, since getting involved with the Down syndrome group, otherwise referred to as DSAG, seeing the letters "BW" in any sort of combination means Buddy Walk to me. No ifs, ands or buts.

This week, we're going to show a brief video in our services to encourage people to get involved in the Buddy Walk this year. We're calling it the BW Video. . . as you might imagine. It has been quite the adventure putting the video together. . . and by my words, "putting it together" I really mean that it's been an adventure for our children's minister, Adam. He's been doing all the work. I just helped provide the pictures and some of the text.

My sister provided the video footage -- thankfully, she got some while she was here this summer. Some of the other pictures were provided by my friend, Marsha. And the music? Well, that's courtesy of some Hawaiian guy with a name I cannot pronounce and itunes.

Adam warned me today that if I have ANY intentions of talking after the video is shown (and I do) . . .I won't make it. I told him, if I have to watch it 85 times between now and Sunday -- so be it.

Anyway -- the funny B/W angle to this story is that in the narrative I gave Adam for the video, I referred to 2006 BW picture and 2007 BW picture. He was getting totally confused because he kept looking for black & white pictures, and there weren't any to be found. I was talking about Buddy Walk 2006 and Buddy Walk 2007. I guess I have some more educating to do, eh?

And yes, if he gets it to me soon, I'll be uploading it here. With Mark's help, of course.

He just called. It's in my mailbox. Outside my house. NOW. Way cool.

But today, as I pondered a blog entry, I thought about how much I love black & white pictures. And especially how I love the ability to transform color digital pictures into black & white pictures with a click of a button. Amazing.

I pushed a couple of buttons, and came up with these beauties. Enjoy!


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Oooh, I Hear Laughter in the Rain. . .

. . .it rained last night. Not just rained. It rained. We have needed rain for a long, long time -- but not as much as we needed it last year.

When I first started hearing the rumbles of thunder, I stopped in my tracks to see if I was dreaming or not. I wasn't. There was big, big rain coming our way. By the time the drops started to fall -- or should I say pelt our window -- it was evident that we were going to get a good, soaking rain. And I have to admit, I smiled. . .I may have even giggled with a little glee.

As I drove to work this morning -- gazing at the fog wrapped around the Smoky Mountains. It was totally amazing to behold. Totally reminded me of a favorite Psalm . . specifically 121. It's one of the psalms of ascent. (Beth Moore reference)

Psalm 121
A Pilgrim Song

I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains?
No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.
He won't let you stumble, your Guardian God won't fall asleep.
Not on your life! Israel's Guardian will never doze or sleep.

God's your Guardian, right at your side to protect you—
Shielding you from sunstroke, sheltering you from moonstroke.
God guards you from every evil, he guards your very life.
He guards you when you leave and when you return,
He guards you now, he guards you always.

I am reminded that God is constantly guarding me...guarding my life. And right now, when my life feels like its spinning out of control?

Well, that just makes me feel safe. . .and allows me to smile. . .or even laugh during a thunderstorm.

Title reference: Yeah, that's one of my absolute favorites! Love that Neil Sedaka!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

This the House that LOVE Built!

Well, "Tailgate" Sunday has come and gone. And, for what it was worth, it was amazing. What an awesome day to spend outside--basking in the beautiful (but HOT) weather. Enjoying clear, sunny skies, and an occasional breeze.

But it wasn't just about the weather. . . it was about

...worshipping outside, waiting for the sun to finish its journey into the sky
...listening to God's Word proclaimed so loudly you could hear it echo off the bank next door
...hearing our church family sing at the top of their lungs
...smelling five or six (I lost count) barbecue grills get started cooking burgers & dogs
...listening to dear friends sing while we ate lunch
...LUNCH? Well, that was just delicious!
...hearing the sound of thousands of nails being driven (Inside, it sounded like popcorn)
...looking down the long distance of the church parking lot, and seeing walls being built
...watching family members work together (old and young) on this mission
...the smell of freshly cut wood, and the "pillow" of sawdust under your feet
...the COLD refreshing water that was delivered by such wonderful people
...the pride watching both my children drive nails into someone's new house
...the jarring sensation as I drove a few nails myself
...a lesson in "hammer-holding" from my dad (a woodworker)
...the joy of seeing a 2-bedroom house (well, the walls) erected in our parking lot
...the unity of the entire church family laying hands on the house and praying
...the beeping of the Ryder truck, as it was full, and ready to go
...the warm water of our shower--cleaning off the grit & grime
...the pile of pillows under both my head and my feet
...the quiet of the house as the boys are out, and Caroline is napping
...the satisfaction in a HUGE undertaking being done
...the promise of a NASCAR race on tonight (postponed from Friday night)
...the confidence that many caffeine-free diet drinks are in the fridge

Oh? You wanted to see pictures? You got it. But, I'm not going to comment on them, except to say that yes, that IS Caroline nailing wood together for a wall.
And yes, that IS me bent over (tan shirt) nailing wall pieces together.
And yes, that IS Caroline helping me bake one of the desserts for the lunch.
And yes, my dear, sweet friend (HELEN) I did do a "frame in a frame" picture because of you! And yes, I WILL answer any other photo questions you might have.

But for now....I'll let the photos speak for themselves.

This is the Pioneer Woman's Dump Cake -- only I made it with a Butter Pecan cake mix, rather that the yellow cake mix. . .and we dotted it with sliced almonds. YUM!

Caroline and Daddy, resting under the shade of a dogwood tree. Did I mention that it was HOT outside today? I did? Oh, allright.

This is CAROLINE hammering in a nail into someone's new home. (Okay, her daddy is helping her, but still. . .) I am one proud mama!

Yup, that's me.

And this is Kerrie. (Hi, Kerrie!)

This is my boss -- Randy Penwell -- our lead pastor.
This whole thing was his idea. Pretty cool guy, I gotta say!

Rehearsal Saturday night.
Our group, "Surrender" sang a couple songs to entertain . . . or fill in empty time--you decide.

Caroline is loved by everyone at our church. Our children's minister seems to really have some affection for her, don't you think? She loves it. Every single bit.

This is Barry -- "Baby James'" daddy. Seriously, in our house, it all revolves around Baby James, Baby Karson, and Baby Chloe.

This is my Uncle Jeff, assisting someone. I think I knew who it was when I took the picture. But now. . . .yeah, that's not happening.

We were encouraged to write messages on the walls and framing of the house. That was a very powerful and moving thing to do. Of course, some of the middle school boys (not mine, thankfully) decided to promote one of our local businesses. I guess if these families have a recurring impulse to eat Buffalo Wings, there will be a plausible explanation.

One of my "other" bands at church aptly named itself "Misty Sunrise." I guess I am "Misty." Yikes. Anyway, we all worked together on this wall. I am very proud of this wall, and as it was being taken to the truck, Justin (aka THUNDER) wrote something about "Misty Sunrise" on the walls. Again, if it has some sort of effect on the family, I guess we are responsible.

Helen, this one's for you. I remembered your framing challenge a few weeks ago -- and when the potential for this picture came about, I could NOT resist the urge to take the picture.

At the end of the day, we laid hands on the house and prayed a prayer of blessing and dedication on the houses themselves, and on the families who will receive them through our combined efforts with Habitat for Humanity.
And for the record. . . .you knew I couldn't resist from commenting on the individual pictures. I talk a big talk, but ya'll know me better than that! But you love me just the same. How can I ever repay your kindness??!!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Time for Tailgating -- and I'm Gettin' Hammered Tomorrow!


Really. I am.

Okay, that's not actually what's happening.

Tomorrow, we're having "Tailgate" Sunday. Worship will be outside. . . on a stage. . .kinda freaking me out. We're having one large, outdoor service.

Then we're building houses.
Two houses.

Habitat for Humanity Houses.

In our parking lot.

Yep -- I love my church.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Three letters

W - O - W

Totally blown away by Sarah Palin's speech tonight.

She nailed it.
She hit it out of the park.

I'm too tired to think of any more construction/baseball metaphors.

Just. . . . wow.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A Newsworthy Day - **UPDATED**

. . . well, to a blogger, every day is newsworthy, right? Whatever.

Long day. Busy day. Productive day.

. . .and to top it off, Caroline will be on the 11 o'clock news tonight.

During our Buddy Walk planning meeting, we got a call that a reporter and cameraman from one of our local stations (WATE - Channel 6) was interested in talking to some parents of children with Down syndrome. Specifically, they wanted our reaction to the nomination of Sarah Palin.

I know. . .shocking, isn't it?

At first, they thought *I* should be interviewed. The more we talked, and the more animated (frantic) I appeared, they got someone else to be on camera. I was fine with that.

I may be in the "extra" footage (of our meeting). . .and Caroline will definitely be in the piece -- going down the BIG slide at church. But other than that, I'm staying off camera. . .thank you very much.

If the website puts a link to the story, I'll post it here. Otherwise, we might "youtube" it for posterity (and blogging) sake.

Love and peace to you all. Have to go make potato salad.

Yes, I *am* living a charmed life. Why did you need to ask?!?!

Updated to add: We survived the news story. Caroline *was* in the closing shot -- coming down the slide at church. I am so proud of her...but I'm also proud of my friends Tina and Kelly who did an awesome job putting into words what our hopes and dreams are for our special kids. AND. . .they helped us convey the message that a Ds diagnosis is NOT the end of the world. In fact, we were able to tell Knoxville-at-large that it's a BLESSING!

I'm still watching for a possible link to the story online.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Be-Laboring Labor Day!

We are home today -- well, right now, *I* am home. Mark has taken the kids shopping for a few things (caulk, a new grill, steak knives). Oh, if I were only kidding. . .

1) The Buzz Update. They weren't hornets or yellow jackets. They were bees. And, it appears that we didn't have a hive in the house or attic. We had (key word: HAD) a bag of soda cans to be recycled in the garage. When Mark went to relocate it outside the garage, he pissed off the bees. (Sorry, mom.)

So, we are grateful to have only had about 15 in the house -- they're all pushing up daisies. . . you know, the pollen and all.

The cans are outside. All is well.

2) New Grill? Am I serious? Well. . .yes, I am. Sometime, last night, in the midst of our Labor Day cookout with our small group from church, our grill decided to implode on itself. From what I've been told, there is now no "CharBroil" on the front -- it melted off. And the left side control button. Gone.

So, a new grill is somewhere on our horizon.

3) Steak Knives? We need some. We live 8.5 miles from the largest independent knife store in the country. Need I say more?

4) Caulk. In looking for the entry route for the bees, we noticed that many of our windows need to be re-caulked. So, that's an easy (and energy-efficient) thing to do. 'nuff said.

So, while he and the kids are out shopping, I am going to get a few more Buddy Walk projects done. I basically need to create the world's largest "To-Do List" in the history of mankind. Once that's done, I'll be in good shape.

Have a lovely Labor Day! And, for my precious U.T. fans. . . Go Vols!

My buddy Beth has posted a picture on her blog that was taken by her daughter, Jenni. Jenni is my adopted "niece" (along with her 42 siblings) and she is more precious to me than I can say. Jenni and Caroline share that "certain little something" that sets them apart. . . or ties them together (you be the judge). Here's her picture (Yes, I did snag it from Beth's blog). . .

Is this not BEAUTIFUL??!?!? Great job, my sweet Jenni! I love you!