This is My "Real" Blog: December 2008

Angie's Blog!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

It is Time. . . .

I love the movie, "The Lion King" for many reasons.

One reason is that it was *the* Disney movie released the year that Edison was born. For some reason, I latched onto it -- and bought him a copy when the video became available.

Another reason? The music is outstanding. "Hakuna Matata" what a wonderful phrase! Seriously, the music is amazing. Elton John's "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" is also hauntingly beautiful. It's just all around fun.

The storyline is great. The actors doing the voices are great. Especially James Earl Jones (Mufasa) and Robert Guillaume (Rafiki).

For some reason, when you get to the end of the movie >>>spoiler alert<<< and it's time for Simba to take leadership of the pride of lions, Rafiki turns to him and in a very deep, peaceful voice, he says: "It is time."

Suddenly Simba steps forward -- roars a MIGHTY roar -- and begins his reign.

I don't know. . .for some reason, I always get chills when that scene happens. The first couple times I saw the movie, I know I cried at that point. But, now it just gives me the shivers.

What is or was it time for since I last blogged?

1) Taking down Christmas decorations - they're gone. They're back in the barn on the farm. And, I was never more glad to get things packed away.

2) Our anniversary -- which means going away!!! On Tuesday, Mark and I will celebrate 19 years of being married. I don't know if there's a special "gift" for the 19th year (cotton, gold, silver, etc) but I think we're both planning on giving each other time and sleep.

Although it has been a simpler Christmas than some in the past, it was still a busy, busy one.

3) New Year Decisions. Notice I didn't say "resolutions" in this sentence. That's for a reason. However, I have decided to live a healthier lifestyle this year. I am also going to make more time in my day -- doesn't matter what time of day -- for reading my Bible, and spending quality time doing things that feed my soul. Now, if I drop a pound or two (or twenty) in this process, more's the better.

4) Some time this year will be spent reuniting with friends from high school. It's not a specific reunion year for either of my graduating classes ('82 and '86) but there are plans for my Facebook friends from high school to get together this summer when we're driving through the Chicago area on our way to Daniel's high school graduation.

That's right -- this little boy

is graduating from high school in May. It just doesn't seem right. But, as Rafiki says. . . "It is time." And so we will celebrate.

I will probably not blog until after we get back from Gatlinburg. If, for some bizarre reason, I do not blog before 2009 dawns, may I wish you a blessed New Year.

. . .and thanks for being one of my (very few) readers. It always means a lot when people talk to me about something and preface it by saying: "Well, I read this on your blog. . . "

Have a great New Year's Celebration! Stay safe!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

There's a Reason for all this Craziness

On Sunday, our pastor pointed out that the "Silent Night, Holy Night" of which we all sing probably didn't happen.

A stable -- animals
A mother -- no epidurals in the stall
A newborn -- yeah, they cry
Angels -- don't think they weren't singing loudly

And a host of other noises that were taking place in Bethlehem that night. . .which, by the way, probably was NOT December 25 (but I digress).

The first Christmas was one of chaos -- paying taxes, a "forced" marriage, cross-country travel, a very pregnant mother (probably age 14 or so), and a very frightened father-to-be.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that Baby Jesus wants us to celebrate his birthday the way he came into the world. . .but I am saying that our craziness probably isn't THAT far off from the craziness of Bethlehem 2000 years ago.

But I think the desire of every heart. . . really. . .is the simple, serene, peaceful nativity scene that we recreate in our hearts and on our hearths each year.

The simple truth? Is this.

God sent Jesus to be our Savior. He didn't have to do it. But, he loved us SO much that he was willing to give the one Son he had to die for our sins. And, rather than make some huge spectacle in presenting him to earth, he chose a stable--a stinky, lowly, animal-filled stable for his Son to arrive through the miraculous birth of a virgin.

He didn't have to.

But, he did.

Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Just One of the Many Reasons I Love Him

Ooh, what a day! I'm really tired -- but feeling so exhilarated by some of the changes around the house. After re-locating a few of the small Christmas trees throughout the house -- don't say it -- I kinda got the urge to get some more stuff hung up that we've been wanting to get hung.

(Awkward sentence, I know.)

We (Edison and I) moved the 3 ft. tree with colored lights to the sun room. That was actually where it was located last year. Last year, it had ornaments. This year, just lights and small gold star-shaped garland. It's sweet. We put it on Caroline's table, and put Raggedy Ann & Andy at the foot of the table. Caroline moved them to their respective chairs -- and we put a few (REAL, not fake) presents around the base of this tree, too. I like it.

Then, I moved this little primitive tree into the living room opposite the BIG tree. This is actually a tree that I normally leave out year-round, and I think that's going to happen again this year. The master bedroom has a primitive country look, so I think this will most likely fit very well.

After relocating trees and some more of the presents, it was time to get some pictures hung. Mark got the two B/W pictures of the kids up in our room. There's still a stitchery piece that goes with those pictures, so when it's up, I'll post pictures of that montage.

In the kids' bathroom, he got a set of three watercolor prints up that his Mom & Dad gave us (last year) for Christmas. I really like the look of them. Also in that bathroom is a watercolor by Ken Shaffer. The Shaffer's are friends of Mark's family from way back. I've never met them--but over the years, I feel like I've gotten to know them through the stories told, letters exchanged, and pictures shared. This is probably my favorite of the Shaffer's that we have. And, it really mixes well with the blue/white "nautical" feel of their bathroom.

In the living room. . .this is the part that gives me goosebumps. . . Let's just say that I worked on this project for a long, long time. (probably over a year, now) And, it's good to see the fruits of my labors hanging on the wall. It's a series of four seasonal primitive samplers. I framed them myself -- cheap $3 black frames from Wal-Mart. I couldn't be more pleased. Mark did an awesome job hanging them not only straight, but evenly-spaced. And, the entire project had to be done while leaning over the 80-lb chest that sits on the floor directly under these samplers.

Then, in Caroline's room, we finally got the quilt rack up that my dad had made for us years ago. After getting it up on the wall, we put a quilt that my grandmother cross-stitched for me over 30 years ago. She made Lori one, as well. So, I'm fairly certain that Caroline and Becca (my niece) both have one of these precious bedspread/quilts from Grandma Heim. After putting it on the shelf, we put a few of my Precious Moments figurines on the shelf. Caroline will inherit these figurines. Eventually, I would like to have Grandpa build her some shelves that go on the three big walls in her room (matching, of course) and from there, I can put the rest of the figurines out.

So, it was an awesome day! Our church services this morning went very well, in my estimation. The choir and orchestra sounded great! The soloist did an outstanding job -- and the "makeshift nativity scene" to get peoples' attention? I think it worked. Of course, there may be complaints to deal with tomorrow. We'll see.

So there you have a day in pictures. It was a lot of fun -- but a lot of work (especially for Mark). There are a few more pictures to hang, but for now, I am really liking the way things are looking around here.

I'm also liking the way they're smelling. I'm trying out a new bread recipe tonight. It's called Muesli Bread -- and it's a cinnamon-laced bread with muesli cereal, raisins, etc. in it. According to the cookbook, it will make great toast for breakfast. We'll see. . . .but if it tastes as good as it smells, it's gonna be a good day tomorrow.

OOH....and there's homemade apple butter, too. Yowza!

Saturday, December 20, 2008


It was picture time at our house today. . . yikes!

Caroline has a new method for picture taking. She says "cheese."

Only. . .she says it long, loud, and with an impish look on her face that does not, in any way, resemble a smile. Who's idea was it to get people to say "cheese" in the first place? Obviously not a mom.

All this to say. . . busy days. Busy mornings. Busy evenings. But, not too busy to have our pictures taken today. (Thanks again, Kathy! You're a lifesaver.)

Still working on some homemade Christmas projects. I think I'll be working on them until Christmas day, if I'm honest. But, I'll get there--one way or another. At this point, we don't have anything on the calendar for tomorrow. So, I hope to make a big dent in the seemingly endless "To-Do list."

I can say, however, that all my presents (except for these I'm struggling to finish) are wrapped. . .and under the tree(s). I say plural trees because I added some small gifts under the hallways tree that leads back to our bedroom. If I'd have gotten a little tree skirt made, I wouldn't have put the presents there. But, they add to the "festive-ness" of the hallway. Is YOUR hallway festive? Think about it.

Funny thing about these presents? Edison asked me today -- and he was serious -- "Mom, are those real presents, or are they fake ones?" FAKE PRESENTS!?!?! Is he nuts?

I'm SO over wrapping presents, the idea of wrapping fake ones for display just about made me physically ill. Who does he think I am? Martha Stewart? Yeah. . . . they're just for display, Edison. You keep believing that.

Here are some of the pics that Kathy took today -- I'm fairly pleased with them. Of course, *she* had no control over the subject matters in the photo. (ha ha!)

From our House to Yours. . . Merry Christmas!!

We pray that you will always sense the wonder and awe that is Christmas. And that, in the midst of your celebrations, you will stop for glimpses of the magic and the mystery of Christmas.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Blow, Blow Thou Winter Wind

I'm not sure. . .but I believe this was a song I had to sing for voice lessons in college. Or maybe it was a song that Brian Jackson sang (not one of the famous 5 Jacksons) and I played for him. . .?

Blow, blow thou winter wind
Thou art not so unkind
Thou art not so unkind as man's ingratitude

Yeah. Chew on those words for a few minutes. It's Friday. There's time.

It's been a crazy week -- but I can proudly say that my daughter has been to school every day this week. Not only that, but she went to school in her pjs today -- they're having "Pajama Day" while her class watches the "Polar Express."

A note of clarity here: Caroline has never sat still through an entire movie -- much less an episode of "Max & Ruby" so this ought to be interesting.

In other news....

Yesterday was Mark's birthday. That's right -- for the next five months, he is three years older than me. I find that somewhat appealing. I married a cradle robber!

Sadly for him, we weren't able to celebrate his birthday as a cohesive family unit -- because I had a rehearsal at church last night. Normally, we would have had our rehearsal on Wednesday night, but our staff Christmas party was on Wednesday night.

So, he and the kids ate chicken nuggets, baked potatoes, and birthday cake. And no, the cake wasn't homemade. Thank you for asking. I picked it up for him at the grocery store -- and it really was yummy.

So, feel free to pop over to his blog and tell him Happy Birthday -- even if it is a day late.

In the meantime, I'm off to (hopefully) wrap the last of the presents. You know that's not true -- but it's a good thought. Then, I need to do some cleaning -- family is coming in next week!!! We're going to (I think) host a New Year's celebration here with my sister's family and my parents. So, there's a lot to do -- and time is running out so very, very quickly.

I'm going to quote my dear friend, Judy and say: You go and have a good day. Stay warm -- those of you in the northern end of the world.

Peace out!

Oh. . .the title? Again she does the cryptic titles. The wind is blowing like NOBODY'S business today -- it's not cold. But it's brutal. That's all.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Wrapping it all Up....

I am looking forward to finishing a few projects tonight. After this, we don't have a free night until Friday (I think). And, Friday is a half-day for Edison, so we'll probably tack on a few errands to that day - prior to celebrating Mark's birthday. And yes, for those of you who remember, his birthday is actually on the 18th -- but we have a choir/orchestra rehearsal that night. Seriously. . . I love my life!

We've actually talked about going to Dollywood on Friday, but they're calling for rain. . .and I really don't want to go traipsing around in the cold, wet. . . talk about an invitation for the flu. Ick. So, I don't know. But, I am getting excited about having some time to rest, and retreat with the holidays coming up.

Mark and I will celebrate 19 years of marriage on the 30th. He's taking me away for a couple of days up to Gatlinburg, I believe. It may be Pigeon Forge. I lose track. All I know is that I'm taking a couple of books to read, some crocheting or hand-quilting to do, and a movie or two to watch. I think we're going to watch Heath Ledger in the Dark Knight. I realize that doesn't seem like anniversary-appropriate movie watching. . .but if I recall, we watched "Parenthood" shortly after getting married -- possibly on our "honeymoon." So, we've got a long history of watching questionable movies while celebrating our anniversary.

Life is somewhat back to normal. . . however, two families that we know lost grandparents just today. That takes me back about 16 years, I believe. My Grandma Heim died on the 22nd of December. That was tough. Christmas was difficult to celebrate that year. And, I'm sure for the two families that have been affected today -- this will be a very different Christmas.

So, other than that. . . I'm putting up the last of the small holiday trees that didn't get put up over Thanksgiving. I realize it seems like a last-minute thing. But, one tree is in Caroline's room. I need to take its picture, along with a picture of her new dresser that Grandpa (my dad) and Stan made for her. It is absolutely beautiful!!

There's also a tree going up in Edison's room. We've been so crazy busy the past couple of weeks, I haven't gotten the tree up in his room. It's about time. So, today's the day.

Edison and I went out for a 4-hour shopping marathon last night . . and with the exception of 1 or 2 gifts, we were able to get me finished up. Mark is still the hardest person to buy presents for. . .so I've got a few things left on his list to cross off. But, I'll get there.

When I take a few pics, I'll post them on here. . . until then, stay warm & dry!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sensory Overload

. . well, not really. But, it seemed like a fitting title as I mentally laid out this blog post.

Sound -- We are becoming more and more aware of Caroline's dislike of loud noise. And to be honest, God love her heart, she was not born into a quiet family. Quite the opposite, actually. She has this look that she gets on her face when things get chaotic. She gets a stressed expression on her face, and her little lips form an open "O" shape. If she's not being held by one of us, she clamors to be held as soon as possible. I keep praying that she'll accustom herself to what she considers "noise" soon. Things like: laughter, our small group (few people, but lots of laughs), babies crying, our worship band at church (includes Mark and me), and fireworks. Because, these are all wonderful sounds -- even babies crying. She'll get there, it just may be one of those roads that longer than others.

Smell - Tonight, at small group, we did the "Christmas Get to Know You" meme as our activity. And, it was FUN. We learned a few things about each other, and laughed (to Caroline's chagrin). But the first question had to do with real vs. artificial trees. I related the story when we were first married, the apartment we lived in did not allow real Christmas trees. In fact, Katie the "Nazi" Apartment Manager (we really called her that) scheduled Uri (seriously, it was his name) to come around and inspect everyones' furnace filters during the 10-15th of December. We knew better. We knew that the Russian Spy was looking for real trees for our Nazi Landlord. But, relating that story reminded me of the smell of a real Christmas tree. . . and there's nothing like that smell.

Touch - I am currently *still* in the process of making Christmas presents. Yesterday, in my search (not yet frantic) for fabric for some Christmas ornaments, I remembered why I love fabric so much. I love the feel of fabric. I love flannels, and chenille, and cotton. Good, sturdy cotton. It just makes me happy.

Taste - Tonight, after our small group left the house, I put together two cookie trays for others to enjoy. One is going to work with Mark. That large tray will be accompanied by a container of peanut butter and traditional chocolate fudge, as well as peppermint bark. The other tray is going to school with Caroline. I hope they enjoy these cookies. I know I had fun making them. I will try to post some recipes later on. Some of them are "classics" around here, and the recipes are definitely worth sharing.

Sight -Well, after last night's post, I cannot help but post the sight that makes me happiest right now. I took a couple pictures tonight of my new Nativity Scene. I absolutely love it. Next year, it will be on a different table. But this year, the piano is a fitting place for it to be. In case you don't know what I'm talking about, I did take a few pictures. The thing I love the most? I already had three angels from this designer. One was a gift from a friend when Caroline was born (the praying angel), the angel with the star came from my mom and dad last year (I think) for Christmas. The third angel was a gift from Mark's Aunt Shirley, who recently passed away. She was one of Caroline's many prayer warriors. And, as she was a retired teacher, the angel with the arm full of apples is especially precious to me. So, here you go. . enjoy this sight. I can assure you.....I am.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas is full of Surprises!

But who am I telling? You know this already.

Let's see, when I last wrote, we were preparing for the Spell-a-Bration on Thursday night. It wasn't much of a celebration in our house. Edison was eliminated in the 2nd round by the word "mattress." (No, he didn't leave out one of the "T's" he forgot the 2nd "S" at the end)

I don't know. . .

He said that he really wasn't concentrating at the time.

I know. . . .

So, we came home, by way of Starbucks, and as we drove through the parking lot, Mark and I couldn't help but notice a mattress store behind Starbucks. We didn't mention it. . .initially. Like I said, we're laughing about it now. But, as I told Edison on Thursday night . . I am certain that he will never mis-spell mattress again.

Friday, Caroline finally went back to school. I took her in a little past the normal time -- giving her a chance to get one more sleeping-in morning under her belt. When we walked through her classroom door, the other kids in her room were excited that she was there. One friend nearly bowled her over with a hug -- and then proceeded to take off Caroline's backpack and coat (without unzipping it fully) to put them away.

That was nice.

I spent the rest of Friday doing mundane work stuff, and doing some preparations for cookie baking. This year, the teacher gifts are going to be somewhat simpler (and less expensive) so there was some prep work that needed to be done.

The economy hasn't affected us directly -- except for rising heating costs and gas expenses in filling up the cars. But, we continue to hear about friends and family members who are being laid off, or are unable to find work (or sell houses) because of the dismal economy.

So, this year, we're trying to be more rational in our spending, and we're making an effort to give homemade gifts when we can. I've nearly finished the one last big homemade gift that will be given away over Christmas. If I get it done this week, there's a second one -- not nearly as big -- that I'd like to get finished. If I get it done, it will effectively eliminate two gifts that need to be bought. So, I'm kind of anxious to get both projects done.

Then, and only then, am I going to start on a "honey do" list for myself. I would like to make another throw for our living room. I need to make a new quilt/throw for Edison. And, I still haven't gotten curtains up in the sun room. I found fabric today that I'd forgotten I have. I think it will do very well in some areas -- maybe backing Edison's quilt -- so good things are happening. It's just a matter of finding time to do them.

Today has afforded me two wonderful surprises. The first was a chance to reconnect with an old friend from high school tonight on Facebook. We had a live "chat" for about an hour. It was really nice. We were able to share some updates on mutual friends -- and just talk. He was always involved in musical stuff -- so we spent LOTS of time together through the years. He told me that his mom passed away in 2004. That made me sad. If there was *anyone* that was a fan of our choral groups, it was Stella. She was just one big bundle of love and encouragement.

Earlier today, my best surprise of the day came after Mark took Caroline shopping with him. I know. . .that in itself is a reason to rejoice. But, that's not the big surprise. When he got home, he showed me the gifts he'd purchased (I gave him a list) and he did very, very well. Then, he handed me a gift bag. Inside was the Willow Tree Nativity set that I wanted. I don't think I had told him that I wanted it. (I actually tried dropping a subtle hint to other extended family members -- in hopes of getting it next year!) But, his surprise today was an "early" present that, he said, should be enjoyed before Christmas.

I agree. It's out. It's beautiful. I'll post pictures tomorrow. I'm tired.

Too many surprises in one day wears a girl out!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Someone Get the Ark out of Storage

. . . 'cause it's raining like nobody's business here!

Needless to say, the Christmas shopping trip was postponed. I may be desperate, but I'm not crazy. I am not taking this child out in the elements. There's still two weeks.

TWO WEEKS!?!?!?!

It's allright. I've got some time.

We did go run an errand this morning. Two, actually. We went to drop off some Christmas cards for DSAG, and then went to the grocery store. I am planning on starting some of my holiday baking today, of all days. Caroline's teachers are getting hot cocoa and homemade apple butter. There will be some sort of ornament, or Christmas decoration to go with them.

But, I'm also going to send a tray of cookies into her school on Monday. . .and to Mark's work. (Some of his colleagues read this -- so I'm setting myself up for some accountability!)

The rest of today holds Edison competing in the county-wide spelling bee in Sevierville tonight. have no idea how he's going to do. They gave him a list of words to study. And, he says that he's gone over them. We'll see.

But, all this talk of spelling bees cannot help but remind me of the HILARIOUS episode of "Frasier" where Frederick (Frasier's son) competes in the annual National Spelling Bee, which coincidentally, is being held in Seattle. Frasier accidentally disqualifies Frederick by mouthing the letters as Frederick spells out the winning word. The entire episode is hilarious, but the "Spellabration" is what they call the awards ceremony. Cracks me up. And yes. .. I am plotting and planning a scrapbook page with that title, based on tonight's festivities.

Oh, the other funny thing about tonight? Edison's teacher called the house last night, and told Mark that because they "value quiet" during the "bee," there would be an area for us to take Caroline in case she got fussy.

We're leaving her at home. No question.

So, that's it for this rainy, sloppy Thursday morning. Stay warm & dry. . .if you're in this area. If you are where it's snowing, stay safe. And if it's warm where you are, know that some of us are kinda jealous. . . just kinda.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

This is my Wish. . . .

A Simple Christmas.
That's my heart's desire.
My heart will be disappointed, I fear.
My heart will not give up hope for a simple Christmas.

. . . but it's most likely not going to happen this year. And yes, that is yours truly - courtesy of Mom's old photo album, and my scanner. It was fun to look through our old pictures.

Update on the kiddos. . .

Edison made it through an entire day of school today. Of course, the word I received was that he was tired and sore. I'm sure he is. But, he made it through--and that's more important than just about anything. He's competing in the county-wide spelling bee tomorrow night, so I really wanted him to go to school 1 or 2 days before the competition.

Caroline? Mystery. We took her back to the doctor today, because her fever spiked up again last night, and the rash got bolder. Of course, they found nothing wrong with her. We've taken her off Benadryl (no itching) and are continuing the Tylenol. I'm flummoxed, but not defeated. I'm taking her (Christmas) shopping tomorrow. She will think that we're making random stops at stores. . . but I'm actually shopping for her. Shhhh!

So other than that, I'm finding myself burning the candle at both ends, in the middle, and across the top. But, what else is new? I'm seriously trying to do some advance work so that the week(s) leading up to and following Christmas can be relaxing weeks. We'll see.

Until we meet again, my friends. . .I leave you with another picture. Enjoy!

Yep. That's me and my daddy!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Spoke Too Soon. . . .

Isn't that the way it always is? I mean well. . .but sometimes this mouth gets me into all sorts of trouble. . . or, at the very least, I wind up digesting my own verbiage.

Yeah. Both kids were home from school today.

Caroline actually made it into school. But, by 10:10 a.m., I was on the phone with the school nurse. This time it wasn't for digestive reasons, however. This time, it was to tell me that she had a slight, and very light rash on her waistline. After talking it over with Nurse Becky, we decided that some cortisone cream might help, and we'd go from there. I also asked her to call Mark in case there was more trouble -- I was just getting ready to attend my first of two back-to-back meetings that take place every Monday. Yeah, I really love Mondays.

She agreed. And, when I let him know to listen for his phone, Mark complied, as well.

In the meantime, I had what I thought was the start and mid-point of a migraine. I have only had one other headache like this in my life. And, it was triggered by a mutant bag of cinnamon potpourri that I had put in my office. (At that time, my office shared the bathroom with the church nursery, of all places.) Monday mornings were not the most pleasant times to be in the office -- so I thought some cinnamon potpourri would enhance my work space. Instead, it gave me the MOTHER of all migraines.

So today, acknowledging that there was NO cinnamon in sight, I couldn't figure out what the problem might be. I had eaten a small breakfast -- which included three major food groups (meat, carbs, and caffeine). And still, no relief.

I felt bad for my actions and reactions during this first meeting, because I felt like utter dog doo. During the lunch break, I ran (okay, I drove) to Walgreen's and bought both Excedrin Tension Headache and Excedrin Extra Strength. I didn't even wait to get back to the office to take two (2) of the tension pills. I washed them down with the Diet Mountain Dew that I purchased at Taco Bell next door.

. . .and yes, I know that too much caffeine can be the enemy, as well. This had nothing to do with caffeine. It was the tension headache from the pits of hell itself. That, and the fact that there was a message from Mark when I got back to the office. He was going to get Caroline from school -- the rash was spreading, and she had a fever. Yeah. Par.A.Dise.

The second meeting happened. I could say that part of it was a blur. Oh, and I could also mention that two of my co-workers were eating during the first moments of the meeting.

Let me stop here for a second. I have learned an odd truth about myself. Are you ready for this?

I get annoyed at other people eating when I'm not eating, too.

Take today, for instance. Now, I must admit that I felt like crap. (Sorry, Mom) I did. I was afraid that I would toss my cookies. . . or as I heard last week, that I might ". . . shout groceries" just by breathing the air around me. So, being annoyed at other people eating today kind of made sense to me.

But, I really don't like sitting at the kitchen table, or any other table, for that matter, when other people are eating. And I really, really, really get annoyed when people are chewing ice around me. Now, I personally LOVE to munch on ice. But, if someone else is doing it -- especially in a quiet room -- I nearly lose my ever-loving mind. And I don't think that I'm jealous that they're eating and I'm not. . .I just can't stand the sound of other people chewing. Okay. . . bizarre look into Angie's psyche has ended for this evening.

But, all that to say, the early moments of that 2nd meeting were tense ones for me. But, I made it through. And somehow, miraculously, by the end of the meeting, 92.5% of the headache was gone. I still had that eerie feeling -- especially around my eyes -- but for the most part, I could breathe and not flinch. (improvement)

On my way to meet Mark at the doctor's office (I called while scarfing half my lunch and made Caroline an appointment), I stopped in my boss's office and apologized for my demeanor (or lack thereof) during the meeting(s). He said that he understood, and was (being totally honest) so stressed out about some other stuff, that he really didn't notice (or care).

So, I felt better. Until we got to the doctor's office.

Appointment time: 2:45 p.m.
Taken to room: 2:55 p.m.
Seen by doctor: 4:00 p.m. (totally serious)
Strep test: 4:10 p.m.
Results: 4:20 p.m. (negative)
Out the door: 4:30 p.m.

No prescription. Just told us to give her benadryl and tylenol. He thinks it is some sort of viral reaction . . .and that a prescription wouldn't do any good. Mark, by now, doesn't feel well, and wants some medicine.

I decided then and there -- regardless of pantry inventory -- we were having homemade chicken noodle soup. So, after signing Caroline out of the doctor's office, I headed to Kroger, and Mark took her home.

I made soup -- really good soup, actually. We ate. We rested. Mark bought a new cable modem. (For my FB friends -- this will hopefully mean that I won't be so "flaky" while we're talking online anymore!)

Edison's in bed. School tomorrow? We'll see
Caroline's asleep. School tomorrow? Oh, no. Doctor's advice
Mark's in bed. Work tomorrow? We're going halfsies on the day. I've got the first shift -- so I'm gonna sign off here and wish everyone a wonderful Tuesday. It's the most productive day of the week, or so a colleague of mine once told me. So, enjoy it -- be productive.

I'll be here -- eventually!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Oh, Sure.

This little 2-word phrase is Caroline's new "catch phrase" for everything.

Caroline, do you want to eat dinner? "Oh, sure."
Caroline, let's go shopping. "Oh, sure."
Caroline! Get your shoes on. "Oh, sure."
Caroline, can you say "Merry Christmas?" "Oh, sure."

It's hilarious. And, we have no earthly idea where it's come from.

There is lots of activity going on in the Aubrey household these days. We're decorating, shopping, crafting, reading, chasing, (uh) pooping. . . sorry, we've had a run of "the runs" with Caroline lately. I initially blamed the antibiotics, but we're not certain the source. Thankfully, it appears to have "run" its course (again, I apologize) and we seem to be on the mend.

In all honesty, it will be nice to send her to a full week of school next week. . . as long as the weather cooperates.

I thought I'd pop a few more pictures (mainly stuff, not so much people) on here. These are some of the Christmas "things" going on and up around our house. There's more to come. . . just not enough time to get them all accomplished this week. sigh.

Here you go. Here are some fun pictures. . .

My piano has all sorts of Christmas "stuff" on it. . .from my homemade snowmen to the little angel Caroline made last year. . . to my vase full of small glass ornaments. The Santas across the front of the music stand are from Mark's collection of Santas. He's kind of given up the whole "collecting" thing -- but we kept the most precious ones.

This is my Precious Moments nativity set that I purchased back in 1980, when I first began working at Zondervan Family Bookstore. It is now a collector's item. However, mine lost a significant measure of its value when I lost the box that it came in. Oh well. . . the memory of saving up and purchasing this set with my first job is more valuable than anything to me. And, I just love that little black sheep. He's always been my favorite. Caroline arranged them, with Mary & Joseph separated from the shepherds. Can we say elitist?

I'm not the "Christmas Village" sort of girl. But, this one is different. Mark's mom and dad have given me the various pieces over the years. It was first discovered at a store in the little town where Mark's Aunt Shirley lived (I believe). And, I truly cherish it. I love the looks of these houses. . . . always pictured myself living in a house like that one day. Hmmm. We'll see.

These paper "ornaments" are hanging in Edison's room. Granted, they're not quite how I envisioned them hanging -- but he did it, and he seems satisfied. So, I'm not saying another word. I saw some like this at the Fantasy of Trees last weekend, and thought it would be a fun way to use up some of the MOUNTAIN of extra scrapbook paper I have. (I didn't even scratch the surface) But, it was sure fun to play with scissors, paper, and glue. (Beth -- you're right!!!)

I'm getting ready to work on a miniature tree with some of the smallest "orbs" and when it's done, I'll take its picture, too. I'm sure you're holding your breath in anticipation.

Lastly, here's the newest member of our family. . . Amanda, the bear that Caroline made at Build-a-Bear on Tuesday night. She really is a cutie.

I hope that you're enjoying the sights, smells, and sounds of the season. I personally have already listened to Wyndam Hill's "Winter Solstice III" which is my favorite in the series. There is a version of "In the Bleak Midwinter" that speaks to the heart of me. There's also a stirring arrangement of "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" that makes me cry every time I hear it. The entire album--or the album series--is a long-standing tradition for me during the holidays, and beyond. I encouage you to look them up.

Well, it's a busy weekend. The DSAG Christmas party is tomorrow, and that's always a lot of fun. And yes, there will be plenty more pictures. (And I *did* get a little Christmas shopping done today -- Caroline has an "official" Christmas outfit for such occasions!) It's been a good day!

Have a wonderful, lovely weekend!!!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


Tonight was a busy, somewhat splintered night for our family.

Mark came home from work early so that he could accompany Caroline to a gathering with other patients of our beloved cardiologist, Dr. Jeffory Jennings. The practice has formed a support group, and we are a part of that group.

Since joining the group, we have been treated to an ice cream social (I had a Buddy Walk meeting), participated in the Heart Walk (it was raining), and tonight -- it was "Build a Bear" night at West Towne Mall. And yes, I had a worship band rehearsal.

So, my wonderful husband, along with 12 or so other parents, endured the process of "building a bear" with 25 (or so) kids. Caroline's bear is un"bear"ably cute. [Sorry, it's been one of those days where puns and other humor has played a large part in my sanity.] After the kids built their bears (at the expense of our beloved doctor) they went and ate pizza at Sbarros.

Okay, when I saw this, I about died. Could there ever be a more precious child? I think not.

Oh wait! There she is with Amanda. I stand corrected.

And yes, Auntie Beth, there will be pictures available of BOTH of them in their cheerleading outfits. Soon. You have my word as a mom and a scrapbooker.

They then traveled to Bath & Body Works and redeemed a coupon on my behalf. I have seen the contents of the bag -- and I think I am allowed to indulge myself before Christmas, but I'm going to make sure, just in case. It involves peppermint. And that, more than just about anything, makes me giddy this time of year.

While they were building "Amanda" the bear, and eating pizza, Edison and I were eating a quick dinner of McDonald's in my office, and getting ready for worship band practice. It had been a somewhat crazy day -- getting the service order ready for Sunday morning. There really wasn't a whole lot of pressure to have it done by tonight, but I am really trying to get my planning done well enough ahead of time that I can have some "not hate Christmas" time this year.

So, we made it through practice. And, this band is always fun. I mean. . . FUN. There are a couple notable members (the boys in the back) who keep us laughing. And, of course, there are other antics going on the entire time we rehearse, so you never know how a rehearsal is going to turn out.

Rehearsals like tonight can be somewhat stressful, however, because we were "cramming" new music into our repertoire for Sunday morning. Now. . . I usually try to give two (2) rehearsals before introducing a song -- partly for my own peace of mind -- but also so as not to stress out my singers too much.

This week, we're doing TWO, not just one, but two new songs/arrangements. One is the 'Third Day" version of "Angels We Have Heard on High" and if you've not heard it, you've really missed something suh-weet. Here's a link to it on youTube. link

Then, we learned another new song. This one is called Offering. Now, for those of you who already know this song. . . sometimes we "stumble upon" songs later on than the rest of the world. I could give you all sorts of excuses, but I'll refrain. [get it. . .refrain? It's a musical term.] Anyway, here's a link to Paul Baloche singing this beautiful song. . .mind you, we don't sing it quite so "formally" as they do on this verson. link

This second song has stuck with me tonight. I guess it's those words in the chorus:

I bring an offering of worship to my King
No one on earth deserves the praises that I sing
Jesus may you receive the honor that your due
Oh Lord, I bring an offering to You

It's just that simple. Nothing or no one deserves praise like God does. . .and yet, in this season, when our focus is squarely on the temporary, we lose sight of what HE gave us in sending Jesus to earth. (Yeah, I'm getting a little preachy here. Indulge me.)

I guess what drove it all home was sitting in the drive-thru line at Starbucks following rehearsal. Edison had offered to buy me something at SB after we got done. I knew it was because he wanted something too, but I was willing to indulge him. Just before we got to the speaker, he decided that he didn't want anything. (I think he was afraid that his gift card was getting low on cash. It wasn't) But, he was willing to give up having something so that he could buy me a Peppermint White Chocolate Hot Chocolate.

I convinced him to order a hot cocoa for himself, too. . . with the promise that I would cover anything his gift card couldn't pay for. (He still has at least $8 on the card -- he's fine)

But, things -- precious things -- were offered to me, and to our family today. God has taken care of us in so many ways over the last week or so. From providing a new battery for my van (it died on Thanksgiving day) to providing warmth and shelther -- two of our most basic needs for which we seldom offer gratitude.

So in the spirit of offering and receiving, I am saying, "Thank you."

I have been blessed beyond words. Cared for and provided for on a consistent basis. Yep, that's me. And I am thankful.

And now, let me offer you something(s) that will, I hope, make you smile. . . even more pictures!!

This first picture is long overdue -- and it's proof that I have met That Chick. . . .and Boy Child and Girl Child (as well as Jason. . .who loves Jesus, by the way). They came to the Buddy Walk this year -- and totally made my day. (I think it made me cry a little!)

This is Caroline with Adam, our Children's minister. He also came to the Buddy Walk and walked in support of our girl. She thinks he's something wonderful. (She's right)

I just find this funny. Here's my baby girl -- sporting her Dale Earnhardt pajamas, and having a tea party. You'll have to pardon me, but it's freaking hilarious.

This is the dude -- working on his math, I believe. You can tell it's math because I am NOWHERE near him, helping out. Yeah. . . it's getting more and more difficult for me to help him these days!

Me and the kiddos at the Fantasy of Trees on Sunday afternoon.

My two precious kids decorating our Christmas Tree on Thanksgiving morning. (I know. It's bad luck. Don't ask)

And then there's Maude! Eating her lunch at school. That's right. We're bringin' cutesy back.

You surely didn't think I was going to say "sexy" did you?

Monday, December 01, 2008

I know. . I know. . .

For the two or three of you who read this blog faithfully, I have been a disappointment over the last week or two.

My reasons?

Well, to be honest. . . we had company for most of that time. And, if I said we'd spent every minute doing old-fashioned "family" activities (playing games, telling old stories, etc.) that wouldn't exactly be true.

What was I doing? Well, I was, in fact, feverishly finishing Christmas presents for the family members that were here. I was also cooking . . . A LOT.

I'm not complaining. In fact, it felt great to get a couple of those projects done. Of course, I have more to do before the "real" Christmas holiday arrives in just 24 days (YIKES!!!) but, I'm trying to keep things in perspective, when I can.

And I'm not complaining about the cooking. I really enjoy cooking--especially when someone else is entertaining Caroline.

Mark and I have been making a real effort to not squander money eating out a lot. And that, in and of itself, is a good thing. I will still argue that nothing beats breakfast out -- especially on vacation. That is one of the most luxurious things for me when we're away from home. It doesn't happen all that often, but when it does, I'm a happy, happy girl.

But, all things being equal, paying $32 for our family of four to eat an evening meal -- although less stressful -- is somewhat silly. Especially when you consider that same $32 could feed us ALL in the most frugal of shopping excursions.

So, we've made an effort to eat at home more. And, we have. Up until last night, we hadn't eaten at a restaurant, or had carry-out for nearly two (maybe even three) weeks. In that time, I have made:

homemade pizza
sweet & sour meatballs
pork roast
shepherd's pie
swiss steak
sicilian roast
smoked chicken
breakfast for dinner (pancakes)
tuna melts
oregano chicken
cheddar potato soup

. . .and the list goes on.

Tonight, it was homemade chicken pot pie. Yes, I *did* use a storebought pie crust. Sue me. I don't know how to make good pie crusts.

I do have to mention, however, in this time of being frugal, I have made whole wheat bread 2 times, and have nearly mastered the art of making good biscuits. I have just about decided that you could find yourself being evicted from the south if you don't know how to make good biscuits. I also made homemade apple butter. That is really the reason I've made biscuits so much -- there's nothing in this world that I love more than hot, buttery biscuits with apple butter on them.

Excuse me....I need to find a napkin! :)

The trick with biscuits? It's all about the moisture. If they're dry on the counter when you're cutting into them, guess what's going to happen when you bake 'em. That's right. Oh, and brushing them with melted butter BEFORE you put them in the oven? Nice touch.

As a family, we will most likely continue on this "quest" to eat out less. As I watch what's been happening with the economy. . . not that I understand it, mind you. . .but as I consider the state of our country, and our utter disregard for saving money and being good stewards--I am more aware of our need to be responsible. This doesn't mean, however, that we'll never eat out again. It just means we'll think twice before heading out. That's all

All in all, it's been a good experience for us. I've been more "creative" with ingredients found in my cupboards than ever. I still have two (2) cans of artichoke hearts and a can of cherry pie filling that need to be used in some way. Oh, and that large can of candied yams that was supposed to go into sweet potato pie for Thanksgiving. (I let my cousin make the sweet potatoes this year) I'm sure I'll use that can before too much longer.

Well, I'm outta here. One of our new favorite shows, "Worst Week" is on. I love it!