This is My "Real" Blog: March 2009

Angie's Blog!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Can't Even Begin. . .

. . .to apologize for the length of time between posts. Too long, I know.

But, please consider this: Church Music Director meets Palm Sunday meets Easter Sunday planning.

To say nothing of the:

Special Needs Parent meets Kindergarten Screening meets somewhat uncooperative/shy prospective kindergarten student.

Then, of course, there's the:

Music Director meets Special Needs Parent meets Rising High School Freshman Football Player parent meets Buddy Walk Coordinator

Yeah. Insanely busy doesn't begin to describe it.

But things are good:

*Caroline did AWESOME on her kindergarten screening (named all 26 letters, counted to 15, identified all colors except gray, and knew body parts except for: ankle, waist, hips, jaw, and wrists). Who teaches their four year old about those parts? Whatever.

*Edison is surviving Standardized Testing this week and High School football practice. He leaves the house at 7:30 am, and returns at 6:30 pm. It's true. I saw him for five whole minutes today. (We talked on the phone for 20 tonight, as I drove home from a meeting)

*Church stuff is going well -- we're in the thick of Palm Sunday & Easter plans. This year, we have an all-time high number of Easter Lilies to decorate the worship center: SIXTY-FIVE. That's right, I'll be HIGH on benadryl on Easter Sunday.

*Buddy Walk meeting tonight -- loud restaurant, and the caesar salad was sucky. But, the meeting was good. I love the awesome women I get to work with on the Buddy Walk.

Really, life is good. It's just busy. And, God is working out things ahead of time that I never even knew about.

Wanna hear one? It's really cool.

Okay . . . you know how stressed I've been about Caroline's transition into Kindergarten / Primary School, right? It's true. I've been a basket case. Well. . . last night, I learned that the Vice Principal of her new school is a former special education teacher that I personally KNOW!! I *finally* feel like there's going to be someone "in my corner" even though they may not be able to "officially" act like it. And, she's a Christian to boot.

It really doesn't get much better.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Day Off

Gonna get stuff done.
May even get the sewing machine out. (currently, it's sitting on my scrapbook table)

Got some baking to do.
Cheese ball for a DSAG event tonight.
Birthday party tomorrow.
Nephews and niece in town for the weekend.

. . .and as I type, there are severe weather warnings for our area over the next two days. Severe storms, and COOOOOOOLD temperatures.

Could be interesting, to say the least!

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, March 26, 2009


I've had a pretty busy week, and the day is not going to slow down for the next three hours. So.....I'm just going to put some pics on here of the layouts I did at the crop two weeks ago. (I can't believe it's already been two weeks!)

In the meantime, I'm going to make dinner -- one of our favorites: Poppy Seed Chicken. I swear, I have made this dish so often, I can make it without a recipe! (Love those kinds of recipes!)

Here are the layouts -- enjoy!!

I will caution you -- I just looked at them here on the blog. They definitely look nicer in person. . . .but I can live with it if you can!


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Schnitzel with Noodles

"Doorbells, and sleighbells, and schnitzel with noodles. . . ." Are you humming it yet?

I thought I'd post a few of my favorite things, along with some explanations of these particular items. I hope this doesn't come across as materialistic -- it's not. I think the lure (or pitfall) of materialism is to always want MORE. These are things I cherish. With a few exceptions, I only have a quantity of one (1) of these items. Amassing the entire world's inventory of them? That would be materialistic. . .and expensive.

So, here they are, in random order.

Two of these three items were wedding presents -- well, one was a wedding shower present. The "Chicken" is a cutting board that I received at a bridal shower held for me by my coworkers at Wheaton College. A very lovely lady named Pat Swindle gave me this cutting board. I have used it nearly every day since it was given to me almost twenty years ago. It sits where it has always sat in my kitchen -- directly behind the kitchen faucet. It's just a fun, funky backdrop to the sink. I cherish it. I use it. I love it.

The heavy blown-glass salad bowl was a wedding present -- from Kris & her son Jason. They attended Community Christian Church with us -- and we really cherished getting to know them. I remember, when we received the gift, it was wrapped in Big Bird Christmas wrapping paper. Jason, I recall, wanted to help wrap it -- and he was 3 or 4 at the time. It's a beautiful bowl from the "Little Traveler" in Geneva, IL. I have heard of, and seen this store -- but have never ventured inside. I would love to go sometime -- and see this (obviously) wonderful shop.

My KitchenAid Mixer is truly one of my prized possessions. I use it to make everything from bread to cookies, to meatloaf and cheeseballs. I got it a few years after we moved to TN -- back when we had a membership to Sam's Club. I fear the day that she gives out. I noticed - while making pizza dough the other night - that the motor is starting to run hard. I don't like the sound when it does that. But, I have told myself that if a new mixer is necessary, I will treat myself to either a sunflower yellow one -- or a stainless steel model. We'll see. I'm not doing any shopping -- yet. I love my mixer and I will be very sad when she gives up the ghost.

This wreath was made for me (and Mark, of course) by my mother-in-law a few years ago. It has five (5) miniature baskets on it, which she wove herself. It also has five primitive stars -- made of homespun material. You have to know that two of my very favorite things in the world would be primitive (misshapen) stars, and homespun material. When we first got the wreath, it hung above our bed -- old house -- evergreen walls. Looked mighty nice in there. In our new house -- and it's been almost two years, I don't think it's new anymore -- it hangs in our living room. It's actually kinda between the living room and the office. I can turn 90 degrees from the computer (here) and see the wreath. . . and when I walk out of the kids end of the house -- it's what I see.

Well, you know, if Sam Waterson isn't on Law & Order, or something.

The year that she made my wreath, I believe she made 14 others. That's right. . .you do the math, I'm tired. Fifteen wreaths x five baskets + five other decorations. Each person's wreath was made to reflect their tastes, or backgrounds.

I love my wreath. I love the stars. I love the baskets. I love my mother in law.

Okay, this is actually some "newer" of my favorite things. The white "barn" star in the background sits along the wall on my kitchen counter. I found it about a year ago, when I noticed a store with lots of primitive decor was going out of business. I found the large, black barn star that hangs over our bed (another post -- another favorite). . .and this white star. Initially, it hung on the wall in the kitchen, but it's just tall enough to fit between the countertop and the underside of the cabinets. It's perfect.

The cutting boards -- yes, I have more cutting boards. The small cutting board was a Christmas present this past Christmas, from my in-laws. It's made of bamboo - a renewable resource. It's small, portable, and just cute. I really enjoy using it -- and have been known to cart it over to the stove top (flat, solid surface -- another favorite thing for another post) and chop veggies on a cool burner surface. The "bread" cutting board is one that Mark found for me -- and I really like it. I honestly don't remember where and when he got it -- maybe on his trip to NY a few years back??? Regardless, it's a great cutting board -- and although my OCD tendencies make me want to only use it for slicing bread -- I use it for all sorts of stuff. (Especially if the other two cutting boards are dirty!)

Lastly, my blue bowl. A few weeks ago, I went shopping with my friend, Janet. She's another officianado of primitive decor. She and I hit up an antique/craft store out in Farragut. A lot of the booths had crap -- if I'm honest. But, there were a couple booths that totally rocked. One of those booths had this bowl. It's not an antique. In fact, you can probably find it through a place like Domestications or Gooseberry Patch. I just love the depth. I adore the color. The weight is just right. And when I need four (4) cups of bread flour to make those amazing chocolate chip scones . . . or when I need to mix up a box of brownies. . . it's just the right size.

Not to mention how adorable it is when used to serve a bowl of popcorn!!

So there you have it -- a few of my favorite things. I have more. I will post them another time. Of course, my family counts on the list -- and my church family, my Savior, yadda yadda yadda. (No, I did not just yadda yadda Jesus!)

But, these days, as we're trying to spend less -- and not indulge ourselves in more stuff, it seems to be a great time to celebrate the things that we already have that we love.

That's all.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Jumping Caroline

Yeah, I'm attempting to upload a video. We'll see how it goes. I think the title speaks for itself.

Jumping Caroline. . . .


Sunday, March 22, 2009

This Girl Really Gets It!

Not much to post about. I had intended on spending all sorts of time getting caught up on "house" stuff this weekend. . . .hanging samplers, etc. But, I stopped short at cleaning the house yesterday. . . and I really didn't get it ALL clean, because I failed to wash the sun room windows and the front storm door. Oh well, I may attempt that tomorrow. Fiddle-dee-dee. . .

I *did* however, manage a quick upload/trip to Walgreen's where they had a "Buy 25, Get 25" deal on pictures. I happened to read the coupon they sent me . . .and of course, it expired yesterday. . .so I went through and picked pictures as quickly as I could. When I went into the church last night -- to make sure stuff was ready for this morning, I stopped in, and picked up my pics.

. . .and if I'm honest, I've been so busy, i haven't looked at them yet. Busy? Me? Come on . . .

I did some baking for today. . .yesterday. We had lunch at Mom & Dad's house today, with another couple from church. Mom had asked me to make dessert. I started scouring out the pantry and freezer to see what I had. I decided on "Death by Chocolate" or, at least that is what *I* call it. My buddy Melany makes this quite often -- I need to compare notes with her, to see what hers is like. Mine was good. . .RICH, but good.

Basically you bake a pan of brownies (I used a box mix -- I'm just one of those kinda moms!) Then, I made two (2) boxes of cook & serve chocolate pudding. (I think you can use instant, but I was going to for the gusto here!). I had a large container of Cool Whip, and a bag of Heath "Bits O'Brickle." In my mind, I was set.

I cut the brownies into 1 inch pieces, and layered them in a tall bowl thusly:

Brownies - 1/2 of them
1/2 of the pudding
A generous "shake" of the Brickle Bits
1/2 of the Cool Whip

Then I repeated the layers -- and wound up with a very pretty concoction. (It tasted pretty awesome, too!)

I also made a Diet Dreamsicle Cake. It's even easier.

1 White Cake Mix
1 Can Diet Sunkist (which has caffeine - by the way)

Mix together - bake like you normally bake a 13x9 cake. After it cools, top with Fat-Free Cool Whip.

Since the other recipe is called "Death by Chocolate" and my dad is diabetic -- I didn't want the chocolate recipe to live out its reputation. Besides, he loves dreamsicles. So, he was happy.

Along with this craziness last night, I also decided to make homemade pizza. Partly because I'm trying to be a cheapskate -- and also because I had pizza sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, and I absolute LOVE deep-dish (homemade) pizza dough.

It was good. There's still plenty left -- this recipe made TWO jelly roll pans -- and I really could have divided out some more of the dough and made cheese/garlic bread. But, I opted for REALLY thick crusts. (It had some whole wheat flour in it, so I'm telling myself it was healthy!)

And, in the midst of this insanity, I thought I'd make some cherry turnovers. I know. . I know. . .but, I never got them made. I had gotten the puff pastry out of the freezer last night, and just let it sit in the fridge overnight. I made the turnovers this evening, when we got home from Mom's. That's even easier. Want that recipe???

Easy Cherry Turnovers

1 pkg. puff pastry
1 can cherry pie filling (or any flavor you choose)
1 c. powdered sugar
2 T water
1/8 t. almond extract

After thawing the puff pastry out, cut each sheet into 4 squares.
Drain the cherries from the pie filling. (I know this seems bizarre -- but when you put that can of cherry pie filling in a strainer, you will be SHOCKED at how much "liquid" is in there -- almost half the can is the thick liquid -- which is why homemade cherry pie is so much better than using a can, but I digress)

Divide the "strained" fruit among the eight turnovers. Brush the edges of each turnover with water, and seal by folding it into a triangle. Use a fork to crimp the edges of the turnovers.

Oh, in the meantime, your oven should have been heating to 400 degrees. (oops)

When the turnovers are folded, sealed, and crimped -- put them in a 400 degree oven for about 18 minutes. They will puff up and look like the beautiful turnovers you find in a bakery.

After they cool, mix together the powdered sugar, water, and almond extract. Drizzle this over the turnovers. Allow the icing to set -- or eat one now, and risk getting goo all over your face.

It's up to you. Man, they're good. I haven't had one yet tonight. . .I will do that after I hit the "publish" button. Okay, so I couldn't wait. I'm chewing on one right now. Really, really good.

Other than that, it's been a "quiet" weekend. (And the turnover is history. Wow.)

Today, at lunch, we had an enjoyable time. Our friends from church are just a few years older than Mark and me -- but they are grandparents of a little girl with Down syndrome--so they have a lot in common with my parents. Funny juxtapositional relationship.

Have I mentioned how much I love the word juxtaposition? Anyway. . .

We've done stuff with them before, and really enjoy spending time with them. They love both my kids -- they've got a phenomenal house out between Pigeon Forge and Townsend (Cades Cove) complete with a hot tub, Wii (including Rock Band), and pool table and media room. Yeah, they've got a great place for kids to visit! And the view? Absolutely stunning.

Anyway, we had an enjoyable time with them -- they watch and notice so many things about Caroline -- I assume -- because of their granddaughter. (Who, by the way. . is PRECIOUS!) She's visited our church a couple of times since we've met them --and she's absolutely adorable.

Yes, another digression. Sorry. (But, you're reading it, so you've got to deal with it!)

After they left, Mom and Caroline went outside to play. My parents live in a wooded area, with a stunning view of the French Broad River. Between swinging on the swingset, playing in the sandbox, and "hiking" in the woods, Caroline was having quite an afternoon.

But tonight, Mom called and told me the latest thing she'd seen Caroline do that was notable. . . and this one is a keeper!

She said that while they were swinging, Caroline was sitting in the "baby" swing (you know -- where she could be contained) and was looking up into the tall trees around them. Mom said she could hear her singing something, but couldn't make it out. . . at first. Then she heard:

"Rock a bye baby, in the tree tops. . . .rock a bye baby, in the tree tops." Now. . . tell me that my kid doesn't get it. That was all she sang. She didn't need to sing the rest of the song. That first phrase was enough.

So, when the world (her teachers, administrators, or our PRESIDENT) make comments in reference to children with special needs. . . I'm going to remember this.

Rather than condemn, or brush them off, I'm going to purposely remind myself that God has given her eyes to see the world around her, and a voice to sing in response to what she sees.

I'm going to thank him for the gift of this sweet little girl whose favorite new "thing" is to tickle you -- in some very odd, and (coincidentally) inappropriate places.

I'm going to rejoice that I get to spend my life raising and loving her.

And hopefully, I'm going to have my camera handy so that I can continue to capture these moments, and find new ways to share them and encourage others to see the PERSON, not the disability.

Well, my friends. . . I leave you with that image. . . a little girl feeling the breeze and responding to her creator by singing a song. Could it get any better?

Well, I suppose you could be reading this and eating a cherry turnover at the same time. But that's probably not happening!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Nicky Nacky Nocky Noo

As I type, the Wiggles are singing this beloved old camp song.

Yes, my friends, in case you were wondering, I am living the life I always dreamed.

Actually, I shouldn't joke. My life is great. And, I probably need to stop and be grateful more than I typically am. But today, this song -- complete with sound effects -- is causing me to crave and need even more Diet Coke (caffeinated, of course!)

My plans today have totally changed. But I'm really okay with that. I had planned another "Angie" day where I got to do whatever I wanted. Yeah, that's not happening.

Caroline and I are headed to the doctor's office in about a half hour. Her fever has stayed down (completely) but she's developed some nasty, goopy green stuff coming from both her nose and her eyes. In fact, her precious little eyes were matted shut this morning. I thought it might freak her out -- it didn't. She just came into my room, and crawled up in bed and smiled a little weak smile at me.

I took care of stuff--and she seemed better. Her eyes are still swollen. . . but she's doing much better! So, hopefully the doctor will give us some good advice (medicine) and we'll get this behind us in time to go back to school on Monday.

And, before I forget -- HAPPY SPRING!!! What a great time of year. It's chilly today -- and they're predicting a frost tonight -- but still. I love this time of year.

Let's see, what else?

Oh -- a story. I only wish I had pictures to enhance this, but I don't.

Yesterday, I noticed Caroline playing in our sunroom. She had her baby doll on the floor -- this particular doll looks like she's asleep. Her eyes don't open. As Caroline had her laying in her lap, she took the plastic "onion ring" from her Dairy Queen pretend food set, and put it on the baby's stomach, and was counting, "Twenty eight, twenty eight, twenty eight."

For those of you who don't know this. . . Caroline has a pacemaker. Her heart was somehow injured during her open heart surgery, and the heart's own internal (invisible) pacemaker was damaged during her surgery. Since October 12, 2004, she has had a little disk in her tummy. This disc keeps her heart in perfect rhythm.

One of the "maintenance" things we have to do each month is "call in" her pacemaker to the company that maintains the mechanical information. . . which they send to her cardiologist.

Tuesday afternoon was her monthly "call in" session. . .and we have gotten to the point where we try to entertain her by counting out loud while they're uploading information from her machine. The 2nd part of the call-in test is putting a donut-shaped magnet on her pacemaker.

. . .the onion ring?
. . .the baby's tummy?
. . .counting out loud?

My kid was calling in her baby's pacemaker reading. And I, of course, did not have the camera nearby to capture it. Trust me, if it happens again, I will be right there with a camera. It was too precious!!

Okay -- I'm running out of time. I need to get the girl out the door and headed to the doctor. How about I promise to post some pictures of samplers and scrapbook layouts sometime over the weekend? I realize I haven't done a whole lot of pictures lately -- so hopefully this will make up for it!

Have a lovely, wonderful Friday -- enjoy the first day of SPRING!!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thursday - part deux

Hello from Thursday morning!

It's a new day, and Caroline seems to be doing much, much better. Right now, I believe she's playing "hide and seek" with her baby dolls. Yeah. You can't make this stuff up.

Her fever is down to around 99 degrees. That's definitely something I can live with -- but I'll do the living here at home. Thank you very much. She's not supposed to go back to school until her fever has subsided for at least 24 hours. At this point, even tomorrow is unsure.

Okay, funny story. . . . I got sidetracked from this entry, and went shopping. Like. . . 2 hours and 38 minutes worth of shopping. Picked up the samplers from JoAnn's, bought Caroline a new bathing suit & Easter dress, and of course, found some deals on scrapbooking stuff. I just forgot that I was in the middle of blogging. Oh well.

So, there you have it. I've just gotten off the phone with Caroline's school. I am definitely keeping her home tomorrow -- not because of her -- but because of the little germ factories that attend her school. According to her teacher, "Not one of the kids in my classroom are what I consider healthy. Every one either has a sore throat, stuffy nose, and green snot. . . " Need I type more? I think not.

We're staying home tomorrow.

So, there you have the rest of my week, and it's not bad, really. I've got some house-cleaning to do, and I might just find a little time for some scrapbooking. We'll see. . . .

Short and Sweet (at least that's the plan)

Caroline is sick.
Legitimately sick.

They called at 8:36 this morning. . . fever of 100.3.  Mark took our thermometer and Tylenol with him when he went to retrieve her.  Of course, leaving her was also in our short-term plan if she was allright.

They took her temp again -- their thermometer.  Then they used ours -- pretty much the same read.  Mark did note that they thrust the probe further into her ear canal than he felt like he usually did. . . and that can make a 2 or 3 degree difference.

So, she came home.

I had a meeting. . .and a lunch date.  Lunch got cancelled.  Life will go on.

After my meeting, Mark and I swapped places and he went to work.  
Tonight, Edison and I headed to church.  He had band. I had choir.

According to our youth minister's wife, Edison ROCKED on the bass tonight.   (Her exact words)  I guess they even threw three new songs at him -- and he played them.  Score!

Caroline was in bed when I got home.  Mark said she was fairly compliant in the "going to sleep" portion of the evening.  She even took a 2-hour nap for me.  So, you've got to figure the girl is sick.

She's run a fever pretty consistently through the day.  I think it's the flu.
It's midnight -- she's up, after taking a dose of Tylenol.  She and Mark are watching the Baseball "thing" that's taken over late night sports channels.  World Baseball Classic. . .that's the name.  (whatever)  

What's fun is hearing her talk about Cuba's uniforms.  They have a "C" on their caps.  And, of cousre, "C is for Caroline."   (and also for cat....and also for cookie)

Every TV program can be a learning experience.  And with that said, I'm going to see if "Fraiser" can subliminally teach me something as I fall asleep.

Since I'm going to be home tomorrow -- my plan is to possibly get the scrapbooking stuff out and crank out a few more pages.  Or, I might make a few cards.  And, of course, the sewing machine is crying out to me as well.

So many choices. . . .and I did promise a little girl a tea party tomorrow.  So, we'll just have to see.  It reminds me of a poem I remember from when my cousins were small. . . I believe my Grandma stitched it on a sampler for Mary & Jeff's wall.  Or something like that.  The poem goes like this:

"Cleaning and scrubbing can wait 'til tomorrow
For babies grow up - we've learned to our sorrow
So quiet down cobwebs. . .dust go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby, and babies don't keep."

But, doing some research, I found that it's just a small segment of a larger poem by Ruth Hulbert Hamilton.  Here's the full text. . . . and having read it, I think we'll be having that tea party tomorrow.

Babies Don’t Keep
By Ruth Hulbert Hamilton

Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due,
Lullabye, rockaby, lullabye loo.
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo,
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo,
Lullabye, rockaby lullabye loo.

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs;
Dust go to sleep!
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

Yeah. . . those scrapbook pages can wait.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Just Another (Green) Day

We did a little St. Patrick's Day celebration tonight. I decided to make an "Irish" themed meal, and it wasn't half bad. After the day I'd had -- I decided that a celebration was in order. Not because it had been such a banner day, but because I felt like we needed to have a light-hearted meal. So what did I make?

I made a cottage pie. It's basically Shepherd's Pie. It was pretty good. I added some peas. I know, go figure -- ME?!?! Adding ingredients to a recipe? Why, I never.

I also made an easy Irish Soda Bread recipe. It wasn't the greatest bread ever. Hence, no recipe posted here. But, it was good. I also made "Frog in a Blender" salad. (Pistachio pudding mix, Cool Whip, Crushed Pineapple and Marshmallows). Hey, it's green. I also made cupcakes with white frosting and green sprinkles (by the kids). They were good. Still are, actually.

My day kinda got hijacked in a phone call from Caroline's teacher. We needed to talk about the transition for her entering Kindergarten. The phone call was going fine until her teacher started talking about the fact that Caroline is shy in (certain) social situations.

She shared an incident from last week -- an all-school assembly. I guess it pretty much shook Caroline to the core. She ended up sitting on the teacher's lap the entire time--literally shaking.

I know this is true. It was just hard to hear her teacher say that she thought this was going to be an area where Caroline was going to be challenged and could begin falling behind her peers.

Please don't get me wrong -- we know Caroline faces challenges. We've faced a bunch of them. We have bounded over some hurdles that other children still face -- even children that are older than her. But my inference from her side of the conversation was that this was something that was, or is going to hamper her for a long, long period of time.

I fell apart. Figuratively and literally.

I'm still not sure that I've pulled it all together. I think my "over the top" dinner prep was part of my coping mechanism for the disappointment from that phone call.

Hey, don't judge me. I could have taken up smoking. I'm just saying. . .

In the meantime, we've got to start coming up with creative ways to try to bring her out of her shell -- in public. She's fine at home. She never stops talking. . . dancing. . . singing. . .running. . .jumping. . . reading. . . stacking. . . eating. . .

It's just "those" places (school, church, football games) where large crowds scare her. . . those places have got to become more comfortable for her. And, when they become more comfortable, maybe she'll develop some confidence.

In the meantime, at least until we come to another hurdle, you'll probably find me -- quietly pondering this amazing little person that God gave me (us). I'll be trying to figure her out, and seeking ways to bring out the best in her--helping carve out the path that God has laid out for her--and pushing her to be the exciting, fascinating, phenomenal young lady God has destined her to be.

Yes, of course, I know it's a daily activity with regards to both of my kids -- bringing out their best. But, it comes with the territory of cooking, cleaning, shopping, bandaging. . . . it's called mothering. (Or, parenting -- I'm gratefully not doing this by myself)

Other times you may find me screaming, crying, and complaining. As I recall -- to date, none of the other Ds parents we've met since we had Caroline have told us that "once you get to Kindergarten, there are no more challenges!" Nope. No one has said that.

But, my wonderful, wise friend, Beth shared with me that Mark and I --

". . .always have to have higher expectations than the world... because when it comes down to it... their life (their being teachers, educators, doctors, girl scout leaders) isn't impacted if Caroline doesn’t go the extra step... it doesn’t matter as much to them... it doesn’t change their future at all."

She's right. We do have to. Because, when you get right down to it, her future -- although being strongly supported by God's hands -- is in our hands. And, we don't take that lightly.

Yeah. Big day.
Lots of people wearing green.
People starting to talk about NCAA brackets.

Oh, and then there's this silly thing about my child's future. . . .yeah, it was just another day.

Monday, March 16, 2009

One Little Word

Three little letters. W - O - W

That would sum up my afternoon/evening yesterday, at the big crop in Pigeon Forge with Heather. What a phenomenal time!!

Mark and I decided that it would be best for me to run home after church, change clothes, and load stuff in the van then rather than dash out after church. It really worked well. I got to ditch my church clothes -- which were not that different from my cropping clothes. But, I digress. . . .

On the way home from church, I called Heather's cell phone - just to make sure things were still on. They were -- and she put my mind at ease. I was kinda nervous. I'm not real great just jumping into big crowds by myself. So, it was really good to get a little bit calmed down before heading out.

Edison was in the van with me -- and when I hung up the phone, he said, "What's going on, Mom?" I guess we hadn't told him about my plans until this time -- so I shared my afternoon plans with him. Our conversation went something like this:

E: So, where are you going?

M: Pigeon Forge -- to a scrapbooking crop

E: Who's going to be there?

M: Well, Heather -- my "blog" friend, her sister, and a bunch of people I don't know.

E: You've never met these people? Not in person?

M: Nope. But, I've been blogging with, and talking to Heather for the past couple years.

E: Mom, this is so random.

M: It's okay, Edison. Heather knows Julie. Remember when we met Julie & Randy out at Brock's house last year?

E: Yeah. But still. . .

M: Look, I'm not worried. It'll be fine.

E: Okay, but I'm just saying -- if they offer you candy -- DON'T EAT ANY!

What can I say? I'm raising one hilarious kid.

So, after taking his "great" advice, I headed out. I stopped at Walgreens -- gummy bears are a MUST when I scrapbook -- and I stopped at Taco Bell for lunch. It wasn't great. . . I mean, it's Taco Bell. But, they have Diet Mt. Dew. Need I say more? I didn't think so.

I had my GPS with me, and it's probably a good thing. I had directions from the resort's website -- but it was nice having the GPS, too. I was especially thankful for it as I made my way "back down" the holler and out into civilization again.

I pulled up, and could see the ladies from the parking lot. I knew I was at the right place. And, Heather recognized me right away -- I guess it's all the pics on here and on Facebook. And yes, of course, when I got to the crop, I told Heather all about it. And we laughed.

After the pleasantries, and after I got my stuff all dragged in, she told me that the ladies were doing "Make & Takes" which are pages you get to make -- they provide all the supplies -- and you take them home. They had decided to do all six M & Ts at once -- I got in on the last three. It was enough to get my feet wet -- and then it was time to crop. . . or eat.

You see, these ladies had been going at it all day, and they hadn't eaten lunch. So, at 3 p.m., or so, they took off and ate lunch. Yep -- they all left the building.

Now, they asked me if I wanted to go along with them. . . but between being full of Taco Bell, and being excited to be there. . .I declined so that I could start scrapping, and playing with one of the many Cricut machines they had there. Oh my sweet Simon Cowell, I want one of these.

I also walked around and realized what a "rookie" I felt like I suddenly had become. . . My friends, I only thought I had an ample supply of scrapbooking materials.

I do not. I get by. But, these women were LOADED.

I was completely overwhelmed when I got there and saw their stuff. Rubbermaid containers, rolling organizers, stamps, markers, stickers, ribbon jars, buttons. . . I was in Paradise!

They all eventually made their way back from dinner -- and everyone was surprised that I had stayed behind. But, I got a couple pages done while they were gone. And, I took a few pictures. Wanna see em? Of course you do.

Here are some pictures of the room, and the displays.

Here are a few pictures of peoples' stashes. This is where I knew I was a short puppy in tall grass. I mean, I was able to get my stuff in from the car in two trips. . . but, I was just there for the afternoon. But seriously, take a look.....

And, it's too late at night for me to photograph the layouts I got done. I'll try to do that tomorrow. I really was proud of the work I did. (Having that Cricut really made a difference!)

Toward the end of the evening, Heather surprised me with this. . . .

After Edison's story, it was the perfect gift. And, as hokey as it sounds -- I will treasure it as a memento of my day. Oh . . I'm a realist. I think all the participants of the weekend crop either received these, or made them at some point during the weekend. Because, everyone had one. And, they all ate the candy safely.

But for me -- it's more. It's a reminder that I have a stinking funny kid.
I have a really cool "imaginary" friend in North Carolina. (Her husband refers to her blog friends as imaginary friends.)

And most importantly. . . I have two things to put on my Christmas list:

  • The 6" cricut
  • Money to attend next year's retreat -- 3 days of total fun!!!

And, I plan to attend, and will hopefully bring my own cricut. How's that for bringing it full circle? Ooh, and you should see how that cricut can cut circles! :)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Follow Up. . . .

For my friend, Joni . . . .

Joni asked me to post the chocolate chip scone recipe. I am only too happy to oblige. But, I want to add a quick note.

I realize that "creating" buttermilk isn't as good as buying it from the store. You certainly wouldn't want to drink it. Of course, I wouldn't want to drink buttermilk anyway. But, if you don't have it on hand, you can always fake it with lemon juice or vinegar.

Chocolate Chip Scones

2 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. sugar
1 1/4 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt

Mix dry ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl.

Cut 1 stick butter (cold) into this mixture. Continue cutting this mixture together until it has the consistency of oatmeal. Stir in 1/2 c. chocolate chips (*)

Into this mixture stir in 2/3 c. buttermilk & 1 t. vanilla (combined). When the dough begins to cling together, take out and knead on a floured surface. Pat into a 8" circle. Cut in half -- and cut each half into four (4) pie wedges. Place these wedges on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.

Combine 1 egg and 1 T milk.

Brush over tops of scones. Then sprinkle on 2 T white sugar and 1/4 t. cinnamon.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Tops will begin to brown. Allow to cool on wire rack. Enjoy warm -- or enjoy them even more the next morning. Simply store them in an airtight container after they have completely cooled.

Now, you know me. . . .the recipe I gave you is exactly what I used.

However. . . (there's always a "however" with me!) I omitted one ingredient that they called for. In the original recipe, when you add in the chocolate chips, you can also add in a 1/2 c. dried cherries or dried cranberries. For some reason, that just didn't sound appealing to me. So, I left them out.

The other thing they suggest is that you take the scones out of the oven, dust them with powdered sugar (after baking) and put them back under the broiler to "brown" them. Call me crazy, but I think my broiler would send that parchment paper up in flames. . . and then we're talking a whole other problem. And, honestly -- they were fine just like they were -- unbroiled.


I'm probably not going to blog tomorrow. I'm going to go to the crop right after church. . .and I have this sneaking suspicion that when I get home (whenever that is) I'll be tired.

So, have a lovely Sunday. I'll be back on Monday.

In the meantime. . . make some scones!!


Some Things are Worth Repeating

Like that Chocolate Chip Scone recipe I made the other night. I made 'em again tonight. They were pretty good, if I must say so myself!

Since I learned the "proper" way to make buttermilk -- 1 T vinegar or lemon juice in up to 1 c. milk. I won't have to put off scones because I don't have buttermilk.

Yes. . . I have always known to put vinegar in milk to "make" buttermilk. What I didn't know, however, that it's best to let is sit for about ten minutes in order for it to evolve into buttermilk.

This particular recipe is very good. I really have enjoyed them -- you dust them with cinnamon sugar. And, that chocolate/cinnamon combination is really good. It sounds odd, but it's very good.

I made chili for supper tonight, as well. I actually made the chili a couple weeks ago. I had frozen it when I made it -- and sitting in the freezer really brought out it's goodness. (I'm still tasting it as I type, actually).

For fun tonight, I also cooked some spaghetti noodles so we could enjoy "Skyline Chili" (ala Aubrey's) tonight at home. My chili has beans in it -- so we didn't have to add them as one of the "ways" you can have Skyline. I had spaghetti, chili, onion, and cheese. (Did I mention I'm still tasting it?!)

I spent some time getting ready for the crop on Sunday afternoon. I'm really getting excited. I'm sure you're going to hear more about it as time goes by!

Now, there are some things that are NOT worth repeating. Like trips to the craft store.

I went out to West Knoxville (this morning) to go get my samplers that were ready for pick up. . . or so I thought. When I got to the store, I was asked to inspect the samplers before bringing them home.

It was a good thing.....two of the samplers were missing the glass.

I requested glass.
I paid for glass.
I wanted glass.

I didn't get glass.

I kinda lost my temper when the store employee tried to say that I'd not requested glass.

I assured her I did.

I sorta got out of sorts when she attempted to say it wasn't on their order form.

I pointed out to here where it was.

I sorta/kinda got mad when she told me that they'd fix it and I could come back in 1-2 days.

I reminded her that I live 28 miles away.

I definitely got assertive when I asked to see a manager.

I smiled when she said she was a manager.

I politely told her (though it was obvious) that I was not happy.

I agreed when she said they'd reimburse the money I paid for the glass -- and that they'd put it in.

As I walked out to the car, still fuming but feeling victorious, I remembered the date. You know, we had a Friday the 13th last month, too.

Some things are worth repeating. . . others? Not so much.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Firsts. . . .

Just a couple of firsts today. But before I begin, please let me clarify that in yesterday's rush to get to my meeting, I indeed did brush my teeth. (Thank you, Beth.)

Okay, here we go. . .

This is the first season that I've watched American Idol beyond the fun audition shows. I watched the results show last night, as well as part of the show the night before. I said it on Facebook, and I'll say it again (at the risk of alienating myself from a certain young lady in Canada. . . ) I don't get Adam. He may win this year. At this point, I don't get it. Danny gets my vote -- and it's not a sympathy vote. He or Michael Sarver either one. They just resonate with me. Okay, enough about that.

For the first time yesterday, I made chocolate chip scones. Whoa. They were really good. I had eaten them before, but had never made them myself. I found a really cool website -- and I really liked the recipes there. I'm sure I'll go back again and again.

Caroline has started to branch out from her standard TV fare -- Max & Ruby and the Wiggles. Today, she's watching Ni Hao Ki Lan. It's kinda cute, I guess. Rather than encouraging you to speak in spanish (a la Dora & Diego) they encourage kids to talk in chinese. For the first time, I just heard her try to pronounce the chinese word for slipper. I'm sure this will serve her well in her life. Whatever.

This weekend, I'm going to do a first that kinda has me nervous. On Sunday afternoon, I am going to a scrapbooking crop. Now, if you know me well enough, you know that going to a crop isn't a first for me. But this kind of crop is a first for me. You see, my friend Heather is hosting this crop with her sister. Heather is a "professional" scrapbooker -- she's been featured in a number of magazines. . . and is the co-owner of a scrapbooking supply company. I "met" her through Jules -- and although Heather and I live just a couple hours from each other -- this will be our first chance to meet.

I'm not nervous about meeting her for the first time. I am nervous, however, to be attending my first crop that is not a "Creative Memories" crop. I have absolutely NO idea what to expect. It will also be weird to walk into a room of potentially 50-60 people that I do not know. . . and suddenly start scrapping with them. But, I'm looking forward to an opportunity to meet Heather, and make some new scrapping friends. I promise to take my camera -- and to document our "meeting" on Sunday. Really, I promise I will.

This last first is pretty cool.

I am not a coupon shopper. I find them. I clip them. I lose them. It just doesn't seem to work with me. But lately, as everyone seems to be doing what they can to save money, I have been trying to cut corners as much as I can. Things are not dire in our household. . .yet. But, I think there are going to be some tough days ahead for our country.

Anywhoo....I went to our local Kroger store today, based on their newspaper ad I read yesterday. Again, I never look at sale papers. I just go to the store and get what I think we need, and typically don't let their sales influence me--except at the point of purchase.

Today was a different story. They had about 20 items marked down -- but if you purchased ten of these items, you save $ .50 on each one. Or, $5 overall. You could use this deal up to 3 times.

Three notable items on this particular sale were 32 oz. bottles of PowerAde (Edison's favorite drink) -- which ended up being $ .49 if you bought ten. They also had Lean Cuisine entrees (nearly every variety) for $1.99 each. Saving $ .50 on each one saved me a lot of money, too.

In fact -- I walked out of the store with over $130 worth of groceries, and it cost me $80.24. This wasn't necessarily a first when it comes to saving money. But I can guarantee, if they do this again, it won't be the first time!

Well, it's just about time to go pick up my firstborn from football practice. After that, I've got to make dinner and get ready for band practice tonight. We're knee-deep into Palm Sunday & Easter preparations. . . so, there's plenty to do.

When I get home, I need to upload some pictures to Walgreens -- for that crop on Sunday. I haven't quite decided how I'm going to spend tomorrow (my day off). I got the call that my samplers that I framed at Joann's two weeks ago are DONE! So, I might venture out and pick them up. If I do, I'll be sure and put on my winter coat. Because, as the song says:

Baby, it's cold outside! Have a great day -- stay warm!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Benadryl is NOT my friend.


I took one last night -- had some sinus issues going on. Allergies, mainly.

I woke up from a SOUND sleep around 9:15. Mark had been up since before five. Caroline was awake. . .and hungry.

I suck at life sometimes.

Around 10:07,I called in to the secretary at the church and told her that I'd taken Benadryl, and that I'd be in a bit later. I was not going to miss my 1:00 p.m. meeting.

Around 10:23, it hit me that my meeting wasn't at 1:00 p.m., it was at 10:00 a.m.

I suck at life sometimes.

I called back into the church -- and told my boss (yeeps!) that I was "running a little late" and that I'd be in as soon as possible.

What didn't I tell him?

Oh. . .

1) I was still in my PJs
2) I had to still take a shower
3) I needed to put on makeup
4) I had just eaten cold pasta salad for breakfast, and my breath smelled bad.

Instead, I threw down the phone, took the world's quickest shower, dressed in record time, put on some makeup (eyeliner, no mascara) and headed out the door at 10:43 a.m.

I suck at life sometimes.

Other times? I'm not half bad.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

One of These Days. . . .

I'm going to learn to keep my mouth shut.

Yesterday, I made a point of saying that it was good to be back to our "normal" existence on Facebook.

Yeah, that was wrong. On so many levels.

After a meeting last night, we came home to a quiet house. Our babysitter had done an amazing job. Caroline was in bed. . . .sleeping. She had given her a bath, and gotten her hair dried and teeth brushed.

This is one excellent babysitter!

We paid her in cash & cinnamon rolls. She "pinged" me back on Facebook a few minutes after getting home, and told me that the next time I could just pay her in cinnamon rolls. So, they must've been good. (They were.)

After we got everything else settled down, Mark went off to bed. I hung out for a while -- online, of course. Then, I got ready to go to bed. On my way, I stopped in Caroline's room to pick out her clothes for this morning. . . and to put the gate up in her doorway.

[Editor's note: Yes, we gate Caroline in her room at night. We're not certain what she might do, or where she might go, if she would happen to start roaming around at night. I'm fairly certain she'd come to our room -- but since she's started "stealing" chocolate off the kitchen counter, we figure anything could happen.]

Sorry. Just had to clarify. I can go on now. . .

So, my attempt to pick out her clothes and gate her in woke her up. Suddenly I heard, "Hi, Mommy!" and saw two little arms reach out to me. I tried to comfort her, and lull her back to sleep. It took longer than usual -- which should have been a clue. It wasn't.

I got her quiet -- and put the baby monitor back up on her window sill. It's important to note that it had previously fallen off onto the floor -- and I believe it's microphone was hindered. (This really will be important later)

So. . . . I get to my room, get on my PJs, and crawl into bed. Just as I was settling down to sleep, she started crying. Mark and I both went out to comfort her. He eventually got her quieted, and sent me back to bed.

Within minutes, she cried out, coughed, and started yakking up whatever she'd eaten for dinner. (How did I know? The baby monitor, of course!)

I went out -- helped Mark get her steadied, cleaned up, and settled down. Mark put her back in bed, and sent me back to bed. Some time later -- I think I fell asleep. I'm not sure. She started yakking again. This time, Mark got her into the bathroom in time. . . and again sent me back to bed.

So, it was a short night. It was equally short for both Mark and me -- because he'd gone to bed a few hours before me, and we kind of "evened" each other out.

I'm not sure when -- but he came back to bed, and we all slept the rest of the (brief) night. When it was time to take Edison to school, my middle-of-the-night promise to take him, and then go to work after taking him? Yeah, that was not going to happen.

Mark took Edison to school, and came home to an awake girl. They both came in to say "good morning" to me -- and she promptly cuddled up and fell asleep. . . on my ankle.

We slept for another hour (all three of us -- me, with a weighted down ankle) and eventually got ourselves upright sometime between 9 and 10.

Why did I say "One of These Days?" Isn't it obvious?

I have got to stop saying things about how much I crave a "normal" week. I've got to stop lamenting when things are out of kilter, and I don't get the "ME" time I seem to think I need so badly. And I do need "me" time. . . but when I start to rejoice at what appears to be a "typical" week where some "me" time is going to happen? That's when it all falls apart.

So, one of these days, I'll learn to keep my big yap shut. I'll rejoice in the mundane, as well as the divine. I'll not get flustered over "bumps in the road" that may mean an adjustment in my personal schedule.

And until then?
You all may need to walk me through a few more baby steps.

Monday, March 09, 2009


For as thorough (you can say "anal retentive" its okay) as I've been since Mark's been gone--I realized that I didn't update my blog when he arrived home last night.

First excuse? I was tired.
Today's excuse? I am still tired.
2nd of today's excuses? I had a meeting this morning
3rd? I had a meeting tonight
4th? I'm still tired.

He's home.

He got in about 12:30 this morning. After unpacking and getting somewhat "settled in," he fell into bed - - and promptly fell asleep.

I think I know what you're thinking now. . . .how did Caroline react?

This morning -- she was too tired to notice it was him. I think John Kerry (God forbid) could have prepared her to get on the bus this morning and she wouldn't have noticed it.
This afternoon -- she greeted Mark after he came home. No hug.

She wanted to color.

That's right. She was glad to see him because she likes coloring with him. The dialogue went something like this:

M: Hi Caroline!

C: You want to color with me?

M: I'm home. Can I have a hug?

C: (offering a half-hug with just one arm) You color with me?

M: Do you want to get the mail?

C: Yes! Then you color with me?

M: Get your shoes on -- we'll go get the mail

C: Then we'll color with me.

When the girl gets her heart set on something, she doesn't let go.

And, he's home.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

So. . . should I be worried?

How do I say this delicately?

Edison was overheard playing the tune "Dueling Banjos" from his room today.

We live in the south.
We have met some interesting people since moving here.
Edison thinks it would be cool to learn this son.

I'm just saying. . . .

And, I'm also saying, "Come on, airplane!!!" Mark called from D.C. about two hours ago. His plane is scheduled to land in Knoxville in about 35 minutes, which puts him home in about an hour.

It won't be soon enough. We've missed him.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Stupid Daylight Savings Time

I love "falling back" in the autumn.
"Springing forward" in the spring? Not so much.

Today has been a not-nearly-as-productive-day as I would have hoped. We did manage to squeeze in a trip to WalMart. Of course, the one thing I really *needed* to buy?

I forgot. I'm blaming it on my obsession with Daylight Savings Time and worrying about over-sleeping in the morning.

We've "splintered" ourselves again for the evening. Caroline is at my parents' house. Getting her ready and off to church (an hour earlier than usual) and an hour before church starts. . .and having someone watch her while I attend to work stuff in that pre-worship service time period?

Yeah. . .not so much.

So, Mom and Dad had us out for dinner tonight. . .yum, barbecued ribs (Sorry, Doug O. -- I'm talking about it here, too!) homemade potato salad (mine), rolls, and really good cake for dessert. (It was made with Splenda -- so you didn't miss out on much, Mark.)

And, they've agreed to keep Caroline overnight, and Mom's plan is to bring her into church when she's good and ready. Not sure whether "she" is Mom or Caroline.

Edison's in his room -- supposedly getting ready for bed, but I hear guitar music. So, I'm not sure where we stand in the process.

Mark called from NY to talk to me and Edison. I handed the phone over to Edison, with every intention of getting it back when he was done talking to Mark. But, Edison hung up when he was done, and Mark never called back. So I assume we were done talking.

I did get a chance to talk to Mark earlier (over dinner, actually) and he shared that the funeral was very nice. The plan for tomorrow is that they'll go to church (I believe) and then Mark will make his way back over to Burlington, VT. His flight leaves at 7 p.m. He stops in Washington DC and then will arrive back on TN soil at 11:38 tomorrow night. It's about a 25 minute drive home from the airport, so it will definitely be Monday when he arrives home. But, at this point, I don't care. I'm ready for him to get home.

Tomorrow, after church, we're headed back over to my parents' house for lunch -- then we'll walk over to my aunt's house to celebrate my cousin's birthday. Beyond that, we're coming back home -- maybe ordering pizza for supper (delivery, not DiGiorno) and taking it easy until everyone goes to bed for the night.

I didn't get nearly the sewing done that I had intended for this weekend. But, I've been busy doing both the "mom" and "dad" jobs around the house -- and of course, playing "referee" continually. Those things wear you out.

I'll see what I can do tomorrow -- I may try to squeeze in a little sewing time. We'll see. I'm not going to beat myself up, however, if I don't get as much accomplished as I'd originally hoped to. The most important thing to me was getting those cards made yesterday morning, and really having a morning where there were NO demands on me.

If I can get myself back into a "normal" routine -- no sick kids, and regular work hours -- I should be able to get a little crafting time in each week. Friday is my day off, and I cherish it. However, the last 4-5 weeks, it's been anything but "normal" around here. Between snow days, sick days, and doctor visits . . . yeah, it hasn't happened.

Well, I'm going to go. It's time to start changing the clocks around the house. I'll say it again. . . I hate time-change Sunday in the spring.

I know you needed to hear it one more time!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Sunrise. . . and Success

Caroline got on the bus this morning. . . in fact, we stood in the breezeway and sang songs while waiting for the bus.

I know. I'm still in shock, too.

I went to bed a little bit earlier than usual, and still managed to get up on time. In fact, I woke up at 1:35, and 4:36 -- trying not to sleep in. It worked.

And now, at 7:46 a.m., I'm still awake, and ready to face the day. Part of the reason? I watched the sun rise. Actually, I peeked out the window, and the lyrics to this song by Rich Mullins came flooding over me.

I'm sentimental about this song for a number of reason. . . 1) I actually met Rich a couple of times -- while working with Community Christian Church 2) We actually performed this song once while working with the church, 3) I read the liner notes about this song, and learned that it was written while watching a sunrise at my alma mater and 4) the overall theme reminds me of Grammy, and her "graduation" to her heavenly reward.

So, as you read the lyrics to the song -- think about the miracle of new life we receive each day -- remember that God gives us a chance to literally start over every morning. And yes, I know there are things that don't get wiped away by the sunrise -- there are stresses, problems, and broken relationships that cannot heal themselves while we sleep. But, each morning reminds us of God's ability to "wipe the slate clean" and give us a new beginning.

Now -- lest you think that I've turned over a new leaf, and have suddenly become a morning person -- HA! But today. . .this morning. . .I'm enjoying the quiet and solitude of an empty house. I'm awaiting the full, bright sunshine of the morning, and I'm facing the day the way I love to: with a fresh bagel and a cold diet Pepsi.

Here are the lyrics to this hauntingly beautiful song. I hope it helps you feel refreshed today. It certainly has refreshed me. . .and it's not even 8 a.m. yet!

"Home" by the late Rich Mullins

I see the morning moving over the hills
I can see the shadows on the western side
And all those illusions that I had
They just vanish in Your light
Though the chill in the night still hangs in the air
I can feel the warmth of morning on my face
Though the storm had tossed me
'Til I thought I'd nearly lost my way

And now the night is fading and the storm is past
And everything that could be shaken was shaken
And all that remains is all I ever really had

What I'd have settled for
You've blown so far away
What You brought me to
I thought I could not reach
And I came so close to giving up
But You never did give up on me
I see the morning moving over the hills
I feel the rush of life here where the darkness broke
And I am in You and You're in me
Here where the winds of Heaven blow

And now the night is fading
And the storm is through
And everything You sent to shake me
From my dreams they come to wake me
In the love I find in You
And now the morning comes
And everything that really matters
Become the wings You send to gather me
To my home
To my home
I'm going home

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Update #2 - edited

Let's see. . . when last I typed, Mark was in Chicago. . . Caroline had gone on the potty chair. . . and we were headed to the doctor.

We made it to the doctor, although I'm now suspicious that I was really late for my appointment, because I mixed up the times. In my head -- which I rely on FAR MORE than I do a calendar -- I thought her appointment was 9:45. However, when I got back to my office this afternoon, I noticed "9:30" written on there. So, I'm not sure. No one gave me dirty looks or anything. . . so. . . I'm assuming all was well.

She survived getting weighed, measured and poked (five times). Four immunizations and one finger prick. Every time, she would say, "I'm happy!" as soon as they were done. Poor thing. I'm going to watch her extra close tonight to make sure she doesn't come down with a fever following the shots.

I called Mark on our way to her school -- he was obviously on the plane, because it went straight to voice mail. I called his parents, just to say "hey" and to let them know that her appointment went well also. After I got her delivered to school -- and made three trips in and out of the building (blame it on old age) -- I was on my way home, and I got a call from Mark.

He had landed in Vermont, and was waiting for his rental car. He also mentioned something about luggage -- so I'm guessing the bag he intended to "carry on" got checked through. I don't know. Not to worry, because he was there, safe and sound.

I got to work and actually accomplished (well, 89% accomplished) a HUGE project that's been nagging at me for AGES. It was just a matter of archiving some old music that we most likely will never play again. Everything is sorted, put into boxes, and ready to stick up on some very high shelves--never to be seen, played, or heard again.

I made it home in time to actually wait for Caroline's bus. She's in -- and seems to be alright -- so far. I'm going to keep a close eye on her, because fevers can accompany those immunizations. And the last thing I want tonight is a little girl who feels crappy because of getting four shots.

And other than that, we've got an easy night planned for tonight. I have worship band practice -- so my mom is watching Caroline during that time. After I get home, I've got stuff to work on...but I've told you about that before. I won't bore you with those details.

So, there you have update #2. I trust everyone is having a great day. We're holding it together here, and that's all I can ask at this point!

Edited to add: I just got a call from Joann's. The HUGE sampler I took in last week has a few stitches missing. One of their framers was admiring it, and she noticed something not quite right. Sure enough, we read the pattern/stitchery together over the phone, and I'm missing some stitches. So.....tonight, after band practice, I'm going to high-tail it out to West Knoxville (again) to see if I can fix those stitches before they frame it.

Only in my life. . . .

Checking in. . . a few things are actually accomplished!!

Let's see. . .

I woke up. Of course, Caroline was already up, but still....

Mark made it to Chicago. He will be there for another hour or so (9 a.m. EST) and then fly to Burlington.

Caroline and I found success using the potty chair to get her urine specimen for today's appointment.

OH! And, I was able to "occupy" her while I took a shower.

So. . . all in all, it's been alright, so far. More updates to come. I promise.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

and so it begins. . . .

The official "splintering" of my family has begun.

This morning, Edison kissed me goodbye -- I usually sleep through his daily departure -- and I told him "You be careful!"

He's off on a 3-day outdoor education "field trip" of sorts with the entire middle school. (It's a small, private school -- so we're only talking about 45 kids, or so) He's very excited. This year, according to him, they don't have to endure the ecological classes. Instead, they get to climb ropes, and do all sorts of other things you wouldn't catch me dead doing. (Is that a proper sentence?)

Caroline's in bed. Tomorrow morning is her Kindergarten physical. I cannot believe that we're staring down the barrel of this one. Honestly, there are days I still feel as exhausted as I was when I was expecting her. . . I'm not going to comment on weight lost or gained here. But, I honestly cannot believe that these five years have come and gone so fast. People warned me. I told them they were nuts.

. . . and I was wrong. Oh well. Certainly not the first time, nor will it be the last. Sigh.

After her physical, we'll head to school. Depending on the time, I may stop in my favorite quilt store that just a few blocks from her school. If I don't have time, I'll be a good girl, and go to work. But, being good is highly overrated, in my book. (heh heh)

A couple hours before all this begins, Mark will depart for New York. He's flying out at 6:10 a.m. So, needless to say, we've already told each other "goodbye." I told him that I'd wake up to kiss him goodbye in the morning. I don't think he believes me.

. . .and although I have all sorts of good intentions, we'll have to see. I guess it depends on how late I stay on here (and Facebook).

He has a 2-hour "sit" in Chicago. Not enough time to see people -- just enough time to have a REAL bagel for breakfast, and then get on another plane. He will arrive in Burlington, VT around noon--and then head over to Champlain, NY, which is where his grandmother lived.

The visitation and funeral services are scheduled for Saturday afternoon. I really regret not being able to attend. But, with two (very) active children, and a job -- getting away for a major trip like this with little or no warning -- is very difficult for me.

I just uploaded pictures to the Walmart there in town -- so that Mark will be able to "show off" some of our recent adventures. We're hoping to take a family trip up there before Edison graduates from high school. . . which is creeping closer and closer, too.

[Gosh -- I'd better stop before I get more depressed]

So, after getting Caroline to school tomorrow -- I'll go to work, and get ready for tomorrow night at home--just the two of us. I've got a band rehearsal tomorrow night at church. (Mom usually keeps the kids for me) So, when that's over, she should be in bed -- and I'll come home to a quiet, empty house. I plan to have the sewing machine stationed in one room (near a TV, of course) and a scrapbooking table at another spot -- near a TV -- and we'll see what kind of stuff I get done. My two productive times are going to be Friday (daytime - while C is in school) and the nights, after she has gone to bed.

I don't have any grand schemes, or expectations of myself -- I just want to spend this time getting some creativity OUT. . .and seeing what I can get done.

Of course, proper rations have been secured ahead of time--which should keep me from having to run to the store. Gummy worms, bagels, and Diet Coke have all been purchased. NO -- I don't have them together, but I do enjoy gummy worms while I'm scrapbooking.

. . . I think I actually bought gummy bears. But, in this context, the specific species of the gummy product is comically irrelevant.

On Friday afternoon, Edison will arrive home and be deposited IMMEDIATELY into the shower. His clothes will be washed -- HOT WATER -- by themselves, and I'll try to make him take a nap. He's supposed to go with the youth group to the Winter Jam concert on Friday night. So again, I'll get some "solitude" while he's enjoying lots of LOUD noise.

On Saturday -- well, I'm not sure. Saturday's pretty open. The weather is supposed to be gorgeous this weekend, so I'm not making any definite plans until we see how nice it is. If it's really nice, I may take the kids to the park -- or just let them play outside. Saturday evening we've invited ourselves over to my mom's house for dinner. Caroline will spend the night with Grandma and Grandpa Saturday night -- because Sunday morning is a work morning for me. She and Mark usually come into church at the proper time. Edison and I go in an hour early. So, letting her casually come in with Grandma makes a lot more sense to all of us.

On Sunday afternoon, we've been invited to have lunch with Mom & Dad, again. And then on Sunday evening (?) we'll celebrate my cousin's birthday. So, I anticipate spending most of Sunday "on the farm" with my parents. (My cousin's family lives next door) As long as Mom and Dad are open to watching the Atlanta Race on Sunday, we're good. (They are)

Then, Sunday night--everyone goes to bed at their normal times, and I'll wrap up whatever creativity I have begun . . . in preparation for Mark's arrival home. His flight is supposed to land around 11:30 p.m. -- which means he'll be home around 12:30. So, I might get a couple hours of scrapping or sewing in on Sunday night.

What are my worries? Well, I should say with God on my side, I have none. But come on. . .you people know me better than that. I've got some areas where I'm concerned.

1) Tomorrow morning -- getting up before Caroline wakes up is crucial if I plan to shower before taking her to the doctor. And oh yes, I do plan on showering before she gets up.

2) Also tomorrow morning -- her physical. I'm not worried about the shots. She does very well, actually. The urine sample they want has me a bit worried -- but I think I've got that covered too. And no, I'm not doing it for her. (Seinfeld reference) The doctor's office gave me a collection cup to take home -- and we're going to try at "capture" a specimen tomorrow morning before going to the doctor.

3) Friday morning -- on Friday, I have to get her on the bus by 6:50 a.m. I'm sure most of you are saying, "What's the problem there?"

Hello -- it's me! (And no, I'm not singing my favorite Todd Rundgren song)

I'm not a morning person. Mark usually handles this part of the day. . . yes, I am spoiled. But, I'm flying solo on Friday -- and it could be interesting. We'll make it -- but I keep reminding myself that I can always go back to bed -- and I don't have to look like a supermodel when walking her to the bus.

4) How did this escape me? It's freaking "Spring Ahead" weekend?!?! I am going to LOSE an hour in the midst of this? Oh, this is so totally not fair!!!

5) Sunday morning -- I usually get up just fine, but I'll be having 2 or 3 people call me to make sure I wake up. Because trust me. . . Child #1 is NO HELP in this arena.

Other than those five things. . . oh, and half of my family flying in airplanes and traveling. . . other than those things, I'm just peachy keen.

I like the way "The Message" translates Psalm 91:

Say this: "God, you're my refuge.
I trust in you and I'm safe!"
That's right—he rescues you from hidden traps,
shields you from deadly hazards.
His huge outstretched arms protect you—
under them you're perfectly safe;

His huge outstretched arms are protecting me. I'm assuming those same arms will hold me tight -- and help wake me up on Friday morning. I'm just saying. . .He's God. He can do anything!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Sad Day. . . or Victorious Day? You decide.

Our phone rang last night. . .actually this morning, about 3 a.m. It was the nursing home where Mark's grandmother has lived for a number of years. For some reason, they weren't able to get through to Mark's parents. Grammy had passed away, and they were letting the family know.

It's amazing how awake and alert you can be. . . when, in your heart, you know why the phone is ringing.

Mark tried to get a hold of his parents, too, for a long time -- but got a busy signal. They weren't on the phone. He finally got through around 7:30 a.m. as he took Edison to school.

My theory? It's quite simple, actually.

I've been consciously praying and meditating for God's provision and protection for my family and friends. After last Thursday, I truly believe He has answered those prayers in amazing ways. And last night was no exception.

I think that God knew -- well He knows EVERYTHING -- but I think His will was that we got the call so that Mark's parents could get some much-needed rest.

Today is a new day.

Mark and I both were able to get some sleep after the phone call. We were able to reach the family members that needed to be contacted after everyone had slept. But, for those few precious hours, he granted sleep to my in-laws. . . who are going to face a long, emotionally draining week.

I guess one of my favorite aspects of God is His ability to manage and maintain his "Godliness" in the small details of my life . . and in the lives of His children. His ability to count the number of hairs on my head baffles me. (Especially in light of the fact that I have this tendency to pull out gray hairs)

. . .it's called denial people. I figure if I pull them, they don't exist. Seriously. I need help.

God's ability to hold the entire world (in His hands) and comfort me . . . heal the sick. . . feed the sparrows. . . direct the moon & the stars. . . .and still know when someone I love needs to be protected by some random event that might put them in peril . . .? Well that part just amazes me beyond words.

My precious son came home yesterday and asked if he could get on the internet to find the chords to a "new" song he'd heard recently. When I asked him the words, he said:

"How marvelous, how wonderful. . . . and my song shall ever be
How marvelous, how wonderful. . .is my Savior's love for me"

Grinning then, and now (through my tears), I assured him that it was not a new song. He was stunned to know that it was old when I was his age. You gotta love that!!

But it's that amazing, wonderful, marvelous love that helps me see Grammy's victory today -- rather than picturing her succumbing to death. Oh, she did that -- but she is celebrating a victory that Jesus won for her YEARS and YEARS ago (even before that song was written) and that makes this a Victory Day.

'Nuff said.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Cinnamon Rolls? Check!

I had never really made cinnamon rolls. I know. . .hard to believe.

I made some this afternoon. I scrounged the internet for a recipe. Mind you, I have a recipe from my husband's grandmother. The only problem with her recipe is that it's more like a shopping list, rather than an actual recipe. I probably need to play around with it until I can make the recipe work for me.

Case in point: ingredients listed as "lump of crisco" doesn't tell me a whole lot. The only measured ingredient is the "2 cups of warm milk." Other that that, it's salt, sugar, yeast, flour (to make a dough) and cinnamon & sugar.

Yeah. . . I'll have to work on that one.

But, the ones I made turned out pretty good. I took a recipe that traditionally makes 12. . . and used the computer to convert it to make 16 rolls. (What can I say? I wanted to have some leftovers) They ( didn't provide an icing recipe. . . .that was easy. Some of the commenters on the recipe said that there wasn't enough filling. So, I increased it by 30%. (I didn't need to)

They rose. They baked up beautifully. They were really, really good. I'll definitely make them again -- and they only took an hour and a half to make and bake.

Other than that, I also baked whole wheat bread today. I've gotten to the point where I can make it without the recipe. That's success to me. . . and definitely a sign that I've made this bread repeatedly for the last seven years (or so).

Our small group came over this afternoon and we watched the NASCAR race. It was a good race--lots of caution flags. My boy made it to #2. He led for about 60 laps. That was kinda fun. Caroline got into the spirit of the race, for the most part, and cheered at all the right times. That's always fun.

What does this week hold?

That's kind of hard to say. Mark is most likely going to be traveling to N. New York later on this week or next. His grandmother is not doing well. She's lived an amazing life --and has passed down a delicious legacy of great cooking and baking. I have been fortunate to receive some of her cooking pans and dishes. In fact, my cinnamon rolls were made in one of her pans tonight.

She's been in a nursing home for a number of years. She's lived a great life. She's been a friend to many. She's been a devoted mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. (I think she always loved the fact that E is named for her late husband) But, she's getting tired. So, we're looking at what could be a very interesting week before it's all over with. As you can imagine, I'll keep you posted. Thanks for prayers.

Last week was tough, and I just realized that I was supposed to write about it. I'm sorry. I almost forgot.

On Friday morning, I hopped over to Facebook, to do my daily "pop in" to see what was going on. One of my friends mentioned that he was saying goodbye to someone with a fairly common name. So, my initial thought was, "this can't be my college friend; it must be someone else."

I was wrong. It was my friend, Mike. Suddenly, he was gone.

Then I read more status updates. . .he took his own life. And at that point, I was shell-shocked. Three days later, I still have no idea why he did this. He was always so outgoing, friendly, happy, and fun. At some point, the laughter died out. . . and he made a decision that is beyond my understanding.

At one point on Friday, my status said something about the "curse" of Facebook -- just getting reconnected with friends, only to lose them to death.

I guess that status update kinda threw a few of my other friends for a loop -- because suddenly everyone was writing and posting to make sure I was okay, and to find out what happened. I explained . . . and changed my status.

I'm still torn by the "burden" of keeping up with people on Facebook. It's such a blessing to be back in touch with them, but as you reinvest yourself in their lives, you take on their burdens, laugh when they laugh--and definitely weep when they weep.

I'm not leaving would have to drag me away, kicking and screaming. But, with each new or renewed friendship, I am seeing and experiencing a new level of emotional accountability that I hadn't anticipated when I first joined.

It's worth it. Really, it is.

And with that, I'm signing off. Those cinnamon rolls have sent me to a new level of exhausted!

Happy Monday....we're celebrating in a different way tomorrow. Caroline has no school. (Really, don't get me started!) So, after spending some time with Kathy and Baby James tomorrow, we'll have an afternoon at home.

What? Yes, I am smiling. Thanks for asking.
And do we what? Have snow? No, again, thanks for asking.