This is My "Real" Blog: August 2009

Angie's Blog!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I Not Sure. . . .

That's not a typo. It will make sense, later.

Wow -- what a couple of days it's been. I apologize for not blogging sooner. But, in my defense, it has been a "hooverish" existence the past week or so.

life has sucked. out loud. like a vacuum cleaner. not a cross-dressing FBI director

Being in some of the "final stages" of Buddy Walk preparation, things have been (at best) interesting. Let's just say that I am not a big fan of bureaucracy. And red tape? So last season. Hated it. (Said in my best Tim Gunn voice)

So. . . after a temper tantrum, many tears, and one brief respite where I was told, yes I said TOLD, to go shopping. . . I'm better. My "retail therapy" is being dried in the dryer as I type -- quilt fabric. (The good stuff. . . not the usual stuff I buy at Joann's)

This weekend was fun -- just busy. Our Down syndrome group was treated to the 2nd annual "Hoops for Hope" basketball tournament. At this tournament, our kids got to play basketball with other kids with Down syndrome. Their coaches?

Oh, didn't I mention? It was the National Champion Lady Vols and the UT Men's Basketball team. And, one of the honored guests? That would be Bruce Pearl - coach of the UT Men's team. Pat Summitt was scheduled to be there, but couldn't make it.

It was an amazing day -- full of celebration, cheers, athletic ability, and tears. That's right -- Caroline spent a good portion of her time (in the gym) in tears. She really doesn't like loud crowds. And, trust me -- this crowd was LOUD!!!

We did manage to get a few pictures. Thought you might like to see a couple. . . .

Well, that was a bust. Blogspot is not allowing me to upload photos at the moment. I promise to try again tonight.

This weekend was also my nephew's first weekend in college. He has enrolled at JBC (Johnson Bible College) which is just down the road from here. (Hi Daniel!) He occasionally reads the blog. . . and I refuse to call him Dan like all his friends do. Sorry, my dear!

This meant that my sister and her family are all in town. We spent some time together on Friday night, and then again on Sunday afternoon. They're still here this week -- so we've got a few more things on the agenda to do with them.

The hard part is that both my kids are in school -- WHICH, by the way, is going fabulously well. Caroline has adjusted to Kindergarten even better than I had dreamed. It's great!!! But, with both of them getting up early, we're having to miss out on some of the family fun because 6:40 comes very early.

On Friday morning, I took Edison to school with his backpack, duffel bag, bass guitar, and bass amp. Yeah, he was a sight. He had to play in chapel on Friday morning -- and then after chapel and lunch, they headed for his first away football game.

That's right. On Friday night, Edison played in his first official high school football game. It was in Smyrna, TN -- which is about 2.5 hours from here. He didn't get home until 2:45 a.m., and didn't sleep until 3:15 or so. Needless to say, he didn't attend "Hoops for Hope" with us. He slept.

He was pulled into the game for one series of plays -- and word on the street is that he had an unassisted tackle for a loss of yards. (Yeah, I had to get help on that one, too) It's a good thing to his credit. I'm very proud of him.

I have told him, however, that I am mildly concerned at his in ability to say "no" to certain things. He has gotten involved in the praise band at school. . . and at church. . . and in Fellowship of Christian Athletes. . . and in football. . . see where this is going?

That's right -- he's becoming just like his mother. So far, he's doing allright in everything -- but I am concerned in his plate-spinning abilities. I spin a lot of plates. But, I've been doing it a long, long time. It takes time, practice, and a limitless supply of plates.

We're working on "all things in moderation" around here. But for now, the child is burning the candle at both ends and in the middle -- and I'm a little concerned. Thankfully, he sees the tendency, and is willing to cut back, when necessary.

Let's see -- oh yeah, two more things.

1) We went to see "Julie and Julia" the other night. Makes me want to make Beef Bourgnion. (sp?) It was a great movie. Seriously -- I forgot a couple of times that it was Meryl Streep -- and thought it was really Julia Child. She was that good.

2) On Facebook, I'm adding a new feature to my status updates. FCQOTD (which I shamelessly stole from someone else's blog) Don't tell your sister, Jules. :) I plan on sharing them here, too, because not everyone that reads my blog has a facebook account (MOM!)

My Favorite Caroline Quote of the Day for today:

Me: How are you today? Are you happy?
Caroline: I not sure*
Me (stifling laughter): You're not sure?
Caroline: Naaaaaaa. . . . I'm happy.

She cracks me up.

*that's where the title came from!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Quick Wednesday Update

School is still good.
Edison is busy as ever -- school / football / church / high school praise band (at school)

It seems as though my first born is taking after his first born mother. Hmmmmm?

Caroline has had three really good days at school. Today, in fact, she spent an hour and a half with her "inclusion" teacher -- and her notebook from that classroom came home with a "green light" on it. (Behavior stuff -- green is good; red is bad -- like a traffic light)

Tomorrow, and every Thursday hereafter is Pizza Day. We've already loaded her account at the school -- so that she can enjoy pizza every Thursday. Since she had a hamburger already on Monday -- the whole "lunch line" thing shouldn't be too foreign to her. I'm just so proud of how well she's done so far. Still not quite mastered the whole potty training thing, but I was reminded tonight, while comforting a friend, that God is in control. I'll write more about that in a few minutes. . . er, paragraphs.

Mark and I celebrated our 20-year "propose-aversary" as my friend called it on Facebook. 20 years ago tonight, we ate dinner out at an eclectic restaurant in Chicago - the Golden Shell. We went to dinner with my parents, and their best friends. After dinner, Mark and I decided to go for a walk around the block. Somewhere a block or so off of Western Avenue in Park Forest, IL, he got down on one knee, and asked me to marry him. I'll never forget a few things. . .and I may have blogged about this before. If so, please indulge me.

My two unforgettables?

1) He was wearing a "Members Only" jacket -- in AUGUST. It was hot. I didn't seem to notice.
2) When he got down on that one precious knee, he asked me if I would marry him -- and I paused -- probably because I was choking back a tear or two. In that pause, he managed to squeak out a "Please?"

And that?
Did me in.

Twenty years, and one new engagement ring later--we're still going strong. Going crazy, but going strong!

One last thought -- and it ties into potty training, actually. . . .

Last night, while driving home from my Bible Study, I had one of our local Christian Praise & Worship stations on. They had a minute with Chuck Swindoll -- and rather than change the channel to find music -- I listened to what he had to say. Here's what I took away from it.

Remember the old song, "He's Got the Whole World (in His Hands?)" Well, I'm certainly old enough to remember it. There are references to you and me -- in his hands. . . .tiny little baby, the wind and the rain. . . .and on it goes.

Chuck Swindoll said that sometimes, in the midst of our turmoil(s) we tend to forget that everything -- the whole world is in HIS hands. That "whole world" includes drug cartels, tensions in the Middle East, North Korea, disease, poverty, and politics. It's all in HIS hands.

I had to stop -- not the car, but my thoughts -- and really let that sink in.

So tonight, as I was talking to -- and attempting to comfort a friend whose child has been placed in a group home because of troubles with the law -- I shared with her this little tidbit from Chuck. And you know what she did? She looked up, with a tear or two in her eyes, and said -- "Yeah, it is in his hand. So is potty training."

Yep. Mull on that one for a second.

I am reminded that the more we try to comfort our fellow citizens -- and bring them a word of blessing, peace, or encouragement -- God somehow manages to pour out a blessing on us from time to time.

And all the while. . . . his hands are full.

Monday, August 17, 2009

First Day -- VICTORY!!!

Yep -- we somehow managed to make it through the first day of school with only one (1) phone call. And, that was placed by me. . . AFTER school. So, I want to call it successful.

What was the reason for the one call? Well. . .when she got home, I realized that her lunchbox was VERY heavy. I figured that either:

1) She stole something from the classroom (or, "borrowed" it!)
2) She didn't eat her lunch.

Unfortunately, the 2nd was the case -- or fortunately, I suppose. I called the teacher to find out what was the deal. Normally, she might not eat her sandwich -- but her fruit gummies and Capri Suns always get consumed. Not today.

The reason? The new assistants in her room put her lunchbox in her cubbie -- rather than by the fridge. When it was time to go to the cafeteria for lunch, no one saw her lunchbox, and she ended up getting a hamburger, french fries, fruit, and chocolate milk for lunch. SCORE!

So, we owe the cafeteria $1.65. And, my daughter *did* eat.

I explained to her teacher that if she ever gets kind of overwhelmed by the crowd scene, she might not eat. I was convinced that might have been the case -- imagine my relief when I learned that she ate "big kid" food from the cafeteria!

Her teacher and I talked a bit further -- and her only observation was that besides Caroline having a good day -- she got a little overwhelmed by all the kids. . . and there were NO kindergartners there today. They start coming in tomorrow. So, the population is going to grow by nearly 120 kids over the next week. YIKES!

But, her teacher assured me that she was doing well -- and seemed to adapt pretty nicely today. Caroline's mainstreaming activities will be limited to one (1) hour per day that she goes into the regular class -- initially. I actually think that will be good, because she's going to need time to adapt to this completely new -- overwhelming environment.

But, she's gonna do it. . . and it's gonna be good.

So that's the update for now. Here are a few pictures from today. They're not the best we've ever taken. . .but we got 'em. Enjoy!!

Eating a healthy breakfast before the bus comes. What is healthy? Lucky Charms & bananas with milk -- and juice to drink, of course. And yes, she *does* look sleepy. It's 7 a.m., people!!

I had to take Edison to school -- so I didn't get to see her get on the bus. Mark took this picture as the bus pulled up to the driveway.

I did manage, however, to capture the image of her getting off the bus this afternoon. She was, as you can imagine, all smiles. And her first words, after the bus pulled away? "Hey, where's my bus going?"

I think she likes it.

Once in the house, she greeted Mimi, her baby doll, with a hug, kiss, and an update of her day. She told Mimi about coloring, playing outside, eating lunch, and playing with toys. I think Mimi was relieved that she had a good day.

Caroline decided to take her "school clothes" off, and change into relaxing clothes. No, they don't match. But, I have to give her points for being brave enough to wear the Buddy Walk logo with stripes. I think it works for her.

Mimi thinks so, too.

After dinner tonight, we began the routine of baths, hair drying, songs, and bedtime stories. She happily went off to bed -- and is ready for tomorrow. I think Mimi is ready too.

And that, my friends, puts my mind so much at ease!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Kindergarten, Here I Come! *(And a game for you to play)

Well, she's in bed. In fact, she "hopped" into bed without being prompted. I couldn't get over it.

Tomorrow morning. . . somewhere between 7:15 a.m. and 7:30 a.m., her bus will arrive, and take her to KINDERGARTEN. So, now. . .hanging on the back of her chair in the kitchen is this:

That's right. . . in 12 hours, my little "eagle" will begin soaring with a new flock. . . numbering about 600 in all. (Okay, that part scares me) There are approximately 600 kids in her school (grades K - 2), and although I know she's going to figure out a way to "worm herself" into their hearts. . . she's still my baby girl. And tonight is the last time I can say I'm putting my preschooler to bed.

. . . okay, I really hadn't taken that all in before typing it.

Please pray. For her. For me. For them. For acceptance. For challenge.

I know it's a lengthy list, but we appreciate every prayer uttered on her (our) behalf.

Okay -- now for our game. What do these two people have in common?


These two men. . . Michael Jackson and Peyton Manning both performed on the same soil that my son played football on Friday night. That's right. . . they performed on *his* turf! :)

On Friday night, Edison's high school football team participated in a Football Jamboree at Neyland Stadium in downtown Knoxville. We have been trying to impress on him the fact that he might not get a lot of playing time this year.

At this Jamboree, each team only played one quarter--so we were supportive, but not anticipating that he would participate. Here he is (#51) on the sidelines:

And here. . . for your viewing pleasure. . .he is on the field!!!

His words, "It was cool, Mom."

It was, Edison. It really, was.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Pay It Forward -- the challenge is on!

365 days from now. . . if not sooner. . . I will be sending three handmade items to three people I adore.

Donna - sings in my worship team & is one of my newer friends. She's a blessing!

Beth - a spiritual "sister" and cherished friend that always challenges me to be the best Christ follower and mom to my kids I can be. And, trust me--she's the expert (on both, if you ask me). The woman has forty-five kids. (Okay, really she has six daughters, and her wonderful husabnd has four kids -- but I like the number 45!)

Jean - my blog sister/friend that I was able to meet up with in Nashville. We're (seriously) like two peas in a pod. She's been showing off some of her new fabrics & sewing treasures on her blog. Check 'em out -- it's pretty cool!

So, the stage is set . . . I have to start getting crafty/creative for these wonderful ladies. Then, it will be their turn to bless someone else. What an AWESOME idea!!!

Pay It Forward. . . .edited

A few months ago, my friend Judy issued a "pay it forward" challenge on her blog. Here's how it works. These are her words:

"I will send a handmade gift to the first three people that leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don't know what the gift will be yet. My intention is to make something you will know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. You may not receive to tomorrow, or next week, but you will receive it within the next 365 days. That is my promise. The only thing you have to do in return is to Pay it Forward by making the same promise on your blog."

(Yeah, sorry. . .this will be restricted to other bloggers)

So, that's what I'm doing. . . .because I promised.

So, if you are interested in something handmade by moi and are willing to promise to pay it forward after you've received something from me. . . please indicate so in the comment section.

Remember that handmade can be scrapbook elements, sewn items, framed photos you take yourself, altered items, something crocheted. . .the possibilities are literally endless.

Me? I got a kickin' apron.
You? Will get something made by me -- if you sign up (and are in the first three people)

I reserve the right to send three different items to my three people, depending on who they end up being. But, you have my assurance that it will be made by hand -- and that it will come within the next 365 days. (And if you know me. . . it seriously may be 363 days from now!) :)

Are you interested? I encourage you to do it -- I love the part where you receive ONCE, and give THRICE. There's something very soul-stirring about that. Don't you think?

Oh, you wanted to see my apron? I'll gladly show it off!!

Edited to add: We have our three next contestants -- Donna. . . Beth. . . Jean! :) Like I said, girls, when I get the stuff to you --it's your turn to post it on your blog, and bless three more people!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Some Random Pics and Even More Random Stories

Okay. . .whew! Lots of things to catch up on here! Here are some random (seriously random) shots of recent events/projects around our household.

In a couple weeks, my mom, sister, and I will host a bridal shower for my cousin. Her color scheme and floral theme is blue -- with autumn flowers (especially sunflowers). Okay, first -- I LOVE THIS!!! But, we couldn't find any bridal shower invitations that had that color scheme. So, you know me. . . "It's okay, Mom. We'll just buy blank invitations, and get some scrapbook paper -- and I'll make the invitations."

Well, I did. . .with the help of my color printer, and Ali Edwards' font. . .here they are!

I'm pretty pleased with the way they turned out. And, Mom was, too. I guess that's all that matters!

Okay, some Caroline pictures. The other day, I found her "lounging about" in Mark's recliner. That wouldn't be so odd, except that she was laying like this. . . . .

. . .that's right--she was laying across the chair. It cracked me up.

Here at Chez Aubrey, we're all about supporting the economy by continuing to fly. And, as you can see, we don't discriminate. . . anyone can fly. Anyone -- Mary, the mother of Jesus (4th from the left) Two of the Three Wise Men (first and next to last) and, of course, royalty -- the King is the last person in line.

I know I've mentioned that we're knee-deep in football time. Here's a picture of Edison (#10 jersey) from last week's inter-squad scrimmage. His actual number will be #51. But, for this particular scrimmage, he was wearing #10.

Funny thing was, we didn't know which one was him, at first. We had kinda pegged him as #10, but it wasn't until he pulled off his helmet that we knew for sure.

Yep, that was him. And if there was any doubt, we could see him once he took the jersey and helmet off. . . .

Last week, we had the amazing joy of spending the evening with the Fife family. My friend Cindy and her kids also enjoyed dinner and hilarious conversation with us. Here are the three of us girls -- enjoying a laugh or two!

Jeff, Monica, Roger, and Isaac Fife are missionaries to Brazil. They lived here in TN -- and attended our church while Jeff was a student at Johnson Bible College. Our families spent a lot of time together, and Monica is one of those (rare!) friends that is like a sister to me. When she comes back into town (or the country) we can pick up right where we left off and it's like no time has gone by--except we (and our kids) have gotten older.

I'm still looking for the comparison picture -- when I find it, I'll upload it. Three years ago, we got the McRary, Fife, and Aubrey kids together for a picture. At that time, they actually fit on my mom's sofa. This year? Not so much. . .not to mention that the boys had been outside playing basketball -- and were clammy. I didn't want to expose my mom's sofa to that. So, we opted for the retaining wall by Uncle Jeff's driveway.

Yeah. . . imagine trying to get seven kids (age 5 - 16) to pose for a picture. This was one of the best we got. . . .

Monica has been an adopted "aunt" to Caroline from the very beginning. She prayed with me for there to even be a Caroline. . . when all my faith was gone. And, from the moment she knew we were expecting, she has prayed over her little life. When Caroline was just 4 months old, Monica came back to the states (by herself) for a visit.

Caroline still had her NG (nasal feeding) tube at that time. So, after giving Caroline a little of a bottle (by mouth) we fed her through the tube for the rest of the feeding. Monica held the syringe with Caroline's formula in it -- and declared with her precious Brazilian accent, "Look here, Sweet Caroline. I am . . .Aunt Monica is feeding you!"

That was then. . . .

. . .and this is now!

While we waited for God's intervention when Caroline was a tiny baby, Monica's youngest son, Isaac, prayed fervently for her healing. He told Jeff & Monica to tell us that (even before her heart surgery) God had already healed her. His faith, coupled with his strong declaration in the power of our healing God, is one of the precious memories I carry with me from those early months.

Needless to say -- I consider Isaac one of Caroline's most precious prayer warriors. . . .

There are more pictures. More stories. More reflections. But for now, this will have to do. I hope you've enjoyed another "glimpse" into our summer. It's been a wonderful, action-packed summer. And like every summer I remember as a child -- it was over even before it started.

Enjoy these last days!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Two Days in. . so far, so good!

Edison, as I type, is in football practice after his 2nd full day of high school. Yesterday went well. My phone was eerily quiet today, so I assume today went fine, as well.

So, one's in. . .one's on deck.

Caroline's kindergarten orientation is tonight. She and Mark are going to attend orientation -- while I retrieve Edison from football, bring him home, and go to Bible study at church.

Yep -- this is now the pace of our lives. Busier than before. . . but more blessed than ever.

I'd love to write more - -show pictures, etc., but just don't have the time to do so. I need to get dinner assembled (having an idea would be nice, as well), finish one last chapter in my Bible study book, and get ready for this evening.

Things really are going well -- just fast-paced. So what else is new?

Hopefully, there are more blog entries in my little brain. . . I know there will be pictures of someone's first day of school next week. When asked why I didn't take a picture of Edison on his first day, I believe my reply was. . ."You've seen one first day at TKA, you've seen them all." (school uniforms, don't you know!?)

So, that's the update for now -- nothing earth-shattering from our end of the world. Just trying to stay in touch. I've been reading blogs, but not commenting. Sorry -- just really, really busy!

One final note: I'm sure by now, everyone has heard about the death of Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Today began on a sad note -- when we heard of her death. But, as the day has progressed, we've read stories and reflected on her life and time. What a precious woman. What a powerful life force. And though I have never been a huge fan of the Kennedy's. . . things like political opinions and viewpoints don't matter when you look at the influence of one life on millions of others. She set out to make the world a better place for Caroline. . . my Caroline. She dedicated her life to helping (my) Caroline find her place in society -- and make her mark in it. That is a life worth celebrating!!

Thank you, Eunice! May God bless you as you find your rest in His arms.

Monday, August 03, 2009

No Harm. . .No Foul

I bear NO ill will towards some of my favorite comment-leavers. In fact, I like the fun dialogue that began over my zealous attempt to create a sewing space. :) Really, I do.

It's super late on Sunday night (monday morning, actually).

Miss C begins "Jump Start" day camp tomorrow. It's a camp designed to help kids with special needs get geared up for the school year. It's for preschoolers - 2nd graders. Should be interesting. Four hours each day -- surely I can carve out some "mommy" time in order to get some sewing, reading, or resting done, right?

Edison begins "regular" football practices tomorrow - in anticipation for the school year, which begins a week from today. Wow. He begins high school in seven days. Of course, we have had to have a few conversations with him about responsibility, discipline, and more responsibility.

I think it's going to get tougher before it gets easier. I like to think I'm up for the challenge, but on days like today, I seriously have to wonder.

In happier news. . . Mark took Edison to a Smokies game tonight -- our youth group from church met up with them there. They had a SonicFlood concert after the game. The team won. The concert was great (Edison's words). Mark tried for another autograph from Ryne Sandberg -- and nearly got one . . . six more people, and he would've made the cut.

Oh well. . .there will be more games.

Caroline and I stayed home, watched some TV, had one successful trip to the potty (her, not me). I usually do allright in that region. And, after her bath, we sang songs while I dried her hair. When it was time for her to go to sleep, I was asked to kiss her goodnight, and also to kiss her baby "Mimi" goodnight. I obliged, and heard not a peep from either one. I guess the kisses must have worked.

So, on that happy note - I'm off to sleep. I stayed up to watch a new (to me) show on PBS "Create" about lap quilting. It was so exciting. . . I fell asleep. Repeatedly.

BO . . . . RING.

So, until another blog entry finds its way out of my head, and onto my screen. . .I leave you with the assurance that I wasn't hurt or offended by comments! :) Bring 'em on. . .I can take it.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

A Clarification. . . or two

After reading comments from yesterday's post, I want to clarify. . .

I have designs on making Edison's room into my sewing room. But, let's be honest. . . we're talking about one of the world's all-time sappiest moms here. It will definitely not happen in that first year.

Now, to clarify further -- I may move my sewing machine in there--but his stuff -- football memorabilia, clothes, etc., will stay until I can come to grips with him actually being out of the house. And, for that, I'm estimating a good 18 months. So, please don't take me to task over my covetous spirit of that extra room.

If I remember correctly, to hear my parents tell it -- no one (literally no one) was allowed in my room after I left for college for a month or so. And then, after a year (maybe two) they let my sister move in -- and change the decor.

Edison's room will however, become a spare room for guests to sleep in -- while he's away. It's got a double bed in there -- and it's adjacent to a bathroom. So, I will allow other people to stay in there. . . you know, when I'm not sewing. :)

[Steve -- did you see that? I used adjacent which is almost like using arduous.]

Another clarification needed. . . .

Based on this post, I got a little "flak" from my favorite brother-in-law about my reading glasses being prominently displayed upon entrance to my home.

. . . watch it, bro-in-law. I know where you, well, I kinda know where you live. If I had to, I could find it.....I think.

That's it.

I am now going to move forward with my Saturday. . .which, has not moved forward much at all so far. The best I've done is to try a frozen chocolate pop-tart for breakfast. One of my former students, and buddy on facebook recommended it to me. It's allright -- kinda chewy. And, when I first get up, I don't really want to work to eat. So, I'll probably stick to eating them the old-fashioned way -- from the toaster.

We're having steak, baked potatoes, salad & bread for dinner tonight. And tonight, or tomorrow, we'll be reunited with friends of ours who are missionaries in Brazil. Jeff & Monica -- and their boys, Roger & Isaac, are here for a week. Monica and I became very close friends when they lived here. They moved back to Brazil about a year before Caroline was born -- so she has only seen her twice in five years. This will be the most significant visit, I'm sure.

I personally cannot wait for Caroline to debut her latest song, "Shout to the Lord" for Monica. I predict lots of clapping, tears, and loving words spoken sweetly in Portuguese to Caroline. I'll do my best to capture some of this on video. It will definitely be one for the books!

Have a great Saturday!!!