Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trick or Treat

We had Trick or Treat Main Street here in town on Friday night. Most merchants are more than ready to throw candy at the kids....and adults.

Have I ever mentioned that I love where we live? I do.
It's so fun to see friends and what they are wearing.
Don't be alarmed by the ambulance in the background. I hear that's where they keep the primo candy.
Our kitty and Tinkerbell were just beginning to get sugared up.
We were headed home when we saw this treat.
Unfortunately, no one was giving this away.
Maybe next year.
We do live in a great place, but maybe my expectations are a little high.
Just maybe.
Happy Halloween.

Friday, October 29, 2010

One Year Ago Today

One year ago Megan and I became friends with Ree.
That's how I remember it.
I just don't understand why we haven't had our girlfriend getaway to the Ranch, yet?
Was it something we said????
You can read about our trip to Oklahoma here and here on Meg's blog.
Oh sweet Cloverleaf. I still think about your boots and all the glittery fun that you are.

I wish I was doing this day all over again today.
What day do you wish you could do over?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Down syndrome Awareness Answers.

It's cool outside, but the sun is shining.
The coffee is hot, and the peanut M&M's are disappearing.
I am snuggling in for an afternoon of answering your questions about Down syndrome.
About Ella.
About our life together.
Did you know she had Down's Syndrome before she was born? 
What was your reaction when you found out?
I did know we were having a girl. I knew her name would be Ella Corinne. And I knew that God had something very special in mind for her life. I did not know she would have Down syndrome.  There is much more that I could say here. And in time, I will write Ella's birth story. My initial reaction was one of unbelief and devastation. I spent many hours crying on a day that was suppose to be the happiest day of my life.

Are there different kinds of Down Syndrome or different levels of severity? If so, what kind does Ella have? 
There are three different types of Down syndrome: Standard Trisomy 21, Translocation, and Mosaicism. Ella has Standard Trisomy 21, which is the most common. The National Down Syndrome Soceity says this in relation to severity:
All people with Down syndrome experience cognitive delays, but the effect is usually mild to moderate and is not indicative of the many strengths and talents that each individual possesses.
What sorts of things have people said to you (well meaning) that just end up hurting your feelings? And are there things that people say that are actually offensive to you (well meaning or not...)
The word "normal" is hard for me to hear. Talia is normal and Ella is...not normal???
Talia is a typically developing kid, Ella has Down syndrome.

What is actually offensive to me? When people call themselves or anyone else a "retard" or use the word "retarded" as a slang word. There isn't an ounce of love or respect in it. I cannot NOT hear it when the person being devalued is my Lady Ella.
How do you explain Down Syndrome to Talia?
I haven't explained Down syndrome to Talia. Ella has been a part of Talia's life since before she was born. Since she was two and a half she has noticed people with Down syndrome in books and on TV and said, "Hey, she looks like Ella!" Given Talia's gift for conversation, I would imagine there will be many many words in the future in regards to her relationship with Ella.
Here is a snippet from yesterday:
Me: Did you know that Ella has Down syndrome? 
T: (laughing) Yes.
Me: Do you know what Down syndrome means?
T: Yes, it means Ella goes to the doctor a lot.
Me: Well, yes, I guess we do go to the doctor a lot.
T: (face beaming) Oh, I know! It means that she's the best!
Me: (teary) Yes, I am so glad that's what it means to you. You're absolutely right!
And on that note, I think that's a great place to end...for today. It makes me teary, even now.
I will post the rest of the questions and my answers to them at the end of next week. I realize that we will be into November by then, but I figured you'd be cool with a little awareness talk even if it wasn't October. :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


This is a random post due to the pandemonium that is my life this week. 
1. I looked up the word pandemonium today. Half of the definitions fit. The two that talked about demons and hell do not.
2. Why the pandemonium? Let's just say that Bruce did get a SRN text today.
3. Talia changed clothes five times before 9 am. Just because.
4. We have one vehicle. Have I ever mentioned that before?
5. As I was pulling the last load of clean laundry out of the dryer today, Talia came and said that she went potty on Ella's bed.
6. We are/have seen a dentist, pediatrician, hairdresser, and an orthopedist this week.
7. I decided to squeeze a workout in this morning before 10. Not good for me. I can't breathe before 11. Not without diet Dr. Pepper anyways. What was I thinking???
8. I texted during sit-ups. I was lonely. I wonder if I'll still be sore tomorrow?
9. I thought a lot about your questions about Down syndrome. It's all kind of swirling around inside my brain yet. Is someone leaning on the panic button??? That someone is me.
10. Maybe my new word should be "Rant"-emonium. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Last month Susan posted on Facebook that she had just made Pumpkin Whoopie Pies. I had never eaten a Pumpkin Whoopie Pie, and I wanted that to change as soon as possible. I was able to get my hands on the recipe. Thank you Sara for passing this on from your mom.
These things are mammoth. Why, so mammoth? I used my large cookie scoop. You know the one that most people use for muffins. Next time I'm using the small scoop. Baby whoopies. How cute could those be?

I got a little generous with the whoopie. I figured I was so far gone already on the size I might as well really live it up! Evidence of my all or nothing personality at work here.
I served them to my Bible Study group at 9:30 in the morning after telling Ella she could not have sugared cereal before heading off to school. Hypocrisy is next semester's topic.
I had to serve them with forks, but the ladies loved them. After all, what's not to love about pumpkin and sugar this time of year paired with a dark cup of Pikes Place coffee?
I probably shouldn't have piled them like this. By the time my guests dove into them they were sticking together. They weren't so pretty by the time we got them onto our plates. I didn't hear any complaints about that. I'm just saying, if you want them to look good when you serve them...don't pile them up like I did.
Wanna make your own Pumpkin Whoopie Pies? Here's the recipe. I modified the whoopie a little bit. I didn't think it was sweet enough. Here's the recipe with the sugar change noted.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
2 C. Brown Sugar
2 eggs
1.5 C. Pumpkin
3 C. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1.5 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp ginger
1.5 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 C. vegetable oil

For the whoopie(aka icing):
2 tsp. vanilla
2 egg whites unbeaten
4 tsp. flour
2 Tb. milk
1.5 C. shortening
1 lb. powdered sugar. (I added a half cup more.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. STir together brown sugar, oil, pumpkin, vanilla and eggs. Then blend in flour, salt, ginger, baking soda, cloves and cinnamon. Stir until the batter is smooth. Grease cookie sheet pans. Drop by heaping tsp. on pan. Bake 10-12 minutes. Take off pan and cool.

After pies have cooled, choose a large bowl and stir the icing ingredients together until smooth. Then pile it on and lightly squeeze two pumpkin "cookie" halves together. Eat one or two. Then make yourself give the rest away. :)*****edited, yes it makes a big batch. If you use a smaller scoop I bet you could easily have more than two dozen pies.

I am adding these to the list of things that I make every Fall. 
What's something you make every Fall?

Monday, October 25, 2010


It's Down syndrome awareness month.
Have I ever mentioned that Ella has Down syndrome? Ha.
I've taken to calling her Ella Wintour.
I'm sure Ms. Anna would be mortified by the jelly stains
on her Gymboree pa-ja-mas.

I have wondered what I should be saying, if anything about Down syndrome awareness month. So this got me thinking...

Perhaps some of you have questions about Down syndrome, or about Ella specifically. And maybe you'd be too embarrassed to ask me, or anyone else. Maybe you think that your question might seem a bit silly or offend me. I don't want you to think for a minute that it would. Bruce and I didn't know one person with Down syndrome before we had Ella, so we've been there. We've asked lots of questions. We still have questions.

So, for this post, if you have a question about Down syndrome, or Ella specifically, I'd like to ask you to comment anonymously. I'll close the comments on Wednesday sometime.

I can't wait to see how we can all become more aware.
The comments are now closed. I'll have a post, or two, or three answering these questions in the near future.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Happy Birthday, Talia!

"So this is my [our] prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well." Philippians 1:9, The Message
Happy Birthday, Tal.
Three years old. That's big stuff, girl.
You are a rock star, princess, one man comedy routine all in one.
We wouldn't have you any other way.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Link to Sweater Pillow Tutorial

Okay, I am running out the soon as I post this. I've gotta get to work. Good thing I'm the boss. I should fire me for pushing it this close.

Click here for the cable knit sweater tutorial. It's a guest post by Emily from Jones Design Company. Love her. I read whatever she posts. She makes me wish I had long red hair, and that I lived in Seattle.

And just in case you didn't hear, I tried on a jegging yesterday and the answer is no. No way. Not ever. No.
Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 21, 2010


I'm sneaking away to Christmas shop today. Don't think for one minute that I'm THAT organized. We are having one of our Christmas' at Thanksgiving. So, when you look at it that way, I'm weeks behind.
I hear that there is a cable sweater tutorial that is being posted today. I was hoping that it would be up before I left, but it's not quite ready. I'll make sure to let you know where to find it later. Are you as excited as I am to make your own? Who am I? I am not crafty or sewy. Is a sewy a word? Blogger spell check says no.
More later.
Tis the season...
Laughing all the way...
Joyful and triumphant....I hope.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pottery Barn Wannabe.

My high school bff Anita made this comment yesterday under my Eat Your Heart Out Pottery Barn post.
I wanted to tell you that I was inspired by this, and also loved the pillow. However, I don't knit and don't want to...and I don't think I have friends who do. So instead I bought a cream cable knit sweater at Care and Share for $1.50 and had my mom make it into a pillow cover for me. I love it! Thanks for the inspiration. :)
My gorgeous cable knit sweater pillow. Love!

If you haven't figured it out, Care and Share is a thrift store. Genius!

I instantly loved the idea, but I wanted to see a picture. So, I emailed Anita and asked her if I could see it and post it on my blog. Are you ready to see it? Get ready. It's amazing.....
I don't know why I am so amazed?! Anita has always been creative, and her mom, Linda, can sew. No, she can REALLY sew. (I'd bet money that she could sew Martha under the table. And she could bake Martha under the table, and leave her begging for mercy, but that's another post.)

If you're not already thinking it, get yourself to your local thrift store or garage sale and buy up every cable knit sweater you can find. I can already think of what I'd like to see on my bed, the girls' beds, my couch, a chair in the kitchen...the list is endless. Someone I know has been trying to decide if she should get a new sewing machine. Just in case you haven't heard me, I vote YES!

Now, don't think for a minute that I wouldn't take another one, two, or dozen that my dear friend Carisa, at A Little Knitting made. I know the reality (okay, maybe I don't KNOW the reality) but I know that it takes time. And I also know that she's not taking orders for them right now. So this "inspiration" could meet many of your wants and needs...and for what? $1.50 and the time to sew this baby up. Can I get an Amen?!

Thank you, Anita, for letting me share your pillow with the 10 people who read this blog. I will be looking for cable knit sweaters at thrift stores for the next ten years.

Thank you, Pottery Barn, for providing the inspiration for so many of us, which costs very little and brings so much joy.

And lastly, thanks again, Carisa, for my one of a kind pillow knitted with love and respected by many.
Have you heard that Carisa also makes the cutest hats EVER! Well, she does.
And Christmas is 65 days.
Wouldn't a hat look great with your "new" sweater?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Monica and David

Last night Bruce and I watched the documentary  Monica and David.
 (Thanks to Tera, Tim and Kathy for recording it for us!)

It documents the marriage and lives of two adults, Monica and David, who have Down syndrome.
It's beautiful.
It's encouraging.
I laughed.
I cried from beginning to end.
It won a World Documentary Competition Award at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival.
It's on HBO this month.

Here's the official trailer for those of you (like us) who don't have HBO. Make sure you put it in your Netflix queue. Seriously. You will love it.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

What I loved about This Sunday

Do you ever have one of those Sundays you just wish you could repeat over and over again? Today was that Sunday for me.

We were thrilled to have some beloved family members visit us this weekend. We had a quick visit with Cameron, Debbie and Ava, and I and managed to snap a picture of Talia with them this morning before they left. Every time we see them, I always end up wishing we lived closer.
We went to church and when I came home, I threw on my jammies, took a nap, and watched some football.
I ate my share of cookie bars and have no regrets.
Bruce did puzzles with Talia.
Ella spent much of the afternoon outside soaking up the Autumn sun.
Tonight, Ella practiced her running. (She's doing a race in a couple of weeks!) 
Talia and I followed behind she and Bruce.
I feel rested and ready for the week. Today was exactly what I needed.
In the meantime, I'm hitting repeat on at least one more thing that I need....
more cookie bars. :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

First Grade Pumpkin Lovefest

Last week I (along with bunches of other parents) met our first graders at a local pumpkin patch.
These are Martha Stewart pumpkins. I didn't know Martha sold pumpkins. Of course she does.
Ella didn't see me at first, but I could see her.
And then she saw me.
There was so much to be done---and with friends.

One old friend, too.
And some littler friends.
We even ate our lunch there.
Three hours in, we made it to the patch. The kids were allowed to choose one pumpkin.
Ella wanted me to choose it. I like them with long stems. She does, too.
Ella's teacher took pictures of all of the kiddos.
I wish I would've had her take a picture of the two of us.
Instead, I took this one.
We tried later on, but as you can see, we didn't really get a great one of us together.
She was off, and she didn't look back.
I let her go. They'll be more opportunities for pictures...someday.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

In the Patch

These are my favorite Fall photos of Ella.
She was three.
I bought this little sweater at Target.
It was a favorite.
I look at these pictures, and I'm in love all over again: with her, with pumpkins, with puppies...
More from this same pumpkin patch tomorrow with Ella....and a few friends.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I Like Shoes

I like shoes, but I don't like spending a lot of money on them.
I'm on budget.
I still like these.
I should be looking at workout shoes.
I need to kick my old shoes to the curb.
I don't like spending money on shoes to sweat in.
Since I have flat feet (thanks, Dad) I need good shoes, or my entire body aches after a workout. 
Finish Line
I want to spend my money on these instead.

Old Navy
So, this is what I really want to know (because I don't need help with the want list):
1. Do you budget for workout shoes?
2. Where do you shop for them?
3. What pair are you wearing these days?
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