Seventh Heaven

My first baby is seven. But don't dare call him baby.
Or anything babyish.
That comes with seven. Or first grade.
Or having younger brothers.
Or something.
All I know is gone are the days of
referring to him as 'baby' or 'cute' or 'sweet.'
It's okay though. I love Seven on Spinner.
It has come with a sincere zeal for learning. A love of reading.
A bit of a competitive edge. Compassion
for his younger brothers. An ownership of his things.
An increased desire to perfect a British accent.
A developing interest in things that are scary (like his dad).
Artistic ability.A propensity toward headaches and
sensitivity to heat (like his mom, poor thing).
A spirit of helpfulness. A sense of adventure.
And a desire to drive. Yep, already.
Happy Birthday, Spinner!
It's great being your mom!

the cycle

Why is it that at day's end, when the boys are tucked into bed on the fast track to dreamland. . .

my day seems far from over?

And then, 10 hours later it starts all over again. :)

Procrastinator Party 'Reveal'

Tomorrow marks the deadline for the Procrastinator's Party projects. I'm done.
Finished on time, with a little to spare.
Here is my piece, before. An eight year old armoire
that I have wanted to paint for a while now.
Wanted it to be a bit more decorative. To pop. To be more
of a focal point for the room.

At first I thought I would go with turquoise but
ended up on a more subtle blue. Farmhouse Blue from the Martha Stewart
line at Lowe's. (MS307)
Unfortunately my camera doesn't capture the color very
well. It's actually deeper than what you see here. These photo's
make it look almost powdery blue, which it is not.

The photo's also don't show the distressing very well. To me, in the photo's
it just looks like a really sucky paint job. And maybe it is. Or a really sucky
distressing job. I haven't done much distressing
apart from edges so I went a bit beyond my comfort zone on this
by doing some minimal distressing on the flat surfaces.

My steps were: sanding, priming, first coat, another light sanding, final coat, distressing.

I decided to add an unexpected element by painting one of the inside inset panels with chalkboard paint. On a side note I'm really bothered by that right drawer handle sticking up. Excuse me while I go fix that.

Now I need to figure out what to do on top. The room this is in has two story ceilings. I have always had a hard time knowing what to do there.

The total work time on this project was probably 3.5-4 hours. But I worked on it over a few days. I left it right where it is now and just lifted the legs to scoot a drop cloth underneath. I did remove the drawers and the hardware on the drawers. I had hoped to find a knob for the doors to compliment the hardware on the drawers. Still looking.

Overall I am really happy with it. It is eye-catching, a focal point, it's decorative and I just love the splash of blue in our family room.


Nothing brings up that "ugh!" feeling for me quite like a clogged toilet.
Sometime last week our downstairs toilet started acting up. Not fully flushing,
draining slowly, and resisting our attempts to plunge.
Then, over the weekend, while I was away with girlfriends, what we were
hoping to avoid took place. Overflowing. And lots of it, so I'm told.
And that's all I'll say about that. Your welcome.
My poor hubs dealt with the aftermath. This morning, with friends coming
to town this weekend, we broke down and called the plumber.

I was pretty certain the reason for our plumbing woes would take
us directly back to Tank.
We have been in toilet training purgatory for some time now. Tank is
most interested in the flushing process and loves that he now has the okay
to flush the toilet. He has taken great license with this over the last
couple weeks. Most recently
I grabbed a dishtowel about to make it's decent into the bowels of our plumbing
as Tank stood wide-eyed over the toilet looking guilty.
So, I was pretty sure that Tank was behind it all.
This was confirmed approximately 20 minutes into the plumbers visit when
I heard the sound of cackling coming from the bathroom. He walked out
holding up the evidence.

A $75 toothbrush that is now resting in our garbage can.

how can you help?

In many countries children with Down syndrome are institutionalized at the age of 4 or 5. Reece's Rainbow is a ministry dedicated to locating those children and helping them find a family. Hundred's of kids have been placed and saved from the neglect and abuse found in many institutions. There are many, many more waiting for their families. Maybe you can help. Click the link below to find out. (this is a 12 minute video and well worth the time)

View this montage created at One True Media
Reece's Rainbow

my favorite kind of day

it's a cool, rainy, grey day
a good one for making my 8 year old armoire look aged
for listening to nickel creek
for playing cars with tank
and for trying out a new chicken and dumplings recipe

hope you, too, are enjoying fall!

Even when they're not in the room. . .

It is quiet time in the house but all is not quiet. It rarely is, really.

Spinner and Bean share a room upstairs over our guest room. Right outside of the guest room is a short hallway that leads to the garage. There is a small ceiling light in that area that I have always wanted to change. The globe that covers the light has been there since we moved in over two years ago, a builder's choice globe. Milky white and plain.

Here it is.

Boring and ordinary, right? But now, I get to replace it. Spinner and Bean are sooo not quiet during quiet time. While putting Tank down for his nap (thank God he still naps!) I heard the ruckus in the other room and then I heard the crash downstairs.

The good news for me is that I have been vindicated. I tell them repeatedly that one day their upstairs wrestling and jumping off beds will result in the loss of downstairs lighting. I have mostly been worried about my kitchen pendant lights that rattle when they parachute off our bed. They have yet to see the result of their hard work, I'll show them when quiet time is over. But now I have proof and no one gets to roll their eyes at me over this particular issue anymore. :)

Meanwhile, I have been working on my Procrastinator's Party Project.

This thing is a beast to paint but already I am loving the difference!

Nie Nie Dialogues

I'm guessing that most of you bloggers out there, and blog readers, know Stephanie Nielson of the Nie Nie Dialogues. To say that she has been through a lot is a ridiculous understatement. Yesterday, she sat on Oprah's couch to tell a little of her story. I hope you caught it.

Oprah could have gone any number of directions with the segment on the Nielson's. Their story is complex and involves a large extended family who all stepped up to help during her recovery. Her focus, however, was on Stephanie the mom. Fighting her way back to her family. Fighting hard to get back to the mundane activities of the average stay-at-home mom. Activities that Oprah called "sacred." Making lunches, giving baths, answering 10,000 questions a day, helping with homework, doing laundry. The things that most of us gripe about are the things that Stephanie craved.

To drive home this message Nie was paired with a woman who sent Oprah an email griping about her mundane life as a stay-at-home mom. Did you know that people sent Oprah emails complaining about their lives? I didn't. The mom, Andrea, spent a day in Stephanie's home. I think it was a vulnerable move on both their parts.

The whole show was good. A reminder that life can change instantly. Thanks Stephanie for the reminder that some of the most mundane parts of life can be the most sacred and meaningful.

A step back in time

After a debatable number of years, dinosaurs have returned. And they have made their way to our Southern City.

Last night, Spinner went Walking with the Dinosaurs. And my Aunt Susan brought home evidence.

Couldn't have been more thrilling for our soon to be seven year old!

Procrastinator's Party

I'm getting off my duff and tackling another project. Melissa at The Inspired Room is having a Procrastinator's Party and it is just the push I need to get my armoire done. Nothing like a little blogosphere pressure to get me moving. I have two weeks to finish my project at which time I am to post a picture of the finished piece for all party participants to check out. And you, of course. If you give a rip.

It should be fun. Plus, I am a sucker for before and after pictures. It will be fun to see the transformations posted by all the party participants. You can visit them all through the links on Melissa's blog.

I have mentioned my armoire project before but as a reminder here is the 'before' picture.

My plan? Blue. Shade to be determined but it will be aquaish, or peacockish, and hopefully sufficiently distressed.

Wish me luck. I will need it with three little punks running around looking for trouble. But the shame of not having my 'after' pictures on Oct. 20 will keep me going. I so hate to disappoint.

And this is totally unrelated to anything mentioned above but I just have to share. Yesterday? Tank came running in the house yelling, "help bug. . . .help bug," as he shoved his clinched fist into my face. I instinctively backed away but he would have nothing of it. He grabbed my hand, turned it up and dropped a quartered earthworm into my palm.

I'll be painting in between those sorts of antics. Wish me well!


Every afternoon I pick Bean up from school. I pull into a specially marked parking spot and wear a laminated star around my neck. This green star gives me a special privilege. It allows me to bypass the check in system; a machine that asks all sorts of information about the nature of your visit, takes your picture, then spits out a sticker with your photograph that you slap on your chest showing everyone you are allowed to roam the halls. My star also allows me to enter the school building 15 minutes before dismissal so that I can get my kid out before the rest of the students pour into the halls and outside to their waiting parents.

As I pull into my special parking place each afternoon I cross the pick-up line where parents have been sitting in parked cars for up to 30 minutes reading books and magazines or talking on the phone while they wait for their kids. They look up as I pass in front of their car, no doubt, seeing my star which identifies me as the parent of a special needs child. As I make my way to Bean’s room just before days end teachers are quietly lining their students up according to their way of transportation: walker, bus, or car. Even though parents are not allowed in the school at this time of day no one questions my presence, because of my star, but rather they give me a soft grin and a nod.

After I retrieve Bean from his class and gather his things we make our way back to our car, along with a handful of his classmates and their parents. I don’t always notice the parents waiting in the pick-up line outside. But today I did. As my green star blows in the wind and Bean wobbles beside me (and Tank stops to play in a puddle) I observe their glances. Peering over their reading material or watching while on the phone, I feel their looks. We are an obviously different group. Most have an atypical gate, some use walkers and one is in a wheelchair. Some wear glasses and some wear their diagnosis on their face, like Bean. I recognize their looks. Looks of pity, of interest, of compassion, of knowledge. I wonder what they are wondering. I start to guess but my thoughts are interrupted by the sound of Bean’s voice yelling, “T. . . . T . . .” as loud as he can. He is calling out to Tank who has moved on from the puddle to some rocks and is not keeping up.

As I hear Bean calling to his brother, rushing him along, I am flushed with pride as I realize that the star around my neck may give me school privileges but it’s the Star holding my hand that makes me feel like the most privileged person in the world every single day.

In an act of desperation

So you may notice that I have some rather blatant google advertising showing up on my blog now. It is part of their AdSense program and apparantly every time one of their ads receives a click, I get some pocket change.

I read an article about it and thought, why not! It's an impressive article. This woman has clearly gone above and beyond with her ad postings but it did challenge me to give it a go.

We are, afterall, in tough times. So, if you feel so inclined give the ads a click or two when you visit me here at Blessed Chaos. Maybe I will make enough for a tank of gas. Or, just ignore them. That's fine by me too! I'm just glad you come around at all.

And now, I am off to get ready for the very first public service of our church plant.

Blogging about Down syndrome

As I said yesterday I don't feel like I can commit to this years Get it Down: 31 for 21 challenge.

There are many others, however, that are stepping up to the challenge. You can find a complete list over at Unringing the Bell, where Tricia has organized this effort for the third year in a row.
Go take a look. You are sure to meet some of the cutest kids ever!

Down Syndrome Awareness Month

In previous years, during the month of October, I have blogged daily in honor of Down syndrome awareness.

It's not gonna happen this year. I just can't pull it off. There are all sorts of reasons.

One is that I don't have as much to say about Down syndrome in the sense of how it impacts us daily. It's part of the fabric of our days. It is our normal. Bean is not defined by Ds, though it is very much a part of him. On the one hand I don't think much about it. On the other, it is always with me. Somehow those two things have blended together for me.

Second, we just have a lot going on this month and I am finding it hard to keep up with the pace of our family. First up for the month is the first public service of our church. We have been in SC for more than 2.5 years now with the goal of beginning a new church. We hit some hard spots, made some changes, and started fresh last November. After nearly a year of meeting with our core group for worship, teaching, planning, building relationships, seeing new folks join us, and looking for a building we are ready to begin public services. This Sunday, Oct. 4, is the big day. It's a housewarming of sorts. A celebration of all the Lord has brought our little church through. And it's a way to introduce ourselves to our community in a more formal way. We are excited! We even have our website up and running. Check us out: Riverside Community Church.

So, I'll be in and out. Posting some about Down syndrome as well as other goings on in our family. And for those of you that don't know much about Down syndrome maybe you will learn something new from our family. Next time I check in I will point you toward others that will be blogging about Ds more regularly than myself, in case your interested.

Happy October!

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