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Gotta hurtie

On a day long ago and far away,  Millen got a splinter in her finger. She kept this little tidbit of information to herself.


One day last week, Millen had a painful little bump on her finger. She couldn’t stir the pancake batter. She couldn’t turn the pages to Arianna’s favorite book. She could hardly even do the Wiggles. 

Oh yes, we were in a dreadful state.

So the next day we went to the doctor’s office. “Sumthins skuck in there,” she told the nurse.

“Oh really?” said I.

We went home with a prescription for antibiotics and an appointment card to see a surgeon. Today Millen is having a “procedure” to remove the “sumthin” that’s been “skuck” in her finger for so long.

All prayers, warm thoughts and words of encouragement are most gratefully accepted.

Oh my.

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Learning to be a helper

Every morning when it’s fine… and some mornings when it’s not… the girls and I head out to the backyard to hang laundry. Amelia  has already done the wash, Millen fetches the basket of wet clothes up from the basement, and Arianna flits around like a very excited little butterfly.

“Help you? Help you?”  she asks, the “you” becoming progressively more high pitched and emphatic with each repetition.


Once we’re outside, Millen takes her job of sorting through the laundry very seriously, all of the tee shirts first, then dresses, pants and skirts; all clothing of one type hanging together so we have a neat and orderly looking clothesline. Undies and bloomers go on the middle line, safe from the prying eyes of the neighbor boys. This is very important, especially if you’re Millen.


Arianna starts out calmly. She takes the tee shirts from Millen and hands them to me. One at a time. One at a time… but then the excited little butterfly part of her personality rears its adorable little head and she starts running around through the wet wash, hiding behind the leggings. And then, in a fit of hilarity she pushes over the laundry basket, grabs a handful of clothing and throws them high into the air.

Oh my.


And when I say, “Oh Arianna!” in a terribly disappointed and shocked voice, she runs away.

Oh my, my, my.

And then, when I call her back, around the end of clothesline she goes, giggling and smiling flirtatiously back over her shoulder in what, she mistakenly thinks, is a terribly winsome way.

Oh, my goodness me.


I take her by the hand and walk her back to where I was standing. “We come when we are called,” I tell her. We pick up all of the laundry from the grass and we look carefully to see if any has gotten dirty.

“Sorry DeeDee,” she says, and I give her a hug.


And then we get right back to work.


Did you know that clothespins are extremely fascinating?


And really rather tricky to operate? Millen gives her a few pointers


Before we know it, the baskets are empty, the laundry is drying on the line, the clothes are oh-so-beautifully pinned, and we go back inside.


Our work here is done.

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Millen gets into the holiday spirit.

Using this recipe and following the recommendations of her favorite vlogging chef-stress, Millen made some Christmas-time treats.

Then we drizzled them with white chocolate and finished ‘em off with sprinkles and colored sugar.

Lots of sprinkles and lots of colored sugar.
Because you can never have quite enough of that kinda stuff.
Nuh uh.

And then, she packed them in these little boxes.

16 in each box.
4 layers separated by
4 little red squares of tissue paper.
4 candies in each layer.
16 candies to a customer.
And then she wrote out the names of some of her favorite folk on these little sticky labels (she is her mother’s daughter, after all.)

And now, we get to deliver them.

We are very excited about this.
O yes we are.

In other news, today’s blogging chore is writing and rewriting, which I do best in peace and quiet. Seeing as how I’ll be at Mamie’s today and seeing as how things are rarely peaceful and quiet there, I might need your prayers… if you can spare a few, that is.
Oh my.

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Lovely locks

Millen, in fluffier days.

Poor Millen. She is such a contented and cheerful little soul… generally. Sure, she has heartbreaks and challenges in her life. Why just last week, ballet class was canceled due to inclement weather (OH THE HORROR,) and she has recently outgrown her beloved winter fairy princess tee (sob). Still, she takes it all in stride. There is one thing though that daily stretches her grace and good humor to the limit: alopecia. Many folks, particularly those with Down syndrome, have to deal with this condition that causes them to periodically lose their hair. She suffered through years of treatments: ointments, creams, even several series of painful steroid injections directly into the scalp, all to no avail. Any hair regrowth has been patchy at best and temporary at any rate. Her eyelashes and eyebrows never have regrown at all. About a year ago Millen said she was done with the painful treatments and I can’t blame her one bit. Since then she has steadily continued to lose her hair… these days she has only a small patch of hair on the back of her head, and I don’t know how much longer she’ll have that.

Being done with the treatments though, doesn’t mean that Millen has accepted baldness. Even though she has a sweet tolerant temperament, even though she has Down syndrome, Millen is still a girl. And a rather vain one at that, truth be told. She has an assortment of hats and headbands she wears to disguise her hair loss. The effort is increasingly futile, but still we try. She so wants to be pretty. She so misses the beautiful black curls that attracted so much attention and so many compliments. The first thing she asks me to pray for each night is that her hair will grow back. And her eyelashes. And her eye-browns. It’s the last thing she prays for herself, all by herself just before she drifts off to sleep.

So… I’ve been thinking. I’ve been thinking of contacting Locks of Love and applying for one of their “prosthetic hair pieces.” It’s a rather long process and from what I’ve read they only approve a small number of requests every year. I don’t know if we have a chance and I don’t want to get Millen’s hopes up, but I’m gonna give it a try. And I’ll keep ya posted. I’ll let all y’all know how it goes. Mmhmm.

I wonder if they have curly wigs…

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One of the highlights of Millen’s life is her work at the local oh-so-trendy coffee shop, where big sister Louisa is the manager. (Of course when you’re Millen, the whole of life is just a series of highlights… the girl’s my role model. Oh yeah.) Every Tuesday and Friday morning Louisa parks her old Mercedes diesel in front of the house, Millen carefully gathers up all of her necessaries and the two of them set off. Louisa says she just couldn’t manage without Millen… Millen’s her best worker you see and there is oh, so much work to be done! Work that no one else can do quite like our girlie…

Dontcha just love her favorite vintage apron? It’s mod!

She cordially greets customers as they enter.

“Welcome to Ess-way-oo Coffee Shop,” she says with a smile.

“You hass to smile!” she insists to me later. “It’s the rule.”

Millen is very meticulous about keeping things neat and clean. She clears the tables and wipes them down. She stacks the dirty dishes and puts the clean ones away… and in the right spots too!

Now, if only we could manage to do this at home…

Louisa says she has an amazing knack for remembering precisely who ordered what and never fails to deliver the exact right order to the exact right person. She pays close attention to the customers’ needs and is quick to bring extra napkins and refill cups.

Never one to be idle, Millen brings along her ‘ninnin’ to fill the inevitable slow times.

This Tuesday was an especially exciting day at the coffee shop, however. It was Millen’s birthday and the whole shop was abuzz with the thrill of it all. Lydia, the gorgeous teenage daughter of the shop’s owner and more importantly, Millen’s friend, had the day off from school and joined in on the fun. Pepperoni Pizza Panini’s were the lunch special in honor of Millen and her favorite food- pepperoni pizza. Louisa and Millen spent all day on Monday baking and decorating special goodies to share: free cupcakes for everyone!

And the smile? That’s free too.

You hass to smile. It’s the rule.

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Home again, home again, jiggetty jig

Our sick girl is feeling much better this morning…

… thanks to the Emergency Room and their anti-nausea meds and IV fluids. Thanks to our nurse Corky and her comfy you’ll-be-just-fine demeanor. Thanks to Dr. P. and his insistence on thoroughness. Thanks to the Hospital Toy Fund and this soft squishy bear who was so hoping for a girl to go home with.

“Because you’re such a good girl,” said Nurse Corky.

“I am a good girl,” said Millen. “I am.”

And thanks to God who watches over every sparrow in the trees, who numbers every hair on our heads and who loves our very good girl. Very much.

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Prairie Quest

Poor Millen is sick. Sicker than sick. She has vomited more times in the last twelve hours than I can keep track of and I’m a tad bit concerned. I’m concerned about her inability to keep anything down; concerned that she might be becoming dehydrated and falling into what her lovable old Down syndrome specialist so quaintly referred to as “The Dwindles.” (As in dwindling strength and dwindling resistance to other illness and dwindling ability to stay awake.)

So yeah… concern is warranted and prayers are requested.*

All other manner of warm thoughts, good vibes and strengthening wishes most gratefully accepted as well.

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Play dress or night dress?

Poor Millen is in desperate need of some new clothes. All of a sudden it seems like every tee is stained, every sweater is pilly, every skirt is too short or too tight, and every dress… well, she barely has a decent dress left in her barren little closet.

So I decided to make her a few bright breezy things. And I thought I’d start with a just-below-knee-length smock type dress to wear with leggings. I made some modifications to a blouse pattern, judiciously squeezed all the pattern pieces onto this old favorite fabric, and trimmed it every which way with some precious all-cotton bias tape and rick rack. What do you think of that big ole vintage button? I like it. Amelia thinks it’s WEIRD. hmmm, more I look at it the more I think she just might be right.

Millen loves this dress. She thinks it’s comfy. I think it’s cute. Amelia thinks it’s cute too. But after that we part company. One of us (I’m not saying who) thinks this looks like an adorably trendy little thang, appropriate for afternoons at the coffee shop or a play date with friends. The other party (I’m not saying who) thinks it looks alarmingly like a nightgown, and is appropriate only for sleeping.


So, we need a completely unbiased opinion or two…. and that’s where you all come in. Should Millen wear this dress out and about? Or should it be relegated to under-the-covers wear? Leave us your thoughts; yay or nay? night or day? And us? We agree to let majority rule.

There now, don’t you feel positively drunk with power?

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To my children’s birthfamilies

I’ve been meaning to tell you something…

I want you to know that I treasure this child you have entrusted to me.

I value the sacrifice you made in letting them go.

I honor you in my thoughts, my prayers and my words.

I tell Millen that her birthmother was beautiful

and her birthfather was kind and strong.

I tell Noah that he can be grateful to his birthparents for his strong lean body,

his quick mind, and vision so acute it amazes his optometrist.

I tell him that he has a Godly heritage.

I want you to know that when your child has grown into a strong and sturdy adult; when they wish and if you wish, I will help them to find you.

I will not use guilt or fear to hold them to me or keep them from you.

I will encourage them to spend time with you and get to know you. I will be pleased and grateful when together you forge your own relationship, whatever that may be.

Just something I thought you oughtta know.

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