Buddy Walk highlights

Today was amazing. I plan to write more later, but for now, i’ll leave just a few photo highlights.














A huge thank you to everyone who came out today and to all those who donated to support this cause. It matters a very, very great deal, to us and to the more than 4,000 people who came out today to celebrate those we love with that extra chromosome.

Fake it ’till you make it

I am more than 5 1/2 years into this parenting gig, and I still don’t know how to tell whether my kids are getting sick.

Case in point: My kindergartner has been dragging in the mornings lately. At first I wondered if he was getting sick, but no symptoms appeared, so I figured he must be staying awake in his room after bedtime. Then this morning, he didn’t get up with his alarm. When I went to check on him, he said he was sick, with a cough and stomach ache. He seemed a little congested, so I made the call to keep him home, sighing quietly over missed errands and gym class.

One hour later, he was bright-eyed and and claiming to be completely healed. At 3:00, there is still no sign of any real illness. Is he coming down with a cold? Who knows. What I do know is that unless he’s running a fever, he’ll be going to school tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I had to wake Lina up a little after 7 a.m.: very unusual for my early riser, who is usually raring at 6:30. I found her sleeping on the floor. How long had she been there? Did she fall out of bed? Perhaps this toddler bed transition is not going as smoothly as we thought. On the up side, whatever she’s doing in there, she’s not waking us up.

As soon as I got her little Van Winkle self awake, she started sneezing, and she’s had a slightly runny nose and red, watery eyes the rest of the day. The report from school was good, but she has been clingier than usual. Is she getting a cold? My guess is yes, but who knows for sure?!

It’s still remarkable to me how often in parenting I’m just guessing. I’m a fan of following informed instincts, but sometimes, I really have no idea. I suppose I’m practicing “fake it ’till you make it” parenting: act like you know what you’re doing and hope you actually do. The problem is I may not know for sure for at least 10-15 more years, and by then, it’s too late for re-dos.

Which is why I pray, and sometimes have to ask my kids for forgiveness. It also helps to have a community of understanding moms to poll for ideas.

Speaking of which: Anyone have a surefire method for telling when your kid is actually getting sick?

Gentry’s Farm

Yesterday, I joined Corin’s kindergarten class at Gentry’s Farm for their first field trip of the year. The weather was a tad warm, but we had a great time. The school tours here are clearly the well-honed product of long experience: educational but hands-on and engaging, and moving at just the right pace. Now we just have to decide what to make with our pie pumpkins…








Corin and his friend from down the street share a kindergarten teacher…and a birthday!

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Thanks to Miss Davis for the picture!

Big girl bed

This is what bedtime looked like tonight:



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She’s been trying to climb out of her crib for weeks, and I have been steadfastly ignoring it in hopes we could get more mileage from the crib. But alas, today she fell while trying to climb out, and the jig was up. No more crib for our big girl. Daddy converted it to the toddler bed this afternoon. She took one look at the soft, cozy bed, climbed in, stuck her fingers in her mouth, and it’s been quiet ever since. I refuse to make predictions about the rest of the night, because we all know how that turns out, but so far, so good.

We’ll always have Rosemary Beach.

We’re home after a rather daunting nine-hour drive yesterday. We walked in the door to find the dog had peed somewhere in the den, exact location yet to be discovered. Welcome home, family.

This morning, we experienced that rarest of phenomena in which all four of us slept in. (The kids’ schools are still on fall break.) This was lovely until realizing over breakfast – thanks to the ding of my calendar reminder – that Lina had a Vanderbilt appointment at 10 a.m. We hustled and just made it. We stopped at the store to restock our bare shelves and returned home to piles of sandy laundry.

So, yes, vacation is over. On the up side, it’s the kind of clear, fall day in Tennessee that makes locals thank God we live here. I gave in to a few selections from the season’s ridiculous array of pumpkin products, and tonight we’ll have hot apple cider and a fire in the fireplace. This is my favorite season, after all.

And when I miss the beach, I have our photos to flip through…and the piles of sand still hiding in beach toys and the corners of suitcases.



Rosemary Beach, day 4

Today’s beach photos are actually from Camp Helen State Park, a 1 1/2-mile bike ride from our rental house in Rosemary Beach. The beach front is another .6-mile slog on foot through deep sand, but the end result was worth it: wide open beach with hardly another soul in sight. Today has been a little cooler and breezy, great for flying the kite, hunting for sea shells, and basking in the sun.

Tomorrow we head home. No one in this family wants to go. I was talking to Corin about this being our last day, and I reminded him the purpose of trips like this is the memories we take with us. It’s a reminder to me, too, as we finish out our last evening and prepare for the long drive back to our daily routine.

My dad used to sing a Gaither Vocal Band song: “We have this moment to hold in our hands and to touch as it slips through our fingers like sand.” I’m infinitely grateful for photos and memories and beautiful family relationships forged over so many moments like these.












Rosemary Beach, day 1

It has been four years since our family has been to the beach. Lina had never felt the sand and waves, and Corin has no memory of our last trip. Which is why when my mother-in-law suggested a trip to Rosemary Beach over fall break this year, we jumped at the chance. She chose a beautiful house to rent for five days, and here we are, soaking in every moment. The weather is perfect, the beach and town beautiful and the crowds sparse. The kids are having a blast, which means we are, too.

And yes, I am blogging on vacation, because if I don’t, I will end up bombarding you with hundreds of photos at once, which is just not good for anyone.


Early morning swim in the heated pool






The kids are a-okay with getting ferried around town in a bike trailer.



First touch of the Gulf waves:
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She wears that hat better than I do.





Checking out a live seashell






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Quite a view: 2 and Under at GiGi’s Playhouse

I brought my camera to the 2 and Under group at GiGi’s Playhouse today, so you know what that means: pictures of ridiculously cute kiddos.



Lina discovered there is a corner of GiGi’s full of books. The trick now will be to get her to play anywhere else.


This little guy just turned five months old and was fascinated with the ceiling fans. Reminded me of Corin when he was tiny, smiling at the ceiling fans long before he smiled for us!


This sweet girl has come such a long way since I first started coming to 2 and Under. I love getting to see her progress – look at that great sitting!



These kids are growing and overcoming obstacles. Every month, they show progress that comes from a lot of hard work and persistence, from them, and from their parents and therapists. I love getting to watch that progress. I look at them, and I see such bright futures. I see kids who will break down barriers, soften hearts and open minds, kids who will achieve things others said they couldn’t. I see kids who will live beautiful lives of meaning and purpose. Above all, I see kids who will continue to give and receive love and joy so deep that words fail to scratch the surface. It’s quite a view; I hope you see it, too.