Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I have a few minutes here before the rest of my day gets crazy. I'm leaving around 2. I need to take the boys to Penneys because I have a really good coupon and they need some summer clothes. I also need to go to Walmart and Hobby Lobby and Will announced that he needs to go to Best Buy. Then, Ben has his class at 4 and then the boys have to be softball by 6. Not looking forward to softball, at all! I think I'm going to freeze while there. Plus, Paul can't make it because he has another certification class for work. I don't think he gets paid for his time, either - just certified.

David has announced he wants to learn to mow the grass. I suppose he's old enough. Will has been pushing a power since he was 8. But as Will's old SS teacher used to say, "Will is exceptional." But I have instant visions of David losing his fingers. I mentioned to him the importance of keeping his hands and feet away from the bottom of the mower and he looked at me like I had just suggested he had plans to do that - a "Duh, Mom!" look. I told him I knew adult men who were walking around without all their digits because of that. The most important thing is that I don't have to do the mowing, though!

Ben burned his finger really bad last night on the mashed potatoes. I didn't know food could be so injurious! Paul said I dripped the potatoes (baked mashed potatoes, so they had just come out of the oven) on Ben. I don't exactly recall that, but I suppose it is possible. Several of his fingers are scalded, but his one finger is a huge blister now from his middle knuckle down. Poor kid. Fortunately, I still have lavender oil and some prescription cream from Sam's burn in January.

I'm starting to mentally formulate another "essay" post. I think it's going to be on why I'm not fun anymore. My 20 year high school reunion is coming up in June and we have all been asked to submit photos of then and now for a slide show. So yesterday I went out to the shed and dug out my senior year scrapbook. I was struck by several things as I looked through the book - 1) I used to look pretty good! 2) I think I was convinced that life couldn't get better than my senior year and that I would want to read and re-read and then read again all my silly little memories from that year - I haven't ever, by the way - and 3) I was all about having fun then. All these pictures of me in there show me laughing and goofing around with my friends. I think I was a pretty lighthearted girl back then. A few months ago Paul commented, too, that I used to "be a lot more fun." So, that's got me kind of thinking as to what has changed and is it necessarily a bad thing? This post may be awhile coming because I'm going to have to be introspective and actually find some time to think!

Well, I might get back here Friday, if I am lucky. Tomorrow is a busy day, being Wednesday. Plus, I am taking Will to the dr. He has a spider bite that is having a strange, strange reaction and I figured with all the talk of MRSA, I should have it looked at. Thursday all 4 boys go to the dentist, I have to run down to Knoxville to get our vehicles renewed and our new one licensed, then go back to town for Ben's class.

Oh, I found out yesterday that Will is not going to be able to get his school permit like I had planned for football season. He has to have driver's ed first and I can't find any area schools that are offering it during a time that he will be home. With camp and his mission trip, June and July are not totally free for him and that's when the area schools seem to be offering it. I really didn't want to spend the $325 anyway this year for him to take it. But this means that Ben will probably have to take a hiatus from his classes in the fall so that I can be available to take and pick up Will from practice. The price is shooting up to $400 next year, I have been told, so it would have been better for him to take it this year, but oh well! I did notice that some of the schools offered it in the spring so next year I'll look earlier and see if we can get into one of those slots.

I am wondering as I write all this how families with many, many children manage everything. Most days I feel like I am going crazy, trying to coordinate the schedules of the boys. It will be so much easier once they are grown and I just have Sam!

Gotta scoot and make lunch for the hordes...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Worst Mother in the World

That's me - officially known now as the Worst Mother in the World, possibly the entire Universe.

I blew it last night. All 3 of the boys are going to camp this summer up at Clear Lake. I'll be blogging more about that later, I am sure. But camp is over $200 per child. To help off-set the cost, our church offers a "Camp Coins" program where the campers can earn half their way paid by doing different projects - Scripture memorization, service projects, writing to missionaries, reading missionary biographies, etc. This is the first year that Ben and David are going. Will has gone every year since we moved out here and since he's a first born and very easy and dedicated, he has always taken care of his Camp Coins requirements himself and it's been no big deal. But with Ben and David their Camp Coins projects are MY Camp Coins projects! Right now I am helping them memorize their required Scripture from Philippians 2. They have to say the verses, two at a time, to a SS teacher or a deacon or somebody like that. So my desire is to have them quoting verses every Sun. morning to their teachers. I have made the effort to make sure they know their verses and that we get up early enough for them to get to SS early to catch their teachers in order to say the verses.

Ben and David aren't the greatest of readers. I mean, they can read the verses, but they have no clue how to teach themselves to memorize them. So I have been working with them. We memorize them, phrase by phrase, over a week's period of time. It got to be Sat. evening and Ben was just not getting this week's portion. I found myself getting so frustrated with him. We had been going over and over and over this for days and he couldn't remember them. I used hand gestures as hints and he would say silly things like "your chest" when I would bang on my chest (he was supposed to remember that for the word "himself")! If we didn't get verses 3 & 4 said the next morning then the next week we would have to say verses 3-6 and that would be an awful lot to remember.

What kind of mother yells at her learning disabled son for not being able to memorize Bible verses? The Worst Mother in the World. Yep, I did. I accused him of not trying and told him to forget about going to camp. He didn't seem to mind - just wandered off into the other room. David tearfully came to me, though, and said, "Mom! I was looking forward to spending some time at camp with Ben and I don't want to go alone!" So I had to mutter to him, "You're not going alone - I'm just trying to scare Ben." Brilliant strategy on my part, let me tell you... Ben didn't even care! Sending him to camp has been my idea, not his. I think it's a good idea and that's why he's going, but if the decision were left to Ben, I really think he'd be content to stay home and play video games rather than go. In fact, when I announced to him that we had cleared it with the camp to send along Will as his "helper" and because of that he would be attending camp for the first time in June, Ben looked at me and asked, "Do I want to go to camp?"

As it turned out, Paul quietly went outside, brought in a white board and wrote out the verse for the boys. Then he helped them with them and they were both able to recite it to their teachers today. As I was tucking David in last night (Ben was already long asleep) David told me, "Mom, I didn't like how you yelled at Ben." I sighed and told him yes, I knew I shouldn't have done that and I would apologize to Ben in the morning. And I did, as soon as he woke up. I don't know if Ben even remembered what I was talking about, though. However, in the middle of church, he leaned over towards me and said, "I forgive you for yelling at me." That was sweet! All was right in our family again! Then he added, "Besides, I don't care when you yell at me. I only care when Dad does." Great! So not only am I the World's Worst Mom, I am also a pretty ineffective one!

When we got home from church David erased the white board and wrote out verses 5 & 6 for this week's memorization. I really need to teach that child about putting spaces between words. But anyway, as we were eating lunch David reported to Ben that this week's verses were short and so, "you won't have to worry about Mom yelling at you for not learning them!" Paul gave me that look, that grin that says, "They got you!"

Sometimes I wish my boys were more like adults who only tell me what I want to hear. But their very spirits seem to consist of a giant magnifying glass that shows up all my faults, magnified so greatly that I can't help but see them and be ashamed of them. They really do deserve better that the Worst Mother in the World.

Friday, April 24, 2009

First Game of the Season

My boys started softball again this past week. Actually, they "started" a couple of weeks ago when practices began, but their first official game was Tuesday night. This is with a homeschool league - low pressure, not so competitive, cheap - something good. I should have a picture with this post of all 3 boys in their t-shirts and "Homeschool Softball" ball caps. But I didn't take one.

The reason I didn't take one was because I was miserable Tuesday and couldn't wait for the whole thing to be over! Maybe I'll get one next week. Oh, it was just awful. We always start the season freezing at the first game or two and dying of heatstroke by the last one - which is always a doubleheader, in the hottest part of the day. Then, we eat a potluck lunch, which I always eye somewhat suspiciously, thoughts of salmonella poisoning crowding to the front of my mind... Tuesday we had terrible wind and so I froze. Have I mentioned that I am a world class weather weanie? I am. If it's not a perfect, balmy 72 degrees out, then I don't want to be out.

When I was pregnant with Sam two years ago I remember wondering how I would do these ballgames with an infant in tow. Well, it actually was no problem. Last year at ball season, Sam was only 6-7 months old. He couldn't go anywhere! He either slept in his stroller or laid on a blanket. It was great! I should have wondered how I would do ball season with a toddler. Oh my goodness - what a trial that kid was Tuesday night! I recently downsized my stroller because my old one doesn't fit in our new van as well. And I don't need all that stroller space anymore. Well, this new stroller has smaller wheels, which made pushing it over grass quite difficult. I really need a jogging stroller, but I'm not going to buy one when I will only get use for it for one child. So anyway, I had to contend with the stroller with little wheels. Then, it turned out that Sam had no intention of sitting in his stroller anyway. Not even when I was pushing him! He kept standing up and turning around. When I complained later to Paul about this he said, "Well, why didn't you strap him down?" Hmm, let's see...Oh yes, wel-l-l, when I was in Walmart earlier that same day I used the strap for the first time and caught my left middle finger in the latch. By the time I got it unlatched, I had sacrificed a huge chunk of my finger. Of course, I had no bandaids, so I bled all over the one used tissue I found in my purse. I should have purchased more bandaids while at Walmart but I was in a hurry and was under the mistaken assumption that my finger would heal quickly. It didn't and I bumped again and again all night long. At one point, while pushing Sam across the field, imploring him to please sit down, he gleefully grabbed my open can of pop from the back of the stroller and dumped it all over himself.

We finally got to where Ben and David were playing, got all settled, and I realized that we were sitting on the side with the opposing team. I stayed put, anyway. Soon, Sam was helping himself to others' bats and balls, and attempting to run out onto the field. All this was while the cold north wind was buffeting our bodies and whistling straight into my ears. I lasted until the middle of Will's game. I asked him if he would be terribly offended if I went and sat in the van and he was agreeable, as I knew he would be. Thank God for easy children! So, I issued Ben the usual threats about his behavior and headed off to the van, which was parked miles away. Well, seemingly so, anyway. Pushing a stroller with itty bitty wheels and a standing toddler, while balancing a folding chair (folding as in collapsible, like for camping, not folding as in church basement type), and attempting to keep said toddler from grabbing the rest of my pop made the trek seem very, very long.

We made it eventually and I spent the rest of the time trying to keep Sam from breaking the gear shift knob and turning on the van lights and wipers. He has a real obsession about driving that I don't remember with the other boys. He always wants to get into the van, even when it's parked at home and just sit behind the wheel. Anytime we don't immediately pop him into his car seat, he clamors for the driver's seat and is as happy as a clam pretending to drive. The other boys showed up when Will's game was over (they lost, same as Ben and David) and we finally went home.

Today I bought Sam a foam bat and ball, thinking maybe he'll be less likely to grab the metal ones at the games if he has his own. He was pretty excited by that and ripped them out of the Walmart bag when he saw them. I could bring the playpen, but that would be something more to carry and then we'd be subjected to his hollering as he would request to be let out. Maybe next year it will be easier! I don't know how some of these homeschooling softball families do it, those that have babies every year and have multitudes of little ones on the sidelines - they must be much better parents than I am!

All right - whining time is over. This is about the boys and their needs and desires. I will endure. But for the next 8 Tuesday nights, as you are happily ensconced in your homes, eating your hot suppers, and watching tv, think of me, alone on the sidelines, chasing a toddler, telling Ben to "sit down!", consoling and assuring David that he is not the worst softball player in the history of softball, and maybe even going a bit crazy when Will hits one way out of the field - you might say a little prayer on my behalf!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Picture Time

Yesterday Sam turned 18 months old, so Tuesday, I took him for his picture. I'm good about pictures because it's my "thing." No matter what, I always take the boys in for their 6 month, 12 month, 18 month pictures, and then for every birthday thereafter. I love getting the new pictures up in the frames on the wall. That said, these pictures of Sam are still sitting in their cardboard envelope on the back room buffet. It's been a busy week!

Doesn't Sam look slightly angelic? I went with this shot because of his sweet smile, even though it's one I don't see that often. He's kind of a sober baby and I don't get that many pictures of him smiling - even candid shots. When he does smile it's more of a grimace, with his teeth bared. Lately, he's been thrusting out his lower jaw when he smiles, which cracks me up. He looks like the grandpa on Beverly Hillbillies! It dawned on me as I drove home Tuesday that this was almost the same smile he gave us for his 12 month shot last October. Oh well - I like it!

Like last time, it took some work to get him to smile pleasantly while sitting still. But I don't think we had that great of a photographer either. She seemed to be in a hurry. And when I informed her that, like normal, I would only be purchasing my $9.99 package, she seemed a bit put out with me. But I would say she's definitely the exception. I have always been pleased with the service out there (Portrait Innovations out at Jordan Creek).

I always look forward to getting the boys' pictures done, whether it's their baby shots or their 8th or 12th birthday. I hate to have to reschedule. I remember once, literally walking out the door, to take Will in for his 12 month shot, and he tripped and fell face first into our little tv that was sitting out in the middle of the living room floor. He put a hole in his forehead and I had to reschedule. Actually, I should have waited longer. If you look at that picture you can see a faint bruise on his forehead! So, last weekend I was concerned lest Sam would fall and smack up his face prior to Tuesday's appt. But he didn't and we went. I kid you not - moments after we got done with his shoot, he ran smack dab into a counter top and cracked his nose. It's still swollen! And then today we were outside and he tumbled head first into the iron basketball post. Now he has a goose egg on his forehead. Yesterday he fell off the back stoop and ended up wedged behind the air conditioner unit. But he just scraped his back that time. Poor kid!

Well, the subject of my discussion has just awakened from a short nap and sounds pretty grumpy. I think my computer time is done!Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

If You Give a Mouse a Dishwasher

All right - it doesn't have the right ring to it - probably why they never used that one for a title for the series. But, I have a mouse stuck in my dishwasher as I write. Earlier today I opened the dishwasher to stick something in and there was a mouse scurrying around the bottom of the dishwasher! I shrieked and slammed the door shut. I honestly don't have a problem with mice - I think they are kind of cute, actually. But I was just surprised to find one inside one of my appliances. Generally, they're in the silverware drawer. Well, they used to be. Now that we replaced our cupboards, they can't get in there anymore - thankfully. It was a pain having to wash utensils before using them. And I would always hesitate to let guests open the drawer when they were trying to be helpful, lest they find mouse droppings amongst the knives and spoons. That's pretty disgusting. That's what you get when you live in an old, old house out in the country.

So anyway, I went outside and pulled Will out of his driveway basketball game and said "There's a mouse in my dishwasher!" His response, "There is? What should I do?" What do you mean, 'what should I do'? You're male! Males are supposed to automatically know what to do in any crisis, from non-working refrigerator lights, cars that suddenly die on the highway, and rodents in major appliances. He came in, peered in the dishwasher and declared, "I don't see a mouse!" So we shut the door and I forgot about it. And then we got home from church tonight and Paul opened the dishwasher door and saw our new pet. I suddenly remembered what else there was that I had meant to tell him about my day!

We don't know how to get him out! Paul tried running water through there, hoping to flush him out and he didn't flush. He apparently got in and out through the hole where the water comes into the dishwasher. He has chewed up the plastic cover on that. I have a dreadful feeling that Paul is going to have to completely take out the dishwasher which is going to mean a big mess - kind of like when our upstairs toilet began slowly leaking last December. I still don't have a kitchen ceiling.

In the meantime Paul also discovered that we have no hot water. Ok, mice I can live with, but no bath tonight? I won't be able to sleep! He went downstairs and discovered that our thermocoupler is bad. I have no idea what a thermocoupler is, but it sounds serious. Fortunately, Paul has a truckful of them and can replace it tonight. I'm not so sure I'll get my bath, though. Although, we have a brand new water heater as of last week so maybe it can heat fast.

Poor Paul. He planned to come home from church tonight, eat some dessert, and get to bed at a decent time. Instead, he is dealing with surfboarding mice and errant water heaters. He's had a rough week. He auditioned to sing the national anthem for the Iowa Cubs and found out this week he wasn't chosen. He submitted a bid to re-shingle the garage at our city park and was underbid by someone else (how this guy plans to do the job for only $1046 remains to be seen, but hey, more power to him if he can do it!), so he was kind of bummed about that. Oh, and last night we were both set to go to the Checkerboard after I finally got done with our special council meeting. We got down there and discovered they were closed! So he didn't even get his pork loin and onion rings! Some weeks are like that.

It occurred to me that I have been writing far too much about Ben lately. Reading through my recent posts I sound like a woman obsessed with my child. I can't stand those kind of women. They are children, for goodness' sakes- not your entire life! Or they shouldn't be, anyway. So I'm going to give that subject a break for a little bit unless he does something major like breaks a body part or gets arrested. He is feeling much better, though. The skin under his nose is broken and raw from all the wiping but the nose finally did quit running. He took down all his blankets and last night I gave him one of my eye masks to wear to bed since he likes it totally dark to sleep. I asked him how that worked and he said it was hard to keep the mask on. So today we stopped by Target and found a deluxe sleeping mask - with padding and an adjustable velcro band. Oh, they are nice! I had to get one for me, too! Hopefully, this will eliminate his desire for the blanket cave he has been sleeping in all winter.

Well, I'd like to say I'm off to take a bath, but I'm thinking my chances for that are pretty slim tonight. Guess I'll put on my pjs and eat chocolate instead.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Ok, I admit it - this post is about absolutely nothing at all and I am only writing it in an effort to put off doing real work - like cleaning my house. And I think I have Paul convinced that he and I need another date night (well, it has been 4 days since we were last out alone!) so I may be able to put off cleaning even longer.

Ben has had a non-stop runny nose since early yesterday. I figured he got his cold again - the one that keeps returning every 10 days or so. But it just occurred to me today that this could be allergies - duh! The kid is allergic to everything on the planet and he doesn't seem sick. But he is totally raw under his nose from wiping. So I took him to Urgent Care today. Last Sept. when I had the worst allergy attack of my life they gave me a prednisone shot that dried me up really fast. Well, they didn't want to do that for Ben because they were afraid it might interfere with his allergy shots (??). Actually, I walked in and told them I thought it was allergies. These people are totally susceptible to whatever I say, I have noticed. If I had gone in and said I thought he had a cold, we probably would have walked out with an antibiotic prescription. But since I told them it was allergies, he got a script for Allegra instead. I really don't think it is going to help. I have been giving him adult strength allergy meds for the past day and nothing is stopping this. Tomorrow he has his allergy shots and if he is still running then I will talk to his dr. about giving him a shot. Poor kid - I know exactly how he feels. It's just miserable! Last night he woke me up around 2am, asking for another pill and I noticed he spent rest of the night sitting up on the couch, trying to sleep upright so he could breathe.

In realizing that this is probably allergies I decided we probably should replace his mattress. We have had it since we got the bed, a decade ago, when I was pregnant with David. Both boys could use a new mattress. One of Ben's highest allergens is dust mites and they thrive and then die in mattresses. In the meantime, I think I'll buy an allergen cover for his mattress and pillow. I wonder, too... all fall and winter long he has insisted on stringing up blankets around his bed. He has the bottom of the bunks and so he can poke the blankets through the metal bars and make them hang up. He said it makes him feel cozy. But having all those blankets in his face all night - maybe that's causing him to have these allergy problems?

I'm watching Sam right now - he's such a little man! If he doesn't have a ball in his hand, he has one of Paul's tools (usually a hammer). Or he's climbing on something, or getting into food, usually hollering the whole time. Did I mention that he got ahold of a can of black spray paint? Yep. Now the bottom of the nice boards that Paul finished and hung for the doorway into the kitchen is black, as is the linoleum there - looks like we had a fire. No fire - just Sam! It's hard to believe that two years ago at this time he was no bigger than a jelly bean. I remember those days - curled up in a fetal position on my bed, hoping to die shortly. I'm so glad I'll never have to go through that again! Right now he is upset because he just knocked off my door decoration and I'm not immediately jumping up to fix it. Oh, and now he's running an comb up and down the wall. Now he's whipping Will's belt around the floor. I'm too old for this!

Yesterday I had a Kirby salesman come in. I am way too nice of a person. I didn't know their presentation would take 3 hours! When Will was a baby I let one come in, too. I had forgotten that until yesterday. Of course, on the plus side I now have a (presumably) clean living room carpet. It was kind of neat, though. About an hour into his presentation we figured out that I knew who his parents are - they're in my homeschool group. We didn't buy the vacuum as I am perfectly content with the one I have, despite it's inferior quality (according to the salesman). But you know, lately I have started praying for God to help me view daily interruptions as His plan for my day and opportunities for me to be able to minister to others. So, that's how I viewed this yesterday. Of course, I probably would have been a much bigger blessing if I had bought the vacuum!

All right - Sam now has the woodburner brush and is beating a tub lid to death it. He knows he isn't supposed to play with that. But he also knows I am on the computer! :( Better go be a good mom...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Update on Yesterday

I took Ben in for his class and when I got there, the director informed Ben that today he would be going down the hall with another group. That meant I couldn't listen through the door! So, I called the gal over and said, "We need to talk." And I was really honest with her. She said that Tues. had been a hectic day and she felt bad. It turns out the feelings bingo is just one game they play. But from what she explained, it does sound like this place is what I was wanting for Ben - they do teach the social skills. And the reason I couldn't go in with Ben wasn't because they were trying to keep me from hearing what was being taught or what Ben had to say. But some of the kids are in situations where there is a non-custodial parent or they are out of their homes entirely. Because courts have gotten involved, there are a lot of privacy issues. I can accept that.

So Ben finger painted yesterday. I know, I know - that's a stereotypical mental retardation activity. But I heard peals and peals of laughter coming from that room and it was Ben laughing. That made me feel good. And I had more of a chance to observe the kids and they weren't all so doped up looking this time. So, we'll keep with this for awhile, at least.

Then I went to the City Council mtg last night and found out our clerk is resigning to take care of her ailing father. It was suggested that I add my application to the two that have already come in for her job. 3 1/2 years ago she had decided to resign and I was told that if I wanted the job, it was mine. But then, the clerk decided to stay at her position. So, I ended up getting on the city council instead. I have had a chance to observe Teri (the clerk) and all she does and I'm not so sure I want the job. It's a lot of work! I think I could do it, but...

My first thought last night was "Yay! Now I can be Clerk and earn more money!" But then the more I sat there and thought about it the more I knew I couldn't. A few weeks ago I got to the point where I was so tired. I couldn't think, I couldn't move, I couldn't even sleep. I made plans to take a Sunday off and stay home and regroup and then Sam got sick and I had to stay home anyway! Then Ben got sick and I missed another Sunday! Anyway, I have just really felt the need to slow down in some way. I remember how difficult it was when I worked pt at the bank in Carlisle. I loved what I did, but it made home life more hectic. And I only had 3 children then. This is a season in life and I need to be here. In many ways, the clerking job would be ideal because I would not be commuting and it is very part time. But I don't know where I would squeeze even something part time in. I have a to do list right now that I can't get through. Next year I will have a high schooler and I have a feeling that is going to take a little more time on my end with preparation and grading in order to be getting a transcript ready for him. The thing is, mothering and homeschooling is a season in life for me right now. Someday, I will be past these days. Even though I will be doing this for awhile longer with Sam, it's going to be different once the other boys are up and out because it will just be one child. I'll have more time then.

So, I told the council members that I would run the idea by Paul but I really doubted I would be turning in an application because of my time and family commitments. When I got home I told Paul all this, but to my disappointment he didn't immediately agree with me that it was the best decision to not pursue it. He did say he understood, though. But, he had just come home from a meeting/training time for his work. He had gotten another earful on the increased govt. regulation for the heating and air industry and it was discouraging to him. All this required licensing and training just drives up the costs for both the employer and the customer. It never used to be this way and things were fine. So, Paul was thinking that yes, it would be nice to have that extra income to kind of help with our debt load and to make it so we're not so dependent on him and his sometimes unreliable hours. But this is the way it has to be. I can't do it all. The boys and I are reading about George Muller right now and the way God continually met his needs and those of his orphans. If God could do that, I know He can provide for us.

So next Thurs. we will be having a special city council meeting (for which I will be paid!) to interview the two candidates we have for the job. That will be fun, I think. I have never been in a position before to interview anyone for employment.

Well, today I need to run to town to get the boys Easter things and candy. It's so hard to come up with smaller inexpensive things for them when what they want are great big, expensive, video games! But I'm not doing that. Oh, and I need to buy eggs to dye! I just remembered that. And I have a chiropractor appt, too. Then tonight is our date. That reminds me - I need to measure the windows. Paul and Ben went to the foot dr. first thing this morning for their plantar warts. They should be back soon. I hope Paul gets some hours in this afternoon. Off to start my day!

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Kind of a gray, spring-y day here. I have Will and David outside bringing in the laundry. The two of them sure have an excess of energy today. I don't think there is anything worse than a hyper junior high age boy - all brawn and no discernment.

I took Ben to his first social skills class Tuesday. I just don't know what to do. He is supposed to go every Tues. and Thurs. but when I think of taking him back today I just feel sick to my stomach. Nothing went wrong as far as I know. But, to be honest, I was a little turned off by how eager they seemed to be to get Ben enrolled in this class. I'd actually be more comfortable if we had been put on a waiting list, which would indicate to me that they offered such a superior service they could not accomodate all who wanted to use it. Within two weeks of contacting them, Ben had his first class. I want a place where Ben can learn the give and take of normal social interaction, which is what I thought this place was going to be offering. When I took him Tues. I told them I would be staying with Ben and they wouldn't allow it. They said I could sit out in the waiting room, so I did. I could just kick myself now for allowing myself to be bullied by a couple of women, whom I am sure have not even had their 25th birthdays yet. I am assuming that I was not allowed in the room for "privacy" reasons - maybe not so much because of Ben, but the other kids.

What I saw were a number of kids - about a half a dozen or so that appear to be pretty mentally retarded or else doped up on prescription drugs. I don't like that because I know Ben is mentally above where they seemed to be. But maybe I don't see him as he truly is, too. I sat out in the waiting room and listened to the leader's voice the whole time. Fortunately, she has a pretty strident voice and I could hear most everything. "Feelings" seem to be the emphasis, at least on Tuesday. One thing that caught my attention was the leader reminding the kids that what is discussed in that room doesn't leave the room. As Ben's mom, that bothers me. I want to know what my son is saying and learning in there. Then, I discovered laying on the van floor yesterday a paper that Ben brought home and it was "Feelings Bingo." It was a bingo grid with all kinds of different feelings in each square. I'm sorry, but I am not driving 2+ hours a week for Ben to go talk about his feelings.

I understand that kids like Ben can have difficulty expressing their feelings and can get frustrated easily because of that. I assume that is what is being addressed here - helping the child identify and then properly manage whatever feeling they are having. There is some validity to teaching those kind of skills. But I would like to think that is something I could teach him and I would prefer it to come from me anyway.

So, I'm going to go back today and sit out in the waiting room again. If I don't like what I hear today I guess I'll need to talk with the leader of this group and just ask her what the objective of this class is. Perhaps Tuesday was "feeling" day and today they'll concentrate more on the give and take of normal social interaction, which is what I was hoping Ben would be learning there.

Maybe I need to give it a fair amount of time. This place was recommended to me by Dr. Kavalier's office and I really do like that place. I have always been pretty "velcroed" to Ben and I know I have to start letting go as he gets into his teens. I'm sure I must have frustrated more than one professional who has tried to work with him because of my insistence on knowing what is going on and everything else they are doing to and with my son. To me, that's good parenting, but probably an irritation to them. I'm not that way so much with the other boys - I don't worry about them like I do Ben. Or maybe I just need to cut this down to one day a week instead of two. Or maybe, as I was advised by an older friend at church last night, I need to trust my instincts and just get him out of this place. Pray for wisdom for me.

Well, tonight's a city council meeting. Paul and I were supposed to go on our date but he found out today he has some class he has to take for work, which may last all night. So we're going to go tomorrow night instead. Menards had their blinds on sale so we're going to spend yet another date night walking the aisles of Menards! Actually, I'll have to custom order these because the windows are odd sizes. I don't want just plastic mini-blinds, but the more "fabric" type ones. I need one set of vertical ones and then I'm going to go with the horizontal ones for the other windows - I don't know what they are called, but the slats aren't separated. They're all connected and just pleated every inch or so. I wouldn't worry about it but these are for the backroom and our computer and banking information is all out here and I think maybe some privacy would be a good idea. There is one area at the end of Orchard St. that bothers me - a "lower class" of people seem to inhabit that end and I would just feel a little more safe having things covered up when we're out of town and at night.

Well, David is sulking and Sam is squawking for some lunch, so I am needed. I should get supper going early, as well.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Oh, About the Van...

Something funny I meant to include in my last post...So, today is my first day of driving the van. I'm mentally training myself to look for silver instead of green when I come out of stores. So, Will and I are walking out of Walmart together and I opened the door of my new van and hopped inside. My first thought was, "Boy, I sure didn't smell cigarette smoke in here before!" As that thought went through my mind, I hear Will screeching, "Mom, that isn't our van!" Whoops! Fortunately, nobody else was in that van - I hope. Will kept saying, "I don't you, I don't know you..."

Then, my next stop was Hy-Vee. I got a few things and started pushing the cart out of the store. The next thing I hear is, "Ma'am, ma'am! You forgot your groceries!" Durned if I didn't forget the whole lot of them (doesn't that sound country? That just popped into my head. I'm reading a new book series and they talk like that in there). Good grief! I can't even blame it on heavy thinking - I don't remember what I was thinking about afternoon, but it was nothing big, I know that. Well, as Miss. Butterfield, one of my junior high teachers, used to tell me, "Girl, you'd lose your head if it wasn't screwed on!" Good thing I got those screws, because apparently, there are a few loose ones rattling up above!

Our New Ride

Friday night I thought to check our bank account on-line to see if our income tax refund had been deposited yet. It's a good thing I did because Saturday afternoon we bought a new van! We'd been kind of thinking this year ought to be one in which we replaced our Lumina because we are over 200,000 miles on that. Paul was at the junkyard last week, looking for some part for it, and happened to think to check the odometers of other wrecked Luminas - sure enough, they all had fewer than 250,000 miles on it. So, while the van still works great, it's just a matter of time before it didn't. I had really hoped to get an SUV. But we didn't and I'm ok with it. A week ago Sat. we were at the Dairy Shoppe (I think it's called that - "Dairy" something or other, anyway) in Pleasantville. Tacked to the community bulletin board was an advertisement for this van. Paul ripped off the number and showed it to me. I wasn't all that interested because I was still thinking "SUV" and I didn't know yet how serious he was about looking for something new. Honestly, I have gone vehicle shopping with this man a number of times and it is not a pleasant experience. I'd just soon go to a new dealership, pick the color and model I liked, sign all my future paychecks away, and ride off into the sunset. Not Paul. He refuses to buy anything brand new, which is probably wise. He also has to make sure he is getting the best bargain and deal out there. This applies to anything he buys, actually, whether it be can openers or cars.

So anyway, this past Sat. morning, Paul comments to me, "You know, I think that van we saw advertised may be a really good deal." He started showing me a local classified paper and sure enough, similar vans and SUVs in mileage and year were all fetching quite a bit of money. We'd have to get a loan, which we had thought maybe we would anyway - not that I was all that sure on how we'd make the payments! So, long story short, we bought the thing. It turned out that it was actually just down the highway from our house. A couple about our age owned it. They are the ones that had a 4' high Obama sign up all last fall...I also had to peel off a "Veterans for Obama" bumper sticker off the back window!

So, we have a new van! It's an '02 Chevrolet Venture LT, just a little over 100,000 miles on it. We bought our last one at 147,000 and it lasted 4 1/2 years. So, accidents aside, I think we'll get at least 5 yrs out of this one. Then, I'll get my SUV!

I got to mentally cataloging all our minivans that we have owned. We bought our first in '98, when I was newly pregnant with David, but didn't know it yet. Paul wrecked the engine in that 3 months later when he drove it without oil. Then, we had this burgundy/wood panelled one. For the life of me, I cannot recall why we got rid of that thing a few years later. When we did we bought this white Dodge. It was the purchase of that van that pushed me back into the workforce ( I didn't mind because it was a fabulous job and got me out of the house a few nights a week). Then, I wrecked that in '04. We replaced it with my bright red Lumina that I absolutely adored. But I totalled that 6 months later (2004 was a rough driving year for me - there was also a fender bender in between those two accidents!) and that's when we got the green Lumina. Paul also bought a '91 Caravan somewhere in there for his use - we still have that. We had planned to sell it last summer, but never got around to it. Now I'm wondering if we should just hang onto it for Will, who will be 16 in another year and half. Paul said he might object to driving a mini van, though. Could be.

Anyway, it's a nice van and it has all these fancy gizmos that we're not used to. And we don't have a car payment, which is the best news of all!

Off to take my bath. I am one exhausted puppy today. I got up bright and early, before anyone else, cleaned up my house, got my grocery list ready, called my ins. company and got the van insured, and then went shopping with all 4 boys. Sam sure had an overactive bladder today - soaked two pairs of jeans while we were out and about! But maybe I can sweet talk Paul or Will into getting Sam down for the night so I can get to bed early - hope so!Posted by Picasa

Thursday, April 2, 2009

David's Kids

This morning I was putting away laundry in my bedroom and David (9 1/2) came in, plopped himself down on the bed, and said, "Well, Mom, I have decided that I'm going to have 3 kids." I said, "Oh really?" He said, "Yes. I'm having 2 boys and 1 girl. Their names are going to be Sally, Victor, and Bill." I knew about the "Sally" because David has been telling me for years he'd like to have a daughter named Sally someday. But "Victor" and "Bill" were news to me. I can see myself the grandmother of a little Vic and maybe a little Bill (although I like "Will" so much better!). Then David allowed that he'd have to find a wife that agreed with his name choices. He then went on to say that he didn't understand people who got to be really pregnant and still couldn't think of a name for their unborn baby. I'm with him there - I had my kids named before they were even conceived. But I had to smother laughter throughout this exchange. David is certainly a rare breed!Posted by Picasa