How many of these am I supposed to have? And I thought last week was rough. But don't worry. I'm not going to spend the whole post whining - just part of it.
Oh, before I forget. I switched blog formats last week and I kind of like this new one. But I don't like the way it is highlighting some of my words, making them links to other things. They're green and hard to read on the greenish background. Does anyone know how to get rid of that?
Ok, back to my life: First, I have to explain the picture. This was one of the really, really good parts of my week. Sara came down yesterday, handed me this (heavy) board and said, "Happy Birthday!" My birthday was 3 months ago and at the time she said she was "working" on my present. I put it out of my mind. So she hands me this board and you can see how she put the cute "boy" phrase on there with letters she got at an Uppercase Living party. Well, I started reading the quotes she had printed on the sides and as I read oh, probably the fourth one, I exclaimed, "Hey, I wrote that!" Sara laughed and said, "Sarah, you wrote all of them!" She explained that she had taken the blog post I wrote in Feb. about what it's like raising boys and had lifted things I wrote and put them on the board. I was SO touched. That has to be one of the most special and thoughtful gifts I have ever received. Now I have to find a place to hang it. Sara also was really encouraging about my writing, urging me to try to get myself published. I told her I don't know how. Until I started this blog, I had very little in my files. And even with this blog, most of my writing has just been more diary type entries with only a few essay posts. By the way, I do have a list of those I want to tackle on here - just haven't gotten to it. But when I think of something that would be good to write about, I have started writing it down in my "brain" book (a notebook I carry around in my purse). I think what I really need to do is get to a writer's conference. I just don't know how much to push right now. I don't think I'm exceptionally talented and the writing field is pretty crowded. But I'd like to try. But I also have a family to raise. I'm not convinced now is really the time to really be pushing this. But when? When I'm 75 and almost dead?
However, last night while reading my Good Housekeeping in the bathtub, I saw that they are sponsoring a short story contest. Now my chances of winning are nil because I have not written fiction since high school or maybe even before. I tend to be more of a "lecturer" when I write - probably because I'm a firstborn, as well as a wife and a mom. I'm good at bossing people! But, I think it would be good practice for me to write something and enter. I have three months to do it.
All right: My not so good week: Monday morning I packed all 3 boys off to camp, with a knot the size of Texas in my gut. I was only concerned about Ben. We were pretty convinced he was ready for a week of camp, but still, when presented with the reality of the situation, the doubts crept in. With good reason, apparently! David refused to hug me goodbye, which surprised me. But, all his friends were there and I'm sure he wanted to appear tough. I have been through that with Will, so I wasn't hurt. Much. I went on to Walmart. As I'm walking in the door, Sam threw up all over me. Specifically, he threw up all over my right breast. I cleaned him up and he was fine after that but I had a vomit stain on my right breast all day while I shopped. Then, on the way home from shopping, I wet my pants. Apparently my bladder ain't what she used to be pre-kids! I was just thankful I wasn't with anybody who could talk! Good grief - is this what I have to look forward to for the rest of my life? So I had to strip down and shower, bring in all the groceries, get the mail - and to my horror, discovered an overdraft notice from our bank. Since I took over our finances 16 months ago, I have been so proud of my financial acumen and the fact that we have never bounced a check. I still don't know what happened. I went in later in the week and talked with a banker and I can't figure out how I was $158 off in my figuring. I told Paul and he acted like it was no big deal (well, that might have been because it was 4 in the morning when I happened to mention it) but I was devastated! Fortunately, we had enough in savings to cover the offage and overdraft fees, but that account took a big hit this week with camp fees, the van deductible, and now this.
Ok, well Monday evening my friend Melissa and I got together for the first time. While I was waiting for her to arrive I got my first phone call from Ben, using his counselor's cell phone. He was hysterical. I couldn't even understand him. Apparently, he was overly tired and homesick within 9 hours of saying good-bye. I was afraid of this. When Ben gets tired he will wail uncontrollably. And then he'll cry even harder because he can't stop crying. At home we just force him into bed and don't allow him to talk any more because it becomes this cycle and all he needs is sleep. We warned his counselor about this, but were hopeful that with Will there and the excitement of camp, it would be ok. So, I talked with the counselor and with Will. Later, as Melissa and I were eating, I got two more calls so I had Will call Paul so then Paul got to deal with Ben instead of me.
Melissa and I had a great time. I have only known her at church and so this was wonderful - girl time away from church and with just the two of us. Our 14 year olds are very good friends too, so it's perfect! We're going to do this again.
7am the next morning Ben's counselor calls Paul. Ben didn't get much sleep the night before and was still a mess, just going bananas. So we decided that I would drive up there and collect him. I had plans to go to the zoo with my brother and his family, but so much for that! So in the pouring rain I had to drive Paul's '91 Voyager (because my van was still in the shop getting repaired from its encounter with Bambi last week) 2+ hours up to Clear Lake. Fortunately, Sam is a great little traveller. All my babies have been, actually. So, I signed Will and Ben out. They wanted to see some ID when I did that. I thought about saying, "Do you really think I'd volunteer to take this kid if he wasn't mine?!" but I didn't.
Ben feels terrible that he had to come home. He's embarrassed. And my feelings have been all over the place, too. I'm SO disappointed he didn't make it. And part of me feels like he didn't try very hard. But then I think maybe we pushed him too hard so then I get mad at myself. But then I get mad at him. And then I get mad at myself for being mad at my poor little boy. Paul's kind of upset at himself too. Our fear is that this will always be a big "F" for "Failure" in Ben's mind and so we want him to have success with camp in order to get past that. So, next year we are going to see if Paul can be the Junior Boys' counselor and thus be there for Ben. Wednesday night I had to go to church because I had nursery duty. Paul was working late so I had Ben stay with me in the nursery. Ben told me he wanted to sneak out before "circle time" (where we all hold hands, sing to any birthday or anniversary people, and count off) because, in his words, "People might look at me and say, 'hey, there's that boy that's supposed to be at camp!'" That made me laugh! But I did let him go ahead and run out to the van through a different door.
Now, I think David is having a good time. When I showed up to pick up his brothers, he ran over to me, allowed me half a hug, and asked if I'd mailed him anything yet. And that was it -he was off! He is petrified of thunderstorms and Wednesday they were having some pretty rough ones up there in the Mason City area. I wonder how he did?!?
Well, Sam's shoe fetish hasn't lessened any. He has permanently lost one of my black sandals - one of my basic pairs. I finally had to go buy another pair this week. I wasn't happy! I took him into Payless Monday because over the weekend I realized that his toes were curling over the edge of his current ones (that I just bought last month!). Oh boy! The kid was in Heaven! He kept pulling shoes out of the boxes and begging me to take off his sandals so he could try them on. This was after I'd already selected and tried on the new sandals for him. He wanted to try on every pair of shoes in the store. While I was waiting in line to pay he ran around to a display by the front door and then came back to me. He had wedged his feet (with his sandals on) into two women's' thong style sandals and was hopping in them. He was so happy!
On my way home Tues. I stopped in Boone and saw Matt and Kirsti after they got back from the zoo. I bought Jake's old toddler bed from them so we were able to load that up in my van. Will got it put together the next day and Sam has been in it ever since. He's doing just fine in it. Except, now he's coming down in the middle night to our room! So I think I'm going to put the baby gate up across his bedroom door. The steps are steep and completely dark at night and he comes down dragging his big old fake sheepskin blanket (that he stole off our bed) and I'm afraid he's going to lose his footings one of these times and tumble down the steps. Plus, I can't sleep when he's in bed with me. He's very wiry and not cuddly at all in bed. Today I cut up a twin top sheet and sewed the edges down so now Sam has two top sheets for his new bed. That was Paul's idea since it was so hot up in his room last night and he still wanted to sleep with his heavy blanket. It's a really cute bed and I'm glad Sam hasn't had any objections to using it. As I type, I'm waiting for a lady to come get his old bed (a pack n play). I put it on Craig's List this morning and finally had to take it off because I was getting so many calls. I'm thinking maybe I didn't ask enough for it!
Yesterday Sara and her girls came down. We did a little bit of running around. I stopped at the fabric store and got fabric to sew my backroom valences. I only spent $9. I thought it'd be quite a bit more than that. We went to the Cheesecake Factory for dessert ( yes, cheesecake!) when we were done. That was Melissa's (her 10 year old) idea. I had never been in there before. I told Paul that's where we're going for our anniversary next year - it's so elegant! Sara didn't get to enjoy much of her dessert, though, since Emily (16 mos) decided she would much rather run around. When Sara did come back to the table, Emily reached down and grabbed a handful of whipped cream off one of the plates. She is quite the character - one willful little creature, that's for sure!
I'm still battling fatigue from last week's stroke episode. No matter how I try, I just can't get enough sleep. Next weekend is my 20 year high school reunion. I have a feeling I'm going to go with these great big dark, puffy bags under my eyes and all the women will sadly (but gleefully) tsk about how "Sarah has let herself go."
Tomorrow is the boys' double header games and picnic. I think I have written before about how much I enjoy (don't) those games. Although, it doesn't sound like it's going to be broiling. Rain would be nice, like a deluge that would cancel all the games and picnic...Paul will be working Sat. and is on first call so I don't know if he'll even make it to the games. I'm not looking forward to doing it all myself, but we definitely need that overtime pay (particularly after my banking fiasco this week!).
So yes, rough week indeed. But it wasn't all bad, as you can see. I guess that's what is kind of nice. Things are rarely so bad, that there is nothing to be enjoyed or at least to be thankful for. Not that I want to test that theory, though!