Tuesday, December 1, 2009
It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...
Christmas! Well, on the inside of the house anyway, I still have my fall decorations up outside and bags of the Christmas stuff littering the deck and front porch. I am just not in the mood this year. Actually, I haven't been in the Christmas decorating mood for the last decade. It's just hard when you have kids (when you are, ironically, supposed to be making wonderful Christmas-decorating memories!). It's another chore to do. If it were not for David our tree would not be up and decorated. I commanded Will to bring in the tree yesterday and I threatened him and David into assembling it. Then it stood naked and pathetic all day until David finally began decorating it. Bless his heart, he even went and found a Christmas cd with "Oh Christmas Tree" on it so he could have music to decorate by. When I got home tonight I put up the last of the decorations and David enthusiastically tinseled the tree. My mom would shudder. When we were kids, we could only put one piece of tinsel per branch, so as to have an even appearance of silver all over the tree. David was taking handfuls and wiping them over the branches. Whatever stuck - stuck!
The tree is not pretty. It's artificial, for one thing. Growing up, we always had a real tree and I tried to do that the first few years we were married. But Paul would never get around to bringing home a tree until mid-December, which was too late in my opinion. And then I found out you have to water those things or they lose their needles. And then after Christmas you have to clean up all the needles! Once we realized Ben had such terrible allergies, it just seemed like a better idea to go with an artificial tree. But it's a trade-off. I dream of having a beautiful, color coordinated tree. I love shiny balls and would love to do a tree with all the same colored balls and lights. Oh, I can just see it in my mind! But, my children would have a conniption if I suggested that. So, instead our tree is filled with home-made decorations, some special ornaments, candy canes (one box for each kid - that's a LOT of candy canes! I'm thinking I may have to rethink this tradition for next year...), and a blue construction paper star on top. It's not pretty. But it's beautiful.
I got my last Christmas card addressed tonight and I tweaked my Christmas letter. How do you condense a year into two typed pages? All I know is that nobody had better send me a card who wasn't on my "send to" list because I am down to about two cards left!
I went shopping with all 4 boys last Friday - Black Friday. Ben was in fine form. Oh, I could have stuck him under a clothing rack somewhere and left him! At one point he had gotten in trouble for not listening to David (who was supposed to be watching him) in the store. He informed me, "I'm not going to listen to anyone shorter than I am!" That kid!
I was leafing through a home decorating catalog the other day and I found something that made me laugh out loud. It was an embroidered picture of a hen on the run with a passel of baby chicks behind her. Stitched above the chickens it said, "Raising children is like being pecked to death by a chicken." Isn't that the truth?!
This coming weekend is the annual hunting expedition in Council Bluffs. Paul has decided to take Ben out for a couple of hours. I think it will be good for him. I can't quite ever picture him with a loaded shotgun (don't want to!) but he needs to be exposed to "manly" stuff like that. We are taking along one of Will's friends from church who also enjoys hunting. I will be doing some hunting of my own - at the mall, though, not in the timber! My good, good friend Kathy will be travelling down from Sioux City and we're going Christmas shopping together. It's a tradition for us. Actually, we go shopping every single time we're together! We have bonded tightly over sale signs throughout the 20+ years of our friendship.
I had an unexpected conversation Sunday night with a lady in our church, whom I really do not know because they just joined this summer. She's older than I am and I just haven't taken the time to engage her in conversation. But anyway, she casually asked me if I homeschool my kids (I get that a lot. I must have the homeschool "look" to me) and so I began to tell her about what we're thinking with Ben. To my utter astonishment, she was incredibly supportive. It turned out that she works in a special ed classroom at a local school. So she was very helpful to me, as well as encouraging.
Yesterday, Ben was being a pill and causing all sorts of problems for his brothers. So, I finally drew them aside and let them know that Ben will be going to school next year. I just did it to let them know that there's relief in sight. The way things are isn't going to be how they always are. I thought they'd smile and say something about it being past time for that. But instead, they both expressed concern for Ben about how he would adjust to going to school. How sweet is that?!
And then today Ben found out our plans. I had not intended to tell him anything until next summer. But the superintendent of the Pleasantville school system called me today while I was driving. I suppose I should have stopped and gotten out of the van so Ben couldn't hear the conversation. I was really hoping that Ben was off in la-la land in his mind, but he wasn't. And boy, did he have questions! But, to my surprise, Ben was actually kind of enthusiastic about the idea of going to school next year. Now, that may change because it's still 9 months away. I fully expect to have to deal with tears and histrionics when the time actually comes. Knowing him, though, he's going to be asking hundreds of questions over and over and over again until school starts. That's going to drive me insane. I understand that this represents a huge change and change is extremely difficult for the autistic mind. It's going to take Ben a lot of time to process the idea. But he's still going to drive me nuts with the questions.
My friend Melissa and I saw "New Moon" last Tuesday night. As big of a Twilight fan as I am, I'm quite sure I already mentioned that here. I have been cracking up, though, to see everybody else in my family's interest. The next day Will wanted me to share the entire plot of the movie with him. Saturday evening Paul and David sat down and watched "Twilight" that I still had out from Blockbuster. Today David was looking at some Twilight posters at Walmart and pointed out the Volturi to me. He figured out who they were just from my description of New Moon! I was sharing with Paul, half-jokingly, the other night about how Robert Pattinson (he plays the hero of the movies) really makes my heart beat faster. So he told me now he thinks he needs to see the movie for himself so that he can, "check out the competition." Ha, ha, ha! I think we may end up being a Twilight family before this all ends.
We're already a Hawkeye family, that's for sure! Yesterday David made an ornament for the tree out of paper. It's the Hawkeye symbol. He colored it, punched a hole in the top, strung a ribbon through it, and hung it on the tree. Tonight Sam was gazing at the tree and suddenly, with great excitement, began to exclaim, "Haw-dye! Haw-dye" while pointing at David's ornament. So cute! He's also started saying, "Tay" for "ok". I don't know why people think 2 year olds are terrible - I'm having fun! Well, most of the time. Sunday I was in the pew with Ben, David, and Sam alone while Paul was up with the choir. Will sits in the sound booth. It's always a challenge with Ben anyway. But now Sam is in there until after the song service when they dismiss the little ones for Children's church. During one of the prayers he began to shriek, "Ben - pay, eye! Ben - eye!" Apparently, Ben didn't have his eyes shut during the prayer and that concerned Sam. Oh, to be a lonely and child-less!
I have a surgery date of Jan. 25th for my ablation, I found out today. I've got mixed feelings on that, but mostly I just want to have it done. I think it will be worth it. I hope so!
Well, I should be getting these children into bed. Then, I need to follow. I made the mistake last night of taking my multi-vitamin and B12 right before bed. Apparently, they work - because I was up until after 1am! Wow! I was cruising Facebook for quite awhile, hoping to finally feel sleepy enough to go to bed. The thing is, I really didn't feel groggy today, like I would expect after a shorter night. My energy levels seem to be normal. My dr. upped my Vit. D intake to 10,000 ius a day, so maybe that's part of it, too. But I really don't want a repeat of that tonight. So, I need to wind things down here.
Hopefully, in my next post I'll be reporting the killing of several big deer by my hunters - enough to fill my freezer for the next year and enough to make them smile and brag for a few months.