Friday, August 13, 2010

My Boy, Water, Heat, English, and the State Fair

Is he not the most beautiful boy - ever?! I caught this shot last week as he was playing in the suitcase Will had left in the living room. He looks so much older than 2 here, I think, and gives me an idea of what he may look like as he matures. It's amazing to me how all 4 of these boys, while from the same gene pool, obviously, have their own look. I'm not even sure if they even look like brothers, lined up next to eachother.

It has been super, disgustingly hot this week - heat indexes in the 110s and beyond. Last summer was so cool and now this summer - blech! But, the really good part of this is that Paul has worked all week long. Normally, that does not happen this time of year!

We've had a lot of flooding this week. Even as I write, the sky is darkening and a storm is rolling in. Sadly, the floods touched us. No, our house is fine, although it's a muddy mess down in the basement hole. Ames, an hour north of us, has been under water since early in the week. They show pictures on tv of Hilton Coliseum (Ames is home of ISU) and it's so weird to see that huge arena with water up to the stands! They don't have drinking water - I can't imagine how rough it is. The water is throughout all of central Iowa because there are bunches of rivers that come together here. Two families in our church were touched by tragedy this week. Their granddaughter and niece drowned this week when she drove into a flooded street and was carried away. She was 16 years old. This happened in Altoona, which is just a half hour north of us. Makes my heart ache.

Sam has been playing with "way-gos" (legos) all week long. He won't touch the over-sized duplo blocks we have, though. He only wants to use the tiny little regular legos. Then, he gets frustrated when he can't get the pieces to go together and throws them. I remember Will doing the same thing when he was little - getting so frustrated he would throw things. Not good!

I had a revelation this week, thanks to David. Sam's stuttering has not improved over the past weeks. It's only when he's beginning to talk, though, and it's been puzzling because he has always talked just fine before. Well, a few weeks ago the boys bought a bunch of old movies at a garage sale. One is "Space Jam" and Sam absolutely loves that movie. The boys have been watching that over and over. David pointed out to me this week that Porky Pig is in that movie and he, of course, stutters quite a bit. It was a lightbulb moment for me! Now, that may not have anything to do with Sam's speech, of course. He may just have a little impediment. But, I suddenly recalled how a couple of years ago after the boys received "Cars" for a Christmas gift, Ben suddenly developed a southern, hill-billy type drawl to his speech. I thought that was so strange until I realized that he was talking like Mater! I remember his speech therapist thought that was so hilarious, too. So, there may be some credence to David's suggestion. At any rate, we put the movie up and we're going to see if that makes a difference in how Sam talks.

All week long Sam has been singing, "My God is So Big." I love it! He must have learned that in SS because I didn't teach him that. So, when his brothers heard him singing that, Ben was quick to teach him to add "for you!" to the end. He told me that is how they sung the song at camp. This morning I was getting Sam dressed so I started singing the song in hopes that he would join in. He didn't but when I reached the last line, "There's nothing my God cannot do!" Sam added loudly, "for you!"

Stupidity - other peoples' - this week: I saw a hand painted sign someone had sprayed onto the back of their van window. They were advertising Herbalife. That caught my attention because Paul's dad used to sell Herbalife herbs (in addition to a slew of other things). The person had penned, "Get good nutricion now!" Um, how about getting a spelling lesson first? Sheesh...

Has anyone heard the radio ads for Right Size Smoothies? Those ads drive Paul and me insane. They are so, so, so stupid. Like anyone is going to actually lose weight by drinking smoothies and doing nothing else! That's annoying enough. Then, last week I heard a new ad for them. They used a minority-raced actress (politically correct, enough?) telling of how she struggled with her weight for 20 yrs after having babies. For one thing, her voice sounded way too young to have been a mother for 20 yrs. But then, she used bad grammar throughout the ad - like saying "I seen my good friend." It's a blatant attempt to appeal to the minority and under-educated classes of people listening to the ad. But it's patronizing. It's making a statement that if your voice sounds black or Hispanic, you're not going to be able to speak proper English. I just about came unglued when I heard that. Of course, it doesn't help that my biggest pet peeve in life is people who can't speak right, along with misspellings on public signs and improper punctuation. I about died this morning when I realized that I used "teamed" instead of "teemed" on a recent FW piece - and nobody called me on it! So, I'm not perfect, either. But I just cringe when I see and hear so many signs of unintelligence in our society.

Speaking of that, I finally forced myself to learn the proper use of "lie" and "lay" this week. For whatever reason, I never learned that and I have spent my entire life using substitute words rather than having to guess. I had to use one of those words this week in writing so I finally just looked it up on the Internet. It's simple - "lay" requires a direct object and "lie" does not. Why did I wait until I was almost 40 before learning that?

Well, we are headed to the Iowa State Fair tonight. I was so relieved to see that my friend Kim posted on Facebook this morning about how she really doesn't like the fair. I thought it was just me! Of course, she lives very near the fairgrounds and has to put up with the noise and traffic, so I'm sure that has affected her viewpoint. There are some enjoyable things about the fair. I very much enjoy looking at the 4-H exhibits, the craft entries, the photography, and the food entries (especially the cakes). But everything else - not so much. If the fair were held any other time than mid-August, I might have a different outlook. But mid-August is the worst time of the entire year. As far north as we are, Iowa still has some pretty brutal summers and the heat and humidity are typically at their worst during fair time (note my earlier reference to the heat indexes this week). And then the admission prices to the fair are just so expensive, as is everything in the fair that one might want to buy. Granted, my perception of the fair is probably colored by a particularly dreadful 12 hours I spent there 3 years ago while 6 months pregnant. It's hard to get past that! And then there's the whole segment of society that the fair seems to attract - the dregs. Lest you see how snobbish I truly am at heart, I won't go into my observations on that. But, anyway, unloyal and unpatriotic as I am, I do not like the Iowa State Fair!

All that to say - we are going tonight. But, it will just be the two of us. And the majority of our time will be spent manning the GARBC booth - in air conditioning. And our tickets were purchased for us. So, I will survive. I think.

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