Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sunny Days

Yes, yes, I had to play around with my blog a bit - keeping it fresh, you know. Plus, I find myself just intrigued by all the different things I can do with this blog!

I am in a really good mood today - what's wrong with me? :) Well, several nice things have happened in the last day or two, which helps. But not that I want my mood to be dependent on my circumstances. I would like to think as the Titanic sank I would be the one commenting about how pretty the stars were and weren't we fortunate to be able to see them this time of night? I said I'd like to. Truthfully, I would have been the one in the corner, rocking back and forth, moaning, "We're going to die, we're all going to die!" Blame it on my melancholy personality type!

One good thing that happened is in the picture above. Our neighbors gave us this entertainment center and tv (it's only 3 yrs old and was rarely ever used, which is why they didn't want it anymore). I was blown away. They could have sold it and made some money. But no, they wanted to give it to us. So yesterday the boys and I got busy and unloaded our other tv cabinet (that we've had since 1999 - still in decent condition) and carried everything to the basement. Well, Will carried it all down. I helped somewhat. But when I tried to lift a tv, my hip protested mightily, and it's still mad at me. That kid just swung the tvs up in his arms like they were no heavier than a paperweight. We ended up carrying two downstairs - the one we kept in the cabinet and one we've had sitting on the floor in the back room. Paul had picked it up curbside (with a sign that assured potential picker-uppers, it worked "real good"!). Since Paul hasn't gotten done with the basement yet I was keeping it up here, but decided yesterday just to take it down with the one from the cabinet. It's nice to have it out of here.

And you know, it's just neat to see how God orchestrates the little things. Our neighbors are in no physical condition to help lift anything. That's why they are always paying the boys to come over and do odd jobs for them. With my hip being so sore I didn't know how I was going to lift the cabinet and tv with Will into our neighbors' truck and then into the house. But Will's friend, Nathanael happened to call and said he was on his way over to pick up his deer that's in our garage. Bingo! So I didn't have to do a thing. Will and Nathanael did it all, bless their hearts.

Then, Will spent over an hour hooking up the tv to the Wii (which will go to the basement once that's usable) and dvd player and oh, I was impressed because I would not have known how to do any of that. This old house has such warped floors and walls, too, that furniture always has to be leveled up with shims and whatever we can find. Will took care of all that, too. Now I'm looking forward to finding things to put on top of the center, as well as something for that blank wall space I now have. What fun!

Ben's school Christmas program was last night, and after his music performance in Oct, I was just dreading it. But several things happened that made it a real blessing, instead. First, we ended up having to sit in the bleachers, so we were right beside the students as they waited their turn to perform. Well, Ben is in a self-contained classroom with two other handicapped boys. I know who they are, but not much else. I didn't realize until last night just how fortunate we are. Ben is clearly less disabled than the other two boys. The one boy was sitting right beside me and my heart just ached for him. He sat there, rocking vigorously back and forth and moaning, biting his hand. He was so overstimulated by all that was going on - just couldn't handle the different environment. This time, the music teacher had assigned a "buddy" to Ben, a fellow junior higher and he was so helpful all night long. He made sure Ben got to where he needed to be, reminded him about being quiet, and so on. I was so grateful for this. Ben did a really good job singing with his class.

Ben's one-on-one aide came to the concert with her husband, which I thought was so nice of her. She didn't have to do that. It wasn't like she had any grandchildren performing. But Ben was there and that's why she came. Ben was so tickled by her presence. He couldn't stop hugging her afterwards.

And then what I liked is that this was an actual Christmas program - at a public school! Years ago when Ben was in public school kindergarten in western Iowa I remember his Christmas program was called a "Winter" program. Any songs about the Christ child were carefully avoided and the entire program was about Santa and Jingle Bells. A friend mentioned just this week that her daughter, who attends public school in Des Moines, had a "Secret Snowman" exchange at school. When one of the kids questioned this, stating that it's usually called a "Secret Santa" exchange, the teacher was quick to inform her that Santa is associated with Christmas and the school will have nothing to do with the Christmas holiday, lest they offend someone, somewhere, somehow. So, apparently, it's not just Jesus under attack - Santa's getting the boot, too!

But there was a great mix of music last night - quite a few sacred Christmas hymns, mixed in with "Silver Bells" and "Boogie Woogie Jingle Bells." It was cute and well-done. The children were asked to dress up and the girls were required to wear dresses. Like I said - I was impressed. I need to email Ben's music teacher and let her know my appreciation of the evening.

I had a nice visit today with James and Charlotte (our neighbors who gave us the tv). I like them so much - Charlotte really reminds me of my Grandma Daniels. Nice, nice people. I can't believe we've lived here 6 yrs and I am only now getting to know them. Will and David are over there now helping move furniture back into place since they had some new carpet laid. And I know Charlotte will insist on paying them.

I got home and Ben had arrived. He had Christmas at school today and came home loaded with gifts. I couldn't believe all the stuff he was given! His aide gave him a beautiful Green Bay Packers (his favorite team) sweatshirt. What generosity! Thankfully, she wrote me a list of who gave Ben what so I can get him to write some thank you notes over Christmas break. And his break goes until Jan. 11th! Holy cow - that is a LONG vacation! I hope I survive it. When the kids go back they will only be attending school Tues. through Fri. until Apr. 1st. This is the school district's attempt to save money. They are the first district in the entire state to try this.

And lastly, I'm in a good mood because our van situation is looking better. Paul had come in the house as I was finishing my last blog post and announced that he thought our van's engine was ruined. That was enough to wreck my day! But after he made some calls and talked with knowledgeable people, he decided to attempt to repair it. Apparently, an internal leak is what caused it to die on me in Oct. So he bought a bunch of parts and seals and he and Will have spent the last two nights working late in our neighbor's (a different neighbor - she's not living there anymore; she moved in with another neighbor. Swan is a bit incestuous I think - this isn't the first time that's happened since we've lived here!) empty garage. Last night the two of them didn't get done until after 1:30am. But Paul's feeling very good about the van and is pretty sure it will be drivable by tomorrow. I hope he's right! More than likely, the van's life has been shortened, but we might still get another 50,000 miles out of it - you never know.

So, things are looking good for Christmas. We plan to take off Friday afternoon for Waterloo and I am really looking forward to it. Now, we just have to pray about the weather. Apparently, a big snowstorm is on the way and they're talking 4-8" of snow for us Thursday evening and Friday morning. Argh! So, hopefully, everything will be ok. As you might recall, last year's plans to go to Council Bluffs for Christmas were curtailed by weather, as well. That's NOT happening this year!

Well, Little Miss Sunshine needs to go get supper on...Have a wonderful, merry Christmas, Everyone!

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