Tuesday, April 26, 2011


This is a piece I wrote about a month ago - it's the last one I wrote. I NEED to get one written for this week, but my mind is stuck. I did pretty well with this one, as I recall. It didn't make it into the top 10, but it got something like 12th, I think.


“Hi, Baby! Mama’s here!” Scrambling around the one-hundred year old oak tree and dodging some fallen branches, I call out, while settling myself in front of my favorite pine tree. I’m in the woods behind our house and it’s just me, nature, and the memory of what should have been.

A nearby squirrel looks at me quizzically and I’m sure I do look a little odd, sitting Indian-style on the ground in front of this tree, while chattering away. I smooth out the grass and move a couple of pine cones off to the side. Years ago I chose this private spot as a memorial for my child. Sometimes I bring flowers to place under the tree. It seems to me that every person who has died ought to have a place where they can be remembered by those who loved them.

Even if they were murdered.

The story started my senior of college. It was in the early spring of the year and things were good. I was all set to graduate and I had just landed an excellent job that I’d start in June. College life and studying would soon be over and I’d be living in the big city, in my own apartment, and starting my way up the corporate ladder.

Buoyed by this excitement, I attended a frat party one night and made some stupid -- sinful-- choices. The morning after the party I had a terrific headache and a sense of shame that the hottest of showers wouldn’t wash away.

I didn’t find out until a few weeks later, but I was left with more than that. I was pregnant. So panicked, I didn’t know what to do. I was always one of those people who said I didn’t “believe” in abortion. But yet, when it became my reality, I found out that my belief wasn’t grounded in anything but shifting sand. There was no way I could have this baby. I was starting this wonderful job and I was quite sure that my employers would not be amused when they discovered my pregnancy. And my parents -- it would just break their hearts if they knew. It never occurred to me that their hearts would be ripped wide open if they knew I had taken the life of their first grandchild.

So, I did it. I laid on that table and I let that doctor dismember my child, piece by piece, suctioning his little body up like he was nothing more than unwanted garbage laying on the floor. Part of me wanted to cry, but I reminded myself of the lies repeated to me by the clinic - every child deserves to be wanted, I had my career to think of, there would always be time for babies later.

And while my baby’s life ended, mine went on. I graduated, moved, and gleefully started that first job. Anytime, a loose thought about what I had done would surface, I would tamp it down. I was not going to think about it!

In time, I married, and then, a few years later, our first child was born. Everything was supposed to be perfect, but I found myself submerged in the deepest, darkest pit of my life. Every time I looked into my new baby’s face, I saw the face of the one I had murdered. I was in a hole so deep and so dark, I couldn’t climb out myself. There was only One who could lift me out, and I knew He wouldn’t touch me because I had killed my baby. Separated for eternity, I deserved every evil and bad thing that would come my way.

Well, eventually my wise husband figured out what might be the root of my angst. Through much prayer and steady counseling, I finally found myself being lifted out of that slippery pit. One day I suddenly realized the truth: I was free! My sin was covered in the blood of Jesus. I no longer had to pay for what I had done.

I was forgiven.

But the reality remains that I am still separated from this beloved child and will be for all my days. And that’s why I slip out of my busy house, visit this makeshift memorial, and talk to him. It makes me feel close to a child that should be in my arms. And it causes me to long for the day, when stepping through Heaven‘s gates, I’ll finally hold him close.

For eternity.

Monday, April 25, 2011

David, the Amazing Flying Machine

Here is a picture taken yesterday while the boys hunted eggs. I love this because of what David is doing in the background. He's catapulted himself off the dirt pile, and is headed towards the trampoline (he made it!). Looking through the rest of my Easter photos, I have another one of David mid-air, as he jumps off the front porch. He's always moving!

Charlotte, whom I asked my readers to pray for last week, did survive her procedure. In fact, the results came back better than expected. Apparently, her heart is not on the verge of collapsing. So, that's good news. I was quite relieved when I heard.

A month or so ago we moved a desk into the boys room for David. He placed it right in front of one of the windows up there. Well, a pair of blue jays have built a nest not too far from the window. David has had the pleasure of watching them build it and is anxiously waiting to see if there will be baby blue jays at some point. And yet, another reason why home education is wonderful!

We bought mattresses for the bunk beds Sat. night. It actually ended up turning into a mini-date. We went to Lebeda and then to Village Inn. It was a rainy Friday night - kind of a nice date night type of night.

Well, I've covered all my listed topics. I've been informed that tonight's supper smells "bad." Always nice to hear! I also just had a discussion with a certain teenager on why playing airsoft wars is not appropriate when schoolwork hasn't been finished. Grr...Maybe it's time for me to go to bed.

The Zoo, Travel Plans, and my Hair

I don't think I ever thoroughly woke up today - yawn! I need to start supper pretty quick here, but I've been wanting to update since the weekend, which didn't happen.

It's raining out - again! We did have a somewhat sunny Easter yesterday. There is a chance that the boys' games will be rained out again tomorrow night - which wouldn't break my heart! And then it's supposed to dry up and warm up by the end of this week. That's good, because we are going camping. We're going to go somewhere by Omaha and take in the zoo while out there. The last time the boys and I were at that zoo, it was 2004. I can't remember the last time Paul went. And then we moved out here and visited the Des Moines zoo - what a disappointment! There is just no comparison between the two! I am looking forward to Sam's reaction to all the animals. We'll spend all day Sat. there. I know Paul wants to see his grandma while we are out there because she just fell and broke her wrist. Not sure if we'll see his folks or not. Of course, his mother would kill us if she found out we had been in town, but hadn't visited...

I may -- or may not -- be going to Detroit this summer. My plan for the last year has been to attend the FaithWriters conference this Aug. I think it would be good for my writing and it would be an enjoyable time. But money has been SO tight for months now, although that should be changing once the weather warms up and Paul can get back to normal hours and even overtime. And, the clincher was that Paul discovered that he has to renew his licenses late this year, which will be oh, I think, something like $600 to do. That has to be done every 3 years - it's just a tax, that's all it is. So, I had regretfully decided that we both couldn't invest in our careers in the same year.

But then, yesterday, I heard from my dear friend, Kristi, who got me involved in FW in the first place. She's giving serious consideration to going to the conference. I just can't not go if she goes! So - I don't know! Paul thought about it and finally said that he has 4 bids out right now for new AC systems. If he gets all 4 jobs, then he didn't see why I couldn't go. So - I'll be praying! I have to register by June, so I'll know by then, anyway.

I am going to something fun next weekend, the day before Mother's Day. And no, it's not our church's annual Mother/Daughter brunch. I went to that once and just felt really out of place and uncomfortable, not having a mother nearby to bring or a daughter. People have told me not to mind and pointed out other female-less people who have attended. That's fine for them, but I just don't want to go if I have to go alone and sit alone and have it be so obvious that I am ALONE - kind of a like a single person attending a Valentine's banquet, I would imagine. The church where I attend a support group for sp. needs moms is hosting an event that morning, just for sp. needs mothers. There will be a speaker, who, herself, is a mom of a child with sp. needs. Then, we will all get massages, make-overs, and an opportunity to make some jewelry. It's totally free, too. Oh, and I think they're going to feed us, too. This definitely beats a Mother/Daughter brunch!

I have found some hair products I have to brag on for a few minutes. But, first, I have to back up. Back in March, after I had my surgery, I watched a lot of tv. I happened to catch an infomercial one day about a product line called "Wen." I had never heard of them before. It's designed by a Hollywood hair guy. But the commercial made it sound so great so I knew I wanted to try their shampoo. I did some research on-line and couldn't find anything negative - and found lots positive - about the line. They had a good introductory deal where you got a full bottle of the shampoo/conditioner, some styling gel, and some texturizing stuff, as well as a cool comb for a low, introductory price. Out of curiosity, I looked to see what Amazon sold their products for - woo-ee! Not a cheap line at all...So, I started using it and it is good stuff. Oddly enough, I found that it worked better when I alternated it with using regular shampoo. It seemed to build up on my hair.

Well, a few weeks ago I happened to be reading my Good Housekeeping and they mentioned and pictured a product by Organix called "Morroccan argan oil." I tore it out, thinking I might try it sometime, since the Wen stuff wasn't the end all and be all of hair products that I had hoped. Last week, I was at Walmart and just happened to stumble across some of this oil - and it was only $6 for a good sized bottle! I bought some and used it - oh my goodness! My hair has never been so soft and manageable in all my life! I know I sound like a commercial, but this is good stuff! The next day I went back to the store and bought their Moroccan shampoo and conditioner. I'm alternating it with the Wen until I get the Wen stuff used up. 12 oz bottles of Wen shampoo sell on Amazon for about $30, not including shipping. I can buy a 13 oz bottle of Organix shampoo for $6 with no tax and shipping and it works even better! Anytime I find something that actually works on this stubborn hair of mine, I get excited!

Well, I need to take my lovely head of hair into the kitchen and get dinner started. I've got more to share, so I'll be back soon!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Tiny Hand

A Tiny Hand

A tiny hand we'll never hold,
a child without a name,
Your coos and giggles
won't touch our ears,
but we loved you just the same.
The twinkle in your little eyes
was not for us to see.
We longed to hold you in our arms,
but it never came to be.
God now holds your tiny hand;
He's given you a name.
Your coos and giggles grace Heaven's ears,
but we'll miss you, just the same.
The twinkle in your little eyes,
now lights the sky at night.
God holds you close in loving arms,
you're always in His sight.
A tiny hand we'll never hold,
we have no reason why,
but we'll always hold you in our heart,
Even though we said good-bye.

--Denise Hanstad--

It was ten years ago today - April 20, 2001, that we said good-bye to our fourth child. And while the hurt has healed in the ensuing decade, it's a date forever embedded in my heart - a date that belongs to a little one whose hand we'll never hold.

This fourth child of ours doesn't have a name, but he has a story and a place in our family history. We only knew of his existence for a few days. I was surprised when, the day after Easter, I discovered that I was pregnant. We had tried to conceive a few months earlier, without success. But we had stopped trying because we didn't want to have another baby born in the fall (which is humorous, given the rest of the story, that came much later!). But the surprise quickly gave way to joy and I was delighted to be planning for this fourth child. I immediately began thinking about names and bedroom arrangements. Knowing I would be delivered at exactly 36 weeks, I flipped through the calendar, and was able to determine that he would probably be born on Nov. 30th. Our third son would be 2 1/2 at the time of the new baby's birth and that was good spacing, in my mind. We were set!

And amidst all my planning, I fell in love with this new baby inside me. It was so exciting to wonder who he would be, who he would look like, what his strengths would be. I couldn't wait for fall, when I'd meet him for the first time.

And then, just a few days later I started to bleed. And within a few hours, a very unsympathetic ER doc confirmed what I already knew - our baby was no longer with us. In many ways, it's hard to describe the feelings that followed. I felt very hollow and I told myself that it was ok - it was just one of those things that happen, you know? I didn't have any control over it, although I secretly felt like I had failed to keep my baby alive and safe. I went about my day, as normal. My brother had unexpectedly dropped in the night before, so I busied myself in the kitchen, preparing a company meal.

That night I even went to the school building where our church held Awana meetings for kids. We hadn't announced the pregnancy yet, so nobody knew. But Paul shared the news with some. I was walking down the hallway and one of the women from our church - my age - called out to me, scurried up, and asked how I was doing. She had heard, and having lost two babies herself, was concerned. I turned to her...and I lost it. For the first time that day I sobbed. I cried for the next hour straight as friends held me and wept with me. I will never forget that night for as long as I live.

And for the next few weeks, I lived in the shadows of grief. I physically hurt as the miscarriage took place and I felt emotionally eviscerated. A part of my heart had died that Friday in April. For the first time, I knew what it was to be truly broken-hearted.

I remember, wondering, too, at the depth of my grief. After all, we had only known of this baby for a few days. Shouldn't the hurt be proportionate to the length of time we knew? I have friends who miscarried repeatedly; it only happened to me once. I have friends who carried babies to term - and then had to give them back. My loss couldn't even begin to compare. But my heart didn't understand that. And so I mourned.

And, eventually, the tears did dry. As spring bloomed, I began to look with anticipation to the next child God would send, because after all, now He "owed" us another baby! And those of you who know the rest of our story, know that that didn't work out as planned! For the next 6 years God would take me down paths I didn't want to go, as He taught me numerous lessons and reshaped my attitudes about family planning, submission to God's will, and being thankful in all circumstances.

On this side of things now, I can say I'm thankful that things happened as they did. At the time of the miscarriage, we were very firmly set on the idea of having 4 children (all to born within our own specified time-table, of course!). Had we not lost that baby, we would never have known our precious Samuel, who didn't come to us until 2007. And I might still be believing that my life was mine to plan and to own.

But still...every April 20th, I pause and remember the child we'll never hold here on earth, the child whose laughter is, no doubt, ringing across the streets of Heaven. If he's anything like his brothers, he probably has the angels shaking their heads, the peaceful lambs and lions looking for a quieter place to lay down, and God Almighty chuckling at his antics.

I miss him.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Proms, Colds, and the Quest for Khaki

Here is Will last Friday night, all dressed up for Prom Alternative. The kids had a nice time, even though the weather was icky. 13 kids and 4 chaperons went out to eat at a nice restaurant and then they drove down to Kansas City. I didn't realize that they were staying in cabins, but it sounds like they were really cute and cozy. And then the kids went to Worlds of Fun. Fortunately, for them, it was warmer in KC than it was in Des Moines!

We are having rainy, cold weather and have been since mid-week of last week. Ugh! Of course, the up side may be that the boys' first softball game tomorrow night will be cancelled. But I was going to miss it anyway with my support group.

Sam has caught a cold. It's so surprising because we haven't been sick at all since - well, I can't remember when. It isn't keeping him down, any, but he just keeps wiping snot across his face so he has these two big dirty patches on his face where the mucus attracts all kinds of stuff. Gross.

One day last week he was complaining that he had hurt his finger. I dutifully looked and told him I didn't see any blood. He replied confidently, "That's 'cuz I'm going to bleed tomorrow!" That would explain it!

I shopped today alone, which was nice. I was on a quest for a khaki skirt. No luck. I'd like a mid-calf one. The one I have, I have outgrown and it's too painful to try to button it anymore. Sad day... So anyway, I figured I'd just order off the internet - except I cannot find a long khaki skirt. My Chadwick's catalog came last week and they had one. I called to order it - and they were all out. So, I searched all over W. Des Moines today for one and didn't find one. I even looked for shorter khaki skirts and couldn't find one of those! But I did end up ordering one out of Chadwicks when I got home - I hope 25" is long enough to cover my knees. At my age, I have no desire to show off any excess body parts. Although, my friend Melissa did tell me a week or so ago that I have nice knees. I think that's a compliment! That's good anyway, since everyone will be seeing them in this skirt. I'm going to have to up my application of tanning lotion to my legs, I think. And, all the while, I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for a nice, long skirt. Oh, by the way, I did find LONG skirts - 36-39" in length. Those would be for homeschool moms only, I'm thinking. But not this homeschool mom.

Here is an article I wrote for a blog for autism awareness month:http://manyhatsmommy.com/2011/04/16/insight-saturday-church-autism/ This was published last Sat. It's on the same topic that I wrote for RBP. But I completely re-wrote it since RBP now owns my other piece. I got some nice comments on it. What's kind of cool is that within moments of it being posted, another website picked it up, too. So, I guess I went viral! Here's the site for that if you want to see it: http://paper.li/GilTheJenius/1300111208/2011/04/16 You have to scroll down; I'm on the right side.

I would like my readers to pray for my friend, Charlotte. She is my neighbor and I've gotten in the habit of visiting her every couple of weeks. She calls me frequently and we just enjoy eachother's company. Charlotte was born with a heart defect, but has lived to the age of 65. When she was teenager, she had open heart surgery and it was pretty traumatic. Well, Charlotte has not felt well for months and drs are telling her that she needs open heart surgery again - ASAP. But she feels that she has lived a good, long life and is willing to take the risk of dropping dead at any moment over having surgery. Of course, this makes me sad because I hate to think of losing her. This Wed. Charlotte is having a heart catheterization and she has asked me to come see her tomorrow in case she does not survive the procedure. Of course, she may have years of life left yet - nobody ever really knows for sure. But the drs. are not so optimistic. And, I have concerns about Charlotte's spiritual well-being. She's a good, tender-hearted, kind person, but of course, there is more to attaining eternal life than that. So, I'm troubled on two levels. Pray with me, please.

Well, this is the latest on the Heywood House...stay tuned for the next episode!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Brags and Sighs

Here's the rest of what's been going on since I last posted...

First, here is an article that Will wrote. He did this as a guest blogger for a blog devoted to autism. http://manyhatsmommy.com/2011/04/10/super-kids-sunday-will-heywood/ I thought he did a nice job with this. He was also able to use this as an assignment for his writing class, so he got double mileage out of it! I'm proud of him!

You know how kids make your chest puff up one moment, and the next they leave you scratching your head? Yeah! Well, it was the same day that Will's article was published that he called me to come see something that was on tv. I went in and saw that it was advertisement for a company called "Acme Tools." I wasn't really sure what I was supposed to be seeing, but Will sat there, looking expectantly at me. When he saw I wasn't "getting" it, he asked, "Why would a company name themselves after zits?" I was soon laughing, but not for the reason he thought!

The rest of my funnies have to do with Sam. I was busy the other day - typing away, of course. Sam came to get me to show me something. What he showed me was that he managed to take my iron, a spare extension cord out of the mudroom, and plugged them together. He was having difficulty, though, finding a place to plug the extension cord into! Argh! That could have been bad!

Sunday night we had a musical group from a Des Moines Christian school minister at our church. They did a really good, really cute version of "Only a Boy Named David." They started singing and Sam piped up seriously, "They're singing about you, Dabid!"

During that same concert, he turned to me after listening to a song, and earnestly asked, "What's a soul?" Ack - how do you explain that quietly, succinctly, and in a manner that a 3 yr old can understand? I don't think I quite managed.

We've had warmer weather this week, although that's supposed to start changing tomorrow. We might have snow by Saturday! But, anyway, the flies have already figured out it's warmer and we're starting to see them every so often in the house. Sam loves it. He asks me for the "hitter" so he can try to kill them. I'm reminded of that old Mother Goose rhyme about the tailor that killed 99 flies in a single swing - or something like that.

I picked up some sandals for Sam today at a consignment store. They're flip flop slides and I wasn't sure how he'd do with them, but so far he doesn't seem to have a problem keeping them on his feet. They are just identical to the ones I bought Ben new earlier this month. Sam was delighted with his new shoes, but tonight he was observing Ben's pair and commented with an air of injustice, "Ben's are bigger than mine!" Sometimes you just really don't know how to respond to things...

Well, this may be all I know. Tomorrow is shaping up to be a busy day. I have to sew a pocket square for Will's suit. Then I have to get dinner ready early. At 3:30 my neighbor is picking me up and we're heading to Knoxville to attend another Emergency Management meeting. And then from there I'll be heading to Ladies' Bible study. I may be glad when Friday arrives, although it's supposed to rain all day. David informed me today that he is scheduled for softball practice on Friday, and since his practices have been running close to 2 hours apiece (Thankfully, Will has been taking him) I'm not going to be upset if it's a wet day on Friday! I do not want to sit in my van and try to entertain Ben and Sam while David practices ball. Besides, I want to make it over to church to see all the teenagers in their prom finery and I doubt I'd have time to do that and take David to practice.

Until next time...

Special Athletes

Look at my boy run! Looking at this picture I was suddenly reminded of when Ben was about 5. He couldn't run at all. He could do kind of a fast shuffle, but I just yearned for him to be able to pick up his feet and fly like other boys. He runs now. It's not perfect, but he can do it. That sudden knowledge just makes my heart sing. How many other things will he be able to do someday that he can't now? It's so hard to see beyond the present. And, of course, I often think of Heaven when I think of Ben. I can't wait to see him run from one corner of Eternity to the other. I am so looking forward to sitting down with him and having long conversations. But to get little glimpses of Heaven right now - so precious!

Yesterday was Ben's first Special Olympics and it was such a special day. I didn't know what to expect at all. It was amazing. We got there in time for the opening ceremony. They had athletes carry the special Olympic torch, the American flag, and the Iowa flag. They had an athlete sing the National Anthem. To anyone listening and not knowing what was going on, they surely would have cringed as they heard the screeching, warbling rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner." But, as a mom standing there, it was just beautiful! And then, to my utter amazement, they had an Army chaplain open the events in prayer. I couldn't believe it! In his prayer he talked about how all humans are made in the image of God and how special each of the participants in the Olympics were to their Creator. It just made tears come to my eyes!

The games were great. There were volunteers everywhere. When any athlete ran, there were volunteers cheering him on. When he crossed the finish line, he was met by a whole squadron of volunteers hugging him, giving him high fives and encouragement. I saw one race where two volunteers literally wrapped their arms around one athlete's shoulders and helped him run the race. Everywhere you looked, you saw smiles.

I told Paul that this was one of the few times where I didn't feel like an oddity because I have a child who isn't just like other kids. Everyone did! I also was reminded, as I looked around, that I need to count my blessings. There are disabilities far, far worse than what Ben has.

I had a chance to chat with the mothers of the boys in Ben's class at school, as well as some of the other para-educators who came along. That was so nice because I don't see them that often. They all saw Sam and started calling him, "Mini-Ben"! :)

We even ran into our pastor's son, who is Will's age. He was volunteering. And he told me that one of the moms in my SS class at church had been there, looking for us because she wanted to see Ben run. I was so touched by that. She called me today so I was able to let her know how Ben had done.

Ben did just fine. He got 2nd place in the 50m dash, which is what he is running in the above picture. He got 3rd place in the softball throwing contest and his team got 2nd in the relay race. Ben didn't seem to care one way or the other how he did, but I told him we'll hang his ribbons in his room. He thought that would be a good idea.

The day was absolutely gorgeous. I even sunburned my forehead and nose! Of course, it could have been the neon yellow Marion Co. Sp. Olympics tee I was wearing - reflecting the sun right up into my face. They did mention, though, that these April games have taken place in snow, rain, and storm warnings - so I think we got lucky this year!

Oh, Ben and I also got Sp. Olympics jackets. Ben's is embroidered with his name and mine says, "Ben's Mom." I love that!

In late May we will travel up to Ames for the state games. Ben is competing in Bocce ball.

I've already determined that, from now on, whenever I have an opportunity to donate to Special Olympics, I will, and I would urge my readers to do the same. When you have a child with unique needs, you spend his lifetime looking for something he can excel in. And every time he tries to do something and can't, it breaks your heart just a little bit more. Special Olympics allows every individual with special needs to be a champion for one day. It's bigger than the ribbons they take home and it's even bigger than the applause they receive. It's the feeling in their heart that they are winners - and that's something that time won't dim.

Monday, April 4, 2011


I just did something I never dreamed I would get to do. I'm in just in shock, so, so amazed.

I helped my son set up his own blog!

A couple of hours ago Will came to me and out of the blue, said, "I want to start a blog - can you help me?" I couldn't get to the computer fast enough! Remember, this is the the child, who 8 months ago, had trouble writing a simple paragraph. Now, he's blogging! His address is http://runningtherace-sportsandlife.blogspot.com. He hasn't actually written his first post yet - says he will work on that tonight while watching the big basketball game. He tells me the blog will be about sports, as well as general things about the Christian life from a teen perspective. His writing teacher has commented to both of us, on a couple of different occasions, that she can really see Will as a sports journalist someday. Maybe!

My mom commented the other day that watching Will at this stage of his life is like watching a flower begin to unfold. Last week we found out that Will can be an official volunteer for the Special Olympics event next week if we get some paperwork filled out. And then if he takes some training offered in May, he can be an actual Sp. Olympics coach. Having him help with Ben was his idea all along. The lady who heads it up told me she is so thankful for Will because her older, college-aged kids used to help, but now they're too busy with school and all.

And then Will casually mentioned last week that he's been asked to run the sound for an upcoming wedding at church. How cool is that?!

Speaking of cool... I am now a newsletter editor. About 10 days ago our mayor called me and asked what I thought about the idea of putting out a Swan newsletter. Of course, I immediately loved the idea. So, I played around with it last week and then last Fri. night sat down with him and we figured out a template and got the thing written. This is going to come out every other month. Right at the top, it says, "Editor: Sarah Heywood" and I will have a column in each one to write whatever I want to. Then, I'm filling the rest of the newsletter with upcoming events, resident interviews, snippets of history, pithy quotes, etc. Our first issue went out tonight. In fact, residents may be reading it even as now type.

While I was at the mayor's house, his big mutt walked right in front of me and I went flying. It's really no surprise since I regularly trip over my own feet. I had no chance with a dog that size. What a blow to my ego and my body! I woke up the next morning, just groaning from the pain. I am still sore, several days later. I hit the floor pretty hard!

I moved into my new office last Wed. That has been pretty exciting! We've got everything set up in here now. I am just waiting for some frames to go on sale and then I'll be able to hang decorative things. And then, that same day, we totally re-arranged the back room since now the computer desk and my desk were no longer in there. I can't believe how much room there is in there now! As soon as Paul gets the basement ready, then we will move the laundry down there and the piano will come in from the garage to the back room. And, eventually, the wood burner will also go downstairs and the dining table will go in its place. But that's probably a year or more away. It is just SO nice to be able to be finally beginning to reap the rewards of all the hard work on this house. It's been so long and such a mess and so it's extra gratifying to be able to finally use the stuff that's gotten done!

Oh, and Paul got the water lines hooked up to the fridge a couple of weeks ago. Wowee, is that nice! I am still getting such a kick out of being able to get crushed ice, cubes, and water out of my freezer door, with just the push of a button. I feel a bit like a pampered princess! Ice will do that to me...

We went to Waterloo last Sat. and had a nice visit with my parents. They are re-doing their bathroom, too (actually turning two back to back bathrooms into one larger room) and some things they didn't need from them so we inherited them. My mom is having eye surgery in May. I've known that for awhile but I didn't realize it was happening in Des Moines. So, I told them I'll plan on sitting with them at the clinic during the surgery.

Last night Sam drove a nail into both my table and one of the matching chairs. He didn't get it all the way through, but he left a definite imprint. Ugh. I couldn't holler at him because he didn't know he was doing anything wrong. He just loves to "work." So, I finally went and got him a piece of firewood and told him he could nail on that. He did, for a good hour. And then this morning he was back at it. Happy boy! Mom - not so happy!

Last week Sam came home with this beautiful stained and varnished wooden cross, about 8" high. A retired gentleman in our church made one for each of the two and three year olds in the church. His wife wrote each child's name on the back, along with theirs. Sam was showing it to me and flipped it over. He said seriously, "This says that Jesus died on the cross and He came back to life." :)

Maybe I can make an early night of it. I am so tired. I just have not totally recovered from the surgery yet. But it's been 4 weeks tomorrow! Maybe once I start working out my energy levels will come back, too. I took some of my birthday money and ordered an mp3 player. I'm thinking that walking will be a lot easier if I'm being entertained at the same time. I hope so. I just hate feeling like a slug and these extra pounds are really weighing me down.

I ran errands for most of today. Last night Ben and I knocked out a good chunk of our Walmarting. But I still had a lot of places to go. Paul didn't have any work today so he ended up going to town with the boys and I. We ran a few errands. Will was at his writing class. After his class, he drove out to W. Des Moines and met me at Target. We were able to buy his suit there for Prom Alternative. We ended up going with a gray one. I got him a black shirt at Penneys. I think I'm going to try to find a yellow pocket kerchief (or whatever they are called) because he needs something to brighten up the whole look. I'm not so crazy about the yellow and black Hawkeye tie with the gray suit, but it doesn't look terrible, so we'll live with it. Then, Paul and all the boys went home in Will's car, so I was blissfully alone for rest of my errands.

I had a big surprise today. I was at Hy-Vee, ready to check out and there was this clerk, standing at the end of his lane, waiting for customers. As he stood there, he bounced up and down on the soles of his feet and I thought, "I know that guy..." I got closer and became more sure of it. I glanced at his name tag to make sure and I was SO right. It was Jeff, an old friend from my CBF days. I used to spend hours up in his dorm room, playing backgammon with him and some of the others. In fact, he sang at our wedding. What fun it was to run into him today! I had not seen or spoken to Jeff since our wedding day. He's the same as always, plus about twenty pounds. He remembered me, which was flattering. He's probably typing tonight, "She's the same, plus a few pounds and lines around the face..." I had forgotten that Jeff was originally from Des Moines. I believe he spent most of the past 18 years out in one of the Carolinas, though. He's moved back and is living with his dad. His mom died a few years ago. So, anyway - that was my treat for the day.

I spent a good deal of time looking for shoes today. I was unsuccessful. I need a pair of strappy navy heels to go with my new summer dress and a pair of simple white flip flops for summer. You would think somebody would have those. And I'm not a super-frugal shopper when it comes to clothing myself, so it's not like I was looking for $10 shoes. I finally gave up and came home ordered some off Zappos. My sister-in-law told me about that site, so I figured I'd give it a try - free shipping either way, so that's a deal. But then, the first pair of navy shoes I wanted were only available in a wide width, so I had to go with my second choice. The hardships of my life - nearly unbearable, I tell you!

But all that running around wore me out. So, I think I'm going to go give Will the air card so he can create his first post. And I'm going to go sink into a bubble bath with People magazine (hey, I had a coupon!). And maybe, just maybe, I'll get to bed early tonight!