Saturday, August 27, 2011

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

That's Ben with his grandma at the State Fair last week. He had a dr's appt. this week. They measured him and his height is up to 5'8" now. That's a full two inches taller than I am. All these boys are going to end up towering over me. Even last night at Will's football game I noticed that he is as tall as or taller than the majority of his teammates - which is to be expected, I guess, now that he's a junior.

I am in the throes of allergy suffering now. I'm going to try not to complain too much about it because it happens every August and it will go away sometime in Oct. I'm used to this. But right now I'm not sleeping well, my body hurts, my eyes feel like they have sand in them, I sneeze all the time and I'm drifting through my days in a drug-induced haze. Bear that in mind as you read anything I write in the next few weeks - no doubt, it will be colored by my physical laments. If it's just strange, then that's the drugs talking!

Ben got back to school on Tuesday. He was so happy to be there, his aide told me. I'm not surprised! I did start homeschooling the other two this week. I think they got a couple days in. I'm trying to work more with Sam this year since he'll be 4 in a couple of months. He wants to do certain things, like recite his letters, because he knows them. But he is resisting doing anything with numbers or learning to write his letters. I'm not too worried about it. I'd rather he spend most of his time doing hands-on learning, anyway - namely, playing. Someone from church gave us a bike for him a few weeks ago with training wheels. At first Sam was really intimidated by it but his dad and David have worked with him on it and he's gotten to the point where he can ride around our driveway. But he can't figure out braking and so he runs into the back stoop to stop! I offered to teach him how to use the brakes but he told me he'd rather just run into that thing instead. Ok! So if he wants to spend most of his day doing things like that, I'm good with it.

We got some sobering news at the end of this week. A mom in our congregation - just three years older than me - has been diagnosed with brain cancer. She's had terrible headaches all summer, I knew, but I assumed it was just migraines, with which I am too familiar. Nobody knows yet what the dr's are predicting for an outcome, but it sure doesn't sound very good right now. We know this family quite well. We're not really friends with them, but my heart just aches for them. They've got 4 kids, all pre-teens and teenagers. I can easily put myself in her shoes and I know it's not the possibility of dying young that would bother me. It's leaving my kids without a mom that would be upsetting. But yet, I have to wonder - is that arrogance? Shouldn't I trust that if God were to call me home at a younger age, He would also take good care of my children? But still, you can't deny that losing a parent in childhood has got to have a profound effect on one's life. Pray for the Brace family.

I'm supposed to write a cheerful, encouraging devotional for a blog this weekend, but now this news is on my heart. Between that and physically feeling crummy, I'm not quite sure how I'm going to do that. I found out that FaithWriters has a daily devotional blog. Different members contribute every day. Kristi told me about it. Her posts come out on the 20th of every month. She told me last week that they have an opening, so I contacted the moderator, and now I'm in! Now I just have to come up with something people want to read. When my first post goes up I'll be sure to let you all know so you can see it.

Will's first football game of the season was last night. Like last year, he's playing both JV and Varsity, which means two games a week, every Monday and Friday. I think that's going to kill us, financially! I spent $14 just getting in last night. And a lot of these games are an hour away or so, which is extra gas expense. The team is not very big this year, so much so that this is the last year of their 1-A rating. Next year they go to just "A." I didn't know there was anything smaller than a 1-A! Will did get quite a bit of playing time last night. He's not a real aggressive player, which I think probably has a lot to do with his personality in general. He's so laid-back and gentle that he has difficulty, I think, turning into a mean football machine out on the field. But several times I did see him him plow into an opponent and I'd get all excited and cheer. And then, at one point, I saw one of the other guys try to take him down and I found myself feeling all offended. Silly mommy! You can't take the "mom" part out of "football mom," I guess!

The boys lost night. I knew it was going to be a rough night when the opponent scored a touch-down in the first 30 seconds of the game! Of course, they were playing Carlisle, which isn't even a 1-A school. They just do this first game for fun, although I think it does count. It's called the "Highway 5 Rivalry Game" since both schools are located within 15 minutes of eachother and both are located just off Highway 5.

I had been chatting with one woman next to me on the bleachers during the game. She works in the high school as an associate for a student with Downs Syndrome. That girl, incidentally, is one of the cheerleaders - I love watching her! Well, she knows I'm Ben's mom and that I homeschool the other boys so we were talking. In the course of our conversation I discovered that she is a Christian, which was neat to find out! Then, she leaned towards me and said, "I could never let my son out on the field to play. I don't know how these mothers do it!" I just smiled and said something about trusting the Lord to protect them. Then a look of horror crossed her face and she said, "Oh no! Does your son play?!" I told her he did and which number he is. She exclaimed, "I never would have said that if I had known!" I just laughed because I truly was not offended. I honestly don't worry about Will getting injured on the field. It could happen, obviously, but a lot of things could happen that never do.

I was lucky, later, that I didn't offend this same woman! The dance team came out and performed a couple of numbers. I was bothered by this because I felt that the moves were awfully sexual in nature, just the ways the girls were moving their bodies. Maybe I'm a fuddy duddy or hyper-sensitive because I have boys, but it bugged me. The lady beside me leaned in closer to say something and I honestly expected her to say something along those same lines, since I knew she was now a Christian. Instead, she pointed out her daughter to me who was on the field performing on the team! Ai-yi-yi! I'm glad I let her talk and didn't open my mouth too quickly!

Paul is at the men's retreat this weekend. I had decided long ago that I would not be going this year to the ladies' retreat because I was spending money on my Michigan trip and it would be better to stagger the expense of those two trips (our church retreats cost $45, which is a chunk of change when you're counting every penny). So, a few weeks ago Paul asked me if I was going to the Ladies' Retreat and I told him I wasn't. Feeling virtuous, I opened my mouth to tell him why I wasn't going. But before I could speak he said, "Good! Then I'll go to Men's retreat!" Well, so much for saving money! This year they were offering target shooting and he was particularly excited about that. He even had to call me last night to tell me how good he had done! He'll be home sometime tonight.

Well, off to sniffle some more while I run through my to-do list...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Fair Fun, Bad Bodies, and Melancholy Musings

I entitled my last post, "Whirlwind" because the weekend I was writing about was just that - a whirlwind of activity in a short period of time. That's what I could call this entire week that just ended, too. My goodness, it was busy! I am hopeful that this next week will be easier - maybe. I had wanted to sit down with my notes from the weekend and re-absorb them all. I wanted to develop a plan for building my "platform" (magazine and blog article successes that a future agent will look at when deciding whether or not to represent you and your finished book). But I didn't get any of that done. This next week is the start of school, both for Ben and hopefully for the other boys. Why I think I'm going to get anything extra done with that going on, I don't know. Unless, maybe falling back into a routine will enable me to get more done. I don't know!

I actually did get everything done on today's "to-do" list. But that's because I gave myself a shortened list. I'm not sure that counts!

Paul's parents came up yesterday to go to the state fair with us. Why a set of 70 somethings would think it's fun to tramp miles all over a hot fairground, I have no idea. I certainly do not enjoy it, and I can't imagine being 30 years older than I am now and being willing to do such a thing. So, of course, I had to spend Thursday cleaning my house. Then we went to the fair yesterday. This year, the weather has actually been milder than normal during the fair. But when you're out in the sun all day, it's still hot. I just really do not enjoy the fair, although most Iowans seem to think it's the best thing since fried twinkies on a stick. Actually, this year's newest "stick" item was fried butter on a stick. That has got to be one disgusting treat! But anyway, the vendors don't change, the animals don't change, the long walking doesn't change. But yet, I keep getting dragged back again and again.

They spent half of today at our house, too, playing board games with the boys. I made a nice lunch and then had to rush off to attend a bridal shower for a friend. They assured me that they would be gone by the time I came home, but they weren't. They were all playing Yahtzee when I walked in.

I think the boys had fun at the fair. Will upgraded his phone at the US Cellular booth and added texting to his line. He's paying for it himself! Ben contented himself with a foot-long sucker that left sticky trails all over his face and neck. David waited all day to buy himself some cotton candy, and I found a sturdy hand-made wooden sword (only $5!) for Sam at one display area. I'm glad somebody enjoyed themselves! Afterwards, we all went to Pizza Hut and I about fell asleep right in my cheese.

My feet and legs were just throbbing when I went to bed last night but they weren't too bad today. That's good because I had enough other aches and pains. My sciatic nerve flared up earlier this week and it's always the worst in the morning, after I've been laying down all night. It's not waking me up in the night any more when I roll over so I know the inflammation is going down, but it's still pretty painful. And then Thursday I dropped my iron on big toe and just smashed it. Fortunately, it wasn't a hot iron. I knocked it off the dryer and it went flying onto my foot. There was blood everywhere - completely ripped away all the skin from the nail. It's nasty - and painful!

Sam has had his share of troubles this week, too. When I came back Sunday night I was alarmed to see how inflamed his poison ivy rash had gotten in my absence. In fact, after I gave him a bath on Sunday evening he just screamed and screamed for a good half hour. Now, I think some of that was him "playing" me, but he definitely wasn't comfortable. I was all set to take him to the ER, but then he did calm down enough to go to sleep. The next day I took him to his doctor. On top of the poison ivy, he had a secondary infection - pus all over his little leg. So we started a steroid/antibiotic cream regimen. He's been bandaged up like a mummy all week long, but he's definitely on the mend now. It never did spread to his face - just his arms and legs.

And we got troubling news about Will's ears this week. We have known for 4 years that he has a hearing loss in his left ear. But I think I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that the dr. who did his sports physical in July thought he had a loss in his right ear, as well. So on Tues. of this week both of us went to see Dr. Greiman, my ENT up at Mercy. Since I am deaf in my right ear and getting older, my left ear hearing is slowly fading. Actually, my report came back good again this year - very little change from last year's test.

But then they put Will in the sound booth and it just about broke my heart to hear the recorded voice instructing Will to say certain words and he was mute because he didn't hear them. I don't mind being half-deaf myself, but I hate that my child is! I have managed to cope just fine and I suppose Will will, too. He's not going to have any choice, but I just hate that he has to deal with this. Anyway, the dr. said that Will has the hearing of a 40 year old man. His left ear is quite severely damaged and the right has some loss as well, although not nearly so much as the other. He's probably going to need hearing aids within the next few years. However, the dr. does not think it is hereditary. He believes Will's loss was caused by loud noises and mine by a fever I had as a baby.

He gave a lot of suggestions for protecting the rest of Will's hearing. I was ready to have him hang up his gun, but the dr. told us that there is a product that should enable him to still be able to hunt. It's called "Game Ears" and apparently it's some sort of headset that actually amplifies the approach of the deer and then shuts down when a gun is fired, protecting the ears. But Will HAS to protect his hearing around power tools (we got him some earplugs on a string to wear) and when listening to music. Even before his appointment, Will went to Walmart and bought some over the ear earphones to replace his earbuds. Although, he has always been really careful when using his mp3 player. It's Ben's ears I ought to worry about when it comes to music.

In the big scheme of things, hearing loss is not that big of a deal compared to other things - including some of the things his brother has to deal with, physically. And I don't think anyone gets through life without having something go wrong with their bodies. But I don't have to like it. And I don't!

We are getting our house re-financed now. The appraiser comes next Friday. So Paul has been working like a madman, trying to get things done enough for the house to appraise where we need it to. He finished the little bit of sanding around the office door and got paint on it. He hung some more shelves up for me out here in the office. He and Will got the wall frame built for the basement and I think they're stringing the electrical and putting up the styrofoam as I type this.He even stuck some drywall up over the bare wall out in the stairwell over the basement steps. The kitchen is getting pushed out that way when we start remodeling it but he thought it would look better for the appraiser with the drywall up. He's so busy. He has a number of side jobs to be moving on, as well. Actually, I'm grateful because hours are thin right now and the side jobs are the only way that we're able to pay the bills. But his head is just swimming with all these details and trying to figure out what to do when. Tomorrow he'll miss his Sunday nap again. One of our neighbors broke his hip earlier this summer when his giant dog knocked him down. His son, who lives with him, has hired Paul to extend out a deck and build a wheelchair ramp for when his dad comes home - which should be happening this week. So Paul has to spend tomorrow afternoon at Menards buying the material for that. I'm grateful, though - grateful for the way God is providing our needs and grateful for my hard-working husband.

I had another thought about the FaithWriter's conference I wanted to share. There was one unique factor about this gathering of people. Normally, when I am in a group of people, there's a good mix of talkers and non-talkers, extroverts and introverts. I used to be more extroverted (as Paul once said, I used to be "fun"!). But age and maybe maturity has changed that over the years. I'm much quieter, especially in a group setting, now. I'm not one to speak just for the sake of hearing my own voice and I am not the person greeting somebody new. Like I said a couple of weeks ago, my Melancholy is really showing these days! But at this conference, there was a whole lot of standing around and looking at eachother. Oh, there were a couple of more spirited women there, but for the most part, everyone was pretty quiet. If a conversation was struck up, then there would be chattering, but it wasn't what you could call vivacious. I puzzled on this a bit and then it hit me: most of these women (and a few men that were there) were just like me! That's what gives us all our creative and sometimes moody edge. Duh! It was definitely a unique gathering.

Well, I think I am headed for a bath. The boys are all eagerly watching IPTV, which airs coverage of the previous day of the state fair. Since we went yesterday, they are hoping to catch glimpses of themselves on tv. There were only 10,000 people there - I'm sure they'll see themselves!

I do need to get Sam to bed. He didn't nap at all. Right now he is alternately standing on, lifting, and sitting on a watermelon that Paul's mom brought for us. I'm thinking this can't end well. I just mopped Thursday - don't want to do it again any time soon. Uh, oh - the kid just retrieved his new sword and brought it out to the kitchen. That watermelon is definitely headed for a bad end!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


I made it safely to and from Detroit and here is my report:

I was pretty nervous when I left Thursday. I had already received an email from Kristi (pictured above with yours truly - by the way, that shot there was about the 25th picture taken of the two of us. One or the other of us - usually me - kept objecting to the shots of our double chins) that her flight had already been detoured that morning and I just knew that would happen to me, too! I'm not familiar with flying, only having ever flown once before in my adult life - and that was with Paul who did all the navigating. But it went great!

I'm sure I must have looked like a little kid, so excited. I kept peering out my window and was just delighted to watch the earth fall away as we gained altitude. It was SO neat to be flying on top of the clouds! We landed in Chicago right on schedule and I just LOVED that place - so huge and so bustling (a lot more bustling than the Des Moines airport!). I found that I had to take a shuttle to get to my concourse, which was a surprise, but I managed fine. I landed in Detroit around 9:30 Eastern time and my ride picked me up an hour later.

While I was waiting in line in Chicago, a Chinese young man turned to me and in halting English asked if he could use my phone to call his parents. That made me a little nervous because I'm pretty sure that our unlimited calling plan every month doesn't include service to Shanghi! But he explained that he needed to call his host parents in Detroit - he was a foreign exchange student. Only, his English was pretty limited so he ended up handing the phone to me and I talked with the host on the other end. She ended up calling me back twice verifying flight times. At first I was a little hesitant about helping this guy because, of course, I didn't know him. But then the thought went through my mind that as nervous as I was about flying to Michigan, how much more nervous this young man must be flying around the world and to a country where he couldn't even speak the language well. Compassion won out.

I got picked up and began meeting fellow FaithWriters. That was neat - strange people were hugging me. I recognized the name of one of the ones who greeted me - everything she writes is like gold. But she found out my name and said, "Oh, I LOVE your stories!" The next day I discovered that this gal - Lisa - just got her first book published. And yet, she loves MY stories! I bought one of her books and she autographed it for me.

The hotel was nice and quite a bit fancier than the Comfort Inns that we tend to gravitate towards. Only, for all that fanciness, we didn't even have a fridge or microwave in our room! But we did have Sleep Number beds! So-o-o neat. I'm thinking that our next mattress purchase will have to be one of those. Unless of course, the economy totally collapses in the next 10 years (when we'll need a new mattress), the Chinese take us over to recover what is owed to them, and we all end up sleeping on bamboo mats. But that's a post for another day.

Kristi ended up getting in around 1:30am, after being routed all over the country. We talked until 3:30 am when we finally decided that we HAD to sleep. The next day we slept in until 9:30am and then went shopping. The hotel was very close to a mall and a number of little strip malls, so we just hotfooted over there. Kristi's luggage was lost so she had to buy new clothing and necessities. My luggage wasn't lost, but I'm always up for a shopping trip! It was a really nice time of getting to know one another at a face-to-face level.

The conference started Friday night. I was so impressed with the truly Christian emphasis of it. One of our first speakers challenged us with the idea of are we writers first, or are we Christians first? God may have totally different plans for our life that don't necessarily involve writing the way that we, ourselves envision. I appreciated that.

Saturday was to start with a breakfast. So Kristi and I set our alarm for 6:30am. We were sleeping and all of a sudden I was awakened by Kristi exclaiming, "Is someone breaking into our room?" Well, that wasn't happening, but a transformer had blown outside and so our alarm didn't go off. We had overslept by 35 minutes. But you know, it's amazing how fast you can get ready when the only person you have to get ready is yourself. We were showered, dressed, and make-upped in just 30 minutes. We got down to breakfast and discovered that we were the lucky ones. We still had lights and electricity. Some people had to come down with wet hair because they didn't have any power at all in their rooms. I would have skipped the conference if that was me!

All day long we went from one workshop to the next. I took copious notes and am anxious to go over them again. I learned SO much! But the hotel was losing more and more power as the day went on. And this is August. Granted, August in Michigan is a little cooler than Iowa, but it was still hot. The rooms were dim because the power was lessening and they were hot. Poor Kristi about fell asleep in one session! Eventually, in the late afternoon, full power was finally restored, much to my relief. At one point Kristi and I had gone up to our room and we had to use our cell phones for light in the bathroom!

I had a critiquing session with one of the big editors who was at the conference. This experience took the wind out of my sails a bit. She took one of my pieces and had thoroughly critiqued it. By the time we were done, I felt like I should just put up my pen forever - why did I think I could ever write? But the more I thought about it, the more grateful I became. If I want praise for my writing I already have plenty of people who will gladly give that to me. But those people can't help me advance to where I want to go. This editor can. She knows what it takes. And I don't have it yet. But if I follow her directions, I might just develop it in time. And, really, it was quite generous of this lady to give her time to a lowly beginner writer like me. My desire is that editors clamor for my writing because it's just so amazing. But that's not going to happen. Writing is hard work. And if I want to succeed I'm going to have to get over any pride I've got, knuckle down, and learn how to do it right. Then, just maybe, I may have a chance at success.

Fortunately for my battered pride, Paul had slipped a couple of cards in my luggage. One was a cute "Miss You!" card that he had labeled for me to open on Friday. The one that I opened on Saturday was breath-taking. It was a card that said, "I believe in you" and he had written this letter in there about how he did just that and how he knew I could make this happen. I ended up tucking that one in my purse to pull out and read again on the way home. It was so special.

We finished up the conference on Saturday night. There was some big meeting going on next door and they were so loud that we could hear their music and yelling clear across the hall where we were having our little conference. But yet, prior to our evening sessions, the coordinators for the other meeting had come over and demanded that WE keep it down and not interrupt their meeting. Whatever! (eyeball rolling here).

Kristi and I turned in early Sat. night (well, prior to midnight - early for us!). She had to be up at 3 to get her ride to the airport at 4. We asked for wake-up calls for both of us, but we never got them. I could not shut off my brain that night. Even on my lovely Sleep Number bed, I tossed and turned. Finally, at 12:30am, I got up and tried to lightly cover Kristi's eyes with an extra pillow. She had assured me that if I wanted to watch tv it wouldn't bother her sleep, but I wanted to be extra careful. Well, I think she thought I was trying to smother her in her sleep, because I woke her up! Anyway, I watched stupid, mind-numbing tv until I was finally able to turn in for good at 1:30 am. Then, I woke up at 3 with Kristi and sadly said good-bye to her. :( I was up by 7:45.

You know, besides the conference and besides Kristi, what I really enjoyed about this trip? The solitude. Unless you live a life like I do where you are constantly being talked to and needed for something, I think it's hard to appreciate just how wonderful it is to be totally alone. I had an hour or so in the hotel room all by myself and I had hours alone at the airports and on the planes. It was wonderful! My mom assures me that thirty years from now I won't find alone time quite so amazing, but I sure appreciate it right now!

A couple of the other Faith Writers took me and another lady to the airport and I ended up having 3 hours to myself in the Detroit airport. My flight was nearly an hour late. And I sat in there and froze. It was rainy outside and cool inside. Eventually we boarded and ended up in Chicago again. Now, I was supposed to have about an hour layover in Chicago. But since my flight was late, I no longer had that time. I figured that United would probably put me on another flight but I wasn't sure what the protocol for that was - could I amble through the airport, miss my flight, and then assume they would get me home via another plane? Or was I expected to do my best to catch my planned flight? I decided to opt for the latter, which is really unfortunate, because I would have loved to have more time to explore O'Hare. As it was, I raced from one end to the other, trying to get to my gate. I wasn't running, but I sure was walking fast! I went so fast, in fact, that I gave myself some pretty nasty shinsplints. My hip, which had been bothering me slightly all weekend, completely went out and I've been in some serious agony since then.

But I made my flight! As I got to gate B7, they were loading the last of the passengers. I gasped to the clerk as I handed him my boarding pass, "Is this Des Moines?" Funny man replied, "Actually, this is Chicago, but the flight is headed for Des Moines!" Grrr....

And then we began descending near Des Moines. I looked out my window and I could see the track at Simpson College where Ben participated in Special Olympics this spring. And then I saw the water tower in Norwalk and could clearly read the town name emblazoned on the side. We landed and I turned on my phone which immediately began to ring and I could see that I had three messages. My phone had been silent for my entire trip...back to reality!

I walked off the plane and rode down the escalator. And my family was waiting for me, all smiles. Sam told me he had not missed me, but I think the others did. We went out for ice-cream and I regaled them all with my adventures and then we went to church, where I nearly fell asleep.

I want to go back. Maybe not next year, but some other year soon. I need to go back so I can keep learning. And I will enjoy myself each time I go. But the best part, I suspect, will always be when I ride down that escalator and see all my men.

Waiting for me.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Will is home for good - hence, this picture. Actually, this was taken the Sunday before he left for his last two weeks up at camp. Sam and I went and got him, along with another camper on Friday. That pretty much took up my whole day.

Will came back and immediately got into some poison ivy. I thought he'd gotten into it up at camp, but apparently, it was from pulling weeds around here on Sat. He was so miserable by Sunday night. It was all over his face. So I finally just took him to the ER at Blank at 11:30 that night. I don't think it was an emergency, but he couldn't sleep and I really wasn't going to have time to take him anywhere on Monday. Plus, he was to start football practice first thing Mon. and I wanted to know if it was even ok for him to do that with this stuff all over his body (it was). So, he's on steroids and Benedryl now, along with $20 worth of creams I bought yesterday for him. Now, Sam has something going on on his left leg. He's got a couple of really hard yellow blisters and a rash, along with a couple of deep scrapes. I don't know what it is! If it's still bad tomorrow, I'm going to see if the dr. can see him when I take Ben in for his allergy shots. In the meantime, I'm treating it as if it is poison ivy, too - minus the steroids.

I leave the day after tomorrow for my Michigan trip! I'm starting to get excited - still nervous about the solo flying, but excited for the trip. I feel like my writing is in such a rut - I'm hoping what I learn will shake that up. Plus, it is going to be so much fun to spend time with Kristi!

I have been struggling with depression for the last month, too, which is really unusual for me. Perhaps this get-away will loosen the hold that this blackness has on me? I feel like I've been living on St. John's Wort for weeks now and I've even contemplated getting a prescription. But I had a bad experience with Zoloft about 10 years ago and I've never wanted to be on anti-depressants since. It's just very irritating because my normal self is generally pretty happy and content with life and when that is suddenly not my first nature anymore, it makes me even more depressed! Needless to say, I am quickly developing an empathy for those that struggle with this condition on a daily basis for most of their lives. Ugh! I hope this passes quickly!

A number of years ago, like back in the 80s, the rage in Christian circles was to figure out your "personality" type, based on 4 predominate personalities. I knew then that I was what they called a "Melancholy", but I had strong Choleric parts to my personality as well. Well, I think the Melancholy is finally taking over. Sigh...Not that being one is a bad thing, necessarily, but I do think they are more prone to depressive episodes. I should find that book sometime from the library and read up again on the personalities, just for fun - or insight.

I got the results back on my Factor V Leiden test - negative. I was so sure that I had it and I found myself disappointed with the results. I wanted a reason for my stroke 4 years ago and had so hoped that this was it. But I guess it's not. So, that means that the possibility of another stroke is still hanging over my head, as I guess it probably will all my life. But, I could also get hit by a mack truck tomorrow (or die in a plane crash) - there are no guarantees of anything in life! The boys are pleased though, because they were not thrilled with the idea of getting tested themselves.

I took the boys in for their 6 month dental check-ups last week. No cavities, but the dentist is telling me that David is probably going to need braces at some point. I questioned him about his lower teeth, which are a concern. They are coming in awfully crooked. His top ones aren't so bad. So, now I have a referral for an orthodontist. I still need to call him. The dentist said there's no real hurry on this (good!), but I suppose we should plan on using some of (or all) next year's flex spending money for it. I am not sure what insurance will cover. David is kind of freaking out about the possibility, but I'm not going to ruin his chances of snagging a good wife because he doesn't have a nice smile!

Last Monday I was at the school, dropping off Ben's registration and my CPI forms for the other boys. I ran into the mother of one Ben's classmates and so I struck up a superficial conversation with her. I asked if they had gone anywhere this summer and she sadly shook her head. I immediately felt like an idiot because her son is very, very autistic and has some extremely difficult behaviors. They probably have difficulty going anywhere, let alone on vacation. So, I contritely said, "Oh, it's probably hard for you to go anywhere, isn't it?" She shook her head again and burst out, "My husband left me this summer!" Oh! I felt horrible! I hugged her and told her how sorry I was. We ended up becoming Facebook friends and have been chatting back and forth over the last week. But wow - and I think I have reasons to feel depressed!

It looks like we are re-financing our house. I'm letting Paul take care of that. I have enough to worry about. With the bank we are going with, we'll even cut 3 years off our mortgage, without raising our payments. But now he's on a tear now to get things fixed up before the appraiser comes out in a week and a half. We've debated about moving and that may still happen at some point, but I think we're going to wait until Ben is closer to finishing school. And, rather than sell this house, we'd really like to turn it into a rental property at some point. But for now, it's just our house.

Last week when I got Will we stopped at a Subway and Sam announced that he could "read" my cup. I asked him what it said and he began to spell out, "S...U...B...W...A...Y" I said, "So what does that spell?" Sam triumphantly announced, "It says, 'pop'!"

Well, I had better keep moving. I am meeting a friend of mine from church for lunch. She's actually a 23 year old college student, pursuing her masters in music. She and I struck up a friendship a few years ago and now she wants me to help her find some clothes for this next year of school. She may know music, but I know fashion! Well, I know fashion for 40 year olds, that is. I'm not sure how much help I'll actually be!