Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Good News, Thanksgiving, and Resolutions

Time to finish up this week's blogging!

Joy rallied. They tried some additional steroids and it really brought her around and stopped the brain swelling. My friend Julie went up to see her yesterday. She called me afterwards and said it was just a really strange day. She had gotten a call that morning from Joy's husband saying that she had better come because she might not get another chance to see Joy. So she went and by the time she got to the hospital, her husband was talking about them all being in church together Sunday! Julie was asking me rhetorically, "How do you go from being at death's door, to planning to attend church in just a few days?" Whatever it is, we'll take it. I know Joy and her family are not looking for a cure (although they would take one) but just more time to spend together before she goes Home.

I didn't write about Thanksgiving yet. This year we went out to Council Bluffs. To my surprise, almost everyone - everyone being Paul's nuclear birth family - was there. His one brother didn't come but that's all right because we think he's a bit psychotic and aren't too crazy about having him near our kids. I can get away with saying these things on my blog because absolutely nobody in Paul's family has the slightest interest in reading my blog! There are advantages to being disliked...

It was an ok day. We spent the night on Wed. Paul's sister and family were in town from Ohio and thus, had the upstairs guest bedroom. So we got the downstairs bedroom. It's located underneath the kitchen and the ceiling is not insulated which means every footstep above sounds like a thundering herd of elephants. And Paul's mother was up at 4am putting in the turkey. So our sleep was definitely not uninterrupted!

Neither of Paul's sisters spoke a single word to me the entire time we were there. As Paul reminds me - "Consider the source" but it still bothers me even after all these years. Paul has also tried to remind me over the years that it probably has more to do with him than me. Years ago Paul had to take a stand for truth and righteousness that pitted him against his entire family. I don't think they've ever forgiven him. His sisters, especially, have just never been all that interested in pursuing a relationship with me and have seemingly gone out of their way to take offense when none was intended. I keep telling myself that I "give up" but I guess there is a still a part of me that longs for that sister relationship I had always hoped to attain when marrying. After 19 years, I think it's safe to say that it just isn't going to happen!

But my other sister-in-law, Lisa, and I had a couple of nice conversations. She's been horrible at keeping in contact since we moved, but we have always enjoyed eachother's company. When Lisa found out that we are pursuing adoption she got so excited for us, which was nice. I found out that her son, who is Will's age, and his girlfriend are going to be graduating from high school this May, which is a year early. Since they have a child they apparently got into some accelerated graduation path that their school offers for young parents. Also, they both have full-ride scholarships to the area community college because of their young parenthood status. I want them to succeed in life and so my feelings are divided. I'm happy that they won't be welfare-dependent their entire lives and have a shot at a decent future. But at the same time I'm sitting down with Will and we're poring over college brochures and trying to figure out what kind of scholarships and grants and loans he can qualify for so that he can scrape through and earn a degree himself. It doesn't seem fair to me. I just have to remind myself that 1) life isn't always fair, as much as we would like it to be and 2) You can never go wrong by doing things God's way. Yes, Will will have to work his tail off to get through college but he will have God's hand of blessing on him because he is a young man who earnestly desires to do the right thing and so far, has chosen to do the right things.

One of the nicest things about Thanksgiving? The fried turkey Paul's brother made - yum, yum!

Actually, I think girls are the farthest thing from Will's mind right now, anyway! Last night we were helping Paul lay carpet and I casually asked Will what qualities he was looking for in a future wife. He looked at me like I had grown two heads and replied, "None!" He then said he didn't see a reason to be thinking of those things when he wasn't even looking for a wife right now! I then asked him, jokingly, if he wanted to marry a girl like me someday, and he said well, only for the cooking part, meaning he wants a wife who cooks like I do, but evidently there are other things in me he sees as less-than-desirable - ??? Hard to imagine that!

We did get rest of the carpet down last night - it took forever because we had to piece in a 12" piece along the back wall. This carpet came with a pad already on it, so we had to use carpet tape, which was a new experience - it's kind of handy stuff. But now I have all the furniture in there. We don't have the bed set up because one of the legs is cracked and Paul wants to fix that first. So, I'm trying to be patient, even though I am so anxious to put that thing together with the new sheets and comforter I bought and to just have it ready and waiting for our new little girl!

This weekend is hunting. Nathanael is coming over for a few days to stay and a guy from church is also going to be joining them. So I have some cooking and cleaning to do. My friend, Julie, is coming over on Sat with her little girl while her husband hunts. I'd like to have my Christmas stuff out and up by then, but I don't know if it's going to happen. I hope they get some deer - our supply of venison is getting low! The news has been reporting today that the number of deer have decreased. I guess an all-white deer - something I have never seen before - was killed this morning up in Des Moines by a car. Monday night there was a deer/car accident at Army Post and SE 14th, which surprised me because that's a high traffic area, not really anything rural around. This will be the guys' first experience hunting around here.

I think we're going to try to do better at having family devos this next year. We were talking the other day, wondering out loud if we are "doing enough" where the boys are concerned, spiritually. It's so easy to take them to church and send them to youth group, but I have to wonder if that's really all that's required. So many young people walk away from the church once they are grown and I'm not entirely sure why. But I know I don't want my boys making that choice. Of course, it will ultimately be up to them, but I want to be able to say that I did everything possible I could as a parent to prevent it. Paul also want to implement a "tv-less" week one week a month. It's not that we'd forgo tv altogether, but we would make an attempt to have it on less during that week. I've been less thrilled with that idea, but I can see the wisdom in it.

A David funny as I close up: The other day he was asking me about "that section of the paper where they list the dead people" and I replied, "You mean the obituary section?" David's eyes got huge and he sputtered, "Mom, I think you just said the "B" word!" I had never put that together before but I guess he'd be right. So now that word is forever ruined for me because I know exactly what I'm going to think about when I hear it! And now, thanks to me, so will my readers! You can thank me later.

More work awaits. I need to take Ben to get his allergy shots in a couple of hours. He ended up staying home from school today because he was having such a rough time with his nose. It's been bothering him since Sunday, really. Monday I got a call to go get him early, too. I sure wish we could conquer those stupid allergies. Then, when I get home I need to zip over to City Hall and meet with a guy we might be hiring to be our water commissioner. And then we'll have to leave for church. My days are a whirlwind...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Little Boy Dreams and Changes

My little Hawkeye! Friday the boys and I hit the mall around 8am. Getting up at 6 to get some Black Friday deals was enough of a sacrifice for me! I was not about to go out at midnight and wait in line for hours. We were at Scheels and Sam saw a Hawkeye helmet and was suddenly seized with the great desire to have one. I remembered that I had seen entire outfits before in little kid sizes so we went on the hunt for one. We found one - the last one - in his size and Sam was overjoyed. He used his birthday money to buy the set. Any other kid would have been happy to blow his wad on toys, but Sam has influential older brothers and a Hawkeye outfit was what he wanted! He was so cute. He insisted on hauling the Scheels bag through the mall himself and all the way home kept chattering about how he couldn't wait to get his jersey and helmet on. He wore them all day Friday and Saturday and would have worn them longer except I put them in the hamper. He's been outside tackling his brothers in his helmet. He's so proud of that thing! I pointed out to him that his jersey had gotten a little dirty and he told me, "That's ok - real Hawkeyes get their jerseys dirty, too!" I won't be surprised if he insists on wearing this outfit next fall for his birthday picture - hope it still fits by then! It's going to be one sad day around here when he can't squeeze into his uniform anymore!

Speaking of sad, and this really is: Joy is probably dying today. She's the mom in our church I mentioned three months ago who had been dx with brain cancer. Things have gone swimmingly since the initial dx. She's been in a terrific mood and busy with household things. I read on her blog a couple of weeks ago that she was painting her bathroom or something like that. Then, around Will's birthday she started chemo and radiation. The radiation and tumor itself has caused her brain to swell and unless she responds to some new medication her family has been told it won't be long. I did get a prayer chain phone call this morning and was told that Joy is in an awful lot of pain. Death will be a blessing for her then. But it stinks, you know? Just yesterday, while driving around town, I was hit by a wave of longing for my grandparents who have been dead since 2003. And they were elderly and had lived their lives. I think it would be worse when you have to mourn all the things you thought you'd get to experience with someone and didn't. This world is not where it is. But it's all we know. And so, we grieve. I know Paul is hoping to get up to the hospital to sit with Rod for awhile, husband to husband. I hope someone would do that for Paul if it were me that was dying. But that's not going to happen because I am definitely going to outlive him!

We had our 2nd home visit a week ago. After talking with our worker, we found out that we can be just licensed for adoption. So that's what we're going to do. I've never been all that crazy about the idea of doing foster care, but was willing to do it if that is what it took to eventually adopt. The downsides will be that we will not have spent months with the child, getting to know her and it may take longer to have a child placed with us. But it's not like I don't have anything to do in the meantime! So we will be licensed and then we will wait for a call. I suppose then, we will have a gradual time of getting to know our new child as she is transitioned out of her foster home. The state also has adoption "fairs" twice a year where we could go meet children available for adoption. I think that would be kind of neat, even if it does bring to mind images of picking out a puppy from the pound!

Saturday I ripped up the old carpet in the bedroom (gouging myself only once with the jip knife and nearly breaking Sam's leg, as well). Paul then thought he had to do some re-wiring of the house sine the original wires ran underneath the floorboards in that bedroom. Sunday we put down part of the new carpet. Tonight we will finish it. Then we have to put up a handrail to the basement and hang some co2 detectors. Last night after class we went to Menards and bought a gun cabinet, the co2 detectors, and a needed smoke detector. And then next Tues. is our last home visit! Oh, and we have to move the new furniture into the bedroom, which will be fun! I can't wait to sew a bed skirt and matching curtains, but that's going to be an after-Christmas project.

Our last class is next Monday night. Maybe it's because I've been out of school for so long, but finishing these classes seems like a real accomplishment to me! They've just been so intensive. Maybe it's because my heart has been so tied up with all of this,too.

We have connected with another couple in the class that we discovered are fellow Christians. In fact, the husband is the assistant pastor at an area Baptist church. I'd like to find out their last name so I could find them on Facebook. The mom is a public school teacher in Waukee, although she used to homeschool.

Well, I have more to write, but it will have to be in a later post. I'm kind of scrambling with my to-do list today. I'll be back later!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Dead Dogs and Bowling Balls

It's a cold Monday. I did some work up at City Hall today and couldn't figure out why the heater wasn't kicking on; my hands were about frozen solid. So I went over and inspected the heater - it was on "fan" and only at 56 degrees!

Paul killed our neighbor's dog on the way to church yesterday. The dog was suicidal and really, it's a miracle it survived this long. The accident was unavoidable. We were late and so we didn't stop. But I called our neighbor right away and left a message. I hated to do that because I really thought it was news I should have delivered in person. Well, she never got my message, so she was kind of upset. She wasn't upset about the dead dog, but at what she saw as unkindness in us not letting her know right away. She was so right and I felt just terrible. Paul went over and apologized to her, too. She assures me everything is fine and that she, frankly, is a bit relieved that she doesn't have to take care of that dog anymore. I still feel bad about it though! So that kind of cast a pall over all of yesterday.

Ben's state bowling meet was Saturday. I was shocked to see his aide, Mrs. K and her sister there. The night before Paul's dad had called to wish Ben a happy late birthday. I had sent my phone upstairs with Ben. Well, unbeknownst to me the little booger was able to figure out my phone and had the dexterity to find Mrs. K's number in my phone and called her and asked her to come Sat. I was so mortified! It's enough that she has to work with him 5 days a week. She definitely deserves to have her weekends off! When I was scolding Ben he assured me that he was very sorry. I reiterated to him that he should have asked me before calling. Ben was quiet a moment and then looked at me and said, "But you would have said 'no'." Well, yes, that's true! As I posted on Facebook, he has figured out that it is easier to apologize than to ask permission!

So anyway, we got to the AMF Lanes in North Des Moines which was packed with special needs individuals and their helpers, along with the Special Olympic helpers - what a madhouse! And Ben starts jumping up and down because he spied Mrs. K! She came over to me and introduced her sister (who looks just like her) and told me that they had been at a big craft show at the fairgrounds. But when Ben called her she realized how important it was to Ben for her to be at his event and she said if she couldn't give up an hour of shopping for him, then there was just something wrong with her! She just loves Ben. I was so touched.

Ben didn't do so great - he got fourth place - out of four bowlers! He actually didn't do too badly for the first game. But then Mrs. K had to leave and it was like Ben just deflated. Never mind that all his brothers and his mom and dad were there cheering him on! And he was getting more tired, too. But he still ended up with a ribbon - which I happened to spy this morning under one of the van seats. I can tell it means a lot to him!

Afterwards we went to Incredible Pizza to celebrate the bowling and Ben's birthday. That is one expensive place. A long time ago I had purchased a $25 gift certificate off for $10. Even with that, I still spent $31 on our food and then another $20 on the games. And then was seriously limiting how many the boys could play! Sam did get to ride the go-cart, though, so he was pretty pleased.

We found out that over the weekend Ben had made the front page of the Pleasantville newspaper. They had covered the initial bowling event last month. So, a couple from church who lives there cut the whole story out for us. How nice!

Will is signed up to take a college credit class at the high school next semester - Creative Writing. More and more he seems to be leaning towards a career in sports writing. At this point, I would say it's all still pretty much up in the air. But of all his options, he seems to talk about that one the most. I was kind of surprised he agreed to take this class. They spend the first month covering and writing poetry which is definitely not where his writing interests lay (lie? I can never keep those straight). But I did tell him that will be useful when he gets a girlfriend someday! The nice thing is the college credit - that we don't have to pay for.

Last week David was musing outloud about his own future career choices. He said something about doing something someday - I can't remember what - and I pointed out to him that, in my opinion, he has some great people skills and I could see him a career that involves "talking." Of course, I have been convinced since he was about 4 that he's headed for the ministry someday. But I don't want to be the one to plant that seed in his mind. It needs to come from the Lord! David asked me, "Like what?" So I said, "Oh, you know, maybe a teacher, or..." I pointed at the television where a legal scene was on the screen, "A lawyer, maybe, or..." And then David actually said, "Maybe a pastor" and I very quickly agreed with him that would be an option. Then Will interjected, "Or maybe a telemarketer!" Ha, ha, ha! I guess you would need some sort of talking ability for that kind of job, but it's not quite what I was thinking of!

Well, our second attempt at refinancing the house has fallen through. It's very frustrating. Our credit score is fine. We even paid $400 out of our own pocket for an appraisal and the house came in $15,000 above what we paid for it. But both times we've been told that there are no comparable houses in the area and so they can't approve the loan. Right now, it's ok. Our interest rate went down to 2.5% and our monthly payments are very affordable. But for how long? Seven years ago when we bought this house we had no trouble getting a loan and they would have had to find comparable properties. But that was before the bottom of the housing market fell out. Now, if we wanted to move, we couldn't. So I guess we'll just keep digging out the basement!

Every week Ben has a "reading probe." He is given a half sheet of paper with information about a certain subject or thing. His job is to read and comprehend the paragraphs and then be able to answer questions about it on Friday. So I always help him review on Thursday nights. Well, this past week's was about a certain dinosaur. Typically, the paragraph began, "7 million years ago..." I quickly reminded Ben that that was not true. The world was only created about 6000 years ago. The next day he went to school and he informed his aide that the paper was wrong because his mom had said that dinosaurs were only 6000 years old! So he and his aide went to the internet to look it up. Ben was completely frustrated that the internet told them that dinosaurs were roaming the earth 7 million years ago! And, I think, he was inclined to believe the Internet over Mom, just a bit!

We are leaving this Wed. evening for Council Bluffs. We'll be home within 24 hours. Then it looks like I am going shopping on Friday morning with the boys. It won't be for long because they don't want to miss the Iowa-Nebraska game. I'm not real anxious to fight the traffic or crowds. But I need a new purse and Will wants to get to a guitar store. I don't want him driving alone with all of central Iowa out at the malls. So I guess I'm going to get up at a reasonable (no lining up in front of the stores on Thanksgiving evening for this girl!) time and go out for a few hours with the boys. Ben will be happy!

Ben's case manager for his SCL services is coming over in 45 minutes so I had better make sure the house is picked up. Tomorrow I will be cleaning all day long because our next home visit for the adoption is at 5pm. Oh, and speaking of that, I got the prettiest pink flowered sheets at Penneys on Saturday for only $5! I had a $15 savings coupon and they had them on sale for $20. So now I have my first set of pink, feminine twin sheets for our little girl! I can't wait for Paul to get the carpet up there so we can set up the bed and I can get busy sewing a bed skirt and matching curtains. Like I have any time for sewing right now, though!

Today Jen (of the dead dog) told me that she dreamed the other night that we were given twin girls and I had run over to her house in a panic begging for some little girl clothes. It's funny because I had just had the thought last week - "what if we got twin girls?" I highly doubt that would happen, but you never know, I guess.

Gotta go pick up!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Ben, Brown, and Braids

Ben's birthday was yesterday. I think it was a good day for him. I brought cupcakes to school for him and he had fun passing them out all day long. His aide told me he got birthday wishes all day. Ben was very particular about those cupcakes. We went to Tropik Sun last week out at Jordan Creek to pick out some gummies to top them with. Ben found a box of alphabet gummies and insisted that I pull out every single "B" in there. That was not an easy job! We ended up with about 15 and then we bought some gummy worms for the other cupcakes. I posted something on Facebook about Ben's birthday and got lots of responses, too. I need to sit Ben down in front of my Facebook wall and let him read everything people wrote to him. And the best part - we're done with birthday season!!! I'm pretty sore and stiff today. I spent yesterday painting my bedroom. Today I'm doing the ceiling. I hate painting! I happened to mention how I am risking imminent demise every time I climbed on the stepladder and this morning Paul tightened up the legs on it. I didn't even know you could do that! But that was sure nice of him. I've painted the room darker - now it's all different shades of brown. Paul said it seemed awfully dark in there; I told him it's now our "love cave." Ha, ha, ha! The wall behind our bed is a rich, chocolate brown. Or, as David pointed out, "It's the color of poop!" Thank you, David...

This past Tues. evening was our mom's group meeting for moms of sp. needs kids. My friend Jenny came with me. I've been after her for quite awhile to come. But it takes time to readjust life after being through something traumatic. I know when Ben was little, his therapists would suggest I go to support groups, but I didn't want to. I think I was still operating under the belief that enough therapy would "fix" him. But I was so pleased Jenny came. One of the leaders of the group has a son just two months older than little Rebekah and he has a lot of similar things going on. I was hoping the two would connect, and they did.

This time we had a special speaker, a chiropractor from Altoona. She's one test away from becoming a "wellness coach" too, she said. Anyway, she's into all things healthy. She mentioned that her kids - some of whom are in their teens - have never been to McDonalds. Wow. I did ask her about my Vit D intake. Everyone seems to think that mine is high (except for the dr who put me on it) and I have been concerned that the dosage has been contributing to my kidney stones (I'm dealing with another right now) and my soft fingernails. But she really seemed to think that they are unrelated and told me that in order to overdose on D I would have to take 50,000 ius a day. She also told me that I should not be taking any fish oil until I get my clotting numbers checked, which was news to me. Apparently, fish oil thins the blood and if you are on an anti-coagulant, as I am, that's not good. Anyway, I really liked her. I'd like to see if her office takes our insurance.

She made us a smoothie out of kale, spinach, oranges, apples, water, and bananas. I was dubious about it from the start. The other women stood around slurping theirs down and asking for seconds. I politely sipped mine (it tasted like a liquid salad) and surreptitiously inched closer and closer towards the garbage can so I could privately dump mine. I'll just plan on dying early if the only way around that is drinking spinach smoothies!

My meal went over well with our class on Monday night. I got lots of compliments. It's probably because I didn't bring soup! Crock pots are about the only thing we can bring into the classroom so we have had practically every variety of soup there is. There's only 3 more classes to go! Our next home meeting is this Tuesday evening. Our caseworker mentioned that she will be "delving into" our marriage. That ought to be fun!

One thing one of the teachers happened to mention, off-handedly, Monday night was that one insurance company in the Des Moines area offers "foster care" insurance. There's a $150 deductible but they will replace things your foster kids ruin deliberately. She also mentioned that it will cover treatment for bed bugs. Oh, please, oh please, oh please, don't let a child bring bed bugs or lice into my house!!! I think I would just die!

Wednesday I went over to my hair stylist's house to learn how to french braid. Last week when I went in for my trim, she found pink paint in my hair so I told her what was going on. She almost started crying and told me that she is adopted herself and that she has a real desire to adopt, as well. So then on Monday she called and asked if I wanted to come over and learn how to braid hair. There was another gal there, too. I think I'm going to need a lot more practice before I'll be able to let a child go out in public with the kind of braids I can make! I hope my future daughter is ok with pony tails because that may be all I can muster! Before I left, Sarah (my stylist) gave me a big bag of outgrown little girl's clothing from her daughter. And on top, was a doll. That was when I almost started crying! It was so much fun to get home and sort through the things. Little girls' clothing is so different from little boys'! I'm very grateful for these things because we have been told that we may get a child wearing only a t-shirt and a diaper and we'll have to buy them a new wardrobe immediately. I've been wondering how I'm supposed to take them to the store if the only thing they have to wear is a diaper and a t-shirt! Our teacher mentioned that there is a place in Des Moines that collects clothing and baby things for foster parents, but they don't always have a whole lot. I'll have to try them first. This could all get very expensive, I am thinking.

But my passion is not diminished. My friend, Laurie, a foster and adoptive mom herself, posted a song link on Facebook last night. It was about adoption and I found myself fighting the tears as I watched the video. I am called to do this, to rescue the orphans. I know that like I know nothing else.

This week I was driving and Sam was trying to tell me something. I couldn't quite make out all he was saying, so I asked, "What?" He sighed and would have rolled his eyeballs if he knew how. And then he said, "I really don't like it when you don't listen to me, Mom!" Guess he told me!

Tomorrow Ben goes to his state bowling meet. That will be so much fun. I love Sp. Olympics! I think I have mentioned that a time or two already!

Paul has been teaching Sunday School for the past month - the old people's class. Well, anyone can sit in there, but for whatever reason, a lot of the older people seem to prefer this class. Maybe it's because it's on the main level and they don't have to go manage the steps then. When he told me he was going to do this, I was a little nervous because he tends to be a bit of a "lecturer" when he's passionate about something. I was fearful that the SS class might turn into a real snooze fest. But I have been pleasantly surprised. He actually does a pretty decent job. Last week our pastor sat in there. Of course, he had just had surgery the week before and was probably a bit doped up on painkillers. I was looking at him during the hour and it looked to me like he was dozing off, but I could be wrong. Anyway, he sent Paul the nicest card this week, telling him how much he enjoyed the class (maybe he wasn't sleeping?) and what a good job he was doing. I thought that was SO nice of him!

Well, back to my painting, I guess. I'm also making marshmallow cups today for Christmas. It's too much having these two different projects going on at the same time. I'm fearful that I'm going to end up with paint in my candy and chocolate in my paint!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Quaking, Painting, Electing, and Reflecting

I'm home from church tonight and nobody is sick. I'm trying to dredge up some guilt, but it's not working. I just have too much I needed to get done today that I didn't have time to go to church. Now, that sounds bad! But, that's the way it is sometimes. I'm bringing the meal for our class tomorrow night, so that's what I'm working on right now. I think I'm a little tense about that. Paul asked if I was trying to score "brownie points" with the instructors since one of them is our case worker and they eat supper with us each Monday night in class.

As this class nears its end and we are getting closer to the reality of actually doing this, I think I'm getting more stressed. It's just getting so real! And I know, know, know it is not going to be an easy thing. And I like easy! Of course, it may be months off yet, too. We are scurrying around like mad right now trying to get everything done, but it may be months before we have a new child in our home.

This past week the boys and I spent an entire day moving bedrooms around. What an exhausting experience that was - and Will did most of the hard work! Sam is now sleeping underneath Will's loft in his bed. We put Ben and David in the basement and Paul is getting ready to throw up some temporary walls. That much pretty much eliminates all the new space we had in the basement! I spent two days painting the boys' old bedroom and I'm not quite done yet. I hate painting, but I have to admit to having a bit of fun with this. This is the first time in my entire life that I have ever had a reason to paint anything pink! I chose a soft, soft pink. It's quite a change from the navy, hunter, gray, and yellow walls that were in the room previously! As I've painted I find myself wondering about and then praying for this little girl we're hoping to have soon. I definitely feel led, but at the same time, I am quavering in my proverbial boots (not that I would actually wear boots - unless there was something like 10 feet of snow on the ground - but you know what I mean. Boots as a fashion statement are just not my thing).

Tuesday was one of my big painting days. I happened to be painting the wall that faces the street when Ben's school bus drove up and dropped him off. Ben wandered upstairs and asked me, "Is Deana coming today?" Ack! I had completely forgotten about his case worker coming over! I was a mess. I had dried my hair but not styled it so it stuck out in clumps all over my head. I had paint all over me. The house was a mess because I had not taken time to pick up because I was so anxious to get the painting done. The boys have no problem functioning in a messy house, so they, of course, had felt no compulsion to clean it up themselves. And then ding, dong - she was here! She looked pretty shocked when I opened the door. I have always made an effort to present a pretty front when she comes - the house picked up, candles lit, me looking somewhat presentable, etc. But she sure didn't get that this week. Now she knows the real us, I guess. She actually did look a little shocked when I opened the door.

We had our Swan elections this week. Our mayor was unanimously re-elected, which is great. We had a record turn-out. 21 people from Swan showed up to vote. Only 40 are registered! Best of all, Paul got 20 votes so he will be on the city council starting in January. We have another newbie joining the council, as well. Our current city clerk, Jen, and I are swapping places. She got elected to the council and I'm getting her job!

We got our family pictures taken Friday night. Despite Sam deciding to play barber with his hair the day before, they actually turned out well. I was able to disguise Sam's hair cutting experience (curls are great for that - I was just glad he hadn't gone for his bangs!), nobody was sick, or sneezing, or in a bad mood. So we ended up with a decent picture. The last time we did this we all came down with the flu the next day. Fortunately, that didn't happen this time. The next time we get a picture done the boys will be 20, 18, 15, and 7. Wow!! As we were switching out the old photo in the frame from '08 Paul kept exclaiming, "What happened? Where are these little boys?" I wonder the same thing. Time goes by entirely too fast.

Will bought a guitar on Friday with the intention of teaching himself to play. He's pretty tickled. He's wanted one for awhile and since he had his birthday he's really been searching Craig's list. He found one that was less than a year old and came with an instruction dvd, a tuner, and some other goodies.

I'll close with something funny Sam said today. By nature, he is not a very demonstrative child. He's not one to kiss and hug others. He's never told me, "I love you." He's a lot like Will in that regards. Unlike Will, he does want to be held frequently, but I think that is probably because he was held so much as a baby and toddler, coming along so much later. I'm not all that worried by his remoteness. I've had enough kids now to realize that they each come hard-wired a certain way. Just because a child doesn't express emotion easily doesn't mean he doesn't feel it. Well, anyway, David was asking at the table today, "Why is everyone looking at me?" David, unlike his brothers, is very demonstrative and emotional. He's also acutely sensitive to what he perceives others to be thinking about him. Poor kid! But Sam pipes up, "Dat's cuz we all wuv you, Dabid!"
Ha, ha, ha! Paul and I about fell off our chairs! David told me just this week that he is considering a career as a professional comedian (Lord, help us!) but I think Sam may have more of a shot at that someday!

Another busy week awaits me. Tomorrow I have to run Ben out to Penneys to get his birthday picture taken. I have to then come home and work up at City Hall with Jen for awhile. Then our class is in the evening in Ankeny. Somewhere in there I need to stop at the store and buy more napkins because I just discovered tonight that we are out - I did all my shopping yesterday! Ben has allergy shots this week and a birthday the next day. So I'll be making not only a birthday cake for here at home, but birthday treats for the youth group and treats for his class at school.

It's going to be his 15th. Fifteen years since the worst week of my life. Fifteen years since I almost died and they told me to start thinking about taking Ben off life support. Fifteen years of shattered dreams and renewed hope for the future. Ooh, I sense a topic blog coming on! Maybe I'll wait until his 25th birthday, though. I'm too busy right now!

Saturday afternoon Ben goes to the state bowling championships. Then we're going to go out to Incredible Pizza to celebrate that and for his birthday. I wonder if I could squeeze in painting our bedroom this week? I sure would love to get that taken care of.

Well, off to cook some more. Then I have to write a letter to our potential child and a letter to his birth parents. But they'll never see the letter, we've been told. Which begs the question - why??? Who can understand the mind of someone who works for the government?

Gotta run!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

School, Parties, and Squishing Time

Here is my pretty new kitchen table and benches. I can totally see the two of us having this someday as our table in our retirement apartment when we're great grandparents!

This past week wasn't too bad, time-wise. And this next week looks pretty manageable, too. That's nice! Maybe I'm actually just as busy as normal, but I'm learning how to handle it better - I don't know!

This past Monday marked the halfway point of our PS-MAPP classes. I'll be so glad when those are completely over! Sometimes it's hard to sit there with all the humanistic teaching. And, I had been warned that the classes would have a very negative tone and they do. I know they are trying to present to us the realities of what we are choosing to do. At the same time, though, I know God is in this and thus, it isn't going to be that horrible! I know there will be tough times and even heartache, but I also believe it's very, very do-able.

We had parent teacher conferences this week at the school. We had nothing but good reports on Ben. All his teachers love him. I found out that he gets to take his current aide to high school with him next year - yay! The sad thing is that she might retire after that! They are planning to turn a teachers' lounge into a learning center for the disabled kids. They are going to put a washer and dryer in there and a full kitchen. That is what SE Warren has and I remember being really impressed by it. I'm so happy Pleasantville is going to have the same thing now! We also met with Ben's vocal teacher. Ben is bound and determined that he is going to be in this year's musical. Last year we opted him out of that, but he has made it plain that he will be participating this year! It makes me nervous, but I don't want to deny him opportunities, either. So, we're going to work closely with his teacher and see what we can come up with for a plan of action.

We met with the guidance counselor, too, for Will. He told us, "Well, I don't know much about homeschooling..." And he wasn't a whole lot of help. Apparently there are a couple of classes Will can take at the school next semester for college credit. However, he's not too keen on doing either. Also, there are some on-line things he can do for credit. So I need to look over those this week and see if any of them are palatable to Will. The school district would pay for everything, so that's like money in the bank as far as credits go, I explained to Will. He is still unconvinced, however.

Will's 17th birthday was Wednesday. That morning I told Sam it was Will's birthday and he gaped at me and exclaimed, "But he's already big!" It was a rainy, dismal day. Will ran over to his coach's house that afternoon to pick up some cds his coach had promised him a long time ago. While there, the starter on his car died! So it's still sitting in his coach's driveway, who assured him there was no hurry on getting it out. He drove Will home and even stopped at Caseys and bought him a hot chocolate. Will came home with a laundry basket full of Christian cds from the 80s and 90s. His coach had put them all on his computer and didn't need them anymore.

Right now Will has 4 friends over. One of them was in a play last night and all of them went to that. Then I picked them up and they watched movies and played video games in our basement all night. All of them are homeschooled and they all range in age 16-19. I think that is so neat that at our church, ages don't really matter. When I was a teenager I would have never dreamed of socializing with someone a grade lower or higher than me! But anyway, I've been doing a lot of cooking the past couple of days. Teenage boys like to eat.

Sam's newest accomplishment is to take a running leap across the kitchen and to throw himself on the countertops. Then, he gets into the cupboards by himself. Never mind that we have a stool out there that he could climb to get up!

I had my yearly exam yesterday - fun, fun! No problems at all there. I got dressed and my dr. handed me a card and said, "Use this to schedule your mammogram." What?! I'm that old??? She said that between 40 and 50 I don't have to do it every year, especially if there is no family history of it, but I should get one done now to establish a base line. So, I have more to look forward to, I guess.

Well, I think I have lunch about ready for the boys. Then I need to run up to Pleasant Hill and pick up David who spent all day yesterday and today with a friend who recently moved up to Polk City. I have a lot on my to-do list today. Fortunately, tonight is the night we set our clocks back so I get an extra hour to get stuff done!