Friday, May 4, 2012

Growing, Growing, and Gone

Isn't this the most perfect picture?  What is more "all boy" than a little boy in a tree that he climbed himself?  This was taken at Drake University yesterday (more on that later).

As you can see, Sam is now nearly bald.  I cut hair one night this week and Sam was still very set on getting his buzz cut.  I pointed out to him a framed portrait I have of his brothers when they were 3, 5, and 7 and all of them had buzz cuts at the time.  They were all actually quite cute in the picture - my little trio.  I said to him, "Now, this is what you'll look like.  Are you sure this is what you want?"  He nodded eagerly.  Sigh...So I cut it all off.  I seriously wanted to cry!

I know it's only hair and I know that it would be wrong of me to impose my desires on my kids when it's something so unimportant (now if they came to me wanting a blue streak or even a mohawk, that would be a different story!), but I still don't like it!  I didn't mind shearing the other boys when they were little.  But I'm in a different place this time around, mothering Sam.  When I had the others, I was in a "survival" mode.  They came one right on top of the other and we had so much going on with Ben that there just wasn't a lot of time to think about things.  But this time around, I've been older and I have appreciated every single moment of Sam's life, realizing just how precious and fleeting these years would be.  Losing his curls feels like I've just permanently shut the door on his babyhood.  And I suppose I have.

But, oh, he's a happy boy!

Now, for the picture: we spent yesterday at Drake.  For the first time, Pleasantville participated in something called the "Unified Games."  It's a Special Olympics event but it's not just for sp. needs athletes.  They invite all sp. needs kids and then schools need to provide an equal number of "normal" kids to go, as well.  They have a variety of sporting events set up inside and outside the Knapp center and the kids all play together.  It was awesome!  Three sp. needs students from Pville attended, along with two of their aides, Ben's teacher, two of the football coaches, all of my kids, and our sp. olympics coordinator, who is also the mother of one of the school's sp. need's students.  We had so much fun.  It was completely free and we were all given nice, thick, matching t-shirts.  They provided lunch and then afterwards, we all stopped for ice-cream on the way home.  There were about 800-1000 participants, I would say.  I rode up to Drake with Maureen, who is the coordinator.  I've been working with her for the last year but it was my first opportunity to really get to know her.  I enjoyed it!  I was SO tired when I got home, though, that I actually fell asleep.

We have Ben's IEP meeting a week from today.  I am honestly not dreading it.  In fact, I'm looking forward to pointing out to the team some of the things I'm seeing at home.  One day recently, Ben stuck his head in the doorway of my bedroom and informed me that I "didn't have to get up."  Not only had he dressed himself (remembering the deodorant - yay!) but he had fed himself, put his cup in his backpack for lunch, and even unloaded the dishwasher!  I got up anyway.  It's progress.  I have gone from pulling him out of bed and having to remind him every single morning to put on deodorant and to get his shirt on right side out to him being pretty self-reliant in the mornings.  He will be losing his wonderful middle school teacher, though, as he moves into high school.  I wish that didn't have to happen! 

Will has been quite troubled lately about what to do about college.  I didn't realize this until he came to me yesterday and told me that his coach had been quizzing him yesterday, asking him his post-high-school plans.  I guess Will is so fearful of going into debt that he's even been toying with the idea of not going to college at all and just "working a normal job and living a debt-free life."  His coach asked him if money worries were not a concern what would he most love to do with his life.  And Will said he that he immediately told him he wants to be a meteorologist.  Right now, anyway, that is a desire that God has placed in his heart.  Will told me that and I encouraged him to pursue that dream.  We never wanted to discourage him from pursuing a college education.  We just didn't want him to go if he didn't have any reason why he was there.  I told him that if he has a dream God will provide a way.  It's Proverbs 3:5-6.  Will is still very intent on having a year at Faith first.  He may work a year before going to save the money.  And I honestly don't have a problem with him graduating with some college debt.  I don't want it to be such a burden that he spends most of his working years trying to escape it.  But if he gets a high-paying enough job then it shouldn't be a problem to pay it off relatively soon.  Will asked me, "But what if I meet a girl at Faith and I want to get married?   How will I finish college then?"  I assured him that everything would work out, even if he falls in love along the way!  I joked about him needing to meet a girl just like his mother and Will seriously replied that no, that was definitely NOT what he wanted.  I'm thinking I should be hurt here...

We're thinking about going to S. Dakota for a few days in August.  It would just be a long weekend, rather than a real vacation.  We wouldn't get to do everything there is to do up there, but we could at least see Mt. Rushmore, which is something even Paul and I have never seen before.  We thought we'd leave on a Friday and then end up back in Des Moines on Monday and go to Adventureland that day.  His employer gives us tickets every August for that.  Paul is getting panicky about Will finishing high school because there are all these places he wanted to take him before that happened and now we only have two summers.  He is saying we have to go out to Ohio next summer to the Creation Museum.  And that's fine, but I'm not going to start planning anything yet - it depends on money.  And we have a van that passed the 200,000 mile mark a few months ago.

I got a call this week to do respite care for a week in June for the first kids we had back in March.  I could do it except for one of the days which falls on the homeschool conference.  I really don't want to give that up  So, the worker was going to get back to me.  She hasn't yet.  And besides, what if we have our own kids by then?  She told me if that happened they would make alternate respite care plans for the other kids.  She said it in a way that sounded like "Duh, you dummy!"  Well, I didn't know how that worked!

Today, I am going to start sending out our adoption flyer.  Our IFAPA leader got me 2 addresses to start with.  She said there are more, she just needs to find them. 

I've been asked to work with the 4-6th graders for VBS this year.  I've never done that age group before, other than having my own kids.  It actually scares me a bit.  Kids are so sophisticated by that age and what if they feel like I'm talking down to them because I'm used to working with 4 year olds?  I hope it works out ok.  On the other hand, I was pretty exhausted at the end of  last year's VBS working with my pre-primaries.  Maybe it had more to do with the fact that we had 21 of them, though!

Well, David needs the computer to work on his Camp Coins.  I'm really proud of him.  I had envisioned having to do most of his work for him, but he has taken complete responsibility for himself this year, including the typing.  So I need to keep moving.  Melissa and I are going out tonight (postponed from 2 weeks ago when I had the respite kids and Paul worked late).

Oh, oh - before I go:   I am pretty impressed with myself today and think my readers should be, too.  Today I actually took in a blouse and dress for myself.  "Took in" - doesn't that sound so domesticated and knowledgeable?  And they look great!  I am just not a seamstress at all and am, honestly, very impressed and cowed by those that take paper patterns, figure them out, and end up with a garment on the other side of things.  I just can't do that.  I have tried and it's an exercise in frustration and futility.  I was born to shop, not to sew.  But I actually pinned these clothing items of mine, which means I used a real measuring tape and stick pins.  I even had to make a new bobbin on my sewing machine, but I did it.  And I am so pleased with the results!  I doubt I'll ever spend hours sewing my own daughter's wedding dress someday (I'll fork over a credit card to pay for one instead) but by golly, if something needs to be taken in, I'm your woman!

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