Saturday, November 24, 2012

Holiday Hoopla

That's me after making my first Thanksgiving turkey this week.  We had Charlotte and James and James Aaron over, which was fun.  Charlotte showed me how to make turkey gravy.  I was tired out, though.  It wasn't so much from making the meal but because I was still getting over a cold.  Paul got a nasty cold over the weekend and he shared his germs.  By Tuesday morning Ben had a terrible head cold and I had it by that night, as did David.  It was a fast-moving thing, thankfully, and we were all much better by Thanksgiving Day, but it kind of zapped any extra reserves of energy.  I am getting frustrated.  For the past 7 months now, I have been sick, off and on, all the time.  I used to have the immune system of an ox, going almost 2 years without getting a cold, even.  And now, every time I turn around, I'm sick.  Now, Sam and Lizzie are "barking" every morning, so I know they have some germs, too.  But they don't have runny noses and the barking cough seems to subside once the day gets going.

We did some Black Friday shopping yesterday.  I'm not one of the crazy ones, waiting in line for hours and then going nuts once the doors are open.  I got to the mall at a stately 9:30 am!  Will, however, was up at 5 am, meeting Nathanael, so they could score some bargains.  He found a black suit for $70 out at Jordan Creek.  He called asking if I thought that was a good price.  He needs a new suit, so I told him to go ahead.  His suits have all come off the rack before and he was so impressed that this store actually measured him and is now tailoring his new suit!  I was talking to Paul later and asked him, "I wonder how many other parents have 18 yr old sons who actually get excited by new suits?!" 

Will got his acceptance letter to Faith yesterday.  I'm not sure that's actually an accomplishment.  I know when I went there, if you had a pulse, you got in.  I don't know if that has changed or not.  But he'll be needing a suit or two for there.  Although, from what I hear, the dress standards have really relaxed (while the dating standards have gotten tighter - go figure) in the 20+ years since I was a student.

Anyway, where was I?  Oh yes - shopping.  I had Will meet us at Penneys.  They are the only place I have been able to find overcoats for men, which I do not get at all.  But I discovered that their in-store prices were $30 cheaper than what they wanted on-line for the same coat.  I was hoping that they would have even better pricing for Black Friday and they did - 30% off.  It made me forget that I am boycotting Penneys for their pro-homosexual ads and stupid new pricing (although I did send them a letter, which helped somewhat)!  I also found adoption picture outfits for the girls.  And then I waited in line forever.  I did the same thing again at the Children's Place for an $8 pair of pink yoga pants for Lizzie.  That was dumb.  But we were home by lunchtime.  If I had been alone, I probably would have stayed out all day.  But with 5 kids, the pleasure factor of shopping was definitely diminished.  They were good, but it was just hard to get around with all them in the crowds.

Paul met Will and Nathanael for a gun show last night.  When they got home Will had to show me all his new stuff from shopping (no, he didn't buy a gun), which wasn't a lot, but it was kind of fun.  He said, "Boy, Mom - money sure goes fast when you're spending it!"  Umm, yeah - usually works that way.  He was so tickled about some slippers he found at Kohls for himself.  With the sale prices and then a $10 coupon they had sent me that I had given to him, he got them for $8.  Of course, it probably cost China $3.50 to make them, but I didn't tell him that.  He was even more tickled when I paid him back for what he had spent.

I guess he really is grown up - picking out and buying suits and slippers all by himself!

Ok, what else is new?  The last of the birthdays is out of the way.  Ben turned 16 last Sat.  We did his bowling championship thing.  What a crush!  Imagine 50 wheelchairs in a typical bowling alley, along with 3-400 upright adults.  Ugh is right!  Very warm, very noisy...But Ben got to carry the American flag for the opening ceremonies and they announced that it was his birthday, which was special.  Afterwards, we swung by the Habitat for Humanity store and found some wood (real) flooring for the kitchen.  Paul decided to return the stuff he had bought at Menards since this was cheaper and better quality.  My preference would have been for wide planks for a more old-fashioned look, but the ones they had weren't real wood.  So, I think I can live with narrow pieces instead.  We then went to the Machine Shed for supper.  I love their food!  $80.77 later, we staggered out to the van...

We went to Jordan Creek for a little bit.  Paul and Will were looking at rifles at Scheels and I needed tights for Ellie.  So I took the girls with me to Gymboree and I heard a lady, who had the same color of skin as my girls, point and exclaim to her husband, "Oh look - she has two of them!"  I suppose I had better get used to that!  It's funny.  I used to always think that when I adopted someday I wanted it to be obvious that we had done this - having children that very obviously were not born to us.  But now that it's a reality, I find myself a little more self-conscious about the whole white/black thing, wondering what people are thinking about me!  I suppose that will subside in time, too.  It's just still kind of new.

David was commenting the other day about my homemade vanilla that I make from organic vanilla beans and vodka.  He said something about, "Yeah, if only people knew you were drunking us, Mom!"  "Drunking" them?  Oh, my goodness...I have SO much work to do before this child graduates from high school!

Speaking of graduation, I found out yesterday that the association's homeschool graduation will be on June 1 next year, which is later than it has been.  I'm kind of glad.  Maybe I will do his open house that same day since it's not going to be the same weekend as all the area high schools, too.  That gives us a couple of more weeks to get the kitchen done, too, before his open house!

Ellie's vocabulary has really expanded in the last couple of weeks.  My favorite word of all the ones she has now, though, is "Momm-eeee!"  I actually hear that quite a bit from her.  One day this week, Lizzie asked, out of the blue, "Mama, do you love me?"  She does that every so often, just needing the reassurance, I guess.  Well, I had just cleaned out the upstairs bookshelf on Wed. and remembered that we have a children's book with that exact title.  I told her that and suggested we could read that before she went to bed.  She loved the book and insisted that we read it again last night, too.  This may turn into "The Snow People" before we're done!  That book is one that Ben had to have read to him every single night when he was around 3 or 4.  He would not, could not, go to bed without hearing the story of Jacob and the snow children!  I was so sick of that story and had it memorized before too long.  But Ben's little autistic brain insisted on hearing the story before it would shut down for the night.  A few weeks ago Sam picked that book off the shelf for me to read and boy, did that bring back memories!

Our neighbor boy has been coming to church with us for the past two weeks.  A couple of Saturdays ago he asked me if he could start coming with us on Sundays.  He assured me it was ok with his mom.  While I've had pleasant conversations with his mother over city stuff, I get the impression that this boy is kind of on his own most of the time.  Mom has a new, non-English-speaking,  boyfriend and two small children with him, she works a lot, and I don't think that leaves a lot of time for her 4th grader.  It would mean we'd have to take two vehicles to church, but I couldn't see turning him down over that.  The very next day he showed up at the house at 8 am, dressed nicely in a polo shirt and khakis.  I was still staggering around, bleary-eyed and barely dressed.  I've noticed that in church, he wants to read the Bibles they have on the back of the pew.  So, who knows?  If nothing else, he's having something planted in him that hopefully, he'll remember and want to come back to as an adult.  Of course, I have to admit to having dreams of him getting saved and ultimately becoming this pastor who tells the story of his conversion starting with, "There was this nice neighbor family who always took me to church..."!

It's after 10 - time to rouse my eldest.  I'm going to try to persuade him to get down the Christmas tree in the garage.  I'd like to get a jump start on getting the Christmas stuff up.  I haven't quite figured out just how we're doing Christmas this year since Paul will be on call until 8am Christmas morning and again at 8am on the 26th.  We're supposed to scoot over to Council Bluffs during that 24 hour period when he's not on call.  I'm just not going to worry about it - whatever happens, happens.

And today, what happens is hopefully a lot of stuff getting marked off on my to-do list - better get moving!

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