Monday, April 29, 2013

Beautiful Spring, Crazy Days

It's a beautiful spring day - the kind of day we spent all winter waiting for, I think.  Unfortunately, today and tomorrow are supposed to be it for nice days this week.  Then, it's going to get chilly again.  I really need it to warm up and stay up - not only for my own sanity, but because I'm in the final countdown towards Will's graduation.  Right now I have two seasons of everyone's clothes out and I would really like to get all the winter stuff packed up before the party.  Oh, it will happen - I'm just impatient this year, I guess.

I'm sort of working on Will's party, but I am just having the hardest time getting motivated.  I suppose that's fueled by own unwillingness to admit that he really, truly is graduating and getting ready to leave me forever.  And it's because there are still a few projects remaining on the house before I would even want a burgler to visit, let alone, all my friends!  But it's a month from this Wednesday, so I had better get moving!  I'm almost done with his announcements/invitations and I think we have a menu hammered out now.  I just need to figure out how much of everything I need to buy, how much help to ask for, and clean my house from top to bottom (ugh).

Will and I went up to Faith last week to crunch numbers with the Financial office.  It's actually going to work and with Will having to take on only a small amount of debt.  So that's good!  What's not good is that I totally forgot I had a mammogram scheduled for that morning and blew them off to run up to Ankeny.  Oops.

The house is getting there, thanks to how slow it's been for Paul's work this March and April.  Last week he got the rest of the kitchen ceiling tiles in and drywalled in one of the pantry cabinets, making an extra-long, tall cupboard.  That little bit of drywalling needs to be painted, along with the spot behind the piano in the backroom where the window used to be.  He needs to get the trim up around the backroom door, too.  I noticed that he smoothed out all the dirt where the porch used to be, in anticipation of re-building the porch.  We have to get the new kitchen floor down and clean up the yard and then we'll be ready!  Wonder if we can do it in a month...

We've had a bit of an ordeal with Sam lately, as most of my FB friends are aware.  A week ago I noticed that his face was "off."  We ended up taking him to the ER and discovered that he has Bell's Palsy, which is paralysis of the face (in his case, half his face).  His was presumably caused by his recent bout with the chicken pox.  So, in the space of 4 days, we had to see 4 different drs, including the ER visit.  We saw an infectious disease guy who was quite nice.  He's so interested in Sam's case that he called me back a few days later and is asking that the results of Sam's upcoming MRI be sent to him.  We saw an eye specialist because now Sam's right eye doesn't close all the way.  It's kind of freaky - when he does blink, we can see his eyeball rolling up into his head!  We also found out Sam needs glasses at that visit.  Then, we had to have a pre-op physical done the next day.  They're going to do an MRI of his brain (sedated) on the 15th just to rule out any brain inflammation.  This ought to be fun, since he has had zero experience with needles since he was infant.  Right now he's on a couple of meds and we're really hoping that they do the trick and get his face back to normal.  So far, they're not working, though.  The drs said that his face will probably come back, but they can't guarantee it.  It could be days, they said, or weeks.  I've been doing some research and talking to others and it sounds more like months is more common.  Although, I haven't actually talked to anyone who has experience with children and Bells Palsy.

So, you know - this is just one of "those" things.  It's not the end of the world, Sam isn't in any pain.  He's annoyed when he eats because he can't get it in very fast anymore and his speech is a bit slurred.  He looks a little odd.  But, he's not sick, he doesn't have a disease, he hasn't been injured - things could be worse.

I got a new dining room set last week, which was kind of unexpected.  I've been wanting a new table since we got the girls.  It's been a bit difficult to fit 8 of us around our 6' table.  Paul's actually been more on the look-out for one, though, then I have.  I assumed we were looking at big bucks for something new and it takes work to find something used on Craig's List (which is the exact reason I am still sitting on my very saggy and dilapidated love seat - I don't want to take the time and effort to hunt down something better!).  He ran up to Homemakers one day last week in his truck because they had advertised a little computer desk we were interested in.  We moved our office down to the basement the week before last, but are keeping the computer upstairs and needed something to put it on.  Well, while at Homemakers Paul ran across this table and chair set that had been returned and was marked down 2/3 of the price!  He called and described the table to me and it sounded exactly what I have wanted.  Our last table was ornate and I just don't like that kind of stuff.  I am really a simple kind of girl, when it comes to furniture, anyway.  So I took a leap of faith and told him to go ahead and buy it!  I love the table.  It looks like old planks of wood fastened together.  When you put the leaves in it's a full 8' long and it's 2" wider than our last table was, too.

The chairs I'm not crazy about - I don't hate them, but they don't inspire any fond feelings on my part, either.  I've always wanted old-fashioned ladder back chairs, so someday I'll find what I want.  Actually, the table came with 6 chairs.  We had 2 wooden, simple chairs we were using, too, so I spray painted them black to match the new ones - it works for now!

Bella has an appt. next Friday to get de-clawed, fixed, and to get a rabies shot.  We're going to drop her off first thing in the AM and pick her up at that afternoon, getting her all taken care of at once.  About two weeks ago she started acting really strange and we thought maybe one of the kids had hurt her back.  She was yowling all the time and this cat very rarely ever meows.  She was laying funny, like it hurt her, kept her back legs straight.  I was getting ready to call the vet.  Well, my neighbor was over one day, helping me with my printer (an ordeal when it came to printing Will's invites) and he told me that Bella was in heat!  I was so shocked.  I did not know kittens could do that!  I looked it up on the internet and sure, enough, that's what it was.  Boy, am I glad I didn't call the vet!

I had kind of a nasty experience last Thurs.  Lizzie and I ran errands all day.  It was a nice, mother-daughter type of day.  One thing I had to do was run to Mid-K, which is a black beauty supply store in Des Moines.  Since it is located really close to Methodist Hospital and I had an appt. there, I decided to do those things together.  Bad idea.  I'll try to condense this, but basically what happened was that there was a woman in the store who recognized Lizzie and called her grandmother to tell her we were there.  I also got very bad service there and I'm convinced it had to do with the color of my skin.  We got out of there rapidly, but I just felt like my skin was crawling afterwards.  We are doing everything we can to remove Lizzie from her past.  It's not that I have any problem with her being black (I think she's beautiful) or black people in general,  but being in that kind of not-nice environment was a reminder of where she came from. And it stirred up all kinds of icky feelings in me - jealousy, fears that we won't be able to totally give her a new life, fears that she may choose to go back in adulthood - stuff like that. 

I ended up emailing Jenn (who used to have the girls and adopted their brother) about it the next day and she immediately called me and we talked for quite awhile.  It was nice to just talk to someone who understands, who isn't going to think I'm racist because I'm uncomfortable in that kind of environment.  The thing is that by adopting children who were not given up willingly and by remaining in the same metro area, Jenn and I have sentenced ourselves to a lifetime of looking over our shoulders every time we are out and about with the children.  I do think it will get easier when the kids are older and less recognizable and after the birth mom has moved on with her life.  But for now we have to be more cautious.  It's still worth it, though!

A week ago Paul and I went to a movie event at the Fleur cinema.  Actually it was a documentary.  It's called "Stuck" and it is an amazing account of the plight of the millions of children waiting to be adopted overseas and the hundreds of thousands of parents who want them.  But the red tape of governments, and treaties are standing between them, creating an almost impossible situation at times. And children are left, unadopted in often very pitiful orphanage situations when they had people willing to be t heir parents.   But yet it was so inspiring to see the fight that the profiled parents had for children they had never even held in their arms yet, in some cases.  So awesome!  The theater was nearly sold out.  To my delight, Jenn was there, too!  It was just a one-time viewing.  The guy who made this (an adoptive father of 3 Haitian children) film is on an 80 city tour and we were fortunate enough to be on the list.  Paul happened to hear an interview with him on the radio last week, called me and suggested I listen, and that's how we found out about the movie.

I spent last Saturday in Council Bluffs with Kathy.  It had been six months since we had seen eachother - way too long.  We had such a nice, relaxing day of shopping and catching up.  I need those times!

Well, I have laundry to hang outside (such a nice thing to have to do!), picking up that needs to happen, Camp Coins to work on with Ben, and a hope chest to unload so that it can be moved.  I have to do all while hobbling, too.  I tripped over a board tonight and scraped my ankle and hand, twisted my foot, and wrenched my back.  I'm thinking the two advil I took aren't doing the job, either...I'm getting more and more dangerous as I get older.

The next time I blog we'll be within a couple of weeks of Will's graduation.  I may be certifiably insane by that point. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Prom, Ben, More Pox, and Widdling Down

Ack - I can't believe how long it's been since I've been on here - just indicative of my life at the moment, I guess!

I got Will and Ben off to Prom Alternative today.  I'm a nervous wreck about Ben.  He's got Will, so I know he'll be ok, but I'm still nervous.  However, I did have fun getting pics of the boys together, all dressed up!  It was just one of those, "Ahh - I'm so glad I decided to be a mom!" moments...They're going up to Minneapolis.  Ben is so, so excited about going to Mall of America.  We were just there 5 years ago - wonder if he remembers that?

Let's see, let me get caught up here:  I mentioned in my last post that Lizzie and I were going to the ballet the day before Easter.  That was really neat!  She was so excited that she was bouncing up and down in her seat before it started.  Afterwards, she couldn't wait to meet Snow White in person!  I realized that I had never been to a ballet myself, either.  I think of myself as being a pretty "low-brow" type of person when it comes to the arts, but I really enjoyed watching the show, even though I do not "get" ballet (to me it's still a bunch of people hopping around on their tip-toes.  How many times and in how many different ways can one do that?).  In fact, I may even be able to wrangle up a Jewels post out of it.  The thing about ballet, I discovered, is that you are forced to think during the performance, unlike any other entertainment that provides speaking and singing for the audience.

Ben had his Special Olympics field day this past Tues.  It was gray and rainy (April in Iowa) but we only got rained on once.  He did well and got 2 red ribbons and one yellow.  I'm so thankful he didn't score any blue ones so we don't have to go to Ames for the championships!  He will have to go up there one afternoon in May for bocce ball, but that's it.  I had one of those "pure joy" moments that always take me surprise because of their rarity.  Ben was finished with his last race and the Olympics were pretty much all over for everyone at that point.  All of sudden, Sam and Lizzie just spontaneously started racing each other on the Simpson track.  It was so fun to watch!  They each made it half the distance before collapsing.

This past Monday I visited a sheltered workshop in Indianola called Genesis.  The school is wanting Ben to start working there a little bit next fall.  I wanted to see just what this place is before agreeing.  I'm ok with it, but if it's going to happen, it's going to be on a limited basis.  Learning to wash and fold laundry (the facility takes care of the laundry needs for several area hospitals) is fine for Ben, but it's not going to be the sum existence of his possible job training.  I really intend to push the school into providing numerous job training/shadowing opportunities for Ben in the next couple of years.  I was able to meet yesterday with the new sp. ed teacher the school hired after Spring Break. I was really impressed with him, even though I am quite sure I am old enough to be his mother!  Well, I know I am.  He told me he just graduated from college in Dec!  Technically, he's just a long-term temp, but I plan to put a bug in the principal's ear, for whatever it's worth, that I would not be opposed in the least to the school choosing to hire him full-time after this year ends.

Paul and I took our permit-to-carry class last night.  It was interesting.  I don't know that I am any more anxious to buy my own gun, but I'm going to.  I definitely see the need to be able to protect myself and the kids.  Losing my fear of firearms is the first step.

Did I mention that David, Sam, and Elli all had the chicken pox?  They got them two weeks after Ben did.  Elli's wasn't too bad of a case, so she might get again later on.  But I'm pretty sure David and Sam are taken care of!

Being sick didn't dampen Elli's mischievousness, though.  In a space of four days, she flooded the kitchen ceiling, tipped over a 7' cabinet and breaking off the door, and furiously scribbling over freshly drywalled and painted kitchen walls with a red crayon (and when I scrubbed the crayon with a magic eraser, the paint came off).  This week she took an ink pen to David's Bible.  He was one very unhappy brother!

They had a nice write-up about Will in the Marion Co.newspaper a few weeks ago.  Actually, it was a terrible write-up, but it still made me proud.  The paper does what they call "senior spotlights" every spring where they publish a senior's picture and the results of a survey they send them.  Will gave a really strong Christian testimony and talked about how his biggest influence was his dad, who lives his life "according to God's Word" and things like that.  In fact, one lady at church told me that reading it made her "proud to know Will"!  Now, if I had about 10 more hours in every day, I would march down to the Knoxville office and demand that they hire me to take over the current editor's job.  I have never seen such poor writing in my life - this woman switches tenses, misspelled my name, wrote in fragments, misspelled words, capitalized things when she should not have, and didn't capitalize when she should have.  I'm still not over it - just shuddering.  It's almost as bad as when my mom recently told me the Waterloo Courier published a sports headline that talked about some team "widdling" down the competition.  Help me - I think I'm going to need medical help soon!

Ok, need to start supper.  I'm caught up - good for a couple of weeks, I think!