Friday, July 18, 2014

Day 408

July 18, 2014

Day 408


It's a rare day that I have absolutely nowhere to go - I am enjoying it!  I have my to-do list and I am busy staining the deck in-between crossing things off the list and tending to the kids.  David has been gone at camp all week and I have missed him.  He does such a good job of running interference with all these short people for me!  He comes home tomorrow afternoon and an opportunity has arisen for me to go out with some women from my SS class in the evening.  I am thinking of putting David on babysitting duty as soon as he gets home.  I shouldn't...but I probably will!


The week has been dominated by my mouth saga.  I have issues going on currently with my upper right side.  In late May, an old filling cracked a molar and the tooth completely crumbled.  I have a temporary crown in there and it's not visible when I smile.  I am putting off the work until January when my waiting period on my dental insurance is up.  Even with that, I'll still have a $2600 bill.  I'm going to have to have an implant put in and my dentist has warned me that the nerve is so close to the surface that it could "go" at any time and then I'd have to have the work done immediately, regardless of my waiting period.  To that end, I've been told to "baby" that side of my mouth and I have been.


But then last weekend my upper left side started bothering me.  I pinpointed the offending tooth and realized it was one that has never had any dental work.  Presumably, I just needed a filling.  I fought irritation at first.  Monday, I was completely kid-free, which almost never happens.  Will and David were up at camp, Ben was at Genesis, and the Littles were with Mishelle - woo-hoo!  Hours to tend to only me!  And  I had to go the dentist...grrr....But, I forced myself to look at the bright side, that I didn't have to scrounge for sitter and that my dentist could work me in that day.  Of course, I had to look harder for that bright side when she informed me that the bothersome tooth is holding up my bridge and because of that I'd have to see an endodontist.  I didn't have a cavity, but needed a root canal.  She sent me home on antibiotics and hydrocodeine, which makes me drowsy. I ended up taking that only at night because I just can't function in the day with codeine in my system.  Plus, I think 3 Advil work faster anyway.


So, Mishelle took the kidlets for me again yesterday and Ben had Genesis and I headed out to W. Des Moines to the endodontist.  I was just sick over the money this was going to cost me.  But I guess that's what it's (money) there for.  I couldn't live on Advil until January.  The procedure really wasn't bad.  The dentist (surgeon?) doing it was super nice and explained each step of the process to me.  He sent me home on steroids because he said the inflammation in there was really, really bad.  The pharmacist warned me that the steroids would make it hard to fall asleep and she was right.  I forced myself to go down at midnight last night (I had taken the pill at 1pm) but it still took a little bit to fall asleep.  From one extreme (with the pain pills) to the other, I guess!  I'm a little achy today but it's not the pain I had earlier this week.  And my face doesn't even look bruised, like it has after some dental encounters.  I'm still thinking the best thing to do is to pull them all out and just get dentures...but I've sunk too much money into my mouth now to do that!


I used my new mower for the first time this week.  When I was considering what kind of a mower to get, riding or push, the boys moaned to me that it would take 3+ hours to mow if I went with a push mower.  We have a third of an acre, but the house and garage sit on that, so it just makes for a really large yard - which is great for a lot of kids.  Not so great for mowing.  I went with a fancy self-propelled mower for a variety of reasons.  Boy, this thing is nice!  It even starts with the push of a button.  I did end up with several blisters on my hands and the callouses on my big toes sure were hurting afterwards.  I probably just need to wear better shoes when mowing instead of my flip flops.  It took me less than two hours to get the whole thing done.  I wore ear protectors and just walked around and around, singing and praying while I worked.  Maybe this will be good for my tummy flab, too...



Ellie got her nightgown on this week, waltzed into the kitchen, and asked, "How Me look?"  I'm quite sure not a one of my boys ever asked me that, particularly when wearing their pajamas! Nonplussed, I said, "Uh, pretty, I guess!"  Delighted, Ellie twirled and exclaimed, "Thank you, Mommy!"




I heard on the radio this week that the boys' old pediatrician in Council Bluffs has been arrested for having thousands of child porn images on his computer.  Yikes...I didn't use him all that long.  Back then, I was still figuring out my own philosophies on child medical care and I went through several years, especially after Ben was born, looking for the right fit for a doctor for my kids.  I really did not find one until we moved out here.  I do remember that this particular doctor in Council Bluffs challenged me when I told him I wanted Will to have the chicken pox vaccine, which was brand new back then.  I wish I would have listened to him.  But anyway...I'm guessing this doctor is probably in his sixties by now.  Child porn possession is a federal crime so that means he'll be going away for decades - essentially the rest of his life.  I don't disagree with the punishment, but this is why I warn and warn my boys about the danger of pornography.  What can seem so innocent at first can quickly morph into a raging, consuming monster of the mind  that will cost its viewer everything.



I followed a link on Facebook this week about the top 100 names (so far) of 2014.  Five of my kids' names made it on the lists.  But, evidently, David isn't all that popular anymore because names like "Hugo" and "Gus" beat him out.  Seriously.  At our medium-sized church, there are 3 young men with the name of "David" so I am guessing that 15-20 years ago, "David" would have made the list.  I don't care.  When I was choosing names for the kids, I deliberately shied away from overly-popular ones and focused more on meaning, as well as what I liked.  We chose David's name to honor Paul's grandpa and because of its meaning ("beloved").  Plus, I really, really like the Biblical David.  Still, I love to read these kind of lists.


Tuesday was Baby Oliver's funeral.  It was nice- sad, but nice.  Ellie sure was a handful, though.  You'd think the kid had never sat through an entire church service the way she squirmed and wriggled throughout the entire service.  Good grief!  All three were quite fascinated to see the tiny baby in his casket.  I couldn't resist stroking his face.  To my surprise, he was soft.  Maybe it was fine hair that babies are coated with after birth.  I don't know.  Paul was just so hard, like a manniquin.  I remember hugging him in his coffin (and discovering by that how it is they dress corpses - they split the clothing up the back) wishing desparetly to feel some familiarity, but not finding it.  The pad underneath his thumb was still fleshy, though, so I remember I kept stroking and squeezing that part of him.


They chose a large cemetery for Oliver that has a special "Babyland" section.  I loved it.  It was such a mixture of sweetness and sadness as I walked around, reading the other gravestones.  Sam and Lizzie were quite enamoured by it, too, and kept asking me to read the stones to them.


A couple of days later, Sam said to me, quite earnestly, "We can never again see or touch Baby Oliver here on earth - only in Heaven."  I've sensed that he is beginning to view Heaven as a very real place, not just this nebulous location that's talked about in church.  Earlier this week, we'd been talking about how people exist either here on earth or up in Heaven, but not in both places at once.  Since then, Sam has had a few questions about what Heaven is like and where exactly it is and so forth.


I told Sam he was right and commented that maybe Dad had already met Oliver and talked to him.  Lizzie piped up, "No, I bet he's holding him, like this!" And she made a cradling motion with her arms.  So sweet.  If there's one good thing that can come out of facing death at such a tender age, it's that my kids are gaining a perspective and understanding that most children their age do not have, for lack of experience.  As parents, we want to protect our children from sad and painful experiences, but this is really a good thing for them, I think. 



One moment, they'll be saying sweet things and demonstrating understanding beyond their years and the next they are back to being onery little kids again!  Lizzie found me in the house one day this week and demanded to know if it was true that in China, boys have the babies!  I looked up at Sam and he had his hands over his mouth, covering a smirk, no doubt.  Brothers!


Sam very seriously told us a few days ago, "I know now who I'm going to marry someday."  All the nagging and pleading from his sisters could not get him to divulge that little tidbit of information, though.  That is all he'd say - just enough to arouse intense curiousity.  He's like his dad in that way!  I guess we'll all have to wait to find out who is on his mind!



A new book for the girls arrived early this week.  It's called, "The Colors of Us."  I've been ordering books here and there off Amazon for the girls in recent months.  Sam calls them, "black girl books" and so that's what Lizzie and Ellie call them now, too!  Totally politically incorrect, I'm sure...But I realized sometime this last year that we have no childrens books featuring black children that I'm aware of.  I've written before how I don't want the girls growing up thinking there is something special about one race over another (that can go a myriad of directions) but at the same time I know they desire to identify with those that look similar to themselves.  So anyway, this book arrived and it is so neat!  It's about a little girl who obviously lives in a very multi-cultural diverse area (probably the inner city, judging by the illustrations).  My adoption Facebook groups tell me that if I want to be a "good" adoptive parent that this is what I must do - pack up and move somewhere where my children can interact and identify with others of like skin color.  I live in central Iowa in farm country.  It's not going to happen.  I'm not even going to take them to cultural events out here because most of them occur in very unsafe areas of Des Moines.  But we may try for some out-of-town events when the girls get older. 

 Anyway, this book opens up to a two-page spread of hands of all different colors, from white to black black.  The girls and Sam had such fun matching their own hands to this page!  It was so neat for me to watch them.  From there, the three of them started holding their arms against eachother, comparing colors.  All this time I've thought Ellie was darker than Lizzie, but arms together, they seem to be the exact same shade of brown.  Although, Lizzie has darkened this summer with all her time in the pool (yes, black people DO tan, I've discovered!).  The book was delightful and I'm so glad I got it.  After we read it, we were able to have a really good discussion about  God's love of color and variety and how no one color of skin is better or worse than the other, etc. 


After months of not dreaming once about Paul, I've had a couple close together.  I'm not sure why.  They have not been especially poignant dreams.  I haven't sensed any "messages" from beyond the grave in them.  But they've been nice to have, just the same.  I don't even remember the first one all that well anymore.  I just know Paul was in it and I was talking to him.  In the second, Paul had come back, but I was very conscious of the fact that his time with us was going to be limited.  We were headed to church and I realized that only the kids were in the van with me.  I wondered out loud why Paul had not gone with us.  In my dream, Will looked at me and said, "Because Dad knew that if he came, you would only been looking at him and not paying attention in church."  There might be a message in that one.  I hope I have some more dreams sometime.  They're comforting, even if they are nonsensical at times.



My pictures arrived yesterday!  I've eagerly been awaiting them ever since I got the email last weekend letting me know they had shipped.  These are the canvas prints I ordered from a website Julie suggested.  They were inexpensive and so perfect!  I ordered a 20X25 one of our family standing at Paul's grave for the living room.  The thing is huge!  It's a good thing I like how I look in the picture or I might be wincing every single time I walk into the living room for the next 3 years (when I plan to get new family pics done)!


I also ordered a 10X14 canvas of the picture of our hands surrounding Paul's Bible which is laying on top of the quilt made out of his clothing.  I LOVE this picture.  Paul was especially fond of  1Corinthians 13 and had the entire chapter memorized and would often quote from it.  When we were dating he had begun a rather exhaustive project of coloring different passages in the Bible, differentiating topic with certain color.  You can clearly see that in the pages that are opened for this picture.  I gave the Bible to David.  I know he will treasure it.


So, I had this whole idea planned out for that picture.  Rarely do things work out as well in real life as they do in our minds.  But this one did!  I had a blank wall in my kitchen that I was kind of saving for pictures of my grandchildren.  But considering that I am years away yet from grandmotherhood, I decided to go ahead and claim that wall now.  I bought 19 cheap 5X7 and mostly 4X6 frames from Hobby Lobby.  Even cheap, that many sure added up!  I spraypainted them all a shiny deep red color (have I mentioned how much I love spray paint?  I think I have...) and framed prints from our photo taking sesion.  I hung the canvas Bible print in the middle and then strategically hung the smaller prints around it.  I love it!


It did occur to me, though, that anyone who walks into our home might develop the impression that I have a rather elevated opinion of myself and the kids, to have surrounded myself with so many photos!  I really don't think I do.  The pictures just make me happy.  I was thinking about previous generations.  When Mom and Dad would dress their kids in their best and Dad would tighten his skinny tie and Mom would snap her long gloves into place and carefully balance her pillbox hat onto her stiff, coiled hair and head down to the local photographer's studio, what did they come home with?  I'm thinking it was probably nothing more than an 8X10 black and white shot that would sit, framed, on top of the tv console.  I seriously doubt they would hang 20 pictures of themselves in their home!  But then I thought back further to the times of royalty when the rich would commission painters to put their images onto canvas or sheepskin or whatever.  Those were not tiny little prints!


Oh well.  It really doesn't matter.  I've always enjoyed getting new pictures done, even if it's just the kids' annual birthday shots.  This particular photo shoot was especially poignant, of course.  For one thing, it ended up being done one year to the day after we had originally scheduled family pictures.  We were supposed to do them June 8 of last year.  But Paul died and I didn't feel up to doing pictures without him for a long time.  And then a lot of these shots were taken at his grave.  That's kind of ghoulish in one sense, but comforting in the other.  In fact, if you look closely, you can see Paul in the shots since I have a photo of us on the gravestone.  To me it's a tangible reminder of what I told the kids the morning I had to tell them their dad had died in the night - we are still a family.  We may be floundering at times and wondering which side is up and not sure of our next step, but we're a family.



My new book arrived today.  It's called, "Widows Wear Stilettos."  The subtitle is "A practical and emotional guide for the Young Widow."  I ordered it strictly because the title makes me smile.  It's not a Christian book that I am aware of and   I may find things I can't agree with, but hopefully, something will be helpful.  If nothing else, I'll just grin every time I pick it up and read the title!


I did recently learn the Elisabeth Elliot has a book dealing with widowhood.  I had wondered if she did but had not been successful in finding anything.  But apparently one of her books she wrote in between husbands (she is on her 3rd marriage, having been widowed twice) deals extensively with that.  The title has "Lonliness" in it.  Anyway, I want to order that one, too.  Elisabeth Elliott and Dr. Laura Schlessinger did more to shape my early attitudes about marriage and motherhood than anyone else in the world, I think.  I am grateful to those women.  I didn't know them personally, but they were mentors to me when I needed them most.


Three things that are making me smile this week.  Well, three things not including  the relief that my unplanned for root canal brought...


1) Pinterest  I actually set up an account over a year ago but never figured how to use it and didn't take the time to do so.  Over July 4th, Kirsti sat down with me and showed me how to navigate.  I am in love!  I now have so many ideas for cooking and decorating and fun times with the kids.  I even accidentally deleted a board last night but it didn't cause me too much angst because I know I'll find other stuff to fill it up again pretty fast.  I'll have to live another 100 years (which I definitely don't want to do) in order to use all the ideas I'm finding, but it's fun to think that sometime I might try them all.


2) Weird Al  My boys have been crazy about his parodies since they discovered him during their pre-teen years.  I've always endured him with rolled eyeballs, although some of his songs are pretty good.  I might even admit to having one or two of his songs on my mp3 player.  This week he released a parody of "Blurred Lines" (which is not a very appropriate song) called, "Word Crimes."  My writerly friends are going crazy over this version and I have to admit, I sat and watched it today and howled throughout most of it.  Here's the link: Word Crimes


3) Peach Mango Mio  I had a coupon for Mio drink flavoring when grocery shopping a couple of weeks ago.  I picked up this flavor and have been using it in my Soda Stream.  Oh, wow...I may never drink Coke ever again!


I hope all my readers are finding things to make them happy this week, too!



















  1. I always dread coming to the end of your blog posts. They suck me in. Many comments I have to make :-)
    1.) I held my breath when I read you had to go to the endodontist. I was really hoping you didn't see the same one I saw. When I read "West Des Moines", I was relieved.
    2.) My Dave's parents named him Mark David but have always called him David. I didn't really like that name much until I met him. Now, I love it :-) Anyway, his parents HATE that I call him Dave. Uh - everyone else does, too. That's what he told me his name was, so don't be mad at me. I guess he gets to decide what people call him.
    3.) Your description of Paul's body was fascinating to me. I am unbelievably grossed out by so many things. When my aunt died, everyone at the funeral touched her casket to leave their fingerprint on it. (I don't remember why the pastor thought that was a good idea.) Well, everyone did it except for me. I couldn't touch it. I thought that was absolutely disgusting. So, knowing I can't touch the casket, you know I can't touch the body inside of it. But, I am unbelievably curious. I also wonder that when Dave dies (if I don't die first), if I won't care and I'll touch him anyway because he's my husband. I wonder that about my parents, too, but I am pretty sure there will be no touching. We'll see.
    ~I hope Sam remembers whom he is sure, at age 6, he is going to marry so that we can know if he ends up with her.
    ~I have a cousin who has pictures covering every blank space on every wall in her house. And if she has pictures but no wall space, she puts them on tables, shelves, etc. She FINDS a place. My mom once told me that she thinks this cousin of mine has too many photos. Well, they make her happy, and it's her house. So who else's opinion matters? I don't think, for one second, that your photos make you seem narcissistic.
    ~That's all :-)

  2. Oh, I just love your diary here. I can so relate to so much of it. Love the photo ideas. Sorry you had to do the dental work, but very thankful you are financially able to do it. Dr. Laura is the best. I had a hard time being remarried after widowhood, and I didn't seem to know how to be a wife again. She really knocked some sense into me, and she'll never know that lol. Love to your family. God bless