Monday, June 30, 2014

Oh me of little faith

I will admit, I have never been a huge Angelina Jolie fan. There is no doubt about her gifts and talent as an actress. She is an incredible humanitarian and a decent mother from what the crappy entertaiment shows say. Shame on me, but I will never be able to get the vision of her with Billy Bob Thornton at the Academy Awards out of my brain. Burned into my memory forever. And I liked him when he was on Hearts Afire that played on CBS with John Ritter and Markie Post. I digress. My oldest wanted to see this Maleficent movie with a passion that burned like 1000 suns. G? Not so much. She was creeped out by the trailer and everything in it. So when our cabinet guy did not show up today and it was kind of just gloomy and dark and yucky, the temptation of a movie was too difficult to resist and G gave in and agreed to go.

We went to the mall, me with the worst attitude of all. I had absolutely NO desire to see this film and I love movies. Well, shame on me again. From the first scene, I was transfixed and captivated. It was wonderful and I was ready to go watch it again at the next showing. Angelina was wonderful, I cannot deny. Even G loved it, though there were times she held my arm a bit tighter than others. I'm okay with that.

Later on this evening, we went to Walgreens to pick up S's steroids she must have before her surgery. Anyone wanting to witness some roid rage can come to our house and bring the popcorn. She will be ripe come about Thursday if not before. While we were there, we found an item that there is apparently a need for in our area. Talk about stereotyping:

If anyone needs one, go to the drug store. They are right next to the vaping supplies. Never a dull moment in do we have around here.
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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Soccer and singing and Sudanese friends

After work today, I got home in time to see some of the controversial MEX-NED game. I enjoy watching soccer probably more than the average girl, but I get so sick of the theatrics involved. Play a clean game and stop being a dramatic crybaby. It is like watching a cheap kung foo film where the punch thrown misses the recipient's face by like three inches. Okay, I'll step off my soccer ball shaped soapbox and get on with life. But, really, come on.

Later this afternoon we went to see S and the youth choir sing and play bells and make me cry. What a talented group of kids! S has many years left in the group, but I was a mess when different seniors got up to speak about their experiences on their recent choir tour. Our favorite drummer girl, besides my own novice, made us well up the most. She has been such a positive influence on our girl, such a teacher...a comedian...a protector. SHe will be going to college this fall to pursue her degree in music education. My gosh are the kids going to be lucky to have her. What a gift she is to us and so many!

After I scooped my heart up off the floor of the sanctuary, we left to find some dinner. The routine of eating out or eating meals from a microwave has grown quite old and I am ready to get to cooking in a kitchen again. Anyhoo, whilst sitting and eating our burgers, we got a text about the boy and his adventures. He was having fun being a good host and entertainer to a new friend visiting from Sudan. Our friend Danny was taking him around and he came to visit. The boy did not disappoint and had lots of conversation. He also worked some puzzles with Danny and his new friend.

I am so glad that our children are getting to have experiences with people all over the world. It is good to know there are other people out there...that we are so very blessed and are, regardless of what the TV wants us to think, not the center of the universe. I just love that picture.

Our new friend Scotty returns tomorrow to finish installing the cabinets and the countertops. I can almost see the finish line. It is going to be so very nice. We are so fortunate. Night all.
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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Sleepy dishwasher

I have little brainpower left for this post. We have watched our kids play soccer, the South Americans play soccer, the dog chew every toy she has to death and do more planning on the remodel. I got to have an unexpected happy and shared a quick piece of pie with my friend since the 7th grade, Sarah, as she flew through town on her way to our hometown. I helped with our church community meal by washing dishes used by people needing a hot meal and a loving environment. I now am hoping to convince the hub to give me a little foot rub...just a tiny one. We'll see. Wait...he's already sawing logs. Next time. Night all.

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Friday, June 27, 2014

Into the 'Woods to get a girl

I did not sleep too well last night. I changed sleeping venues about 4 times, I think, and finally settled on the couch downstairs. So as you can imagine, I was just an absolute joy to be around this morning. The flooring guys arrived early and got to work, so S, the dog and I were confined to one room again which always is a recipe for temper explosion. I even mouthed off to a telescammer this morning in front of the guys...who burst into laughter after I called him out at the top of my voice. I was sure that the buzzing saws and hammering had prevented that from happening, but I was so very wrong. Luckily I had to leave for a quick shearing and to go to camp and pick up G. She looked awfully tired and I saw plenty of bug bites on her lelgs, but that sweet smile was there. I took her picture with her counselor:

I am so grateful for our camp and the love and care and fun they give every camper every year. She is sawing some major logs right now, but she will fill our ears again tomorrow with new stories of what happened during her week away. Night all.
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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Almost time to get her

Tomorrow we get to go pick up our sweet G from camp.  I know I often complain that my children fight and bicker and get crazy, but I think they are all missing her terribly.  It is just so very quiet here in this house...even with all the workmen here.  I need that girl and her crazy dancing and her cool singing voice.  Her sister needs her roommate and sparring buddy.  Her brother needs his second mother and his snuggle buddy.  S and I will make the trip to get her while the hub stays here to watch the new flooring be installed.  

We watched the USA lose but win today while we nervously ate our lunch.  S was pretty shocked to see her mother get so fan-ish during the game, but she was going to find out about me eventually.  At least I didn't paint myself and dress up like Mrs. Captain America.  I just yelled a lot at the TV and said, "GET UP AND STOP THE ACTING!!!" a little more than maybe I should have.  S kept saying, "It isn't like they can hear you!".  You never know, child of mine.  You never know.  

I will watch the rest of NY Med and then get some sleep.  After picking up our sweet girl, I plan to unpack her bag outside just in case any creepy crawlies decided to stowaway and visit the big city.  Yuck.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Ramping up to can

This time of the year is difficult for me. It is the time for gardening and harvesting and meals from the garden to the table and canning. My grandmother was my go to source for all things of this nature. A West Virginia farm girl she was and one of the wisest women I have ever known. When the hub and I were first married, we lived in a tiny little house on a big piece of land. We worked and toiled until we had a large(for two people)garden plowed and ready to plant. After mapping out what we wanted, we started little seedlings in mini greenhouse boxes in our mudroom. Our garden had tomatoes, peppers, squash, zucchini, okra, cucumbers and green beans. When things started blooming and producing, I would call Granny to ask her if I needed to do anything special to the plants or when certain veggies were ready. That summer we canned tomatoes, pepper jelly, grape juice from grapes some friends gave us and peaches. My grandmother delighted in every call for recipes or measurements or technique about canning. This year we have the potential to have about 600 cucumbers and I feel a few batches of pickles coming on. I picked up the phone to call about her favorite pickle recipe. She had been gone almost 4 years and I still pick up the phone to call her with questions and concerns and "gossip" and celebrations. Instead, I have consulted the Ball Blue Book and my sister in law for information and help. While I'm excited to try something new to can, it will be bittersweet without her input. I am grateful to be the only granddaughter of a farm girl and I'm honored to share her knowledge with my children. Fingers crossed that the pickles are crisp and the dill is, um, dilly enough. It'll be a fun experiment either way.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Farm girl at heart

I have always said that I want to live on a piece of land consisting of many acres, at least three dogs(yellow, black and chocolate labs), have some chickens, a pig named Wilbur, a nanny goat named Billie, a house with a wraparound porch, a barn, flat areas for a regulation croquet and soccer field, a skeet range and a garden that is massive so I am able to can and put things in my root cellar. Nothing too specific really, cough cough. I went out to the garden today to see how things were progressing in the ag experiment in the backyard beds. My first attempt at an eggplant is coming along. It is a Japanese eggplant and looks more like a purple zucchini:

'Tis a bit dirty from the rain shower we had today, but so cute. If all of the blossoms on the cukes come in close together, I am going to have to make pickles or something. We may have to have lots of high tea parties with little cucumber sandwiches.

I forgot to get a tomato and squash picture and the peppers just look like peppers. If everthing comes in as it should, I should have copious amounts of salsa and gazpacho. Not a bad thing. Look on your doorstep for a rubbermaid container...I may ring your doorbell and run.

Tomorrow we go to the ENT to have S's preop appointment. She is feeling pretty bad and is really looking forward to getting this sinus surgery party started. That's pretty bad when a kid says that. Just say a little prayer that she can make it a bit longer. Until then, we'll just keep her comfortable and continue our cuke watch.
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Monday, June 23, 2014

Cesar Milan would approve

So our new friend Scotty came today to install the cabinets. What a delightful and thoroughly enjoyable guy! Third generation carpenter who has been in the business for 44 years. He was entertaining and full of stories. Copper was especially enamored with him, probably because he paid the most attention to her of all the people who have worked in this mess. She was none too happy to be confined to her crate today and continuously expressed her opinon about her circumstances all day. I would take her out and run her for 30 minutes and then give her a treat and put her in her crate so I could help out. Desperate barking. I took her on a walk around the neighborhood. Desperate barking. We were out of the rawhide treats that occupy her for a long time, so I ran to the store to get some. My mom texted a 911 to get home with the treat because the dog was barking like an insane mongrel. Upon arrival, Scotty the carpenter suggested that we put Copper on the treadmill and wear her out. Cesar Milan does it. Scotty does it. He has amazing success with it wear his dogs out. I can wear her out just fine, but when her routine is messed up, she gets stressed. Who doesn't? Anyway, the barking reached a fever pitch and my sanity was just about gone, so the hub put her harness and leash on and put her on the treadmill. After we stopped laughing, we realized that this was probably the best idea ever. Get a good exhausting walk in and not die of heat stroke outside. I guess it will happen again tomorrow...and I will probably laugh just as hard.

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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Another camper off

We took G to camp today. I know that things around our house are pretty much complete drywall dust covered chaos, but I did not expect her to be quite so elated about the week. I swear the child pretty much mentally galloped to her cabin. No running around could catch a root and do a face plant in no time. I wanted no part of that. We got to her cabin, named after a wild bird, I helped her make her bed, hugs were given and she gave us the boot. Again, I am so glad the kids love camp so much. Um, they don't have to act quite so happy for us to go. Oh well.

Remodel report: The cabinet installers come tomorrow. It's about to get real kitcheny, friends. Other than that, S will be returning from her choir trip. Never dull, as always. I will now collapse and hope my feet will stop hurting so I can completely conk out.

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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Happy little trees...

I never knew how much having the walls painted in our kitchen and bathroom would make me happy. It is understood that everybody is getting sick of hearing about this blasted remodel. I get it. The kids have hit their limit of being in a state of chaos. In the course of today, we had the walls and ceilings painted, the fridge croaked and partially came back to life and the washer started leaking and smeliing like ozone. Another day in paradise. Now I am just praying I can talk the hub into a foot rub. Not feeling great about my chances.

Tomorrow we take sweet G to camp for a week long stay. She is excited and so are we. It is an exciting time and, once again, a proud time for us. Going to camp without any friends to hang out with for the duration. It is a time to make new camp friends and enjoy the special bond that you form when sleeping in an un-air conditioned cabin together. It will be a great week I know.

Time for bed, friends. Have a great evening.

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Friday, June 20, 2014

They're heeee-rrreeee

Lots of activity at the Cook construction site today. The tilers came to start the bathroom tub surround...the cabinets for the kitchen were delivered...the guys came to get our extra drywall stuff...our friends, the painters, came to get the paint samples and check out the rooms to be painted. The dog is about to have a heart attack with all the activity. She will be more relieved than anyone to have this done. Besides pitching and tossing lots of junk and crud, I was in charge of putting laundry away, packing G for camp and running the dog in the backyard to try and wear her out. It is getting closer every day and I just pray it can be complete before B's surgery.

Right now I feel very funky and need a shower. The hub is ready to collapse and the kids are wiped. Tomorrow the painters come and who know what else will happen. It's a circus over here.

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Last day of weird animals

The exciting conclusion of VBS was this evening. It was a very busy week and I would be lying if I said I wasn't glad it had come to a conclusion. My children really enjoyed themselves. S worked with three year olds all week and has the exhaustion and sore arms and back to prove it. I was in the kitchen again and we made lots of weird animal snacks. My favorites were the "Brownie-pillars":

Doesn't that look like the tastiest bug ever? We had a good time making the treats, but I think we are all happy to not see lemonade or 4lb flats of brownies or fruit roll ups for another year at least. At least.

Now I am going to bed and I hope that I will be able to sleep. My feet feel as though they might separate from my body. I'll be sure to post that picture.
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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Even the kitchen sink....

Today we threw out the old kitchen sink.  My nemesis, the six inch deep and totally worthless kitchen sink that I have been itching to tell goodbye for many years.  It is now in the bagster bag in the gully of our front yard.  We have had a good time placing bets on how long it takes people to go bagster diving for metal when we put it out.  The sink has actually lasted longer than we thought it would: three hours so far.  Some people ring the door bell and ask if they can look while others start diving and then scramble to their trucks when we pull into the driveway.  I don't care.  If we put it out at the street, fair game as far as I am concerned.  There was one time we put out an old gas grill and a couple bungeed it to the back of their hatchback.  We were taking bets that night on how far it wod last on the back of the car before it came to a clangy crash up the hill.  It lasted as far as we could hear.

It will all be done soon enough.  Just pray that the next few weeks go smoothly and no snafus happen.  Tiling and cabinet delivery and painting and cabinet installation and grouting and tiling and flooring will all be happening. Lord help us all.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

True story...really

So I was texting with my brother this evening and giving him the conclusion to the events of our day. He had called earlier while we were in the midst of a Mutual of Knoxville''s Wild Kingdom in the backyard. We have some neighbors who choose not to take care of their yard, especially their back yard. Honestly, I cannot tell you the last time they mowed or took a weedeater to it. I am sure codes enforcement would not like what they would find back there, but Heaven forbid someone speak to that. Bad juju going on there and I will not go into it. Anyhoo, the combo of tall grass and a woodsy yard has brought with it the perfect environment for rodents to frolick and breed. S swore to me she saw a rodent of the long tailed "Charlotte's Web" variety in the their yard and ran in with the dog. I really hoped that she was exaggerating. Our pest control guy came last week for his monthly check and rebaited the stations and sprayed and whatnot. Fast forward to today. The dog had barked at the fence a bit, but I paid little attention. The next time I let her out, she ran to something grayish brown. I screamed and yelled for the dog to come and she finally did. A nice fat rodent was in its death throes on the patio. What happened in the next few hours was the circle of life with a mini murder of crows having a buffet in the backyard. Blurg. After the carnage was cleaned up, my brother texted to see "how fared the rodent". After telling of the crows and carnage, he relaed to me a story that I cannot believe I didn't remember hearing. Apparently my dad's family had a crow as a pet when he was young. They trained it and it would fetch silvery metal items here and there. My grandfather would take Johnny Crow to the dry cleaners with him every day and he would sit on a perch and visit with the patrons. One day, dad went into the store and found the crow was not on his perch. Concerned, dad ran to the VFW to tell them that Johnny Crow was gone. When he arrived, there were some men there at the VFW who had the crow and were giving him bourbon. My dad was furious. My brother ended the texted story with "THE END". After I got up off the floor from laughing so hard, I was filled with an even greater love for the quirky ways of my family. Rodents puking up blue goo and trained bourbon drinking crows. Doesn't get any better than that.

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Monday, June 16, 2014

My nails are gone

After a busy day at work, the kids and I ate lunch and rested a bit...well, I did. For whatever sick reason, the kids decided they really wanted to give the dog a bath. Yes she did need one because she really did reek of dog, but they have yet to experience the nightmare that is "Bath Day for Copper". I have owned many a pup in my day and never have I had an animal who fights a bath quite like this one. The hub and I have given her two in her life at our home. Honestly, I hadn't completely recovered from her late April/early May one. You ever see a crocodile go into one of those death rolls on a nature program? Just change the color to brown and add hair and a garden hose. The neighbors must have thought there was some sort of domestic assault in progress. There was a lot of yelling and "Get out of her way!" and "Watch her tail in your face!" and "I think she has broken my back...I shouldn't be wrestling a dog!" kind of comments. After a good fight and extensive shampoo covereage of both canine and human, she finally stayed still and let us finish the job, refusing to look us in the eye until we plied her with Pupperoni and scratches on her back. After she was sufficiently dry to reenter the house, we brought her in to recover from the ordeal and try to rehydrate.

After eating our dinner, we brought her in to watch the USA v GHANA World Cup match. She conked out in record time and stayed that way even with us screaming "GOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLLL" and yelling at the television. She is still wiped out, currently running in her sleep...probably from mean humans and a green garden hose. Poor thing.

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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Boiling Father's Day

We celebrated Father's Day at the soccer field this afternoon with a second place tourney finish and the hub just about losing his mind on some people from Alabama. Since we started dating in 1992, I have seen him furiously angry about two, maybe three, times. I won't bore you with the details, but it involved poor sports, about 17 million pieces of confetti and a group of adults who would not clean up after themselves. I sent him on his way and dealt with the remnants of the problem that the refs did not enforce. Afterwards, the girls and I left the house so he and the boy could rest and watch the World Cup and relax. This worked out for about 30 minutes and then this happened:

So off on a father son trip to Lenscrafters. It all worked out and only cost $25. It could have been a lot worse. All of us were reuinunited at home for grilled burgers a la the hub. The kids insisted on giving him "Dinner in bed" since he is not a big breakfast guy. They were thrilled to get to do it.

I am so fortunate to have a husband who is such a kind and attentive father. We pray that his upcoming surgery will restore him to the active guy he wants to be. He deserves that much.

Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there. Enjoy the rest of your evening.

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Saturday, June 14, 2014

I love Henry Winkler

It has been one of those crazy days. Soccer tournament today and home remodeling continued. The dog had a little escape and a few minutes of freedom...while we all had a few minutes of near heart attacks. Two games two nice wins, shut outs actually, and then a nice delivery from Lowe's of some underlayment stuff or something like that. Tomorrow is the last game for the championship. It would be gratifying to end the season with a tourney win for sure.

We got a call tonight that our sweet G had hurt her ankle pretty nicely at camp. The trainer did not feel she could continue for her last session. A bummer. Super bummer. The hub did talk to her coach. He was impressed at her skills and how much she improved while she was there. It just stinks it ended the way it did. She'll get back on her ankle soon.

Just finishing up the day watching "Here Comes the Boom". Henry Winkler is so darn funny in it. He is one of my favorites, the FONZ and seems like such a nice guy. And he is not only a champion for dyslexics, but is one himself. I love him. Night all, my friends.

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Friday, June 13, 2014

Well, crud

For our seasoned church camp veteran who has stayed a week each summer for the past three years, I figured this soccer camp in town would be no big deal. Church camp is a good hour away with no AC and bath houses that are a walk away. Here she is in a dorm with a nice bed and AC, snack machines and a microwave/fridge in her room. This afternoon a thunderstorm came through which I knew would scare her to death. She texted on her friend's phone and asked us to call because she missed us. I knew it had to do with the thunder. We talked her down and told her we would come tonight to watch their open practice. As we drove from one part of the stadium parking lot to the other, she apparently took a shot to the head from some boys messing around. I think she would have handled it better had she not known we were there. We talked to her and she went back out to play. The hub checked her and made sure he felt she was okay. She participated in the rest of practice with no problems.

As I prepare for bed, my cell phone starts to ring. It is G, crying her eyes out. I consoled her as much as she could take from me and handed her to B. He chatted with her, told her she needed to go to bed and try to sleep. I know after three work sessions a day that she is exhausted. She has always been a sleeper and one who cannot handle deficits in her sleep bank. Just say a little prayer that she makes it through the rest of camp. We will not go visit tomorrow. I appreciate their invitation for families to come watch, but I will not take them up on it again. I want it to be a good experience. And she has another week of camp coming up soon. Pray hard for her. She's a neat kid and I want her roommates to know that child and not a fretful one.

Can someone punch me in the nose and put me out for the night? Yeesh.

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Goalie girl is growing up

We took sweet G to Goalkeeper camp today. We felt like strangers in a strange land having to negotiate our city's university campus of which we are almost completely ignorant. Finally arriving at the dorm where she is staying...did you hear me say DORM?...we got her bed made and quickly realized we had left a blanket at home and just had sheets for her. Then her roommate and suitemates arrived. All three were from Chattanooga, players and the same team and best buddies. I saw G's look of "Great. They'll leave me out because they are all friends." Then the mom got a little bit snooty when we explained that G played rec league and had only recently joined a club team. "Oh. REC league...hmmm." When we left, she had gone in the room to visit with her new friends and we left. Debbie Downer that I am fretted the whole way home, almost in tears about how it was going to be awful and what did I do to my baby and being a super pessimist. The hub, not wanting his kid to freeze at night and wanting to take advantage of the invitation to parents to watch their nightly scrimmages, went to watch practice and take her some blankets. He proudly reported that she was getting quite the workout, doing lots of drills, getting correction and getting compliments as well. Shame on me, oh mom of little faith. She is my amazing G and brings me to my knees every day with what she can accomplish. I love that kid.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Not sure what to say

I hope everyone has had a good day today. The drywall finishers came again today, so we were homebound for the morning. That was okay, because we got to discover a new "Mall Cop" show while waiting for it to dry up outside. We ran VBS groceries to church and made a new list for a SAM's run. Tonight was the much anticipated "Jello Night" for the youth, so we picked up provisions for S to take and lob at friends. A kind friend baked me a peanut butter cake since our kitchen was unavailable for birthday baking. Birthdays at my age are not much of a deal anymore, especially when there are so many big things going on in our lives right now. I was grateful for the sweet treat and the peanutbuttery goodness.

G leaves for goalie camp tomorrow. Pray for her safety that she does not get a concussion. I am a nervous wreck. She is beyond excited. Isn't that always the way with mothers and their children? Night all.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Back from the Woods

G and I picked up the boy from from camp today. When we found him, he was dressed in sweat pants, a tshirt(which I think he wore every day) and a zip up hooded sweatshirt "zipped and hooded". Not a huge smile on his face; he gave a little wave and waited for us to come to him. My immediate thought was did he have an awful experience? Was he furious with us? He told us camp was fun and then lifted up his pant leg to show HUGE mosquito bites all over his leg. This was not a shocker. Those bugs think he is about the tastiest thing ever. I signed the appropriate paperwork, picked up his Singulair, swore an oath that I ws his mother, got his camp picture and we hit the road. We di make sure to get pictures with his counselors before we left.

He and G caught up on family events, camp activities and sibling secrets. They shared a snack and then discussed how the boy really needed to have a good long sit in the bathroom. The conversation quickly deteriorated to the "movement" habits they have at camp and school and thei discommfort with knowing people know what they are doing in the bathroom. Needless to say, I think he lost a good three pounds when he left the bathroom.

G leaves Thursday to have a stay at our local university for goal keeper's camp. She is super excited and has had her bag packed for at least a week. I think it is either going to cement her love of being a goalie or kill it quickly. We'll see.

Until she leaves, I will soak up the time of having all my heartbeats back together under one roof...even if it is full of drywall dust and looks like a bomb destroyed the downstairs.

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Monday, June 9, 2014

Trapped in the TV room

Our Monday started off with lots of hammer and electric drills or impact screwdrivers a little bit before 7am. Why not? We want our house back and this took a good step towards making that happen. I had a healthy to do list today and was up and at 'em, ready to whittle that thing down. Then the drywall finishers arrived. They were new and nice enough, but I couldn't leave them there. The dog would have driven them insane. Then the bug guy came to spray the entire yard for mosquitoes. So the girls, the dog and I were trapped in the family room. We couldn't go outside for fear of poisoning ourselves or the dog. We couldn't roam the house for fear of stepping in drywall mud puddles and asphyxiating on sheetrock dust. Everytime I opened the family room door to answer one of the workmans' questions, the dog managed to slink out to go visit. One of the men balanced himself on two of the ladder's legs whils holding a thing of mud and his mud knife. Insert just a=bout any Curious George book here. They finally left at four and I took the girls out for a treat and some sunlight. Throughout the day, we constantly said two things: (1) Won't this be nice when it is done? and (2) Wonder what F is doing at camp right now.

Tomorrow we are workman free while the mud dries. We will go get the boy at camp and ready a girl to leave Thursday. It's an exciting place, this house.

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Sunday, June 8, 2014

One anxious mom

Well...well hopefully the boy is slumbering peacefully in his lodge at camp. We dropped him off at 2:45 after checking him in, assuring the staff he had not been exposed to flu or lice and explaining to the camp nurse about his Singulair and that his wonky dilated eye is due to drops and not a severe head injury. He got his first non-hand-me-down camp tshirt and water bottle and we were sent to unload his luggage and make the long trek to his lodging for the stay. As we walked along the muddy gravel road, I tried not to grab his hand. I wanted to hold it tight and never let it go, but the desire to make him feel calm and cool around his new camp friends kept it at my side. As we passed more buildings and gazebos and climbing walls and listened to G tell everything that he might get to do, I felt a little hand reach up and squeeze mine tight. He moved closer, still holding my hand and giving it a couple kisses every now and then. As we walked up the path to his lodge, the grip became tighter. "My tummy hurts. Not a sick hurt...a nervous and excited hurt." "Me too, buddy. It'll be great!". We went in and were greeted by his counselors Cody and Savannah. He used his best introduction manners that his Pop's taught him. "Hello, I'm F. Nice to meet you." Cody showed us to the bunk room and allowed him to pick his bed: top bunk of course. His duffel bag had yet to arrive on the old golf cart they use to deliver bags to cabins, so we stayed for a minute to wait for his bag. He wanted help with his bed. B and I realized quickly that it might be a while before his bag arrived and didn't want to drag out our goodbye. The counselors decided to start a rousing game of UNO which was the perfect opportunity for us to leave. B and I kissed him goodbye, snuck a peek at his UNO hand and got the heck out of there. No tears from any of us, though I wanted to in a big way.

The rest of the evening has consisted of the same few phrases: (1) I wonder what he's doing right now. (2) Do you think he misses us? (3) Do you think he is sad? and G's question: I just want to know who won the UNO game! I know that he'll have a great time. It is hard on a mom to let go, especially of that last one. I am grateful for his bravery and sense of adventure. I love that boy and his, as one of the counselors called it, "Camptastic" hat.

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Saturday, June 7, 2014

The eve of first camp

My sweet baby boy is leaving for camp tomorrow afternoon. I am a bit nervous. There are no worries about the camp or their ability to take care of him. There are no worries about my son and his ability to take care of himself within an age appropriately supervised environment. It is just hard to think he is now old enough to go away to a place that has no family members to hug him when he hurts himself and kiss him before he goes to bed. Will he lose his glasses in the river or on a night hike? Will he wet the bed accidently because he is so exhausted and doesn't wake up? We can only prepare him as much as possible and pray that his counselors can help him if he stumbles. I've packed him to the best of my ability:

Hopefully he has enough clothes and proper footwear. We have loaded him up with hidden notes in his luggage like this one:

I think he'll enjoy them...if he has time to read them. Keep 'em busy and then they won't have time to get homesick. I'll miss him more than he'll miss me. That's the way it should be.
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Friday, June 6, 2014

Dusty dust dust

Day two of the major mess of the remodel. Holy dustballs, Batman! Our very efficient and sweet hearted drywall guys arrived to start work at 7am. The hub and I had worked until 2am, so one of us was in a fog and one was ready to go. I will admit that I was the foggy one...4 hours of sleep or less is not a recipe for my success. B spoke to the guys and our friend, Les, and then left to go to the dentist. I began the process of trying to empty the demolition trash into the bagster so we wouldn't have to take 17 van loads of crud to the dump. Here is the last picture I took of it before I was sent on an errand to Home Depot:

It is about one to two feet taller on the top now. We needed some more room to work in the garage, so I got a second bag. I'll probably fill it tomorrow. The electrician and his son came back today. What a delightful pair they were and how I would like to hug their necks for this:

We will finally be able to run more than just a mixer or a crock pot or a toaster oven, but only one of them, at a time. He told me that I could run the microwave and 4 deep fryers if so desired. I told him I'd have to buy a deep fryer first, so he said toaster oven could fill in that blank. Three outlets just on my countertop workspace. Heaven. I really have no words. I get teary...almost. He also wired for the undercabinet lighting which will be so very nice:

It'll be bright enough to do surgery in there.

The kids have had their wings clipped again today, sequestered to the upstairs portion of the house for a little more freedom. G got her Lego and craftiness on in her captivity. Very well done, I should say:

All in all a very productive day. If we can just get this drywall done so the dust can finally lear out. It is on everything; a fine covering to make all of us crazy:

Forward progress is being made and I am grateful for the hard working men and women who have helped make it so much easier. Now to bed.
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Thursday, June 5, 2014

What a mess!

The remodel began in a hard core way today to the point that I am writing through the haze of drywall dust.  We got farther than anticipated today and now await a 7am drywaller call.  The kids are already over the process which is sad.  This is going to be our way of life for a while.  The hub is doing much more than he should be and I predict he will be in horrible pain tomorrow.  I will have lots of Motrin for him and Mucinex for myself as I anticipate all this drywall dust will settle in my head.  I won't bore you with any more details.  It is a mess and we have a long way to go before bed.  Pray we don't kill each other.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Worn out from the Woods

The two youngers went for our church's conference day at Camp Wesley Woods today. I have said many times that I consider Wesley Woods a little piece of heaven on earth for sure. They had a good time, I think. After I got them home, they took their wet and dirty clothes down to the basement, went upstairs and took showers and were in their pj's by 4:30. The boy is leaving Sunday to go for his very first stay all by his lonesome without a buddy or anybody. He is so excited but SO nervous. He kept saying that today's trip was to scope the place out and decide what to get really excited about. He's so funny.

I have to say that I am so proud of him and his sisters. They don't have lots of friends who are big into camp and so they have been dropped off at a camp with few or no familiar faces but the ones driving away. I think it is pretty brave thing and a pretty big leap of faith to know they will be okay when we are gone. Camp friends are always so fun and often times the hardest to part with after your intense and concentrated time together. I hope this will be an experience that will be merely the beginning of a lifetime love of camp. I know he'll be fine...I'll probably cry the whole way home. Better stock up on car kleenex.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

One band camp...

S had her first day of band camp today. It was so intimidating to drop her off in that high school band room with her little lunch box, backpack with water and sunscreen and her stick bag. She got out of bed this morning very nervous and excited, probably more nervous. I knew her band director would keep an eye out for her and I wasn't really worried about that. I drove out of the school driveway with a sick stomach and a lump in my throat. The siblings kept saying, "I hope she doesn't drop a cymbal on her toe!" and "Those big kids are gonna eat her alive!". Thanks, my caring children. I tried to nurse my coffee, but all it did was make me more nervous. We went to church and I went to staff meeting while the youngers sat in the hall on their ipads. Got through staff meeting and had just walked into my office when my phone rang. It was the band director. Oh crap. Amongst the instructions I gave my daughter when preparing her for marching and the learning said art of marching, I forgot to tell her not to lock her knees. I am one of those people who can lock their knees and not pass out. Why I don't know. It is one of those worthless talents I have. S? Not so much. SHe didn't pass all the way out, but she got hot and clammy and pale and saw big blotches and started to enter the tunnel vision of doom. Ms. B found her right before she was about to crumble and need an crunched ammonia wake up call. What else should I expect? That kid has the worst luck. She was beyond mortified, but rallied and enjoyed the rest of her day. She will be playing the cymbals and other things. She did share some of her observations from the day. (1) High school boys really like to use some pretty bad language. She learned some new terms today. (2) High school boys like to tell lots of dirty jokes and double entendre to entertain them through out the day. (3) Cymbals are heavier than she ever anticipated. (4) If the headache coming from her incident of the morning is anything like what adults get from drinking too much alcohol, she doesn't need to experience it ever again.

Overall, she had a great time with a little bit of embarrassment thrown in for good measure. I think she'll make it...with her knees unlocked.

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Monday, June 2, 2014

No More Secrets

Let me start this post by saying I have never, nor will ever, be ashamed of my children and the differences they may have. I embrace those differences and will wear them on a tshirt if need be. My love for my children is deep and fierce and will never change.

For several years now, we have been having concerns about our sweet G when it comes to school. Our friend and her summer teacher has suspected for a long time that she is not living up to her potential. She seemed to be stuck in a torturous limbo that we couldn't get her out of easily. The kid is sharp as a whip. She can put a huge Lego set together without asking for help a single time. She can hear a song or book on tape once, maybe twice, and know it almost verbatim. But have her read and she can do one of two things for you: (1)Read it fairly fluently and make it sound like she is an excellent reader...but have no concept of what she read OR (2)Read it in a halting manner, sometimes skipping or replacing words, but she knows exactly what she read and what it means. But don't expect both. I am not going to go into the specifics of what all has gone into this many year search for help and how it is a shame that it has taken so long and so much personal cash to make it happen, but we have spent a lot of our personal finances on testing and tutoring in order to assure that she maintains at least some confidence in her abilities to succeed in an academic setting. She has been officially diagnosed by a psychologist as dyslexic. The sad fact is that she is one of those fall through the cracks kids: her smarts and her deficits are not at enough of a discrepancy by the state's standards to give her any help. At all. A sad fact and one that is infuriating as a parent. She did not take her diagnosis well. I think she was relieved that she wasn't completely crazy, but she immediately went to a place of shame and embarrassment not wanting anyone to know. The hub and I were relieved to know that our suspicions were correct, but we told no one...or very few people. G made it very clear. But as time marches on and new school requirements in each grade bring with them new frustrations and spotlights on her disability, we have realized that we do her no favors by keeping it a secret. Like I said earlier, we are not ashamed. I almost cried with relief when we received the diagnosis. While I don't want her to be ashamed of it, I also don't want her to use it as a crutch. It is not an excuse to do a mediocre job at things. We will not allow that in any way, shape or form. But then there are nights like tonight that break my heart into a million pieces. G "tried out" tonight for a soccer club, one that will develop her skills and give her new ones in her arsenal. She has shown a lot of promise as a goalkeeper and all-around athlete. During drills, the Sudanese born coach with a fairly significant accent, kept yelling commands at her to "go left/right" and "kick with your left/right" and things like that. Because she has the brain she does, it takes a minute to store that info, process it, compute it and act on it. In soccer that is a killer. Split second decisions need to be made all the time. She became increasingly frustrated when she got grumped at by coaches or other players for going or kicking the wrong way. She wanted never to come back. As a mother, I wanted to shelter her and scoop her up and make it stop, but I couldn't. B talked to the two coaches, explained that she knew multiple terms regarding play and position, but could not process directions the way they were presented. They both were relieved to find out about the dyslexia because it explained why she wasn't doing things of wich they knew she was able. Here is why, I explained to her, you don't need to keep it a secret. Because though it seems like a horrible curse to her right now, it truly is a gift. She has a brain wired like no one else's. She has the ability to do things that people with normal brains can't. I just hope that with age and maturity come a pride in her disability and the knowledge that she is smart and capable in ways that others are ways that her sister and brother, who garner all the grades and praise in academic situations, can never get. She'll get there someday.

As a mother of a child with a learning disability, let me just say one thing more. Comparison kills spirits. Do not compare one child to their siblings, especially if those siblings have more success with the printed word that they do. God made us all different for a reason and no child should have to live up to someone they aren't and were never meant to be. Praise them for their gifts, their individuality and their beauty. They deserve that much. I will make a G tshiirt and wear it proudly. I will wear silver ribbons to make people aware of this disability and sign every petition and lobby for every bill that goes towards making more people aware. I am proud of my child's difference...and one day she will be too.

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Sunday, June 1, 2014

And so it goes...

We are now about to enter into the first hell week of summer break. I will not complain. It is going to be interesting to see how I get everybody where they need to be when they need to be there. Soccer starts and band camp and meetings and planning for VBS. So tonight I will take it easy. I will have some ice cream and watch several episodes of Emergency! and not feel guilty about either one. My G, I must say, has begun to have a small crush on Randolph Mantooth, aka John Gage, on the show. I hate to break it to her that, while he has aged quite well, he is the same age as her grandfather and may be a little too seasoned for her at this age. I'll just let her continue to enjoy the boys of Station 51 and the bravery they display each episode. And I will relive my childhood playtime with my brother, as we pretended to pop lids off of IV bottles and take instructions from Rampart Hospital to administer cc's of Ringer's solution and transport immediately.

I need to go to bed.

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