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Catching Up


So yeah, it’s been awhile since I wrote. It’s been a busy couple of weeks. I’ll cover that all in this post.

I can write while I wipe my nose. It’s allergy season, but I suspect this is a cold. We got back from vacation (a misnomer, by the way) and today we’re all kind of draggy and coughing and sneezing…

Ben has three days to get over his because he starts his job Monday. This is a huge deal. Last week we were in twice, meeting with the manager and doing some paperwork. I talked to the cab company this morning and it looks like everything is set up with them for transportation. Ben will be working 3 afternoons a week. It’s just perfect because now he has something to do every week day. The other two days of the week he’ll be going over to Genesis like he has been this summer. And, he’ll be earning a little bit of money, too, which will be nice for him. I’m still rejoicing over the way God has worked out all these details so perfectly!

Two weeks ago this weekend we went camping. And, I decided…never again. It wasn’t even a bad trip. We used the new camper for the first time. I didn’t sleep well, but I never sleep well the first night away from my own bed. The kids were not bad. But, it was hot. And I was bored. And there is just so little that I enjoy about camping – I hate the bugs, I hate the dirt, I hate the many bodies in a confined place, all I think about is the stuff I’m not getting done at home, I do not like tents, I do not like pop-up campers (even if they have AC, which ours does), I hate the packing, I hate the smoke from the campfire blowing in my face, I hate walking to the showers…camping is just not my thing. So, that Sat. we were down at the dock eating ice cream (we found they had a little shop where they rent boats and sell snacks) and I told Will and David, “I’m sorry – I know how much you all enjoyed camping with your dad and I have tried, but I cannot do this anymore.” I felt so guilty and so free at the same time. To my surprise, one of them said something to the effect of, “Well, we don’t want you to be miserable!” And then Will said he had decided he really preferred tent camping, anyway. So we made the decision to sell the camper. We’ll buy a good tent for the boys’ Colorado trip next Spring instead. And that was that. I am never going camping again.

And that knowledge feels really good!

David had a rough time that Friday night of camping. For one thing, he had been up at camp for nearly 3 weeks straight. He didn’t realize we were going straight to the campsite after he got back from camp that Friday. He was ok with it, but it just wasn’t what he had planned. I found him crying later that night at the campsite and he said, “This week was Family 5.” And I instantly knew what he meant. When we went to Family Camp 3 summers ago it was for Family 5. So that brought back a ton of memories for David working there. Poor guy – it was a normal grief wave brought on by fatigue and disrupted plans. But it just never quite goes away.

I think Bella is feeling better since I took her to the vet and got her fleas treated. She just seems happier. That reminds me – I need to treat her again. But she’s been sleeping at the foot of my bed again and waking me up every morning around 6:30, purring and batting her head under my lifeless hand (which means “use that thing to scratch my neck!”). She had not done that for a long time. But she’s also started urinating in places other than her litter box. I’m not sure what is going on with that. I had to completely empty out my closet today and treat the carpet in there. I’ve also got two backpacks in the wash right now that she decided to use for her bathroom. Her litterbox has taken on a very strong odor – to the point that I’m waiting for Amazon to deliver this new “odorless” (we’ll see if it really is, I guess) box – despite me changing the litter every week. So it makes me wonder if there is something going on with her. But, I’m not taking her to the vet again, either.

Oh, and since I last wrote a couple of hours ago, I figured out that Bella has a UTI. I’ve heard of cats getting those, although this is my first experience with it. I did some research on the internet and her symptoms clearly match up. I also found several websites that suggest apple cider vinegar as being helpful. So I mixed that into her food. I also ran up to Des Moines and got a couple of otc meds for her at the pet store. I’m still not taking her to the vet but maybe these will give her some relief and keep me from having to clean so much. The new litterbox did arrive, which probably is not great timing. It has a swinging door but I put that part up for now just to get her used to it. She has used it. I watched her. But then she immediately got out and squirted bloody urine onto my pile of clean clothes (grrr…). That’s when I googled her symptoms.

Oh, let’s see…what else? Last week I did my grocery shopping (used Walmart’s free pick up again – still loving it!). I had to pick up some allergy medicine for Ben which is not a prescription but only sold behind the counter. Our clerk was a black woman. Ellie was with me and asked me, right in front of the lady, what her name was. So, I read her name tag and, a bit self-consciously, informed Ellie that the clerk was named, “Shalandra.” Ellie wrinkled her nose and exclaimed, “’Shalandra?’ That sounds like ‘laundry’!” Ugh. I don’t think the clerk was offended at all, but still…it’s not easy having a loud mouthed kid. Oh well. I will get to do my shopping in blessed peace and quiet starting next week!

Sam made an interesting comment last week. Lizzie had brought up the subject of being married and after a few minutes of her chatter Sam quietly commented, “The thing about marriage is that you always have someone to take care of you.” His statement made me literally stop what was I doing and just think. He hit the nail right on the head. Of course, marriage is so much more than just that, but caring for another person like you would care for yourself is so much a part of what happens in a marriage relationship. It’s part of what makes me scared of growing old alone. I’m pretty astounded that an 8 year old gets that, though.

Sam’s stuttering has gotten really bad again. And school starts next Tuesday. I am worried.

I took Ben to a Connect event a week ago. They are these quiet events put on for adult special needs individuals at the Valley Community Center. They feed everyone and the gym is open. There’s karaoke and table games and crafts. Will took Ben to the last one. Where, apparently, he made quite an impression because everyone wanted to know “Where’s Will?” He was at the fair with Arien. The director was even talking to me telling me how there is a special needs conference coming up later this fall that she is helping put together and she is hoping Will will agree to serve on a panel of siblings of special needs individuals to take questions from the attendees.

But I got mistaken for Ben’s sister that night – which baffles me because I own a mirror. I was sitting at a table with Ben and was wearing a name tag with only my name on it. One of the workers was chatting with Ben and she finally asked him, “Now who is this beside you?” He replied, “Oh, that’s my mom.” Her mouth fell open and she exclaimed, “No, way! I was going to guess maybe she was your sister – she’s too young looking to be your mom!” It was probably just flattery because when I got home that night I scrutinized myself in the mirror to see just what it was that made me appear so young looking. And I didn’t see it! All I saw was the frizzy hair and bags under my eyes. However, I had touched up my gray roots the night before, so maybe that was it.

I doubt it. But the fact of just how pleased her comment made me, made me think that was probably in direct proportion to just how old I really am!

I am sick. Not sick enough to crawl under the covers, but sick enough to be miserable. My whole body hurts, my face hurts…Will is going to bring me some Advil cold and Sinus when he gets off work. I’m fearful that Ben is trying to get this and he can’t because he starts his job the day after tomorrow!

And school starts Tuesday. There are some people that, ahem, maybe should go back to school. The big news around Pville is a bond referendum that is being voted on in a week or two. I still haven’t found anything that explains to me exactly how this works. If it passes, does this mean that property taxes go up all throughout the county or just in the town where the school is? The money is needed to do some adding on and repairing of the schools. Anyway, yesterday the school newsletter came out with a flyer attached to it about the upcoming vote. And it says in bold print,

Who Does this Effect?

No, no…just no. There is a certain amount of irony in wanting to raise money for the schools when the person writing the fliers doesn’t realize that “effect” is a noun, not a verb. Sigh…

After I had written that a flier was delivered with the mail that explained it more in depth. Despite the inappropriate use of the affect/effect I am definitely supporting this bond issue, even though it will raise my taxes by $120 a year (more once the courthouse figures out that I put new siding on the house). I think what they really want to do to the school is needed, not just “fun” stuff. They’ll be able to double the parking lot size at the elementary school which will make drop off and pick up easier and safer. They’ll be able to get rid of the portable school buildings they’ve been using for about 10 years now. Best of all, they will move the 6th grade back to the elementary, which will be better for them. No 11 year old needs to be in junior high. If this gets approved, they plan to start working towards the end of this school year with the goal of having everything ready to go two years from now. That’s great because that would be Sam’s 5th grade year – it would be accomplished before he’d be shuttled across the street to the junior high wing.


Yesterday Lizzie was just horrible. I’m sure it was because it was our first day home from vacation (a misnomer – did I already mention that?). And Ellie was the sweetest little thing. I know awhile ago I had begun to wonder if Ellie’s awful behavior was, in fact, a response to her sister’s good behavior. I am convinced of it now. So, basically, I can never have two good girls at the same time.


I just had to go rescue a muddy bunny. David is up at camp working the Men’s Retreat (he drove himself and two friends – his first time driving outside of town). Sam happened to be outside and realized the dumb rabbit had chewed another hole in the reinforced chicken wire (reinforced since the first time he chewed a hole in it and escaped) and gotten out. He didn’t go too far and eventually we caught him and got him back in his pen. Our efforts were hampered by the mud from the last four days of solid rain and all the rotting peaches around the pen (the peach tree is directly above). Yuck, yuck, yuck. The things we do for our kids...


Sam has decided he needs to memorize Scripture. This was all on his own. Yesterday he went to Will and asked him to write out some references that would be good for him to memorize. Then last night I saw Sam curled up on the couch with his Bible. He said, “I’d go to bed now, Mom, but it’s important that I study the Bible.” I asked him later what he was reading and he replied, “Romans.” Will said that while I was still asleep this morning, Sam was up early and reading his Bible again. This has never been something I’ve told the kids they should do, but all three of the older boys picked it up on their own (or because of their dad) and now it’s very heart-warming to see Sam wanting to do it as well. I am planning to work with the Littles on verses every morning on the way to school, but I love that Sam is taking the initiative to do this on his own at such a young age.

Well, I was going to write about our vacation ( a misnomer) but I think I’ll do that in a separate post. This one is getting long enough.


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