Well, I will start this today, but I know this will be another 2-3 day endeavor before I get it posted.
I have been so swamped with my schoolwork. I’m getting through my geography class with Will’s help only. I think I had mentioned that before. I’m actually helping him with his geography class (which is the kind of geog. class I thought I was signing up for) and his Western Civ. Class. One of them is unnecessarily difficult because of the instructor. She told Will/me that we were “padding” our word count during discussions by introducing our reply with a compliment to the original poster. Apparently, she wants us to jump in there and just start criticizing the original poster right off the bat.
And my Writing class is really, really difficult, too! It would be one thing if I could just write and write to my heart’s content, but it’s not that - it’s all about MLA documentation (while the geog. instructor wants APA – hard to keep those separate in my mind) and, right now, learning how to research research documents. Yes, you read that right. Argh. I’m not going to school to learn how to be a researcher! Our first project was a memoir so I wrote about Ben’s first job and that turned out nicely. I got an A. My instructor told me I should consider submitting it to Guideposts. I might do that…when I’m not so busy.
I am still feeling kind of lousy. This has been going on for 3 weeks now – an interminable time to not feel well. Other than this deep cough I can’t shake, I was feeling pretty good last week. But my allergies have been awful since Friday night. I can’t wait for October!
I managed to function ok yesterday and do the things I needed to do. I felt feverish in the AM (allergies will do that to me) but I went to little Sean’s baby shower and delivered the devotional I had been asked to bring. What an honor. Lizzie said later, “Mom, you don’t normally talk that low!” I think my voice has lowered in the last few weeks from all this drainage. I hope I was loud enough for everyone to hear. I’m not normally a loud speaker anyway, I don’t think. When I spoke at the Ladies Brunch in May I had a microphone, which was probably a good idea.
So then I came home, fed the girls and threw them into bed so I could take a nap. Then, I had already agreed to go to a home selling party of someone’s so I went to that and did all right, although I didn’t really feel very sociable because of how I felt (well, and because I’m a hermit at heart). But I was glad when I was able to come home and toss more leftovers at the kids and get us all to bed.
So, today I will be going back and forth between my blog and tackling my to-do list and this huge English project I have to get in this week.
Something neat: For several weeks now I’ve been burdened to pray for David’s post-high school future. I haven’t even spent a lot of time doing my normal daily praying because I have been so completely busy and not feeling the greatest. But it’s been pretty regular that I’ve felt this “knocking” on my heart to make this a matter of prayer. Actually, it reminded me of when I felt prompted to pray that Will and Arien would “discover” each other. So, as I’ve remembered and felt the knock, I’ve prayed. And today, David came to me and begin to tell me some things regarding his future (I’d write more but he asked me not to and he’s still pretty young to be announcing that he will definitely be doing this or that for the rest of his life) that he’s felt the Lord pressing on his heart for awhile now. He’s beginning to sense some direction and is both excited and scared to death. I think it is so neat how God works in different lives to bring His purposes to life! I’ll write more as I can and as his future begins to blossom. Right now, he’s still pretty much a “bud.”
The day after Labor Day David came upstairs and announced that he had pinkeye. He knew this because he had googled his symptoms. The day before he had been complaining quite a bit of having an itchy eye. Still – pinkeye? We haven’t dealt with that since Will was a toddler. And, of course, there was the part of me that was panicking a bit because pinkeye is very contagious and I was helping plan this surprise birthday party for a friend two days later. Ugh. So, he skipped school and we headed to Urgent Care. Now, the thing about Urgent Care, I’ve learned, is that if you go in and announce what it is you think you have, about 99.9% of the time the doctor will agree with you and slap a prescription into your hand, just to get you out of there quickly. And that’s exactly what happened. After waiting around for about 45 min, we had a prescription. The dr. even wrote it for extra refills when he found out how many people live at my house.
The thing is – I really don’t think David had pinkeye, after all. The next day he was perfectly fine. From what I can remember, it seemed to take Will several days to get over his. Now, granted, he was a toddler and probably rubbing his eyes quite a bit, which is what you don’t want to do with pinkeye. But nobody else here came down with it. So, I’m dubious we were dealing with it in the first place.
Ellie seems to be adjusting to kindergarten pretty well. I’m really impressed with the papers she brings home. She’s able to write all her letters very neatly and she colors within the lines. She doesn’t tell me a whole lot of what goes on at school, though. There were a couple of times, the second week of school where she seemed more “cuddly.” One day, I wasn’t home when David brought the Littles home because I was grocery shopping. I got home and Ellie burst into tears, ran up to me, and sobbed, “I missed you so much, Mom!” That’s really unusual for her. And then a couple of nights later when I left the kids at Single Parent Provision she was crying again because she didn’t want me to leave. I think she was just tired, adjusting to a new schedule like she had to.
Lizzie reports that she’s been asked to be a “room tutor” which I guess means that she is available to her fellow classmates when they have questions about how to complete schoolwork. She’s also been appointed bathroom monitor, which gives her the authority to hurry and shush her classmates at the same time. That ought to make her real popular! But, I have to admit that both these jobs suit her personality. I can see her managing a Fortune 500 company someday.
I had a call from the school’s speech therapist this week. I wondered how long it would take! This is a different one from what they had last year. Anyway, we had a nice long talk and she agreed with everything I had to say. She is suggesting that Sam be put on an IEP (I am wondering if a 540S plan would do the same thing – I need to research this) so that he doesn’t have to meet the common core 3rd grade required benchmarks, which would relieve the stress of him having to have a reading tutor. I’m all for anything that will help with the stuttering. It’s gotten slightly better in the last week or so. I mentioned that to Sam and he replied that yes, he’d noticed it, too, and then added, “I was awfully nervous about the start of school.” It is completely psychological. I am suspicious that he has a lot of the same perfectionistic tendencies his dad and oldest brother have and this is how they manifest in Sam. So, this Thursday I’ll be meeting with the therapist, principal, and Sam’s teacher to figure out an action plan for dealing with this.
Sam cracked me up the other night. Well, actually he’s done this twice now within the last week. Last Sun. night he was telling me how he had been playing outside and felt kind of cold. But then he said, “I thought of those Revolutionary soldiers out in the winter with no boots and coats and I knew then, I could endure this!” He cracks me up. And I love his love of history. Then, Friday night, he said this. It was so hilarious I turned it into a FB post: There are so many reasons I love my Littles – the entertainment value they provide being a large one. Tonight we attended a football game at our school. Just before the game started I mentioned to Sam (age 8) that the opponent was a Christian school.
“Oh.” His shoulders slumped and he said in a disheartened voice, “That means they’re going to win then.” Mystified, I asked why he thought that was the case.
“Because,” Sam explained, “If they’re a Christian school, that means God is automatically on their side!”
They’ve finally closed our bridge that lets people in and out of town. It’s something like a 2 or 3 million dollar project they’re doing. We’re supposed to have a new one available for use by Christmas, but I did notice that when the county engineer came to talk to the city council about the project he did slip in that the contractor actually has until Feb. 15 to complete the project. Something tells me we won’t be headed to Grandma’s house using that bridge this year…So, anyway, we have to take the back way, which is all gravel roads until it meets up with either Hwy 316 or Hwy 5. This means my van is perpetually filthy. I’ve tried just rinsing it off with the hose, but that does little more than to just get off the top layer of dust. It gets so bad that every couple of days I’m at the point where I can’t even see out the back window anymore. But it seems like a waste of money to spend $8-10 every week or more to get an actual car wash while I have to continually drive these roads. It’s so bad that when I open the back hatch, dust just pours down and it’s even collecting inside the van around that back door. Yuck!
The kids are not riding the bus this year but we have to go down a gravel road that is on the bus route. The kids will point out who they remember living where. The other day Lizzie pointed to a house and said that some teenage boy lived there. Then she said, “He called me a ‘cookie.’” I thought that was a little weird – that’s usually something the over 65 crowd says to little ones! But then she reconsidered and said, “No, wait, it wasn’t ‘cookie.’ That’s right – oreo! He called me an oreo! Don’t you think that’s weird, Mom?”
Unkind, yes, but not all that weird, unfortunately. I didn’t explain the meaning to Lizzie. She’ll encounter enough meanness in her life, without me adding to it. For the uninformed, “oreo” refers to a black person who is “white” on the inside - meaning, they speak well, or have white parents, and don’t dress “ghetto.” It’s not a compliment. Usually it’s a term only used by other black people, though.
The school bond issue passed last week. I think they barely got their needed 60% vote, though. The early reports said something like 457 voted “yes” and 303 were against it. There was some angry chatter on FB leading up to and after the vote. It’s really too bad, although I can understand the opposition. Who wants to see their property taxes go up several hundred dollars a year – which is what will happen now. Mine are going up about $100, I figured, and that’s with my house still currently valued at what we bought it. I’m sure the actual value is higher now, but I’m not about to turn myself in! If I didn’t have kids or grandkids in the schools and was not familiar with the need I’m sure I would have voted “no” as well. But the remodeling that is going to be done now is so needed. They’re going to get rid of the portable classrooms they’ve been using for almost 30 years, which will eliminate children walking from the main building to those, sans coats. The elementary parking lot will nearly double in size, which will create a much safer drop-off and pick-up zone, and as I mentioned in an earlier post, now the 6th grade will be back at the elementary building.
I had to take Sam and Lizzie to Iowa City last week to get their braces tightened. It still doesn’t look to me like their streets are finished with the construction. I am really disliking having to drive there right now! On the way home, the song, “Try” by Colbie Caillet came up on my phone. It’s one of Lizzie’s favorite – all about how you shouldn’t feel like you have to be thin, spend lots of money on your hair or clothes, or try to impress others to get them to like you, instead asking repeatedly, “Do you like you?” Lizzie asked if I’d ever tried to get boys’ attention with my dress. I said that oh, there were times when I was younger that I left a button undone or wore a skirt that was a little too short. I probably wouldn’t have been so frank with her, but when she first came to us, I promised her that I would never, ever lie to her, and that seems to be something really important to her still. My admission must have shocked Lizzie because she exclaimed, “Mom! You shouldn’t have done that because you’re beautiful! I mean it! I’m just saying the truth. There is nobody more beautiful than my mom!” Wow…she certainly knows how to stroke my ego! And it might have been stroked except Sam began to laugh hysterically, shrieking, “Mom? Beatuiful? Are you crazy?! Ha, ha, ha!!!”
One builds you up and the other knocks you down…
Ben’s job is going pretty well. I about had someone’s head the other night, though. When I was in Iowa City I got a call from the cab company driver, letting me know he was running late. Grrr….So, I called David so he could inform Ben and then I called Hy-Vee to let them know. And then, an hour after Ben was off work, he called me to let me know his cab still wasn’t there! I was livid. I finally got ahold of someone at the main office and let her have it – nicely. Sort of. It was her first day, unfortunately (hopefully not her last day, after she got off the phone with me!). She called me back after a few minutes to tell me she had discovered that whoever wrote out the travel orders for the day had neglected to write down that Ben would require a ride home. She told me not to worry, though – she had just dispatched a cab to pick Ben up. I said, “Well, how long will it take for them to pick him up?”
“Oh, about 40 minutes.” I live 20 min. from the store. I told her to call the cab back and I’d go get him myself. She was helpful in that she gave me the owner’s name and number. I called him immediately once I was on the road and after doing some research, said it was all his fault. He’d screwed up and forgotten to tell this driver, who was new, that Ben had to be picked up. I pointed out to him that the driver had also been late in picking him up that same day. And…there was nothing more I could do. But, I still wanted my pound of flesh for them making Ben wait around all that time and for inconveniencing ME by forcing me to have to go pick him up.
Ben ended up having a complete melt-down in the van on the way home – crying, yelling, grabbing me while I drove. He was angry because I discovered that he had gone shopping while he waited (I always send a little bit of money with him for emergencies, but all I had was a twenty so I sent that that day). I know he gets a great deal of pleasure out of grocery shopping but I have told him before I don’t want him doing that (buying a snack is ok) without me. He’s not ready and it could lead to embarrassing situations at the store. Oh, he was so angry with me – accused me of not letting him grow up, said I wasn’t fair, and so on and so forth.
Thursday was not a good day. This is the second complete melt-down he’s had in three weeks. It’s been months and months since his last. I think he’s feeling the stress of his life changes. But it’s a reminder to me that autism never goes away – not really.
He has since calmed down and we’ve made some arrangements so that he can do some of his own shopping – with supervision. He made himself a big sign out of a 4X6 card and attached it to his money that reads, “Emergencies or snacks, only!!!” So, I guess he’s accepting of what I said, for now.
Sometimes I get so tired of parenting. Or, at least, parenting alone. That same night I got the girls to bed. They were more resistant than normal. I ended up leaving the room irritated with them after I got them tucked in. I warned them that I had better not hear any talking or footsteps. And before long…I heard little feet running across the floor. I went upstairs, flipped on the light, and caught Ellie scrambling back into her bed. Then, Lizzie told me that Ellie had just thrown a half eaten pop-ice under her bed. The kid had snuck them upstairs before bed and as soon as I was gone had proceeded to eat her treat. Oh, she makes me so mad! Earlier that evening she had been upset at me because I didn’t let her have dessert after supper because she barely ate any of her supper. I suppose this was her way of ensuring she got her sweets.
Ever have one of those days where nothing goes like you had planned? That was today. I had my to-do list and certain activities, like my schoolwork were highlighted. I struggled to begin my day because I am still not feeling well. I’m guessing it’s still a combo of getting over my cold and allergies. But I do not have time this week to go to a dr again.
I got the kids to school (it was a late start Monday, like all Mondays are) and went home, did a little work, got Ben ready for work, and then went back down to the school to retrieve Sam so I could take him to the dentist because he’s been complaining of a toothache for several days now. We got that taken care of (part of his filling had chipped out) and I walked out to the van…and discovered a flat tire.
Let me tell you what’s been going on with my tires lately. I have had three flat tires – all different tires – in the past 10 days. I had a nail in one the week before last. Will fixed and plugged it. Yesterday morning we went to leave for church and I could feel something dragging. I hopped out – and discovered my rear driver’s side tire was completely flat. Will stayed home from SS to patch and air it up. This was the rear passenger tire. So, fortunately, he wasn’t at work today. He drove down to the dentist’s, I took his car (that is sans a muffler right now – how embarrassing) and brought Sam back to school. By then Will had determined that the bolt holding my spare tire to the underside of my van was rusted onto the van. It wasn’t coming off. Efforts to air the tire were futile. So we drove back to the house in his car and I made the decision to replace the tires. My suspicion is that the tires, which are only 7 months old, but were starting to look suspicious, anyway, just can’t hold up to all the gravel driving I have to do now with the bridge project. I was not wanting to buy new tires for this van because I am planning to replace the van in the next 8 months. But Will said maybe I’ll be able to put these new tires on whatever van I end up getting. Hopefully.
So, we ran home and I called a tire place in Indianola that someone had recommended to me a long time ago. I definitely wasn’t going to go back to Walmart and buy their cheap tires again. They said they could get me right in, so I grabbed a quick lunch, Will and I drove back to the dentist where he patched my tire, and after waiting for the patch to dry (we worked on his geography on my laptop during that time) I drove to Indianola. I was out of there in 45 min, which pleased me. I spent $140 more than I did at Walmart in Feb, but they are new tires that should not be so susceptible to sharp gravel. I hope.
Today is the 3rd anniversary of the girls’ adoption so I had planned to drive to the Scratch Cupcakery and get some special cupcakes for the occasion. But at that point I gave up and went to Walmart and bought a boston cream pie to commemorate the date and some frozen tacquitos for supper since there would now not be any time to actually cook.
It's just one of those days, I guess.
And now the girls are being sassy and horrible. I remember one of adoption anniversaries that they were so rotten I refused to celebrate until the next day. I guess they’re following suit this year. I’ve almost got them in the shower now. I’ll give them approximately 30 seconds in there and then I’ll pull their wet bodies out and send them to bed.
I’m tired. Really tired.
Oh, and did I mention that my newish freezer wasn’t working this morning? I couldn’t figure out the problem but when I opened the lid it was obvious things were not cold like they were supposed to be. Will figured it out and all is well now.
It’s been a long day.
And I’m tired. I might have already said that.
Oh, one bit of happiness: I turned in my first paper for my science class last night. It was actually something I was able to do on my own, without Will's help. It was just a paper on renewable energy sources - no math. Got it back today. He gave me 100 points out of a possible 50. Pretty sure that's a mistake and he'll figure it out by the time of my final grade (right now I'm sitting at 116% in the class - hah!). But it felt nice to be able to actually do something independently in there and to get an A on it.