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Moving...into January

Jan. 2, 2018

Ahh…a new year.  Although, 2017 wasn’t a bad one – just a busy one.  I have seen so many people on Facebook commenting about what an awful year 2017 was and how happy they are to close the books on it and I wonder if that has just become a popular, negative attitude to take since it was Trump’s first year in office, as well as the natural disasters that did occur – wildfires, hurricanes, etc.  I for, one, am happy to turn the calendar to 2018 simply because I like the number 18 better than the number 17!

It is currently -15 below outside with a “feels” like temp of -30.  It’s been that way for a few days now.  Tomorrow the kids go back to school.  It’s supposed to get up to 11 tomorrow, but I am wondering if there will be a 2 hour delay.  I was supposed to take Ben to Genesis this morning and then I had an appointment to get my key cylinder replaced at the KIA dealership.  But I cancelled both because it’s hard for my van to move in this weather and because there were all kinds of accidents being reported on the news this morning.  I guess there was quite a bit of ice.  I did spend a couple of hours up at City Hall working on water bills, though.  My van made it that far.

One resident happened to come in while I was there, working.  He scared me half to death and I ended up screaming because I was so startled by his appearance and then I felt embarrassed.  I just happened to have a returned check from him sitting on my desk, so I used the opportunity to point that out to him.  He was quite convinced it was the “bank’s fault.”  Uh, huh…

Yesterday was just as bad as today, weather-wise, but I was out in the cold.  And I wasn’t sledding like a few of my children.  Why was I out?  Well, it’s because I was helping move Will and Arien into their new home…two doors down from me.

In mid-November, my neighbor texted me and asked if I thought Will might be interested in buying his house.  I had no idea, but I passed the message along.  That afternoon, Will and Arien were looking at his house.  They signed a purchase agreement sometime after that and on the 22nd, it became officially theirs.

This fall, Will had gotten it in his head that he needed to buy a house because he was just “throwing money away” by renting (I remember his dad using the exact same phrase decades ago).  I pointed out to him that he is not yet done with college and perhaps, it would be best to wait to buy until one knows where he is going to be employed?  But he did rightfully say that he was committed to remaining in the Des Moines area (I think this is because of Sam, mostly – he feels a real responsibility toward his brother) and he should have no problem getting a job.  Male special education teachers are in high demand.  Although, I think he could easily get a job as a history teacher, too.  I am amazed at how his mind absorbs history and could just listen to him all night when he starts explaining events of the past.   So, anyway, he was beginning to hunt.  And then he found this house in Swan on a realtor website and it happened to be the house where his childhood friend, Jared, had grown up.  So, we went and looked at it together.  Ultimately, Will decided against it because it would need too much work and the foundation was really cracked.

But what we didn’t know was that our neighbor had seen us go into the house and had rightly deduced that Will was in the market for a new home.  And – the rest is history.

The house needs work.  A lot of work.  Actually, last night, Will said he is toying with the idea of tearing down one of the garages on the property and starting from scratch – building a completely new house.  That might not be a bad idea.  Either way, he is going to have to spend money – to fix this cobbled-together house he bought, or to just  start fresh.  I’m sure he’ll change his mind a half a dozen times before he knows for sure what he is going to do.  But for the meantime, he and Arien have a place to stretch out and call home for the next two years while he finishes school.  Then, he can figure out what he’s going to do.

So, I had a full house last night.  Will had asked me to make dinner for the movers (a few friends and a lot of family).  I also did hot chocolate and that was a big hit with the frozen ones.  And it was all fun.  Tammy ended up getting called away to a birth (she is a doula-in-training) so, after we got done eating, the guys decided to play Madden on Ben’s new PS 4.  We girls went over to the house and unpacked and moved furniture.  They aren’t even living in the entire house – it would be a lot to heat (over 2100 square feet).  Plus, being newlyweds, they just don’t have that much stuff yet. 

That will change.
 Christmas was really good this year, which surprised me.  Since Paul died it has become something to endure and get through as quickly as I can.  I pretty much assumed that all Christmases would be this way from here on out.  So, the happiness caught me by surprise this year.

One aspect of Christmas that I found myself musing on had to do with the idea of expectancy.  Really, that’s what the season is all about.  Everything we do, decorating, buying gifts, watching Christmas shows,  participating in and attending programs, baking, etc. is all building up this expectancy regarding the Big Day.  By Christmas Eve the expectancy and anticipation is nearly palpable.  In some ways, this mimics the first Christmas.  For more than 400 years, the Jewish people had awaited the Messiah.  There was an expectancy because they didn’t know when and in what manner He would arrive.  And maybe, this is how we are to be waiting now for Christ’s second arrival.    Just some thoughts….

Christmas morning David came from his bedroom into the kitchen and I could tell his eyes were wet.  He stood there, talking to me, and struggled for words because his voice was so thick with tears.  He told me that He had been reading the Christmas story that morning and had actually been studying it all month long.  But he said that morning it hit him with such force that Christmas is all about love - God's love for us.  And that’s why he cried.  And I think that’s unusual for 18 year old young men.  And I feel very, very blessed that he is mine.
 Well, onto the rest of my life, the not-so -significant minutia of my days…

I saw a foot doctor a few days before Christmas for my bunions.  He said he doesn’t like to do surgery until it gets to a point where my lifestyle is being affected.  He said I have some condition (I can’t remember the name) where my feet rotate one way or the other.  He also said I have a  “curling” baby toe which is genetic.  He told me he “guarantees” either my mom or dad have the same thing.  I’ll have to check their feet the next time I see them.  That’s why I have this deep crease/callous down the center top on the bottoms of both my feet and why now my baby toes are getting mangled in my shoes and I have to wear bandaids over them all the time. Anyway, he sold me some shoe inserts, so hopefully, they will help.

What was mildly embarrassing was this: when I first went back to the examining room the nurse says, “You were on tv, weren’t you?”  She had seen me on that news broadcast earlier in the month – she was the only person to say so to me.  Of course, she didn’t remember the details, so I reluctantly filled them in for her.  She says, “That’s right!  I knew when I saw your face and then read your name I had seen you!”  Ugh…
 Ellie has been a trial over break.  It isn’t so much towards me now, though.  She seems to be directing her rage towards Lizzie.  There’s lots of hitting incidents, lots of tattling (which is usually an attempt to detract attention away from herself), etc.  I talked with the therapist about it at last week’s appointment.  She said that this is especially hard with Ellie because Ellie is so bright and that is why she is very skilled at manipulation.  But, she said, Ellie’s brains may be what help her make better decisions in the long run.  Maybe.  I would contend that only a heart change brought about by surrender to God will do that.  But there is no denying that this child is smart.  An older friend even pointed out to me the other day that Ellie is unusual in that she doesn’t have to be told twice how to do things – her brain is so quick she can absorb things the first time.  The therapist said that the fact that Ellie is extremely well-behaved with everyone else in her life – friends, school, church, etc.  shows that she has the capability to choose her behavior.  It’s only at home that she is operating like a (very bad) 3 or 4 year old.  The therapist also said that she thinks Ellie depends heavily on her looks and charm to get her way with others and through life.  Well, that was not news to me!  I keep reminding myself, “She’s only 6, she’s only 6…”  But one day she’ll be 16 – and then what?

The sad thing is that Lizzie still feels protective of her sister because that’s who she is (Lizzie will be an awesome mom someday and I could even see her working as teacher or possibly a nurse – she’s a caregiver type)  and her personality is such that she generally takes the abuse Ellie dishes out.  I don’t think I hear nearly all that goes on.  So, I’m thinking about separating the girls’ bedrooms sooner than later.  I was going to wait until Lizzie was a teenager, but really, I don’t have to.  I have an empty bedroom now with Will gone and it would just take a little bit of work to feminize it and move Lizzie into her own (safe) space.  I think once I’m done with school in August that may be at the top of my to-do list.

Well, I don’t think I know anything else.  I’ve been working on de-Christmasing the house today.  I may not get it all done before bed, but I’ve made headway.  Now it’s January and it’s cold and I am ready to hibernate.

Instead, I’m going to work tomorrow.


School resumes next Monday for me.  I got myself registered for graduation over break.  It's really going to happen this May!  I need to be getting David registered for his graduation, too.  

All right - better go feed these kids.  And then I have to piano lesson to do with Lizzie and will have to do my nightly before-school routine.  Back in the groove again...



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