Monday, September 30, 2019

Fall Break

I am always ready for Fall Break and this year was no exception. By the time we faced down all the quarterly finals, dealt with a nasty asthma setback for Kate that ended with an oral steroid prescription, and I wrapped my first quarter as an instructional assistant I was beyond ready. The moment the doctor declared Kate needed the oral steroids, I internally reminded myself I could be brave and didn't need to cry in front of the doctor. Those things make her so mean and emotional. Ty was already losing his mind over all his final tests this week so I was over all of it. But I made it. We all did.

We have a lot of rest planned for the upcoming two weeks. We kicked off the weekend with a girl's trip to the outlets after a leisurely start Saturday morning. I was able to replace my favorite, threadbare jeans without much fanfare and we celebrated with ice cream at Ghirardelli's. And then, despite the ninety degree temperatures, I started a pot of chili because I am craving fall and all it's flavors. No one complained so I must not be the only one.
Erin came by for laundry Sunday and announced she's lost her 4.0 G.P.A. Given her full time job, her part time job and the intensity of her classes we weren't surprised. She quickly overcame her grief and declared, "C's get degrees". We are so proud.

Church on Sunday was a little insane. I know I am old now because I gave it exactly three minutes before declaring I was overwhelmed. Twelve hundred balloons with kids instructed to keep them in the air during worship had me coming out of my skin. Ty loved it. Of course he did.  But my friend and prayer warrior, Debbie was wearing a shirt that said, "imma gunna pray for you" and I couldn't help but laugh. That shirt would mean something else entirely if I were wearing it. Debbie would sincerely pray with and for anyone. Me? I say that when I am being ugly. It's important to understand where I fall spiritually, I suppose.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

This Week

Our grandson has discovered how to video call us and the results are amazing. He runs around the house jabbering about his world in a language we don't yet understand but delights us, none the less. And when he is finished or his mom catches on to his antics, he quickly hangs up with his famous send-off, "bye you".

Every night,  Ty and I read together. If we are running behind, Oliver will be waiting on Ty's bed. If we get started early, he comes running into Ty's room and quickly settles in to also enjoy a bedtime story. Our current book is Hatchet,  a survival story.

We finally received Ty's pulmonary test results and it has been determined Ty has  asthma. We are attempting an inhaler prior to exercise as a first line of treatment. He dropped cross country when the practices were making him sick so we hope to find a workable solution soon. Kate's started like this and escalated quickly. Our prayer is his doesn't and they both outgrow it.

On Sunday I experienced my first autoimmune flare in over six years. It wasn't as intense as they were prior to my dietary changes but it was pretty rough and the residual effects lasted well into the week. I am still rather disheartened but trying to keep perspective. I work with approximately two hundred children each day and am clearly bombarded by a variety of germs. My immune system is likely overreacting and will hopefully settle down in time. But not being able to walk upstairs unsupported and the fatigue that settled in for days left me fighting tears of frustration in the tougher moments.

This dog. She reads situations all wrong. Consistently. I was up reading at four in the morning because I ached too much to sleep and she was sure it was playtime. Not only did she keep bringing me a toy but she ran through the house tossing a ball all over the place despite being reminded people were sleeping repeatedly. She is as delicate as a herd of elephants in any given social situation. In a nutshell, she fits right in around here. But we think she misses Erin's cat because she is acting out a bit during the day after at least a year of model behavior. We are back to reminding her she is supposed to guard the house, not destroy it. But I suppose Ada provided the entertainment factor she craves as that darn cat was constantly into some shenanigan or other.

Kate enjoyed her choir concert for this quarter and was delighted to show me her art work on display at school. She is working on another project she talks about quite a bit. I am a little disappointed she isn't going to have room in her high school schedule for either music or art because they both clearly breath life into her creative soul. Despite our prompting to enjoy school, most of our kids have been sucked into the world's philosophy that academic success is priority and it needs to be intense. Obviously we want them to do their best but it doesn't have to be at the expense of feeding their creative minds. It's no wonder most of us struggle to find balance when even our tiniest students are measured and tested every day.

Makenna and Noah have been dating for a year now and wanted a quick session to mark the anniversary. They couldn't stop laughing to pose so the shoot was a good time and honest reflection of their relationship.

Kate bathes Pip every other weekend. He hates it. I happened to walk in on today's grooming and decided he might be cute. We aren't friends but his little face is growing on me.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Porch Swing and Tea

This week my friend Jen, whom I have missed for two years now was joined in heaven by her sister, Debbie Sue. It wrecked me. Debbie Sue loved selflessly and was a true light in Jen's daughter's life. How one young woman is supposed to keep losing vital people in her life and still thrive the way Shelby does is beyond me. But she does.

We had a conference with Ty's teachers with hope of gleaning deeper understanding of his unwavering dislike of school. They were kind and encouraging but are as confused as we are because he is so stoic at school. His anxiety is at an all time high despite a lot of measures in place to support and empower him.  And so we continue to pray and listen carefully.

One morning this week I text Greg asking him to join me on a quick errand that evening to put air in one of my tires. He responded something about it being a hot date a few hours later. I was on my way to the office with a tiny friend from Kindergarten when I read his text and was immediately confronted by a co-worker who let me know she thought my husband was good looking when she met him the afternoon of the conference. Before I had time to think, she then added she understood how we have so many children. I am not easily embarrassed but knew without question I could not respond in my typical sarcastic fashion with a five year old in tow so I left her, laughing. My response when I saw her later and she worried she'd embarrassed me was, "twenty five years of marriage and our hot dates are to the gas station for air in my tire but I will be sure to let him know my older coworker thinks he is a hottie". For the record, she isn't wrong. And about being embarrassed? Please. I am currently raising my fourth adolescent. It's going to take a whole lot more than a crude comment to rattle me but my husband plans on getting a lot of mileage out of this one.

Friday evening, I found myself alone for several hours, much to my surprise. I was suddenly faced with a dilemma. What does a mom do with a few unplanned hours all by herself? Shower and early bedtime was taking the lead before Greg mentioned needing a new belt. So I compromised. TJ Maxx kid free followed by a shower and early bedtime for the win! The housework didn't make the cut. I am proud of me.

The weekend held a sleepover here with a friend of Ty's, the neighborhood garage sale we all enjoyed wandering around, an outdoor movie, church and a Costco run that coincided with yet another car repair for Erin. But Saturday morning, I was able to comfortably sip tea on my porch swing and wonder where my favorite season is hiding, all the while laughing at the meme Anne sent:
The yard sale was a success. Greg's been working out and wanted a weight bench to further support his efforts. We scored one in brand new condition for forty dollars. Kate got a beautiful new coat for five bucks and Ty purchased a new hovercraft for an additional five dollars. But the highlight had  to be Ty's buddy exuding pure joy over his lucky find. He could not wait to sleep on his cozy new pillow, a breastfeeding pillow. I could not stop laughing and hope his parents have a similar sense of humor and are laughing too.

I almost always have a running grocery list on my planner and Ty slipped some items onto the current list: villilla ice cream, coclate ice cream and mint coclate ice cream. Spelling is not his strong suit but his list was far more popular than mine. Who needs lettuce when three varieties of ice cream are available to choose from?

Monday, September 9, 2019

Celebrating the Every Day

Parenting is living in the past present and future simultaneously. I cannot look at one of my children without seeing them as a baby, they way they are now and also thinking about who they grow to be. So moments, especially milestone moments are etched in my brain as my feelings run deep. Ultimately, this incredible honor of mothering is temporary and permanent. These children are only borrowed, not mine to keep, yet forever first in my heart. They are doing exactly what they are designed to do; grow and love and live independent of me.

Ty scored a much needed win at school this week as he was able to take Max, his robot to class as part of their robotics unit. He wrote a presentation so he would cover several of Max's skills quickly. Watching him prepare for his show and tell highlighted his angst toward school. Friday was the first time in six weeks he didn't cry about going. I know a lot of kids fail to enjoy school but his feelings haven't changed in five years despite being well liked. His emotions have created some challenging moments, to say the least.

Lauren and Taylor had to rehome one of their dogs. After a few years of on-going investment into training and behaviorists, the littermate syndrome became too much for them to navigate safely around Austin. The process was gutwretching for them. However, after a few months of actively seeking the right placement, they drove all night Thursday night to our house so they would be here Friday to allow Cheech's new owner to meet him and take him home. Our animal loving kids are heartbroken. So we spent what little time we had together loving on them and feeding them well. Despite the reason they got to spend two days with us and the thirty-six hours they spent driving to make it happen, we loved seeing them.

Austin had an ear infection upon arrival so we squeezed in a quick appointment and pharmacy run immediately after I got home from school on Friday. No sooner than Greg returned home from work than Erin called with a broken down vehicle again. Unfortunately she too is discovering how much fun "adulting" is usually. But once we had everyone here for dinner, the laughter and chaos were exactly what we all needed. Our tribe is loud and hilarious.

Austin says, "bye you!" when leaving or hanging up the phone. It's his version of,  "bye, I love you". It's adorable and now we all say it.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019


Ty's archery club resumed last week and he enjoyed being back even though he didn't shoot as well as expected.

Kate was teasing Ty and calling him by his middle name, David. She then said it would be strange if people called her by her middle name and he questioned, "Bug?" We have always called her Kate Bug, not realizing he didn't know it is a nickname.

Kate was my travel buddy this weekend for an overnight trip to Dayton to take Ethan's Senior photos. As usual, Chris and Kristin spoiled us with amazing food. Kate is by far my easiest kid to take along on any adventure or outing and I am glad we had the time together.

We made a stop by the cemetery before heading home. Ryan has been heavy on my heart lately so it was important for me to have a few quiet moments to gather my thoughts. Because he is buried in an infant only area of the cemetery, we always discover new toys hidden among tree branches or displayed upon the bench that designates a memorial location. This time someone left an Army man collection and for whatever reason, it made me smile.

As of Saturday morning,  Erin is finally fully moved into her condo. Ada joined her Saturday as well. So once we returned from Dayton, we purged the attic and made donations of the things we haven't used in years. It felt good to eliminate the clutter and deeply clean the house after weeks of living in transition.  However, since I was already in the attic and in cleaning mode, the fall decor made it's way into the house. Makenna has complaints. I have failed to care.

The girls are both taking college classes around two jobs. Makenna is pursuing elementary education and Erin is furthering her degree in health care. One of them is in a math class at the moment. Bet you can't guess which one.