Sunday, January 26, 2020

100th Day

Greg, the strict parent laid down the law Friday night and banned blindfolded sword fights in the house. Obviously he is unreasonable.

We celebrated the 100th day of school on Wednesday and a few of my friends believed it was the final day of school. Day 101 was a bit disappointing. The class created hats to wear on our 100th day parade and I accepted all but one project as it was written.  I could not allow this little girl to walk around believing she had "I wish I had 100 puppies" written on her hat so I helped her correct the spelling; after I snapped a photo of course.

Greg brought me lunch and we sat in the car together in front of the school for a half hour of uninterrupted silence. Not only was it the break I needed but it was good for him to leave the house for a bit too. This job search is slow and tedious.

We were out to pick up Ty and saw a chicken cross the road and had I been driving, we would have detoured down that lane to see why.

Kate had a massive setback this week. She never made it through a full school day and battled daily headaches. I suspect the increase in needed breathing treatments has escalated the headaches but am waiting on her doctor to confirm on Tuesday afternoon.

During a routine cleaning at the dentist Monday we learned Kate needs some extensive work done on her mouth in the near future. She still has a baby tooth that will not fall out on it's own because the adult tooth needed to push it down is growing in sideways. She will need an oral surgeon and an orthodontist to pull the baby and retrieve the adult. We have consultations scheduled with two orthodontists in the coming weeks to decide how we should proceed. I have informed Kate she has far exceeded her fair share of medical treatment and can knock it off now. In all seriousness, I am disappointed for her. The kid needs a break.
My father in law, at age 80 has decided to join Facebook. Given how few texts or phone calls he returns, I am more than a little surprised by the decision and am curious how his trek into social media will unfold. But receiving a friend request from him had me smiling none the less.

Ty placed water bottles on the grocery list so he could practice flipping said bottles. We vetoed his request because the sound of constant bottle flipping wears out the most patient of grownups. When he realized we hadn't made the purchase while grocery shopping, he attempted to sweeten the appeal by promising the water bottles would also make awesome rockets. He is still perplexed as to why we weren't convinced. Pray for the boy. His creativity is stifled here.

Greg and I went to Aldi and took my car so there would be more room for groceries. The next day we took his car to Costco so there wasn't much room. This is our budget plan at the moment.

Erin called asking to have the kids for the night because it's been awhile since she spent quality time with them. As she hung up, she said she was on her way to Krispy Kreme and then the gym before picking them up and I laughed. It's all about balance they say.

I attempted to alter a favorite recipe from Kristin's grandma because grain-free eating is dreadfully dull sometimes. It wasn't a perfect rendition but satisfied a sweet tooth none the less.

The cat has been very reluctant to go outside lately even though he has never had a litter box. We assume something has changed because he acts nervous about being out there. So we decided to create a space just for him so he wouldn't have to go out if he didn't want to. It's been set up for six days and he has yet to use it. This does not amuse my husband who has been woken in the night several times this week by the persistent cat who wants to go outside after all.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020


As a child, a new teen really, I recall the first summer we lived in Ohio. I was thirteen and the entire family was gathered for no other reason than to be together, as far as I can recollect. Grandpa's handmade, black-stained table stood firmly supporting an insane amount of food. On the side sat Grandma's German chocolate cake with sweet coconut frosting and her angel food cake for those whose cravings didn't match Grandma's because she believed if it wasn't chocolate, why bother? She made exceptions for cheesecake. I share her DNA. I would run with fresh cut green onions she kept in a jar in the fridge and black olives stuck on the ends of all my fingers, perfect for plopping into my mouth while keeping up with a gaggle of cousins.

There was always a green bean casserole which as a child I loved but soon outgrew for less mushy, preservative-laden options and of course her famous five ingredient fruit salad. I loved that dish and always had seconds. In missing her a few years ago, I made the recipe from her handwritten notes and couldn't get past the sweetness. But in an instant, that flavor took me back. I could hear her say, "Sherri Kay" in that tone she used in most all circumstances, whether in trouble or not but my body would tense because before living in Ohio, no one called me that unless I was in fact, in trouble.

My grandma had a way of cutting to the chase, not mixing words but loving unconditionally. If it wasn't, "Sherri Kay, you've gotten too thin", then it was noting I had put on a needed ten pounds. I dare not wonder too much what she would say now that my weight is the highest it's ever been despite being healthy and balanced for me. If she was still here, I wouldn't have to wonder. She would simply state her observation. It was her way of letting me know that despite how many children and grandchildren she was permitted to love, she still saw me. I suppose some would say her noting of weight wasn't love but they would be wrong in their assessment. She was simply being herself, the strong determined woman who raised six kids on a farm and held a full time factory job. That woman was as tough as nails and loved her own way. I miss her and the boisterous crowd in her home all those years ago. I wonder about that table and who gets to gather around it now. And I wonder if I could learn to like that fruit salad again despite it's over the top sweetness. I don't know why after all this time she is on my mind. I simply miss her.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Weekend Review

He wanted to go the trampoline park Saturday afternoon and when we arrived, Christmas money clutched in his hand, the line was out the door and we declared jumping would be a safety issue and asked him for plan B. He decided to check out Target's toy aisle. Curious about how that would end and wondering if he would purchase Nerf or Lego, he wandered and explored but ultimately replaced his broken headphones instead of selecting a toy. We have noticed in recent months this growing up of sorts, not quite ready to empty his room of toys but rarely playing with them. He and a buddy had a sleepover here Friday night and we heard big kid words like Dude and Bro as they played manhunt outside with flashlights but when bedtime arrived, both boys snuggled their baby blankets. Big kid and small. And that sleepover? They slept about seven hours but he still required some rest Saturday afternoon.

His bag says family size but he argues they are just his with a smirk. And because out in the open, everything is fair game around here, his sister hides her sweets in a not so secret pouch in her nightstand drawer.

Kate puppy sat this weekend, or as it appeared, the puppy sat upon her.

She otherwise relaxed and enjoyed a quiet weekend until a sleepover at her best friend's house Sunday night. She has needed this social time away and we trust that family to observe our girl closely for symptoms.
Winter showed up Saturday night and no one here was pleased. With a real feel temperature of seven that all by itself feels less than lucky, Greg argued it was better than negative seven because this is where we are on the optimism scale these days.

We started a new bible study for couples Sunday afternoon and I confessed a few hours prior, I worried it would be one of those June Cleaver submission stories of which I no longer subscribe. Laughing I recalled my kitchen table bible study years ago where a good friend smacked down an Elizabeth George study and declared it crap. Taken aback, I giggled in response because I was so worried as a young mom in my twenties about checking all the "good Christian woman" boxes, I failed to deeply consider the implications. Time and life are far more on my side now and I too will join my more mature friends in calling crap, well..... "crap".

That being said, as I seek additional messages of faith and pray for Greg's next employment opportunity I can't help but wonder if God is using this experience to call us closer. Of course He is. We went through the Chazown experience last year and I still believe in my heart we have been called to foster. Greg, with serious reservations about the impact that decision will have on our family and me in particular because my heart breaks so easily for children has decided against moving forward with that decision. I don't make the rules but twenty years ago I prayed for Greg to grow closer to God because of the aforementioned holier than thou goals I had going for my life in my twenties. And then Greg had his accident and had nothing but time to connect with God. We were in church a few weeks after Greg was released from the hospital and heard a message about the nudge God sometimes uses to get our attention and Greg understood for the first time, he may have been pushed from that billboard after all. Fortunately he forgave me for that prayer but as he wrestles with his current situation, I am praying God either absolves this stirring in my heart or puts it clearly in Greg's. May no one be knocked down twenty five feet as this story unfolds. Please and thank you.

Monday morning, Martin Luther King's birthday observed and only Ty has somewhere to be in the early morning; much to his dismay. Greg offered to drive because once again the weather app warned of single digit "feels like" temperatures and I suggested the cave man may be more equipped to brave the elements. And as they left, a holy hush of sorts fell over the house as I drank in the silence I have craved and missed these last several weeks. Because whereas I love time spent with my husband, he messes with my routine. I still have a to-do list I have to keep working through and he likes the sound of the television. Always. However, I am still very much looking forward to our empty nest years because I recognize we will not have the rushing through routines to contend with in those days so time spent together won't include the children who constantly need shepherded out the door.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Spring-like January

Greg decided to rinse the ice cream scoop over Kate's water cup as she was filling it. In retribution, Kate (the sweet one) tossed a cup full of water onto her father. And then ran and locked herself into her room because whereas she has some memory loss, she has not forgotten her father retaliates.

We worked together to plan her next four years on paper. It's surreal. 

I took Kate to a freshman orientation night and was shocked to be in those halls again. Whereas I have no desire to endure anymore middle school with her, or anyone for that matter, the very idea of sending her to high school is beyond me. I want to waive the next four years. She can spend them with her fourth grade teacher where I am assured she is safe and loved. Thank you world for your cooperation.

We met with the school nurse and eighth grade counselor this week and made a formal plan to accommodate Kate's restrictions. The result of needed changes supported Kate successfully completing three school days this week. When writing the plan, her counselor joked she needed terminology for, "Kate is allergic to the eighth grade" because all adjustments were made to reduce chaos and noise in her day. She gets to leave classes early to avoid crowded hallways, eat lunch in a quiet conference room with a friend, and she has been removed from choir and placed into the library for that class period instead. All suggestions were made by the nurse as we had no idea what to request except the choir elimination because I had run out of patience with the director.

At school a five year old friend cried into my arms convinced she was having a heart attack. The poor girl was terrified but oh so very cute and as it turns out, hugging a teddy bear cured her heart attack. And then a special needs friend conned the librarian into letting him say a cuss word repeatedly and I howled hearing the story because he has just enough of a speech impediment that she truly didn't know he was dropping the F bomb until he'd repeated it four times. These kids are absolutely hilarious. (And I suspect that little guy can't wait to play Guess the Word with the librarian again next week!)

Ty's reading grade was hanging in the balance this week because I failed to make him read when I knew he needed outside play while we experienced sixty degree temperatures. Of course, when he does settle down to read and chooses this position to do so, it's no wonder his quizzes don't reflect a strong reading comprehension. He's the busy one.

Greg picked Erin's car up from the shop and noted how dirty her windshield was so he cleaned it for her. She went to drive home the following day and exclaimed, "oh my gosh! I thought I needed new glasses to drive". She's the smart one.

Lauren started babysitting a couple of little girls this week. Never in her life has she expressed a desire to spend time with small children. It's amazing how much she has changed as Austin's mom. She is nurturing but still her sassy self. It's a beautiful combination. Deep down, she always was the nurturing one. She just hid it well. But we knew when she loved special needs peers as a little girl, she had a soft spot for those who genuinely needed her.

Greg took advantage of the gorgeous week and smoked a pork belly. Homemade bacon is one of my most favorite things and when he sprinkled a tiny bit of brown sugar on freshly seared pieces the other night, I was left speechless in pure pork-induced joy. He's my favorite one.

Makenna insists this is what the bananas need so they feel like they are still in a tree and won't ripen too quickly. We had a decorating difference of opinion over this. She started a second part time job and five classes this week. She is the stressed-out one.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Back To School

Routine is always welcome in my world and getting back to school helps fuel my need for structured days; however, balancing that with a commitment every evening made for a pretty exhausting week.

On Monday, Ty went back to school and I worked a few hours in the Kindergarten classroom to insure as much as possible was completed ahead of our students returning Tuesday. Afterward Kate and I ran errands together in the sunshine. We both felt refreshed being out and about sans umbrellas and coats. She was scheduled for bible study that evening but ended up canceling last minute because Greg and I were called to the emergency room in Louisville to be with Erin. After a short couple of hours, she was discharged with a costochondritis diagnosis. In a nutshell, she has inflammation in the cartilage between her lungs and ribs caused by a virus. She was frightened by the intensity of chest pain and the duration but will be fine in a few more days. But honest to goodness, my thought on the way to the ER was, "it's always something." Because as it turns out, it is always something.

Tuesday my friends returned to school full of exciting stories. I missed those little stinkers and their teachers too. That afternoon we sprung a needed haircut on the boy who took it in stride despite his strong dislike of such activities. His name was brought up in the lounge and the teachers who met Kate on Monday noticed how vastly different my children were created; one like his father and the other like me. In both cases, I choose to believe the observations were complimentary.

I spent a fair amount of time this week negotiating a plan for Kate to resume full days with doctor ordered restrictions. As it turns out, everyone understands except the choir director who believes his class should be my top priority. We are having a difference of opinion and it isn't ending on friendly terms. Middle school drama isn't limited to middle school students it seems. After countless emails, we are meeting face to face Monday after school.

My bible study this week started a discussion about Sarah and Abraham. God promised a son and after fourteen years, they assumed God wanted them to take matters into their own hands and Hagar, Sarah's servant, produced Ishmael. It would be another thirteen years before Sarah would give birth to Isaac. This on the heels of a church message about faith and peace arriving when we relinquish control and I suspect God is once again reminding me Greg will find work in His timing alone. I am not in control and in wanting to do something, literally anything, I am likely reacting and not prayerfully responding. Either that or I am not hitching a ride on the the life preserver God is sending by means of fulltime job offers with health benefits. I am faithfully believing God has a plan that will be better for our family longterm.

However, Makenna's friend lost her mother to cancer this week and Erin's friend found out her cancer is back just three years after beating it the first time. Alex turned twenty six Thursday and is by all accounts, not able to get breast cancer at all, much less twice. Life is simply not fair and I am working a lot harder to see God at work in the muck.

Kate pushed through a full school day Tuesday and ended up in bed, really sick for the remainder of the evening but managed most of the day Wednesday and Thursday. She was able to sleep off first headaches each morning but the second ones put up a bigger fight. She did bounce back quickly after a nap at home though. This healing process is still needing daily tweaking. Friday she started her day with physical therapy and never made it to school because she was so rundown. Her therapist said he has discovered another way to support her through the stress of a busy middle school. We are seeking additional support through a 504 plan at school so a certain choir director is unable to fail her for not participating and I can spend energy where it likely matters more.

On Wednesday, after a difficult morning, I challenged Ty to list three things he found to be happy about at school that day. After school, he bounded out to the car and blurted,  "I didn't throw up at school. I didn't pass out at school and Mr. R didn't hurt anyone at school." I laughed, "Mr. R helped you make your list, didn't he?" And the boy grinned from ear to ear as he responded, "yep". I'll take it. And for the record, Mr. R only has to refrain from smacking grown ups. He's awesome with kids.

Friday I canceled my trip to Dayton to see friends because I was exhausted and Erin still has Greg's car because her car repairs were more extensive than originally thought. I was wearing myself out trying to navigate how to make sure all the balls could remain in the air while I was three hours away and ultimately called it when the wind and rain forecast indicated my drive would be stressful. So I convinced my friends in Kindergarten it was National Go To Bed Early Friday and I hope no one had plans because one little rule follower had a lot of clarifying questions about how this holiday works. The parents either love me or are pretty irritated with me this weekend.

Within an hour of me getting off work, it was clear I needed to be home and not on the road to Dayton. Erin fell at work, weak and disoriented and we needed to pick her and Greg's car up and get her back into bed. Between the virus, her class load, both jobs and failure to eat well, she is not bouncing back from the illness well at all.

Did I mention, it's always something?

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Winter Break Week Two

Layla has been quite expensive lately. She's cute though; which is ironically what we say about Kate too.......

Despite a hundred pounds of sugar (more or less) going through our house the last few weeks, Ty still required his favorite holiday cookie. So he made pizzelles to take to Grandma and Aunt Theresa, knowing they share well.

On Monday, I ran to three different grocery stores to accomplish what was honestly a small list but one I couldn't easily achieve in one location with the exception of Walmart and frankly I wasn't feeling quite crazy enough for that to be a reasonable solution. Anyway, I grabbed a coke and took off alone which made it seem like a treat and my kid-free plan was working beautifully until I ran into this cutie at Aldi and had to keep her for the remainder of my errands. I miss my little buddy's energy.

After physical therapy on Tuesday, I met my parents with the kids so they could escort them to my sister's for a few days. Ty has been asking for some extended time with his cousins for months. I worried a bit about sending Kate but she is advocating for needed rest pretty well these days so despite my inability to locate the bell my dad gave Makenna when she had knee surgery three years ago, I trusted Kate would let them know if she needed anything.

We looked through old photos Tuesday night and I ran across this gem. Kate Bug was our only thumb sucker and so stinking cute too.

I woke Wednesday morning to these photos from my sister. Everyone clearly had a great time ringing in the new year. Several of my friends celebrated their kids making it to midnight and I laughed. Mine did too but at Theresa's house. I fell asleep before eight o'clock. It was perfect.
Still needing a "few" lightbulbs but the chandelier we got her for Christmas is finally installed. Greg about lost his Christianity over this.

Wednesday, Greg and I helped Erin for the afternoon with a project at her house and Ty went to the trampoline park with Brennen and Mason. My mom took Kate to see Little Women and Kate text requesting we locate the book. It appears she enjoyed the movie.

Thursday, Greg and I used one Christmas gift card for lunch and then another a few hours later for dessert. This kid-free gig was pretty sweet. In between restaurants, we walked two malls and noted how long it had been since we last did so. It was a decent way to spend a rainy afternoon even if we walked without purchasing anything.

Friday, I met my sister and picked up my babies. Ty was not too thrilled to be leaving the best house on the planet but quickly made plans for the night. He was home just a few moments when he packed up essentials for a sleepover at his buddy's house.

Saturday, I kept kiddos so Greg and friends could assist a local woman in need of shelter this winter. While holding down the homefront, I meal planned and cleaned in preparation for the week and routine ahead. There is never a shortage of things to do it seems. All in all, we played well, rested well and are as ready as we can be for school next week. It was a good break.