SAL-VA-TION: by grace

E-LEV-EN: children from 1984 to 2006

HOME-SCHOOL-ING: since 1990

DOWN-SYN-DROME: susie and gabe

GRAND-CHILD-REN: since 2010

FAITH-FUL-NESS: my steadfast rock, my biggest supporter, my leader, my friend, my love, my husband

Friday, April 25, 2008

Pictures of Gabe

Dana (my computer/camera expert) figured out our software problem and downloaded my pictures for me. Here's the one of Gabe in the oatmeal that I referred to in another post.

While I'm here I may as well share a few more of our recent favorites of Mr. Adorable.

Bunny Boy

Caged by the big boys

2nd Birthday

Dancing Man

Thursday, April 24, 2008

One of Those Days

Laying in bed the other night:

Keith: How was your day?

Me: Not so great.

Keith: Tell me about it.

Me: It just seemed like my day was full of ineffective relating, motivating, instructing, training, discussing, teaching, and ordering. I just wasn't getting anywhere with anyone.


Me: Let's just say that it was a lot like raking leaves on a windy day.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Letting Go

Children just don't know what they do to us, or better yet maybe I should say they don't know what happens to us because of them. Before I had children I was a bit of an emotional stoic. I very rarely cried, and not because I fought to hold back tears, there were just none to hold back. Then I became a mother.

The tears of a mother are not just connected to pain or injustice or empathy. They come from a place of emotion that has no other name. And in my experience that place is just full and ready to overflow at any given moment and without warning.

In ten days my second son is getting married. Named for his father and so very much like him. Big brown eyed toddler following Joey like a puppy, hesitant to join in on the playground until he eyed up the situation and had it all figured out. Never climbing in my lap to cuddle but wanting/needing me to scoop him up and love him with regularity. Spending hours fishing for the big bass and estimating the length of any fish within a quarter inch. Able to add three digit numbers in his head by the age of six. On road trips, terrified of running out of gas or taking a wrong turn. Serious minded but easily brought to outright silliness by just being around Chet. Dependable in school, on a team, in the family.

When Joey started his first job at the age of 14 I watched him walk down the produce aisle with his boss through a blur of tears. When Keith's turn came I waved him off without a thought. So, being this is the second wedding I should be immune to the "first time" mother emotions. Besides, I've had plenty of time to prepare for this one.

Keith met Nicole seven years ago when they were both fourteen. He "asked her out" five years ago and gave her a ring in April '07. I love Nicole and once joked with Keith that if they broke up he had to find a new family because she was already entrenched in my heart. Four years was a long time to try to keep an emotional distance with a girl that isn't yet guaranteed to join the family.

He was away at college for four years, being adopted by a church family there. He made it home for just the minimum of school holidays and then spent last summer in Georgia adopted again by another family. Add that to a serious girlfriend/fiancee to converse with and confide in and the ties to home have slowly and appropriately been severed. The child-become-adult is fully prepared for independence.

So why is it that as I'm driving through the bank parking lot and Big & Rich's song "Lost in This Moment With You" comes on I can't see where I'm going?

Monday, April 21, 2008

An Apostle Peter Moment

First, I had one of those Boy-Have-I-Made-It moments last week. Owen reported to me, "Gabe's on the floor eating mush." Hmmm, we don't have any food item that we ever refer to as "mush" so I hurried to check out the situation. There was Mr. Gabe, seated under the kitchen table with a bowl of oatmeal. He hadn't been terribly interested in finishing it for breakfast and I had left it on the table while I removed him from his high chair and ran downstairs to put in a load of laundry. Apparently Gabe is growing (funny how two years old do that) and we now realize that he can reach a good ways over the edge of the table.

I would have posted a picture and saved a thousand words but there's a bug in the software and I just can't show you the proud little man covered head to toe in mush. He succeeded in coating the floor all around him in a 2 foot radius as well. Rather than fume or cry or hang my head in dismay I ran for the camera and just laughed at my little mess. I was thinking to myself what a long way I've come in my 20 plus years of mothering. I was so proud of myself for staying calm, enjoying the moment, remembering that he won't be little for long, and realizing that it cleans up and doesn't even take that long.

I did the clean up thing and carried on with my day, pretty proud of myself for the way I handled the situation.

Pride thoroughly cometh the fall.

An hour later I was back downstairs putting in another load of laundry when Owen (8) came down and launched into a long, drawn out, explanation of something that I was not having the patience to listen to. It went something like this: "It was my turn to clear the table but I forgot......and Bryce told me I had to anyway.......and then Lisa got more food out......and Lisa left her cup on the table......and Gabe spilled her milk...and Bryce said I have to clean it up. Do I have to?" Gabe spilled her milk? Now I was listening.

My first words should have been a clue that this wasn't going to go well. "I don't care whose job it is, if it needs to be cleaned up then clean it up!" Did I mention that I said it rather loudly?

I raced up the stairs to see Gabe in the same position he was in with the oatmeal only this time he was surrounded by a sea of milk and with one hand he was holding the plastic cup containing the last 1/2 ounce. The other hand was in the cup giving that remaining milk a good stir. For some reason, he didn't look so cute and I didn't have any desire to go grab a camera. Instead I looked around at my four able bodied responsible sons and saw two of them looking at the computer, one was following me up the stairs (you heard his story), and the fourth was sitting in the living room. All four knew what was going on, and all four claimed they thought someone else was cleaning it up. That was it, I blew my top, let them all know how lazy and irresponsible they were, made up stories about what they would just sit back and allow if I wasn't there to do EVERYTHING in the house, etc, etc, etc!!!

About then I could just hear the cock crow. No, Lord, I do not have this thing down yet.

Note: The failure was not in losing my patience during episode two, but trusting in my own abilities during eposide one.

Monday, April 14, 2008

I'll do my best

Lisa (6) loves to tell long drawn out imaginative stories. The other day she came to me and began:

"Mama, I just have to tell you this. OK, pretend I'm a person."

Friday, April 11, 2008

Why oh why oh why oh why?

Or I could title this "Anger never helps" or "No use crying over spilt milk".

Almost two months ago Gabe lost his little glasses. He sees OK without them but his eyes don't work well together and he gets rather cross-eyed. I waited aver two weeks to order new ones hoping we'd come up with them. He has limited access in the house and I was sure we'd unearth the things. We cleaned couches--in and behind, toyboxes, book shelves, drawers, and even the younger boys bedroom--no easy feat. They were nowhere. I was on the phone telling someone that "Gabe never throws anything in the trash can so they can't be..." when he popped the lid and dropped in a toy. Jaw dropped. Mystery solved. The glasses were somewhere in a trash heap in Michigan's Upper Penninsula.

I emailed the company where we ordered his first pair to place a duplicate order, got an emailed receipt, and left for a two week vacation, expecting to get the package in the mail upon our return. Instead, I found an email in my inbox (sent on the day of my departure) stating that Gabe should probably see his doctor first to check the prescription before placing the order and would I like to do that. Ughh! Don't you think I would have thought of that myself? I would. And did. I replied to say that our pediatric opthomologist has a FOUR MONTH waiting list for appointments. Place the order!

Mind you, I DID pause to consider that perhaps God was putting off the order because we were meant to find the old pair and I put in a second search effort before sending the final email order go ahead. Still no glasses. In the meantime, Gabe is now managing to navigate the two worlds he lives in with fair success as he can hardly keep those eyes straight anymore.

Finally, yesterday, the long awaited package arrived and I have spent the last 24 hours getting Gabe accustomed to his corrected vision and the, by now, new feeling of glasses perched on his little nose. Then, lo and behold (what? I never say "lo and behold", must be the moment) doesn't Lisa (6) come running up to me this afternoon with a pair of glasses yelling, "Look what I found Mama! Now Gabe can have a new pair and an old pair." She was grinning from ear to ear. Two months and $154.00 later, I was not grinning, and soon neither was she. I didn't yell, or scream, or flail, or even speak. But she knew that smiling was not the appropriate facial expression for the moment.

I thought I turned the house upside down. Somehow I didn't think to open the basement hide-a-bed and check inside the little bead and crochet purse that was hiding under the mattress. Silly me.

It's my job

We pretty much run a four day school week here. Fridays are used for cleaning the house, finishing undone work, homeschool group activities, and fun. I got everyone cracking this morning with the admonition to keep busy until they were finished--daily jobs, weekly jobs, and clean rooms. Only then could they take a break. Owen asked if he could turn on some music. I consented but turned it off after about ten minutes and three orders for children to stop dancing and singing and get back to work.

Then I saw Shane (13) just lounging in the computer chair.

"What are you doing!?" I asked.

"I have to wait for Bryce," he answered.

I asked what he was waiting for and he said he was waiting for Bryce to finish sweeping the dining room.

"What does that have to do with you?" I countered.

He was ready for me, "I have to mop and I can't do it until he's done sweeping."

He was so sure he had me until I asked, "Do you have the mop bucket filled and ready to go?"

He slowly got up shaking his head and concluded, "You always come up with something."

Yep, it's my job, and after 20+ years I think I'm getting it down.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Him no waste words

When it comes to written communication my husband is well known for getting right to the point with the minimum use of verbage. He tries to redeem every minute, every type of the computer key, and every last brain cell so that his time at work is as profitable as it can be. I get a kick out of it and am challenged to be as frugal as he in my replies. For some reason he thinks his style is quite normal, and it is not until I reply in kind that he sees the humor in it. Here is our most recent exchange.

Keith writes,
"Trying to call you, home phone busy, cell phone does not connect.
Need address for ******.
Wrote letter to send to him."

I replied,
"Sorry on phone with *******.
Cell on vibe.
Will try to keep on."
Hope not happen again.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Need some help!

Owen: Mama! Can you help me with a math problem!?

Me: What's wrong? Don't you understand how to do it?

Owen: I understand everything. I just don't know 'N'."

I look at the problem and see this:


Test Your Knowledge

Shane participated in the National Geographic State Bee last Friday. There were 104 students competing for a trip to Washington, DC for the National Bee on May 20. He did a great job, but did not advance to the final round of the top ten students. The participants are divided up into five groups for the preliminary round where each one answers eight questions. The scores are tallied and the top ten (out of the total) go on to the finals. In the past, there have been five or six kids with perfect scores and a handful with one miss. The “one missers” have gone to a separate tie breaker round to fill in the extra seats. Well, this year there were twenty kids with perfect scores in the preliminary round and they all went to the tie breaker. Shane had one miss.

Here are the questions he had to answer. Take the test and tell me how you did. (I didn’t write down entire questions—couldn’t keep up—but you get enough information to answer the questions.) Answers are below.

1) US Geography: The Arkansas River passes through which Great Plains State? Kansas or North Dakota

2) Invasive Species of the US: Biologists removed.......lake trout from Yellowstone Lake in which state? New Mexico or Wyoming

3) Country Comparisons: Which country has a higher adult literacy rate? Lesotho or Poland

4) Physical Geography: Which is one of the main reasons that farmers during the depression left the Dust Bowl? Polluted ground water or Drought

5) Which country does not border the South China Sea? Bruneii, Saudi Arabia, Philippines

6) World Cities: In what country can you find Tripoli which is (cultural details I didn’t get written down)?

7) Cultural: Something about Brahamputra and “sons of soil” and a country that borders the Straight of Malacca and the South China Sea.

8) News: In December 2007 after eight years of exile Benizer Bhutto, her country's first female prime minister, returned to what country and was assassinated?

Shane missed question number 4. I guess we need to brush up on US History.

The answers are:
1) Kansas
2) Wyoming
3) Poland
4) Drought
5) Saudi Arabia
6) Libya
7) Malaysia
8) Pakistan