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

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Two by Two

My twin grandchildren, Keira and Carson, met my twin nieces, Megan and Rebecca, in California this week. Thanks to my sister, Kathy, for the photo!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Lisa's Big Day

Lisa recently requested a special day. I guess she didn't really request it. She planned it all out and then came to me and said that she was planning to invite some friends over. I took that as a request and said--sure. She pressed me--when? Next week. What day? I needed to really think, because this obviously was not going to just go away. Umm, Wednesday, yes, Wednesday was good. Can I call them? Now? Yes. No, you'll see them tonight, ask them tonight. She did, and we had a plan.

I didn't learn right then what that plan entailed but she certainly had it all mapped out. By the weekend I had been filled in as to all of the details. We were going on a picnic, playing at the park, going to the Windmill (an ice cream shop), and going fishing. Why not? She had it all figured out and I had no good reason to oppose it. I really wanted to reward her ingenuity and determination, so I did.

However, that Wednesday turned out to be Wednesday, July 7, Ellen's due date, and Karissa's birthdate. Lisa's plans changed from parks and windmills to driving down to see her new niece. I just had to tell her...

I woke her up with great excitement in my voice, "Guess what?! Ellen had her baby and we're going to go down and see her today! Don't worry about your party plans, we'll call everyone and just do it tomorrow, just like we planned."

Lisa rubbed her eyes and asked me, "What did she have?" I said, "A girl". And Lisa burst into tears.

I have to admit I rather expected this. Lisa is not one to embrace change or anything that goes contrary to her expectations, hopes, or desires. And when she's not embracing she's crying.

What I did not expect was what she said next, "I always get it wrong! Joey and Jamie had a boy and a girl and Keith and Coley had a boy and now Ellen had a girl!" (More wails and sobs.)

I was puzzled at first but quickly realized that she was referring to our baby predictions. We all make guesses as to the birthdate, size, gender, etc. of the expected babies and Lisa was now 0 for 3 (she counted a girl-girl guess for Carson and Keira as one wrong guess).

It all worked out in the end, we saw the baby, and moved the play day back to Thursday. The weather turned out to be better than Wednesday and Lisa had the day of her life.

First we went to a playground where a woman with a puppy let the children dote on it and take it all around the park, which (for Lisa) was the next best thing to actually giving it to her.

Gabe found the slide. It's one of those big old steel ones that I believe have been outlawed in most of the country due to our litigious society. (Living above the tension line we can get away with a lot of things most people can't.)

Kari Thompson broke her leg jumping off of one of these slides in our school playground in fourth grade. Her parents didn't sue. I'm guessing they just reprimanded Kari for being so stupid as to jump off a slide.

I got into position to photograph Gabe and he surprised me by shooting down head first! There wasn't time to do anything about it, so I just took his picture! (I'm glad that at least there were wood chips at the bottom and not asphalt like we had in fourth grade. I may have the lawyers to thank for that.)

Owen formed a small baseball brigade and hit fly balls. It was pretty warm so the baseball didn't last too long and the boys weren't too excited about playing at the park.

We ate our picnic and headed to the Windmill for dessert.

This quaint little place is only open during the summer and is always packed. The children love it because it's on a lake chain and they love to head down the path to the bridge and watch the boats, wave at the vacationers, and try to guess which ones will turn into the dock and come up for a treat.

I just liked watching them all eating their ice cream.

Our final stop was the lake for the fishing. The baseball brigade chose to go to the house for a game in the back yard. I left Gabe with a capable brother and headed for the lake with four fishermen, four poles, and precious little expectation of seeing any fish. Two of our crew were very green at fishing and had been rigged with open faced reels by one of my experienced sons. We were in trouble. I hadn't fished since June of 1985 and my one try at an open faced reel ended with Keith spending most of our outing untangling my mess and restringing my reel.

I just didn't tell my victims any of this.
The unsuspecting victims

Things started off well enough. I couldn't cast more than about 20 feet, but it was enough to show them what to do. Nathaniel was on to me. Shouldn't we be casting it out further? I assured him the fish liked to eat close to shore sometimes. I wanted to say--just throw the hook in and enjoy the weather, who cares if there are fish!

Big mistake--no bobbers or worms. If we'd had those they could have thrown out the bait and just sat there. Instead there was LOTS of casting and reeling to be done. It wasn't 2 minutes before we had a pole that looked like this.

Then there was another. Then a bait and hook was lost--no extras, who thinks of a tackle box? I untangled three poles, had to cut two lines and retie the baits, and was kept busy "teaching" some novices how to cast and reel--and one of the poles was set up for a lefty.

When the bait was lost, Lisa gladly gave up her pole and took to the water to help get hooks off the rocks and retrieve lost baits (my tying skills were a bit rusty too).

It's a good thing no one could cast very far, they were always in reach for Lisa. No one even asked if the fish might be scared away by her presence. I think everyone was too busy trying to figure out the poles to be worried about distractions like fish.

No one caught any fish, of course. They did get the hang of the reels but agreed that the closed reels with a bobber and a worm were preferred. I thought the weather and water were beautiful and it was worth being at the lake just for the beauty of it. However, when I announced that it was time to head home my troup was more than ready to get moving!

Lisa's day was a success. She had fun, her friends had fun, and I even had fun, you know--the kind of fun where you know what you're doing is really making someone else happy even though it's not what you would do given the choice? That is very often the most satisfying kind of fun. The fact that Lisa did all of the planning took the work out of it for me, too. It made me want to be a bit more of a 'yes' mom to future plans and ventures.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Too wet to weed

The boys are "supposed" to spend at least an hour a day weeding in the garden. (I have to put that in parenthesis because I'd be lying if I made you think that we are diligent about actually doing, and doing well, what we should be doing between the rows of tomatoes and squash. We're terrible vegetable gardeners--REALLY terrible.) Anyway, the weather has been great for the garden but it isn't too condusive for us non-hardy-soul-gardeners who really need some motivation to get out there. So, with all the rain that we had for three weeks the weeds went wild. The argument I kept getting was, "We can't weed the garden, it's raining." And I'm not too good about pushing my children to do something I would not want to (and don't) do myself.

Then, one day last week I looked out the bathroom window and saw this:

Too wet to weed? Hmmm.
It was warm and wet and there was no lightning--perfect kid weather...for playing.
I caved. I put a pair of shoes on Gabe and took him out for his first rainy-play-day. I grabbed an umbrella and my camera.

Shane was in the driveway working on his slam dunk.

Gabe was delighting in the rain and the sport and followed Shane's every move, complete with a squeal every time the ball went down through the net.

He was so sure he could put into action what he was seeing Shane do.

We heard voices coming from the backyard and went to see what was going on there. This was the next scene:

The rain was coming down in sheets--too wet to weed, but perfect for baseball.

The fun was contagious and Gabe grabbed a ball and joined in. He had to get the OK from Bryce to chase Owen down for the tag.

Somehow I cannot imagine the same look of pure delight on these boys' faces if they were crouched in a weedbed, even in the rain...especially in the rain.

Lisa didn't care about the ball games but she was having her own fun.

He probably won't admit it, but I have an inkling that part of the reason our gardening efforts are as weak as they are is because it makes Daddy so happy to see his family so happy; and gardening does not make them happy. Not planting, not weeding, not harvesting, not eating. We've definitely done something wrong here. (Maybe if we down-sized...) Whatever the case, he was thrilled to come home from work and find the rain warriors in the back yard.

Gabe's real fun came when he discovered this:

It was just a bit too much for Lisa!

But I think Gabe could have done it all day.

What they were trying to tell me, I think, is that there are lots of things a kid can do outside in the summer, even while sitting in the dirt; but, gardening just shouldn't be one of them!