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

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Belated Easter Picture

Easter circa 1969 Cindy and Kathy
This makes me admit that my children are right, I did live in the olden days.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

NOW what would you say?

It looks like you were all in agreement about giving the teens a "taste of their own medicine" after leaving dishes on the counter for a week. (See last post.)

However, here's part 2.

Let's say those same boys who were home all week and didn't clean up the bowl and pan from the corn bread were (between the two of them) busy doing this:

--Working (job) four days
--Attending daily baseball practice and a game
--Cleaning out the entire garage/barn
--Moving the fishing boat from storage to its outdoor parking spot
--Removing the old basketball backboard and hoop and installing a new one
--Taking out all of the windows in the house, cleaning them, vacuuming the tracks, and putting them back in again
--Cleaning out and organizing the tool/work room
--Cleaning out and organizing the pantry
--Cleaning out a large storage (aka 'junk') room and assembling items to be taken to Goodwill
--Going to their uncle's newly purchased house to help paint, clean, and get ready for moving day

AND remember, it was Spring Break for these 2 high school guys. No Florida beaches for them.

As for me, I'm having no trouble doing their laundry (besides, they even kept up with their own during that week).

Sunday, April 24, 2011

What would you say?

Let's say a mother and father and four of their children go away for a week and leave 2 teenagers, ages, oh...let's say...18 and 16, at home alone.

Let's say the mother makes a batch of cornbread for the last family-together meal and then leaves before the meal is finished (because she is driving a separate vehicle and making additional stops on the way).

Let's say half of the family returns with the father a day before the mother returns.

Let's say the mother finally returns and finds the afore-mentioned cornbread pan (now empty) and the dirty mixing bowl still sitting on the counter.

That said, would it be considered appropriate for the mother to, in kind, now make a point by letting the dirty laundry sit for a week?

He is Risen

Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life...whoever lives and believes in me will never die." John 11: 25-26

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Young Truth

Recently, Lisa's brothers would not let her play with them and she wailed to me:
"Nobody likes me!"
Considering the immediate circumstance with her brothers I countered with:
"I'm sure your friends like you."
Unconvinced she explained:
"That's because they don't really know me."
So I asked:
"If they really knew you what would they think of you?"
Meekly and soberly, she replied:
"They'd think I was a brat."

Unknowingly, Lisa is wise beyond her years. It took me 10 years longer than her to realize that I, too, was a brat. I thank God for His subtle way of opening our eyes to who we really are and giving us hope in Christ for a changed heart.

Jeremiah 17:9 "The heart is deceitful above all things, who can know it."

Friday, April 8, 2011

Play With Me

A few days ago Gabe came to me and asked, "Play puzzles?"

I took the puzzles down from the shelf, set them down on the rug and said, "I'll put them right here."

He sat next to them with a huge smile, patted the rug next to him and said, "Mama, you sit right here."

Gabe wants what every child wants, for Mama to play with him. If I put the puzzles down and go on with my work he just scatters the pieces and looks for mischief. But, if I sit down and play with him he matches the colors, names the shapes, finds the numbers, counts the pieces, and plays every game I throw at him.

Gabe can accomplish things with his puzzles when I'm by his side that he won't even begin when he's alone. He thrives on the encouragement and the cheers.

But it's not that way with everything. He'll shoot and dribble a basketball all on his own for hours (really) because he just loves it. He loves it when we cheer for him, but he doesn't need it because he loves to play basketball.

I was told once that a child with Down syndrome has to hear or see something a thousand times before he "gets it". I wonder who came up with that nonsense. I think, just like anyone else, a child with Down syndrome catches on to things quickly when they want to catch on and slowly when they don't. It's true, most things take longer and the learning process is slower. But, a thousand times?!

I could almost believe that if I had a narrow focus on Gabe's life. Maybe if I was a therapist who saw him once a week in a little room and analysed that tiny slice of his life I could think that. Or even if I just looked at the time we've spent working on colors I could think that.

I had just about decided Gabe was color blind when he finally started matching colors a year ago. Since then we've worked on naming nine colors on his fish puzzle almost daily. He knows black, white, and pink. He's probably had many thousands of color lessons but he's not getting it.

I think Gabe just doesn't really care. He's not interested in naming colors. It doesn't matter to him.

Three years ago I read a book to him in our church nursery that had a rabbit in it. I named the rabbit and made the sign for rabbit. When I read through the book a second time Gabe signed 'rabbit' when we got to the rabbit page. I was surprised (we were 999 short of the necessary repetitions).

A week later I read the book to Gabe again and on the rabbit page he got very excited and signed 'rabbit'. So much for the thousand theory.

So I'm not repeating the puzzle lessons because I want to drill color facts into Gabe. I know he'll get it when he's ready and wants to get it. I do the puzzles with Gabe because he likes to be with me and show me what he knows and have me clap for him and hug him when he matches the pieces.

One day he'll know the names of the colors, but every day he'll know I love him.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Just one day

Some nights I flop into bed, literally hitting the pillow, and intentionally let out a loud sigh. I've told Keith I do it when I want to exhale the day away, and my sigh just feels like a final exclamation at end of it.

I recently had one such day. I had to record it here because I want to be able to laugh at it later.

9:15 am--Drive child #1 to the carpool meeting spot for an activity
9:30 am--Do the bi-weekly grocery run
10:30 am--Unload groceries
11:00 am--Drive child #2 to a baseball practice
11:20 am--Put away the groceries
12:00 noon--Lunch with husband and children #3, 4, and 5
1:00 pm-Drive children #3 and #4 to meet their ride to a friend's who will later get them to an evening activity (for which we offered to drive a larger carpool, we'll just be without them until the ride home)
2:00 pm--Pick up child #1 from activity
2:15-3:40 pm--Cook 3 homemade pizzas for children #1, 2, 5, and 6 for their supper and 1 pizza for children #3 and 4 to take to the potluck for their evening activity while husband and I go out for a date while we wait for the kids' activity to end.
3:45 pm--leave to pick up other kids for the carpool to the activity
4:30 pm--Drop off kids at the activity, head out for the date
4:31 pm--Van makes a very loud sputtering noise and smells strongly of exhaust--roll the windows down and head to the next town.
4:50 pm--Stop to shop because husband showed up for the date wearing a sweatshirt, athletic pants with holes in the knees, and gym shoes with no socks. He had an excuse--he returned home too late from the Y to change before we had to leave the house.
6:00 pm--Stop at a mechanic to learn the van can be driven, but there could be major engine damage driving 30 miles home. We feel we have no choice but to carry on and with over 242,000 miles is it really going to be worth the repair?
6:20-9:30 pm--Great Greek dinner, good time, dessert with a big screen TV to watch the NCAA basketball game
9:30 pm--I suggest, "Why not have AAA tow it home?" Why didn't I think of that 5 hours earlier? Husband gets the tow set up and I start calling to make new arrangements to get our 2 children home, plus another 4 in the carpool. I make a connection for the kids to be picked up at 10:30 and my child #6 to pick up #3 and 4 at the carpool spot and then get us from the auto shop to which we will be towed.
10:20 pm--Tow truck arrives
10:40 pm--We pass the event where the kids are supposedly finished
11:00 pm--We pass the meeting spot where we see #6 parked and waiting
11:05 pm--Mom who arranged the pick up of the kids calls me to say her son got there, picked up his sister and was told he didn't need to get anyone else, and he left the other 5 there, and was that right? NO, GO GET THE OTHER 5 KIDS, please.
11:07 pm--Child #3 calls, "Mom did you forget us?" Explain the situation. Ride is on the way.
11:10 pm--The mom calls to say the son was only 5 minutes away and is turning back.
11:12 pm--I call the number from which Child #3 called to deliver the message that the ride should be there any minute--shows up while we're talking.
11:15 pm--Call child #6 and tell him to come pick us up at the auto shop.
11:35 pm--Leave the auto shop and head back to the carpool meeting spot.
11:45 pm--Car full of happy kids arrives but one is missing a parent to pick him up. "S___, is your mom coming?" "Oh, I guess I should call her."
11:50 pm--Confirm that S___'s mother is coming and leave him with the carpool driver.
12:15 am--Head hits the pillow with a loud sigh.


Monday, April 4, 2011

A quarter century of change

There it is, the remains of the last glass of a set that we bought with our wedding gift money twenty-seven years ago. Gabe knocked it off the table.

I went back to my wedding album to see if the glasses were a gift or if they'd been purchased by us with the gift money. In light of the five rather recent weddings of my own children it was fun to look through the way it was for us.

We had a small wedding, fewer than 80 guests. We received $295 in cash (on our college student budget that was half a month's living expenses). We didn't need to purchase dishes, cutlery, knives, cookbooks, bakeware, pots and pans, or any other kitchen items (except glasses). We received 3 sheet sets, two towel sets, and several wedding memory items (figurine, picture frame, cross stitch).

We only received one very strange, probably a re-gift, gift. It came from someone I didn't know at the time and is still a name I don't recognize so I think I'm safe to mention it without the offended party reading up about it here.

It was an electric hot dog cooker. I tend to try to find a use for anything and everything, but that one baffled me. I never found cooking hotdogs--open fire, boiling water, broiler, microwave--to be a challenge worthy of its own appliance. I try to imagine the market strategy for such a gadget--"Tired of waiting around for your hot dogs to cook? Tired of not knowing if they're done? You can now cook every hot dog to perfection! No timing! No checking! Just set the cooker and wait for the bell." We passed off the hot dog cooker as a gag gift to Keith's roommate when he got married...I sure hope we gave him more than just that, but I don't remember.

That one broken butterfly glass opened a bag of memories that seemed so recent, but upon closer inspection were actually an awful long time ago. The saying must hold that time flies when you're having fun.

Friday, April 1, 2011

I Eat My Words

My boys were dreaming out loud. They were painting a mental image of their idea of a perfect living room. It had an entire wall devoted to media and electronics. I went along with it, tongue in cheek. "Sounds good, in fact, we could just do it now. Get a flat screen TV and mount it on the fireplace, front and center." They shared my suggestion with their father.

I am so outnumbered.