Saturday, September 29, 2007

Saturday Morning. Ahhhhh...

(Oops. Sideways again. i thought I had that figured out.)

It's Saturday morning. John went to get donuts when he picked up his Saturday morning paper. We are spread out over the dining room table with newspaper, donut crumbs, laptop and cereal bowls.
Grace likes to eat cereal after donuts because otherwise you get a stomach ache. I agree, but I just live with the stomach ache. I don't know why we like donuts so much when they make us sick, literally. They are just so good going down. I ate a chocolate cake donut with nuts on it. I love those, and the cake donuts frosted with maple and nuts. Yummy.
Anyway, everyone slept in this morning. I love that. Well, Gertie and I didn't sleep in. She woke up at 6:50 a.m., which she's been doing more often lately. But that's really okay. I'm kind of an earlybird myself. We had a good morning. And I like the quiet house knowing that my family are all settled in with those precious sleep faces on, including John.
John back is feeling steadily better and better. It's hard to trust because it collapsed on us last week, but he just needs to continue to take it easy. Don't get overzealous.

On the agenda today is get Grace's room into order. The issue is mostly clothes. You need to see this. Granted, she is super busy. I feel like I didn't see her this week. She had a tennis match on Tuesday that brought her home at 8:30 p.m. Bedtime at our house is 8 p.m. Wednesday night she came home from tennis practice at 5 p.m., only to leave for church at 5:30. Thursday was another tennis meet that brought her home at 7:15.
I really miss this messy girl of mine. I hate it, to tell you the truth. I am happy for her to find things that bring her joy, but I like having her around. I don't know if this is just another phase of this journey into becoming more independent and separating from Mom and Dad a little, or if I need to pull in the reigns. I praying about that.
Ethan fell off his bike on the way home from school yesterday. Thankfully, I was with him, and he wasn't hurt too badly. He had a sweatshirt and jeans on, but he was a bit shaken up. He said his backpack strap got caught in his spokes. That was a bummer. Here he is loving up his little sister. Gertie calls him Egan now. She LOVES this brother God picked out for her. It brings me much joy to watch them together.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Mommy Dearest

You know, I don't think of myself as an abusive mother. I don't try to hurt my children. But today, as Gertie and I were finishing up our shopping trip to the local thrift store ($3 a bag sale), I was holding her hand, and we were walking out. She decided she wasn't into leaving like I was. So she did what toddlers do: She just went limp and dangled by her arm. She wasn't crying or upset, and a lady behind us was even laughing at her antics. I let her hang there for a second, and then I picked her up. That's the best reconstruction I can create, considering I wasn't focusing on the details.

Anyway, she starts crying as we're leaving, crying hard. I don't know if she's just mad because we're leaving, or if she's hurt or what, so I ask her. She tells me, "Ouchie. Elbow." Then she continues to sob. We drive home, I bring her into the house and I do notice that she won't move her left arm. She is still crying. Hard.

I load her in the car again and take her to Urgent Care. By now she'll just barely move her arm, and I'm starting to wonder if I really need to be here, but when I hand her pink bunny to her, she only grabs it with her right hand. The left one stays stationary. Uh-oh.

Well, I am somewhat wise to this situation, because I am also responsible for doing the same thing to Ethan when he was about this very age. It is called nursemaid's elbow. With Ethan I was lifting him up by both his hands at the same time, and setting him down, lifting him again, and setting him down. He was loving it, until he started crying. John happened to be out of town, so I loaded Grace and Ethan into the van and headed for the emergency room. I'll never forget that as we were driving along, Grace said, "I know you didn't mean to hurt Ethan, Mommy." I was ready to be hauled in to jail, but the doctor didn't seem at all concerned. I guess this is fairly common. They just snapped his elbow back in place, and he was ready to go.

And that's what they did for Gertie today. She screamed while the "provider" pulled and tugged on her arm, but once it snapped into place, the pain seemed to have disappeared entirely. She grabbed her bunny with both hands again, and we made our exit.

I haven't received any notice that I'm under investigation by Child Protective Services yet.

Monday, September 24, 2007

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Well, the day was going so well. The kids got off to school this morning with minimal hounding. Grace always takes care of her own business very well. She watches the clock for herself and packs her own lunch. She's been getting up extra early to do some Bible study as well. We were doing devotions together for a while, but that book wasn't quite what she was looking for. It wasn't much in the way of a scripture study. We found her one, though. It's a study I did when I first became a Christian, and it covers the very basics of the faith. It's a good foundation study.

Back to the morning routine, though. Ethan, on the other hand, will try to sneak the tv on or read a book, or play with Gertie or anything but focus on the tasks at hand for getting ready for school. So what occurs is I hound him CONSTANTLY. Have you done this? I told you you need to do this. Ethan, don't forget to do this. Ethan, you need to be doing this. It truly is ridiculous. Someone was telling me the other day about the mother that was waking her son up so he'd get to college on time. She thought that was ridiculous, and so do I. However, I feel like I can see myself doing that if I keep up this same pattern. Now, I realize he is only eight. There is a lot of life between now and then, but I am thinking I need a new strategy. We (Ethan and I) tried to create a chore chart from a template on Works. Well, we had two extra chores to add, and it was messing the whole thing up. Finally, I gave up. I know that's pathetic. You'd think I'd just get out a magic marker and a piece of paper. Not so. Maybe I better do that tonight.

Anyway, John and I had a great morning. John's back was feeling better for the second day in a row, so we tackled some yard work. He pruned the roses back, they needed it badly. Then he moved on to the garage. It's been needing some reorganizing. He was feeling so good that he could accomplish some things.

Ethan's school called us at about 1:15 to tell us that Ethan's braces were broken. John went to pick him up and I took him over to the orthodontist. She fixed them in about 4 seconds, after waiting about twenty minutes. The wait provided just enough time for Ethan to beat me 4 out of 7 games of tic-tac-toe. I was trying to win. I couldn't believe it.

We arrived home in good time to practice piano before his lesson. As we came home from his lesson, John was taking the homemade fries (I love those) out of the oven. Something in his back snapped and he is back to square one with pain. He tried to eat with us, but it wasn't pretty. He's been icing and heating, popping pills and trying to walk around, but this is so discouraging to him. I think he might have pushed too hard today. Please pray for him.

Grace was so concerned because the play tryouts were after school today, and she also didn't want to miss tennis practice the day before the meet tomorrow. I guess that all worked out well, too. She was able to audition first and then get off to tennis. Their last meet was rained out, and it doesn't look too promising for tomorrow either. We shall see. I did call the tennis coach last week to talk about his plans for the meet that ended up getting rained out. He said he was planning on pairing Grace with a more experienced player this time, and also maybe talking to the opposing coach to see if they could accommodate her inability to serve yet. (No other schools include the sixth grade in their program.) It was a good conversation. I just wanted to know what he was thinking. We'll see how it goes.

John had rented Syriana from the library. We are going to try to watch it. I just remember falling asleep at the beach house while watching it, waking up confused, and those that stayed awake said they were confused as well. I want to try again, though.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Tonight, I Blog

Well, it's been too long, but sometimes I just don't know what I'll write about. We just had John's sister Nancy here for a couple of days, and that was nice. Her health isn't good, so things were pretty low key, but we had time for lots of chatting and a couple movies. We got to hear many stories of her granddaughter Kaelyn (I hope I spell that right). She sounds like a spitfire. We still haven't met her, but this makes me more eager. I'm sure she and Gertie would have a great time together. We took a picture after the farewell lunch at the Old County Buffet. John and I like to go there when we go to Rochester. You'd think we might pick a classy joint in the big city, but we like to eat with the old people. I like gravy.

We arrived home in time so that Gertie and I could ride over to pick Ethan up from school on my bike. I had been working so hard with him when we'd go in the morning to make sure that he knew where he was going so that he could ride by himself if he needed to. Well, yesterday he needed to. He made it to school just was the coming home. I guess he got lost. I'm not sure how lost because I was napping (I love napping), but I figured we must need to review the return trip route as well (even though it's the same as the route he takes on the way to school, just in the reverse). He led the way, and figures he now understands where he went wrong. I love that kid.

Gertie played in her new sandbox, which she LOVES. She stands at the back door and asks for "box, sand, box, sand" and then gets quite upset with me when I say no. So I said yes this time.

And then she did it. She made the stress face right while I was snapping pictures. She's been doing this since she was so tiny. It is very strange, and now she'll do it on command every once in a while, but this one was voluntary. Notice the little fists that go along with it. Strange child.

Well, shortly after this picture was taken we raced off to football with Ethan. He is fun to watch, he's so serious about football. I love it--

and yes, I also love to chat with all the other moms that deliver their strapping young boys to the field to burn up energy. We have a good time.

I took this video mostly with my Dad in mind, but he'll probably never see it. I know it will be grainy, but look for Ethan, he's the center, and he sticks with the blocking to the end. They were just scrimmaging, so it isn't a real game. Maybe if this is works out, I'll try to get a good piece of game footage when it comes along.

And last, but not least, as I've been down here blogging, thinking my kids are all in bed, Grace comes in to show me the t-shirt she just decorated for school and the homecoming football game tomorrow night. I love it, and I hope you do too.

So, my husband is relaxing on the couch with a football game on the tv. The homework is done, the teeth are brushed, the kitchen is clean (well, sort of) and I have kicked off my shoes and I'm playing on the computer. Life is good.

I thank God for these moments. I thank Him for the way His Word convicts my heart right after I lose my cool with my son who wants a second bowl of mush when there are six minutes to bed, then he adds too much water so he won't eat it.

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues, put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity." Colossians 3:12-14

Saturday, September 15, 2007


my mom gave a bit of an update on me. I know you might want to hear my opinion on tennis, but I'm not talking about it any more.

anyway, today Ethan had his football clinic. we also played a little mini-football after we took a short walk with my dad (he's still feeling poorly).
Gertie was enjoying watching her bro

go crazy, but then she decided to join in. these were taken right after our workout.

I have been so busy with school until 3:00, sports until 5, and then homework!!! school has been fun though. i like most of my classes, like most of my classmates and teachers, school is more challenging too. overall things are going well though.

i also started Sunday school and youth group this year. I am having a ton of fun. I've started getting up at 6 am to do a bible study with my mom, and i like it so much.

it feels so good to be blogging, but i have to go to bed. I'll try to write again soon.

Oh, My Aching Back

Yesterday I took Gertie in for her 18-month checkup in the morning. She was great. She doesn't even weigh 20 pounds yet, but Ethan was always small too, so they're not too concerned.

She still won't drink milk, and the doctor even suggested trying chocolate milk, but to add it at home to whole milk. So far the only chocolate milk she'll drink is skim from the store. Her doctor said we're definitely not worried about extra calories at this point. I just worry about the habits forming. I will try it.

Gertie is talking up a storm, and even making lots of short sentences now. She is fun to hang out with. She'll try any word she hears. I like that girl.

Well, on to John. His back has been pretty bad ever since we left the beach, and he's even gone to the doctor once since we've been back, but yesterday, he couldn't walk. It seems different this time because it seems to be getting worse, not better, like it usually does. We took him in to urgent care and they gave him a shot that helped a little, at least he could move. They prescribed him a different pain killer and want to keep him on the anti-inflammatories. The new thing is they said they'd send him to the pain clinic to see if they could help, or even send him to a back specialist. He chose to start with the pain clinic. He truly doesn't have a lot of hope that they'll be able to help, but I think it's worth looking into. We'll see where it goes.

Grace went to the football game with some friends last night. She is growing up, and I miss her. She was going to go to the game with her dad, but that wasn't going to happen. I did love that she took some notes so she could update him when she came home. When she walked in the door, she pulled a notebook out of her pocket and read to us that the opposing team declined two penalties in the first quarter, and Austin declined one. Then she said she really didn't do too great a job watching the game for what was going on. I can relate.

Anyway, I'm resolved to actually take some pictures today. Ethan goes to a football clinic this morning to kick off flag football. He is fired up. I'll take a picture or two. Maybe I'll post again.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Revelation and Tennis

What is on my mind lately is Revelation. We just started Bible study this last week and we are studying Revelation. I've been a Christian for many years now, but I've always avoided this book for some reason, probably fear that I wouldn't understand it. Well, now here it is. We are only into the first chapter, but I am loving it. The images are fascinating. It is a whole different Jesus than the one pictured in the Gospels. I know He's the same, but this is a new face. So far, I love it.

This afternoon Grace had her first tennis match. It was about an hour away, but I really wanted to be there to support her, so I took Ethan and rode along with another friend and tennis mom. We watched her daughter play and had a good time. I was starting to wonder if Grace was going to get to play, when there she appeared. It was a hard game for her. Both she and her partner weren't very good, and they had never played a game before. They were badly beat. As her mom, it was hard to watch because I knew she was having such a hard time of it, but she persevered. I am so proud of her. She isn't even tempted to give up on tennis.

We didn't get home until after 8 o'clock, and that's usually bedtime. Grace hadn't had a chance to practice cello or to work on homework, thankfully there wasn't much. This night just flew by, but they're tucked into bed now, sleeping soundly I hope.

Grace's allergies are so bad right now you wouldn't believe it. She is ENDLESSLY sneezing and blowing her nose. Her meds are in the mail, but it isn't soon enough. I think that made the day even more frustrating for her.

I'm ready to hit the pillow. My heart feels anxious about how my Grace is doing tonight. I am thankful to God for these growing pains, though. I pray I'll be what she needs in a mother and she'll learn to lean on Him when her heart is aching.

Monday, September 10, 2007

A Quiet Evening

I've just tucked the kids into bed and now I'm sitting down to watch the football game with John. It's such a nice time in the evening after the kitchen is cleaned up after dinner and the house is picked up and the kids are in bed. Very peaceful.

I worked in Rochester today. It was fairly uneventful, except the day was cut short. That is always a blessing to me. I do actually like working sometimes, but I always feel happy when something cancels or gets cut short.

Ethan had a piano lesson. I don't know what to make of that kid. He seems to like piano. He never says he hates it. But I have to remind him to practice, and I don't always remember. So he is pretty inconsistent at his lessons. Some weeks he does well, and some weeks, not so much. His teacher is very patient, though.

Gertie found a piece of chalk in the house and colored the kitchen floor blue, the dining room floor blue, and the screen door blue. All this occurred while we were all floating around the kitchen cleaning up and doing homework and things like that. I don't know where she found it or how she got away with it. So many places. She loves to color so much that I am in a state of constant paranoia that she's going to find a pen or pencil or crayon laying around (yes, that happens in my house!) and she'll go for the walls. I just know it is coming.

Anyway, I'm tempted to erase this post. I read it and it's really not worth writing down. Some days nothing really noteworthy seems to happen. Maybe those days I should just let it go. I am thankful for ordinary life. I like the way this day has gone. It's been uneventful, but Gertie was in a good mood. John and I snuck away to take his mower into Sears. (Yeah. It sort of felt like a date). I worked and saw a good friend in Rochester that I don't see much anymore. A good uneventful day.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

The Transportation Truce

Transportation Truce

I ask that on the way home I could be picked up, unless it is inconvenient (Mom works or something).

The reasons for my request are:

· I stand outside for 20 minutes in a hot, orange vest, and when I’m already sweaty, walking home is too much.

· It cuts into my time for daily activities.

· Ethan and I argue all the time, so we decide that it’s best not to talk to each other, and it gets boring.

· It gives me a headache in the sun.

Thus, I ask, in best interests of me and Ethan, if there is any possibility we can be picked up.

Please sign below in agreement.

Grace x__________________________________

John x ___________________________________

Ethan x___________________________________

Jessica x__________________________________

Okay. This is no longer in effect, but as I was transferring documents and cleaning up the computer files I came across this. Last year Grace had to walk home from school with Ethan several times, and it wasn't going that well, for the very well-articulated reasons stated above. The reason she had to stand outside for twenty minutes is because she was on Patrol, where they assist the kids in crossing the street after school. Anyway, we were enjoying it again, and thought you may as well.

Friday, September 7, 2007

I looooooove turtles. plus we're getting used to a new computer. aren't they just beautiful!!!!!
just thought i'd give an update. School for me and Ethan started on the 4th. Every class is good. bun i am just SO happy to be back in school. My back is starting to hurt though. but we're working on a solution.
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Oh, this is fun

Guess what I got last night? A new laptop. We've been having long faces around here dealing with our old computer. I was pushing for a laptop because I just learned that wireless is acquired by purchasing a router. One time. I thought that wireless was a more expensive service provided by an internet provider. Boy, do I feel dumb.

Beth is here. She has set me up so I'm wireless on my new laptop and she's been transferring files all day. It is heaven. I feel so like you now, Heather. John is worried I'll get carried away. I swear I won't.

In other news, the kids have completed their first week of school. All went well. I'm glad the weekend is here and the week was a short one. I have missed the kids. Grace has expressed a few times that she misses her family. She is at tennis until almost 5 p.m. every day. I miss her. By the time she comes home, eats dinner, does homework, prepares for the next day (which is an exhausting task, if you know Grace) it's pretty much time for bed.

My mom is coming down this weekend to join Beth and the rest of us. It should be a good time. We have nothing special planned, but I'm still looking forward to it. I finally put my suitcase away this morning. I don't want to go anywhere for a while.

John declared that this morning, for the first time, he feels like he has nothing to do. A new feeling. I'm sure it will be fleeting. I think he meant mostly in relation to work, though. I like having him home, but find it strange that we do so much running around and projects and errands that it seems like we hardly really see each other most days. I don't like that.

Well, Grace just got home, so I'm signing off. Quality time.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

My story starts with tears. I can't believe I cried, but I did. We are having a great time in Julie's van heading to Iowa City when Gertie looks at me and says, "Messy." I look at her hand and she's got poop all over it. It is coming out her diaper. We pull the car over in emergency mode. I pull her out and try to remove her shirt without getting poop all over her hair, carefully lay her down on the only blanket I brought for her to sleep with, and clean her up. Then I stand her on the ground while I try to clean the blanket up a little before I put the new diaper on. She pees. I clean her up again, put her in her carseat (which is poopy and I haven't cleaned yet so now she is poopy again.) I clean her up again and put her in my seat while I clean her carseat and she pees again. Right about now I turn into the baby and the tears flow. I put her diaper on and clean my seat. Thank God for leather (Julie might not think so.) Now I go into the Wal*Mart bathroom to clean up and try to come out a new woman. I'm thankful for my sisters who pulled me back up and for Gertie who went to sleep.

We checked into our favorite hotel there and the kids swam...and swam...and swam. Tate was a little afraid, but once he learned he could trust the bubble, he was all over it. They were prunes by bedtime, but they had a great time.

All the family came to visit us at the hotel except for Grandpa. They all look great, as usual and it was fun to catch up. I regret I forgot to get the camera out for Ann and Bill and Becca and Ian. They brought us dinner at the hotel. Delicious burgers and dogs and a great salad Ann made. Annabelle is so cute and on the go. She kept them moving most of the time, and they finally gave up. It was fun while it lasted.

Dale and Jean and John arrived later all spiffed up, on their way to their class reunion. We chatted for a bit and took some pictures.

Just before they arrived I had the idea that we should go out to Grandpa's old place the next day. We liked that idea, and Dale said he'd join us if it worked out.

It turned out that it did work out. Dick was agreeable, Dale even brought Grandpa along. They didn't hike with us, but they enjoyed the atmosphere for a bit. Of course, it was preceded by a super fast shopping spree at Target for something--anything--we could hike through the woods and tall grasses in. (I wore my pajamas.) We hadn't planned on doing that, but next time I will.

We have so many memories from that place, and it was fun to take the kids along. They each picked out a walking stick, just like we used to do. They each got tired of carrying it about half-way through, just like we used to do. It was music to my ears when Hunter said he didn't know it was going to be this long of a hike. Memories.

Dick has planted a prairie with native grasses and such. It was beautiful. Gertie and I picked another prairie boquet. It was much smaller this time, and alive with color. It is sitting in a little cream pitcher I got from Grandma when they cleaned out the first Oaknoll apartment. I love it.

Like I said, Grandpa didn't get out of the car, but we improvised and got a picture anyway. He looks great. We had a lovely visit. Julie watched the kids for me and I was able to go over by myself and say hello. It was nice to be able to give Grandpa my full attention. (And to have his.)

And now, on to the FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL. It was a good morning. Grace is so mature and on top of things now that she took care of all of her own business. She made her own lunch and loaded her things and made sure she was out the door on time. There is much to load up for her because she's in tennis this year. She didn't come home until almost five o'clock. That's a long day. She was tired and we missed her. But I'm pleased to see her growing up into such a lovely young lady.

And then it was Ethan's turn. John and I rode bikes with Ethan to school. He was beaming and excited. He reported that the day was long, but fun. He likes his teacher. John had me take a picture of Gertie and Tate on the bikeride too. We all had fun.

As for John's birthday, it wasn't as eventful as it should have been. We went out to dinner at the Chinese buffet, which he chose. We filled our bellies full and enjoyed the company of each other for a brief spurt before we returned home to get ready for bed. I do love him dearly. I am thankful that God placed him in my life as my husband. (But if I don't quit blogging right now, this second, he may not feel the same way about me.) We're going to Rochester for some birthday boy shopping. Without kids. Yippee!