Friday, December 2, 2016

The One Where I Bought A Dog For Joshua

I'm blaming it on a momentary lapse in judgment...brought on by nights-on-end of little sleep, and the two almond-shaped eyes that stared at me when we talked about the dog we just lost in September.

Whatever the reason...I bought a dog for Joshua.

Now my life is totally consumed with this puppy...and I'm exhausted.

And I'm not over-reacting AT ALL. It's been 24 hours already.

I've been thinking about buying a dog for a while...and by "a while," I mean, since Labor Day weekend when Maggie-the-good-dog died.

I am not an "animal person." I think it's because I am allergic to pretty much everything known to man. I went half my life without having an animal. I would've been fine not to ever have another dog. I also would've been fine if Maggie had lived forever...but that didn't happen. She was just the best dog ever.

And, ya know, you kind of forget what it's like to have a puppy. You have to watch them constantly, so they don't tweedle on the floor. And you have to watch them constantly, so they don't chew up all of your furniture.

And I just don't want to watch anything that closely...unless it's my baby grandson. :)

Because people who say that puppies are like children? Well, they're wrong. Puppies are a lot of work, but if I get exasperated with this dog, I'm gonna put her in her kennel...or put her outside. You can't do that with a child. Stuff like that is frowned-upon in the good state of Arkansas.

Just sayin'.

I am thankful that Jim is off tomorrow, and I am thankful for the weekend. I have high hopes that by Monday morning, the dog will have learned that WE POTTY OUTSIDE.

And also? I hope she will not bark half-the-night in her kennel/cage thingy.

I will tell you what is different from this puppy, and when Maggie was a puppy: about 15 years of life under my belt...and about 15 years of less patience.

And, also? When Maggie was a puppy, and she cried and barked...I worried and worried about her, and I couldn't sleep at night because of the barking...because I was worried about her...and because WHY WOULDN'T SHE JUST GIVE UP AND GO TO SLEEP?

Last night? I put my pillow over my head like a boss...and slept the sleep of the angels. The puppy may bark herself to death, if that is even a "thing" that can happen...but she's been fed, and she's potty'd, and there is no reason for her to be barking...other than she's missing her family.

But, I can't think about that right now.

No, I'm not an "animal person," but I love my kids...and my big man-child wanted a dog. So, here we are.

"I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me." Psalm 3:5

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Joshua: Therapeutic Rec, Ornaments, Corky's

Well, today was Joshua's first day back to Therapeutic Recreation since Thanksgiving...and, oh my goodness, you would've thought it had been a year...instead of just 12 days.

This morning, on our drive into the City, it was like he was seeing things for the very first time. "OH! There's the bean fields." "OH, there's the mountain!"

So funny!

Also, random: he got out and used his bottle of "man lotion," not once...but TWICE...on our 40 minute drive. I almost had to jump out the window, because FUMES.

Also? We have a radio station that plays non-stop Christmas music from Thanksgiving til Christmas, so we sang and sang and sang this morning.

Joshua and the FRIENDS made wooden ornaments this morning. Joshua said they made them from "tree bark." Really, they were circles of a small log that had been cut into pieces. They painted them to look like the face of a snowman. They turned out really cute!

And they went out for lunch.

Which, if you had asked any of the FRIENDS what they did today, it would've been"blah, blah, blah...went out for lunch." Because, it's a known and proven fact that the FRIENDS like nothing more than going out for lunch. Unless it's going out for dinner. Ha.

Joshua had to tell me what everyone had to eat. Of course, he only ate half of his sandwich, and brought the rest of it home to eat tomorrow. BUT, he forgot and left it in the car for several hours, so we had to throw it away. When I asked him about it, he said, "I'm a nut," and I cracked up. He's never said anything like that before.

I told him we would get Chick (Chick-Fil-A) for lunch tomorrow, and he is VERY excited about that!

He was happy to see his friends. He was REALLY happy to ride in their group's brand, new van!

After we got back to town, we made a quick trip to the grocery store...even tho it's Tuesday.

You all know how I feel about going to Kroger on Tuesdays. 

We were walking in the crosswalk, on our way out of the store, and we were nearly smoked by a car that was being driven by a very elderly woman. I grabbed Joshua and pulled him back. I said, "WATCH OUT! Memaw is not stopping for pedestrians." Joshua said, "well, it IS Tuesday..."

"The Lord gives me strength and protects me; He has become my deliverer.” Psalm 118:14

Monday, November 28, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

Well, I've been MIA on here for a week! I really want to record all that we did, but my mind is so tired.

We had a great Thanksgiving. Logan and Morgan came on Wednesday night, and they stayed with us until Sunday. They had just spent a week with her family on a trip to Disney World, so they've had a really busy, fun Thanksgiving break!

Last year, my two married kids were with their spouse's families on Thanksgiving, so I didn't make a big meal...and then when everyone arrived here the next day, they were, like, "where's all the food?" So I decided that, no matter who was here for Thanksgiving this year, I was going to make a big meal with all the fixin's...and whoever was here could eat it.

Holly had to work on Thanksgiving day, so Aaron-the-son-in-law took baby Rhodie to his parent's house. Logan and Morgan left to have lunch at her grandparent's house, but they were back here in time for dinner.

I had set the dining-room table a week ago, and then, before I put all the food in there, I went around to all the plates, and brushed them off with a dry dish towel. Which, NOTE TO SELF: use a wet towel. Because the dry cloth did not get all the dust off of the plates, and I was mildly embarrassed/irritated that it didn't.

But it was all okay...it didn't stop anyone from wiping off their own plates and eating big piles of food.

On Friday, we left to go to Tulsa for my Dad's 80th birthday. I want to write a separate post about that...and it's taking me some time to get my thoughts together.

We have had a great Thanksgiving break. Lots of family time with all 4 kids and their spouses...and it was Rhodie's first Thanksgiving. I feel very thankful.

"Seek the Lord and the strength He gives! Seek His presence continually!" Psalm 105:4

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Thanksgiving: Therapeutic Recreation Style

First of all...I just re-read my post from yesterday, and it is not nearly as funny as the actual situation was. I guess you just had to be here...and you just have to know Joshua...and I just need to be a better writer!

ANYWAY, last week was a lonnnnng week.

LONG.

My husband was out-of-town for all of it, but he's back now, PRAISE THE LORD.

Every year, Joshua's Therapeutic Recreation group has a Thanksgiving Potluck. The meat and the drinks are provided, but the FRIENDS each sign up to bring something. And the rule is that you have to MAKE it at the Center. And, not only that, you have to bring everything you need: spoons, spatulas, measuring cups, etc.

The STAFF is there to supervise, and help...as needed...but this is supposed to be about the FRIENDS feeling independent, and working together...for a common goal.

For the past few years, Joshua has brought the same thing. The STAFF and the FRIENDS request it. It's called, "Brownie Delight." I think his group calls it, "Brownie Heaven," or something like that. Here is the recipe:

Make a 13x9x2 pan of brownies (If I'm making brownies to eat, I make them from scratch. If I'm making them for this dish...I use the mix in a box). Let your brownies cool.

You'll need a trifle dish. I bought one at Wal-Mart several years ago, and it was not expensive at all. Mine is glass, which is good, because you can see all of the layers of this dessert.

*brownies (baked and cooled)
*10 chocolate pudding cups (divided)
*16 oz Cool Whip
*mini-chocolate chips or Health Bar brickle (divided) (however much you like, but make the top look pretty)

In your trifle dish, layer 1/2 of the brownies (crumble them up, and evenly put them on the bottom of the dish). Next, empty 5 chocolate pudding cups. Smooth that over the brownies. Then, you'll need 1/2 of a 16 oz tub of Cool Whip. Spread that over the pudding. Sprinkle mini-chocolate chips, or some Heath Bar Brickle over the Cool Whip.

REPEAT to make another layer: brownies, pudding, Cool Whip, chips. Cover with Saran Wrap, and refrigerate over-night.

For this event, we bake the brownies at home, and then Joshua brings the rest of the stuff with him to the Center, and he makes the layers himself.

I walked into the Center this particular morning, and...not gonna lie: I got all up in my feels. There, around about 5 or 6 round tables, were all the FRIENDS. Each one had a "station" and they were each working on their dishes.

They were dressed in some of their nicest clothes.

At the beginning of the week, the group made their annual trip to a store called "Savers." They each brought money, no more than $20, and they shopped for things they wanted. Joshua said, AND I QUOTE, "I have enough clothes," so he didn't buy anything. But some bought tops and pants and skirts and jewelry. Everyone looked so nice.

This was a special day, after all.

FRIENDSGIVING.

Anyway, the picture of it all brought tears to my eyes. The "least of these," according to the world, anyway...working hard to help each other, and preparing a meal to enjoy together.

So very THANKFUL for this program. I am very cautious with the people I allow to "watch" over Joshua. His safety is my utmost priority. I'm THANKFUL for the Director and Staff for providing opportunities for independence, and for teaching life-skills for the TR FRIENDS.

"...‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these My brothers and sisters, you were doing it to Me!’"

Monday, November 21, 2016

On How We Blew Joshua's Little Mind

If you've read here very long, you know that Joshua is a creature of habit...and a lover of routine.

We aren't slaves to it, or anything like that, but if we CAN and it's not a big deal to us...we do try to stick to it, because it IS a big deal to him. Why, I do not know, but knowing what's coming...scheduling things for the same time each day/week...it's comforting to Joshua. And if he's comforted and calm...it's just better for everyone.

Like, on Mondays we have muffins. Blueberry muffins. Betty Crocker Wild Blueberry Muffins, to be exact.

Today is Monday, and we had them today. 

Last night, I didn't think I had a box of muffins in the pantry, so I was preparing to run to the grocery store at 8:15. I thought I'd check in there one more time before I left, and I FOUND ONE BOX OF MUFFINS.

I swurr I heard the angels sing.

But, this post is about Sunday, and on how we blew Joshua's little mind...and how he might have to have therapy because of it...and how we, Jim and I, might be gettin' a good "talkin' to" from Jim's Mom.

For as long as I can remember, I've fixed cinnamon rolls (the kind from the can) on Sunday mornings. Joshua is 30 years old, so I've been fixing them for a long time. When Joshua was little, he called them "Sunday Rolls."

Now that there's usually just 3 (or maybe 4, if Clark is home) of us here, I fix the smaller can.

Every Saturday night, Joshua will look in the frig to make sure we have a can of cinnamon rolls. This Saturday night, I saw him coming in from the garage. We keep an extra frig out there for our excess stuff. He came in, and kind of threw his hands up in the air: "I looked in both frig's, and we have no cinnamon rolls." And then he just stared at me with his exasperated face. I could almost feel the judgment coming out of his eyes..."I don't know what she does all day...she had plenty of time to go to the store, and SHE KNOWS TOMORROW IS SUNDAY."

I called Joshua to come closer, so he could hear me. I said, "let me tell you what we are doing in the morning...we are not having cinnamon rolls for breakfast." His eyes got real big, and he said, "we're NOT?" I said, "no...we are having a breakfast potluck at church. There will be all kinds of good breakfast stuff...maybe someone will bring cinnamon rolls, but I don't know. OK?"

I know Joshua loves breakfast foods, and so he said, "okay!"

No one brought cinnamon rolls, but it was all good.

For lunch after church, we typically run through a drive-thru place...unless we have left-overs at home we can eat. We hadn't gotten too far down the road when Grandma Ellen Joshua said, "so...what about lunch?" Jim asked me, "do we have enough left-overs?" We were still discussing it when we got to The Light: The Light where you go straight, if you are going to Wendy's or Zaxby's or Subway...or where you turn right to head to our house.

We turned right.

Jim mumbled, "you should SEE the face I just saw in my rear-view mirror from Joshua...it was not a happy face."

I had a wedding shower to attend, so I wasn't eating lunch at home...but I warmed up the Chinese food from the night before, and there was enough for both of them. Plus, Jim warmed up half of a burrito from a couple of nights ago, because having his stomach turned inside-out from Chinese food was apparently not enough for him. He had to add half of a giant burrito for a flourish.

Jim said that, after I left, Joshua said, "I might try some of your burrito," and so Jim shared with him...and it was all good.

Or we hope so.

Whenever Joshua gets in trouble...or feels like things aren't going his way...he goes upstairs and calls Jim's mom to tell her his side of the story. OF COURSE, she thinks we are horrible parents (not really...I'm kidding), and takes up for Joshua (but I'm NOT kidding about this!) every.single.time.

I was so tired when I got in last night. I took a shower, and put on my flannel pajammies. We haven't had our heat on yet, but the past few nights, we've had to use our comforter. I decided it was time for our Christmas flannel sheets. Every year, I put them on all the beds in our house (but one). I've already put them on Joshua's bed, and I'm putting Clark's on tomorrow. Logan is too hot-natured for them, so, even tho he's married and doesn't live here anymore...I keep his room flannel-free. I took our sheets, and threw them in the dryer for a few minutes...and then I put them on our bed. They were soft and warm.

And then I told Jim, "if it wasn't 8:30...I would really want to go to bed." And HE said, "you can still go to bed at 8:30." And then I said, "I don't want to go by myself," and HE said, "oh, I'm coming, too."

Joshua was upstairs, totally oblivious to this conversation. I called up to ask him to come to the top of the stairs. I said, "Dad and I are going to bed now." He said, "you ARE? Okaaaaaay."

I was asleep in less than 15 minutes. Not even kidding. Soooo cozy.

This morning, after Joshua his muffins, he came in to talk to me. I was rocking Rhodie. I said, "how did you sleep last night?" And he said, "good, BUT CAN YOU TELL ME WHY WE WENT TO BED AT 8:30 AT NIGHT?"

Bless his heart. We totally messed up the routine of his entire Sunday. Even tho it freaked him out...he was really pretty accommodating about all of it. Or so we think.

We haven't heard from Jim's Mom about any of this, so maybe we're okay.

For now.

"From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the LORD is to be praised!" Psalm 113:3