Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Playing Basketball With Robots

I got an ear-full from Joshua on our way to Little Rock this morning. Even tho I LOVE to sing along with K-LOVE on the radio, I almost always turn it off and just concentrate on the road...and on Joshua's conversation.

This morning, I asked him how it was going with his story writing.

I've written about this before. From my experience, many kids/adults with Down Syndrome have a "thing." Jenni's "thing" is that she writes baby-names. She has 10,000 notebooks full of neatly penned names...first and middle names. Writing those keeps her calm and adds structure to her day. As with anything, with them, it can become addicting...and her family works hard to involve her in other activities.

About 1 1/2 years ago, when Faith graduated from High School, I kept the bulletin with all the names in it and gave it to Jenni one day. She was thrilled because of all.the.names.

Joshua used to write poems...or "songs," as he called them. Then, for some reason, he started writing these stories. I've joked about the fact that they make NO SENSE to anyone but him, but it's true. He takes scenes and characters from his favorite movies and TV shows, like "Star Wars," "Harry Potter," "Twilight," "Frozen," "Boy Meets World," "Full House," etc...and he "morphs" them into similar characters with similar names in his soon-to-be-made-movie. He is convinced that Alex Kendrick (Facing the Giants, Courageous, Fireproof, etc) is going to pick up his story and turn it into a movie that will make a zillion dollars.

Write on, baby...write on!

This morning, he started telling me about what he's writing now. He said that he made our friends, Aaron and Tori, a part of his story, and they are wearing regular t-shirts and regular shorts. Then, he added "our" Aaron (the son-in-law) to his story, and put him in regular shorts and a cut-off Razorback t-shirt.

Side note: for some reason, it is very important what each character wears. He always talks in great detail about what his characters are wearing, and he always puts Aaron in some sort of cut-off t-shirt. He used to say that he was putting Aaron in a 1 inch t-shirt. Aaron and Holly tried to make him see how that is "fiscally" (how Joshua says the word "physically") impossible...even showing him how little a 1 inch shirt is, but Joshua wasn't budging on it...UNTIL Aaron said, "okay...I'M going to start writing stories of my OWN, and I'm going to put YOU in a DRESS."

That did not go over well...so now Joshua puts Aaron in a cut-off Razorback t-shirt.

BUT, that's not even the best part. He said, "me and Logan and Clark are all wearing Speedos."

WHAT KIND OF STORY IS THIS?

I said, "and so what is everyone doing?" And he said, "playing basketball with robots."

Ooooooooooooookay.

Alex? (knock, knock) Alex Kendrick?

"Remember the wonderful works He has done..." Psalm 105:5

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Breath Spray, Pinnacle Mountain and Lake Drama

So, let's see...what all happened today.

Oh, yeah. Joshua's group from Therapeutic Recreation, went to Pinnacle Mountain and walked the base trail. Last night, when he was telling us about it, Jim asked, "are y'all climbing to the top?" Joshua looked at him and said in his best "Fred voice" (the voice Joshua uses when he comments on something that is so obvious)..."we can't climb to the top! We have (takes his hand and begins to count off on his fingers) Marcy and Taylor and Jackie...they can't walk!"

That Jim...he is SO funny.

On the way to Little Rock today, it was sooo foggy! Every morning, when we cross over the Arkansas River, we always look to the right to see Pinnacle Mountain. Joshua always comments on it, like, "I can see Pinnacle!" or something like that. Today, we couldn't even see the RiVER! Or the other side of the river that was RIGHT IN FRONT OF US.

We did see a car that passed us with an "I (heart) my dog" sticker on it. Joshua said, "that reminds me of Mr. Dan." I asked him why and he said, "because he used to have an "I (heart) my wife" sticker on his car." I was pretty proud of myself for not asking Joshua how those two stickers were even connected, being that Mr. Dan's wife is a HUMAN...and not a dog...but I let it go.

It was around this point that Jenni started texting Joshua. She texted, "I hope you brought your mouth spray." My first thought was that she thinks Joshua has bad breath. ROO. My second thought was that Joshua only has bad breath when he is out of mouth spray, and I think I've already stated that I don't want to live in a world where Joshua is EVER out of mouth spray. I asked Joshua why Jenni was saying that and he said, "ohhhh...she didn't have time to brush her teeth this morning."

I just HAD to ask, didn't I?

I also about threw up in my mouth.

The FRIENDS had a great time at Pinnacle. After their walk, they ate their picnic lunches. Then, everyone came back to the Center to paint the pumpkins they got last week at the pumpkin patch.

I picked up Joshua and we headed home. On the way, Joshua called my mother-in-law on the phone. He does this EVERY Tuesday and Thursday, to give her a detailed update of his day. And he calls her at straight-up 1 p.m. every Sunday, whether we are finished with lunch or not. He will just get up from the table and head upstairs. Don't try to mess up his schedule. It will not go well for you.

Today, they were chit-chatting as I drove...and apparently there was what Joshua is calling, "Lake Drama." It involved my father-in-law, who thinks he owns the lake and all the fish that are IN the lake...and a random fisherman (or maybe more than one) who happened to be in my father-in-law's fishing spot when my father-in-law came across the lake. Not saying it was intentional...the man may have been completely innocent in the situation, especially if he is under the notion that God made the lake and God made the fish.

Can I get an AMEN?

Because apparently there were some words.

Not saying what, because I don't know for sure. My father-in-law tends to exaggerate A LOT in order to get a reaction from my mother-in-law or the grandchildren. My mother-in-law told Joshua about it during their phone conversation, and Joshua said, "Papaw needs to set a good example...there's no need for a bad temper." And apparently my mother-in-law said something along the line of, "well, that's what happens when you get old," because Joshua said, "I KNOW he's old, Mammaw...I've SEEN him. That's still no excuse!"

I'm hoping it wasn't as bad as it sounds, because one thing I do suspect is that this might've been a situation that required my father-in-law to, in his words, "say his Sunday School lesson backwards."

Oh MY.

I'm just sure this story will get repeated tomorrow at Therapeutic Recreation!

"Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person." Colossians 4:6

Monday, October 20, 2014

Joshua, The Trophy Boy

So, on Thursday at Therapeutic Recreation, one of the (girl) FRIENDS attached herself to Joshua...all day. I may have mentioned that there are mostly young ladies at TR and very few young men. Or, not enough to go around!

Jenni is typically not at TR on Thursdays, but some of Jenni's friends took it upon themselves to text Jenni and tell her that Joshua was "cheating on her" with this other girl.

Which.

(sigh)

Seriously?

The other night, Joshua was sitting here in our family room with us. Holly and Aaron were here, and we had the TV on and were talking...but Joshua was on the phone with Jenni. He likes to stay in the family room when he talks to her, so that if she asks him something that he doesn't feel like answering, he will just say, "well, my parents are in here listening." The little sneak. At this point, she will usually drop it because they like to think they are all private and everything.

Anyway, we heard the conversation...or Joshua's side of the conversation...and it went something like this:

Joshua: I don't know why everyone said I was cheating on you.
Jenni: (on phone)
Joshua: I was just sitting with her. Actually SHE came and plopped down by ME.
Jenni: (on phone)
Joshua: I would never cheat on you, Jenni. I mean I've thought about it, but I would never act on it. (oh dear)

REPEAT this conversation 9000 times.

Holly and Aaron left during this time and went home, and I went back to take a shower. When I came back to the room, Joshua was still on the phone...but it was OBVIOUS from the way he and Jim were acting that there had been some words.

I asked Jim about it, and he said that Joshua was saying the same type of stuff as before, and then he said...to Jenni...his girlfriend of over 10 years, "I guess I am kind of your trophy boy."

And that's how Jim's head blew off.

Because WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?

We are big "Everybody Loves Raymond" fans around here, and all I could think of was when Frank and Marie were in a big fight, and Marie tells him, "Don't tell me to be quiet! I have a mind of my own, you know. I'm not just some...trophy wife." And Frank looks at her and says, "TROPHY wife? What contest in Hell did I win?"

ANYWAY, Jim looked at Joshua, who is still on the phone with Jenni, and told him that he had gone over-the-line with that last statement.

And Joshua responded by: (blank stare)

Jim went back to take his shower, and I sat in the family room with Joshua, who was STILL on the phone. His conversation now went like this:

Joshua: My dad said I went over-the-line.
Jenni: (oh phone)
Joshua: I don't know why he said that.
Jenni: (on phone)
Joshua: I agree. My dad IS being rude. He went all "Papaw Genie" on me.
Jenni: (on phone)
Joshua: I don't know what made him mad...you and me were just talking.
Jenni: (on phone)
Joshua: I agree. My dad needs to mind his own business.
Jenni: (on phone)
Joshua: Okay, Jenni, I will tell him not to comment on our relationship.
Jenni: (on phone)
Joshua: I love you, Jenni.
Jenni: (on phone)
Joshua: You know I love you. I love your cute nose, too.
Jenni: (on phone)
Joshua: You're right, Jenni. Next time, we will talk where my dad can't hear me.

So this is why I tell Jim and our kids and my mother-in-law...DON'T.GET.INVOLVED. They, Joshua...Jenni...the FRIENDS...don't think like we do. They just don't. And the stuff they tell? It's not always accurate. And the stuff they say they are feeling...doesn't always mean what we think it means.

In many cases, not by a long shot.

Because do you see what happened? The conversation went from Joshua trying to convince Jenni that he hadn't "cheated" on her (even tho he admitted TO HER that he had thought about it) to both Joshua AND Jenni turning on Jim, and making HIM the bad guy.

I tried to tell him.

"The LORD hates...one who stirs up trouble among brothers." Proverbs 6:16,19

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday: The Message, The Medals, 600 Push-Ups

Today has been a great day. The weather here is just gorgeous. Just like the Fall weather that you dream of when you are burning up hot in Summer...or freezing half-to-death in winter...or sneezing the daylights out of yourself in the Spring when everything is blooming.

It's beautiful.

The leaves haven't started changing, but the weather is crisp and cool in the mornings and evenings...and we have had bright, blue skies during the days. I hope it stays like this for weeks. WEEKS, I tell you.

We had SS and church this morning. Our choir sang a song called "Thou, O Lord," and it is based on Psalm 3:3, "For Thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory and the lifter of my head." It is so beautiful. I guess because there have been times...actually, it's most of the time...when I have needed God as my shield; and times when I have totally trusted that He is my shield, because I was in a battle I couldn't fight by myself. And there have also been times, a few times, when my head has been "down" for one reason or another...and HE is the one who has lifted my head. I was overwhelmed with the TRUTH in God's Word as our choir sang this song this morning.

Apparently, that sentiment was not felt by EVERYONE in the church, because Holly said that a woman came up to another praise team member after we sang it, and said, "well, THAT was AWFUL!"

Oh really now?

Our associate minister spoke this morning on a passage from 2 Timothy. His first illustration was on "strength" and it went along with the first verse that states, "be strong in the faith." He talked about a friend of his who is very strong...how his friend works out and trains nearly every day. He said that other day, his friend did 600 push-ups. Now, you would think that Joshua...being that he's a Power Lifter, and being that he is all about fitness and health...would've been super impressed with this stat. 600 push-ups? AREYOUKIDDINGME?

Joshua just sniffed and whispered, "well, THAT'S a little much."

Then, toward the end of the sermon, the minister talked about competing as an athlete (verse 5). He talked about the fact that he had many medals at his house. He is a runner, and he talked about how he values and appreciates some of his medals more than others...depending on how many were in the race, and how hard the race was to run, and how hard he had trained for the race. He tried to tie it all in to working for a purpose, and being in a constant state of "training" as a Christian...how we need to practice sharing our faith and living out our faith, so that when we are put into certain situations, our "training" will kick in and we will be able to represent the Gospel well.

Joshua didn't hear any of that last part. He just heard the minister say that he had a lot of medals. Joshua leaned over to me and whispered, "I bet I have more medals than him," and he folded his arms and stuck his lip out proudly.

And then he wrote on the top of his sermon notes, "at least I got to go to Nationals (for Special Olympics) and represent the state of Arkansas as a senior in high school in 2006."

We just never know what Joshua is gonna get out of a sermon!

"The Lord's servant must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient...." 2 Timothy 2:24

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Oh, Razorbacks...You're Killing Me!

We've had a great weekend so far. On Friday night, we "hanged around" (Joshua's words) until around 6 o'clock, and then went out for dinner. When we got home, Holly and Aaron came over, and we sat around and talked. When the doorbell rang, I figured it was Clark's girlfriend, Faith. I opened the door to see Logan and Morgan standing there!

SO, SO HAPPY!

Apparently, Morgan suggested that they come home and see us...since Logan's birthday is mid-week this week and we wouldn't get to be with him.

We stayed up way late visiting and catching up. I could hear Clark and Logan talking and laughing long after I went to bed, and I cannot tell you how happy it made me.

You just have no idea.

Or maybe you do.

Jim got up early to run, and came back and made a big breakfast for everyone. I took Morgan and Holly out shopping, while the guys stayed at home. Then we all had lunch, and Morgan left to go see her family for the night...and Logan stayed here. They made the comment that it was the first night they were spending apart since their wedding in May. Everybody say, "awwww." I offered to take Logan to meet up with Morgan later tonight, so that they can stay together at her parent's house...but he said it was fine.

Logan and Clark pretty much spent the day together, which was AWESOME. Aaron and Joshua watched the Razorback game together, and played BAGGO outside, which was AWESOME. That Aaron and Joshua hung out together was awesome. The Razorback game was most definitely NOT awesome. Holly was able to get her studying done, which was AWESOME.

The kids were all in the kitchen talking and laughing. They were telling stories and singing and Logan and Clark were using their pretend light-sabers to slash each other. I know, touching...right? But I don't know...I thought my heart would burst. Jim and I have enjoyed everyone being here so much!

I'm here to tell all the Mommies out there...you know those days when you just want a minute to yourself? When you wish you could shower alone or, God forbid, go potty without everyone watching? When you wish you could run to the store at a moment's notice without bringing everyone, or without making sure that your husband...or a babysitter...was around to keep the kids?

Well, those days are coming for you, probably. Eventually. And do you know what?

You're gonna miss the noise.

"The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them" Proverbs 20:7