Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Never Trust A Fred

Yesterday was a fun day! I kept Rhodie all day while Holly was at work. It is such a gift she is giving us. :)

I was happy to have Joshua here as well. He likes to be a helper. At 12:15, I was still in my flannel pajammies. Joshua had eaten lunch. Rhodie had been fed and changed. I put him in his little bouncy seat ON THE FLOOR, and asked Joshua to sit beside him while I went back to change real fast.

And it was FAST. Like 3-4 minutes fast. Sweatpants...t-shirt...BAM. I carried my socks and shoes back into the family room, so I wouldn't be gone too long.

But, as I walked back in the room, I saw Joshua. He was sitting there on the floor beside the bouncy seat, HOLDING RHODIE.

EEEK!

I said, "Joshua...why did you take him out of his seat?" Joshua said, "he didn't want to be in it."

OH REALLY?

Joshua is allowed to hold Rhodes, but we are always RIGHT THERE. We make him sit on the couch, or in a chair. He never picks him up on his own, and he is never, EVER to walk around with him.

Which is why we have a saying around here...in our family. It's called, "never trust a Fred." 

Because his mind works differently from ours, and sometimes he doesn't want anyone telling him what he should do. And because sometimes he thinks he has a better idea. And because he wants to think he's big...and he is. And because he's 30 years old, and a 30 year old man should be able to hold a 3 month old baby if he wants to.

We had a great day, tho!

But, at bed-time, when I was getting into bed...I started feeling not good. It's happened before, and I can't really put my finger on what it is. I got up and walked around...I got a drink...I sat up in  bed...I did deep breathing. I finally went to sleep, and I woke up alive...so God must not be finished with me yet!

Still not feeling great today, but really no specific symptoms.

Joshua's Therapeutic Recreation group went to the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame today...and then they went to eat at Purple Cow. It's a well-known, well-documented fact, that the FRIENDS all love them some lunch OUT. So, if you ask them what they did today, it would be something like, "blah, blah, blah, blah...we ate at Purple Cow."

Ha!

The weather here today was SO NICE. I sat outside IN MY JEANS for about 25-30 minutes, and I did not melt.

Hallelujah!

I love Fall!

Speaking of Fall, on our way into LR, we have to cross over the Arkansas River. It's always a pretty view, but once the leaves change, the leaves on the trees that border the river turn the most gorgeous colors. This morning was beautiful. The sky was blue...the water was a darker blue. There's a mountain in the distance, that we could see clearly. I commented on how pretty everything looked. Joshua said, "the "fallage" hasn't gotten here yet, but when it does...it will be more prettier."

"It is He who changes the times and the seasons..." Daniel 2:21

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Good Man

WHEW! This Mommy is tired!

Yesterday, we drove to Jim's parent's house. It's 1 1/2 hours away. Clark drove over and met us, and it was SO GOOD to see him. I miss him so much!

Today, we had a great service at our church.

Funny thing happened: our senior adult minister was baptizing an 83 year old woman, and it.was.precious. Fortunately, our music minister had given us a heads-up about this before we (the choir) went out to the stage. If I had been blindsided by this, I would've LOST.IT.

As it was, it wasn't much better...but I was prepared. A lady in choir passed out the tissues.

83. I mean, how precious is that?

But, our senior adult minister was backing into the baptismal tub thing...holding the elderly woman's right hand. One of our other ministers was holding her other hand, and walking on the other side of the tub. All of a sudden, our senior adult minister slipped...and fell backwards into the water.

And he didn't just FALL into the water. It was like he was in slo-mo...arms and legs and water everywhere. He came up and said something funny, and everyone laughed.

We came home, and had "re-runs" (what Joshua calls left-overs) for lunch...and then I posted up in my chair, and Jim posted up on the love-seat. I turned the Broncos game, and it was nitey-nite! About 2 o'clock, Jim and Joshua went to the gym...and I got up and did some laundry, and cleaned up the kitchen.

About 4 p.m., we left to go meet Logan and Morgan for dinner at the half-way place. Half-way between our home...and theirs. Morgan had spent the weekend at her parent's house, so she was coming in from there. We all had to drive about 1 hour and 20 minutes.

First, we had to get gas before we left town, so Jim and I each drove our vehicles to Kroger...so that we could get gas in both, and use our Kroger points. We left Jim's Burb there, and headed out. Holly and Aaron-the-son-in-law left an hour before us, so they could go by and see Aaron's parents.

We all met at the restaurant, and we had a good visit. We sure missed Clark, tho.

When it came time to leave, I whispered to Jim, "ask them if they need gas." He asked them, and one said, "we can just stop on the way home," and the other one said, "I think I have 1/4 of a tank." Jim said, "let's go to the gas station."

My husband is about the thriftiest person you will ever meet. He had a good example set by his Dad. His Dad can be generous, when he has to be. But he won't be happy about it. Fortunately, Jim's mom has a sweet spirit about her. She remembers the example Jim's Dad's DAD and mom set for them...and she has worked to hard to maintain that same type of giving spirit to their family...hoping that we will, in turn, pass it on to our children.

Jim works hard to save and invest his money to benefit our family. We don't run around in brand new cars, buy expensive clothes and shoes, or go on fancy trips. NOT THAT THERE'S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT. Not at all. That's just not "us."

But tonight? After filling up our two vehicles, driving to see our son and daughter-in-law, buying dinner for 7 people...my husband paid to fill up Logan AND Morgan's cars...and then bought them each an ice-cream cone.

He's a good man.

"So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him." Matthew 7:11

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Real Southern Living: Taking Rhodie to See Jim's Parents

As I'm writing this, I'm sitting in my chair. I've got my cozy, flannel pajammies on...along with my "tiger" head slippers. Annnnd I'm using my Boppy as a desk for my lap-top.

Last night, we decided that we would go see Jim's parents today. They've only seen Rhodie twice in his life...once in the hospital, and once when they came up here to our house. Jim's Dad is not doing well, physically, and we all thought going to visit him was a good idea.

Aaron-the-son-in-law agreed to it, but said he HAD to be at home and sitting in front of his TV by 8 p.m. The Arkansas Razorbacks were playing Texas A&M at 8 p.m.

Holly said she'd rather go early, anyway.

Bless her heart. I knew she would be tired this morning, after working a 12 hour shift yesterday. What I was NOT prepared for was her text at 7:30 this morning, to ask us our plans.

Ummm...I PLAN on staying in bed for a MINUTE.

They were already up and around, and anxious to get on the road while Rhodie was sleeping.

We, on the other hand, were anxious to make BREAKFAST...which, we did.

And then we got ready...and headed south.

Holly, Aaron, and Rhodie beat us there by an hour...but that's okay.

I had also texted Clark, to see if he wanted to drive over and meet us. He did!

Jim's parents were so tickled to see Rhodes...and Rhodie did GREAT! I mean, seriously great. I love my in-laws, I do, but to go to their house...is like stepping into a different world. Think: HOARDERS. Mixed with Honey-Boo-Boo. Mixed with Duck Dynasty. Mixed with Swamp People.

They are the most different people I have ever met in my life. Kind, yes. Generous? Yes. Supportive? Yes. Love their family? Yes. But so very...different.

They live in a 3 story house on a lake. To say that the house is FULL of stuff...would be the understatement of the year. There is barely enough space to walk in this house. In fact, when we got there, I noticed a blanket spread out on the floor, and I thought, "OH NO YOU DON'T...my baby is NOT laying on that floor. No ma'am." Fortunately, it was never an issue, because no one looked down when they walked, and they ended up walking all over the blanket, without even realizing it was spread out for the baby.

LAW.

Jim's parents live on the bottom floor of their house. They have a family member who lives part-time on the 2nd floor...and a family member who lives full-time on the 3rd floor. And the 3rd floor person has a one-eyed cat.

So, yeah...picture it: clutter stacked everywhere...floor to ceiling, in most places...my father-in-law yell-talking at the top of his lungs, annnnd a one-eyed cat.

This is the REAL Southern Living, folks.

Also? My father-in-law is the loudest human being on earth. Not.even.kidding. And, he can't hear...so he is unaware of how loud he is. He is loud when he talks. He is loud when he coughs. He is loud when he whistles. He is loud when he eats. He is loud when he sings. We've been home 2 hours, and my ears are still ringing...I can only imagine poor Rhodie's ears!

But, we made it. And we really did have a great time! Jim ordered lunch from Chili's-to-go. And just the 20 minutes he took doing that...asking every person what they wanted, talking about the football game that was on TV, showing his Dad how to do something on his ipad, telling his mom a story that related to NOTHING we had been talking about, and basically doing anything BUT ordering dinner....was like a Seinfeld episode.

Only not as funny.

After lunch, we all sat in the living room and talked...and basically gathered around Rhodie, to watch his every move.

For some reason, my mother-in-law got up, and came back into the room carrying a small suitcase. She opened it up, and she and Jim and Jim's Dad all started going through it...pulling out things from forever ago: documents, papers, pictures, etc. At one point, I looked over at my father-in-law. He was posted up in the chair, reading an old, brown-paged, newspaper from 1973.

FROM 1973.

And then yelling-commenting about everything that was in there.

Jim's mom was pulling out old yearbooks, and newspaper clippings. She said, "here's your birth-certificate, Jim. OH WAIT...it's Joel's. And here's Jeff's."

Jim said, "I have mine at home. You misspelled my middle name on it."
Jim's mom said, "I did?"
Jim: "Yes. You left off the 'e.'"
Jim's Dad hollered, "O-S-B-O-R-N-E."
Jim said, "yes...you misspelled it on my birth certificate, I'll have you know."

Not to be out-done, Jim's Mom...whose name is spelled, Jacquie, said, "well, do you know how MY name is spelled on my birth certificate? J-A-C-K-I-E."

Jim just looked at her, and said, "well, you'd never be able to get a passport."

And I fell out laughing.

Because, I looked around the room...all the stuff...all the clutter...all the junk. Jim's Dad was sitting in his chair. He had his oxygen mask on, because he's having some trouble breathing these days. The oxygen machine makes a noise when it's running, but he can still hear bits and pieces of the conversation...and hollers his comments, even if they are wrong. He was wearing one sock. Why, we don't know. And the sock had a big hole in the toe. He wore this all day.

He had plenty of "good" socks...trust me.

Jim's parents get nervous if they have to drive too far from home. They pretty much refuse to drive at night. And here was Jim telling them, "well, you'll never be able to get a passport."

WHERE DOES HE THINK THEY ARE GOING TO GO?

"Let Your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in You." Psalm 33:22

Friday, September 23, 2016

Camping Trip Update, Marley's Escape, & My Boppy

Well, Joshua made it home safe and sound from his camping trip. He was FULL of stories from his 2 days away...and whenever he would tell us about it, he had to start at the very beginning. He HAD to.

Also, he will go in order of events...minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day.

DO NOT INTERRUPT HIM. DO NOT ASK FOLLOW-UP QUESTIONS.

He will just start over from the very beginning...and there's no possible way to get those minutes of your life back.

SAVE YOURSELF.

He had a great time. Everyone in the "guy's cabin," got along GREAT. As expected, there was drama in the "girl's cabin." He didn't know what it was...just that there was some.

Bless the staff.

Jim and Aaron-the-son-in-law were each out-of-town yesterday, so Holly and I were on our own for dinner. I made Shepherd's Pie for us. I thought it was something she could take in her lunch today...she had to work.

She brought the baby over to my house, along with her little half-a-dog, Marley. I let Marley out back to potty, like normal...and went to check on him in about a minute. He was gone.

Like yesterday.

GONE.

Like Elvis and his mom.

(sorry...I'm done)

I called, I whistled, I clapped my hands....nothing.

I came in and told Holly. She was feeding the baby, but I went out the front door, and walked up and down our street.

Nothing.

I saw two women walking toward me. It was pitch dark outside. One of the ladies was carrying a dog, but it wasn't Marley. She asked if I lived at the house...she had a piece of our mail that was delivered to her by mistake. We talked a minute, and then I told her that we were looking for Holly's dog. I described him to her, and asked for them to let us know if they saw him.

Well, they didn't get too far past our house, when they yelled..."is this him?" There, running in the dad-gum MIDDLE of the street, was Holly's dog...cars stopped in both directions for him, thankfully. The neighbor lady scooped him up, and carried him to me. When I took him, he was shaking uncontrollably.

I wanted to shake him uncontrollably.

I'm KIDDING.

But, really.

Since Maggie-the-good-dog passed away, Marley doesn't want to stay in our backyard. We have a privacy fence on 3 sides, but the front of our fence is wrought-iron bars. We haven't really had many problems with Marley escaping, because he wanted to stay back there with Maggie.

My other exciting news is that I bought myself a Boppy. Those of you with babies or young children know what I'm talking about. They are a brand of nursing pillows...they can be used for support while the baby is being fed, no matter who is feeding them, or how you are feeding them. You can also use it for to support the baby in your lap. Things like that. I bought one so that Holly wouldn't have to lug hers over here every time she came over.

This thing is life-changing.

Not even kidding.

I love it. I wore it around my waist all night, like an innertube. I even slept with it in our bed last night, which was every bit as wonderful as you might imagine for Jim. Except NOT. :) Right now, I'm using it as a desk...I'm in my recliner, with my computer balanced on top of it.

Also, as a BONUS: you can put the Boppy pillow on your head, like an Egyptian head-dress, and sing "Pharaoh, Pharaoh, Ohhhh baby, let my people go (yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)..."

No?

Well, that's all I got. I did not sleep well at all last night...and I kept Rhodie all day today. It's a thousand wonders I can even string together a sentence at this time of night.

"Sing to the Lord, bless His name; tell of His salvation from day to day." Psalm 96:2

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Joshua Goes Camping 2016

So, every year, Joshua's Therapeutic Recreation group goes camping. No, there are no tents involved...they stay in cabins at a campground in central Arkansas. BUT, they are away from home, they bring sleeping bags, and they make s'mores in the fire-pit, so...CAMPING.

Part of the purpose of this event is to promote independence, so the TR director encouraged us to let our campers pack for themselves.

I typically let Joshua pack his own bags. Whether it's going to see family for a weekend, or going to Camp Barnabas for a week...he packs for himself. I will ask him, "how many pairs of shorts did you pack?" or things like that.

And, what I learned from this past summer's trip to Camp Barnabas is, just because I ASK...and just because he ANSWERS affirmatively...doesn't mean he has everything he's supposed to have. Sometimes he just THINKS he does. Other times, he doesn't want to take what's on the list, for whatever reason, and so he doesn't.

Which is why he ended up with only 2 pairs of shorts for a week at Camp Barnabas...IN JUNE...and had to wear jeans the rest of the time.

Or why, one year, he "ran out of undies," even after I told him how many to pack. I even made sure they were all out and visible...so all he had to do was pick them up in his hands, and physically put them in his suitcase. I HAD asked him about it, and he SAID he had 8 pairs of undies...but he did not. And, I don't even want to know what all went on with how he "made do" with what he had that week. This may have been the year when he told me he had a "few surprises" in his laundry...and the year I wanted to take his entire bag of clothes, sight unseen, straight out to the fire-pit.

So, anyway...he packed himself for this little mid-week camping adventure.

Joshua's bedroom is upstairs at our house. I didn't want him to be up there, but we gave him first choice of all the bedrooms (besides the master bedroom...DUH), and the one he chose is upstairs. One of my fears is that Joshua is going to fall when he's coming down the stairs. He hasn't had any problems in the FOUR YEARS that we've lived here...so maybe "fear" is not the right word to use. I just want him to be very cautious coming down. Every night, after his shower, he comes downstairs...carrying his dirty clothes and towels to the laundry room. If I'm carrying something, I have to watch every step when I come down stairs.

I had told Joshua to be ready by a specific time, and so...sure enough...I heard him clunking and clanging around at the top of the stairs, and figured he was getting his things ready. He came down slowly, carrying his sleeping bag. I probably would've just tossed it over the banister, and then folded it back up later...but he didn't think of that, and, honestly...I don't want him to get in a habit of throwing things over the banister, from upstairs. Because his youngest brother, IS in the habit of doing that...and you can be sitting in the family room, minding your own business...and clothes and stuff will start raining down from upstairs. He only tosses the "soft" stuff...sheets, clothes, pillows, etc.

But it's still startling, at first.

Joshua went back upstairs, and then I heard a not-familiar sound. When he got down to where I could see him...yep. He was coming down on his bottom (which is what I tell him to do if he needs to come downstairs in the night, like if he's afraid in a storm, or sick)...and carrying a suitcase on his lap.

And not just ANY suitcase...he was carrying the LARGEST suitcase we own.

FOR A TWO DAY TRIP.

Goodness, Joshua.

He set it down, and I noticed that it wasn't all the way zipped. Looked like something was kind of caught in the zipper. I got it open, and glanced inside. There were clothes...I didn't count what or how many of anything. INDEPENDENCE, remember? But I did notice a few things that were on top: his Bible, his Tony Dungy devotion book, and two exercise bands.

TWO EXERCISE BANDS.

I asked, "Joshua, why are you bringing exercise bands on your camping trip?"

He answered, "Because tomorrow is THURSDAY." He looked at me like, "DUH, MOM."

He said, "I use the red band for my biceps...and the green band is for my back muscles. I can get a full body work-out."

Well, alrighty then.

This morning, I got a text from him. It was 8:22 a.m., and he was already completely ready, and waiting for everyone else to get up and ready. I've said it before: he was born a little, old man...up with the sun...get ready...have a full day...go to bed. It would never occur to him to sleep in late...or stay up late. He's all about structure and routine.

Anyway, I asked him how he slept, and he said he slept "okay" until his alarm woke him up at "five forth five this morning on London time."

First of all: FIVE FORTH FIVE?

And, LONDON TIME?

The boy is obsessed with London and Britain. He doesn't want to be associated with being from the South. Sometimes he says he's from the "south" part of England. He told someone he had a "southern British accent." Now, I've never heard him talk in any sort of a British accent, but whatever. When we say or write things like "y'all" or "fixin' to" or "goin' home," he says it's "bad grammar."

In fact, one Sunday, a very talented soloist in our church sang a "spiritual" type of song. It contained a lot of words like "praisin'" and "comin'" and "singin'." Joshua was not havin' it.

NOT.HAVING.IT

I could see his face...lip stuck out defiantly, arms crossed, and he was muttering. After church, I asked him what he thought about the song. He said he wasn't "thrilled with the BAD GRAMMAHHHH."

(sigh)

So, I asked him WHY he set an alarm...when he was on a camping trip with his FRIENDS. And WHY he has the time on his phone set to London time, when WE LIVE IN ARKANSAS.

I mean, right?

Well.

He sent me back this reply: "I thought I could make time for a quiet time [with God]." 

AND,  "I know what state we live in."

(mic dropped)

"Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to You and wait expectantly." Psalm 5:3