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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Let's Hope It Just Comes in Threes

I don't know what's impressing me more: how many different illnesses have struck members of this family; or how no single illness seems to have passed on from one of us to the next -- so far, anyway, knock on wood. (Go ahead, find some wood and knock for me.) (Knock-knock-knock.)

Last week John was sick with ... er, um, let's just say he spent a lot of time in the bathroom. Then I came down with Strep. Only I really didn't think it was strep. So I didn't go to the doctor as soon as I could have and then I didn't go because I didn't want to deal with the emergency room and then I tried to go on Monday only to be sent to the ER anyway because the clinic has no appointments for sick people. That's right, every Tom, Dick or Harry complaining about a sore throat or a collapsed lung gets sent to the ER. Gotta love military healthcare.

Olivia is the latest victim.

She woke up this morning blowing chunks, all the way into our room. Too bad I was fast asleep with Sean-Peter in his room and missed all the excitement. She seems to be done with throwing up and is able to keep down water, which is a good thing as her fever is a bit on the high side.

It's probably a bug I brought home with me from the ER.

Really, I have no idea how or why I got strep. I suspect my body was harboring it and waiting for the perfect time to bring it to life. Like right before we get ready to go on a road trip. And shouldn't Olivia have strep? Not the barfing flu? And what other surprises do we have in store for us?

We're supposed to leave in three days. Prayers are encouraged.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Jesus Loves You Anyway

I just came from having the most remarkable conversation with Sean-Peter as I was putting him to bed. I'm not sure what was more poignant for me: the content of the conversation; or the fact that we were communicating in words in a way that simply was not possible just weeks ago, so far has his speech progressed.

We were finishing our prayer in the usual way, ".... we love you Jesus, Amen."

"Me. not. wuv. Jesus."

"You don't love Jesus?"


"How come?"

"Because. Jesus. far away. of me."

"Because Jesus is far away from you?"

"Yea." He sounds almost as surprised as I am that we're communicating as well as we are.

"Jesus will be in your heart if you ask Him to be."

"But. Jesus. can't see. in my heart." He's pointing at his chest like it's so obvious that someone coudn't see if they were inside there.

"Jesus is also up in heaven watching over everything."

"Watching. over. people?"


"And airplanes?"

Chuckle, "Yes."


"Also. Jesus. far away. of my boo-boo." Aw, the crux of the matter. This boo-boo on his knee that he keeps scraping and re-scraping has been a source of serious consternation for the last 24 hours.

"We can pray to Jesus and ask Him to help your boo-boo to get better. Dear Jesus..."

"No! No! Me already prayed!"

"We can always pray again."

"No, me no want to."


"Are you still mad at Jesus?"

"Yea, a widdle bit."

"Do you love Him anyway?"

"No, not yet -- go sleep, mama." He's so tired his eyes are barely focused. Sweet dreams, little buddy. Jesus loves you anyway. And He probably got a kick out of this conversation at least as much as I did.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Recent Images (and their stories, too)

I found an apraxia playgroup online a few months ago, back when I was still scratching my head trying to figure out what apraxia even was, other than this affliction that had its grip on my son's speech.

Erin was the brain behind the playgroup. She did what I did: googled her little heart away trying to figure out her son ... only she didn't find the local support group she thought should be there. So she started one! She has been so instrumental in helping me to find my way on this journey -- except when she starts using really big words and then my brain starts to cramp and my eyes roll in the back of my head. She's really, really smart.

And she's had to be, because it ends up, as it often can, that apraxia isn't really what's going on with her son after all. I won't even try to explain the journey that she has been on with her son, where the most recent development has been to determine that the lesion on his brain is not a tumor. Yea.

Thing is, her faith is even stronger than her intellect. Visit her blog and you'll see what I mean. I'm sure she won't mind. And she plays awesome music on it, too.

Yea, she rocks. And so does this photo of her and her son, doesn't it?

I knew I had a winner the instant that shutter snapped. Do digital cameras have shutters? Whatever.
Sean-Peter and Ryan are really becoming quite the buddies, too. Although they aren't around each other as much as Ryan and Olivia get to be, since Erin saves my life almost every week when she catches Olivia as I slow down and push her out the car door because we're always running late lets me drop Olivia off at her house during Sean-Peter's speech therapy sessions. I think Sean-Peter likes playing the helper with a littler guy for a change. You can almost hear him, "Watch your step."

Yes, they are hot and sweaty. Glory Be and Hallelujah the rains have stopped and the floods have come down. Summer is here!See? I love this photo, too. It's all in the lighting, I tell you. Especially with my camera. It needs all the help it can get.

And here's Olivia with her shy face on, getting ready for her dance recital. (And in bad lighting, see?) It was crazy in that place, and more and more in these social situations she is showing her self-consciousness...
...but it rarely lasts long.

This is the girl, after all, who I overheard declaring, to no one in particular, "Finally I'm finished with my dance class so now I can go on the dance stage."
Don't you just want to gobble them up?

Here she is with her mom post-performance. I'm the shiny one. I would show you what she looked like on stage, but my camera doesn't do stages. Suffice it to say, she loved it as much as she thought she would. I might need a new camera...

At this point I would like to include a picture of Conner getting ready to take off for his week-long scouting trip. But I forgot my camera. So just pretend there's a photo of him, say, giving me the thumb's-up sign because he finally found a seat on the bus. On that chaotic testosterone-filled bus with boys and young men off to prove their manhood. Or at least survive a week in the wilds of Indiana without getting too homesick.

Speaking of wild.
"Me strong!!"

He wasn't really saying that here, but he does like to say it a lot. The "str" blend isn't spot-on, but it's developmentally appropriate. Needless to say, I am well overdue on a post updating the explosion of his "spontaneous language". It's so remarkable I don't even care that it's rarely grammatically correct. I have a theory that he's been speaking grammatically incorrect sentences for so long when we couldn't understand him that now it's just going to take that much longer to correct them. It's just a theory. But now when I try to correct him to say I instead of Me, for instance, he just looks at me funny and then can't remember what he was going to say next. So I let it go. Keep the sentences coming, buddy.

His expression for "Olivia" has also evolved, as Olivia is demonstrating here. "Look, mom, this is how Sean-Peter says my name now!" Indeed. As his usual Ow-wah has become Oh-ee-ee-uh, virtually overnight.
Remember these letters? YES, THEY WILL GET ON HER WALL. Alas, her room is still a work in progress. They're kind of fun to play around with around the house, though.

But back to this.

"Two-fisting it." He didn't really say that, either. But he could have, if he weren't so intent on cleaning them up. This distraction made it possible for Chef Oh-ee-ee-uh to finalize the cookie dough batter with the chocolate chunks. One. at. a. time.

Because they taste better that way, don't you know, when you put them in just so.

I finally had to set the timer and cut her off. I wasn't getting any younger.

And these cookies are awesome. I remember having them not too, too long ago at my sister Carmen's house. When I asked her which recipe she used she told me it was mom's. When I asked mom about the recipe she told me it was one of Carmen's.

This is pretty typical communication that goes on with my family.

Regardless, I do encourage you to make some of your own. Be sure and don your chef's hat and add the chocolates one. piece. at. a. time.

Carmen's Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe (because the mom's always right):

cream together:
2 c. margarine (or 1 c. margarine, 1 c. shortening)
2 c. sugar
2 c. brown sugar

4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla

mix together:
4 c. flour
5 c. oatmeal (mix small amounts at a time)
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda

mix together all ingredients and add chocolate chips/chunks

Bake on ungreased cookie sheet 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

When It Rains, It Pours

I left John with the kids last night while I went to that most wondrous world of shopping oblivion known as Ikea.

I was purposefully armed with a very focused list, but not my cell phone -- that, I forgot in the car. My subconscious knew I couldn't be bothered.

I returned to my car shortly before 9:00 and found two missed calls from John. I found it puzzling that the first thing he asked me was, Where are you? and before I could answer, Let me call you back. But I didn't think much of it. I just hoped the kids were in bed.

I couldn't talk when he called back because I had a guy helping me load two very big and very heavy boxes that contained Conner's dresser, my main motivation for the trip. We connected again once I was back on the highway. It was sprinkling lightly.

"You won't be able to come the usual way on our street, it's totally flooded, so just go around." Um, okay. John can tend toward hyperbole, especially when it comes to meteorology (he missed that calling) so I really didn't think a whole lot about it. But before he could say more the radio came on with that annoying bellowing air horn sound that is usually followed by, "This is a test by the emergency broadcasting system." Only this time it was followed by a flash flood warning and a list of counties, ours one of them. Hmmm.

It was raining in earnest by the time I reached the edge of Dayton. I headed toward our street and decided to try the normal route anyway. Hmmm. A bit of water about halfway in where it dips down, but still a go.

Conner greeted me at the door with barely concealed relief. John's trying to tell me about the street flooding and almost pouring into the neighbor's basement. He is incredulous that I just drove home the usual way. Borderline indignant. Sorry to burst your bubble, Pops, but the street was not that bad.

Then he showed me the pictures.

This was why he wanted me to go around.

Because this isn't actually a cul-de-sac.

Here I asked if someone popped out their little raft, but it was just some random kid's toy the floods pulled out of someone's yard.

Floods like this river. Only it isn't actually a river. At least it's not supposed to be.
Here's a view of it targeting the neighbor's house, where everyone began to congregate. John didn't mention there being any buckets on hand, so I guess they were just all there to observe the possible calamity first-hand, ready to offer condolences. Because it came this close to seeping into their basement.
John couldn't believe how many teenage girls came pouring out of that house. He said it was like watching bees from a hive. I'm sure their teenage chattering and panicked theatrics helped matters brilliantly.The whole neighborhood was out, actually. Ready to start bailing, I'm sure. When they weren't frolicking in sewage flood water. Like the guy up above, see? Up to his thighs in the cesspool that is our street? I guess he was in too much of a hurry to go around. Too bad he forgot his bucket.

So I was quite impressed. Apparently I missed a bit of excitement. But I couldn't help but comment about the little ones still being up, it being almost 10:00 and all. Hubs was unapologetic. Gee, I guess it was a little hard to put them to bed what with the sirens wailing and us hiding out in the basement and all.


I'm really not sure if and where any funnels touched down around Dayton, but the clouds looked pretty ominous over our house.And over our neighbor's.Those two peaks hanging down? What you can't see in this photo is the whirly-swirliness of it all. Kansas, eat your heart out.

And to think, about the time he took these photos, I was shopping my little heart away, probably inquiring about some curtains I have picked out for Olivia's room.

Aren't they fabulous?

Unfortunately a few hundred other people think so, too. And they've been "temporarily oversold" for quite some time. With "no shipments scheduled". But I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Good things come to those who wait.

Even though the waters receded and the worst seemed to be over, the storm continued unabated throughout the night. Made for a good night's sleep, I tell you what. And it kept on in the morning. We had a little deja vu when our street became unpassable again -- only for about 10 minutes, but long enough to give Sean-Peter's bus driver a bit of trouble.

I would have taken pictures of that sweet lady maneuvering that bus around close enough so Sean-Peter wouldn't have to wade into a river to climb into it, but I was too busy clutching the little guy's hand while we watched. And did I mention it was raining? What a way to end the school year.

I was surprised when John came back to the house this morning, before he was supposed to show up for this interview for this position that he was put in for that he doesn't really want but it's supposed to be an honor to be considered for it so he really can't just say, "No thanks, I really don't want to do that." So we talked a bit about how maybe he could just flub the interview so they wouldn't want him. Har-har and all that.

Then the power went out. And did I mention it was still raining? The whole morning long. Storming, really. Like God's stomach was growling.

It eventually came back on, and John left for his appointment/interview. I was totally in the mood to get on and blog about yesterday's excitement, but I couldn't figure out how to turn the computer back on -- when the power went out it started making this annoying beeping sound because of this generator/backup system it's plugged into, and since John was still there he went ahead and disconnected it. My mad skillz with all things technical tend toward the lacking side to say the least.

I was highly annoyed -- blogging wasn't the only thing I wanted needed to do on the computer. I called his cell phone, thinking I might still catch him in the car. I was annoyed again when it started ringing from inside the drawer in the kitchen.

So imagine my surprise when John calls shortly thereafter, stranded on the side of the road where his car had broken down and he'd been waiting the whole time for someone to stop and offer help. I guess I wasn't the only one who thought he should have his cell phone with him.

So the engine clenched? Turns out that it kind of caught on fire? Um, yea. I guess that's one way to get out of an interview.

So I pack up the little ones to go rescue him, whisking Sean-Peter off the bus and immediately plopping him in the van, fielding calls on John's cell phone that I brought with me from people wondering why he's not at this interview. We have to hurry because Sean-Peter has a therapy session, and ultimately John had to go back to the car to wait for the tow truck to arrive.

On the way to Sean-Peter's appointment we encounter more flooding. Incredulously, some trucks are making their way through. Big trucks. I was bummed I didn't have my camera. But we don't need another car out of commission so I turned around and found another way. I do have mad skillz in the finding my way around department. (Lots and lots and lots of experience in getting lost in many, many different places will give you that.)

Miraculously we still make his session on time, though I honestly could not have cared less at that point. More driving to go pick John up at the Toyota dealer where he has been waiting, and starving -- it's after lunch by this point. Right at the end of the 30-minute drive the van's dash emits a resounding BEEEEEP! and a suspicious light shows up in front of me, which John later identifies as the brake light. So the brakes are going out in our van? In our one remaining vehicle that is taking us on a road trip in a few short weeks? It's telling me this at the precise moment that we are dropping off our other vehicle with charred internal regions that threatened to set the whole engine on fire for an as-of-yet completely unidentified reason?

So tomorrow's going to be a juggling act, what with (yes, more) therapy appointments and dance recital rehearsals and oh, we're out of milk making it necessary for me to have a car tomorrow, in this typical midwestern American city with no ready public transportation to fall back on, broken down cars and rising gas prices or no.

I'm thankful -- I really, really am. Because things could have been so much worse, could have taken such a different turn at so many points. The flooding receded. The clouds swirled away. The power came back on. The car didn't spontaneously combust. We still have one car. So I'm just praying. You know? For just a little break. Because I actually like rain. I love rain. But maybe, just for a day, a little sunshine could be in order? It'd go really well with those curtains I still hope to get for Olivia.