Supper

Friday night, since Jason and the big boys were gone, Hayden and I decided to let the little people help us fix a Halloween-y supper. We had sausage mummies…

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(and fries and fruit) and ghosts for dessert…

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They were impressed.

Tonight, though, I served vegetable soup for the first time this season. They were markedly unimpressed. Feffer (five years old) had been saying he was hungry until he saw his bowl. Then he took a big drink of his milk and said, “I meant that I was hungry for something to drink.” Fiffer (seven years old…who eats about anything) finished up her tiny portion (the normal serving for something new) and said, “Hey, Kris, can I have some more? It’s not as nasty as I thought it would be.”

Oh, well. More for me:)

A Vandal of Epic Proportions

Two pieces of background information for this story…

#1. Fiffer is still vandalizing our home. It doesn’t happen as often as it used to (alleluia!), but it’s still happening more than enough. Wednesday, for example, I went upstairs to change her sheets (she’s a peeing machine right now) and found a stash of permanent markers (where does she even get these things?) and some fresh drawings on the wall right by her bed. Drives. Me. Crazy. Although I’m more concerned with my own feelings (irritated and frustrated), the powers that be suggest asking her how she feels as she destroys things (she doesn’t seem to know). And although I’m leaning toward beating her with a big stick (just kidding), the powers that be suggest providing her with plenty of opportunities to “express herself.” Oy. A set of window markers (that we already owned) seem to be helping temporarily. As Hayden put it, “She gets to feel like a vandal, without actually destroying anything.” A win-win. At least for now.

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#2. Feff is absolutely delightful right now. Oh, not every minute. He is four years old, after all, so we have the fits…and the nightmares…and the defiance…and…did I mention the fits? But in between all of that (and about 80% of the time), he’s a hoot. He’s kind-hearted and observant and perceptive and happy. The littlest things delight him…how his breath looks first thing in the morning these days, the way the Christmas lights look hanging in his room, the noise a balloon makes when you blow it up and let it go (over and over and over again)…it all tickles him. One of my favorite times of the day is sitting in this chair with him, early in the morning, cuddled under a blanket, waiting for his school bus. Such fun conversations.

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Yesterday, we were enjoying this time together. We talked about the colorful leaves…and the noisy squirrels…and the birds flying overhead…and whether there was going to be thunder tonight…and the pretty blue sky. He lifted his head from my chest and craned his neck to see more of the pretty blue sky…and saw this streak.

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He studied it for a minute, shook his head solemnly at me, and said, “Fiffer (of course, he actually said her real name) must have done that.”

Be Safe

I drove Hayden and her friend Hannah to Indianapolis today, because they’re volunteering at a Sonrise retreat this weekend. We took a couple little detours…one to grab some Chick Fil A (Hayden’s third time there this week…sweet!) and one to see Grandpa Erich, Grandma Jeanette, Uncle Stephen, and Aunt Cheryl for a few minutes. We drove through some pretty decent traffic on the way there, and I crawled along bumper-to-bumper for an hour on the way home. So when Jason and I talked several times throughout the day, and he ended each conversation with the words “Be safe,” I thought it was sweet.

When I turned the comment back, though, and replied, “You be safe,” he scoffed a little bit. “I’m here with the kids,” he said. “What could happen?”

He shouldn’t have asked. First he tried to copy the children by climbing a tree they found at the park. Apparently the vine he was pulling on (he tells me it was more than a vine, but I’m not so sure)…the vine that so easily held the seven, five, and four-year-old children, wasn’t quite sturdy enough to hold him. He came down with a crash, flat on his back, where he rested long enough for Fiffer to lean over him and ask, “Should I call someone?”

Then…when he was chasing them around in the dark with flashlights (part of the bedtime routine), he decided to hide behind the couch and scare them. It would have worked better if he hadn’t almost knocked himself unconscious on the coffee table.

Bless his heart. He just took a big dose of ibuprofen. Should we lay bets on if he’s able to get out of bed in the morning?

A Little Too Close to Home

So…I’ve been following the Ebola thing pretty closely…especially since the action started occurring in Dallas. Jason and I love Dallas. Pieces of our hearts will always remain in Dallas. We both took our first calls to Dallas, we met in Dallas, we got married when we were in Dallas, we had Quincy in Dallas, and…that’s right…we shared our first apartment in Dallas. Would you like to know where it was located? Let me show you…

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Right here. This handy map was all over the news this morning, as the location of the apartment of the latest Ebola victim. It was being cleaned by guys in hazmat suits this morning.

We lived in this complex. It’s a hop and a skip from the school/church where many people we care about still live/work/attend. Two of my former students are health care professionals in Dallas. One of them posted today about ordering hazmat suits for their practice. She also posted about Dallas declaring an emergency, so that they would have the legal authority to restrict travel of those exposed. Please. Restrict travel. Especially since we don’t seem to have the sense to restrict it ourselves.

Lord, have mercy. On Guinea and Liberia and Sierra Leone. On Dallas and Atlanta and Omaha. On this mighty big world that’s all of a sudden seeming mighty small. On health care professionals and airplane travelers and family members. Protect us, Lord. Amen.

Insane

Dillon hates us. That’s the ugly truth around here. In particular, he hates me…with an unrelenting, burning ferocity. He also hates Fiffer and Hayden (usually in that order) and Jason (by association), so we’re all sharing in the experience. It’s a constant cloud of doom and a constant weight in our stomachs, but we’re attacking the problem from several different angles, and we’re trying not to dwell on it too much (a mistake we made with the Prodigal…a mistake that hurt our other kids more than we ever realized). And…because that’s how we roll around here…we’re trying to find the humor when/where we can. This recent conversation (while the two of us were washing dishes) is a case in point…

D: Mom, I have an idea.

M: Yes…

D: You know those sheds we see on sale between here and church (typical wooden sheds)?

M: Yep.

D: Do you think people could live in those?

M (thinking this was just hypothetical, tiny-house thinking…like my friend Lauren does sometimes): Hmmm…I don’t think they’re wired for electricity, bud.

D (immediately angry): What do you mean?

M (baffled at his change of mood): Umm…I don’t think they’re wired for electricity…like…you couldn’t plug stuff in…or have heating or lights…

D (angrier): But you and Dad could do that, couldn’t you?

M (baffled-er): Do what?

D: Mom! Wire it for electricity!

M (slowly…trying to catch on): Could your dad and I…wire a shed?

D: Yes!

M: Dillon, no. (I didn’t mention that our electricity skills end at changing lightbulbs…and possibly fuses.) No, we couldn’t.

D (thinking, still very frustrated): What about the pond?

M (wondering if I’m having a mini-stroke): The pond?

D (impatiently): Yes, Mom. The pond. There’s that plug-in by the pond. Wouldn’t that work?

M: For what, exactly?

D (excitedly, as he thinks): Yeah, yeah! You could plug a space heater into that outlet, couldn’t you?

M: I guess so.

D: Yeah, yeah! And then you could cut a hole in the side of the shed and put the space heater in there!

M: The space heater that’s plugged into the outlet by the pond?

D: Yes!

M: Dillon, what are you talking about?

D: Mom! And then I could live there!

M: What?!?!

D: Yes! You and Dad could buy a shed. And, then, if you can’t wire it, I could just cut a hole in one wall and hook up a space heater. And I could live there. And have freedom to come and go. But I would just be in the backyard. Yes! It’s perfect!

M (still striving for some sanity in all this): Like…when you grow up?

D: Mom! No! Now! I need my own place! I need to get out of here! This is perfect!

M: Dillon, no. You’re not living in a shed in the backyard. Bud, that’s just not going to happen.

D (throwing his dish towel down and yelling): UGH! You are so ridiculous! You never let me do anything! I’m going to take my shower!

Oy. I thought about mentioning that showering would also be an impossibility in his new shed/house, but I didn’t. He took a shower, stomped upstairs to say goodnight, and went to bed to sulk himself to sleep. Just another day in paradise. It’s just a phase, right?! He’ll come out of it one of these days, won’t he?! If not, I might move into a shed in the backyard:)

Columbus Day

The Fs have had a four-day weekend. Shoot. Me. Now. It’s such a blessing to have the extra time to spend with them. Friday, they had a visit with their dad, and I had a day in St. Louis with Hayden, Saturday we hit the corn maze (I’ll post pictures later, if I remember), Sunday was Sunday School and church and an impromptu get-together with our BFF’s. Which left today…a full day of rain, according to the forecast. Ugh. So…Josiah and Hayden and I packed them up (Dillon stayed with Jason…a story for another day) and headed for Terre Haute. We had lunch at Chick Fil A (worth the trip all by itself), and then we headed for the main attraction for the day…

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I cannot even say enough good things about this place. First of all, it’s only $5 a kid to get in (and anyone under 2 or over 12 is free), and you can stay as long as you like. Then…well…what kid doesn’t love a bouncy house…let alone a whole building full of them?

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This was the hands-down favorite…tall and steep enough that the boys’ eyes widened a little in fun-fear every single time they went down…awesome.

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This was the little kids’ area, where we could have left Feff for a week. He did a lot of the bigger stuff too, but a Thomas bounce-house…

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and little cars to drive…the kid was in heaven. True to form, he was the happiest and easiest of the three kids. Feffer had a great time, but he was all. over. the. place. Hayden, Josiah, and I had planned to sit at a table and play games while the little kids exhausted themselves, but we ended up having to take turns patrolling the boys. Fiffer was easy to keep track of, since she dropped by every little bit to tell us she was bored/hungry/thirsty/tired (I think she had a good time..that’s just who she is right now). At least we always knew where she was:)

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These next few items were in another room. There was also a little basketball court (non-jumpy) and a balcony with couches and a television where parents of less unpredictable children could hang out and occasionally scan the area to check on their kiddos. The snacks were very reasonable…$1 for a bottle of water…which they said they would refill as many times as we wanted. Slushies were $1, and candy (think Halloween-sized stuff) was 25 cents (this was a perfect bribe at the end to get them to put their shoes on and get in the van). Pizza Hut pizza was also available. They provided permanent markers to mark your kids’ cups/bottles with (I made sure Fiffer didn’t touch them)…a nice family-friendly touch. Everything was clean and tidy and friendly…a really nice place.

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Best of all, it completely exhausted them. After one stop off the interstate to remind them that I mean what I say, Feffer fell asleep…

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and Feff got darn close. Mission accompllished:)

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Now…back to school tomorrow…

A fun day…and great results…

Waiting for our 11:00 EEG…

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Watching the ball tower (one of my favorite parts of these visits)…

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Electrodes in place (and look at those feet!)…

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Wrapped and ready to go…

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Lunch in the cafeteria…

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And one of the many fun decorations we admired…

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Hayden and I had a great day…lots of one-on-one visiting and laughing. We had a new-to-us EEG tech, who was a delight (as they have all been over the years), lunch was delicious, and our visit with the neurologist was like catching up with an old friend. She did a few tests, asked a few questions, and delivered the news for which we were hoping: a clear EEG!

Thanking God for great news and a great day!