Monday, September 28, 2009

My Faithful Scout

My all time favorite book (and the movie wasn't bad either) is "To Kill A Mockingbird." I don't know why the book has stayed with me all these years. Was it the writing? Was it the subject? Was it just my age when I read it? I don't know.

I do know that I wanted to name a daughter "Scout" after the precocious main character in the book. She was an early reader. She was a tomboy, didn't like girl clothes or things in her hair and was a tough as any boy in the book. But she did have a compassionate heart for the forgotten or ignored. She also had a fiery sense of justice.

I couldn't get Scott to agree to "Scout" for a girl's name. Something about a name of a dog. Either it was his dog's name or it sounded like a dog's name. He wouldn't even agree to it as a nickname.

Then Faith started going up. She's my fiery one. She's a tomboy. Doesn't like anything in her hair, just likes it long, loose and looking like a rat's nest. She'll wear dresses, but not stockings, and only if it is her idea. She has no fear. When she was little she'd jump off stairs, furniture, etc. expecting you to catch her. I guess if there was a time we didn't catch her, she'd might have stopped.

She crawled out of her crib. I know Jonathan never did and I can't remember if Joshua did or didn't. Jonathan was three and a half and still didn't climb over the fence we put in front of his door at night. Then 18 month old Faith climbed over hers and then over his to get into his room. She taught him how to climb over gates. She taught him how to climb on to kitchen counters to get what they wanted. She taught him were all my secret hiding places were for markers, glue and scissors. I could leave all these things out with my two boys...but now with Faith. We had a bleach trail from our master bathroom to our bed in our carpet from her opening some cleaner and carrying it upside down.

After the last incident I called her my "Faithful Scout" for awhile. I tell Scott, "She's going to be trouble. She's going to get to high school two years after Jonathan and show him how to play hooky and how to smoke in the boy's room."

And don't think I'm exaggerating. Here is what she wrote in her journal this summer, "I don't want to go to college. I want to be an artist. I don't want to be married but I want to have kids." I don't think she could aspire to be any more opposite of what we want for her. Well, I don't mind the artist part, just get a college degree to fall back on.

Two Christmases ago we watched "To Kill A Mockingbird" with Gregory Peck. It was the first time Joshua had seen the movie. Throughout the entire movie and even beyond his mantra has been, "How could you have possibly known that Faith would be just like Scout? She wasn't even born yet when you wanted to name her Scout."

Either I'm plugged in really well to my Lord, who gave me some insight, or it became a self fulfilling prophecy.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday High Five

Angela's Adventures

Five Reasons Why I Love My Husband

5) He walks his talk. Mutual friends set Scott and I up on our first date. We were living a half a country apart but happened to be "in the same place at the same time." The female of this couple had told me three years prior if Scott and I were ever in the same place at the same time and not dating someone else, we needed to meet. So I was on vacation in Southern Maryland where he just moved. I asked my friend, who proposed that Scott and I should meet, "Why? I live in Texas and he lives here?" She told me he was just like her husband, whom I'd always admired. I was intrigued if for no other reason to meet a man in his late thirties and never been married but was a prize catch.

4) He met all the criteria on my "silly little checklist" and them some. Sometime early in my Christian faith, someone said I should pray for my future husband. So I developed a list of things for which to pray. A Friend of mine told me "That's a silly list, no one will ever meet all those points." This person obviously hadn't read Psalm 37:4 "Delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart." A preacher once taught on this passage saying it meant, "If you love the Lord and want to please him, He will place the desires in your heart for which to pray and then He'll answer those prayers." So I prayed for a military man, an engineer, with at least a Master's Degree who had been a strong and mature believer in Christ since he was a teenager, who still teaches people about Jesus and who never stops growing in all areas of his life. I guess by being that specific I was able to recognize the answers to my prayers when I met him.

3)He challenges me. He challenges me in a good way. When I was dating I met a lot of guys who challenged me. I like to be challenged to learn more, to stretch myself and to mature. I find that I'd loose respect for the guy I was dating if he started off in my mind "above me" and I was able to catch up or surpass him. After 11 years of being around my husband, he still challenges me. I'm surprised ever week in our small group bible study or occasionally when he preaches at our church, that he's still learning and growing. He's still sets the mark slightly out of my reach but still within sight.

2)He supports me. Not only does he support me, he encourages me and pushes me. When we got married, he asked me to become a stay at home mom. He knew this was a lot to ask of me because I'd worked all my adult life. I also had a significant position in a Fortune ranked company. He surprised me one day when he came home with an application for a Master's Degree level executive coaching certificate program. I asked him how we could justify paying graduate level tuition when we never planned for me to work. He said, "I want to make sure that you are challenged. I want you to have something else besides cleaning the house and raising the kids." Throughout our marriage, whether he's found something for me or I've found something for myself, he's supported me whether it was paying for training or taking time off to work to watch the kids.

1) He's romantic. Since the very beginning of our relationship he's been the romantic. Eleven years later he still brings home flowers on a regular basis. Our first year of marriage he brought home a rose for each month we'd been married on the monthly anniversary of our wedding until he reached a dozen on our anniversary. His wedding gift to me was a dozen gold dipped roses, a permanent reminder of his love for me. He even had a vase especially designed by a local glass blower. He insisted our honeymoon be in Paris and Rome, even though I wanted the Niagara Falls. But on our 10th anniversary he took me to Niagara Falls, booked a hotel right on the falls and a fancy dinner at a restaurant overlooking the falls. (P.S. I'm not knocking our honeymoon. We ate in the Eiffel Tower Restaurant on our first night doesn't get any better.)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

My Husband Is Great!

Tomorrow on my other blog, I will share how Jonathan's various diagnoses effect the rest of the household if he's having a bad day. Tomorrow on this blog, I'm going to post High Five Friday listing the Five Reasons I Love My Husband. I haven't started the list yet, so I don't know if this fact will make it or not.

However, I love my husband because once he understands my state of mind and health when he walks in the door from work, he immediately begins pitching in. Yesterday he helped Faith finish her homework and took Jonathan's dictation to complete his homework. He helped clean up dinner and set up for the weekly in home bible study group. And then he allowed me to go upstairs and go to bed. I even heard him chase the kids downstairs to the basement so not to disturb me. I slept 12 hours and woke up with the migraine in the same spot and intensity as the night before. If I had thought to ask him before I went to bed, he would've had my migraine medication and a glass of liquid on my night stand so that I could take it immediately upon waking this morning. Alas, I did not. I had to drag myself down the stairs to get it. It took about two hours before it kicked in this morning.

I think I'll give my husband the night off tonight and let him drive over to see Joshua's "away" soccer game. Maybe he'll even see Joshua play.

The first "home" game the coach has benched Josh...a first in his life. It's been hard for him to take (as well as for us to take). But he's playing on a team of 15 Seniors with winning records. The coach is going to and has played the seniors over the four juniors during the close games. The fact that the coach has played Josh in most other games is a compliment and testimony to Josh's skill....especially considering there are two other juniors who've never left the bench this year. The second home game Josh got to play six minutes. And the coach even was prepared to send Josh back on the field when one of the seniors looked to be hurt.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Every Morning

Does anyone else start the morning out the same way everyday? Do you feel like Bill Murray's "Groundhog Day" could have been about you?

My mornings only vary between two different scripts. The first is I get up and the kids are still in the bed. I come out of my room, go into Faith's room first and tell her it is time to get up. Then I go in Jonathan's room and tell him the same. Then I go back to Faith's room and poke at her again. Then I go relieve my full bladder. I come out of the bathroom and prod both the children again. Sometimes I pull blankets off, tickle, poke and/or turn on overhead lights. Sometimes all the above...whatever is necessary to see movement in my children.

I go back to my room, shower and/or get dressed. I come out of my room and repeat the above. I go downstairs to the kitchen and start breakfast and packing lunches. I start yelling every five minutes that they are wasting time. If they want anytime to play before the bus comes they better get moving...

After they are on the bus I stop by the main floor bathroom, flush the toilette, put down the lids, turn off the light and shut the door (so when you come to my house you don't notice my bathroom first). Then I go upstairs to the kid's bathroom, flush the toilette, put down the lids and turn off the light. Then I turn off the lights in the kid's rooms and pick up the dirty laundry that thrown all over the place....

The second way I can start my morning is coming out of my room and the kids are already up, dressed, and downstairs. In this case, I turn off the overhead light in Faith's room, I turn off the overhead light in Jonathan's room, and I go into the bathroom, flush the toilette, put the lids down and turn off the bathroom lights. After, I go to my bathroom and empty my bladder, get dressed and come downstairs. Before going to the kitchen to make breakfast and pack lunches, I stop by the main bathroom and flush the toilette, put down the lids, turn off the light and shut the door.

Sorry if that's too much information, but I feel like this is my lot in life...flushing toilettes, putting down lids, turning off lights, and shutting doors.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Twins from a Twin

Within the last twelve hours, Faith lost the distinction of being the only female born on both sides of the family. In fact, she lost the distinction twice.

Abigail Rose and Grace Olivet were born on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean to my youngest brother and his wife. The happy couple decided that they were not going to find out the sex of the babies until they were born. So we had to wait an entire pregnancy to know if Faith will continue being the only girl in the family or if she'd have girl cousins.

There is an amazing amount of information considering that it was relayed between three men. My brother called my dad, who called my husband. In this transaction, we know that we have twin girls, the water broke "sometime last night" and the girls were delivered by C-section. We know the girl's names, first and middle, they were about five pounds each and everyone is doing well.

In my experience with men relaying baby information this is an incredible amount of information. And I applaud them! It is enough information that I can live for a few days without knowing the other important pieces of information like:

1) Were they born on the 18th or the 19th? Because "last night" when there is an ocean and several time zones between the two families does make a difference.
2) Which one of the girls was "born first." I don't know in the grand scheme of things it makes a difference since they are twins and they were delivered by C-section. But it is an interesting piece of family trivia. By the way, the proud father, my brother is a twin himself. He was born "naturally" six minutes after his brother.
3) Speaking of twin father and uncle, are the girls fraternal or paternal...meaning are they from the same egg and sperm which split and identical? Or where they two separate eggs and not identical? (The daddy is an identical twin.)
4) Basic physical characteristics would be long where they? Exactly how much did they way? Did they come with hair? What color? What color are their eyes? Do they look like mom or dad or a combination?
5) Most importantly, how is their "big brother" taking this? He's ruled the roost for nearly seven years now. How is he taking being dethroned?

Surprisingly Faith was happy to give up the title of being the only girl in the family. She's excited about having girl cousins, even though we'll probably rarely see them. My brother decided to marry an English girl and will probably never come back to the United States. We do at least see him on occasion when he visits my parents. Since we live twenty minutes away, we get to see them too.

Jonathan is not happy about having two girl cousins. He thinks having more than one girl in the family is like being surrounded by Martians...girls are so alien to him.

Joshua has no feeling one way or the other. "We'll never see them, so Faith is still effectively the only girl on both sides of the family."

While I'm a little forlorn about Faith losing her distinction of being the only girl in her generation, I guess she can become the "Oldest Granddaughter." I held the "Youngest Granddaughter" title in my generation...after me came seven boys and then seven boys preceded Faith.

But I do have my credit card in my hand as I'm eager to go buy adorable baby girl things for my parents to take with them across the ocean. My nieces may actually wear all those cute clothes since my sister-in-law is more girlie than me. And the girls will out number the boys in their family. Faith just isn't that into "girlie" things.

Friday, September 18, 2009

High Five Friday

Angela's Adventures

I thought I would try out High Five Friday, from another blog I follow.

Five burning questions:

5) Why do people pull the tabs off their soda cans just to through them on the ground?
4) Why can you find pennies on the ground but never dimes, nickles, quarters, 50 dollar bill?
3) How many times have I driven by that intersection in the last year and just noticed the guardrail?
2) How is it possible on the Canadian side of the Niagara Falls not even have a cigarette but or soda can tab on the street or sidewalks...not ONE?
1) How is it possible for the salad dressing bottles to propagate inside my refrigerator. We only eat two flavors of dressings but I now have eight bottles squeezing out my OJ and milk cartons?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Magic Number

When I was growing up my dad used to have a "magic number." This was a mysterious number that changed constantly. This number was only invoked when we were rough housing or picking on him. At some point of four kids climbing all over him, poking him, attempting to tickle him, etc. he would say, "You are getting close to my magic number." If we were brave, we'd keep going. If we weren't we'd stop. Sometimes we actually hit the magic number and he'd retaliate. We never knew what the magic number was. Sometimes it was one and sometimes it was 51, just depended on the day.

Now that I'm older, I realize the magic number was his way of warning us he was reaching his limit. Because I've found that I have a magic number too. It's so magic that I don't always know what it is either. Sometimes it's one and sometimes it is 101. When I wake up in the morning, I don't say to myself, "Today I'm going to hit my magic number."

My dad's magic number was attached to us rough housing. My magic number is associated with cleaning. I hate cleaning. Over the years I've decided I hate cleaning because it's never done. I'm a task and achievement oriented person. That's why I loved working and why I was good at my job. First as a reporter. I could write the story and turn it in. The story would be published and eventually end up in the archive. Done. As a claims adjuster, I'd handle the investigation, collect the reports, pay the bills and close the claim. The file would eventually end up in a box in a warehouse collecting dust. Done.

Not so with cleaning. I go to bed a night and the kitchen is clean. I come downstairs in the morning and there are dishes on the sink. I mop the floor and someone spills something on it. I wash the laundry and at the end of the day there is a pile of clothes in the basket already. I make a meal and clean up. Only to start all over again in a few hours. And I do this three times a day. It's very depressing to feel like I never accomplish anything.

When I started having kids, I started having a magic number. I can only make myself pick up a Lego, step over a pair of shoes, and reassemble all the small parts to a board game so many times. One of those times I pick the hated McDonald's toy off the ground and the siren lights start going off and the bell starts dinging and the announcer says, "Congratulations, you've hit the lucky number! You're prize today is a trip to the trash can and eventually a permanent stay in the landfill."

This might happen to a toy or it might be an entire section of the house. And like I said, I might get up in the morning thinking I'm going to grocery shop and write all day. But as I'm tripping over stuff to put my groceries away....Ding, Ding, Ding

Yesterday was an incredibly lucky day, several areas of the house all hit the magic number. Even my yard hit the magic number. My writing took a back seat while I spent the day administering prizes. Below are the before and after shots.

Bikes in the yard. Along with all kinds of balls.

Now they are all back in the shed we bought to protect them from the weather.

I can't carry in the groceries without fear of breaking my neck.

Wow! We might be able to park a car in here now.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Got What I Prayed For

When I was pregnant with Joshua and had decided to keep him, I began praying about his character. I'd chosen the name Joshua David for a number of reasons. And you can check out the entry where I explained them.

I wanted Joshua to be different from me. I'm an introvert. I wanted him to be an extrovert. I'm not very bold in sharing what I believe about Jesus Christ. I wanted Joshua to be bold. I wanted him to be a leader, just like his namesake. I had in my mind what "an evangelist" looked like. So I prayed for these characteristics. I prayed that he'd be attractive in looks, because, let's face it attractive people are more likely to get a hearing. I prayed that he'd be charismatic in personality. You know what I'm talking about, the type of person that everyone is drawn to, even if they don't know why. I was very much into ice hockey then, so I prayed that he'd be a good ice hockey player and earn a scholarship to college. (I didn't say that all my prayers were altruistic.)

It's hard to say if these were prayers or just dreams, but I imagined him on the ice commanding his teammates about what positions they should be taking up to defend the goal. I imagined him almost like Billy Graham in stadiums around the world. And I do mean, around the world. I didn't imagine him staying the the U.S.

Let me tell you about the young man Joshua has grown into. He doesn't play ice hockey, but he does play soccer. And you'll see him out on the field directing all the other players where they should be. Last year he was the captain of the JV team. I imagine next year he'll be the captain of the varsity. He always rises to the level of leader. We've watched him for years go into a group of kids just thrown together for a task. He immediately starts introducing himself and introducing others. Then he starts directing them into tasks to get the project down. It's really quite amusing to watch.

You can see from his picture above, he is attractive. All his life people have commented on his looks. And he's charismatic. People are drawn to him. I can remember when he was a toddler and we'd be walking in public, strangers would just approach him. A number of people even used the word "charisma" when talking about him. I used to be shocked because only the Lord knew I prayed that word specifically. Just this week I was walking through the high school with him, a number of people called out his name. I know a lot of Joshua's friends, but I didn't know any of these people calling out to him.

When he was younger he was very bold in telling people about God. On a field trip to the Smithsonian when he was in kindergarten he and three boys were looking at the Hope Diamond. Out of nowhere Joshua says to them, "Do you know you are more precious to God than this diamond?" The boys all agreed and moved on to the next exhibit.

He's not so bold now, I think he's struggling with not looking too much different from his friends (who all claim to be atheist). But in his own way he's still bold about what he believes. All his friends know his stand on premarital sex, doing the right things and that he does believe in God.

Which leads me to the fact that Joshua is also very articulate. He can carry on a logical debate with his friends about the things he believes. He can also write well. All his teachers comment on how well he can communicate his thoughts, even if they don't agree with him on his stands (he tends to be very conservative to their liberal views). He's very respectful in voicing his views to his teachers and they appreciate him.

Although I didn't pray for these things specifically, he is also opposite of me in many other ways. He's a great athlete. I am not. He's a great student. I was okay. He doesn't really have to put any effort into sports or academics and comes out on top. I had to put a lot of effort into both. In sports is was a lost cause. In school I was a solid A/B student. Every year he gets some kind of huge recognition...student of the month, student highlighted in the yearbook, rookie of the year, MVP, student athlete and student for the entire middle school... I swear, if he wasn't the only 10 pound baby in the preemie ICU when he was born, he was switched at birth.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Preface for Joshua

When I was in my mid twenties, I floated from one relationship to another. I was going to church and active in a Single's Department, but I wasn't really living a life according to what I professed to believe. At one point, I decided I couldn't live that way anymore...professing one thing but living another. So I purposed in my heart to change my ways and align myself more with my beliefs.

However, that decision came a little late. About two months after I made the decision to clean up my act, I discovered I was pregnant. I think I'd seen the father one or two other times after being together in the biblical way. We weren't that into each other. He'd recently broke off an engagement, was about to separate from the Navy and go back home to earn his Masters degree in Business Administration. I had been emotionally jerked around by a number of men, so when I met him, I was of the mind set I'd use a guy for a change. He was the type that I would always be drawn too...good looking and quiet. The first time I saw him, I was at the Naval Officer's club with a former college friend.

All the women were whispering about how much he looked like Tom Cruise. And he did. The same height, build, hair color and style, eyes and even lopsided smile. However, he was shy. He stood by the wall eating off a paper plate and watching a hockey game on the bar TV. I'm shy too, but I'm a trained reporter (and was a paid reporter at the time), so I approached him and started "interviewing him." I don't think we "hooked up" right away. But because he was my college friend's co-worker and he belonged to my Mega-Church, we'd run into each other. Eventually he needed a date for a military function and asked me to attend. I had season tickets to the local minor league hockey team. Since it was a mutual interest, I'd invite him to have my other seat. From the "get go" we both knew where the other stood. We were mutually using each other. We'd get together when it was convenient, but didn't call each other all the time or see each other on any regular basis.

I had decided that I would try harder to live my life the way a Christian should, so I didn't bother calling him. He stopped calling me, which was fine with me. So I wasn't sure how the conversation would go when I eventually called him to tell him about the pregnancy. However, I felt that I owed him the knowledge that he was a father. He said he wasn't interested. He laid out his preferences of dealing with this as 1) abortion and 2) adoption. Abortion never crossed my mind, but I was leaning heavily toward adoption. I asked him to come talk to adoption agencies with me because I was sure that they would want as much of his medical history and background as he'd provide. He told me to go to the agencies and get the paperwork, he'd fill it out and return it. True to his word, he did complete the paperwork and return it to me.

In the meantime I was back in church and really seeking what the Lord wanted me to do. I'd talked to a number of adoption agencies and attorneys. I looked into both open and closed adoptions. I talked to a young woman my age who went with the open adoption. In the end I felt like the Lord said, "It's your decision. I will bless it either way because I know your heart is to honor me and do what is best for the baby. If you give him away I will make sure he is raised in a family who will teach him about me. If you keep him, I will be his father and your husband and provide for you."

I decided to keep him. It came down to the fact that I wanted to know without a doubt that the baby would be raised to know the Lord. (In my arrogance, I thought I knew and understood the Lord enough to teach him...the Lord has a sense of humor. Seventeen years later, I'm still learning and having to correct the wrong things I've taught him.)

I called the father and told him my decision. He didn't agree with it and told me that he couldn't help support it because he was going back to graduate school and leaving the navy. It didn't matter to me, I was confident the Lord would provide for us. I even told the Lord, "If you want him to be a part of our lives, then I will leave it up to you. If not, I will trust you there too."

Five and a half years later when Scott proposed to me, he also asked if he could adopt Joshua as his own son. We tracked down the father, who readily signed the adoption paperwork... signing his rights as the natural father over to Scott. We gave Joshua the option of keeping my maiden name as part of his new adopted name or just taking on Scott's last name. Josh said, "I want my new name to be Joshua Indiana Jones Howe." We laughed and told him, "No."

Amazingly, Joshua stopped calling Scott by his first name on the day of our marriage. Joshua has called him "Dad" since, never once making the mistake of calling him Scott. Joshua also spent the first six months of my marriage reminding me when I signed something that I used our former last names. I guess it was easier for him because he'd had never written his last name while I had written mine for 34 years.

Monday, September 14, 2009


I posted two long entries on my other blog (Pickle Talks)about how Jorge arrived. You'll have to go there to get the long version. And if you want to see something precious. (Jorge commented on the second entry).

Jorge is the foreign exchange student who stated with us for seven months earlier this year. He's back in Spain now. I'm really excited because I talked to him last night on Skype. It's the first time we've seen and talked to him since he returned to Spain at the beginning of August. He's been great about emailing since he left, but it took awhile for us to get our computers running well enough to attempt an international connection.

When Jorge was here, he'd talk weekly via Skype to his family back home in Spain. We figured we could continue the regular trans-Atlantic calls now that he's home. This way we can keep in touch with him and he can continue to keep his English skills. (His mom and dad were already asking him how he was going to keep his skills up after his return. His dad's interest in his children speaking English is the genesis for Jorge's one year stay in the United States. Right now his older brother is in Germany for a year taking all his college courses in English.)

Anyway, through email we set yesterday as the day and time to talk. I reminded Jonathan and Faith to be home at the scheduled time so they could see and talk to Jorge. It was so funny. At the appointed time I could hear a house full of kids yelling "Jorge, Jorge. When are we going to talk to Jorge?" Not only Jonathan and Faith, but all their friends came rushing into the computer room. I had to supervise moving each one in and out from the camera so Jorge could see who was saying "Hello" to him.

Of course, that's all each of them said. By the end Jorge was laughing (he's always laughing and smiling) "Hello, again."

Then he drew his younger sister, Marta, into his camera view so we could say "Hi" to her. We "met" her and talked to her when Jorge was here. She's as beautiful as he is handsome. I'm praying that her dad will send her to stay with us for a year when she's a teenager.

Anyways, I recently read that I should blog about things I'm passionate about. As I'm sure you can tell, I'm passionate about all "my children." One of the bible verses which as really become significant to me this past year is in Isaiah 54:1-3 ‘Sing, O barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband, says the LORD. Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left; our descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities."

Of course, the Lord has blessed me with three of my own wonderful children. But I feel like he's given me at least a half dozen more children to love, encourage and pray for. My tent is spread up to West Virginia where my "blond son" is attending his first year of college. My tent is spread out to Spain where my "Mediterranean son" and his older brother and younger sister are living and my tent is spread over my town where several other sons and daughters are still living at home."

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Introducing my "children"

The dark curly haired one is Joshua, my oldest biological son. The blond son is Jonathan. The dark straight haired one is Jorge, son only in our hearts and minds. And the only girl is Faith.

I love this picture. There is that saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, this picture says a lot. Josh is handsome and serious. He can't smile because he still has braces on. Jonathan is my silly one. Jorge is also handsome and always has this wonderful smile. Faith cracks me up. I've got pictures going back to her toddler years where her expression almost always is "putting up" with her brother's antics.

These are my other "heart adopted" sons. There are all Josh's friends. They practically live at our house. Aren't they all handsome too?

One of the reasons I started a second blog was to be able to tell everyone all the wonderful and funny stories about each of my "children." I can't wait to get started now that I've introduced them.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Solution?

I'm going to copy mommy~dearest at The Quirk Factor: Resistance if Futile and whisper to you that I think my husband and I have tumbled upon the solution for the morning routine. I hope I don't jinx it by sharing this early.

First of all, yesterday was another difficult morning. Faith's daddy showed her how to tie her shoes the night before. She managed to get one tied but not the other. Tears. I tied the other. More tears. Apparently the way I tied the shoe wasn't the same as daddy. "I want my shoes to look the same," she wailed when I asked her the reason for the silent tears. So I untied and retied both shoes so they'd look the same. Then I suggested that she and daddy practice again that night. Solution?

As I sat in Jonathan's room yesterday morning repeating every thirty seconds, "If you stand up, getting dressed will go a lot faster," I also asked him (in between my mantra) "What will get you up and moving in the morning?"

"Breakfast in bed!" he said excitedly.

"I don't think so. I can't even get you moving before you get out of bed."

However, Jonathan liked his idea, so for the rest of the day it became his new mantra. "Breakfast in bed."

Finally, at 9:30 p.m. (thirty minutes past when he was supposed to be in bed with the lights out), we came up with a compromise. I suggested that daddy will wake him up and give him a CapriSun with his ADHD medications. Then an hour later, if he was still asleep when I came in, I'd bring in another CapriSun.

That's what we did this morning. Although he was back asleep when I came in, he did wake up quickly, dressed quickly, and ate his breakfast quickly. In fact, he had 30 minutes to play on his computer. Solution?

So far no tears from Faith. The most difficult thing she asked of me was to hunt down the "poop wipes." (I'll have to share a blog entry just on "poop wipes.") Could it be Faith's mood was dictated by Jonathan's and mine. Solution?

Everyone was so calm and ready, I was able to write this entry before putting them on the bus.
I guess next week will tell.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award

Thank you, Shawnda, at Asperger's Syndrome Awareness for sending me my first blogging award. I'm so excited!!!

For those of you who don’t know how these shameless bits of linky love work, here are the rules:

• You must thank the person who has given you the award.

• Copy the logo and place it on your blog.

• Link to the person who has nominated you for the award.

• Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.

• Nominate 7 other Kreativ Bloggers.

• Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.

• Leave a comment on which of the blogs to let them know they have been nominated.

Seven things about me:
1) I was born in Alaska.
2) I lived in Hawaii.
3) I've been to been in every corner of the United States except Maine.
4) I've been writing in one form or another since I was in sixth grade.
5) My college degree was Broadcast Journalism
6) My first job out of college was at a small daily newspaper in an even smaller town in Virginia.
7) By the time I entered ninth grade, I'd been in nine different schools. I missed the years grammar was taught in each of the previous schools. My first and only 'D' was in ninth grade grammar. I still don't know my grammar very well. That's why there are editors and proof-readers (a.k.a. my husband and best friends).

I nominate the following wonderfully creative blogs (not in any particular order of preference):

1) Nancy at Away We Go. She is a former middle school English teacher, who is raising two little boys. She's very funny.

2)Jeneil at Autism In A Word. She is raising a daughter with autism. Jeneil's thoughtful entries will make you laugh and make you cry.

3)Andrea at Autism Unplugged. She has guest bloggers and wonderful artwork on her sight.

4) Casdok at Faces of Autism and Mother of Shrek. I love that she's dedicated an entire blog to faces of children with autism. It makes autism so much more personal.

5) Jon at Same Child, Different Day. He as some wonder insight for parents just hearing the diagnosis of autism for the first time. I wish I had his booklet six years ago.

6) Mama on the Edge. I wish I had her creativity!

7) Tanya at Teen Autism . She's a mom raising a teenage boy with autism. She's an inspiration to me and I think many other moms as well.

Third Week of School

Is anyone else having as much difficulty as I am in getting kids up and moving for school? It used to be that I was the last one up (and on weekends and holidays I still am), last year. I'm embarrassed to admit the kids would wake me up so I could help them get ready for school.

This year, I'm getting up and spending about thirty to forty minutes just getting them out of bed and dressed. Then there is another 20 minutes to get them to eat and out the door. This is especially difficult for me because my patience meter is at its lowest point in the morning...because I'm not a morning person.

Take this morning. Faith was being persnickety about which shoes she wanted to wear at school. Actually, she knew which shoes she wanted, but they were not appropriate for gym. Not a problem, take your tennis shoes in for gym. "But I don't know how to tie them!" (Which is not technically true. She can, she's just not very proficient. This is one of the draw backs of being the only girl born on both sides of the family for the last 36 years. She doesn't have to do anything herself. She'll find someone who'll give in to her requests.)

I laid out her choices for her. She sat in her room and cried for 30 minutes. She wouldn't even get dressed to the point of shoes. She was stuck (sometimes I wonder if she's modeling Jonathan's Asperger symptoms or if she has some). I was stupefied. I was so weary that I couldn't even lose my patience. So, I called my husband at work and handed the phone to Faith. Somehow Scott proposed a solution more acceptable to her than mine. (Forgive me for amusing myself. All the words in italics are on the teacher's recommended word list, which I'm supposed to be using this week for my kids. I found the word list as I was unpacking their backpacks this morning. The Lord has a sense of humor. I was able to use these words this morning with my kids talking about these very issues. I think the humor was lost on them, though.)

That was what was going on behind door number one. Behind door number two, I have Jonathan who moves as fast as a sloth in the morning. Every five minutes when I check on him, he swears he's doing what I've asked him to do. But I can see no perceptible movement from the last five times I checked on him.

I've told all his service providers that the powers that be need to develop an ADHD medication which can be administered by a pump (like for diabetics) an hour before Jonathan wakes up. This way, Jonathan will be focused on the tasks at hand. Getting out of the bed, getting dressed, eating breakfast, packing his backpack, etc.

Lord, I'm praying that this is going to get easier as the school year continues. And I'm praying that you'll help me become more disciplined about getting up earlier, because, as You know, the kids will be getting up earlier and earlier as they progress in the grades.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


This is what I came down to this morning. Actually I went upstairs to get Jonathan a pair of socks. He was supposed to be finishing his breakfast and taking his medication. Ideally he would've so moved onto the next steps and packed his backpack to be ready to walk out the door to the bus.

When I was upstairs with Faith, it was suspiciously quiet downstairs. I kept calling down, "Jonathan, are you eating breakfast?" He called up assuring me that he was.

So I was surprised when I walked into the kitchen to see him standing on a glass end table with his face in the clock.

"What are you doing?"

"I wanted to see if the minute hand actually moves. Guess what? It does!"

I would really like to understand what goes on in his mind. Last week "out of the blue" he wanted to know, "Do you ever wonder how a calculator adds numbers?"

I said, "No. I never wondered that. Why?"

"Because I wonder."