One Crazy Night!

One crazy night! Started off at Greg’s school for dinner from a taco truck and then headed over to Ree’s school for Parent Marcher Night and then headed back to Greg’s school to finish out Meet the Teacher with him and Nick. At one point I was talking to a teacher and completely forgot the word “Mom.” Oh my goodness. Finished out the night with a sno-cone. Mmmm….

 

Hello again!

I have let this blog flounder for far too long and today is my first day back at it.  We have had a wacky, crazy year. I’m not even sure that I should try to summarize it, but find myself wanting to. Let’s start where I left off… oh my. Okay. That’s a rough place to start.

December 5th, 2018 my mom left the nursing home to go home for my dad’s birthday. She lasted at home until December 7th, when she had to be rushed to the emergency room. I went down on the 9th because it was clear that she was on her way out of this world. She passed away on December 12th. I spent the month in College Station or Wisconsin. We had two funerals for her, one in each of her hometowns. They were lovely, both of them attended by family and friends and filled with beautiful reminiscences of her full, mostly happy life. (Please note that this is short, not because I am being in any way flippant about it, but because I’m crying too much to say more.)

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In January we tried to be humans. We had our annual board game extravaganza on January 1st at my dad’s Tyler house so he wouldn’t have to be alone yet and could be a little distracted from all the sadness. April is with him all the time, but we come and go and try to bring a little joy to them with our visits.

February and March went by kind of in a blur. We visited College Station every couple or three weeks and spent half of spring break with my dad and sister. David and Nick were each gone a week in April and then it was birthdays and Easter all at once. We celebrated in the Tyler house, trying to avoid sadness, but failing. Easter was one of my mom’s favorite times of the year.

In May everything ramped up. The six month anniversary of my mom’s death was literally Mother’s Day. How’s that for irony for you? April and Dad ignored the day completely, while Nick, the kids, and I went to Scarborough Faire for the day (something I’ve been wanting to take the kids to for years. They were, naturally, underwhelmed because we’d waited too long).  All the end-of-year “lasts” were heightened because it was David’s last high school everything. We had a graduation party for him the day before graduation, we all attended graduation night outside at the stadium, and then the very next day he left for his band’s spring trip. And because we’re crazy, we had a family BBQ the following Monday with Nick’s family.

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June was even crazier, though. Nick and David left the first weekend, Nick for work in the Czech Republic and David for Tennessee for working a pre-teen camp. Then I left for China the same day Nick came back from his trip (and no, we didn’t even get to see each other at the airport). Greg spent weekdays at his Nana & Pa’s house while the other two boys came and went. David had college orientation for a few days in there. Nick and all the kids went to the Houston Aquarium for Father’s Day while I spent Father’s Day with my dad in Tianjin. Then kids all spent the last few days I was gone working the pre-teen camp at Camp Piney Woods while Nick was in Tennessee for work. We all were supposed to get home Wednesday, June 26th, but my flight got delayed by several hours and I ended up getting home at 4 in the morning on the 27th. Then on the 29th, Greg and David got in a van with other church kids and left for Teen Camp at Camp Pinecrest in Missouri. (I will most likely blog about my China trip in some upcoming posts.)

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Today is first day I’ve felt human and somewhat put together in a really long time. I’m getting back onto somewhat of a schedule. I’ll be spending weekday mornings at the gym and afternoons writing. Ree has this whole month free, so we’ll be starting parent-led driving lessons for him this week as well, probably in the mornings after I’m back from the gym. 🙂 Greg will be in day camps most of this month and who knows what David will be up to? I sure don’t! He was looking for a job last time I checked, but no one would hire him because he was out of town so much this summer (he has one more camp he’s working at the end of the month).

So there you have it. We are crazy and we know it. 🙂 See you tomorrow.

 

Visiting the local writing guild

Last night I visited the local writing group. I have been very confused about which group is the most local to me, as one is Association and one is  Guild and one is in a town 45 minutes from me and one is here, but both are listed as “local.” In any case, personal confusion aside, I finally made my way to one of these meetings after several times of not being able to make it when I planned due to tornadoes and other random mishaps.

This was the monthly business meeting. The people there were very nice, there was a guest speaker who talked about her local magazine, and there were snacks. I saw a few people who had come to another local writing event earlier in the month. We were told that if we chose to join, we could get added to a critique group, should we wish. Being the spontaneous sort, I paid my dues and joined on the spot. There’s another meeting next week that I won’t be able to attend due to scheduling issues, but I’m putting all the meetings from here on out on the calendar so I don’t miss any more. 🙂

The Saga of the Missing Dogs

OH my goodness, y’all. So we got home last night and as we were walking through the door our petsitter’s mama called and told us that she didn’t know when the dogs got out, but the neighbors called animal control on us, the dogs were gone, and here’s where to find the sheet of paper about that that was left for us. Oh, and the neighbors apparently washed one of the dogs, who knows why. So we rushed outside, found both dogs mysteriously still in the yard, one squeaky clean and the other as dirty as when we’d left, and started searching for holes along the fence line.

Our fence is up against a creek/wilderness area on two sides, so we started there. No holes. Finally came back up to the front. There was a huge hole on the inside by one of the gates. The place where they’d dug out before, but we had filled in with boards, dirt, and two big heavy paving stones. Both the front and back stone were missing, as was the dirt inside the fence. The neighbor had put some more boards and some weird cement pieces in the hole and pushed some empty planters against the fence to try to ward off dogs leaving.

I went back inside to read the form animal control left. It had our street address (street name spelled wrong), but no other family info on it, just crossed out sections that didn’t apply to us and some notes about 2 dogs being out, no food or water for them for 24 hours, no people responding to the animal control officer, and “inappropriate” fencing.

I went out to the neighbors’ house, Greg in hand, and thanked them for taking care of one of the dogs. “One of the dogs? You mean there are two out there?” Umm…yes. We’ve had Lily for a year and 3/4 now. They told me that only Rose had escaped…not “Random Dog X,” but her real actual name. I’m still wondering about that. They said that she had been over three times and they kept putting her back in the yard, but she kept getting out and coming over.

We fed the dogs, loved on them, and then sent them to bed in their little house for the night. When we got up in the morning, they were still here, as usual.

When it got light outside I searched around a bit and found both dogs rabies tags and their name/phone number tags on the ground near the hole in the ground; the metal looked worn-through like they had just fallen apart naturally, which was odd since they were all acquired at different times. I started looking at the hole. It doesn’t go out under the fence. The outside area where they would have crawled out is totally untouched, ground still fresh and weedy. Yes, they dug on the inside of the fence, but they didn’t get out there. Looking around in daylight I can see that on the neighbors’ side of the yard, there are gaps in the fence again. This is not something WE can just pay to have fixed. It is firmly on their side of the property line and fencing companies won’t mess with it because it isn’t on our property. The owner at the time (12 years ago now, just before Greg was born) had that done on purpose because he was mad at us for not wanting to replace the fence (it was 4 years old at that point and in good condition) when he wanted to. In any case… now the fence is NOT in good condition. The kids living there now have been repairing it slowly, so slowly. But the dogs can jump into their yard and their dogs can (and have) jumped into our yard as well. When their dogs come over, I shove them back through the hole and try to prop the fence piece back in with a stone that has fallen through the fence (one of the other old neighbors – there have been many- took out all the grass on that side of the yard and filled it up with large stones, which over the years have fallen out under the fence and landed in my yard).

In any case, I went to Wal-mart this morning and tried to get new tags made for the dogs and soil and paving stones to replace the curiously missing ones. They have transformed the ENTIRE GARDENING AREA into CHRISTMAS LAND. There were a few bags of soil, some shovels, and some grill covers left. No paving stones. I got some soil, came home and dumped it into the hole, stomped on it, and called it a day for that job. I also bought two “journal decorations” which had key chains on them (they were out of anything actually called “key chains” because they had a sale, apparently), wrote the dogs names on them in permanent marker, covered that with nail polish, and attached them to the dogs. One is shaped like a bouquet of roses. 🙂

So then I called Animal Control. They asked my name and phone number and I told them it wasn’t on the form so they couldn’t look me up that way, so they looked up my misspelled address instead. I explained that we’d been out of town, the pet sitter had been awesome and had been texting me and sending photos of the dogs and walking them and that we were home now and working on fixing the Mysterious Hole of Mystery. They told me that there wasn’t really anything they could do on their end; it was all up to my Animal Control Officer, but they would text him and let him know I had called. They couldn’t tell me whether or not he would call me or text me or come by to check on me or the dogs. No idea. He could do whatever he thought was best, which so far has been nothing.

Friday we go back for their annual check-up (it was due now anyways – we always have one this time of year because we used to board Rose during the feast, but boarding 4 pets was way too expensive) and will get new rabies tags and actual dog tags again then. Whew!

Beach vacation = writing time

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Every year at this time, my little family takes a break from work and school and goes on a church-sanctioned trip somewhere that we get to choose. Some years we go to the beach (my preference), sometimes to the mountains (my husband’s), and sometimes we stay close to home due to circumstances beyond our control. This is another beach year, our third time at our present destination. Our eldest is a senior in high school and this is the place all his summer camp friends were gathering, so since it is our last time with all our kids to go with us, we let him choose.

So how does all this equal writing? Well, the spouse and kids leave me every day for a couple hours and do the church thing over across the bridge on the other side of the resort. I stay here, in our 7th-floor condo overlooking the ocean, and write, mostly by hand with a fountain pen into a cheetah print notebook someone sent me last year as part of a Halloween craft swap. I have been doing writing exercises from various favorite writing books and writing a few poems and just generally shaking out the cobwebs from my brain.

When the family comes back, we go out for walks along the beach, swim in the ocean, laze by the pool reading books, snark about the internet, and sometimes meet up with others and have escapades.  We do not really worry about time or location this trip. Since it is our third time here, we have done all the things worth doing and gone on the dolphin watching trips, and shopped in all the little boutiques that are still open in the off-season. We are just relaxing this trip.

And that has been helping the writing flow…

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ALTON BROWN LIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Back to life, back to reality…

We’ve had five doctors appointments this week. FIVE. To say it has been crazy would be the understatement of the week. I know this is not the health blog, but here, have a summary:

1 & 2. Together. David and Greg both saw Dr. Mitchell for well-child checks. It was fantastic.  No, really. David was supposed to be the model of good behavior getting a shot and he totally just wasn’t, so Greg freaked out and tried to jump off the table while getting his.

3.  I went to the ENT. Long story. I’ll post that on the other blog. You’ll love it. Really.

4. David had to have a TB test and we had to go back to have it read. He does not have TB, but the test was terrible for a kiddo. They injected this weird bubble thing into his arm and then told him to leave it alone for two days. THAT IS HARD FOR ANYONE!

5. Greg again, this time with Dr. Conflitti getting his arm checked out. It’s healing, noticeably. YAY!

 

Another thing: we were supposed to have a MUCH belated birthday party for Greg today, but we couldn’t because the school is having a Fall Festival today. 😦 We didn’t know because we were out of town for so long and no one thought to tell us about it when we came back. So now we have to reschedule. Again. Ah well.

Lastly: the next post will be AWESOME. Yup. It will.

Feast of Tabernacles 2014 trip

When last I wrote, we had gotten up early for an eclipse that we didn’t get to see… then I moved on to my doctor’s appointment (see my other blog for that post)…and we all loaded up in the van and drove off for New Braunfels, TX to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.

The first night we arrived later than we expected and our accommodations were quite a bit different than we were expecting, but after five and a half hours in the van, we were grateful to be anywhere that had beds (even in bedrooms with no attached bathrooms or door locks).

The next day I spent the day entertaining & attempting to feed the vomiting child, so I missed out on everything. Nick took the other kiddos out for lunch and we spent the evening around the very empty Schlitterbahn Resort.

Day Two I finally got to leave our lodgings and join the land of the living, just in time for Family Day at Landa Park. There was BBQ, games for the kiddos, a mini train ride, lots of talking for the adults, and as an added bonus we got to take home leftover BBQ (which we ate on all week).

Day Three we had a fantastic breakfast out at the Buttermilk Cafe, which was packed and had a long line of people outside after us. We had church in the afternoon, dinner on our terrace, and then Nick took David back up to church for a dance that evening.

Day Four we paused activities so we could do some laundry, homework, and work-that-pays-the-bills (I’ll let you guess who did what). We followed all that up with dinner out at the Longhorn Cafe, which had fantastic burgers, friend pickles, and a mini-arcade that Nick and the kids loved.

Day Five we saw David off to raft the Comal River at the Rockin’ R with the rest of the teens while the younger kids and I entertained ourselves in the Schlitterbahn pool and hot tub. Nick was doing work in our lodgings again. It was a very uneventful day (except for David. He had a fantastic day).

Day Six was a big day for us. The younger kids sang on stage with the Children’s Choir and Nick got to give a prayer during the service. After church was over, we drove out to the Natural Bridge Caverns, which is a place I’ve wanted to go for years. We toured the caverns over the course of a couple hours. It was delightful! Afterwards, David did a zip line and adventure zone while the younger kids and I toured the gift shops. We finished up the day at the Tanger Outlets in San Marcos, where we got David some new clothes and Ben some Bible tabs and Gregory some dinner at Cracker Barrel (well, we fed everyone, but that was his choice).

Day Seven was our last full day at the Feast. The kids all had presentations they did with their classes. We ate out at The Faust Hotel (an historical hotel) and brew house for lunch. Nick and I loved it. The kids, not so much. We toured around the old downtown area for a while, visiting several little local shops and what-nought before going back and packing ourselves up.

Day Eight was a double-church-service-and-catered-lunch-in-between sort of day. We stayed until the end and then drove on home.

Overall it was a really great week. Quiet, for us, but great. 🙂

Here’s a slideshow of all the good parts of our Feast of Tabernacles 2014 trip. 🙂 Enjoy!

 

First full week of October

Wednesday: More dental work today. And here I thought last times was painful… I had to have five teeth drilled on for cavities, so both sides of my mouth were numbed.

Thursday: Even worse pain than yesterday due to dental work keeping my jaw open for so very long. Still can’t eat.

Friday: I took Greg in to the orthopedic doctor and he needs surgery on his arm because it’s not healing. This is big and scary and I nearly fainted when I heard about it. Greg was calm. He is awesome. Please pray for us. He needs lots of healing and I need to stop feeling like I’m going to throw up out of anxiousness.

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Also, I had to take David in to have his hand x-rayed to see if it was broken. It was not. That is a blessing. I couldn’t have handled two broken kids. Oh, and then one of my new fillings fell out while I was on the phone trying to get my appointment rescheduled (it never stopped hurting since my appointment) since it was the same time as Greg’s surgery.. Yeah. It’s been a really freaky day.

 

Saturday: We’re trying to ignore that are bellies are empty for the Day of Atonement. Gifts help! It’s a Nathan Filion themed feast for me!

 

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Monday: At the hospital with Greg. They’ve been very sweet to him this morning. Nurses and staff have made him a goodie bag full of candy & chips & some balloons for his birthday. 🙂

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The nurse told us that Greg would sleep most of the day, but would have a perking up around 2pm. Instead, he was pitiful and restlessly in pain all day, slept from 5-6 and then perked up. We fed him birthday cobbler with trick candles at his request. He’s a weird boy.

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Tuesday: Greg’s pain levels fell by half from yesterday and the crankies seem to have disappeared, too! He’s lounging with his arm elevated & having a birthday do – over since yesterday was weird. He got his requested McDonald’s for breakfast AND dinner, a proper cake, and again with the trick candles.

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Wednesday: We got up to see the eclipse, but were thwarted by cloudiness. 😦 Every freaking time there’s something cool, the clouds come. CLOUDS: we do NOT love you today!!

The Gregory Broken Arm Story

Yesterday he was on the playground at school during recess and decided to try to skip from the first monkey bar to the fifth one. He missed and fell to the ground, landing with his right hip on top of his his right wrist. He was super embarrassed and decided not to tell his teacher or go to the nurse. (This was the same kid that didn’t want to bother anyone when he got locked in the car this summer, remember? I think God’s lesson for him this year is “SPEAK UP!!”) In fact, he came home and didn’t even mention it to me until a couple hours later, just as his Nana walked in the door to work on his words with him while I took his brothers to piano lessons. We went straight from lessons to Open House at two different schools and still he only said “My arm kind of hurts where I fell.”

After dinner he started fussing about it just a little, so I put an ace bandage on it and put him to bed. Got up this morning and it was definitely swollen, but he still wasn’t saying much about. I mean, he was acting fairly regular, just not using that arm for much. I got him ready for school and sent him in, calling the doctor as soon as their office opened. They were able to fit him in fairly soon after that, so I picked him back up from school, we had x-rays taken, then we were sent to the orthopedic doctor.

2014-09-17 11.54.50There we learned that while he will most likely not need surgery, he needed a cast with a special bend to it to encourage proper growth.

2014-09-17 12.08.48We’ll have it removed and checked every two weeks until it finally heals (maybe 6 weeks from now, the doctor thinks). The doctor said to keep him home this afternoon with the arm propped on a pillow and to send him back to school tomorrow.

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So, my kid who FINALLY has gymnastics and guitar lessons after years of wanting them now has to sit out for six weeks. I feel so bad for him!