Monday, June 30, 2008

School is Done, Lessons Never End

School is done for the year. (Can you find Stephen in the bus line? He's the second to last in line.)

There is now a bit of a lack of morning routine, which I miss terribly. We thrived on that routine and there was no fussing or procrastinating because we knew what needed to be done before heading out to the bus.

There are no more Home Connections Workbook sheets (our kindergarten terminology for homework) to finish. There are no handwriting practice sheets. There are no counting games to complete. No. School is done, but the lessons are not all yet learned.

Stephen brought home a Memories of Kindergarten book on the last day of school. I eagerly sat down to read it with him because it looked so cute! There were pictures of him on the first day of school, handwriting samples from the first week, pictures of activities throughout the year, and a writing section where they had to finish short sentences that were given. School was over for Stephen, but I guess he wanted to help teach me one last lesson. Can you read what it says on this page? "Sad is ... when my mom yells at me." Oh dear. What happened that day that he wrote this? Did I yell at him as we were walking out the door? Did I yell at him to get his snowsuit and boots on? Did I yell at him to quit bothering his brothers? What in the world did I say to him to made him remember it enough to draw a picture of me with my mouth wide open and write for everyone to read that I yelled at him?! Yep, school is done for the year, but my lessons will never end. Every day brings along a few more for me to learn!

Weinhardt Brothers

Left to right: Walter, Henry, Bob, Friedemann, Fred and Dan

Fred and his brothers had a nice weekend up at Henry's cottage in honor of his wedding coming up this weekend. I heard they had a good time and I believe it! Siblings that enjoy each other's company are blessings!

Finally, Some Pictures!

Catching up a bit here, I finally have some pictures downloaded to share.

Here's Timothy before and after his tonsillectomy and then right before we left the hospital, he's enjoying his last orange popsicle.
The pain didn't start to hit until we got home. I didn't take any pictures of that. It was too painful for all of us!
(My apologies for the poor editing job on this post. I can't seem to get this program to cooperate with me and I just don't have the time to figure it out just now. Sorry!)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Our School Schedule

I think I've been brainwashed that Wayne County's school schedule is THE school schedule to follow no matter where you live. That's why I've been so messed up this year. This is our first year involved in the public school system here in Waterloo Region. First, starting school in September messed me up. I felt like we were falling so far behind because *everyone* else had already been in school for several weeks and here we were, still playing outside in the sprinklers! Kindergarteners have a staggered entry which meant that Stephen didn't really start school until the end of September.

Then we seemed to miss every other Monday and every other Friday all the way up to Christmas. Canadians love their holiday Mondays, so we have one a month. The teachers love to have their professional days, so every other Friday we had off, if not a whole day, then a half day. (Maybe there's a slight exaggeration here, but not much!)

March Break is just that... March Break. It's not around Easter. No sir. It's in MARCH, no matter when Easter is. It's always the same week, and the entire province of Ontario has the same week off! How silly is that?! Thousands upon thousands of school age children are let loose all in the same week! McDonald's playlands are packed. The Butterfly Conservatory is nuts. Flights to Florida are overbooked. Why do they do this?! Not even Wayne County had the same Easter Vacation for all the districts involved!

Now I'm really messed up, though! We have two more days of school left. June 26 is our last day. Mentally, I'm still back at the end of May because THAT is when school ends! NOT the end of June!! I drove past a corn field this morning on our way to school to celebrate with the kindergarteners at an ice cream social and I noticed the corn wasn't too high yet. No worries, I told myself. Mom always said, "Knee high by the fourth of July!" We had time, I thought. WAIT! Fourth of July?! That's NEXT WEEK! I'm soooo messed up! I kept thinking that once school was out I'd really get busy planting the rest of my vegetable garden. Bummer. I lost that opportunity! It's too late! I'm sooo confused here!

So, we have two more days of school and then summer is already half over in my mind already. For you see, next week is the Fourth of July. But around here, no one really cares because Tuesday is July 1 - Canada Day! How can we be celebrating this holiday so close to the end of school? I keep forgetting that this is OUR holiday here and I keep mentally shifting to the fact that Friday is the real holiday.

I'm sure one day I'll get used to this shifted school schedule, but for now I'm just confused and messed up. Oh yeah. Here's a good one for you: I rely so heavily on our calendar because of all the appointments, school dates, etc, that go on. So Monday, the boys were invited over for a play date at our friends' house. I went to check my calendar and all I had written on it was "Monday 4:00". Uhhhh...yeah. So what does that mean?! I have no idea! Why in the world would I write "Monday 4:00" on Monday?! I still don't know what that was for, so we went to the play date anyway. I wonder if my brain is just overloaded.

Happy Summer, everyone!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Another Mystery ... Solved!

Last night we came home to find ... A BIKE ... on our porch! Perfectly Stephen's size, yet no note, no sign, no indication as to whose it was or where it came from. We all oooo-ed and aaaahed over it for quite awhile, surmising how it got there. Fred asked me if anyone knew that we had been wanting a bike, but I replied that Oscar was the only one I had talked to recently about wanting a bike for Stephen. Timothy was convinced that Uncle Oscar had dropped it off on our porch while we were gone and wanted to call him to tell him thank you. We went to bed that night with all of us still wondering and still dreaming about where that perfect bike came from.

Our mystery was solved this morning at church when J's mom asked us if we found the bike last night. Aaaaahhhh! The mystery was solved! Yes, I had mentioned to her a while ago that I wished we had a bike for Stephen, but to me it was a comment made in passing. She mentioned that J had outgrown his and would love to pass it on, but I had forgotten all about that conversation.

Now we are waiting for the rain to stop long enough tomorrow that we can get out there and try that "new" bike out! On top of all the excitement of the bike appearing on our porch, E's mom gave me a bag of stuff tonight at church and in the bag was E's old bike helmet ... once again, a perfect fit for Stephen! We are excited by the surprise gifts God provided for us this weekend! This family of God is wonderful!

(On a side note, I also was blessed with a surprise gift tonight! All during the evening song service tonight, I was trying to figure out how I was going to take Timothy and Christopher with me to the optometrist tomorrow for a check up on the outpatient surgery I had on my eye two weeks ago. He had told me that he may need to reopen the duct under my eyelid and do some more work if it's not healed properly. I'm afraid that it's not and that I will have to have another patch on my eye this week. If that's true, then I wasn't looking forward to having the little boys with me, sitting patiently (ha ha) waiting for me to finish having the doctor freeze my eye, do a little clean up surgery, and then sit for a bit and wait for it all to set before driving them home w/one eye! Well, when church ended, my friend came up to me and simply said, "Do you need any help this week? When can I come?" I about burst into tears right then and there! We made it out that she will come over in the morning before my appointment so that I can get my grocery shopping done first, go to the appointment, and then come home after she collected Stephen at the bus stop and got lunch ready for all of us. Is she an angel or what?! Yep. These little gifts from God are very precious. Anyone else have any little gifts from God this weekend?)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Case of the Missing Clothes

I noticed something fishy several days ago. Stephen's clothes were missing: a pajama bottom, most of his underwear, a different pajama top, socks, dirty underwear, several shorts. Hmmmm. I looked all over the place. I grilled him for an explanation. I even looked in MY dresser drawers thinking that maybe I had put clothes away too late at night. Nothing.

Several days later, Timothy's clothes started disappearing, one piece at a time. I started to wonder if maybe Oscar was trying to be a little sneaky by snitching clothes for Edson. (Just kidding!) At this point, I even resorted to digging through the trash to see if these pieces mistakenly (ahem) got placed in there. Still nothing!

Until this morning.

I was putting away the laundry this morning and went to open the boys' bathroom cupboard to put away the towels Oscar had been using while he was here last week. Out tumbled Stephen's jeans, his missing pajama top and bottom, ALL the underwear - clean AND well-used - socks, sweaters that had been in storage containers, the shorts, t-shirts and even some of Christopher's diapers. AHA! The clue I had been looking for! Christopher's diapers!

My dear little Christopher had been snagging clothes from his brother's drawers as well as the dirty clothes basket and had been shoving them into the cabinet under the sink in the bathroom! If Oscar had not been here last week and if he had not left his towels for me to wash this morning, it may have taken me weeks to find those missing clothes! Who would have thought that our clothes snatcher could be a little one-and-a-half-year-old "helper" who was doing what he thought he saw Mommy do: putting clothes away.

Case closed! All the missing clothes have been found. Now if I could just get him to tell me where he has hidden all my measuring cups from the kitchen!!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Kids and Noses

I guess it's true: what goes around, comes around. Think KIX cereal, Mom. Timothy came up to me all excited, "Mommy! Look! (Insert giggle fit here.) Mommy, look what I did! (More giggle fits.)" I looked over at him to see him proudly displaying two little green peas shoved up his nostrils and a huge grin on his face.

I immediately had flashbacks of a little girl sitting in the kitchen of the Akron Road house watching her mother run for the telephone to call Olga Z for advice. This little girl had impulsively shoved a KIX cereal piece up her nose ... and it got stuck! Aunt Janet had the brilliant idea of tipping the head back and dripping water into the nose to get the KIX softened and then having me ... uh ... the little girl blow it out. In retrospect, I think it would have been less traumatic if we would have just crushed the thing inside and then blown it out, but whatever. That's done and that little girl hasn't shoved KIX up her nose since.

But back to Timothy, I got a little panicky and started to plan how I was going to get those little green balls out of his nose. Thankfully, I just tried pressing the top of his nose and the pea popped out the bottom of one and Timothy managed to wiggle the other one out and we were fine. I admit that I was envisioning a trip to the emergency room where I would have to explain that my child shoved peas up his nose, but there was no need for that.

What goes around comes around. I wonder if Mom ever shoved anything up her nose as a kid and what my grandchild might do someday. No worries! We'll be prepared because of our experiences!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Once again, I'm computer challenged and am not able to post a picture of my mom to honor her on her birthday. Instead of posting a photograph, I'm going to attempt to paint you a picture of my mom.

Mom is full of yellows and oranges and is bright and reflective. She is a happy person whose colors radiate outward. When Mom is in the room, you never feel dark and depressed, but light and brilliant. If you are feeling dark, Mom's cheerfulness takes over and the darkness dissipates. Her joy is found in the Lord and she cannot hide it!

Mom is also full of reds and pinks as she is full of warmth and love. I cannot remember my mom ever showing hate or resentment toward anyone because she is full of love. Her compassion and concern for others will always be remembered because Mom just can't NOT care about others.

Blues and greens also grace my mom. She is a calm woman. She doesn't fly off the handle or act irrationally. Mom is gentle and calming. She has a way of making each situation seem a little more tolerable, a little more managable. Mom is a soft and gentle blue.

There is a bit of purple in my mom as well. She loves to do things a little out of the norm. She likes to try new things and explore new places. She loves to break out of the mold and be a bit daring. She is willing to show her purple colors and go against the grain and be a bit different. She is a perfect purple!

Although Mom's colors are mostly the basic colors from the color wheel, she does allow some neon colors to slip in, too! Mom has a great sense of humor and loves to laugh. Her yellows, oranges, reds, blues, greens and purples can be changed enough to be a bit bold when she shows her humor and love of life. She is a giver and shares her colors freely.

Mom also shows her black and white colors. Mom knows what she believes and stands firm. There is no grey (except in her hair). She believes in the Word of God and will not allow her own ideas to fade the blackness of her beliefs. Above all, Mom is white. She has been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb and her robes have been washed as white as snow. Her whiteness allows all her other brilliant colors to penetrate a sin-darkened world and bring hope to those who need to be touched by color in their lives.

Mom, you are a very colorful person and I am so thankful that you have shared your colors with me. Your rainbow has affected my life and has taught me to use my colors for God's honor and glory as well. May God bless you on your birthday today and may He keep your colors brilliant and reflective for many years to come! Happy Birthday, Mom!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Encouragement or Bribe?

We were told that after a tonsillectomy, the patient would have at least two weeks of discomfort, plus or minus a few days depending on the patient. If this is true, I'm going to beg for your prayers again. Last night was rough, rough, rough! How do you convince an overtired three-year-old who is in obvious pain that he needs to take his medication?! You can be polite and gentle. You can be firm and unrelenting. You can be down right nasty (I'm confessing!). But the only thing we've found to consistently work is a simple bribe. "Take your medicine and you can have two teddy bears." The boys earn little paper teddy bears that equal 5 minutes of computer or video time. I'm not sure why it works (especially since I've been very lax in enforcing Timothy's computer time the past few days), but it does! Tonight I thought we were going to have to take him to the ER because he was screaming so badly, telling us he couldn't breathe, etc, etc. I said, "Timothy, take this medicine and I'll let you go get two teddy bears right now." You'd have thought I was talking to a totally different child in a split second! He downed that Tylenol and literally bounded over to the teddy bear chart and gave himself two new teddy bears, counting his stash and telling me which computer game he was saving his bears for!

Our question is: Is this encouragement or a bribe? Is it helping him make wise decisions, or are we bribing him to get him to do something we want him to do? We can justify both thoughts, but right now I'm going to just accept the blessing of those little teddy bears and I'm going to keep letting him earn them for taking his medicine! It's worth it, in my opinion. If the statistics are correct, we only have a little over a week and a half left to go before he can go without feeling pain. That seems soooo long right now, but "I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me!" Now ... good night. I'm crashing early because I'm afraid I'll be up for several hours again tonight like the last two.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I'm Thankful

Today as I was waiting for Timothy to come out of his surgery, a couple came in pushing a stroller. I thought they had a baby in there, until I heard the little boy start coughing. It was obvious that he had a tracheotomy when he started wheezing so badly. His dad gently lifted him out of his stroller and just held him, soothing him with his voice. It wasn't long before I realized that this little boy, just a bit younger than Stephen, had major health issues. He lay limp in his father's arms after gasping for air and struggling to clear his throat. The parents looked worn out and tired. Poor mom was showing her stress by lashing out in anger at the slow response of the medical team that was supposed to be helping them get some chest x-rays done. She was venting about how little help she was getting in being informed of what goes on with children with disabilities.

My heart went out to this family because I could see that they had been through so much with their little guy, and that's when I really started praying in that waiting room. My son was going through surgery, but it was routine, and he was healthy. Their son seemed to be fighting for his life. While sometimes I feel like a lone ranger in caring for my children, I DO have a support group that will help me (thanks to those of you who watched Stephen and Christopher for us today and for the meal for my family tonight!). I may feel as if things are overwhelming for me in my life, but these parents are struggling to survive in just about every aspect of their lives. I prayed for them. I prayed for my friend, Annette and her family that is affected by autism, I prayed for my friend who has such terrible, crippling arthritis, yet still cares for her two little children without complaints.

I am sooo thankful that God has blessed our children with good health and minds. Grandma always said that there was someone worse off than her, so why shouldn't she be thankful. I'm beginning to understand this more and more. I'm so thankful that even though my struggles may seem monumental in the moment, really, they are nothing more than what I can bear. God makes sure of that!

It's Over!

Well, the pictures are still in my camera, but I'm going to post anyway to let you know that Timothy's' tonsillectomy is over and we're home! We have been gone since 8:30 this morning and got home around 7:30 this evening. What a long, long day!

Timothy was all excited to go to the hospital this morning and cooperated so well prior to the surgery, actually, for the entire hospital stay! We had a little blip in the plans this morning when I was going over the pre-op paperwork with the nurse. I noticed that his papers stated that his tonsils and adnoids were to be removed. We hadn't discussed adnoids before. We got that straightened out as I reviewed the doctor's report from our last two visits. Fine...but then there was the additional statement that he was also supposed to have tubes put in!! I KNEW that this had to be an error because his hearing tests all came back clean! Phone calls started going, discussions began, questions were raised. Finally word came back from Dr. P himself saying that this was indeed an error and there are NO tubes going in! Whew! I'm not sure who wrote up all the requests, but I'm wondering if it wasn't the pre-op nurse. I say that because as I was sitting beside her while she plugged in all the info into her computer, I had to correct her several times because she entered quite a few incorrect items into the system. Kind of scary ...

Around 11:15, Nurse Christine came and took Timothy by the hand and gave me a confident pat on the back saying that they'd see me shortly. The two of them walked down the hall together. I don't have a clue what they talked about, but Timothy was quite animated as he answered all her questions. They walked away to have fun ... I stood there fighting those maternal tears.

Forty minutes later, they called me from the waiting room to come be with my little guy in recovery. All had gone well and he was just starting to wake up. By the time we got up to the children's unit, Timothy was quite awake and starting to jabber. I could tell that it was uncomfortable, especially because he told me there was stuff in his nose and mouth that needed to come out, but he was doing great.

Six hours, two popcicles, two ice creams, two attempted yogurts and a glass of apple juice and water later, we were on our way home. Nurse Kathy was such a sweetheart. This amazing woman has a photographic memory because when I came in, she asked me where my glasses were. She said that the last few times I had been in (we're talking 1.5 years ago for Timothy's other surgery, two years ago with Christopher and 3.5 years ago with Timothy again) I had been wearing glasses. She said my contacts threw her off and she almost didn't recognize me. She asked how Fred's computer business was doing (yes, she remembered his name AND his business) and wondered how all the other boys were. She reminded me which rooms I was in with which boys and then told me that I hadn't gotten a handmade quilt from the Waterloo Quilting Society when the boys were born, so she went and got three quilts for them. The woman is amazing, and is an excellent, excellent nurse! She's quiet, but amazing!

Timothy gave us some trouble tonight when I tried to give him his Tylenol. I knew he would do this, and I have a feeling it's going to be a struggle to get it into him the next few days. I'm not sure how we're going to do this, but the guy will need something to take him through! Please pray for his cooperation in this area.

Thank you all for praying for him and for me. We are done with the hospital end of things and now we just need prayers for his cooperation and healing. Those of you that have been through this before, I'll take any suggestions you have for getting the pain medication down a three year old's throat without creating a huge uproar. Thanks!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

My Excuse

I know I haven't been posting much lately. Things have been very busy around here. My real excuse, though, is that I have pictures that I want to post, but I don't have a clue how to download them so that I can post them. That's the problem with having a different computer all the time, usually a reject from one of Fred's customers which means it has "issues". Our computer situation at home is like my sister-in-law's situation with vehicles. Fred's brother buys used cars from the auction every week so she has a new car every week. She can never remember which car is hers in the parking lot, so she just presses the panic button and heads toward the car with the alarm going off. My problem is that I don't know which of these computers can download pictures, which one will allow me to work more than 15 minutes at a time, which computer has the boys' Chicka Chicka Boom Boom game loaded on it, etc, etc. I'm just too ignorant.

Anyway ... that's my excuse for not posting. I have no pictures to post, so I can't write either. I'll get back into it soon, I hope.

Please pray for us tomorrow. Timothy is going to have his tonsils taken out tomorrow. I know it's worse on me than on him because I know what's going to happen. He doesn't have a clue, really, and is excited to go! We had a hospital orientation on Saturday and they took us everywhere we would be going on Wednesday. They even let him play with some of the equipment and try on the masks and gloves, etc. He thinks it's going to be loads of fun. My stomach is already churning just knowing what he's going to be enduring. Pray for us. Thanks!

Things will be quiet on my blog for the next few days, I'm sure, but stick with me. I'll be back. Oscar is coming to visit from Paraguay this week as well, so I'm hoping I can spend time with him, too, after fighting off all his other friends. I'll talk with you all again in a few days, but in the meantime, please pray for Timothy tomorrow (and Mommy, too!).