Our Family

Our Family
Benaiah, Justin, Melinda, Abishai, Keturah, and Jared

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Year 2, Day 189: Termites!

Just when I thought I was getting ahead, the termites in the garage strike again!  This time, three boxes of toys succumbed to them!  Thankfully, most of the toys were plastic, so we were able to clean most of them.  Unfortunately, we had to throw away some Jenga blocks.  We had two sets, so I'm not worried about them, and I tried to be ruthless with other miscellaneous things in the boxes.  And now, we have to go through the other few boxes that are cardboard that are touching the floor.  I'm so mad.  In fact, I had a breakdown.  Jared came to my rescue, once again, and got the process started for me.  I'll be honest, it's at these moments that I struggle terribly with contentment.  I know that this place is best for us 75% of the time, and there are some pros to location, and being at Indian Creek and the kids are happy, Jared's got a good job, etc.  And I know there are many other homes that have the exact same issues we do, no matter how careful the owners have been in keeping it clean or updated.  But, my immediate thoughts in a house crisis goes right back to the fact that I didn't want to move from Canada.  The house there was fine.  No mice, no termites, a little bit of flooding.  We rented, so no major repairs on our heads.  Then I get mad at the circumstances that caused the move.  And the people.  It's still raw.  It's a scab that keeps falling off and the skin underneath is still not healed.  Then my thoughts turn to why I'm really mad is that it's more work I don't have the energy and physical ability to take care of properly because I have an auto immune disease that I can't get rid of.  So then I'm mad at my body, and mad at God for allowing it to be sick.  Then I want chocolate and pop and how much I hate this dumb diet and why am I still craving the "bad" foods.

So, life isn't always "good" in my head.  At least I want to fix my head, because for awhile, I didn't.  I was exhausted after mentally doing those gymnastics, and trying to "make those thoughts captive," and then spending 2 hrs doing part of the cleaning in the hottest part of the day, where it was so muggy and 85 degrees F.  Thankfully, Justin and Keturah saw my distress and helped me without much complaint for a lot of the clean up after I asked them to.  They know they might have to help me tomorrow, too.  Sigh.  Now I have to buy rubbermaid totes for these toys, but I'm not willing to part with them yet.  They are mostly Abishai's current age and up.  But there are also clothes boxes touching the floor, so we will have to fix that as well.  It makes me super nervous to bring anything back from storage.  I do have a lot of that in rubbermaids, but there are many that are not.  Rubbermaid totes, the name brand, which I will buy this time because the cheap stuff is cheap and breaks and bends way too easily, cost $10 or more each.  Another expense I was trying to hold off on.  After we did the initial clean up, I released the middles to their screen time, Abishai went for a nap, Benaiah went to work for Grandpa, Jared went back to work, and I took a nap.  I was exhausted, mentally, and physically.  And we were going to go get grocercies tonight, so I needed to have energy for that.  But even after a solid 2 hours, I found it extremely hard to get up, more than normal.  Do not underestimate the physical effects of mental exertion.  And do not underestimate the ability of the Devil to rain on your parade on a daily basis, especially when you are walking more closely to God than you had been a year prior.

All of that to say, this blog is a family blog, from my perspective, and again, my attitude and opinions affect everyone, either good, bad, or indifferent.  At least Abishai's duplos are finally out of the box for him.  It was Abishai getting into one of the boxes and needing my help that prompted me reaching into the box and discovering the termites on the bottom.  And at least there aren't more than a few boxes to take care of tomorrow.  We did put rubbermaid totes on the bottom of a few piles, but mostly in case of water damage, not thinking about termites.  I'm glad we don't have all our stuff in the garage yet. And I'm glad I do technically have time to take care of it.

Meanwhile, the day started and ended better than the middle was.  Jared made me special coffee (see below).  Then we had a great meeting with Benaiah's school principal, Mr. Nanney, who has a lot of faith and trust in Benaiah and us.  In fact, the kid has the biggest load of classes I've seen, and he's allowed to do Bible class at home so he can have another period free to take another class.  Benaiah and a few other students will be in charge of the worship part of chapel and Benaiah wants to start a Bible study/club.  He also wants to be part of a speech/debate club.  They will try to have the clubs meet during school hours to minimize the time needed after school.  I'm so grateful that Benaiah does take school seriously and rises to the challenges and is willing to try new things.  He has shown himself trustworthy among his teachers.  And I'm glad that the teachers have gotten to know him well and he's not just a number at any of the huge local high schools where you graduate with 700 kids literally.  There's a lot of flexibility when you go to a very, very small school.  And I was willing to take on teaching and guiding him through high school, but it is now a relief that I don't have to figure that out yet as I work out the other life challenges.  I still hope to keep the others home for all their childhood years, but we'll see.

Then the termites.

Then we finished the day with a quick supper and big haul at the grocery store because it's payday!  I hate that we are living paycheck to paycheck again, but at least we have a paycheck and we can make repairs to our house and I can still home.  And I even found grass fed beef patties at Aldi's!  Cool!  And new sparkling water flavors.  Benaiah stayed home to finish mowing our yard while it was cooler.  Then I trimmed Abishai's hair so he won't look like a girl and butchered less than I have in the past.  I just want to keep it trimmed until we are all ready to go see our hairdresser again.  Then, bedtime!

Tomorrow, I won't get to blog because I'm taking my computer to a friend's husband to look at and see if he can teach me how to clean it up better.  It almost froze totally again on me yesterday.  And this guy just advertised his services on our church's home businesses page, so I'm glad to give him a little cash to get this taken care of.  I can't do anything anyway because I'm out of DVD's to put pictures on.  I'll work on other things instead.

Found another cicada shell!  And we knew it was going to be a hot and muggy day because the cicadas were chirping LOUDLY even in the middle of the morning!

Our citronella plants blossomed!  Who knew?  And yes, we haven't had that many mosquitoes, but we also don't have that much vegetation, so the wind blows well through our yard.

Justin asked if he could keep this ball of fur he collected from brushing the dog.  Um, no.  We get that amount of hair at least twice a day.  No need for a souvenir.  

Interesting blooms!

Standing toe to toe and eyeball to eyeball.  These two.  Sigh. Very blessed.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.  When you are using Dad's very old laptop that runs very hot, you get out the biggest box fan you can find to keep it cool.  Benaiah said his legs do get numb from the cool air though.  But maybe it helps him not stink so much, too!  Keeping cool=less sweat=less stink!

I got another Amazon order, which included an anniversary gift from me to Jared, but it's really for me.

It's not our anniversary yet, so why do I need to open this now?

I want to ride in Ice Cream's car!!!!!

I guess I'll settle for Ice Cream's outdoor rocking chair (without the chair pad which he threw on the ground) instead.

It's EZStack!  Plastic shelves that help keep t-shirts from toppling over.  See, it will benefit me the most when I put away laundry!

While at the folks' house, I grabbed a few pictures of other pictures in a collage that Gary and his brothers did when their parents died.  Each son has their own collage.  Can you tell who is who?  Gary is on the left and his older brother Ron is on the right.  I took them because someone asked if Abishai looked that Gary when he was young.  I think you have the answer now.  That answer is definitely yes!

And we like Grandpa's new recliner, too.

The EZStack at work!  It's cheap plastic, and not as thick as the advertisement made it out to be.  But it does work.  You put the plastic sheets/shelves in between each t-shirt so when you lift one of them up, you can slide out the t-shirt without upsetting the whole pile.  Plus, I think it's a space saver.  We'll see if it holds up or not.

Boom! A thunderstorm!  We don't have a screen on this window and it's making for some great fun when it rains.  The kids like to hang out the window a bit and they can't get wet because the eaves go out pretty far.  We had a beautiful thunderstorm Sunday evening.  Jared even tweeted about it several times.

A little special coffee for me.  Benaiah spotted it at Meijer.  Jared made the coffee for me this morning.  It was 100% caffeinated instead of my half caff, so I was a bit shaky later, but it was good!  I can't wait to go visit the store on the west side.  I will most definitely cheat and have a cafe mocha with raspberry shot and a maple cream donut.  After the 30 days is up though.  Tim Horton's is almost a cult, it's so popular up in Canada.  Yum!

Cars. Always.

Finally got through this huge book of dozens of comic books all in one.  You would think a book with little words wouldn't take so long, but you are taking in all the pictures as well.  I found it fascinating because I tried putting myself into a child's shoes in the 60's reading this where any of the sci fi parts of it wouldn't make any sense.  No cell phones.  No computers.  Not even a kiss between Barry Allen and Iris.  In fact, their dates don't always go very well because Barry is always late because he's the Flash.  It was just a more "innocent" time period.  Fun!

After we met with Benaiah's principal, we indulged Abishai's desire to go on the swing for a few minutes.  Yes, that's all 4 kids and Jared there.  Never too old to swing!

Termite damage on a Jenga block!  I thoroughly inspected each and every toy, even the ones the kids cleaned, because I am not bringing a single little termite grub into the house!

Termites love cardboard!  Thankfully, this box wasn't as bad as the first box.  And the third box also wasn't too bad because most things in there were in small plastic bins.

Doing supper old school because we are out of meat! English muffin pizzas!  And everybody loved them!  We used to have them all the time when I was growing up.

Yes, Benaiah is taking two major sciences AND world history all in the same semester/year!  Crazy!  Algebra 2, English, and Spanish 2 are all classes that are related to last year.  And choir goes perfectly with chapel music.  And then Bible with Gary/Jared at home, and then extra curriculars like speech probably on Thursdays.  Benaiah wants to graduate with an honors diploma, so away he goes.  Mr. Nanney also mentioned that next school year we will look at dual credit.  Perfect.  Just how I wanted it.

Awww,....bonding over a little Vegetales "Pizza Angel" and "Don't Got a Belly Button."  And yes, I only let Justin hold my brand new phone.  The other two are not allowed to mess with it.
Until next time....

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Year 2, Day 187: Extra Post

I was going to skip making a blog post, but a pretty notable thing happened today, as well as something fun and unexpected.  I don't have many pictures, but I'll do what I can.

Of course, everyone likes to put this basketball hoop on their head.

Spoiler alert: This weekend's services are going to be a bit different.  The text is the Lord's Prayer.  So, we sang a couple of songs after Dan explained the meaning of "hallowed" as in "holy, set apart, revered." Then for "your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven" Our main youth minister, Chad, interviewed a dear kid friend of mine, Alyssa, and what God has called her to do over the last couple of years as  Kingdom Worker.  I've known Alyssa since she was 3 years old and she's going to be a senior this year! Chad actually showed a blanket that has a picture of her and her Grandma's horse a few years ago and they both have their mouths wide open.  Anyway, Alyssa has worked with the Access Ministry (kids/adults with disabilities), gone on many mission trips to Zambia, Haiti, local things, and she works with the middle schoolers as a leader as well.  She's the middle child of 5 kids and is homeschooled.  Anyway, she's the sweetest kid I know and so grown up!  She has also caught the words "known, valued, and loved" that Gary has preached many, many times that we want everyone, but especially the youth to know that they are "known, valued and loved."  So, I took this picture to share with my friend, her mom, Dayla, because it's a proud Mom moment for me as well.  The "daily bread" portion of the prayer was communion.  And I'll leave the rest for you to find out.

Well, because Benaiah had to go early (see picture below), I spent the afternoon in Jared's office again, enjoying the absolute quiet and working on pictures and video uploads.  I also read some Flash comics and took a nap on the couch!  So, I left all my stuff in Jared's office when I went over to worship.  We walked back to the office afterwards, and there were a bunch of people there, obviously from India or the surrounding areas, getting ready to have a meal and then having a concert (more on that below).  Some didn't speak English, but I made sure to nod and smile anyway.  Abishai found the small stage and decided to run across it many times.  Yes, he is not afraid of the stage!  The whole world is this little guy's stage!

"My seat!" We had to share seats and Abishai didn't want to.  So, when Jared got up, Abishai took it over!

Spicy Indian food!  Edwin, who Jared knows, is evangelizing to his ethnic community and invited them to come to our church building to share in a meal and some moments of evangelism before they had a concert of their own talents.  And we were invited to join them!  The kids were brave and tried the spicy food and ate some of it.  I'm so proud of them for doing that!  Abishai ate granola bars out of his diaper bag.  I, of course, didn't eat any of it.  But, at least we've taught them to go ahead and try new things without hesitation!  And wow, how cool is it that we had our regular evening services, but in the background, this guy is spreading the gospel to this ethnic community right behind the scenes!  They were tucked away in the East Wing and 99% of the congregation had no clue they were there tonight or why.  I could tell some were Christians, but most were not.  Wow!  And how cool that my kids got to participate in it as well.  I think we had a parenting win tonight!

The Indian meal and concert were the impromptu fun part of the evening.  Now, for the proud Mommy moment that really prompted this blog post.  Benaiah was THE graphics guy on tech team tonight.  Think: PowerPoint button pusher.  He advanced the music slides and the slides on the TV screen on stage for the sermon.  The stage manager this evening came up to us and said that Benaiah said he was still shaking after the 4 pm service because it was so nerve wracking!  It didn't help that Grandpa made a big deal of him doing it either.  Grandpa was just trying to be encouraging though that, wow, our boy is growing up and has some big responsibilities.  Remember, we go to a megachurch with an average attendance of 4,000 people every week.   It IS a HUGE deal!  And he nailed it!  I was watching for mistakes, but except for the very first slide, I didn't notice any!  So proud of this big guy!
But big guys, still like to be little guys and they love their fruit snacks.  His caption reads, "I got fruit snak, I is so happy."

Oh, I noticed this at church in what used to be Banner Hall.  This is sort of the "missions" wall.  But I hadn't noticed the black metal skyline of Indianapolis above the TV screen before.  How cool!  I was trying to show the kids where some of the Indians might have come from, and probably pretty recently.  Neat!  I didn't check for PEI though, but I doubt it's there, lol.

Super crazy kids before bedtime!

Yeah!  One day free shipping on Prime from Amazon!  In this part of my purchase, I got my phone case (which is gorgeous!), SD cards for my camera, and something else for Jared for our anniversary. (But, it's really for me, too!)

There ya go, a whole room full of people from that part of the world.  They had to keep adding chairs!  How cool is it that our building could be used in such a way to spread the Gospel, right under our noses!  I had no idea that there were this many people from that part of the world in our community.  What a blessing!

Year 2, Day 186: It's the weekend!

Yes, it's the weekend, but that doesn't actually matter that much to me.  Since Jared has been in and out this week working on house projects, sneaking off to church to work for e2, and what not, and since my days pretty much have the same routine, there is not difference.  It's a good thing though.  And it will change when school starts up again.  Sigh.

Let's see, today we had someone look at the crawlspace project, but he can't do it, so Jared made an appointment with another company.  That was at 8 am.  Then he went to work and we got breakfast.  We had an impromptu lunch at the in laws.  Benaiah worked for them today on taking glass out of a broken glass door frame so they can get it replaced and various other jobs.  Then he and Jared started on getting some blinds up in the boys' room, but found it hard to get the brackets in correctly and gave up.  They worked outside on the drain pipes for the downspouts instead while the rest of us just played around.

Oh, Abishai would NOT take his nap today without Daddy's intervention and I almost had to have Daddy intervene again tonight.  He wouldn't me to sleep with him during naptime and he wanted to sleep with Justin tonight.  He's such a cute "delay fish" though!  And, I'll share the video, but he pulled out a yellow and black transforming car from a box and said in a normal tone like he's been saying this word forever, "Awesome!"  He's mental abilities are increasing rapidly right now.  He hasn't done much more physically that I can tell.  Potty training will be the next big leap there.  But it's so cute when he says something new and all 5 of us go "Awwww, you're so cute!"  And at dinner tonight, he kept standing on his chair and yelling above the rest of our chit chat, "Ta da!" with his arms up in the air and everything!  And he said, "Abishai sausage" about his sausage that he was eating.  Abishai made up his own version of "truck" that I can't share on here.  It doesn't start with an "F" but it does have a different meaning.  Oh, and he wants to give kisses now on the lips!  We'll be encouraging him to kiss cheeks instead.

Anyway, Justin didn't seem overly tired today after getting in at 11 pm last night.  He seemed happy and content and had a good time at CIY.  He wasn't pouring out stories though like Benaiah did last week.  And that's ok.  I'm sure he's internalized a lot.  And he missed his Pokemon and fidget spinners and such, so that's all he wanted to talk about.  But he did say he tried out a friend's skateboard (longboard) and wants one for his birthday or Christmas.  I said sure! I'll put it on the wishlist! Benaiah went through a skateboard phase, and so did my brother.  It's a neat mode of transportation.  Justin did say the speakers were good and that he sang with every song and that there were lots of flashy lights on the last night.  He got along with his suitemates just fine and he even found another friend who likes Pokemon!  So, CIY Mix was a win for Justin!

Oh, and I spent my afternoon making plans for our vacation in August to upper Michigan.  I scoped out beaches and grocery stores and hiking trails.  And the coolest thing is that I made the plans in the notes section of my phone and added the family members that will be there and they can now comment and edit the note, too!  I printed out a list of menus from the tourist guide and will go through them to see what would be paleo friendly and what wouldn't be.  We usually only eat out once or twice on vacation.  Otherwise, we save money and cook at our accommodations. So now, I'm super excited about vacation!  We haven't had a big vacation in 2 years! I know it will be tough on me to travel far and do things, but it will also feel great to have a change of scenery and be near water and forests again.  I can't wait!

First picture with the new phone! Featuring our big, big probably male bunny.  And his mate was just there as well.  Gary and Leah have a chipmunk and squirrel problem.  We have bunnies.  And we love them.

Aw, he's all ready for naptime.  It's very warm in his room, but he insists on three blankets.  I think he throws them off eventually.

But, as I closed the door, he kept crying out for Mommy.  So I laid down and snuggle him.  20 minutes later, I try to get up because he wasn't settling and he said, "Mommy nap.  Mommy stay.  Abishai go."  He put me to bed!  He even got up, left the room and shut the door!  Boogger!

He kept patting my arm and pulling it around him for hugs.  Then he started kissing me and thought it was funny.  He kept turning into me like when he was an infant.  And I allowed all of it.  Someday, they will think they are too old for these kinds of snuggles.  I cherish the days where I can take the time to soak it all in like I did today.

Hm,...I wonder if I should keep this book with a Donald Trump quote in it.  I didn't realize it was a secular book.  It's a decent quote, but I'm not sure he lives up to it.  None of us have read this book, so I think it's going in the give away pile.

Here's the title.  Lots of contributors from all walks of life.  Short stories, poems, quotes, songs, etc.

Abishai did the same thing to Justin as he did earlier to me today and snuggled up close with lots of arm patting, hugging and kisses.  Oh, and farting noises as well.
First thing this morning, Abishai found and pulled out his puzzles!  Yeah!  My plan worked!  The floor was cleaned the night before, so he had plenty of space to work.  AND nothing was in front of the bookcase, so he could easily see them.  It's awesome to see that my efforts translate into something good like this!

I found a bucket of money in my desk stuff, so I gave most of the coins to Keturah to sort.  There are American and Canadian coins in the bucket.  Then I gave a few coins to Abishai with a piggy bank that doesn't have a plug in the bottom so he could practice fine motor skills by putting the coins in the bank.  Great toy!

Hm, how does this work?

Aw, look at those fingers working hard!

Uh oh, this looks like trouble on our hilly driveway!  The front axle does not turn anymore, so we don't use it much.  My parents bought it for the kids though, so I'd like to see it repaired at some point.  They actually didn't end up going down to the driveway when I explained to them that they would have no control.

Aw, family time on this gorgeous evening!  The weather had cooled off significantly, the bugs were at a minimum, and wow, just wow!

I found these two holes near the back fence.  I'm not sure if Jared or Benaiah made them, or they are some creature's nest.  Jared also found another large hole near our back porch that might be a bunny's nest.

Cutting tubing for drainage.  I hope we do bury them this time.  We had something like this in the Beech Grove house and it was a pain to mow around them.

Yup, sitting in the water again.  Actually, we need to watch how much time he spends in the water because he had a rough time at diaper changes.  And I think there's a rash on his tummy, too, that could be related to the water.  But we will have to watch that rash because it could be something else.

Who needs swimming lessons?  Not our family!  All our kids have learned how to swim just by being in the water.  Keturah can now go in the deep end and such.  I can't wait to see how much she can do at the cottage on vacation.  Abishai loves the water, and doesn't mind getting water in his face or floating on his back.  We can't wait to show Miss Mary, who does teach swimming lessons, how much Abishai already knows!

He made the cutest sound of "woe, woe, woe" when trying to balance on the boogie board.
Abishai saying "Awesome"


Abishai kicking in the water and standing on the boogie baord: