10/11/17 looking back…

I wrote this during the school year and it didn’t get posted.
Beth’s last day of school is tomorrow. She has a month at an internship and then she graduates. We made it!!! Wooooo hooooo!!! We made it! It is such a relief. This is the time that I have been praying for for a long time. The road was bumpy from the very beginning. I never thought that we would get William out of kindergarten. We didn’t realize that he had attention deficit and needed a lot of extra help. It was a really long year of conferences with the teacher and principal before we got him settled into school. He has now been out of high school for at least five years and has had some college. He is working in a factory and wants to go back to school to be able to get a different job.
Maggie refused to do anything when she was little. She refused to talk, scoot, crawl, play with her toys… I could go on and on. She would just sit wherever I put her. She was very happy not doing anything. When she finished a bottle she would hold it up and grunt…I would fill it because I knew that that is what she wanted. Sometimes she would slip up and say a word. Then she would look very embarrassed and look around like she was saying…you didn’t hear me say that.
When Beth was born about a year after Maggie, Maggie tried to get Beth to grunt and not talk. Beth said no I will talk. So Maggie said all right I can talk too. Beth wanted to run as soon as she was born. She came to me at the age of four. I had just told William that if he took care of more responsibilities he could have more privileges. William wasn’t interested. Beth was. She wanted to know what responsibilities she needed to take to be allowed to work at the mall…she was four…she was so determined. Her fists clenched, she could see herself working there. Maggie was standing behind her, I am guessing for moral support because Maggie didn’t want a job, Maggie didn’t even want to talk. I explained to Beth that she couldn’t get a job, she was too young. I didn’t want to say that it was because she couldn’t read, I was worried that she might want to learn to read that week, then I wouldn’t have an excuse. Maybe she could go and play with her dollies for a while. She said OK. Maggie looked relieved.
Now we are in a totally new area, no more high school classes, dress code, Valentines day parties, chaperoning dances, driving the kids and all of their friends around. They were good years. One of the best things that we did was to stay in church. I always told them that as long as they lived at home they needed to go to church on Sunday. Keeping us there has strengthened us in our spirit. It has given us good Christian friends. We also had dinner at the dining room table every night…well almost every night…with no TV on or electronic devices. We did spend a lot of the meals disagreeing with each other, but that face time together helped us to grow as a family.
I read with the kids about four nights a week as they were growing up. Two of the kids were behind in their reading level so the teachers all said to read together. I read with all three of them. They all did catch up. When they were young I read to them. When they got older we both read. I read with each one separately for about twenty minutes, four nights a week. First I read from the Bible. When they were little we used the Toddler Bible. It has one big picture and few words on each page. And a question, like Who was in the garden of Eden. A lot of the questions I knew the answer , but some I didn’t. There was no answer page. When they got older we used the Bedtime Bible. It had a small picture on each page and then a paragraph. And a question or two. We went to the high school Bible when they got to high school. Then, after reading from the Bible each night, we read a book together. I had a separate book for each of the kids. Then they couldn’t tell each other what was going to happen next if one got ahead of the other. And they couldn’t tease the one that was behind. One of us would read a page, then I asked a question about what was read, then the other one would read the next page, and I would ask questions. The teachers said to do this to help the kids to start to be able to understand what was on each page.
We volunteered at church some. I took a lot of pictures of the kids. One thing that I wish that I had done was to tape record them. There is still time. When they all move out I will probably listen to the tape of their voices a lot. The best thing that I told the kids as they were growing up was that I would love them forever, no matter what they did or who they became. My love was not dependent on their actions. They have all of my love forever. I may be really upset at times about things that they are doing and talk to them endlessly about why I feel that they are wrong, but they will still always have my love. It made them feel very secure. I got this from a Sunday school class.
We did have a lot of crazy times, busy times, times when we didn’t get along and everything fell apart and good times.
I like to only write about the good times. This blog is my place where only good happens. It is safe and quiet, I know that you loose a lot of flavor because the disagreements, fights, train wrecks etc. don’t ever get talked about. But for me it is nice to have one place where everything is running smoothly. So, yes, even though I didn’t write about the times when we didn’t get along or when everything fell apart, they were there too.  It definitely wasn’t all good, but we made it through and we all had a great time getting here.

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10/7/17 gas money and cutting the grass…

We were going to moms house tonight to cut her grass so William and I stopped at Burger King to get a few dollar sandwiches to eat before he, Maggie and I go. Beth had texted me earlier and said that she was going to work. She called me while we were in the drive thru at Burger King. Where was I? She didn’t have enough gas to get to work. She was crying. Yesterday I had texted her that I had a gas card for her. She never got it. I told her that I would be right home. She doesn’t make enough at the drive-in to pay for gas but It is good that she has a job.
When we got home Beth was mad at me, or maybe just frustrated that I was making her late. I said go and get gas and drive carefully to work. She said there wasn’t time, still upset. I explained that she should have gotten the card from me yesterday or texted me that she needed to see me to get cash by a certain time, since with a card she would need to go to a certain gas station and I would have been home on time. She calmed down and asked if she could take my car today. I said yes. She needs to take responsibility for herself and not blame me for things that she did or didn’t let me know that she needed. But in the end I am still there for her. Now she has my car and I still have a gas card for her.
William, Maggie and I went to moms to cut her grass. She has a new lawnmower. We looked at the directions and tried to start it. It has a pull start. We pulled on the string but the string wouldn’t come out. We re-read the directions and kept looking at the lawnmower. It was very frustrating. To get it fixed we would need to put it in the back of moms car and have her drive it in. We had already put gas and oil in it so it would get her car dirty. There were two instruction manuals. One with how to set up the lawnmower and one explaining the maintenance schedule. We had given up when mom found a small tag that had been attached to the lid of the gas tank that said to move the handle out eight inches and then refasten it. The handles were down by the blades for shipping. We moved out the handle and the pull cord worked. Woo hoo. We were so excited. We won’t need to put the lawn mower into moms car. Wooooo hooooo. I was going to have Maggie cut some of the grass but I didn’t want to risk her getting poison ivy and look bad for an interview. William had brought a saw. He loves sawing and chopping. He went to the backyard to saw on the dead trees. I cut the grass.

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9/15/17 phone alarms, driving and movies…

I don’t write every day. I think about what to write every day, all day long, but never get around to writing. Yesterday I decided that I needed to do something different to make time to write. I set the alarm on my phone to ring at nine thirty each night. By that time all of the things that were needed to be done for the family would be done and I could write. I have never set the alarm on my phone. I couldn’t find the alarm at first, it was under clock. This was the first night to try it. I set it while Maggie was driving me around. She had wanted to go to the flee market to buy some movies. We went to two flee markets and they had both already closed. We ended up at the library and I got some movies. Maggie found some that she wanted but she knew that they were ones that I would never approve of, so I picked all of the movies. When we got home I put one in sort of as background noise while I made dinner. When my alarm went off it was so cool…I have heard my kids phones alarms go off, but now it was mine. The problem was I was in the middle of a good movie, do I finish the movie, cutting into my writing time or turn it off and write and then watch it later? Maggie wasn’t watching, being under general protest since she hadn’t picked out the movies and was filling out applications on the computer. William had looked at the movies when we brought them home and had said that he didn’t like any of them but was following along on this one, sort of standing in the next room, so he couldn’t be seen but could see the movie. Beth was on her phone with a friend. I didn’t want to turn it off because William was watching too and I can’t type and have a good movie in, or any movie in, all of them distract me so we finished the movie.
I am writing today. It feels good to write it down. If I don’t get it written down, all of the things that I want to write, I play them over and over in my head so I won’t forget them before there is a chance to get them written down. It is good to clear it all out and get it into the computer.
What distracts you? What do you do to prevent the distraction?

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9/7/17 learning to drive and a learning list…

I have been having Maggie take me driving every night. She doesn’t love to drive so she never asks to drive. She needs a license. If mom can’t drive, Maggie would need to be able to get herself to work. Maggie is a pretty good driver, but she is new and she needs a lot more hours. I am comfortable enough when she drives that I can text people and not constantly point out curbs and telephone poles and red lights…she is able to pull the car into the drive and back to the garage, our house is very close to the neighbors and the drive goes between the houses and their gas meter is up against their house in the middle of the driveway (SMH). Maggie can pull in safely, but is not comfortable backing out. She is also not ready to pull the car into the garage. Someday…
Are there skills that every child needs to learn before they reach adulthood, or before they move out? Are some skills really not needed, like if they live right by work and there is a grocery store, and their church right there, then they wouldn’t need to drive. But should they learn to drive if they really don’t want to? Just to have the skill in case of emergency. Two of my kids say no, driving is not a skill that they want at this time. We went to Cedar Point and they all drove the old time cars, a little taste of driving and commanding their own vehicle, but it only sparked an interest in one of them.
When the kids were young I found a list on the internet of what a child should be able to do at what age and I taught from that list for years. I lost the list a few years ago and haven’t been able to find it to see if there was anything that was missed, besides being able to drive. If anyone finds it, please leave the link in the comments.
The list had things for really small children, like being able to hold silverware at a certain age and it had a lot of things for older kids. It had things like, being able to cook a simple meal from a cook book and eating with chop sticks, changing the oil and balancing a check book, making change and shopping for dinner items at the grocery store. I did skip the ones that I couldn’t do, like changing the oil, but we did go over checking the oil and adding more.
When the kids were young they wanted to learn every new skill, but as they got older there was more negotiation involved.

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8/28/17 doctor appointment and interviewing…

Mom went to her first doctor appointment since her shoulder surgery. The doctor said that she was healing well. She has a sling with a big pillow keeping her arm about five inches from her body. He said that she could take out the pillow in two weeks and take off the sling two or three weeks after that. He said that she should be healed in four to six months. We have been going over to her house each weekend and cut her grass, she loves the attention. I’m so glad that she is healing so well.
Maggie had an interview the other day. She said that it went well, just like all of the others. She and the interviewer were relaxed. She said that all of the questions were like the other interviews. There was one new question. If she was a server and some customers came in and was calling to her to have Maggie seat them, not realizing that Maggie was a server and not a hostess, would Maggie seat the customer or go and get a hostess. Maggie said that she would seat the customer and then go back to her work. She was happy with her answer. The interviewer said that he would need to send all of the information to the office so she wouldn’t hear back from them for a few days. More waiting…more applications to enter.

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8/25/17 Beth’s car and finishing things…

Beth’s car needed break lines and pads and routers. I asked them to do the break lines and we would wait a week to do the brakes. Grandma took Beth to school, and I picked her up. Beth and I went over after school to get the car.
Beth has a lot going on but plays a lot and doesn’t finish anything. Now that she has graduated she needs to complete some things. She needs to get her car fixed and figure out which department of college she wants to be in. She needs to get letters of reference from her high school teachers. She is starting to frustrate me. School is starting soon and she doesn’t have anything done. So today I tried to figure out what means something to Beth. When I ask her to do things, it has no value to her, its things that I want done, she will only do things if she is finding value in it. She loves her car and needs gas money. She doesn’t work enough hours to buy gas. So I asked her, if she will give her list of accomplishments to three teachers I will give her a gas card. The teachers can take the list of her accomplishments and write letters of recommendation. This way the teachers don’t need to remember what each student was good at, the student provides the list. The teachers do this at her school for all of the students, then all of the students can have letters. The gas card needs to be something that I can afford so each gas card will have five dollars on it. She texted me right back that she has emailed the list to the teachers. I hope this works.

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