11/14/17 responsibilities…

When the kids were all out of high school I was so glad to be getting past one responsibility. A few years ago, I had kids in college and high school and kids dating, and getting jobs and getting cars and talking about moving out. It was a lot for me to keep track of. In high school, it is the students responsibility to get the work done, but the parents have to go to the conferences if there is a problem. So… I always felt responsible and spent a lot of time asking, do you have any projects that are due, any reports, anything that you need from me? I also needed go be ready to drive them to events at school and with their friends. We had added on so many new areas that needed watched over and hadn’t taken any away. I was in overload. When Beth graduated, so many of my responsibilities left.
When we were at church the weekend after graduation they were talking about the summer retreat for the high school kids. I started thinking, did I sign Beth up? Does she have that weekend free? Then I realized, she is out of high school and won’t be going to this event. I was so relieved. It is like when the kids were toddlers and I would see a diaper commercial and panic, when did I buy diapers last, should we go tonight, then I would realize that my kids were past diapers, and a whole wave of relief washed over me, like there is something going on in the world and I was not responsible for it.
The kids did handle their responsibilities, and there was a light at the end of the tunnel, the date for graduation had been set, so I knew that responsibility from all of the high school events would be over soon. That helped, the hope of a better tomorrow. When the kids were little I was in a share group at church, it really helped to hear each week what the other parents were in the middle of at their house. Now that the kids are older, they are handling their own responsibilities and it is so nice to be able to watch them grow as adults.
What do you do when you have too many things going on at the same time?

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11/9/17 writing and getting out of high school…

 I need to write more often. Maggie and I went for a walk in the woods, William and I met with the school counselor, Maggie and I went to a demonstration on carving arrowheads out of wood, the continuing saga of Beth’s Social Security card, the ferrets new hiding place for the cat food, the new clothes washer and the laundromat, the Minecraft update… …there is probably more but it is 11:12 at night and I am a morning person so this is all I can think of.
Beth has looked so happy since she got out of high school. Still young but standing up a little straighter after graduation. She looked like a weigh had been lifted off of her shoulders too. She worries a lot about things like I do. She can get an A minus on a test and worry about what it will do too her grades. She used to come home in grade school and say, mommy, I was so worried about my spelling test that we took in the morning that I couldn’t play at recess. She had known the words so well that she had them memorized by Wednesday of that week. We would then go over them on Friday morning and she would get an A. But she still worried. She still looked worried when she got home from school, knowing that she had passed. That is not to say that she got a lot of good grades, she really did know the work, but in kindergarten she was asked to be in the gifted group. Beth asked the other kids who were in it what it was like. They told her that it was different learning and puzzles and all that they did. She asked if it was after school, they said no that it was during free play time. So Beth decided that it was an extra class and refused to go. So all through school, Beth always threw away some of her work to keep her grades low so that she didn’t get put into the gifted program. Sometimes she threw away too many assignments and ended up in summer school. I told her to quit throwing her assignments away, she said no, and that she knew all of the work and shouldn’t have to go to summer school. She still had to go because her grades were so low. Now that she is out of high school, summer school is over.

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10/31/17 Prom dresses…

Another lost post.
Beth, Maggie and I went out last weekend to get Beth’s graduation dress. She found at least ten dresses to try on. I should have decided before we left the house what was acceptable in a dress for her. One time I did this right. Beth had her final choices on that previous shopping trip. I decided which ones covered her correctly and told her that they made her look older, looking like I wasn’t sure if they would be OK. She chose one of them and left behind the unacceptable ones that didn’t cover enough of her. She was so happy. This shopping trip didn’t go like that this time. She put on a red dress that made her look very mature and didn’t cover her well enough. I made the mistake of saying that it made her look a lot older. It was instantly the favorite. She took a couple of selfies and was ready to go. Looking at the selfies and couldn’t believe what I had done. How could I let my daughter go to her high school graduation in a dress that didn’t cover her at all or at least not very well? Beth is older but still needs a lot of direction in picking clothes. I took a quick look at the prom pictures …this was all before we had paid for the dress…all of the prom dresses were more modest even though a lot of the girls wore strapless dresses. I decided to change my mind and asked Beth to try it on again telling her of my thoughts of it not being an appropriate dress, and saying that I had made a mistake. She was so sad. She tried it on and it was not a good choice. We put it back on the rack and left. Beth was upset, I felt so bad that I had changed my mind, I want my word to them to mean something, something that they can count on, but sometimes more time is needed.
Beth was very upset in the car on the way to the next store. She didn’t understand. She said that clothes didn’t matter. I had just heard a good saying about clothes, but can’t remember where I heard it or I would give them credit. It said that when a girl wears revealing clothes it is like rolling around in manure. It will get you noticed, but only by pigs. I told the new saying to Maggie and Beth, Beth laughed after a second and said with some surprise that that was actually quite funny. She felt better. A saying that I used a lot when they were little and wanted clothes that were cut too low, was .. “if you show everything you have to everyone in the world, how can you be special for your husband”. That kept them covered for years. In the next store we found at least fifteen dresses to try on. Beth found two that she liked and I liked too and there had been a Cat in the Hat pajamas mixed in with the dresses and she liked it too. She said that she wanted all three and would pay me back for the other two. I said yes to the three appropriate and covering items that made both of us happy. What a relief. I’m so glad that the second store had a lot of good choices. What a relief. That was the last shopping trip for a high school event for my kids. I’m so glad that we are moving into the next phase. We have had a lot of good times, but it will be good to move on.

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10/24/17 prom…

Here is another post that should have been posted from when Beth was in high school. There are a few posts that have been missed. Please forgive me while I catch up, some of them are so much fun, I just don’t want to skip them,
Beth called her grandmother and asked if she could have a ride to and from work each day until her car was done. She was done with in school classes and now needed to do her internship to be able to graduate from high school. She also needed a ride for her friend that she normally drove to work. Then she needed to set up prom. Yes…the car broke down the day of prom…big bummer. The girls were all going to get ready at one girls house, go with the parents to the park for pictures, go out to eat and then go to the prom. So far they have gotten ready, had pictures taken and are at the restaurant. When we got to the park there was a line of cars going in. There was at least one wedding going on. I saw at least six brides maids with green off one shoulder dresses and later saw at least six more girls in pink dresses. Either they were in the same wedding or they were all friends, as I was circling the parking lot looking for a parking spot all of the girls, all twelve, were posing for a picture. It really was beautiful. The park had a huge tent up with tables and chairs for the wedding. There were also lots of groups of prom kids and their parents taking prom pictures. The park was packed. The kids from our group decided to take pictures at a different park. The second park was just as beautiful, but had less commotion.

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10/19/17 washing machines and ferrets…

 William bought us a new washer. Woo hoo. Our old one died and I got a replacement one at the resale shop. I had forgotten that we had gotten the broken one from my mom when we moved out. She had told me that it was a large capacity one and if we eventually replaced it with one that wasn’t a large capacity machine we would need to make an adjustment to a smaller load size. The one that we got was a normal washer. What an adjustment. William wasn’t happy and asked if we could get a larger one if he paid for it. I said yes. The machine came today. We were so excited. They couldn’t hook it up because they couldn’t get the old hoses off of the faucet. The delivery guys were really nice. They showed us which hoses go where and also connected the drainage hose. After they left William and I tried to get the hoses off. When we were done the hoses were still attached. We decided to use the old hoses so we attached them to the washer. We must have loosened something because the faucet now leaked. Bummer. Now we have a great machine that we can’t use. I got the name of a plumber from my friend and was about to call him when Beth called. Her car wouldn’t start. She had gotten her first check from work and had gone and bought a ferret. She had taken the pet to a friends house and now the car wouldn’t turn over.
I was going to call the tow truck but decided that she was older. I texted her the numbers.
Beth got her car to the garage and after picking her up we went to get the ferret. She is all white and a few months old. Beth decided that Maggie can babysit the ferret since she is home looking for a job.

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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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