Thursday, August 21

My View Today

Granted, it hasn't been very long since we've had an *empty nest*, but here
are my premature thoughts about it anyway.
I KNOW I won't always feel like this...but today, I do.
I KNOW I will get over the sadness, just not today.
I KNOW one of these days, I won't think a thing about getting groceries
for just two people.  Right now, it feels like I'm just going,
to NOT buy things.
Like noodles, girl shaving cream, animal cookies, expensive know. 
Those kinds of things.

The Lord allowed us to have six kids, almost seven.
I have been pregnant for around 60 months.
Can't say I enjoyed every minute of that.....
but I did so love having babies.
I had names for LOTS more children,
but that is hardly a good reason to keep having them.

I lived cloth diapers, clothes pins, piles of little books, striped socks, baby spoons, fun bowls, kid radio, coloring books, play money, war cards, magic markers, Happy Meals, foam rollers, sweaters with pearl buttons, plastic flower rings, army men, water guns, purses full of ridiculous things, animal videos, fun ice cube trays, refill cups, cheap sunglasses, games, Lincoln Logs, Tweety Bird, little Bibles, Suave shampoo and hair clippers.
I pulled teeth, and pushed them out, saw teeth being pulled by green apple suckers.
Some of my kids might still believe in the Tooth Fairy, but not Santa Claus.
I still have the box of teeth I saved in case anybunny ever wants to see them all.
We bought bike tire tubes, band aids, socks, pencils, hair stuff, nail polish remover, macaroni and cheese, presents, grapes, French fries.....
we rode bikes in the house,
danced in every room.
I've cleaned up my share of throw up and other body fluids....I cut hair, I braided hair. 
I taught all of the kids and graduated 5/6 of them.
I turned off lights and turned on sprinklers.
I made out job lists and called them JOKE cards.
I took the boys mowing, kids to the library, poured milk and put a sheet on the couch
when one of them was sick.
We filled the garage with bikes, we took walks, ate three meals a day, had an 8 passenger van,
went to church every service except that ONE when ALL of us were throwing up....had occasional
E.R. visits, few doc visits, we camped, took all the kids to D.C. and N.Y., had trips to Kansas....
I've either been putting kids to bed since 1983 or waiting for them to get up
to drink coffee with me. 
I shared almost everything I owned. 
From French Fries to my jackets.
I never had an umbrella to call my own.
But if I had a dime for every book that passed through this house....
I'd buy a leather Fossil bag.
I took the kids to my bedroom to *talk* to them.
I took them to Stop N Go so they could learn to drink coffee.
I took them to the store to spend their own money.
We also took them to Rhonda's clean....every other Monday morning for about 34 years.
The kids moaned and moaned.
But we made memories.
To make it better, Dad would always come back to Freeport on Gargoyle Road.

We were unpredictable when it came to holidays.
We tried to keep things shook up, so nobody would get in a rut and expect the
same things every year.  We thought random was good.  Still do.

One year, the tree was outside.

It was fun for ME to make sure you all had fun things to play with.
I guess there is a part of my heart that will always think that way.
My kids helped with yard work, they cooked, they did laundry, they swept floors, they moved things for me, they took out trash, they hung up sheets on the line, the watched pirate movies with me....and Ice Age.  We colored, we turned on music and cleaned......they found things I lost, they fed the dogs,
they washed the cars, swept the sidewalks, shook the rugs, got me measuring cups, helped buy groceries, drank Sonic drinks with me, played games with me....we visited till the cows came home,
cried and got over things with each other.

I loved being a mom.
But I'm now doing the math.
Two is not terrible.
It's just different.
Just have to get used to it.
It just won't be today.

Bear with me?
I'm sure my kids remember the poem .......
the one about the mom asking the kids to STOP doing things.
Then they do.
There, how do you like those apples?
Here goes my version....
it doesn't rhyme,
so don't look for it.

Stop getting in and out and in and out of the fridge.

Turn the lights off when you leave the room.

Stop washing clean clothes.
ONLY wash dirty clothes.

Stop making such a mess out of everything.

STOP watching Lucy re-runs......

Stop sleeping so late.

Stop it already with the 45 minute showers.

Can I just take a little bitty nap?

Will you leave the radio alone?
I'm listening to Rush.

This is MY stuff.
You have your OWN stuff.

Can I just decorate the house like I want for once?

Who drank all the coffee?

Don't eat the last banana.

Can you just TRY to walk down the hall and not knock pictures off the wall?

Stop eating cookies like you're the only one in the house.

All of my dishes are nested and will probably stay that way.
There are no toast crumbs around the toaster.
Nobody but me is eating the Biscotti.
All the chairs are pushed up to the table.
We all know where ALL the little scissors are.
No doors slammed, no bugs getting in, no unnecessary lights on,
 no pudding on the floor,
nobody tracking in sand and bringing home rocks,
the smell of microwave popcorn is not in the air.
It's a hard thing.

Just trying to not be this.
Trying to brighten the corner where I am.....

There, that's my view as of today.
Make every day count with your kids.
For one day, they will be gone.
Just like they should be.
And it will hurt.



Wednesday, August 20

Day With Heather

Tuesday morning....out by the flower beds.
I was wondering what was wrong with the camera
It was SO humid, the lens
was fogged up.
It was photo-shopping
the picture AS it was being taken.
*add softness*

I didn't exactly know what
things were with Heather and the girls.
I soon found out.
I soon found out that it was
That's what it meant.
Nothing serious.
When you go to Hobby Lobby,
then Carino's, then Penny's,
then Bath & Body,
then Sonic,

I know I've looked for miniature clothespins before.
And couldn't find them.
Well, here they are bigger than life,
(well, not really)
in Hobby Lobby.
Colored or natural.
As soon as I set my house in order,
I'm going to buy the plain colored ones.
And think of something to do with them.
Like hang up mouse clothes?

I don't ever get the memo on what to wear
so I will match the happy majority.
I HAVE a striped top.
But no, I have to wear my plaid one.

So, if you only have one hand, and two girls,
one of the girls takes ahold of your skirt.
Train your kids to do this.
You will feel when they let go.
It's an old trick I learned
from Heather's mom.
My Bosom Buddy.
It works.

Had a pretty good time washing our hands
until Heather tried to wreck the paper towels.
You gotta watch her like a hawk.

I'm making a few changes around the house.
This is probably the best one so far....
I hope getting rid of the freezer works so well.....
I LOVE Snoopy,
this was perfect.
It isn't exactly a coffee-quote,
but it's always a good idea to be cool.....
and coffee is a good way to start the process
in the morning.
Thanks for the Funday, Heather.
I also bought a pair of white sandals.
Heather said, "I've never seen you wear white sandals."
I said,"It's cause I didn't have any until now."

Tuesday, August 19


It was Monday, not Tuesday.  But I didn't know that for most of the day.

Went to D & K's apartment.  Or their ship.  Whatever. For pizza.

We got Sonic and Daniel got a hot dog, while we waited for pizza.

This wasn't the pizza I was planning on, but it was still tasty.

This is no normal sidewalk.  This is the sidewalk in front of Kroger.....that runs right close to D&K's apartment.  It is pretty neat to walk to Kroger.  I always wanted to live close enough to my church, to walk to church.  Never has panned out.

Listened to the Happy Song....everybunny in the apartment loves it.  Including the little 7 year old.

Klarisa gave me a late? or very early birthday present. 
It is a box full of papers she wrote *happy* things on for me.
She knows me pretty well.
I guess I'm just an open book.
Last night I opened the box.....
The slip of paper said:
What the Deaf Man Heard
It's just about the best movie I've ever seen.
That's all.


Tuesday, August 12

Written By My Husband

Last night my wife and I were out till about 10:30 which is late for us.  It isn't that we have not been out this late before and even later on a few occasions.  But last night was the first night no one else cared or needed to know how late we were going to be.  It was our first night as true empty nesters.

It was a little over 32 years ago when m...y wife and I entered a covenant relationship before God.  I was 19 and she was well.....a few years older. We were married at the end of May and by the middle of July we were expecting our first child.  From that day when we realized we were going to have a baby till yesterday "the kids" were the focus of much of our attention.  Sara came along the following March, two years later in February Caleb was here and two years later Oliva made her grand entrance with one of our friends announcing it's a boy; well not quite :-)  The situation was reassessed very quickly.  Almost three years later Daniel came bursting onto the scene at a whopping 10lbs and some few ounces.  He has slimmed down some since then.  Almost three years later Kimberly came in record time, at least for us, and then four years later Lydia Rose was born into a family that now was made up of eight.

Thirty two years ago that all started.  There were only eight of us here together for about five years.  They are now all gone!  Our family has transitioned back to where it started 32 years ago.  It's me and my wife.  In a much bigger house, with a lot more stuff, with a lot nicer car, and half a life time of experiences raising children.  For the last 32 years, there have been pregnancies, breast-feeding, and doctor’s visits, tending to babies, managing a house full of children, tending to teenagers, and trying to strike the right balance with young adults!  My father-in-law says (I think in jest) "Don't get married and have children".  I like to repeat that because it’s kind of funny and it humorously underscores the difficulties attending family
life.  However, I would not trade my experiences with my children for anything.  I have learned some things from raising them that I probably could not have learned in any other way.  Child rearing is humbling work.   Unfortunately for them I learned a good part of it at their expense!  Hopefully they have all learned a thing or two from me; I know they have their mom.

She homeschooled all six of them, the whole time and on a very meager budget.  For twenty-seven years she homeschooled.  And there is no pension, no retirement benefits, no real financial remuneration.  It was a labor of love!  For several of those years she was homeschooling five at a time.  She still found time to sew, do flower gardening, and teach a Sunday School class for much of that time and most difficult of all try to keep me happy.  She fed and clothed a family of eight on at times what amounted to no money.  She found time to go to garage sales and have garage sales.  She sold cookies along with the kids for several years and has learned to turn a profit on buying and reselling.  I think I am married to Wonder Woman!

There was a time (a long time) when we had to figure out what we were going to do with "the kids" if we wanted some alone time.  There was a time when we made a yearly pilgrimage to a homeschool book fair.  We planned vacations with "the kids" in mind.  Surely they all remember having their turn for a trip up east!  And camping, and trails, and getting thirsty, and bike wrecks, and playing in the water, and buying ice and drinking pop and getting ice cream and the museums, and the trips to Kansas to see their other grandparents, and the station wagons and the van, the blue van!  Eight passengers!  Seems like it was made just for us.  And of course your Mom loved the fact that it was a Dodge!  We are eating out but everyone is getting water (except me). I'm the Papa!  When going to Galveston was a treat!  Making fun of each other!  There was a time when we couldn't leave without Mom wondering about "the kids".

Bunk beds, Legos, little ponies, hot wheels, coloring books, bikes, I Love Lucy, Andy Griffith, The Dick Van Dyke show, Anne of Green Gables, Fiddler on the Roof, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Beau Geste, Sgt. York, What The Deaf Man Heard, Bonanza, Chopped, The Inspirations, Domino's Pizza, Sonic & $.50 refills at Buckees (they were probably glad when we lost those refill cups), North and South . . . . . . . . . .

Thirty-two years is a long time to be devoted to something.  It is not that last night was the first night for me and my wife to go to bed alone in the house.  This has been a long time coming.  Twelve or thirteen years now.  But this was the first morning we woke up with the new norm.  We are sad and excited!  We are relived and reflective!  We lost a baby through miscarriage that would have been 14 this year.  That was a hard day!  It would be nice if he/she were here today.  But it would only delay the inevitable.  I knew it would always come to this and I am excited about new opportunities this affords my wife and I, but make no mistake about it I loved raising kids, I loved (and love) my kids.  The older I get the more I love kids (in smaller doses).  I have 8 grandkids and they are grand and they make me laugh and I love giving them a hard time, but I love my kids more!  And they will always be that "my kids".  And I miss them today!  And you can still cry when you are a man and 51!

Friday, August 8

Heading Home

I of course notice all the flowers planted along the way....
I'm not a great lover of petunias.....
but these were pretty neat.....
being striped and all.
And purple.

I also don't normally drink CODE RED MOUNTAIN DEW.
It was pretty good.
I'm also not normally in Iowa.
It was a beautiful farming state.
Loved to see the green fields.

My husband and I LOVE these places.
They have a coffee called:
Camp Fire
It is G.O.O.D.
Wish there were one closer.....
much rather go here then where we end up sometimes.

This was a spot in a cool Amish type store.....
I dunno about those Amish stores....
they're always run by NON-Amish people....
something doesn't seem natural even though
everything is *home-spun*

I love to see morning glories on string up the side of something.
I only have wild morning glories that grow
on my fence and don't bloom.
Oh well.

I don't even know where we were when we ate at LongHorn.
I just know we were headed south, headed home.
Salina, Kansas?
I think.

Friday morning we headed for Seward,
the little dirt road town that I grew up in.
I had a wonderful day visiting with my mom.
One of the best.
Enjoyed every minute of it......
We had pizza, looked at old pictures,
looked at her birthday cards.....talked about all kinds of things....
I pulled some grass out of the cracks of their sidewalk near the back door.
My mom and dad would NEVER have let grass grow in the cracks.
Now, it would take all day to make it right.
I feel bad for them.
They loved to take care of their stuff.
Now they can't.

Drove to my sister's on Friday afternoon, to stay the night with her.
It puts us a little over an hour closer to home
and it really helps.
She had this Snoopy dog ready for me.
She thought I would need it.
She was right.

Took a ride with Uncle Les.
He asked if we wanted to go to Carriage Crossing for pie.....
or Sonic for a drink.
I chose the pie.....
when we walked out to the garage.....
I then understood why he wanted to go to Sonic.
Cause people would stare at the car we were in.
Missed my chance to be great
and stared at.
(and the pie turned out to NOT be that great)

I sometimes look at the moon with a heavy heart.
It can be seen by all that I love.
The moon looks down on the people I love.
But I can't see the people I love.

Saturday morning.....
Guide Me Home...........

Denny's for breakfast.
This was supposed to be a pancake puppy.
Didn't look like one to me.

Part of the Dallas Skyline.
Reunion Tower

Then home.
And that's where I am right now.