Monday, June 24, 2013

 I have shared before that my dad owned a moving company when I was growing up. Sometimes a customer would have large items that they didn’t want to take with them, or that just simply wouldn’t fit on the truck without a tailgate, which costs more. So, they would offer it to my dad, or ask him to come back later and clear it out. We got some weird stuff and some useful stuff that way. One of the useful things we got was a riding lawn mower when I was probably 10 or 12. Daddy would fill it up with gas, lift the blade and let us drive it all over the yard until it was empty. I thought it was so much fun. One time, Mama was mowing and drove it up on the storm shelter hill and it got stuck. She left it running, slinging dirt and grass as she jumped off of it hollering for help, vowing to never get on again. I don’t remember mowing the yard with it, but I do really like to mow. I always tell young wives that if it is something a man will do willingly, it’s either fun or rewarding or both. When I first became a stay-at-home mom with baby Hannah Grace, Vic would come home from work late and say something like “Ok, well, I’m going to get the yard done.” “Um, uh-uh, I’ve been inside all day with this screaming, pooping ball of preciousness? Nope, it’s daddy-time. I will mow the yard.” You are missing out, ladies, if you are not mowing your yard. I love the loud scratchy roar of the mower that drowns out all other sounds. I love the cutting of the grass making it all even. I love that I can soak up vitamin D and use the push-mower to get in my exercise for the day.
During Eli’s treatment we had a wonderful young man, who is headed to Harding University, offer to mow our yard last summer and into the fall at no charge. It was such an enormous load off of our plates, both financially and time-wise, as we were back and forth between home and Memphis. So, Thursday was my first day back at mowing the yard. I have not been able to get ahead of my inside housework enough to participate in the outside housework yet, so Thursday was the day. And, what made it an especially important day is that I put the kids behind the mower. There have been and are going to be many milestones in our family’s growth, but reaching the age of child labor feels so good! Now, understand that I have for many years taken great pains at preparing them for child labor.
Did it help me for Hannah Grace at 4-years-old to wad up the towels in an effort to fold them? No. Did it help me to let Abbey run the vacuum in the same spot over and over and over when she was 5? No, it would have helped for me to do those things myself, which I did have to go back and do (well, except for the vacuuming, sometimes the one spot was all that was going to get done).
I have tried for an hour to get this pic to save vertically, and just can't get it to. I'm sorry, but I thought Caleb's enthusiasm was so cute. He does love to help most of the time, and especially when he can use his dumptruck to carry laundry to the folding area. Eli, in the background, not so - happy with it.
But, finally … finally, now we have reached an age where their labor will actually be helpful - for the most part, some are still in training for various things. So, today, I put the oldest three behind the lawnmower and set Caleb to picking up sticks. The girls took turns, and Eli worked in about every three or four passes and picked up sticks. All of a sudden Hg’s nose started pouring blood. I have no idea why, maybe she has a severe allergy, maybe she was dehydrated because if I won’t pour her a glass of water she decides that suddenly she is not so thirsty if she has to do it. But, her head hurt and she laid down for the rest of the evening pretty much. Eli held the straightest line with the mower, but quickly gave out physically. Abbey’s line got better, and she stuck it out until the end and even began cranking it herself. I so much enjoyed working them in, and staying outside all afternoon.
catching fireflies just like the Wild Kratts -one of
our fav TV shows.

Last week was a busy summer week. The boys took swim lessons and showed much improvement by Friday. Neither could actually swim, but their confidence and interest had obviously grown. We are able to go to our neighborhood pool more now with Caleb able to touch the bottom near the steps. My attention and energy is not so distracted with all of them, and they can easily carry their own ‘stuff’ to and from the pool. There has not been a summer yet, since the kids have been going to a school, I don’t think, where I have been able to maintain any kind of exercise routine. When they were younger, I couldn’t even get on the treadmill because it was too loud during nap time. And if I did it while they were awake, I couldn’t hear them to know what they were doing or they inevitably would need me for this or that. I always hated to hand the kids to Vic as soon as he walked in the door from work every day, so I have never done anything consistently during the summers.
But if we can go to the pool twice a week and I hand the kids to Vic a couple nights a week (because I’m over that part about not handing him the kids when he’s been at work all day thing), then I might make it through a summer without my weight loss and fitness going backward. That would be huge because of the “training” I’m trying to do for the half marathon at St. Jude. I am incredibly nervous about being ready for it – both in finishing the race without dying, and in raising the $1000 to which I committed. So, here’s another plug that if you regularly give to St. Jude or to charity, please consider using our team as your channel to do so. Your entire donation goes directly to St. Jude and is tax deductible. The team name is North Alabama Foot Soldiers. Something we want to use as a fundraiser is to sell T-shirts to support the cause, but we are looking for a single sponsor to go big with their logo on the back to buy the shirts (use your advertising dollar for good!!). That would pay for the shirts, and then we would sell them to individuals with all funds going to St. Jude. So, if you have a business that has ad dollars to spend, message me. We are also still collecting for an online auction, looking for football/event tickets, memorabilia, gift cards to restaurants, etc. (still a car, yes). Please, please, if you can help with any of those kinds of items, I will be much indebted.

Again, sorry for the flip-over. Caleb getting ready to "spar."

So, I accidentally did interval training with Stacey Glover Saturday as we took to the trails of Swan Creek about 8 p.m. Saturday night – the night of the super moon. With the howl of coyotes in the near distance, we ran at a good clip for my stubbies under the shadows of the forest canopy, but I would have to walk after a few minutes, then we would pick it up again. It was nothing for her, but hopefully her heart rate was elevated from fear (again) at least. As long as your heart rate is up, it’s a work-out, right? If I didn’t have fear as an obstacle for her, I’m not sure how good of a workout she gets running with me anyway.
The kids are still taking Karate, and seem to like it except Caleb gets a little upset sometimes. I think just the structure of the class and being pushed physically, he is just not use to. Just like in soccer camp, he is just learning what it is like to be pushed and to deal with other kids. I’m still making Hg play volleyball, but she is not enjoying it. I whole-heartedly believe that she will rue the day she quits it, but I made a deal with her that if she prepares for cross-country then she can do that instead. But, so far, I ain’t seen her running, and the deal is off the table if she ain’t ready. If you ask her what sport she would like to play, she will say Rugby or swimming, two sports that ABS will never have, so it is safe to pick them. I offered swimming to her for the city, but she of course declined because she knows from past participation how hard it is and how much practice is required.
I’ve got some leads on how to get a children’s book published about Eli’s journey, written by the mother of a friend at church. I really hope to get that going, and find a way to pay for that publishing to raise money for St. Jude as well. Not as part of the race, I have no idea when that will be able to happen, but it is something I’ve got working on the side.
St. Jude called with his next MRI. It is scheduled for September 9 and they are going to test him for growth hormone deficiency while we are there, too. We expect it to show that he is deficient, but I just try to be careful and not get too upset about it because there are so many mothers who wish they had their son to give growth hormones to. There is always somebody worse off than me, so we have got to celebrate the blessings – the disguised and the obvious.

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