Monday, April 21, 2014

Eli and Vic with Bill Ford.
I’m learning that if you give it a name, it’s family. Doesn’t matter if it has an engine; if it is stuffed; or if it is not much more than a living, breathing - albeit water breathing - piece of home decor. The last of the Williams family moved over to Betts’ house Wednesday. We have had goldfish since the Halloween before Eli was diagnosed in December 2011. That was two and a half years ago, and of the five, we still have three.

Abbey holding the fish in transport.
On Wednesday, I moved the 20-gallon tank, plus Bugsy, a Moor goldfish, Robot, a Comet goldfish, and Baby, a Fantail goldfish, which is the smallest. We have tried to persuade the kids to give them up to a good home (tank and all the fixin’s); or give them back to the pet store (which it will take used goldfish to resell) so someone else can buy them again and enjoy them; or release them into a friend’s garden goldfish pond (which I know they would not survive, but can at least add to the
The fish at their new home.
 compost); or release them into a city goldfish pond with monster-size goldfish so that they can grow huge (again, I know they would not survive, but the thought was fun). Vic is tired of dealing with them, the girls are lukewarm with their chores to feed them. But, Abbey, my animal gal, turns on the waterworks when the subject is pushed, and Caleb was uneasy about it.
Eli looking at a 2015.

They had to be moved regardless because we are replacing carpet in the family room while we are having it put upstairs. So, no matter the destination, knowing the likelihood that they survive any move was slim (especially if I am doing it because goldfish are fragile, as is their environment, and my impatient nature to get things done and move on just isn’t a good match for fragile), I agreed to appease Abbey and we moved them to mom’s to be with us.

Those particular species of goldfish are hardy and can live up to 10 years. We’ll see. The move was traumatic for all involved, and for all that was involved. Catching them in a bucket; scooping the water out; cleaning the tank with distilled water; filling it with treated water; getting the water to the right temperature; disposing of the water and fish-poopie rock in the bottom; keeping the fish and nasty water steady during travel (I will
Mark Fields, COO of Ford.
pretend that was successful); freaking out because they stopped swimming and Hg said they were “stress breathing” like one thousand times in the 10 minutes it takes to drive from the pet store where we bought new rock to mom’s place.

Finally, they were in despite the girls reprimanding me for not waiting to acclimate them to the water. I do not have time to acclimate my child to kindergarten, much less fish to water. I needed to check off the chore and  close out my prep for the renovation crew. Once we finally had the tank in place with the treated water, clean rock, we had to hit the filter with a can to get it to start, but it did. Yay! Then the fish took a few minutes to liven up once we got them back in the tank with all new water and gravel. They stayed close and still for a while, but
Eli was excited to see this life-size Hot Wheels.
 then food started floating down in font of them and they would suck it up. By bedtime, they seemed like normal and when we left at 1530 hours Thursday to come to Nashville for the weekend, they were still kickin’.

So, while I was finishing cleaning out the house for the renovation and splashing around in putrid pet water, Eli and Vic were on the road to Charlotte, North Carolina. Eli was a guest of the Mustang Club of America for Mustang’s 50th birthday party on April 17, held at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. He was so excited, I can tell the difference in the smiles in his pictures. He got to see first run models from 1964, and the debut of the much-anticipated re-design for 2015. A big thank you goes to Steve Prewitt, MCA President, for getting Eli there and facilitating the meet-and-greets for Eli with the
While finishing packing, I filled this is 18-gallon bin with all of
our Hot Wheels, minus about 20 that I suspect are in church bags,
or jacket pockets, or car pockets. And, minus the 50 that I keep
for little prizes just to give when I want to give. And, minus
the 1:64 size Mustangs that are filling up a 7-gallon bin.

 execs, and to our local club president Joseph Scott and his dad for guiding the guys and making sure they knew what to do and where to go so that they didn’t miss anything fun.

Eli got to meet Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford, Henry Ford’s great grandson, who autographed the box of a diecast 2015 Mustang toy for him. He also met Mark Fields the, COO of Ford. He got to again see the grabber blue Boss 302 that was at his car show to which he awarded the “Eli’s Choice” certificate. He gravitates to the 302’s for some reason, and even liked a yellow one at the party. I think he likes the striping. But Vic said one of his very favorites Thursday was a Mustang police car. He loves police cars. And, we had one “I Spy Eli”, so that is always fun to have the online connections connect in real life. I’m so jealous Eli and Vic got to go. I don’t know a lot about the innards of cars, but I have always been attracted to cars ever since I was a little girl. I am eager to see a 2015 in person. I love American Muscle cars, and I
Eli's puppet team won first place for fourth grade (it was a mix
of third/fourth, but mostly third). I was so relieved because all the
kids did wonderful, absolutely wonderful and Eli was clearly the
weak link in the strength of his voice and the strength of his arm to
hold up the puppet. So, Vic and I were so glad that his limits did
not limit the team. They have all been precious to him.
 like them to look muscular. So, I’m hoping the exterior is buff enough to support the strength under the hood, but I just need to see it in person.

So, while Vic and Eli were partying with the Mustang family, the other kids and I were driving to Nashville to kick off our Lads to Leaders weekend in Nashville at the Opryland Hotel. (It’s a good thing I know how to drive a manual because all I do is shift gears all day long every day.) Lads to Leaders is a program that creates opportunities for youth to learn and practice leading aspects of worship. Kids can participate in team and individual events that shape and grow their skills and attitudes while learning and studying God’s Word. It is supported by the churches of Christ, and Nashville alone had 10,000 convention goers. There are several other like conventions throughout the country on Easter weekend, which is when it is always held each year. All of our kids
Only big kids in the Williams family now.
 had something in which they had been working toward participating. Caleb and Eli did songleading; Eli, Abbey and Hg are on puppet teams; and Abbey and Hg did speech. Eli chose one of his favorite songs to lead, “This World is Not My Home.” You can watch the video here. We have been working toward this weekend since the first of the year, and it makes for a nice little family vacation - except it is no vacation, but what vacation is really? We arrived Thursday night and the kids always like to eat at the Rain Forrest Cafe at Opry Mills, and this trip is not considered a success if we have not been to the lego store. Getting to the hotel with the kids and all of our stuff is a huge, stressful accomplishment. It is when Vic and I both are here, but me by myself was an extra challenge. The girls were a lot of help in their own way. It all just kind of fell into place with very small kinks that were easily dealt with. This is our third year to participate in the convention and we like participating, I think. Vic doesn’t like to pay for us to have two rooms, so we cram into a regular hotel room. We are pretty use to cramming by now, but, the kids are too long to lay them longways so we sleep three to one bed, then had one in a sleeping bag each night, and that person usually got the best sleep for some reason. We are getting
We got to meet Blake, a fellow medullo fighter,
at L2L. He was diagnosed just a few weeks
before Eli and is doing well. He is the nephew
of a friend at church, so we have been following
him and praying for him for a while.
 better at navigating the hotel, but I do allow time to get lost and recover so that I am on time when I finally do find my destination. The kids all did great in their events as far as we are concerned. For our little family, just participating is a huge success for all of us, and they did very well beyond that. Each one got to stand on the stage at the awards ceremony for something. The preparation to participate, then getting there, then actual execution of what we have practiced, is success for us. Phew! It is tiresome, but I can see the kids growing, learning and loving service in the Lord. I videotaped Eli doing his song, but excuse the shaking of the camera. I just could not control my emotions. I felt so bad and tried desperately to hold it together and not be distracting. A little boy even so kindly brought me kleenexes between songs, so I must have failed at my attempt. And, I wanted to thank him for rescuing me, because, I was having to use my shirt. If I didn’t, snot and tears would have pooled. I should have thought of the kleenex thing. I just didn’t realize that I was that close to the edge, and I don’t carry a purse or anything. We were on the second row, sitting right behind Eli, and if I had known how awful I was going to be, I would have stayed at the back of the room. But, now, I didn’t want to leave and miss Caleb because he would wonder where I was. They don’t want you coming in and out if you can help it, so I was kind of stuck. I just could not get a hold of it. I really had no idea that I was that on edge and I really
Back to business Monday morning. Lab check!
 felt bad for the other little boys. I hope they didn’t notice and they all did so, so, good, which almost made me worse because they were such precious little men standing up there. When Eli was done and sat down, he turned around, rolled his eyes, and whispered, “Mama, would you please not cry during my song. It is distracting.”

We made it home Sunday afternoon, and were welcomed by the chaos that is home. The Easter Bunny did leave gift bags on the card table that we use for our kitchen table that is actually in the living room. The boys (and Abbey who likes to pretend that she doesn’t know) were very worried about missing the Easter Bunny.

We are wrapping up the DVD donations. We leave Tuesday, April 22, about 2 p.m. from Athen, so if you have one, let me know ASAP. Scans Thursday! Please, pray that we are continuing in the right direction. Eli seems to be doing well, except tired a lot, but who isn’t.

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