Sunday, September 28, 2014

When I had Hannah Grace I use to read a lot of the “Parent Help” books trying to learn and prepare for the adventure of kids. It was suggested to establish a bedtime routine. So, I set forth a routine of three books, three songs, and a prayer. One of the girls’ favorite songs to sing was Old Mc Donald. When Eli came along, Hg was four and Abbey was two. So, after he was born, I started singing the song to say “Old McDonald had a farm. Eli, Eli - O.” The girls were so small, I’m not sure they even know that is not how it goes because we have always sung it that way even now when we sing it at bed time with the boys. So, feel free to try our version of Old McDonald sometime. We were at a Farm Saturday, which made me think of that little song.

“They are whole different kids when they are out here,” said Dr. Jennifer Cox, one of the physicians at the St. Jude Huntsville affiliate, as she overlooked Fun Day at the Farm sponsored by the Dr. Frank Crim Compassion Fund for Children with Cancer through Huntsville Hospital. Hosted at Shadowfax Equestrian Farm, the event invites local St. Jude patients who are seen at the clinic and their families to Dottie Berry’s place in Taft, Tennessee, to ride horses, pet farm animals, fish, and enjoy grilled hamburgers. It was a fun opportunity for us for the kids to be exposed to some things that is out of our usual environment.

Abbey and Caleb were pretty active and participatory, as usual. They got their faces painted, they tried to rope the plastic calf, they brushed the miniature donkeys, and pretty much did each thing that
 was available. They rode the horses several times and enjoyed that the most. Hg rode a horse once because I made her, and then tried to fish, which is her thing. But Eli pretty much only wanted to stick by Vic’s side. He did collect candy that was put out along the wagon trail ride. I made him ride a horse, and he did one lap. He did pet the goat and the bunny very quickly with a light touch, but that’s pretty much it.

The doctor’s and nurses from the clinic came out for the day, and it was fun seeing all of them outside of the clinic, some brought their kids, too. I was happy to meet Dottie, who seemed so genuinely hospitable and eager for the kids to enjoy themselves, and she had an outstanding crew to help her make the day happen. Events like that take forethought, planning, and execution of the forethought and planning by lots of giving people.
Eli had a clinic visit on Friday, as usual, and he skirted the line of needing any kind of infusion, but his ANC is the lowest it has been I think, which is 506. He should technically wear a mask at 500. A little scary since I am hearing a lot of stomach flu talk. We have had a pretty slow week - for us - and I hope it stays that way for a while. Homeschooling is just kind of happening. It doesn’t really seem to be very exciting for them, but someone gave us tickets to go to the Space and Rocket Center, and there is an exhibit at the event center from the Smithsonian. I hope to visit the event this week, and the Rocket Center will probably wait until November.

I think that I now have a plan for our next “Take Back when we Go Back” collection. If you have gently (very gently, like new) used or new (lots of last year’s on clearance) Halloween costumes, with all the pieces and parts with the costume in a taped shut ziploc bag (with the size sharpied on the
 outside, and maybe a title like “Star Wars Storm Trooper size Youth Small”). No overly scary or gory costumes, no devils or zombie dead people. Since Eli’s next scan is now not until November, I am going to test an effort that I’ve always wanted to do. I will be taking a small group of friends (that I can learn on) for a day trip to tour the hospital and Target House and make the donation. If it goes well, and if Eli continues to have good scans that are more than a couple months apart, I will take another group after the beginning of the year.

So, if you have costumes to donate: If you go to church with me, look for a bin under the stairs near the annex; if you go to ABS, I will have a bin near the kindergarten room; if you live locally, you may drop them at my house in a bin on the front porch, take them to the Grasshopper, 107 South Marion Street, Athens, AL 35611, whose hours are
Abbey getting a little taste of her own stubborn medicine.
M-Sat 10-5; if you live in the Madison area, you may drop them by Midway Cycle, 13487 Hatchett Rd E, Madison, AL 35757, whose hours are T-F 9-6 and Sat 9-3. If you have a class or team or club that would like to collect, just have one person be the collection person and take what is collected to one of these places. The costumes will be donated to Target House, which is the long-term housing for St. Jude patients. We probably will not do another drive until spring since there are many needs and opportunities during the holidays.

I am committing myself to leading a small troop of older Girl Scouts at school. We will not be very active beyond their personal pursuits of awards, and I will be more of fulfillment of red tape than a leader as these girls do most of what they need themselves. There are only four of them,
including Hannah Grace, who is the youngest. But, still I hope to provide what they need and help them reach their goals which were in danger of falling to the wayside due to no fault of their own. Eli and Caleb are trying out a new kind of troop, Trail Life, a kind of Boy Scouts organization. So far, Caleb loves it and Eli hates it, which is pretty much what you would expect. Caleb is still active in karate, and it is going to be interesting to see what happens when he moves into the sparing division.

Not much movement on the house, but we have a couple of long-shots we are looking in to. We are eager for our house to sell so that we can move on and possibly live settled for a bit before anything changes in our own journey. We need the house sold and resolved, so that we can scale-back,
minimalize our lives and prepare for the near and distant future. Now that Superhero Fun Day is over, I have project hang-over. My brain just can not be still sometimes, so many “visions” of potential projects and pursuits to distract me, yet nothing getting done. I would like to learn to feel accomplished when the laundry is done, and I know my family would like for me to learn that, too.

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