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Autumn Update

The first time I handed out apples for Halloween, was, I think, the year before Jeremy was born. David was taking Kevin around to family and friends, and I was home with the porch light on and apples in a bowl. Most kids seemed happy about the apples, but not one. He knocked on the door and I opened it and held out my bowl of apples. He looked down at it and said, a little angrily, “Apples! I don’t want an apple!”

“Well, that’s all I’ve got,” I said. And he turned around and stalked back down the sidewalk to his dad, who was waiting at the curb.

What did you say to her?!?!” Dad yelped. And I shut the door with a bit of a smile. Halloween is a nice time to learn manners and appropriate behavior.  And I’ve persevered.

This year, I bought four bags of apples for Trick-or-Treaters. I emptied three of the bags into a basket to take to the door. I didn’t count the apples, but it seems like I maybe gave out about one-and-a-half bags worth.

The weather forecast was dreary, but the rain had fallen late in the afternoon, and by time kids came, things were just damp. I think our house might have been the only one on our block with the porch light on.

A group of three or four came early, and then there was quite a lull. But, later, there were several doorbell rings and small groups of children, all ages, and all dressed up.

I’m still a little amazed that most kids think that apples are a cool thing to get for Halloween (and I’m determined to be the lone voice of reason in a sea of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups–which I would eat six of every day, if I was allowed that sort of thing–the Reese’s, not apples).

One little fellow, the smallest of his group, the ‘way smallest of any group, stood solidly by the door as his companions reached, one by one, into the basket for their apples. For every apple they put in their bag, he put another apple in his little plastic pumpkin, saying, rather zombie-like, “Apple! Apple! Apple! ” with every one. I finally stopped him, because I was afraid that he wouldn’t be able to get safely down the steps without falling over sideways from the significant weight of his apple-filled pumpkin.

Lots of apples remain, which is not as much fun as an apple basket full of Butterfingers, but better to have around. We may need to make applesauce in Sunday School.

Meanwhile, the fall plant report.

As long as the earth remains,
there will be planting
    and harvest,
    cold and heat;
winter and summer,
    day and night.

Genesis 8:22 (Contemporary English Version)

 

 

And, I suppose, squirrels.

 

Ring! Ring!

(When I typed in the title of this, I made a typo, and put in “Ring! Rong!” instead of “Ring! Ring!” When, in truth, “Ring! WRONG!” was really more accurate.) Here’s what happened:

West Avenue School

West Avenue School

On December 15, I attended the Christmas program presented by students at West Avenue Elementary School, where I volunteer each Tuesday at lunchtime for Reading Club. I have three second graders this year. I asked them about the program, and two of them said they weren’t going to go. One said, oh, yes, he was going to be in the program. I like to support the school and the kids, and I said I was going to come.

Usually, the programs are on the school cafeteria stage, and the lunchroom is REALLY crowded! But, the younger kids sing first, and, as the Pre-K’s finish, their families get them and go on home. Then the Kindergartners sing. And leave. So, things thin out a little bit. But, it’s something of a fire hazard, I suppose, for a little while.

13631542_1062690100433815_5233553297212274195_nThis year, however, the event was at Waco High School’s Performing Arts Center. Big ol’ stage. LOTS of seats. Plenty of room. And lots of parking space.

The program was scheduled to begin at 5:30, and I arrived in plenty of time to park and get inside and settled in my comfy seat. Previously I would try to get to school to be able to park close, so I wouldn’t have to walk too far in the dark at the program’s end. But I would sit way at the back, so all those other parents and families could be close to watch their little kids perform.

I must admit that, in this larger venue, I chose an aisle seat, so I, too, could leave early. In previous years, I had fourth or fifth graders, so needed to stay until the very end, to watch my own kids and maybe get a chance to meet their families. This year, I looked forward to getting on home a little earlier.

The program was fun and the children were cute. I took several photos, to be able to print one out to give my Reading Club kid. I did stay all the way through the third grade group, but there was a lull while the stage was reset for the 4th and 5th grade play. I made my exit.

At home, I relaxed and did some work on the computer, and then looked for my phone to download the pictures. I patted my pockets. Not there. I looked around on my desk. Not in sight. And, instead of spending time searching the house, picking up ever single piece of paper and magazine and Christmas card, instead of going out and going through all the nooks and crannies of the car–I signed in to ICloud.

I’m sitting there, watching everything, waiting for the right screen to show up, and yes, here comes the map, and I’m ready to punch “Play Sound,” but THE PHONE IS NOT ON COLLINS DRIVE!!!! IT’S IN HEWITT!!!

OLLIE!!! MOLLIE!!! GOLLIE!!! WHAT’S MY PHONE DOING IN HEWITT?!?!?!!?

I then did the sensible thing–I called Kevin. In full panic mode. “MY PHONE’S IN HEWITT!!!” He was just about as alarmed as I was. But not screeching about it. I explained that I’d been to the Waco High Fine Arts Center, and that I was 100% positive that I had the phone there because I’d taken pictures with it. After that, I couldn’t remember anything I’d done with it. And, I’d seen the “Lost Mode” button, next to the “Play Sound” button, but I wasn’t exactly sure what that did. I was, however, pretty sure I didn’t want to select the “Erase Phone” button until I knew if I should.

We did discuss, briefly, the Worst Case Scenario version–that someone had found it and was, at that very moment, trying to sell it.

He signed onto my screen (because he knows how to do that) and activated the “Lost Mode” which puts a message on the phone that says, “I’m a lost phone. Please call this number . . .” and Kevin added my phone number. Then he said he would “Play Sound” every few minutes, to let whomever had the phone to know that we knew it was lost. After I’d calmed down a little (and handed over the phone-finding responsibilities), I said, “I suspect that that’s the principal’s house that’s showing up on the screen. I bet someone found it and gave it to him. Him or the music teacher.” That was really the most sensible scenario. Kevin and I hung up, to let someone who did have the phone call me. And, unbeknownst to us, the principal actually was at that very moment, frantically searching his house to try to find out what was making that HORRIBLE noise!!

Once he found the phone and saw the “lost” message, he called (and I said I would let Kevin know, quickly, so he would stop that awful pinging). I went to the school the next day to get it. And all was well.

 

Jesus told the people another story:

What will a woman do if she has ten silver coins and loses one of them? Won’t she light a lamp, sweep the floor, and look carefully until she finds it? Then she will call in her friends and neighbors and say, “Let’s celebrate! I’ve found the coin I lost.”

Jesus said, “In the same way God’s angels are happy when even one person turns to him.”

Luke 15:8-10 (Contemporary English Version)

 

Ah, yes. I do understand, a little, about lost things being found.

I really am trying to be a better phone-minder. I’m trying to always purchase clothing with good, deep pockets. I’m pretty good about plugging it in regularly. But every now and then I’m caught off-guard. A few days ago, I was at the computer when it pinged to let me know a text had come. I also heard, down at my left-hand side, a text message ping from my phone. I touched my skirt pockets. No phone was there. I looked down on my desk. No phone. I moved papers. No phone. I moved a little basket w/coupons in it. Nope. I leaned over to look behind the computer. Nothing there. And then I noticed:

My shirt pocket was all aglow.Okay. So I AM responsible, after all. Usually. Often. Sometimes.

My shirt pocket was all aglow.Okay. So I AM responsible, after all. Usually. Often. Sometimes.

 

 

 

When the Grandchildren Come

Well, at our house, it’s the grandchild. He’s our one and only. And it’s just as great as people have said it would be, and as I suspected it would be. Which doesn’t mean that we don’t have our moments…

But for every disagreement there are many, many more moments of delight and joy and charm.

And of course, at grandparents’ house, things can be a little more lax. Vegetables at most meals at home. Vegetables at some meals at Mimi and Grandad’s. At home, a regular, specific bedtime routine beginning at about 7 o’clock: bath, book, bed. In Waco, well, at 7:30 or so, it’s: bath, ice cream and Nutty Bar, two or three or four books, and bed. And things rock along pretty well for all three of us.

A few weeks ago, some folks across the street cut down a tree in their back yard, doing some work before getting the house ready to rent. The limbs and leaves and lengths of trunk have been out on the curb for weeks, waiting for the city to come and pick it all up. Meanwhile, I sent David there a couple of weeks ago to get two of the trunk pieces for Peter to use for woodworking. The garage gets pretty warm right now, but Peter did spend a little time out there with his new tools.

We went to Target Thursday, mainly for a prescription and some groceries. You can get everything you need there for a great lunch!

 

But he was sitting quietly in the living room, putting the cards from a Dr. Seuss game in a plastic bag that usually holds colored large craft sticks. He was a little miffed that I showed up, and he tried to send me back to the sleeper car, but I insisted that I had some chores to do. He was exasperated that I would not stay put. I have not idea what he had in mind for his next activity (w/out Mimi's supervision).

After post-lunch “quiet play time” in the living room (which is essentially Peter’s room, as it is where he sleeps and where all the toys are), I went to release him from there and we ended up playing for the next couple of hours. At one point, we pretend rode the TRE, which is a commuter train in Fort Worth that Peter and friends took a ride on for Peter’s birthday celebration, back in January. We walked around the house, on the TRE, and ended up in the guest room which was the “sleeper car.” (FYI, the TRE is a commuter train and doesn’t have a sleeper car, but, apparently, according to Peter, it should.) By then, I was pretty happy to lie down and close my eyes. After all too sort a time, Peter left. Eventually, I went off to locate him, imagining all sorts of unsupervised devilment that might be happening.

But he was sitting quietly in the living room, putting the cards from a Dr. Seuss game in a plastic bag that usually holds colored large craft sticks. He was a little miffed that I showed up, and he tried to send me back to the sleeper car, but I insisted that I had some chores to do. He was exasperated that I would not stay put. I have no idea what he had in mind for his next activity (w/out Mimi’s supervision).

For dinner, his idea was that we should have a BIG grilled cheese sandwich, that everyone could share. I couldn’t quite figure out how to do that, but I did make some homemade bread in the bread machine (oh, yes, I did, because it makes a taller loaf and I could make a bigger grilled cheese sandwich than usual). So, the three of us shared two big grilled cheese sandwiches. And ate the rest of the cucumber.

Then he and David went to the Mayborn Museum, which is open late on Thursdays, and they always do that when he comes. (I’m not the only pushover in the house.) Friday morning, we’re going on a first-thing-in-the-morning-before-the-temperature-gets-unbearable trip to the zoo, to see the elephants, giraffes, and orangutans, which we didn’t see last month when we went. Then, a stop by the zoo’s splash pad to cool off.

IMG_1458Saturday is supposed to be much cooler (well, in the 90’s instead of 104). David is supposed to help Peter practice kicking a soccer ball into a tiny, preschool-sized soccer goal, because he’s going to play soccer this fall. April ordered cleats for him, and they arrived this evening.

  Grandparents are proud
    of their grandchildren,
    and children should be proud
    of their parents.

Proverbs 17:6  (Contemporary English Vesion)

And my favorite thing he said this trip: When I went to get Peter on Wednesday, I had lunch with him and Kevin and April at their house. At one point, we were talking about our respective Sunday School classes (their kindergartners and my 3’s, 4’s, and 5’s). I said to Peter, “In a few months, you’ll be four!” “I know,” he said. “I’m so excited about being 4 years old.” “You’re really growing,” I said.

He became quite serious, and said, (with sort of choppy, delineating hand motions) “First you turn one. Then you turn two. Then you turn three. Then you turn four. Then you turn five. Then you turn six. Then you turn seven. Then you turn eight. Then you turn nine. Then,” (a brief pause, for dramatic effect, I suppose), “you turn ten.”

Kevin and I waited for a moment, then Kevin, said, “And then what,” expecting some more numbers, because Peter usually counts pretty reliably to about thirty. Peter looked at him, shrugged his shoulders a little and said, “Then you die.” I’m so proud.