Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

17 Sept Forgot to mention, during the first hour of our trip to Gulf Port TJ chipped his tooth!

18 Sept We went to the church our friends suggested this morning. The preacher asked our boys to help with the offering. He said they would call for us when it was time, and we could see where it was listed on the bulletin. But the song leader was actually the youth pastor, and he introduced the song and said something about the offering and we were unsure if that was the time for the boys go up! We sent Max upfront during the song to ask him if he wanted to take up the offering and and he said yes. Then at the end of this song/offering the pastor said, “Well, I guess that’s the first time we’ve ever taken up an offer without paying for it first!” So apparently the fill-in song leader should have told Max no. After church we went back to the bus and had lunch and then got to the beach around 2. We were there about an hour when it started raining and we came back to the bus.

I worked on the grocery list for a little bit and then went to Walmart by myself. TJ was feeling like burgers so I make sure to get some meat for that. He made some awesome burgers that we all enjoyed.

19 Sept Tj called first thing, about 9 a.m. to see if he could make an appointment for his tooth. The lady said she had an opening at 10 a.m. so we got moving really quickly. I packed some granola bars for the boys and TJ hopped in the shower. I made sure to bring the mattress pad we bought for Max last night because I needed to exchange it for a thinner one. The bed motor wouldn’t compress the 3-inch one enough, so now we have a 2 inch mattress pad.

TJ ended up being about 5 minutes late for his appointment, and it was so far away from the bus that the boys and I needed to find something to do. Just driving around I found a thrift store that we went in, but found nothing we had to have. On the way to Walmart to exchange the mattress we saw a McDonald’s with a playground so we stopped in there for a little bit. I bought the boys some pancakes and each of us a drink. As soon as I paid for it TJ texted me and said they could only file the tooth down a little bit, and that I needed to go right back and get him. So I let the boys play on the playground for about 5 more minutes and then we went to get TJ.

On the way back to the original Walmart we stopped at a putt putt golf to see if it was open and it was so we played 18 holes. After that we went to Tin Top restaurant recommended by John for lunch. We had tuna steak, fried fish, and the Reds. All was great. During the golf game TJ’s phone kept going off with other guys getting notified about their class day. Of course he was pretty antsy to get his email. On the way back to the truck from the restaurant he got his email; indoc starts October 10th. We still don’t know exactly what that means for us since his class date might not start immediately after indoc.

We went to Matt’s Homemade Ice Cream Parlor and I got german chocolate ice cream in a sundae, heavenly! Then we finally went to Walmart to exchange that mattress. We went home and threw all our swimsuits on and headed right to the beach for a few hours. Saw 3 jellyfish, a turtle and some kind of ray in the water!

As soon as we got home from swimming I cut all 3 boys hair, then Max, Jack and I showered in the park’s showers to get all that hair and sand off. We had leftovers for supper and TJ was going to take the trash down to the dumpster afterwards but it started pouring right before we sat down to eat. It’s a good thing he waited! The boys are in bed now and we’re about to watch a show and hit the hay. Tj leaves for work tomorrow, it may be the last time he works for Atlas. He’ll probably give notice in a couple of days! In other news Papa has finally seen a doctor who says he’s seen the kind of pain he’s been experiencing for the last several months and he feels fairly confident that he can help Papa out.

Saturday, September 17th, 2016

8 Sept While watching TV the TV and back A/C went out! Tj was away, but I called him and he was available. He had me check the breakers under the bed. None of them looked flipped but I turned the correct one off and on again and everything worked! He’s my hero!

9 Sept The boys and I packed up school and laundry and went to Kelly’s to do wash. I brought tuna for lunch. I did school with Jack in her living room, and Max set up on the kitchen table where Kelly was also working. We took a break for lunch and watched TV. When school was over Kelly and Max went to get Avery and they played for a little while.

10 Sept (Saturday) We did school today. Wednesday we didn’t have any school so today was a catch-up day. I sat with Max while he wrote a couple of reports, and at the end of the day we went to a park for the boys to play in the water again.

11 Sept Since TJ was still away I found us a church to go to. One of the things that was advertised on the website about the church was a terrific organ and choir, and they didn’t lie. It was a beautiful church and it was awesome to sit there and listen to the wonderful music. One thing I didn’t notice till I was going to sleep Saturday night was that this church said that they have women ministers. I was too tired to find a different church so I made sure that the head pastor was male…I was fairly certain a guy would be preaching Sunday morning. Since we were only going to be going there for one service I let that slide. I’ll be more careful next time.

I found out I had to park in the parking garage and we got there just fine. I saw a man get out of his car and put his blazer on so I felt sure he was going to church, so I asked him if we could follow him in. Finding the church entrance connected to the parking garage wasn’t that hard, I just didn’t feel like walking around and looking for it. That turned out to be a mistake; he would not let us go! I know he was just being nice, he wanted to make sure that we found our seats and everything was okay, but when the service ended he pounced on us again and wouldn’t take no for an answer. I knew we could find our way back to the car no problem, and I had to tell him so at least six times!

We went to Walmart on the way home to pick up a few groceries, and on the way out I saw Heidi (from the campground)! I told her we’d be leaving on Tuesday, and it was a little bit sad that we didn’t get to know them better. Oh well, that’s the way living in the bus is going to go I guess.

12 Sept I left Max in the bus while Jack and I went to get Tj. In general I don’t plan to ever leave him alone, but we had been at the park for 2 weeks, and I was only going to be gone for about 40 minutes, and I wanted him to be able to finish his school work on time today.

I made chicken and potatoes in the instant pot; good but bland. TJ was pretty wiped out so he took a nap right after lunch while the boys and I did school. I think Max might need to be at the desk for school, so Jack and I set up the little white table in the living room with his blanket on the floor as a cushion. It worked pretty well. Max did a pretty good job with his school, he finished all but his report on Mexico, so TJ and I decided to go play some tennis.

This second lesson was much better than the first. I don’t know if I was just tired that day or I was hungry or what, but today we did a little bit better. I set the timer for 30 minutes and the time flew by! Afterwards we went to Cookout for a last hamburger here and it didn’t disappoint. We went back to the bus and worked around a little bit and then went to bed.

13 Sept We left the park around 12:30 p.m. It should take 4 hours or so to get to Mom’s, and another hour to get set up. We’re interested to see if the truck’s battery will be dead or charged when we get there. Max finished his school work around 1:30 today! We are completely caught up with all that he has to do, including all book reports, vocabulary words written and all objectives/goals written. The only thing I haven’t checked, and will try to start checking on Fridays, is that he’s written down every wrong answer correctly in his notebook. We’re a hundred percent caught up on all school work. Yippee kai yay! I’ve let it slide here and there so he could go to parks and play with friends, mostly just the handwriting and the projects, but as of today it’s all done. Whopee! I feel like such a grown up!

Sept 14 Alarm 7:30, went to Mom’s 9ish, waited for they guy to call saying the trailer was on it’s way to the storage unit. Tj called around 11 and again around 3. We went to Jo’s and put the gun safe together and plugged it in. We went to get a few groceries at Walmart, and to look at a foam mattress for Max’s bed. The boys have been roughhousing so much on his Coleman blow-up mattress that now the parts that tie the top and bottom together are coming undone, so he has a big bubble on one side of his mattress and the rest of it is flat. We’re hoping a 3-inch foam mattress will be comfortable enough and will compress enough to fit in the one and a half inch space allotted. If not I guess we get an extra mattress for our bed! Tj got a call at 4:40 saying the truck was an hour out. We dropped Jack off at Mom’s…she bathed both boys and took them to church. We waited in the storage facility for half an hour before the truck showed up around 6:10. Of course by then my BIL couldn’t help us anymore.

The truck with our household goods was packed to 25′, and by the time we left around 9pm we’d cleared 6′. Hopefully we’ll clear all the rest tomorrow! We drove to WM for milk and bread and then back to the bus. About 25 minutes from our site Tj remembered that the gate closed at 10 or 10:30!!! The GPS said we’d get to the bus at 9:58 so he felt we would have plenty of time. And we did.

15 Sept Started unpacking at 10:10, and finished at 8:20pm. It’s my mom’s birthday today and she came and helped us! She’s such an awesome mom!

Of course it was really hard work, and we both worked all day long. We probably stopped three or four times for 10 minutes or so each time to swig Gatorade, and once I folded up a couple of pieces of salami with a piece of cheese and that’s all we had for lunch. I had a handful of almonds 3 or 4 times, but we just wanted to get it all done, and we did. Thank God! My mom didn’t eat anything the whole time she was there! I can’t believe the three of us we’re able to move everything, but we did. Tj pulled more than his share of the load, obviously. I’m so thankful for such a wonderful husband who takes care of me. My dad watched the kids all day which was completely awesome as well. My parents have been such a great help to us this whole time. I’m so thankful to have them.

My mom left around 7 or 7:30. By this point everything was off of the truck, all of the heavy stuff was in the storage unit, and we just had to move all the boxes that we piled up outside of the truck into the storage units. She went through the McDonald’s drive-thru on the way home and when she got home Papa told her to go straight into the shower; she told him she couldn’t even do that, she had to sit down first. She worked her tail off with us today. When we finished up we went to Walmart to buy Max’s mattress but they were all out. Tj had ripped his jeans right at the crotch during the move so he stayed in the truck while I went inside.

When we got to Mom’s both the boys have been bathed and fed and Papa said we should just leave them there for the night, so we did. Mama had already offered that while we were working so I took them up on their offer. I bought mom a little lemon pound cake for her birthday, I wish I had thought to buy her some lemon curd instead, I’m sure that would have been a better gift. On our way home we went through the McDonald’s drive-thru and Tj got a Double Quarter Pounder with cheese for his meal. I was driving and decided to wait for bean dip and ruffles for my supper when we got back to the bus. We threw our stuff down and gathered stuff for a shower right away. I told TJ I wasn’t going to hurry the shower, I just wanted to let lots of water wash lots of dirt away. It felt so good! We slept pretty soundly tonight.

16 Sept Today’s our anniversary! We were pretty lazy and slept in and read our phones a good bit before getting up. Mama texted me at 8 a.m.! saying she had breakfast ready whenever we wanted to get there. I gathered all the laundry and we got there around 11am. Papa had put Max’s new tires on his bike, and in doing so he punctured one of the inner tubes. When TJ got back from buying a new inner tube we all sat down and had brunch. You just can’t beat Mama’s biscuits, bacon, sausage and of course the eggs fried in all the bacon grease! After that I started laundry and Max continued his school work. We hung around there all day. Mama enforced nap time and nobody was complaining, except Jack.

We watched the boys ride their bikes lots and lots on Mom’s driveway. And we met her new neighbors today too. They’re homeschoolers and their dad’s a swim coach. She was a special ed teacher; I may have to pick her brains for help about Jack. πŸ™‚ Around 5 or so TJ started asking what we were eating for supper. We packed all our stuff up and said our goodbyes and thank-yous and headed off to a Mexican restaurant where I had the most amazing cheese and chorizo concoction.

We headed out to get ice cream after that and I got pulled over! I wondered if it was because I got into a right hand turn lane by crossing a solid line, but really the opportunity to drive on the dashed line was so tiny I felt insulted! When the cop came to my door he said it was because our tag light was out. Of course it seemed like he took forever to check my driver’s license, and I couldn’t remember which address of the 40,000 we have now I was supposed to say was our permanent address, but I must have checked out okay, he let me go with just a warning. After he left we went on to the ice cream shop. TJ opened the trunk and the light came on! Figures. We had our ice cream and then saw AutoZone across the street. I got out to open the trunk to make sure the light was on and this time it wouldn’t turn on. Figures. AutoZone closed right as we got there. So now we’re at O’Reilly which closes in an hour. What an adventure! TJ changed out our lights just a minute ago and we are good to go. We would have been pushing it to go to Walmart to get Max’s mattress and get back before curfew so Max slept on the couch tonight.

17 Sept We got on the road about 10:30am. Our planned fuel stop was too close to empty to be comfortable so I searched and found one that’s a little bit closer in LaGrange, Georgia. Hopefully we’ll be at the beach in about 6 hours.

Now that we’ve been driving a few hours we’re getting better gas mileage than the bus estimated, so we’ll go on to our previously scheduled fuel stop in Montgomery. It’ll be just under half way to the beach! Jack keeps asking for “vacation” and “swim all night long” and “swim byself” which makes us laugh.

4:45pm and we just pulled up to the campground to check in. Things got a little hairy there for a minute; right at the last 5 miles their signage was confusing and I was writing what Jack was saying and TJ missed his turn. But it’s all good now.

We set up probably the quickest we ever had and threw on our swimsuits and headed to the beach! We got some good family selfies and Jack got knocked down by giant waves a couple of times. We also saw but didn’t disrupt 2 weddings on the beach, so all was good. We came back to leftover spaghetti and Pioneer Woman’s butter bread. Yum! Now we’re all clean, the boys are in bed, and I’m about to go there myself.

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

Our mileage is 4710.

Friday
Tj didn’t think to check on the status of the house until after business hours. Ugh, now we have to wait all weekend to see if our paperwork was all in order!

Sunday
I texted Kelly last night to see if we could go to church with her. She didn’t respond until this morning, and said she mostly watches church online, but would come with us if we wanted to go. We decided to just watch our own church online. Later she said she had a book with a list of free parks for us to go to if we wanted, so we stopped by her house for a chat and to pick that up after lunch.

Tuesday
We brought TJ to the airport this morning, and then we headed on down to Mom’s with all of our dirty laundry. I was so surprised that we had accumulated 6 loads of laundry in just a week! I went ahead and washed the sheets off of our bed because Tj got bitten all over his feet by something. We’ve never figured out what it was and it never spread, but I didn’t want to take any chances at that point.

Thursday
Mom, Jack and I got up early this morning to go help Jo’s boys get ready for the bus. After that we dropped Jack off at the house with Pawpaw and went on to check on the storage unit. Then we Goodwilled all morning…I made a good haul at Goodwill: wooden balance toy for the boys, the bucket I was looking for for TJ, Nordic Ware bunt muffin tin that I had seen that another Goodwill but finally bought, a couple of books for Max, and a wooden motorcycle for Max. We ate lunch at Captain D’s. When we got back to Mom’s I immediately packed everything up and headed back to the bus. When we were about 20 minutes away I saw a Goodwill so we stopped. I was so excited to find two Hooked on Phonics sets for Jack. They were not complete so I scoured the racks and found one more book to add to it, and 4 Bob books that were a little more advanced than I thought. All told it cost me $2!

That night after Max’s shower he smelled so good! He said there was so much extra deodorant pushed up that he just put it all over his chest. Heh. Jack later said, “That’s a ball.”

Friday
Friday was a nice normal day at home. We all did school and then Kelly invited us over for grilling out. I asked what I could bring and stopped at Walmart to pick it up and also bought us a venus fly trap!

Saturday
We got up late, as we have been doing this whole time, and while the boys made breakfast I packed up to go to Ijam’s park. We finally left the house at 11 and had a really good time there. We went to a little play area that was great for Jack, then we walked a mile around the whole place, then we found a park bench under a huge tree to eat our lunch. It was perfect. The boys played again for a little while, then we headed to Aldi for a few groceries and back to the bus. Max was excited to get home and to play Minecraft, and I was excited to get home and update my blog finally after so long!

I was looking over my notes and we had the house on the market for 6 weeks when we signed the contract, and it was 6 weeks that we argued and fought tooth-and-nail over the contract before we closed, and a total of three weeks from the start of Tj hearing about the FedEx interview to him actually getting the job. It just all seems so crazy!

4 Sept We picked TJ up at the airport this morning and have been enjoying just regular everyday life. Max went to Kelly’s for a sleepover tonight since tomorrow is Labor Day.

5 Sept We picked Max up around 1 and went to Marco’s for some pizza. I was so excited to see Marco’s here! We brought the boys swimsuits so after that we went to McFee Park that had a big splash pad. The boys roll down the hill several times, and even TJ did it once.

6 Sept At the park Tj makes Jack carry his bike, Jack says, “It’s too hurt!!!” He says several things like that, and they all make me laugh.

7 Sept The plan: brunch at Pete’s in downtown Knoxville, then to Sharp’s Ridge Memorial Park. Brunch was awesome: TJ and I got breakfast bowls with scrambled eggs, ham, sausage and home fries smothered in cheese and sausage gravy, with a biscuit on the side. Sharp’s Ridge turned out not to be what we were hoping for. We thought it would have several nice Knoxville over-looks; instead it had several signs saying not to cruise the place, and we saw a police car sitting and waiting.

Since that park was a bust we decided to try Fort Kid Park. This was an awesome place for the boys (TJ included) to get some exercise. We’ll go home in a little bit and start school in the air conditioning. The weather is not too bad right now, 88 degrees. Of course I’m sitting down blogging this, not running around.

This turned out to be our Saturday. I had some Kroger gift cards to use up so we headed there and then I had a grocery list so we all went to Walmart and picked up my prescription and groceries. We also bought a couple of tennis rackets and a set of balls. We got home and unloaded our groceries and TJ found us a tennis court with a playground nearby. TJ and I played for half an hour, and he and Max played for about 40 minutes. We were going to watch a movie tonight, but it might be time just to go home, eat supper, shower and get in the bed.

Saturday, September 3rd, 2016

Monday August 22
We left the base around 8:15 and when we got to our house Gran and Papa already had the trailer hooked up and were just about to leave, so we got to say goodbye to them again. Damon came by this morning and brought chocolate milk, orange juice, cold frappaccinos, donuts and a jalapeΓ±o bacon croissant for us. He and Tj sat and talked for a bit while I crammed everything into our fridge and freezer.

It’s 10:17 a.m. and we just passed First Baptist Church right on the corner. We’ve had a good eight and a half years here, I hope wherever the Lord leads us treats us just as good. We’re on our way to the scales to see how much this bad boy ways. Mileage on the bus is 4161. We’ll get gas at the weigh station as well.

Well, we’re finally on the road to Memphis; I just got off the phone with my mom telling her the story at 12:12 p.m. What craziness we just went through! We just went to weigh with no problem. We had to loop around the whole gas station to find non diesel gas pumps. The pumps were situated so we had to make a 90-degree left turn to get to them. More than halfway through the turn Tj was worried about the bus hitting a bollard on his backside. He asked me to get out and check and he was a quarter of an inch away from hitting it! I tried to help him pull it around but we just ended up hitting it. We decided the best course of action would be to unhook the truck and drive it separately, and that proved to be a real obstacle. I offered to start the truck up and move it about an inch so that we could unhitch it from the bus, and that’s when we found out the truck was dead! This weigh station was only half an hour drive from our house in Cabot, and we didn’t think there was any way we could have drained the battery in that short a trip. Also, this is not our first time towing the truck and we didn’t see why the battery would have drained in the first place.

After 5 or 10 minutes of struggling to unhook the truck without being able to move it I walked to the bus door and told Max to put his electronics down and just say a prayer, that we really needed some help. About a minute later a man walked up and asked if we needed help! Tj was making some headway with the pin but it was super slow, so he told the guy we needed a hammer. As he turned to go get some tools he looked at me and asked if we were all prayed up! I laughed and said yes, you must be an angel, I just asked our boys to pray for some help. By the time he came back with some tools Tj had the pin out. The guy and I pushed the truck back and then Tj drove the bus around to jump my truck off. Another guy came up and told me he had some screws to screw the bumper of the bus back on. I thanked him profusely and was headed back to Tj when he gave me a sob story about how he had a eight-month-old and a 2 year old and his water pump just broke and his wife left their debit card on top of the gas pump at the last gas station and he couldn’t get money transfer for another forty-eight hours and he just didn’t have $48 blah blah blah. He started working on the bumper while Tj was jumping off my truck. It took several tries, my truck was dead! I realized then that I had left the headlights on and that’s what drained the battery (but in that short a ride??).

Another dude came up to talk about that time, he had a foreign accent and said several times God was watching over us and also that he really liked our bus πŸ™‚ Tj finally got the truck started so I moved it to a parking space and told Max to go sit in it and to leave it running all the time. I took Jack inside to pay for the weigh and go to the bathroom. Tj drove the bus across the street to an easier to access gas pump. As he got ready to pull into the first spot a small car whipped around and took it from him. He drove the bus around and ended up getting a pump that faced the street. I gave the guy that fixed our bumper $50 and then he told me he was an ordained minister. He kept talking about how he was doing this for good karma; I finally told him do it for God not for karma.

We got to our spot in Memphis and Tj got us all set up and we headed out to his hotel. Halfway there we realized we forgot his interview suit, so back over the Mississippi River we went. That night I tried to settle in as much as possible, I straightened up all the food as best I could.

Tuesday
I straightened up most of the clothes and cleaned the toilets. We had lunch outside and then went to Dirt Cheap to see if we could find some games for M’s 3DS. While pulling into the parking space Nicole texted us to give her a call…we had house problems. Ugh. They had the final walk-through that day and there was obvious water damage that hadn’t been fixed with Tj’s toilet fix. The inspector said it would take another $2,000 to fix that damage for good. The buyers were also angry that we left the house a mess, they were upset about the swollen windowsill in our bedroom, and the wallpaper was torn where the armoire had stuck to it. I told her a house cleaning wasn’t in the contract, I didn’t vacuum after the move nor clean the bathrooms. It wasn’t a pigsty, but it wasn’t freshly cleaned either. I said that the windowsill hadn’t been hidden and the time to discuss that was over, and I was sorry about the wall paper but I didn’t know what to do. I told her we were responsible for the bathroom and would pay to fix it, but we wouldn’t do anything about the other stuff. She said she and the other realtor would cover the cost of the little stuff if we took care of the bathroom. Man! I can’t wait till this is over!

That took all the fun out of my shopping at DC and Goodwill (which was next door). We ran to WM to get groceries and then got gas and went home. The next morning I saw that I hadn’t screwed the gas cap on the truck! I can’t wait till life settles down and I get my head screwed on right again! I’m trying to use up all the self-rising flour I have so I made pizza dough out of it. Tonight I learned that the stove has a broiler and the right way to use it…without setting anything on fire I didn’t mean to! Yea me!

Wednesday
Jack fell out of the bed last night! Guess he won’t be sleeping with Max any time soon. He sleeps with me when Tj isn’t here cause it’s just easier. We slept till 8am! We’ll get back into a schedule some time.

Max started school at 11 a.m. and finished his five main subjects by 3 p.m. Amy asked if he could play Minecraft then and he got to play with his friends for a while. Jack and I were doing school and not long after that Tj texted me and asked me to start driving to pick him up. I rushed around to lock up the bikes and lock up the bus and pick him up. At this point he didn’t know if he got the job or not and was still in interview mode so he was talking very calmly and coolly. It was strange; I wanted him to show some emotion but he was still on FedEx property. I picked him up and we headed right to the FedEx place where we were planning to print and notarize the closing documents. He texted Nicole back and forth about the whole deal and after we had been sitting in the parking lot for a few minutes we heard that we wouldn’t get the closing documents tonight. The notary wasn’t going to be there until 10:30 the next morning so we got ready to head home. Right in the middle of all that mess Tj got the phone call that he got the FedEx job!! After all our work that we could do right then was settled we headed back to the bus so Tj could change out of his suit; then we went to Colton’s to have a steak. I got the filet mignon again, but it wasn’t quite as good as the one I’d had the week before. On our way home Tj decided we should go ahead and print out the closing documents so we can read them and sign what we could sign on our own in the bus tonight.

Thursday
We set the alarm for 7:30 and Jack got up in our bed at 7:15 a.m. We got up and cleaned up a little bit and went to the UPS office…Tj made an appointment last night to meet with a notary. Not long after we got there Jack said he had to go to bathroom and he really seemed like he had to, so I asked the UPS lady where the bathroom was and she said they didn’t have one. I walked left out of the building past a closed store or two to the Baskin Robbins and even though it wasn’t open I asked if I could use theirs; they said they were having plumbing problems. I walked right all the way around the building and past several more closed stores. The pet store wasn’t open yet, Party City said they were having plumbing troubles and that they use Pet City! By this time I was pretty fed up (it was a large building and the sun was shining down right on us) and I really wished Jack had just peed on the UPS floor.

We finished getting the closing documents signed and had them shipped off. We all got in the truck and drove right behind the building to the Kroger where Jack and I went inside to go to the bathroom. We went to the bus after that and got it ready to head out. After we were on the road about 2 minutes Tj asked where the jetpack was, our little Wi-Fi hotspot. I knew the last place I put it but many hours have passed and I still haven’t been able to find it. We have about 2 hours left to drive to get to Knoxville. It’s rained off and on a little bit but for the most part it hasn’t been too bad. Max’s lucky, since I can’t find that hotspot he’s not doing school today.

1pm Nicole says the buyers signed!!! Woot!

I made lunch while Tj drove…sandwiches and chips. I put the cream rubber rug cushion on the table and none of the plates slipped at all. Fancy! I’m really looking forward to life slowing down. When we stopped to get gas (at a place we looked up online to make sure we could maneuver in easily) Tj and I tore as much of the place apart to find the jetpack…no dice. But I did get a Cinnabon here πŸ™‚

The park in Memphis was really nice…every spot had a tree, and we faced the water. This place is just a trailer park! I was pretty disappointed. But this was all Tj could find at short notice especially considering Labor Day weekend will happen while he’s at work. He got us all set up outside and started on the electronics inside. He took the kitchen seating apart and found the jetpack!!! We’ll have to get some velcro to attach it in place while we travel.

The Big Move

Saturday, September 3rd, 2016

Tuesday August 16
The packing guys showed up at 9am and left at 3:15. I went and got them Candice wraps for lunch. The 3 of them asked for chips so I stopped by Kroger to get the kind of chips they wanted. They worked hard all day and packed just about the whole house in one day. At the beginning of the day I went to Walmart and got a bunch of Gatorade and then to Shipley’s and bought them donuts. After they left Tj and I picked up the bus and then went back to the house and started checking every drawer and closet to find what the packers “missed”. I packed one more box of stuff and then I went to get the boys.

I had a 2 inch crack in my windshield this morning, and when I went to pick up the boys this afternoon I watched it spread to about a foot.

We slept at the base since our beds are all packed now.

Wednesday
Going to bed tonight was wonderful! The big trailer is completely packed and padlocked. We’re totally finished with that! Finally! What a nightmare!! The bus is half packed, so we need to finish loading and then sort: the remaining house contents need to be divided into trash/donate/Mom’s trailer/etc. This was the hardest day.

I’m so grateful to finally be done with that part. When all is said and done I’m fairly pleased. We had to leave the armoire (my favorite one, of course), the desk and chair from mom (we had it in the entry), the sweater chest, the ikea bookshelves, the plastic storage unit that was in the Morgan bldg, the dorm fridge and other odds and ends, but mostly shelving. Ah well.

During this whole time people in LA were losing their whole houses! The flooding down there has been horrendous! Pretty much everyone I know has had flood damage, if not lost their whole house and contents. It really puts things in perspective. We are so blessed.

Tj said we couldn’t get on base with a big crack in my windshield so we called USAA to see about getting it replaced. They needed a dry garage to work in since it was raining. Tue/Wed/Thur we had the 28′ trailer in the driveway so they couldn’t use ours. We called Jennifer and she said we could use hers. Thank God for great friends!

Tj found out today that the buyers’ paperwork might not be completed in time, so they might not be able to close on time.

Max and Jack have gone to Amy’s yesterday and today. Max has done school and I don’t know what Jack has done. Monarch has been a godsend…so far Max has been finishing his school every day in about 4 hours!!!!

As we headed to the hotel we stopped for supper at Arby’s. I just about died…the brisket sandwich was out of this world, and the loaded curly fries were just as good! I’m not losing any weight during this move that’s for sure!!

Thursday
We left the hotel around 7:30 or 8 and went home to work for a short time. Snell had Jack’s insoles in so at 10 o’clock the boys and I left to go pick those up, and to see if Jack’s new shoes fit. I got to Snell and Royce was super nice and helped me learn how to fit shoes and insoles on Jack. He said the toe of the shoe isn’t as important as where the shoe fits around Jack’s ankle. I should always leave a thumb’s width of length past Jack’s big toe when buying new shoes, and when Jack puts the shoes on I tug on the heel of the shoe a couple of times to make sure that it is snug. He also had Jack stand on his tiptoes with the shoes and the insoles on, and says if he’s able to do that the shoes are fitting well and the insoles are stabilizing his feet. He told me to ask Jack to stand on his tiptoes without any shoes and see what difference that made. I asked him if people with Down Syndrome wear insoles all their lives and he said they usually do. He told me to pay attention to Jack’s ankles during puberty, and said his heels might begin to turn out more around that time.

After we finished up there we went to the base to see if we could take care of the boys’ shots. I worked with Jack last night to help him not be so scared of getting a shot. The trouble with him is he wants to jump around when he’s scared but also hates having anybody hold him down. So we tried a new tactic; I told him if he got his shot with no fussing we would have ice cream for lunch. I use the same tactic on him that I had used on Max to get him used to getting a shot. Since I knew they were actually drawing blood I pinched the inside of his elbow and told him “There, you got a shot”. I was worried that the lab would be closed but that wasn’t the case, fortunately. I told the people there that every time Jack had had blood drawn they would wrap him up in a sheet and he would scream and cry and it was really torturous. He gets his blood drawn once a year at Arkansas Children’s Genetics Clinic to check his thyroid levels. The man at the desk said that he would get someone to help him. I was looking for Jack’s song on my phone and couldn’t find it so the lady behind the desk asked me what song; I told her it was Will Farrell’s ” Happy” and she said she would pull it up for me, but that it might take a while because they were next to lead lined walls. So the man and another woman came back and he asked me to have Jack sit on my lap and told me to wrap my left arm around his chest and my right arm should hold Jack’s left hand. I could tell Jack was scared but I just calmly talked to him and told him that he was going to get a shot and that he would get ice cream after. The guy told me to hold tight to Jack which I knew would make him fuss, but I did for the initial stick because I also know that if he jumped he could break the needle. The girl finally got the music on right before they needle went in, and Jack screamed and went completely stiff but I said again you just got a shot in a very upbeat voice and he calmed down right away. I was so excited and so proud of how good a job he did! I thanked the nurses there profusely and we left to go get Max his 11 year old shots. He got those no problem and they said that he wouldn’t need anymore until he was 16.

We went straight home after that and picked Tj up and went to Johnson’s Tasty Freeze to have ice cream for lunch. It was wonderful! We went back to the house to work a little and Tj left soon after for his flight physical. Max and I busted our tails sorting out the garage, and we cleared the entire top floor of the house. Tj came back home and took apart the storage shelves and emptied the Morgan building. We carried over one storage shelf to Freda. We also sorted all the medicines we’ve been hoarding all these years.

Around 6pm we wrapped it up and went to Colton’s for supper and I had the best filet mignon since that awesome one at Disney!

Friday
Well I thought Friday was going to be as calm as Thursday had been but that was not the case. Tj’s been so stressed about the garbage and also the motorcycle. I didn’t realize what a big job that garbage was going to be! We tried to find a dump but if we had found one we would still have had to rent or borrow a truck and make several trips, and on top of that Tj needed to get back to the base by 12:45 to do his interview prep webinar. He also had been trying to get in touch with the Honda guy to see if Honda would buy his motorcycle, but the guy was not returning his calls so it was left until today. We could have left it here and taken care of it at a later time, but Tj had his motorcycle jacket packed up so that would have been another thing to work out later.

Finally after making lots of calls we both realized at the same time we just need to call college hunks again to bring out their truck. They were supposed to bring a trash truck when they came to pack us up but didn’t either day. Tj called them at 10 o’clock and they had an appointment window for 10:30 to 12!!!! We obviously took that right away. They came about 11 o’clock and did an awesome job and took practically everything that we had. What we had leftover fit in our garbage can and is at the end of the driveway now.

The Honda people bought the motorcycle and JJ went to pick Tj up from there while I was taking care of the trash. Then we had just enough time to get to the base before the webinar started. Tj asked me to meet him at David’s so I hustled and got all of the returns I needed to take care of into the back of the truck. Max helped quite a bit loading it up and we were at David’s about a minute before they got there.

We drove straight to the base and Tj got settled in his room; the boys and I went to the boys’ room. The base hotel was really nice: there’s a master bedroom with a huge closet, a TV, a dresser and a queen size bed. Then there’s a living room with a TV and a full size stocked kitchen (with cooking utensils, not food), a stackable washer and dryer, and a bathroom for everybody to share. Beyond that was the boys’ bedroom with two twin beds, a humongous closet and a TV. I fixed lunch for everyone and after we ate Jack and I napped for a little bit. Then he and I took our returns back while Max did school and Tj continued his webinar.

I got back to the base just in time to drive Tj to the base gate. The guys picked him up and they went out for their last meal together. I drove the boys to David’s to have my last meal with the girls and kids. Not that we already hadn’t had a last Friday Funday and girls’ night, but whatever πŸ™‚ While eating Tj, Nicole (our realtor) and I were texting about closing times and locations. It was beginning to be clear that even that was gonna be a hassle! We would be in Memphis for Tj’s interview, and the buyer’s paperwork wouldn’t be ready on time so we struggled to find a way to make all this happen.

After our meal I drove over to the hotel to see Mom and Papa…they drove in with the trailer for us to pack up. Mom offered to drive Tj’s car to GA so we wouldn’t have to come back at a later date to get it. The guys dropped Tj off at the hotel and we went back to the base.

Saturday
It poured as we packed! JJ brought Elliot and JP showed up to help. John had to go to the store and then came to help too. Papa sat in the living room and arranged all the computer boxes in the position they would fit in his car with our big TV on top. Jennifer told me last night that she wasn’t gonna be able to take my favorite armoire so I texted Matt to see if he wanted it…he did. Jennifer did take my red chair, though. Matt told me Terry was his muscle man and they were running to NLR and then would be back to get everything. Amy and John got all the Ikea bookshelves into their van despite the rain.

The guys helped Tj get all the heavy stuff out into the garage, and the gun safe into the trailer and then they left. There just wasn’t enough room for everyone to move around in the garage and Papa’s little trailer. It finally slowed raining a little bit. Tj and I finished loading the trailer, and we fit a lot more in there than we thought. Papa said he could’ve gotten the armoire in there but it was too late by then…I’d already given it to Matt. Oh well. Who knows if we’ll need that armoire, and we’ve had it for 12 years already. If he gets this job with FedEx I’ll get a new one.

Mom and I worked on loading the bus with everything that could stand the heat. I didn’t want to put the medicines or delicate food in there until we started cooling it. Mom and Papa went back to their hotel around 1pm and we went to McDonald’s for lunch so the boys could play on the playground a bit. When we got back I loaded the bus and Tj loaded the trailer. At one point I caught Jack with his pants down and the toilet seat up in the bus! That was close!

We bought tickets for the Family night at the Travs but it rained so much we were sure they were gonna cancel the game. Tj decided sometime 3ish I guess that we wouldn’t go either way…he needed to study and/or rest anyway. Of course a couple of hours before the game it stopped raining. I bet they played but I was glad we didn’t go. I’m bummed that we wasted the money, though.

Sunday
Max is getting baptized this morning so I made sure to bring him extra clothes to church. Jack is in first hour G-lab now so I went there with him while TJ went to broadcast and Max went to his Sunday school class. On the way to our classes I kept seeing people and hugging them; it’s the last time I’ll see many of these people. After that Jack and I headed to church and saw Papa in the lobby. Papa wanted to see Max right when he got out of the baptistery so I left Gran and Jack in the pew and took Papa there.

It’s kind of amazing to hear what Max had to say. That he realized he needs to stop focusing on what he wants so much, and how he realizes that God wants to have a relationship with him. I hope he remembers for the rest of his life how important this was to him at this time. I’m trying to guide him on this path without forcing him one direction or another.

Papa wasn’t feeling well after working so hard loading the truck yesterday so he and Gran left right after the baptism. The sermon was very good as all of the preacher’s sermons have been lately, about how we worship the way God wants to be worshipped not the way we want to worship God.

After church G-lab had a lunch for us. The McDonoughs were there and lots of other friends, it was so good to see them all again. I can’t believe we’re actually leaving! After we cleaned up and everybody else left the girls and I took pictures and I told them and their husbands how thankful I was for such godly examples they were for my boys, and for such awesome friendship all these years! We tried to figure out how many years we have been together and when we got to know each other. I think we haven’t known each other all that long but the closeness makes it feel like it’s been all our lives.

We went back to the base and got a short nap then then I took the boys to the playground with Gran. Tj studied and Papa rested for the drive back tomorrow. About 8 p.m. I went back to the base. I made supper for all of us and then got the boys ready for bed. I cut Tj’a hair and as I was finishing up he decided his business casual clothes weren’t dressy enough, so I ran to Walmart to buy him a long sleeve button up. I got back around midnight and then we went to bed.

Saturday, September 3rd, 2016

I haven’t written a lot here for privacy reasons, but I’ve been keeping track of the updates. We decided last year that since Tj’s job lets him fly out of anywhere we would move to Atlanta to live near my parents. But since we have a camper (called ‘The Bus’) we’d tour the US first before buying a house. We prayed tons about it, and I came up with this magnificent timeline that would have us putting the house on the market about March. Apparently the Lord said ‘no’ to my prayers! So we prayed even more that we’d want what the Lord wants.

The big hold up was the painter. He was on his own timeline. As soon as he finished:

2 May Carpet cleaner/stretcher came.

3 May House cleaner for detail cleaning came.

21 May Buddy Talk Picnic

28 March – 23 May Jack has weekly swim class. He was already looking ready to swim! This could be the year!

23 May I meet with hand surgeon (for the scissors incident of 2013!!). She said wear brace 4 weeks and come back.

25 May Max meets with Greg Hooper to talk about getting baptized.

31 May Photographer came to take pictures of the house. The key in the lockbox was the back door, oops! He put the key in the bag, not under the bag. It took a few txts to figure that one out.

2 June – 8 June We went to St. Louis/Hot Springs. The house went on the market right at the beginning and we had a showing while we were gone!

We ended up having about 3 showings a week, mostly on the weekends. One of them right before we left town for a week left all the doors unlocked, the next guy locked every door including the one to the garage so I had to use my key to get into the front door. Better that than the other!

13-17 June Jack at sports camp. Me at VBS. Max taking the placement test for Monarch math.

20 June I have hand surgeon follow-up. Either surgery (not really recommended) or leave it alone till it really bothers me. They were supposed to call me 6 weeks later to make sure it wasn’t any worse than it had been. They didn’t, it isn’t.

22 June Jack at one day sports camp.

24-27 June Max at summer camp.

12 July Realtor says potential buyers are ‘concerned about the square footage’. Thus begins our nightmare.

13 July We got an offer on our house! Tj’s in Germany πŸ™‚
I told Jack that Sports Camp was in Jacksonville, and he told me it was in Momsonville.

Now that Jack has started using the word ‘the’ in front of things he’ll say stuff like “I want to eat the Windy’s please Mom” and the other day he said something about “I want to see the Daddy please Mom.” Cute.

15 July Buyers say this is their “firm and final offer”. Whatever. We signed the contract! Not because they threatened us.

18-23 July We went to Mom’s. Goodwilled with Mom. I drove to Huntsville to pick up Tj and got to tour his 747!! It was holding a stunt plane! I squeezed through the crates of other stuff to see that. Saw Star Trek with Tj at the theater while Mom and Papa kept the boys. Had house stuff hanging over our heads the whole time. On the way home stopped at Unclaimed Baggage and got Max his 3DS!!! It was his best day ever. He saved and saved for that!

26 July We got the inspection list, it’s not too bad. They want the refrigerator! Heh. And $400 from Home Depot (for various repairs), 2 windows fixed, and for us to repair tiles in the master bath.

27 July Foundation inspection. The guy laughed…our house is a rock!

28 July Tj sees we have a toilet leak!!! He repairs it. Termite guy comes.

2 Aug Max noticed Jack has fine hair on his back, so we were talking about how everyone has hair everywhere and I was looking at his face. He said, “I can almost feel a mustache. I don’t want a mustache.” I asked why not and he said he’d put on one of those fake ones and he didn’t look good with it, “…and they’re pretty realistic, too.” Oh, how I laughed.

Jack was sound asleep in the bed at 11 o’clock when I went upstairs to check on the boys. Max decided to go to bed then and got in beside Jack. He griped about how hot Jack was and how he didn’t want to snuggle with him but then he snuggled with him, and then he put his hands on Jack’s lips and moved them up and down like he was making Jack talk! What a punk!

3 Aug Appraisal!!!! Ugh! We probably won’t know till next week! I had planned not to pack until we knew (relatively) for sure that the house would sell. I can’t wait for that! There’s only a week and a half until the movers get here!
Jack said “I want call Dad, please Mom”

4 Aug Tj got asked to interview at FedEX! As I was trying clothes on the boys to take on our round-the-States bus tour!!! Wow. We decided he couldn’t fit the interview in…the only days they offered we’re moving, closing, or he’s scheduled to work. He called me this morning at 1am to say he’s gonna get a power of attorney so I can sign the paperwork and he can go to the interview!!

5 Aug I just caught Jack drinking milk out of the jug!!!!!!!!!!!

6 Aug The book said “arrived”, and Jack read “served”. I told him to put his finger over part of the word and then read it, so he put his finger over the second part and said “ser” and then put his finger over the first part and said “ved.” See how easy this is?
Last night Jack threw Legos all over his bedroom floor. This morning I told him to go in there and clean it up, he walked across all the Legos to get to the bed saying “Ow ow ow” with every step in a very bored tone of voice
Jack just said “Shut up, Max”!!
Aidan came back after 6 weeks of vacation, and he told Max a secret.

9 Aug Jack said, ” January, February, Mark, Luke”

10 Aug Jack didn’t like that I wouldn’t let him take his toys into church Wednesday night; that rule has been in place for years. So he got out of the truck and slammed the door and in case I hadn’t noticed it he said, “Jack slam door!”

11 Aug 9:30pm our realtor texted me and said the appraisal is low and asked if Tj was here. I texted her back right away and asked her what do we do now, and she never got back to me! So an hour later I finally called her and she said she couldn’t find her phone she was so glad I called and help her find it, her mama had been on vacation and had called her and they’d been talking! Whatever. When we finally got around to talking about the house the appraisal came in $3,000 lower then our contract. Tj was already asleep in Germany, so we had to wait for him to talk about it and decide. Ugh!!! The movers are coming in 5 days.

12 Aug Tj and I talked about it and we signed the paperwork accepting the appraisal price. Two hours later we realized she had dated the paperwork 10 days in the future. I called her and asked her to trash that copy send us a new Amendment saying the buyers had to sign by the end of business today. We feel in a rush because we need to be able to cancel the movers in a timely manner if this whole thing is going down the toilet. She assured me that they would have it signed in no time and it wasn’t an issue. I told her 3 times point-blank to trash that copy and give us a new copy and she never agreed to do that. She said she would call and get the buyers to sign it right away. I set an alarm to call her in 2 hours to ask about the paperwork. When I called her she said she didn’t have it but that the buyers were trying to get all their paperwork to their bank. I told her I’d call her back at 4:30 if I still hadn’t seen the paperwork. At 4:25 she sent a text saying the paperwork was all signed. I texted her back right away asking for a copy of the paperwork, and she never responded. I called her a little while later and said you must not have gotten my text asking for the paperwork and what’s the news on the close date. 5 minutes later she called me back and said she was on her way home and would send the paperwork as soon as she got home. 30 minutes later she got home and sent it. I still don’t feel the relief I should feel, I guess that has to wait until we actually close.

Freda brought me Freda brought me German chocolate cake and a $40 gift card to Kroger! I made 2 meals for her family last week…she was super sick with gallbladder trouble. I’m so thankful she’s well again.
Max asked me again to talk to Liz. I went to her house and chatted with her for a little while, and she said she’d talk to A right away. Then she walked back with me…A was waiting outside our house to play with Max. I sure didn’t stick around to hear what she had to say to him!

13 Aug Jack said “I don’t know” without prompting for the first time!!

 

Monday, July 11th, 2016

At the end of April Gmom came for a visit. During that time we had our first brush with poison/kids!!! We’d been having problems with ants in the Morgan Bldg (after having no pests in there for 7 years!!). We tried a few things, and I’d gotten some poison from Home Depot. After using it one time I left the jug on the back porch. A day or two later Tj sent Jack out to play for a bit. Later Tj looked out and saw ant poison all over the back porch! He called Jack in and J had 2 or 3 grains of poison right next to his mouth!! We looked in his open mouth and it was pristine, nothing was in there. Ugh. We hemmed and hawed for half a minute about who to call, and then I got the number off the box. After I’d said I had a 9yo with poison on his mouth but before I could say he had DS the guy asked me why I didn’t just ask him if he’d eaten any. Heh. Of course I’d asked and Jack said yes he had, but that doesn’t really mean that he ate any. The guy said J would’ve had to have eaten a large amount (2T, Ha!! that’s not large for J!) and it tasted really bad so he likely hadn’t eaten much. He doesn’t know Jack. That boy eats everything! The guy said if he’d eaten a substantial amount he would be vomiting, and that we’d only need to treat the symptoms. I was so glad to hear that! He never vomited, and we’ll never know if he actually ate any.

21 June After Jack asked to pump the blue ball several times we told him not to talk about the blue ball again or there’d be consequences. He didn’t mention it again for several days! That boy understands more than he’s able to communicate.

23 June Jack always makes up his own songs. Today we were listening to “Even So, Come” and Jack sang, “Even So, Basketball”
Max has really made a turn-around with his money. Yesterday he knew he had about $70 and heard the ice cream truck. He asked me if they could have ice cream and I said, “Do you have enough money?” and he said no! Last year he would’ve had it spent so fast! It’s like a switch has been flipped and he’s ready to save money now. He has bought a few things with his money, and I tell him that’s why we earn money, to buy us the things that make us happy (after tithe and savings, of course), but he’s not burning all his money the instant it hits his hands anymore.

4 July Jack helped me get breakfast ready (while I was reading in the bedroom) by taking out 2 cast iron skillets, climbing up on the cabinets to get 2 plates, got the mayo and a cheese stick out, and got out the tortillas (?). He also got the milk, a cup and a straw out.
Yesterday at lunch I taught him how to open an oatmeal cream pie, and then at supper he was able to open one all by himself with no other instruction! Those fat little fingers still don’t do what he wants them to do always, but they did a good job then.

4 July Jack knocked the mirror down in the bathroom. The full length mirror. That crazy kid! I was so thankful that the prongs that were holding it to the wall at the top were on the sides…so it just slid down the wall and landed on the baseboard, not the tile in our bathroom!

6 July Jack’s reading. The whole page was: Israel’s First King 1 Samuel 8-10 When Samuel was an old man, God’s people said, “We want a king to rule over us.” Samuel asked God for help. God told Samuel to warn the people about all the trouble a king could bring. Jack only had trouble pronouncing: rule, warn, trouble and could. Could he pronounced ‘would’ and then guessed ‘cloud’. He’s doing such a great job reading! He’s been reading stuff around him when not in ‘school’ for a good while…like barbecue sauce bottles on the table when we eat, signs on the side of the road, etc.

7 July Jack was reading and it said, “…would have to give the best things…” After he read that he patted me on the shoulder and said, “My best mom”!!!

9 July Jack climbed up onto the counter to get the bowls for breakfast and couldn’t get down. He sat there for at least 10 minutes and never thought to call for help. I called him a few times and and he answered. I figured he was stuck, so I waited to see how long it would take for him to figure out to call me. He never did.

11 July Today’s the first day (of probably his last week) of sports camp. He made himself throw up in the pool because he didn’t want to swim…he wanted to play basketball!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, June 18th, 2016

Here’s a quick run-down of our vacation we took this month:

Thu 2nd
Drive to st Louis, @5 hours
Couldn’t get either DVD player to work
Max forgot kindle
Ate burgers on the way at Hayden’s
Walked a block and back to the restaurant while Tj payed
J threw up inside!
Fudge at the flea market
Hotel and swim
Pizza next door for supper

Fri 3rd
Early breakfast at hotel fulfilling J’s desire to “eat breakfast otel!”
Jack threw up his boiled egg
St. Louis Arch 10:10
J freaked out going down the stairs to get back on the train, I think because of steep steps and dark tunnel feel
Walked around St. Louis
Monty’s Sandwich Co for lunch
Federal reserve bank tour
Bags of shredded money
Butterfly house and playground, dippin dots for the boys
Max totally lost it in the butterfly house!!!
Salt and smoke for supper, they brought me the wrong meal, so I got two! Awesome brisket.
Hotel and swim
J asleep 9:30, awoke 7:30

Sat 4th
City Museum: closed toed shoes and pants
J freaked out walking over grills, and got lost twice
Wrote my number on his arm
Lunch there
Ice cream after, mine was only ok
Hotel
Swim
Chinese for supper
Jack said, “Thanks, babe” to the waiter. Classy.
Bed around 9pm

Sun 5th
Drive to bentonville, @5 hours
We were singing Happy Day and Jack sang Jack birthday, and thanks for saving me!!
Listened to church on the drive
Gave Jack his first piece of gum. Swallowed in under 30 seconds.
The Red Barn Cafe and Hen House Bakery
Potatoes and white gravy were the best!!! I had that for dessert. We bought a giant cinnamon roll to go and ate it the next day…but it was undercooked in the middle.
Hotel
Swim/hot tub 1.5 hrs
Supper at Taqueria Guanajuato

Mon 6th
Crystal Bridges 11-6pm
Amazeum 10-5
Jack said “Oh wow, a gutter” in the most bored voice ever
Saw a Frank Lloyd Wrigt house from the outside
Bought sketchbooks for Max and me, he promised to draw a human figure every day
Hotel and watched some of the Maltese Falcon while Tj napped
Swim/hot tub
Greek place in the mall with the best fries ever! Put Cavenders on fries from now on
Max new tennies like Dr. Who
Ice cream at Braum’s
Lights out at 10pm
First showing of our house tomorrow!!!!

Tue 7th
Breakfast and Swim/hot tub
Terra studios (should’ve planned more time there)
CJs Big Boy burgers
Drove to Hot Springs
Scoops ice cream for supper
Wed 8th
Zipline 9:00am with Max
Drove home
Ate lunch at Brown’s Country Store and Restaurant…tried fried green tomatoes for the first time…they were great!

Saturday, June 18th, 2016

Once again it’s been forever since I blogged. I thought I was getting the hang of blogging somewhat regularly. Obviously not. Since the last time I blogged we’ve gone through a lot of changes…finally got the house painted, decided (fairly surely) that we won’t pack ourselves, Tj put a lot of our things on fb for sale and we sold the boys’ bed, and the house is finally on the market!!! We’ve even shown it a few times. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, but things have slowed down a bit, thankfully, so I’m here to catch up.

5 Feb Jack said, “Tuesday, Wednesday, yesterday”

11 Feb Trying to get Jack to pronounce muffins = mum nins even after the 10th time repeating me
Also, he’s said “I going gym” a few times today. As much as he likes basketball, he likes the disco ball more.

I hold Jack’s head to brush his/wipe his face. Some times he held his head for me to do it. πŸ™‚

18 Feb Out of the blue Jack said, “I came downstairs, Mom.” He sounded just like any other boy! Obviously this is enough (very) out of the norm that I noted it.

26 Feb Tj complimented Jack on saying “yes ma’am” instead of “yes’m” and now he never says “yes’m” anymore!! I miss that.

17 March Jack is saying, “Mom, I want lost my teeth, mom.” It took me a week or two to realize he wants to floss his teeth.

30 March This wasn’t a good few days in our week:
After a play time at church this Wednesday night Max said he saw a couple of boys taking off their shirts (????) so he told them this wasn’t ‘Stripping 101’!!!!!
He was leaving the classroom early and John H told him he couldn’t leave. Max looked at his watch and told him insolently that it was 7:30, like he was free to do what he wanted when class was over.
When asked what everyone had been doing for Spring Break Max said we sat around and waited for a stupid asian(!!) to come paint our house. Boy, there were fireworks when we got home that night! I’m so glad I have friends in his classroom who will tell me how he behaves and when he needs correction.
Then Sunday on the way to church Max told me he wanted us to “Take turns spelling confusion out loud. I’ll spell the first three letters and you spell the next two”!!!!!!!!!! I asked him who taught him that and he said Aidan. I asked if he knew what he’d be having me say and he mumbled around a bit, then told me. I asked if he knew what that meant, and he knows what the word is, but I don’t know how much he knows what it means. I told him that he’d never heard me or his dad or any of our friends say that word. It’s not a word we’d ever use, and he could never use it, etc etc etc. Whew!

19 Mar Saturday Jack just climbed up in my bed at 7:15. The first thing he said was, “I am sick. I want drink waterbottle. I want Animusic.” !!!!!!! I asked him where Max was and he said, “Upstairs, in the bed.”

I asked Max if he thought he’d have a wife when he grew up. He said maybe so, he’d changed his mind after the passport to purity weekend with Tj. I asked what changed his mind and he said he hadn’t realized that sex was supposed to be fun. He’d wondered why people had sex before then. πŸ™‚

31 March Reading the Bible I say, “idolatry” and Jack says excitedly, “Dollar Tree!!”

J now closes his eyes in prayer. For at least a year he’s prayed for “all the colors down slide”. Now it’s changed a bit into listing each individual color, and then dramatically saying ” all the colors down the slide” while twirling his head around like a spiral slide. Every time he prays. And he wants to pray every time. There was no childcare for the Lord’s Supper last Sunday night and when the preacher said he was going to pray Jack got mad that I wouldn’t let him pray.

1 April Jack says “thank you paint house” to the painter.

8 April I asked Jack about a picture in a book, “Who’s in the truck?” He said, “Red.” Again, “Who’s in the truck?” Again, “Red.” I give up and ask, “What color is the truck?” He gave up and said, “Orange.” It really was red. I really don’t get this parenting a kid with Down Syndrome, apparently.

18 Apr We saw a fire truck and I told Jack we needed to pray for those people. Before I even finish saying that he said he said, “Thank you Jesus for food, fire truck, amen.” Then I prayed for the people and during my prayer I said, “…Lord, please help the people who are sick to know you…” and Jack was repeating what I said except he said, “…Lord, please help the people who are sick to yes you…” That’s why his nickname is antonym.

20 May Halfway to gym Max starts going postal in the backseat. I asked if he’d forgotten to wear something with an elastic waistband (a requirement since he does the bar). No. He forgot to put on shoes. Apparently I’m not so hot at raising a ‘typical’ kid either!

1 June Jack kissed me and stuck his (long, pointy) tongue in my mouth!

13 June Jack went to sport’s camp this week…it’s his second year going and he loves it! At the end of the first day they told me his glasses ended up at the bottom of the pool. I thanked them for getting them out and we left. The next morning I asked if he jumped in with them on or what and they said no, he’d just thrown them in! I apologized for his behavior and thanked them a lot for going to get them and they said no problem…then laughed and said they’d made the intern go get them.

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

Here’s the last from last year, and some from this year.

2 Dec Max asked to make waffles and I graciously said yes. It’s such a pleasure to have a kid who can cook! We were out of the box mix so he dug out his recipe and got to town. I walked into the kitchen about halfway through his process and he casually said, “Oh, is borax the same as baking soda?”!!! He was about to measure it out! I guess I need to keep a better eye on him when he’s cooking!

6 Nov My Mom sent me an email from a missionary friend of hers a while back talking about how wonderful it was to get care packages, and how they mean so much more than convenience to someone so long gone from home. I felt led to send a package to a girl I grew up with who’s a missionary to Chili. I emailed her and got a list of requests and boy did I go to town! Tj told me he gets something crazy like 75% off shipping prices from FedEx, so I thought I was golden. I sure was surprised when they quoted me $500 to ship my box! I didn’t know they only do guaranteed delivery date. They suggested I try the Post Office. When I went there I think the first price they stated was $100. I asked what the cheapest rate to ship to Chili was and she said $40, so I got busy. I was so glad only a random person or two came in during the time I went crazy with the box and its contents…and Jack miraculously played quietly during the 40 minutes or so it took. I’d planned ahead and brought packing materials and extra tape, but it was crazy what I had to do to reduce the size and weight of that box. I finally got it down to size and shipped that sucker off. Lesson learned.

26 Nov My next lesson was no less crazy. My friend’s inlaws invited the boys and me over for Thanksgiving dinner. I asked what I could bring and then we decided I’d make a pecan pie. I’ve made them before, and they’re super easy, but they don’t always set in the middle. I did some research about how to cope with that problem and thought I was golden. I decided to make the pie early in the morning so I wouldn’t be rushed at all and that turned out to be the best thing. I whipped it up, put it in the oven and started enjoying my free time. It wasn’t long before I started smelling something burnt. Ugh. After I shut the oven door (and maybe that’s what did it) some of the pie crust edge fell off and the filling started spilling out…all over my pizza stone and onto the bottom of the oven. And boy did it stink! All that sugar was just burning for half an hour or so. I was worried all the way through that the pie wouldn’t taste good being cooked in that stinky oven, but it tasted fine. I only had enough karo for 2/3 of a pie, so I decided to try individual pies. Those worked out better. I’m now sick of pecan pie.

27 Nov I took the ironing board out for something and decided to call Jack over to see it. He still has a strong attraction to our ironing board, even though I take it out only about once every other year. When he saw it in the kitchen he cried, “Cute ironing board!” Then he went into the laundry room and cried, “Oh no! Ironing board lost!!” And came back into the kitchen and said again, “Cute ironing board!” He looked it all over, bent down and touched the underside…he was just overwhelmed with the glory of the ironing board. I really don’t understand the way his brain works…why he sounded worried that the ironing board was lost when he could see it right there. Either way it was funny and cute to watch.

6 Jan Jack cut up the beach ball globe. He’d cut the microscope cover previously.

26 Jan This was a very busy and stressful week for me. I got up this morning at 4:30 to take Tj to the airport. By this point in the week I was beginning to think that a cat was stuck under our house. It woke me up every night crying loudly but it couldn’t figure out how to get out…this is the second time this has happened to us in this house. I was also smelling something in our guest bathroom. I’m hoping that it’s the cat smell wafting up but not enough time has passed that I know what to do about it. Last week Tj and Max had an overnight trip to Hot Springs and Tj did the P2P curriculum with him. Also this night I showed up at Upwards for practice and everyone else had gotten an email saying it was picture night. I really don’t know how we’re not on the mailing list since Tj had been getting mails from Cassandra about helping…either way they lent me a uniform for Jack’s photos. I really wanted a good photo of him in his uniform since he’s wanted to play basketball for so long.

29 Jan M showed up to gym in snow boots and shorts. Yeah. Later he went under the house to get that blasted cat! I need some sleep! I told him I’d buy him a shake for doing that πŸ™‚

30 Jan I’m still doing that thing occasionally where I know we have to be someplace (the Upwards game) at 8:30am, so as I’m getting ready I keep thinking that we have to get in the car at 8:30. That never works! Why don’t I learn?! So we were 2 minutes ahead of time to the game which is fine for practice but really too late for the game. When I sent Jack behind the plastic curtain they all run out from I saw that neither of his coaches were there! So I started wondering if I’d gotten the time wrong. On my way to check I saw another mom who asked me for our coach’s number. I showed it to her on my phone, and she just took my phone and called her from there!! I didn’t mind too much, I’d seen her around, but it was kinda strange I thought. So they dim the lights and all the kids run out (this is Jack’s favorite part, they turn on the disco ball during this time…it’s the highlight of his week!) and the woman still has my phone. It’s dark and I’m watching for Jack so I just wait till it’s over to look for her. When the lights go up I see her all the way across the gym sitting next to someone and chatting. She sees me and waves me over to get my phone!! What the heck??!! She borrowed my phone without asking and is now waving me over??!! What a weirdo!

2 Feb Laundry day today. Second or third load of clothes comes out of the dryer and I see Max’s pen right inside the door on top of the lint trap!! I call him and fuss at him…I’d recently told him to start checking his pockets (story to follow) and he obviously wasn’t! He got the pen and then opened it…and it just spilled super black ink all over the floor!! It got on the little Turkish rug I had in there and on the bottoms of his socks, but I think that was it. Well, I still have a big spot on my hands and some on my feet, and I’m sure he does too. What a mess! It cleaned up fairly easily, thankfully. The other story is that at Christmas, the day we were leaving (and having such a horrible time/fight) I took Max’s clothes out of Mom’s dryer and found that he’d left 3 big pieces of gum in there! Tj and I spend the next half hour or so wiping and erasing the gum from the drum. Ugh!!!!