November 2008

It’s Sunday again. Another “church day”. Sometimes, I think, I’d like to “do” church differently. I’d like to walk on a lonely beach, or wander through a meadow, or sit beside my grandma’s grave. And just be. With Him.

Instead, I’ll soon rouse my family, encourage them to eat breakfast and to get dressed in clothes that don’t have any holes in elbows or knees, shower and get dressed myself, leave early to participate in the prayer time and in a singing rehersal, worship, fellowship, return home to eat with my family, back to town for another rehersal, home again and then back to town to perform in the Advent Festival. And try to spend meaningful time with my husband and my kids and my friends. And try to be open to those around me. And try to be open to Him.

But today, truthfully, I would prefer the lonely beach.

Yesterday, Lyndon and I took the boys to Regina to take in some of the annual Agribition. It has been almost ten years since we were there last. We walked for miles through the maze of barns and display rooms. We talked to vendors about wind vs. geothermal power. We watched a simulation of a vehicle roll-over where the passengers were not wearing seatbelts. We watched a woman spin alpaca wool, and petted a miniature donkey. And we saw cows. Lots and lots of cows. Black angus, red angus, charolais… you name it, we saw it. And we stepped in it. And smelled it. Yep, a barn is a barn.

The boys especially enjoyed the kid’s area, where they fed chickens, watched chicks hatching, and petted piglets. We had to drag them out of there.

Carter was also intrigued by the huge bulls. He exclaimed, loudly, at the HUGE (ahem) anatomy of one Champion fellow in particular. As in, “Look at the privates on that guy!” It was a rather “impressive” sight.

Today, Lyndon, Tyson, and a friend are out hunting. The little boys and I are indulging ourselves in books, dominoes, and puzzles. Perhaps a little laundry and baking later in the afternoon. Ahhh.

I was ready to make an appointment for Tyson to go and see Doc Pillay. He has had a hoarse, funny sounding voice for a while now. And then it hit me. He’s thirteen. His voice is changing. I got a lump in my throat when I realized that puberty, not a nasty bug, was the cause of my “baby’s” new vocal range. Oh my. It made me feel old. And that is when I realized that the lovely “natural highlights” my hairdresser has been raving about are really evidence that my hair is turning colour. Yes, I am going grey. Well actually, I think I am going white. Which I think is a little nicer than going grey. How’s that for finding the silver lining. (Silver lining. Get it?!)

So here I am in the midst of my mid-life crisis. I can almost look my eldest son eyeball to eyeball. I think he is adding height every day. My hair is changing colour. And that expensive eye wrinkle cream I bought is having a hard time keeping up with those crow’s feet I keep producing. My crow’s feet, I am afraid, are quickly morphing into (gasp) actual wrinkles. And where did that extra skin on my neck come from? So sad.

I told a friend the other day that I felt like I was “nesting”. You know, that thing you do, organizing and cleaning your house, before a new baby arrives. There was a second or two of silence, and then I added, “You know, because we are going to be getting some foster children.” Apparently she thought I might actually be expecting a baby, of all things, and she wasn’t sure how she should respond.

Segue into the funny ways the kids interpret our actions:

– When I pull out the vacuum cleaner, they want to know who is coming over to visit.

– When I make dessert for supper, they want to know who is coming over to visit.

– When I ask them to clean up the yard (ie. remove the deer antlers from the front step and throw away the deer bones the dog has been chewing on), they want to know who is coming over to visit.

My friend’s comment was the funniest though. She said that when she tells her kids to get their pants on, they want to know where they are going. Like, you can’t just wear pants for the sake of simply being clothed? There has to be a reason? Too funny.

Really, though, there has been a lot of nesting going on here of late. We decided to move Tyson into the room on the main floor and to put bunk beds in his old room upstairs. We bought bunk beds on Friday when we went to Regina. I found them on I am so glad my sister-in-law turned me on to that site. The bunk beds are in great shape and we also got a mattress, for $120. I love it! Lyndon left me at the mall, shopping for stocking stuffers for my kids and getting my hair cut, while he and Carter went and picked up the bunk beds. Minor problem, though. Apparently he asked Carter to hang on to the bag with the hardware for putting the beds together. After they loaded everything and left, he asked Carter where the bag of bolts was. Oops. Carter had set the bag on the truck tire and forgotten about it. Lyndon phoned the bunk bed lady and asked her to check her driveway. Sure enough, the bag was there. Lyndon will pick it up this week when he goes to Regina for work.

Sooo, we brought the bunk beds home but haven’t been able to put them together yet. We did do a lot of other stuff, though. Tyson disassembled his old bed and hauled it down to the basement. I have spent much of my time going through Tyson’s “new” room. Amazing, the things that were in that closet. We also cleaned up some of the junk that seems to accumulate in the yard, and hauled it away to the recycling place.

We had friends over after church on Sunday. Altogether there were ten kids running around, having a great time. Sundays are Colton’s favourite day of the week. It is Friend Day. He gets to see friends at church, and we often have friends over on Sunday afternoon.

The boys have told many people the story of How We Changed The Flat Tire this week. They wanted me to clarify a few things in regard to my previous post on this topic. Yes, we blew a tire and we had to change it. What I neglected to report, however, was the fact that I badly needed a bathroom at the time. Trust me there was nary a public restroom, nor even a tree, in site. Positioning the boys strategically as lookouts, and instructing them to yell if any vehicle should approach, I used the ditch as quickly and discreetly as possible. The boys thought it was a hilarious situation for Mom to be in. Of course, being boys, they have no idea. I coped (admirally, I thought) with the situation, got the tire changed, and stood up to receive Colton’s heartwarming comment… “I knew you could do it, Mom. I was praying for you.”

Thanks, buddy.

Our family is going to take on the challenge of being a foster family. In preparation, we have been going through the application and training process. This has involved classes, homework, home studies, and interviews. If has been much more work and has taken more time than I expected. One of the most interesting parts has been the interviews with the Social Worker. Questions like “How did you experience being nurtured and protected as a child?” have had me thinking back many years on things I haven’t thunk in a long while. Some of it was interesting as I delved into family history. Some I would just as soon not remember (ie. those bratty teenage years!). But overall, it’s been an enjoyable walk down memory lane.

This past week, the Social Worker interviewed the boys. I was present and I was stuck by their thoughtful answers to the questions posed them. Colton, though, had one of the most insightful comments.

“I think I have lots to offer a foster child,” he said, “because I am the only one in my family who has experienced being both a younger and an older brother.”

I hadn’t thought about that in that way before. In fact, he is truly unique in our family since Lyndon was the youngest and I was the oldest. I think he and the other boys will indeed have lots to offer and to gain by opening their hearts in this way.

My men are home. Lyndon and Tyson returned from the big hunting trip around 4:30 yesterday afternoon. By all accounts, it was an awesome week. They trapped and skinned about twenty muskrats, shot three coyotes, and Lyndon bagged a Whitey. Tyson had such a great time. He spent much of his free time helping Aunt Lill card wool. Apparently she dismantled an old, wool-stuffed quilt. The wool had become hard and “felty”. Tyson had a before-and-after picture that showed the old, brown wool and the carded, fluffy, white wool. When the wool is all carded, she will re-stuff her quilt.

Because Aunt Lill shares Tyson’s love of music, she invited Lenny the Neighbour over one evening. Sounds like he is quite a musician, and quite a character. Tyson hasn’t stopped talking about him. He is a fiddler, and has travelled as a musician for many years. According to Tyson, when Lenny first saw him he laughed and said, “Well, you definitely have the hair of a musician!”

As a result, Tyson came home with a fiddle that Lyndon rented from a music store in Regina. He’ll try it out for a few months and if he is really interested in learning it, we’ll purchase it for him. Last night he serenaded us with the classic, Mary had a Little Lamb.

Today, we are leaving the older boys home and taking Carter with us to Regina for the day. I think Lyndon is going to take Carter to the Science Centre while I do a little Christmas shopping. I also would like to hit the Sears Bargain Centre to see if they have any bunk beds. Tyson and Colton are looking forward to a day sans Little Brother.

Colton, Carter, and I are surviving without Lyndon and Tyson this week. Reports from the field indicate lots of muskrats have been trapped and skinned, but so far the Whitetail have escaped them. Sounds like they are having fun. They are staying with Lyndon’s aunt and uncle, who are taking great care of them, I’m sure. Back at home, as I said, we are surviving.

You might infer I am meaning that we are surviving without Dad and Big Brother. In fact, it is the truck that we are really missing, and it’s loss that we are surviving. Yes, Lyndon and Tyson took the big Dodge with them, leaving the wimpy LeSabre at home with us this week. This means… no hauling water. We are conducting an experiment to see if we can make it on one hundred and fifty gallons of water for the week. The little boys have rallied. They have agreed to pee outside this week, limiting the number of times the toilet will need to be flushed. And they are fine with the No Baths plan. Imagine. So far, I have not washed any dishes, and I keep the water shut off unless there is some dire need for it. It’s only Tuesday, and we have about two-thirds of a tank left. I don’t know if we’ll make it, and we have no snow here to melt!

Aside from the never-ending water challenge, life is good. The boys and I drove to Glentworth on Sunday afternoon for a Mexico meeting. It was good to meet some of the people that will be going with us this year. Lots of the people are new to me. The afternoon was great and I left in plenty of time to get home before dark. I thought. I didn’t count on blowing a tire on the lonely stretch of gravel road between Glentworth and the highway. Crap, crap, CRAP. I pulled over. The boys couldn’t believe the tire. This was no little hole. The tire was shredded. And, daylight was fading fast. The boys found rocks to block the tires while I hauled out the donut and the jack, dug the manual out of the glove compartment, and perched my reading glasses on the end of my nose. We were in business. The boys were impressed that Mom could change a tire. In fact, Mom was a little impressed, too. We got the tire changed and I drove home, arriving in our yard basked in the glow of a gorgeous Saskatchewan sunset.

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