Thursday, July 12, 2012

Thursday afternoon 7/12

To Ron and his family, thank you for your generosity in sharing some of your father's things with Dale and us.  (You said originally "a few of Dad's shirts" and now the total is how many???  ;-D  Wow, what a blessing!)  My husband and I want to express our gratitude for your thoughtfulness; we truly appreciate this kindness.  Now, the logistics of delivery/pick-up..........we're still working on that.  Could you give us a few days to figure out if we will be able to get out to your area any time soon?  I'll let you know.

Well, this past week has been interesting and monotonous by times.  Some days Dale and I feel chained to the dining table---designated "summer school worktable"---while trying to get Dale caught up in his seventh grade books.  There are times I (and I'm sure he) feel discouraged, like it will never happen.  This is, honestly, an example of how Dale's now-healed but still adjusting brain is still affected by his drowning last August.  There are days when he is "on" and is able to learn and cipher and read and think just fine---we're blazing through textbooks!  Then, there is the rest of the story..........  Sometimes, it's like Dale's brain is turned to pudding with all the academic and learning capabilities thereof.  I feel like strangling him when he sits there with a blank look on his face after I just spent a good amount of time thoroughly explaining some passage!  He insists, "No, Mom, I got it!," but the practice problems suggest otherwise.  Still, overall, Dale is doing fairly well in his catch-up work.  Grammar, vocabulary, spelling, and science are on track.  Math is slow; it takes Dale quite some time to figure out a given problem, so we're behind in that.  I've put history on the back burner for now; not that it's not important, but rather, it's not a subject in which he needs a seventh grade  foundation in order to understand eighth grade history---they are two separate historical focuses.  Understand that last bit?  If so, please tell me what I meant!!!  So, we are taking one day at a time with Dale's schooling and waiting with bated breath to see how he does in eighth grade.  It's a good thing the seventh and eighth grade years are not as vital to Dale's academic record as ninth through twelfth grades.  We have these two years (now approaching one) in which to allow Dale to regroup and relearn before throwing him into high school.  And, of course, we will continually evaluate his progress and adjust his academics as necessary.

Next, Dale's "PT" at home---our daily walks---have become eventful (I say so rather tongue-in-cheek).  Last week, he was walking great; he didn't need anyone holding his hand, and he had good control over his balance and foot placement.  This week......different story!  Again, someone switched his feet in the night, making walking difficult and falls constant.  His feet get tangled up; his legs are wobbly; and his confidence absolutely shot.  I asked him today after watching him shuffle down the sidewalk, "Dale, where is your confidence?"  He replied, "It must be around here somewhere!"  We looked, but we couldn't find it.  Today he fell multiple times, scraping his elbow and his thumb and causing his already shattered confidence level to plummet worse than the stock market of recent months.  He literally couldn't walk and talk at the same time.  And this was with me holding his hand!  It's been like this all week, making his daily PT a real challenge.  I know the logical solution would be to continue to practice that which is giving him trouble (i.e., walking), but I am sorely tempted to go with the emotional solution---abandon all hope, assume a fetal position, and give up.  No, I won't......but I want to several times a day!  And I won't let Dale give up either.  We will continue to take daily walks and do anything else that will give Dale good exercise and good confidence.

Ready for my sob story?  Yesterday on our walk, Dale was exhibiting the above-mentioned lack of control when he stumbled. I was holding his right hand; he lurched sideways, firmly planting his right foot on the edge of my left foot and twisting his way down to a seated position.  In the process, he took my left pinky toenail with him!  I had had a small hole in the top of my left tennis shoe, and the pinky toenail was, as a result, exposed.  The force of his weight combined with the twisting motion of Dale falling wrenched that toenail right off.  OUCH!!!  I would have danced around in pain, but I couldn't move.  I tightened my grip on Dale's hand which I had somehow retained during his fall and whimpered, literally begging God to ease the pain.  In a short time, the pain tapered off enough to allow me to help Dale to his feet.  After all, we still had to get back to the house!  With him lurching unsteadily and me limping, we made it home again.  I got my shoe off and only then realized the nail was gone.  Amazingly, there was no blood, so I don't think the entire nail came free.  I still had Buttons and Bows to go to that afternoon and then church last night, so I had to endure shoes for most of the rest of the day even though my toe was throbbing.  If I was the flip-flop wearing type, I could have worn those and avoided any pressure on my little toe; however, if I was the flip-flop wearing type, I would have probably lost my entire toe!  Yikes!

Katie took Dale for a walk (sounds like a pet, doesn't he?) on Tuesday while I took the two youngest to the library.  We are participating in the Summer Reading Program, and they wanted to get their first prizes.  When we got back, Katie and Dale were excited because they had found something really cool.  There, on the sidewalk in front of them, obviously baked from the blazing sun, was a tiny salamander.  It had died from the heat and just lay there on the sidewalk.  Katie brought it home to show everyone; it was pretty neat to see.  It's not every day you see a toasted salamander.  (If this offends any animal lovers, please know I did not wish the poor thing any harm.  I simply made an observation on its deceased condition.)  She placed it on the top of her cell phone so as not to break it in pieces; it was so small that it only took up about half the length of her phone.  I guess it was about three inches long.  And, anyway, Chad made us throw it away.  So, the circle of life continues.........

Yesterday, Buttons and Bows (a fun church club for girls in grades two through six) had our annual water fight.  And, boy, did we get wet and sunburnt!  I usually take a big water cooler up to church along with one of our water hoses, attach the hose to one of the outside faucets near the parking lot, and begin filling up the cooler.  The girls bring their own water guns, giant cups, and useful objects to scoop water out of the cooler and douse each other---and me!  Within a few minutes we were all soaked.  The girls were running around the parking lot, screaming and throwing water on each other while the adults (me and my cohort, Mrs. Johnson) supervised.  We all dress in dark-colored clothing for modesty's sake; this prevents any "oops!" from occurring.  There were only a handful of girls there, and it was wonderful to see each one getting involved and having fun.  Even my little Emily (who technically shouldn't be in Bows yet) was enjoying getting drenched.  Mrs. Johnson's youngest, Lilleigh, got upset a few times but still had a good time.  Our Bows meetings usually last an hour, so we turned off the water after about 45 minutes and let everyone drip-dry for a few minutes.  The girls enjoyed some chips and bottled water before it was time to go home, get changed, have dinner, and go back to church for the evening service.  The weather was great this year:  sunny and warm.  Last year, we had sun but little warmth so that, by the end of the water fight, we were all very cold.  This year, we only had to worry about sunburns.  I have fair skin:  I don't tan; I burn and then it sinks into a tan.  My girls have just enough of their father's more olive complexion that they don't burn as easily, although we still harp on them about using sunscreen.  Here in Washington state, we are usually so excited to actually see the sun that we forget about the dangerous UV rays.  (That is the correct term, right?)  Anyway, the water fight was a huge success; now we get to look forward to next month's meeting, our tea party.

And, last but not least, Dale decided that the hole in the wall downstairs was he made a companion for it.  This morning, he was walking down the stairs.  He made it to the small landing between stairs and was attempting to pivot around to the second flight when he completely lost control of his movements and fell backward.  His bottom landed on the floor with his back flush against the wall; the impact forced his back through the wall itself.  He did sustain a small bruise and scrape to the back of his neck.......but you should've seen the other guy, uh, wall.  There is a nice-sized hole in the wall now, slightly larger than the one downstairs, but that's what we get for encouraging our children to always do better, right?  We believe Dale has now improved his technique sufficiently so that he does not need any more practice putting holes in walls.  Maybe he'll grow up to be a demolition expert.........

Life is certainly never dull around the Ostrander house.  Just now, Ashley and Emily were horsing around and laughing so hard that Ashley got sick.  Of course, it was inevitable that she failed to get to the bathroom and had to throw up all over the carpet, meaning I had to stop what I was doing (updating this blog) and go clean up the mess.  I informed her that (1) she needed to settle down sooner next time and (2) she needed to chew her food better!  That, at least, produced a small smile which was quickly erased by the rest of my tirade against the silliness which induced the gagging which led to the vomiting, the inability of anyone to find me a large enough spoon to scoop up the offensive-smelling gunk, the lack of disposable gloves which forced me to have to make contact with the nasty stuff as I scrubbed the carpet, and my discontent with my lot at that moment.  In other words, I was ticked.  This whole thing could have been avoided had the girls not gone wild with hilarity.  Of course, asking my family not to laugh is like asking a baby not to cry or the sun not to rise or the ocean not to..........wait, better not bring up the ocean!  ;-)

Praise the Lord for everything!  From birth to drowning to playtime to illness to laughter to sadness---God is wonderful.  We thank Him for life and the chance to live for Him.  Praise ye the Lord!

Psalm 117  "O praise the LORD, all ye nations:  praise Him, all ye people.  For His merciful kindness is great toward us:  and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever.  Praise ye the LORD."


  1. Hello:
    I hope you can make it to Port Orchard, because I would like you to go through other things to see if you can use them.
    My dad's neighbors always have garage sales to raise money for their church. Dad would always donate to help them. So my sister and I agreed to offer to the neighbors remaining items, but we want you to have first crack.
    I had hope to have the house cleaned by the 15th, but that's not going to happen. If you can't make it this weekend, we will be taking a week's vacation, so that might give you and your husband time to plan. If you can't make it to Port Orchard, we can deliver the clothes, etc. That offer still stands.
    Here is a joke for Dale (I don't think it's too terribly funny, so stomach contents should remain inside -I believe):

    How many optimists does it take to screw in a light bulb?
    None. They're convinced that the power will come back on soon.

  2. Another great post Kirsten, I especially could relate to the Salamander. Here on the Florida Panhandle, chameleons, geckos, and other lizards are plentiful to say the least, and occasionally a 'sunburned' one welcomes me on the sidewalk on my way to the truck in the morning. My cats also discovered that they make great playthings lol. I yelled out a sympathy "ouch" when I saw the part about losing your nail, that pain is unforgettable. But as always, you were a being a great Mom at that moment, so the toe will heal but the memory will linger on. Your church sounds like such an incredible place, so full of life. I feel blessed to be able to read all about it, and your ongoing lives. Thank you as always for the time it takes to do all of this writing, I still don't know how you do it. You all are always in my prayers, all my best, Eric