Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mom, Can You.............?

Aaron certainly does have his particular ways of doing things and is not likely to change.  I saw this fact about Aaron two times this morning.

Number One:

I have some uncapped strawberries laying out for us to eat.  Aaron doesn't like to eat uncapped strawberries.  Earlier I had walked through the kitchen and saw where he had started to remove the top of a strawberry.  Later he asked, "Mom, can I have some strawberries?"  I said, "Sure, Aaron.  You can have some strawberries."

He paused.  "Mom, can you take the top leaves off?"  So I discussed with him how you can hold and eat a strawberry with the top leaf part on, and then throw the top leaf part away.  But, no, he will have no part of eating a strawberry with the top leaf part on.  He will not change concerning the top leaf part of a strawberry and I may as well remove that top leaf part of the strawberry if I expect him to eat it. 

Number Two:

Aaron has a reversible comforter on his bed.  He has always had the polka dot side up as opposed to the striped underside.  Granted, the polka dot side is prettier..............but last week I decided to see how he would handle a change.  After we changed his sheets and he had left the room, I flipped the comforter over to the striped side.

He surprised me by letting the striped side remain up for several days.  But finally he flipped the comforter over to the polka dot side.  We did not speak of this flipping incident.  Until this morning. 

We were changing his sheets again, and as we neared the time to put the comforter on, Aaron asked, "Mom, can you make the polka dots where you can see the polka dots part?" 

So now the comforter is comfortably on his bed, situated where you can see the polka dots part.  He will have it no other way, I am sure now. 

There is not much flip-flopping in Aaron's world, that's for certain!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Lessons From the Threatening Storm

Gary and I are preparing for a huge backyard project that requires us to remove our fence. Gary doesn't have much time for this kind of outdoor work, so the extended daylight in the evening has been a help. All day yesterday the weather was perfect, though a little windy. Yet I was reading on the weather information on-line, or hearing on the local news, that we might get some storms in the evening. You'd never know it to look outside, I thought. Such a sunny day it was!

Gary came home from work and we sat down for supper, as we always do. This time together is very special - time to enjoy dinner, talk about our day, and just relax with each other. But looking outside, we noticed some gathering dark clouds on the horizon. A few minutes later we heard a low, distant rumble of thunder. Knowing that Gary wanted to take more of the fence down, we didn't linger over our dinner. After eating, Gary hurried on outside while I quickly cleaned the kitchen. Then I joined him at the soon-to-be-gone fence. He dismantled while I carried boards over to the stack that he had begun the night before. Jackson, our huge Great Dane, went back and forth between us, all the while sniffing the heavy air as if he knew that something was brewing.

And brewing it was! The clouds were rolling and darkening by the minute as we hurried to complete another section of fence. We didn't want this interruption to stop us from completing the sections that Gary had begun. The thunder was much more frequent and the winds were stronger. Finally, there was a bright flash of lightning, and soon our back door opened as Aaron burst out to tell us about the lightning he had just seen. We continued to scurry about our job in the hopes of finishing at least this certain part that Gary had begun. The storm was building, the threat was worsening, and the lightning becoming more frequent and intense. Gary insisted that I go inside, then, while he completed removing just a few more boards. Finally, he was able to remove the boards before hurrying inside to safety. Sure enough, as the evening progressed, the storm increased. The rain came, the lightning seemed constant, the thunder boomed, and the hail pinged off the windows. And this morning - the sun is bright, the birds are singing, the air is fresh and cool. The storm has passed.

Gary and I wouldn't have chosen to have a storm at that time last night, even though we always need the rain. The rain causes our grass and flowers to grow, and nourishes our trees. But last night we had planned to finish the fence. This interruption has been a set-back, a delay, in what we wanted to accomplish. Our weekend will be busy and now our schedule has to be adjusted. And isn't this just how life's delays are? Delays can be for good and happy reasons, but more often our bumps in the road are not very pleasant.

We see the storms on our horizon and feel the heaviness in the air. Sometimes it happens overnight; at other times we watch it coming over a period of weeks and months. Those trials of life; those hurts; those fears; those great disappointments. We walk out of the doctor's office, stunned at the sobering news we've just been handed. We stand beside the grave of our loved one, never dreaming we would be in this place at this time of life. We pick up the phone and hear our child's voice, broken and confused. We perhaps experience the coldness of a relationship that at one time was dear and valuable to us. We watch others experience financial blessing or other joys that never seem to quite come our way. We wait for the other shoe to drop; wait for the surgery; wait for the pink slip; wait for the loneliness to go away; wait for the consequences of our child's actions to happen..............while we wish that we could have just enjoyed life and been able to accomplish those things that we set out to do in the beginning.

But last night, as I looked in one direction, all I saw was darkness and heaviness. Yet when I turned around and looked behind me, I saw the beautiful opening in the clouds. I saw the sun's rays streaming through, outlining the clouds in silver. There was hope! The end of the storms would come and there was glorious light to anticipate. God was there! And God is there in the middle of our deep trials and terrible hurts. A God Who has a reason for our pain and Who gives us that eternal perspective in our trials that carries us through. Paul certainly experienced deep suffering and in Romans 8:18 he said, "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us." And again in 2 Corinthians 4:17, "For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison."

Look to the future, to the plan that God has that we don't know or understand or can't even fathom at this point. The sufferings that we experience now are nothing compared to the eternal glory that awaits those that know Him. The clouds will open, even it's not until heaven, but there is a reason and there is a hope for each of us. Let's keep our eyes on the One Who sent the storm and trust Him for the outcome!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

She's Perfect!

I do believe that I have firmly established the fact that Aaron loves to eat.  A lot!  Loves it a lot and eats a lot! 

I was out yesterday when my cell phone rang.  My friend, Melody, asked if she could stop by after picking her son up from school.  She had a treat to drop off, she said.  Oh my, how nice!  I love those unexpected surprises!  I told her that I wouldn't be home, but Aaron might be home by then.

Melody brought the treat over and sure enough, I wasn't at home..........but Aaron was.  She rang the doorbell and heard him inside saying something about "ding-dong, the doorbell is ringing" or some such thing.  He said hi to her and was pretty polite, I think, which brought a deep sigh of relief from me.  We never know with Aaron.  He's been known to just grab things from people at the door and then firmly shut the door.  If someone doesn't know Aaron, that can be pretty shocking. 

This simple exchange made quite an impression on Aaron.  When I returned home, Aaron immediately said, "Mom!  This woman came to our door and brought those!"  He pointed to the bag on the table.  Inside were delicious dipped pretzel goodies.  YUM!!

Aaron continued, "So why did she bring those?  Do you know her?" 

Aaron, since when do random people that we don't know show up at our door with food?  I assured him that she is a friend from church and we talked about how kind it was for her to share these delicious treats with us.

This morning, this whole incident was still on Aaron's mind.  He talked again about how Melody came to our house, bringing food.  Then he said, "So.........does she, like, deliver food?"

He said it in such a hopeful way that I knew what his mind was imagining.  And I could almost hear the angels singing in Aaron's world.

He has just discovered the PERFECT woman!!!!!

She comes to our door, delivering FOOD!!!!!!!!!!!

I hated to ruin his pop his jerk him back to reality.

No, Aaron.......Melody does not routinely deliver food.  This was a special thank-you, a sweet gesture in more ways than one........a treat!  Do not expect regular food deliveries.  Come back to earth!

Now do you want a bowl of cereal?  You can fix it yourself!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Potato Salad

Aaron went with Paradigm to Wal-Mart today.  As you know, I never know what to expect when he comes home each day...........especially from a shopping trip.  He bounded in the door today and immediately plunked on the table...........this:

He bought potato salad for lunch..........again.  Except this time it's  FOUR pounds of potato salad. 

I had to laugh as I said, "Wow!  Aaron, you bought............potato salad.  FOUR pounds of potato salad."

I asked him if it had been kept in a refrigerator.  He replied, "Yes, and I ate a few when I took it out of the frig."

A few, huh?

"Well, if I ate it all it would give me stomach problems, right?"

Absolutely, definitely right!

FOUR pounds of potato salad would cause some stomach problems, I would say.

Then he asked, "Can I just eat some of it for supper?"..............even as he was smelling the Beef Stroganoff in the crock pot. 

So I answered, "Sure, Aaron, whatever you want."  And in the split second following my remark he blurted out, "Well, can I have some meat, too?"

Later Gary, Aaron, and I sat down to eat supper.  I offered Aaron his potato salad and he declined, saying that he wanted some of the noodles and stroganoff...............two helpings when all was said and done............and some deviled eggs.   But no potato salad. 

As we cleaned the kitchen, I asked Aaron about the FOUR pounds of potato salad.  I asked him if he liked it, and I wasn't surprised at his answer.  "Well, it's not my favorite." 

That's his way of saying no, I don't like it, and I will not eat another bite of that FOUR pounds of potato salad.  Now we have a container of potato salad, FOUR pounds of potato salad, hardly touched.  Aaron was right when he said he ate a few of it when he took it out of the frig.  I know that Gary and I will not eat any of that FOUR pounds of potato salad. 

This ranks right up there with the day he bought THIRTY-SIX rolls.  At least we liked the rolls.  But this FOUR pounds of potato salad............well, it's not our favorite. 

Lessons From the Wind

We've had such a hot and dry summer, along with many others, and so the recent storms and rain that have come our way have been very welcome. It's been so nice to see the clouds building in the distance, then hear the rumbling thunder, and eventually, hopefully, see and hear the falling rain. My flowers and vegetables are much happier, as am I! It's been a relief to not have all the watering responsibilities over the past few days that I've had all summer. However, with some of our storms comes the inevitable and unwelcome strong winds. I could wish that all of our rains were like the sweet and gentle little shower that we received this morning. But this is Kansas and more often than not our storms are accompanied by strong winds. I can move our outdoor baskets of flowers to a safe location but there really is nothing that can protect all of the flowers or vegetables that grow around our house and in our gardens.

Most of my flowers are perennials and so I really don't like to see them damaged or killed. Replacing them every year can get expensive! The other day we received a late-night storm with those high winds, and when I saw my Black-Eyed Susans the next day my eyes lighted on a new patch of flowers that were leaning over and not looking the greatest. I propped them back up and hoped for the best. Today I couldn't help but notice them right away when I walked out the back door. There they were, all brown and wilting instead of perky and bright yellow. They were some of the tallest flowers in that patch and were such a bright spot in my garden. Now they look dismal and dead, lifeless and limp. The wind was too much for them and they are gone.

We all have storms in our lives at certain points. Sometimes the rains fall rather gently. We are actually refreshed by the waters when all is said and done, even though it may mean that we have to endure some rather stressful times. Yet at other periods of life the storms blow in with ferocity. The winds are strong and challenging, more than we feel that we can bear. They may mean prolonged suffering as we are relentlessly buffeted by one piece of bad news after another. We wonder if our roots can withstand the continual beating of the winds. We no sooner feel the winds of our trials easing up when we are suddenly blown again by another heartache or pain.

I've seen those I love being blown like this and I have experienced those times myself. It's during these heavy winds of storm and uncertainty that we need more than ever to cling to God and to remember Who He is. We may not understand the reason for the wind or see the purpose that He has in mind for us, but we do know that we can trust God's character and His goodness. In Psalm 73:26, the Psalmist said, "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Instead of giving up, leaning over, becoming uprooting and lifeless, let's let God be our strength! Let's weather the storms and winds with His grace and peace so that we can be upright, bright, and blooming for His glory and for His pleasure.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Circle Berries, Wax, and Storks

I bought two new food items on Friday.  Well, new to us in the sense that one is an item I have never bought and the other is an item that I rarely buy.  Of course, Aaron noticed both of them and so last night we had a conversation.  Is there ever a time that we DON'T have a conversation?!

The first item he talked and talked about are these:

I got some pretty blackberries at Sam's on Friday.  I don't remember the last time I bought blackberries.  Neither does Aaron.

"Mom, what are these?"  he asked as he held up a fat blackberry.  "They look like our mulberries that we used to have."

I told him that they are blackberries.  He was very intrigued by their color and their shape, but his conclusion was that they definitely have the wrong name. 

"Mom, they should be called circle berries."

Circle berries?  "Yeah!  Look at all the circles on them!"

And you know, they do have many little circles that are all put together to make:  Circle Berries!!

The other item I bought was a bottle of Sweet Banana Wax Peppers.  He saw them in their jar and was puzzled.  "Mom, why are they called wax peppers?"  I wasn't sure, really, so told him I didn't know.  But I assured him that they are not wax, even pulling one out for him to reluctantly smell. 

He just couldn't figure out that wax part, though.  "Wax is like a thing we use to do things with tools."

Once you decipher that sentence, it really makes perfect sense.

And lastly, tonight he was - for who knows what reason - talking once again about the fact that storks do NOT bring babies.  "Mom, that legend about storks bringing babies isn't true, is it?"

Nope, Aaron...........that stork legend is just that............a legend (since that's what he likes to call it). 

And he ended by saying, "So the stork is not a baby bringer?"

Right.............storks are not baby bringers............not at all. 

And I'm glad he left the kitchen on that note, before he wanted to talk any further about baby bringers!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A Statue Wearing WHAT?!

This little snippet will reinforce what I said in my last blog, which is:

1.  Aaron is observant

2.  Aaron talks about his observations

3.  Aaron has few filters

Gary and I are a set of parents who:

1.  Wish that Aaron wasn't always so observant

2.  Wish that Aaron would keep some of his observations to himself

3.  Wish that Aaron had more selective filters

Yesterday Aaron saw an article of my clothing that reminded him of an incident in the East Mall on Thursday that he somehow forgot to tell me about.  Here we go:

"Mom!  Yesterday in the East Mall we were walking around and I saw a STATUE of a lady wearing BRAS!!!!!!!"

I remained calm and unaffected..........outwardly...........even as I felt the blood draining from my face.  But I reminded myself that I had not received a call from mall security, Wichita police, Aaron's day group, irate parents.............time for a deep breath.

I casually responded, "Really, Aaron?" 

I didn't wait long for the rest of the story.

"Yeah, it was a STATUE wearing BRAS!!!  I told Tiffany 'That's yours!!  You wear BRAS!!!!' " 

Well, well, well.  Tiffany is another client and a friend of Aaron's.   I'm sure that Tiffany got a good laugh out of this because she and Aaron apparently laugh a lot about lots of things.  I don't really want to know, honestly. 

Aaron thought that all of this was "quite funny."  I'm sure all of this was "quite loud."  I can just hear Aaron's and Tiffany's unfiltered, boisterous exchange in the middle of the crowded mall.  Again, some things are best to be left unknown. 

I wanted to ask if the "statue's" name was Victoria and did she have a secret............but thought I should just move on to Aaron's next topic and leave well enough alone. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Pretzel Dogs and RVs

Part of what makes Aaron so interesting........or complex............or sometimes the fact that there is very little in life that escapes his attention.  He notices, comments on, questions, or informs us about absolutely anything and everything - whether we are interested or not. 

A friend from our Life Group asked me recently if we would consider letting Aaron join in on our small group time.  We meet in our home and so it would make sense for Aaron to participate.  I told her, though, that as nice as it was for her to want Aaron to be a part of our group and to let me know that he was welcome to come, it wouldn't work.  Aaron would be interrupting our conversations every chance he got.  He would see that time as his prime opportunity to talk, talk, talk............and not about the Bible study or prayer requests or each other's life.  Only his life and his interests.  That's Aaron!

His comments are random, out-of-the-blue, and often unexpected.  We are usually along for the ride, carried here and there by his observations and stories, and often struggling to respond correctly or with feigned interest or without laughter. 

Yesterday after returning from his group, he described the lunch he bought at the East Mall.  "Mom, I got two pretzel dogs.  You remember pretzel dogs?  They're this big."  And he used his hands to approximate the size of the pretzel dogs. 

He continued, "I noticed something about those pretzel dogs.  They're slippery!"

We talked about the butter on the outside and why they put butter on the outside and then what other good pretzels are sold there and why he doesn't like the cheese dip but Cody does and the salt on the outside of the pretzels...............  

Wow!  Can he ever take a simple pretzel dog and make a whole commentary on it!

Then, "Mom, after my pretzel, I got a dipped cone at Dairy Queen.  You know, it's that vanilla ice cream......not chocolate!.........but it's dipped in's called a shell."

I asked him if he liked the ice cream cone with the chocolate shell, and he said, "Well, it's not my favorite.  It's messy!"

As we headed outside to take Jackson for a walk, Aaron continued talking about the pretzel dogs and ice cream, and then told me about the group stopping at Sonic and how he got a grape slushie.  Then he transitioned right into RVs.  Yes, somehow he decided that he had a question about recreational vehicles. 

"Mom, does an RV have water in it for, you know, a shower or to use a toilet or to come out at a sink?"  I was still on pretzel dogs and grape slushies, but I've learned to switch gears quickly, so I told him that yes, RVs do have water inside.

This surprised Aaron.  "You mean an RV has water in it like a human house?" 

Yes, just like a human house, Aaron. 

I guess a human house as opposed to a bird house...........or a dog house.............which reminds me of pretzel dogs........and chocolate ice cream with a shell...........and grape slushies. 

I'm beginning to think like Aaron!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mystery Shopping

Aaron's day group is at the mall today - probably the East Mall, as he calls it.  No telling what stories or descriptions he'll have to share with me when he comes home. 

For instance, once he was trying to describe the lunch he bought at Wal-Mart. 

"Mom, it wasn't a Cheddar Pasta Salad.  I don't know what it's called.......I can't remember." 

So I asked him to describe his unknown meal.

"Well, it was a mashed potato salad thing."

Hmmm.......I need more info, Aaron.

"It was bright like potatoes."

Still not sure.

"It was in a bowl thing."

A bowl thing?

"You know, it was not in that cage."

And so given this very useful information, I was somehow, amazingly enough, able to figure out that the mashed potato salad thing that was bright like potatoes and in a bowl thing, not in that cage, was:

POTATO SALAD!!!!!  It's sold separately in a container and isn't behind the glass counter with the other salads and some of the potatoes are kind of mashed and don't ask me about it being bright. 

Then last week he went to Target with his group.  He told me, "Mom!  Today we went to Target and I was in the SUPER part!" 

The super part?  OK...........

"I got a Combo Pizza Meal.  It was $2.19 but then it became $7.24!"

Yeah, right, Aaron.  Did I miss something?  Have taxes gone up that much?

Hard to know with Aaron!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Aaron and I left earlier than usual yesterday morning so that on our way to meet his day group we could stop to get his hair cut.  He loves getting his hair cut, as well as his goatee and eyebrows trimmed.  Many of the girls at Great Clips know him now and so he is greeted warmly.  The other patrons are a little more curious about Aaron...........I can read it in their glances at him, or the stares.  Of course, the way Aaron bounds in the font door in his "take charge" fashion doesn't discourage the stares.  He'll ask (loudly), "Can I get my hair cut?!"  even as the ladies are still trying to say, "Welcome to Great Clips!"  Aaron knows that I've told him we can't be there long, so if there's a wait then we may have to leave.  Leaving is not an option to Aaron..........nor is beginning his conversation with a nice "Hello."  Nope - it's get right to the business at hand.........the hair cut and can I have it now and do I have to wait and I better not have to wait!

We were told that there was only about a five minute wait.  "So can I get my hair cut now, Mom?!"  Yes, Aaron, we can wait for five minutes.

He and I were both very relieved at that news, although for different reasons.  As we sat in the chairs to wait his turn, Aaron began his usual conversation...........loudly, as always.  "Mom, those people in the pictures on the walls look weird."

Why do you think they look weird, Aaron?

"Well, their hair looks all funny and their faces are shiny!"

So we talk about their haircuts and the make-up and their clothes and why they look just fine, not weird.  I believe, though, that Aaron still does..........and will always...........think they look weird.

Then he said.....loudly........."Mom, Great Clips is a salon, right?  It's spelled  s -a - l - o - n, right?"

Yes, Aaron, it's a salon.

"Well, I get that word mixed up with that other word spelled s - a - l - o - o - n." 

So we talked about the pronunciation of salon and saloon, and how closely similar they are spelled.  Aaron said, "Yeah, I get them confused." 

He paused and then said, "A salon is where you get your hair cut, but a saloon is that beer dancing thing!  You don't get your hair cut there!"

Nope, I don't think anyone would want to get their hair cut at a beer dancing thing.  Although I've seen some that look like maybe they have!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Not Right Away

Aaron has been wanting to buy a Scooby Doo video, so today I let him take the last of his Christmas gift cash with him to Paradigm.  They go to Wal-Mart, usually, on I took a chance on giving him this extra money but I left him with specific instructions.

"Aaron,"  I said, "Don't go right in and start buying a bunch of candy.  You can get some lunch, but look for that video you want.  You can bring the money home that you don't spend.  You don't have to spend it all." 

Very clear, I thought.

Aaron came home this afternoon carrying a Wal-Mart bag..........but I could tell that it didn't have a DVD in it.   I asked him if he found the DVD at Wal-Mart.

"No," he said, "They didn't have the DVD.  So I went to Subway and got a combo meal.  And then I got this........."   And he pulled out this huge bag of...............naturally...............Skittles. 

Aaron, I told you not to buy a bunch of candy.

He answered, "Mom, you said not to buy candy right away, so I didn't.  I waited until after lunch to buy it." 

He should go into politics.

Lasting Love

On March 20, 1949, there was a wedding in the little mountain town of Welch, West Virginia.  This wedding was held in the home of Guy and Lillian Hollandsworth.  Jack King and Beth Hollandsworth were joined in marriage on this first day of spring.  It was a simple and sweet wedding.  Life was simpler in those days of 1949.  This tall, handsome man was very much in love with his pretty, petite bride.  She was happy to be secure in the love of this kind, gentle man.  No one outside of their close circle of family and friends gave any thought to this wedding day.  To me, though, it was a monumental day.  You see, I call this special couple Mom and Dad. 

Beth was the youngest child of Guy and Lillian Hollandsworth.  Guy was the school principal in Welch.  Jack was the youngest of two children born to Christal and J.W. King in Oakvale, West Virginia.  Beth's brother, Luther, was dating Dad's sister, Mary.  Through that connection, another connection was forming.  Beth had transferred from Berea College in Kentucky to Marshall University, where she completed her degree in Home Economics.  She was teaching back in her home in Welch.  Jack had followed his dad's footsteps and began working for the Norfolk and Western railroad at the age of 17. 

When Luther would make it to Princeton to visit Mary, Jack would be sure to drive Luther back to his home in Welch.  Jack had ulterior motives for being so helpful to Luther, for sure, and her name was Beth.  Beth was pretty and popular, and had her fill of selfish young men.  Jack was kind, a man of integrity, and she noticed that difference.  Love blossomed between the two.  Their first date was to make a trip down to North Carolina to watch a Tarheel football game.  They stayed with Luther and Mary, who had married.  Jack and Beth shared a love of sports and of music, especially classical music.  And on this particular trip, Beth wondered why Jack referred to red pine trees, and was so relieved to find out that he was simply color blind.  They loved telling stories about their first date!

Jack asked Beth to marry him and she happily said yes.  They planned to marry sometime in the spring of 1949, and always laughed when they told about how they married on the first day of spring.  Well, it WAS spring!  Beth stayed in Welch to finish out her year of teaching, and Jack lived in Princeton, where he worked for the railroad.  Jack would drive to Welch on weekends to see his bride.  He and Beth would often tell the story of Jack's one and only speeding ticket that he got on one of those drives as he hurried to be with Beth.  They always had a twinkle in their eyes as they shared those memories.

When Beth's school year was finished, in June, she moved to Princeton to join Jack in a little upstairs apartment that they called home.  Over the next few years they were blessed with five children:  Mary Beth, John, Jan, Patty, and Kathryn.  Life was a little more complicated then with Jack working long hours, and Beth keeping the home running smoothly........or as smoothly as she could with five children and a husband who had very long work days, worked on weekends, or was called in during the middle of the night for train derailments. 

Jack was a good man, but had never asked Christ to be his personal Lord and Savior.  A man he worked with, Basil Selvey, led Jack to the Lord in the early 50's.  Jack listened to the radio, growing in his faith as he listened to The Old Fashioned Revival Hour with Dr. Charles Fuller, and to the Radio Bible Class with M. R. DeHaan.  Beth was very committed to her denomination, so Jack kept mostly quiet about his new faith as he continued to grow and to pray for Beth.  Beth was a beautiful soloist and would sing for various church events and revivals.  She sang the song "I'd Rather Have Jesus" for a particular revival, where Jimmy Jones was the preacher, and while singing she knew that she didn't really mean what she was singing.  Soon she was saved, and she and Jack were truly joined as one. 

Through the years, Jack and Beth..............Mom and Dad.............were totally devoted to Christ.  They lived out their faith as they raised us five children, and struggled through the ups and downs of life.  I've never known anyone else as faithful and devoted as my Mom and Dad, to each other and to the Lord and to us children.  There are many stories that could be told of their love and their dedication.  On this day, which would have been their 63rd anniversary, I think of the example they were to each of us children and to our spouses and our children, of true devotion and love. 

As they got older, they retired just a few months apart and then were inseparable.  They traveled together, went to get groceries together, shopped for Mom's sewing or quilting supplies together, went to ballgames together, and one would only go to bed when the other one was ready.  When Dad was diagnosed with cancer, Mom went to his treatments with him and was with him every step of the way during those 8 years of his hard fought battle to live.

Dad wanted to live because of Mom.  Not only was he worried about how she would fare without him, for he knew that she was becoming very forgetful, he also could not imagine going to heaven without her.  That issue was the final letting-go that he had to do before he went to heaven.  I went home to help take care of Dad the month before he died.  Their devotion was as strong as ever.  When Dad had to have a hospital bed, Mom would sleep in their bed, pulled up close beside his bed, and they would hold hands through the bars. 

One day they decided that they wanted some Long John Silvers for lunch, so I got Dad all settled in his wheelchair in the living room.  He was facing Mom, who was sitting on the couch.  I left to get our lunch, and when I returned I was shocked at what I saw.  There the two of them sat, on the couch, snuggled together holding hands.  As I walked in, they both looked like teenagers who had been caught making out!  Mom sheepishly told me that it was Dad's idea, that he wanted to sit by her on the couch, and he shook his head yes in agreement to her story.  The transfer of Dad to the couch scared them both..........the wheelchair, Dad's catheter, Mom's lack of strength..............but to them it was so worth the risk!  I tried to fuss at them, but it truly was a precious moment.  Who would deny them any opportunity to be near each other sit on the couch and hold hands, experience a moment of joy and love that was to end all too soon? 

On December 4, 2008, Mom and Dad sat on their couch once more............holding hands and telling John and I the timeless story of their courtship and early married life.  Mom did most of the talking, with Dad slowly lifting his head to look at her and smile his sweet, loving smile.  That was the last time I sat with my Dad and talked to him.  He went on to heaven on December 10.......without Mom.  He's happy and content with Jesus, we know that beyond a doubt.  Mom is the one who is lonely, who sheds the tears, and lives in the wonderful memories..........memories that are nearly faded from her now as she struggles with the ravages of Alzheimers. 

But some day she and Dad will be together again, for eternity, in heaven.  And we children will be left with our memories of faithful parents who loved each other totally to the very end.  Those are memories that I'm forever thankful for, and a marriage that has been a beautiful example to follow.

Monday, March 19, 2012


As we watched basketball yesterday, a commercial came on for the upcoming "60 Minutes" broadcast.  There was that clock............tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick.

Aaron listened.  Then he excitedly blurted out, "That sounds like DNA!!!  You know.......that stuff that explodes!!"

Uh, Aaron..............don't you mean TNT? 

I really don't want to worry about my DNA exploding. 

Friday, March 16, 2012


I just wanted to tell a little quickie on Aaron.  You know how I've written about the fact that he has a hard time pinpointing where someone is from, or does this or that country have such and such a food or religion or music?

Well, last night at supper he was telling Gary and I about how he had read something about Japan.  He then asked, "Aren't they the people that do a wrestle?"

A wrestle? 

"Yeah," he continued, "You know, that wrestle that they do."

Through questioning him, we found out that he meant that kicking and yelling wrestle.  When we asked, "Do you mean Ninjas?"  he excitedly answered, "Yes!  Ninjas!" 

I'm so glad it wasn't the Sumo wrestling he was talking about.  I'm still not over Aaron's striped underwear.  I don't need to talk about Sumos right now. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


When it comes to areas of modesty, Aaron is pretty much on track with the rest of us.............but not totally.  Just ask Andrea about the times Aaron has started up the hall in his skivvies, sees Andrea, and isn't very embarrassed at all.  Maybe he's a little TOO comfortable with family?

And then there have been the golden moments when someone has been here who is not family and Aaron begins to tell them about his Vegal Nerve Stimulator, and about how he had to have surgery to have it put in, and do you want to see it?.................and then he yanks his shirt up to show his scar and to point out the round VNS that is under his skin.  There is a simultaneous chorus from the rest of us standing there as reach toward Aaron and yell, "NOOOOOO!!".........but it's too late and the poor visitor is treated to a view of all of Aaron from his pants up as he proudly shows his scar and then squeezes the VNS under his skin (yuck!) and..............well, it's just a speechless moment for our hapless guest and a red-faced moment for the family.   Oh, but not for Aaron.  He's just very sure that everyone wants to see a good scar and experience seeing a VNS under someones skin and then see where the leads hook up in his neck.  If we're having dinner, I do try to assure that this occurrence is AFTER dinner - but with Aaron, you never know. 

I bought Aaron some new underwear last design, new style.........and he was very interested in all this newness.   Some of them are striped.  I don't know why they are striped, but they are.  So the next day I was in the bathroom fixing my hair, and Aaron had just showered.  Soon I heard that familiar thump, thump, thump that meant he was walking up the hall to my room.   He purposefully came into the bathroom..........wearing only a pair of the new striped underwear.  "Mom!!  See?!  I look like a zebra!!" 

There are some things that I should not have to see...........and I'm not talking about a zebra.  I enjoy seeing zebras at the zoo.  I did NOT enjoy seeing Aaron standing in my bathroom in his new striped underwear, telling me that he looked like a zebra.  He did NOT look like a zebra.  He looked like............never mind.  Anyway, I told him that he should not be walking around in his underwear and he could not understand why I wasn't interested in seeing him look like a zebra and I told him to please leave and go dress...........while I tried to free my mind from the image I had just endured.

Yesterday after Aaron got home from his day group, he and I took Jackson on a walk around the circle.  When we got back to the house, Aaron went right up to his room to undress and get his comfy pajamas on.  In a few minutes I headed up the stairs, only to find Aaron undressing in his room with the door open............and only his underwear on.  He heard me at the moment that I saw him through his open door and as he scooted out of the way, he said, "Woops!"   And I said, "Aaron!  Are you undressed?"

Whereupon he replied, "No!  I have my underwear on!" 

I don't even want to know at what level Aaron must think he has to be in order to be "undressed." 

We obviously have some work to do. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mixed-Up Nuts

Aaron loves nuts.............the kind he eats, not the ones he lives with.  Anyway, not only does he enjoy eating nuts, but he's fascinated with all the variety of nuts there are.  He thinks it's neat that we have two pecan trees................pee-con, as he calls them. 

Often Aaron says, "Mom, I found a pee-con when I was in the mulch today!  Who put it there?"  And so we have our usual discussion about the squirrels that steal all of our pee-cons, or maybe the birds that drop the pee-cons, and how the squirrels bury the pee-cons, and why they sometimes forget where they buried the pee-cons, and how long that particular pee-con may have been there................I don't care about pee-cons at all at that point. 

I bought a large can of mixed nuts last week at Sam's, hoping that they would last a long time.  That usually means I need to hide them from Aaron, but he's pretty much like a squirrel in being able to find the hidden nuts.  And then he hides his stash that he pours in his favorite snack bowl...........usually under his bed.  I really need to clean under there some day.  No telling what I'll find. 

Not much escapes Aaron's observations, and the mixed nuts certainly do intrigue him.  Aaron doesn't just pop them in his mouth and happily eat.  He has examined the unique characteristics of each variety of nut, and loves to share what he has noticed. 

He thinks pee-cons that we buy in the store and that are part of the mixed nuts are very interesting.  "Mom!  I like that nut."

Which nut is that, Aaron?

"I don't know the name, but it's the one that's wrinkled." 

He was surprised the first time that I told him the wrinkled nuts were pee-cons, like the ones that grow on our tree and that the squirrels steal and hide.  But to Aaron they are the wrinkled nuts.

"Mom, look at this nut.  It's fat!"

The fat nut is a cashew, but fat nut is much easier to remember............and perhaps relate to? 

On Saturday, in a moment of conviction, he handed me the bowl of nuts that had been hidden under his bed.  He excitedly said, "Mom!  I noticed something!  Some of those nuts have wrappings." 

Wrappings.  Who would have thought to call the skin a wrapping?  Only Aaron!

"So what do I do with that wrapping, Mom?  Do I need to take it off?"

I have no idea why Aaron was asking me now about whether he should take the wrapping off when he's eaten how many thousand wrapped nuts.  But I assured him that it was fine for him to eat the wrapping........or the skin, if you're boring............and he was very relieved.

Unwrapping all those nuts could take awhile!  Hmmm.......maybe I should have told him that he needed to unwrap them.  He might eat a lot less!

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Rage

I've said it before and I'll say it with Aaron isn't always a walk in the park.  He truly is as funny and perceptive and delightful as I portray him in the stories I tell.  Yet there is also a flip side to Aaron.  I've mentioned that fact in the past, several times.  As I try to preserve Aaron's dignity and respect yet share our real life with an adult child with Asperger's Syndrome, I realize that I need to be truthful but wise in what I share in this regard.  In addition, I don't want to appear whiny or complaining. 

Life for any of us is very real and raw at times.  Usually we want to put on our happy face for the world to see, even when our lives are tiring or distressing.  My happy face was rapidly disappearing this morning, believe me!  Sometimes I really don't know what sets Aaron on the path of anger, but he sure was trotting unhappily along that path as I was urging him to get his day started. 

Here is the quote again from the article Understanding the Student with Asperger's Syndrome:  Guidelines for Teachers, written by Karen Williams.  "Rage reactions/temper outbursts are common in response to stress/frustration.  Children (or adults! - my words) with AS rarely seem relaxed and are easily overwhelmed when things are not as their rigid views dictate they should be.  Interacting with people and coping with the ordinary demands of everyday life take continual Herculean effort." 

I wanted to use some Herculean effort this morning to toss Aaron through the window.  Is that honest enough?  All moms know that yo-yo pattern of good moments/bad moments which can completely overwhelm our reason and our ability to cope.  With Aaron it's very complicated because he often has such a hard time expressing to me just what it is that stressed him to the point of becoming enraged.  I knew today that he was struggling to get off the computer; didn't want to shower; then said he didn't want to go bowling today, etc., etc.

Deep breathing on my part, talking gently to him with an even tone, watching the John Carter movie trailer, offering him pizza for breakfast.........none of it was working very well to defuse his rising anger.  His comments about not wanting to bowl and my assurances that he didn't have to bowl but could instead do another activity were getting nowhere.  He finally slammed his medicine container on the kitchen counter and pills flew everywhere.  When Aaron is in a rage like this, he almost always wants to break something.  My presence is important in order to keep that from happening, but my presence is often an irritant to him.  This was the moment that I wanted that Herculean effort to be used in tossing Aaron out the window, but instead had to use it to remain calm yet firm.  There is a balance there, so hard to achieve at times, but crucial if this moment is to pass without more slamming or breaking of things.

I turned away, prayed, had quite a few deep breaths, and turned again to sit at the table and talk to Aaron.  We discussed what options he had for this day and I could see that he was emotionally coming down.  He was talking with more calmness and reason as he began to eat his pizza, and then helped himself to the three remaining cinnamon bread sticks.  Finally he was happy, talking like our typical Aaron, and completely unaware and furthermore, uncaring of the fact that I was emotionally drained. 

Aaron was picked up by Cody this morning because I was unsure of the timing of a delivery here at home.  I went outside to do something and when I returned, Aaron told me that as he drank his coffee his hand jerked.  He dropped his coffee, a large container, and it went all over the family room floor, rug, and ottoman.  Cody was in the driveway, so I walked out with Aaron, who was sorry about the coffee but very happy to be going with Cody.  He had coffee on his once-clean, beige shirt but he didn't care.  Off they drove, and for the second time this morning I found myself on my knees cleaning up Aaron's mess.  He can't help his jerks............they often come after stress or after seizures.  Still.............what a mess!

Yet once again God used this son of mine to draw my thoughts to Him.  I find myself often serving Aaron in ways that can be frustrating, demeaning, insulting even.  As I serve Aaron, though, I know that I am serving God.  God has given us this boy, this Aaron who can one minute be making us laugh and the next minute be requiring our extreme patience.  There will be consequences for his actions, but there must also be unconditional love.  I drug the rug out to the patio to air it out and let it dry, and finished cleaning the family room.  Life goes on...........I forgive and though I can't forget, I once again will welcome Aaron home today and see that his needs are met.

God does the same for me, every single day of my life.  He is ever patient and kind to me;  He forgives me when I fail and sin;  He always loves me;  His Son even demeaned Himself to come as a human and die for me.  He not only forgives my sin, but He forgets them!  He doesn't hold them over my head, even when I may have consequences for my actions.  He welcomes and desires my fellowship, and meets every need I have.  How can I do any less for my Aaron?

And there are always reasons to be thankful.  I knew this morning that I could be thankful for:
1.  The fact that this particular rug doesn't show stains, including coffee
 that have been left on that rug.
3.  That it's a warm day, perfect for airing out rugs.
4.  That now I have a chance, or a reason, to clean under the rug.........if I don't see it, I don't
 clean it!
5.  That Aaron is with his day group and I have some breathing room............and that I did NOT
throw him out of the window. 

It is a good thing that we don't have a big bay or picture window, about tempting! 

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Guess what we had for supper.  YES!!  The Dinner in a Box from Pizza Hut!

 Andrea came for a visit, and she and I were wondering what Aaron's reaction would be.  He walked into the kitchen, saw the rectangle box, and smiled................but he rarely acts super excited about anything. 

I said, "Aaron, look what I got us for supper!" 

I opened the box and he said, "Square!"

He loved the square pieces, and after eating a piece, and asking for a bread stick, he asked for another "square piece of pizza." 

And believe me, he didn't have one bit of trouble figuring out how to eat this strange, square pizza!

That's Not Pizza!

Last night as we watched a little television, a Pizza Hut commercial came on that shows their Dinner in a Box.  It's interesting to see how something like this will grab Aaron's attention, and demonstrate how difficult it can be for him to accept a change in what is, to him, considered normal. 

In this case, normal consists of pizza that is round.  The rectangular pizza in Pizza Hut's Dinner in a Box is not round.  Therefore, this strange pizza is not normal.  The end.

And so as the commercial aired, Aaron was observing this unnatural pizza.  He gave a disdainful, "Hmmpff!"  and then proceeded to talk about this weird, wanna-be pizza.

"Mom, that's not a pizza!"

Yes, Aaron, it is a pizza.

"Well, it's not round like a pizza!"

Aaron, pizza doesn't have to be round to be pizza.

"So how do you eat it?" eat it like you eat anything.  You pick it up and put it in your mouth and chew it!

"No, Mom!  It's not round!"

But Aaron, you just cut it and eat it like you do a round pizza.

"But it's not a triangle!"

You're right.  When you cut it, it's either a square or a rectangle.  But it's still pizza.

"Even though it's not a triangle, it's still pizza?"

Yes, Aaron.

"And that's how you eat it?"

That's right.

"Well, I'm not used to that!"

No, Aaron - you're not used to that rectangle pizza.  And so I need to buy us a Pizza Hut Dinner in a Box and then we will watch Aaron's reaction to this non-round pizza that is not a triangle shape when you cut it. 

Nothing is mundane when Aaron is around.............even pizza!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Lessons From the Spring Snow

Although the calendar doesn't say that spring is here yet, officially, you sure couldn't prove that by the gorgeous weather that we have been enjoying. Days have been warm and sunny, birds are singing, robins have been spotted, and even that particular smell of spring has been in the air. My Salvia, Black-Eyed Susans, Garden Phlox, Peonies, and Shasta Daisies are all peeking out of the soil, showing off their fresh green growth. Many trees and bushes are budding, and I've seen Bradford Pears in full bloom as I drive around town. It's a refreshing and peaceful time of year - a time of stretching and breathing deeply of the warm air, full of the smell of damp earth and the promise of warmer days ahead.

Two days ago the winds began howling, not at all unusual here in Kansas. These winds, however, began to change direction as night fell. Instead of blowing strong but warm out of the south, they started blowing out of the north. The temperatures dropped dramatically and then sometime during the night the rain began to fall. In the wee hours of the morning there was a different sound. No longer did we hear just the strong winds and the pattering of rain on the roof and windows. Now we heard the sharp pinging of sleet as it was blown against our window panes. The early alarm from my clock only made me want to hunker down further under my warm covers. I didn't want to face the unwelcome cold that had intruded upon our beautiful spring-like weather, or look outside to see what sight might await me.

Sure enough, one look outside confirmed what I knew in my heart to be true. A light snow was falling, mixed in with stinging sleet - covering the emerging new growth of my flowers and the fragile little buds on the trees and bushes. The wind mixed with the snow and sleet made me cringe, not only for those who had to venture out in such a mess but also for the tender new growth all around me that was being hammered by such ugly weather. Later it was my turn to walk outside and face the cold, to clean off the crusty accumulation on the van, and to hope that I didn't slip and fall on the icy cement. The sky was heavy and gray as I scraped off the van, and though the snow and sleet had stopped falling, the clouds looked like they would soon open up again and shower us with more of the frozen mess.

Yet in the midst of this wintry scene around me, I heard a sweet sound. Loudly and clearly from a nearby tree came the welcome song of a bird. It seemed that this bird was singing as confidently as he could, unaffected by the cold and the ice and the snow. He continued as I worked to free the van windows of the ice and snow, singing his sweet melody over and over. And with that beautiful bird song, I began to experience hope. I knew that this storm was only an interlude in the cycle of winter becoming spring, and that spring would soon triumph. I knew that we would be hearing many more birds, and that they would build their nests and fill them with eggs that would hopefully hatch to produce more beautiful singers. The pretty flowers and bushes would continue to grow, and before long we would be delighted by the gorgeous colors all around us. The stony grey and white of this cold day would be gone!

All of us have enjoyed many days of blessings and peaceful periods when life is relatively smooth. The minor annoyances that occur are not enough to upset the flow of daily life. But then one day the winds begin to blow and things become a little uncertain. Finally, the direction of the winds changes and life really is turned upside down. The rain that was falling but was tolerable suddenly changes to brutal, stinging sleet and snow. Our beautiful growth, our pretty new flowers, our fragile buds, are threatened by the harsh circumstances around us. We want to hide from the trials, to pull the covers up and not venture out to face what we know will await us outside. But face it we must.........the sting of death, the hurt of betrayal, the fear of a doctor's diagnosis, the grief of a wayward child, the certainty of aging, the loss of finances. Whatever has clouded our lives and covered us with icy reality cannot be ignored.

But oh, we have hope! Just as clearly as the bird's song filled me with the certain knowledge, the hope, of a coming spring - so we have a certain knowledge that God will never fail and that He has so much in store for much beauty, so much joy, so much sunshine and peace. The prophet Jeremiah knew about suffering and hope. He said, "Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness. Surely my soul remembers, and is bowed down within me. This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have HOPE. The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul. Therefore I have HOPE in Him." (Lamentations 3:19-24)

How powerful is that reminder from God through Jeremiah! As the bird reminded me of the coming spring, may we also be reminded of God's faithfulness to us in every stinging storm that we face. And may we be faithful to sing out His praises and look forward with great hope to all that He has in store for us!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Aaron has never shown a real interest in the opposite sex in the way that you would think a grown man would.  His actions are still more like a first grade boy who finds girls weird or giggles at the mention of anything to do with sex. 

I remember when he was very young, when the Anita Hill hearings were on TV, and we had the television on in our military quarters in Germany.  I was in the kitchen cooking and before we knew it, he had heard the word "sex."  Why does that word instantly make a child's ears perk up?!  Gary was sitting in the living room with Aaron and I heard Aaron ask, "Dad?!  What is sex?"  There was total quiet.  Then Aaron repeated the question.........and again total quiet.  Finally Gary gave some sort of satisfactory answer and the moment passed..........but I was smiling broadly in the kitchen.  Way to go, Dad!!

On another day, Aaron zoomed into the kitchen there in Germany and asked, "Mom, is sex bad?"  Where on earth did that question come from?  So I told him no, that sex is not bad.  It was designed by God for married couples and it's a good thing.  Later I heard Aaron happily telling Andrea, "Andrea, Mom said that SEXY is good!"  Uh, something got lost in the translation there and I knew that at some point I would need to clear that up.  Another day...........another conversation..........hopefully a long time off!

We're thankful that Aaron doesn't seem obsessed with sex or with girls.  That's an issue that we would gladly not have to deal with considering his level of understanding and the complications that could arise from that.  Sometimes those conversations leave us a little uncomfortable but we try to be as honest as we can about the subject without being too blunt.

And then there are those nature shows........that show everything, or almost, at times.  We were watching Wild Russia the other night and things started getting a little wild.  I was tickling Aaron's back as we watched the elk and the mink and the wolves and the bears of this wild, forested area of The Urals in Russia.  It was beautiful and very interesting, and Aaron was fascinated. 

He became especially fascinated when a huge male bear began "horsing" around with a female bear, and the narrator began talking about how it was the time of year for the bears to mate.  I was eying the remote and wondering if I could "accidentally" change the channel behind Aaron's back, when he suddenly blurted out, "Mom!  They're not being SEXY, are they?"

And I stumbled around verbally, saying something about how they liked each other and it was nice to have each other.............and I don't know what else I said.  Aaron continued, "Do those bears want to love each other?!"  I believe he really just couldn't fathom that bears were capable of love like humans are, or at least that's what I want to believe he really meant. 

Aaron wanted to know more about why they would love each other and I talked about them wanting little cute bear cubs and he just could NOT understand why they would want cubs............except that cubs are really very cute.  The image on the screen changed and I breathed a huge sigh of relief as we watched the cute little baby mink playing together. 

I was just hoping that Aaron wouldn't want to know about Papa Mink and Mama Mink, and birds and bees and stuff like that. 

I think I'll look for Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy next time. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Play-Doh Filling?

Aaron had his visit to the dentist today to have a filling put in his tooth.  He has had strong teeth and very few fillings, so he wasn't at all sure about what this would entail.  He's been thinking a lot about it and asking questions, such as, "Mom, is he going to put a filling in me?"

Not in YOU, really - but in your tooth, Aaron.

"So is the filling like Play Doh?" 

If it was then I would just do it myself, Aaron.

So we set out today for his appointment, making time first for our usual Wal-Mart trip.  Our mission today was to buy Aaron a new pair of slippers - his are torn up and they weren't even that old - and to look for a DVD.  He's been wanting Little Mermaid, but I didn't think it was out right now.  However, I knew that one way or the other we would leave Wal-Mart with a DVD in hand. 

Aaron began whistling when we walked in the store, and I told him to stop.  At least it wasn't the fox whistle, which he has been known to do in the past.  He thought that particular whistle was a very fun whistle.  He had no idea of the impact it would have on the women in the aisle with him...........especially on me as I hurried to hush him up and then try to explain why he should NOT do the fox whistle in the middle of Wal-Mart.......or anywhere outside of our house! 

Therefore, I was thankful today for a more standard sort of whistle, but it was still annoying and attention-getting, which is why I told him to stop with the whistling.  He then proceeded to make popping noises with his mouth, like a cork popping out of a bottle.  Again, I told him to be quiet.  And again he responded, "Mom, isn't that better than the farting noise?"  I guess I made the farting noise his standard of what-noise-not-to-make.  Aaron, just make NO noise, OK??!!

We finally left Wal-Mart with his new pair of slippers, the Battle for Los Angeles DVD (I told you!), and a wad of napkins that he grabbed from the deli to wrap around his thumb that was bleeding because he pulled the skin on it and now had blood on his once-clean pants.  And the afternoon had just begun.

We went to Taco Bell for lunch, where Aaron took a long time to read through all the combo meals in order to find what looked like the largest meal that I would allow him to have.  He settled on a meal #7, I believe it was (ask Aaron!) because it had the word "pizza" in it.  While I paid for our lunch, he was stuffing several sets of sporks and knives in his pocket because somehow he has to have several sets, not just one or two.  And he also grabbed enough napkins to hand out to everyone in the restaurant as well as all those in every car that was going through the drive-through.  He poured a very full cup of raspberry tea with no ice and I was thankful for the lid on top as we made our way to our booth.

We settled in and I asked the blessing, as I always do.  As soon as we both looked up, Aaron said (rather loudly), "Mom, I read in my Handy Answer Religion book that Catholics pray funny.  They don't know how to pray."   Oh.  My.  Goodness!   "AARON!"  I hissed.  "HUSH!!"  And he continued (a little bit quieter), "Well, they do this when they pray."  And he made the sign of the cross.  Just because we do not make the sign of the cross and are not Catholics makes Aaron think that Catholics do not know how to pray correctly.  This isn't the first time I've had to correct him about this concept and try to make him understand..............but in the middle of Taco Bell with people watching is not the place that I want to have this conversation (rather loudly) with Aaron.  Maybe a fox whistle would have been better.

Thankfully, he got his mind on the modern a former blog I talked about Aaron's opinion of this modern art hanging on the walls of Taco Bell.  And his opinion hasn't changed one bit.  "Mom, the people who made this art know how, but they don't know much of art."  I tried to explain how the art can mean different things to different people, and we talked about what some of the pictures there looked like to us.  He then asked, "Mom, I wonder how they would make a picture of you?"  I was glad it was time to leave because I did not particularly want his opinion of that idea talked about (loudly) in the middle of Taco Bell.

We made it to the dentist's office, which is right beside a Subway.  I was walking toward the office when Aaron said, 'Mom!  Look!"  I turned to find him standing at the large Subway window, pointing.  Anyone in Subway would have wondered why this unusual young man was standing outside the window pointing at them. 

Aaron!  Come here!  "But Mom, look at this picture of a tuna sub.  The tuna sub looks all squishy!"  Sometimes I do wish he wasn't so observant!

As we drove home through the country, we passed farmer's fields and pastures.  Aaron observed, "Mom, there's a mule in that horse field!"  He thought that this was very interesting and added, "I wonder why that mule is in the horse field?"  And then he rubbed his hands together as he said, "Or I guess you could say jackass."  He was delighted that he got to say this word that's almost-a-bad-word but not exactly a bad word, and thought that it was "quite funny."  And I have to say that I laughed too..........because it was "quite funny." 

And then, "Mom, if I'm allowed to eat again, can I have some popcorn?  Either homemade or cooked." 

Homemade or cooked, huh?  Which is which and which do you want, Aaron?

"Well, cooked is the kind in the microwave, and homemade is in that thing you got that you pour the seeds in and it goes around and pops it."   

And, "Mom, is Andrea going to come visit us again?"

Yes, Aaron, probably this weekend.   "You mean this Tuesday?"

No, Aaron, this weekend.   "You mean NEXT Tuesday."

Since when is Tuesday a weekend?  We got that straightened out as we pulled into the driveway, and because I forgot to get the bags from Wal-Mart out of the van, Aaron decided that I was "quite weird."  I will not say what crossed my mind at that point.

I'm sure Aaron will have lots to cover with Gary concerning his day, from new slippers to how Catholics pray to the.............uh.............mule in the horse field.  And IF I EVER let him eat again, I'm not sure it'll be popcorn, homemade or cooked, until his tooth is stronger.  Those seeds are killers!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Popcorn Seeds and Ears

I just wanted to share a couple of interesting and funny descriptions that came from Aaron yesterday and today.  As he and I were taking Jackson on a walk around the circle yesterday, he said, "Mom, I really do think that Rosie likes me."   Some of you will remember my blog "Aaron and Rosie" where I talked about their special friendship. 

I asked Aaron why he thinks that Rosie really likes him and he answered, "Well, at the theater on Friday a piece of popcorn seed fell down the wrong side of my throat and I coughed!  Rosie asked me if I was OK!"

Awww, that was sweet of Rosie..........but I was trying hard not to laugh at his comment of the popcorn seed falling down the wrong side of his throat! 

Then this morning he came in to the room while I was getting ready and said, "Mom, my ear hurts...........but not where the sound is."

He then showed me that his outer ear had a red place on it from his headphones.............and the outer ear is not where the sound is!

Speaking Aaron's language is fun!

Sunday, March 4, 2012


It's no secret that Aaron loves to eat.  One of his favorite foods is pasta..........noodles of any sort........and macaroni in particular.  Problem is - he doesn't care if they are cooked or not.  Yep, uncooked pasta is, for some reason, a favorite of his. 

We've told him time and again that he really needs to quit eating uncooked macaroni.  We've gone over how hard it must be on his stomach; how hard it must be on his teeth; and how hard it is on our nerves to hear the loud crunching that goes along with chowing down on "raw" macaroni.  None of this matters to Aaron..............not one little bit. 

He continues to sneak in the kitchen whenever he has a macaroni urge and pour himself a nice bowl of noodles to munch on.  Since he knows that we disapprove and will take them away, he's become adept at being sneaky about it.  If he gets by with putting the noodles in a bowl, then he's likely to hide them in places.............. like under his blanket when he's sitting in his favorite chair watching TV..............beside the chair, out of sight..............behind the little door in the end table..............and I've even found bowls of noodles under his bed!  He'll also wait to eat them when we're not around so that we won't hear the irritating crunching.

Today Gary and I walked in the house, and immediately Aaron said, "Mom!  Look!"  I told him to wait a minute while I put some things away, and he said, "No.....look."  So I walked over to where he sat on the floor, cutting out my coupons, and he held this up:

There it was............a very full bowl of uncooked macaroni.  I sighed.    Oh, Aaron.

And he quickly said, "I did not eat any because in my mind I did something wrong." 

Well, how about that?  Of course, my skeptical mind is thinking..............uh huh, Aaron, or did you just not know that we'd be home right now and you got caught?  I know Aaron, and so I wonder.

A few minutes later, as he followed me into the kitchen, he was still talking about his noble deed of handing over the bowl of macaroni.  "Mom, are you glad I used my mind in the right way?"

What could I say?  I told him of course I'm glad that he used his mind in the right way.  And again I smile and somewhat marvel at how he expresses himself.  He's at times almost innocent-sounding, and refreshing in the way he verbalizes his feelings. 

Will he use his mind in the right way tomorrow?  Who knows?  Which is why I'll still glance around his chair and look under his bed at some point for the forbidden uncooked noodles. 

I certainly can't guarantee that tomorrow his mind will tell him the same thing it's telling him today!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

East Mall......and WHICH Bathroom??!!

Sometimes I wonder if I write too often in this blog........but I'm tellin' ya..............Aaron gives me more to write about than you can imagine.  If I put everything in here it would be never ending!  You probably think it already is.  Ha! 

Today was no exception.  He came home about 45 minutes ago and after greeting Jackson, I heard the familiar pounding of his steps on the stairs.  He could never surprise anybody - he doesn't walk up the stairs, he stomps!  Into my bedroom he came, saying, "Mom! We went to the mall today!  The east one." 

So familiar, his recounting of his days.........yet somehow always different. 

He continued, "I got a Subway for lunch!  This time I got those purple onions........except they call them red onions."

Did you like them, Aaron?

"Well, they were hot!  I don't think I'll get them again.  And this time I noticed something I haven't seen before to put on my sub."    He paused for effect............hoping I would ask what it was.

So I did.  What was it, Aaron?

"Pickles!!  And they were the same size as cucumber circles!!"

We've had many discussions about the origin of pickles, and he's no stranger to pickles, but somehow today they merited this new excitement. 

So did you put pickles on your sub, Aaron?

"Yes.  And I'm not fond for pickles." 

Ah......well, now you know.

"And I got extra cheese.  Is that all right?"    He knows that I don't order him extra cheese because of calories and intestinal issues (sorry), so he knew it wasn't really all right but he enjoys asking.  He and I both know full well that he'll get the extra cheese next time, too.

"So Mom, that's all I ate today."   Another pause..........then........"Well, we went to Sonic and I got a grape slushie.  I'm stuffed.  Can you imagine that?" 

"Oh, and when we got back to Paradigm, Cody gave me a box of Mike and Ikes.  Was that OK?"

Yes, Aaron.  And I've learned that when he tells me early on that such and such was all he ate, he means all he ate in round one.  Other rounds of his food fest are sure to follow.

And remember the Chinese massage?   "Mom!  I saw the guy at the Chinese massage place again.  This time I was hoping I'd say yes." 

Oh your hopes were dashed again?

By this time he and I were in the kitchen, where I was getting ready to start supper.  We have tile on the kitchen floor and this obviously brought back a special memory to Aaron about his day in the east mall.

"Oh, Mom!  I was walking in the mall and I was looking down at the squares on the floor, like this."   Whereupon he proceeded to look down at the tile and demonstrate walking while looking down at the squares on the floor.

"I was looking at the squares on the floor and I needed to go to the bathroom and I walked in the girl's bathroom." 

Silence.  I waited for the boom to be lowered........the rest of the story to be told...........

Aaron, did you use the bathroom in there?

"No.  I looked up and noticed they didn't have it the way they do in the boy's bathroom."

So if you were in the east mall today and were in the women's restroom and a large, loud young man walked in looking at squares on the floor............I hope that's all he saw, were squares on the floor........... I extend my sincerest apologies.

I told him, calmly, that he should pay attention to where he's going.

"So you're saying that I don't need to look at the squares on the floor when I'm walking?"

Yes, Aaron..........and I'm quite certain that the women in the bathroom at the east mall would agree.