28 May 2010


Last night at Caleb's game, his team was down by just a run at their final at-bat. Matthew and I heard Coach Pat say "Boys, do you wanna win this game? Let's get a bunch of runs this inning then!!"

All the boys cheered.

Matthew and I then started talking about what comes in bunches, since we didn't think that either of us had ever heard of homeruns coming in bunches.




I look at Matthew like he's crazy (haha) and I say "Nuts don't come in bunches, silly."

His reply?

"The Andersen's do!"

Can't argue with that.

27 May 2010

mustard, relish and my dad

If you know me at all, you'd know that I'm kind of an emotional person. Heck, my little (age 25) brother still gives me grief about the time that he saw me cry at the Cheerios commercial that was popular at Christmastime several years back.

I'm sure you know the one.

The baby's sitting in the highchair and there are cheerios scattered all over the tray. The grandmother (I can only assume) talks about several cheerios as though they are family members living in various areas of the country.

But then she scoots two pieces of cereal together and says "But we'll always be together for Christmas".

Excuse me while I hunt down a Kleenex.

There. ahem.

I live 400 miles plus a few from my family. They're on one side of Lake Michigan and I'm on the other. While I know that this is pittance of a distance to some families,(my mother-in-law, God love her, always reminds me that I could have an ocean separating me and my family...helpful, isn't she?) it is difficult for me at times.

And silly things remind me of when I was a kid.

Take last night, for example. We had hot dogs for dinner. While I am normally just a "plain yellow mustard, no ketchup, please!" kind of girl, I happen to have sweet pickle relish in the house at the moment. I made a potato salad a couple weeks back and I needed relish for that.

My dad always, always, always put mustard and relish on his hotdogs and his burgers when I was growing up. And on the burger, he always makes a continuous circle with the mustard from the outside of the burger to the center and then closes the bottle and dabs the remaining bit on the bun top.


But last night while I was putting mustard and relish on my hotdog, I started to think about Dad. And how much I love him and he loves me and how much I miss him when I don't get a chance to see him often.

When I do get to see him in two weeks and three days, I can't wait to hug him.

24 May 2010

ice cream

...it's what's for dinner!

11 May 2010

good sport

Caleb's playing baseball. And believe me when I tell you that I use that phrase loosely.

When his team is up to bat, he's all for active participation. Sometimes a little too active, as he's been reminded more than once that he shouldn't walk in front of home plate to retrieve a bat when a runner is coming into home at full speed.

Good thing when that happens, he's always "on deck" so he's wearing a batting helmet.

He's gotten several hits already this season, as long as he uses his own bat. And he's only been tagged out on base once, and that was at third.

The outfield is a totally different story.

If there were awards given for pirouetting, ala 'Sound of Music' style out in left field rather than backing up third, he'd qualify for High Honors.

If "sand-castle making" were part of the criteria for making the team, he'd definitely be chosen first. During the first game of the season, Jon swears that he heard Coach Pat tell Caleb to "save the sandcastles for the backyard."

His coach is so patient with him, and we are definitely thankful for that. He stands near Caleb most of the time and redirects him.

And if he's paying attention, he does fine. But that's a big "if".

I've taken to sitting in the van with my head in a book and the windows up during practice. Ignorance, even partial, is bliss.

10 May 2010

customer service epic fail

*alternately titled: Why surprises aren't always a good thing.

Early Tuesday morning last week I was still sorta searching for an idea for Mother's Day. Suddenly I remembered that I had wanted to order a rose of sharon for my mom (she'd left one behind in a move once that she really liked) and I asked Jon if he thought that his mom would like one.

"Sure. That sounds like a good idea."

That's as close to excitement over such things as he comes.

Fast forward to late Tuesday morning, I had chosen and ordered plants at the best price I could from a fairly trusted online site, complete with gift messages to be contained in the boxes which were, of course, being shipped to two different locations.

I was a bit disappointed in the knowledge that I hadn't ordered early enough for the plants to arrive in time for Mother's Day, but I just figured that I'd mention to my mom (and Jon could mention to his) to be on the lookout for a shipment this week.


So yesterday afternoon, imagine my surprise when the convo with my mom goes like this:

Me: "So I sent you a plant....."
Mom: "Oh, good!"
Me: "....but I didn't get it ordered in time, so it should arrive as soon as tomorrow."

Mom: "a rose of sharon?"
Me- sorta shocked that her "mom ESP" is still that sharp: "Yeah, how'd you know?"
Mom: "It arrived on Friday."
Me- now it's my turn: "oh good!"

But here's the kicker: There wasn't a bit of information outside of the box or inside the box...ahem, NO gift message...to indicate that I had sent it. Not a shred.

She'd even emptied the box of all the packing peanuts and looked at all the attached paperwork...NOTHING.

Since it was Mother's Day weekend, she assumed it was from me and had Dad plant it in the yard over the weekend.....I had failed to indicate in the card I'd sent separately to expect the package ..... not wanting to spoil the surprise.

That fifty percent turned out okay......

Jon's mom has green thumbs; heck her hands are green. She can make anything grow. She orders from bulb and plant sites all the time.

So when a package arrives at her door on Friday morning with what she later tells me is a bill inside, she gets on the horn with customer service. There isn't any answer from the first number she dials so she finally reaches someone named Pam when she dials a second number.

Believing that she's been shipped something that she did not order and will not pay for, she tells customer service that she will ship it back. And that's just what she has my father-in-law do early Friday afternoon.

So she is horrified and extremely apologetic when she learns from her son yesterday afternoon that she has returned her Mother's Day gift in error. So horrified, in fact, that she calls me specifically to apologize yesterday afternoon and to get the order number to attempt to remedy the situation first thing this morning.

No matter who's at fault.. me, for deciding that the surprise would be fun; or customer service for not including the specifically ordered gift messages... I learned something.

The "surprise" element is never worth the stress.

06 May 2010

who's your daddy?

When I was very young, I remember hearing my mom call my dad "daddy" from time to time. Most of the time she called him "honey", but sometimes.....

Jon's birthday is tomorrow. Caleb loves to create, so I suggested to him that maybe he'd want to get out the card making supplies and make a card to give to Jon. He was excited and immediately started talking about markers and ink and glitter, oh my.

I helped him with the cutting and the ink and he took over with the color. He asked me if orange was an okay color to write with on the inside of the card and I agreed.

I'd vetoed yellow; it's hard for ageing eyes to see, you know. Ahem.

He asked me if he could have an envelope and I agreed. I said "Why don't you write Daddy's name on the front; that way he knows it's for him."

I turned my back to begin cleaning up the card-carnage.

In just a minute, I couldn't help my shock at seeing what he'd written.

It says "Joe".

Trying not to laugh, I said "Do you see what you've written?" It takes him a second, but he looks at me sorta sheepishly and says "Oops, I think I need a new envelope. It's supposed to say 'Daddy'.

Maybe he knows something I don't.

05 May 2010

outside looking in

I've written before about Caleb's struggles in school. They really stemmed from his inability to concentrate on anything and began surfacing when he went to Kindergarten.

His kindergarten teacher, bless her, suggested that maybe he needed a sugar-free diet. We weren't particularly opposed to that; but we tried it and it seemed to make little difference in his behavior in the classroom.

He was still as flighty as a bumblebee and as talkative as his mother. Ahem.

His first grade teacher laid down the law with him and he did fine in her classroom. Not perfect, but acceptable. In fact, I remember how shocked Jon and I both were in that first parent/teacher conference with her when she said "Caleb? He's just fine!" We both were thinking "Are you sure you mean our Caleb?"

What a relief!

But three months into the school year we made this move and landed in our current school district. Caleb's classroom had twenty seven students and two teachers (thank GOD for that!) and you'd have thought he'd be fine.

Oh, no.

He wasn't getting work done, ever. He never stopped talking. He was constantly on the move, whether at his desk or around the room. His classroom teacher complained via email almost every day and it was frustrating for all of us.

When he entered second grade last fall, his teacher had never even met him. By Christmas, she started saying "Maybe we need to implement some strategies for Caleb to be better at getting his work done." We told her that she was the boss and whatever she wanted to do in her classroom was good enough for us.

Poor lady.

She tried giving him a sticker chart and prizes. That worked for about, oh, two days. She then resorted to moving his desk away from the others. I'm sure you remember what happened there.

Just after his birthday, she called me and suggested that maybe she should speak to the school counselor and see about getting him tested for what seemed to be increasing attention issues. I had told her that it sounded like a plan to me. I had missed her call due to this excitement and had to call her back.

You see, Caleb wasn't just having issues at school. Caleb was not able to listen at home, not able to stop wiggling at church; no consequence we imposed for not following the rules was working.

Not a single one. This kid even lost the privilege of going to Chuck E. Cheese for his birthday, something he'd talked about for months and he didn't even care.

The school counselor and Caleb's teacher put their heads together and then they sent me a pile of paperwork to fill out. I made an appointment with Caleb's pediatrician on the advice of my Mom (thanks, Mom!) and his pediatrician said that as soon as I received the counselor's written report to bring it and Caleb back to his office.

He took me seriously, thank God. I was starting to lose it.

In the mean time, the clinic sent me some more questionairres to fill out and one additional one for his teacher. Did I mention that Caleb's teacher wrote the pediatrician a letter expressing her concerns for me to take to his initial appointment? Dr. S said it was "very helpful".

Man, am I glad I thought of it.

Almost ten days later, which was last week, I had all the paperwork together and picked Caleb up from school and took him in to see Dr S. Doc took one look at the numbers on the counselors report and said "Yep, we have a case of ADHD here."

After what has been months of prayer, consideration of what's best for Caleb and our family, and discussion with each other, Jon and I decided that the best course of action at this time is medication for Caleb.

He started a very low dose of Adderall last week and it's already helping tremendously. His teacher is amazed!

Frankly, so am I!

Now, I know that there are definite reasons why medication is chosen and definite reasons why people feel that it's a bad idea.

I get that. Believe me, I do.

I just didn't expect such a strong reaction to even the suggestion that we were thinking of using medication to help Caleb.

And from church family, too. It wasn't pretty. It was painful.

"You know, if you choose medication, you'll never get him off of it."

Like I haven't had days where I've felt guilty enough for choosing this, thankyouverymuch. But a very wise friend (thank you, E!!) has told me that if it's what's best, screw what others think. They have no idea what we've been dealing with day in and day out and have no basis to decide the validity of what we're doing.

For now, it's what's best. For all of us.