I’m The Uncle!

“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.  I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.”  (Psalm 139:13-14)

Aaron and I were eating lunch out when I received this sonogram picture from our daughter, Andrea.  I showed it to Aaron right away, a huge smile on my face.  He stared at it for a few seconds.

“What is it?” he finally asked.

“This is your niece or nephew,” I told him.

Aaron stared at the picture again.

“It’s too small!” he said. 

I just smiled, still in awe over this amazing view of the miracle taking place in Andrea’s womb.  I have, like you, seen hundreds of these sonogram shots but this one took my breath away.  Isn’t it just amazing that when the baby is yours, as in this is MY grandchild, then the picture takes on a whole new depth and meaning?

It’s another miracle of God, this love that He puts in our hearts for our own flesh and blood.

There in the restaurant as we crunched on chips and salsa, I pointed out to Aaron the baby’s head and torso and the beginnings of his little body. 

Several days later in the grocery store, Aaron and I saw a friend.  Aaron quickly launched right into what was still fresh on his mind.

“I saw the stomach picture of my sister and I didn’t know what it was!” he excitedly said. 

I saw the look of confusion on our friend’s face, so I quickly explained about the stomach picture!

Aaron rarely gets family relationships correct.  Not too long ago, before we knew that Andrea was pregnant, he had an observation.

“I wish Andrea was pregnant.  Then we could all be Granddads.”  😊

But now Aaron knows a few things.  For awhile this is what he would say to anyone who was fortunate enough to be near him or to anyone that I stopped to chat with.

“My sister is having a baby and I’m the UNCLE and we don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl because it’s too little!!”

But now…NOW…we know that Andrea and Kyle are having a baby BOY!!

Aaron’s rote phrase has changed.

“My sister is having a baby and I’m the UNCLE and it’s a boy and he’s the NEPHEW!!” 

Then Aaron often adds that he is scared to be The Uncle and that he’s not sure he wants a baby boy.  We assure him that all he needs to do as The Uncle is to play with and love his nephew. 

Time to insert the first Baby Bump picture!  Andrea asked Kyle if she looked pregnant or if she looked like she had just eaten too many donuts.  😊

Aaron has obsessed about changing the baby’s diaper.  The nurse at his day group actually brought a baby doll in and taught Aaron how to change a diaper.  Aaron tells us all that he passed the diaper test!  Now we tease him about being the main diaper changer, so maybe this is why he’s scared to be The Uncle.  😊 

But really, we have all been very surprised and touched by how excited Aaron is about this new baby business.  A recent example happened just a few days ago.  The background is that Andrea has been very sick with this pregnancy, having a hard time finding food that will stay down.  One weekend she felt like biscuits would taste good.  She and Kyle bought a can and of the eight biscuits, she ate seven!

Kyle didn’t waste any time in buying more biscuits…many more biscuits!  He stacked them on their counter, and we laughed and laughed when we got this picture.

As Aaron and I were picking up a few groceries the other day, he suddenly started briskly walking toward the biscuits in the cooler. 

“Mom!!” he declared, “I want to buy some biscuits to send to Andrea!” 

It was the sweetest thing for him to want to do that.  I explained that we can’t mail biscuits but that we would buy her some on our next visit. 

 Aaron continually infuses our lives with his own very special way of life and his own unique view of our world. 

We often stand beside him either smiling or laughing or explaining to others or doing damage control from the things he says.

But all this wonderful baby business and Aaron’s way of dealing with such a huge life change for us has, as always, offered another view into the complex and compelling world as Aaron sees it. 

Baby Boy is growing!

And so are we, with Aaron coming along as always.    

My Dad’s Heritage

My Dad was color blind.  We five children thought that this was very fascinating, but also very funny.  Now don’t get me wrong.  We were not cruel, but we grew up in a family full of humor and laughter.  Dad was often the brunt of our joking.  I have written about it in the past, telling about some of the elaborate jokes we played on him, often with the help of my fun-loving mom.

I remember how we loved to ask Dad what color the trees were because pine trees, for instance, looked red to him.  Peas and carrots looked the same color to him.  Mom would decorate the house at Christmas with lots of blue because Dad could see blue.  And she quit wearing her pretty pink Avon lipstick and nail polish when Dad finally told her that her lips and nails looked blue. 

One day, many years later and with my own children, I was driving down the Autobahn in Germany.  I passed a bright pink truck. 

“Look!” said little Aaron, “there’s a blue truck!”

And I knew that Aaron, like my Dad, was color blind.

He’s proven it over the years as he talks about the color of certain items.  One of the funniest is our daughter’s dog, Darcy.  Aaron calls Darcy the green dog.  😊

One day not too long ago, Aaron was discussing his color blindness.  We have told him many times about Granddaddy being color blind and that Aaron gets his color blindness from him.

“Mom,” Aaron commented that day, “I’m taking over what Granddaddy was.”

Aaron has the most uncanny, God-given ability to put profound truth into his concise and unexpected comments.

I know without a doubt that my dad was the kind of man that any of us who knew him would want to say what Aaron did…that we are taking over what he was.

That we are becoming…or are…even a small part of the wise, godly, and loving man that he was.

My Dad didn’t leave his five children with a huge earthly inheritance, but he left us with something far more valuable.

“Better is the little of the righteous than the abundance of many wicked.  The Lord knows the days of the blameless, and their inheritance will be forever.”   (Psalm 37: 16,18)

The word “inheritance” actually means “heritage.”

I’m so thankful that my Dad walked with God.  He exhibited such kindness and caring to absolutely every person he knew.  He met the needs of everyone that he possibly could.  Oh, the stories I could tell!

You know, everything done in the past…for all of us…is over.  Only the effects of those actions remain. 

That is our true heritage.

So, at this time as we celebrate fathers, I just want to honor mine by saying that he truly is a man who left his children and grandchildren the best heritage there could ever be.

Dad, I want to take over what you were.

UNCLE Aaron!!

We got the BEST news on Sunday night. I had been talking to our daughter, Andrea, for over two hours. We were winding things down when she asked if I would go get Gary…that she and Kyle had something to show him on Facetime…and I just assumed it was something they wanted him to see about the big door installation they had worked on when we were there last month.

We were soon chatting when Andrea said they had a picture to show us, which she then texted to me and Gary. Here is the totally adorable picture she sent:

And oh my goodness, the surprise was real! I whooped and hollered, and we laughed and I cried and it was so wonderful!! Our first grandchild!!

We got our son, Andrew, on Facetime and his reaction was equally fun.

We wondered about when to tell Aaron. For the longest time he has asked Andrea when she is going to have a baby. I have told him not to ask that question because it’s personal, but none of that matters to Aaron one bit. He has continued to ask anyway, and she always handles it with humor and patience.

Soon we heard him coming loudly down the stairs. He was surprised to see everyone on the phone screen. I knew this would be the time to tell him.

“Aaron,” I said, “guess what? Andrea is going to have a baby!”

He grinned a huge grin. Then he bent over at his waist and rubbed his hands quickly together while he laughed and laughed. He was thrilled! His reaction tickled us all to pieces.

“You’re going to be Uncle Aaron!!” we told him.

He laughed again as he absorbed that news.

“Andrea!!” he exclaimed, “does that mean you’re going to be fat?”

Andrea was her gracious self while I reminded Aaron for the umpteenth time that you do NOT say a pregnant woman is fat…that she is pregnant, not fat.

Can you tell this isn’t the first time he has made that comment?

Yesterday, Aaron and I were at our neighbor’s house. Suddenly Aaron leaned in to say something to Amanda while he softly rubbed his hands together.

“My sister has a baby in her stomach,” he slowly began, as if in awe. “And the baby is too little to tell if it’s a boy or a girl.”

He spoke softly, not with the exuberance of the night before. It was as if he was sharing the most amazing fact…which it really is.

It was so precious and sweet. Amanda’s face was beaming, as was mine, and Aaron knew that he had shared something very special as he saw our reactions.

And we knew, as we saw his look of wonder and heard the same in his soft voice, that Aaron was getting it.

“Aaron,” Amanda said, “you’re going to be an uncle!”

“I’ll be an uncle!!” he repeated.

Uncle Aaron!

I like the ring of it…and I think Aaron does, too.

Aaron’s Note

I have another funny note story to share.

When we were in Houston last month with our daughter and son-in-law, we also got to see our other son, Andrew.  He was in town because there was an NHRA drag race there, and he works on one of the teams.  

Andrew was able to come over to Kyle and Andrea’s one evening for supper.  While he was there, Aaron ran inside and came back with something for Andrew.  It was a pack of Juicy Fruit gum.  Random, I know, but Aaron loves giving things away and this is what he grabbed for his brother. 

This past Monday morning we got a text from Andrew.  He was getting ready to leave for the track in Richmond.  He sent this picture:

“Tell Aaron I’ve been chewing his Juicy Fruit every morning when I leave for the track.  I’m almost out.  Guess he needs to send more.”  😊

Aaron jumped on that in a flash.  He pulled out his three-pack of unopened Juicy Fruit gum and said he wanted to send that to Andrew.

“Mom,” he directed, “you put it in a box, and I’ll sign a note.”

The plan was made!

I got the box, placed the gum inside, and gave Aaron a piece of paper for him to write his note. 

This is what I later found. 

How I laughed!  But not in front of Aaron. 

Remember my last blog about the note he wrote to Cody?  Here was another note, this one to his brother, and this one also flat and factual with nothing personal added.  Nothing endearing.  Not even a “Love, Aaron” to be found.

Yet this note IS very endearing because it is so very Aaron.  I could have dictated to Aaron what to say, but then it wouldn’t be Aaron’s words from Aaron’s heart and Aaron’s unique ways. 

And those unique ways are what make Aaron endearing in his own right. 

Believe me, there are plenty of times that Aaron’s words and ways are anything but endearing.  But these moments that are totally Aaron are moments that make us smile and make us thankful that we can share in his very special ways.   

Little Huge Gifts For Mom

Last night Aaron and I were headed downstairs to watch a couple shows before bed.  This is our nighttime ritual.  He gathered his blanket, his drink, his new bag of cheese cubes, and his empty bowl in which his cheese cubes would soon be poured. 

Speaking of ritual, Aaron’s life is full of those.  Something as simple as putting his blanket over his outstretched legs requires the ottoman to be just right, his legs on the ottoman while still wearing his slippers AND slipper socks, and then the blanket shaken several times to get out as many wrinkles as possible and to be in just the perfect position to then be pulled up over his legs and onto his lap.  I always cringe when he realizes he has forgotten something because the blanket is thrown back, and the process must be repeated. All of this must occur before we start watching our program. 

Sigh.

After he was sufficiently settled last night, he opened his bag of sharp cheddar cheese cubes and poured them into his bowl.  Aaron will not eat out of the bag.  He must have a bowl for everything, including a bowl for chip crumbs…croissant flakes, as he calls them…the crackers he doesn’t like in his Chex Mix…his Red Hots…peanut shells…  The list is endless. 

Soon our show was on and Aaron was allowed, in his mind, to begin eating his cheese cubes…but only after the opening song was finished.  One does not actually start eating, my friends, until the program has actually begun. 

The store only had sharp cheddar cheese cubes when we went to buy them.  Aaron usually gets mild cheddar.

“So do you like those sharp cheddar cheese cubes, Aaron?” I asked.

“YEAH!!” he declared happily.  “They’re GOOD!”

Soon, without saying a word, he reached over and placed this lone cheese cube beside me.  It was his gift to me.

I’ll be honest.  Sometimes eating food that Aaron has handled can be a challenge for me.  I know where those hands of his may have been.  I see how he puts food into his mouth with those same fingers that are now on the food he wants to give me. 

But how could I say no to this little gift that came straight from his heart?

To Aaron, this little cheese cube comprised a huge gift for Mom.

“Awwww, Aaron, thank you!” I told him as I looked down at the little cheese cube. 

“Oh, Lord, please protect me,” I also added silently as I ate the cheese.   😊

Aaron rubbed his hands together and gave his guttural chuckle as I ate the cheese. 

He was even happier to give me that gift than I was to receive it.

What a small little thing a cube of cheese is!  But what a huge deal it was to Aaron to give it and to watch me receive it with thankfulness.

This long-term mothering of Aaron is full of those sorts of gifts, but often if I’m not careful I don’t see them as such.

I never planned to be actively mothering at this age.  I read that I am considered “elderly” now, though I don’t feel that way.  Yet numbers on paper say that I am.

How can I be this age and still going from morning to night mothering my grown child? 

But here I am, by God’s doing…and may I not ever forget that.  God has led me to this path, and I must trust Him as I walk each step. 

On this Mother’s Day I want to give to each of you who are still fully mothering in your older years a word of love and encouragement.  Whether you are mothering your own child or children, or your grandchildren, please know that your work is not unnoticed by God.  We honor Him by caring for the ones He has given us.

May we see each small milestone…each smile…every hug…and so many other small huge gifts as what they really are.

Gifts from God. 

Through our tears, our fears, our frustrations, our exhaustion, our envy of other’s lives…whatever we are going through – may we not miss those beautiful and small huge gifts around us from our children every day.

Go buy a bag of cheese cubes and have a very Happy Mother’s Day!

Another Trip to Texas

Two weeks ago today we were travelling down to Texas to see our kids.  Our “kid” Aaron went with us, somewhat compliantly until the morning we left.  The reality of actually leaving the house and his room and all his things was too much for him to handle gracefully. 

All during the packing process I encouraged him to downsize what he took.  For instance, I told him to take the one Handy Answer book he was reading…not five.  He won’t read five books in the next three years.  That’s because he will ONLY read at night before bed, a few pages, and nothing so far has ever changed that reality for him.  He agreed to this deal, but as I was putting something in one of his bags, I uncovered two extra Handy Answer books that he had hidden from me under some clothes.  I removed them, saying nothing.  He put them back, saying nothing.  HaHa!  We finally agreed on taking one extra book, which of course was never opened. 

We also let him use his money to buy a Nintendo game he had wanted.  He bought it two days before we left, but the game was in our possession until he walked into Kyle and Andrea’s house in Texas.  Call it bribery if you want, but we call it another of our clever survival tips for traveling with an autistic child.  Survival for us even more than Aaron.

Other than dragging Aaron kicking and screaming out of the house on the morning we left…not literally, but almost…he did great on this trip.  I’ll start my photo dump now. 

Happy Aaron blowing his straw wrapper on me at Quik Trip. 

Spending Easter morning at church with Kyle and Andrea.  A huge blessing!

Then giving Aaron the basket that Andrea made for him.  Sweet sister!

He helped Kyle gather sticks before their new fence was installed the next day.  Kyle is great about getting Aaron involved with activities. 

He fed the dogs every chance he got!

Our big outing was to NASA.  He was having a slow day physically and mentally, but he loves telling everyone about that day.

Our son, Andrew, was in town for an NHRA race.  He got to come over for dinner one night.  What a joy to have us all together, even briefly.

Gary, Andrea, and I went to the race on Saturday while Kyle stayed home with Aaron.

And on Sunday, their Monster Energy team won!!  Sadly, we were unable to be there that day.  ☹

I love the love that Andrea, Kyle, and Andrew show to Aaron.  I wish I had a picture of Kyle trying to teach Aaron to do push-ups while we were at the track. Or one of him the night we arrived giving Aaron the special game he bought him.  😊

The week was packed with much more, but I’ll end this now with a funny story:

Background:  For years my family has had fun with my association with cows, as in cow Patty.  I also go by Moo as much as Mom.  😂

On our way to Houston, we stopped at our favorite tourist center/rest stop in Oklahoma City.  Aaron was ecstatic that Gary told him he could buy me a little stuffed cow.

Aaron decided to explain his purchase to the clerk at the cash register.

Loudly.

“I’m buying this for my mom because she’s a COW!!”

I explained as best I could.

Then she pointed me to a bag of candy.

Cow Patties.  😂😂😂

Thanks for reading!  Have a wonderful weekend!

Don’t Try to Change Me!

The word “change” is not a welcome word to many who deal with the issues of autism. 

You can phrase that concept any way you want.

“Come on, just roll with the flow.”

“Be flexible!”

“Try it.  You’ll like it!”

I have told you how Aaron won’t eat his popcorn at the theater until the actual movie begins.  The commercials before the movie are NOT the movie.  Neither are the sometimes endless trailers that are then shown.  Trailers are NOT the movie!  Aaron will continually look down at his big tub of popcorn that he has placed on the floor beside his feet, waiting expectantly to dig in when finally THE movie begins.  Then he will pick up his popcorn and visibly relax as he begins to eat. 

Aaron does the same thing at home.  When we sit down to watch a show, he will lay his snack close to him, but he will not begin to eat it until the show actually begins.  He will sit through opening credits.  He will sit through a long intro such as Blue Bloods has.  You’re not going to fool Aaron.  He knows that these programs are tricky and that they have opening music that hasn’t played yet, so don’t EVEN try to get him to eat until all the preliminaries are over and done.  Ice cream may even start melting, but Aaron doesn’t care. 

Aaron has carried this “waiting for the actual event to start” idea over to his music that he listens to in the van.  This past Thursday we started on our way to pick up our food delivery for Meals on Wheels.  We had been listening to Brad Paisley.  I pushed the button to start the music.

Aaron pushed the button off.

I pushed the button back on.

“MOM!  I don’t want to listen to music right now!”

“I know you don’t, but I do,” I replied.

He pushed the button off.

I pushed the button back on.

“MOM!!” he protested, “I said I don’t want to listen to music!”

“It’s not just about you, Aaron,” I responded with more patience than I felt.  “I do want to listen to music.”

Aaron was still and quiet for a few seconds.  Then off went the button again. 

I sighed a very deep sigh.  My lungs are in such great shape, living with Aaron.

“Aaron,” I began, “you want to wait until we actually start delivering our meals before you turn on the music, right?”

“Yes,” he replied.

“But we can listen to music now.  It won’t hurt anything to do that,” I told him.

I pushed the button back on.

I could feel the pressure building in Aaron, just like my pressure cooker at home.

He pushed the button off.

“Mom,” he began, “uh…you know…uh…”

And thus began Aaron’s attempts to start a conversation under the guise of wanting to talk instead of listening to music.  I just decided to let it go.  Hey, that’s a song!  It should be my theme song!

Bless Aaron.  I know he can’t help it, but really…!

Later that afternoon, Aaron was very happy that Gary was going with us to Nellie’s Pond for a walk.  But there was that issue of Aaron wanting to sit in the front seat of the van because that’s where Aaron sits when I drive and he and I are usually in the van by ourselves so the front seat is his and that’s the way he likes it and that’s the way it should always be…..

“Mom!” he began as he was processing his plan, “I know.  Dad can ride in his truck and you and I can take the van!”

“No, no Aaron,” I said with a laugh, “that’s not the way it’s going to be.”

But Gary, in order to give Aaron a perfectly happy experience, sat in the back seat while I drove, and Aaron sat in his front seat.

Just the way it should be, in Aaron’s world.

And sometimes we do put ourselves into his world…actually, lots of times…so that he can relax and have total fun.

Walking through life with Aaron…balancing discipline with the rigidity of autism…is certainly an exercise in patience and wisdom. 

Gary and I do not possess either of those qualities in the abundance that is usually needed but I am so thankful that God gives and also forgives.

So often, too, I find that it is me who needs to do the most changing.  God knows that all too well!

I wonder how often I am the Aaron in God’s life.   😊

The Special Quarter

I had taken Aaron in for his physical at the air base, which in itself is full of interesting Aaron moments. 

Here’s one:  He was very worried that he would need to give a urine sample, which he completely does not want to do.  We walked up to the counter at the Immunization Clinic to sign him in for a TB test.  I always try hard to be the first one at these windows in order to spare the poor airmen from Aaron’s loudly blurted and random comments or questions.  I indeed was in front of Aaron but this in no way deters Aaron.  As I signed him in and explained what we needed, Aaron pushed his head around the side of the window.

“DO I NEED TO PEE HERE??!!” he loudly and nervously asked.

I have to say that the look on the faces of the two airmen in the clinic was priceless.  I have no idea about the look on my face, but on Aaron’s was a look of panic.  I explained to the airmen as best I could while I tried to calm Aaron and sign him in on the clipboard.  And Aaron continued to ask his question over and over, bless him. 

Most people who encounter Aaron are treated to an impromptu lesson in special needs.  Like the lady yesterday at Wal-Mart in the produce section…the one that Aaron followed as he asked her if she liked cabbage because we were buying cabbage and he just HAD to know if she liked cabbage and why did she like cabbage…  All while I was calling to Aaron to come with me and trying to distract him from his quest to discover if this woman liked cabbage like we like cabbage.

And the dear cashier, who had to answer lots of questions from Aaron and listen to his commentary.  Do you like chocolate cake?  Do you like chocolate icing on your chocolate cake?  Guess what we’re having for supper?  Steak!  Do you like steak?  What kind of steak do you like?  I like boneless.  Do you like boneless?  Mom, what kind of steak are we having…….

Outings with Aaron, of whatever kind, often leave me with a variety of emotions.  Humor.  Embarrassment.  Frustration.  Joy.  Relief…when it’s over!  But mostly, I really do love my times with Aaron, stressful as some situations are. 

After his physical, we went to Jose’ Pepper’s to eat.  His favorite thing to do in all the world is to eat out.  And when he has gotten to know a server, like Emily at Jose’ Pepper’s, then his fun is doubled.  He walked in the door laughing and rubbing his hands together, oblivious to any stares from others.  He immediately spied Emily and he was off, trying to talk to her as the hostess was trying to figure all this out and get us seated, and I was trying to calm and quieten Aaron, and Emily was smiling broadly. 

We do make an entrance.

We were nearly through with our meals when Aaron spied something on the floor beside us.  I followed his gaze as he leaned out of our booth for a closer look.  There on the cement floor was a quarter.  Aaron was out of the booth in a flash!  He picked up his great find and proceeded to examine it closely.

“MOM!!” he very excitedly said, “it’s a state quarter!!  It’s HAWAII!!”

He was beyond happy at this treasure that had been laying right there on the floor for who knows how long.  Look at his wonderful smile.

He did not have a Hawaii quarter.  It is now safely in its place in his state quarter folder. 

For that day, for that moment, Aaron had found a priceless gem.

And I thought, as I watched him so full of delight at something that would be less than impressive to most of us, how this moment is so like my life with Aaron.

Do I focus on the routine life we have?  Do I see him through eyes of frustration or embarrassment?  Yes, I often do.

But I CAN make the choice to view him as a real gem, full of his uniqueness and spontaneity.  Sure, he can be aggravating and especially embarrassing in public, but how funny he is!  How refreshing…sometimes.  😊 

How full of lessons for Gary and for me, and hopefully for many others who encounter him. 

So, when we are walking to our car after our excursions, and I take a deep breath in order to settle my mind and calm my nerves, may I also use that same breath to thank God for the special treasure that He has given me right beside me in this life. 

And may others who bump into Aaron in the produce aisle, the check-in counter, the check-out lane, the restaurant…wherever we are…realize that there are many walking among us who are very special indeed!

What a gift it is to find them!

Tearing Our House Down

We had a very busy last few weeks of 2021, and an exciting beginning of 2022.

After several months of planning with our contractor and prepping the house…and ourselves…our big main level renovation is well underway.  We just finished up week number three!

Aaron is not a fan of upheaval of any kind.  I would say that having our kitchen, family room, living room, and dining room torn apart at the same time qualifies as upheaval, right?

Two days before the work started, there stood Aaron staring at a wall in our kitchen.  I just stared at him, waiting for him to tell me what he was doing. 

Aaron:  Look!  There’s a crack in this wall.

Me:  Well, I think it’s just the paint but anyway, this wall will be coming down soon.  We’re going to see some very interesting things in the next few weeks.

Aaron:  Not me.

Me:  What do you mean?

Aaron:  I don’t like this. 

Me:  Why not?

Aaron:  Because Luke might turn off the electricity while I’m on my computer!

Luke, whom we’ve known since he was a teenager, has done our other remodeling.  He finished our entire upstairs last year.  So he knows Aaron well and is as prepared as one can be for the comments that Aaron will inevitably make. 

Gary and I decided to stay in the house during this renovation.  We put together a makeshift kitchen in one of our upstairs bedrooms.  I told a friend that if I couldn’t cook with all the gadgets I have then I’m pretty pathetic.  😊

Three days into our first week, this friend laughingly said she would like to know what I had been cooking that week.  Here is my answer:

Monday – leftovers.  I felt invincible

Tuesday – I decided to unbox my new air fryer and learn how to use it because I thought I needed some extra stress in my life.  I cooked Aaron’s brats in it.  I was fixing Gary and I some precooked Angus patties in the microwave and then some steamed cauliflower in the microwave.  And salad for all of us.

The microwave shut off because it won’t work at the same time the air fryer is on.  Too much electricity being used in our upstairs at the same time.  😝😝

I had enough Olive Garden dressing in our little frig we bought for our makeshift kitchen, but I was determined to find the extra bottle that I knew was in one of these food boxes, but I could NOT find it and I was so FRUSTRATED by that point!  Aaron loves that dressing!  I did not want to run out!  Then it became an issue over me saying to myself, I WILL find that dressing!! 

I found it today in the box with the baggies and foil.  😂😂

And the steamed cauliflower last night was slightly – largely – on the crunchy side.  We sounded like we were eating Doritos.

Tonight:  I wisely used my well-known crock pot and rice cooker to make Taco Chicken Bowls.  Took me awhile to find the rice.  WHERE IS THAT TUPPERWARE CONTAINER OF RICE???  I JUST saw it yesterday!!!

I found it, finally, under a bunch of cans.

Thursday:  We are eating at Outback.  😅😅

But things got much better after that first week.  We are truly thankful to be at home and so blessed that we have plenty of room upstairs, and then a whole downstairs where Aaron and I can watch our shows at night while Gary reads. 

Aaron still wishes that Luke would just stop all this nonsense.  He has told Luke multiple times that he wishes he would quit tearing our house down!  And yesterday, with two new workers here, Aaron walked up to them and nicely said, “I wish you would go home and quit tearing our house down.” 

I told them that Aaron was our welcoming committee and to just carry on.  😊

It is not a small project!

Aaron wishes it was small…and fast.

One night, before bed:

Aaron:  Mom, is Luke almost done?

Me:  Oh no, Aaron.  This remodel will take awhile (without defining “awhile.”)

Aaron:  Well, I wish it was done right away ALL the way because I don’t like that sound they make!!    😂😂

Aaron really does have a lot to get used to, like finding an empty can of black beans on the bathroom counter.  I needed to drain them in our bathroom sink as I was putting supper in the crock-pot in our Makeshift Bedroom Kitchen.

Aaron walked in the bathroom and immediately spied the empty can of black beans on the counter.

Aaron:  MOM!!  Why do you have black beans in the bathroom?!

Me:  I had to drain them, so I used my bathroom sink.

Aaron:  Oh.  I thought maybe you were using them on your hair!!

Hmmmm…he may be on to something there.  On many days I would try ANYTHING to help my hair!! 

Black Bean Bouffant!!   😂😂

I’ll let you know if it works – may even post some pictures!

But for now, here a few more shots of our work-in-progress.

And, as you can see, Luke and his team really are making progress! 

If we could only convince Aaron of that. 🙂

What Aaron Shares

Recently, my husband and I went to an NHRA race in Topeka.  Our son, Andrew, works for one of the teams.  It’s fun to go to the races but it means even more to us to get to spend some time with Andrew. 

“MOM!!” Aaron said to me the day before we left, “take this state quarter to Andrew!”

You see, Aaron collects state quarters.  He keeps every state quarter that he finds and stashes them away in a tin box in his desk drawer.  He loves his state quarters!  So, to offer one to someone else is indeed a gift from his heart.  He sent one to his sister for her birthday in June, and now wanted us to take one to his brother.

The quarter he chose was dingy, but to Aaron it was a gift of gold.

Then to top it off, he brought me another gift to give Andrew.  He chose this gift from his new bag of bubble gum, bought just a few days earlier. 

On our first night in Topeka, as we waited on our dinner, I gave Andrew his special gifts from Aaron.  Such a sweet moment, and the look on Andrew’s face was priceless.

Aaron loves to share…to give things to people. 

Sometimes when he and I are watching a show at night, and he’s snacking on nuts or something else, I’ll suddenly have a piece of whatever he’s eating land on my lap.  He throws me pieces of his food like I’m an animal at the zoo that he’s feeding!  😊 😊

Let me share with you some of Aaron’s sharing with us.  I think your heart will be as touched as ours is.

Aaron laid these on my leg one day.  It was better than having them thrown at me! 

Another time, I found these on the coaster where he knows I put my drink at night.

And he left two of his very special rocks on my pillow one night.

Distance is no deterrent to Aaron.  He wanted to share some of his new Jolly Ranchers with Andrea and Kyle in Texas, and with Andrew in Indiana.  We bagged and boxed them up, and in the mail they went.  The postage cost more than the whole bag of candy, yet Aaron’s joy was well worth the money.

But Aaron shares more than just items like candy and quarters and rocks. 

Aaron shares huge smiles.

He shares his amazing discoveries.

Aaron shares joy in the simplest things.

Thanks for the picture, Karlea!

Aaron also shares words and actions and attitudes that can aggravate and anger us.  It’s all a part of the intricate way that his brain is wired. 

It’s up to me and to Gary to keep instructing Aaron…keep loving Aaron…and keep our emotions in check during the rough times.

We don’t always do it well or with grace.

But every day is a new day.

Every day, God’s mercies are new.

Every day, we all have some hard times. 

Every day, we have opportunities to focus on the blessings.

And every day is full of new discoveries and adventures for our son who is still, in so many ways, a child.  💙💙