4/19/2018

A Fun Day at the Bible Museum

Yesterday, hubs took the day off and we trundled downtown (something we don't do nearly as often as we probably ought and, should we ever move from the area, I'm sure we'll regret.) We got to the museum around 10:30 and left around 2:30 feeling like we'd done everything there was to do. 

Because I'd heard good things about the restaurant on the top floor, Manna, we ate there for lunch. And it was yummy. But it was also $80.

For four people.

For lunch.

I might have had a little trouble breathing after I realized that.

SO -- here's the plan of action I recommend having done it completely differently yesterday. It's the way I *wish* we'd done things. Obviously do as you like if you ever get a chance to visit. On the main floor, there is a Children's area. It's just a play place. Save it for the end or for if you need a break.

 I would start with the 4th Floor. Go see the 15 minute movie Drive Thru History, then explore the rest of the gallery on that floor. The movie is a great intro to the exhibits on 4 and helps to kind of settle it all in place. There are several fun interactive things throughout the exhibit that entertained even Nathan well enough that we spent a good bit of time looking and reading on this level.

After that, I would probably go down to 2. We spent the $8 per person for Washington Revelations and loved it. It's a magic motion machine like "ride" where you "fly" around DC and it points out all the places the Bible can be found on buildings and monuments. It's a fun little break and is, again, a neat intro to the galleries on 3 (Bible in America, Bible in the World.) The ride lets you out in the Bible Now gallery and it connects to the world/America galleries. These were somewhat less interactive but still had plenty to look at, touch, and do.

Level 3 is HANDS DOWN our favorite. The World of Jesus of Nazareth is a mock up of a typical village Jesus would have grown up in and they have COSTUMED INTERPRETERS. It's fun and such a nice break from typical museum. Located right by that is the Hebrew Bible Experience. This is a 30 minute multi-media walk through that's unlike anything I've ever been to. You sit and there's an immersive presentation, then you walk some through (again with the same word, but I can't help myself) immersive exhibits, then another multi-media presentation, more walking, etc. It takes you through basically the whole old testament highlights. (There are a few dark and rumbly bits that had littlest clutching my hand, but they were over quickly.)

We didn't do the immersive/multimedia Bible reading on 5 because we missed the times it was on (so if that interests you, check the times and plan accordingly.) There's nothing on 6 other than the restaurant and grand views. The basement has temporary exhibits that we went through (stations of the cross and Amazing Grace -- about John Newton and the hymn through history. It was interesting ish, but we were tired and breezed through just to say we were there mostly. Much less interactive down there in the temporaries.)

All in all, it was a very fun day and something I could see us repeating -- particularly if there's an interesting temporary exhibit coming in.

4/16/2018

Jeopardy! Mom Edition

I would like to propose a special edition of Jeopardy where all the contestants are moms. Preferably moms of boys, but I think we could probably have enough overlap that moms of both genders could handle it. (And I'd even be willing to open it up to stay-at-home dads. Cause they know. Oh, they know.)

Categories and answers include:

Things My Child Won't Use

  • It's metal and has tines
  • You put dirty clothes in it
  • This piece of cloth hangs in the bathroom
  • You wipe your fingers on these
  • Frequently in closets, these are accused of multiplying when you're not looking
Tasks My Child Seems Incapable of Doing Unassisted

  • You should do this to your clothes before putting them in the laundry
  • A mini-meal often requested in the afternoon
  • The process of locating objects in the exact same place they were put the last time they were used
There are more, I'm sure, but littlest just came in and asked to snuggle on the couch. That seems imminently more important than blogging.

4/15/2018

Normal is Overrated

From the time eldest boy was three until just after turning five, he was a handful. Just what I classify "typical boy", although we had people suggesting we needed to label and medicate him because he didn't know how to sit still for an hour and color. He's ten. He still doesn't prefer that. Because boy. But at five (ish), he leveled off and things started to get a lot better. He could sit still and listen. He was gentler with his hands. He wasn't always wanting to roll around on the floor and wrestle. I started to see glimpses of a future that didn't involve cringing when I picked him up at Sunday school because of the litany of complaints.

And so, with the younger boy, I was able to take deep breaths and remind myself, "This too shall pass. He's not five yet." Except then he was five. And then five and a half. And now six, coming up on six and a half.

And if anything, it's worse.

Back when I knew about parenting (read: before I had kids), I can remember looking at moms and dads with kids (very often little boys) who were seemingly out of control and rolling my eyes and thinking to myself, "Why don't they do something about that?"

The first thing I'd do if I had a time machine at my disposal is give past me a kick in the pants.

Youngest boy has an official diagnosis of a sensory processing disorder. And, if you're like past me (you know, the one who needs a swift kick in the rear?) you're rolling your eyes and muttering about how they'll put a label on everyone these days. Believe me. I was there with you for a long time, even with my kid. I was holding out for five or five and a half because he's a boy and boys are not girls. (Yes, yes, I know that's an unpopular sentiment these days. Add it to the charges that will be leveled when I'm up against the wall.)

Sensory Processing Disorder. It even sounds made up. But let me be the first to assure you, from a former skeptic turned believer, it's a real thing. And it's miserable.

I'm not sure it's miserable for my boy. He's just doing his thing and relatively oblivious about it. Mostly, that's good. Because he has the sweetest, gentlest heart. He's the one who will crawl in my lap, take my face in his hands, and say, "Mommy? I love love love you so much." with no provocation. Just because. He's also the one who's always moving and spinning and looking for things to pick up and carry around from one pace to the other.

At home it's not really a big deal. He can seek those sensory experiences all he wants. But at church? In a class of 35 other kids his age? It's disruptive. And so we've had it suggested that maybe he should sit with us in the service. And we've pulled him from Awana for the same reason.

I get it. Mostly.

Except I don't, really, because it's the church. These are supposed to be the people who live out Jesus. Kicking kids out of a classroom because they're a challenge isn't really what I think Jesus would do. But the only alternative they could come up with was for hubby or myself to sit in his class with him the whole time because--and this killed me--then we'd see that he's sneaky and behaves this way only when he doesn't want to do what's being asked of him.

Sigh.

There's a really REALLY big difference between belligerence and SPD. Which isn't to say younger boy isn't stubborn. He could teach stubborn to a mule, absolutely. But his behavior isn't caused by willful defiance -- if it was, the intense discipline that has been going on here at home for the last three years would've made a dent. You can look him in the eyes, remind him of the right behavior, get his whole hearted agreement to that behavior and the consequences of not doing what he agreed to and within five minutes, he'll be doing it, simply because he's physically unable to stop himself.

He's in OT. We're doing stuff at home. They tell me that this won't be forever and he'll learn coping skills and how to regulate. But in the meantime I do a lot of crying for this little boy I adore who gets rejected by his peers, his brother's peers, and the adults at church because of something out of his control.

4/13/2018

Car Conversations with the Doodles

Driving around with kids is never boring. Here for your enjoyment are some of the recent conversation starters that have occurred whilst driving about with the boys.

"I think in Brazil they've invented a jetpack. I read it somewhere."

"Do we eat only girl chickens or are there boy chickens that we eat too?"

"Do tanks have air bags?"

"Why is it called yogurt?"

"How high would you have to jump on the moon to get into space?"

"Why are oranges orange? And why don't we call lemons yellows?"


4/11/2018

In case you weren't keeping up at home, healthcare is still broken.

In January, eldest boy was goofing around (as boys do) one evening, spinning on his knee in the living room. He lost control and wham ran headfirst into one of the ottomans of our poang chairs (those are the cool chairs from Ikea.)

There were many tears and great drama, all of which I immediately discounted because, on any given day, if the younger boy looks at the older boy wrong, there are tears and great drama and so I've slowly become immune to cries of, "Owwww! It hurrrrts!" Because most of the time, no, it doesn't, because frowning at you from across the room can not actually cause injury.

This time, however, he continued and then cried, "I'm bleeeeding!"

So okay, let's see what we got.

I look and go to the closet for my shoes.

"Get your shoes, you need stitches."

More wailing, now intensified because hello? Now he knows he's injured so it absolutely hurts more.

So with hubs minding the fort at home, oldest and I hurried off to the ER, and I thought to myself, "Well, at least we're at home this time so we're not heading to an out of network hospital." (Because two-ish years ago, we needed an x-ray when away from home and that bill was unpleasant to say the least.)

Fast forward to this week, when I get a call letting me know that we're being balance billed for the doctor who did the stitches while at the ER.

"But wait," says I, "we went to the local hospital. It's clearly stated that's in network."

"Oh, yes, but the doctor is out of network."

"How," gritting my teeth and trying not to yell, "I wonder does that work? If the hospital is in network, then aren't the health care providers employed by same also in network?"

Short answer? No.

Apparently, ER docs, anesthesiologists, pathologists, and one or two other ologists aren't required to be in network even when employed by an entity that is. So the insurance company lady said that basically they have a new process. They pay as if they're in network, and, if someone squawks, reprocess as out of network.

Why?

Why can we not simply charge what things cost and then pay the same? Why are there kickbacks and special deals in the back room that allow one insurance to pay X when others pay Y and the consumer paying direct pays Z? It drives me absolutely up a wall.

Best part of this whole fiasco? Helpful insurance lady says that usually in cases like ours what ends up having to happen is they write us a check and then we have to wait until we get billed and then pay the balance ourselves directly, because reprocessed claims can't be done any other way.

Broken. The system is ridiculously broken. (and let me just be clear that getting the government more involved in this madness is only going to break it more, not fix it.)

4/08/2018

A little slow on the pickup

Well, finally the dichotomy between being incredibly cheap and wanting to read all the books has pushed me to sit down and figure out how to check out e-books from the local library. Yes, yes, I know this has been available since probably 2010. If not longer. Whatevs.

What pushed me to it, you ask? Two things.

First, have you ever gone to the physical library with children? Did you leave with any books of your own or just a massive pile of books for you and said kids to read together? (Now, granted, the latter is not a bad thing, and I don't mind doing that. But how is a mom supposed to browse the stacks of books she's looking at when a) the library is a public building full of potentially creepy people so it's not as if I'm going to let a six year old wander on his own for a few minutes. Or even get out of sight. I will let the ten year old scoot down to juvenile, but he has to check back in every couple of minutes. I'm also fuzzy on details, but it's probably illegal to let the six year old be unattended. Because that's the world in which we live. Point being, by the time it might possibly be time for me to get to look at my books? I'm already toting eighty pounds of literature and the librarians are desperately hoping we're on our way out.)

Second is the ridiculousness of traditional publishers who feel like it's reasonable to charge a body $12 for a parcel of electrons when that same body could, for the low-low price of $8 have a physical copy to hold in her hands in perpetuity. With free shipping, even.

I won't get into what I see as the nefarious conspiracies behind the publishers' decisions to do this (short version: trad publishers want ebooks to fail because tradition - it's a tad more complex than that, but that's at the heart of it), but it's ridiculous. Now, sometimes, I will hold my breath, plug my nose, and pay the piper, because I don't want a paperback. I'm one of those who have embraced my kindle and you can pry it out of my cold, dead hands. Hubby ADORES that I have embraced the Kindle because it has gotten us a few shaky steps away from an episode of Hoarders: Book Edition. But paying that kind of coin for something that can get erased with an accidental mouse click or electromagnetic pulse? Nope nope nope.

Throw in, as a bonus, point three, that there are some books that I'd like to read but don't necessarily need to own and, well, Overdrive to the rescue.

All that to say I've got one lovely book checked out and a hold on another and, if all goes well, can assuage my reading itch in new ways that don't involve spending pennies. We shall see. I know it's not going to be a perfect solution as I've already bumped into four titles that I was hoping to read that are not available in said format. So, those will go back on the back burner until I either bite the bullet and pay the ridiculous amount of currency they want, buy the paperback because cheaper, or figure out how to use the library with a six year old.

Regardless, for now, I'm optimistic.

4/06/2018

That is the sound of inevitability*

I'm beginning to realize that there comes a point in life where one simply has to recognize that they are not the sort of person with whom other people are going to be friends for the long term. I'd like to say there's something freeing in that realization, but there isn't. In fact, it pretty much sucks. But, none the less, there it is.

Still trying to decide what to do with this information as far as making/maintaining what "friendships" I currently possess. Because honestly? There's a big haze of what the F is the point hovering over it all. When you know that, ultimately, it's going to go down in a flaming ball of poo--and oh by the way it'll be completely your fault and the other parties will always be 100% innocent, just ask them!--why try?

At the same time, I'm stuck trying to put a happy face on it all and convince my children that no, those mean kids at the play date/wherever we encountered them aren't the norm and really, there are good people out there in the world if you look. What a liar I've become. The reality that I'd like to explain to my kids? You may end up having friends, but don't put a lot of stock in them, because at their tiniest whim even grown adults turn into middle school girls and they will destroy you, light the remains on fire, and walk away whistling and telling everyone else they encounter that you brought it on yourself.

It amuses me that I have a category labeled Kindred Spirits. Clearly I was a lot more optimistic when I started this blog. Because I have firmly, 100% relegated that idea to the realm of fiction. My book friends? They're the only ones that stick around.

*spot the quote