New Family Members Arrived · September 2014

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It looks like Oregon is going to finally act as though Fall has arrived, just in time for the vacation I scheduled from Walgreens. This Summer has been labeled “second hottest summer” in Portland, and I am ready for it to be over. I ache for the cool breezes and darker clouds of fall.

Our household has changed since Summer started. In the middle of July, Bo’s oldest son Josh came to stay with us as a start to his new life here in Portland. In a past letter you might remember that he was living near Olympia, WA, and this year he told us he wanted to find more possibilities in Portland. We have a little shed that serves as a “bonus room” and he is stationed in there now, venturing out into Portland daily to make connections and find things to do. We’re very glad to have him in our lives.

We also have a friend of mine here, who I’ve known since I was 18 and who Bo met while we lived in Mayville for one year in 2001. Ryan lived in ND and is most recently from MN where he felt his life had fallen stagnant. Taking a big, brave leap, he drove his things out here because we offered him a place to stay until he has his own. He has been making friends and scoping-out possibilities for his future, and I’m glad to see that his life is not stagnant here.

Typically, having extra people in the house is a stress on me, but because of their positive energy and kindness, these two men are assets to our household. The boys love having them around, and in fact Ryan went with me, Jaben and Edgar to the coast during the last weekend before school started. Bo had to stay home and work, but this was a last chance for the boys to enjoy an outing for the summer. We went to Cannon Beach, then Seaside, drove across the river to see Fort Columbia, and then back through Astoria to see the house from the movie “Goonies.” It was really nice to see the coast again. The lazy waves crashing on the shore is so soothing.
Jaben turned 13 this past July, then this past September Dustin turned 21, and now Holden is officially an adult at 18 years old. I can hardly believe my first boy is such a young man! Then there’s Jaben who keeps standing on his tip-toes and staring at the top of my head to see how close he is to my height. He’s already wearing my-sized shoes.

Also this September, school started for the younger boys. Jaben is beginning his last grade in middle school, and Edgar is beginning his first. So far everyone seems to be doing well. Edgar says he’s paying attention more, and everyone’s homework is getting done as far as I know. They’re talking about friends at school, and giving opinions of their different teachers.

Holden has been in Job Corps for a year now, and these past weeks seem like they might have been trying for him. He didn’t have enough points to be allowed to leave the campus for his birthday, so Jaben, Ryan and I went to see him in Yachats on the coast. That morning Edgar started throwing up, so Bo stayed home with him while the rest of us left. Josh had a job appointment complication so he couldn’t go either. Holden was grateful to see those of us who could come, and that one-hour visit (because I had to get back to work by 4pm) was worth six hours of driving. I love seeing how my boys are growing, and it’s a comfort to see that those not at home are emotionally sound.

Dustin is still taking classes for life skills, and is still in Beaverton at the same trustworthy foster care home. We see him every-other weekend as we can (sometimes we skip a scheduled weekend for things like illness, or when Dustin has an event to attend in Beaverton). He told me he has become a Captain of the STARS flag group he’s in, and talks about his friends in the neighborhood and in school. He is doing well and looks forward to seeing his mother in NC sometime this fall.

Starting this month, Jaben has had three races so far in Junior bike racing, placing 5th in each. He will only get better as he keeps racing, and has a good friend/trainer who had been placing 1st in her races. She has been giving him tips for how to get through the tough hills and curves, and as long as he listens to her and to Bo, he should be jumping into men’s races soon. We are very proud of him.

Edgar has noticed that people in higher grades know his name. He said that he thinks its because he’s known as the fastest kid in school, which could be likely and I hope he practices so he can keep his title. His real passion lately, and what has been his passion for the year, is watching videos of people playing Chivalry on the computer. I might have mentioned in an earlier letter that Chivalry is a medieval warfare game. He will talk non-stop about kings and vanguards, halberts, longswords and maces, what tactics to use in attacking the enemy, and knowing the difference between Agatha knights and Men at Arms… he is looking forward to finally having the game on our computer this fall.

I myself haven’t been drawing a lot, though I did enchant the name “Megan” for my cousin’s daughter. I’ve been writing, but it’s a re-write of a book I initially wrote when I was 18. It’s sort of a narrative from the points of view of two people in a fantastical world of Mystlona, on a quest for a magical green flute. As I re-write and edit, I have been posting finished sections as notes on Facebook. I’m also writing an abridged version of my family’s history so the boys know where we moved and who was born where, why we lived in different places and who we met. I think that since this is the place we’ve lived longer than any other, it’s easy to forget the initial steps that brought us here. Even I will forget someday, and I’d like to be able to look back on this history and say “Oh yeah! That’s why we moved!” or “I’d forgotten we had rabbits once.”

I’m still enjoying working at Walgreens, and I have my cleaning clients, so I’m staying busy. Bo is working on several projects for people, one of the most rewarding jobs being the designing and creation of collapsible counters for a mobile trade show. They look fantastic! Bo truly is an artist, especially when given a blank canvas.

Grandma Joan visited during the end of summer, and was once again able to successfully divide her time between the Gayhearts and the Lannings. She does a great job of juggling attention, and I’m glad she can see our families faring so well. She looks great and dishes out her usual amount of spunk so our kids don’t think Grandma is a pushover.

I suppose I am grateful that I don’t have more to write about. The less drama the better, as far as I’m concerned. In all our summer was filled and yet relaxing with a lot of skateboarding, playing in the park, video games and movies, and spending time with the boys’ oldest brother and one of my dearest friends. We are filled with blessings here.

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