Wednesday, March 4, 2015

"Snowy Day... It's Better!"

 Well here is what I found when I opened the front door early Thursday morning.  No school today!

 When the sun came up, we went out to explore.  Everything was completely covered in white.  A beautiful, pristine snow... so pretty.

 Our neighborhood looked like a Christmas card.  It was magical.

Speaking of so pretty....

 Our back yard.

 Levi so happy!

 This is the first time since we have lived here (nine winters) that we had some really good, deep packing snow -- snowman making snow! 

 A minion eye, and some crazy hair.

 I can never resist getting out in the snow with them  It always brings back lots of memories of playing in the snow as a kid.  Except my kids are all playing together and I love that.  It's a lot more fun to make a snowman when you're not the only one doing it!

 My lovely girl and me.

 Then we went out front to do some sledding.  The snow was not nearly as slippery as the little bit of snow we had the week before.  It was wet snow, and not great for sledding, so they kids found their neighborhood friends and built forts and threw snowballs and came in rosy and breathless hours later. 

 Levi came to me to tell me he saw a white dog in the chicken coop!  Hooray for Levi!  He saved the chickens!  I don't know how our neighbor's dog got in there, but she was there and I chased her out.  We are down to three chickens, and the two that were out were pretty shaken up.  I could tell that Sugar-Pie had probably been mouthed by the dog a big, as she was all wet and her feathers are flustered.  The dog did not mean to hurt them; I think she was just curious and playing with them thankfully.  If she had wanted to hurt them, they'd be dead.

So we brought the two of them inside and gave them a warm bath, and calmed them down.  I blew them dry and fed them warm corn, and then they were all fluffy and happy again.  The third chicken, Cauliflower, is sitting on some eggs now and never came out of her nest, so she was fine.

 The cats are always curious of the chickens, but don't seem to have any animosity towards them. 

 All clean and safe and dry and warm.   Time to go back to the coop!

 We took a neighborhood drive, amazed at every turn at the beautiful, snowy landscape God had made.

 Our house.

Kiki was tickled to have Ruby choose her for a snuggling spot.  Usually Kiki does not hold still well enough for the cat to want to sit with her. 

 Snow cream.  With sprinkles of course.

 Best friends.

 Some snow sculpting.  Eden made Thor's hammer.

 Isaac made Stone Henge.

 And Si and Maggie made a Triforce from Zelda on a pedestal. 

 Maggie's window garden.  She started her own little collection of seeds and pots a year or so ago.  She takes care of it very well, and it is all her own idea.  We found the shelf by the roadside and she took it home and cleaned it up for her plants.  She seems to be the only one in the house who can keep indoor plants alive.  I plan to let her take over the garden this year in the back yard.  She has a natural interest in this, and whether it is plants, or chickens, or her bedroom, she always takes good care of her things.

The snow is mostly melted now.  March came in like a lamb and it has been beautiful so far.  Only a few more weeks until Spring!

Micaiah is in the hospital again.  When he came home from his colostomy surgery, he was put on hemodialysis for a few weeks until his colostomy healed up and he could go back on the peritoneal.  But the hemodialysis turned out to be very hard on him, and he was not tolerating it well.  His blood pressure would crash, and he would throw up and have dizziness and headaches as his heartrate spiked.  They could not get enough fluid off of him, and finally decided to admit him back into the hospital to give him the dialysis he needed while weaning him back onto the peritoneal dialysis.  They expect him to be released in a couple more days, and we can get back to our normal.  In this case, he is not in any pain or discomfort in the hospital, so he is quite content, and getting spoiled by the nurses.  He is in good spirits and is happy to be going back on the peritoneal dialysis.  

We ask for prayers for Art's job.  Once again, he is faced with a situation where a company merger has eliminated his department.  It's scary enough when your husband loses his job, but when he is the only one making money in the family, and you have nine kids in the house to support, and a whole lot of medical stuff that must have insurance to take care of, it is a little disconcerting to say the least.  The timing here, in my perspective, seems especially poor.  But we are leaning into God and trusting that there will be a good outcome.  Art has some options and ideas, and we will see what happens over the next few weeks.   Please pray.

There are many things going on, stressful things, hard decisions... I would say life has brought me to my knees, but I was already on my knees.  As Churchill said, "If you're going through hell, keep going."  That's the only choice anyway.  People often say how "strong" I am.  I want to write more about this later, but I think to myself, "What would NOT being strong look like?"  Am I strong because I get up every morning and do the best I can with what I have to work with?  That I do the best I can for my kids?  What would be the alternative?  What would it look like if I were NOT strong?  Would I be curled up in a fetal position crying on my bathroom floor?  Well come over sometime!  You might see just that.  We keep getting up, and we keep doing what we feel is right, and we keep trusting God, and we keep waiting.  I see people handle more than I do, with much more grace and dignity.  But each day, I do the best I can.  It's not how I would like it to be, and I wish I were made of tougher stuff, but that's how that one went.  And I realize things could be worse, but like Calvin said:

Pray for us.


Friday, February 27, 2015

A little snow, and gymnastics.

 So, just when I thought we were going to have our first year with no snow, we got a little surprise.  A dusting of snow.  Not much, but enough to make everyone excited, and to do a little sledding.

Or what my kids do on sleds: snowboard.

Levi wasn't very interested in sledding.  But he does like to climb trees.  Can you find him?

I always think I'm going to stay inside and watch, but the Canadian girl in me can never resist getting out there and joining in.

This one's not Canadian; he's just a really fun Dad.

Poor, old Biscuit is eleven years old.  Not real old for a dog, but she is acting pretty old, and we can tell her eyes and ears can't do what they used to.  But she's a good, old girl, and loves to be out where the kids are doing what they are doing.

My colorful little Ghana girl!

Yeah, pretty much love this little man to pieces.

Two of the unlikeliest of friends.  These two adore each other.

Rosy cheeks.  

The chickens are doing okay.  We lost one more, so we are down to three.  So now we are incubating some eggs!  We have three under Cauliflower, and six inside in the incubator.  Hoping we will get a few.  Cauliflower is one of our original ones, and I would be really sad if anything happened to her.  She has toughed it out through a lot.  She even lost one toe and a piece of her beak to a chicken hawk attack.  She is also the one who sat on the eggs which we got two baby chicks from.  She's a good mother.  Sugar Pie is still with us.  She's a little cranky sometimes, and she will eat eggs when she can get a hold of them.  And we have just one of the chicks left, who is now bigger than the other two because as it turns out, he is a rooster!  And now that he is about six months old, he just started making the cutest little "cock-a-doodle-doooo" in the morning.  Hoping he doesn't get any louder because I don't think the neighbors would appreciate it, but it is really cute.  Silkies are awesome pets.  They are very gentle, and yet very hardy.  They can handle the winter temps fine, but we do heat up homemade rice bags to bring out to them at night, just in case.

We did some sledding out front as well.  The snow was very dry and slippery, so was good for sledding.  I love looking out and seeing all the neighbor kids out and playing together.

The school kids had four and a half days off for that little bit of snow.  On the morning that Maggie and Eden and Isaac go to gymnastics, the kids were out of school.  I was taking Laz and Levi to the dentist with Si that morning, Micaiah was in the hospital, and it just left Kiki unaccounted for.  So Hannah brought Kiki with her, and she had a blast.  Not sure if she's ready to actually join a class, but she was super cute.

Well, she hasn't found a boyfriend yet, but she pretty much has animal magnetism.  Ruby, Waffles, and Biscuit all snuggling with Hannah.

Which brings us to some shots of Maggie's first gymnastics competition.  She was very nervous, but did well.  It was a bit challenging to get clear pictures, because we were not allowed to use a flash.

With much thanks and appreciation to Hannah, who makes this all possible.  She takes the three to gymnastics practices each week.  Maggie goes three times a week.  She works to help pay their tuition, and pays for Maggie's entry fees and other costs.  We could not do this without her, and they could not have this amazing opportunity without their big sister.  She goes way above and beyond the call of sisterhood, which is awesome.  She really loves her little siblings and wants the best for them.  Not many of us have had that experience, and I am so happy that she cares so much for them, and genuinely likes them too.  

And another puzzle finished by Silas.  Grandpa sent him this one. 

And it is not easy to finish a 1,000 piece puzzle when a kitty is "guarding" it every time you leave it alone.  Lucky for her she is too cute to get mad at her!A