Monday, April 28, 2008

Is all well? II Kings 5:21

Just a quick post to let you all know that everything is fine, for the most part. The Man is fine, I'm fine, the baby is fine, the kids are fine, the Dog is fine (but still tired). The desktop is giving me fits trying to log in to blogger, and I can't post pictures from the laptop (I could if I would get off the couch, retrieve the camera and cord, figure out how to edit the pictures on the laptop so it wouldn't take all night to upload them...) so I just haven't been posting.

Our van overheated on the 15 minute, flat drive home from church on Saturday. The Man's diagnosis isn't good. We're considering just replacing the engine or upgrading to a 15-passenger. I never thought I'd be one of "those" homeschooler families. There are already at least two other 5+ kids homeschooler families in our valley with white 15-passenger vans. It could get interesting. We shall see what our mechanic says about our van. I figure if we just replace the engine it should last us for at least a few more years. We replaced the transmission last year, so what else could go wrong with it? Please don't answer that.

The good news is that since we were down to one functional vehicle, The Man fixed the trash truck this afternoon so he can drive it on the days I'll need his truck to get around. The trash truck has been sitting in our driveway since last winter when it ran out of fuel. M didn't know it was out, so he started it when it was on empty and drained the lines. Since we really didn't need it, fixing it hadn't been a priority. The Dog waited patiently beside the truck until it finally started, then he jumped right up into the back, ready to go for a ride.

Now all I have to do is find the registration sticker that was sitting on the desk.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A leader and commander to the people...Isaiah 55:4

If The Man were president...

The Man thinks that he could do a better job than any of the current three choices. I agree, but I really don't wish to move again...especially to the city. The Man said we probably wouldn't move, since he legally couldn't take all of his possessions to Washington, D.C. Besides, his patients couldn't all travel there to see him, and it would get monotonous to travel back and forth each week for church. We would probably just live here.

That would mean that we would finally get DSL or Satellite. It just wouldn't do for the folks in D.C. to get a "The person you are trying to call is on the phone, please leave a message after the tone" voice mail message because I'm busy blogging.

This blog would probably get more than 500 hits a day if The Man were president. A few weeks ago I was shocked when I saw that our free StatCounter had filled up over just one weekend. It seems that someone linked this post on a German/English orthodontia website in Europe. Although it has tapered off, we still get a few dozen hits a day from that site. If only I had time to figure out how to
exploit my children make some extra cash from that traffic. Maybe if The Man were president I would have people that would do it for me.

People. Yep, I would have a bunch of them. They would make my food, clean my bathtub, take out the trash, do the laundry. I could get used to that. We would even have our own private plane (that M would fly, of course). That plane is probably too big to take off and land at the Near Perfect Little Valley's airport, so we would have to use the bigger airport up by the city. We could build an helipad out in the alfalfa field.

Secret Service agents? I could do without, but it might be nice to always have someone 50 feet behind Sacagawea to radio in her position in case she tries to run away. Maybe I could assign my agent to follow the Dog to make sure he doesn't find any more poison.

The Man said one of the first things he would do as president would be to issue an executive order to make it illegal to enforce unconstitutional laws. Which means that he could take all of his stuff to D.C. Which means we might move...I'm not sure I would like that after all.

One of the best things about The Man being president is what would happen afterwards. He would get to build his very own Presidential Library. Yee Haw. I would finally have some place to put ALL of our books.

We had this discussion before we got out of bed this morning. We haven't quite worked everything out, but we agreed that we don't have time to campaign. So, if you would like The Man to be president, let us know! If none of the other candidates excite you, simply write in "The Man" in November. Thank you for your support.

This picture is of The Man lowering our flag to half-mast of June 6, 2004, the day after the death of Ronald Reagan.
Unfortunately the rope is now broken and The Man hasn't had time to fix it properly, so our flag isn't up right now. If he were president, I'm sure our people would take care of that also.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Poison...James 3:8

Last evening the Dog stood at the back slider. That was a bit odd since he usually hangs out on the front porch, but we let him inside. He promptly tripped over a cord and headed for his crate. J commented that he looked odd standing in his crate. The Man thought he was walking funny. M headed outside to put the chickens in their coop about 8:30. The Dog wouldn't budge from his crate. That's when we were sure something was wrong, because the Dog basically lives for going with M to care for the chickens.

The Man looked him over and decided that he was showing some of the same symptoms he had a few years ago when the vet diagnosed Strychnine poisoning. The Man called the vet (out of town, please call animal hospital in next state), another vet (nope, won't even look at a dog, only large animals), and the people hospital. In this instance it was a case of what you know AND who you know. It took a few hours to work out the logistics, but by 10:30 The Man was back home with the necessary drugs. It wasn't a moment too soon, for when The Man walked in the front door the Dog bolted out of his crate and had a seizure. I was beginning to wonder if it was really Strychnine again since he hadn't had any seizures, but that erased all doubt.

We dragged the Dog out to the utility room, laid him down on some towels, and got started. M held his back legs while I held his head. The Man tried to find a vein, but his vet skills could use a bit of work. He ended up giving the meds* in muscle, and within five minutes the Dog was completely relaxed. M took him outside on the leash so the Dog could relieve himself** while we moved the Dog's crate to the utility room. We put up a gate so he could spend the night out there.

The Man got up a few times during the night to check on him, and he seems to be ok. I wanted to take him to the vet today to have him looked over since he is due for a rabies shot anyway, but the office said we should wait a few weeks for the rabies if it was Strychnine. We will just keep a close eye on him the next few days.

We do know which neighbor uses the Strychnine. The ground squirrels, etc. are eating it and coming onto our property where they are coming into contact with the Dog (ok, so the Dog is coming into contact with them). We're still trying to figure out how to nicely deal with the neighbor.

The Dog better be grateful for what lengths The Man was willing to go to for him, especially after what the Dog did to The Man's pickup Saturday afternoon. A squirrel decided to hide out in the engine compartment and the Dog tried to retrieve it. Most of the wiring has been repaired, and it is drivable, although The Man said the ABS on one of the wheels isn't currently functional. Bad Dog!

* Since the purpose of this blog is not to dispense veterinary advice, but I know some people will end up here through a search engine while in the same predicament we were in last night, here are the links to the drugs and dosage recommendations we used.
Link #1
Link #2

**When this happened a few years ago, we didn't know what was wrong until The Man got him to the vet. Since he was hot and panting, we had given him a lot of water in the hours until the vet called us back. We didn't realize that he couldn't relieve himself until the vet gave him the meds and he immediately relieved himself right there on the vet's table. This time we were prepared with all the towels, but he obviously hadn't had as much water and was able to wait until he got outside. Good Dog!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The sound of the organ...Job 21:12

Are you a potential organ donor? Have you marked your driver's license so if in the unfortunate event something terrible happens to you, someone else can keep on living? Although it is a personal choice, I do think it is a nice thing to do. I thought I would get that PSA out of the way before I move on to the lighter side of organ donation.

If you haven't been to our house lately, you may be surprised to see how much more crowded it is than a few months ago. Last October one of our church members called us up and said that her cousin wanted to give away an organ (the musical kind!). Were we interested? Only if it worked. She said that her cousin said it worked.

I stopped by his place to see it and make sure it worked.
Unfortunately due to the storage situation, we weren't able to try it out, but it looked nice! The Man stopped by a few days later and the cousin rolled the pickup that the organ was in out of the storage shed and they were able to transfer it from the back of his pickup into the back of The Man's pickup. The Man drove home with the monstrous organ and speaker/ amplifier/ whatever-it-is-called cabinet, and the bench.

We stood in the back of the pickup for awhile contemplating how we were going to get it down from the truck, up on the porch, up the steps, and into the living room. Old organs are heavy. Very, very, heavy. It took two strong guys to just scoot it a few feet from one pickup to another, we knew it should take more than just The Man and Wife to get it into the house. All the people we knew of that were available also had bad backs, so we didn't even ask. Finally, with the help of M, a furniture dolly, ramps, concrete blocks, and a lot of stuff I probably shouldn't admit to on the blog, we got it into the house and plugged it in. If we ever attempt something like that again, we should have at least 4 or 5 strong men to help out in the move. Those things are solid!

Some of the keys seemed to work, none of the pedals worked, and the speaker noise wasn't pleasant. We moved it to its present location until we could get someone to see if it was worth fixing.

We pulled the amplifier cabinet out from the wall for the service call, but this has basically been what one entire wall of my living room has looked like for the last few months...

With the piano, organ, guitar, violins, recorders, and whatever other musical instruments the kids drag in, this room has been referred to as the conservatory.
Meanwhile...a young man has been attending our church with his mother. A few months ago he inquired why no one ever played the organ at church. We told him that no one at church played, and the last time someone attempted to play, there were some weird noises and it probably needed to be serviced. It turns out that he plays the organ!

The Man called around to find a person to come and service both the organ at church and at our home.
The only one The Man could find to service the organ was in the next state and didn't want to drive over the mountain pass due to weather. When the weather cleared he was going to be out of town, then he was sick, then he was still sick. Last week, another person who goes to our church called the manufacturer and got the list of qualified technicians in our area. One was dead, the other was the man we had been trying to get to come for the past few months! FINALLY! He came today!

After servicing the organ at church, he came to our house. He proclaimed that ours wasn't worth fixing. He said it would cost several hundred dollars for him to get it working, but he claims he could get us a nice, smaller one for a lot less. I told him to go ahead and take any parts he wanted since we're probably just going to junk it. He said he could use the amplifier and some cords. I'm not sure what all he took, but he didn't charge us for a separate service call. I'm so glad the organ donation didn't end up costing us anything.

The kids already have plans for the wood from the cabinets. I already have plans for rearranging the furniture. If you want any of the parts, put in your request now! Demolition will begin soon.

Monday, April 14, 2008

His natural face...James 1:23

Photo added!

I've been such a slacker blogger! This morning when I returned from the fitness center The Man was getting ready for his shower. I noticed a bit of white stuff on his face, then it dawned on me...his beard was gone!

While I was happy to see his face again, I complained that he didn't tell me ahead of time. I don't think I've taken a picture of him since the Dog's kisses. I have nothing to show you faithful readers! I'll have to share a picture of his 3 1/2 month old beard if I can find one.

edit: The Man's mother did have a photo from her visit here. The Man consented to me sharing it with you all...
Several of his patients and church members have complimented him on his beard. I was told it was quite impressive. I just missed his face. I happen to like his face. Is that so terrible?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Six years...II Kings 11:3

Happy 6th Birthday, Sacagawea!

12 months-helping big brother with his schoolwork...

14 months-helping Mom pack up the house for our move... Should I immediately grab the child off the pile of boxes onto which she has climbed, or go find the camera first? Documentation is so important!

Last Saturday morning with the daffodils at church. The strawberry cake... With a chocolate cake mix, I did a heart-shaped, circle, and a mini-heart. Then I did the same with a strawberry mix. The chocolate and strawberry hearts were layered with strawberry jam between the layers. After the icing, mini chocolate chips were added for the strawberry seeds. Sacagawea was pleased. The mini-hearts were made into a mini-strawberry so everyone at church wouldn't have to eat her spit after she blew out her candles ;).

Making sure Mom put right number of candles on her cake...
We enjoyed the circle cakes later that evening with real strawberries for a family celebration.

I asked her Saturday morning if it felt any different to be six. "Not yet, but it might if I didn't have to ride in my car seat anymore!" Sorry! Even though the law is six years or sixty pounds, she going to have to wait until Mom and Dad think it is safe. She currently tips the scales at 42 pounds.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Berries in the top...Isaiah 17:6

Here's a picture of M's birthday cake...The accidental indentation on top was actually quite necessary. All the berries would have rolled off the cake otherwise. We had extra berries and whipped cream on the side to add to the pieces as needed.

I went to the drawer to retrieve some candles and discovered we didn't have enough. All I could find was a package of some "sparkler" candles left from the previous owners of our home. We gave it a try. It took about 5 matches to get them all lit, and it took more than one breath to blow them all out. After scraping all the wax drippings off the cake we all enjoyed it very much.

We got him his very own maul to help split wood. The Man's maul was a bit too heavy for M to use effectively, so until he builds up his muscles a bit more, we got him a smaller one. I haven't taken a picture of it yet, but if you've seen one, you've seen a maul. I'm so sorry. It is late and way past my bedtime. As soon as the load of laundry in the dryer finishes drying, I'll go to bed. I promise to not make such punny statements tomorrow.

He also got a game of Risk, several books on flying, and a package that arrived today from New York. We got out the Risk game this evening. It has been about 20 years since I've played, but I know the game was changed...a lot. We did the set up and played one round just to get the hang of things. Tomorrow they plan on playing a more in-depth game. S enjoyed it a little too much. He kind of reminds me of the way my little brother used to play. S exclaimed, "One each!" and it took me back a few years.

For those that are still reeling over the fact that M mixed up his own cake...tonight after all the younger kids had been sent to bed, I found the package from New York in the pile of mail. I took it to M's room where he was staring at the mountain of laundry that needed to be folded and put away before he could put the clean sheets on his bed and actually get in bed. I handed him the package for him to open. In the time it took him to open the package, read the card, open his gift, and admire the nice shirt, I had folded all of his laundry. I even started putting the bottom sheet on his bed. I'm not such a mean mom.

Sacagawea requested a strawberry cake for her birthday on Saturday. We're having potluck at church, and Sacagawea loves potluck. All the instructions I could find on the net to make strawberry-shaped cakes say to use heart-shaped pans. I don't own one, and they can't be bought in our town in April. Today while at music lessons I asked if they had one we could borrow. They did! Yippee! I came home and made those cakes (all by myself) and they are now wrapped and in the freezer. Tomorrow I will trim and assemble.

While I'm waiting for my laundry, I'm going to put the finishing touches on Sacagawea's gift. Good night!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Fourteen years...Galatians 2:1

Happy Birthday, M!

At 9:20 p.m. EDT tonight, he will officially be 14 years old. Last night before he went to bed, I told him about how it was already 14 years since I went into labor. That was a long one!

It was 6 years ago on his 8th birthday that he was wondering if his scheduled birthday party was actually going to happen since his baby sister was due to make an appearance. She was gracious enough to wait 3 more days, so the birthday party went on as planned. I even had the time and energy to make his requested Lego cake.

It is hard to see in the picture, but that brick cake has iced Oreos on top to make it look like a 2 x 4 Lego brick. Each of the Lego men is sitting on top of a dimple.

This year, he decided he wanted a cake similar to what J had last year, but with a banana cake, like what he had made for S's birthday. I promised I would bake it for him. I had good intentions of making it yesterday, but it didn't get done. J has an ortho appointment this morning, so I knew it had to be made last night. I was exhausted. The thought of going into the kitchen and gathering all the ingredients made me want to lie down. Since M had done such a wonderful job of making S's last year...

I can hear the gasp across the world as people reading this are thinking surely she didn't make her son bake his own birthday cake!

No, I didn't make him bake his own cake.

I asked if he would put the ingredients in the mixer, turn it on, and grease the pans. With a grin, he agreed. Then I went into the kitchen, poured the mixture into the pans, and put them into the oven to bake. Obviously I didn't bake them long enough since this morning there are indentations in the middle, but we'll put so many berries on it won't matter. Maybe next time M will insist on baking his own cake!

I'll leave you with this picture. It isn't a birthday picture, but here is M when he was about 14 months old. He took his pacifier out of his mouth long enough to enjoy an apricot he found in a crate on the floor.
I love you, M! Thank you for being such a helpful son!

Friday, April 04, 2008

In the third month...Exodus 19:1

Not exactly a Sew Crafty Friday post, but here is something we made. These pictures were taken this morning. We hope to get some clearer pictures sometime around October 25.

Healthy heart, spine, neck, 2 arms, 2 legs, and otherwise very cute baby (my doctor said so, it must be true).

Head, arms and belly...Belly and legs...
Hand in front of face...
The kids are thrilled. Sacagawea says she'll stick around since she will get to be a big sister.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Two bags...II Kings 5:23

Yesterday J came inside and told me that some of Sacagawea's clothes and blankets were in the bike shed. What? Her church clothes and shoes, even. I asked him to tell her to bring them all back inside, and that I wished to speak to her also. She has taken things like that outside to play dress-up with before, but I had asked her not to use her nice clothes to play outside.

She came inside, her arms full of blankets and a bag of clothes. She dragged her feet as she brought them to the living room. "Why did you have all these things outside?" I questioned.

"I don't know...."

At that point I called all the children in for an "I don't know" lecture. That's not an answer I accept, but a few of the boys have been trying it lately, and now Sacagawea had picked up on it. During a talk about how they are each responsible for their actions, they need to figure out why they are doing things, and be willing to tell me why, I got a good look at all the things Sacagawea had outside: A dress, tights, two pairs of dress shoes, her favorite outfits, her favorite blankets, some dolls..."Were you planning on running away?" The boys started giggling at the absurdity of my question, but Sacagawea nodded her head and burst into tears. I sent the boys on their way as I gave Sacagawea a hug, partly to comfort her and partly to hide my face which I was trying so hard to keep composed. This wasn't a laughing matter.

I called The Man over, briefly explained what was going on, and I tried once again to compose myself. I could tell she was perplexed as to how Mommy knew she was going to run away, so I shared a bit of information about myself. When I was her age I got a bag and filled it will all my favorite games so that when I ran away I could take them with me. She thought it was funny that I only packed games and no clothes or blankets. Of course, I wasn't really going to run away. My older brother tried it once, and I was crying hysterically that my parents actually let him walk out the door. They waved good-bye! Of course he only made it to the corner of our yard before the neighbor's dogs started barking, and back home he ran. While I was telling her my story, The Man went and got the camera and started snapping pictures.
Pajamas and some of her favorite outfits.
That tiger backpack contained two of her smallest dolls and six pairs of clean underwear (at least I've taught her that correctly).
Her blankets, dress, tights, and socks wouldn't fit in a bag so those were just out there in the shed. We need to wash them before they are returned to her room.

She had smuggled all those clothes out of the house and into the bike shed 2 days previous. The day before she was actually planning on leaving, but J came outside and foiled her plans. I had sent J outside, and I was soon to follow. When I went outside she was trying to tell J to go back inside, because she didn't want him out there. I told her we had over 50 acres, there was plenty of room for both of them. Now I know why she was so upset!

Where was she planning on going? To the B home, about 5 miles down our road. She was going to ride her bike. Between our 1/4 mile driveway and the amount of stuff she was planning on taking, I highly doubt she would have made it to the open road. Even so, The Man says we're moving to somewhere with a longer driveway.
I think I aged about 5 years (at least) yesterday at the thought of my baby girl riding her bike down the road without us.

So, we finally answered the who, what, when, where, and how questions. I told her that if she ever really needed to go somewhere, please let Mommy or Daddy drive her. It really isn't safe for her to be by herself out on the road. We have mountain lions and such around here (and other dangers which I didn't see the need to bring up at the time). She agreed. I asked if she would stay home until her birthday (next Saturday). Again, she agreed. Then she decided she would stay until J's birthday in June. After consulting a calendar, she said it would be after the new moon in October. Of course, that is so close to November, maybe she should wait until after S's birthday. After all of that, she announced that she would postpone the event until she was 16 so she could drive herself. Whew. That gives us about 10 years to prepare her and us.

Why? She doesn't like feeding the Dog. She's always had an aversion to strong smells, and I can't say that I blame her on that one. M readily announced that he would love to feed the Dog again if she could help him feed the chickens. Done. We needed to redistribute pet responsibilities anyway since the lizard's demise. S will assist J with feeding the horse in the morning, and now everyone is happy.

"Is feeding the Dog the only thing you don't like about our house?"

"No," she said, "I don't like taking naps.* Also, I only have brothers here. The Bs have sisters, too."

I later asked the boys if any of them ever had plans to run away. They all admitted to wondering what it would be like, but they had never seriously considered it. The Man said when he was a boy he had some food set aside, but his brother talked him out of it. Did you ever have plans to run away? Did you follow through with any of it?

*Sacagawea gave up naps long ago. We did have the kids lie down for some naps/rest on Saturday afternoon since we were planning on being out late that night and getting up early the next morning for the dog sled rides. Other than that, I really don't remember when her last nap was. AND I happen to know that the B mother still makes all of her children utilize a nap/rest period in the afternoon.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Hold fast...Proverbs 4:13

Last Sunday I took J, S and A up to the dog sled place on the mountain where they were giving free dog sled rides to kids 10 and under. The newspaper promised it would be an educational event. Free? Educational? We're there.

I got the kids up bright and early so we could eat breakfast, gather up all the snow gear, and be on the road by 7:00 a.m. We made it to the dog sled place by 8:20, parked, and got in line. We were the third family in line, which meant we wouldn't have to endure the cold for too long!

Sacagawea thought it was too loud with all the barking dogs. I thought it was kind of sad. The dogs that were pulling the sleds were obviously having a good time, but those that were left behind weren't too happy.

Here are some dogs being hooked to the sleds...
Here are some dogs that don't get to go yet...

Ready to go...
J and two others all loaded in the sled...
The return...
Trading for some fresh dogs...
I'm not sure how educational the day was since the folks were trying to get the kids in and out of the sleds as fast as possible. They didn't leave much time for photos or asking questions. But, it was free! Right after S & A got back, the kids were ready to go. It was c-o-l-d! They were selling hot chocolate for only $0.25 a cup (When's the last time you saw it for that price?) so everyone got a cup before we headed home by 9:30.

There was one child there...his name was Chainsaw. That wasn't a nickname, but his given name. Really. Now I don't feel so odd about having a child who answers to Sacagawea.