Monthly Archives: March 2013

How to “fix” a goat


About 6 weeks ago the girls received the best birthday gifts of their lives when they were given baby goats for their birthday presents from my parents. They picked out two boy goats and named them Chip and Thor. The problem though with baby boy goats is that they grow into stinky billy goats if you don’t “fix” them. So on this weeks “to do” list we had castrate goats in slot number three. Anything interesting on your “to do” list this week? 🙂 In case you have ever lay awake at night wondering how you “fix” a billy-goat I have provided step by step instructions for your reading pleasure, because you just never know when you might need this particular skill set…

Step one:

Catch your goat. This part is fairly easy because at this point they are wonderfully naive. Little do they know what is coming their way!


Step two:

Medicate your goat with pain relief prior to the banding. In other words..have one person hold the goat down while the other person shoves an aspirin into the goat’s throat and tries to get it to swallow the pill  and not spit it out. Note: this could take multiple tries. Evidently goats…who eat everything…don’t like the taste of aspirin.


Step three:

Gather your tools. You will need special rubber bands, a tool to open the rubber bands, and iodine.


Step four:

Soak the bands you will be using in iodine to help prevent infection later.  You will also use the iodine to clean the “surgical area.”


Step five:

Go back downstairs to administer a tetanus shot to the goat. Your goat will be less gullible after having had an aspirin shoved down its throat and may be harder to catch. Have your syringe filled with the medication before beginning. It is hard to hold a wiggling goat and fill a syringe with medication at the same time without giving yourself a tetanus shot.


Step six:

It is time to crush your goat’s dream of fatherhood. This step takes two people… One to hold the goat by the back legs so that it is doing a “handstand” while the other attempts to position the band in place around the sack making sure that everything that is meant to be in the rubber band is in the rubber band. Do not expect the goat to endure this without a fight. There will be a lot of crying and kicking…oh, and the goat may get upset as well. 😉


Step seven:

Let the band go and wince in sympathetic pain. Your goat will walk funny for a few days but then not even notice his loss. After a few weeks the sack will dry out and shrivel up due to lack of blood flow and then fall off. You then have a neutered goat.

Yep..that is how it’s done…just in case you were wondering.  One more thing crossed off the “to do” list. 🙂

Mall madness



On Thursday the girls had a joint birthday party with some of their friends. The decided they just wanted to have a simple get together with a few families from our co-op, eat a little cake, play around the house and then have three girls sleep over. They had a good time. It was a relaxing afternoon and the moms enjoyed being able to sit and visit while the kids played.

The girls were spoiled with some fun gifts from their friends.


A few of their gifts were picked out by guy friends. They were impressed by how well the  boys did picking out great girl gifts!

These adorable sweaters were picked out by their buddy, Eli.  Aren’t they cute?!


After everyone left and Toby came home from work to watch the boys I took the 5 girls to the mall. This was Molly and Gracie’s one big birthday request..going to the mall with friends. This was their first time hanging out at the mall with friends. We just aren’t “mall people” and when we do go it is a quick visit as a family to grab what we need and get out! 🙂 I must admit I was dreading an evening at the mall with a group of giggling girls but we ended up having a lot of fun.


First stop was Claires where the girls had fun trying on fun/crazy accessories…Lovely, Miss Molly.


Gracie found this cute hat and thought it matched her new sweater perfectly. She decided to use some of her money to buy it. Doesn’t she look adorable!


At Sears the girls had fun trying on all of the Easter hats. They looked like they should be headed to a tea party.


Then they saw the escalator. You would have thought they were at Disney World by how excited they were to ride the escalator. They ended up riding it up and down a few times before we headed to the next store.


Next stop..the candy shop where the girls bought sweet treats to enjoy later that night after everyone had gone to bed.


Bath and Body Works was another favorite spot as the girls tried on just about every scent in the store.


The girls also spent a good portion of the night trying on dresses. At one store there was a HUGE prom dress display. The girls begged to try some on and I said okay. They had a great time picking out dresses for each other to try on. They would go into the dressing room, put on a dress and then come out and spin for each other. They had fun taking pictures of each other in those outrageous outfits. I loved hearing them giggle and enjoy their girl time as friends!


The girls had a great night. I am so grateful that my girls are growing into such lovely, kind, good girls. I am also grateful they have such sweet friends to enjoy their teenage years with!  🙂


A princess, a pea, and a little poop


The other night Tyler couldn’t sleep (surprise, surprise) and I was in his bedroom trying to help the process along. He asked for a song.

“I want to hear Taylor Swift #6,” he told me.

“We can’t find Gracie’s CD,” I told him, “Pick a song for me to sing to you.”

“I want you to sing Taylor Swift #6.”

He was shocked to hear that I had no idea what song #6 on Gracie’s Taylor Swift CD was. I suggested other songs that we usually sing at bedtime but he didn’t like any of my suggestions.

He finally asked, “Well, what did Daddy sing to you when you were a baby?”

I smiled and told him that I didn’t know Daddy when I was a baby, that we met as adults.

“No, really Momma, what did Daddy sing to you?”

“I promise,” I told him. “I met Daddy as a grown-up.”

 He still didn’t believe me and said, “but you and Daddy are brother and sister.”

I explained that we were husband and wife not brother and sister but that explains his horror the other day when Toby and I went in the bedroom to change out of our Sunday clothes at the same time.  Tyler kept asking us under the door what we were doing. We told him we were changing. There was a pause and then with his mouth to the door he yelled, “Daddy, you better not be peeking at Momma!”

Since we couldn’t decide on a song he requested a story instead. I told him the story of the princess and the pea. He was enthralled and kept asking, “Is this true?” He eventually fell asleep. The next morning I caught him walking by with a bag of frozen green beans tucked under his arm. I quickly realized the impact my bedtime story had, what he was planning on doing, and confiscated the frozen beans. 🙂

maple sugar outing 032

We have been on Spring Break this week and have been busy with projects. Saturday evening the kids had a date with Aunt Beth (Toby’s aunt). For their birthdays Beth takes the kids out on a date to go out to eat and shopping for their birthday gift. The kids love it! Rusty missed his birthday outing because of everything going on in the fall with the adoption and because the girls’ birthdays are so close together  Beth decided to take them all out together so Toby and I just had Tyler on Saturday night. It was a good thing. The kids needed a break from Tyler and Tyler needed some special time. We took him to the park to play and rollerblade. We had the place to ourselves and Tyler loved having our full attention. Afterwards we had to do a little shopping and then we made it home just before Aunt Beth did.

Rusty, Molly, Gracie and Aunt Beth

Rusty, Molly, Gracie and Aunt Beth

The kids had a great time. They went to Steak and Shake for dinner and then to the mall for shopping.  Rusty bought a new game for his DS and Gracie bought some really cute earrings. Molly couldn’t find what she was looking for so she chose to save her money. They all had a wonderful time with Aunt Beth!

maple sugar outing 028

On another note..we are coming up on our 7 month anniversary with Tyler next week. It has been an interesting journey. From the day Tyler first walked through the doors of our home I knew he was mine and was always meant to be mine. I had the same feelings when I met him as I did the first time I held Gracie, Molly, and Rusty in my arms. Tyler’s delivery was just a little more complicated than the other three. 🙂 Part of what I had to  learn on this journey, though, was that although I felt that instant attachment it wasn’t felt by everyone else as immediately..and I learned that was ok. It took time for the kids to feel that Tyler was their brother and for Tyler to feel that we were his family. I had to put aside my own pride and impatience and let everyone’s love grow at their own rate. It was especially hard at times when I could clearly see that Tyler’s love and attachment for me didn’t match my love and attachment for him.

From the day Tyler moved in he was head over heels in love with Toby. Toby had a connection with Tyler immediately and I was grateful for that. I was grateful that Tyler had at least one person in the family that he felt he could talk to and share with and I tried not to be hurt that it wasn’t me. I knew that Tyler found in Toby something that he had never had in his life before… a loving father. He longed for a man to love him. All he had never known in his life were “fathers” who either abused, neglected or ignored him. Toby gave him what he longed for…a Daddy.

It has taken Tyler longer to attach to me. He had a loving Mommy in his last home and I think in the beginning he resented me trying to take her place. He was guarded with me and tried very hard to only let Toby meet his needs and help him when he needed help. I stepped back and gave him the time and space he needed for his love to grow, trusting that with God’s grace one day Tyler would give me his heart. Which brings me to my potty story…

Since the day Tyler moved in I would often hear him crying in the bathroom. I wasn’t sure if that was his “safe place” where he could deal with the emotions of loss and sadness without the fear of someone walking in while he was crying or if something was wrong. Everytime I asked him about it he would shut down and his wall would go up. Finally, the other day Tyler shared with me what was wrong. He came to me and asked if he could tell me something. I could tell he was nervous and at first I thought that perhaps he had done something wrong. We went into my room and he told me that it hurts to go potty and asked if I could make it better.  Now this may seem insignificant to many reading this but I felt this was one of the biggest breakthroughs we have had so far. I felt the wall crumbling. My child came to me to have his needs met. That is what attachment is all about. In the same way that a baby learns to love and trust and attach to its mother by crying and Mommy comes,  Tyler came to me in need, trusting that I would fix it. For seven months this little boy has been holding my heart.. now , with the help of a little Miralax and a gracious God, I am now holding his.

maple sugar outing 029

Momma’s little dirt magnet!

A pictureless look inside my window..


I love driving by people’s homes at night. As you look into their lit windows you catch a glimpse of someone’s life. You see them in their natural surroundings, living their life without self-consciousness or worry about needing to edit themselves. You see their home as it usually looks and the members of that household acting as they usually act. No, I’m not a peeping Tom. 🙂 I just love the realness of it. So often we “put on a show” for each other for fear that our real self will horrify others if we dared to show it. Yesterday as I lay on the floor after having tried to tackle the pig in my livingroom I thought to myself, ‘I wonder what someone else might be thinking if they were to look in my window right now.’ I wish I could post a picture for your viewing pleasure but my camera was nowhere to be seen in that moment of chaos so let me describe the scene you would have seen if you had been passing by at 5:00 yesterday evening…

The day had been a tough one. We stayed home from co-op in an attempt to get caught up on all the “to-dos” I felt I was drowning under. The kids were bugging each other and everyone was in a ‘mood.’ I don’t know what was in the air but everyone was testing.  We had a buyer for one of our baby bunnies ( friends from co-op). So at 4:30 I sent the kids downstairs to pick which bunny we were taking over. That is when all chaos broke loose. I was changing into something appropriate to wear out in public when I heard screaming from downstairs. I ran downstairs to find Gracie and Tyler in a tug of war over the bunny cage. Tyler was screaming, Gracie was crying and the poor bunny was being flipped around in the cage. The fight was over who could carry the bunny upstairs. Gracie was in tears because these were the last few moments she had with her bunny. Tyler was in tears that Gracie wouldn’t share. I grabbed the cage from them and walked it upstairs myself and set it by the door. Just as I turned my back the pig came pushing through the door with two dogs right on his heals…Bailey and Winnie, both who are not supposed to be running. The pig tears around the corner knocking furniture over left and right. The dogs were barking and giving chase as though they were beagles on a fox hunt. I turned to the door and saw Rusty standing there casually watching the chaos. When I yelled, “Rusty!” He looked at me in a very pre-teenage boy way and said, “What?! I didn’t let them in.”

“Get Harley!” I yelled to the kids as furniture continued to fly and decorations continued to break. Tyler was still in the basement crying over his lot in life. Rusty was standing in one position, not moving, calling, “Harley, come here,” to which Harley doesn’t respond to at all probably because he was backed in the corner by two dogs. I pulled the dogs off Harley and put them in the bathroom and gave Rusty the job of getting Harley outside. While I calmed Tyler down and got him dressed to go I called for the girls. Where were they and why weren’t they helping? They peeked their heads from the bathroom, “What?”  They were doing their hair. “I…need….help…”I said in my calm, trying to suppress rage, mom voice.  I then heard barking again and looked over to see that Winnie was out of the room and had discovered the bunny cage and was rolling it across the carpet in an attempt to open it. I rescued the bunny, took it outside, buckled Tyler in the car, came back in to tell Molly that her last job was to blow out candles before she came out and headed to the car. We have been lighting a lot of candles lately in an attempt to hide the ‘Ode d’ farm’ smell we have in the house because of the basement animals. Rusty was still trying to get Harley outside “Hansel and Gretel style” by making a trail of bread pieces across my newly vacuumed carpet that Harley was slowly devouring as he walked toward the door. This was all happening to a chorus of “MAAAAA MAAAA” from the goats in the basement who wanted to join in the fun. Finally all of the kids were in the car when I realized that we needed the address to put into the GPS. I went back into the house and it looked like Christmas Eve mass at a cathedral. The lights were out and the room was lit with the flickering candles that Molly didn’t blow out. I grabbed the address, blew out the candles, and walked back to the car. “Bedtime is at 8:00 tonight..for everyone!” I told them.

Sometimes we look at each others lives and see only the good and then question what we are doing wrong. How can everyone else make it look so effortless when I am failing so miserably.?I think that is why I love to sit in my quiet car as I drive through the darkness of the night looking into the lit windows of people’s lives. For a moment of time you catch a glimpse of reality. The good, the bad, the ugly… And for a moment you don’t feel like you are alone..Welcome to a glimpse inside my window.

“The reason we struggle so much with insecurity is because we compare our Behind-the-Scenes with everyone elses Highlight Reel.”

-Steve Furtick

Into the woods…


maple sugar outing 003Friday was field trip day. Our school was sponsoring an outing to Jennings Environmental Center to learn all about maple sugaring. We debated in the morning whether we should go because of the temperature outside. It was a very cold day! We finally decided to go for it. I have wanted to see how maple sugaring was done for years and always seem to miss the opportunities when they come up. The kids were just eager to have a half day of school and get out of the house. 🙂maple sugar outing 004

It was about an hour drive and we arrive just as the program began. The man teaching the class was a great teacher..very engaging and interesting. In the center we learned a little background information on trees before we were sent outside into the woods to learn about the maple sugaring process. The kids were thrilled to see two families from our co-op were there as well so they were able to see some of their friends. The class consisted of walking on a trail through the woods to different stations to learn about the history of tapping maple trees for syrup beginning with the Native Americans, then the pioneers, the early 20th century and concluding with modern techniques. The lesson began with the kids learning how to identify a maple tree (without its leaves) and the process of tapping it. Unfortunately that day was very cold so no sap was running. We learned that for the sap to run the tree needs a cold night followed by a 40-50 degree day. Even though the taps weren’t running the class was still fascinating and I learned a lot. maple sugar outing 002

Tyler was so good. He listened and was very well-behaved. I was so proud of how well he did during a pretty long presentation. His only complaint was how cold it was. I think that was everyone’s complaint. 🙂  At the end of the trail we came to the evaporator that is used to boil the water off the sap so you end up with syrup. We learned that for every 40-50 gallons of sap harvested you will end up with one gallon of maple syrup. After seeing the laborious process that goes into making maple syrup I understand why the price of it is so high.

Turning the sap into syrup.

Turning the sap into syrup.

At the end of the tour the kids were all able to sample the syrup that was made there and agreed that it was much better than Aunt Jemima’s!  We ended up purchasing a small bottle of syrup to take home for a treat. It was a wonderful outing but by the end we were all ready to climb into the car and turn on the heater! 🙂

Tyler trying REAL maple syrup.

Tyler trying REAL maple syrup.

When we arrived home it was time to start preparing for another visit into the woods. Rusty’s boy scout troop asked if they could use our property for a campout. Toby arrived home around the same time we did so the boys headed out into the woods to find a good camping spot. They finally found a spot that Rusty liked, raked the ground to prepare for the tents and made the fire ring. They then came back to the house to get their tent, drop Tyler off with us girls and gather extra clothes, food, and fire wood.  I could tell that the last thing Toby wanted to do on a Friday night, after a long day at work, was to sleep outside in the cold with a bunch of boy scouts but he got ready to go without complaint..what a good Daddy!

Toby and Tyler on the ATV looking for a camping spot.

Toby and Tyler on the ATV looking for a camping spot.


Tyler, the girls and I had a quiet night at home. It just about killed Tyler to not be with Daddy and the boys around the fire but we felt it was important that Rusty had some special time with Toby alone. Tyler had a tough time falling asleep without Toby here to tuck him in but he eventually fell asleep. The girls camped out in the livingroom and watched “chick flicks” until they fell asleep. They loved having no boys around to battle over the remote!  I had grand plans of staying up half the night and getting some projects done without Toby home but around 11:00pm the week had caught up with me and I was ready for bed..Oh well. I slept so well. In the morning Toby asked me how I had slept and I sheepishly admitted to a wonderful night sleep unlike Toby who slept on the cold, hard ground. I told him it was kind of nice being able to stretch out and hog the whole bed with out him there to which he answered, “How is that any different from any other night.” OH! So rude! 🙂

My handsome boys!!

My handsome boys!!


Intent to adopt


This weekend, in the mail, we received a little piece of paper we have been waiting for..our “intent to adopt form!” We are one step closer to making it official. By signing this little piece of paper we legally declare our intention to make Tyler a member of our forever family. We had to sign it in front of a notary so on Saturday we went as a family to the notary, paid $5.oo and made it official. After making it to the office minutes before they closed we stopped to take some photos of this next big step in our adoption journey. Tyler didn’t want his picture taken and the clerk was glaring at us and making it clear he was ready to lock up and go home so I got a picture of the rest of the family while Tyler sulked in the corner. Oh well..just another one of those lessons in letting go of the vision I have in my head. I thought this would be a great picture for the adoption happy little family on this special day..instead this is what you will be seeing: 🙂

Toby, Gracie, Molly and Rusty.

Toby, Gracie, Molly and Rusty.

...and Tyler.

…and Tyler.

(Note: it wasn’t until I was posting this picture that I noticed Tyler was wearing two different shoes that night) 🙂

After we left we stopped by the post office to drop it in the mail. Now we wait for our court date.  The court only finalizes adoptions one day each month (which is about 10 families) so depending on how many families are waiting we are looking at probably June or July for our court date..YEA!

Rusty at the play.

Rusty at the play.

After that we headed out for an evening of cultural entertainment..a high school musical. A friend’s son had the lead in a local production of “Me and My Girl.” I wasn’t sure how the kids (Tyler) would do. This was their first time seeing a highschool production. The girls loved it…the dancing, singing, costumes. Rusty enjoyed it but started getting anxious an 1 1/2 hours into it fearing that we would be getting home late and that he would have trouble sleeping. Tyler enjoyed the first half but by the second act was rolling around on the floor asking in a loud whisper, “Is this ever going to be over?!” Toby finally laid him down on his coat and gave him his phone to play games on. It was a great show and the cast  did a great job! It was a fun night out but I think we realized that perhaps Tyler isn’t quite old enough/still enough for that sort of cultural entertainment. 😉

The girls enjoying the show.

The girls enjoying the show.

Tyler laying on the floor during act 2..

Tyler laying on the floor during act 2..

Tuesday was spent in the kitchen. Our home school co-op was having a bake sale the next day to raise money for Make a Wish so the kids were all making  treats to sell. Gracie made and decorated cake mix cookies. Molly made a large pan of lemon bars- her favorite. Rusty made no-bake cookies that he sold with a tag calling them dog treat cookies and Tyler made cupcakes that he decorated with a cupcake farm kit that my sister gave me for my birthday. All of their treats turned out well and they were eager to go to co-op the next day to see how well their treats would sell. I also told the kids they could pack some of their money to buy treats as well. We have had the kids on a no sugar/dye/preservative diet to see if we saw any changes in behavior (Tyler) or anxiety (Rusty). I gave them a free pass for Wednesday though. I just couldn’t handle being the mean mom that made them eat carrot sticks while everyone else was enjoying cupcakes. Even though Tyler was allowed to buy from the bake sale you could tell he must have been feeling naughty because when anyone would walk by and comment on his treat he would quickly and defensively say, “I’m allowed to be eating this! I’m allowed sugar!”

Rusty's cookies.

Rusty’s cookies.

The bake sale was a success. This little group of 40 kids ended up making over $150.00 on the items they baked and sold to donate to Make a Wish. I was very proud of them all. Great job, kiddos!!!

Tyler's cupcakes.

Tyler’s cupcakes.

There is nothing to fear but fear itself…and spiders.


Fear and Faith

“Fear imprisions, faith liberates; fear paralyzes, faith empowers; fear disheartens, faith encourages; fear sickens, faith heals; fear makes useless, faith makes serviceable- and most of all, fear puts hopelessness at the heart of life, while faith rejoices in its God” – Harry Emerson Fosdick


Bedtimes continue to be a struggle with Rusty and Tyler. Both are battling fears and having a hard time going to sleep each night. We have tried prayers, stories, songs, background music, visualization, consequences, reasoning, warm baths, warm drinks with no major improvements. We have begun our bedtime routine earlier and put the boys down at 8:00 so although it still takes them a few hours to finally fall asleep they are now asleep by 11:00 rather than 1:00 which has been a blessing. We are also trying some dietary changes to see if that is helpful. I think what we are dealing with in Tyler is more “typical” 6-year-old behavior while Rusty is dealing with more anxiety driven sleep issues. Rusty, due to the chemical imbalance that causes his Selective Mutism, is already prone to anxiety issues but I think now it is more extreme due to prepubescent hormones. Everynight we have tears over his fears of being the only one awake in the house at night. Starting around dinnertime he starts to get himself worked up. He complains of not feeling well and having a stomach ache. Before he even has trouble sleeping he is worried about having trouble sleeping thus making himself unable to sleep. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Last night he came to our door crying about a spider in his bed. He was shaking with fear, struggling to catch his breath. I told him I would come get the spider..calm down, take a deep breath..He told me there wasn’t a spider but what if a spider climbed into his bed while he was sleeping..what if…what if…

After calming Rusty down I lay awake thinking. It seemed so silly, so ridiculous to have an emotional meltdown over something that hadn’t even happened.  To get worked up over something that may or may not happen in the future and then God nudged me. I stopped and looked at Rusty’s reaction through God’s eyes and saw myself. How many nights I have been kept awake paralyzed by the thought..what if. How often do I battle feelings of wanting to stay in bed because I dread what I may have to face that day. So much of my energy is spent worrying about what might be, possible future scenarios, much more time than what I spent dealing with actual problems happening to me. How often I avoid changing something that needs to change simply because I fear the unknown. I am consumed by fear and so often in my human frailty I find my decisions driven by fear. I realized as I lay in bed waiting for the next child to arrive on my doorstep that the fatigue I was battling was due to worry. I have been carrying around the weight of “what if.” What if there is no work for Toby next month..what if the adoption doesn’t go through soon..if what I’m teaching is enough..what if my child gets sick..what if Toby doesn’t make it home…what if..what if…what if. I worry about friends that are sick, children that are hurting, the nation and its leaders, family living far away, the burdens I see being carried all around me by those I love. I worry. Like Rusty I am worrying about “spiders in my bed” that aren’t even there yet. Churchill once said:

“I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which never happened.”


I realize that my fatigue is a result of trying to live more than one day at a time. We are given all the grace needed for this day and when we try to live tomorrow’s  troubles today we do it without God’s grace. So, I will choose to look forward to the future with faith, not fear, trusting God and praying the worrywort’s prayer:

“Dear Lord,

I give you_______. I humble myself before you trusting that you are bigger than me and that you are more than capable to handle my burdens. I do not know what the outcome of me giving up control of this will be. But even so I open my fist and let you take it from me. I want your will. I want your presence. I need your strength. Please take this burden today and use it in my life for your glory. Help me to entrust this to you even when things seem dark. Help me to trust you today. Right now I give it up. I choose not to worry about this anymore.


The Tooth Fairy


016wiggle, wiggle, wiggle….Tyler has been working on wiggling a certain tooth loose for weeks and he finally got it!  We were headed home from co-op on Wednesday when Tyler informed me that his tooth was really loose. Gracie confirmed it saying, “he is almost bending it all the way over!”  I told him not to wiggle it anymore so I could get a picture of him wiggling it before it fell out. Well, that was all I needed to say to motivate him to get it out before we arrived home..little stinker. Sure enough, a moment later it was out. It was his first time losing a baby tooth and he was thrilled! When we got home we put it in the tooth holder that the dentist gave him on his last visit knowing that he had a loose tooth. Tyler quickly ran it to his room and put it on the pillow. “When will she come?” he asked. I told him that she didn’t come until everyone in the house was asleep. Tyler called Toby, anxious to share his big news…

I treasure these moments! These future memories become even more precious as I consider all of the “firsts” that I have missed out on in my son’s life. I wasn’t there to hold him as a baby..I don’t even have a picture of him before the age of five. I missed the first word, the first steps…all of those precious “firsts” that become even more important as the years pass by. My kids often ask me to tell them about the day they were born or ask what their favorite baby food was or when they started walking. They love to hear their story. With Tyler I don’t have that and it breaks my heart that I can’t share his story with him. That is why being able to share this “first” with him becomes all the more precious.  Years from now I will be able to tell him all about the day he lost his first tooth.

Tyler writing the tooth fairy a note.

Tyler writing the tooth fairy a note.

When Toby arrived home Tyler ran to him to show him the “hole in my mouth.” After dinner Rusty asked Tyler if he wanted to write a letter to the tooth fairy. This is something all my kids have done..with the tooth under their pillow they also leave a letter filled with questions that they want the tooth fairy to answer. Gracie started this tradition. As if it isn’t hard enough for the tooth fairy to retrieve the tooth under pillow and blanket and snoozing child she then has to, at 3am, answer a survey about her likes and dislikes. Well Tyler thought that was a wonderful idea so with Gracie’s help he wrote a letter to the tooth fairy. Gracie wrote down the questions that Tyler wanted to ask her and Tyler signed his name and drew a picture of her holding his tooth. 015

At bedtime he quickly and easily went to bed in anticipation of a gift being left under his pillow.  We thought he was asleep when we didn’t hear any noises coming from his room but an hour later we heard a knock at the door followed by a whisper..”she still hasn’t come.” Toby tucked Tyler back into bed and told him that she wouldn’t come until everyone was fast asleep.  About 30 minutes later we heard another knock at our door..”Are you and Momma awake in there? Cause she still didn’t come.”  “If we were asleep we aren’t anymore,” we explained to him as we tucked him into bed. He soon fell asleep and the tooth fairy did come. We woke to Tyler yelling, “She came! She came, and she left me big money!” 018We stumbled out of bed to open our door for Tyler. “Look Daddy,” Tyler said showing his one dollar coin to Toby, “It’s not even a candy coin!” He then wanted to show us the note the tooth fairy wrote and wanted us to read what it said. He couldn’t wait until the kids woke up so he could share with them all that he had learned about the tooth fairy.


I also lost a baby tooth yesterday. Yes, you read that right. I was born missing a few adult teeth so some of my teeth are still baby teeth that have never fallen out because there was not an adult tooth behind it pushing it. The problem with baby teeth, though, is that they were never meant to last more than 10 years so my 35-year-old baby teeth are now getting brittle and the roots are getting shallow. I have already lost a couple and yesterday had an appointment with my oral surgeon to have another one pulled that was breaking down and starting to hurt. I hate the oral surgeon and was dreading my appointment but it didn’t go too badly. I have one more baby tooth and he asked if he should go ahead and pull that one too so we could start talking about replacements but I opted to wait on that one. I came home sore and ready to take some pain meds and go to bed when Tyler asked me where my tooth was. I told him that the doctor kept it. “How are you going to put it under your pillow for the tooth fairy?” he wanted to know. I told him that I didn’t think about that. He looked at me in disbelief as if to say, ‘Are you crazy?? You could have gotten a dollar!” Come to think of it you are right, Tyler. Miss Tooth Fairy owes me four dollars on those baby teeth I didn’t lose as a kid…Hmmmm, I think I need to call a lawyer.


Animal madness


“You enter into a certain amount of madness when you marry a person with pets.” – Nora Ephron

661The house has experienced its share of madness this week due in large part to our pets.  Saturday night after Mimi Joy left and we were putting away the leftover birthday cake we realized that we had a problem with Chip, Gracie’s baby goat. The girls had gone downstairs to feed the goats at 9:00 only to rush back upstairs in tears. “Gracie’s baby isn’t taking a bottle and is really swollen,” they informed us. The goat hadn’t eaten for 6 hours but looked as though it had just eaten an entire bottle. I told Toby that I thought it was bloat and we may have to run it into the vet’s office. We have lost goats in the past to bloat. Time is key. If you can catch it early enough you can do something about it but in a matter of an hour the goat can be on its side and dying. I quickly got on the computer and googled “bloat in goats.” Don’t you just love google?! In a matter of a few key strokes you can become an “expert” on just about anything..or so you think! I told Toby that we needed to mix equal parts vegetable oil and baking soda and then squirt it down the goat’s throat. This is supposed to cause the gas to be released from one end or the other. We mixed up the concoction and then using a syringe Toby squirted the “cure” down the baby goat’s throat. Well, the reaction wasn’t clearly described on our google search and we quickly began questioning our veterinary skills when the goat began making gurgling noises. Rather than the usual “Maaa” the goat was making noises that sounded more like “Gluuurg.” I looked at Toby in a panic..Gracie was sobbing…Molly was looking at us accusingly…”Do you think you squirted the mix into its lungs?!” I questioned Toby. “How am I suppose to know?!!” he answered.  Then when we thought it couldn’t get any worse the goat began foaming at the mouth.132 The girls were horrified as bubbles began pouring out of the sides of Chip’s mouth. It was like a homemade volcano project gone wrong. At that point, as the goat gagged on foam, we called the vet’s office. Toby spoke to the girl at the front desk who informed us that the vet had gone home for the night and she would have to try getting ahold of her. As our “rabid” goat foamed at the mouth we waited for a call back. Finally the vet called back and we admitted what we had done for treatment (thanks to google). Luckily she informed us that was the right thing to do. She said it should start working soon and in the meantime we just needed to keep walking the goat around the yard until it started expelling gas. She also informed us that if that didn’t work we would have to put a tube down its throat into its stomach to release the gas. (She didn’t inform us of where we were suppose to find a stomach tube around the house) God was good and it didn’t get to that point. Chip started burping within a half an hour and was deflated in two hours time. The girls tucked the baby goats into bed with much relief!

Winnie at the vet.

Winnie at the vet.

Monday morning the animal drama continued when Winnie came hopping out of the bedroom on three legs. You could tell her leg was hurting and it was hanging at a funny angle.  As the morning went on she would yelp if her leg twisted at all. I called the vet thinking that perhaps she had broken it. Their schedule was full but they said if I could be there in 15 minutes they would fit us in although we would have to pay an “emergency fee” because we didn’t have an appointment. I feel, at this point, that we should have a wing of the vet office named in our honor after all of the money we have spent there in the last few months.  I loaded Tyler and Rusty up and left the girls at home to keep doing schoolwork.  When we got there I had to carry Winnie in. They sent us back to an examination room and the vet came into see us. She asked us how Bailey was doing, how the goat was doing and then examined Winnie. She thought it was broken so Winnie was taken back for an X-ray. The vet came back in 15 minutes later, carrying Winnie, and informed us that the good news was that it wasn’t broken..the bad news: she tore her ACL.  I don’t know how our lazy, overweight bulldog managed  to get an injury typically seen in Olympic athletes. We are just lucky I suppose. 🙂 The vet then informed us that the treatment is pain medication and 2 months of bed rest. No running…no  jumping..just 2 months of being carried out to use the bathroom in the yard.

Bailey..still on the road to recovery.

Bailey..still on the road to recovery.

By the end of 8 weeks I should have some impressive looking biceps! I feel like I am running an animal rehab center. I have Bailey who is in my bathroom and can’t run or get excited for  six months, Winnie in the other bathroom on bedrest, and Brownie who would love to be on bedrest! 🙂 ..Not to mention the petting zoo we still have going on in the basement. Things are never boring here at Patchwork Farm!

Brownie..the only condtion she is struggling with is laziness. :)

Brownie..the only condtion she is struggling with is laziness. 🙂

Picture perfect birthday!

Picture perfect birthday!

“Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy Birthday dear Gracie…happy birthday to you,” we sang as we climbed the stairs to her room.  We have a tradition in our family that on your birthday you are awakened by singing and a slice of birthday cake that you can enjoy for breakfast. When I went to grab my camera to get a picture of Gracie in bed blowing out the candle I discovered my camera battery was dead from the day before. I was disappointed..Gracie was relieved. 🙂

My baby turned 15. I don’t know where the time has gone. It had been a wonderful journey and she has brought us so much joy.

It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining and it felt like spring! Rusty wanted to shoot his BB gun and Toby wanted to sight in one of his guns so we had target practice in the yard.  Rusty and Tyler took turns with Rusty’s BB gun and Toby worked with the girls on teaching them to shoot his 22. They had fun doing target practice. It was a perfect gun to practice with because it had little kick back so nobody had to deal with a bruised shoulder. Toby loved being out there with his kids doing something that brings him joy.






Tyler’s main job was to use the binoculars to look at the target and let people know when they hit the bull’s eye. Here he is getting an up close look at the cat.


Later in the afternoon we sent Toby and Grace on some errands so we could decorate the diningroom and wrap her gifts.  Gracie wanted to rent “Wreck it Ralph” to watch in the evening so they headed out to the video store while the kids and I stayed home. Molly headed up the decorating in the diningroom while I helped Tyler wrap the gift he bought Gracie. He used his allowance to buy her 3 nail polishes. What he was really excited about, though, was the 1D card he bought for her. When you open it it plays a song by that band that the two of them like to dance to.  He has been asking me daily from the day he bought it if he could give Grace her card yet…he was thrilled to find out that the day had finally come! Tyler also insisted that we needed to decorate the chalkboard outside for Gracie’s birthday. He and I did it together..


Toby and Grace made it home, quickly changed and then we headed to a local Mexican restaurant that Gracie requested for dinner. Mimi Joy met us there to celebrate Gracie’s birthday.  The food was wonderful… as was the company.

Molly and Rusty..the fedora twins.

Molly and Rusty..the fedora twins.

Mimi Joy and Gracie.

Mimi Joy and Gracie.


Tyler’s only complaint was, “I wish all these people would quit speaking Chinese.” At the end of the meal our waiter asked if we were interested in dessert. I told him that we were going to have birthday cake at home.  He asked whose birthday it was and we told him that it was Gracie’s birthday. A few minutes later Gracie looked up to see a sombrero headed her way as the waiters serenaded her in “Chinese” and brought her fried ice cream. She was delighted/ horrified I think. 🙂


Gracie being fed fried icecream. The waiter purposely missed her mouth and put whipped cream on her nose. Tyler found it all quite funny!

Gracie being fed fried ice cream. The waiter purposely missed her mouth and put whipped cream on her nose. Tyler found it all quite funny!

After dinner we went home and Mimi Joy joined us for gifts, cake, and a movie. The kids couldn’t wait any longer to give Grace her gifts so we did that first. Molly went first. She had put together a “bunny basket” with bunny themed items and treats to go with the baby bunny from her litter that she decided to give Gracie. Gracie was thrilled.

Gracie's gift from Molly

Gracie’s gift from Molly

Mimi Joy held the baby bunny while Gracie moved to Tyler’s gift. She opened his card that read “Eracig” on the front. He wanted to write Gracie’s name himself but still mixes up his e and g. She loved his singing card and nail polish. Tyler did tell her that she could only open the card once because she would waste the batteries if she kept opening it. This bit of instruction was relayed because of me telling him the same thing so he would stop playing the music as we walked through the store while shopping. 🙂

Gracie's gift from Tyler

Gracie’s gift from Tyler


Rusty had picked out a beautiful scarf in Gracie’s favorite color. He was quite proud of the fact that he did his picking all by himself! Mimi Joy gave Gracie a very sweet card with a promise of a shopping trip to pick out the mystery item that she had planned for Gracie.

her gift from Rusty..

her gift from Rusty..

It was then time for Gracie to open her gift from Toby and I. A few months ago she discovered that her favorite band, R5 ,was coming to the area and asked if she could buy a ticket if she saved up her money. We told her that we didn’t feel she was old enough for a concert to throw her off the fact that we were surprising her with tickets for her birthday. I wrapped up a R5 t-shirt with the tickets hidden inside. She was shocked and thrilled when she found them and discovered that she, Molly and I would be going in April for a girls’ night out to see them. Grace deserves it. She has been such a trooper these last 6 months..helping without complaint, putting her needs aside for the sake of Tyler, never complaining just stepping up and doing what needs to be done without being asked. I wanted to do something extra special to let her know how much I appreciate her and all she does. She never gives me a bit of trouble and is a joy to have as a daughter!


After gifts we decided to watch our movie since everyone was still too full for cake and then we ended our day the same way we began it..”Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday dear Gracie….Happy birthday to you!!!”