A life of love

A life of love
Everyone should have a Great Pyrenees

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Spring has sprung - new baby goats today!!!!

We sent the kids out just before supper to check for eggs one more time, and Solly came running back in burbling something about a baby goat part way out, and dashed back out again!

Envision if you will, two kids grabbing shoes/boots and coats, and two parents running to grab the "goat towels" (old towels we keep just for this purpose, otherwise in the heat of the moment someone will grab my nice new towels and I will have to mourn the few nice towels that I try to keep away from the barns!), and pulling on muck boots and some sort of coat that is acceptable to possibly be unspeakably "gooey". It was sheer mayhem - three of the kids had gone in search of eggs, so were on the scene!

As I had my back to the door I heard hubby making his way out and hollered "take the camera" and of course, the smart man that he is, he already had it and ready to go! So we raced across pastures and came into the big open stall, where honestly, there were eleven goats, a miniature pony and our elderly arab all trying to figure out what was going on. There was lots of mayhem and add to that five excited kids and two adults rushing in, it didn't calm things at all.

We usually try to have our does in the "birthing stall" for the event, but they have been fooling us this year - at times we are sure it is imminent, put the doe in, and after two days of checking on her round the clock, send her back to the herd without any babies! And when we checked yesterday there were two that were producing milk, meaning soon, but no other signs. Yep, this was one of those two, and only a day overdue!

Ladybug had had one baby when the kids found her. Alex, being the resident goat keeper, desperately looking for something to start drying and warming the newborn, of course sent Solly in (how we all found out) but wouldn't you know it, Faith pulled off her sweatshirt and gave it to the baby! Heartwarming and ugh all at once!

Well, as the story goes, as Alex is kneeling and wiping off the baby, he hears this wet splash and plop, turns around right next to him, Ladybug has kindly deposited her son! Daughter was firstborn and son second. (Let me scream here - whoo-hoo! A girl, finally!!!! Lately we have only been getting bucks and a dairy goat herd has limited use for more than two bucks! We currently have FIVE.)

By the time the rest of us got there, the second baby had its face wiped so it could breathe, and given the excitement, the rise in animal intensity was huge!!! The huge white horse wanted to lick the babies, and all the other goats were milling around in an excited herd - oh, yes, and Kiley by now had made it there on her crutches!!! She broke a bone in the top of her tibia Good Friday, and having her fall would be very, very bad and could send her to the surgery we are hoping that she can avoid! Aghhhhhhh!!!! Mommy freak out time (but you cannot, CANNOT do that around animals, particularly new mommas!!!!!!).

So, after carefully herding the excited large horse out of the stall, we commenced to checking on everyone.

Let us say "spring in Wisconsin". That equals copious amounts of mud, everywhere, including in the barn the floor of which has been built up over the winter to a foot above where it usually is. Can we say a long ugly job I am not looking forward to? Ugh. Almost makes me happy that it rained this weekend and it couldn't be done!


Anyway, so baby goats, baby goat goo, mama goat, all in mud. Ugh. Not where we like our new babies.



After watching mama goats clean their babies, I have to say that I am glad not to have been born a goat - they do a good job, but wow!

And other goats have to check it out too (the bucks stay in the next half of the barn, but they had to see the show too. You should have seen the horses on that side too, trying to look over the walls to see what was going on).

Once things had calmed a slight bit, we decided that it was imperative to move the new arrivals and mama to the correct location! It was a little hard convincing mama goat that we hadn't left a baby behind, but we did manage to lead her over all the way, licking one baby pretty regularly.

Once there, heat lamp on, clean towels for cleaning up and drying off, and seven of us and the goats in the birthing stall. Only mildly less chaotic. Hmmm. Definitely an improvement, but less than desirable. After reminding everyone that we needed to calm so mama and babies could settle in, things commenced. See below:

Baby girl made it to her feet first!

Both babies:Photobucket

Tired Ladybug:

Suckling reflex intact (the boy was more lethargic at first and we were worried):

Beautiful mama:

Kiley took the job of getting the little guy a jumpstart on eating - we don't bottle feed normally, but it just seemed that we needed to get him moving some more and perhaps some formula was in order.

Then he decided that maybe he should check out her face!!!

And eventually, both perked up!

So, now as Zeri so gleefully told us: "Mom, now we have 19 goats!". Yep, that is true, but hearing it really is just sort of shocking. Not like we didn't plan this, but wow, 19 goats, and kidding season is just beginning, and there is another in the fall! Oh, my! We are working our way to being a real dairy!!! I better pull out my cheese recipes and my goat milk soap recipes!

So, spring is here! Hope you enjoyed the photos. I am sure we will post more, the babies are so doggone cute!

Two more are due within days. Ha! Oh, my! Then a week for the next one! Oh, boy, what were we thinking? Tucking chickens into their henhouses, goats into their respective stalls, seedlings started in the laundry room, horses, well, being horses. And to think that less than three years ago we were urbanites! What a change can come in life. Yep, just like going from a family of five to ten in about two years, oh, yeah, like that. Oh, my. About the only joke left to be played on us is for me to find out that I am pregnant (by the way, it can't happen, so don't hold your breath!)!!! LOL! What more can happen in life? No, I take that back, I don't want to know!!! I'll just take it a day at a time.

Love to you all! Happy spring!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Welcome to Spring in Wisconsin!

Okay, to set the stage:

We have two dogs, we live in the middle of nowhere, and the dogs during the day generally stay outside on chains (they love to roam, so we have to keep them safe while we work to teach them better). They have a HUGE doghouse, that is always stocked with a huge water bucket. So, they have comfy digs, for farm dogs anyway.

We went to church on Sunday morning, very early as usual, and had errands to run after church. So the dogs were outside.

Unfortunately it started to rain. Fortunately they have a great doghouse that we hoped they would use - sometimes they do and sometimes they don't.

Oh, and being Wisconsin, a wonderful about 70 degree day must be followed by a freezing cold, wet 38 degree day. Sunday would be the latter. Ugh.

No problem, we had worked really hard on the nice day to do all the outside stuff so we could be inside on the coming yucky day.

And then we got home to this:

The princess was not happy. Generally she is white, but who would know?
abby yuck

So, our plan to go inside was not going to happen. Our dogs come inside when we are home or generally want them for company or they want us for company.

But needless to say not like this. And did I forget to mention that it was 38 degrees? And my bathroom is finally painted and has pretty shower curtains and I didn't want some dirty dog tossing muddy water all the way to my ceiling as she shook? Generally baths in the tub (for dogs) result in me needing to wash every wall and surface as all that water and soap simply MUST be shared with the walls, ceiling and light fixtures, to say the least.

No way, no how. So the deed must be done outside. Generally I like to wait for a nice warm day to do this to them and me (because of course, I will end up soaked too). Did I mention it was 38 degrees? And the water from our well comes out at about 50? Ugh.

See very not happy dog beginning to get washed:

Notice all the needed help?
many hands

Oh my, "must you?" must have been in her mind.
start at the top

The shampooing begins:
soapy dog

Look out, here it comes!!!
shaking 1

shaking 2

The photos that didn't get done are all the towels that were used to rub the poor thing dry! We let her shake and shake and shake, and then dried and dried and dried. And THEN she could go in the house!!!

Ah, but there was another culprit, but his mud doesn't show as well:

And labs' coats repel water, so washing them is a whole 'nother experience.
washing ranger

Can we say "NOT a happy dog?"?
wet ranger

And now he too can shake off, followed by many towels and drying and then in the warmer house!
shake, ranger, shake

Ah, but the true scene of the crime! The real mess they made while we were gone!
poor tree

The hole had been smaller around the tree, this poor ancient tree that was barely hanging on anyway, as you can tell by the trunk.
tree 2

tree close up

After this fiasco, the decision that had been long put off was made, and dear hubby went out and chopped the silly thing down. I don't think it would have made it this year anyway, but the dogs certainly didn't help!

So, a multitude of us were wet and cold by the time all this was done, as well as being somewhat sore from the work of the day before! That was it! Kids could watch videos and relax in cozy pajamas for the rest of the day! Mom threw in the towel, set the timer and washed dishes in 15 minute increments, spaced in between with some reading time! What a day!

Did I mention that it was 38 degrees?

Friday, April 3, 2009


"I had a dream last night but it was a dancing carrot, so it didn't help anything."

This statement from the ever pragmatic 11 year old eldest daughter in the house.

Just when you wonder when you will hear from God, what is the direction to take, and it seems that all you hear are the crickets in the silence, that is when God speaks.

Okay, if you didn't understand the crickets reference, let me explain our family's viewpoint (by the way, the kids came up with this long ago, not me). We live in a very rural area (hooray), and at night, very few vehicles go by, and we are pretty far back from the road, by most standards. So, at night, when it all gets quiet, the crickets are so amazingly LOUD!!!!! Seriously, there are some nights where you think that maybe you won't be able to sleep because of the crickets (unless you think like me and are determined that they must be a lullaby). Don't even begin to mention the spring peepers - the smallest little frogs ever, loud enough to really make you think you are going deaf when they are in full season. Anyway, back to crickets. When we ask the kids a question "who wants to - some chore/volunteer/etc" there are times you hear a quiet chorus from the kids of cricket noises. That is their version of silence - of course it collapses into giggles. So, we use the sound of crickets to signify silence, when you are listening super hard for something and all you hear are the crickets.

Anyway, if you have followed my blog the last week or two, you probably know that we are in the midst of a really hard decision. We know that we are bringing home two boys in our next adoption, but the opportunity came up to adopt a third child, a special needs waiting child. The problem is, there are many such children available. Hence the agony of even considering. When you get down to just a couple who speak to your heart, well, how do you choose? You weigh things back and forth and just struggle.

Well, there were some things that were pretty clear in our family. We cannot adopt older than our oldest biological child. Pretty much a straight adoption rule. Makes sense as messing with that child's birth order can really wreak havoc. And our eldest biological daughter (oldest of the only two girls in the group) was really adamant that she didn't want any more girls in the family (not Mom and Dad's perspective by the way) and certainly NOT one even remotely close to her age.

Now, you have to understand, Kiley and Zeri struggled for the longest time. They are similar in personality, and Zeri is a little older than Kiley. It was a really big deal. But now they are really close and it is so wonderful to see. And I am grateful, because they could make us all miserable when they were at it. I had dearly hoped that they would simply declare a truce, that would have made me happy, I never really dared to dream that they would become such great pals - I am a blessed Momma and I know it!

There are some things in a family that just really cannot be messed with.

So, we were presented with several options and tons of information. We ended up ruling out many children right off the bat, one reason or another. But came down to three left. Two were girls, one a toddler with significant special needs and one a girl about a year younger than Kiley with medical special needs.

Well, Steve and I had talked and weighed things back and forth and decided that the older girl would not be a good fit, simply because of the age and possible friction issues. But we weren't settled on the toddler either. I emailed our wonderful lady at the adoption agency and told her we could not take the girl. She told me that she had already put a DVD into the mail to us of this same girl, it would be at our house shortly. Okay, whatever.

Mail came and there it was. I pulled it out, but wasn't even going to look at it. Neither was Steve. Then we got the kids to bed and were finishing up emails and whatnot. Well, why not pop it in? It's sitting right here.

So, I did. Pretty soon Steve is watching over my shoulder and I am nearly in tears. And who should show up but Kiley. Now remember, she knew we had said no to this situation because of all the birth order/gender issues. Well, she silently watched it to the end, coming closer throughout.

At the end, she said, "I know this sounds funny and that you are going to laugh at me..." And I just held my breath. I could feel every hair on my body standing on end, even more so than it had during the video. "I would choose her. I know what I said about it before, and it makes no sense, but I would choose her.".

Talk about not taking a breath.

So, now back to the whole carrot comment: Tonight, again as the kids are tucked into bed - there must be one good thing about being diabetic - when you come downstairs (again) after bedtime, but to check your sugars, Mom and Dad are really understanding and attentive - she logs lots of extra time this way and it is also the time when we have some of our most amazing talks.

So... She asked us what we thought about this child after sleeping on it overnight. Cricket, cricket, cricket - as I looked to Steve and he looked to me - we hadn't even been able to talk about it yet today.

"I had a dream last night but it was a dancing carrot, so it didn't help anything." To which we just stared at her and then laughed. But then this child went on to say how she still thought it was the right fit, no matter what we all thought had been decided before. this coming from the kid who is as stubborn as her mule - and by the way, they MEAN it. (At our house the kids get a vote on issues, but Mom and Dad get at least 10 each and everyone knows it - we want to know what they think, and then we will go ahead and make our decision.)

We chatted about it a little and then sent her to bed. Now you have to understand that hubby and I have not been able to talk about this since bedtime last night. And we generally have to work our way through things - and he isn't one to leap - though I am, all the time.

So, I asked him, "So, I guess we have to make a decision about this." To which he said, "We're way past the point of making a decision."

So, after all that we have struggled with the last few weeks, it seems that God has finally shown us the right direction, and once again through the words of a child. He performed the miracle in a child's heart, and all things are possible. And the amazing thing, the thing that keeps me knowing we are on the right path, is that there is complete agreement here. And no, I don't mean the kids - again they get a vote, we get a voting block and veto power. But there is finally total peace and direction. That was the feeling last night too, that God had spoken and we had been able to witness it. Unreal, surreal, amazing.

God works in the most amazing ways. Not really sure what the carrot dream had to do with it, but it was too funny!

(By the way, Mom and John, way in Arizona, this is your birth announcement of another granddaughter! Now I expect the phone to ring soon!)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Martian Child

Watched the movie "The Martian Child" with John Cusack last night. Oh, my goodness, what a great movie! Having been a foster and adoptive parent, and generally, a parent, I found this movie just amazing! It is wonderful! Heartwarming but honest, a simple view into what life can be like. Also the special features on the DVD have the true story behind the movie and are wonderful.

Watch it if you can, you will love it! I so enjoyed it!

Spring in Wisconsin

It has been a long week and a half with weather here - going from 40's, down to upper 20's and windy, to sleet, and even several inches of snow with nasty sideways wind, now up to 40's again, though gray and windy and generally yucky. Is winter over yet? To say that it has been disheartening would be an understatement. But, when it is sunny, oh, how we all glory in it!!!! Changes in mood, outlook, energy, it is just amazing how much the sunshine can revive us all. And as I was reminded by a retired priest the other day - "you cannot appreciate the sunshine without the cloudy days". Oh, how profound that can be in many ways!

I have so been debating about sharing some things with all of you (whoever you really are!). You all know that we are working to adopt two brothers from Ethiopia, and that A has a medical condition that really needs to be treated here - better and actually quite easily by us. Each day it isn't, he runs the risk of permanent damage to his body and life. All the unknown. I try to take a deep breath and not let fear take over. At this point, all I can do is rush the paperwork to the places it needs to go, and that is what I am doing. The other part of it is that we of course have huge fees to pay. There was a significant reduction in fees due to the ages of the boys, and the medical condition, but there is still a huge amount of money needed. To meet that need, we are taking every minute of extra work that we can (praise God for wonderful provision and that opportunity to work overtime/extra), using eBay and Amazon, cutting our spending as much as we can, and just really looking at every penny we can. Add to that the rush to get things completed to get A to medical care - the catch to that is that the funds are needed as things get completed. Ugh, deep breath. Shake off all the negatives and fears. Whew. OK.

I really struggled with sharing with anyone the need. Our last adoption was so blessed by our church family, by friends and family, and by people we had never met. It was a group endeavor as three families worked to bring home seven children and keep them connected. Well, it was very public and very intense - and hard. Asking people to give, to help us pay for it, was so painful and humbling.

I resolved that I didn't want to ask anyone for help. That I would work my fanny off, that we would all do whatever we had to, that we would do it ourselves. And we are making it, slowly. I don't know if we can make it before our deadlines. I hate to think that things could be held up because we don't have the money on hand.

So, I am going to share what was sent to us by our adoption agency (Christian World Adoptions - wonderful, wonderful so far!). Please do not do anything other than read it, unless God very clearly moves you. Or share it with someone that you feel needs to read it.

If you have friends or family who wish to contribute to your adoption fund, there are a couple of ways to do it. One way is to go to our website, www.cwa.org, and find the link to Christian World Foundation. There they can donate online. When they do so, please tell the donors to choose the general fund and make sure that your name is noted on the donation form. They will receive an automated receipt for the donation. The receipt will not show your name, as it must be received into the general fund of the Foundation. The second way to donate is by check. Please tell the donor to make the check out to Christian World Foundation, noting your name on the memo line so that we can credit it to your adoption. They will receive a donation receipt via US mail, again without your name.

Even though, by law, these funds are received as open donations, a request is made by our Asst. Executive Director to the Board of Directors for any monies marked for client donations. There has never been a time that the board has refused a request for these funds, so please assure your donors that these funds will be marked for your adoption expenses.

If, at the end of your adoption, there are funds remaining after your expenses have been paid, these funds will be marked as an overpayment and sent to you. Often times we will send the overpayment to the family right before they travel so that they can use the funds to help with their travel expenses.

I hope this explanation is clear but if you have any questions please call me.

Patricia Mendock
Finance Manager
828-693-7007 ext 317

If someone felt so moved, the funds are tax deductible! I don't think we ever know anything about any contributions as far as who or how much, so feel free to let me know if you want. Last time, so many people donated, and I never really knew who did, so I had a hard time being able to thank everyone. I hope seeing Solly and Zeri growing and thriving is a visible thanks and blessing to them each and every time they see them! This is what folks did!

Also, if you could pray with us - we are considering adopting a third child - there are several special children who need homes and are unlikely to get them. As I review files, watch videos and look at pictures, I know that any choice I make says "no" to a particular child. It breaks my heart. Every child deserves a home. Each one of these kids. But I also know that there are some things that I can do, some I cannot, and some that would be difficult with our family constellation. There is a little girl with epilepsy that is so on my heart along with another, but this child is so close in age to one of our daughters - the one who would really struggle with that, that it just doesn't seem wise. But what a dumb reason to deny this. And I start over with the circular reasoning. How do you choose? There are so many unknowns! I just want to see them all safe and happy. How can you look at a face and say "no"? Some choices are very clear - given our life, our rural living, our animals, etc. Some children would be unsafe here in general, though it might not be as bad as portrayed, or we may be able to find a way to work with it, yes, I am sure we could find a way to work it out, and there goes the circular reasoning again. I am very clearly looking at faces and choosing children. This is just so intensely "wrong feeling"! I cannot choose. I truly believe that God has chosen, but there are so many kids, so much need! How can one be left behind?

So, anyway, please pray for this decision, for God to speak so very clearly. I would settle for a neon sign somewhere! I think I already know the answer, but it means saying no to another. And that just tears up my heart.

So, if you know anyone who would be interested in adopting a little girl with epilepsy (on medication) who is 10-11 years old, please let me know! Also, check out this link: http://www.cwa.org/1hope/home.htm (okay, dear hubby is gone getting his bloodwork done for the adoption and I cannot recall the code to get it embedded, so please copy that link into your browser). This child will be on this page shortly, and there are several children who we have looked at who are on this site. I would so love to know that this little girl has a loving home!

Thanks and please comment! I love it!