A life of love

A life of love
Everyone should have a Great Pyrenees

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Eight down, three with glasses, good odds???

LOL! We have pretty much spent two days each week for the last couple weeks at the eye doctor's office.

Seven kids needed eye exams, and when all was said and done, one who HAD glasses previously no longer needed them (Zeri is very, very happy!), and one who needed them before (and had them - three times destroyed) needed a new prescription and NEEDED to be WEARING his glasses (they are very, very, very, very carefully monitored so hopefully they will survive, and two more needed glasses, both of them reading glasses, not all the time glasses, so they are pretty happy too. Especially with the doctor saying that their periodic headaches are likely due to eye strain. Ben has his and is just cute as can be in them with his bright shining eyes, and Alex will get his in a week or more. He is actually jazzed and what she described sure made sense, and hopefully this will help make some things easier for him. And he got cool glasses so he is happy! (LOL!)

And to add to it, we have had a season of dentist appointments too. Needless to say, we really don't want to be there all day, so we group the kids a little, into three groups and cycle them through. Which does mean that about every three months, we have a crew there. Plus, Faith will need some orthodontia soon, so we shall be visiting them more and more again! Sigh. Like the folks there, but wow. Imagine eight kids (with one to three going back for appointments) waiting in a dentist office for an hour or two at a time. Thank the Lord the kids are so wonderful and that we plan carefully! We bring educational games, Uno, books, MP3s, puzzle books, whatever. And people always seem amazed that not only do I expect the children to conduct themselves appropriately, but that they do. Shouldn't they? Or rather, why shouldn't they? Everyone takes a turn, everyone gets cared for, we have to work together so we all are well taken care of. So, of course they would behave so we could get things done. Don't all kids do that? Shouldn't they? Seriously. Seriously? Well, I am so grateful for my kids. And after an arduous session or whatever, we do something fun - like last week - we went out for ice cream!!!!! It was a huge treat and we all loved it! Wonderful rewards!

I think my days of working regularly are coming to an end. Our growing family needs so much attention, and we have worked so hard to get finacially stable. I love having the extra income, but we need to always be focused on the kids and what they need. I will keep working on call, but not like it has been. I loved being a regular staff member in a place nearby, but the demands of needing to be there every week five days a week, no matter what, well, it just is not working. Spring is coming and I have eight (hopefully soon to be nine) thriving kids. I will go back to what works for us. Working evenings and weekends when Steve can be home with few exceptions. We find that there are so many things in this world that are WANTS rather than NEEDS. My children NEED us. We don't NEED fancy things. We NEED simple things that keep us all going. We NEED each other. We NEED time. That is what we need the most. Time to really learn all that we need to learn from our time together. Time to teach, time to enjoy, time to train, time to grow. So, I will most likely sadly resign my "regular" job and return to simply on call basis. It means I have less contact with other rehab professionals, and won't quite be the same part of the "team", but it is what will work for our family. And it has supported us well in the past and I am sure will again. We do find that we spend more when I am working more - more eating out, more rushed things, etc. So, it will work out. Maybe we can get our home businesses going - our dairy goats, my spinning, my writing, crafts we like to do, our rabbits. Just simple things. But things focused at home and with our family.

Changes are hard, even good ones. There is always a huge element of fear involved. For me it is also a loss of control. If I am working, there is more that I can control - I can bring in more funds and do different things with it. It is mostly in my head, I know that, but there it is. To do this, I have to let God be God and move us further into this path he has us on. Steve keeps bugging me to write - and my biggest fear is what if no one wants to publish it? Maybe it doesn't matter at all whether it is ever published or not. Maybe it is just about taking those steps.

Well, it is time to take those steps - steps to bed tonight. I know that this road we are on has been the most unpredictable, most unusual, and the most rewarding. I could never have ever dreamed of anything so wonderful. Not that it isn't hard at times, but wow - is it ever rewarding. All I have to do is listen to the kids chatter and laughter. Yep, that is it. This is right where I am supposed to be.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Days of waiting...

It seems that there are periods in life where we do lots of waiting.

And it seems that we are in one of those periods now.

First of all, we are waiting for spring. Today was a cold, snowy, blustery day, reminding us how much we appreciated those warmer days that we had, and how difficult winter can be. The winds were howling off the lake and we had a few inches of snow at least. It is hard to tell how much, as it was drifting so much. BRRRRR.... We had gotten so spoiled! A reminder of how 30 degrees felt nearly balmy! But, it is nearly March, so things are progressing towards spring - two steps forward, one step back - welcome to nearing spring in Wisconsin. Even the horses stayed in their sheds!!! Usually it takes a lot for them to go in there, they don't mind bad weather generally, but today - out only to eat and drink.

Second of all, waiting for baby. It is a bizarre thing to be thinking about a baby that I cannot feel. To be preparing for a newborn, with no sensation of a child within me. It is the most surreal thing. Plus the concerns of all that must be done, the risks with an independent adoption, etc. Honestly if the birth parents decided to parent, I really could rejoice in that for them, but I would also be sad as I so would love to have another blessing in the home. But, if God moves and we are not to be this baby's parents, then I know that he has a plan and all will be well. He wouldn't bring us down this road to just leave us. But, oh, I so long to hold a sleeping baby, to be up nights with a small bundle, to watch another young life grow and develop and be loved and love. Sigh. So much uncertainty, so much time. Each day literally ticks by. My cell pone rings and I jump to see if it the birthmother. I recall whenever she tells me she has a doctor's appointment and wait for news. The last news was good, he is growing again. Hopefully this week I will hear more. We have an attorney lined up, are working on the homestudy, getting things ready. But.... Well, nothing will be final until we hold him in our arms, and actually until the court hearing, and then our finalization of his adoption. So, it is again a journey of faith we are on. Excited and scared at the same time.

Waiting for all our baby goats! Springtime gets wonderfully busy with new babies and right now one of the goats really has us sort of fooled. She is truly due soon, showing signs that these babies are coming, but she sure is taking her sweet time. So, we keep an eye on her every hour or so via the camera (silly thing is laying in her heated hut, chewing her cud right now!!!), and send someone out directly to check her condition carefully. Things keep showing progress, but not what we thought. I really thought it would go a little faster, but while she is healthy and well, she is still pregnant!!!!! The constant watching is wearing! How exciting it will be to have new babies! It really lends a bright spot in the hard end of winter. (Wouldn't it be sweet to have kittens or something for distraction???)

Waiting for so much. I don't wait well. I know that God is teaching me patience and I am trying to learn it. Sigh. So, I do what I can to use this time.

Today I suspect my grandmother Dorothy is laughing at me up in heaven - yes, Grandma, I used a flour sifter today! I generally skip that part, but after being home sick and all, I was able to get out some, but petered out before church, so sent Steve and the kids on while I went home. Got two more loads of laundry done, and baked my first batch of baking powder biscuits - to go with the calico beans that are in the crockpot for a later dinner after church (we had a late lunch too). So, all my grandmas, I used a sifter and liked it! LOL! I really love baking. My cooking is getting more interesting and I think better. I love to cook meals for everyone and really miss it when things are busy and I don't get to cook as much. So, it feels good to make things for my family's tummies! So, I bake. And do lots with the crockpot. I love coming home to a wonderful smelling house, knowing there is a hot meal for all the family. Even when we have been all over.

Life with the play is exciting and wearing too! Show time is the first week in March, so next week, which means more rehearsals, working on lines throughout the days, assembling pieces needed for costumes, sewing of costumes (I am sewing five of the pirates' pants!), and just lots of planning. The week of the show is very intense and busy, but oh, so worth it. It is such a great opportunity for the kids, a great experience, great learning and all. They gain such confidence, such presence. It is wonderful. Tiring for Mom and Dad, but wonderful. We have made such great friends through this and had experiences we never would have thought we could have. Evergreen Children's Theater is just a great group! I never had the chance, or most likely never took advantage of the chance, so we really work hard to make sure the kids have the opportunities if they want them.

So, it is a season of waiting - for spring, for babies of multiple kinds, for fun things, for changes in our lives. God is with us in the waiting, with us in the activity, with us at all times. I know that our days of waiting will be followed by changes and activity and wonder. So, today we are like small seeds, under the earth, waiting for the warmth and changes of spring. I feel like we are waiting for that warming sun to bring us to another season of life.

There are things to be done in the waiting. Things that we do to make the most of it. And maybe just to take our minds off of it. Sigh.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Okay so maybe we don't QUITE have this figure out yet.....

Or this mama goat is having lots of fun keeping us up nights and constantly checking on her and pampering her!!!!

No babies as of yet, all signs are there and increasing, but we seem to not quite be where we thought we were. We have been afraid to even leave the farm, thinking she is going to kid any time!!! And then nope, she is just the same, enjoying her heated calf hut, not having to share with anyone. And big as a house!

All the signs are there: udder filled up, not too tight, but full and firm, dripping from the udder (they get ready to nurse those babies), back end changes, tail down (their lower back literally changes the direction it usually goes as they prepare for birth), and generally well, "female changes". (This is a G rated blog)


Though, I am so grateful that our largest upgrade for the birthing stall is the wireless camera and monitor, so we can check on her and even HEAR her without having to trek out to the barn. Pulling on outdoor weather gear is not appealing when you have been in a warm bed. So at least that is minimized to only those times when she walks out of camera range or we think we hear something going on or changing.

Yes, we are total worry warts about this one, though likely she is our most experienced goat mama! Sigh. So excited for spring babies! Or not quite spring babies!!!!

And the chickens laid five eggs today - they are starting up again, spring must be thinking about coming!!!!!

Sleep good!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

It is an interesting life some days! LOL!

Today ended up not going quite as planned but quite well overall.

I woke up with this cold really settled in my chest. Ugh. I thought I had gotten over it and now it is settled where I don't want it. I called in sick for work, figuring that I really shouldn't go share this with fragile elderly people, to say the least.

That does have a half full portion too! I got to be home with the kiddos in the morning for the adventures of the day. Three of the kids had taken shifts (their own idea) watching the monitor out in the goat birthing stall. We have a doe definitely nearing kidding soon. We are so blessed to have now gotten a wireless camera that can go out there - trekking out of a warm bed several times a night to check on a goat who may or may not be actively laboring is just a tough thing. You know, snuggly warm bed with husband sleeping next to me, does not make me want to pull on muck boots and barn jacket to go out. It has been worse, we have had to do this in much worse weather. But, we were gifted with this system by someone who is no longer raising goats. It was such a huge gift, because we could see the benefit, but we would not have placed it too high on the priority list, because, well, you know, pull on muck boots and go out! Just do it.

So, three of the kids decided to take shifts last night - on their own - and worked out a system and slept in the living room where the monitor is placed. LOL! Needless to say, they were tired this morning but reported that she had just paced last night. This morning she clearly is showing signs of things happening, but not too imminent either, not in hours anyway. Maybe. It can go fast. We have learned there are no real guarantees.

So, we let the three kids snooze some. And then the three big boys were invited to a friend's house for a visit. So they went to that (two of them still dragging a bit).

So, the monitor has been going all day, the goat directly checked on multiple times today. Needless to say, it is flurrying here, with the possibility of more snow, or at least snow south of here, and NOW she is showing more signs. You probably don't want the actually graphic information, but suffice it to say that things are moving along. And it is nightfall again. Which means that it will be another night of monitoring one way or the other. I may shoo them to bed and sit and read - I can pretty easily wake up throughout the night if I just have to check on something. I know that will make tomorrow harder, but we don't want any cold babies or frozen babies. For some reason the goats keep breaking the heat lamp out there!!!!

And yes, we still have a baby goat in the laundry room. Sigh. It is yet too cold for him to go outside and risk his lungs after his bout of pneumonia. I would be so heartbroken to find him dead. So, he is behind a baby gate in the laundry room. However, he definitely gets bored! So, then we strap on baby goat diapers (two diapers taped together work quite well) and let him wander around with supervision! It is so funny because he is so excited and he literally just hops around, bounds around chasing the kids. It is the funniest thing to see and actually to hear too - strange clomping with all four little feet landing in a different sequence than his walking. Unfortunately, then he gets interested in lots of things - from the tops of counters, and everywhere - he has eaten magazines, pulled all sorts of things down, pulled off the weather stripping on the door between the laundry room and the dining room - the laundry room used to be a black porch, hence the weather stripping. At least we don't need it anymore! Oh, well. So he can stay out and play until he is just getting into too much trouble and then he goes back with the gate back up! Poor guy is just bored, but we don't have any other little ones to put in with him and it is just such a small place, I don't think that this would necessarily solve the problem. Spring will come! It has too! But it is terribly funny too! He is such a character, being raised in the house will make him such a people friendly buck that when he gets big he is likely to be more gentle than he might have been otherwise!

On another note, the horses seem to be getting spring fever too! In one of our pastures, we had added on another one, and we leave that gate open. Well, in the deep snow, the horses really don't like going too deep or off of the paths they have made. So, they have not gone out into the far meadow since the snow got deep. This morning I sat up in bed, seeing them way down at the far area of the meadow enjoying the sunshine! It was so neat to see them really spread out and looking pleased about it! And then for some reason they got a spurt of spunkiness and all five came charging back to the barn area - tails raised high, ears up and just a look of pure joy in their movements! It was so beautiful! To me, that is a real sign of spring!

Kids just came in from checking on our doe - she is showing much increased signs of active labor! Things are getting serious! Of course, it is snowing now! They always seem to pick changes in weather to kid! At least it isn't 30 below or a sleet storm this time!!!!! I am so glad for our increased experience this season, we have a lot more in our repertoire of what to do and have really done more and seen more, so we are expecting a successful kidding season! We have the one in labor now, one that should go in another week or so, and several in the next month and a few more the month after that - basically between now and May we will be busy! We tried to time it for warmer weather - healthier for mamas and babies and easier on us too. Our modifications on the birthing stall are helpful - a calf hut we put a heat lamp inside (though they kick each other out of it), a hay rack, and the camera are big helps. We did plastic the walls some to reduce the drafts. There are gaps between the boards, so it isn't as secure as we would like, but the calf hut makes a huge difference. Now if we could only figure out how to protect the heat lamps from the goats smashing them while still keeping them close enough to truly provide a good source of heat. Hmmmmm....

Each year, things get better, we learn more, we add on. I think about what we started with - the house and entire place were so abandoned and overgrown and neglected. So, each year we have picked one area to work on. This year it was the milking parlor (basically an enclosed shed that we keep the milking stands in where we can hand milk out of the wind and weather), the birthing stall and a good windbreak in the larger "barn". Last year it was keeping the water faucet thawed so we could actually have a water source for troughs - though at the house and needing a hose, it was a huge improvement from hauling five gallon pails of hot water from the bathtub in the house to fill two water troughs! (My elbows gave out that winter and I ended up with awful tendonitis that was just excruciating.) And we moved the henhouse into a more secure area - our straw bale henhouse unfortunately the winter before was sabotaged by the sheep who walked right over the fences when we had the most snow I have ever seen! By spring, it just leaned to one side - where they had eaten a whole out of it. Sigh. No sheep here anymore. I would like to try again someday, but we just don't have the set up for it. (I am trying to learn to spin and would love my own source, but I really probably don't need it at this point - though wouldn't it be fun??)

So, Life just keeps moving. Isn't that great??? It is always an adventure. We are making memories, some days better than others, but generally very good!

Update on #9 - he is 33 weeks along today! They are still predicting that he will come early, but the good news is that he has resumed growing!!!! Praise God! He still measures small for gestational age - "growth retarded", but at least he is growing! And I made enough in the last two weeks that I can get the first set of fees in to the adoption agency! And the tax return is coming, which will finish it off!!!!! I am going right now to get that packet fully assembled! Monday's mail here it comes!

And back to the Olympics!!! We are having a blast learning geography through this! Makes it all so much more interesting! I don't know how much more science and history and geography we could squeeze into this week!
Have a great week!

Look for the bright spots around you, even when it doesn't look so bright. We have so much to be grateful for! All of us. Whether it be health (or improvement or home of that), for meals, for clothing, for a roof over our heads - no matter how simple it might be, for the hope of the sunrise tomorrow, and for the people in our lives. I am thankful for the laundry piles - it means kids are healthy and active!!! So, as I wash each load I try to thank God for the bodies that dirtied these clothes, for their joy and enthusiasm and activity! (Gotta turn it around from being just a dreaded chore!!!)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What a day of extremes!

It has been a long week.

Is that OK to say?

Well, it has. Talk about being transparent!

We are working on getting all the kids through eye doctor appointments - one or two a week, and then there are the dentist appointments. We break those up two to three kids at a time, just so we don't spend an entire day there. Well, three appointments this morning, and we ended up with only one filling (Yay!), but then also ended up with an orthodontia appointment for the youngest of the crew (drat!). A tooth is out of line and if we don't fix it now, it will be harder later and there will be more problems. So, a ten year old will be looking at a retainer or braces very soon. Sigh. She is okay with it, so it is fine. It isn't a money thing - it is knowing that this means MANY more appointments on a regular basis! Ugh. It's all good, right?

Oh, yes, three eye doctor appointments down and only one kiddo needs glasses out of the new three! There are some concerns with the retina, so that will be followed, it is unusual but isn't causing problems at this point. So,we hope that it continues to be nothing - and Ben looks way cute in his reading glasses!!!!

Then I picked up way more hours than I want, but my work this week will just about pay for the first set of fees that we need for dear little #9. Yay! That can go in early next week. And the other blessing is that I got to speak with #9's birthmom again tonight!!! I hadn't talked to her in almost two weeks. She usually calls me after every doctor appointment, and they are weekly now. I was worrying that maybe she changed her mind - which would be a huge blessing for this little boy too, so I couldn't be sad for it, but we are so excited to snuggle a little bundle, to see fingers and toes and tuck that little body into all sorts of sleepers and snugglies and to listen to all those lovely little baby sighs. I know in my heart, if they choose to parent, it will be good for the baby. I have no worries about that. I know that they don't feel that they can, but if they did find that in them, it would be wonderful. And that might mean that God has another plan for our family. I am sure it would.

But, I am so excited.

We are so excited.

Tomorrow I print out my family leave act stuff from work. I will only return on a limited basis so I will be with my family.

But, until we hold #9, until all the forms are signed, we will keep back a small part of our hearts.

Though, honestly, I already have two tiny sleepers, two tiny onesies, and a special story book just for him. That is about all that I am allowing myself at this point. We will get a carseat soon. Then that is all until we bring him home. The day we arrive home, I can send Steve out for the bed! LOL! (Oh, yeah, and because there is so little I can do, I am crocheting a blanket for him - have we already established that I don't sit still well???)

So, it was a very long day - more hours of work than I would rather work, but with a good end in sight. The light is at the end of the tunnel. The tunnel isn't much fun when my primary job is at home. But, it is temporary, and will help for #9! But it ended with a great bang and I am relieved and thrilled and ready to face tomorrow.

God is good, all the time. Sometimes the things we are asked to walk through are hard, but there is a reason if God has ordained it - don't get me going on if we are the ones orchestrating it!!!! That can just be hard work and get you nowhere! LOL!

So, have a blessed night!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Applications abound!

As we are working our way through our homestudy and adoption paperwork (again! It really feels like deja vu.) we have been asked to do another kind of application. I have to admit that we are honored to do this at our friend's request. But there is another sense of deja vu, because we have been asked to do this before, by a dear family member who has since passed.

We have been asked to apply for Extreme Home Makeover (again) and they are looking for a family in our area. Wouldn't that be life changing?

Are you ready to yell "Bus driver, move that BUS!!!"?

ABC's popular reality TV series, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, is looking for a family in Northeast Wisconsin whose story is inspirational and whose home is in desperate need of an Extreme Makeover.

Nominations may be submitted by the family or by a member of their community.

Email castingwisconsin@gmail.com with a short description of their family story, house story, names, ages of everyone in the house and, if possible, recent photos of family and house. Describe why the family is deserving, heroic, or a great role model in their community. Also describe the major challenges within the home.

Honestly, this is hard for us because we are so very blessed to be here on our land, here in our home with our wonderful children. There are many things that have been hard, and this winter has been particularly hard living with them. But it is what it is, and we keep striving to improve things. We are so lucky when so many in the world have no roof over their heads, no beds to sleep in, no food in the pantry. So it makes it hard to complain about:
* one bathroom for ten (soon to be eleven people)
* flooring that keeps wanting to come up, but must stay down for a while longer before our floors can be restored
* various leaky windows that make winter colder
* a laundry room that used to be a back porch, so the door between the main house and the laundry room must be kept open so things don't freeze (hey, I didn't used to have anyplace to do laundry, so I am not complaining - except right now I am sharing the space with a baby goat who got pneumonia and cannot go outside in the cold until things warm up - lovely! Wouldn't a barn with two heated stalls be great - or something attached to the house for said issues?)
* more room in general - two thousand square feet is great, but there are times where we really trip over each other. Eight kids, ten to fifteen and soon a baby - need I say more?
* updated electrical so we can run two kitchen appliances at the same time without blowing a fuse? And simply more electrical upstairs so the girls don't have to use pull chains to turn on their lights (and they have NO outlets and neither does the schoolroom). The boys have one light switch and the one outlet upstairs - yeah, running extension cords really strikes me as unsafe, so we don't.
* our upstairs hall doubles as our "linen closet" - we need lots of blankets for this crew, so the bed linens are in a converted entertainment center and then piled on top - generally neatly, sometimes coming down in an avalance.
* the basement. Well, it is fieldstone and seems to have a few spots that seep in the spring. I think I found the biggest leak and that was from a pipe and I MIGHT have that in better shape, it sure is dryer down there, but then spring hasn't come as of yet. So things keep getting moved in order to keep them dry and I try to get rid of things!
* our kitchen isn't big enough for a stove - the stove in around the corner in the dining room. Close to the table! LOL! And near the pantry (a converted closet off the dining room.
* The sink, while charming and I dearly love it, is small and the place we handwash our dishes since there is no place for a dishwasher! The metal cabinet is rusting and I keep patching and cleaning it up. Handwashing for ten all the time - there isn't room for everything, so things get piled on the floor as we get washing going.
* we have no outside water save the spigot off the house, which makes watering our pastures/animals quite a challenge. At this point, we have a very long hose that we hook up daily (the faucet has heat tape on it to keep it from freezing) - that is dragged to each pasture to water the animals, then wrapped back up, put in a large garbage can on wheels, dragged up the three steps and into a corner of the dining room so it won't freeze shut. Sigh. But we remind ourselves that two years ago we were hauling five gallon pails of hot water from the bathtub by hand out to the pastures, so that makes this look like an absolute cakewalk!!!!
* We only have electricity out to the pastures (for electric fencing only) by using a significantly durable extension cord to run from the outside outlet out to the "summer kitchen" (a building we think is origional or certainly very old! and not in good shape, but we got two thirds of it strengthened enough for our henhouse and a goat birthing stall). What I would give for ANY exterior lights out here!!!! I love that we can see the stars so well, but it would be nice to flip a light on once in a while!
* Our outbuildings for our animals are always under construction and repair. It is so much getting better, but it isn't what we want for them. Each year the plans for warm weather just exceed what we can afford, so we do what we can, and each year is better for our animals. It is adequate, but boy would it be nice to put a horse in a stall, or be able to cross tie our rescue so I can work on his hooves out of the wind and without someone else needing to hold his head. Don't even get started on birthing time! More space and warmth would be nice - our birthing stall isn't horrible, but it would help us build our herd if we had a better place - better for our goats and us. Shivering while working on babies and mamas is hard - wet hands, clothes, no good place to store our supplies.
* We are so blessed by our kids and they by having a supportive, intact family. I know that even though I want them to have more, this is enough. We all work hard, we all work on improving things and caring for each other. But things could be so much easier. I would so love to not have to devote so much time to putting things together to be better, just to be with the kids. We work together all the time, so it isn't lost, and they sure do learn a lot. Our family is always striving together, but some days it feels like we will never get on top. And then I listen to my kids around the dining room table (that we are outgrowing), playing a game together, laughing together and talking, and I know that everything is worth it. Whether our circumstances change or not. God has us on this path and we will keep doing what needs to be done, both for ourselves and others! So, I plan out our week that includes church, helping at a nursing home church service (making sure too that the kids worked on their music for it!), going to eye doctor appointments, going to play practice, selling things on craigslist, helping a friend move, work, caring for our animals, house chores, schoolwork, music lessons, 4H lessons, horse training, working on our rescue horses' hooves, trimming goats feet, vitamining children and animals, making sure kids took showers, doing daily laundry, making meals, budgeting, doing paperwork, decluttering, helping kids learn their lines for play, going to church, going to 4H project meetings, and on and on. It is a life that is very rich and full and I wouldn't trade a thing. We are good. We have food in the house, gas in the cars, carefully (VERY) budgeted money, healthy kids (with things we can manage), jobs, and lots and LOTS of love. We are all happy, bonded, strong. It is all good.

I have a hard time with this as we don't focus on the negative, it is just something on the "to-do" list. We will get there. I couldn't ask for more than the kids we have been blessed with and the chance to spread out that joy. The compromise is that we spent all that money on bringing the kids home. That may be foolish in some people's eyes, but when I look at my children, now healthy, safe, growing and learning - not in danger (as one was), not in ill health (as two were), not wondering if they would eat once a day - hoping for more than that (all five were). That makes the issues we deal with very trivial. In time, well, it will get there - and until then, we plastic leaky windows, we joke about our method of preparing meals, we dream of what we would like to do next, we take turns sitting on the couch and other chairs in the living room (personally I prefer to sit on the floor by my husband's legs - generally a child or two might come to join me). We are creating memories that our kids will have for a lifetime. Of love and security and things we did together, through difficult times and through good. Of learning to be responsible and creative and to make the best of what you have and to be grateful for it. When spring comes and our land greens up and the chickens cluck around the yard, and the baby goats jump all over each other, and the kids run and play or we read or do our lessons laying in the grass - that makes every bit worthwhile.

So, whether Extreme Home Makeover ever came here or not, well, we will be fine. I would love to do more - think of what we could do with our time if we weren't constantly fixing stuff!!!! But if that is what God would have us walk through, we will gladly walk through it!

Thanks for reading - feel free to email me or send something to EHM on our behalf! LOL! But it sure is fun to dream! Now I am going to go check the soup that my dear hubby has been simmering, flip the laundry and fold some, and then have a simple, wonderful dinner with most of my family (two boys are gone on a sleepover with a dear friend, and Kiley is gone at 4H Leadership Camp - she was nominated and then accepted, along with one of her best friends). Tomorrow we will have everyone back home and watch our favorite show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition". LOL!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sharing our excitement.. and then back to usual things!

I think I can officially share now, what has been going on in the background here in the last three weeks.

We are in process of an independent adoption of a baby boy to be born in April, and yes, he does have the diagnosis of Down Syndrome. The birth family lives in our state and just does not feel that they can give him what he will need and what they so much want him to have. They have made a mature, committed decision - they aren't kids, they are married, they do have another child. This is just something that they feel is beyond them. I am so grateful that they chose to give this child life, and to do the most loving thing if they really feel they cannot give him what he needs. This will be an open adoption, some contact, we will work it out. I am so very honored that they have chosen our family for this lovely gift! It is truly a God thing, this was not something we pursued or have begun to strive for, in fact it generally was something that I wasn't sure we would ever do! LOL! As usual God has other ideas and I have such amazing peace about it.

So, we are back in the paperwork and getting funds stage, but with a very short timeline! So, I am picking up hours whenever I can, and selling whatever is extra or not needed, and we are praying that God continues to bless our efforts. It is scary to look at how quickly things need to happen, but that is not my job - that is God's. And it is also tax return time! So, we are praying that everything lines up correctly!

Baby, wow, baby!!! We haven't had a baby in our house for about two years (our last foster child)!

On another note, it is winter in Wisconsin! Ugh. I am so grateful that we are now in February, as there is a baby goat in the laundry room, likely for the winter. (On a side note, Zeri just came in with an egg!!! Who would have thought that an egg could bring about so much rejoicing, but with shorter days and the colder weather, the chickens have not been laying and we are getting where we really miss our food source!!! I have been saying that now that the days are getting longer, the chickens should start laying, but it has been very few and far between - which for a family of ten is a big deal - I hate to buy store bought eggs, they just don't taste so good, and we go through LOTS of eggs!) Anyway back to baby goat - he is our next breeding buck with the bloodlines we want, so there is NO WAY we are risking losing him and after his bout with pneumonia, it is just too risky to put him back out in the cold yet. Sigh. So, he lives in the laundry room, paper and hay on the floor, baby gate keeping him in there, and lots of company visiting him. Not quite what I ever imagined, but there it is.

And that doesn't mention the 78 chicks in the living room in stock tanks. Yep. Not kidding. These are the kids' show birds for fair this summer and they come as day old chicks the first week in January. When they are really small, the temperature is a huge thing so we need to keep a close eye on them, hence the living room. Now that they are bigger, they are soon moving to the BASEMENT!!!! We set up larger brooders down there, and they stay there until the weather is nice and they can go to our outside chick run - a place we have set apart for the young show birds so our older birds don't pick on them. They need to be beautiful! Once fair is done, well, then they go right in with the rest of the flock, but until then, they are the most pampered of chickens! LOL! I am very ready to move them to the basement today! And then scrub everything down again! (The chicks really are contained, but as they get older, well, there is an "odor".)

Other than that, life on the farm at this point is just getting through the long last bit of winter. It is encouraging to look at spring coming and know that we are on the downside and that now it is just a matter of time until the warmer weather comes. Warmer weather brings lots of work but oh, so much more comfort in doing it!

Well, got to run! I have the opportunity to work today and it goes right into baby boy fund (as long as all other bills are paid!). God's got it, he isn't surprised that we are at this point, but we will so gladly take any and all prayers as we get ready for this new chapter. (By the way, in case anyone was wondering, the kids are thrilled! The boys don't want to change diapers, but other than that no one has any concerns! LOL! We clearly discussed Down Syndrome - and we know several kids my kiddos ages with DS - and they weren't concerned at all. Actually were upset that someone might not be happy for us about this baby. As Kiley puts it "It is a baby, a wonderful baby. He just happens to have Down Syndrome.". Talk about a loved baby - eight big brothers and sisters to love on him and help mom and dad! Adored will be the only way to describe his little life!)
Love to all, have a great day!