The Children, The Chicken, And The Chores

It has been awhile since I have written anything on our farm animals or gardening or anything of that sort. Must of been the trauma of losing our goat Ramsey. Ha! That’d be a lie. Truthfully things have been pretty low key around here. We managed to keep the majority of our chickens alive so I was ecstatic to say “nope” every time we came across baby chicks for sale. It only took purchasing like twenty five chicks to keep six alive. Practice makes perfect people. Six is plenty for us though as we can not eat enough eggs to keep up with the production here. I’ve given several dozen away and HAD to have an egg hunt just to make use of two dozen or so.

Wanna be my neighbor?

I want to take a moment though and introduce you to Tiny. Tiny was from last springs batch of chicks. Not sure if I wrote anything on the challenges of introducing old and new flocks but let’s just say, there will be blood. The chickens were mostly living in harmony when one day during a coop cleaning we set everything off kilter. An older hen, who my children innocently and ironically named Queen Bee, severely bullied Tiny and bloodied her up pretty bad. After getting her cleaned and assessing her wounds I was really hesitant to put her back with the flock so I stuck her with the ducks where she could recover. Well it’s been like six months and according to the girls the ducks, Sunny and Webster, have adopted her. Tiny is truly a free range chicken and she is living it up! She gets dinner scraps at the back door, she comes when you call her, she follows the girls everywhere and she’s eats dill pickle sunflower seeds.

I mean does it get any better for a chicken??

The kids have really taken ownership of the animals and ensure that everyone has food, clean water, and a clean environment. Jason has started giving them an allowance and I have been super proud of Micaila and Ryann as they, on their own accord, tithe off it every Sunday. Caleb on the other hand asked me the other day when he will have a million dollars. We calculated his 2 dollars a week and figured it would take roughly 9,616 years for him to get to a million but hey, there is always an opportunity to move up around here. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The girls continue to have riding lessons with Duet. She has been such a great horse. I love watching the girls do ground work with her on their own or just go out and brush her. They have gained so much independence this last year and it’s bittersweet for this momma.

Jason has already planted the garden and last year I did try a few pickling recipes that were a big hit so, looks like it’s a requirement this year. That is, if we grow anything….๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ˜‰

The Pros Of Stuffed Animal Hoarding

That moment you post a blog (twice! On accident, so sorry) and it’s definitely not finished ๐Ÿ˜‚ Okay, now I’m ready for this thing to be “posted”.

This is meant for sheer amusement and my memory. My children, especially my daughters, find more delight in stuffed animals. They have way.too.many. And I’d be lying if I said I had nothing to do with it. We buy them, build them, and win them out of those grab machines. Apparently I’m quite gifted with the claw. But we can’t resist. They play with them for hours on end and derive so much enjoyment out of every single animal. They are all special and on the rare occasion when I can sneak a few in a donation box, the girls will reminisce on that special animal, where it came from, and how “mommy sent it away.” ๐Ÿ˜

I’ve been accumulating snap shots lately of their play time and let me just tell you, what these photos show is completely the norm around here. There are always, always stuffed animals everywhere, doing something extraordinary.

Like…..

Getting married…..

Or trying to find a new home….

Or having a sleep over. This is like a scene in “Where’s Waldo?” Can you spot both my girls in that twin bed with all those animals? Seriously, I didn’t realize it at first either. Why would someone choose to sleep like this?

Just chillin.

Oh then there’s the babies. That’s another story.

Or maybe they are lining up for a parade. The other day, there was like 75 lined up at the back door, heading out for a picnic. Definitely had to draw the line there…. Dogs would have had a field day and I would have been picking up everyone’s insides lol!

These are definitely sweet moments I don’t want to forget. Does it get annoying sometimes when I can’t see the floor because it’s covered in 150 teddy bears? Yes. But one day when the house is too quiet and too clean because my kids are not little anymore, I know I will miss these furry friends parading around. 

Just a good ol’ regular day

There was nothing particularly special about today. I kept Ryann home from school because she had a well visit that was early enough to seem silly to send her off and pull her out, but late enough to where it also seemed pointless to drop her off late. So I just said, “what the heck, she can stay home.” She also was getting shots so I knew there was going to be some anxiety before and maybe some needed rest and relaxing after. Going to the Doctor can not only be emotionally taxing on children but also us adults (moms imparticular!) I’ve learned a few things over the years that I firmly believe help.

1.) I’ve decided to always be honest with my kids about what’s gonna happen.

They may get worked up and cry when I tell them “yes you are getting shots” but what I’m finding is that honesty breeds trust (it’s kind of how honesty and trust work. I know what you are thinking “thank you captain obvious” lol) when I tell them what will happen and that “mommy and daddy and the doctors want your best and to help you stay healthy” and explain things like “the nurse will be careful and quick” they are hearing what I tell them, seeing that it’s indeed what happens and in turn, we build trust. Believe me it’s worth the tears for your kids to trust your word and know you aren’t with holding information. Tears are temporary but trust or distrust is always present. In being honest about why things need to happen, they can grow and begin to anticipate what life brings and we can help them handle their responses properly. I am learning even the smallest non-truth produces an insecurity in a child’s heart. As in one little lie even if you dont recognize it as a lie, can make a child feel anxious and unsure of what will happen next because that complete trust and truth isnt there. Have you ever noticed how children, babies even, are very sensitive and aware when things are wrong. I’m telling you, my kids have a “spider sense” to dishonesty. We have to have courage as parents, not to shelter our kids from the “unknown” but to be honest. Even in things that seem silly, simple, irrelevant even because our kids are so “young”. Yes, there are some matters that you can explain are not for their ears but I highly recommend honesty at all times ๐Ÿ™‚ Our courage to face life and be truthful about some of the scary things will produce confidence and courage in our kids. And boy are they going to need it!

2.) Reward their courage.

Most of us parents do the whole treat thing. I know we have always done something special after the “trauma inducing” shot experience. I have changed my approach a bit over the years. I encourage you, after your honesty going into it ๐Ÿ˜‰ to reward the courage they had after it. Don’t offer pity or let them sulk too long. Build up their bravery. It can easily be skewed, encouragement and enabling. Don’t enable your child to stay a baby. Evidence of growth both physically and emotionally is healthy. We enjoy each phase of life but we should cultivate growth and maturity. Life is tough. They need us to build their courage and strength and confidence so that they can overcome difficulties, pain, and challenges.

We should begin breeding and building these qualities now ๐Ÿ™‚ Some great verses on bravery, courage and trust.

Deuteronomy 31:6
English Standard Version (ESV)
6 Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.โ€

Psalm 56:3-4
When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?
(NIV)

To add to all that, I am seeing a new view from my kids OF those scary unknown things. For one they don’t begrudge me for allowing “it” to happen. They trust that it was for their benefit and see that they can “overcome” it. They aren’t scared out of their minds every time we go to the doctor or an unfamiliar place and if they do have some anxiety they move beyond it quite quickly because they see that mommy is not scared and they have learned over the years that mommy can be trusted. Mommy and daddy have never misled us and have always done their best to protect us physically and emotionally. Our children may not be able to verbalize all those things, but it is clear when they feel them or when they don’t.

So after we did the whole doctor visit, we cruised on over to Chickfila for a milk shake. Ryann was the only one who earned the privilege of getting a shake. Not me, not Caleb, not little miss happy girl. I don’t know what to code name her but she is a very happy girl ๐Ÿ™‚ This was important to me to show. It was hard too because I really wanted a chicken sandwhich! But I wanted both girls to know that for the person who chose braveness she reaps a blessing. Or milkshake in this case which if you ask me is certainly a blessing.

1 Peter 3:13-14
Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.”
(NIV)

We get home and enjoyed some lunch and it was time for the littles to nap. So here we were, me and Ryann, in the quiet of our house.

Getting to the best part of this day, when I sat down to fold laundry and Ryann offered to help. However it wasn’t her willingness to help that filled my heart at that moment, though I certainly welcomed it. It was her company. I looked at her and realized how I miss her. I sat there with this wonderful feeling of gratefulness over this moment together folding laundry. just her and I. ๐Ÿ™‚ I told her “I’m so glad you got to stay home with me today, mommy misses you!” And she gave me a great big gummy toothy Ryann smile. And I just feel so full right now.

And THAT comes from God and I love him for it.

1 John 4:19 We love, because he first loved us.

Passion Week Wednesday!

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Hi everyone! I hope you’re all having a really great week and that the Lord is blessing and moving on your hearts as we prepare for Good Friday and Easter Sunday. I got to be honest, this week has been filled with joy in our home as I’ve been doing a lot of Easter centered things with the girls.

First let me share with you a couple of sources that I have obtained all these ideas. I’m not real “original” but I’m getting better at executing others shared thoughts. Yay!

All the activities I have been doing I retrieved from another blog ministry that I follow called The Alabaster Jar. I encourage any of you ladies to wander over there sometime because this woman, Jolene, is so genuine in her faith and extremely encouraging and honest in her posts. I really enjoy reading her blog. And she has lots of great stuff to instill Gods love in our children!

The other major component in our. pre-Easter, week is this completely awesome children’s Bible, Jesus Story Book Bible. We actually have been reading through it since my sweet friend Kaitlyn bought it for the kids around Christmas time however we have skipped forward to be reading about Jesus life, death and resurrection. If you have children and don’t have this book I am telling you, you have to get it. It’s so good! Sometimes I think I learn more from it than anyone else! It goes through the Bible, Old to New Testament, including all the major stories, and it always wraps up each story with how it relates to Jesus coming and rescuing us. It’s simple and yet so powerful and the girls love hearing me read it.

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Check out that sweet book mark Ryann made me at church. Yes He is!

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A fun easy project for the artist. I can’t believe I didn’t take an after photo because it did turn out pretty cute.

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Micaila being a good big sister and helper. Often I’ll be doing something and Caleb will start getting bored and fussy and on her own initiative Micaila will go hold him for me.

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Okay so this was super fun and easy too! Actually they all were, precisely why I liked them! The Empty Tomb, He is Risen! We did this Monday morning. Everything you need is pictured, directions here and it was extremely simple for the girls to assemble themselves. Big thumbs up!

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After the fact I thought, “Should have used darker font color!” Oh well, “He is RISEN!”

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Here we are doing the Resurrection Rolls. And beware, they are really yummy and you might eat the whole can of crescents in one sitting,….. maybe we did, maybe we didn’t. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Directions here. And I coated the crescents with extra of the melted butter sugar mixture. :-/

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Not only has it been a lot of fun doing all these activities but it’s been so cool because the girls, Micaila especially, are really getting Easter and why we celebrate it. Y’all know how I feel about the bunny and baskets. We did our “Welcome Spring” and let them dye eggs. But doing this leading into Easter and reinforcing what Jesus did for us has been so gratifying. Micaila doesn’t want me to put the Bible down! Now that is something to be excited about!

And not only have we been immersed in His story and explaining through these activities, Jason has been basically having a Hillsong concert every evening when he gets home, blasting the worship music through out the house. Check out some of their songs, get wrapped up in why we will be celebrating this weekend.

lyrics from I Surrender by Hillsong

Like a rushing wind
Jesus breathe within
Lord have Your way
Lord have Your way in me

Like a mighty storm
Stir within my soul
Lord have Your way
Lord have Your way in me

Caleb 8 months, the park, photos, thankfulness

Mainly pictures. ๐Ÿ™‚

Baby boy is now 8 months old. Here are some adorable pictures we took on his 8 month “birthday”.

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The weather the last couple of days has been so enjoyable so we went to a couple of parks and here are pictures from one of our favorites White Oak. I went well prepared this time with plenty of bread for the ducks and the girls really had a great time feeding them. Can I just say that we are so excited and ready for Spring to be here?! I mean I really can’t wait. There are these yellow flowers (or maybe they would be considered weeds but whatever!) blooming everywhere and I told Jason I’m anxious to get back in the yard and add a little color to our dead grass haha!

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This girl could be our future runner, she’s got great form right? And in boots!

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Snack for the ducks and for the children, hehe.

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And then there is this guy, obviously having a blast at the park with all the mulch and dirt. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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I was thinking the other day about Micaila. Feelings of thankfulness, in regards to her health, filled me. And then this morning noticed a few returning spots on her feet from the HSP. Still thankful. It’s only a few and I don’t think she’s experiencing any discomfort from it. I thought to myself though that I need to exercise thanksgiving in every situation and more often. After the onset of the HSP and then it easing up we went right back to normal life and it occurred to me, “I am so thankful! And I haven’t told you God. Thank You, God, for her healing. Thank You for her HSP not being ‘worse case scenario’. Thank You for the time so far without another intense flare up. Thank You!” I just was reminded I need to be more conscious of always being thankful. (Ephesians 5:20)

Give thanks in every situation because this is Godโ€™s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (CEB)

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Psalm 100:4

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
ย ย ย ย and his courts with praise;
ย ย ย ย give thanks to him and praise his name.

A little, long over due, up date :)

I can’t recall if I had mentioned here that I planned to home-school Micaila. We have started (about 2 months ago) kindergarten here at home.

I am extremely blessed to have met my friend Mandy here in Georgia. She has been a huge help in “mentoring” me through some of the home school process, as she home schools both her children (oh and not to mention she was a teacher professionally). Not only did she loan me curriculum (saving us hundreds of dollars!) but she has shared so much of her wisdom and experience and that is priceless!

Some may wonder why I’m homeschooling. Well, 1 because I can. God has graciously allowed our circumstances to be as they are and given me the ability to stay home. 2 because it allows me to choose what and how I teach. And 3, I like the relaxed, flexible environment and schedule. I think, Micaila being able to do school in this way is going to really benefit her. Plus, we can visit family in Florida whenever we want. Yay!

It’s going quite well, which honestly is a big surprise to me. I wasn’t sure how I’d pull it off, with just having had a baby and all, and of course keeping up with everything else. I thought it would be A LOT but honestly, incorporating the discipline of school into our day has improved how our days unfold.

I try to keep in mind that every morning is going to be different from the last so I allow myself and the girls a very liberal schedule. My goal for the day is to start after breakfast. Micaila likes to sleep in though, so we often don’t get started till around 10. Honestly, I don’t think I could get that girl to public school on time if I wanted to!

I had never considered myself “organized” or good at teaching (in general) but I really have impressed myself, haha. To my great surprise I found I actually am organized. Not by any professional standard but more than I ever gave myself credit for prior to now. Whether or not I’m a good teacher is still up for debate but Micaila and I are working well together which was my greatest fear in this endeavor. We both lean towards perfectionism so putting the two of us together in a learning environment I thought for sure steam would be coming out both our ears before the day ended. But God is good and has allowed this new season in both our lives to begin smoothly.

And just a little icing on the cake, Ryann is enjoying most all the benefits of kindergarten at home as well. She does everything except the reading lessons which I don’t feel she is ready for yet.

So proud of those 2 girls and their hard work in school.

How bout a baby boy update? Caleb is now 3 months old! He has his next well baby visit in a month and I can give you some stats then. He is sleeping through the night, going to bed around 10:30 and waking up around 6:30 to eat and then goes back to sleep. To me, this is like honeymoon stage for baby, or is it for mommy? He’s eating, on average, every 4 hours, sleeps at night (and for most of the day!) WHEN he’s awake he’s all smiles and so happy to see you, he’s just….. so…. perfect. ๐Ÿ™‚ Oh, and you better believe I am just eating it all up. Caleb may end up a little behind when it comes to rolling over or crawling becaaaause I still hold him all the time and he’s never on the floor. lol! We love to rock, or sit on the couch while he’s propped up in my legs making silly faces and talking. We have some good talks me and Caleb.

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Caleb is pretty much the coolest baby on the block with his sweet mohawk hair. Everyone loves his hair and at first I thought it was because he has so much but now I realize it’s how we style it. I don’t really style it, it’s just the shape it takes after I blow dry it. ๐Ÿ˜‰ what?! He loves the blow dryer!

Still a gassy boy. Seriously, I can’t get over it. It’s incredible the noise that comes out of such a tiny little fellow. Goodness I just love that sweet boy!

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I think that is pretty much the latest, at least in our kiddos world. And I’ve literally been writing this post for 3 weeks so I think it’s time to publish and move on.