Wednesday, August 31, 2011

**flashy poo-poo!

well if you have been keeping up on facebook then you would know that we almost lost our little flashy!! he contracted parvo. thank goodness we caught it early, spent a lot - a WHOLE LOT OF MONEY to make him well - but quite frankly, he is so worth it. i know some people think it is unwise to spend so much on an animal (clay) BUT, we didnt have to choose between feeding our children. we have the money to help our little flashy overcome this deadly disease. he is still sick but he is soooo much better than he was and he will steadily improve. he will be on antibiotics & anti-diaretics for the next 8 days.
this dog loves me. i'm not just saying that. i think he knows that i took him to the vet to save make him feel better. he sits on the top of my foot when we are eating or when i am washing dishes or standing & talking to someone. he genuninely loves me. i was doing something in the bedroom tonight, standing at the bed & he came over & sat at my foot & just leaned up against my leg. he seeks me out. he walks with me through the property. mind you, so does calpurnia...sit with me, sleep on my bed at me me above all else....but there is something different about this little beagle. he has a different temperament than the other dogs. he is sooooo sweet. just so sweet. i cant think of another word that properly describes him. quite frankly i am honored by his love for me. i feel unworthy of this precious little dogs love - just as i feel with my i am a fraud & that i will disappoint them at some point in their lives. but for now i will take his love & return it the best i can.
he is like the gentle boy who lovingly does what his mother ask with joy because she asked something of him. that's flash. i know it's weird for me to say that about him, but he is really a blessing of a dog and we all love him. i am thankful for the Dr. Hayden at Centerville Animal Hospital for promptly & succinctly addressing his illness & treating him aggressively yet conservatively with regards to our finances. she was honest & forthright with us. she understood our situation & she didnt mind when all of our children - actually the whole family - came for one of flash's fluid treatments as she has 5 children of her own.
i also believe all the prayers sent up for flash helped him start to heal so quickly. the vet said she had never seen a pup recover so quickly. after the first 12 hours of treatment flash was a wiggling ball of excitment - still only 25% of what he had been before the parvo, but better than the sick pup he was 12 hours earlier. we were all pleasantly surprised at how well he has responded to treatment. all i know is flash, along with calpurnia (yorkie)...and readen (cocker spaniel)...and liberty (german shepherd dog)...and phineas & ferb (our cats) show us God's love on a consistent unconditional....always there to listen....always willing to wipe away our tears (or lick in their case)....always willing to forgive us any indiscretion we might commit against them. i love my animals. it's a good life.

"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" Matthew 6:26

"Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring--it was peace." - Milan Kundera

**esther calls flash "flashy poo-poo" and then leans in for kisses & he gladly obliges!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

memories pressed between the pages of my mind

we have a guest staying for about 2 weeks. rachel graciously gave up her bed & is sleeping with her "bros", as she says in the bunkbed that i usually use when i have to nurse levi in the middle of the night. esther decided to climb in bed with her as well as my dog, calpurnia. i couldnt resist taking the picture of them sleeping. asher on the top bunk, levi in the crib across the room & rachel & baby esther on the bottom bunk. what a wonderful memory for all involved. and my heart just filled with delight at rachel's love for her siblings & esther's trust and love of /for rachel. 

rachel took this picture of levi & for whatever reason it takes my breath away. he looks older than 9 months (in my opinion) and soooooo handsome. another heartbreaker on the loose.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

hillbilly deluxe

the first 2 pictures speak to the title of this post - at least that is what comes to my mind when i see the first 2 pictures.

Esther had gotten into my coal eyeliner & thought it was lipstick i guess. anyway i caught her with it all over her mouth & teeth. i used my phone & snapped a few shots. she looks like a hillbilly with missing teeth. it struck me as funny. even she got the joke!

my Abigail has had 5 loose teeth for a while now. 3 of which have been veeeerrrryyyyy loose - to the point that when she went to the dentist 2 weeks ago he said that they could be pulled. i have given her plenty of time to pull them or wiggle them until they fell out but i just couldnt take it anymore. the teeth were changing colors & the permanent teeth were already coming in - the same problem we had before with her. so tonight i took matters into my own hands and pulled the 3 very loose teeth. she acted like a wild animal during the process but afterwards she was very sheepish & excited because she had a "perfect spot" for her thumb to fit in her mouth when she sucks it to go to sleep. and she also showed me that her tongue fits perfectly through the gap in her teeth! she also got a barbie out of the top of my closet because i felt so bad. i have a collection of barbies that i have saved for years - in the boxes. i figured i would get a curio cabinet but it has never & probably will never happen. anyway...i did feel absolutely horrible because she got very upset during the process & i wanted her to quit crying so i gave her a barbie. i got teary eyed because she was still teary eyed. look at her eyes. you can tell she was crying.  i dont like my babies to cry for any reason - even if it's for their own good. she's growing up so fast!!! too fast!!!!

she's so proud!!

now this picture makes me just laugh out loud. it's hilarious! because this shirt is one of Asher's favorite shirts. he will cry to wear it. i hate this shirt. i try to bury it in the bottom of his drawere but he always finds it. and i cant throw it out because i get the joke. i'm always up for a good joke.
this shirt really embodies a liberal agenda that we, as parents, really despise. we understand there is a principle in this shirt that needs to be adhered to in certain situations with certain groups of people.
someone gave Asher this shirt. someone we love very much. this person knows we spank our children. this person knows we believe in Godly discipline. this person also gets the joke of having our 4 year old son wear this shirt proudly, all the while being spanked if he needs it! this person, who we love very much, has a great sense of humor & loves our children dearly so it was all in good fun.  anyway, it's funny and always makes me laugh when Asher proudly wears this shirt. Asher knows what it says too & will tell you what it says. but i did explain to him the difference between being hit & being spanked & he says "yea Mama, yea".

and this is my coffee thief. if i turn my back on my cup of coffee, this is what i find. the cup is as big as she is, but it doesnt matter. yes the coffee cup says "the spin stops here"(bill o'reilly). and yes her tutu is on inside out with the skirt part coming out at the top of the leg holes. it's how she rolls!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

flash & levi

flash isnt just a dog. he thinks he is a person that sits at the dining room table with us.

he will sit at the table even when it is cleaned off & there isnt any food on it. (and he did not try to get food off the table either) but this morning he decided he wanted to sit beside rachel & give her kisses. he's cool like that. he does kiss. i had just missed the actual tongue action. (please send all your emails about how bad it is to let your dog kiss/lick you or your kids in the mouth to someone who thinks that's a problem - that would not be me!)
he has fast become my favorite dog (besides my little calpurnia). he is incredibly sweet. when i am standing outside talking or in the kitchen, he will sit on the top of my feet or either in between my legs as i talk & just watch the exchange. he can get on my bed now & he snuggles. he walks the yard with us. he gets along with all of the other animals. and thank goodness, to my relief, he shows no signs of being a "runner". he likes it here at home! he doesnt spray or lift his leg. i never wanted a boy dog, but i'm glad little flash came into our lives. he is a wonderful addition to our family & he has a firm place in my heart. as a matter of fact, he is laying across one foot as i type, sleeping, & calpurnia is laying across the other. readen is laying close by but there were no more of my feet left. what can i say, the dogs love their "Mama!" Clay has even agreed that Flash has the demeanor that our beloved, Georgia, had - and that is huge for Clay to even think that. i seriously dont think there is any better combination - raising kids with dogs!!

now for levi. he is developing so fast!! his little personality comes out more & more. he crinkles his nose when he grins. he is so cute & i adore him completely!!!

what you talking about Asher!! (he was looking up at Asher who was standing in the chair next to Levi.)
and if you look close you can see his little bottom teeth in both pictures. he is so precious. my little man.

the grammar police

i am ridiculously hard on my children about their grammar. when i was taking classes online i was ridiculously obsessive about the ridiculously bad grammar that the newly graduated from high school students used in their papers and post.

but what i am realizing more & more is that...i am such a huge hypocrite (not just with grammar i can sadly assure you.)

i just re-read my last post. i do that every so often to edit. too bad i dont edit before i post. i also will go back to way older post to try to remember how i was feeling at a certain moment. we dont remember days, we remember moments in our lives right?

but i am very bad about using the singular "was" when i should be using the plural "were". it drives me batty!!! so please forgive this Mama's bad grammar usuage. i mean, come on...i do have an's only 1:26AM. but no excuse...bad grammar is ....well BAD!!!

Where I am:

Psalm 116:1-9
"I love the LORD, because He hears
My voice and my supplications.
Because He has inclined His ear to me,
Therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live.
The cords of death encompassed me
And the terrors of Sheol came upon me;
I found distress and sorrow.
Then I called upon the name of the LORD:
"O LORD, I beseech You, save my life!”
Gracious is the LORD, and righteous;
Yes, our God is compassionate.
The LORD preserves the simple;
I was brought low, and He saved me.
Return to your rest, O my soul,
For the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.
For You have rescued my soul from death,
My eyes from tears,
My feet from stumbling.
I shall walk before the LORD
In the land of the living."

1 John 1:9

"If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us."

Friday, August 12, 2011

the end is near

so the summer is coming to a close - sadly.....well the end is right around the corner anyway. the only reason i even say that is because our garden is about done. it's spent. there are no more cantaloupe or cucumbers in my garden. asher almost cried. i stopped today at a little homegrown veggie stand out here where we live to buy asher some cantaloupe & i almost cried at what the charged when we have eaten them all summer for FREE!!! they charged me 2 for $5. i thought it was high, but they were homegrown & really good.

while i have been away, Clay celebrated a birthday. i really have no clue when the last time i posted was. was it Molly's wedding post? maybe. anway......Clay turned 47.

he had just blown out the candles on his cake. i was kind to him. i didnt put 47. i put the numbers 47 on there with about 10 - 12 extra. he got them in one blow!!

whatelse......our duck Marble hatched out 9 of 11 eggs she was sitting on, with 8 surviving. they are sooo darling. anyone want to buy a duckling?? they are only $5 a piece.

we are keeping the 2 little yellow ones with gray heads on the left. They are Pekin/Blue Swedish mixes. The others are either, Cayuga, Cayuga/Pekin Mix, or Cayuga/Blue Swedish Mix. We have 4 females & 2 males now so it will be interesting to see what those little yellows turn out to be. i'm not good at sexing ducks so we have to wait until they get a drake feather - if they get one or wait until they lay an egg! time will tell - unless they get eaten first - which is highly likely out here in Wendyland! with some of the animals it's survival of the fastest...i mean fittest!

so this weekend will be busy for me. here is what's up with the summer ending.

I gathered my last really large picking of tomatoes so i will be making a batch of salsa tomorrow to process.

we have started to shed our dying sunflowers of their seeds. i'm going to try to salt & roast some. i think they will make good christmas gifts for a few people we know IF they turn out well. here is a picture of seeds we gleaned from just about 5 sunflowers. they are called the "Mammoth" variety. I am also saving some just for seeds for next year's planting. they have to be completely dried before i can do anything with them though. i also have about 15 more "Mammoth's" to glean from.

i am also saving honeydew seeds from our homegrown honeydew melons, watermelon seeds & tomato & cucumber seeds. the tomatoe & cucumber seeds have to sit in glasses in the window covered with plastic so they will ferment & the seeds will separate from their plant matter & rise to the top. it's really wild. also when the seeds ferment they will then (as will the plants when they grown from the seeds) become disease resistent. isnt that fascinating? at least i thought it was.

honeydew seeds. they are abundant.

these were just a few from one of our favorite watermelons (we grew 3 type this year & had a completely different variety volunteer from a mutated hybrid that is not good. we just feed that one to the goat & pig.) i have more of these, but i'm kind of getting obsessive about saving as many seeds as i can because who says we will have the money next year to buy seeds or who says the seeds will be available. i realize i'm probably being overly precautious & a bit irrational but....well i would rather be safe than sorry. so when i cut up the watermelon to put in the refridgerator i took the seeds that came out at that time. the have to dry completely before i can put them away or else they will mold.

and these are my fermenting tomatoes & cucumber seeds. you might not believe me but there are about 100+ seeds in each of that small amount of veggie matter. this seed collecting is really become part of a hobby for me. all of the seeds i have collected are heirloom, meaning they date back to the late 1800's. i am not saving any hybrids or buying anything from a hybrid plant. when & if they reproduce they reproduce only from one side of the hybrid....say they combined a sweet flavored tomato that was large with a tart flavored tomato that was small to get a perfectly medium size tomato with a sweet/tart flavor. if i saved seeds from the hybrid i wouldnt get the medium tomato with the sweet/tart flavor. i would either get the sweet tomato that was large or the tart tomato that was small or the seed would be sterile. so with heirlooms seeds, i know that when i save the LemonBoy tomato seeds (which is fast becoming one of my favorite tomatoes - it's yellow & delicious) next year when i plant, i will grow a LemonBoy tomato plant. no surprises.

when i first started the summer i had a lot of jars to fill - about 100 quart jars, 60 pint jars, 75 jam jars. i'm down to my last 30 quart jars. now 30 may seem like a lot, but the reality is - it's not. considering the salsa i make tomorrow, the 2 boxes of apples i have to start working on & i will find out tomorrow if i can go pick figs from a friend's mother's house. if that's the case i will be preserving the whole actually i will need to go buy some more jars. i wonder if it's in my budget??! i also found out i can process the sweet potatoes that are coming in as well as the red potatoes too.....unless some of you out in blog land want some potatoes...if so let me know! i'm thinking with the sweet potatoes to cut those up like fries & freeze them & then just get them out through out the winter & have sweet potato french fries, which are really good if you cook them hot, hot, hot oil with a lot of salt & cook until they get slightly brown on the edges & crisp. very good!!!

what's left

my free apples that i need to start processing. applesauce, apple pie filling & apple jam for Abigail.

here is a few pictures of my 2 cabinets that are full of what i have already processed.
the first one is of the jam. that's about 60 jars of jam. it looks small but in reality it's the way the picture was taken. it's a lot of jam! fig & peach & oooooohhhhh so good!
i had to make room up above my coffee shelf. if you know me i dont have much room in my coffee shelf except for am still drinking a pot of coffee a day - even as hot as it is. as a matter of fact, i have a cup here with me now. Esther now drinks it with me & smacks her lips after every slurpy sip she takes! (please send all of your emails to someone who wants to hear how bad coffee is for small children - that someone would not be me!)

this is the cabinet where the salsa, pickles, tomatoes, tomato sauce, peaches & chow chow are stored. as you can tell i'm out of room. that white container holds my food scale & my food processor. now i will have to start loading the jars onto the top of my cabinets behind the molding where you cant see them. i have been actively looking on craigslist for a moderately priced, in good shape, old pie safe to store the jars all in. i have always wanted a pie safe with the tin punched panels. i can dream right.

anyway, arent they pretty?!! oh i just open the cabinets & look at them. it doesnt seem like a lot, but it is. it will go a long way. this doesnt include what i put up in the freezer either. tons of green beans, peas, corn, okra, zucchini & yellow squash.  oh they are so pretty!!! ok i will keep saying that if i dont move on. dont those peaches look yummy!!!????

now for more cuteness - better than the ducks or even my beautiful jars of preserves..........

we have been having a bit of a hard time getting Esther to stay in her bed & fall asleep without many MANY times of telling her to get back in her bed. sometimes it's best to just ignore her & she will fall asleep where she sits, not bothering anyone & then i carry her to bed. i found her out in the her door (which is the open door to her left), asleep. i would think her bed would be more comfortable, but nope....propped up against the linen closet suited her better.
you will have to thank Mrs. Jenny for regifting back to us the lovely leapard print leotard she is wearing. she absolutely loves tutus & leotards now - and all things Elmo & Sesame Street.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

little quirks

so do you have any little quirks? i have a few. what i am finding out is one of my "besties" (as the young folks say) has some quirks too. i appreciate her & her quirks & she appreciates me & my quirks. that's why we are such good friends. Jenny is one of the only people that I laugh with on a consistent basis. We have always had the ability to just laugh and enjoy ourselves when no one else really gets the joke.

here is a picture of my friend, Jenny, & I after a visit to Chic-fil-A in Richmond (with only 10 of our 15 children) for a veggie swap & lunch date.

so here are a few of my quirks - even at risk of you thinking i'm odd.

1. i dont like my children to touch me. well over the age of like 8. my big girls blow me kisses at night instead of actually kissing me on the cheek. i'm not much of a hugger.

2. i have a thing for office supplies - but especially pens. i have a set of miniature sharpie markers that have never been used - but i love them. i do use my other sharpies.

3. the dishwasher has to be loaded exactly a certain way or i re-load it.

4. my towels have to be folded in a tri-fold & put in stacks of 6. all of the hand towels & wash clothes have to be folded the exact same way & facing the same way in the closet.

5. my girls must wear slips & my little baby girls must have on diaper covers. i can not stand to see a baby's diaper.

6. do not ever touch my nose or put your feet on me - it will not make us friends.

7. my tshirts have to be folded a certain way & the clothes in my little kids dressers (that i put away) must all be facing the same way. and if i find that those dresser drawers have been messed with i lose my mind.

8. i dont like to go barefooted in general & only wear white socks.

9. i have to wear a tanktop under most of my shirts because it makes me feel secure.

10. i usually take a bag of needlepoint, books, magazines with me EVERYWHERE "just in case" i might get bored & need to have something to do to keep me occupied.

11. i have to have extra ice in my drinks or it doesnt taste right.

12. i wear contacts & have very bad eye sight. in the morning, if i havent put my contacts in & cant find my glasses, and someone speaks to me - i cant hear them well because i cant see them well.

ok i think that's enough for now. but as i re-read the list, i'm not that odd in my humble opinion. so what about you???? tell me a quirk or two - i wont hold it against you.