Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sheep, Wool & Puppy

For Mother's Day I got breakfast in bed from my dear children.  There is nothing like a breakfast made by your children to really appreciate the gift of love.  It doesn't matter what they make, but they give love with their food. I love that they all try so hard to show me that they love me.  It is so dear.  I am so grateful for my lovely children.  The hugs, kisses and cards & food are a blessing as are each one of them.
     After breakfast we traveled to Maryland to the Howard County Fairgrounds to the Sheep & Wool Festival.  I now love going to these craft festivals because my mother dragged me to them constantly as a child.  I of course HATED them when I was a child, but now I appreciate them for the variety of handcrafted items available.  My children seem to love these festivals, but it is probably due to the food!  With kettle corn, lamb-burgers, lamb sausage, lamb BBQ, Goat cheese, and funnel cakes,  what's not to love ??!!
     I took the opportunity to get maple syrup, soap and a fireplace broom.  Isn't it great what you can get at these things?
     To make the day extra special, we spent it with my in-laws.  It is so nice that the kids get the opportunity to spend time with their grandparents.    Dixie also came along.  She was SO GOOD!  She did a good job of maintaining attention with me and also avoiding distractions.  She got to practice LOTS of "People Greets".  This was our first venture into a BIG area with her and she was great!  She didn't mind the crowds or the animals.  We met raisers from 3 other areas and one even knew her sisters that are in Richmond being raised.
 I would have pictures to share from the day, but the 3; YES 3! people that I asked to take pictures, did not take any!!!!
Ummm, seriously?  Baby in front pack, dog leash in hands, alternating turns pushing stroller, must I also take the pictures?

Friday, February 4, 2011

New Family member

Today we met our puppy Dixie.  She will one day hopefully be a guide dog for the blind.  We will do our best to prepare her and love her.  She is 15 weeks old and a lot of fun.  She is so obedient.  A credit to the puppy raiser who was handling her before us.  She obeys the commands to sit, stay, heel, [lie] down, come, follow, [go to] kennel, and out [drop]. She is working on "close" which is a command to teach her to get close to the handler [me] and between my legs when I am sitting.  This will be a common position for a guiding dog when riding anywhere or sitting with her blind person.  There is so much to teach her, but mostly we just need to love her.  That is easy with 5 children around.
     Wow! I am a little tired from this rascal and so is she!! She is so friendly and fun.  I am looking forward to learning a lot with her.  The sweetest moment of my day came when all the rest of the family was away in bed.  Dixie desperately wanted to get next to me on the couch.  This is a HUGE no no for a guide dog, absolutely no getting on the furniture.  I  got down on the floor to be with her and the not so little bundle of sweetness got into my lap and fell asleep.  She snored as only a puppy can, and I was grateful to have a dog in my arms again.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

What to do

Several years ago at the Virginia Home Educators Conference I saw an information table from Guiding Eyes for the Blind (GEB).  (My high school friend raised a puppy, so I knew of the organization).   At that moment I knew that I wanted to be a puppy raiser.  But I didn't want to terrorize my sweet old puppy with a new young puppy, so I filed it away in my head to do in a few years when the time was right.
  As the years passed, I have gradually known that I was not going to be ready to get a "permanent" dog, very soon after loosing my beloved puppy.  I also knew that my children would want a puppy immediately. A happy medium would be to raise a puppy for the blind.  I could let my sadness go toward helping someone else and bring a dog back to the house quickly.   I also wouldn't have to do all the raising alone.  The nicest thing about the puppy raising is that you have weekly training classes.   I don't have to figure out what my puppy is capable at this age, they tell me and help me teach the dog.  I also get to share this experience with Elizabeth.  She is reading all the materials and attending all the training classes.   We get to work on this as a team and in return she earns 100's of hours of volunteering for her American Heritage Girls Presidential Award that she is trying to get.  I am looking forward to the time I will get to spend with my sweet daughter.
     One question that I get from everyone is "Won't you love the dog and miss her when she goes?"  To this, I answer, "Of course, but I know that she will be helping someone.  She will be loved and appreciated.  What more does a dog wish for?  What more could I wish for her?  Also, I hear that you get to know not only the blind person, but their families as well.  You end up with more friends.  That sounds like a wonderful experience to me.  But at the end of the day, I enjoy helping others and that is honestly enough for me.  I know I will be sad to see her go, but she will just be replaced with another puppy to raise. and since puppies are a lot of work, the distraction will be good.  I do intend to get another permanent dog, but we will have to do that when the time is right.
    The most amazing thing about this puppy raising process is that it is very quick, I thought it would take months to get trained and approved, but the process has been quick and tomorrow our first puppy comes to stay.  We are all so excited.  We have toys, food treats, and lots of love all ready for our sweet new puppy.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Back Again.

It has taken me two months to write this post, but early in the morning on November 18th my 13 almost 14 year old puppy died.  Because today is her birthday, I will honor her by writing about how her.  I am grateful to have gotten to spend my part of my life with her.
              You never know how much an animal will mean to you when you first get them.  It is like any relationship.  You are so excited to meet each other and learn about each other that you forget that there will be a day when you have to say goodbye.  And goodbyes are never fun.  Goodbyes are filled with tears, regrets, memories, and uncertainty.  Will I ever see them again? will they have a safe journey? was I a good friend?  
      Two months have passed and the tears still fall for my constant uncomplaining companion.

In the case of my puppy it was a final goodbye to my childhood and youth.  Not that I am old, but so much of my life has transformed while she was a part of it.  During our friendship, I was a newlywed, went through 3 long deployments and many little ones, had 5 children, moved 3 times,  bought a house, renovated a house, and innumerable other things.  A lot has changed and I am a different person today than when I met her. What a joy and comfort you were dear puppy.

Ah, the day we met,...I remember  it so well.  I had spent the last two months reading dog books. I needed to figure out what type of dog would be a good match for me and learn how to train a dog.   I decided on a lab or a golden retriever because they are good "family dogs" and are easier to train- a bonus for a novice. I then spent a weekend looking at litters of puppies.  I did go to the Hawaiian Humane Society to find a dog, but the only retriever was not good with cats or children.  Instead, I walked away with a kitty who still sleeps on the edge of my bed today.  The next day I met my puppy.  She was 5 1/2 weeks old.  She was a great big ball of fluff and I loved her immediately. I remember rocking her in my arms that first night, It was a beautiful star filled night and I took her outside to "get busy", then held her and rocked her to sleep.  She was so tiny.
         A few weeks later she met her "boyfriend" and despite the fact that she got along well with others dogs, she had a special bond with him that lasted for their lifetime.  I could say his name and her ears would perk up. Here they are playing.
  I took her with me everywhere.  We drove honey to work and picked him up, went to the beach, and the pet store.  She was so good at riding in the car.  She would sit in the passenger seat with her head on the stick-shift while I drove, that way I could constantly pet her.  A win for both of us. When I didn't take her with me, she always met me at the door.  Often she would bring me my shoes.  I still expect to see her every time I open the door.

Of course with the additions of children in the house, her life changed.  But I think she just loved having more people to give her attention, and of course all the food they dropped on the floor was a bonus!
A special bond of love.
Probably the one who fed her the most "fallen" food.
Rolo takes a snooze on the most comfortable pillow in the house.
Puppy meeting the newest family member.

During Snowmagedon 2010
Despite the fact that she was a Hawaiian dog and loved the beach and the water.  She LOVED the snow even more.  She would roll in it and jump and frolic in the snow.  I am glad that her last winter included the record breaking snow last year.
I should seriously label some of these pictures because I have no idea where we are, except that we were driving cross country.

Goodbye sweet puppy, we miss you a lot.  Thank you for spending your life with us.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

To Stitch or not to stitch, that is the question.

Perspective.  It is all about perspective.  A mother of one or two kids, runs to the doctor to sew up every little cut.  Now that I am a mother of five, I have seen my fair share of stitches and know when they are necessary and how many they will need.  But here's the thing the older and/or country doctors will tell you that the city/younger ones will not.  Most cuts don't need stitches.  You just need the wound cleaned and kept free from dirt and bacteria (that means $2 in bacitracin and bandaids).  Your body is made to heal itself.  So this is the decision I had to face today.  Should I take Keener to the ER?  Honey is gone, which means all of us would have to go.  It is not a decision to be made lightly.  A trip to the ER  for stitches will cost you 4 hours of frustration, $700, 5 whiney kids, AND whatever disease you happen to catch!!
Keener's forehead got sliced when she fell off of brother Christopher's shoulders onto a gravel driveway. This is 4th time I have seen this head injury in my kids.  This was a"borderline" case.  A country doctor would not sew it up, but a city doctor would.  I decided to save myself the trip, the money, the sanity and the health.  I got Keener all cleaned up, gave her some arnica, and some hugs.  Truly this is all she needed.  The bleeding stopped eventually and she is healing fine.

---and in case you are wondering.  Her hair is that short and crazy.   She keeps cutting her hair.  It is impossible to keep scissors away from her.  So for now, she looks like a boy.  and that's okay with me, I love her to pieces even if she has crazy hair

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Again and again and again!

Not Again!  For the 10th time this year I have gone to start my car and the battery was dead.  Now you might think this is caused by a bad battery.  Wrong!  It is caused by my five little "ducks".  My little ducks are perfectly capable of opening a car door, but apparently closing the door is something they "forget" to do.  Please God, explain to me how you can open a door, still have your hand on it as you climb out of the car and "forget" that you are TOUCHING the door?! The problem is that I do not pass by their side of the car on my way to the house.  Then I might be able to alleviate this problem.
      Now with all this "experience" with dead batteries, I should be working for a car service and jumping cars for a living.  Uh, not quite.  I have a little too much of the "Scarlet Ohara" syndrome.  What is that?  Well, Scarlet is perfectly capable of doing anything she sets her mind to doing, but why do it yourself when you can get someone else to do it right?
     Hmm... right?
     Well of course!  I don't really want to get my hands dirty and stick them into the engine of a car, hoping that I don't electrocute myself or make the car explode.  I know how to set up the jumper cables but have never once done it.  I mean really, why?  Like I said about the flat tire, we have a car service with USAA, I have a Honey, and great neighbors.  But in this case, it was the unlikely but very lovable handyman who came by to give me an estimate for fixing the water infiltration problem in my house.  See what I mean about the Scarlet syndrome?  He barely knows me, yet got tasked with the job because he was "lucky" enough to stop by before my neighbors got home or I had a chance to call USAA.  And he was able to fix the water problem at the house also.   Yeah!

Monday, November 1, 2010

More Halloween.

Here is a picture of the kids from Halloween.
Keener was a Cinderella Princess, of course yesterday at the Navy game, she was an adorable elephant.  Elizabeth was an orange witch, Rolo made the cheapest costume ever (thank you Rolo!!) and was a robot.  It was only $2.50 for the can of spray paint.  Honey says I should add in the case of beer he "had" to drink.  Haha Honey, but no.  You don't get to count the recycled box!    Christopher is a Jedi, but the costume doubles as a monk outfit, so he was a monk for the All-Saints party.
Baby Tybee dressed up as a baby - I know, not very original, but it was COLD out.  So we had to go for practical.
It was a crazy  and busy day; church, lacrosse game, All Saints party with homeschool Group, Halloween Party with neighbors, trick or treating, then Honey left to go to Norfolk, Virginia for his two weeks of Reserve duty.  Needless to say, we were all exhausted and literally fell into bed! One Holiday down, two more to go!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Halloween Message

Pumpkin Carving with the kids last night.  Last year we did not get to do it because of the not so lovely swine flu.  I am very grateful that Elizabeth and Christopher are old enough to carve their own.  That only leaves 3 for Honey and I to do.
Halloween message from the kids.

Maybe we'll pick out some costumes?  We only have a few days left....
Oh time, where do you go?  I always seem to have so little.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Back to reality

After yesterday's blown tire, I prioritized my life and went to get the stand mixer fixed. What?  the mixer?  Well, yeah!  It is annoying to not have waffles in the freezer for the kids when they don't want cereal for breakfast; or be able to make bagels for breakfast, or make a cake!  I really love that stand mixer and it makes cooking so much faster.  I did not grow up with one of these and I wonder why my mother didn't ever get one.  I never have to stand around whipping up eggs or cream. It always seems to take FOREVER to stiffen up egg whites with a hand mixer.   Did you ever wonder who actually figured it out in the first place?  I mean I have no patience to do it with an electric hand mixer, but think about how long it must take with just a fork, Ughhhhhh!!!!!    Anyway, with a full size spare on the car,  what is the rush with fixing the tire?  Well this is coming from the lady whose only care about the car is that it move and have operational A/C.  The sales men always hate me when I go to buy a car.  The first question they ask is what color do I want.  What color?  Who cares?! I just don't want to be living at the repair shop!
So the mixer is at the repair shop and the car will make it there another day.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I am trying to limit my trips out of the house so that Tybee can get some sleep and be on a somewhat regular schedule, but I am trying to get the rest of the kids out of the house so that they are not stir crazy.  So today we planned a library trip.  I prepared a list of books that I want the kids to read, and they gathered up books to return to the library. Upon arriving in the library parking lot and hopping out of the car, I heard a loud hiss coming from the back end of the car.  It sounded like it was coming from the tire.  As I looked at the tire, it seemed to be deflating.
Not good!!!
Not good at all!
 I told Elizabeth and Rolo to quickly get back in the car.  We needed to get home FAST!  The good Lord knows I DO NOT want to get stranded with a newborn and a feisty 3 year old!  So I safely drove home (notice how I do not say quickly!).  I have this general rule that I'd rather ruin a rim than get stranded or change a tire in traffic.  I parked in front of our house to make it easier for USAA's car service guy to change the tire.  It was pancake flat by the time I got home.   Can I tell you how much I would HATE to change a tire?  I know how to do it, but why would I want to?  I mean we have the motorist assistance, why not use it?  Besides,  I don't have a jack, my jack slipped and broke 2 years ago when my stepdad was changing a flat tire for me (thus the parking on the street and NOT on the sloped driveway).  I know that I can get a replacement jack but again, WHY?  I DO NOT want to change a tire!  Patience is a virtue, and I am willing to wait for the USAA guy.  I also know that it would take me longer to get out a jack, read the directions, jack up the car, get the bolts off and get the tire changed out; than it would for me to make a phone call and wait.  So 45 minutes later, I had my spare tire on and clean hands.  Much nicer!

Friday, August 6, 2010

It's a Girl!

We are very happy to announce that at 8:22 am we now have another beautiful little daughter.
7 lbs 10 oz and 20.5 inches of sweetness!

Since she is our tiebreaker we have been jokingly calling her Tybee.  Now the girls outnumber the boys!
I have been very blessed with easy  & fast labors and this was no exception, I only had 3 hours of labor!  I am very grateful to  my sweet Honey and my good friend Mary for being my birth coaches.  They make all the difference in the world.  And it was Mary's anniversary too!  I hope she liked her present!

The funniest moment occured when we arrived at the hospital.  We happened to arrive when all the scheduled inductions and C-sections were checking in.  When Honey announced (via intercom to the L & D desk) that we needed to check in, they assumed that we were part of the scheduled group and told Honey to have me take a seat in the waiting room.  Honey replied, "YOU WANT my wife to DELIVER in the waiting room?!?!?!?"  The very flustered staff quickly let me through the doors and into a delivery room!  It still makes me laugh because Honey is NOT one to say something rash or raise his voice at people.  He must have been really anxious.

How's this for fate? I got the same labor and delivery room that I was placed in two months ago when I had early contractions! Previous Post

Honey and I with our new little princess.

Big Sister is happy with her new little sister.

Christopher loves his little sister.

Keener is so happy to have someone to boss around!!

My three littlest ones.  So sweet!

Nana and her newest little grandbaby.

Keener's Godmother Mary meets Tybee.

  Our new little princess is healthy and is growing big despite a little jaundice (I think all babies must have jaundice).  Now to just enjoy her and let the other kids love on their new sister.

One last picture from the hospital.
Uh, What day is it?  Shouldn't the birthing center at the hospital at least get this right????
Made me laugh.  Hope it brings you a smile too!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Every single day!

Like every other parent that I know around here, we have had a swim or dive meet every night this week.  Add to that, the morning practices and we basically live at the pool.   Having not grown up in this culture of "Your life revolves around the pool during the summer", I am a little mystified and exhausted.  I would just not bother, but it leaves my kids with no other children to play with.  All the other kids are doing the same thing! And I am not kidding!  I only know of 3 children NOT on a summer swim team.  And honestly for a set daily schedule in the summer and a way to make sure the kids are getting exercise, the price is great. at least it basically sucks up July and leaves August alone. So normally August is very relaxing. (Unless I am silly enough to sign up the kids for football or cheerleading!- Not on your life!  The 6 year olds practice 4 days a week!  Seriously?  Why does a 6 year old need that much practice?)   Thankfully we have friends whose father played football in college and he insists that his boys not play until 6th grade.  Thank you Lord for leading them into my life. I am so grateful that I can have the same rule and "prove" that you can still play football in college if you start 6 years later!  I am so grateful for other parents advice and council.  It is things like this that make it easier for me to be a parent.  Who said you can't use peer pressure against your kids?  Probably the best thing you can do is band together.

***Don't know why this didn't get posted months ago-but this is from July 15th, but posted November 19 2010

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My little fish swimming-video

I thought I'd try using the imac's imovie and try adding music to this video of Keener swimming (as mentioned on June 25th) at the pool.  Imovie was quite a challenge, but not bad for a first try with 1000 distractions.  She can swim a bit farther but it was quite challenging to be the camera woman and swim coach at the same time.

The music is from Taylor Swift.  I just love her songs.  The song is "">Best Day" from the album Fearless

Monday, July 12, 2010

A nice day.

We are enjoying having N♡-'s sister (L♡♡) visit with us this summer from Spain.  It is hard to believe that it has already been two weeks since we picked her up at the airport.  Since we have been living at the pool with swim and dive team, I have not been able to take her as many places.  I am also a LOT slower this last month and the heat is getting to me.  Of course with 100 degree days, I think the heat is getting to everyone!  So today I made an effort to get L♡♡ to DC to see the White House and the Jefferson Memorial.  We got very lucky with parking-yeah!! yeah!!! yeah!!! My rule is you take 20 minutes of driving around for free or metered parking and after that you go home or pay.

Constitution Hall.  
We got to park here- this is barely a block from the White House.  See what I mean about getting a great parking spot!!
Elizabeth, Christopher, Rolo, Keener and L♡♡.  Thankfully it wasn't crowded.  Notice there is NOONE else in the photo- not a normal thing.
The White House.  
The  1st lady's vegetable garden is off to the left, but not visible in this picture.

Christopher and Elizabeth
Is it just me or are there a TON of fences in DC!

Of Course no matter where you go, all it takes is 
a simple flower to inspire a child. 
It just proves God knows best.

The National Christmas Tree without all the gaudy decorations. 

Crazy Picture of kids at backside of Jefferson Memorial.  

In Front of Memorial

A Memorial can be fun.

and a little "arty" too.

And to make the day even better for me.  They KNEW who Jefferson was, remembered seeing his home last year and that he sent Lewis and Clark off on their expedition.  Ahhh, a little reward for their teacher!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

5 weeks left! Venture to make a guess?

I went to the OB appointment today and the time is coming near for our newest family member to show up.  A very active little one.  I had bruised ribs last week.  I have noticed that if they are active in, then they are active out, so I think I will be running from day 1 with this little one.  Luckily both baby and I are healthy.  I am a LOT like a waddling duck, but it is always worth it.  I am just grateful for our local pool this summer because otherwise I would be miserable in the heat.  It has been difficult to get anything done when it is 100 degrees out.  I do actually like the heat, I say it gets the chill of winter out of my bones.   BUT, there can be too much of a good thing, and I think I have reached that point!  I hope you are keeping cool.
 So, as the countdown begins, I thought I'd share my guess on the sex of the baby since we did not find out.  I am convinced it is a boy. Only time will tell if I am right (probably not!) or wrong.  The Chinese calendar is not on my side and has been correct with 3 of my 4 children.  My OB even said that they once checked 150 women against the calendar and it was 100% correct.  Pretty amazing I have to say.  Feel free to leave a prediction.  I'll even venture a weight guess 8 lbs 1 oz.
Let the guessing begin.

UPDATE:  Now I am frustrated, there is another calendar out there.  Which is the right one.  They are similar, but have small differences,  Of course they would be in the month that makes a difference to me!
Here is the other Chinese calendar #2!