Monday, October 26, 2009

Sewing a new skirt

Friday I had a yard sale so in between costumers I worked on some of my sewing projects. Most have been setting for months, even years, waiting for me to find time and motivation to work through the pile. After a few repairs I picked up a project for Abby. I was given a skirt for her that was too short. The top was denim and the bottom was camouflage. I am not fond of camouflage on girls, so I cut that part off. I had some left over material from other projects – I have a hard time throwing out material. I took the left over material and cut rectangular pieces out of it, gathered it and sewed it on the denim part of the skirt. Abby is so happy because it comes down to her feet, and I’m happy because I got rid of some left over fabric.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Developing motor skills

I have been thinking about why little ones tear everything out that they can get to – shelves, cupboards, and boxes. They are working on their motor skills. Fine motor skills are needed to pick up objects and large motor skills are needed to lift and drop items. This logic doesn’t help the house look any better, but it is something to laugh at as you watch such a cute little girl make such a big mess to clean up. It also works to pick up all her toys and set them in a box. Somehow, she feels that she MUST remove everything that she can reach, whether it’s her toys or someone else’s stuff. Here are photos of her emptying the box of library books.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Chicken update

Having so many chicks has been a real experience to say the least. Last year I had five chicks at one time. But there has been several problems with having 33 chicks (I think it was 33. It is hard to count that many fluffy chicks). Everything went well during the first few weeks. Two of the 33 chicks died – not sure why, but by the time I discovered that they weren’t acting right, it was too late for them. Then I gave about a dozen to a friend, and had plans to give a few to a neighbor girl who has several animals. However, before I got to go see her, dogs attacked.

The first time was when we weren’t here on a Sunday, killed my rooster and two hens. The second time they came on a day I was home, they killed my last hen, then they chewed through the chicken wire and got into the chicks and killed 12 chicks before I intervened. I was mad and frustrated. All the work we had put into building a coop, feeding, and caring for them gone in a few short moments. The owner of the dogs says he will pay for the chicks and damages, but no money, yet. We covered the wire on the current coop with stronger wire. For a few days my remaining seven chicks didn’t want to leave the house part of the coop.

In between the dog attacks I put the chicks in with the remaining hen. She did not like that and killed my smallest chick in the batch. It was a extra chick that the company threw in when they sent the order. I was looking forward to what kind it would become. I then removed her and set up temporary housing for her beside the coop with the chicks, and inside the chicken's yard. I let her run in the chicken's yard even though I was worried about dogs returning. We had fixed where they broke through, but they found a different way in.

Then my friend who I gave the dozen chicks to has returned them. At first I didn't want to take them back. I had planned from the beginning to give her some, but her hens were picking on them and a bantam hen that she was given. She didn’t have a cage that the chicks would stay in so they were wondering loose in her yard. It is amazing that dogs didn’t get them!

Currently I have 18 chickens. Most of the chickens are red star, which will lay large brown eggs! I miss my fresh eggs. One is the bantam hen (given to me with the chicks) and is smaller than some of the chicks. Another one is a black chick that hatched in my friend’s incubator. She had one out of fifty eggs that hatched and lived. Only three hatched. I’m not sure I want to try incubating again. One is a buff Orpington that may set (sit on eggs and hatch them). I love the idea of having baby chicks, but I think the hen will make a much better mother than I do to the chicks.

We have plans to build a bigger coop. The current one is too small for 18 chickens. We also need to put a fence around our acre of land to keep out the dogs!! Rueben also wants to get a gun to shoot dogs that are on our property. It is not going to break my heart to see a dog die especially if it is killing my chickens.

These photos were taken this week a day after adding back the chicks from my friend.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Text messaging for kids

Today Abby and I were in the store shopping while Rueben was watching the rest of the kids out in the van in the parking lot. Shopping goes faster this way and the weather is cool enough for it. It is not good in the middle of summer. Anyway, Rueben sent me a text message telling me that Beth had fallen asleep, and I texted him back. Well, Abby wanted to know how I could text with my phone. I showed her how to use the number pad, to choose a letter, and type a word. Her curiosity was satisfied about that subject and she went on to other questions. She is a continual question asker and has been that way since she could talk clear enough for me to understand her.
After getting home and unloading the groceries, Abby asked for a banana. She pretended to be talking on the banana "phone". Then she brought the banana to me pointed to a section toward the top of the banana and said "Look mom, I got a text message." What an imagination and so funny!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

One of "those" days

Ever wish you could start your day over? Well today I do. It started about 4 am with Beth kicking me. She was restless, and didn’t want to nurse. Gabe’s alarm went off and he got up. Abby started coughing in the living room (She sleeps everywhere, but her own bed when given the slightest chance). I told myself maybe I can get a lot done this morning and then nap when the kids nap (ha, ha). So I got out of bed before 4:15! Abby and Beth played on the floor while I fixed Gabe’s lunch and breakfast, put the laundry in the dryer, and unloaded the dish washer (Abby helped put away some dishes). I was off to a great start.
At 5:15 I sat down to eat breakfast with my husband before he left for work. After he left at 5:30 I tried to read the Bible and pray in between Abby’s questions (Can I play the computer? Is it Thursday? When can I go to Heaven? Can I eat a cookie? on and on). Next, I was interrupted by Josiah who woke up at his usual 6am, and asked for his usual peanut butter & “yelly” sandwich. Then Abby wanted one. Somewhere in all this confusion Beth was nursed and went back to sleep. Josiah took his sandwich to his usual spot on the recliner, curled up and ate it quietly (sometimes he goes back to sleep). Abby took two bites of her sandwich, left it on the table and went to sit on the sofa. She asked if she could go back to sleep. My answer, “YES!” I peacefully read another chapter of the Bible, took laundry out of the dryer, hung up items that needed hanging, and was thinking about sleeping again myself. It is about 6:45-7:00, Beth woke so I nursed her and napped a bit, Josiah crawled in bed and began playing with Beth (my napping was over). Then Abby woke up and pucked all over the sofa – YUCK. I feel her head; she has a fever. I clean her up, change her clothes, and clean the sofa. After laying down a towel and getting her a bucket in case it happens again, she went back to sleep. I started the washer full of pucked on stuff, left Beth and Josiah in the play room, told Rueben to keep and ear out of trouble (he was awake, but not out of bed), and went to care for the chickens.
I lost three chickens Sunday to dogs while we were at church. I put the month old chicks in with the remaining hen, Red. So they were all in the same cage I was keeping and eye on her because she seemed to pick on them a lot. Yesterday I had let her out to roam in the usual chicken yard, but I can’t let the chicks out. We have a hawk around here that last year came and sat on my chicken coop. I’m sure he would love chick for lunch.
Anyway, I cared for the chickens, and told myself that I should let Red loose later so she doesn’t pick on the chicks too much. I hurried back into the house knowing that Rueben wouldn’t do much if the kids were getting into trouble. Washed my hands and checked on the kids. Everyone was fine so and Robert was up and playing too. I then loaded the dishwasher. At 8 am I did our usual Bible time with just the boys. You should hear Josiah quote scripture. I marvel that a two year old can memorize like he does, but then he is a little sponge and is soaking everything up that I do with the older two. Next I fed the boys their breakfast, set Beth in the high chair, cut up a banana for her to eat (she refuses to eat anything mushy like baby food and she doesn’t like anyone putting food in her mouth), and I cleaned up more of the kitchen mess since I had already eaten.
Rueben needed help with his school work today. After a few weeks of his “Dynamic Bible Living” subject, we have switched what we are doing. I don’t like what they are trying to teach him on how to live a Christian life. The book makes it confusing and hard. The final straw was a sentence that said memorizing the Bible was not meditating on the Bible. "Memorizing generally is sounding or saying words and then forgetting them." I would like to know how you forget something you memorized. They are trying to teach some strange knowledge process that he is to use to learn how to have a "dynamic Christian life". So instead of doing the complicated, confussing work in the book I have him listening to preaching from this site and writing what he learned from the sermons (two per week). I listened to the sermons with him (while folding laundry, making woopie pies - a promise I made yesterday, fixing lunch, checking on sick one, nursing Beth…), so we could discuss what is taught and help him write down points. If I had to sit still and listen to the sermons, I would have fallen asleep. I love the preaching, but my body goes to sleep if not doing something, especially when waking up at 4 am. I have the same problem on Sunday mornings. That is why I help my husband in children's church where I can stand, more around and stay awake.
After lunch I looked out my window at the sink and noticed that there was a problem at the chicken coop. I had forgotten about Red! I rushed out of the house and left the kids in Rueben’s care to check on Red. She had killed the smallest chick. The one I got that was going to set (hatch eggs) and my favorite.
Right now is quiet/nap time, but since Abby has been sleeping off and on all morning she is awake and fussy. I am not going to get a nap myself, so I will continue drinking tea, and other things with caffeine to keep myself going. I will try giving Abby a ginger-bath. I tried earlier, but discovered that the hot water heater needed to be relit. By the time the water was hot again, I had forgotten and Abby was back to sleep.
Thanks for listening to my ramblings and complaints. I love being a mother. It is much, much better than being a single school teacher. However, there are days that I would love to have two of me to get more done. I am blessed with four great children, a great step son and a hardworking, wonderful husband. What more could any woman want?
In case you are wondering, I did not write this all at the same time. It has been written over the past few hours in between other tasks, but I just had to “tell” someone. My friend, who has five children under five, lost her cell phone (it is on vibrate so she can't find it by calling it), so I can’t call her to share problems. Some how “telling” makes me feel a bit better about the things that didn’t go my way today. No day ever goes completely the way I want it, but that is part of life. I’m not the one in control. God is. So I should get off the computer and go get more things done instead of sitting here ignoring them because they make me feel so overwhelmed some days. I will never get everything done, but I will keep trying to.

Abby is feeling better now that she finished her ginger-bath (1 Tbsp of ginger added to bath water). She is eating, asking questions and being her normal self – except for her cough. Hopefully the food will stay down.