Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years Eve

It's New Years Eve. It used to mean something to me. It meant Sean and I would drive to our friends Dru and Charity's house and help them (and their 20 closest friends) ring in the new year. It was tradition. I enjoyed it. Then Charity and I got pregnant on the same month and had babies three days apart. That was in 2007 and things have been a bit different since then. No more parties. We stay in now. Load the fridge up with junk food, get a little alcohol (maybe a couple of beers...we don't really drink) and watch movies to ring in the new year. Oh how the times have changed. Children really do bring out your inner couch potato. And you know what? I wouldn't change it for the world.

I hope everyone is having a great New Years Eve however you wish to ring it in. And since I can't possibly write a post right now without including my new baby goats, here is a video of them shortly after they were born yesterday. I am so enamored with them, I must have spent three hours out there today just sitting in their pen letting them sniff and climb on me. Talk about no fear. They are just precious.

video

Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Kids on the Block

I now have two new kids in my life. Aren't they freaking precious?! Dym had a little doeling and buckling (girl and boy) around noon today. I went out to check on her (as I'd been doing every twenty minutes) before Jessica came over for a playdate. No laboring, no kids. So there we were sitting in the living room with the baby monitor near us and Jessica heard the faintest of a little baby goat noise. She said "Dude! You've got a baby out there!" and I went "Oh my gosh!" and ran out there to find Dym cleaning up a just born kid. First out was the little boy whom I named Heston. Don't ask me why, just liked it. I helped her dry him off a little and dipped his umbilical cord in iodine, then showed him where the buffet was. I ran inside to tell everyone and help feed all the children lunch. By the time I got back out there (10 minutes later?) she already had the second baby out. Wish I would have stayed out there, I would have loved to see it. The second kid out was the little girl whom I named Coco (well actually Jessica named her). They are both doing great and I just adore them, as does Dym. She is such a good Mom, licking them nonstop. I have had to help them find the milk every time I go out there as poor Dym's teats are really long and almost drag the ground when she's in milk. I was worried they weren't getting enough colostrum (first milk) that I milked her a bit and bottle fed each kid a few ounces. They seem to be doing well, already bouncing around trying to leap on top of tired Dym. I was sitting in the pen and Heston bounced over to me and jumped in my lap then proceeded to fall asleep. I think I'm going to enjoy helping raise these kids. :)

Just born.

Tiny next to Mom.

Checking out the strange creature in the corner.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Goat Watch: Day1

This is the big week! Dym is having her babies this week. She is due on Wednesday but it's normal (like any birth) to go into labor a few days before or a few days after your due date. I'm totally excited. Ask my husband, it's all I talk about. I received several more books for Christmas about raising goats and making cheese so that has just added fuel to the fire. I feel ready for the big event. I have assembled a birthing kit that includes all the essentials and a few things that are above and beyond the realm of the normal kit. Since I've never helped out with a birth I'm not really sure I'll know what to do with all the equipment, but at least I'm prepared. We even set up a baby monitor in the shop (where Dym is set up in a birthing stall) and have the receiver next to my side of the bed.

We had a false alarm this morning. I got up early because I couldn't sleep at 6:30 am and went downstairs to surf the web. Sean woke up to a lot of goat noises coming out the baby monitor and was getting dressed when he found me in the basement. I jumped off of the couch and threw on my coat and Sean and I ran out to the shop to find Dym peacefully lying there chewing her cud. Turns out the constant meow of the cat sounds similar to a goat over a baby monitor. It made me smile knowing Sean was eager to help with the birth had it been in full swing.

So anyways, any day now I hope to update the blog with freakin adorable pictures of baby goats. Oh I literally can't wait.

All my pictures of Dym look like this one, she's right up in the camera at all times. She's just hoping I have food.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas through pictures

I hope you all had a blessed and relaxing Christmas day! We were lucky enough to have family at our house all day yesterday. My folks and my sister and her family came. The girls (my sister, my Mom and myself) went to a candle light service Christmas eve. It was beautiful and really put me in the spirit of the season. The boys stayed home to bathe children and put them to bed, and to also be Santa and place present under the tree. Thank you boys!

This year was special in that Wesley is finally getting excited about the concept of Santa. He's 3.5 years old and was really in awe of the concept of a jolly old man flying around in a sled with reindeer. We placed a plate of cookies out and the next morning Wesley looked down from the upstairs balcony and shouted "All but one of the cookies are gone, they're gone!!". I think next year will be even more fun, I can't wait.

Santa was very generous this year. The kids got some really great toys. Toys that will keep them occupied throughout the year (thank goodness!). Anyways, it was a great day.....thank you to all that made it happen.

The grand babies loving the toys!

My jolly old elf. :)

Blake and Emery in his cute Christmas sweater.

Wesley doing something obscene to his Curious George doll.

Showing off the kitted goodies made by Granny Randi. They are absolutely beautiful Randi! My scarf is so ornate, I love it. Greta would have been in the picture but you can just look at this picture and know what she looked like.

Christmas dinner: ham, mac and cheese, shrimp scampi, green bean casserole, scalloped potatoes, cranberry relish and rolls. Delish! 

Great learned how to smile on command this weekend. It's too cute.

See? More smiling.

Wesley and Papa loving the hats. You rock Randi!

The "after opening presents chaos".

My Mom and Greta enjoying a game of connect four. Thanks for the game Jessica!

Baby Emery became a pro at tearing open presents. He's a doll.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!


Seeing Christmas through the eyes of a child is one of the greatest perks of being a parent. I just wanted to drop a note this fine Christmas morning to everyone reading this: Merry Christmas from our family to yours. May it be blessed and please don't forget the reason for the season!"

"There has been only one Christmas - the rest are anniversaries.  ~W.J. Cameron"

I'm off to watch the children open presents. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Conversations with a three year old.

Me: "Time to get your shoes on."


Wesley: "Where are we going?"


Me: "We are going to the craft store."


Wesley: "The crap store?"


Me: "No, the CRA-F-T store."


Wesley: "The CRA-P store??"


Me: *sigh* "Actually you're right."

Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas Mail Thief

 I want to wish a Merry Christmas to the mail thief that has been stealing mail up and down our road (and who knows how many other roads). Because of you we have purchased an over priced monstrosity of a locking mailbox. Actually it's not all that expensive but we sure could have been spending our money on other things this time of the year. It will hopefully keep our mail safe and that's all we're interested in. So good luck trying to steal anything from us, you'll need it. In fact, just go find another road because we are just one of many people putting in new safer mail boxes. I figure the price of this box is far cheaper than trying to repair our credit once you steal our identity. Hope you have a fun time trying to get into this bad boy!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Rambling Children Update


 The kids are still sick. The stomach bug of Thanksgiving turned into diarrhea from hell which turned into a cold with nuclear green snot (it was crazy how green it was) which has turned into a consistent barking cough. The cough has been with Wesley for over a week and this morning he woke up with a dried trickle of blood coming out of his nose so off to the pediatricians office we went this morning. The blood from his nose was from dried out mucous membranes and the cough will take care of it's self over the next week. The doc told me to watch out for a secondary infection and told me I can give him some antibiotics if I'd like (I LOVE it when they give you the choice) which I turned down. I'm all for letting them get over it without the help of antibiotics.

When we were at the Christmas program I took Wesley behind the stage to line up with his class and as I left all I heard was a chorus of coughing. Gotta love it! He had his Christmas party on Thursday and Santa stopped by. When I went to pick him up he excitedly told me about seeing Santa and the teacher added that Wesley was one of the few that wanted to sit on his lap. I'm proud of him, he's sure breaking out of his shell. Apparently he told Santa he wanted a fire truck for Christmas. Got it covered! The interesting thing is that the four year old preschool class was individually asked at the program what they wanted from Santa and one after another said "A DS", or "a pink DS". I'd say five of the 10 kids said a DS. It took me a few minutes to figure out they were talking about a Nintendo DS. Mind you this is a bunch of four year olds. I was flabbergasted. I thought we had until maybe seven or eight years old until we had to think about hand held video games. Ugg.

While I'm on the subject of preschool, I dropped Wesley off last week and I always lug Greta in on my hip. Well, I had to set her down to take off Wesley's coat and the teacher came over and was looking at Greta sitting on the ground. She asked me when her birthday is and I told her it was back in September. This very concerned look came over her face and said "She's still not walking!". Mind you this doesn't phase me much anymore since Wesley was a late walker as well, walking at 15 months. My kids are just late in the mobility department. They sure catch up quick though. I'm proud to say that Greta is standing up in the middle of the room without holding on to anything. She kinda looks like a surfer with the legs spread out for balance. She's so proud of herself, she usually claps. It's precious. As if I haven't been adding enough video lately (I go for months and months without and then bombard you in December) I am adding a video of her standing.

video
Greta loved the program. It's sure strange seeing your children sitting in the same high school auditorium that you graduated from 13 years ago.

Wesley enjoyed decorating the tree.

The tree, a safe distance from Greta and behind a baby gate. :)

Anything and everything goes on her head. In this case, Wesley's chuck bucket.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Christmas Program

I was one proud Momma this evening. My little boy got up on a big stage in front of everyone and sang Christmas songs. It was the most precious and hilarious thing I've seen in quite some time. Precious in that it was my little baby boy who's turned into a big boy. Hilarious because it was 25 three and four year olds all singing (rather screaming) in different keys to the music. I laughed so hard I cried. I'm really impressed with the amount of work that the teacher put into teaching all these kids the songs and hand movements to go with each song. It was great. I'm adding a little video for anyone wanting to see Wesley belt it out.

P.S. I made the Peppermint Whoopie Pies and they were delicious and also the first thing gone among all the cookies after the program. Victory. :)

video

Preparations

Such a busy time of the year. Is everyone as busy as I am? Maybe you're busier, although I don't envy you that. It's been go go go since we got home from Thanksgiving. The illness combined with the driving all night to get home really knocked me out for almost a week and a half. Naturally this is also the time when my business is at it's peak and I'm required to have Christmas sculptures finished. I've decided I'm doing things differently next year. No more working my fingers to the bone (quite literally) right up until Christmas. This is supposed to be a fun time of the year, a time to celebrate with family. It's a time to be joyful, not utterly exhausted...falling into bed every night. Next year will be different.

There is also a big event getting ready to happen. Well it's a big event to me anyways. Our Nubian goat is about to have her babies. She's got about two weeks left until the big day. I'm actually quite anxious (nervous?) about this. It's the first time something has been born here....that is if you don't count the one cockatiel that hatched from the clutch of six eggs. Anyways, I'm super excited! Dym, the goat, is getting wider and wider each day. She's always starving and will literally knock you over to get to food (as would most pregnant women). The dilemma was where was she going to have the kids. She has a small stall in the horse shed that I lock her in nightly to keep her safe but it just wasn't the kind of place to give birth. First of all there are no lights out there, no electricity, too small....the list goes on. The place I wanted her to stay was in the shop. Now you must understand that the shop is divided into two sides. The uninsulated side is where the hay is kept along with the mower. The insulated side is Sean's side. He framed it out, sheet rocked it, painted it. The works. It's his place to play with all of his man toys. It's nice in the winter because of the insulation it stays fairly warm in there. If it's 12 degrees out (which it was last night) then it's probably 35-40 degrees in the shop. Water doesn't freeze. SO...you see where I'm going here? I pleaded my case that poor Dym can't have her kids out in the freezing cold (think 12 degrees and having babies). She needed a nice cozy stall full of straw that was away from drafts. I worked on him and he finally agreed to letting me build a stall in his side of the shop for Dym. He's such a sweet guy. So yesterday I went out and built an 8 X 8 foot pen for Dym out of left over deck wood and welded wire. Then down went a sheet of plastic, some shavings and a bale of straw. Isn't it stunning? It's not much to look at but Dym sure likes it!




I feel like I'm fairly ready for this birthing experience to happen.  I've asked poor Jennifer (the goats former owner) so many questions she's probably sick of me by now. That along with the internet and books galore have given me oodles of info on birthing and raising baby goats. Let's hope I'm ready and let's hope Dym knows what she's doing....cause I'm afraid I don't.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Mover and a Shaker

Greta is not walking yet but she's a mover! I bet another month and we'll have a walker. She's been pushing these chairs around for about a month. She's also exploded verbally over the past couple of weeks. If you ask her to say a word she'll try as hard as possible to say something similar. She's got "Yes", "cookie", "Daddy" and "Hi" down pat. Greta loves to give high fives and shake your hand. She's almost fifteen months old and it's a fun age.

video

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Peppermint Whoopie Pies

Wesley's Christmas program in on Monday and I'm super excited! My little tiny spawn is going to be up on a stage belting out Christmas songs along with a bunch of three year olds. How freakin cute will that be? Our assignment as parents is to bring cookies that will be devoured after the program. I want to bring something awesome. Something not ordinary, something mouthwatering. I've been looking through my cooking magazines and online recipes and think I've found a winner. They look labor intensive but I think it'll be worth it. Plus, how bad could they be coming from a website called butterisbest.com Mmmmm.....
I'll let you know how they turn out.



Ingredients:

Cookies:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 cup buttermilk

Filling:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 7.5-ounce jar marshmallow fluff
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup crushed peppermint candies (about 50 peppermint discs)

Cooking Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. In medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg and extracts; mix well. Slowly add flour mixture and buttermilk, alternating, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Cover dough and chill at least 30 minutes.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto parchment-lined baking sheet, placing cookies 2 inches apart. Bake cookies 9 to 12 minutes, or until firm. Cool cookies on pan 3 to 5 minutes or until set, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

For filling, in large bowl, cream together butter, fluff, and vanilla extract until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar slowly; mix well. Spread flat side of half the cookies with heaping tablespoon of filling; top with second cookie to create sandwich. Roll edges in crushed peppermint candies; chill cookies to set filling.

Store unfilled cookies and filling in airtight containers in refrigerator for up to 1 week, and filled cookies for up to 3 days. Bring cookies to room temperature before serving.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Our Crumbling Problem

A couple of months ago I was going through our Netflix queue and was surprised to see the movie The Money Pit on it. I've seen that movie a long long time ago and it's one of my favorite Tom Hanks films. Sean had put it on the queue as he's never seen it. So we sat down one night and watched it and laughed our hineys off. We laughed not only because the movie is hilarious but also because we are living that movie. We bought our house almost seven years ago. It was a foreclosure and marked below it's market value. We fell in love with the property and knew even before looking at the house that we'd be putting an offer in on it. Were we ignorant kids at the time? You betcha! This house could have been completely gutted and falling into the ground and we probably still would have bought it. Ends up it was falling into the ground. Not even six months after closing on the house we started seeing the first of many cracks develop in the tile flooring in the dining room. Our house is "special" in that it has a partial basement and the rest is a slab. The basement takes up about 2/3rds of the house while the dining room and our bedroom sits on the slab. The basement has no problems, there is no shifting or leaking happening down there. The slab is another matter. The clay soil under the slab is contracting causing the slab to crack and shift. And boy is it cracking.....big honking cracks you can stick your finger in.

So four years ago we had several companies come out and give us quotes on jacking up the corner of the house. The first quote made my eyes almost pop out of their sockets. I remember calling Sean at work and laughing because the quote was astronomical. Turns out that first quote was the lowest of all of them. *groan* So with our options being what they were, we refinanced our money pit and had the foundation jacked up. They put four jacks around the outside of the foundation and then came inside and jack hammered three holes in the middle of my dining room. They then placed three more jacks under the interior of the slab. That was four years ago. Then yesterday they came out and did it all again. Turns out the ground can shift some more and the jacks shift with them.

So I guess it's a blessing we never got around to putting down new flooring. It's also a blessing we picked the company that gave us a warranty, seeing as this probably is going to happen every four years. If I can offer any advice to prospective home buyers: get a home inspection done by a competent inspector that knows foundations. I would like to have thought we wouldn't have bought this house if we knew all the issues we were going to have with it. But, like I mentioned, we were ignorant and young and probably would have bought it anyways.

My beautiful dining room.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Conversations with a three year old

I have to set this up for you. When Wesley was on his Toy Story kick last summer I would pick up random toys from the movie whenever I ran across them, usually always at garage sales. So we have roughly three Woody characters in varying sizes....a little one, a medium one and a large doll. I must admit that in hindsight it might have been better for Disney to name Woody something different.

Me: "What are you doing in your room?"


Wesley: "Just playing with my big Woody."


Me: giggling "Ok" 


-----------------------

Wesley: running up to me clearly distraught "Mom, I can't find my little Woody anywhere!!"


Me: giggling (clearly I have the mentality of a 12 year old) "We'll find it Buddy."

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

New Mexico

I'm finally feeling well enough to sit and upload pictures of the trip. And I have a lot of them. I shaved them down to ten pictures. Here we go!

The gang (minus Nate and his family who had left for home).

I love the colors of this picture (and that smile)!

A great picture of Becca and Jeremy (Sean's brother).

I finally got to meet Berkley! She's a doll.

Sean's folks, we miss you already!

Sasha and Wesley enjoying Dora for quiet time.

A happy 14 month old as long as she was on Daddy's lap.

The tradition continues. All the grandchildren leave hand prints for Granny Randi.

Greta sure liked April, but then we all like April.

Back home, taking the car seat apart to clean the puke out. Fun!