Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Nap time

Remember when your kids were young and they'd get so tired, either from excitement or illness or changed routines, that they just would NOT go to sleep? It starts out with just a little fussiness, just a bit of grumpiness. Before too long they're just not happy with anything you try to soothe them.

Favorite blankie? Why would you offer them that rag? Binkie? What do you think I am- a baby? Cuddles? Oof, you're too hot- let go! How about a game of peek-a-boo? Good grief woman, I'm mad and i do not want to play that STUPID game!

Eventually, after exhausting all the fun parenting tricks in your bag- you just put the kiddo to bed and leave them to scream. The screaming is heart breaking- but trying to jolly the kiddo out of it doesn't work. So, screaming it is- until- abruptly, mid-wail, they fall asleep.

You can try to head off the screaming, but once the kids hit that point in their exhaustion- all you can do is delay the inevitable. The screaming has to happen before they'll be able to relax and surrender to sleep. One of the toughest things any parent does while their kids are young is try to figure out when to help and soothe and when to leave the baby to melt down. There's a bit of second guessing and wondering if there's something else that can be done to soothe them to sleep... but generally by the point of leaving them to "cry it out" you've already tried everything you know- at least twice.

Grief can be like that. I feel it rise up under my skin. Everything feels unsettled and "off." Nothing is really right. Everything rubs me the wrong way. I can jolly myself out of it for weeks, sometimes even months at a time- but- eventually the melt down has to happen. No one can pull me out of it. I can be distracted- but beneath the surface the grief is still rising.

Melt downs aren't fun. They may be cathartic- but they never totally dispel the grief. Nothing is ever completely settled. That seed of grief is still there. It will grow again. But each time I melt down, I learn more about the process and begin to see the signs along the way that warn of impending chaos, anger, and heart wrenching sorrow. As I recognize the signs I can try to vent the grief in new ways and hopefully get a handle on it before it's ready to explode out of me.

The melt downs are coming much farther apart these days. I hope it's because the grief is starting to mellow a little (although there are days I'd dispute that statement) and because I'm gaining new tools to help vent the emotions before they take control of me.

* (as I typed that last line, "Walk this Way" started playing in the background- and I smile. Only my very good friends will understand. I think it's a sign that I should end here).

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Saturday, May 28, 2011

That time of year

It's been so busy around here that I haven't taken the time to sit down and write. We did get all three market lambs weighed in. The two largest lambs are weighed in for the Canyon County Fair and the little guy is weighed in for Western Idaho Fair. We missed our sheep 4-H meeting this month because we were still driving home from the Boise weigh in.

Most of our club doesn't go to that fair because it's too far away. We joined the club when we lived on the west side of Nampa- just across the highway from Caldwell. When we moved we didn't want to switch groups because we love our club and the families who comprise it. Now I joke that we have to drive to the boon toolies in order to participate- and that's more than kind of true. It means we're one of few families in our group who live this far east. It also means that the Boise fair is much more feasible for our family than for most of our friends.

Right now I am so glad to be a homeschooler! Summer is so busy and we run all the time. We get up early and work all day. With the boys therapy appointments happening several times a week on top of all the 4-H activities and general work around the house and with the sheep- there is not a lot of down time. I can hardly wait until September. Most families will be gearing up for school activities and busier than ever. We will be taking a break and enjoying the rest. I don't know how we'd ever manage to get everything done and take care of everyone if we had to work around a school schedule. I know that families do it all the time- but what do they give up in order to do so?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Weight GAINING blog record!

I have a couple of cousins who are documenting their weight loss journeys on their blogs. I think it's a great idea because it give accountability and provides an easy to access record of their successes and can work as a wonderful tool for evaluating whether whatever method they're choosing is workable for them.

:-) I'm more in need of a diet than either of my cousins- but- that's not something I really care about working on at the moment. Maybe someday it will be, but today I'd like to use my blog to begin documenting our 4-H lambs and their progress through this summer!

Chris picked out his market lambs on Saturday and yesterday he and Sam went and bought breeding ewes. We need those market lambs to be over 110 pounds by the end of July in order to be able to sell them in the 4-H/FFA livestock auction at our fair. Judging by the frame size of our lambs I think he needs to shoot for 130-140 pounds in order to have his lambs finished (appropriate amount of fat cover) by fair time.

The ewe lambs don't have to make a minimum weight requirement, but we would like to breed as many of them as possible this fall. In order to do that they need to be fairly large and have enough fat to begin cycling (ovulating). The Dorset ewes are smaller framed than our black faced sheep. Chances are that they'll be too small to breed no matter how we feed them- but we're still going to do our best to grow them as well as we can. I suspect Chris will show his Dorset ewe for showmanship and he certainly plans on showing her in breeding classes at the fair. I'm not sure what kind of weight goal to set for them. They should be about 110-120 by fair time- I think.

This morning we brought out the new digital scale that Chris purchased with some of his market lamb money from last year. I think we need to make a box for it so that it's easier to keep the lambs on top of the platform without holding on to them (and skewing our weights). So... the weight in results for May 12, 2001 are (drum roll please...):

Lily (bum) 55lbs
Flora (1163, Chris's Dorset ewe) 55lbs
Brisca (1173, Sam's Dorset ewe) 45lbs
Tulip (1123, Chris's Hamp/Suffolk ewe) 80lbs
Brutus (801, Chris's Caldwell lamb) 69lbs
Sheepy (1047, Chris's Boise lamb) 60lbs
Lambchop (257, spare market lamb) 79lbs

We're planning on feeding Rangen lamb grower this year. The bag we opened last night looked good enough for the humans to eat and the lambs seem to love it!

Sam was so excited about his ewe that he got up about 10pm and I had to walk out with him to check on her. Chris was up at 6:30 this morning because he felt the need to check too. :-) So begins our year...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Grand excitement

Last Saturday we bought Chris's market lambs and brought them home. He's learned a lot since last year- but I did catch him measuring the ribs instead of the loin. He laughed and moved farther down when I asked why he wanted to know how big the lamb's ribs were.

Today we get to go look at breeding ewes. I'm almost (not quite, but almost) as excited as Chris is about it. Chris really wants Hampshires, I saw some beautiful Dorsets at the fair, Suffolks always sell well... choices, choices. The people we're going to see today have some of the nicest sheep in the valley. I'm positive that they have gorgeous suffolks and dorsets, but I'm not positive they have hamp ewes for sale (I think they do, but her email only mentioned the dorsets). It will be exciting for Chris to go actually choose- luckily the Fishers are really nice and helpful and can offer him advice that he may or may not listen to if it were coming from his mother.

It's really odd to realize my kid is old enough to participate in his own money making venture. My nine year old is now self employed :-) I'm proud of him!

Monday, May 09, 2011

Saturday, May 07, 2011

What is that? Can I eat it?

We had the pleasure of doing chores for Mom tonight. She has an interesting mixture of critters at her place. Before I get into the list of animals I need to tell you- the woman has a MS in Animal Science. She spent years working for USDA, FSIS as a red meat inspector. She is one TOUGH lady.

She's also very tall and slender, elegant, intelligent, and totally capable and competent at many things.

Having said that (now I'm giggling): the lady raises pygmy goats and cavies (guinea pigs, for the uninitiated). When I was growing up we had horses and sheep and eventually started raising rabbits. Now she's pygmy goats and cavies. In fact, she's an ARBA cavy judge and the reason I got to feed tonight is that she's out of town judging.

The high points of the evening were playing with her spotted donkey, Sabrina, and watching Dory the Border Collie watching the cavies. There's nothing else on Earth quite like that border collie focus. She's intense... and she REALLY likes cavies.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Walk in faith

Faith is not something to grasp, it is a state to grow into.

Mahatma Gandhi

Walk in faith. It's harder to do than you'd think. Go with the flow. What will be, will be... so very hard for people like me who seriously lack patience.

I know that time answers most questions and heals most hurts. It just takes sooooo long when what I want is instant gratification. Could we please just fast forward life and get to the good parts? Wait! No, I take that back. I want a long and rich life. If I fast forward through the everyday stuff I would miss the most valuable parts of this life. So... how do I get from here to there without fast forwarding and without losing what is left of my mind?

Walk in faith.




Walk in faith.

Why are the important things always so complicated- and yet simple at the same time? Simple, simple ideas- such simple ideas.

Fear crowds out faith. Impatience comes with it. If I let Fear and Impatience play together long enough they invite their friend Anger (at least he seems to come to all the parties they host at my house). So... when all else fails and fear starts to set out the snacks and is looking for the phone to invite his friends over... practice walking in faith, practice letting go of what I can't control anyway (and really wouldn't want to), practice loving without reservation, practice being open to life and whatever good may be coming my way. Trust that whatever happens is what is supposed to happen... and put the fear and worries in a balloon and "let it go."

Walk in faith.

Jake camping in the living room

Jake camping in the living room