Monday, July 13, 2015

Kittens From Heaven

The Story of 3 Little Kittens

Midnight-Shadow-BlackO, it depends on which boy you talk to, but this little kitten was found on Tuesday evening in our lawn around 8pm by our Lab, Leo, who had it in his mouth. But before you think the worst of him (as we originally did) I think he was trying to bring the found kitten to us and hadn't disrupted their nest! Brayden saw the scene unfolding out the window and said, "Leo is bringing us a baby cow!"

World's Tiniest Cow ... but it does look like a new calf.
Ya, wet, and sad ... he was not a beautiful orphan.

But scooped up in my t-shirt, warmed and dried and fed ...
He started to perk up and look a bit less like a wild animal.

And with a husband who is very allergic to cats, but who miraculously said we could bring home 2 kittens a few weeks ago (strangely the kittens disappeared before we could rescue them), this was still going to be a stretch to care for such a YOUNG little thing.
And then ... on Wednesday morning (which was REALLY COLD and chilly, as in, the low 50s) I found another small kitten on our driveway! I thought at first sight it must be dead and so I got a shovel to scoop it up, sneered "BAD DOG!" at the clueless dog on the porch ... and then slowly the matted little kitten meowed!

It looked like a tattered stuffed animal, overloved and totally covered in sand and gravel. I named this little one, Shasta, and again, I warmed her up and tried to rehydrate her and clean her up a bit. I think during the night or early morning she struggled out of our tree line and was soaked by the heavy, heavy dew of the morning and then collapsed in our driveway in exhaustion and hypothermia. (The dog had no idea she was there.) Maybe she heard the black kitten meowing from inside our house and was heading toward the meows?

My sister, the nurse, who knows I'm NOT the best in emergency situations ... and knew that I know nothing about cats/kittens, drove to our house with some kitten replacer formula, kitten bottles and some tips on what needed to be done to care for a kitten so very young. What a surprise for her that we had TWO kittens by the time she arrived!
But not for long ... 
as Brayden soon came in with kitten #3 found in the back yard!
(He was stronger than the others, totally dry and pretty stinkin cute ...)
At this point I really started to panic realizing that my reluctant husband had left a few hours earlier not sure on having one kitten and now since he had left ... we had THREE!
We were really in Trouble!

And so Kitten #3 was named, "Trouble." He is an instigator and the leader.

Here are the Three VERY young kittens. (Maybe 3 weeks old?

Tiny But Mighty, "Trouble"

Shasta and Trouble playing

 Shasta and BlackO

 And with midnight and 4am feedings ... ya ... my kitchen was quickly more than a bit disheveled and so was I! But hey, I had adorable kittens!--It's not easy to keep up with 3 boys and 3 kittens! (PS, the kittens were kept in a plastic tote or on the wood floor at all times.)

 Trouble and Easton

 BlackO and Trouble were very playful by day 2.


Nolan and BlackO

BUT ... the kittens were not to be a long time thing for us. Jeff was TRYING to be supportive ... but ... ya ... he just couldn't commit to such young things. He was thinking more of a grown kitten in the barn only. Something that would catch mice. And since we were scheduled to head out of town for State Baseball early on Friday morning through the weekend, I needed to find them families FAST!
What a blessing to find the perfect people ... who found the perfect people and that the kittens are doing fantastic! (However, if you WANT one of these kittens and live in the area, I could probably hook you up for an adoption.) These folks acted out of such kindness to take them on. It is a lot of work to mother a kitten!

So, I got to have kittens, baby kittens!, for 2 days. A miracle.

When I was 5, I had a dream that a baby would be dropped off out of the blue. I ran home from school for months, racing to my bedroom thinking for sure that would be the day one would have "shown up!" Well, it may have taken nearly 40 years ... and the baby turned out to be 3 kittens ... but the miracle is still pretty wonderful :-)
You just never know what your week may hold!

 (And as I packed up the kittens to take to their new home ... Leo gave me this look ...
seeming to say,"I cannot belive you are giving away that fuzzy gift I gave you!")

And Easton said that if we ever get another baby kitten ... he's NEVER giving it up!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

It's been forever since I posted ... eek.
But life is busy which is a very good thing.

November is National Adoption Month--and also "hand-turkey" month.
Who hasn't made at some point a hand-turkey?
(funny story ... while at the ice arena this weekend my middle son came and told me that some boys were "throwing hand turkeys full of water." Confused? Me too ... Well ... "hand-turkeys" in this conversation turned out to be rubber gloves that the boys had found and filled with water (hahaha!) Oh boys (side note, glad it wasn't my boys doing this or it would NOT have been funny.)

Well there are many, many varieties of hand turkeys ... and they are ALL beautiful!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Another bit of the mountain

So, since the movie of Easton posted successfully, I figured I'd post one of Nolan skiing too. Such a HUGE difference from last year for him when he went all "wet noodle" and didn't make it past the bunny hill.

A small taste of the mountains

First time I've posted a video ... so if it works ... here is Easton skiing out of the trees


Monday, January 13, 2014

The Dolly Hospital: Fixing the broken

When I was growing up my mom had a stuffed animal hospital based out of her bedroom closet. If one of our animals developed a tear or a need for a mend, they went to the "hospital" ... complete with an imaginary go-to-sleep-shot and a wake-up-shot given when the sewing was done. Ya, my mom is wonderful.

But, I have to admit ... my hospital has a super-duper backlog and some animals get priority over others that have waited so long that they are almost forgotten. No, things are not always "fair" here in our household or house hospital. But this week it was my deep joy to reattach an American Girlee Doll head back to its body over the weekend!!

No ... of course our three BOYS don't own any AG dolls ... but a friend's daughter errantly "trimmed" the neck strings of her doll and well ... they proved to be a bit too short and WHOOPS! off went her head. This might seem like a HUGE deal, but fear not. It's not!
Judging from the condition of the doll ... I think she's just about new! So she's probably been without her head longer than she had it. And her owner's mom must be a super mom because she tried to zip-tie it back on and sew it and glue it ... it was really done well I might add. But ... necks are tricky and really it needed a neck string. AND not any ol' neck string but a super strong one.

But who wants to pay to send her to the Official AmericanGirlee Hospital? Yikes, I'm not sure how much fees run ... but ... probably better have dolly health care coverage!

I am forever in love with fixing over-loved or under-loved dolls ... and I have been a bit curious about the whole neck string thing anyway. So, when the opportunity arose to dive into figuring one out, I was on it like nobody's business! 

There aren't many things you need, however, this is KEY, using a STRONG string. If you have access to real AG neck string use that ... however, this is nearly the same. It's a zinc core candle wicking string that is used in candle making and it can be found in craft stores or online. It has a thin metal wire that runs through the center which keeps the string and knot tight when tied. I bought mine on Amazon.

This is how the neck looks with the head off and the neck starting to be re-strung.
(Hopefully I can make this sound really hard and so you'll be impressed, but don't let me fool you, it's really not hard.)

I ended up removing the plastic zip tie and the glue and replacing the neck string by feeding it through the casing (the little fabric tunnel around the neck opening) on a safety pin with some tape to secure it. (It was a tight fit but nothing a little persistence couldn't handle! I did have to do it 2 x's as it fell off the safety pin right at the end but not close enough to pull it through. Ug.

But really it was not hard at all if you have the confidence that yes, you can do it. And you can! There are many utube video published online that can help you out too.

I put a few extra knots in to make it lay flat and hopefully be less of an annoyance. And now she's hanging out with one of MY dolls who is starved for attention and dolly company. She'll be back with her mommy tonight at hockey practice!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

VBS Kingdom Chronicles and NDFH

 Once upon a time. a long-long time ago ...
last week ...
there was a summer Vacation Bible School
that was planned in a kingdom far away ...
at our church up the road ...

Coming from a small rural church, we really appreciate help from ANYONE in the congregation who shows an interest in helping in their Spiritual-gifted area. And pretty much once you've helped with VBS or Sunday School and you're a Believer, you're on the list going forward as someone who will hopefully serve in coming years! :-)
{and isn't that the way it should be? I actually rue the day that I don't have children in the program and I'm not a first thought of someone who might help!}

This year we lost several of our normal "go-to" folks due to people moving away and also a transition in leadership on the Pastoral level that has shaken things up a bit. It really was one of those seasons of faith for those of us involved with the VBS planning. Who would fill all the vacant spots in preparation, leading and serving? And who would be coming for children?

Here is where things ramped up for me. I'm a graphic designer/artist by design. Paper, pencil, paints, computer, things on small scale, hand-held--that's kinda my arena. But this year ... I was called to do the drama set design and general decorations for the church.
That pretty much sets the tone for the entire visual aspect right from the get-go. Yes, the message of God's word is the MEAT of the VBS ... but capturing the eyes and mind of the child to open their heart through the theme and stories leads up to that MEAT meeting their hearts.

This is where I really shouldn't have worried.
God had it covered.
But me, being the ever-worrier ... worried.
Even despite the rainbow that God put in the WEST over the church on the morning that I was first meeting the VBS director, Julia, for our first prep meeting on what our first plan of attack would be.

And the SECOND rainbow, that was a DOUBLE rainbow btw, that He sent just a few days later in the week as I found myself neck deep in kids and surprise out-of-state guests that gave me AN HOUR'S notice before arriving (but don't get me wrong, we were tickled to have them stop! And really, any more than an hour and nothing more probably would have gotten done without getting undone before they arrived, right?) It's just so crazy, we never have guests ... then it all kinda came at one point in a very hot, busy week.

But I really shouldn't have worried. The church deacons came to my rescue with only one day's notice to help me build the wooden supports behind the cardboard set that I had painted (in 98 degree weather btw.) The Elders let us assemble it onstage as it was created instead of leaving it until the day before Bible School as had become the norm in years past. (I can only imagine how crazy that set-up day could have been!)

Julia made over 30 incredible castle banners for the walls of our sanctuary space (a very difficult space to decorate as it is so large and plain.)
Jeff found a website with incredible suggestions on making castle decorations out of things like curled black poster board and tissue paper and solo cups for "wrought-iron" lanterns.

and I was also able to fashion some duct-tape iron gates--complete with a drawbridge (that Julia just happened to have in her garage (aka: a patio fence panel) needing a new home!)
In fact I got to know duct tape pretty well by the time I made a couple of sets for the dragon lair on stage and the entries that the kids LOVED to go through.

The stage really turned out great!
Complete with a Knight in Shining Armor {made from Jeff's hockey helmet, elbow, shin, chest pads and hockey pants over his fishing waders and my garden boots all wraped in aluminum foil and suspended on our entryway coat tree!}

In addition to supper that the women of the church served to the kids and staff nightly, the food ministry team had great themed SNACKS for later in the evening including these super cool "dragon tongues" and "dragon scales" made from long fruit roll ups and Doritos!

And the kids came! 
Just under 50 in number, all soaking in God's Word!

 Playing Games




And our VBS Mission Project was to raise money to sponsor a child at New Day Foster Home in Beijing, China
It truly was a wonderful VBS that flowed so well, the kids came, the people served and helped, God's Word was taught. It was perhaps the best drama plays done for the VBS yet and kids couldn't get enough and were on the edge of their seats until the next day!
Our VBS spokesperson, Ryan, volunteered a challenge to the kids that IF the boys raised more money in Christopher's donation bucket then his WIFE, Tara, would receive a pie in the face ...
IF the girls raised more money in Annabel's donation bucket then HE would SHAVE off his hair!
Well ...
Not only did it "miraculously" end in a tie between Christopher and Annabel's buckets (thanks to some generous adult hearts) ... the kids raised not only enough to sponsor Annabel ... But they raised enough to also sponsor Christopher too for one year!
That's a lot of money folks.

And what I truly loved BEST? ...
Was that the bulk was given in change.
Quarters and pennies, nickels and dimes. (OVER $200 in COINage!)

The children gave from their hearts and their own pockets. True, we needed the help of some generous ADULT hearts to make it happen in full ... but God loves a joyful giver, no matter the age. 
And I think there was so much JOY in this project! It's no wonder it was overflowing.

And as for Ryan?
He's such a sport that he let them dye his locks 2 colors before they lopped it off. 
(No worries, the blue and fuscia came off his scalp before he attended a WEDDING the next evening and a big work shin-dig the following day after that.)

AND his wife ducked and HE got the pie in the face!

My prayer over VBS this year was that God would be glorified in our efforts. I was so excited to have New Day Foster Home as our mission project focus ... to see the set come together and that it was exciting to SEE and feel like you were in a Kingdom far, far away ... to see the kids, including my own 3 boys, come and soak in God's Word ... and give from their hearts and to be excited about sponsoring one of God's special little ones that we'll probably never meet on this side of Heaven ... but hopefully will on the other side.
God's goodness abounds and He is ever faithful in His plan!
I'm so blessed that He made me a part of this one.

The family

The family