Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Girls vrs the Groundhog

So I did a marathon trip to W@lmart this morning/afternoon in prep for our upcoming trip ... didn't want to do it with 3 kids in tow, but knew I'd have to. That's the life of a SAHM--although don't think that I didn't consider going after the kids were in bed and Jeff was home! But I didn't.

The kids knew the ground rules, I packed a lunch because it never fails they are hungry and it would inevitably cross over into the lunch hour and beyond.

And unfortunately I cannot report that the trip was a super duper time. Nolan squawked the whole time and the boys ran around like they were 2 and were just horrible. And I say that lovingly with shock and horror and disappointment because they know how to behave and most of the time do. But not today.


I guess the splash pad had to do without us today because there was NO WAY we were visiting there after that!
The boys got the message as we somberly ate our sack lunch in the car. And in the last two stores they redeemed themselves ... luckily.

Okay--that was all background for my day that really doesn't matter for the post ... nor does the fact that I found Chocolate Peanut Butter Spread which I haven't seen for years! I literally had in my mind during the above scenario, "God I need some help here," and I looked up and saw it on the shelf. I'm calling that a God moment. He really does know our every need!

So, after hauling the 40 bags of groceries into the house after I got home I decided to rest a bit and look at fabric and patterns  online to recover. Suddenly our dog, Sasha, starts barking ... which she only does when someone pulls in or there is a deer ... and then her bark gets down right angry and persistent which is really rare! And the boys report that she has a wild animal backed into the corner.

Dear Nolan was asleep in the van (doors open and it was cool) THANKFULLY the garage door was down because Sasha had it backed up against the garage door corner!
The "wild animal" was a ground hog (a wood chuck, a marmot, a land beaver ... it's all the same)

What's a mom to do? I instructed the boys to stay in the house, call 911 if it got ugly and I was attacked ... and to pray for me.
I donned my husbands tall rubber farm boots, grabbed a spade and went tag team with the only other girl in the house, our dog, Sasha.

She really should get most of the credit as she had it cornered. I just delivered the "whack" that allowed her to nab it and shake it unconscious ... repeatedly. And then ... I did the final blows.
Yuck! Not fun.

I've never killed anything furry other than a mouse ... although the episode with the 3 snakes in the garage when the boys were babies was somewhat similar (no help from Sasha there however. She draws the line at snakes.)

What a great dog she is! I don't say that enough. And I feel quite close to her right now having conquered the evil groundhog together.
Thanks Sasha!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Storybook Pixies & Dinosaur Roars

I've somehow misplaced my camera today. I'm praying that it is in the minivan sports-car that Jeff took to work. (That was for Jeff who cringes with the thought of driving a minivan.)

SO, since I feel compelled to make a post and move beyond those yucky photos of ticks and Lyme disease from the last one ... I will post on a few of my favorite new fabrics that I just ordered! I simply Cannot Wait for these to come in! I already have the apron dress all worked out in my mind! (I think)
However, I just ordered the fabric minutes ago.

This is the main Pixie Fairy fabric that I LOVE!
(apparently the background is tan ... even though I see it here as being more pink)
This is the pallet that I plan to use:
I was thinking the apron dress bodice would be red/pink dots, the skirt would be the pixie fairies, a nice edge of the aqua fabric on the bottom with maybe an accent of the navy/dot in a stripe somewhere and also for the straps.
I have to work in the pink stars too somewhere maybe as a little removable apron with some fun buttons? ... hmmm ... should be fun deciding on a couple of options!

Let me know if you have other suggestions or if you find those Pixies just precious too!
And if you are sad that my boys will be left out once again ... I did order a yard of this:
Dinosaur Roars:
I was thinking I'd try my hand at some of those embroidered tie T-shirts. I'll keep you posted.
(True, Brayden and Easton won't be thrilled with this fabric but I have some fabric I think they'll like ... OH NO! Now Nolan says he's scared the dinosaurs will eat him ... UG! ... oh well. I try!)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Once Upon a Tick: A Story of Lyme Disease

This is LONG ... and I apologize in advance.

My husband is originally from Northern Minnesota.
And we pretty much spend every Christmas, Memorial Weekend and summer vacation, and odd Fall week visiting his side of the family every year. We've driven through blizzards and ice storms, severe thunderstorms, fog and deep, dark nights to make that 8-hour one way trip. (Not to mention making that long journey with babies barely 5 WEEKS old!) ack.
Sacrifice ... marriage includes sacrifice--and for my husband, the sacrifice includes being AWAY from his beloved home state--for me it's going to his home state--which is funny because before we met, my dream was to meet and marry a farmer from Minnesota. (seriously, ask my college roommate.)

There is a lot of beauty with the lakes and trees and skies up there:
And it's every boys' DREAM:
 Jeff refers to it as "God's Country":
  My favorite part are the rocks. They are like God's Jewelry Box::
  That I made last year into cool necklaces like these:
But even though Minnesota is lush and green:
 It is not Eden:
 One day we took a boat ride across the lake to go "exploring":
And I think that is when I picked up this deer tick:
Gross eh? Well, unlike a wood tick, these guys are TINY--yes, that is a DIME it is compared to!

Tiny or not, it gave me this ... Lyme Disease:
(notice my belly button that I'm trying to flatten out, I'll refer to it later.)
 This is the tell-tale "bull's eye rash"and it HURTS like a nasty bruise:
And it extended from ONE hip bone across to the OTHER when it was full blown.

Symptoms of Lyme disease are a lot like the flu ... but 100 times worse.
Intense Headache
• Nausea
• Swollen and sore joints
• Spreading "Bulls-eye" Rash (not in all cases)
And the long-term symptoms when NOT treated of arthritis, heart problems, joint pain etc. is not encouraging either!

I first noticed a huge grapefruit size swollen area in my groin area on Friday afternoon when I was moving totes of our camping stuff from the cabin to the back of the truck. Wow.
It hurt! ... but I kinda figured it must be a "woman thing" and maybe it was my ovarian cyst gone bizzirk. But as the weekend progressed, it grew ... and I just felt "not well." I couldn't put my finger on why but I knew I was sick--and I finally broke down (as in crying) and told Jeff that I was not feeling well Saturday night after a long barbeque at his brother's house that lasted until after midnight.

Unfortunately he didn't think it was nearly as bad as it was and he asked that I muster some strength for the rest of the next day until we left. We took our sweet time leaving for that LONG 8 hour drive home letting the kids play on the beach (with me being life-guard), stopping at family along the way to chat ... and it was Fourth of July day ... which last year was on a Sunday ... which meant that all doctors took Monday as a vacation. By the time I was able to call my doctor on Tuesday morning (because I'm too practical and cheap to go to the ER) my temperature was hanging steady at 104+ degrees, I was oscillating between Tylenol for the fever and Excedrin for the INTENSE headache, which really only took the edge off so I didn't feel like my brain would explode. I literally CRAWLED down the stairs on my hands and knees to search out the Tylenol/Excedrin the morning we came home and then collapsed on the couch. (I hated to wake up the family to ask for help. Oh my goodness. I guess I was a bit delusional.)

When the doctor was able to see me at 2pm on Tuesday (remember I came home SUNDAY) I sat in the waiting room trying to be pleasant and realizing that since that was about as hard as when I was in the delivery room having a baby this was no small thing. (Because even with the high temp and the headache and the swollen-ness I would not let myself believe I was truly sick.)
At this point I did NOT have the tell-tale bulls-eye rash and I was praying for answers, that it wasn't a tubal pregnancy or something that would require surgery ... but that there would be a cure.

Amazingly, when I gave the doctor the details and she did the exam ... in the 10 minutes (literally!) that I had been waiting in the waiting room the rash HAD appeared and she immediately ordered a prescription for the month long antibiotic that would kill the bacteria invading my body. The swollen-ness in my groin? It was my lymph node in hyper-drive funneling out all the bad stuff the tick bite right above it on my lower tummy was producing.
When Jeff drove the 20 miles into town to get my prescription they said there would be a bit of a wait ... so he took the boys to get a SubWay sandwich. What the pharmacy FAILED to tell him was that because of the recent holiday they would be closing EARLY. (grrrrr) So, when they returned a half hour later ... they were CLOSED!
I cried.
I literally cried when he called.
(The doctor said it would take about 2 days for the medicine to kick in once I started taking it. And the thought of it being one more day was crushing.)
Jeff felt horrible. But there was not much he could do.
So the next morning, as soon as the pharmacy opened I drove in the 20 miles, with ALL the boys in tow, for the medicine. I totally should not have been behind the wheel of a vehicle and I really wanted to yell at the pharmacist ... but I didn't. I didn't really have the strength.

Thankfully the medicine DID work, I recovered, I do not have the Lyme antibody in my system as it was diagnosed and treated early! AND I was also forced to deal with my umbilical hernia that I had been suffering with since the birth of our last son two years prior. (Go ahead scroll back up to that first photo of the tick bite, I'm trying to hide it with my hand.) The Lyme Disease REALLY made that hurt as the medicine changed my intestinal track make-up for a bit. SO, I finally had the courage to AGAIN ask my doctor to check out my painful and ugly belly button that I had convinced myself was "normal" after carrying 3 BIG babies.

He confirmed it was a hernia and scheduled a surgery date to have it fixed ... because as he pointed out, it's either have it fixed NOW when it's convenient, or do it later when it's an ER visit and your guts are being strangulated and it's suddenly a life and death situation.
ACK! Hmmmm, okay no argument really.
As you remember I had my broken belly button fixed in November. (I'll post those before and after pictures sometime.)
I will say that I can now once again run a 5k without feeling like my guts are going to spill out all over. (Or at least not because of the belly button issue.) And although they didn't do any sort of a "tuck" while in there <>... it does look normal again. 

So, almost a YEAR later ... I'm FINALLY able to make this post about the Lyme Disease episode.
I am SO glad it was ME who got it and not one of my kids or even my husband (who wouldn't have gone to the doctor until he was about dead.)
I don't let things go easily so it's a lesson in getting over things ... and it was hard for me to go back to the cabin over the Memorial Day ... even if it was not an overnight trip. And since we'll be going up there soon once again maybe it's good to have made a trial run once already.

I almost had brushed it all under the rug and just moved forward ... but this weekend while changing Nolan's diaper (yes, potty training is NOT going well) I noticed a little, TINY, dark dot on his leg by where the tab on his diaper connects. It really looked like a tiny sore from chaffing and since he's getting a bit large for those diapers I almost just shrugged it off as that. But the mom in me just wouldn't, so I got my nose RIGHT down in there to check it out.
And it was NOT a chaff mark. It was a TINY deer tick!
YUCK!!! (Did I mention that last year at the SAME time I was dealing with Lyme Disease from MN, a guy from our church also had it and had gotten it from a tick from the park next to where we live?)
(That is a pin by the way ... it is SMALLER than the head of a pin!)

How scary!
I plucked it off with a tweezer. I have it in a ziplock in my fridge just in case he starts to show any symptoms. But thankfully Nolan so far has shown no signs of Lyme Disease.
Yes, we live in a wooded area, we have an outdoor dog and it's been a HORRIBLY good season already for ticks due to the weather. So our chances of having ticks is a bit more than good--but quite honestly, it should be an issue for our DOG, not so much US! And since we've never had a problem before with ANY kind of tick ... and we Frontline our dog I was a bit freaked by it all!
I guess it is a reflection of how much time we spend outdoors--ALL THE TIME! And with 3 boys, that's to be expected. I am thankful that God is watching over us and providing the help we need when we need it.

So if this post helps even one person be more vigilant in checking for ticks, going to the doctor for any of the above symptoms, including the umbilical hernia, I will be glad to have posted it.

Be safe out there this summer!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sunday Snapshot--Scout

We had a birthday this week at our house!
Okay, we actually had TWO birthdays of three year olds at our house this week ... but no, we don't have twins.
One is our sweet son Nolan (post to come)

and the other is our colt, Scout!
(Stefanie ... this post is for you 'cuz I think you have a little wish in your heart for a horse of your own.)

(Scout at 2-3 months)
He came RIGHT up to Jeff and Brayden in the pen 
when they went to look at the new colts. It's like he picked us.
You may remember the post a couple of weeks ago when we took Scout to a trainer to have him green-broke. Well, training is going MARVELOUSLY which is such a relief because we had some fears. The farrier (the guy who does horse hoof trimming/shoeing) had mentioned a couple of times that in his experience, which he has a lot, horses with smaller, deeper eyes and long snouts tend to be stubborn and harder to break.
I know nothing about horses ... so I tend to listen to these knowledgeable resources quite seriously.
Add that to the fact that when we had the vet out to castrate (ewww, I know, not a pretty thought but necessary) him into a gelding (stallions are not the kinda horse we want to be riding ... WAY too high strung!) it was nothing short of chaos.
Imagine, 2 vets, on top of a nearly 700 lb. four month old who took TWO shots of whatever it was that was supposed to lay 'em down flat with just one dose and he was fighting with EVERYTHING in him with TWO doses to NOT have "that" done to him. Not having seen this done before I wasn't sure what to expect but I was pretty certain this was NOT the way it was supposed to play out. In fact when I gave Jeff the gory details that night he winced at it all.
So when we dropped Scout off with a trainer and he mentioned the same thing about eyes/head and never having spoken to the other guy ... added in with the knowledge that this was a strong-minded horse that would NOT go down for his castration without a fight, I think we kinda were waiting for bad news. In fact Jeff left it with the trainer to let him know if this was going to be a "knuckle head" before we spend too much time and money on him.

Please don't let that seem callous ... but seriously, I don't want to put our boys or us on a horse that is not all there or is wild, wild, wild. We already have one horse that is for an "experienced" rider ... we don't need two of those with only one experienced rider in the family!
Did you ever hear that the least expensive part of a horse is what you spend on them when you buy them? Well it's true and this little beauty ... at four months old ... was WAY cheaper than most puppies!
Not that we care for him less because he did not cost us a pretty penny. I just find it such a blessing.
Wanna make a guess?

$100.00 (and no, I did not forget a zero)
Granted, the horse market is way down and the stallion "accidentally" got in with the mares and produced this incredible little guy along with several brothers and sisters. oopps. But YAY! for us!
But ... if we didn't grow our own hay for the last 10 years or have our own grazing ground it would cost a fortune just to keep these big guys.

On Saturday, Scout turned three years old. And while his peers may have been running The Preakness ... he was being ridden by the trainer for the first time and to our relief he said that he we had a very nice horse on our hands! And that he had taken to things very well and that he was doing GREAT!
Yes, he had lost probably a HUNDRED pounds ... which was to be expected from being in a new place, doing new things and being worked. (And we did go see him later Saturday afternoon and he had lost a good deal of weight and had a bit of "I am SO sorry for whatever I did" in his eyes--but overall he looked good.)
... and on this past Friday ... on Nolan's birthday, the trainer called again ... but this time the news wasn't so good ... he got his leg wrapped up in a lead-line while he was grazing and got a nasty raw abrasion right above his hoof and his hock and he is now scheduled to see the vet for swelling further up his leg. (Anything to do with a horse and his leg is NOT good.)
Hopefully nothing has been structurally damaged as that would be catastrophe for him! Yes, as in "he will make a nice horse blanket" kind of catastrophe. ACK!

We're praying for the best and are encouraged having visited him yesterday and seeing him put weight on it even though it is tender. He is actually a horse I can see myself being okay learning the ropes around. He is a pretty-boy too isn't he?
Happy Birthday Scout!

Sunday Snapshot

Thursday, June 9, 2011

How Can You Not

The NDFH Match Challenge
I can't believe I missed this post when it was fresh!

But then again ... I'm glad I saw it now and that you are reading about it now too.
Please post it to your fbook and your blog, tell your neighbor and your friends. It is just too cool to miss out on!

Here's the short version. Please go to the above link for the FULL skinny on the story!

There is a mom out there, much like you and me, who longs to do something for orphans in need of surgery.
But like you and me, she's not a millionaire, she has kids and endless errands and practices and a very full day.
But her heart still deeply longs to do something for these children who wait. They wait to have parents of their own. They wait to have homes of their own. They wait to have surgeries that will help to put them on the road to adoption. Because without these surguries they very well may not be adopted... or live to be adopted.

And so she is throwing a challenge out there to you and me and would like us to be a part. She has made the challenge to match DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR all donations made through the NDFH Challenge Chip In Button for Surgeries up to $5,000!  Did you catch that?
So if the goal of $5,000 is reached New Day will receive $10,000! That's enough for a heart surgery to help someone like sweet Roy:
Oh sweet Roy--if he was your son would you wait to give him the heart surgery he needs? Just think even $10 is actually $20 when it is matched by this challenge! $50 becomes $100! What a beautiful way to bless the life of a child, and a family who will someday adopt this child to be their own, and to glorify God all the way.

Renee waits for spinal surgery
Pass up an evening eating out, or donate all or part of your garage sale or farmer's market earnings, or return some bottles and cans for deposit, or just go crazy and dig deep-- it would bless these kids' socks off!

Elliot waits for surgery very dear to my heart

I'm reminded of so many examples from the Bible of how God makes BIG things out of little things--The loaves and fishes, the widow with 2 coins, the parable of the mustard seed ... God seems to love to show His greatness through His work in the tiniest of things! Through faith in His ability to provide and our willingness to give God makes things happen.

I cannot wait to see that matching number rise and rise and rise!
I'd love to hear what cool way you've come up with to donate.

Join in the challenge!
Go here for the ND Match Challenge chip-in on the sidebar by July 16!
OR click on the chip-in on my sidebar!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A SWELL time ... in Minnesota

Well, we can't all say that we had as SWELL of a time in Minnesota as Nolan last week ...

Apparently he's very sensitive to mosquito bites! (See his left hand?) When his grandma took him down to the lakeshore to throw rocks while the rest of us were out fishing, I returned 4 hours later to find his hand like this. Yes I discovered it from across the room (perhaps someone should have phoned me or at least mentioned it?) as it looked 4 times as big as his other hand. See his white knuckles? That is totally from swelling! He couldn't close his hand and it was so hot. I wish he would have let me take a side photo of how puffy it was. I barely got these photos and I was internally freaking out so I wasn't going to push it for either one of our sakes. Seriously the skin was SO TIGHT that I was afraid it might split! (You can see where we put the ink mark 1/3 of the way up his arm to mark how high the swelling was going so we could gauge if it was growing further up his arm while I called the ask-a-nurse hotline. Of course there are no immedia-care places in the remote place we go in Minnesota and an ER visit wasn't sounding very good either ... but it was becoming a possibility since the swelling was unreal! And the ask-a-nurse people for some reason could not call us back to return my call with advice.

Luckily I did phone them again and they were able to give me the same info I pretty much already knew ... but it was nice to talk to someone.
(Click on any of the photos to see them larger, because this just does not do it justice!)

And not to leave the trip without more elephantism ... he got a bite on his ankle which swelled and then one on his ear which left him with a floppy (I kid you not) ear that looked like Califlower Ear from a wrestling mat. And then just when that one was healing he got one on the OTHER ear. Ug.

He was not humored by the camera either and would not stand still for us. Apologies for the blurriness.

With Jeff's family from MN and another trip scheduled in 3 weeks I'm not sure what to do. I guess I'll be stocking up on Benedryl and prayer! (Gretchen I totally thought of that pump you talked of with your yellow jacket sting! Funny that was probably the last post I read before our Northern journey.)
I sure hope he grows out of this!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Blessings by Laura Story

Have you heard this song?
I have it posted on my sidebar as it's one of my new favs. and happened to come over the radio the first time I heard it this weekend at the most poignant moment after a very. long. week.

"Blessings" by Laura Story

Music Playlist at

and although all the lyrics are so good ... these two verses broke out the tears:

"Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights 
Are what it takes to know You’re near
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise ..."

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise"


Full Lyrics:
We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plead
And long that we'd have faith to believe

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

The family

The family