They wind up with little legs covered in red bumps and microscopic splinters that Mommy has to find a way to remove! I have to say, though, that, despite her tears, she did very well, sitting very still while I worked.
I couldn't believe how nervous I was. It has been 2 years since I trained a horse! It was somewhat hard to believe, but once I got to training some skittish, frightened mares she had, it all came back to me. I was embarrassed, however, to find how completely out of shape I was! I used to thoroughly groom 5 or 6 six horses in one shot, and after a basic grooming on my first mare yesterday, my arms felt like they were going to fall off! I am just thankful she had 20x20 stalls for me to work in instead of having to use her 80-foot pen. There is no way I would have had the endurance for that! Despite my workouts here at home, I re-discovered muscles I had forgotten existed! So humbling.
It turned out to be such a great situation, as, I was free to train the way I feel comfortable, using the gentle techniques I have found work best and fastest, and have the owner just trust me to do whatever I felt necessary. After doing some training with 2 of her horses and helping out with a few other tasks, I got to go play with this little 4-day old filly:
I cannot express to you how much fun I had yesterday! Today, my face and neck are sunburned, my back and arms are so sore I can hardly lift my babies, and I was so exhausted that I overslept this morning. But it is all so worth it! There are few things as thrilling to me as walking into a pen with a horse that is so scared of me that I can't even walk up and touch it, and, after working for a bit, being able to walk out of that same pen after not only approaching and petting the horse, but also being able to groom, lift her feet, have her follow me around without a halter or lead rope, and generally have her comfortable with my presence.
It was a wonderful experience and I thank God for the opportunity to refresh my skills. I look forward to returning in the future.
Since he has gotten over the RSV, he is just full of smiles and giggles. I didn't think he could be any cuter, but man, oh man, was I wrong! You should see him smile!
JR proudly holding and showing off his butterfly shortly before it took to the sky.
For example, JR is learning so much lately, and not just that, but he is really putting concepts together in his little head. Recently, we have been learning about how God owns all things, and allows us to take care of things for Him. So the other day we had driven over to look at a house, and S was on the phone. JR asked who Daddy was talking to, and I replied that he was talking to the lady who owned the house. JR immediately said, "No, Mommy, GOD owns the house, so who is Daddy talking to?" I stood corrected.
On a more serious note, an area that really hits home for me lately is racial issues. Now that we are officially a transracial family, I am learning by leaps and bounds how society views race. Young children, of course, are totally unaware of racial issues, until a parent teaches them otherwise. Children in a transracial family are often referred to as "colorblind" because they see their siblings all the same, despite the color of their skin. However, I am learning that the kids are, in fact, well aware of color, they just don't view it with the stigmas that adults do. I got to thinking about this the other night when I was informing the kids that they would be having a new babysitter come watch them. JR asked, "What color is she?" Funny thing is, it totally didn't matter what color she was, he was simply curious. He is at the age where he likes to match colors and see who looks like who--JR has skin color like mommy, daddy, and M, A has blue eyes like JR and daddy, and N has brown eyes like mommy. Color is simply a means to help find an identity. Oh, if only the rest of society could have a bit of this innocence as well! What a wonderful place this world would be.
The reason I started contemplating these things tonight was actually something M did. As you know I am a Type 1 diabetic. I wear an insulin pump rather than taking shots. The pump is small pager-sized computer that holds and meters the insulin out as required throughout the day. It holds a little syringe full of insulin, which is connected to a long tube, which is connected to an infusion "site"--the part that actually sticks into my skin. That is held by tape. I have to change this set up every 3 days or so.
Last night was time to change. M is fascinated by this process and has been for some while. She doesn't grasp the concept of a disease at this point, but has no doubt reached the age where she wants to be like Mommy. In imitation of me, she will often say things, "May I have juice?..my sugar's low!" And if she is nearby when I change out my infusion set, she will often grab the old one and play with it while I finish up (don't worry, there is no needle attached!).
Last night was actually the first time she actually made the site stick to her belly. She was so proud to look just like Mommy. I just found such irony in her innocence. Here I have a disease I would give almost anything to not have. I pray frequently that God's protective hand would stay on my children, and that none of them would develop diabetes and have to go through years of needles, food calculations, finger sticks, and so on. Yet, my little girl, in all her innocence, just wants to be like Mommy, no matter what the cost.
It really humbles me and reinforces the hugeness of the responsibility Christ has given me as a mother. Everything I do will be imitated by our children, as it is only natural for them to want to be like their parents. They become mirror images in their behavior, and it is imperative that we always strive to model a good example, that they may mature according to the instruction of the Lord.
Now, here we are, celebrating his first birthday. Those memories seem like yesterday on one hand, and simultaneously seem so distant. Grandma (S's mom) came for a visit to meet N for the first time and see the kids, so we decided to celebrate a couple days early so she could join us. Some friends also joined us, preparing a traditional Persian dinner for us to try. A absolutely loved it!
I made my second attempt to bake a cake from scratch. My first was for JR's 1st birthday, and it flopped miserably. This one, an almond-raspberry cake with buttercream frosting, was at least edible, and actually pretty good (though I don't consider it worthy of passing on the recipe).
. Since A has RSV right now, we decided to put the candle only in A's piece of cake. Didn't want to risk him coughing, sneezing, or blowing that virus all over everybody else's cake! But, it didn't matter, as JR wound up having to blow out the candle anyway.
A looked around like, "Is this for real?", then dug right in!
. He couldn't eat that cake fast enough!
First off, congrats to my brother and his wife who just delivered #2 this morning. So my whole family is pretty excited.
The other baby part of the day has not been so great. With all the colds going around this house over the last week, it was only natural that little N came down with something. Rather than improving though, over the last 4 days, he has gotten progressively worse. I was concerned by this morning, as I knew it was more than a cold, but didn't know what it was. After a 3 hour trip to the doctor, turns out he AND A have RSV. Thank the Lord, the doc said we were very in tune and caught it earlier than most. Therefore, he expects the virus can be easily treated here at home. But since A has had his cough for about a week now, he has to be treated as well. S and M likely had it, but are old enough that were able to fight it on their own. Nonetheless, it takes quite a bit to worry me with illness, and I have never dealt with a sick baby this young. So if you have a free moment today to say a little prayer for N, we would really appreciate it. He is on treatment now, so hopefully God's healing hand will touch him soon. Poor little guy is so heartbreakingly miserable!
One day a month, I drive about an hour to the nearest commissary, shop for all my non-perishables and whatever organic frozen goods I can find, and then I only have to buy my produce once a week. Today was that day. I should mention I have never done this trip with 4 little children in tow. 3, but not 4. So, since I require 2 grocery carts anyway--I mean I buy 20 boxes of cereal alone--I came up with this great plan for how to deal with the children. 30 minutes prior to leaving, my plan failed when my help called in sick.
But, I am a military mom, and flexibility is my middle name. So, I packed the diaper bag, prepared the bottles, and loaded all the kids. Everyone seemed to be over the colds except A, so I managed to get him to take an early nap to help him be happy for the trip. Sound good? Riiiigghht!
First, I get caught in a road construction in rush hour traffic. No problem, I packed plenty of snacks for the kids. Then, the construction sends me on a detour, right into the absolute worst part of a large city. So, by now, my blood pressure is increasing a little. Then, it happens.
I hear the horrendous "choke, gag, cough, cry" and know that I will turn my head to find vomit in the back of my van. Sure enough, M lost her breakfast. But, even in crisis like this, God provides. I immediately see a semi-safe looking gas station, pull in, and run around to tend to my screaming child. She caught most of it in her lap, which protected my freshly cleaned van upholstery. There "happened" to be 2 large bibs from a previous day sitting in front of her, so I grabbed those and started cleaning up. JR, meanwhile, is complaining of the obnoxious stench now permeating the back seat of the van. Then I remembered having given my portable wipes to JR the day before. They were sitting nearby, so I grabbed them and finished the clean up. M was pretty nasty, though. Thank God, I had had the foresight a while back to pack spare clothing in the van. So I grabbed her spare outfit and changed her, calmed her down, buckled her up, gave her a bag to hold (just in case), and off we went.
Now, any normal mother in her right mind would probably have turned around and gone home by now, but I am far too stubborn for that! I finally get back onto the freeway. About 10 minutes before arriving at the commissary, I hear the "gag, cough, choke, cry" once again. I yell at her to grab her bag! Once again, I pull into the nearest gas station, and clean her up. Wouldn't you know that my spare outfit I had already put on her was a windbreaker, meaning, very easy to just wipe off! (Thank you God, once again).
We finally arrived at our destination, and I am happy to report, we had a very successful grocery shopping trip, and returned home without further incident. I was reminded once again, however, that even at a time that could easily be frustrating and stressful beyond belief, God provides! I mean, there were no potty accidents or broken bones, right?! And, more importantly, I had all the supplies I needed, when I needed them.
Now, as scheduled, I am going to take the kids outside to check on our strawberries and water the other plants. Then I will come back in, start dinner, and bake my loving husband's favorite dessert....homemade cheesecake! What a treat for us all!
Not this morning! Last night began on schedule for the most part. S happened to be gone last night, so it was just me. Just in case we were infected with the big "Conficker C" worm that's all over the news, I stayed up a little late backing up files and photos from the hard drive. By the time I got to bed around 10:30, M, who has a cold and doesn't feel well, was crying in her room. Hoping to make the night easier and prevent waking the other kids, I invited her to sleep with me. She was restless from discomfort at first, but I finally drifted off shortly after 11. Then she vomited. All over my bed (her side, fortunately). I learned an important lesson from this event--sick little girls should have their hair pulled back or you will have to wash it! Having long hair myself, you'd think I would know that already. So I cleaned everybody up (or so I thought) and we got back to bed after 12. Around 3, N woke up for his feeding. My up and down disturbed M's sleep, so of course she became restless again. When I got back to bed, I decided to turn off my 6am alarm. I didn't consider the fact that my kids really don't sleep in, despite what their night is like. So, of course, M was awake around 6:15, asking if she could go play. Fortunately, she is obedient, and on instruction, laid down and was surprisingly still until 7 when I could wait no longer to feed N, and the other kids were ready to get up. That is when I discovered that I had vomit on my PJ's still.
On one hand I am thankful I got the extra hour sleep. On the other hand, it was interesting having the comparison with my mornings over the last week. Between the slight rush to get back on schedule for the day, and the fact I am an easily irritated walking zombie, I think I will try to get up at 6 again tomorrow. I definitely prefer the peace and serenity of my morning hour now. One day I hope to be able to commit to my quiet times with the Lord during that hour, rather than later in the day like it currently is. But at this point, I am a bit sluggish during that hour to be ready to commit to it. One step at a time.
The story of the Proverbial Woman (Proverbs 31) is truly my goal on days like this. "She gets up while it is still dark;" (v. 15), "she can laugh at the days to come;" (v. 25), "she speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction on her tongue;" (v. 26), and "she watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness;" (v. 27).
So, lack of sleep or not, I guess it's time to start our day! And a few extra loads of laundry today.