June 27, 2011

Financial update

We have been featured on another blog!!  It is a blog by a man who loves cycling and philanthropy and I'm so grateful that he chose us to be listed on his site as a worthy cause!  Here is the link:

I had so many people excited about our recent adoption funding by my parents!  Thanks everyone for your love and enthusiasm!  It really helps to fuel our hope that we can make this happen!

The down side is that we have a long way to go....many people mistakenly thought that when I posted that that *portion* of our adoption was fully funded, that the whole adoption was fully funded.  Oh, how I wish that were true! 

It is okay, though....what it does do is keep us from having to delay sending in our dossier due to financial constraints.  What we still have to do is continue forward with the next part of our expenses.....the travel and the in-country expenses which include the attorney's fees.  I am not entirely sure what the true costs will end up being since items like the airplane tickets are variable. 

On that topic, I have heard it said that there are some tricks such as booking a special "adoption" fare and/or using others frequent flyer miles that are donated.  We have also been told that we could take a risk and fly into London and then buy tickets at the airport to our destination.  Any other creative ideas out there?  The plane tickets will be a large part of our expenses due to the fact that we have to take three trips....so any help in this department will be greatly appreciated!

Lastly, we are waiting for the docs to come in regarding our new business purchase of a digital garment printer.  I will  have our new and improved website up soon to showcase all of what we can do and plan to do.  I think that the main difference in our product is that we can do everything that screen printing could do as far as t-shirts etc except that it is eco-friendly water based dyes and doesn't leave the plastic type feel on the shirts.  The shirt stays soft but the colors are vibrant and amazing!  Can't wait!

So, just to keep this post from being too financially focused and completely unrelated to our day to day family life.... I have to post a recent fun pic of Eleanor.  I had told the older girls that it was okay for Eleanor to try a little of my make-up because I wasn't using it anymore.  Here are the results of just a "little bit" of what Eleanor calls "make-ut"

Eleanor thought she was very "sancy" (fancy!)  We adore her!!

June 26, 2011

Fundraising and the importance of family

It was my dad's birthday yesterday and he was out of town for business.  I feel bad that I didn't get to celebrate with him!  But, it reminded me that I wanted to blog about recent developments with fundraising...

Just before, and right after my grandmother died, I was talking on the phone with my mom and she said something that I won't ever forget.

 She talked about how well she thought that my grandmother was cared for in our home.

She said that my dad had commented to her at my grandmothers death bed that she looked clean and well taken care of.....

For any of you who have done elderly care, you will likely understand why this was so important to me.

It is a job that is very emotionally taxing, often takes you way out of your comfort zone, and is very hidden.

I use the word "hidden" because elderly care is not a popular topic to bring up over a nice lunch with friends.  It is not polite conversation to bring up which adult diaper seems to absorb the best.  (We liked Tena! LOL!)

And, even family may become uncomfortable with discussing this topic because it brings up the inevitable feelings of....."what will happen to me when I become frail and elderly...."

It is not a light and jaunty conversation.

My children and I did learn to make light of some of the arduous and emotionally challenging tasks.  There were several incidents of laughter over diaper changes that resulted in desitin getting in my hair!  Don't ask!!!

My mother went on to say that she didn't think that my grandmother would have done so well if we hadn't been there to take care of her.  Hearing her say those words truly helped me cope much better through my grandmother's death. 

My dad is an electrical engineer.  And, I think he is a great one...but I would never know because when he talks about his work...no one understands anything about what he is saying! 

The reason why I explain this is that he is very logical and analytical.  He certainly has gotten sappier in his older days (sorry dad! :-)  But, overall he likes to make good and solid logical decisions and statements.

Not long after my grandmother died, my dad said that he had thought that my grandmother would be in the nursing home for hospice care for at least a month.  And, he would have the large bill that would accompany it.  But, because we had kept my grandmother with us and she passed away only one day into her nursing home stay.....

My dad offered to donate to our adoption fundraiser, the money that would have gone to pay for the nursing home.....

It meant and still means so much to me because I know that he has been a bit baffled by the idea of us adopting internationally.  And, I will admit that it is, at least at face value, not a logical decision.

So, the next step of our adoption has been covered and we can proceed as soon as our homestudy is done with the USCIS process and hopefully covering the fees up to submitting the dossier. 

I am so thankful to my parents and I want them to know that I prayed this very morning with a very repentant heart of how I've been as a daughter and how I plan to work harder.

I dedicate this post to both of you...mom and dad....for taking care of and raising me, for loving my children, for coming to important church functions like Amelia's baptism even though you are not members of the church, and for your help to make this adoption possible!
We all love and thank you so much!!!!

June 24, 2011

Just love them....

Wow! It has been way too long since I last posted but we have been truly busy getting the final touches ready for the homestudy. We had to delay our last visit due to colds/fever and I've been appreciative of the extra time. I really want everything to be as perfect as possible because I am so anxious for everything to go well.

I decided to add some new decoration to the girl's room, which really did need to be done, and I am going with the butterfly theme.

I just love the meaning behind it because I am currently watching two of my oldest girls emerging from their cocoons and fluffing out their wings to be ready to fly away. I guess technically they have already flown away since they have already left home. But, I think they would both agree that they are still working out the kinks as far as living independently and what that all means.

I still often wonder why so few people talk about the transition of young adults leaving home.

Where are the books??

Where are the talk shows??

Where are the magazine articles and quotes from "experts"??

How come when everyone talks about parenting, it is about diapers and sleepless nights, "terrible twos", and shuttling children around in mini-vans???

This phase of parenting is equally if not *more* imporant and it is really hard!!!! And, it is hard for the "adult" kids as well as their parents. The only info I have really heard on the subject is the stupid cliche of "the empty nest syndrome".

Well, all of you can see that my nest is definitely not empty! LOL! Nonetheless, navigating how to parent during this phase is taxing me more than any other phase of raising my children.

I love them absolutely and completely....and now I have to stand by and watch them make mistakes without being able to provide a safe cocoon for them to be in.

They love us completely....and yet now they have to be away from us and find new deep connections with others which is sometimes scary and comes with a risk of rejection as well as the risk of linking with the wrong folks.

Ultimately, spending time with the two of them on a *daily* basis and laughing, crying, squabbling, having deep conversations, and just hanging out is gone. It's over. And, that is horribly painful.

Of course, there is Skype, Oovoo, texting, Facebook, email, and the ability to come back and visit. But, all of you who have navigated my uncharted sea will know that it isn't the same.

Since we homeschool we spend lots and lots and lots of time together! LOL! And really, I love it and value it more than anything else. Time is such a precious commodity and I know more than ever that I want to spend as much of it with my children as I possibly can.

But, when that time is suddenly cut....you feel it! I think if I had the type of teens that were rude and hateful and were rarely ever home that perhaps it would have made it easier...or maybe not.

But, here we are and we navigated Lauren's visit and we're almost to the end of Corinna's.

 And, if I can step out of my own pity party long enough to be in their shoes...it is really hard on them too. They have come back to a changed home(furniture moved, floors and paint changed etc), they don't have their same room, their siblings have changed and grown, and they don't know exactly where they fit anymore....or how to be a "part" of all of us.

And, they have a mother who wants and expects so much from them and their futures but often resorts to lectures and frustration when they make mistakes.

I made mistakes. Lots and lots and lots of them. Still do....

So, this brings me to the title of this post.

About a year ago, I was having some problems with getting along with some people in my life. And, I knew that I wasn't being Christ like or forgiving in any way and I felt really conflicted about it. So, that night I prayed and prayed for help and understanding in what to do.

I had a dream that night that I will never forget. Well, actually, I have forgotten much of it...but, the main message that I heard over and over in the dream was very simple, very direct, very difficult, and extremely profound (at least for me!). It was "just love them". That's it...plain and simple...

Just love them!

I really thought that my problems were so complex and that God would have to either help me "fix it" or that the solution would be specific to the situation.  But, I think Heavenly Father was trying to show me that I was making it way more complicated than it was. 

Jesus was our perfect example and showed us how to do this.  He provided pure and altruistic love to all that he came into contact with.  He embraced, taught, and corrected those around him in love. 

I was humbled when I imagined what an impact would be made if I used this powerful principle with the most difficult people and situations as well with family and friends.  It would force me to not push forward with my own agenda and needs but to stop and consider how my actions are translating into supporting, uplifting and *loving* them.

So, I dedicate this post today to my beautiful daughters whom I love with all my heart and with a promise to work harder at "Just loving you"

June 14, 2011

Memorial slideshow for Lillian Eva Walker

Today's post will be short and sweet but I really wanted to share the life of my Grandmother, Lillian Eva Walker. The slideshow is kind of long but she did live 90 years! :-) Try to make it to the end because the footage of Grandma and Eleanor is priceless. Of course, I admit that I am biased!

Eleanor and Grandma were immediate buddies. My Grandmother came to live with us only two weeks after Eleanor was born. My Grandmother adored babies and truly loved Eleanor. Eleanor always seemed to know that and responded very patiently to Grandma's repeated requests to hold her(since Grandma would forget that she had just held her minutes before).

I love them both dearly....enjoy the slideshow:

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June 11, 2011

The week is complete!!!!!

I am so extremely glad that this week is over!!!  I think what our family went through this week should have been spread over the year.....and I truly wish that it had been!

It all started on Monday....my grandma had taken a turn for the worse and even though we knew that she was going through the dying process, and wasn't eating or drinking much at all, by Sunday/Monday she completely stopped taking any food or drink whatsoever. 

I have a wonderful and dear friend that works in a nursing home close by and we decided to opt for hospice at the nursing home.  We had been discussing this for awhile but I just couldn't do it.  I felt that she was still aware and that it would be hard on her to be moved.  So we waited...

I am so glad that we did because we were able to get pictures of her with Eleanor.  And, there were a couple of times that grandma reached out to hold my hand.

By Monday, it was different and I knew it was time.  The nursing home could use meds and hospice care to keep her comfortable if she needed it in the last moments.  And, I was concerned about how much it would affect the children to go through the sheriff and coroner etc coming out to the house. 

So, my grandma was moved via medical transport on Monday afternoon.  She was virtually non-responsive but was incredibly peaceful and didn't seem to be affected at all when moved to the gurney.  The men that transported her were big, kind teddy bears. 

I had really expected to feel a sense of relief....a lifting of responsibility so to speak.  It has been difficult over the last eight months to always have someone at home with grandma.  I had thought that the increased freedom and ability to be able to go places together as a family once again, would feel so good.

Later that evening, I dissolved into tears when talking with my husband and explained to him that I didn't care about the freedom as much as I had thought.  I just flat out missed my grandma!  And, I kept having panicky feelings of "Oh my gosh!!! I haven't fed grandma!" the rest of the evening and it is still continuing now.

The very next morning, the phone rang very early....and I knew. 

It was my mom, and she stated that the nursing home had called to tell them that they might want to come earlier because grandma's breathing was becoming labored and they didn't think she had very long.

I really didn't want to go.......it just seemed so overwhelming and difficult.  I had a full day of doctor appts, haircuts, and notarizing of documents that would have been an easy excuse.  But, I found myself getting a resolve to face it and I numbly grabbed my clothes.

It wasn't long before the phone rang again....and I knew.

My grandmother passed away very peacefully early Tuesday morning-June 7th, 2011 at 90 years of age and eight months.

I absolutely was not prepared for how sad I would feel.  I know, it seems obvious!  But, I had fooled myself into thinking that since she was really elderly, has had debilitating dementia for years, was losing the ability to swallow, and was going to be able to return to be with Heavenly Father as well as her husband and child....that it would be a good thing....something to celebrate.

I didn't feel at all like celebrating.  I felt sad.  And, I felt like I wanted to go get her favorite ice cream and see her grateful expression.  I wanted to see her face light up when she saw Eleanor.  I wanted to hear her call Eleanor "sweet" and "precious" or even call her "spunky" in the middle of one of Eleanor's tantrums.  I wanted to still have a grandma. 

Good reasoning would suggest that I should have cancelled all appts for that day and just taken it easy.  But, I was worried about all that we still have to do and I hate the feeling as it all piles up.

So, we left for our hour drive to the doctor's office.  Four of my children were getting shots. Robertson was the only one that still needed his chicken pox shot.  I had wanted for him to get the actual disease rather than the shot due to my concerns of how potentially ineffective the varicella vaccine is (3 of my children had the shot and all three got chicken pox anyway)  And, I know the risk goes up the older you are when you get the illness.

With trepidation, I went ahead and had Robertson get the shot.  We didn't get our usual nurse who is great, but instead had someone that gave a bit too much warning and was very          
 S    L     O   W with the injecting.  It hurt, and Robertson panicked and jerked, causing the needle to jab in and out of his arm. 

I treated the children to a nice lunch at Fresh Choice and I got my hair cut.  I hadn't cut my hair in about six months...to the point that the only way I could "style" my hair was not to....and just to let it frizz and be curly.  It was definitely time.

Afterwards, I had to get my medical report notarized.  Anyone that is reading this that is planning to adopt....*don't* do important forms on a day that you are harried and grieving!  Bad idea!  I think I made every mistake...I didn't sign using my middle name, I didn't obtain three original copies from the doctor, I didn't make sure that the form stayed to one page, I didn't spell out the month....It sounds like I will need to start over.  <SIGH>

I got back into the car from the notary and Mary informed me that she thought Robertson had a fever.  I touched his head and he was on fire.  I'm pretty good at this point at telling the temp by touch and I would guess that he was about 103 degrees. 

I wasn't too terribly concerned because it is somewhat normal to run a fever after receiving shots so we ran to the store, got him some children's advil, and started on our drive home.

That evening I found spots....yep....chicken pox!  It was unmistakable.  This is how it started out...

Robertson spent a night of high fever (every time the pain meds wore off) and tooth pain.  Yep, tooth pain!  He also has a cavity that I knew about but that wasn't giving him any trouble....until Tuesday.  Of course!  I had hoped that he would just lose the tooth because it is due to be wiggly at any time.

I made an appt with the doctor first.  The earliest appt was late in the afternoon which meant that I would have to miss my husband's police academy grad dinner. <big sigh of disappointment>

We drove an hour to the doctors.  She started out with saying that it was just a "rash" that looked kind of like chicken pox.  She stated that the vaccine could not have caused it.  I mentioned that there had been some suspicion that Emily had gotten shingles but the test had come back negative.

The doctor jumped on that and said that Emily had for sure had shingles and that Robertson did indeed have full blown chicken pox (not just a rash...gee, what does mom know) and that it was pure coincidence that he had just had the chicken pox immunization. 

Since Robertson was deemed to have chicken pox she said that he would need to be in isolation and would not be able to attend his dad's graduation the next day....nor could he likely see a dentist. 

AND, his pain meds were rapidly wearing off which meant the return of his fever and intense tooth pain. 

I had to run to the store because my husband's family were coming from out of town in order to be at Robert's graduation the following day.  I called my husband to pick up Robertson's pain med prescription (tylenol/codeine) and planned to shop quickly with Emily and Robertson staying in the van. 

Robertson was completely and totally miserable.  I couldn't give him any pain meds or he wouldn't be able to take the stronger prescription meds that he truly needed....especially since the regular tylenol wasn't helping. 

He was curled up in the fetal position with tears welling up in his eyes.  I told Robertson that I would run as fast as I could through the grocery store and that I would get him anything he wanted....absolutely ANYTHING!  I named off a bunch of different treats such as ice cream, cookies, or smoothie....no response.  He just stayed curled up...a ball of misery.  Finally a tiny voice emerged from his barely parted lips that said, "Could I have a teddy bear?" 

I was determined right then and there that there WOULD be a teddy bear in that store or I would make one with my own two hands!!!! 

There was a teddy bear AND he was stuffed with lavendar and could be heated or chilled for comfort.  Thank you Heavenly Father!!!!!

The next day, was Thursday and I had to go to my volunteer job first thing that morning and race home in time for us to attend my husband's very well earned police academy graduation ceremony.  (I know I should have cancelled...but I had been ill the week before and felt I should not miss two weeks in a row)

The children were not ready when I returned home.  It was good that my husband's parents and sister were there or I would have read the children the riot act!  We rushed and grabbed what we needed and somehow found all of the shoes that seemed to be hiding from us and jumped in the van.....later than we were supposed to be but still within the realm of being on time. <PHEW>

We dropped the baby and Robertson off with my mom....thank you mom!!!!!  She offered since Robertson was not allowed to attend.  And, I knew that Eleanor would never make it peacefully through the two hour ceremony.

We made it in time to see him just prior to the ceremony

Robert gave a speech and was handsome and wonderful...if I do say so myself!  Here it is!

Here are his very proud daughters and built in fan club!

Robert and his brother, sister, and parents:

My absolute favorite: (I just love these two hams!)


            Part of our family...I wish everyone could have been there!

All the dads! (Robert's father, Robert, and my dad)

Congratulations Robert!!!
So, I'm almost done with the week but not quite!!!

Friday morning was our homestudy visit.  We rushed around and cleaned and straightened and worried about things that were truly unimportant such as stubborn streaks on a mirror.  My sister in law reassured me that she seriously doubted that they would refuse to allow a family to adopt based on their streaky mirrors! But then she came down to my level of hysteria and offered that we could just have the social worker sit on a certain couch so that  her back would be to the mirror! LOL!!!  I was so thankful for her sense of humor!

I think it went well....no problems were mentioned.  I felt horrible for the social worker though. 

Mainly the local folks will understand this fully but....the social worker is from the city of San Francisco.  She drove via mapquest directions that took her through Hahn road and then to Sycamore Slough.  YIKES!  Especially for someone that is not used to the country! 

For those of you that haven't had the pleasure of being on those wonderful back roads....it has to be the most trashed and torn up, windy, bumpy, L   O    N   G  road ever...you feel like you will never come out the other side! 

There is a whole lot of nothing out here!  Just a little bit different than San Francisco!

So, when she left, we sent her out on the highway and I'm sure she appreciated the simple and straight road home.

The week from you know where has come to a close.

Robertson is doing much better.  Here is his healing chicken pox picture:

Here is his get well box that his dad brought home:

It came with a LED flashlight, twist up crayons, gel pens, color paper tablet, ball point pen, carabineer, soft mesh free case, bedside bag, lanyard, book mark, note book, magnetic checkers, personal fan, silver bell, book light, playing cards, pad lock, foot note, wet wipes, lip balm, key chain, and plush get well flower.  He has had a great time!

AND, even more important, Robert found temporary tooth fillings at the pharmacy and Robertson's tooth pain is gone!


Now, on to welcoming Corinna home tonight, who is coming home for the first time since she headed off to boot camp.  Hooray!  She has been missed!

And, two of my girls have birthdays tomorrow....

And, I need to finish up my grandma's slide show for the funeral. 

Did I mention that this week was complete!?!

June 5, 2011

Bringing the twins home...

I am excited to announce that I finally got around to getting our fundraising thermometer up and even more excited that on the very same day that I was working on it...we got our first donation!  I was so touched, I just wish I could put my true feelings into words.  It really isn't about the money, because it could have been $1 and I would have felt the same.  Anyone reading this who has had to fundraise to complete an adoption, may relate to what I am about to say.  I just felt supported and loved and that I had someone walking this path with us.  It means a lot to me...

Having said that, I am typically not overly comfortable with receiving help.  I think I am certainly not alone on this one...we all like to be in the position of the giver and not the taker.   I am very stubborn and always want to manage on my own.

 I can give one funny and humbling example....I was hospitalized while I was pregnant with Mary for pre-term labor.  The IV medicine that they were giving me, relaxed all of my smooth muscles in hopes to stop contractions.  Unfortunately, this also meant that I my legs felt like rubber bands and my eyes could not even focus well enough to read or watch tv.  So, the nurses informed me that I would need assistance to make it to the restroom. 

Well, I just knew that I would be able to make it without their help...and so I started out.  With great difficulty, I did make it to my destination.  Success!!  I then realized, as the room was spinning around me, that my ability to make it back to the bed was going to be much more difficult.  Did I call the nurse at this point?  Of course not!  I started out, heading back to my bed, clutching the IV pole for dear life!  I made it all the way back to the bed but when I turned to get into it....down I went with my eight month pregnant body crashing into the IV pole first and then down to the floor. You can imagine the horror on the nurse's face when she ran into the room and saw her high risk pregnant patient, sprawled across the floor! 

When we joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, one of the things I absolutely loved was the service that is encouraged and built in to every aspect of church activity.  I happily brought dinners over to new moms, made a hospital survival kit for someone going in for surgery, took pictures of a very preemie baby for a mom who had no camera, and visited and listened to members of the church who were having hard times.   It felt great and I thoroughly enjoyed it. 

Then, we lost our daughter Kate when I was nearly 7 months pregnant.  We were devastated.  I have never in my life felt such pain as losing a child and truly hope to never experience it again.  I really did need love and help.  But, when the Relief Society president called, I really didn't want anyone to bring over meals.  I really couldn't think about food anyway.  But, she was smart and mentioned the children's needs and so I agreed. 

That simple gesture from the families that brought over meals each day, meant everything to me..much more than just food.  They were able to gain access to our home and to offer a very heart-felt hug without being intrusive.  They offered special foods like brownies to my children which brought some light and joy into the darkness of our home.  Ultimately, the biggest gift they offered was that I knew we weren't alone. 

We have all sorts of fundraising plans....ebay, garage sales, pursuing a garment printer (a prior business goal), cutting down our old walnut tree stump in hopes to sell the wood, and maybe a fun dinner fundraiser.   I really didn't want to just ask for straight out donations because it is truly uncomfortable.... but

The cold hard reality may be that we may not have enough hours in the day for me to make/sell enough items for us to pay for all of the expenses up to the point of getting us on the plane...much less getting two little munchkins back on the plane headed for home....and back again for two more trips and court hearings, lawyers fees, etc.   It is very expensive...

At this point many people (including myself on bad days) wonder..why are they doing this???

I found the simple and yet profound answer in this poem today....every child should have a home...

                                       WHAT IS A HOME?
"A roof to keep out the rain.  Four walls to keep out the wind.  Floors to keep out the cold.  Yes, but home is more than that.  It is the laugh of a baby, the song of a mother, the strength of a father.  Warmth and loving hearts, light from happy eyes, kindness, loyalty, comradeship.  Home is first school and first church for young ones, where they learn what is right, what is good, and what is kind.  Where they go for comfort when they are hurt or sick.  Where joy is shared and sorrow eased.  Where fathers and mothers are respected and loved.  Where children are wanted.  Where the simplest food is good enough for kings because it is earned.  Where money is not so important as loving-kindness.  Where even the teakettle sings from happiness.  That is home.  God bless it."

All children deserve the chance to have a home but due to false fears...many with special needs will never have that chance.

The only interest in our twins from other families, prior to our commitment to them, had been a few requests to separate them.

 I read a statistic recently that said that if just one family from every church congregation adopted, that we would have no more waiting children.

I love to imagine a world where all children have families and all couples who want children are able to fill their homes. 

So, on Monday we will find out if we are approved for a lease on a Brother digital garment printer. 

If we are approved....I will be able to print, print, print...anything and everything I can get my hands on and anything and everything anyone wants me to!  It will basically allow us to put any image that is on our computer, onto most any garment although usually it is used to do t-shirts.  I am excited and ready to roll up my sleeves and go to work!

I want to bring our two sweet cherubs home! (just wait til you all get to see them!)

June 1, 2011

The limpy chick or "The Little Chick that Could"

So, today I actually don't feel like writing about anything deep or even adoption related.

 I need a mental break. 

Plus, our family's tapestry is definitely made up of animals and being out in the country.

 What makes it all fun...and occasionally fun-ny is that I grew up in suburbia.

I am a big wimp about bugs, snakes, bats, and the huge prehistoric moths that exist out here.

My husband has been known to say that if I had been born during the pioneer times, that I would never have made it! 

He's probably right....except for the fact that I am also extremely stubborn and can become very determined that I can make things work out somehow or in some way. 

I don't give up easily...

So, it was my husband's idea to get the chickens.....

I am actually somewhat afraid of chickens but I have discovered over time that I enjoy feeding them and just watching them. 

The children have called it my "chicken therapy". 

During the time that I was working in Sacramento as a social worker, I found that after a long day of working in the city in areas with gangs and traffic...I would drive home and find myself breathing a little deeper the further out in the country I would get. 

By the time I would get home, I would head straight for the chickens to feed them and check for fresh eggs.

I have also learned a thing or two about chickens.  One fact that I did not know at all was that chickens reproduce like rabbits. 

And, something else that I suppose I already knew but am very keenly aware of now, is that I don't like the idea of butchering chickens. 

The combination of those two things means...too many chickens, and especially too many roosters. 

The first year that we did the chickens we liked the idea of them being free range and the children hunted for their eggs.

 Every day was Easter. 

It was great fun for them but they missed many of the eggs which resulted in a lot of chicks and a serious overpopulation problem. 

We now have most of our hens in a large coop and that has cut the population down considerably and has given us about 14-20 eggs a day! 

But there are a few hens that are still out...mainly because they are escape artists and seem to always find their way out. 

We have a hen that recently had 11 chicks!

She was doing a great job with them. 

All but one had survived the first few weeks.  Until.....she decided that it would be a great idea to go into the fence with the dogs.....

Our King Charles Spaniel named Cookie came on scene...

He decided that chicks are fun squeaky toys.  He couldn't understand why we were all upset and running after him!

Two chicks were caught in this episode. 

One was already gone once we discovered what had happened and one was pried out of Cookie's mouth. 

 I just knew that this little chick wasn't going to make it. 

When we put him on the ground he limped a few paces and then would stop and lay down and kind of lean to the side. 

Amelia was very upset and wanted to help him. 

I didn't think he would make it either way but was hopeful that at least he would feel safe and calmer if he was reunited with his mother. 

 Amelia brought him over to the hen and the chick limped his way slowly to her.

The next day, Emily said that she saw the little chick still trying to keep up with his mother but was having a hard time and she wasn't exactly slowing down to make it any easier. 

 I was very surprised to hear that he was still alive and told her that we would check on him in a bit.  

In the next moment, I was on the phone and needed to let the dogs out. 

 I intended to check in the yard for the hen and chicks first but because of the distraction of being on the phone and the fact that I did not have two hands.

The dogs slipped past me and immediately rushed out in the yard and straight over to the chicks. 

Our limpy chick had to be pried out of Cookie's jaws again. 

 Another chick was injured. 

I finally agreed that we would bring the two chicks in. 

 The other chick died within a few hours.

The limpy chick continued to thrive and improve a bit more every hour. 

The older girls brought him into their room and discovered that he actually liked attention and being held. 

He would calm down when they would interact with him but chirp and chirp when he was alone. 

A few days later, he was doing so well that when they walked into the room, he had flown out of his box and was perched on the ceiling fan! 

I thought that just maybe he could be reunited with his mother and siblings.  So, Lauren and I gave it a try....
It was so heartwarming to see them successfully reunited! 

And, he had absolutely no limp at all anymore!  The only way we could tell him from the other two chicks was an extra white spot on his chest.

We have made some changes on how we put the dogs out to avoid more chick attacks.

 Some peace has returned to our little part of the country....

Mother and child reunited.....

Cookie can go back to being a sweet and innocent puppy.....

And there are two more new babies that just hatched!

Oh, did I mention that there are things about the country that I can't handle....

Here is a brown recluse spider

He was found running across the bedroom....yuck! 

I even fought for his life until we identified what he was. 

Eleanor calls them "Seppers!!" and no matter how much I try to convince her that some spiders are nice and eat yucky bugs, she gets very dramatic and says:

"Seppers...bite you...get you!" and she will crawl her chubby little fingers up to your shoulder until you "squish" them. 

Hmm, maybe I need to find our "Be nice to spiders book"... or maybe not!