Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rabbit Babies????

This is Bella, Lena's Dutch girl. She has her own apartment, but sometimes we let her husband, Buddy, visit her. We have let them visit several times. But we didn't think they had really "visited" -- if you get my drift.
Evidently they did, indeed, "visit." Lena came running into the house this afternoon yelling, "Bella had babies!!! Bella had babies!!!"
We had had a bit of a clue that she *MIGHT* be expecting just a few days ago because she had been pulling her belly hairs making a nest. But we also read that often rabbits do this when they're experiencing a false pregnancy, so we weren't sure...until today.
This is Buddy, the proud papa. He's evidently a stealthy "visitor." So...anybody interested in a pure bred Dutch baby rabbit in a few weeks?  We'll be selling them at Trade Days if not...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mario & Luigi: On Parenting...

Several weeks ago, we (ahem, rather--someone who shall remain nameless) misplaced our BRAND NEW Super Mario Bros. for Wii game that we had only played a couple of times.

Today, in looking for our "Unreached People Groups" DVD for our Bible/Missions reading unit during school, we came across the game!  It had been put in a DVD case for a completely different movie. 

During lunch, we got out the Wii and I took a shot at it.  Oh.My.Goodness!!!  To say I stink at the game would be a gross understatement.  It was laughable.  The kids (including Lena) were trying to talk me through the moves I should make, telling me which direction to go, which buttons to push, which characters and areas to avoid.

I just COULD NOT make Mario do what I wanted him to do.  No matter how well they coached me.  No matter how great and spot on their instructions were.

They huffed and puffed.  They told me I was pitiful (which I knew--so it didn't hurt my feelings.)  They hollered.  Finally, at one point, William walked outside, unable to watch anymore.  Lena offered to just do it for me to get me through the level.

And it occurred to me...they were getting a glimpse of what it is to be a parent. 

We know how to navigate the things they are dealing with.  We see the pitfalls and the traps, and the shady characters that are lying in wait to do them harm.  We tell them, plead with them, to avoid all of those things.  But they won't/can't just let us "do this level" for them...they have to do it on their own.  And that's as it should be. 

Like them, I sometimes have to huff and puff and holler as I see them getting ready to run into obstacles; sometimes even cover my eyes 'cause it's just too doggone painful to watch them make mistakes I KNOW are coming up. 

In the end, I's only this process of learning (mostly by experience...sometimes by listening and observing) where the "bad guys" are waiting and which features of the game (opportunities in real life) they can use for their advantage that will teach them and prepare them to someday slay the dragon and conquer the castle.  And that will be a day that will make me so proud.  (and relieved....)  

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Morning On The Farm...

Last Saturday morning, we just KNEW that Flip was going to finally have her kids.  Alas...we spent about 4 hours outside and no kids...  However, we did get to enjoy the absolutely FABULOUS spring weather!  So, all was not lost.   Here are a few snippets of our morning.
 Baby goats doing what all babies do...wallering their momma to death!
 Quack quack!
 Don't all 9 year old girls nap on their 4-wheeler while waiting for their goat to give birth????
 Are you scared yet?
 You should be now!
 I'm just sharing this one cause I love the pattern of this chicken's feathers.  Her name is "Party."
 Guineas are strange-looking creatures aren't they?
 Yes, as a matter of fact, those sunglasses ARE pink.  You gotta problem with that?  I didn't think so!
 NOT sharing...  This little chick got her first juicy worm today.  YUM!
 Takin' her babies out for a stroll...
Matthew lovin' on the new baby... 
 They call him eagle eye...
 The guys...
 Jared not squeezing the chick to death!
 Kenzie (and the chicken) visiting the new momma...
 What a handsome dude!
 My sweet little farm girl.
My sweet farm BOY helping his sister across the boards to see the goats. it turns out...this WAS the day Flip had her kid.  Only one.  But she waited until we were all engrossed in other activities.  I was on the phone when one of the kids ran in and told us all to come quick.  Sure enough.  We all got settled in to our chairs outside the goat pen (and some of us INSIDE the goat pen) just in time to tune into our favorite channel, Farm TV.  Today's special was a documentary on "birthing kids."  It doesn't get much more educational than that!  That'll be the next post...maybe.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

"G" is for Grain...

School with Jared and MaKenzie is so much fun! Homeschooling my kids, in general, has always been fun for me, but, with Jared and MaKenzie it's a bit different than it has been with the others. With the other kids, because they are mostly "typical" learners (at least close enough within the realm to be called so), I have been able to buy curricula ready-made that will work for them in each subject area. Not so with Jared and MaKenzie.
With Jared and MaKenzie, I get to make up the lessons in large part. Certainly, I have curricula that I use with them, but if I used it as intended (followed the lesson plans as prescribed), it would be much too fast-paced for them. The curriculum covers a letter every day or so. My kids need at least a week or so between letters. So, I "fill-in" using my own ideas, or with ideas I find online or from the suggestions of therapists.
The pictures on this post are from a fill-in day.  On this day, as I was thinking about what we could do, I was looking over the Bible story we were going to read. It happened to be about Joseph and his job helping to collect, store, and distribute food (grain) during the years of feast and famine in Egypt. The top picture is of Jared's coloring page. See the bags of grain? They reminded me of the buckets of grain I have in my pantry.  That sparked the idea to create a worksheet with the letter "G" and let the kids use glue to stick wheat berries (grain) to the glue in the shape of the letter to form a "G." 

Besides reviewing the letter "G" for the millionth day (not really, it only seems that way...) we also practiced writing (pre-writing/tracing/air-writing), counted items, played a letter matching game, reviewed all of our other letters by finger-tracing our sand paper letters, talked about the color blue (colors are still a little iffy on some days for them), and, of course, we read the story about Joseph distributing the "GRAIN" and being reunited with his family.  I think Jared only interrupted me about 15 times to ask about the pictures today!  Seriously, though, what a privilege for me!  I'm so thankful for the opportunity to spend these times with my kids.  It's definitely a huge responsibility--one that keeps me on my knees--but that's a good thing, right?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Gumption--and LOTS of it!

If you know my MaKenzie, then you know what a social creature she is!  It is her nature to be "WITH" others.  To be close to them, to engage them in conversation, to touch or hug, to involve herself in what they are doing.  She is not a spectator--she wants to be part of the action!  That includes the various mundane goings on here around the house, too.
When I hand out a list of chores to be done, if I don't give her a job, she will invariably ask, "Mommy, what can I do?"  She ALWAYS comes when I am doing dishes.  When I get to the silverware, she faithfully reminds me to leave them after I wash them for her to rinse and put in the drainer.  And she does a beautiful job of putting those silverware in the drainer, too!
She also loves to fold my washcloths and dishcloths.  She is AWESOME at this job.  Just look at how she uses BOTH hands--she uses "righty" to get those corners matched up just right!  Not only are these jobs therapeutic for her, they get to the heart of what she really craves--she is useful; she's a needed part of our family and household; she's involved in a REAL way.
Today, when MaKenzie heard me say I needed hangers, she said, "I can't reach the top, can I get the ones on the bottom?" Why, of course you can girlie! I heard her fall no less than 4 times trying to get those hangers back out to me. I asked her if she was okay, and she always said she was. If it was me and I fell 4 times trying to get a silly job done, you better bet I'd be calling in the reinforcements! Not her! She's so determined! (Not to mention CUTE in her little dress made just for her by our friend LIZ!!!)
What a shame it is when we overlook the members of our communities who have special needs and fail to involve them in useful ways.  Special needs does not equal DIS-abled.  It just means DIFFERENTLY-abled!  In our family, we are trying to find successes rather than assuming failure for our kids who are differently-abled, and we are finding so MANY things they are GREAT at doing!  (Primarily they are super great at keeping us laughing--they are REALLY funny!!!)

Friday, March 4, 2011

"Life" is cool...

This morning, John Wesley woke up earlier than all the rest of us and headed out to check on the animals, as usual. When, just a minute later, we heard his quick steps coming up the ramp to the porch, Harold said, "The goats!"
And, indeed, it was Stripe with her newest set of twins, just minutes old when John Wesley found them! Can you imagine two kids looking any more different than these two? We woke everyone up and spent the next hour and a half out there just watching them "come to life" before our very eyes. Life is so cool.