"Be thankful in all things, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." I Thes 5:18

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Piggies Bath Day

I've not done much filming of the pigs for awhile. If you follow the youtube to my channel, you can see more older ones.
We now have five pigs (guinea pigs). Oreo and Smores were Caedmon's first two. I got them free on Craigslist. The plan was to eventually breed one of them so Caedmon could see a pregnancy and birth, and of course, see the cute babies!
We have good friends who got one heck of a handsome boar named Rusty (another great craigslist deal!). The plan was to breed and share the babies.
Thankfully, as I was doing the research, I learned something important. Females cannot breed if after 7-10 months. If they don't have a litter by then, their pelvic muscles fuse together resulting in death or the need for a c-section. Yeah, well, um...not gonna take a guinea pig in for a c-section!
So, we did get a newer baby and named her Nutmeg. Mommy got to name her since she used her own work money to buy her. She is our sweetest piggie, an absolute little angel.
Well, I needed another cage because Smores and Oreo did not like her. They tortured her and chased her around biting her in the butt. It was awful. We tried to integrate them but nothing ever worked. There was no way I was going to let her have a littler in there with them.
I tried to talk Caed into letting the first two go, but he was attached and I understood.
So I started to look for a cheap cage. We use C&C cages that I build myself but I wanted something more basic for her.
Backing up for a min, let me just say that we originally wanted to get him a male guinea pig. However, guinea pigs get depressed on their own and getting two males that you just pick up anywhere is not a good idea. They have to be use to each other from birth and one has to accept that the other is the alpha male. It's a tricky thing to pull off and just trying it out is not a good idea.
So, I was surprised when we were looking for a cage to see a cage and food and accessories that came with boars who got along. So, we took them in.
Yes, we have a guinea pig nation and the cage is huge now with baby nutmeg on top, on her own until she will one day have her babies in with her. The boys were all ready two years old so we are not sure how long they will even live. They are all fun however and make perfect pets for the kids.
So today we cleaned out the cages. My only issue has been bedding cost. I'm trying out something new. We live close to a market that puts out a ton of cardboard. I'm lining the cage with that and making a litter box as well. It's an experiment. We use to do the fleece thing but it was a lot of work to wash it all.
Enjoy the video...it cuts off because I ran out of memory.

The C&C cage I built. Girls on the left, boys on the right. Nutmeg is on top of them in a traditional pet store cage. It will be plenty big enough for her and her babies and then she get's the penthouse the girls have and they move into the little bungalow. Yes, those are rainbow Christmas lights and they light up at night so caed can watch them from his loft as he falls asleep.
Oreo...the noisy girl, in her pigaloo.

Smores looking clean and oh, so FLUFFY!
The boys were asleep, all cozied up...I was so mean to bug them. Ash and Teddy.
This was before I bugged them. Ash is asleep. They never fully close their eyes.
The little angel Nutmeg. She is so sweet and looks like a cute little squirrel.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Planning To Not Be Total Summer Bums

We are about to sit down as a family tonight or this weekend with the calendar, to map out the summer.
Some really bad things can happen to a family in the summer, especially when you live where it gets soooooooooo hot. Though we are having oddly cool weather right now.

Here are some of those bad things I don't look forward to:
  • The sleep pattern tsunami: The kids eventually sleep in ridiculously late and so do I. The cool beautiful morning is gone and the heat is at the door. This results in jamies, couch potatoes, cereal bowls everywhere and TV. They also stay up way too late and repeat the cycle again.
  • The tube of terror: Seriously, don't you know mom? Summer is for us to catch up on the whole last year of shows we missed! Who cares if our eyeballs fall out or our brains go to mush? We have been worked so HARD all year, we deserve this! It's our BREAK mom!

  • Snack attack: Meals? Who eats meals in the summer mom? Can't we just have the cereal box and eat from it on the couch? What is a carrot anyway and why would I want to eat one? Can you go shopping mom? We don't have any real food? Can you take me to the market to get chips or gummy bears?
  • Poor Daddy: The only guy on the planet who still needs normal life. Dinner at the table, a good night sleep, family time, and to top it off, he's out in the triple digits while we hibernate.

  • Exercise shmexersize: This is a problem for my kids anytime of the year but especially in the summer. Even at 8pm they claim it's too hot to ride their bikes. Frankly, I have the same problem. Summer is the hardest time for me to work out. The kids are around, I sleep in, and it's hot till evening and I'm no evening work out queen.

  • Does My Sister Still Live Here?: This is the sleep over till I'm adopted phase. It an happen here or there but too many sleep overs reek stress on us and the kids even though they don't know it.
So I think those are the main ones. I don't look forward to all that. I am determined to have a fun but healthy summer. I'm looking for ideas but here are some of my thoughts:
  • Scheduled Family Hikes or Beach Days: This is about the only fun free thing we can go do this summer. We are looking at the calendar and planning ahead to take these times away as a family, no mp3's or DS allowed. We are trying to keep some close to home and others we will drive a bit for.
  • Craft Days: I'm planning out one craft a week this summer to pull away from the TV on a hot afternoon. One or two may not be exciting for Caed so I'm going to try to come up with boy alternatives. I'm not planning more than one a week though because I can tend to go overboard in this department easily.
  • I'm Getting Up: I'm not going to let myself sleep in this summer. In fact, I'm going to stretch my get up time to walk in the cool morning. I do plan to let them sleep in a bit so I can enjoy the morning quiet with coffee and reading before the craziness. This will also help me sympathize with my husband as he is on a normal schedule. Maybe even plan a few early morning breakfasts on the porch.
  • Temp Induced Screen Blackouts: The TV will not come on unless the temps reach a certain high. The only exception will be if mommy needs a nap. We have not decided what range that will be but the screen times need to be when it's hot.
  • Regular Meal Times: Yes, I'm going to keep an eating schedule and snacking limits.
  • Bum Your Heart Out Day: Since I do understand that part of the fun of summer is not having any routine, planned meals, places to go... I will have one bum day a week. This will also allow morning cereal and pjs and TV. If' it's not bum day, don't ask me to be a bum.
  • Movie Themes: For scheduled family movie night we are taking the theme of musicals this summer. So yes, on the calendar we will plan which ones to watch so we have them from the library in time or from netflix.
  • Plan to Move: Pool time is the easiest one for my kids. This year it's only free for them and only on certain days. One exercise a day requirement for screen time. I' also am going to plan short evening bike/walks as a family. I also am going to plan wii fit family nights.
  • No Chores Gone Wild: I usually get way too relaxed with chores in the summer. It's just a natural digression after letting other things go. In fact, I'm switching some things up this summer and planning to teach them some new house, cooking and cleaning skills. I may even plan a skill day...if I get trigger happy.
  • I Do Still Love My Family: We ended up setting a sleep over limit last summer. For both here and away. As kids get older, they would rather do things with their friends than their siblings. So, this summer I'd like to take this up a notch by having sibling sleepovers. Sounds silly since they all live here. Yet, if you pop up a tent in the yard and they have a sibling sleepover together that way, it makes bonding more fun. Besides, there is not a lot of your stuff int he tent that your little brother could get yelled at for getting into....right? We hope?
One way we will start is to sit down and have the kids do some brainstorming. What activities would they like to go to? Places? What foods would they like to make that are good for summer? (no bake cookies, smoothies, smoothie pops, family size sub sandwiches, etc) What friends would they like to get together with? What shows do they want to catch up on? What movies do they want to see?

Comment if you have ideas or tips! I'm all ears for more ideas!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Of Plants And People

I've been thinking about plants lately, and the life lessons hidden in them.
How eager we are when we begin, we vision the product, the healthy full fruitful plant.
That vision can make us impatient and maybe even do harsh things like over water and drown our little plant. Giving it too much that it cannot adsorb.
But our motive is hope.
And the days crawl by, especially the days when seeds are still underground and we cannot see at all if there is progress.
Until.. one day, a tiny green pops out, and we are thrilled. But we still have to be patient.
The sun must do it's work, the roots must stretch down and that takes time.
So we should celebrate every new bit of growth and be joyfully satisfied in it.
And sometimes move a few leaves to find surprises underneath we did not take the time to see before.
Because, with patience, care and faith in that which we cannot even provide...

We just might be surprised with how far they have come.

And more than anything, make sure to appreciate their simple beauty and appreciate the time they took this journey with you.

Caed and Riley's Birthday Party Pics

Honestly, we did not take many pictures..we were too busy trying to stay warm!

As ordered, very blue cupcakes!

Somehow, the candles managed to burn in the wind enough to be blown out.
Picking your cupcake is serious business!
Lego smiles..

Emma is only there for the sweets...:)

OH, and teenagers DON'T like their pictures taken .... lol

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Decision, A Poem

The Decision

A path, lain in rough terrain,
Reaching up where fog forbids i see,
This is the road you say that you
Did once lay out for me.

Eyes that strain dare call it as such
A "road" seems far gracious a name
Fainted winding through rock and toil
It argues to your claim.

Reaching up, looming over me
It makes no sense to tread
To step one foot on such a ground
No matter what you've said

Where it leads is mystery,
What I see fights my logic,
My options feed an angry mind
And cause me to sit so tragic.

Still in the mist I hear you call
Your voice is calm and sure
With a power working against my mind
A sweet and sound allure.

One step is all i need to make
One moment to decide
To trust a promise though I see
No reason for this stride.

Yet as my feet put to the ground
Another step comes clear
In fact it lights up soundly
And wins battle ore my fear.

My limbs are burning now to stretch
But somehow growing stronger
Becoming anxious to move on,
To journey ever longer.

Then, oh, the lifting fog revealing
What I could not before then see
A place to sit in green and sun
To rest and drink and breathe.

More still than this I turn to look
And gasp how high and far
Each little step in cumulation
Can bring one to where you are.

The journey brings it's promise
To life with every stride
Just one foot and then the other
With stability you provide.

More than all my heart is pounding
My lungs are bout to burst
My mind grows clear and focused
More than ever at the first.

I am living! I am striving!
I am joyful in the way!
How could I have wanted other?
To sit and sulk and stay?

So step into the toil my feet!
Enjoy each burning stride!
Till finally the last fog lifting,
In peace and pasture hide.

(Please ask permission for any copying... thank you).