Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Whimsical Wednesdays: What I Really Need in Life

My prayer today....
Precious moments.
My prayer is that God gives me what I need to serve him. Give me what I need to raise an obedient child who is kind, caring, and compassionate towards others.  Give me what I need to cultivate a marriage that glorifies God.  Give me what I need to be a soft place to land for those in hard times, a shoulder to lean on.  Give me what I need to obtain an eternal reward of peace.  These things are worth so much more to me than any riches, comforts, or pleasures of this life. Often what I think I need is not what I need at all.  What I, my son, or my family may need is a good dose of hardships and trial to mold us into what we should be... to learn this life is not about "me".  So in this way, I am learning to be thankful for struggles.  Nice things last but a moment.  Eternal life is forever.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tuesday Tales - Spark the Rooster's Adventures at Little Bitty Life, Chapter 4

"BILL?!"  I squawked.

"BILL?!" Jake barked.

"I don't believe it!!" The fox said in awe.

Bill the pony tossed his head and reared, lashing his sharp hooves out before him as the lightening struck again.  He bared his teeth and galloped into the middle of the coyote pack.

"OUT!!" He neighed, stomping the ground with his front hooves.  He kicked and bucked, the coyotes dashing out of his way.  Well, the lucky ones anyway.  Some received a kick to the side or head and let out a yelp as they ran off.

After Bill had sufficiently dispersed the coyote pack, he tossed his head and looked at us, standing dumbfounded before him.

"Let's get out of here!"  He said, and turned on his hindquarters towards home.

"Come on!"  Jake said to me.  I hopped up on his shoulders and off we went, leaving Mr. Fox behind us on the trails.  We dashed through the woods quick as we could, the storm had rolled in right on top of us.  But thankfully, before long, my chicken eyes spotted the big barnyard.

"Why don't you all stay in the barn tonight?  At least until the storm passes."  Bill said.  Jake and I nodded.  I hopped down from Jake's shoulders and took off to the hen house to lead them to the barn.  Jake would notify Arwen and the cats.

Once we were safely inside Bill's warm barn, we chickens began to oil our feathers and dry out.  Arwen and Jake arrived with the slightly soaked cats, and each of us took comfortable places on hay bales to wait out the storm.

"Oh have we a tale to tell!"  I crowed.  And until the storm cleared and the sun shone again, I recounted our grand adventures on the fox trails that day.

Then, a hen interrupted me.

"Spark?"  She clucked.

"What do you want, Gladdice?  Can't you see I'm telling a story?"  I snapped.

"I just thought you might like to know that the new shipment of chicks is supposed to arrive tomorrow.  I overheard!"

"New recruits?!  Excellent!  It is about time!"  Boy was I excited.  You see, chicks born to one of my hens is the hen's job to raise.  But new chicks that arrive from the post man?  Yup.  Mine.  All mine!

Click here to read the next chapter!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Mommy Post Monday: The Day We Drove Home with a Newborn

Having your first baby is a really big deal.  I didn't realize just how big of a deal until recently having my first.  It's huge.  It's life changing.  It is AWESOME!!  It's terrifying.

One of my most vivid memories, other than the birth, were the thoughts racing through my brain on the ride home.
About to head home from the hospital.
The weather that day was warm but cloudy with a breeze almost as if rain might be coming.  I remember taking our baby to the car, and my husband getting the car seat snapped into the base.  I had walked under this same parking roof over and over while pregnant, on my way to appointments.  This is so weird.  I (gingerly, very gingerly) sat down beside my baby boy.  Here he was now, no longer visible only by way of ultrasound, but touchable and kissable and totally adorable.  He looks so precious... but so tiny and frail.  Is he going to die?  Oh my goodness, I can't do this by myself!!  My baby is gonna die!!  I won't know what to do for him without the nurses telling me what to do!

"All right, I think you've got everything.  Bye-bye!"  The nurse said like she had done it a billion times.  I am sure she had.  And then she left us. 

Ahhh!!  Nurse, stop!  Wait!  What if.... was all I could think, but I kept my mouth shut and just stared at my teeny, tiny baby.  He was actually a pretty big boy, born at nearly 9 pounds, but in his car seat he looked so helpless and small.  I held his precious, tiny little hand as Ben started the car.

Then I looked up into the rear view mirror.  I saw my eyes.  My saggy, tired eyes.  My face was still swollen with water weight.  I'd never seen myself look this bad before.

"I look horrible." 

"No you don't, sweetheart."  Hubby said. 

I sighed.  I will never be the same again.  Was all I could think.  I am hurting and I am tired.  I am scared!!  But this baby.  He is so precious!  

We had to stop and get my medications prescribed by the hospital.  We had to go to Target to get some last minute things I didn't know I was going to need before having a baby. (P.S. - NEVER do that.  Stupid, stupid idea.  I nearly passed out on the floor and I am certain everyone thought I was totally nuts.  I was.)  I remember leaving the parking lot... some crazy driver in a truck was cutting across at the same time we were trying to leave, and nearly hit us.

Of course, new mommy instincts and all, I came unglued.  "What are you thinking?!  We have a baby!!  You could've HURT him!!!" I yelled.  And I cried.  I think my husband had decided I had gone totally nutso.

"It's going to be okay."  He tried to reassure me.  "That guy wasn't even close to hitting us."

Um, yes he was.  Ha!

I tried to chill.  I closed my eyes and let the pain meds do their work, and dozed off on the 30 minute drive home.

I will never forget driving up our driveway.  With a baby.  We were driving up to our house for the first time as parents.  Sure we were parents when I was pregnant too, but it felt so different now.

Walking in the house, setting a place up to put our baby to sleep and change him - it was all so strange and new!  About 100 times my hubby had to tell me...

"It's going to be okay."

And you know what?  

Everything was okay.  Even better than okay. 

I never was the same again..... in the best kind of way.

I have been tired in a new way I never before dreamed possible..... for the best possible reason.

I have cried tears..... of pure joy.

I have had moments of being totally nutso...... okay I got nothin' on this one.  (Baahaa!)

I have loved every single solitary millisecond of it and wouldn't trade anything.  These last few months have been some of the best days of our lives!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Animal Update!!

I thought it was about time for an animal update.  Everyone is doing great, take a peek:

Spark up to his usual antics, escaping the coop!

Engine says, let's play!

Soulful eyes.

Sweet Arwen!

Bill needs a cuddle.

Oh winter.  So drab!
Spark again!
This little critter is doing pretty good too:

Have a great day!!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thrilling Thursdays: A Mid-January Stroll

I think I have always struggled with photography in the depths of winter.  So I tried something a little different, adding some stark editing to my photos.  The Littlest Farmer and I along with the grandparents took a walk around their place since the weather was so nice one day last week.

They look a little weird to me, like something out of a strange dream, but it was fun anyway!  I might have to give it another try next week.

Sweet baby!!
It was SO nice to be outside for a decent period of time, but it got pretty cold once the sun went down so we had to head back in again.  Come on spring, I am already ready for you!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Whimsical Wednesdays: If I Had a Million Dollars

Heidi's Wandering's had a cute little challenge asking her readers what you would do if you were given one million dollars today.  Well I thought that sounded like fun!  So here we go...

1.  I think it would be awesome to just go out and have fun doing crazy things - like leaving a waitress/waiter a HUGE tip, buy someone else's groceries in the checkout line... just find all sorts of ways to give to people that don't have.

2.  We would pay off our house.  My husband and I are all about being "debt free" and this would be a great way to get on board with that!!

3.  I would buy each of my family members a new car.  We have all had really bad car troubles lately and I think all of us could just use something big and nice and new!!

4.  We would invest some in order to for it to grow so that we could benefit from it for years to come.

5.  You had to know this was coming - I would want to purchase some land and get me some horses and goats and llamas and who knows what all else!  And a big fat barn to house them in!!  Wee!  I am dreaming big here!

6.  I think it would be fun to re-do parts of our house like the bathroom, and add things like a fire place to the living room.

7.  I'd take me and my mom and sister on a big clothes shopping spree and spa day!!  We could all use some new clothing and relaxation!

8.  Finally I would probably go on a big vacation with my family for a couple of weeks to somewhere warm with a beach.  And by the end of that I will have probably spent my million all up!  

Well that was fun!  How would you spend a million bucks?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tuesday Tales - Spark the Rooster's Adventures at Little Bitty Life, Chapter 3

Click here to read the previous chapter of Spark's adventures!

In silence we followed Mr. Fox single-file through the woods on his little hunting trail.  I will admit I was rather unnerved by following a fox down into the woods... there was no telling what we'd see and my senses just screamed that something was not right.  However, the flock must be protected and goodness knows I am the rooster for the job.  Few can get past my razor sharp beak and spurs!

Up a hill and down the another, over a stream, through forests and thickets that grew thicker and thicker.

"So what do you hunt out here on these trails?" I heard Jake ask the fox.

"Rabbits mostly.  Sometimes a frog will do."  

"Frogs? Yuck!" I crowed.

"Shhhh!!" The fox snapped.  "This is near the spot I was telling you about, so it is best you keep quiet.  Lots of things out here would just love to sink their teeth into a chicken dinner."

The thought made my chicken brain spin.

At that, an owl hooted in the distance and the thunder rolled again.

"This place is creepy."  Jake whispered to me.  "If anything happens, jump on my shoulders and we are high-tailing it back to the house."

"Got it." I clucked.

Suddenly Mr. Fox stopped in a small clearing and sniffed the air.  Jake did the same.  

"Smell that?"  Mr. Fox asked.

"Hmmmm...." Jake said.  "Coyotes."

"Coyotes?! Nonsense.  There hasn't been a coyote in these woods since my Granddaddy -"  But the fox was cut off sharp by another voice in the darkness of the woods.

"Silence!"  The voice growled.  Lightening split the sky, and the thunder rolled again.

"Now this will be quite the supper, boys!" The voice jeered.  And then, out of the woods from every nook and cranny coyotes surrounded us.

"I told you!!" Jake barked at the fox.  The fox and Jake bristled at the encircling coyotes, bearing their teeth and growling.  I stood firmly between the fox and Jake, trembling something awful.  What were we gonna do?!

The fox tried to talk himself out of it, as foxes often have a habit of doing.  "Maybe we can negotiate!" He begged them.  But they only howled in laughter.  They came closer and closer, until we could see every glittering tooth in their smiling mouths.  This was sure to be the end!  No more coaxing up the sun with my crows, no more hen house, no more cracked corn feed!

But then, the lightening struck a tree beside us and a large, dark figure appeared.  The startled coyotes all turned to face this new intruder!

Click here to read the next chapter!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Mommy Post Monday - Labor and Delivery Nurse Thank-You Bags

There is a saying I heard once... "It is never wrong to be kind."  I have thought of that saying many times since I heard it, and it is in that vein that I share the idea of thanking your nurses!

When people ask me about my labor and delivery experience, I would say I got out of it everything I had hoped for: a beautiful healthy baby boy!!  But I also like to mention how great my nurses were.  They. Were. Awesome!!

Like, really awesome.

And I truly believe they would've been awesome no matter what, but this just MIGHT have helped....

Yes that is right.  At abut 37 weeks pregnant and ready to pop, I made up some pretty elaborate nurse thank you packets.  Did I do it to get good nurses?  Well if I am being honest, that was part of it.  But the biggest part of it was that I wanted to say a HUGE thank you to the women responsible for helping me bring my precious child into this world.

Nurses need a thank you now and then.  Everyone does really, in my opinion, but this was my chance to really thank nurses.  They see gross things, touch gross things, do all sorts of gross things during their careers, and I figure maybe I could just be the sort of patient that they'd all fight over.

And I was.  Yes, they actually told me they fought over us!!  I thought that was so sweet.

So you wanna know the magic ingredients in our thank you packet?  Well here ya go!  You're welcome!!

1. Gum
2. Chocolate
3. Breath mints that said "baby boy" on them.
4. A tiny framed "Keep Calm and Nurse On" print out that my hubby designed just for the occasion. (Looks great on a desk!)
5. Bottle of lotion.
6. Candle.
7. Chapstick.
8. A thank you card, telling each nurse how much we appreciate her part in bringing our precious boy into the world.

Everything you can purchase from a dollar store to keep the price down, and of course you can take out some items or even think up your own.  Feel free to comment with anything else you think would be good to add for a nurse - I am always on the look out to add to this little package!

Also in case anyone wonders, I think I made up about 10-12 of these packets and had none to spare.  We actually were short a few packages which I felt so bad about!  Next time I might try making 15.

Shared at the Linkup Party over at Mrs. Southern Bride's blog.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

10 Things of Thankful

It has been a WHILE since I have had the pleasure of doing a "10 Things of Thankful" post!  I am glad to get a go at it again.
Ten Things of Thankful

Lana's 10 Things of Thankful

1.  I am thankful for blogging.  This may seem an odd way to start my list, but I really am.  You see, the little one day a week job I had working from home on Mondays has just been eliminated due to cutbacks.  Are we gonna make it by?  Yes, by the grace of God and my husband's uncanny ability to make end's meet no matter what.  But I am gonna miss my Monday job, and it really hit me the other day that it is just gone now.  Bye-bye, out the window, adios.  And then I thought... hey!  Why don't I get back to blogging again?  I always loved it, and it will keep my busy and connected to others in a way I desperately need after seven 24-hour days with my precious baby boy!

2.  I am thankful for the aforementioned husband.  No matter what he always makes sure things work out for us.  He definitely "brings home the bacon".  He works hard at it, too.  He currently has two jobs and is enrolled in online college courses.  He also occasionally preaches at church, gives a guy he met at work a ride to church, and even does some graphic design on the side when he can squeeze in a free moment.  He is also a wonderful father to our baby and an amazing husband to me.  Did I mention he brought me home a box of chocolates the other day for no reason?  That is the kind of man I married.  It still floors me that I married this kind of man, to this day.  I got LUCKY!!
3.  I am so thankful for our baby boy.  The "Littlest Farmer" just grows and grows every day, and it is just the most awesome thing ever to watch him learn news things and understand new things.  Being a mom is the best.  I never dreamed I would love it this much, but I do. Our little boy is such a sweet baby, too.  He sleeps 12 hours at night, is starting to nap like a champ, and is usually always smiley and talkative.  I could not have asked for a better baby!!

4.  I am thankful that all of my family members have their health.  Sometimes I get frustrated that cars are breaking down left and right, faucets are dripping, job positions are being cut, and that sometimes things just don't go as planned.  I get down sometimes thinking about what isn't working and I fail to realize that we are a lot better off than most people simply because we have our health.  We can run and play and garden and all sorts of other wonderful things because we are healthy enough and strong enough and for that I am SO thankful.

5.  I am thankful for church and God.  Sometimes I have a lot of questions in my mind, but I am thankful that God is patient with me and so are His children.  I have moments of doubt and frustration, but He is still there.  That is always a great source of comfort to me.  Sometimes it is so hard for me to understand that I am part of something SO much bigger than just me and my problems that, at the time, feel so huge.  

6.  I am thankful for my motley crew of chickens, dogs, cats, and pony.  Lots of people don't understand pets and the therapy they can provide in stressful times.  Just looking after them, seeing them scamper to and fro when I feed them, brushing them, just generally taking care of them is my hobby.  I have always enjoyed it and been thankful for it.  It is a blessing.

7.  I am thankful for each and every day.  Every day has something in it to treasure, to appreciate, to love and cherish.  Every smile from my husband, every giggle from my baby boy, a snowflake or a song.  Life is precious.

8.  I am thankful for pictures.  One of my favorite things to do right now is look over pictures taken from when our baby boy was born, or pictures from right after we brought him home.  I printed out a big picture book for the year 2014 here recently - it included my maternity pictures and the Littlest Farmer's delivery pictures right down to his first Christmas photos.  It is pretty much the best thing I own right now.  I LOVE it!!
9.  I am thankful for family and church get-togethers.  These are kind of the same thing for me because I consider my church family to be as close as blood family.  Hearing each other laugh, just enjoying each other's company is great stuff!!

10.  I appreciate my blog readers.  Some of you don't realize how much you've helped me keep going when I thought I was over blogging.  I am glad to say I am far from "over it" and ready to embrace it once again!  Here is to a year of lots of blog posts in the year 2015!!

Appenzellar Spitzhaubens

Yes, that is the title.  And no, I did not just sneeze.  Heehee!!

The Appenzellar Spitzhauben just happens to be one of my favorite chicken breeds!  They are rare especially in the US, as they originated in Switzerland and is actually their national bird.

The Spitzhauben is a truly beautiful chicken, with unique spots all over their bodies.  They come in gold spangled and silver spangled (we have silver spangled) and other variations.
Perhaps their most defining feature is their crest.
Spitzhauben's prefer to free range as opposed to being confined.  We especially allow ours to free range during the summer months, and they LOVE it!  We have found the winter months to be slightly more dangerous because of hawks, so we often keep them warm in their coops during winter.  Ours don't seem to mind one bit, as long as there is plenty of food to go around!

Interested in owning some of these beautiful birds?  You might check out Cackle Hatchery's Spitzhauben page for more information.  You can also order chicks from them which is where we received our own birds, and plan to add more in the future!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Tuesday Tales - Spark the Rooster's Adventures at Little Bitty Life, Chapter 2

Click here to read chapter 1 of Spark's adventures!

"I'll take you, you rotten chicken eater!" I said in a raspy, chicken-y sort of growl.  "Feel the sting of my spurs!  The tear of my beak!"

The fox snarled. My chicken legs trembled.

"Jake, DO something!"  I squawked.

Jake had already jumped into action, as did his lady Arwen.  They dashed wildly across the fenced yard, teeth bared.  They stopped just sort of the fence, snarling and warning the fox to move on.  "You'd better leave those hens be, or I'll jump over this fence and chase you all the way to the north bend in the river!"  Jake barked.

On the other side of the fence, Mr. Fox sneered.  He took another step closer. "You couldn't scale that fence if your life depended on it."  Jake bristled and showed his teeth, but he knew the fox was right.  "And you," he said, licking his chops and looking at me, "wouldn't fill a field mouse."

"Then why have you come, if you have deemed our chickens so unworthy of your time?" Arwen demanded.

"I have some... interesting news."  The fox said in a sly tone of voice. "Someone or something has been using my forest trails.  Someone I do not recognize the scent of."

For a moment they were all silent in thought.  Spark knew what they were all thinking - last time the fox had reported something strange using his trails, it was a possum that had eaten one of his flock members and bitten one of the cats, and had terrorized the fox for days. Thus the reason, Spark was sure, that Mr. Fox had reported it. That fox was in need of something, he was wanting protection in exchange for his information.

"Do you want me to take you to my trails so you can see for yourself?" Mr. Fox asked.  Jake thought for a moment, and then turned to Arwen.

"You stay here and watch the chickens.  Spark and I will go down to investigate the trails."

"Me?" I said in a questioning cluck. "Why me?  I am of little help... I am too small to do anything. And who will watch the girls?"

"Arwen will keep an eye on the hens. You are the only chicken able to fly very high, and we might need to get a view from above. Come on Spark, don't be chicken." Jake smiled a toothy grin. "Well, you know what I mean."

"All right."  I sighed.  I am not much for hiking.

The fox came around to the gate and after a little struggling, got it opened to let Jake out. I followed behind, ruffling my feathers.  Thunder rolled in the distance.

We followed Mr. Fox to the edge of the woods where a narrow little trail curled into the deep, dark forest.  I took a deep breath and followed Jake in.  Above us, the trees began to sway and the thunder rolled again.
Click here to read the next chapter!