Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Keeping Watch

Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn't know you had, and dealing with fears you didn't know existed.
Linda Wooten
I'm sitting here keeping a close watch over the Little Prince as he naps.  Per doctor's orders, I am to rouse him in about a half an hour to make sure he wakes.  Why you ask?  My little guy decided to take a swan dive off of a kitchen chair this afternoon and landed smack dab on his noggin.  Within what seemed like seconds, he had a large, bruising goose egg right in the middle of his beautiful forehead.  I tried not to panic, but it was hard not to recall last Christmas Eve.  The little man did the exact same thing and we ended up in an emergency room at 10 o'clock praying the results of my baby's CAT scan would come back normal.  Thank God there was no permanent damage then, but I couldn't help but wonder if we would be so lucky a second time.
Ever since his rough start in this world (ie. spending his first two weeks in intensive care) I have always had a fear that something might happen to my baby boy.  It's not always front and center in my thoughts, but it is always there, lingering in the back of my mind.  A little nagging feeling that maybe I should just wrap this kid up in bubble wrap and play it safe.  Irrational?  Ok, I'll admit maybe a little, but I can't seem to help it.
I am sure this is going to work out fine.  God's in control and my worrying will be for naught, but could you please keep us in your prayers?  I'm not sure which one of us needs it more :)

UPDATE:  The Little Prince appears to have no lasting effects from his tumble.  Mama Hen has a few more gray hairs, but he is as good as new.  Thank you for your prayers.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

My blogging has been somewhat intermittent lately. Poor internet connections and keeping chicklets with cabin fever from going postal (it's hunting season in our neck of the woods and I'm a bit hesitant about letting the littles out of doors to freely roam when gunshots are sounding all around) are mostly to blame.  Add to the mix the fact that the Little Prince has decided that sleep ... specifically naps ... are entirely optional as of late.  You see, his nap time was when I got to go online.  I've tried explaining to him that Mama Hen needs her computer time, but so far he's being uncooperative... the little poop!  I am sure he will return to his regular schedule soon (God help me if he's done with naps already!) and I'll be back to prolific blogging in no time.   Until then, I guess sporadic posts will have to do:(

Last year I blogged every day in the month of November about the things I was grateful for in my life at the time.  I dubbed the series of blog posts Attitude of Gratitude.  It was a life-changing endeavor and even though I didn't commit to daily gratitude blog posts this November, I can honestly say I have been more cognizant of all that I have been blessed with throught this entire past year.  Almost every night as I put my chicklets to bed, we make a list of the things we are grateful for that day.  In doing this, I hope to pass onto them the same gift from God last year's "experiment" was to me ... the ability to find joy in everyday things. 

It is a true blessing to be able to have a thankful heart, even in the midst of chaos.  A blessing for which I am eternally grateful for ... not just at Thanksgiving, but the whole year through.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.
Melody Beattie

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Cheesy Smile

I've never seen a smiling face that was not beautiful.
Author Unknown

It just about inevitable.  At some point all chicklets go from having those cute baby grins to giving you that "cheesy smile" every time you try to take their picture.  The Little Prince is there right now.  And even though it makes for less than perfect pictures, I wouldn't trade it for a second ... he's still beautiful in my book!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Christmas State of Mind

“Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind. ” 
Mary Ellen Chase

Maybe it's because I've been listening to Christmas music so much lately, but I am in a serious "Christmas State of Mind."  Actually, it's more likely because I just love all things Christmas.  Okay, well maybe not all things, but enough that I might even go as far to say I have a slight serious addiction and that Pinterest has become my enabler.  Take a look at some of the stuff I am "crushing on" right now...

source: Pinterest
I seriously must find some time to "get my craft on" and recreate some of these beauties.  Snow ... glitter ... bright shiny objects?  My heart is all a twitter!!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Bickering Brood

Motherhood at the moment is, in a word ... challenging. My chicklets are constantly bickering. The older ones are at it almost every waking moment, and the Little Prince is not being all that charming either. Of course, it doesn't help that the Geek is out of town on an extended business trip.  Solo parenting is never an easy endeavor with this brood.

Boy Wonder is hyper vigilant and quick to point out the Munchkin's errors (real or perceived). Truthfully, he has done this her entire life ... it's a long story maybe for another day ... but suffice it to say, it's part of who he is. Sometimes it's worse than others ... this is one of those times.  Sometimes it's easier to ignore than others ... this is not one of those times.

To make matters worse, the Munchkin is in full on Drama Queen mode. According to her, everyone hates her ... nobody loves her ... wah! wah! wah!  I suggested she go eat some worms, but the humor was lost on her and my words were met with more abhorrently annoying whining. In her angst, she is pushing all of Boy Wonders "buttons" and is just peeved with anything and everything the Little Prince does. Yay!

I guess my biggest problem right now is learning how to deal with sibling rivalry. I was the youngest of five children and most of my siblings had flown (or were just about to) the coop by the time I made my appearance. I grew up essentially like an only child and never really experienced sibling rivalry.  For that reason, my brood's incessant squabbling is foreign to me.  I have no idea if this is normal or not.

Pardon my disillusionment, but I always dreamed my kids would get along better than this. The first two were spaced out far enough (seven years) that I  thought there would not be all that much fighting. Sure, I thought maybe the occasional grumpy confrontation, but not all day, everyday. To say this is killing me, might not be all that much of an exaggeration. I am sure it has got to be affecting my blood pressure, because it's certainly causing my stress level to skyrocket.

I've tried talking with them, pleading with them, grounding them, and taking away their prized possessions. Oh, and while I am not proud to say this, I have yelled ... oh how I have yelled.  Yelling, sadly, seems to have the greatest impact.  It's the one thing that makes them stop, unfortunately it doesn't last for too long. I just don't understand why they just can't get along ... even for a day. Any suggestions? Anything at all?

I know this too shall pass, at least I'm praying it does (are you listening up there, God?) but I gotta be honest... this is so not what I planned. It's not what I thought motherhood would be like at all ... it's sooooo much tougher than I ever imagined in my wildest dreams! There are days where I just don't feel up to the challenge. I think to myself, "I am not strong enough to handle this!" That's often when I remember this quote...

"I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much."
Mother Teresa

Ain't that the truth! I know God has brought me to this point in life and He will surely bring me through it, I just honestly wish it was a little less painful. I wish I had three angelic chicklets that got along famously, but I don't. I just need to accept that, I guess and plunder on with this mommy gig. If I'm lucky, they'll turn out decent and if I'm not ... well, I guess they'll get their money's worth on the therapist's couch someday :)

for reals, God? cuz' i'm not so sure sometimes :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Too Soon?

I'm one of "those people" ... you know the kind that listen to Christmas music all year round.  I make no apologies ... I love it.  Maybe I have elf blood in my family tree???  I do, however, live with someone who doesn't necessarily share my affinity for "holiday cheer".  The Geek has always felt Christmas music should only be played between Thanksgiving and December 31st.  After twenty-two years of marriage we have come to a compromise (of sorts).  This involved many long heated discussions and promises of baked goods of the Geeks choosing, but I can gleefully say Christmas music may now make an appearance here on the farm at any time throughout the year, albeit only in very small doses outside of the "official" holiday season.  From November 1st until the end of the holidays, it may be played 24/7 if the mood strikes.  I love that man, as I said before ... he "gets" me!

I prefer to listen to my own "private" collection of yuletide tunes (I won't even tell you how many holiday CDs I own ... it is a little bit embarrassingly excessive, I'll admit)  I am not a big fan of all the commercial "hoopla" that comes with public radio stations at this time of year.  They also tend to play the same songs/versions over and over and even I have to draw the line at "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" after the 1000th time :)

So what about you?  Are you a year-round caroler or do you limit your holiday cheer to December? As a special treat for my like-minded music lovers ... I've added my Christmas playlist on this blog.  It's got some of my favorites and I'll try to add more if internet connections allow.  And remember ...

"The best way to spread Christmas Cheer, is singing loud for all to hear."
Buddy the Elf

Monday, November 7, 2011

Poultry Palooza

palooza (noun):  An exaggerated event.
Palooza ... I can't think of a more fitting word/definition for the Crossroads of America Poultry Club National Convention we just attended in Indianapolis. 

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine, if you will, two exhibition halls the size of four Super Wally Worlds filled to the brim with cages containing just shy of 11,000 chickens, ducks and a few turkeys.  You read that right, eleven and three zeros ... 11,000 birds!!! It was definitely an exaggerated event!  And L-O-U-D!!!  And something I never imagined myself saying ... fun! 

My brood had a great time.  Their birds didn't win any trophies, but the littles did.  Both the Munchkin and Boy Wonder competed in the Showmanship Nationals along with about 200 other poultry-fact spewing kids.  This competition was not for the weak of heart or mind.  It really was a marathon-like event running from 9 in the morning until close to 6 at night.  By the time they handed out awards, my kiddos and their birds were pooped out and wanted to just find a nice comfy spot and take a nap.

yes, that chicken is sitting in a stroller ... hey, she was tired and needed a place to rest:)
They were divided into age groups and the Munchkin took home Third Place Pee Wee Division honors "in the whole United States of America, got to shake a TV star's hand and  got $30 cash!" as she likes to tell people whenever she gets a chance.  P Allen Smith (of PBS fame) handed out all the trophies and prizes to the Junior Show competitors. But of course the camera batteries died right then and I have no photos of the award presentations :(

Check out the trophy ... it's a Spotted Hen ... is that too cute or what?????

Boy Wonder's competition was really fierce and despite a great job and a nail biting tie-breaker, he didn't make it into the top five trophy winners.  His score of 97 out of 100 earned him Sixth Place Intermediate Division honors in the nation.  The judges couldn't offer him really any pointers for improvement and just told him to keep up the good work.  Needless to say he was disappointed, but his loss was cushioned just a bit by his Second Place honors for the Photography Competition and his "major award" (quick ... what movie is that from???) ... a $3 coupon for chicken feed.  He did get a nice plaque, a baseball cap and a handshake from P Allen Smith too.

Purina was a major sponsor for the Junior portion of the entire show.  They provided prizes for the Junior exhibitors and feed for all of the birds at the show.  The Geek read somewhere it came to about 3 tons of feed over the course of four days ...  wowza!  

Boy Wonder was able to purchase two new chickens for his flock.  His birds' bloodline is getting kinda murky so he used some connections he's made over the years and was able to purchase a prize-winning pair from a major breeder.  Who woulda thunk "connections" were needed in the poultry world!  I'm pretty sure this isn't one of the new birds, but they look something like this and I had to include at least one photo of my smallest chicklet in this post.

Just had to share one of the breeder's sense of humor.  He does this to draw attention to his sales area.  The birds are really good show birds he dyes somehow.  Asked ... he won't reveal his method :)

Some people got really bent out of shape, but he is a very humane person (and a veterinarian) and ensures this is not harmful to the birds at all.  Once they molt, they'll return to all white Silkies well worth their $50 price tag to a poultry connoisseur I'm told.
All in all, it was a true "poultry palooza" and we can't wait until next time. The Nationals only happen once every four years, but there are smaller venues going on almost monthly across the country.  I don't know how far we might be willing to travel ... but there may be a road trip in our near future.  I hear there's a big show in Columbus, Ohio next weekend :)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Feeling Fall-ish

I am sitting here in a hotel room in beautiful western Pennsylvania with three less than pleasant chicklets. It appears that they are in need of some serious playtime. Being cooped up in a car and hotel rooms for the past week is starting to lose just a tad bit of its charm. Thankfully, there is a park nearby where I can "run 'em" before we pack up for the long ride home this afternoon.

I am enjoying a little high speed internet before we return to the farm and it's far less than stellar internet. I've said it before, but I cannot fathom how we can put a man on the moon and yet I cannot get high speed internet on my ol' farmstead.

As you can see, I took the opportunity to "decorate" my blog for fall. I am not all that pleased with the look, but I don't have time mess with it anymore right now and I'll be changing it soon again for the holidays anyway.  My blog look just seemed too "summery" for me and I wanted to celebrate fall alittle.

Fall is by far my favorite season of the year. It's partly because my birthday and anniversary are in the fall, but it's more than that. I love the colors of the season ... the reds, golds and oranges that only God's paintbrush can master. I love the smells of fall ... the apples and the pumpkin spice .... oh, the pumpkin spice! The cooler temps are right up my alley too! I am a sweater and jeans girl all the way. 

I think one of the things that makes fall so special is it's shortness. Before I know it, it's time for boots and mittens and all I'm left with is sweet memories 'til next year. 

Hope you are enjoying fall wherever you are ... I know I am :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Am I Coming or Going?

This is one of those weeks where even though I'm having fun, I'll be glad when it's all over.  Seriously, I don't know whether I am going or coming ... and the truth is ... it's both.

Last weekend we were in Indianapolis for the Crossroads of America National Poultry Show. I've got lots to share about that and I will, I promise. It's just that we made a quick stop home for a few days and I have a pile of laundry to get through before we are off again to tag along with the Geek on a business trip. I'll post more about our jaunts when we get home.

Here's a peek at the chicklets all decked out in their Halloween outfits. Just in case you can't tell, the Munchkin was a Glamorous Witch, Boy Wonder channeled his inner Cowboy and the Little Prince did his best impersonation of a cow. We had fun, but we missed our "tradition" of sharing the holiday with my sister and brother-in-law. We know change is inevitable, but it just wasn't all that fun for any of us. We loved the little town where they use to live and decided that next year we're going back there to trick or treat. It won't be the same without them, but at least we can keep up part of the tradition.