Trouble

John is gone until Wednesday. He left early Monday morning. And wouldn’t you know it, all hell breaks loose. Okay so maybe it isn’t that bad. I know now that I have to almost expect mayhem when I am left alone. It happened a couple weekends ago. And this time it began just hours after he left yesterday.

The sump pump quit working. It is kinda quirky and sometimes just needs a nudge. Monday morning I was walking out to the mudroom to dig out some meat from the freezer when I realized that I hadn’t heard the pump go off lately. (usually during this time of year it is every 5-10 minutes). So I decided to check and make sure everything was dry in the basement. I opened the basement door to find a good 12 inches of water….EVERYWHERE. Great. Of course. So I walked up the steps, slipped off my nice warm slippers, plunged my feet into my knee high rubber boots, grabbed a flashlight (cuz knowing my luck there wouldn’t be any light down there either), and ventured into the wadding pool that is my basement. Jars floating around, a couple of empty buckets bobbing on the surface. It was quite the sight. I sloshed over to the sump pump, gave it a good nudge, and sure enough it kicked on and began draining the basement. 30 minutes later it finally shuts off.

Not the first time this has happened.

A couple hours later I go to rinse off some dishes before putting them in the dishwasher and there wasn’t any hot water. *grrr* I should have known to check the pilot light on the hot water heater.

I am not very experienced in lighting pilot lights and didn’t really want to try without some help. So I made a few calls. None of the surrounding farmers had any experience in that either. And none of them wanted to try for fear of blowing something up. Great. What now? Calling a plumbing/heating guy would cost $125 for an 8 minute job. Nope….didn’t have $125 laying around to just give away. So I called Kurt. Kurt is my college roommate’s husband and John’s friend/coworker. (okay, so he’s my friend too). Kurt would know what to do. He’s pretty handy. And sure enough, he saved the day. He stopped by the hardware store on his way out and picked up a little sump pump alarm (which has gone off twice now but without it I’m sure the basement would have been full).

The pilot light is on. The sump pump is working. And I have hot water again. What more could I ask for?

How about a couple sick kids? Yup. You got it. Yvette has a croupy cough that makes her feel like crap and she looks even worse. Poor kid. And now Wyatt is sounding the same way. Two kids on cough medicine and tylenol. And Hayden….the poor guy just wants to go outside. But the weather has been less than ideal with misty rain, a few flurries, and grey skies. I don’t want to take them out in that especially when they are coughing. So we’ve been watching a lot of movies and reading lots of books. And playing this……..

Anybody else remember this game?

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Preparing Our Hearts

As Holy Week begins, I find myself longing to offer some final painful sacrifice in an effort to unite myself to my Lord’s ultimate sacrifice. I kind of chuckle at how minuscule and seemingly ineffective every single one of my offerings are. And yet, they are all that I have to offer. The little pains of my day. The luxuries that I’ve come to rely on and desire. My heart aches to know His pain and at the same time I cringe knowing that He’ll accept and I will suffer.

….because He loves me with all His being…….

and I love Him with all my heart…..

Broken Hearted

Last night I was giving Yvette and Wyatt a tub when I heard Hayden in the living room burst into tears. As most moms, I can identify the different types of crying and what it usually means. These tears I heard were definitely tears of sadness NOT pain.

I called into the living room, “Hayden, sweetheart, what is the matter?”

Hayden came walking into the bathroom with his head down and the biggest tears streaming down his face. “Mo-om.” – more tears. He just hugged me.

“Hayden, tell me why you are so sad,” I said as he buried his tears and boogars into my shoulder.

“Look Mom. Just look.” He brought me to the window and said, “Snow.” And continued to cry for about 5 more minutes.

My heart sank too. Though some of you might laugh at this, this particular moment was truly a sad one. For whatever reason this winter has seemed exceedingly long. I mean LLLLOOOOONNNNNGGGGG. And the past couple weeks we’ve enjoyed the warmer spring-like weather. The last of the snow piles just melted a few days ago and the puddles were starting to dry up enough for the kids to play in the sandbox and on the swing set and ride their bikes. But more snow means more days to dry up. YUCK.

As I sit here so early in the morning, I am trying to figure out some grand activity to do with the kids that wouldn’t require a trip outside…..something they’d get excited about…..something to pull their attention from the thin yet heavy layer of snow that blankets everything outside. The weather will likely be warm enough today to melt it all by early afternoon. But still……the truth is that it is there. And there isn’t anybody in this region that finds a snow fall at the end of April funny OR enjoyable.

Lord?….are you listening?………..this isn’t funny…….

Fiona

Oh we have been busy. Even though it is rather chilly today and we had freezing rain for a little while this morning, I think it is safe to say that it is spring in Minnesota. Although it is not uncommon for us to get a random snow storm the beginning of May. Hopefully not this year.

We’ve cleared out the garden. We (my husband) have shoveled the many (previously frozen) piles of alpaca poo and moved them to compost pile. The wood pile that was covered with foot upon foot of snow is now exposed in all it’s dirty, messy, and unsightly glory. We worked on splitting the last of it yesterday. There is still a bit more to go but a few more hours of concentrated work and it should be done. The sandbox and swing set are cleared of water and snow and winter debris, so the kids are happy. But there are still SO MANY projects that need to be tended to before the end of the month. *more about that later*

To add to the craziness here, we’ve decided to welcome a dog to our farm. She is a turkish anatolian guard/shepard dog. Later on in the summer time we will be adding chickens, goats, and a prego alpaca to the farm and we knew we needed to look into a guardian dog to ease our minds and put the animals at ease as well. We knew that we wanted an anatolian. Last year we met the most fantastic guard dog – Grizz. He was strong, friendly yet cautious, playful, kind to his herd, and HUGE. We instantly fell in love. BUT, these types of dogs don’t come cheap and we knew if an anatolian was what we wanted then it might be a few years before we’d get one. Well….circumstances shifted and we were put in contact with a breeder who had kept her pick of her last litter, trained her, and was planning on keeping her for breeding but then decided that perhaps this one needed a home. Prices dropped and we decided to jump. SO….the week after Easter we are welcoming FIONA to the farm:

She is currently 10 mos old and about 100lbs. We should expect her to grow to about 120-130lbs. She’s a big girl, though not as big as the males. She grew up on a farm guarding dwarf goats, sheep, and chickens. The breeder also has small grandchildren who are around on a regular basis so she is well acquainted with little people. Which was a big big big concern for us. Needless to say we are getting a fantastic deal on an already trained and well socialized dog. YAY!!!!

We are so excited!

Here Kitty Kitty

I was never a lover of animals. Sure the baby ones were cute. Who doesn’t like little puppies or a box full of little kittens. Or what about, the new chicks under the warming lights. Yup, my heart would melt and I’d cup them into my hands and nuzzle and play and soak up their adorable-ness. But as soon as they grew and started smelling and shedding and requiring more attention, I’d lost interest. Good thing – not viewing chickens as pets – because those adorable new chicks under the warming lights inevitably make it to my freezer and then onto my dinner table.

And pets in the house? BLEH. Cats shed and rip apart furniture and curtains. Dogs just smell and rub their stink all over everything. I NEVER thought I’d have anything more than an outside dog.

But here I am, with alpacas in the barn, roosting boxes being made for chickens this spring, plans for arrival of a few goats, a very large dog will be added to our farm before the summer, and in June we are picking up a prego alpaca with a baby due next spring. This “farm” will be in full spring before too long. It is exciting.

And, we have cats. Two of them. In the house. And I love them. EEKK!!!! What has happened to me?!!!!
The cat venture took place last fall. Hayden got up in the middle of the night to go potty and I was in the kitchen getting a drink when I heard him say, “Mom….I see a rat.” WHAT?! NO. Not a rat in the house! I freaked. He pointed to the corner where the garbage can was and sure enough there was a tiny little mouse peeking around the back of it. Phew. No rat – thank goodness! But a mouse. Yuck. We’d heard them in the ceiling and trapped quite a few in the mudroom and basement. But we never really saw any sign of them in the house. John knew they were there but they never set off any traps and we never saw them. I was okay with our peaceful coexistence under this roof so long as I didn’t see them, they didn’t eat our laundry/clothes, they didn’t ransack the pantry, and they didn’t leave little trails of pellets all over. I was okay with all that…..for the first 2 years we were here. But then one of them decided to show it’s face. And I freaked. The next day we had 2 band new kittens here.
The kids were thrilled. John was slightly annoyed that I had gotten 2 instead of just 1. But they were cute and I just couldn’t get one for Yvette and not let Hayden have his own. So, Simon and Tabitha live happily in the house. They never go outside. They’ve cost us an arm and a leg to get fixed. And we wavered on whether or not to keep them. Neither of them had caught anything, they tore up my curtains, and they wreaked havoc during the night (when they were first here…now they are fine). Then the spring started coming. The fields filled with water. The mice come in from the fields in packs. It’s really gross actually. So what did we do? (sneaky smile) We moved the cats to the mudroom and left the basement door open. Last week I went to let the cats in the house and both of them pranced in like they were royalty. I looked at them thinking, “you little snots.” One glance back to the porch – two little balled up, still wet, and slightly mauled mice corpses were sitting right in the middle of the steps in the mudroom. Oh.I.Was.Excited. I closed the door because I wasn’t about to pick those nasty little blobs up….I left them for John. 😉 I was so happy! My cats had finally begun to fulfill their destiny. The next day I found another mouse. And yesterday there were two more. Funny thing is, the cats leave them right out in the open. Like trophies. One of the mice was laying on a hat that was on the floor. EEWWW. Said hat has been washed a couple times since.

The animal loving thing is a big step for me. I think perhaps its because I see their value whether it be as pets/companions, protectors, food, or simply grass eaters (so we don’t have mow all 9 acres). It’s a chain….a circle of life so to speak. And it’s a beautiful thing.

Isn’t funny how we change? Life changes and we adapt.

Hmmmmm……

“…a fetus isn’t a baby unless it is born…” – I think we already medically established that it IS a baby. Let’s not forget that when it is convenient to prove how disgusting and horrific murder can be the legal system can charge a murderer with double homicide if that person killed a pregnant woman. Interesting….

“…abortion clinics should be like Starbucks – on every corner”…..cuz killing babies in the name of freedom and sex and debt relief and choice is JUST THAT EASY and as yummy and utterly satisfying as a quick trip into Starbucks can be.

Is this not disgusting?

Reliving The Past

My youngest brother was killed in a car accident on July 31, 2007. The loss was and still is excruciatingly painful.

I was browsing through my facebook notes looking for a little survey I had done a couple years ago and instead I found myself absorbed in this:

written August 11, 2007
“These past days have been an absolute whirlwind. Floods of emotion and confusion come and go so quickly. It’s strange. As if the week before we were all on autopilot and going through the motions not really realizing how REAL our situation is. Steve is dead. He’s gone. We aren’t ever going to see him again (here). And the reality of it sunk in on Thursday. John returned to work on Thursday. And it was a day alone with Hayden on Thursday. Like I said, emotions flying everywhere, questions lingering, and sadness had begun to really run deep. And Thursday my son decides to push every button left. He broke a headset for the PS2, and later that day broke the controller for it. Spendy fix. He proceeded to refuse napping by screaming all afternoon. He wouldn’t eat anything normal. He pulled books off the shelf and ruined some. DVDs were thrown all over the place. And the computer went bad because he kept pushing random buttons and confusing the hell out of it. By 2:30pm I had had enough!!! And my only outlet that I had in the past was Steve. I’d call him up and we’d pack the kids up and head to the beach or the park or just hang out at his place so the kids could play together. Thursday was when it really hit me. I miss him. I miss our outings. I miss our conversations. I miss having him to rely on. I miss him. And I’m going to miss him for a very long long time.

We were sitting on the couch last night after Hayden was in bed. Just sitting there in silence. He asked me how I was doing. I told him I was sad. Just sad. And we both began to cry. I asked John what is it that we are supposed to learn or take away from all this? This sorrow and suffering. The grief and loss. What can we consciously do to be better people. ?? He said, “Theresa…just keep loving.” He said that he didn’t think he could love me more, but through all of this his love for me has deepened and gotten more intense. He said that going through all of this with me and my family has helped him to get to know all of us so much more. And that he realizes how deeply we all care for and love each other…..how short life can be and how precious our time is together. And how much he wants to continue burrowing into our family and getting to each member more. I knew he loved me. I never doubted that. But I wasn’t always sure what he thought of my family. I know now.
I went to bed with so many thoughts…
How amazing are my parents? How strong they are!!!! And my brothers……each one great in his own way. And Steve……what would he have to say about all this? What sort of men has God surrounded me with? What sort of man have I married?

What am I to do with all of this?
Time will tell……”

I remember this day. I remember this day because it was the beginning of my real grief. Steve was dead. We buried him 5 days prior. Everyone had gone home and continued on with their lives. But we were left with this void. We were faced with our life without him. And that was hard. That was so hard. By the grace of God – and only His grace – are we able to continue on and find happiness despite the sorrow.

taken on our wedding day

my favorite pic