Sunday, September 30, 2012

Application for Minnesotazenship

Personal Information:


Sex: __________Ole ___________Lena

Home Address:_________________________________

Cabin Address: _________________________________

Income: ______We do OK _______We're Blessed ______None of your beeswax

Qualifications: (Check all that apply)

______I own a gas powered ice auger.

______Fargo floods hit a little close to home.

______I can name a dozen celebrities who've stayed at the Mayo Clinic.

______I've been trick or treating in two feet of snow.

______My grandparents ate lutefisk.

______My snowmobile has more miles on it than my car.

______I actually listen to telemarketers.

______"Have a nice day" is an ORDER!

______TV news anchors are celebrities.

______Part of my tongue is on a flagpole somewhere.

______It's pop not "soda" or "coke".

Essay Questions:

1.  What "uff-da" means to me________________________________________

2.  What "oopsy daisy" means to me____________________________________

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Some Pictures

 The mischief maker

The Potato Princess...or the Spud Bud

The kids had fun playing with the produce.

Kaitlyn being the BIG sister.

More fun with spuds.

The kids found some treasures at the neighbors' garage sale.

It's a mystery to me why kids think they need to dump the remainder of the bubble solution when they're done blowing bubbles.

I think he was thinking of American Gothic.  He just needs some rick-rack to go with the grim expression, eh?

Now I can eat it!

How to get water out of your boots.

Picking more cattails at the pond.

A happy face

The loaned TMR mixer.  Our new one is on order.  

Boys checking out the feed situation.

Our spot on the hill.

Chopping Corn


Emily started throwing up again tonight.  She didn't seem herself this afternoon, but I hoped I was alarmed over nothing.

The pediatric GI sent us a list of nine tests he wants done before she gets an IV if she gets dehydrated and needs to go in again.  Looks like another hospital visit is imminent.

Anyone know any good jokes?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Pun for the Day

I love puns.  This blog hasn't been funny in awhile.  Therefore, I'm going to revisit my favorite pun.

Mahatma Gandhi walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet.  He also ate very little which made him rather frail and, with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath.  This made him (I'm sorry) a super calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

No Ifs

A passage from my all-time favorite book, The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom reads,
One night I tossed for an hour while dogfights raged overhead, streaking my patch of sky with fire.  At last I heard Betsie stirring in the kitchen and ran down to join her.  
She was making tea.  She brought it into the dining room where we had covered the windows with heavy black paper and set out the best cups.  Somewhere in the night there was an explosion; the dishes in the cupboard rattled.  For an hour we sipped our tea and talked, until the sound of planes died away and the sky was silent.  I said goodnight to Betsie at the door to Tante Jans's rooms and groped my way up the dark stairs to my own.  The fiery light was gone from the sky.  I felt for my bed: there was the pillow.  Then in the darkness my hand closed over something hard.  Sharp, too!  I felt blood trickle along a finger.
 It was a jagged piece of metal, ten inches long. 
 I raced down the stairs with the shrapnel shard in my hand.  We went back to the dining room and stared at it in the light while Betsie bandaged my hand.  "On your pillow," she kept saying.   
"Betsie, if I hadn't heard you in the kitchen-----"
But Betsie put a finger on my mouth.  "Don't say it, Corrie!  There are no 'if's' in God's world.  And no places that are safer than other places.  The center of His will is our only safety---O Corrie, let us pray that we may always know it!"

On the flight home from China I met a woman who had bio sons age six and seven.  She had just adopted a thirteen-year-old girl.  I was amazed.  She chuckled and mentioned that she would feel overwhelmed to be starting over with a toddler.  She went on to say that she believes when God calls us to something it feels natural, not necessarily easy, but normal.  While to others it appears wildly difficult, to those God has called it seems.. rational.

My beloved sister-in-law Machelle has communicated something of the same idea.  She lives in the back of beyond in Mexico.  They've been evacuated because of violence, been flooded out, have random Indians dropping in to "visit" every day, get mail irregularly, do supply buying trips to town that involve hours of driving, careful list making, careful repacking...and once she "confessed" that when they run out of snacks she treats her kids to canned green beans with ketchup (think vegetarian French fries)...okay, well, maybe that IS wildly difficult and totally irrational (green beans with ketchup for snack!  Really, that is NUTS!).  However, she's said that she would far rather be in their remote mountain home than stuck here on a dairy farm. Go figure!  Normal really is a matter of perspective, eh?

During this journey with Emily I bet I've heard ten different variations of the "Oh, you're so wonderful to be adopting like this!"  There's a whole lot of thoughts that go through my head when I hear that:  1) Tragically, you don't know Emily!  She's a wonder.  We are so blessed! 2) People who know me in real life know I'm about one step up from a car wreck.  3) It's not a stretch to adopt.  To those of us that have grown our family through adoption, it seems normal.  If we campaign to get you to adopt it's because it has been such a wonderful thing in our lives.  We'd love for you to experience the way our adopted kids have richly completed our family.   We can't imagine not having OUR kids.

I suppose it's natural for people to wonder, IF we could go back to referral time and change our minds, would we?  No.  We're not making the best of a difficult situation.  We love the way Emily fills her niche in our family.  We are loving our newest daughter, cherishing her joy, captivated by her roguishness, and, mostly, resting in the fact that she's ours, our chosen treasure.  We love our Emily!  We are blessed beyond measure to have each of our children in our lives.

There are no ifs in God's world.

Now if I can just remember that when I need it.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Jiggity Jig

You know, home again, home again.

Since most bedtime prayers tonight revolved around two things 1) thank you that Emily is home and 2)help the doctors figure out what is going on "next time", I think most family members are realizing that another visit is probably inevitable.  Bummer!  I'm not sure HOW they seem to know this.

Emily had an appointment to see the pediatric gastroenterologist  scheduled for this coming Thursday.  Dr. Riedel met with us today at the hospital instead!  Since he's the ONLY one I was so very grateful that he took the time to see us today.    He was kind, informative, supportive, knew already who Emily is, that she's one of five, adopted, on a dairy farm, listened AND remembered what I had said, and lived up fully to ALL the wonderful things I had heard about him from other parents and staff.  I would guess he should be enshrined somewhere in some doctors' Hall of Fame.

1)He approved everything that had been done so far.
2)He has a plan for "next time".  If Emily's fine, great!  If not, before she gets dehydrated and put on IVs he wants some tests run.  The plan is in her file at the hospital.  All we have to do is take a copy with us.
3)Parasites, food allergies (celiac came back negative), and possibly cyclical vomiting are possibilities.  Cyclical vomiting would be migraines that take the form of puking your head off instead of headaches.

She'll keep using miralax and add a Disney Princess vitamin to up her zinc which is apparently low.

I'm bummed that after three hospital stays (well, four if you count the last two separately) we still don't have an answer and will probably be back, but I'm so relieved to be home.  Emily started squealing as we came past Jim Bowman's.  She squealed some more when four kids came pouring out of the house to squeeze her.  I think I got A hug and an offhand, "Hi, mom"  or two.  :-P

This morning she had her repeat Upper GI (came back fine: very slight hiatal hernia, otherwise normal) and it took awhile to get her late breakfast approved and delivered.  She was one MAD kid.  When the "team" came in this morning to talk, she cussed them out in Chinese baby babble.  A granola bar pacified her slightly.  The doctors were still talking when Her Royal Crankiness' breakfast arrived.  Clark Kent/Superman never did a faster transformation.  She grabbed that tray and couldn't get food in her mouth fast enough.  She CHEERED, GRINNED, and CHARMED as she stuffed cheerios, sausage, and eggs in her little mouth.  She played, cheered some more, teased, and smiled.  I was so happy to have them see her as her "real" self instead of the sick, listless ghost or Her Royal Crankiness. Emily was their last patient to see and they stayed for awhile after her evaluation just to enjoy her happiness.  And, oh my, she was SO HAPPY!
Yesterday was pretty rough emotionally.  I was pretty angry about some of the ineptitude that resulted in more suffering for Emily.  I feel that overall her care was excellent, but a better communication between medical staff could have prevented some of this.  Emily's nurse was wonderful.  She helped me to be a better advocate for Emily.   I'm her momma.  Kenton and I make the final decisions, not the medical team.  We need to look out for her best interests.
Warning: Do NOT say to this cranky, exhausted, PMSing momma "I understand how you feel." unless you have been in my position.  You will get an earful.  Yes, I did apologize later.  He most graciously forgave me.
It was kind of fun to see a bunch of doctors cooing and grinning over a joyful baby instead of questioning the color of her emesis, the consistency of her normal stool, or the frequency with which she voids.   What?!?  What's wrong with vomit, poop, and pee?
I was informed by these professionals that she is SO CUTE, bright, and their only concern with her development is language. No less than three foreign looking/accented doctors, told me not to worry but that this would be delayed.


There were four Emilies on the pediatric floor the night we were admitted.  We connected with five-year-old Emily M.  She's also seeing Dr. Reidel for similar problems.  Emily M. liked to play with our Emily and so her mom and I had frequent chances to chat in the playroom.  One night the two Emilies were sharing a wagon ride when I realized that Emily M.'s mom most likely had a name besides "Emily's mom".  Turns out her name is Holly, too.  That gave us a smile.  We made lots of trips around the pediatric ward with the two in a wagon, one Holly pulling the wagon, the other Holly steering the IV.


Anyway, we're home at least for awhile.  Kenton(despite his nightmare schedule from chopping corn and parlor adjustment craziness) and the kids have the house looking pretty good!!!  Kenton even did some laundry.  Well, the downstairs looks pretty good, the bedrooms look like a bomb went off at a Goodwill store.  I'm really exhausted.  I don't think we'll do school this week, I think we'll just regroup and start fresh next week.  

School?  I've been asked.   Here's the plan and a sincere thank you to those concerned.  The school year is twelve months.  As long as we have everything done (relative term), our overseer (the local school board) doesn't care WHEN we get it done or if it takes until the end of August.  If Emily's health continues to put dents in their education, we'll take a serious look at switching them to public school.  I spent around $700-800 on curriculum this year so I hate to just ditch it.   Also, the kids have had a lot of adjustments with adding a family member and the stress on everyone with Emily being in the hospital.  Really, I think moving them to public school right now would add stress instead of relieving it for anyone.  If it becomes necessary, we're for homeSCHOOL, not HOMEschool.  Education is important to us.

THANK YOU for your prayer and support.  We have been so blessed by many of you.  I feel overwhelmed to continually be on the receiving end and I have learned and relearned the agonizing truth of "It's more blessed to give, than to receive."  I don't want to be a drama queen (usually) and Emily's long term health doesn't appear to be in jeopardy, but this has been a rough journey inspite of many blessings.  

Monday, September 17, 2012

Nine Days

When I was a kid, my dad's idea of a great vacation was north or west.  Preferrably both.  (Does it mean something that one child ended up on the East Coast and one in the South?)

One year my mom brow-beat  persuaded my dad to go to Missouri.  That's South and East.  It was not a great vacation.  The van lights went out when we were at an evening play, it was hot and miserable, the van did not have air conditioning. and there were three kids too many on the trip (the younger three).  I'm pretty sure the term "at each other's throats" was invented just to describe that particular family vacation. 

The breaking point hit when it rained as we slept in our tent.  There's nothing like waking up in your own private six-inch pool.  Sleeping bags do not make very good floaties. 

The next several hours were spent in the excitement of a laundromat trying to dry out six sleeping bags, a tent, and towels.  Absence could only have made those hearts grow fonder.   

Someone asked, "What are we going to do when we get home and everyone asks, 'How was your vacation?'"  My mom snarled, "I'm going to say that it was awful and your dad was a jerk!"  We all burst into laughter and made a firm rule to never spend more than NINE DAYS together on a vacation...and I noticed that we never went South or East again either. 

Emily has a habit of being sick for around ten days.  That's past the official family limit.  Togetherness was definitely wearing thin yesterday.   I know she's sick but sometimes that doesn't keep me from wanting to bop her.  Benadryl made her sleepy and then cranky.  After 500 attempts to pacify Her Royal Crankiness I finally popped her into bed, turned on the TV, and ignored her for awhile.  She went to sleep. 

The doctors have ruled out some things.  They are testing for more things.  I don't know when we are going home.

Today has been a rough day.  Emily wasn't allowed to eat until after an Upper GI that was scheduled for 8:00 a.m.  At twelve, Her Royal Crankiness was commanding, "Off with their heads!" to everyone around.  I was starting to get ticked!  At one, we were notifed that the test was canceled.  Until tomorrow. 

They drew blood at 5:30.  They drew blood again at 9:30.  Apparently, more bloodwork was ordered after 5:30.  I'd be mad for me, but I was furious that they can't plan ahead better for a two-year-old.  Her veins are tiny, she looks like a pincushion already, and they usually need several people trying several times before they can get it.  It's hard to listen to her screaming. 

And pediatrics was full.  Emily got moved to maternity.  I'm not sure what this says about us.  Do they move the patient with the parent who's the biggest pain in the butt first?   

Hmm...maybe if I throw a catastrophic fit they'll send us home.  We're breaking the NINE DAY rule.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Home Away From Home

Unfortunately, Emily and I are back at WVU children's hospital.  They're running a bunch of tests trying to figure out what is going on.  I'll admit I was cheering for some weird parasite they could antibiotic to death but it seems to be a bit more than that.  Celiac is a possibility.  Continued prayer would be great.  With the new parlor and everything else that's going on, the timing could have been better.  However, we have been so blessed. 

We are ready to have a healthy happy Emily permanently at home. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

 Is it an omen when you plan start up for 9/11 and have your table saw and toolbox ready for service?

Everything was finished enough to begin milking.  Lots of details yet to get into place, like some painting, improved water pressure, the coal stove, etc.

I figured Emily could throw up just as comfortably in the barn as at home.  I think she actually liked the change of scenery.

I think this was the first cow heading in.  Notice there are three guys working with ONE cow.  

It was mostly downhill from there.
Notice there are four people pushing and Kenton pulling in the front.

The first cow moving into place.  

I was the unfortunate culprit that hit the wrong button and released a whole side of cows that weren't milked...instead of moving the crowd gate up.  Turns out there are TWO green buttons.  
 You can imagine how popular that move was.

I think Domingo will be happy with the change.  
Hopefully we all will eventually.

All the doors were open and it was a beautiful afternoon at 3:00 when we started.  

There was a lot of pushing going on.

The kids helped out by feeding calves.  

They also climbed the walls, played in the dirt piles, and shot syringes of water at each other and Natalie, Sam, and Ted.

By 8:30 we had finally pushed, pulled, and shoved the last cow into the parlor.
Can you believe this crew actually SMILED for a picture?
It's amazing any of these people are still speaking to us.

Carl, Jonas, Domingo, Martha, Esther, Brent, Kenton, Nick, and Wendy

Lest you're concerned for the cows, notice these ladies are all busy chewing their cud.  I guess being pushed, pulled, and shoved into a new habit wasn't that stressful TO THEM.

You would have come in handy, Den.  Don't you wish you'd been here?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

"Moo"ving On...

 Yes, Emily IS back to puking again.  We've gotten her to a pediatrician who ran some more bloodwork and is collecting ALL the info from doctors, two hospitals, and I was able to get a bit from her orphanage.  The plan is for her to be seen by a pediatric GI.  Hopefully they will be able to get to the bottom of what is causing this.   In the meantime, she is puking and sleeping at home.  It's hard to watch a busy, happy, noisy toddler morph into a silent, listless, puking baby.  Prayer would be great!

But time moves on and so does farm work.  We began milking in the new parlor last night.  I took a lot of pictures on Friday night.  Kenton opened all the gates and let the cows in to snoop and get somewhat comfortable with things before the big day.  Warning: Lots of barn pictures, mostly for Dennis and anyone else who's interested.

The cows are coming from the freestall barn.  We opened this fence and put up some temporary gates.

Davis helped by leveling out the new opening.

Jamison and dad put up temporary gates.

Kenton put foot baths on the right, palpation rails in the middle, and the regular walkway on the left.  There are gates that swing both ways all over the place so that cow flow can be changed easily.

The cows will come through the walkway, in the gate, and under the crowd gate.  

Once the cows are through, the gate drops down, bells ring (think really annoying alarm clock), and the gate moves forward.  Ideally the cows will move forward as the gate does.  So far we have not seen this actually work.  

There are stalls on both sides. Someday, hopefully very soon, the cows will move this direction on their own.  (I have pictures to show how this has actually worked out so far.)

The cows will move through this area and go into stalls on either side. (Bad picture,  I know.)

The cows will pass through this area into the stalls where they'll be milked.  

Milking area, notice the butt pan on the left.  DO NOT QUOTE ME!!! but I think the individual indexing allows the gate in front to push the cow back to the appropriate spot so the milker can comfortably reach the udder and to reduce...hmm....unwanted splatter.  

The cows' heads poke out these gates.  Last night most of them acted as mean as Jamison tried to look.

It's a double ten parallel parlor.

 Those gates lift up mechanically to release cows when they are done milking.  

The kids were having a good time swinging on them.

Emily was not very happy that mama put her down where there was a dog roaming.

However, an old track phone and total (misplaced) trust in her sisters to protect her from the toddler-eating monster distracted her.

Once the cows are done, they are released and return to the freestall barn through the return lanes on either side.  

It's amazing how clean it looks in these pictures.   The real fun might be up tomorrow.