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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Our baby girl turns 7

Today is Sophie's 7th birthday...so hard to believe that our youngest daughter is certainly not a baby girl anymore.  She was 22 months old when she came to live with us and was soooo tiny-only weighed 18 pounds.  But she started her life as a 3 pounder so I guess that wasn't too bad :)  She has been so sick for the last week and I was thankful that she is finally over that virus so that she could enjoy it.  She got a kitten (we got him from the Franklin County Humane Society-their cats and kittens are $10 this month because they have so many that need homes) and Taylor Swift tickets.  I am going to take Kennedy and Sophie and we are all going to get pedicures and new outfits before the concert.  Tammy is going to the concert with us and the girls were asking if she was going to wear a dress...for those of you who know Tammy; that is pretty darn funny :)

I was looking through the photos of Sophie to find one to attach to this post-and when you find a photo of Sophie; most of the time Kennedy is there too.  They often tell people that they are twins; and they truly have the connection of twins.  Kennedy came to us 6 months prior to Sophie;  they are only 11 months apart, and they are as close as they can be.  Certainly, they do have their fights, but you better not say anything about one of them to the other!  They take up for each other no matter what.  I especially remember one time that Kennedy was hurt at school.  Kennedy said it didn't hurt and was basically just "looking" at her injury, but Sophie was close by; boo-hooing away because her sister injured.  Reflecting upon this makes me realize just how "blended" our blended family really is.  For the most part, we are not of the same biology, but that doesn't matter.  We are a family just the same and it is truly comical how often Tammy or I are out with one of the kids and people say "he/she looks just like you."  We just smile and say "thank you." 

Here is Sophie a few days after she came to live with us; and it is one of my favorites of her :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Warranty

Well Tigie has used his warranty already...tag got ripped off and Mama came to the rescue and put a new tag on him.  That tiger is going to be the death of us.

I think that the virus MIGHT be gone.  I am afraid to say for sure because every time I think that it is, we have a relapse.  Sophie seems to have been hit the hardest and I think that it is going to take some time for her to get her strength back. 

We are both in dire need of a day together, WITHOUT the children...sometimes it just hits you!  And the illness has taken its toll on all of us to the extreme. 

I'm trying very hard to have a better attitude and keep thinking positively...day by day...that is what I tell my clients; now if only I could utilize that advice myself! 

Until next time......

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Woe is me

This is the only way that I can describe the way that I feel about things right now.  I know that there are many people in this world who are MUCH worse off; and I am trying so diligently to have a better attitude…but it is not working.  I feel like I have been running uphill for the past year and I feel completely defeated and deflated.  I have THREE college degrees; including a Masters in social work and a Masters in business; and cannot find a full-time job that pays more than peanuts….I will be paying off student loans well into my golden years and still cannot find a good paying, solid full-time job in the state of Kentucky.  I am not asking to be rich…I am a pretty simple girl…I just want to be able to support my family and take a vacation once in a while….Oh and domestic partner benefits would be nice...but appears to be unheard of in this archaic home state of mine...and they are not offered by either of my employers..so we continue to pay COBRA health insurance premiums for Tammy from Presbyterian Healthcare...please Kentucky; join me in the 21st century...I am frustrated beyond belief. 

The fact that we STILL have the stomach virus in our house is not helping…Tammy and 3 of the kids have been hit hard.  They get better for a day, and then it is right back.  I have talked to the doctor’s office and the pharmacist who both indicate that this virus is terrible right now and there is not much you can do but push fluids to prevent dehydration..so; that is what we are doing. 

Also; we are having hen trauma.  I certainly wasn’t familiar with “egg binding” until this week.  Well, one of our chickens has it and she is miserable.  So, we are following the advice of the “Chickens” magazine and we have isolated her in a dark, quiet place and Tammy is putting her in a warm bath twice a day to try to let her relax so that the egg eventually makes its way out…oh the joys of farm life. J  If any of you other farmers out there have any advice, let us know. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Our baby turns 2

Not the weekend I had planned…the stomach virus is going around our house, and when you have lots of kids, it is never an easy feat.  Our baby boy turned 2 today-yey Jack Henry!!  But the illness made a dent in our birthday plans.  We had planned to go the Louisville Zoo on Saturday for character day, and then on Sunday to the Josephine Sculpture Park for the fall festival.  We had to cancel the zoo, but I took the “healthy kids” to the fall festival and Tammy stayed home with the sick ones, as she is sick herself.  I have to say that I felt a little lost with only 3 children in tow.  When you have a large family, you find ways to keep track of them.  I count them CONSTANTLY.  And with 3 that feels kind of ridiculous, especially since Robert is 16 and towers over me  J

Having your baby turn 2 is also a bizarre feeling when you have cared for this many babies.  We took care of LOTS of babies during our 7 years of fostering.  They varied in age, developmental level, levels of in-utero drug exposure, and levels of physical trauma and neglect.  We loved them all very dearly, and it hurt my heart when many of them left to go onto other relatives or returned to their birth families.  I eventually learned that they carried the love that we gave them everywhere they go in their lives, and I could only hope that we made a difference in their futures. 

So..we are back to the drawing board on many levels in our family…to be continued………

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Loss and Victory

Sad day on Harman Farm today…we got up this morning and Betty had died.  L  This is definitely a part of this “farm stuff” that we do not handle so well……..However, this did open the door to talking to the kids about death and dying.  They all knew that Betty had been sick but we had all been working hard to get her well.  And I resisted doing the “I told you dance” to Tammy……

On a much happier note, Sawyer cocka’d (sp) in the potty today-woooooohoooooo!!!  The things that I get excited over these days is pretty pathetic J  This is one of the many words that we picked up in New Mexico, along with hita and hito.  We also picked up the word manano; along with the attitude and we love it.  Tammy has always been such a Type A personality and New Mexico had such a positive effect on her in regard to slowing down a bit. 

The rain this week has been tough on the famdamily.  We are all a bit stir crazy, from the dogs to the kids to the goats to us.  I have a 3 day weekend this weekend-wooohoooo!!  I sure hope that the weather gets better.  We have plans for a trip to the zoo and to Josephine Sculpture Park!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Tigie Tragedy...........

Tigie is an important part of our family.  When Sawyer came to live with at 4 months of age; he came from a great deal of chaos.  He NEVER smiled; and was quite difficult to engage at times.  Well, we had these 2 stuffed tigers that he came to adore; one was brown and one was white. (We bought these 2 tigers at a truck stop in Little Rock, Arkansas during one of our trips to see Tammy's family over Christmas when we were driving from Albuquerqe to Maryland/Virginia).  Over time, he let the brown one go, but has hung onto to the white one; whom he named "Tigie" when he learned to talk. Tigie went everywhere with him.  He went on visits with his birth parents to the CPS office, he went to PB&J (an agency in Albuquerque where parents and children (who are in foster care)) go for parents to receive hands-on parenting instruction, and on every transport where CPS was involved.  In fact, the transporters would not even transport Sawyer if Tigie was not with them. 

Well, as time has gone on; and Sawyer is forever ours, both Sawyer and Tigie's role have changed tremendously.  I am happy to report that Sawyer smiles (A LOT) and although he can be difficult at times (as any 3 year old is); and he makes me so darn proud.  This little guy has undergone quite a transformation over the last 3 years :)  Along with the changes in Sawyer have come the changes in Tigie's role in our lives.  Tigie is no longer used as a "crutch" for traumatic events, but as a companion through thick and thin.  Tigie goes out with him to feed the animals on the farm, eats dinner with us most nights, and is always a companion with Sawyer in bed.  Before we leave to go anywhere or before anyone goes to bed at night, Tigie is located :)

So...an event such as the one that occurred yesterday was quite disturbing....Tigie has a tag that Sawyer rubs while he is going to sleep and his finger gets caught in the tag at times.  Well....this happened upstairs and Robert (our 15 year old) yanked the tag and ripped it completely off...I heard screaming and crying and went running upstairs to a red-faced distraught little boy saying "PUT IT BACK ON!!!!"  He was crying so hard that I thought he was going to hyperventilate!  It took me a few minutes to determine why he was so upset; both because Sawyer was so hysterical and I think that Robert was afraid to tell me-lol. 

Well...Tammy saved the day.  She made a make-shift tag for Tigie out of ribbon and sewed it on Tigie.  She even told Sawyer that the tag had a warranty and could be replaced at any time if needed. Thank God for my girl and her ability to fix things....

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sucker Punch

We did it!  We added not only one; but 2 calves to our little farm.  They are absolutely darling and we named them Daisy and Betty.  Well...Daisy was the one that Tammy and the kids went to pick up on Friday; but miraculously, Tammy ended up with two.  The seller had Betty in a box where she couldn't even see out, so the seller "threw her in" for a small fee.  Well low and behold; Betty was very sick.  She was dehydrated and emaciated and needed a lot of extra nutrition and attention.  Thank God for our wonderful neighbors who are so good to us and who are very experienced with calves.  They assisted us in knowing what to purchase and even helped us get the nutrition down into Betty's belly.  We started off with a nutrition bag where we could put it directly into her stomach.  I found myself thinking back to my career at Presbyterian Hospital where I watched the nurses move the IV poles around trying to assist gravity for the kids with G-tubes :).  Well, I am happy to report that our little sick cow that Dr. Doolittle was talked into purchasing is doing much better. She took 3/4 of the colustrum by bottle this morning and has really strengthened up. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Designing a plan

There have been a lot of fun parts to all of this "farm stuff" but it is now time to really get "down to business."  My goal for this long weekend is to write a business plan, a mission statement, and a vision statement for our future....may as well use my MBA for something; since it has obviously not helped me find a wonderfully paying job!!  I will write this not only with our future in mind; but also the future of the kids; in case one of them decides to carry this on.  Another part of this process is going to be applying for grant money; so this should be very interesting.  After doing research, we are finding that this entire process is going to be long and tedious; and patience is certainly not a virtue in our family............