Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sun! Warmth! Grass!

Rees and John are climbing Lazy Mt., their summer Fridays plan ~ with a camera.
Ken is hiking with a very large rifle 2 hours north of here, looking for black bear ~ with a camera.
The rest of us are spread out in the yard in 75 degree weather (in Alaska!) ~ without a camera.  Grumpf.

I decided to forget about scrubbing the bathrooms to spend the entire day outside  (I'm not lazy, just being present to my kids.  Loved that article.  Ahem.).  Took me half an hour to cart out tons of things because going back into the house is to be avoided at all costs.  Breaks some unwritten rule about hot Alaskan days.  And 75 degrees is hot for us.  Kids cry and everything.  Here's what I brought :

Big blue blanket accidently stolen from the hospital 13 years ago, stained with salsa, root beer, ice cream, and popsicle juice,

Tipsy travel mug of coffee that Joseph keeps snitching sips of  (Must be Ken's Norwegian blood),

Notebook and pen, because I am, as I've said before, lost in the 80's.

Diapers, although most of the time he takes them off and runs off in boots alone,

Water bottles that noone will use because they like to slurp from the hose but it makes me feel efficient,

Cookies whose chocolate chips will melt internally, rendering them Extra Good,

Rubbermaid full of plastic animals to be set up in scenes all around the yard, half of which will be forgotten, snowed upon in October, and acidentally rediscovered next April,

Bottle for the baby goat, impossibly cute as she bounces all around us,

Telephone in case Ken calls,

Small scissors for popsicles in the nearby freezer, because sometimes only a frozen chunk of sugar and chemicals will do.

(I think we'll have cheerios for supper. . .)

Simply a sensational day! 
Warmly, indeed,

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Caprine Consolation

Oh no.  The black buckling has died.  Fine for three days, weak on Saturday, worse on Sunday, then no poos, convulsions, cries, last breath.  Ken held the little guy in his lap and Clare pet him until the end.  They buried him in the evening at the north end of our property.

We will, indeed, keep the white doeling now.  A bit of sweet consolation to remember her brother.

She was the first to hold him and the last to hold him.  Her passion is my consolation.  I love you, Clare.

Caprine Catch

She sat in the straw, hunched over with a towel pulled tightly around her shoulders, watching.  It had been almost two hours when I walked outside, mug of dessert coffee (decaf, lots of milk and sugar) in hand.  She unfolded herself, stood, yawned, stretched, and smiled at me.  I raised my eyebrows, half shrugged, and tipped my head to one side.  She pursed her lips, half shrugged, and shook her head.  I nodded and handed her the warm mug.  She nodded, smiled again, and returned to her focused hunch, while I tiptoed back to the house.  It seemed silly to tiptoe through (sort of, Alaskan spring) grass, but when your best dairy goat is in labor, you don't want any jarring noises that might give her cause to transfer to another birthing spot.  One not so easy for us to keep an eye on her and scoop up the babies immediately, like we do here.

About another hour passed with the rest of us more clamorous family members banished to the house, when a glance out the window rewarded me with a silent, frantic, jumping-jacking Clare.

Since I could be loud inside the house (!), I cheerfully shouted for the boys to get out to the barn for the birthing of the babies.  Rees was working and I swallowed a lump of resentment at the store for his absense and pushed more towels into John's arms, grateful that he'd grown responsible (Praise be.).  Ian opted to remain on the couch with Disney's old Swiss Family Robinson, a reward for completing the reading of a children's version ; the littlest boys trotted after John and me out the back door.

Have you ever heard a "whisper-scream"?  Clare has perfected this mode of communication and gave us the lowdown, her bright blue eyes blazing and her wiry arms flailing like a good Italian talker :

She has mucus dripping.
She hasn't gotten up in a long time.
Her sides are heaving.
I think I see the water sack coming.

Alrighty then.  I'll worry over existential issues and whatamIdoing later.
Small boys were instructed to stay by the fence with John, while Clare got into position, catching towel ready :
Caught.  No problem :

Another towel to mop up the sticky wood chips :
Next baby goes to Luke.  No catching picture, as I was assisting him :

And only two this time.
Mix up warm water, molasses, peanut butter and run it back out to Patches, then into the warmer house to clean off and exclaim over the kids :

So now we're bottle feeding one doeling and one buckling, cute as can be, and milking Patches again, who gives us half a gallon a day.  The children always beg to keep a baby  (We've only had 3 litters.) and we always sell them to offset feed cost, but maybe this time . . .

Must go get the bottle again,

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Sunday is our Great Strides Walk  (See the button on the sidebar?), the culmination of the past year's fundraisers and the biggest event of the CF Foundation.  We go, we walk, we eat, we visit, we laugh, we cry.  Then we throw a dessert party at our house afterwards to thank friends for coming out.  It's a Grand Day.

But it was not always so.  For many years, we had no desire to be involved with it, or anything else officially CF related  (Other than Rees' care and doctor visits, of course.).  Ken's take was that we "do" CF all the time ~ enough already.  I just did not want to be one of those mothers  (Whatever that means.  I was a little conceited back then.).

I suppose one year, my craving for connection won out over my aversion ; I probably had also resigned myself to the fact that no supernatural healing was going to occur  (See conversion story above.).  I promised to watch some old World War II movie that evening and Ken agreed to sign up.  And it wasn't bad.  Pretty good.  Fun, even.

In the years following, Great Strides has become important to us all, as we have many  (usually)  sunny hours to meet up with old friends and introduce ourselves to new, anxious parents.  The people not there are important, too.  Not there due to hospitalizations or due to passing away.  They are missed, talked about, remembered.  As it should be.   It's worthwhile for Rees and the other children to be around lots of other CF families, absorbing energetic, joyful support, then reflecting it back to their world.

There's an intensity present, also.  An intensity focused on raising research money for the CF Foundation, because as I understand it, they are the ones financing drug studies.  The more money they have, the more research they finance.  Simple.

So we attend Great Strides for relationships and for money.  And we will until there's no more need for research.  *From my mouth to God's ears!*


P.S. ~ Nice doc explaining amazing drug study here!

Weekend Birthday and Recipe

When your boy turns 7 and calls for Dirt Cake, you find yourself saying things like,  Do you want worms in your bowl?  And  How many scoops of Mud Pie ice cream with that?  Charming.  Delicious.  Feeling sick from eating too much dirt, worms, and mud . . . Happy Birthday, my Ian! 


                                          A Swiss Army Knife!  Now I can do anything I want!
                                            O Lord.


Make any chocolate cake, and break it up into chunks,
Make chocolate pudding,
Make whipped cream  (or get cool whip.  shhh.)
Crush up a whole package of Oreos  (or a knock-off brand.  shhh.)

Layer at least twice, ending with cookies.  Poke gummy worms in.

This is also great for a party, putting the dessert in one of Walmart's plastic wheel barrows and serving it up with a plastic shovel into plastic flower pots.  I just don't do birthday parties anymore.  Meanie, I know.

In love with my boy Ian,

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Figuring Together

Rees has been working close to thirty hours the past few weeks (not the twenty he'd written on his entry paperwork), but they assure him it will not continue past Mother's Day.  Who is they, Iwouldliketoknow, and how did they acquire such power over my boy?  He is tired ; he has lost weight ; I don't know if he's used the flutter valve enough ; and he is stressed about how to walk the line between being a helpful employee and standing up for himself and his goals.  Ken reminded him of how good his paycheck will be, which did quell the worry and bring on a grin (dimple and all!).

It's impossible to worry about his growing up without worrying about CF.  How long will he able to work?  Will ge be able to find meaningful employment with health insurance?  Enough to support a family?  Should I push strongly encourage him toward something he'll be able to do when his health declines?   S.T.O.P., Mama.   We don't know what the future holds.  Make plans.  Get jobs.  Do stuff.  Adjust.  Change.  Adapt.  As necessary.  Only hindsight is 20/20 so we  (all)  must march on ~ sometimes tiptoeing, sometimes charging with bayonets, sometimes dancing.

So I'll be better about making a pitcherful of the shake for him to take to work ; Ken will pick up earplugs so the wee ones don't wake him prematurely ; and we'll make better use of weekends for discussions on current events, history, theology, and logic ~ family education favorites.  We'll figure it out together in the days and weeks to come. . .

. . . along with figuring out how to help Clare keep calm when attempting long division,

. . . along with figuring out how to get Joseph to stop   s c r e a m i n g   a l l    t h e    t i m e,

. . . along with figuring out how Ken and I can manage a weekend alone somewhere (It's been 11 years).

Ah, life.   Thanks be to God  (I say that often, don't I?) !


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What party?

Last evening, while searching through a recipe file, I happened across a scrap of paper  (And yes, I still use lots of paper scraps, not iphone messages or anything.  Lost in the 80's am I.).  I had scribbled :

Weekend party ~

Cold broccoli salad
Thick salt and vinegar chips
Hot artichoke dip
Sourdough bread
Dark chocolate nuggets
Individual lemon cakes

And I thought, What lucky friends got this menu???   Then, Who can I invite over to eat this menu again???

Even though today is not the weekend, I want to tag this with a Weekend Recipe label so here's the recipe for the broccoli salad :

5 C      Raw broccoli florets
1/2 C   Raisins
1/2 C   Sunflower seeds
1/2 C   Crumbled bacon
1/4 C   Chopped red onion
1 C      Thawed peas
1 C      Mayo
2 T      Vinegar
1/2 C   Sugar

Toss together first 6 ingredients.  Blend last 3 ingredients and stir into salad.

Good for a summer meal.  Or a party!