Saturday, July 6, 2013

Five Things for Friday, Shepherdess Edition

-1-

I was talking to my sister on the phone the other day, telling her about another one of our animal adventures, and finally she just laughed and said, "Heather your life is starting to sound like something out of a children's book."

That made me smile because it does seem like we are having an unusual number of animal adventures this year.

Our most recent animal excitement has been with the skunk that was living beneath our chicken coop. We noticed about a month ago that it had taken up residence there, but we were at a total loss as how to get rid of it. We had several offers from neighbors who said they would come over with their shotguns, but we weren't too excited about that option. I called the Humane Society and they said that the most they could do for us was give us a trap.

Trapping a skunk? That just sounded like a recipe for disaster.

So the skunk stayed under to coop for almost a month until finally, after one exceptionally stinky night, we opted for the trap option. Jon put a tarp over the top of it and we put a can of wet cat food in the back of the trap (I guess that is what skunks like) and left it out over night.

Jon's skunk barricade. He didn't want that skunk to get out!

The next morning there was a black and white tail sticking out of the trap! Luckily the skunk stayed asleep until Jon got the covered trap into the back of the truck, but once it heard us talking it woke up and sprayed all over the tarp. No one was around at the time,  but it sure did make our whole backyard and our house smell bad for a few hours! Jon and Asher drove him down to the river and let him go down there.

Hopefully he won't find his way back!



-2-

In other animal news.... I am pleased to announce that I am now a shepherdess.



Jon bought me two lambs for my birthday.

He got me a boy and girl. The boy's name is "Solomon" and Rose started calling the little girl lamb "Cutie Pie".  I thought that was cute so we kept it. We put them out in the pasture with Little Red and they have all taken to each other really well. I think Little Red is much happier now that he has his own little herd to run around with.

It has been fun to see the difference in personality between sheep and goats. The sheep are really shy and mostly keep to themselves, while the goat is super social and always wants to be around people. Though I think the sheep are starting to warm up to me, because when I went out to the pasture today they both came running over with Little Red. They didn't want to be petted, but they liked eating where I was at.

Cutie Pie's leg got hurt when they were catching her to bring her over here, and so she has been hobbling around. It doesn't feel broken and so we think she just got a sprain. Today she was putting more weight on it, and so hopefully in the next few days she will be better.  I have been impressed on how fast she can run on three legs!  

I am excited about having a boy and girl because that means we should get some little lambs this  spring! I am so incredibly excited about the idea of seeing baby lambs be born.  I guess the birth junkie in me doesn't really care what type of birth it is... the miracle of it never ceases to excite me.

I know I can't rush things, but I can't wait for these two little guys to grow up and fall in love.




-3-

 I finally finished the cloth diapers that I started almost three years ago.


Aren't they pretty?

I bought the PUL fabric (a special waterproof material), the fleece for the liner, and all the snaps, and the snap press at Joann's fabric way back when Rose was still a baby. I had hopes of making them for her, but alas... it never happened.

I am not a cloth diaper purist by any means. I am more a half cloth/ half disposable type mom. I use disposables whenever we are out and about, at night, and whenever I don't feel like doing cloth. I usually use cloth when we are home or just running errands around town. I really love having both around.

I started using them when Rose was born because with two kids in diapers it just made a lot more financial sense. I tried out a sample program first ( you can read all my posts on cloth diapers here) and was surprised by how much I liked them. The new types of cloth diapers are really easy to use, and changing them is really not much more disgusting than changing any other poopy diaper. These are NOT your grandma's cloth diapers. They have definitely gotten more high tech since then!

Anyway,  I used cloth for about a year with Asher, almost exclusively on Rose (except for night time), and for just a few months with Abe. Life was just too crazy, with moving so much and all, that I didn't even want to think about bothering with cloth diapers with Abe. Yet now that we are more settled and I am going to have two babies in diapers again in a few months I figured I'd better pull out the cloth diapers again.

My stash was in a pretty sad state and so I went through and fixed several of them up and sewed six new diapers. I used this pattern (that Cocoa was so nice to tell me about) for one-sized diapers. These diapers have lots of snaps on them so they can adjust to fit newborns up to toddlers. I was really surprised at how EASY they were to make. I'd say the pattern was worth the $10. Though when Cocoa told me about it she recommend to extend the top of the front and back seam allowances by half an inch. She said that if you don't the seam allowance at the top is too small and runs into the snaps. I also didn't do the last set of snaps at the top of the diaper because they seemed too close to the edge, and wouldn't have been very useful. I also top stitched around the outside of leg elastic because I didn't like how it rolled. Those were all the changes I made to the pattern and was really happy with how they turned out.



I am afraid though that if this baby is a boy he is going to end up wearing pink diapers. That is what you get for buying the fabric and then not using it for three years!

But  it never hurts to shake up gender stereotypes sometimes, right?

-4-

I really appreciated the wonderful conversation about anger on my last post. One of the questions that came up was how to reduce the amount of anger you feel in your life, especially when you have been trying to get rid of it.  I thought that I would share this meditation that my beautiful friend Felice taught me. It is really simple and if you do it everyday for at least 40 days amazing things will start to happen to you.

I promise.

I try to do this meditation most mornings. Some days I don't have much steam to burn off, but other days it surprises me the things that come out. Either way I always feel really good after I have done it, like I have let go of a burden.

And sometimes I even have my kids do the meditation when they are really riled up. It always seems to help. At least it gets them laughing most of the time, instead of yelling.



-5-

We officially started our homeschool last week and it has been going much smoother (so far) than I expected. We have been having a lot of fun (mostly) and it has been rewarding to see them grasp the ideas and to get excited about what they are learning.

Our schedule isn't very intense.  We start out with our Mom's MTC lesson in the morning (for which Abe joins us) and then afterward we work on our reading and math lessons (during which Abe takes a nap). When we are done we have a snack and I read to them from "Charlotte's Web". We usually only do work for about 2 hours in the morning and then go do something fun.

As we get more accustomed to the schedule I will slowly try to add in more activities, but for right now we are taking it slow. 

Here are few snippets of what we have been doing.
 


Here is Rose working with the alphabet bags. Each day we work on a new letter and after she colors her picture of the letter and the sound it makes then she gets to pull out the letter bag for that day. They have objects in them that start with the letter. Here she is has the "A" and the "B" bag out.


Here they are playing a math memory game. I laid out cards 1-10 and then put a certain number of blocks into the basket. When it was their turn they had to go find the basket (it was on the stairs) count how many things were in the basket, leave it there, and then come back and choose the number that they thought it was. After they guessed they could go get the basket and come back and check if they were right. It was simple but they enjoyed it.


For our Geography lesson we made "If the World Were A Village" lapbooks (print it off here) and talked about where and how people live around the world. The idea of the activity is to give children an idea of what the world would look like if you reduced the population of the world to 100 people.  I took 100 beans (the 100 people in our world village) and put them on which continents they would live on, showed how many had clean water and air, how many spoke which languages, practiced which religions, had how much money, etc... The work of actually making the lapbook was  a bit too old for them, even though they had fun gluing things in, but it really opened up a good conversation about how people live. I was really touched when we made our piles showing the people in the world who don't have enough to eat and Asher and Rose started taking beans from the "rich" pile and putting them in the other pile. "We are really rich Mom," they explained, "So we can give our beans to these guys so they have more to eat." 



Amen to that! 

4 comments:

  1. I'm so glad your homeschool is off to a good start! I have those Sesame Street cards too- they are pretty cute and much used in our school.
    Your diapers are really cute! My attempts at sewing them never went well- the fabrics never worked like I wanted and they wicked moisture through the seams. Guess I should have used synthetic thread or something. I use Bum Genius ones now, but I hope yours work out well after all your hard work.

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    1. So far they have been working great! They have been through the wash twice and seem to be working just as good as my name brand ones. Though the only complaint I have about them is that the snaps from Joann's the "babyville" brand are not as high quality as the snaps on my other diapers. The first few times I snapped them I really had to force some of them closed, but now that I have used them a few times they seem to snap easier. They do the job, but if I ever make more I might invest in some higher quality snaps.

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  2. Good job with the diapers! I don't have a snapper-do-dad, so making my own isn't as economical as getting hand-me-downs from friends.

    Getting baby stuff ready makes it all seem so much more real, doesn't it? No matter how many babies I've had, there is a mental disconnect from the bump to the baby. :)

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  3. I love having the option to use cloth and disposable diapers too but I have never made my own cloth ones. I also have to second the negativity/anger release meditation. It helped me a lot too. The 40 days is such an important part. In the beginning I didn't feel like it did much but after 40 days I really saw the difference.

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