Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

I know, I know. Who hasn't seen this video of Christian the lion?

Still, in case you're one of the 12 people who has gone without, I feel it is my duty to share it with you. Consider it my public service.

Enjoy.



Sniff.

Fred? Can I have a lion cub? Please?




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Adoption Tuesday - A Book Review

I received an email recently from a woman named Karen Henry Clark, who is a fellow-adoptive Mom as well as an author. She has written a children's book about adoption entitled Sweet Moon Baby, and she asked me if I would review it.

So here ya' go, folks, my first official book review:





Sweet Moon Baby, An Adoption Tale, is a beautiful story with a fairytale feel that tells the tale of a child born, then let go by her birth-parents, then found and loved and raised by her adoptive parents.

The simple text of the story, coupled with the achingly gorgeous illustrations of Patrice Burton, will help the young child follow the journey of a baby girl born in China to parents who loved her, but who knew in their hearts they could not give her the life she deserved. As the child is carried by the river, and helped along her path by a few protective creatures such as peacocks and pandas, monkeys and turtles, her adoptive parents across the world wait and prepare and search for their daughter.

Under the watchful guidance of the wise moon, her parents find her at long last, and the three become a family.




I loved so many things about this book: the illustrations, the love for their little girl from both the birth parents and the adoptive parents, and the "caretaking" of the baby that took place along her journey. I followed up my reading with a few questions of the author:

Anne Kimball: Such a beautiful story, and so many wonderful examples of how the baby was loved and watched over and yearned for. However, what can you say to the child that might feel uneasy about the birth parents placing the child in a basket on the river?
Karen Henry Clark: I understand. I had a hard moment of truth minutes after our daughter was given to us. My husband held her as I looked through the documents, and my heart stopped at the words: "Baby found forsaking on steps of leather factory." Instantly I felt the isolation, the emptiness of that night for her. Was she awake? Did she cry for her mother? Does some part of her remember people looking at her and walking away? Because there is no way to know, I tried to create a story to fill the mystery that will always be with her. When I read the final draft of SMB to her, she smiled and said, "That baby slept through all the best parts!" And who wouldn't love to believe they'd been carried past the moon by a peacock?

In the end, I appreciate that literature, even a picture book, challenges readers to ask questions. There is always something deeper behind the thing that confuses us or touches us on the page.


AK: How did you decide to write your story in this style?
KHC: When we adopted our daughter from China, we discovered all kinds of interesting things about how the related books affected her. She never grasped the stories that convey one animal can love/mother an entirely different one. She didn't connect with those metaphorical tales of personification. One autobiographical story about an adopted Chinese baby left her thinking the baby would be returned to China because of a reference to the birth mother at the end, not the impact we would have hoped. So this set me to thinking about the kind of story I'd want for her.

Explaining China's one-child policy and all the social or cultural preferences involved in the subject just didn't seem to belong in a picture book. I knew I wanted her to feel loved, not abandoned. So I decided to avoid the non-fiction approach because that was already on the market. I decided to set the story as a classic, timeless fairy tale. I hoped that note would be immediately struck by the book's subtitle Sweet Moon Baby: An Adoption Tale. The characters have no names. The story is meant as a metaphor. I try to keep the elements simple to suggest at the most basic level why or how people decide what they decide. The parents face issues that a child might understand more easily than a centuries-old preference for boys. The adoptive parents wait and pass the time with happy things, instead of writing about failures with foster children or infertility or stacks of forms--real things beyond the comprehension of a young child. The moon represents Hope/Faith/Destiny/God. A certainty that adults can feel and believe in but can't always convincingly explain. And the river is the force, the current that surely moves that baby along home. I felt compelled to show, because of my daughter's early thought about a child returned, the little girl growing up in her new home, happy and loved and cared for by all the wonderful things her birth parents always wanted. And it is suggested that the goodness of China remains with her forever.


AK: Do you ever find that children question the fiction of the forces caring for the baby along her journey?
KHC: Because Sweet Moon Baby is a tale, it presents the important distinction of fiction: A reader is asked to suspend his disbelief. Children are in varying stages of being able to do this. Does any child ask: "If Cinderella falls in those glass slippers, won't her feet be cut to pieces?" or "Couldn't Goldilocks be killed by the bears when they find her upstairs?" The valuable point here, to me, is that they ask the question so the adult can help them understand the overriding theme involved. The significance of the glass slippers is their value as the clue, not as danger. The bears do not represent death, they are self-respecting homeowners who don't deserve this nosey intruder.

What better place to face the potential problems of a river than on the lap of a parent who can guide a child to see that no matter what the potential peril, a kind soul helped? The baby is saved and saved again. A child deserves to have reassuring answers. That is how confidence grows.





Thank you Karen! Beautiful book. Look for it on Amazon.




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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Yay Mary! Represent!

O.M.G!

I'd been saying since I saw the movie last October that there was a chance that my sister Mary Birdsong's scene with George Clooney in The Descendants would be played at the Oscars when they played the clip for his Best Actor nomination.

And they DID!!!!



I LOVE YOU MARY!!!!!!




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Oscars

So tonight's The Big Night. The Oscars.

As you may or may not have heard
oh I'm sorry, have I already mentioned that?(cough)
my sister, actress Mary Birdsong,

















was in the movie The Descendants, with George MF Clooney.
















And as it turns out, The Descendants will be well represented at tonight's Academy Awards. It's up for:
Best Picture
Best Actor - George Clooney
Best Director - Alexander Payne.

Now, Mr. Payne seemed like a very nice man















WHEN I MET HIM
name drop-name drop-name-drop

and you all know my feelings for Georgie
swoon-drool-hot flash













































and I sincerely hope they both win their categories.

But what I want most of all is for The Descendants to win Best Picture.

Because THEN, Mary can have bragging rights on her resume and , oh well pretty much everything the rest of her LIFE, that she was in an Academy Award-winning movie.


And that would be pretty awesome.






Cheer for Mary! Vote for her sister (that would be me)....

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Images courtesy: kansascity.com, screenjunkies.com

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Just a Few Quick Questions....

1) Why, when trying to determine the type of pain a person is having, do the medical professionals ask if it's a "stabbing pain"? Is stabbing so common an experience that the sensation is common knowledge? Am I missing out?

2) In what universe would this be considered fair: a woman gains 20lbs with a pregnancy, delivers a 9 1/2lb baby, and walks out of the hospital weighing exactly what she weighed when she walked in? This happened to me, folks, I'm not making this up.

3) While settling down to watch a TV show with the family, my teen dtr will invariably have her laptop open to chat with friends on FB, her phone in one hand so she can text her 10 closest BFFs, and one earbud of her iphone in so she can listen to her favorite tunes. In this day and age, isnt' ADHD something we should be encouraging, rather than trying to control with medication?









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Image courtesy: lep2011.com

Friday, February 24, 2012

Farm Friday - Spring is in the Air

We haven't had much of a winter this year.
Less than 4" of snowfall all season.
Pond never froze enough for skating. Not even once.

I kept hoping for that one good snowfall, but it never came.

Now it's almost March, and I give up.

I've gotta admit, all this warm sunshine does feel nice. The critters agree. The goats have been sunbathing on the rocks and the horses are shedding their winter coats like nobody's business.

And Annabelle, like always, is happy, happy.

My billy goat gruff, Tibbitt.








Annabelle. My belly button.


















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Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Guest Post!

A fellow blogger recently contacted me and asked if I had any guest-posting opportunities available.

Since I had never had a guest post on before, my only thought was, hey, if it'll relieve the pressure of having to come up with another scintillating post about colt castrations or egg-bound hens or my plans for managing another stay-at-home-Mom-of-six-kids-scheduling-week-from-hell, well then sure. Sounds like a plan to me.

What do you write about, says I?

Many things, as it turns out. Like:

New York City Real Estate
Doesn't quite apply to this l'il ol' country-bumpkin blog of mine.

Hamptons Rentals
Ditto.

home improvement and the latest architecture
All fascinating topics, to be sure, but in a Venn diagram with my blog? Zero overlap.

design, fashion and travel
Design? Fashion?
As we speak, I am wearing oversized grey sweatpants, a men's quilt-lining flannel shirt b/c I'm chilly and it's cozy, and a plain black t-shirt, adorned only with some stray dog and cat hairs, and a few splashes of the smoothies I made the kids this morning. And slippers. Brown.

But travel, hmmmmm.
Not that I travel much, but you know sometimes we have friends or family visit from out of town and when I start to notice that slightly crazed, twitchy look about their eyes and a little spittle around the corners of their mouths after being held prisoner in this House of Crazy, I think to myself it would be nice if I could point them in the direction of a daytrip.

THAT'S IT!

So I asked ever-gracious Megan if she couldn't perhaps write up a little travel piece for the Lancaster area.

And she did.....




Megan Gates is an active blogger who provides written work to the blogosphere pertaining to New York City Real Estate, Hamptons Rentals, home improvement and the latest architecture, design, fashion and travel. Follow her on twitter @MEGatesDesign.


A Guide to Family Adventures in Lancaster, Pennsylvania


Lancaster County, Pennsylvania is a perfect day-trip destination for folks living on the east coast. You may be tempted to stay overnight in one of the many motels in the area to continue exploring the attractions of the Amish countryside.

The Hands-on House in Lancaster, Pa is filled educational and interactive exhibits for young children. They can try face painting, fishing, growing corn and sorting mail in the museum's Post Office. There's an outdoor play area called Mason's Outdoor Adventure Garden that features a sand tunnel, board walks, hiding nooks and sport challenges. This Museum encourages adults and their children to play with the exhibits which are constantly being updated.

Wander through the Butterfly House where over 300 representatives of 25 butterfly species feed on flowers at Lancaster County's Hershey Gardens. Highlights of this 23 acre botanical garden include the rose garden, children's garden and arboretum. The garden was the inspiration of Milton Hershey, who, when asked to build a rosarium in Washington, D.C., decided to locate it instead in Hershey in 1937.

Older kids and their parents will get a kick out of High Sports in Lititz, Pennsylvania. This fun park features go-karts, batting cages, a driving range and miniature golf. There are over 30 waterfalls and plenty of things to see and do in this hilltop park overlooking the Amish countryside.

Take your amateur spelunkers and cavern explorers to Indian Echo Caverns where they'll marvel the intricate and lovely limestone caverns and underground lakes, and pan for gems in Gem Junction. This system of caverns in Hummelstown, PA was first opened to the public in 1929. There's a historical exhibit on the Susquehannock Indians who inhabited the area until the 1670s and the French fur trappers who discovered many caverns in their travels along the local rivers and streams.

Plan to spend several fun and education-filled hours at the Lancaster Science Factory, an interactive museum filled with hands-on engineering, technology and mathematics experiments that show just how much fun the physical sciences can be. There are over 50 exhibits that introduce the principles of electricity, magnetism, acoustics, fluid dynamics and structural engineering.

If you would like to learn more about the history and the lifestyle of the Amish , visiting Lancaster, PA is the perfect place to do this. Take a horse and buggy tour around the Amish country, and then have a family filled day trying all of the home-made treats, and making fun crafts

Whether you're there for the day or a week, you'll enjoy exploring the many attractions and unspoiled countryside that makes Lancaster the perfect get-away destination for many east coast residents.







Thanks, Megan, well-done!

Please take a minute to check her out by following the links in her bio.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Love this picture I snapped last night.

James is cooking dinner.
Patrick is helping Bella with her homework (Well. He stepped away for a moment).
Rosie and her friend are making cookies.
Daniel is making lemonade.
Julie was in the other room embroidering and FBing simultaneously.

Yep, people. This is what a large family looks like.

(On a good night)

Sunday Social - Frog 1

Next one down on my siggy line...

Anne,
Wife of Fred for 23 years
Mom of:
Patrick (16)
James (16)
Rosie (14)
Bella(14)
Julie (13)
Daniel (12)
My children around the world:
Milly in Taiwan
Eun Hae in South Korea
Felice in Hong Kong
Nadya in Germany
Obrin in New York
And our critters Blue, Sunny, Cindy-Lou, Annabelle, Fiona, and Sophie; Mamfy, Mali, Milky and Punkin; Nick; Frog 1; Charlie and Dizzy; Minnie and Alice; Elfie, Frex, Crope, Tibbit and Ozzy; Genevieve, Pippin and Finnegan; and a dozen or so chooks.

I'd like to ask God why He allows
hunger, poverty, and injustice
in the world,but I'd be afraid
He'd ask me the same thing ...



Is Frog 1.















Rosie is our resident frog/toad lover. When she was three years old, she found her first little toad, and she made him her pet and named him Hoppy. Hoppy lived in a small aquarium and we fed him all the bugs we could find. Hoppy didn't spend a whole lot of time in that tank. More often you'd find him wherever Rosie was. Sometimes peeking out from her pocket, sometimes sitting on her arm while she watched TV.

Hoppy was first in a long line; I cannot remember a time since Hoppy that we have not had a frog or toad. We even tried store-bought frogs once. Little tree frogs. Pretty to look at, but bor-ing. Mostly we keep ones that she's found in the garden or the garage or rescued from the pool.

We've had so many frogs at this point that inventive names have become a thing of the past. These last two were simply Frog 1 and Horny Toad, but Horny Toad passed on a couple weeks ago, so Frog 1 sits morosely in her tank.

Shouldn't be very long, though. Spring is on the horizon, and I'm sure Rosie will find a companion for her pretty soon.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

From March 30th, 2009

Parenting Humor
A visiting friend saw Daniel in his habitual morning pose of being curled up in a fetal position on his kitchen stool, butt and toes facing the oven. Oven door open, heat cranked up.
She said, "Good morning Daniel. Whay are you sitting like that?"
"Cuz I'm cold" he replied.
"Well, why don't you put on a shirt and some socks?" (logical question, I'll admit).
Without skipping a beat or looking up from his pose, Daniel answered:
"Because I can't afford such luxuries in my life".

Another Daniel-ism
Daniel had asked at dinner if he could have soda, but the answer was no. Later he saw Patrick fixin' himself a root beer float for dessert. He asked me if he could have one, too. I told him he certainly could. After only the slightest pause he said,
"Can I have a root beer float without the ice cream?"

Carpal Tunnel (yawn)

(My apologizies for the fuzzy photo. Can't get it to focus for some reason.)

Surgery went fine yesterday. Checked in around 10, left about 12. Quick-n-dirty.

Nothin' but numb for many hours, but then the pain set in. Motrin didn't have enough kick to get me past it, but hydrocodone did. Went to sleep happy.

This morning, sadly, it seems Motrin is all I need. Ah well.

Should be unwrapped and back to normal in about a week and a half.

Thanks for the well-wishes!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - The Eyes Have It

Some new artwork from James....

P2P

Rosie is signed up to go on a People To People "ambassador" trip to Australia this summer.

This means she gets to go on a 3 week vacation while her Dad and I take out a second mortgage to pay for the trip.
And the new luggage.
And the new clothes.

That's OK, though. You know me, just sittin' around with nothing to do most of the time, so it's nice that I get to drive her to the monthly meetings which are an hour away. I love parking my ample hindquarters on a middle school cafeteria bench for two hours.

Apparently, the chief thing the good folks at P2P need to teach is that the kids shouldn't pack any jeans. Some of the best moments of my life have been spent learning this, because they've gone over it in depth
at every freaking meeting.

I've also learned that, as the person in charge of the refreshments committee, I have become the Snack Nazi.

You haven't gotten back to me by the end of the day on the carb you're volunteering to bring?
I will hunt you down.

Tonight was a bit embarrassing for Rosie, though. The P2P leader was talking about dress code (and yes, she reviewed their standing on jeans. Again.) She looked down the line and said, that shirt there would be fine, so would that one, etc,etc.
Then she got to Rosie.
My hussy daughter.
Leader woman said, "Yeah, you wouldn't be able to wear that. Bare shoulders aren't really appropriate."

Poor Rosie. My sweet little tramp in her layered tank tops.

You know that scene in Alien where Sigourney Weaver backs herself very s-l-o-w-l-y into the space suit when she's in that little shuttle with the creepy critter? Yeah. That was Rosie s-l-o-w-l-y easing herself into her jacket after leader lady called her out on her streetwalker's attire.

Walking out to the car at the end of the meeting, Rosie looked down and gasped in shock.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"My ankles are showing! I'm mortified!"



Can anyone recommend a good convent for my little Jezebel?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Under Construction

I just realized all my auto-send "readers" have probably been getting inundated with all my old posts as I've been changing names/updating labels/adding posts. For that, I am sorry. I will change things a bit so that I am the only one who can view this blog until it's ready to switch over to my public blog.

Thanks for your patience, and sorry to have been such a nudge.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sunday Social - Mali

Next one down on my siggy line...

Anne,
Wife of Fred for 23 years
Mom of:
Patrick (16)
James (16)
Rosie (14)
Bella(14)
Julie (13)
Daniel (12)
My children around the world:
Milly in Taiwan
Eun Hae in South Korea
Felice in Hong Kong
Nadya in Germany
Obrin in New York
And our critters Blue, Sunny, Cindy-Lou, Annabelle, Fiona, and Sophie; Mamfy, Mali, Milky and Punkin; Nick; Frog 1; Charlie and Dizzy; Minnie and Alice; Elfie, Frex, Crope, Tibbit and Ozzy; Genevieve, Pippin and Finnegan; and a dozen or so chooks.

I'd like to ask God why He allows
hunger, poverty, and injustice
in the world,but I'd be afraid
He'd ask me the same thing ...



Is Mali.

Mali came to us in a desperate state about 2 1/2 years ago. Instead of re-writing her story, I'll just cut and paste what I wrote about her back when we found her:

Over the years we have crossed paths with many stray critters. Some we have kept as our own, others we have found loving homes for.

As of Sunday, a new little stray has entered our lives. A sweet tabby kitten we have named Malishka, which is Russian for baby girl.

That afternoon I was sitting on the deck in the late afternoon watching the kids in the pool when I heard a plaintive, repeated meowing coming from our driveway. When I looked down, I saw this pathetic little half-bald kitty looking up at me and crying pitifully. As soon as I opened the gate to walk down the steps toward her, she ran away. Luckily, she didn't run far and she stopped and let me pick her up. It was all I could do to keep from crying out when I saw the hundreds of fleas running all over her bare back and belly.




I took her inside and gave her a bath with some itch-relief pet shampoo, then applied a vial of Frontline to her.

Despite being half-starved and half-mad from all the fleas, she was incredibly sweet and quite the purr-train. We gave her some food and water which she gobbled right up, and made a bed for her in a pet-carrier with a litter pan and a water dish.
Next morning, she still had some fleas, but there were hundreds of dead black dots in her bedding. A step in the right direction. I called the SPCA and reported that we had a found kitten staying with us, but it's now two days later and I haven't heard back from them.

I guess we have a new pet.

Well. Julie does. We've decided this can be her kitty, and she's beyond excited.
Julie went with me today to take her kitten to the vet. We've learned that Mali's about two months old, she has worms, but does not have feline leukemia or HIV. We also learned that she's very cute.

We already knew that.


Sunday Social - Mamfy

Next one down on my siggy line...

Anne,
Wife of Fred for 23 years
Mom of:
Patrick (16)
James (16)
Rosie (14)
Bella(14)
Julie (13)
Daniel (12)
My children around the world:
Milly in Taiwan
Eun Hae in South Korea
Felice in Hong Kong
Nadya in Germany
Obrin in New York
And our critters Blue, Sunny, Cindy-Lou, Annabelle, Fiona, and Sophie; Mamfy, Mali, Milky and Punkin; Nick; Frog 1; Charlie and Dizzy; Minnie and Alice; Elfie, Frex, Crope, Tibbit and Ozzy; Genevieve, Pippin and Finnegan; and a dozen or so chooks.

I'd like to ask God why He allows
hunger, poverty, and injustice
in the world,but I'd be afraid
He'd ask me the same thing ...



Is Mamfy.
















Mamfy is our oldest cat.

When Rosie was about three years old, we went to a friend's house for a playdate. When we got there, a little kittie walked over to Rosie and started winding herself 'round Rosie's legs, purring for all she was worth. We mentioned the kitty to my friend, and she said,
"If you want that cat, you can have that cat. She was dumped off here a few days ago."

And I said, of course, "No, no, no, no thank you. We already have two cats. I don't think so."

You all know how this ended, don't you?

Yeah, we walked back out to my truck when the playdate was over, and little kittie made a bee-line straight back to Rosie again.
Rosie's little eyes made a bee-line right for mine and she pleaded in her little girl voice if she could't pweese pweese have da widdle kiddie.

Melt. Puddle.

It worked on her then and it still works on her now.

I'm pathetic.

So she named her Samantha, only her little girl voice couldn't say Samantha. She called her Mamfy and we called her Mamfy and all these years later she's still called Mamfy.
Mamfy, Mampy, Mampers, Mamps.

And she always has crusty eyes and she always has a hair-ball sounding whoormph thing goin' on and she sheds like it was what she was born to do and she does it with the passion of a zealot.

And she still winds herself 'round Rosie's legs and purrs like nobody's business.

Sunday Social - Punkin

Next one down on my siggy line...

Anne,
Wife of Fred for 23 years
Mom of:
Patrick (16)
James (16)
Rosie (14)
Bella(14)
Julie (13)
Daniel (12)
My children around the world:
Milly in Taiwan
Eun Hae in South Korea
Felice in Hong Kong
Nadya in Germany
Obrin in New York
And our critters Blue, Sunny, Cindy-Lou, Annabelle, Fiona, and Sophie; Mamfy, Mali, Milky and Punkin; Nick; Frog 1; Charlie and Dizzy; Minnie and Alice; Elfie, Frex, Crope, Tibbit and Ozzy; Genevieve, Pippin and Finnegan; and a dozen or so chooks.

I'd like to ask God why He allows
hunger, poverty, and injustice
in the world,but I'd be afraid
He'd ask me the same thing ...




Is Punkin.
















Tecnically, she's not next on the list, but I happen to have a picture of her ready to go, so I'm making her next.

I got her shortly after we first moved to this house, which would make her coming up on seven years old, I guess. I think we had two cats at the time, but I saw an ad for free kittens and one of them was a calico and, well, I've always had a thing for calicos. Turns out a homeless mother cat had a litter of kittens under someone's shrubs, and the woman of the house was kind enough to try to find homes for the wee ones once they were old enough.

And this little kitty I took home was soooo pretty and sooooo sweet.

And then one day I took her to the vet for shots and stuff. They took her to the back to draw blood and I'm sittin' in the waiting room mentally admiring the wonderful qualities of my many well-behaved animals when alls-a-sudden I hear this God-awful caterwauling from the back and I think to myself, my God. Who is making that terrible racket? That's horrible. I think I may have even giggled condescendingly at the thought that someone else's critters weren't as well behaved as mine.

I think you know how it ended. It was Punkin. As it turns out? Calico cats are kind of crazy. They're also always female (little trivia for you there). Calicos can be sweet and loving one minute and demons from hell the next. And that's pretty much Punkin in a nutshell.

We finally had to relegate her to being an outside cat b/c she took to marking her territory, occassionally going apesh** on someone's arm, and terrorizing the other cats. However, the outside thing didn't work out so well b/c she 's the only one of our cats that figured out how to use the dog door, so now she just sashays in whenever the hell she feels like it.

And she is a demon.

But she's sooooo pretty and sooooo sweet.

Ah well. What's a mother to do?

Sunday Social - Fiona

Next one down on my siggy line...

Anne,
Wife of Fred for 23 years
Mom of:
Patrick (16)
James (16)
Rosie (14)
Bella(14)
Julie (13)
Daniel (12)
My children around the world:
Milly in Taiwan
Eun Hae in South Korea
Felice in Hong Kong
Nadya in Germany
Obrin in New York
And our critters Blue, Sunny, Cindy-Lou, Annabelle, Fiona, and Sophie; Mamfy, Mali and Punkin; Nick; Frog 1 and Horny Toad; Charlie and Dizzy; Minnie and Alice; Elfie, Frex, Crope, Tibbit and Ozzy; Genevieve, Pippin and Finnegan; and a dozen or so chooks.

I'd like to ask God why He allows
hunger, poverty, and injustice
in the world,but I'd be afraid
He'd ask me the same thing ...



Is Fiona.



















She's the newest canine in the group.

She's sweet.

She's awful.

She's a terrible, awful dog.

She's a lovey-dove lap-dog.

She's a terror.

She's a cute l'il l'il baby puppy.

She is exceedingly smart. She shamed all the other dogs in the obedience class.

She was a rescue dog, slated for euthenasia the next day. Probably a Border Collie/Lab cross.

She is a terribly mannered dog that has taken things from counter-tops, gotten on top of the table, chased the cats, gotten things out of the trash, chewed up stuffed animals and Christmas ornaments, ruined her Invisible Fence collar, gotten into the pasture and chased the goats.

We love her.

Sunday Social - Sunny

Next one down on my siggy line...

Anne,
Wife of Fred for 23 years
Mom of:
Patrick (16)
James (16)
Rosie (13)
Bella(14)
Julie (13)
Daniel (12)
My children around the world:
Milly in Taiwan
Eun Hae in South Korea
Felice in Hong Kong
Nadya in Germany
Obrin in New York
And our critters Blue, Sunny, Annabelle, Fiona, Sophie and Cindy-Lou; Mamfy, Mali and Punkin; Nick; Frog 1 and Horny Toad; Charlie and Dizzy; Minnie and Alice; Elfie, Frex, Crope, Tibbit and Ozzy; Genevieve, Pippin and Finnegan; and a dozen or so chooks.

I'd like to ask God why He allows
hunger, poverty, and injustice
in the world,but I'd be afraid
He'd ask me the same thing ...




Is Sunny.
















Sunny is our infamous yellow Lab. She is Patrick's "Baby Dog".

We picked her out on a farm about five years ago. Well. More like she picked us out. I had a black Lab in mind. Never did care for the yellows. But all these pups were squirming and rolling all around us, and after a bit they lost interest and ran off in pursuit of something more interesting like a bug. All except this one. She stayed right by us, following us everywhere. And after a few minutes, we got the hint and scooped her up, paid the man and brought her home.

She was tail-waggin' hell the first year or so of her life. She ate everything. She chewed up hundreds of dollars worth of pool pumps and hoses. She ate the siding on our house.

She was lethal when she first learned to swim in the pool with the kids. In her enthusiasm to swim over near them, she'd generally end up scratching the bejesus out of their backs and shoulders. Kids learned to put their hands out when they saw her coming and yell, "Space, Sunny, SPACE!" and she'd veer off to the side at the last minute.

When she was about four, she developed an enormous hematoma in one of her ears and ended up needing surgery. That was fun. Nearly two years later the thing is still draining and smelling like death warmed over. We take her back to the vet now and again, each time more hopeful than the last that they will be able to give us a cure-all, each time just as disappointed as the time before. You can smell her across the room. We clean it, we ply her with ointments and drops and pills, but she will forevermore be stinky.

Every night she faithfully follows Patrick up the stairs and sleeps on the foot of his bed. She is completely devoted to him. They play this hide and seek game where we have her sit in another room while he hides, and then we ask her, "Sunny, where's Patrick? Find Patrick!" Then she goes absolutely berserk looking for him everywhere. She whines, she runs, she pants, she sticks her head out the dog door and looks left and right, then back in to run around looking in every nook and cranny till she finds him. When she does, and she always does, she dissloves into a puddle of wiggly happiness.

Fat, happy, wiggly, stinky.....

Sunny.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Sunday Social - Patrick

Next one down on my siggy line...

Anne,
Wife of Fred for 23 years
Mom of:
Patrick (16)
James (16)
Bella (13)
Rosie (13)
Julie (13)
Daniel (11)
My children around the world:
Milly in Taiwan
Felice in Hong Kong
Eun Hae in South Korea
Nadya in Germany
Obrin in New York
And our critters Annabelle, Fiona, Sunny, Sophie, Cindy-Lou and Blue; Mamfy, Mali and Punkin; Nick; Frog 1 and Horny Toad; Charlie and Dizzy; Minnie and Alice; Elfie, Frex, Crope, Tibbit and Ozzy; Genevieve, Pippin and Finnegan; and a dozen or so chooks.

I'd like to ask God why He allows
hunger, poverty, and injustice
in the world,but I'd be afraid
He'd ask me the same thing ...



Is Patrick.











He's my first born. The one who brought us kicking and screaming into the world of parenting.

And I kicked and screamed for a good long while. When he was a baby I got to experience the neonatal jaundice and three day hospitalization of my firstborn. I got to experience a colicky baby and a horrific entry into the world of lactation that ended three months after it began.

When he was a toddler/preschooler I got the joys of learning to cope with the tantrums and opposition and "high energy" and "difficulties with transitions" of a boy who would later be diagnosed with ADHD, but meanwhile I had to run around thinking I was doing everything wrong and feeling exhausted every minute of every day. Good times.

Sigh.

But now? He's 16. Starting his junior year in high school. At about 6' 1", he's taller than his Dad. I've had to crane my head back to look sternly into his eyes for nagging purposes for some time now.

And he's still oppositional and distractible. But no longer so much with the high energy thing. Or the tantrums. We have learned to deal.

And you know what? He's amazing. So sweet with his little sisters. So dang smart. Remember how I said Fred is like the smartest person I know? Well, Patrick can usually beat him in Jeopardy now. And he's my go-to person if one of the youngers has a math question that's out of my league (read, from fractions onward) or a question about a word spelling. Or pretty much any academic question. Period. Don't even try to play him in chess.

He can debate the hind-end off a mule, though I'm not sure when that particular skill would ever be needed. Still, good to know it's there.

He's awesome with the dogs. Did some agility training with Blue, and Sunny is pretty much velcroed to his leg. She follows him everywhere, she sleeps with him every night. She goes absolutely insane when he plays hide and seek with her until she can find him. Then she finds him and goes more insane.

Generous as a little boy, still generous as a young man. And kind. And compassionate.

His future? He has no clue. Nor do I. Though he aces every test without cracking a book, he has this little problem with the whole homework thing. As in he usually does it, but the turning-it-in step gets missed more often than not. As a result, his grades tend to hover somewhere between the sewer and the toilet. But alas, we are finally realizing it is his battle, not ours. With any luck, some college somewhere will accept him after he graduates and he can move on to higher education, but who knows? He'll do alright in life.

Like I said, he's a good kid.

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