Monday, April 30, 2012

Mirth Monday - I Got Bronchitis (music video) feat. Sweet Brown

Fred showed me this a few days ago.

Most of you have likely seen it by now, as it, naturally, has gone viral.

I guess she was scheduled for world domination before me.

I'm not sure what I love most about it:

a) That her name is Sweet Brown.
b) That she didn't have time to grab her shoes Jesus.
c) Her lyrical way of speaking.
d) Her upbeat attitude in the face of adversity.
e) All of the above.





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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday Social - Genevieve

Next one down on my siggy line...

Anne,
Wife of Fred for 23 years
Mom of:
Patrick (17)
James (17)
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, Tibbett and Ozzy; Genevieve, Pippin and Finnegan; and a dozen or so chooks.

Is Genevieve.











When Jasper's beloved wife Flurry died, I decided I should get another horse to keep him company. He was so distraught, and all alone. It just broke my heart to watch him wandering the fields without a companion.

So I searched around a bit, and found Gen. Her name at the time was Dolly, and she was just what I was looking for: saddle-broke in a very basic way, no fancy training, but very calm and reliable. She wasn't hard on the eyes, either. She was a Percheron/Welsh Cob cross, dapple grey, about 14.3hh, thick, creamy mane and tail. Think, knight's horse. She was perfect the way she was, but to sweeten the pot, she was a 3-in-1 package. Meaning, if I agreed to the deal, I would get the mare, her 6 month colt at her side, as well as the foal she was carrying.

Needless to say, I agreed to the deal.

Jasper never did take to her the way he had taken to Flurry, but I think he was glad for the company. Sadly, he died only three months later.

So in a way, it really was perfect that I did not get just a solitary horse, b/c we would have been right back where we started, with one horse all alone.

But Gen had her colt Pippin, and the following June, her beautiful blue-eyed bouncing baby boy Finnegan joined the family.

Genevieve is a wonderful mother to her boys.

She is also a wonderful mother to my kids. Rosie once steered her under some low-lying branches and got caught up by a branch to the face. Even with the screaming and carrying-on going on, Gen did not bolt. She stood quietly and calmly till I could reach them and get it all sorted out.


She's a keeper....





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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Poised

OK, how cool is this?

I just Googled "I am my mother. And..."

and there at the top of the page was the Scary Mommy link for my guest post!

For someone like me who's very much small potatoes in bloggy world, this was, needless to say, head-swelling.

See, usually, I get about (mumble-mumble -- a figure in the hundreds) page views per day.

Jill Smokler, aka Scary Mommy, gets a million and a half per freakin' month. I said million. As in million. Which means untold thousands tune in on a daily basis.

And in this day of "sharing" and forwarding and what-not, that figure becomes quie a bit larger.

For my post, I have no idea how many people viewed it, but close to 1700 shared it. And if you figure each of those people shared it to their closest 100 FB friends or Tweeps, that means that my piece was potentially seen by

think, think

170,000.

And if only 10% of THOSE people shared it, that means

(concentratey face)

something like a cajillion people saw it.

I am poised for world domination, if my calculations are correct, by noon on Weds.













Heady stuff for a SAHM/farmgirl.

Pretty soon I can quit my dayjob of shoveling manure and picking up hairballs and making grilled cheese sandwiches.

Those things probably ought not be in a sentence together.

But fear not. Just like the lottery-winning janitors, I shall continue to hang out here and regale you with tales of buckets of rats and road trips to hell from time to time. That's just how I roll.







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Friday, April 27, 2012

Farm Friday - What I've Learnt in My Year of Chickens.

Raising 14 chickens for a year with no losses?

Nailed it.

That's right. I have raised up 14 chickens from day old fuzz balls


















to full-grown egg machines.






















Not to brag or anything, but I have lost not one to disease or escape or predation.













We've been through a lot this last year, the chickens, the kids and I.

And we've learnt a few things (that's how country-folk say learned).


From building the Chick Shack, and then the Hen House,













I've learnt that when armed with a stapler, and pitted against a roll of chicken wire in a psychotic wrestling match, you can win that match if insanity runs at all in your family.



From watching our sweet and mild-mannered little crested chick came out of the closet and declare himself a rooster, I've learnt that what Forrest Gump's Mama says is true: ya' never know what you're gonna get.
That rooster would be Big Daddy.


And he is of the devil.
















I've learnt that book-learning is no match for experience: in my chicken ignorance, I brutally violated one of my favorite hens when I thought she was egg-bound, when all she really wanted to do was sit on ner nest (it's called "going broody" for all you urbanites not fluent in chicken). Treatment for her non-existing malady involved a can of Pam, a heating pad, and latex gloves. It was not pretty. She still trembles when she sees me and she is working closely with a counselor from the Rape Crisis Center.












We have learnt that the only thing that stands between Big Daddy, and our ankles turning to mincemeat, is the expert wielding of an old mop. We have become King Fu masters with the mop.


I have learnt that with a chicken coop and rats: if you build it, they will come.


Prior to chicken-ownership, our barn had a rat or two.

I defy you to produce for me the barn that has not one rat. Yeah. I thought so.

Anyway, now have a full-blown rat problem. I don't like to use poison or traps, and the dogs and cats haven't done much to put a dent in their population. And so they sit up in their nests in the rafters and they mock me.

They have parties and they high-five each other for being so prolific.

They have begun to host rat conventions, where they do team-building exercises and discuss strategies for growth and networking.

It's all very demoralizing.



We (meaning I) have also learnt what the hay to do with the 7 or 8 dozen eggs we get PER WEEK in the warmer weather....

Here comes another Forrest Gump reference. Just picture me saying this while scrubbing a floor with a toothbrush. It's funnier that way...


There's egg fritatta, egg stratta, scrambled eggs, fried eggs, poached eggs, you can hard-boil eggs, you can make omelettes, or eggs Benedict, and there's waffles, pancakes, pound cake, bread, burritos, sandwiches, souffle, devilled eggs, egg salad, quiche, custard, then there's eggnog, casseroles, cakes and brownies, cookies, French toast, egg-in-a-hole, muffins, cornbread, crepes.....

That's, that's about it.





And that's about it for what I've learnt in my year of chickens, too.



For this year. We'll see what next year holds...





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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Everything I Needed To Know

Everything I needed to know I learned - scratch that -I'm learning - from the Amish.

See, I live near the Amish.

Not in an - if I drive 45 minutes I can do a bunch of touristy Amish things in Lancaster- way (though that IS true).

But more in the manner of:

There are several Amish families that live on my street.
They go fishing in my pond and pick cherries from my trees.
There is manure in the road.
At times I am late to an appointment b/c I get stuck behind a buggy.
I once had to turn around and take a different route b/c there was an Amish buggy and a dead horse in the road.

So yeah. Like I said, I live near the Amish.

And I've learned a few things from them.

For example....

1) Never underestimate the value of servicing your vehicle (see above).

2) Keep a clean porch and front yard.
In my mind? My porch is one sweep away from elegant, timeless, inviting. In reality? Granny Clampett is sitting in a rocker with a shotgun in her lap and a spitoon at her feet.

3) There's always time to bake pies.












4) Slow down. God gave us enough daylight to get all our work done.

5) Kids will be kids, no matter how biblically-mannered their parents are. Don't fret it.

6) Even the Plain Folk give way to vanity at times. We're all human.

7) Don't worry about fashion and what's in style. If you're kind? You'll always be beautiful no matter what (or who) you're wearing.

















8) You will never be sorry you put in an honest day's work.



















9) Always make time to be with friends and family. Face to face.















10) Keep your heart open to more kids.
I have six kids. But if I were pitted against my Amish neighbors in a 'Big Family' contest? I would lose.

11) And those kids? Treat 'em kindly.
I know the Amish get a bad rap for being child abusing slave drivers, but I can tell you from what I've seen it's just not true. I have witnessed nothing but love, kindness, gentleness, and respect passed back and forth from parent to child. The way it should be.

12) Treating them kindly does NOT mean coddling them. Expect them to contribute to the family.
I know people who have teenagers that have no chores. None. They do not wash the dishes, they do not take out the trash, they do not wash any laundry. Nothing. This is not the way of a family.

13) No need to get all organic Nazi about it, but let the bulk of the food you eat come from ingredients that were produced naturally and locally.

14) Give thanks for the basics.
Granted, their idea of the basics and mine will be vastly different. My Amish neighbors have probably not given thanks to the Lord for disposable diapers. Or Diet Coke on ice. Or Kotex overnights. Or deodorant. Or Tivo. Or my laptop. Or earphones for my teenagers. Oh stop me now. This could go on all day.
Their list might include candles. Corn. Sturdy buckets. A good hoe. Clothespins. A basket full of turnips.
Nevertheless, give thanks for what you have.







What would you add to this list?










There's one thing I didn't learn from the Amish; I had to figure it out on my own:
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I'm gonna throw this PS in here again today:

1) I am new to advertising on my blog. I realize there are ads for adoption being run on my blog right now, and that is not my intent. I am trying to figure out how to customize the ads, but I haven't gotten it figured out yet. Not that I'm not all about finding homes for kids, but I don't like that the ads for these businesses seem very money-driven. Kinda grosses me out. So patience, please, and bear with me. Also, advice/instruction welcome!

2) Thanks, everyone, for the nice response I got over at Scary Mommy! A lot of folks read my piece I am My Mother, And...., a lot of folks commented and shared. I also got record traffic on my blog, and picked up a few new followers in the process. What a fun process. Jill Smokler, if you're reading this, a huge heart-felt thanks for the opportunity!





Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Best Job | P&G London 2012 Olympic Games Film

Love this....









PS (So much for Wordless Weds):

Couple quick things:

1) I am new to advertising on my blog. I realize there are ads for adoption being run on my blog right now, and that is not my intent. I am trying to figure out how to customize the ads, but I haven't gotten it figured out yet. Not that I'm not all about finding homes for kids, but I don't like that the ads for these businesses seem very money-driven. Kinda grosses me out. So patience, please, and bear with me. Also, advice/instruction welcome!

2) Thanks, everyone, for the nice response I got over at Scary Mommy! A lot of folks read my piece I am My Mother, And...., a lot of folks commented and shared. I also got record traffic on my blog, and picked up a few new followers in the process. What a fun process. Jill Smokler, if you're reading this, a huge heart-felt thanks for the opportunity!





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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Guest Posting on Scary Mommy!

Hey everyone, guess what? I'm guest-posting on Scary Mommy today! She's featuring my post "I am My Mother, and...." today, so go check it out. And above all? Share, share, SHARE!

Much love!




























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Adoption Tuesday - Attachment.5

Before I start in on today's post about attachment, I'd like to give a shout out to a bloggy friend of mine named Denise. Denise is author of the blog Fostering a Blessing, and she is a single foster Mom to two boys.

And she is struggling.

She is new to parenting. She is new to adoption issues and trauma issues and attachment issues. It has NOT been a walk in the park for her.

When I write my pieces on attachment, she is right there in the front of my mind as I write, although I wasn't sure if she was reading them or not.

But last week, I was catching up on her blog, as I had missed a few posts, and I saw this:

On Tuesday mornings I so look forward to reading my friend Anne's blog. On Tuesday she writes about a topic that is near and dear to me...attachment.

Today I love her post...love it. It is about parenting a kiddo with RAD. I could have written it...except for the part about how to parent through it. My natural instinct is the type of parenting where I throw gas on the fire. I am learning...slowly learning.

Here is Anne's post....Attachment.

Thanks Anne for enlightening me every single week. For being a constant reminder that these kids need something "different".

God....thank you for bringing Anne into "my life". I hope to one day meet her in person. Through you all things are possible.



Wow. Denise, I'm so glad that my blog has been helpful to you. Having never met you, this will sound strange, but I am so very proud of you. I think you're doing an amazing job with these boys. Please know that even if you don't hear from me (I often have trouble commenting on your blog), you are always in my thoughts and in my prayers. God bless.....



Now then. Today's post on attachment.

I'd like to touch on the cyclical nature of attachment with traumatized kids.












When parenting a child with attachment issues, you go through some pretty tough, very intense times. Times that make you question whether you can continue in this role. Times when you wonder how much longer you can make it the way things are.

And then suddenly, it's better.

And you think, "I MADE IT!!!!"

You crossed the finish line and you're lying in an exhausted heap, but your child is lying next to you and you're both breathless, but you hold hands and your heart rate begins to return to normal.

And you think that easy days are stretched before you and you can breathe again, and you pat yourself on the back for having made it.

Cue sound of needle scratching across the record.

Sadly, this is NOT the way of it. With attachment disorders, it's two steps forward, one step back, and parents need to be prepared for this.

Because generally speaking, the timeline goes a little something like this:

1) Adopted or foster child joins family.
2) Everyone enjoys a nice, comfortable honeymoon period.
3) Child starts to feel safe enough to scare himself.
4) Child begins to act out and push away. There is an "epispode".
5) Everyone is stressed and things unravel a bit.
6) It ends and things settle a bit. The calm after the storm.
7) Parents feel a false sense of security. Child begins to feel safe and secure, b/c he just went through the Tunnel of Stress with his parents, and yet he's still with the family, and there are still feelings of affection.
8) The safe and secure feelings scare the bejesus out of the kid. When he's felt this way in the past, it hasn't ended well for him, so yeah, he gets scared.

Numbers 4 - 8 get repeated on a loop. Hopefully, if things are going well, and learning is taking place, there will be more and more time in the calm after the storm phase, and fewer and fewer incidents, with less intensity. With any luck skill and patience and love and support, the acting-out behaviors will eventually be extinguished.

So. Bottom line: when you hit a smooth stretch, enjoy it, but don't let your hair down. Appreciate it for what it is, and turn up the volume on the attachment activities, but don't fool yourself into thinking you've hit the homestretch. Chances are, that's still a long ways off.




If you'd like to read the other posts in my series on attachment, you can find them here:

Attachment The Attachment Tree
Attachment.2 I Love You
Attachment.3 Keck and Kupecky
Attachment.4 Control





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Monday, April 23, 2012

Mirth Monday Becomes, For Today: Movie Monday

I took a few of the kids to see the movie Chimpanzee yesterday. As I knew it was a story with an adoption theme, I had reason to be nervous, because most of the time, the movie-makers don't get it right.

But this time, they did.

Chimpanzee is a nature film about a band of - you guessed it - Chimpanzees, in which a baby Chimp named Oscar loses his mother, but is adopted by an unlikely adoptive parent: the alpha male leader of the group.







Before you rush your adopted or foster child out to see this movie, however, there are a couple things you should be aware of. If abandonment and rejection are highly sensitive issues for your child, this might be a difficult movie for him to see, as Oscar goes through a period of time after becoming orphaned in which all the other adult would-be parents reject him. All's well that end's well, though, so if you think your child could withstand the stress of seeing Oscar abandoned and rejected, so long as in the end he is taken in and loved, then it might be OK.

On a personal note, I have to say I found it quite funny that the stoic, no-time-for-funny-business Chimp that took Oscar in was named Freddie. Just like no one would ever have suspected that he would have taken in this babe in need, no one would ever have suspected that my husband Fred, Mr. no-time-for-funny-business himself, would ever end up being father of six (including adoptive father to three). Nice, as parallels go.

















One other thing about the movie that resonated with me: I felt there was quite the parallel between the would-be foster/adoptive parents in the movie (the Chimps), and all the would-be foster/adoptive parents among all us lowly humans. Here was this little one who clearly had no one to take care of him. And yet time and again, the Chimp Mamas closed the door on him. After all, they had babies "of their own" to care for. They were too busy. Freddie was certainly "too busy" as well. After all, he was the leader of the whole band, and he carried a lot of responsibility. But when push came to shove, Freddie took Oscar in, and guess what. He found the time to take care of him. He made the time. And he became completely devoted to his new child.

Can't tell you how much I loved that....






As a post-note, I have included below the few thoughts I shared on other movies with an adoption theme, as well as the link for my full write-up on my review of Kung Fu Panda 2 here.



Would I be treated to something like from "Meet the Robinson's" where a little boy is rejected by one family after another because he's not interested in sports? Because he spills stuff? Yeah, I LOVE having my adopted kids receive messages like this. Like if they're not good enough, we don't want them.

Would it be another "Despicable Me"? Would I get to see the kids in the orphanage be placed in the "Box of Shame" for not selling enough cookies? Or to have someone adopt them to meet his own needs and then return them when things weren't working out like he planned?

Certainly it could never be as appalling as when that horror movie "Orphan" came out. With tag lines such as: "It must be hard to love an adopted child as much as your own." and "There's Something Wrong With Esther."

But Kung Fun Panda 2 was amazing. A child. Loved by the parents who brought him into the world.
A child. Separated from those parents.
A child. Taken in by another parent. Loved and accepted as a son.
A child. Grown. Understanding where he came from, but still embracing that he is the son of the man who adopted him.
If you have an adopted child, take him or her to see the movie now. Run, do not walk.
And rejoice that someone out there finally got it right.




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PS: I'm participating in a blog-hop today over at Heavenly Homemakers!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday Social - Ozzy

Next one down on my siggy line...

Anne,
Wife of Fred for 23 years
Mom of:
Patrick (17)
James (17)
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, Tibbett and Ozzy; Genevieve, Pippin and Finnegan; and a dozen or so chooks.


Is Ozzy.
















Ozzy is one of the twin kids born to our nanny goat Elfie, who came to us pregnant.

He's, lemme think, I guess he'd be about five years old now. Wow. Can't believe he's that old!

Anyway, he and his brother Houdini were born without incident or fanfare on a cold night in January. Ozzy and Houdini were opposites in every way possible. One solid black, one all white. Ozzy is as friendly as could be, but Houdini was more reserved. Ozzy was quickly claimed as a pet by Bella, but no one really wanted Houdini (he was THAT unfriendly). Sadly, Houdini, so named b/c he always got out of any enclosure he was supposed to be in, died last summer.

At least they were both grown when it happened, b/c when they were little kids they were inseparable. Ozzy didn't seem all that distressed about Dini's passing, truth be told.

And he's just as sweet and friendly as ever. Bella's little black billy goat.








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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Pintrepeneur


Pintrepreneur

I shall open a store that sells nothing but palates,
mason jars, and
chalkboard paint .

And I shall rule Pinterest.










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Friday, April 20, 2012

Farm Friday - Sex Change (reposted)

This is something I put up on my old blog about a year ago, but as I just had a run-in with His Majesty, I thought I'd post it again....



It seems our Golden-laced Polish is perhaps not a hen, but a rooster.

Clearly an error was made in the sexing and shipping dept, b/c I did not order any roosters. I wanted only hens in my henhouse.

I did not want crowing before daybreak.
I did not want children pushing away their plates of eggs for fear they might be eating a could've-been-baby chick.
I did not want a Demon Bird From Hell chasing and ankle-pecking.

But the last week or so I'd been hearing new sounds coming from the Chick Shack. Something akin to a teenage boy saying "Heyy. HEYYYY!" only with a distinct stalling car component to the sound.

This morning, when I had finished feeding and watering them, I looked at Tizzy. I noticed her headdress seemed more pronounced. Her neck feathers were more mane-like. Her tail feathers were carried high above her back in contrast to those of her peers.

And then it happened.

She stuck her neck out, stretched her back long, and screeched out

"Cock-a-doodle-doooooooo"

only still with a very marked teenaged boy quality to it. Imagine Shaggy imitating a rooster. That's it.

So it would seem we need to change her - I mean his - name. And I'll need your help. Here are your choices, and of course, feel free to suggest others:



David Bowie
You've gotta admit, there's a striking resemblance.













Big Daddy
My grandfather's name (may he rest in peace). One of my hens is named Big Mama (after my grandmother, naturally, may she rest in peace), so it would seem only fitting to name the only roo for her husband.






















Chas Bono
In light of recent headlines that Sonny and Cher's daughter Chastity chose to undergo a sex change to become Chas Bono, I thought this might make a good choice. And let's face it, how many people can claim to have a rooster named Chas Bono? Hmmm? Anyone?















??????

















So whaddya think, folks? Help me name my gender-confused rooster/hen.













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Picture of Chas Bono from Google images
http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTKAuFcU2MseHhNIeeQhdi5hKlN7bKG-BDvJ2hyQCBVnXV4zSnR






Thursday, April 19, 2012

Not Such a Scary Mommy: Jill Smokler

Wow.

All my bloggy friends are going to be SO jealous.

I got to meet THE Jill Smokler last weekend!

The Scary Mommy herself.

Met her.
Spoke to her.
Got her autograph.
Got a picture with her.

Oh yeah, uh-huh.

Last week I was browsing through the blogs I follow, and when I got to hers, she said she was doing a book-signing not from from where I live.

KIDS! Who wants to go to Barnes and Noble tomorrow?!

So I loaded up the car with about five of them (or so) and got there just in time for her reading to start.

I laughed, I cried, I found myself.

And then she did a wonderfully entertaining Q & A session.

And then of course I bought the book. And got in line. And like I said,

Met her.
Spoke to her.
Got her autograph.
Got a picture with her.

Jealous much?

Oh, and I don't know if I told you all this (I found out about a week ago), but she is featuring one of my posts
ON HER BLOG
on April 26th.

Mark the date on your calendars so you can be sure to see my name up in lights.
And then you can go there (Scary Mommy.com) and comment and share, share, share! How much fun does THAT sound like, right?

Anyway, here are a couple pictures of her book, her autograph, and the two of us posing as old besties.









































She didn't need to go and write "Stay scary", though. As you can see from the picture, I am already quite scary enough, and have no true desire to stay that way.


Oh, and PS? She also gave me some advice when I told her I was shopping for an agent, and trying to build my platform. She said I should switch to a fan page on FB, not just a regular-ol' FB page with friends. So I did. So now you can click on the little thumbs-up button on my sidebar (just below my followers) to "like" me. Yay!

Thanks, Jill!







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