Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Always Remember: The Grass Is Green

Always Remember: Always remember that the grass is green on Your Side of the fence too!

Monday, December 02, 2013

Thursday, November 21, 2013

We Found Them! - Two Goats and a Big Puppy!

Last night I went to bed with a heavy heart and was weary to the bone. It felt like I had so many prayers out to Heaven that I myself couldn't even keep them straight. I went to bed with the hope of a ray of light to catch on to in the morning to keep me going.

Well, I think Father may have blessed me with a few rays of light. And I need to share them before the weight of life clouds them out.

It's not new news that we have been pondering what our hopes and goals are for our own little homestead. And if you read my last post you read about my desire to raise goats. Well, We've found our first Doelings.  I feel a tiny bit like a mother who's been waiting and trying to adopt for months and I've just got the call asking if I can be ready for them in TWO DAYS!!... The answer: YES!
Picture Picture

Sorry the puppies picture won't copy here. Just think of a yellow lab pup but fluffier hair. :)

There is a common understanding among goat owners that when you put your heart in to looking for your own herd of goats you will look at hundreds of goats and when you find "YOUR" goat, you just Know. It is so true for me! It sounds strange. But it's true!

Goats can be expensive. If you want to sell your baby goats for anything other then brush clearing or meat you need to be sure that the blood line is healthy and preferably Purebred; and  Registered is even better. The breeds of goats that we've decided on range from $400 for a Registered goat to $175 for a Purebred non-papered.

You also have to decide whether you want a baby goat or an adult goat. And then decide if you want a bottle fed goat or a mother fed goat. And of course, if you want a Male or Female. We were considering either babies or adults. But they had to have been bottle babies. We learned with our borrowed goats, Billy and Skit, that we much preferred the bottle babies! They respond to humans far easier then mother fed goats. We also knew that we want Females. The Males really do smell terrible!! We will find a handsome stud for our girls when the time comes for them to be mommies. :)

So, with all of those things to consider, you can imagine why it is hard to pass up "your" goat when you find them. I swore I wouldn't get goats for the winter!  I truly meant that when I said it. But something kept us looking. And then a predator started snatching up our hens one after another when we weren't around (just this past week.) So we started seriously considering getting our Livestock Guardian Dog (LGD). But if you get a LGD puppy who you want to protect your goats some day you have to have goats when you get the puppy. Any animal (or human) that the puppy is around before they turn 12 weeks old they will consider their flock or their herd. The ones they will protect and care for. LGD's are an amazing breed of dogs.  They are also a small investment. They range from $250 to $100. But almost any other dog breed will be a nightmare on a farm for one reason or another.

SOOO, When I woke up this morning and I got on craigslist for the thousandth time and found two beautiful Purebred Nubian Doelings: Currently bottle feeding, de-horned, first shots, they come with a gallon of their moms milk AND their next vial of vaccine shot,  for only $125, I just Knew!! ...  And THEN, we found an adorable LGD puppy ready to go this weekend for only $100. Again, we just Knew!

I felt so good about everything as we squared everyone's pick up dates and times. It felt so right... And then the day moved on and life happened and doubt and worry crept in. It's so hard sometimes to make these big decisions. There is never enough money, we all understand that these days. If you don't, be grateful tonight. But for us, every penny counts! So I had to sit down tonight and ask myself what the financial benefit is of this investment. To remind myself of the plan.

The plan is to raise the doelings and the puppy (who is also female) until they are breeding age. Which is around 9 months old for the goats and around two years for the dog. Once they are breeding age we will sell their babies as well as gradually establish our ideal goat herd and breed the different types of goats we're looking for. Goats usually have 2-4 babies at a time. LGD dogs can have 10-14 pups in a litter. So they will eventually pay for themselves and more. In the meantime, I am planning on working with the goats to see if they are Cart Friendly goats. If not, we'll retain one or two of the baby boy goats, neuter them, and then train them to pull carts and wagons. After the female goats give birth we can also milk them and sell their milk. But I don't see me doing that. But you never know.

This has turned out to be a VERY long post! I obviously really needed to think this through. :)  But forgive me because I still need to think a few things through: :)

So the investment eventually pays off. And the feed for the goats isn't really an issue. Nor for one dog. I think the major concern (besides the initial investment ending up around Christmas shopping season) is setting up and choosing boundaries for the animals. This is where the fact that we're getting babies will come in handy for the winter season. Two baby goats and the puppy won't need as much space as they'll require in the Spring and Summer when they're bigger. My hope is to gather enough fencing to set up a perimeter around our back yard and the small barn/coop there. This will keep them close enough that the kids and I can feed them easily and care for their living space and the dogs messes. The key will be to find/buy the fencing,  and the major task will be finding the time and help to run the fencing.

It's no secret that life is a struggle right now. It seems like we are being knocked around in every direction we look. It's really hard. But if we take a minute to think back on the last 6 months, my best times have been when I had the goats and other little critters to care for with my own little ones at my side. It will NOT be easy in the winter. We haven't even hit the coldest times. But Leif and I have a feeling that the animals might be a blessing during the winter months. Something for the kids and I to care for together. And I admit, they are my project. They help me the most. But when all else fails, go for what has helped in the past, right? ... Right!  So, there we have it. It is what it is. I will allow myself to be excited and try hard not to let the hard things about it get me down. I will be surprised if there is not more good then bad in the results. I hope that's the case anyway.  And deep down, I hope my family members (my little family and extended) will be happy with the decision as well. ... I guess that's just the little girl in me.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Planning Ahead - Looking Ahead

I feel like writing tonight. The boys are playing computer and it's funny to listen to them talk to each other. Over the last year or so we've come up with names for each of the boys. nicknames that describe a bulk of their personalities. I often find myself smiling at how right on we are with these names. Jakob is "Radar", Caleb is "Navigator", and JJ was just named "Play by Play".

I'm actually pretty tired. So I'm not going to be very creative with this update. Let me just share some of the latest and greatest:

This winter I am making our Homestead plans for this Spring. We want to do more gardening this year. I'm looking forward to giant pumpkins.  We also look forward to starting a small goat herd. My hope and plan is to learn how to train some of the goats to pull wagons and carts.
Right now my choice for the Cart Goats are the Nubian and the Silky breed:
otisready 2005-09-03.jpg 

This takes Planning, Financing, and Time. Wish is luck!

On a different note:
We were able to meet with a Neuro psychologist this week for Caleb. He was a very nice doctor and I believe he will give us a lot of answers to questions we have for all of the boys.

I finally have an MRI scheduled for next week to get answers and follow up about the tumors that I have on my pituitary gland. I really hope we make progress with my health!! I have so many reasons for wanting strength and well being!!

Well, it's Bed Time!!! YIIPPEEE! :)

Friday, November 08, 2013

A Silent Thief

My last post was a Family Update. While writing I said there was still a lot happening "In between the lines." I thought I'd write about some of those things.

Today I emailed and talked with Caleb's teacher and the Special Ed teacher. We've met several times and updates and game planning is not unusual with us. Today we talked about medication. A couple months ago Caleb got to a point where he would gradually get madder and madder (mostly when he didn't get his way.) and he started throwing things (canned food, chairs, scissors, etc.) being hurtful and destructive. We finally had to ask for medication until we can get in to see other specialists with other ideas. Problem is, the meds help for a little while and then we have to adjust them. But they make him tired if there's too much and yada yada yada. So we are working on finding a good dose and a steady plan.

It makes us sad when we see him asleep from medication...  But we know the alternative and that is Really Sad too! Especially because we know the fun, silly, happy, smile and light that Caleb is most of the time. It's like a battle to keep that light. Like something is trying to steal it away... It's Really Scary!

We also talked about tinted glasses to block out florescent lights, headphones and earmuffs to block out hums and chatter, coats becoming wings, car seat options for bus rides, and the Daunting Task of behavior modification, not just life skills training.

This morning I worked through waves of powerful fatigue and put dinner in the crock pot. It made a huge difference in our evening. My plan from now on will be to feed the boys dinner right when they get home from school at 4:00. From there, Caleb and I will go right outside. I have no idea how we're going to survive the winter... But I'll focus on Now. Being outside in nature is Caleb's element, it's therapy for him. And he craves having "jobs". So every day he runs out to gather the eggs. I am going to add the task of going (with me) to gather the mail. Then we'll walk around the Ranch to make sure everything is in check. Today we ended up walking completely around the Pond, behind the Arena where we daydreamed about where we would house different animals if we could, and then we looped through the side yard and filled in a hole that's been waiting to be filled with dirt for over a month. By the time we got home everyone was ready for a quiet moment. Within ten minutes I found all of the boys in the living room sitting on the couches reading books. - Peaceful sigh - .

I won't shatter the moment with details of Caleb and JJ suddenly coming up missing after the sun went down and then showing up with a flashlight and a grin, "we just wanted to see who was at The Barns," he says.  Grrr! Okay, I shared the details. The thing was, I wouldn't have even know they were missing if the door wasn't left wide open. I thought they were upstairs! Note to Self: We need door sensor chimes.

There is still so much more I could write about. And I want to because it helps me process things and be able to recall them later. But I am so tired.  Physically, mentally, and emotionally. I'm Tired.  So I will say good night for now.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

We're Still Truckin' Along - Singin' a Song!

We are still living in the Ranch House on the Civil War Ranch. We love the home, scenery, family, our animals, the schools, and the primary. They have all been a bounteous blessing in our lives!! Our most difficult struggle is Leif's commute to work. He works a night shift as a RN in Springfield. This is a 90 Minute Commute - One Way. He works 4-5 12 hour shifts per work week. Our life closely resembles what it was like when he lived in Flagstaff away from home as he went to Nursing School. Gratefully we see him a little more often now then we did then. But life often feels chaotic and drained. We have chosen this route so far because it works the best financially at the moment. But it's starting to wear on everything. So we're trying to step up our thoughts and actions even more about finding a way to be a little more "normal" in our life. Either find a home out closer to his work. Or a job closer to here because of the great schools and family. We are back at trying to decide about renting or buying and making one work in the right place. Uggg! Really. 
Works A LOT! And they Love him! He is a great nurse with a gifted bedside manor. Gratefully, he enjoys his job so far as well. But he's getting pretty tired with the schedule and then a 3 hour commute. He serves as the teenager Sunday School teacher on Sundays. And Super Papa and Hubby 24/7. 
I'm just trying to keep things afloat. I desperately wish I could do it all better. But it is what it is. My health is a constant journey. I just recently finished a round of Prednisone (steroids) and that usually helps me feel somewhat better for a couple few months (minus the added weight that comes and never leaves). So Far we've ruled out Lupus with testing. Ruled out Rheumatoid Arthritis through testing. Sure diagnosis' are no surprise: Epstein Barr Virus (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) through testing and Fibromyalgia. The latest discussion is about Osteo Arthritis. We are still trying to look in to the tumors and issues on my pituitary gland and brain. I talked briefly with the Pediatric Neurologist that we met with for Caleb and he told me to insist on seeing an Endocrinologist and to get another MRI. His suggestions will most likely help move things along with my doctor who's gotten hung up on some of my other issues. But other then all of that, I'm great!! -wink wink- 

We have three really neat boys!! I watch them interact with the world and people around them and I am often fascinated with how they are able to bring a special light into the eyes of those around them. This is a blessing to be able to see this as their mother. Mostly, because I know of their personal struggles that are wrapped up within their precious gifts. Leif and I are striving to help the boys work through their struggles without excuses and carefully protect their light and train them up in a way that they will be able to function in the world as the best people they are called to be. Caleb and Jakob both attend a Wonderful school that fits perfectly with their needs right now. We feel blessed to be able to send them there. 
This month marks our girls' seven year anniversary. They were born on October 30, 2006. Our LeOra had already passed by that point. And our Rhea slipped into heaven seven years ago tomorrow on the 7th (2006.) This year we have missed them as playmates for the kids and Leif and I have missed what could have been some little girl company. I have shed a few tears over the lost chances of passing down favorite dolls, choosing dresses for special occasions, and imaginations of them running through the fields here on the Ranch. But overall it is a precious comfort to know that they were spared the potential and tremendous hardships earth life would have allotted them. Evenstill: We miss them and are forever grateful for our Eternal Family!
Pray Together
Read Scriptures Together
Strive for Peace Within Ourselves and Within the Walls of our Home.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

October's Hidden Shadow: Our Girls Would Be Seven This Month

Seven Years! Seven Years!
One moment - One year - seven years ago this month,  changed my entire being forever. In 2006 I experienced an early pregnancy miscarriage. A few months later we discovered that I was pregnant with twins. We knew them through ultrasound and maternal connection for six months. After a long journey and struggle, our babies passed away. LeOra passed while in utero and Rhea passed nine days after her birth from complications of Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome.

Every year during the month of October the shadow of their loss and the grief that accompanies it seems stronger. Every year has felt different but it is still there. I remember how all consuming the grief was in the beginning. It was that way for a long time. And now it just comes in waves. And sometimes at the most random and annoying times. At the bookstore as I search for books all about the strategies of war for my boys and I come face to face with an American Girls display. Or at Costco when all I need is to sit in their comfy couches on display for a quick rest and it just Has to be  facing the racks of frilly Easter dresses that I'll never get to buy.

In the beginning I mourned the loss of what I had with my girls. The feeling of carrying them within me. The loss of the connection and the babies I would never hold. I often wondered if they would always be "our Babies."  But they aren't. They have grown just as the other kids have grown. And now most of the sorrow comes at the thought of the time that we have missed and the life experiences that we haven't shared together.

The loss of a child is profound and powerful. I visited with a friend this month who is in her 80's. I was reminded of a Mother's Heart and it's power when she shared the story about the loss of one of her first children. She spoke of the experience as if it had recently happened. In reality she had gone on to bare ten children and a lifetime had passed. But her Mother Heart still aches for that little baby she was never able to care for in this life. There is a shadow that follows a mother who has lost one of her children. In time it becomes clearer. Easier to see through and manage life despite its constant presence. But the Mother Heart Never Forgets the child she is waiting to hold in her arms again.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Oh, So Beautiful!

This morning started with a bang. For real. Jakob led the boys into my room as the alarm went off and proceeded to pretend to shoot me with their latest Lego creation. I remember thinking "okay this moment can make or break our morning routine. Just smile, and say good morning."  So I smiled... and then it happened. The words slipped out so quickly I didn't even know they were on their way out. "That's great boys! ... Take it on up stairs so it doesn't get broke, K ..." - WHAM! -  The arm flew out of no where!  And the morning crumbled right along with the creative new Lego gun.  Forget the much needed baths. Forget the much needed clipped nails and underwear changes. Autism had entered the game and it had turned Nasty! Jakob was so beside himself with frustration and anger at everything and anything that I was sweating bullets wondering if I would even get him out the door for the bus. Once one kid falls out of sync they all seem to follow. It's a horrible nightmare. I relinquished all hope and plans for the morning except for the bare minimum (get dressed with shoes) and got them out the door with a few minutes to spare. I seriously thought about sending an email to their teachers to warn them ahead of time. Then I remembered that most of the time Jakob pulls himself together for school. Caleb seemed to be in a good place by the time he got out the door.  So I decided against the email. "NIGHTMARE" that was the word that played over and over in my mind for a few minutes after I got the boys out the door. I even went to Facebook to petition my Friends for more prayers to help me get through the already long day.

And then I looked out my window...  I wish I was an artist and I could paint the scenes that I have surrounding me on a daily basis. The sun was up just far enough to touch the blue of the night sky and turn it into a color all its own. It reminded me of a water color painting where the orange and yellow from the sunrise have blended into the blue sky and created serenity... And I was seeing it in person. How could I not step outside to take it all in?

JJ and I pulled on our boots and headed out for a walk. It didn't take Skit and Billy, our goats, long to call out their desire to join us on our walk. So soon the two of us became four. We walked along the path facing east towards the quickly rising sun. The sounds of chickens and Guinea hens calling out their latest finds off in the distance and the melody of meadow larks flitting from tree to tree above our heads. And then I heard the unexpected meows of our little kitties. I turned my head to look behind us and there was Mama, the Ranch Cat, and three of her kittens prancing along the path not five feet behind us. Once again I found myself in a little piece of heaven. Walking hand in hand with my baby, two goats, and hand full of farm cats, headed out to the rolling fields of green as far as the eye could see. Truly, I was experiencing a touch of Heaven!

I am so grateful for the blessing that we have been given to live here. I still struggle with my health and often with the everyday weight of training our boys up to be good men amidst their unique challenges. But Leif and I are sure that there has been improvement in my overall well being because we live here and are blessed with the opportunity to experience the rare chance to live on a homestead like this. It has been healing for me to care for the animals and their babies and to also watch my own babies grow and spread their wings in ways that they have never been able to do before.

I could not let this night end without sharing the beauty that Father has blessed us with at this time in our lives. Truly, it is oh, so Beautiful!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Civil War Ranch Grand Opening!

Grand Opening Celebration!
Saturday September 28th 11:00AM – 9:00PM
11838 Civil War Avenue, Carthage
Come enjoy a piece of Carthage Missouri’s farm and ranch history on our restored early 1900’s era ranch. We offer all that you’ll  need to have the Wedding of your dreams, a Family Reunion no one will ever forget, or the Party of all Parties held in our
Events Barn Pole Barn Court Yard and our Stocked Pond with a Dock

Join us with your family and friends on Saturday as we do what we do best and party the day and night away! Sit under the canopy of our trees, next to the pond, or in the courtyard while listening to the music.
Take a ride throughout the 70+ acre ranch on a wagon ride, followed by a walk through the events barn.  Don’t forget to look around to see if you can find the signature written on one of the 
doors from the 1800’s.
Food! - Hot Air Balloon - Blue Grass - Flag Raising Ceremony - Ribbon Cutting - Fiddles - Bounce Houses - Fishing - Western Twirlers - Karaoke - Wagon Rides - Food! - Petting Zoo - Face Painting - Vendor Booths - Food! (417)237-0771

Sunday, September 22, 2013

More Facebook Posts - Have Fun!

- Sorry the mess is my blog template's fault!:) -

September 17, 2013
JJ on our walk around the ranch today: "Those are Tractor Poop!!" ... Man! I Love that kid!!:)
Photo: JJ on our walk around the ranch today: "Those are Tractor Poop!!"  ... Man! I Love that kid!!:)

September 16, 2013
Nothing will ever really compare to the home and land I live on now. We have been blessed with a special moment in time. I pray that we will take it all in and always be grateful! My boys are outside playing together, a storm is brewing in the clouds above, the kittens are nested down with their mama, chickens roosting in the coop, and my newest additions are safe in their pen. And soon we will sink our teeth into a dark chocolate cookie. Can't get much better then that! ... Meet our newest family members. We borrowed a couple of goats. The cream one is Billy. He is the well mannered leader. And the brown one is named Skitt, otherwise affectionately known as Sh*t!:) But not out loud of course *wink* *wink*!
Photo: Nothing will ever really compare to the home and land I live on now. We have been blessed with a special moment in time. I pray that we will take it all in and always be grateful! My boys are outside playing together, a storm is brewing in the clouds above, the kittens are nested down with their mama, chickens roosting in the coop, and my newest additions are safe in their pen. And soon we will sink our teeth into a dark chocolate cookie. Can't get much better then that! ... Meet our newest family members. We borrowed a couple of goats. The cream one is Billy. He is the well mannered leader. And the brown one is named Skitt, otherwise affectionately known as Sh*t!:) But not out loud of course *wink* *wink*!

September 16, 2013
Confrontation between Caleb and JJ: JJ: Caleb ate another of my crackers! Mama: Caleb you said you wouldn't eat any more!! Caleb: I DIDN'T! I just Licked Them!! ... Gotta Love em'!

August 6, 2013
Well, Leif Baron just called and his Nursing Exam is COMPLETE!! Now we wait for the score to come through in two days. I'm not worried. Well not Really worried;) It feels wonderful to have that exam off of our shoulders!! Thanks Nancy Hunt and W. Lee Hunt for taking our Little Ones yesterday so Leif could study all day and then for the Father's Blessing to close the day, Dad. Thank you for all of the support!!

August 3, 2013
Seriously a Heavenly couple of days!! Visiting with family that we haven't seen for so long - LAUGHING - Eating - LAUGHING - Eating - LAUGHING - The BEST!!

July 29, 2013
My Precious baby is Three Years Old today! What a priceless blessing he is to me and our family. Love my Sweet JJ!!

July 24, 2013
It looks like WE ARE HOME!  We thought that we were going to move to Springfield to be closer to Leif's work. But it looks like the Right plan is to stay here for a while. We feel peace and excitement at the blessing we've been given to live here. If feels good.

July 18, 2013
I've been able to rub shoulders with a lot of neat hard working ladies today. But I've been struck with one of those moments of sadness that comes after you've moved away from so many dear friends. My heart is heavy as I remember the feeling of seeing a friend across the way and knowing that they know your story, and you know there's and somehow that made life just a little easier to live. I miss you all! Just know you've been in my heart today!! Hugs from a beautiful but somewhat lonely place in Missouri... Please pass this on to our good ladies in Fredonia for me. There's no way I can reach you all myself:)

July 10, 2013
The boys are all splashing around in the tub after splashing around out in the sprinklers. The ice cream cones are tipped over and melting the last of their contents onto the little picnic table and the braided rope swing sways back and forth after its rambunctious workout with the three rowdies. The sun is casting its faithful pink glow through the trees in the north yard letting us know our day is coming to a close. Soon we will all dance with the fireflies as Papa drives up after a long - full - day!

July 4, 2013
Spent the day yesterday looking through houses and window shopping through an Army Surplus and Antique shop. Then headed out to Branson for a fun evening playing on the grass waiting for a very late night fireworks show. Headed home with sleeping kids and Leif and I listening to classic Jazz and Country music while watching an amazing lightning storm! Now we're preparing our own "Fireman's Breakfast" and going out to hang our flags. A Great start to a Great Celebration!!:)

June 15, 2013
We were shocked this afternoon to see that the Flash Flood Warning wasn't kidding. This flood is running right through the property we're living on. No danger to us, but AmAziNG to see!! And they say it's quite normal! Wowza!!:)

June 8, 2013
Today is the last day (other then Sunday) before Leif begins his official career as a Nurse. Can you believe it!? It's here! We've worked years to get to this day! Some of the most monumental moments in our lives come and go without notice or pause. Their lesson's come from the journey that led to the moment. But today we took a pause and noticed that the journey was long and the accomplishment is great and during our pause, we just played.  ! Here's to the Love of my life, my Soul Mate, my Best Friend. He is the one who keeps our family cared for in every way. You will be a blessing to every patient you come in contact with. I Love you and I will forever be grateful for your endless hard work to care for our family. Thank You!

June 8, 2013
Mama's Precious Jewels!

Posts From Facebook - Oldies But Goodies!

May 30, 2013
We have made it to Carthage Missouri and quite possibly live in the same lush green beauties Adam and Eve were surrounded by in the Garden of Eden.... "Serenity." That's how it feels here on my uncle's ranch. We are living in the ranch house and feel privileged and grateful for the opportunity! We found a turtle this morning and named him Ranger.  The boys are in "Little Boy Heaven!:)" The only thing that would make it perfect is to have all of our dearly missed friends transplanted here with us!! Love and Miss you all!!

May 31, 2013
We had another great day today! There are some annoying things like ticks, humidity, and tornado threats (LOL!):) But no big deal!:) I still feel like I'm in a dream with the beauty that surrounds us. I will post pictures soon. We have limited internet on Leif's phone. I Love being able to walk and explore with my boys and sit on the porch or in front of a window and watch them when I need to rest. A true blessing! Yes, we have had storms blow through. Yes we've been in the red zone of the radar. But we feel as prepared as possible for a tornado and we're just enjoying the moments as they come. We have a code word for any storm big enough for hunkering down. It's "CRAP!!" I can think of another four letter word (or two), but I think Jakob might die of shock if I scream them out loud. So we settled for "Crap!'' But don't worry about us unless you hear of a town called Carthage Missouri, and pray for all of the others who have been hit by the "Crap!" We missed the storms in Oklahoma by two days. We were going to camp in El Reno. It is a beautiful place. We are praying for all of them tonight!

June 2, 2013
PICTURES FINALLY!! Such a peaceful place! We live in the Ranch House at the Westwoods' Civil War Ranch in Carthage Missouri. A true blessing to have in the family. The Ranch will be used as a wedding reception venue as well as family reunions and social events. There is a beautiful pond behind the barns and fields and forest surrounding the land on all sides. It's a little piece of heaven for sure!

Friday, August 23, 2013

A Few Thoughts and Updates

So much floating through my mind. One liners mostly. Things like, "Alone! I just want to be left alone." Not for very long just a couple of days a week maybe. I have loved the time with JJ by himself when the kids are off to school. But this week has been so hard with all of the extra sickness we have had. Caleb's only made it to two days of school this week.:( And then even when it's just JJ and Leif is home sleeping after working the night shift, JJ won't let me take an uninterrupted nap.

Lately I feel like all I'm trying to do is sleep uninterrupted 24/7 and it's a constant battle. When Leif works nights I'm so exhausted through the night that I can't follow through with MAKING everyone go into their own bed. I end up with one kid in Leif's side of the bed and one on the floor at the foot of the bed and occasionally literally in the bed at the foot of the bed. And then to top it off this morning Jakob came in my room at 5:15 after we had all had a rough night and woke Caleb up, who freaked out, which woke JJ up. And if you know JJ at all you know that he does NOT like being woke up!! I was Livid!

My alarm was set for 6:00AM. I took Caleb and JJ both up to Jakob (who had wisely climbed the stairs back up to his room) and I planted a screaming JJ and Caleb into his bed. I made it impeccably clear to him that he was NEVER to come down in the morning before 6:00 and I left the Littles screaming at him instead of me. I walked down the stairs, locked the door, and went back to bed until my alarm went off. Jakob, being the science man that he is apologized to me when I woke up and said, "that's an example of Cause and Effect isn't it? I was the Cause, and they were the Effect." Such Jakob Logic!! If I was in a clearer state of mind I would have said, "yes! But it's also called Mistake and Consequence!"

I have other thoughts floating through my mind. the word Tragic comes to mind. That seems a little melodramatic. But it's the word none the less. This illness that has taken over is so very tragic. For so long it was just an undercurrent of our life as a family. An ongoing annoyance. Gradually it has become the ever present shadow that swallows up all strength and good intentions.  Once we moved to Missouri we were hoping and expecting some kind of miracle, I think. To have it all go away. Or at least to find a magic bullet. but that hasn't happened. Instead we celebrate the good days and hope they will somehow out last the bad days soon.

Missouri is a beautiful place. We live in a town called Carthage. My uncle moved his family out here several years ago and my family has gradually migrated out here as well. My parents and two of my brothers live out here. It has been really neat to get to spend time with my family again. We've had some great times together. I've especially loved getting to know my Niece and Nephew, though I wish they lived just a little closer so we could get together more. My parents have been good to us as well. My boys have enjoyed getting to know them more and an added blessing is that my mom is Caleb's primary teacher.

Right now we live on my aunt and uncle's beautiful ranch in their ranch house. They have been overwhelmingly good to us and living in such a beautiful place is like a dream come true. Thy are trying to sell their other home in Carthage. When they do we will move from here, so they can move onto the ranch. But until then we will enjoy season we are here. Leif and the boys are raising 5 baby hens and 5 baby guinea hens. We are thinking about getting a couple of goats as well. Today I feel hesitant to move forward on that because I have such a hard time helping with them animals.  And Leif's schedule is busy.

Leif is working in Springfield MO. An hour and a half commute to and from work. He is working on their Med-Surg floor and really enjoys his job. He works nights. Typically a 4 on 3 off schedule.

The boys are in school and so far it seems like a wonderful school!! I especially like Jakob's teacher. It's still hard to believe Caleb is in Kindergarten!! So far he seems to be doing well. I'm SO Glad they like their school!!!

We have a good ward here. My uncle is actually the bishop. Leif has been called as the 15 and 16 Yr old Sunday School teacher. He really likes the group of kids he works with!! I have been called as a Relief Society Teacher. I was looking forward to teaching. But my lesson is this Sunday and I'm not sure I'll be able to teach. :(

Well, I think that just about covers the update that I wanted to make. But ti stil seems like there's so much to think about and so much to write about. Birthdays, for one!! JJ turned 3, and Jakob will be 9 tomorrow!! My babies are growing up.
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