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The story of our precious little girl's 17 months of life with Trisomy 18 (July 4, 2010 - December 15, 2011) and of us, re-learning to live "after Lilly."
"I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made ...." Psalm 139:14

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Eye of Tabby - photography for the week of November 22

Tabby finally had some extra time this past weekend to get her camera out.  She took our old dog Lucia with her and went on a little walk.  Here are the results:

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The book list - October (help for curly or wavy hair!)

My July 2014 "book list" post included this picture of Solomon reading Cars and Trucks and Things that Go by Richard Scarry.  I was recently contacted by Jacqueline of the blog "Deep Roots at Home" requesting permission to use this picture of Solomon in a post she was writing on Richard Scarry.  Her finished post went up this past Saturday, and it is fun seeing Solomon's picture in it.  (Post is here.) 

As an aside, Jacqueline's blog is filled with much wisdom and helpful information.  I found her post on the benefits of turmeric that she did this summer to be especially helpful for me. 

Need a quick turkey craft for your little ones?  This is one I gave Solomon yesterday.  I pre-cut everything and he glued them on.  (He colored the paper plate first.)  He knows how to spell his name and was able to put the feathers in order all by himself.

Curly Girl: The Handbook by Lorraine Massey (2nd edition with DVD) - I had nice straight hair when I was growing up.  However that began to change after I had Hunter.  Hormones can do crazy things to your hair!  And my hair kept changing after Lilly and Solomon's births too.  (Thank you Tabby for letting me keep my straight hair after your birth!)  I had no idea what to do with my hair though and just did my best to straighten it and usually wore it in braids or a pony tail.  As soon as I washed it, I would dry it while trying to brush it straight.  Then I'd use a flat iron on it.  It would look ok for a little while, but then frizz would creep in.  Ugh!  Only Diana, the woman that cuts my hair could get my hair to look like I wanted and it would stay that way until I washed it again.

Late this summer, we were invited to go swimming.  After being in the pool, my hair air dried for the first time in years.  I was quite surprised when I finally saw a mirror that day.  I had no idea how wavy my hair had become.

Then right after that, I came across a post by a women who wrote how having babies changed her hair and she posted a picture.  It looked like my hair!  In the comments to her post, I identified with several of the people and their hair issues.  Someone recommended the Curly Girl book and me, being a book person, got a copy. 

If you've got curly or wavy hair, this book identifies the different types of curls and waves and then gives step-by-step details how to care for your hair.  The author shares which types of shampoos and hair care products to avoid and warns about never using a "blow fryer."  The book also has several hair styles explained, how to cut your own hair, and a DVD summarizing much.  There are even recipes for hair care products. 

I've learned that to deal properly with my wavy hair (that has a few curls) I need to scrunch it after washing, then air dry.  (Or at least use a diffuser on my hair dryer.)  No combing or brushing except for finger combing.  I scrunch my wet hair a microfiber towel then scrunch in some hair gel.  And that's it!  It's been sort of weird getting used to wavy hair, but it has been an enormous relief.  I don't spend much time on my hair, plus it does not frustrate me anymore.

When I started this, my hair was one length and cut bluntly.

Then I recently got it cut with long layers added in. 

(So weird - I don't even recognize my hair anymore.  I suddenly don't know how I feel about this!)

Tabby has found she has some nice wave in her hair too:

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder - I recently read this book to Hunter.  Solomon liked hearing me read it so much that he would come and sit in my lap - every time I read a chapter.  This story is part of a book series based on true events in the author's life and should be required reading for everyone!  Laura writes about the adventures of her pioneer family as they travel by covered wagon from Wisconsin to Kansas.  They have adventures on the way, and then we read along as the family builds a log house to live in.  Indians and wolves are all around them.  I love how the books really bring history to life.  Hunter was fascinated with the detailed descriptions on how Pa built their house, barn, furniture, dug a well, etc.  Solomon liked Jack, their dog, the best.

I have no idea how many times I have read this series, since I was little.  Tabby to has re-read the series many times.  And when I finished the book, Hunter begged me to start reading him the next book in the series.  I'm still reading from the book set I had as a child:

Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher - This is a wonderful old book, first published in 1917.  I read it to Tabby when she was younger and we both really enjoyed it.  Then I read it to Hunter last month.  He really liked the story line - plus the descriptions of how things were done "in the olden times."  (He was very intrigued with reading about a sundial being cut into the window of a pantry and about an old type of hot water heater.)  The story is about a 9 year old orphan girl that was brought up in the big city by an overprotective aunt.  The little girl is frail and afraid of everything.  But then through a chain of events, she has to go live out in the Vermont country with some farming relatives that she has only heard negative things about.  This change turns out to be the best thing that ever happens to her.

Monday, November 23, 2015

30 Days of Thankfulness - Days 21-23

Day 21 - Fresh eggs and goat milk:
jar of fresh goat milk, vintage egg cups with eggs from our chickens

Eggs in a regular grocery store absolutely can NOT rival eggs from truly free range chickens.  Our chickens roam our property scratching and pecking and finding lots of "yummy" bugs to eat.  Their eggs are so healthy and the yolks a brilliant color.  It sounds silly I'm sure, but I absolutely love finding a freshly laid egg.  This never gets old for me.

"Owl" is a Brahma - she's so pretty - and a bit fiesty!
Tabby milks three of our goats every morning.  We drink the milk, cook/bake with it, and use it in soap making.  Fresh milk has so many more extra benefits to it, than what is sold in the store.

(Note that I'm not knocking store bought eggs and milk - they really are healthy.  But certain conditions make them even healthier.)

We have 6 goats in our current herd - we recently sold 2 of the young bucks and still need to sell 1 more
Day 22 - Lilly Tree:

When Lilly was alive, she was so fascinated by our Christmas tree with it's lights.  So I bought her a small, artificial tree with the idea of keeping it up year round for her to enjoy.  She died 10 days before she got her present.  But I decided to put it up anyway, in her memory, and have a different "theme" for each month.  I like having our "Lilly Tree" - it comforts me - and Solomon now is old enough, he enjoys helping decorate it.

November is "turkey theme" - Lilly's pumpkin hat is the tree topper:

I call this my "Lilly girl" ornament
This seems like the right time to say "hi" to Lilly in her pumpkin hat!

Lilly girl after a visit to the pumpkin patch (Oct. 2011)

Day 23 - Clothes:

Today is rather chilly - it's sunny but is only about 45 degrees.  I was thinking this morning how grateful I am to have warm clothes to wear.  Not only that, I am blessed to have clothes that fit pretty well, and they are in colors and styles that I like.

" For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving ..." 1 Timothy 4:4

Friday, November 20, 2015

Solomon's face update AND 30 Days of Thankfulness - Days 17-20

It's Bluebeard!  Solomon got a blue lollipop from the doctor
Solomon had his consultation with the plastic surgeon today about the lump on his face.  The doctor said it was an "epidermal includsion cyst" (aka "sebaceous cyst). 

The cyst will have to be surgically  removed at a hospital and, unfortunately, he will have to be put under anaesthesia.  (Lord willing he will handle it fine - just like Lilly did the 3 times she was put under.)  The doctor will cut along his natural smile line so that the scar will be less noticeable.  There is a cellular sac that must be removed.  It will then be tested to be sure there is nothing malignant. There is about a 5% chance that a second surgery would be necessary one day.  That kind of cyst can have "barnacles" which infect other areas outside the cell.  The cyst has to shrink down some more, before surgery, so that there's a better chance for the doctor to get everything. 

Surgery is currently scheduled for December 29th.  (They initially offered me December 15th - Lilly's angelversary date - but I knew I wouldn't be able to handle that day well.)

Sheesh!  I never knew a cyst could be so involved!  Thankfully we seem to have a very good doctor.  He has little children at home so he was understanding and gentle with Solomon.  And he was very thorough in explaining everything to me.

goofy blue toothed boy

Day 17 - Herbs:

I love herbs and continue to be fascinated by all the things to do with them.  (I don't think I could ever learn everything!)  I've developed quite a stash of them over the years.  I like make new tinctures for us to try, of different mixtures for this or that.  I even make an herbal mixture for the chickens.  As I study them I continue to marvel at all natural medicine that is growing all around us, that God has supplied.

My "chimney cabinent" is well stocked:

And this cabinet has all my bigger jars:

Day 18 - Entrepreneurial ideas:

I enjoy thinking of different ways to earn money (like our goat milk soap) and in teaching those ideas to my children.  Earlier this week, Solomon took over Tabby's old "chollipop" business.  (Chocolate lollipops made with melts in candy molds.)  We made 4 different kinds of chollipop's (dark, light, white, and peanut butter) using Pilgrim candy molds and packaged them.  I fixed them up old soda crates to put them in and Frank took them to work and put them out in the school's break rooms.  We've sold a couple - and one of the soda crates.  I have no idea if we'll sell many more, but Solomon enjoyed the process and I think it's so good for kids to develop this way of thinking.  That will give them more experience and choices about how to make a living when they are adults.

While Solomon and I were working in the kitchen, Hunter had several freshly washed mason jars drying on the counter.  He had had another order for a jar lamp!

Day 19 - Sunsets:

 I love a beautiful sunset almost as much as an amazing sunrise.  The colors are fantastic and it is incredible how fast they can change.  Try taking a series of photos over several minutes and then you can see just how fast that light changes!  Thursday evening I could see some pink out my window so I grabbed my camera and stepped outside.  Then after I got a few photos I decided to go to another area  of the yard to get some pictures without the wellhouse and fence in the way.  By the time I got my boots on and got out there it was too late.

Day 20 - Water & electricity:

When I was outside, getting some water for the goats, I started thinking about the original people that built this old farmhouse that we live in, in 1907.  We have been blessed to have their granddaughter in our home twice, and hear about her memories in the home and how the house has changed.  Probably the biggest changes were the additions of electricity, running water, and bathrooms!  I'm not sure when they were added exactly but I am SO grateful for them!  (Interesting aside - Frank grew up in eastern N.C. and they didn't have an indoor bathroom until he was about 7.  They used a "johnny house.")

Apparently, next to our kitchen sink, is where there used to be a handpump. 

And oh how I love electricity!  That is what runs our well pump now.  Plus, of course, lights, appliances, computer, heat and air conditioning, etc etc.!

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." - James 1:17

Monday, November 16, 2015

30 Days of Thankfulness - Days 13 - 16

Day 13 - Pretty/Fun bowls/containers:

Have you seen Pioneer Woman's new dishes line at Walmart?  When I saw the polka dot mixing bowl, I knew I HAD to have it.  It is a nice sized mixing bowl with a spout which is my favorite kind.  I LOVE polka dots and the red and light blue colors together and having this bowl to mix in several times a week, has made the task more enjoyable somehow.

I have a couple interesting containers in my kitchen that make me happy.  (It's the little things!)  I've had this Animal Crackers tin for years:

And I recently got this vintage peanut butter tin super cheap off Ebay (after admiring my mother-in-laws) and we use it for compost:

Day 14 - Books:

 I. Love. Books.  As a child, I remember reading Nancy Drew books and the Little House on the Prairie books for hours during the day and then reading by flashlight under my covers at night.  We have 14 book shelves and cabinets full of books in our home, plus two walls of Hunter's room have built in bookshelves which are full.  (OK I admit - books are getting out of hand now.)  I am so thankful for books - I can pick one up and gain all sorts of knowledge, help, or just go on an adventure in my mind.  Here is my nightstand with my current reads:

Day 15 - The saving grace of Jesus:

This portrait of Lilly and Jesus is probably my most treasured possession.    It brings me comfort to see Lilly's happy face as she is being held by Jesus.  And when I look at the Jesus figure, I am so thankful for everything He has done, and continues to do, for me.  I don't know I could get through this painful life without Him.  Thank you Jesus!

Day 16 - Dogs:

I'm so glad God made dogs!  They are my very favorite animal.  I've been blessed to have several good, loyal dogs.  OK - I won't call Sherlotta loyal since she ran off and never came back.  :(  But in general, dogs are so loyal and loving.  We're down to only two dogs right now.

Lucia is a Labrador/terrier mix.  She is almost 10 years old now.  She is a sweet dog that struggles with feeling clausterophic.  (She hates being inside.)  Her very favorite place to be is on the front porch sleeping.  Here she politely tried to open her eyes for me, but was too sleepy!

Exhaust Pipe will be 2 years old in January.  His mama Dixie was a German Shepard/Collie mix.  (She was sadly killed by a car last January, right before her puppies turned 1 year old.)  Not sure about Mr. Pipe's father other than he seems to have had some pit bull in him.  Exhaust Pipe is such a happy loving dog.  I'm so glad we have this part of Dixie left.  He's a good boy - he loves hanging out at home and doesn't seem to wander.  He's also hard to photograph because if we're near, he just wants to be constantly petted!