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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, February 26, 2014

17 months and 11 days

Lilly - 17 months
Lilly passed away 11 days after she turned 17 months old.  That's 529 days of life on earth.  Today her little brother Solomon reached that date - 17 months and 11 days. 

What a difference in their lives. 

During my pregnancy with Solomon, and for awhile after he was born, I struggled with a lot of fears that he would die.  He's also been sick twice.  Both times it scared me, even though neither illness was anything out of the ordinary.  But that was just me reacting to the past.  To Lilly and her fragile health.

Overall though, during Solomon's life, the time has passed much more peacefully.  Most days are pretty ordinary.  Lilly's life was jam packed from the start!  There was rarely a dull moment with her it seems, and when there was, I relaxed and enjoyed it.

Even though I know that life is fragile, and any one of us could die at any time, there is a world of difference holding a child that you are being told will die at any moment than one that is expected to live "normally."

"A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed." - Job 14:5

Here is the very last picture I ever took of Lilly.  I took it the night before she died.  She's happy hanging out with her big sister Tabby:

Two snuggly girls in pink
 Miss you sweet baby!

Here is a picture of Solomon from today, his 529th day:

brushin' my hair
Solomon is a busy little guy.  He loves his routines, being outside, climbing, getting into my kitchen cabinets, and playing in the bathtub.  He likes the stacking and sorting types of toys.  And books.  He loves books!  Especially if they are about cars and trucks.  He can talk a little, and uses some sign language.  One of his very favorite things to do is to help his big brother bring in firewood:

I remain eternally grateful to God for my rainbow baby!  (I know, he's not officially a "baby" anymore)

"You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy," - Psalm 30:11

I look forward to one day sharing all about Lilly's life with Solomon.  I just know he'll be as proud of his big sister as we are.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Signs of Spring and a few odds and ends

It's hard to believe it was so snowy and cold earlier this month.  This past week has been warm - 60s and even 70 degrees.  Some sunny days and some rainy days.  Our yard has been a mess of mud from the melted snow and then rain:

Yesterday I took a few pictures of flowers beginning to say "hello":

We took the puppies out into the sunshine today.  They had so much fun!  And so did we:

The pups were worn out after and promptly piled up and went to sleep:

Solomon and I took a walk around the goat area of our property to make sure the fencing was all secure.  He liked the sounds of the gravel from the neighbor's driveway on his shoes.

Our resident chicken whisperer chatted with her feathered friends some.  Tabby really can talk like a chicken:

Our house is very old (over 100 years).  Obviously there was no trash pickup back then!  (Well there still isn't here.  We take our trash to a nearby dump.)  The original owners used to throw things out in a certain area outside.  That means that whenever it rains, broken glass and rusted objects sometimes come up out of the ground.  (Another reason we always wear boots outside.)  Today I spent about 15 minutes picking up glass pieces out of the mud.  I love the cobalt blue glass.  I found a little bottle today too (see top area of bowl):

We've got a collection going of whole bottles we've found.  (I found a neat spice jar from the 1930s last year too!)  Someday when I have time (TIME? HAHAHA!) I want to go through the bottles, clean them up, and then display the most interesting ones.

"Light is sweet, and it pleases the eyes to see the sun." - Ecclesiastes 11:7

Last week, the kids and I finished going through a book called Jashub's Journal: An Old Testament Law Story and Bible Study by Simply Charlotte Mason.  (More info and sample page here.)  This was a "living story" that taught several old testament laws for every day situations.  You read the story and then read the Bible passages and answer a few questions.  It was really interesting!  And it made the old laws make a lot more sense to me.  When we finished, Tabby asked if we could get some more Bible studies like that.  I do not know of any so I am looking into it.  If you know of any - please let me know!

In response to my post last Sunday about dealing with digital picture overload, I have concluded most of us are in the same boat.  (Must be the S.S. I'm Drowning In Photos!)  No one seems to have a system they are thrilled with.  People dabble in albums, boxes, scrapbooks, digital scrapbooks, and printed photo books.  Each system has pros and cons.  It does seem that making photo books online and having them printed is becoming one of the most popular choices.  I like them.  I've made one for each family member of them with Lilly.  But they can be pricey if you don't have a discount, and seem very time consuming to me.  But then I guess every system is. 

So phooey - no easy answers.  I will continue to back up my photos on my expansion drive.  I also get my blog printed and bound each year and give a copy to each of my children.  (That is a journal for us and it can be our photo album too.)  I think I need to just go back to taking one hour a week and sorting through the photos that I do have printed.  Put them in order in boxes.  (Labeling them can happen in another season in my life.)  Then put some in themed photo albums.  (The smaller albums with slots to slip pictures in.)  Baby albums and maybe some highlights of the year albums.  I have a digital scrapbooking program I got free (which you can buy at discount from My Memories - see the ad near the top right area of this blog) but I really prefer paper.  I like making things with my hands.  Maybe I'll just finish using the scrapbooking supplies I have and then try digital again.  Finally, when I receive the "free photo book" offers from Shutterfly, I will continue to take advantage of them! (I seem to get one every March.)

Finally I'm happy to report that Frank's kidney stone(s) seems to be completely gone!  Thanks to the good Lord and home remedies!  I gave him all the things I mentioned in this post.  Remember that if you're struggling with a kidney stone!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The puppies are 4 weeks old today

UPDATE: Regarding puppies available - Tabby has decided she is keeping Watson and Hunter is keeping Exhaust Pipe.  I had wanted Houdini but decided I will let him go to a good home so that we are not overwhelmed with dogs!  So that means Sherlock, Houdini, and Bongle are available.  Note that Sherlock is a girl, and the other two are boys.

The puppies are growing fast!  They are 4 weeks old today.  Yesterday the kids and I set up a new area for them on our enclosed porch, because the puppies kept jumping out of the little kiddie pool they were in.

 Our new design is pretty crazy - it is made of 3 folding closet doors we had taken off closets in our home, arranged in a triangle.  It's very sturdy though and is working.  Dixie is able to jump in and out.

Last week, Tabby did a photo shoot with each puppy.  Here are some of the pictures she took:




Exhaust Pipe

I am laughing as I type those names ...  Funny thing is I think Exhaust Pipe is the sweetest puppy of all.

It seemed to Tabby and I that Dixie was starting to be a lazy mama, shirking her mama duties because we were seeing her running around in the yard so much.  Plus she isn't getting in with her puppies as much.  Of course we know nothing about puppies and are learning as we go.  So I googled it.

Turns out, Dixie knows way way more than we do.  Tabby and I learned that mama dogs naturally began to wean their puppies between 3-4 weeks old.  They'll even stand up in the middle of nursing and all the puppies will fall off.

I find animals so amazing.  God put these instincts in them and they know exactly what to do and when! Why does it tend to be different with people?  Why do we often find it hard to follow our instincts?  I guess because we spend to much time reading or listening to other people with opinions about how we should be doing things.  It does make me wonder, if we did not have outside influences, would we more naturally "know what to do?"  At least with our children?  I'm shaking my head because it's hard for me to imagine.  I turn to books for information and answers all the time.  And I pray for wisdom every day.  Often many times a day.

"who teaches us more than he teaches the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than the birds in the sky?" - Job 35:11

Last week we learned to deworm the puppies.  I read a hint to soak a little piece of bread in the liquid dewormer and they would love it.  Hmmmm.  Didn't work.  So we used a syringe.  (First we weighed the puppies to see how much to feed them.  They were all 5 pounds.)

We are halfway to the date that the puppies will be available for adoption.  (They will be FREE.)         Tabby is keeping Watson.  Hunter may keep Exhaust Pipe.  Frank told me I could keep Houdini, but since all these animals are getting so expensive, I would be fine with someone adopting her to a good home.  So I guess we'll just see what kind of response we get.

If you think you might be interested in one of these little cuties, then just let us know!  Again - we do not know what kind of dog the father is.  If you have an idea, based on pictures, we'd love to hear from you.

Solomon says the dogs are very kissable!

 "And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony." - Colossians 3:14 (New Living Translation)

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Help! How do YOU handle digitial photo overload??

me - about 2 years old
Ever since I was young, I have loved having my own camera and taking pictures.  I remember  saving up my money when I was about 12 years old and buying a little 35 mm camera.  It cost $12.99 (+ tax!) from the local drug store and looked like a little black box and had a connection on top for a flip flash. 

I remember being very selective about what I took pictures of because those were the days where you had to pay to develop your film in order to see your pictures.  (All you young people reading this - at this point you should GASP - and then maybe wonder what I'm talking about.)

When my roll of film was full I would take my saved up money to the drug store and have my film developed.  It was always a combination of exciting and disappointing to get my photos back.  There were always a few that were blurry or had my finger in a corner of the camera.  The rest would be fine and I would carefully arrange them in a photo album.

Enter digital photography.  In early 2004 I bought my first digital camera.  Life was never the same.  Yes I was cautious at first, with the number of photos I took.  I would dutifully upload them to the computer and have them printed by an online photo developer.  Yet even in my "cautious" state, I was suddenly dealing with a lot more photos than I was used to.  I knew I didn't have room to be stuffing photo albums full at an alarming rate, so I resorted to using photo boxes AND photo albums.  The albums being for the best or most interesting pictures.

By the time Hunter was born, I suddenly found I couldn't even keep up with this method.  I need to insert here that I neglected an important part of my dealing with photos.  I could not simply put them in an album or box.  I HAD to label them.  This meant writing the person's name, date, and location.  On every. Single. Photo.  (I had been frustrated in the past with looking through boxes of photos at relatives homes, and not being able to identify who was in the picture.  I determined this would never happen to my photos!)

So guess what.  I have quite an assortment of boxes of developed pictures which never made it into boxes OR albums.  Starting from 2008 through 2012.  I haven't even developed many pictures in the last year.  I do upload them and back them up. 

When Lilly was born, I took at least one photo of her almost every day of her life.  This was crucial to me because we had no idea how long she would live!  After she died, I uploaded a ton of these photos online and had them developed.  I was excited when they came until I began looking in the big box filled with a dozen or so smaller photo packets.  There was no sense to the order the photos were in!  Pictures from January may be mixed into a packet with pictures from June and October.  UGH!

I began spending an hour a week trying to put the photos in order in photo boxes.  Now I love to organize, but this was making me nuts.   Every week I'd get mad at the photo developer all over again for sending me my pictures out of order and giving me all that extra work.

Then Solomon was born, in September of 2012.  And I have not tried to organize any photos since.  Oh I still take photos at a ridiculous rate (maybe between 250 - 400 per month) and I upload them to my computer.  But that's it. 


I really want to put together some albums and scrapbooks as everyone in my family enjoy looking at them.  I have so many ideas in my head.  But I can not decide the most efficient approach to take for this.  PLEASE - I would love to hear from you how you handle your photos.  Maybe that will give me some ideas!

THANK YOU!!  I hope to hear from you!

(N.B. Just a tip if you are going to leave a comment - I have been having trouble leaving comments on other blogger blogs lately. Whatever I write disappears the first time, then stays when I redo it a second time.  Maybe that's just me.  But - now when I take the time to type out a comment, I copy it just in case it disappears.  Then if it does I can just paste it into the comment box again.)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Forever our Valentine

 Our sweet Lilly is one of the Trisomy children featured in SOFT's Valentine video.  You can see it at this link:
Go to time 2:49 to see Lilly's page.  I still so appreciate Frank's cousin Sandra for making Lilly her "famous" heart dress.

Today for science, Hunter got to do experiments with conversation hearts.  We put 7 different liquids in little paper cups, added a conversation heart into each, and then watched to see what would happen.  It was not the most exciting thing to watch as those little candies (with the completely unhealthy ingredients) just sat in the bottoms of the cups mocking us.  (In fact, 9 hours later, they are still there though disolved a TINY bit.)  So what do you do to make a science experiment more interesting?  Add vinegar and baking soda to each cup!  And then watch out for the little bubbling volcanoes!

Hunter told me that his very favorite Valentine's day tradition is to eat conversation hearts.  I always put them in a little candy dish I inherited from my grandmommy:

My favorite tradition is to make heart shaped chocolate candy and eat it while we read Lilly's Chocolate Heart by Kevin Henkes:

"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God." - 1 John 4:7

Thursday, February 13, 2014

More Beautiful Snow!

Yesterday it began snowing.  And snowing hard!  Solomon loved watching birds coming to the feeder:

The snow piled up fast and we probably had close to 5 inches by evening.  The people of this area do not handle snow too well so the streets/traffic were a mess.  It took Frank 4 hours to get home from work.  Sounded like his experience was pretty typical.

By night it began sleeting.  This morning we were greeted by the beauty of snow with an icy touch.

Ice on top of the snow didn't make for normal looking snowmen or very good sledding though :

Tabby made an Eye of Sauron (Lord of the Rings) snow creation:

 Tabby's pet goat Pippi nipped her nose (playfully) today:

No injuries occurred.  :)

Back to the ice, there were icicles everywhere:

They made a tasty treat:

The chickens do not like the snow, so they stayed in today:

Dixie joined us outside some, leaving her puppies alone under a heat lamp:

Finally, Tabby got some fantastic bird pictures today:

Tufted Titmouse
male Cardinal
female Cardinal

Carolina Chickadee
"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." - Psalm 19:1