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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

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Opening of a Lily Flower and SOFT's Free Care Book (For Trisomy 18 & 13)

On Monday, the first lily finally opened in Lilly's garden!  There are hundreds of kinds of lily flowers in the world (as opposed to only one unique Lilly girl aka Little Firecracker).  This particular lily is called a "sugar carpet lily."

I just peeked out the window and see that three more have opened.  I need to get an updated picture and maybe cut one to bring inside.

This is the 2nd year I've had those lily bulbs in the garden and I was amazed at how they've doubled in height.

I consider the book Care of the Infant or Child with Trisomy 18 or Trisomy 13 by Ann Barnes and Dr. John Carey to be THE book for help in raising a child with Trisomy 18 or 13.  The book is published by SOFT (Support Organization for Trisomy 18, 13 and Related Disorders.) and is available in paperback and electronic version.  (To see all of SOFT's publications, including both versions of this book, click here.)   If you'd like the free e-book version, you will need to fill out a form, and then the link will be e-mailed to you.  You can go directly to that form here.

Here is a summary of the book from SOFT's website:  "Often referred to as 'the Care Book,' it tells of the complex issues of care and living that caretakers (parents) and these children cope with in their everyday lives.  Topics include diagnosis, common problems, surgery, milestones, mortality and more.  The book closes with a table of recommendations for health supervision, and anticipatory guidance from Dr. John C. Carey, SOFT Medical Advisor." 

I ordered this book right after Lilly was born, and devoured it.  My only regret is that I did not have the strength/courage to order it BEFORE she was born and read it.  I could have been more familiar with typical Trisomy 18 issues then.  (If you're pregnant with a Trisomy 18 or 13 baby, and are reading this, please order this book.  It will give you both hope and lots of practical information.)

One fun thing about the e-book is that there are a couple excerpts from this blog about Lilly in it.  :)  You can read about those references on another blogpost I wrote here.

Here is one little girl that is a big encouragement in the Trisomy 18 world - Bella Santorum.  (She is the daughter of Rick Santorum, who has been a Senator and has run as a presidential candidate for the Republican party.  Her mom Karen has written several books.)  Earlier this month, Bella celebrated her 6th birthday!  What an amazing milestone in the Trisomy 18 world!  Here is a recent picture of happy Bella, with her dad and mom, Karen:

Rick, Bella, Karen Santorum
"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." - Romans 8:28

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Solomon's new (safer!) stool

This past winter, Solomon discovered the freedom of being able to reach things easily himself.  I have a vintage wooden stool in our kitchen and he loves to push it around wherever he wants, pull the steps out, and climb right up.  This thing has literally been all over our downstairs.  Here's just a sampling:

Helping in the kitchen

Sneaking and re-arranging things on the fridge

"reorganizing" the silverware drawer
Getting into my apothecary cabinet (herbs)

adding things to my "to-do" list
Tabby and Hunter and I have had many laughs when we would suddenly hear the stool being moved across the floor and we'd know Solomon was up to something.

It hasn't been all fun though.  As you can imagine, he's had some falls off the stool.  Amazingly he's never been hurt badly.  (He has a good guardian angel!)  But there has been a few times where his falls scared me enough I gave him a quick dose of Arnica to prevent any bruising or bad headaches.

Ok - you may be thinking "just tell him he can't use the stool."  But seriously - that's not the answer when a child is loving being up at the counter and helping me and learning so much.  A chair wasn't the answer as kids fall off chairs too.

Earlier this month, Solomon had several scary falls.  I remembered seeing a special stool with sides in a children's catalog a couple years ago (called a "kitchen helper stool"), and decided to start checking CraigsList for one.  Nothing appeared.  Then he had a very clumsy day and after those falls I thought "enough!"  I suddenly realized that the price tag of the special stool, which had been holding me back from buying it, was much cheaper than a trip to the emergency room would be.

So I got on and ordered GuideCraft's Kitchen Helper stool.  It comes in a variety of colors and I choose red.

When it arrived a few days later, Hunter helped me assemble it.  Solomon tried it out and spent the first 5 minutes climbing in and out.  He loves it!  And I now have peace of mind and know he's so much safer.

A nice feature about this stool is that it folds up.  (Hunter is obsessed with folding it up and then opening it up.)  When folded, it is the same height, but the width is only 4.5 inches.  The stool also adjusts to 4 different heights, so it "grows" with your child.

I highly recommend the kitchen helper stool and just wish I had bought it sooner!

Finally - can you "guess the picture?"

Answer:  a box of Peeps!  (not the marshmallow kind you see at Easter though - these are Tabby's Silkie Bantam chicks.)

"For it is written: 'He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; . . . ." - Luke 4:10

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Triple (animal) deaths on the farm

If you read The Goat Chick's blog yesterday, you already know about two deaths we had here on the farm. I have another to add to it.

I have never watched re-runs of the old TV show "Green Acres" but my husband has sung the theme song to it enough I know some of it.  Yesterday, while attempting to dig an animal grave, Tabby and I changed some of the words for the part we remembered:

Death Acres is it the place for me?
Farm livin' is the life for me.
Land spreadin' out so far and wide
Keep Raleigh, just give me that countryside.

Yes, Tabby and I sometimes refer to our farm here as "Death Acres."  Morbid I suppose, but sometimes it feels like it.  I guess that's because we just have tender hearts and are still adapting to farm living.  (And we really do LOVE living on our little farm.)  I imagine frequent animal deaths are the norm for bigger farms.

Last week Pom Pom, Tabby's white Silkie Bantum rooster disappeared.  It reminded us of Enoch, in the Bible:  "Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away." (Genesis 5:24)

photo credit:  Tabby
Best we can figure is that in Pom Pom's case, God was really a hawk.  We have a hawk couple living on the property.

Seeing the brown Silkies in the above picture reminded me of this.  When Tabby first bought them, one of the brown ones seemed to have frequent seizures.  It would suddenly drop it's head way down, start to walk backwards in a circle, and often would fall over.  Very pitiful to watch.  None of the chicken experts Tabby contacted had ever heard of a chicken with problems like that.  I'm happy to report that after a few weeks, the problems were gone and the chicken acts totally normal now.

Last night, we found one of our young Barred Rock chickens dead in the front yard.  All the dogs were around.  Who was the killer?  Lucia is "the usual suspect."  I said she was looking guilty but Frank questioned "Can dogs really feel guilt?"  Sherlotta (Dixie's black puppy) had a mouth full of feathers.  But since the chicken's body was surrounded by feathers who knows if she was the killer or just playing with the dead chicken after.  Dixie and her son Exhaust Pipe weren't suspects in my mind.  But of course there's no way to figure it out.  Still, this has happened enough we are sadly contemplating if we need to just find a new home for Lucia, as she's got a long line of dead chickens to her credit.

My Precious (Buff) and a young Barred Rock (photo credit: Tabby)
Finally, the last death occurred sometime during Sunday night.  And for me it was the sad.  Our little baby goat, Pippin, died.

Pippin - his last photo shoot (photo credit: Tabby)
I am so thankful I spent a good part of Sunday afternoon just holding the little goat.  I thought he was so sweet and cute and loved his floppy ears.

What was wrong with him?  I never could quite figure it out.  None of his symptoms matched anything I could find for newborn goat kids online or in books.  So I want to list those things out here, in case they help some other goat owner who is Googling their kid's problems.

Pippin wasn't well from day 2.  His front right hoof had every appearance of hoof rot.  (If you have know about this, it is completely bizarre for a 2 day old kid to have this.)  We treated him for it and it did get a lot better in his 2.5 weeks of life.  A few days after the hoof rot appeared, his back leg swelled up.  It was swollen from between the top of the hoof to about 2 inches under his knee.  (I could not find anything online or in goat books talking about swelling in this area.)  That swelling went away 2 days before he died.  Then his shoulder swelled up.  Also during his life, his breathing sounded too loud to me at times.  (Goats can get pneumonia.)  Besides not being able to stand well, he was generally weak.  He didn't care for milk in a bottle - or syringe - so we got to where, a number of times a day, we'd hold him up under his mama to nurse.  (It IS normal for a kid to not care for a bottle when he is used to nursing normally.)

Pippin's mother Pippi is healthy, friendly, and has a good milk supply.  (We will continue to milk her.)  Best we can figure is Pippin inherited his grandma's bad genes.  Topaz had all sorts of leg and hoof issues, didn't produce milk, and finally had to be put down.

Pippi - does she wonder where her baby is? (photo credit: Tabby)
I do not put animals on the same plane as humans, though I do love animals.  Yet I found little Pippin's problems reminded me some of Lilly.  The weak muscle tone, inability to walk, etc.  I loved helping him and treating him and just holding him.  I guess, because of the Lilly reminders, that made me all the sadder when he died.  Deep sigh ...

Sweet little Pippin (photo credit: Tabby)
We're really hoping that Nutmeg, our brown goat, is pregnant.  (If she is, she will give birth about the end of the month.)  It is just so fun having little babies - in all forms - running around.  (Her sister, Cloves, just had twin does!  She lives with her original owner.)

"The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made." - Psalm 145:9

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Book Recommendation: French Kids Eat Everything

When I was little, I remember my dad making a comment that French men were "wimps."  I asked why and he responded "they have to be, with that accent."  I accepted that and went on with my day.  Years later, I was doing a lot of research on WWII.  When I came to accounts of the Nazi invasion of Paris, I read about the total lack of resistance the French soldiers.  That confirmed to me what Dad had said about French men being wimps.

All photos from 1994, taken with a 35 mm camera, in the pre-digital camera age!

me in front of the Arc De Triomphe
In August of 1994, I traveled with some of my family to Europe.  We went to Switzerland, France, and Italy.  Switzerland was clean and beautiful.  Italy (Venice) was fascinating.  Paris, France was ... dirty!  There was dog mess on the streets and sidewalks, cigarette butts everywhere, black exhaust spewing from the cars, scaffolding covered the old buildings as workers cleaned the outside, etc.  It was not the beautiful city I had imagined it to be.  In fact, when we arrived on the train, the station walls were covered with posters featuring an ad for some play or movie that had a woman's big nude derriere on it.  (We saw this poster every where we turned it seemed.  It became the butt of a joke, pun intended.)

When I purchased something in a shop, I gave the clerk my best "merci."  He looked at me scornfully and said "You're welcome."  After we left, my stepsister C. (who had spent time in France) explained to me that everyone there knew I was an American.  She pointed at my white Reebok hightops.  Oh.  I suddenly noticed that only the American tourists wore sneakers.  Proper French people wore leather shoes.

On our way to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower
One of my first meals in Paris was at a sidewalk cafe.  I ordered a hamburger.  The waiter brought it and put it down in front of me with a flourish.  I looked at it in horror.  There was a fried egg on top of the burger!  My stepsister noticed my expression and explained that it was supposed to be like a jockey riding a horse.  I didn't get that one at all.  But I ate the egg first - by itself - then enjoyed my burger.

(Before all you France lovers get too angry with me, I assure you I still found the city of Paris interesting.  Napoleon's tomb was one of the most amazing things I have seen in my life.  Ever.  And when we later stopped in the town of Lyon, I found the people to be friendly and the area simply beautiful.)

Entrance to Napoleon's Tomb
On my April Book List I mentioned that I found the book French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billon to be utterly fascinating.  (The subtitle is: "How our family moved to France, cured picky eating, banned snacking, and discovered 10 simple rules for raising happy, healthy eaters.")  This book totally gave me a new picture of the French.  Not only about their food, but about their whole culture.  (So interesting that I am going to have Tabby read it as a school assignment!)

Karen Le Billon, the author, is from Canada and married to a French man.  She convinced him to move back to the little town he came from in France for a year.  They took their two little girls with them.  It quickly became apparent that Karen and her daughters did not fit in with they way they ate.

Le Billon noticed that French kids not only seemed to enjoy eating, but ate a huge variety of foods.  They are expected to eat everything they are served uncomplainingly.  They eat well. Their obesity rate is one of the lowest in the developed world.  Le Billon's quest to understand these differences later became this book.  Note that there also a bunch of recipes at the end of the book.

I've  been sitting here for 30 minutes writing and have realized this post will be way too long if I were to write about everything I found interesting in the book.  So I'm going to jump ahead and tell you that Le Billon came up with 10 rules to get children to eat well.  I am not going to list those here, because I don't want any copyright issues, but I will tell you they are all summarized on the back cover of French Kids Eat Everything and discussed in detail in the book.  As Le Billon began to apply these rules to her children - and herself! - they all began to eat better.  As an anti-most-vegetable-eater myself, I was fascinated to read how they began to like vegetables.  To the point that the children now list beets, broccoli, and creamed spinach among their favorite foods!  Now that makes me feel like I did eating veggies when I was a kid - I want to gag.  But I also want to learn to eat them better.  I hope to apply a lot of what I read to my husband and I and Hunter.  Tabby likes way more veggies than we do.  And Solomon likes a variety of foods so far.  Of course this book isn't just about eating veggies.

My brother P. at the Musee Des Invalides (we like doing goofy stuff like this)
The French treat food differently than we do here in the U.S.  They take a long time to eat meals, savoring the food.  A small portion of a delicious dessert savored is the norm rather than the huge portions Americans gobble down.  Children are taught to eat - and enjoy - a variety.  Now that doesn't mean they like everything from the start - but instead of giving up that a child hates something, the parents persist and will serve that food again.  They say things like "Oh you just haven't learned to like that food yet."  The French do not like to eat by themselves.  They do not eat in a rush while driving or walking.  They don't give their kids baggies full of snacks to munch on in the stroller.  Kids eat ONE snack a day.  Food presentation is important - they eat off real dishes and always use tablecloths.

How about school lunches?  The French National Ministry of Education states:  "School is a privileged place in which children are better educated about good taste, nutrition, and food culture.  Good taste must be taught and learned, and can only be acquired over time."  The children are served hot meals on real dishes at tables covered with tablecloths.  "Vegetables had to be served at every meal: raw one day, cooked the next.  Fried food could be served no more than once per week.  Real fish had to be served at least once per week.  Fruit was served for dessert every second meal, at a minimum; sugary desserts were allowed--but only once per week." (Le Billon, p. 42)  A nutritionist and committee of parent volunteers oversee meal planning.  And, instead of asking their children "how was school today?" parents ask "how did you like your lunch today?"

Notre Dame - with the annoying for picture taking scaffolding in front of it
Food is an experience to be enjoyed and shared with others.  That thought alone is different for me.  I did not grow up in a house where we placed much emphasis on food - other than it should be healthy.  In fact, my mom would lament that she would rather just swallow a pill than eat because food was such a hassle.  I know I often feel annoyed when it is time to stop what I am doing to prepare food, yet again, for my family.  (Rotten attitude I know.)  I have some "foodie" friends and am always amused when they get excited about different foods they can make or want to try. ( Now I realize - that is really one way they can bless their family.)  I don't care a lot about food variety.  In fact, I ate the same breakfast everyday for 20 years!  But I know that everyone else in my family, except Hunter, do like a variety.

This book has inspired me to "change my food ways". To help me further on this quest, I have just purchased Le Billon's newest book, Getting to YUM: The 7 Secrets to Raising Eager Eaters and look forward to reading that to gain additional tips and recipes.  Though I don't know much about it yet, at Le Billon's website,, she offers both a baby taste training plan and a toddler taste training plan.  (What about ME?  How about an adult taste training plan?)

What about you?  Do you have a family full of picky eaters?  Are you one?  Would you like to change that?  If so, reading French Kids Eat Everything is an inspiring place to start!

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Monday, May 12, 2014

When is Children's Day?

Yesterday, Mother's Day, one of my children asked the predictable question, "Why isn't their a Children's Day?"  I knew just how to answer because whenever my brother S. or I would ask that question when we young, our dad always responded "Every day is Children's Day."  Why did he say that?  Because apparently that's what he was told as a kid.

Do you think there is too much pressure to have picture perfect holidays here in America?  I feel like the media, card industry, that faceless group of "They" ("they say"), Pinterest, etc. - do.  What images do you think of when you think of Mother's Day?  I think of a mom being served breakfast in bed by happy children as they shower her with homemade cards and gifts and basically spend the whole day being cheerful and doing things for her.  Mom gets to lounge around and read and smile and praise her perfectly behaved children.  Husband is there to give her some expensive gift and tell her how great she is.  And everyone lives happily ever after.

It's sort of ironic that I have that image in my head because it's not something that is realistic - at least in my family! - or really that I particularly desire.  For example - I would HATE to have breakfast in bed!  Though I would love for everyone to be cheerful and get along for an entire day.

Special bracelet made for me by Cassie, big sister to T-18 angel Hannah
This was the first year since Lilly died that we did not go to her grave.  That made one part of me sad.  But another part of me really just didn't want to.  So then that made more of me feel guilty.

Why did it make me feel guilty?  Well that is the stage in my grieving process where I'm at.  The well documented part of grief where I do not need as many physical reminders of Lilly surrounding me and I don't feel the utter compulsion to pack my family into the car and drive 5 hours (round trip) to Lilly's grave.  And that makes me feel guilty.  I don't want anyone to think I'm forgetting about her.  I don't want her to not be remembered by everyone - to not be important anymore.  I don't want HER to somehow find out that I don't need to be as surrounded by as much of her stuff and am therefore forgetting about her.  Of course logically, I know that this is a normal way to feel, a couple years into grieving.  But sometimes logic doesn't lessen my guilt.  And yes, of course I tell myself the standard stuff "Lilly is always with me," "She's always a part of my heart," "It doesn't matter I think of her many times a day," "I will always love her," etc. etc.

I also felt guilty yesterday because I have 3 healthy children and yet still felt a bit of sadness during the day.  That made me feel selfish but honestly, I do not see Mother's Day as I used to.  After my Lilly-experience, I spend time praying for my friends that have no children yet desire them greatly.  For those that have had a long string of miscarriages and yet no living children.  For those that have children, of any age, in heaven. Yesterday I prayed repeatedly for a dear friend who was having a miscarriage that very day.

And I of course remembered my one Mother's Day with Lilly.  May 2011.  Lilly almost died in the hospital and a team of doctors and nurses worked frantically to bring her back - right before my eyes.  I watched in frozen horror.  Like a scary movie passing before my eyes.  But the good news was, they saved her life.  Even then, those doctors did not believe Lilly would leave that hospital. But she did and went on to live another 7 months, thank God.

Here is the one picture I have of Lilly and I on Mother's Day:

For a laugh - here is my most recent Mother's Day photo.  It is a nice blurry one that Hunter took of screaming Solomon and I yesterday.  (Solomon was mad because he wanted the camera.)

Ahhh .. the joys of motherhood.  ;)

In spite of the weight of all these feelings yesterday, the day passed well enough.  I made one of my favorite treats - chocolate covered coconut snowballs.  I spent time outside, both by myself and with my family, and with our ever amusing animals.  I planted some babies breath flower seeds in Lilly's garden.  I planted marigold seeds in some window boxes, and Frank hung them under chicken coop windows for me.

I researched online another issue Pippin, our new baby goat is having.  (Part of his back leg is swollen.  But from what I can tell from my research, it is not infected.)  Because Pippin is thin and just isn't thriving, Tabby and I attempted to bottle feed him to supplement his nursing.  (We figure since he can't walk well he's not able to nurse as frequently as he should be.)  Bottle feeding wasn't going well, so yesterday I got the idea to try giving him milk with a syringe.  I got out one of Lilly's big syringes like we used for g-tube feeding her, and found it worked very very well. (Thanks Lilly!) I sure hope the little guy does better soon.  He's just so cute and has such a good disposition.

Well I probably ought to leave you with a smile instead of thinking "Why did I read such a gloomy post?" So I will share a funny picture of Solomon that Tabby took at Walmart last week.  (He is wearing Tabby's sunglasses.)

Tabby has a deactivated iPhone (which she uses as an iPod) and it takes such great quality photos that I am often amazed.  It makes me wonder if I should just get one to replace my broken camera with.  I'm still trying to decide what to do there.  If YOU have a camera which you really like - please tell me about it.  Thank you in advance!

"This is the day the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it." - Psalm 118:24

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Book List - April

Last month's "Book List" post got good response, so I wanted to share my list of what I read last month.   I started off with several e-books, before moving on to my much preferred book version of hardback and paperbacks.  I love the feel of regular book pages and holding a book in my hand so much better.  That being said, I am thinking I'm going to ask for a Kindle for my birthday next month because I do read e-books too, and since I can't stand to read on the computer, I end up printing them out and that costs printer ink and paper.  If you do have a Kindle, or some sort of e-book reader, and you like it - please leave me a comment and tell me about it.

Solomon writing his book list
How to Build a Strong Christian Home by June Fuentes (e-book) -  This book was packed with both encouragement and practical help. I like reading books like this on occasion to try and learn ways to make our home and family life better.  This book left me with some really good food for thought.

My Precious takes great care of her family - I just wish she could clean her own house too!
Large Family Homeschooling by Amy Roberts (e-book) - I love reading any advice from parents of big families.  They have so much experience and usually seem to have figured out pretty well.  This book had a lot of useful tips.  I only have 3 kids at home right now, but the way their ages are spread out, schooling feels tricky to me at times.  But this book had good ideas about how to school a variety of ages.  I learned some new things that I am going to implement in our homeschool.

10 Steps to Organized Photos and Memorabilia by Lisa Woodruff (e-book) - (The link is to the Kindle edition.  You can get pdf edition on the author's website here.) I have been gathering good suggestions on how to deal with my digital photo collection since my blogpost asking for help.  (I am planning a part two of that post since several people have shared good ideas and online suggestions.)  This e-book had some good ideas and lots of encouragement.  I feel motivated to dig into this project once I finish taking care of some house things that need to be done.

French Kids Eat Everything: How our family moved to France, cured picky eating, banned snacking, and discovered 10 simple rules for raising happy, healthy eaters by Karen LeBillon - This book was utterly fascinating!  So intriguing I will do a blogpost about it in the next week or so.  The title and subtitle tell you what the book is about.  Besides all I learned about the food aspect, it was a fascinating read about French culture and seeing where my preconceived notions about the French were right or wrong.

Pippin is just so skinny, and perhaps his bad hoof is making it hard for him to nurse frequently, so last night we decided to supplement with a bottle to be sure he's eating enough
Fresh Eggs Daily by Lisa Steele - This book came highly recommended by Tabby!  I've had a copy for awhile but seemed to just keep flipping around in it to get information.  Last month I finally read the whole book from start to finish.  It was such an enjoyable and informative read.  And as an added bonus - it's one of those books with "feel good pages" as Tabby calls them.  Beautiful photography too.  I learned so many things we could do to keep our chickens healthy.  The author uses lots of herbs, which I like because I am trying to learn how to use them in more ways.  Did you know chickens love and benefit greatly from having raw apple cider vinegar (with the mother) in their water?  The book even has a recipe on how to make your own, which I had never thought about, and am looking forward to trying soon.  The author has a blog at:  which Tabby and I read.

Tic Tac Toe - 3 of Tabby's happy white Silkie Bantams in row
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - This was a re-read for me, but I do really like the story.  I find Austen's subtle humor so funny.  Recently I watched my favorite Pride and Prejudice movie version with Tabby and told her after she read the book, we would watch another version of it.  (She has now finished the book too.)  I think the 1996 A&E mini-series with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle is simply the best - and so close to the book, so that is my favorite.  (I remember when it came out, my roommates and I were glued to the tv every night for 3 nights watching it.)  I got a copy of the 2005 version with Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen for us to watch next.  (I saw that at the theater when it was released but really can't remember anything about it.)  Austen's novels are fast paced and have so many characters that I have found it easier to watch a movie version before reading a book, to help me keep the characters straighter in my mind when I read.

This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Monday, May 5, 2014

"Mama goat - why aren't you with your baby?"

Our new baby goat, named Pippin by Tabby, is a sweet cute little thing.  However, he has already developed a problem which has led to me spending time going through books and searching through my friend Google for help.

We noticed Friday that Pippin was not standing up a whole lot.  But that wasn't a worry because it can take a week or so for kids to be walking well.

But then Saturday Tabby noticed that when he did walk, he greatly favored his front right let.  As the day progressed, he wouldn't use that leg at all.  With a goat that often means the dreaded "hoof rot."  But hoof rot on a baby kid - just a few days old???  No where could I find anyone talking about it or what might be wrong.  (Hoof rot is an infectious disease that cattle can get, it causes lameness in their foot.  It is identified by a bad smell and gooey looking stuff in the hoof.)

I held the kid and Tabby, our resident goat hoof clipper, examined his hoof closely.  It reeked and part of the hoof was hanging out - like a fingernail that was half ripped off.  Usually the earliest you might need to start clipping a kids hooves is at 2 weeks old.  But of course Tabby went ahead and clipped off the hanging off part.  There was some bleeding then, but the little guy didn't seem bothered by it.  Thankfully we still had some medical supplies here from the L. family and there was a bottle for hoof treatment.  Tabby covered the little hoof in it, saying that was probably the grossest job she's ever done.

Hugs from Solomon

We've been keeping little Pippin under quarantine in a stall with fresh straw.  Since he nurses we keep his mama, Pippi, in there with him.  Yesterday we treated his hoof again and it really was looking better.  But he still wasn't interested in standing on it.  Lord willing, today he will continue to improve.

Pippin has already gotten taller.  Perhaps that is why he looks thin to me?  Are goat kids plump or skinny?  I don't know and was trying to research it last night but ran out of time.  Nothing like learning as we go.  :(

nursing times seem to be incredibly brief for baby goats
I wrote recently about what great mamas mother hens are.  (I'm still so impressed I've got a part two to that post coming up soon.)  Well as likable Pippi is, I have to say that she will never be in the running for the "mother of the year award."  Goat mothers are so different than mother hens!  That has taken some getting used to for Tabby and I.

We've been keeping frequent checks on the baby goat and unless Pippi is locked in the stall with Pippin, she seems to usually be off doing something else.  Tabby and I will say "Pippi!  Where is your baby?"  Then we find little Pippin curled up under the manger napping or just looking around.

Perhaps it is because of Pippin's hoof problem or just him being so young, but since he can walk - I just assumed he'd be staying at his mama's side.  Nope!  That's not the goatie way apparently.

I read that it was a good idea to have your baby goat wear a brightly colored collar because it wasn't unusual to "lose" the kid.  (The bright collar can help make them easier to spot.)  The kids will go off and snuggle up in some cozy little area and hunker down and even their mama won't be able to find them.  

When Pippin starts nursing on Pippi, she will stand there briefly, then (unless she happens to be eating) she'll just leap up in the air over him, and go on her way.  We had observed this when we first began caring for goats last year, but those babies were a few weeks older than Pip is now and I didn't worry about them.  But I find myself saying "Pippi!  Go back and nurse your poor baby.  Surely he needs more milk than that!"

Aren't you glad we don't serve a God that is lovable but completely distracted and usually focused on doing His own thing?!

"The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged." - Deuteronomy 31:8

[Jesus speaking] ". . . And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." - Matthew 28:20

Get ready for a kiss from Solomon, Pippin!
"See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" - 1 John 3:1

I had been disappointed around Easter time that I did not have the opportunity to buy an Easter lily.  Well yesterday I was very blessed because I got to bring home the seven Easter lilies that had been used at our church.  Frank and the boys planted them for me right near Lilly's garden.  They look beautiful and Lord willing, they will all grow and bloom again next year.

The graceful white beauty of a lily flower reminds me of our own beautiful Lilly.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Hunter's Review: Firefly: the little laser lamp

Most of today's posting was narrated by, and photographed by, Hunter (our resident electrician and inventor in the making).

Last week my dad brought home a new laser lamp called the "Firefly."  Mr. Redpath gave it to him.  (He is the father of student at CCS.)  He is getting ready to sell this lamp that he invented.  He told my dad to take it home, and open it when it was dark, and to tell him what we thought.

That night, Daddy helped me open the box and I got to plug in the Firefly.  I saw little green dots appear everywhere!  There were hundreds!  You can see some that I am "holding" here:

The lights filled up our whole room that night.  Then when it was bedtime, I used the Firefly as a nightlight.  It was hard to go to sleep at first, because it was so interesting to look at the little green lights.

The next day, I gave the Firefly a name:  "Disco Plug-in."  I like to name all my things.

Be careful not to directly look at the laser light coming out!

My little brother Solomon and I like to dance with the Firefly lights on in the dark.  It makes everyone a little dizzy.

The thing I like best about Firefly is that it is a good shape.  I even like to sleep with it in my bed.  (I like to sleep with other small things too like my other nightlights that I collect.  I love electricity!)  I really like to plug the Firefly in, especially on my power strip.

I like to use the Firefly when I invent things too.  I pretend it is a battery powered cleaner that cleans our floors.   Today I used it with some microwave parts to make my own microwave.  (I had taken apart a broken microwave this morning.)

It is very nice and fun to have a Firefly.  Everyone should get one to see.  It looks great!

Not very impressive looking here, since it is daytime when Hunter took the picture
                                                             * * * * * * * * * * * * *

You can go to the Firefly website at:    You don't have to do complicated things with it like Hunter does - just plug it in and enjoy!  Would be fun to use outside on a summer night, or at a party, or just as some sort of mood lighting for your house.  You can see a variety of pictures of it being used, on the Firefly website here.  Click on the top of that page for product facts.  Go directly to the store to purchase here.

The News & Observer had an article about the Firefly in 2011.  You can read that article here.

Thank you Mr. Redpath for the opportunity for us to see your invention!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The new kid on the block

With two of our goats expecting, we've been keeping a closer eye on them lately.  Yesterday, Tabby checked the goats before supper.  Then about an hour later she went back out to close the chicken coop and check the goats one last time for the night.  She said she saw something in the woods and went closer to investigate.

It was Pippi with her new baby!

Tabby blasted into the house to tell us and Hunter and I followed her quickly back outside.  What a precious little kid we found, STANDING beside it's proud mama!

The new kid passed the sweet, soft, and cuddly test!  Then it began to say "MEHHHH!" so loudly that Tabby put it back down by Pippi.

In the above picture you can see a red stringy thing hanging under the kid.  That was its umbilical cord.  Pippi had done a perfect job in cleaning her baby up, but she hadn't bit the cord short enough.  So I took sterilized scissors and cut the cord, then dipped it into iodine to sterilize the stump that was left.

It is common for goats to have twins, but Pippi didn't show any more signs of having another baby.  Her placenta came out in a globby, healthy looking mess.  That was important we confirmed it coming out.  It meant Pippi was doing very well.

It was getting dark fast, but we checked and could see that the kid was a boy.  Tabby groaned and said we would NOT be eatting him.  I said we could sell him when the time came.  (Apparently goats sell well on CraigsList.)

Finally, our biggest concern, was whether or not the new kid would be able to nurse.  You see, Pippi's mama, Topaz, was unable to produce milk well.  By the time her owners found out, Pippi's twin brother was dead.  It is pretty common for the kids of "bad milk producers" to also have milking problems.

Tabby squeezed both of Pippi's teats and milk came out perfectly.  Soon we saw the kid nursing.  A really cute clue that a kid is getting milk is that it wags it's tail while it drinks.  That little tail was wagging fast!  We were very relived, though we will be keeping the kid under close observation for awhile.

It was soon completely dark out so Tabby got Pippi and her kid settled into a stall with fresh hay, food, and water.  I gave Pippi a special drink to pep her up - water mixed with molasses.  And we topped her food with an herbal mix called "Mo Milk" from Molly's Herbals.

Just yesterday morning, the kids (that's MY kids!) and I watched a video of a goat having twins.  It was pretty quick and interesting!  (You can see it here, on the Fias Co Farm website.)  Hunter is my tender hearted child.  As he watched he clutched my arm and was trying not to cry.  He was so worried about the mama goat and upset that she was in pain.  (I thought it best not to tell him at that moment just how much pain he put ME in during labor and birth!)

Babies - of all kinds - are such a miracle!