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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

Friday, May 29, 2015

Photo Contest Winner and the Case of the Missing Lilies

Back at the end of April, I shared a photo tour of our tree house in a blog post.  I submitted one of my photos and a description to Carolina Country, our electric co-ops magazine.  They had a "Places to Play: Tree houses, Playhouses, & Forts" photo contest.  This is my photo:

Hunter and Solomon protecting the tree house, Sherlotta the dog is by the slide

Wednesday, my mother-in-law called me.  She had just come in from getting the mail and had opened up the latest issue of Carolina Country and saw her grandbabies staring back at her.  :)  I was so excited!  We got our copy of the magazine yesterday and here is a picture of the inside cover:

Here is the page inside the magazine:

And a close-up:

Here is the paragraph I wrote, under the picture:

"Last summer, my husband Frank decided to build a treehouse for our children. He watched a how-to DVD and consulted a treehouse idea book. Then he just started building, figuring things out as he went. Some of our children—Tabby, Hunter, and Solomon—helped too. Frank used old cedar planks from his late father and wood from his late Uncle Henry. The roof is covered in old split cedar roofing shingles, and the mailbox belonged to his late Uncle Davey. Plus, there are ladders and a slide, a swing, a basket on a pulley, skylights, windows, a door, and an "escape hatch." A rock-climbing wall and fireman's pole are forthcoming."

You can see our tree house in the magazine's website here:

You can see all the winning tree houses at this link:

Not only did I get the fun and satisfaction of seeing our tree house in the magazine, but I am supposed to receive a check for $50 from the magazine.  This will be going into my fund to buy a better camera one day.  :)

On a completely different note, I realized the other day that something must have eaten ALL the lily flower bulbs in Lilly's garden!  I am SO VERY DISAPPOINTED!  About two months ago, one was coming up nicely and then suddenly disappeared with nothing left but a hole where the lily had been growing.  I thought that was too bad, but didn't worry because I knew the garden was full of other lily bulbs. 

But recently, I realized that nothing was growing.  I was confused because I thought they should be by now.  Then I came across a picture I took last May of the first lily bloom.  Then yesterday, when we were in town, I saw a lot of lily flowers beautifully blooming.  Oh no!

I know they are just flowers, but they meant something to me.  :(  Here are a couple photos of Lilly's lily garden from last May and June:

Tabby had lily bulbs in her garden too, and only one has grown.  :(

Is it too late for me to plant lily bulbs this spring?  And what in the world got all those bulbs?  Perhaps a mole?  If you have any ideas, I would love to hear them!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Book List - April

Here it is almost June!  So I best get my April books list post done.

But first I wanted to share the link to a post by The Pioneer Girl Project about Laura Ingalls Wilder and her chickens.  (The Pioneer Girl project has recently published Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography which is Laura Ingalls Wilder's unpublished autobiography.  She later re-wrote her story (with the help of her daughter Rose) as what is known as the Little House books.)

Besides writing the Little House books, Laura wrote farming articles for The Ruralist and The Missouri Ruralist.  She also was the poultry columnist for St. Louis FarmerThis post on The Pioneer Girl Project talks about some of her poultry articles.  I was interested to see that Laura's favorite breed of chickens was the Brown Leghorn.  We have two Leghorns.  This one is Peach - she has a very floppy comb on her head:

Peach - a Leghorn - easy to tell by the shape of the tail feathers
Silver Days by Sonia Levitin - After reading the first book in this series, Journey to America (see my post here), Tabby and I wanted to know - what happened to this Jewish immigrant family next?  (They had a harrowing escape from Nazi Germany.)  This book describes life for them in America.  Tabby liked this book better, and I liked the first one better.  This one was "too American" for me.  Meaning - not enough war and too much American pop culture from the time.  Still, it was interesting.

Annie's Promise by Sonia Levitin - This was the last book in the above mentioned series.  Definitely our least favorite!  It was about the youngest sister's stay at a summer camp, while WWII continues.  I guess I have read way too many camp stories when I was little and they're all the same.  Always the bad character that has it in for the main character and they spend time continuing to get each other back for bad things done to each other.  I just don't care.  But I did want to see what happened to the rest of the family so I pushed through to the end.

Solomon sitting in the rocking chair I had as a child and reading one of my old books:  The Little Engine that Could
 The Excellent Wife: A Biblical Perspective by Martha Peace - This book was highly recommended to me by the woman that cuts my hair.  She said it's good for those of us with messy backgrounds.  It took me awhile to get through this book, but I finished with some real gems that I learned.  New ways to think about things that have helped me a lot.  (My hairdresser is the Titus 2 woman in my life.  She is a Christian has homeschooled and graduated 4 children and just knows so much about so many things.  I drive 40 minutes to her home, one way, just to get my haircut by her.  Besides her good counsel, she does an excellent job cutting hair.  Diana Beck at Wellspring Salon in Fuquay-Varina, NC.  Tabby gets her hair cut by Diana's daughter Lilly, at the same location.)

Mother hens are simply THE BEST mothers!  Here is Precious with 3 of Tabby's Silkie biddies

It Began with a Parachute by William R. Rang - Another book for history that Tabby and I both read. It is about a 12 year old boy in Holland, during the Nazi occupation.  One night he rescues an American navigator and hides him in his home.  That is when he finds out that his father is already involved in the Resistance!  A good book featuring a family that actually works together and respects each other (seems so rare these days).  Lots of adventure and character building moments.

Padme (another excellent mama hen!) with Leah - both are Silkies and belong to Tabby
Basher Five-Two: The True Story of F-16 Fighter Piolet Captain Scott O'Grady by Captain Scott O'Grady with Michael French - This was the last book in the Veritas Press history course Tabby recently finished.  A very exciting story!  Captain O'Grady was shot down in his F-16 over Bosnia.  He parachuted out of his plane as it exploded, and fell 5 miles down to the ground in enemy territory.  He shares how he survived - avoiding the enemy, no food to eat, depending on God - while he awaited rescue.

An Easter lily is growing on the left, 2 red Gladiolas growing on the right
Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris by Jennifer L. Scott - Ever since I read French Kids Eat Everything last year (see my post here), followed by Bringing Up Bebe, I have been fascinated in differences between the French and Americans.  Americans seem so childish, lazy, greedy, and sloppy, in so many ways.  (I'm not trying to be anti-American here - I am glad I am an American and not French.  Just putting it the way I see it.) The author of this book lived in Paris during college and learned many things from the French family she lived with.  She shares this wide variety of French things in her book. 

(I would be very interested to read this kind of book about other countries too.  If you know of any - please share the titles with me!)

The boys and I made gingerbread cookies on Memorial Day.  Solomon made gingerbread men and tractor shaped cookies.
Hunter (no surprise) made heating unit shaped cookies:  a gaspack and a ductless heat pump
"The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me...." - Psalm 28:7

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Quick Farm Update: Bottle Feeding and Gang Infiltration

Amazingly, the sheet I put up to separate the Bloods from the Crips has worked very well at holding back the two feathered gangs.  Earlier this week though, I caught the Crips silently infiltrating the Bloods headquarters.  They were on the wall, watchful as spies:

The 3 lighter colored chicks love to attack the black chicks
I plugged up their secret passage so now they're having to come up with a new plan.  In the meantime, the Bloods tail feather areas are all healing nicely.

Last year, Pippi's kid died at 2 weeks old of some sort of arthritic condition.  We knew that Pippi's mother had that sort of issue and had to be put down for it.  Pippi's previous owner thought that perhaps Pippi was passing the condition through her milk.  So we decided that with Pippi's twins, we didn't want to take any chances.  We have bottle fed them from day 1 and need to continue to do so until they reach about 3 months of age.  (We keep bandaids on Pippi's teats so the twins don't try to nurse.)  They seem to be thriving.

We all love bottle feeding Fred and George.  (Though I admit I'll be glad when I don't have to do the night time feedings anymore.)  The little goats love us and are extra friendly, always hoping we have a bottle in our hands for them.  The way to a goat's heart is through their stomach.

I need to get a picture of Tabby bottle feeding.  She quickly learned to feed both goats at once.  :)

On another note, Hunter has recently developed an interest in chickens.  Before he never really liked them after they grew out of chick stage.  He thought they were "boring" because they didn't have motors or use electricity.  He's now having fun holding them and says he "loves" them.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Field trip to N.C. Botanical Garden

Last Friday, we met our field trip group at the North Carolina Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill.  (It is a part of the University of North Carolina.)  The gardens are a conservation effort to grow flowers that are native to N.C.  Our group took a guided tour through several sections of the gardens.  These sections were divided up to represent the different parts of our state:  mountains, piedmont, sandhills, and coastal plain.

We live in the piedmont area so it was neat seeing wildflowers growing that the kids and I have recently identified, growing in our own yard or along our road, such as sundrops. 

The guide was a little too wordy for my children's taste, but I found most of it interesting.  (Why do we appreciate learning so much more when we are adults?)  Tabby just wanted to be left alone so she could take pictures.  She does a great job with her photography and is planning to post some of the pictures she took on The Goat Chick tomorrow, for Wordless Wednesday.

Here is Solomon in front of a plant called "Solomon's Plume":

The N.C. Wildflower of the year is called "Fire-pink".  (I got a free pack of seeds from the gardens earlier this year, but have not planted them yet.  Sigh.):

This plant was very funny to us since we have goats - Appalachian False Goats-Beard:

Nice display outside the educational building/gift shop:

Hunter's favorite part (besides spotting sprinkler systems tucked into flower areas) was the big sculpture made from twigs/branches:

Our tour did not include the herb garden nor the carnivorous plants area.  So my kids and I went through those before we left.  I love using herbs for many things and would love a big herb garden one day.

Venus flytraps and pitcher plants:

Another Solomon plant!  Solomon's-seal:

Water lilies and lily pads!

". . . Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;  and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." - Matthew 6:28-29

Thursday, May 14, 2015

My due date without a baby due

Though I'm loving all the new life around here with the chickens and goats, there is one baby I'd much rather see and hold.  My baby.  If I had not had a miscarriage last fall, I would be expecting my own baby any day - if I didn't already have it in my arms. 

I still haven't figured out how to properly put my loss of my wee baby in perspective.  If that's possible.  But it gives me great comfort knowing that my baby is with it's big sister Lilly and all is perfect.

I've learned that even though miscarriage occurs in something like 1 in 5 pregnancies (which makes it very very common), people do not like to talk about it.  At all. 

I wish I knew more about my baby.  Was it a boy or girl?  My baby does have a name, though.  It sounds silly I suppose, but I named it "Blueberry."  Why?  Because that was about the size of the baby when it died.

Recently when I was at the dentist, she asked how many children I had. I gave my usual answer, "Three with me and one in heaven."  Hunter was in the room with me.  He immediately corrected me, "No there are TWO in heaven."  Ouch.  I will answer different in the future.  Hunter talks about this baby sometimes saying how much he wished it could have been born. 

I wanted to have a little way to remember this baby like I do Lilly, but how?  All I know about it was that it existed, and today, May 14, was it's due date.  I thought about my friend Michelle that makes remembrance jewelry.  (And other beautiful jewelry.  See my sidebar to click to her shop or click this link for Six Sisters Beadworks.)  (Michelle had a baby boy, with Trisomy 18, that passed away right before birth.)

So I ordered a special necklace.  One that has two birthstone charms - an emerald for Blueberry and a ruby for Lilly.

I love it.  Just a little way for my baby not to be forgotten.

"13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;[b]
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them." - Psalm 139:13-16

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Goat twins again!

This afternoon, I heard one of our goats making sounds like I had never heard her make before.  But I knew what it was!  I yelled to my kids "Quick!  Pippi is in labor!"  We all rushed to watch Tabby's goat, Pippi, give birth. 

It was really quite amazing!  She had twin boys.  Tabby named them "George" and "Fred."  I'll share more about them when I have time, but for now, here are some pictures:

baby being born
cleaning up kid
another baby starting to come out!

kid slips to the ground behind Pippi as she cleans the other kid

standing and trying to walk, shortly after birth