Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Happy Birthday to My Emma Bug!



My baby Emma is 5 today! I cannot believe how fast time has gone! She has become such a integral part of our family, how did we ever get by without her? She is our sassy, silly, singing princess. We love her SO MUCH!

Here's Emma at 9 months old... so cute! I really miss this age.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My New Calling...



I am so excited to have been called as the 2nd Counselor in YOUNG WOMEN'S! Woohoo! I am blessed to be serving with some fabulous ladies and amazing Young Women! It will be even more fun now that Dan has been called as the Young Men's President.

Right now the focus is on the Youth Cultural Event. The girls have been working hard on learning their new songs and dances. I have been trying to help out with learning the new dances. I think, however, I need to keep practicing! Last night we went reviewed one dance and started a new one. I am not as prepped to help out as I had hoped. Oh well.

This Saturday is a Stake practice and should be fun. I will be driving some of the kids up. I am really looking forward to going! The month of April is focused on solely this, with many more practices ahead.

I am so grateful to have a calling, especially one that will be so much fun!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Bella and Her Baba



Bella is thriving. She has become quite the eater. If she had her way, she'd live with a bottle in her mouth. Feeding her is a contact sport. You have to be very fast to get it in her mouth fast enough. Otherwise you get rammed and head-butted constantly. You also need to be able to hold on to the bottle, despite her constant ramming of the baba. At least the feeding sessions are short!

Here's a short clip, recorded while holding the bottle in one hand. Not easy.

video

I Looked Out the Window and What Did I See?!

Oh, the beauty of Spring!



Since Dan arrived on Friday afternoon, we have been working hard on preparing our gardens. We rented a tiller and got down to work! Here is a pic of the awesome work. (The color is a bit off, it is actually a lot darker in color than this. Its black!)



We pruned our fruit trees. Here is our favorite. It's an apricot tree. Thus, the corny title...



Now, we need to figure out what to do with our grape vines...

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Cute Chicks!



Our little babies arrived today! They are darling! We have 12 Barred Rocks (the black ones), 15 Buff Orpingtons (the yellowish ones, they gave us one extra!), and 1 Golden Polish (brown). The Polish is a crested chicken, meaning it has an afro-like plumage on its head. As a baby it just looks a bit puffy headed. You can get an exotic chick as a freebie with an order. Bonus!

Sketch of what the Polish will look like as an adult...


Here's what it looks like right now...



I am so excited!!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Neighbor From Hades

I think we can all relate to having a freaky neighbor, but I think that we win the prize for "The Ultimate Neighbor From Hades". Seriously. The guy's a freak! When we first came out to see the property, J.R. (that's the freak's name), comes by to tell us what is wrong with all the surrounding neighbors and the owners. We were put off by all the horrible claims, but something told us he was a bit on the "mental" side and to dismiss it. Okay, a bit weird, but whatever.

Fast forward to Grammie's official moving day... He comes over the morning we begin unloading the truck and really busts his bum to help us out. A bit too much, actually. We've got the whole thing unloaded with his help, the kids, mom, Dan, and I in 3 hours. Cool! Except J.R. does NOT go away when its all unloaded. He continues to follow us around, talking his head off, while we attempt to sort through and unpack. Odd. When he finally does go, with Dan's pushing, he comes back immediately to bring us lunch. Nice. Ish. And comes back yet again to bring MORE food and talk our ears off again before the day is through. Hmmm. Maybe he is really lonely.

Thank heavens he has to leave town for Christmas and is gone a few days. As soon as he is back, he is on our property again and again. It just becomes pesty.

Most of us leave to go back to Texas and Grammie and my eldest, Dallin are here to stay. And here is J.R. over ALL the time to "help" out. He is constantly bringing over gifts or going through the barn or whatever he wants to do. Just an absolute nuisance. It gets to the point where Grammie is actually afraid of him. He constantly just walks right in the house if the front door is unlocked. Okay, that's locked. Now he is checking all the doors to find one open, inviting himself in and yelling, "Your door is unlocked!". Creepy!

But that's not all...

He keeps begging my mom to go to lunch with him while Dallin is at school. My mom has a hard time being "mean" with people, so eventually she agrees. She tells him to come back in an hour, so she can shower. One hour later, he shows up in a suit, reeking of cologne. And he's brought his Corvette to take her to town in style. Of course, he takes the longest route to town, a good half hour away on some seriously country (and deserted) roads. They have an uncomfortable lunch of fillet Mignon, discussing such topics as his money and other "attributes". On the way home, Grammie tells him that she will not EVER marry anyone that is not a member in good standing, and never ANYWHERE but the Temple. He lets her know he is a member of the Community of Christ (used to be called RLDS) and he is sure he could take her to the Temple. Nice.

To top it all off, he invites her inside his home to show her his arrow head collection. "Its just inside the door", he tells her. First off, its not just inside his door. Its in his bedroom. At the back of the house. In a safe. Full of guns. As she excuses herself and leaved abruptly, she notices that his house is on a slight hill. He basically can see EVERYTHING we do here, front yard and back. Scary!

Since that time he has continued to pester and frighten my mom.

Fast forward to Our moving day... We have some really sweet friends from our new Branch come by to help us out. Naturally that means our "old pal" needs to come by and help. He terrorizes everyone with his "get outta my way" and "move it, kid". Finally, he tells Dallin that he is gonna take him out back and beat him with a belt if he doesn't stay out of his way. Momma bear attack! I told him to NEVER speak to my kids like that again. He fights back. I tell him to leave. He huffs off and goes. Good riddance.

Except its not over. He comes back hours later to tearfully apologize. I am diabetic and my blow sugar had crashed. Okay, I've had Gestational Diabetes before. I know how badly you can feel. I accept his apology.

Now he thinks we are the best of friends. He keeps coming by to offer help with cutting limbs and clearing away debris. Or brings over movies for the kids or treats, like chocolate candy or cupcakes.

Then a few days ago, he comes over to let me know about ticks and chiggers. I assured him that I already know about them, thanks (now go away!). He comes back a few minutes later, because mom and I have started clearing out our gardens. When I tell him that we can do it ourselves and we wanted this to be a "family project" he refuses. I basically had to tell him, in my nicest tone, that he is being rude and pushy and I do NOT want his help AT ALL. He gets all irate and tells me I am "snotty".

Okay, so I am snotty. I'd rather be snotty and ALIVE, than see what that psycho will dish out. I am seriously scared of him. the Spirit leaves when he arrives. We are all afraid of him (except Dan, but he's not here). He told us a few weeks back that he plans to move soon. GOOD RIDDANCE!

To Bella, With Love

Dearest Bella,

As you know, you are adopted. That has never been kept a secret from you. But I want you to know how much you mean to me, your daddy, your grammie, and your brothers and sisters. The very first moment we laid eyes on you, we were in love. You were so small, so sweet, so defenseless.

After your sad beginnings with your previous family, we were so glad to give you a safe and loving home. Your natural mother was declared unfit by LPS (Lamb Protective Services). She had triplets and was unable to properly care for you. Please don't be angry with her. It was simply too much for her to bear. LPS took you away and brought you to us. We are grateful for the chance to have you in our lives.

When others tease you for looking or acting different than us, remember that we love you and always will. You will always have a home with us. You are our special Bella.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Why Missouri?!

We have been getting this question quite a bit over the past few months, from friends and family back home, and even our new acquaintances here. So I thought I'd answer on my blog. Why did we leave our perfectly comfortable life in the Houston, TX area to move out in "the sticks"? By choice, even?! I cannot give a simple answer to this question. I have been reflecting on this a lot.

My husband and I have been craving a simpler life, a country life, since we were first married over 14 years ago. He was blessed to live on a farm in Oregon for a few years in his childhood and loved it. I took FFA in high school and raised 2 pigs, despite the "nerd" label I got from it. We just both have sought for a chance to have a little parcel of land to grow a vegetable garden and some animals. For fun. For a little more self-reliance. For our kids to learn responsibilty and appreciate nature.

We had tried to find this dream property in the Houston area. We tried to purchase properties and failed after many attempts. It just wasn't meant to be in that area. We continued to feel a feeling of changes ahead, of "waiting" for something to materialize. It took us a few years.

More recently, I have felt this need to become more self-reliant, to be prepared. I worked on learning new skills and food storage. That helped. But it wasn't enough. I have always been a bit more "granola" than my peers. I had 2 homebirths, just to prove I could do it if necessary. I homeschooled my kids for a spell. I always felt this need to learn certain skills for that "just in case". Am I a bit doomsday? Yes. I am. I worry about many things that could be in these perilous times. So I naturally have been feeling a need to go to the country.

But WHY MISSOURI?

We had been looking at dream properties online for a few years. We looked all over. Maine, Alaska, Oregon, Utah, Arizona... but we kept coming back to Missouri. We found a few properties that were the most tempting, but one in particular. And in October of 2011, we took the plunge and drove out to see them. That favorite of ours was definitely "the place" for us. My mom knew it, too. We decided to bid a bit less and see what the response would be. Obviously, it was accepted.

We are LDS, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. But we were not seeking to build up Zion in the New Jerusalem. As a sweet sister in our new Branch has said, we were prayed here by some very good members. I like that.

And we love it here. We have 40 acres of beautiful land. The soil is so rich and fertile. We are slowly acquiring the animals we have dreamed about. We have met the nicest people and truly feel at home here. We feel like we have a work to do here, both temporally and spiritually. But we still do not know the full answer of why Missouri. If I ever figure it out, I'll let you know.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spring Is Here!


I am so excited to see green grass coming in, buds beginning to form, and birds singing so sweetly. It has really been warming up and the world is awakening outside. Its so nice to be out in the middle of all this beauty. I love it!

Bella has been doing so well! She scared us there for awhile, but she is fully recovered from her scours and growing in strength and size. She is eating well, always hungry, and always "smiling". I love to watch her run after the kids to play or nibble on the fresh green grasses. So cute!

Bella still follows me everywhere I go and waits for me when I am not around. When she is out of her pen, she is my shadow and even waits at the door when I go inside briefly. You'd think she just hang out with my mom or the kids while I was inside. Apparently I am every one's mother, my own children, the dog, the cat, and the lamb. Oh yeah, we have a barn cat named Tinkerbell (Tink) that is so very affectionate with everyone, except Chester.

Today Mom and I had a productive afternoon. We cut away a seriously fierce looking gooseberry bush. I know, I know. I shouldn't have nearly taken it out, just cut it back. But it was seriously dangerous and in a weird spot (too close to the hen house). So now it is toast. We started to burn the cuttings, but they were too green. We did, however, take out some old grasses taking over the hen house and trim back some roses, etc. They are now burned and the area looks so much better.

I did a serious mucking of the lamb stall, secured it with some chicken wire near the front for protection against coyotes, and added the poop mix to the compost pile. I know you are all just so jealous! Really it is not gross at all. Sheep are relatively easy to clean up after.

I am super excited about tilling and planting! I have been making drawings of what I'll do and where it'll all go. Fun! I hope that I am not too late starting it all. It will definitely be a learning experience.

I admit I have been super lazy the last few days. Hence, no blogging. I LOVE to read and was completely engrossed in the Hunger Games Trilogy. If you haven't read them, you should! SO GOOD!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Kansas City Temple Excitement!



Dallin has the awesome opportunity to be a part of the Cultural Celebration of the Kansas City, Missouri Temple Dedication on Saturday, May 5th. He (and all the youth of this new Temple district) is SO EXCITED to be a part of the singing and dancing. Especially, because the prophet, President Thomas S. Monson is scheduled to attend. He will then perform the dedication the next day (Sunday, May 6th)! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for him! It seems to have caused a spiritual stirring in all the youth. They all want to bear testimony of their love of their Prophet and the significance of Temples through song and dance.

One song they will be singing is called "Arise!". Here is the music video link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5YMxGdmzzk

Here's the Open House Information: http://www.ldschurchtemples.com/kansascity/

And Here's the Cultural Event Website for the Youth: http://www.kctempleevents.org/

Chicks Ordered and to Arrive Soon!

I am getting excited about my baby chicks, scheduled to arrive in about 10 days or less! Woohoo! Here are the 2 types we ordered...



Barred Rock (or Plymouth Rock)



AND Buff Orpington

They both are excellent egg-layers and can be decent meat birds. We ordered 12 females of each variety and 2 male Buffs. We really only need 1 rooster. The other is more of a backup, in case the other one dies.

I cannot wait! They are going to be so cute! (Cute usually gets me in trouble, though...)

Baby Lamb Blues



Our little lamby lady has yet to get over the scours. She has been getting really dehydrated. If we do not feed her every 3 hours or less, she starts to sound badly (baaas are weakened) and looks a little lethargic. I am worried about her. But, I hope she recovers! And I am certainly trying my best.

I will need to get up at midnight and 3am to feed her. Last night I was so exhausted and I did not feed her in the night. She went 7 hours without eating. Its my fault that she is as bad off right now as she is. I feel like such a jerk. Right now she is her pen with a heat lamp and a full tummy. And the good thing is that she is peeing a ton again and the scours are not as bad right now. She is still growing and seems mostly happy. Let's keep it up!

I really love this little sweetie. I knew lambs were gentle and sweet. But they are so loving and trusting. She follows me everywhere and "waits" for me by the door. She loves my mom and the kids also. But she thinks I am her mama and is the most attached to me. She even always looks like she is smiling, with bright eyes. I think it is the cutest thing when she scampers and she tries to nurse on my pant legs. She is so precious!

About the kids: They love school here. They ride the bus and have a very long day at school. They get on the bus at 6:45a and off at 4:45p! They have school 4 days a week, Tuesday thru Friday. And today the Elementary kids went to the CIRCUS! Cool! Emma and Dallin did not get to go, so I am taking them tomorrow. The other kids will spend some time with Grammie in St. Joe's (St. Joseph, MO).




About the unpacking: It is nearly done. I have done little of it the last 2 days because I am so sick of it. But I am getting there. Next week will be devoted to obtaining seeds and planning out my garden areas. I want a "kitchen garden" closer to the house for herbs and tomatoes, etc. I want a larger garden further out, for everything else. I still need to cut back my grape vines, blackberries, asparagus, and fruit trees. I am getting there.

Okay, so I have Skype now. So if you want to video conference or just chat, my profile name is amie.haddock . Just so you know...

Monday, March 5, 2012

Setting Up House, Etc.

This day was devoted to setting up our bedrooms and general unpacking, as well as taking Dan to the airport. (Kansas City is a good hour an a half away, so naturally it takes a big chunk of your day roundtrip.) I have our rooms mostly set up, but they are a long way from finished. I will not consider them "done" until the outdated carpets and walls get replaced and painted. My room is not quite as ugly as some, but it smells of cat pee. Not cool.

Bella is still ill. I am really worried about her. I have been doing my best to keep her warm and clean (her bottom is a mess). I have also been working on her stall all day. We managed to get an extension cord out to her for the heat lamp and have Chester sleeping nearby to protect her from coyotes. He was a little scared. He'll be fine.

Dan should have a pleasant time in Salt lake City. His days will be devoted to classes and his evenings to visiting with his parents. He is such a daddy's boy! I hope he has a nice time. we'll miss him here.

Got to get the kids to bed. They have school tomorrow. It'll be the first day for Aubree, Zoe, and Cole! 'Night!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Our First Sunday

Its the end of our busy week. We attended church for the first time in our new branch. It was a very pleasant visit. It is nice to have so many welcoming and warm saints. Not surprising, my kids made themselves right at home and were anything but shy. At least they do not have issues with new situations.

I am excited to get a calling and be put to work. The branch is so small. It is different from what we are accustomed to. All the kids have Sunday School first and a joint Primary. There are only 3 people in Primary during Sharing Time! (A pianist, a reverence advisor, and someone to lead Sharing and Music Time.) I cannot believe there is not a chorister! Many of the organizations only have a President and First Counselor. And the active members often have 2 or more callings. It will be interesting to see where I end up. Please be YW or Primary!

Bella is still ill, although she seems much better. We have her out on the porch in a dog crate with a heating lamp. She is not happy to be out of the house. Afterall, she thinks she is a human. But she needs to start acting like a lamb. She is constantly baaa-ing at me, saying, "Mom! Hello! I am waiting...". The little lady has no intentions of living in a barn!

I feel a little overwhelmed. Dan is leaving tomorrow and I will not see him for awhile. He will be in SLC for 2 weeks before heading back to Texas. He still has more job training to do. While he is gone, I need to get our family on a good routine with scripture study, prayer, FHE, and chores. I need to work on getting these kids used to working harder and watching media less often. I also need to work on my own prayer and scripture study. And I also need to prepare our garden by tilling and buying more seeds.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Bella Is a Little Lamb...

I really need to get acclimated! It is so much colder here. I know I am just a wimp, but seriously! I seem to be cold at all times! And this is the mildest winter they have had here in some time. Brrr!

This morning I mucked out a small animal stall in the barn. It was way too cold and windy! We need to get our Miss Lamby outside soon. She thinks she a house-lamb, spoiled thing! There is a danger in not moving her out soon. If we do not get her acclimated, she could catch pneumonia. Obviously, we do not want a very huge ewe (female sheep) roaming through the house. Not so sanitary. You cannot "housebreak" sheep. So the stall should be a good place for her. We have a heat lamp to put in there and it has 4 sides to shelter her from the elements. She is gonna move out there tomorrow afternoon. Its supposed to warm up.

We started to notice that she has scours. That's animal diarrhea. Not good. We went to a feed store and bought some meds for her (electrolyte solution with medication for scours). We also bought her some clean bedding, pine shavings, for her stall. Bella needed a bathy, to clean her hind quarters. Getting poop balls out of wool is not easy. Pretty gross! (Admit it, you are jealous!) But now she is all clean, fed, and sleeping comfortably. We are learning how to be good lamb parents. Its just hard when you know absolutely nothing! We look like total idiots, I am sure!

I have so much to do around here! I need to fully unpack. I need to till up my garden area. I need to clean out the chicken coop. On and on. But its kinda fun, too. This is definitely a different way of life. We are such novices!

Friday, March 2, 2012

We have arrived!

After a nearly 17 hour drive, we have arrived! We had a relatively uneventful drive, although Chester (our dog) had an accident in his cage. GROSS! But, we are home safely.

Grammie had a surprise waiting for us when we arrived. She was given an orphaned lamb, 5 days old! We named her Bella. She is so precious! We have her in a dog coat and sleeping in a dog crate. Weird, but it works for now. We'll post a video later.