Saturday, June 27, 2009

1st Race Part 1 -- The Lord's Protection

Last weekend was John's first race of the season and we were very unsure of how things would go. In getting the car ready this spring he has encountered problem after problem and began to wonder if he was even going to be racing. In the end everything came together with a lot of hard work but the car was ready to go.

We left last Thursday and needed to fill up with propane about 1/2 hour from our house. As soon as we arrived John said he braked and felt it get loose. He checked and found that the brake line had broke. He slowly and carefully drove about 5 minutes away to a car dealer to see if it could be fixed. They could but it wouldn't be finished until around noon the next day seeing as it was now 4 p.m. and they closed at 5 p.m.

My parents live a few minutes away and so my Mom came to pick me and a few of the children up and then I shuttled back and forth to pick up more and then get John. We then took their car home to pick up our van, go back to pick up the children and return home yet again. The children were not happy about this turn of events. They had been so excited to go racing and sleep in the motor home that night. We had a good night of rest though and got up bright and early, had a treat of a McD's breakfast to save time (a rare occurrence) and thankfully found that the motor home was already done. Yippee!

I cannot tell you how thankful John and I were for the Lord's protection over us! John told me many scenarios that could have transpired with the brake line but rather than happening on a busy highway or in the middle of traffic or even driving down the big hill near our home, it broke as we stopped in a parking lot. With this happening though we talked about the weekend ahead and the prospect of something else going wrong as with all that had occurred thus far it seemed as if maybe John was not supposed to race.

Stay tuned for Part 2 -- when I have a chance to type more...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

And then there were...

If you have wondered where I have been I have found it easier to keep up being on facebook and only writing a line every few days rather than posting. Although, I have been wanting to post for the past week about our kittens but was busy getting ready for a trip and in the midst of that trying to take care of kittens.

It began early last week with one kitten dying -- and then there were 4.

After that I really took a look at them and found that another kitten also seemed to be getting weaker. I began to supplement first making my own formula but then ran out to the pet store and picked up kitten formula but it wasn't long and it died -- and then there were 3.

I was determined not to loose anymore and as I looked at our little black kitten he seemed to also be getting skinnier and I began supplementing with formula using an eyedropper. I think we fed him for two days but he never perked up and while my friend was attempting to hand-feed him he died -- and then there were 2.

So, we were down to our little orange kitten and white kitten and they had been the strongest from the beginning always pushing their way in and getting to the food first. I thought they would be fine but the orange one developed a weepy eye and I began to wonder but gently washed it with warm water. Sure enough, the next day he began to stop nursing and seemed much weaker same as the others had. I again supplemented with formula but was getting really tired of trying to keep up with this and had no idea what we would do seeing as we were leaving the next day for a race. I know that people go either way on this and some say "whatever happens happens" which is the route that John would take but when I would go in the garage and hear them crying I couldn't stand it and felt like I needed to try something. We prayed for wisdom in this and the little orange kitten died the next morning and I was a little relieved to have one less worry  -- and then there was 1.

Our neighbor agreed to come and check on our little white kitten while we were away and while I had my doubts of having a kitten when were returned I did hold out hope as he seemed strong and had been the only one with it's sweet little blue eyes open. She called while we were away and didn't think he would make it and that he was getting weaker. When we came home Sunday we found that he had indeed also died, and possibly soon before we arrived. The Mama cat didn't know what to do. She kept rearranging herself as if trying to figure a way to get the kitten to nurse. After I removed it from the box she kept looking around the garage trying to find him and was meowing like crazy. All evening long she would go back to check and still the next morning she lay outside of the box as if she still needed to protect them. So, that was kind of hard to see.

The kids have been fine with this. They didn't get too attached because it was too early for them to interact with the kittens and so they only had watched. Pete and Re-Pete did help me with the feedings while holding a kitten in a blanket so it was a good experience that way. I was probably the most emotionally-involved as I had given a lot of my time to them. And so our garage is quiet again and Jumper is out and about much more as nothing is holding her as close to home.

I had called the vet during that process and they thought the Mama passed something onto the kittens. Others had warned me that the first litter doesn't always make it and so I was prepared to loose a few but had hoped for at least one. I talked to a friend who wondered if they had worms and now in researching that think it probably was the case. I had not been able to de-worm Jumper early on as she got pregnant not long after she arrived. Anyway, it has been an experience and I learned so much. Not only about cats and how to care for them but about myself and realizing I can do things that I didn't think I ever would
. Strange for a person who didn't like cats in the first place.

My favorite picture of the three kittens when they were thriving.

Hand-feeding one of the kittens.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My Amazing Birthday Gift

Last night we celebrated my birthday with my family. I had been anticipating this for awhile as I knew that there was a big secret as to what my gift was. I would have had no suspicions except for the fact that my husband left clues along the way and knowingly so.

The first clue was when he mentioned something to my Mom (in my presence) about getting his message about chipping in. Okay, that got me thinking about what would he need to have people chip in for. Well, there was one thing I had asked for but I didn't think that was it. There was a dream wish for an SLR digital camera but I didn't think it could be that as we have talked about getting one for years but the price is always higher than we would like. My pink camera John bought me last year met its demise you may recall in the bathtub and while it functioned okay it didn't take the best of pictures. But alas, I figured I would make due for awhile.

The second clue was the fact that John has been limiting my spending a little more as of late and when I asked if I could purchase something he said we just didn't have the finances right now because he bought something and he wished he could tell me but couldn't. So I began to ponder that maybe just maybe he had bought me my dream camera but I didn't want to get my hopes too high.

Last night as my Mom walked in the door I noticed that she had a gift along which made me wonder and I said, "I thought everyone was chipping in, now I'm confused". She was glad for my confusion to keep me guessing. Sure enough, everyone arrived with a gift in hand. And my in-laws had given me a gift when they had visited.

The time arrived for present opening and it began with a small book from my grandparents who said there was "more to come". I next opened a memory card from my grandpa which I thought kind of odd for him to buy for me. I received a beautiful bracelet watch from my sister and her family next but they had more to come also.

I began to really know what was coming when I opened a larger camera bag from my parents and I began to get teary eyed. They said I needed a new one for my pink camera. Okay, sure. I next opened the rest of my sister's gift -- a zoom lens that I could barely see through my blurred vision. Last came my gift from John and the children and it was my new Canon Rebel Xsi digital camera!!!! I cannot tell you how happy I was. That was a GREAT surprise and John had orchestrated the whole thing.  One of my birthdays I would like to be tear-free but I tell you, my family has the gift of making me feel special and knowing just what I like. It doesn't help that I am a softy.    THANK YOU so much to all of you who contributed to making my birthday amazing! 

Just ahead -- beautiful pictures with my new camera!!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Kittens have arrived!

You may remember back in March when we found three cats in our garage who seemed to have adopted us. Well, they won me over seeing as they are the sweetest lovable cats (I thought all cats were snobby as some I have known) and have stayed ever since. Seeing as I am allergic to them they are outdoor cats. When I posted about them I mentioned how we found out if they were male and female and how we assumed that Jumper would be having kittens. Evidently that did not take the first time as if it would have she would have had them around Memorial Day. Anyway, we did know she was expecting as we watched her belly get larger and saw other signs also. We knew it was getting closer as she managed to sneak in an opening door almost faster than you can blink and somehow managed to locate where the beds were. We did begin to keep our old garage open and prepared locations for her to have the kittens and tried to get her interested.

Sunday evening we came home and the boys went outside to play. They came running in saying that Jumper was skinny now which had been a question I asked them every morning when they fed the cats. Sure enough, she was and her tail was really wet also so we knew she must have just recently delivered. Next came the task of finding them. Jumper was all over us and obviously wasn't going to lead us to her babies. John heard mewing noises and found that she had delivered them in an old couch we had that was tipped upside down (don't worry, it was junk anyway). Somehow she managed to get them under the cushions three on one side and three on the other. She could not get to any of them to nurse so just sat there watching. I got her out and we closed the door so I could get the kittens put into the box we had prepared. I did not think that I would be able to do any of this but with my plastic kitchen gloves I can touch anything (I think).

She had six kittens but one did not make it as it had never gotten out of the sack and it seemed quite small to me. After we had the kittens settled we let Jumper in and she lay down by them but didn't seem to know what to do so I helped position the kittens near her to nurse. What a sweet little sound!

Jumper did not remove two of the placentas and I had hoped that she would get around to it but she didn't and as I saw it was starting to slow one down from getting to where it wanted to go I removed them for her with the assistance of my animal lover -- Pete. He did think it very gross but
he stayed by my side anyway. She had two black, two orange (I guess technically called red), and one white kitten.

The children are so excited and wanting to hold the kittens but it is too soon so they only watch quietly. This evening unfortunately John found that one of the orange ones had died. He tried to revive it by rubbing on it but nothing. The children each took a turn holding it and studying it's features (yes, they did wash their hands after). The other four kittens seem to be vigorous and now do fit much better in line while nursing. We'll have to keep an eye on them.

Very exciting. It will be fun to watch their development each day.

Taken right after they were moved into the box and Jumper joined them. You can see some are still a little wet.

I loved this sweet little orange face. Unfortunately that is the one that died this evening.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Show & Tell Friday -- Scripture T-Shirts

I want to let you know about a great online t-shirt company I recently came across. It is Wild Olive Trees created by three regular Moms that God brought together. They make fun yet classy t-shirts for women with a scripture verse on the back. I am so excited to order one for myself but it is so hard to make a decision of which one, although I lean toward Such Things (I love that verse!). Their slogan is "Get Your Verse On" which gives us the opportunity to share our faith and spread the Word of God wherever we go.

The newest design is a t-shirt for charity using ideas from MckMama (Baby Stellen's Mama) called "Unfolding" using the verse "He who began a good work in you will carry it onto completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Phil 1:6

MckMama said the word unfolding reminded her of the phrase "unpacking scripture" and she described  it "as normal emerging for us like the wings of an unexpectedly beautiful butterfly, born out of the pain and struggle of emerging from a dark, restrictive cocoon."

So, what are you waiting for -- Get Your Verse On!
And for more Show & Tells please visit Mary at Raising 4 Godly Men.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Mmmm Monday -- Tortillas

Last week we had a family gathering for Memorial Day and my brother-in-law made roast vegetables: zucchini, onions, peppers, mushrooms that were really good but had a lot left-over. I took some to use in fajitas adding chicken with seasonings. I did not have enough tortillas on-hand however and while I have made them before wasn't sure I wanted to attempt that again but didn't want John to have to stop at the store on his way home.

Last time I made tortillas I didn't think they tasted that good or were worth the time it took to roll out the dough. But, if at first you don't succeed, try, try again. (I can hear the little girl in the black and white version of Miracle on 34th Street saying that). So, I made tortillas again with a few additions to give more flavor and let the dough rest for an hour first which I read was helpful and this time they turned out great. I can definitely see why people make them rather than buy them. It also is much faster when you have a helper to cook and flip the tortillas while you roll the dough. This is a big recipe but they were all gobbled up. Yum!

5 cups flour (I did half whole-wheat)
1/2 cup shortening (I used coconut oil)
2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cup boiling water

(I added a little tomato sauce, chili pepper, garlic powder and cilantro for flavor)

  1. In a large bowl, stir together flour and salt. Mix in the shortening until the mixture is the texture of oatmeal. (I use my kitchen aid which works great) Make a well in the center, and pour in the boiling water. Mix with a fork until all of the water is evenly incorporated. Sprinkle with a bit of additional flour, and knead until the dough does not stick to your fingers. The dough should be smooth.

  2. Make balls the size of golf balls. Place them on a tray, and cover with a cloth. Let stand for at least 1 hour, or up to 8 hours. (I like that as I could make the dough the night before)

  3. Heat a griddle or large frying pan over high heat. On a lightly floured surface, roll out a tortilla to your preferred thinness. Fry one at a time. Place on the griddle for 10 seconds, as soon as you see a bubble on the top, flip the tortilla over. Let it cook for about 30 seconds, then flip and cook the other side for another 30 seconds. Roll out the next tortilla while you wait for that one to cook. Repeat until all of the balls have been cooked. Tortillas can be refrigerated or frozen.

My leftovers (for a brief moment) they were gobbled up not long after

Pete wanted to try his hand at flipping and he did a great job and it speeded up the process.

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