Monday, September 29, 2008

A Smile Award!

What a surprise! My first blog award :)

Thank you from an amazing "Mom of Many" who has an incredible China adoption story I followed for quite some time. Her blog, a place called simplicity is a continuation of where they left off after returning from China with their most adorable little boy Isaiah. If you have a chance, you should take some time and read their journey to Isaiah and see how God moved mountains to get this little guy home. Now, at a time when most families would be winding down their family size, this Mom and Dad are continuing to grow theirs! Next, it is a girl! Read all about it HERE!
Ketchikan, here we come :) :)

So, now, I can pass on the honor to 5 others who make me smile. There are so many wonderful blogs and sites that would be deserving of this award it is difficult to pick, but my thoughts keep going back to several families that have shown incredible positive attitudes and patience with the ever so lengthening wait to adopt from China. Keeping this in mind, here are my picks:
I'm going out on a limb here and giving Angie at my hearts giving birth TWO smile awards!!. Angie smiles when she cries. Her eyes say it all when she speaks of her daughter she hasn't met yet. Angie is a single Mom adopting from China and when she started her process, the wait was in the single digits. Needless to say, she has been very saddened by the wait, but always tries to find the positive in the process. Her desire to follow God's timing and not her own is chronicled in her journal HERE. Be sure to check out her wonderful pictures of the Harvest Moon Fest. as she lights the lantern and releases it. Hang in there Angie. F.R.O.G.

Then, there is Michael. I hope he reads this :)... Michael and Starla have an imminent referral from China and very sadly, Starla's Mother passed away this month. Once again Michael and Starla have waited a VERY long time for their daughter. Michael has been journaling his thoughts as a first time Dad-to-be, throughout the process and I know they will make a wonderful set of parents to this little girl they are just about to meet!! Hey, I just might pretend these awards are candy and give Michael and Starla TWO of them as well!! :) :) Pop over and share their excitement as they are as Michael puts is "within striking range" of their referral for Mikayla!!

Lastly, so many are familiar with Lori @ a journey to our daughter. Her blog is filled with yummy and beautiful things. I could spend MUCH time :) simply scrolling through the archives looking at her beautiful pictures and celebrating life with her handsome boys. Lori also has been swept up in this waiting process for their little girl. Her patience and attitude to not let the grass grow under her feet during all this time is truly inspirational.

Okay ladies (and gentleman:) this is what you need to do....
Here are the Smile Award rules:
1. The recipient must link back the the award's creator.
2. You must post these rules if you receive the award.
3. You must choose 5 people to receive the award after receiving it yourself.
4. You must fit the characteristics of the recipient of the award, as posted by Mere.
5. You must post the characteristics of a recipient.
6. You must create a post sharing your win with others.
7. You must thank your giver.

Characteristics for the Smile Award:
1. Must display a cheerful attitude (not necessarily at all times--we are all human).
2. Must love one another.
3. Must make mistakes.
4. Must learn from others.
5. Must be a positive contributor to blog world.
6. Must love life.
7. Must love kids.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Questions from friend Rebecca on Raising free range chickens

I have a problem. Maybe some of you will have advice...

For the past five months, I’ve been raising a flock of free-range chickens. But recently, I’m afraid I’ve run into a snag. And I can’t find an answer to this anywhere on the internet, so I decided to post.

My endeavor began two years ago when I bought six acres of virgin mountain land. Near the center of my land, I built an organic shelter for my new flock of Rhode Island Reds. This shelter was located near a stream, under an old willow tree, and it was woven from hickory branches and hemp rope. It is now occupied by twenty-two chickens and a lute player from Asheville who lulls my birds to sleep each night with old Celtic ballads and recitations of Rumi.

The initial stages of my project went well. I lost four birds to coyotes and five to a wandering spirit (fences are so confining). That leaves me with my aforementioned twenty-two fat hens, who have recently reached physical and emotional maturity. That’s where I’m stuck.

After reading numerous testimonies of homeschool nutrititional vim and vigor, I bought a Champion juicer. I mean, if people can juice a bean sprout... can you fathom the power of a fresh-juiced chicken! ‘Talk about a massive shot of all-natural breakfast protein!

So, everything it went OK for the first two birds. Sure, the kids complained a little, wanting their soy flour and Nubian goat milk smoothies back -- but I put down the law. On my third bird, however, I think I got a feather or something caught in the motor. Because now my kitchen smells like burnt hair whenever I hit “start.” And the Champion customer department service keeps hanging up on me whenever I call. So, first off, do any of you know of a local juicer-repair-shop? If you do, let me know.

Anyway, so I had no idea what I was going to do with all of these chickens. But suddenly, in the middle of teaching third-grade math one day, Eureka! My grinder!!!! Chicken flour!! It’s like a protein and a carb all at once! I could make chicken flour bread, and cover two food groups at once!

So I’m writing to see if any of you have tried this with your grinders? Any pros? Any cons? Do you take off the beaks or leave them in tact for roughage?




(Kingsport, TN) wrote
at 8:25am on August 17th, 2008
I find that by adding the feathers, you get a lighter bread. The beak and talons had much needed bulk and can help with bowel movements, but makes bread much harder to get to rise and add stoo much weight to biscuits. However, in the future, you may want to try breeds other than Reds since they are prone to wandering.

I hope this helps.
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(Dallas / Fort Worth, TX) wrote
at 4:19pm on August 17th, 2008
you guys are hilarious!
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(Kingsport, TN) wrote
at 6:30pm on August 17th, 2008
I've only tried this when I raised my Chocobos, but it just might work. I use the beaks and feathers as a protein supplement for my dragon. He loves it and it's a lot cheaper than dear meat. Plus, it's a little more humane. Since kids can be dragon-like, it might work for them. You can add it to Slim Fast, too, which makes for a grainier shake, but the fiber packs a real punch, if you know what I mean. Hope that helps.
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(Kingsport, TN) wrote
at 10:37pm on August 17th, 2008
just take the chicken by the throat..ring it as hard as you in a large pot..depending onthe size of the bird. place in scalding hot water...the feathers will fall off...wear some yellow dish gloves..the good ones..spend the extra buck! and voila!! chicken ala carte!!! dismember the body parts..soak overnight in buttermilk..coat lightly in flour that has been seasoned with salt and pepper..heat oil..( olive, of course ) and fry it!!! make sure to cover the pan so ya' don't splatter the know there is an Earthfare coming to J.C...maybe one day when you're picking up your chirren from PA you could just stop in and buy some "free range" boneless, skinless..chicks!! Not as much to clean up..While your at it you might want to stop by barnes and noble and pick up a copy of Marcia Ramsland Simplify Your Life...Speaking of boarding schools did you by any chance attend Rabun Gap??? It was grreat seeing you today..and where did the cozy green hoody come from?? might need to copy you!! J
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Teronya wrote
at 4:35am on August 18th, 2008
Having had some experience with chickens who have successfully reached emotional and physical maturity, I would suggest purchasing a rooster. A rooster will reach physical maturity fairly quickly, and yet apparently emotional maturity is not a requirement for the job he has to perform. One rooster is all you need for a hen house. In fact, you may find that twenty-two chickens are not enough for one rooster. This leads to a great math problem you can use for your class....
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Rebecca wrote
at 6:00am on August 18th, 2008
Thanks for all the help, girls. It means a lot.

These suggestions are great, and I'm considering all of them except for the rooster. (We are using the Gary Ezzo method of hen rearing, and so our hens frolic sweetly by day, innocent in the ways and burdens of the world. When the time comes for our hens to start a new family, we plan to invite a limited number of classically=trained roosters into our home for a supervised courting model that will determine whether or not there is a philosophical unity between our broods. We have little tolerance for the hanky panky that happens in most adolescent hen houses.)

Meanwhile, today I'm making a healthful batch of Rhode Island Red chunk au natural yogurt with free-range Nubian goat milk. I'm making a double=batch, so if anyone wants to try some, let me know.

(Kingsport, TN) wrote
at 8:38am on August 18th, 2008
"Meanwhile, today I'm making a healthful batch of Rhode Island Red chunk au natural yogurt with free-range Nubian goat milk. I'm making a double=batch, so if anyone wants to try some, let me know." WE'LL BE RIGHT OVER! YUMMY!
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(Kentucky) wrote
at 3:03pm on August 18th, 2008
I personally would just put on the wolf costume and eat them raw. It’s the way nature intended and killing your meal in your own mouth is the only true way to start a complete natural digestive process. You should first eat the entrails as they are the easiest to access and definitely the highest in flavor and aroma. Once the bird starts to cool you could move to the legs or breast but I usually find myself just chewing on the head or a claw for several minutes looking around at any potential thieves of my meal. Once I feel like the proverbial coast is clear I will take the largest portion of my bird, in mouth, and run into the tall grasses so I can enjoy it in peace. Once you have filled your belly you can then return to your offspring and regurgitate a portion into each of their mouths giving them the advantage of predigested fresh chicken. You can return to the carcass for several days and eat off it if you like or just roll in it so that your neighbors won't bother it.
That's my favorite recipie, you can add spices where you want but this is a family staple in our house!
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Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Well, Rudd's Mom has just updated her site that chronicles the first months at home from Taiwan. This is another post from this family that you don't want to miss reading! Her honesty, realism, and humor make this one of the most touching adoption stories I've ever followed.
Click Here

Friday, September 19, 2008

'We are under attack' & homebirth?..Part 2

Before beginning this post, I want to say everyone has their own opinions and desires as far as birth plans go. We were very blessed to have a Certified nurse midwife that had delivered hundreds of babies at a birthing facility come to our home and be with us the entire time. In addition to this, we had full Physician back up in the event of an emergency and our Pediatrician on call should the need arise. We know every one won't agree with the way we chose to do this, but looking back, I would do it all over as long as there were no complications- especially down to the final hours :) Read on if you wish..

With that preface, has it REALLY been seven years since...

The following week it seemed the nation was glued to television. American flags hung abundantly and proudly almost everywhere you would look. Restaurants were almost vacant as people were staying in watching the latest developments on the terror attacks and it seemed like the only traffic on the roads were pizza delivery drivers. :)

We were also watching and waiting as our nation slowly began to emerge from the shock and horror of events days earlier. As my own due date grew closer and closer we were once again joyous beyond words and at the same time saddened at the mounting loss of life for so many families.

Dave and I had a busy day on the Monday after 9/11, and finally got to bed around 1:00 a.m. or so. About an hour later, I felt what I can only describe as a 'tumble' and then..

Reaching over to wake Dave, I knew there was no turning back. This day we were going to have our baby. Or so we thought.

Looking back we should have gone back to bed and attempt sleep before my contractions REALLY got strong, but silly us, we were beyond excited and there was no way we would have been able to sleep...then.

The wee early morning arrived, daylight poured into our room with the birthing pool right beside my side of the bed. It was time to start filling it. We waited until as much after 8 a.m. as possible to call our nurse mid-wife hoping she was getting some very good zzzzz's since she would be needed at full steam later in the day!

My Mom had prepared a turkey dinner for everyone (but me) that would be at our home and she arrived around noon with turkey and trimmings in tow. It looked and smelled delish! We had fresh roses on the table from friends and my house was probably as cleaner than it ever has been since ;) !

Contractions were VERY strong beginning late morning and continued every few minutes. Throughout the day, I kept thinking I wasn't sure how much longer I could go on, but Dave remained right beside me and was my right arm, my strength and I know if it weren't for him I would have crumbled.

Backing up a bit, I made Dave promise (prior to going into labor) that if I told him I couldn't do it, to IGNORE ME, tell me it's getting closer etc etc,, but to tune me out when I would say it.. WELL, he did. As the hours clicked on, soon I had been in labor for 26 hours with very little progress. At one point I begged him to take me to the hospital, but according to the nurse midwife (who was amazingly wonderful), the baby was doing great, and Dave kept telling me "everything is ok"... hummm he wasn't the one in labor without DRUGS at this point!!! Bless his heart, he was so exhausted around 3 a.m. he fell asleep and I told our nurse midwife to get a few hours sleep and I would call them if I needed something.

I had to keep walking all those hours as per the instructions of our Nurse Midwife. We were attempting to make the most out of each contraction and when I laid down they weren't as "productive".

I think our baby knew I told everyone to go rest because just as they dozed off, I thought I was going to die. Seriously, I thought, ok God, this is it. I'm going to die tonight right here in my bathroom while people are sleeping 15 feet away. I was ready to flush the Bradley Method birthing book down the toilet.. (just kidding it would have stopped it up and I needed it- the toilet that is. ;)

So, I yelled for Dave. After what seemed like eternity, he stumbled in, mumbled something and then walked back to bed. He was so exhausted he was not coherent. He later remembered walking into the bathroom and turning around to go back to bed, but the poor guy was beyond tired. He had been pushing on my back for the past 12 hours with all his strength to combat back labor and his arms were shaking. ... There I sat.

Finally I was able to arouse Dave enough to convince him I really did WANT! to go to the hospital and begged him to take me. I think it was the tears that convinced him this time..(Remember I made him SWEAR that if I asked that, to IGNORE me, so he didn't know what to do at this point since the baby's heart beat was good etc..

So I was a wimp.

After 32 hours of labor at home without any pain intervention, I went to the hospital and was only 5 cm's. A few tricks up the Dr's sleeve, and one epidural, pit drip, and who knows what else later, we were into our 3rd (YEP THIRD day) of labor!!

I can say it was the third day because 49.5 hours after feeling that 'tumble' and contractions beginning, almost 70 hours of virtually no sleep, our beautiful son entered the world at 5:04 A.M. September 19, 2001 with the highest apgar score. (No C-Section!) When the Dr. told me our baby was perfect, I wasn't the least bit surprised. God had granted us an incredible peace through out the entire 9 months and we were basking in the happiest moments of our entire lives.

(ok ladies, look at your watch right now, remember the time, then, see how long 49.5 hours really can be!! LOL LOL)

John David has brought us such great joy, joy we almost missed as we had been married 19 years before his birth. We praise God daily for both our blessings and marvel in the miracle of this new life in the midst of massive loss of life unfolding all around us during that terrible week for our nation.

Happy 7th birthday our precious John. Daddy and I are so incredibly proud of you and who you are.

Mostly, we are proud of your heart and who you have now chosen to reign in it.

I love you so much.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

"We are under attack" - Part 1

Those were the words our nation heard seven years ago today as we watched in horror the events unfolding in those early morning hours of September 11, 2001. Who would have thought the day before that so many people would perish, lives changed, and our entire country would be frozen in such a terrible way? It was a beautiful day in the Eastern US. A sunny almost autumn morning.

I was one week shy of exactly 9 months pregnant. We were planning a home birth complete with an incredible birthing pool we set up beside our bed. The day before our Nurse Mid-wife told us she thought our baby was in a breech position. I was up getting ready for an ultra sound to confirm all this, and flipped the T.V. on while getting ready. The screen showed smoke coming from the first WTC building and it was thought a tourist helicopter or private plane had crashed into it by accident.

I called to Dave (who was downstairs making me a high protein soy milk shake :) and told him to come upstairs to see this. Just as he arrived at the bedroom door (with shake in hand) the second plane crashed into the other WTC building. This is when we all knew .. it wasn't an accident.

Glued to the television I continued to get ready for our trip to the Doctor. Our appointment time arrived and as we made our way down the highway, there was an eerie lack of traffic. The mall was closed. Schools were let out. Everyone just wanted to be home with their families, watch, and wait.

Sure enough, the ultrasound confirmed our baby was breech. The Dr. felt we should go ahead and be admitted for a delivery via C- section. Well, those that know me know that those words didn't exactly set well with me and I already had researched the possibilities, not to mention the world turmoil that was going on all around us. Only in an emergency would I have agreed to be admitted on THIS day!

It so happened the office had a peri- natologist on staff and she agreed to talk to me right then. By this time, thanks to hormones, and the world events that morning, I was almost in tears. What happened next was nothing short of Gods hand.

I walked into her office area and she came over and took my hand in hers. She told me that if I was willing, she would attempt an external version. This is a procedure where they manually attempt to turn (flip) the baby by pressing the on the abdomen from the outside. There were risks however as I was only days from my due date and there needed to be adequate amniotic fluid etc.. She told us to go home and think it over. If we decided we wanted to try this, it would be set for the next morning.

We left.

Upon arriving home we continued to watch the catestrophic events and pray for our own situation. I scoured the internet for other homeopathic ways to combat a breech position. So, don't laugh here,, I ended up spending the evening as upside down as possible with a bag of frozen peas placed stratigically in an attempt to get the baby to 'flip' naturally. Yep. Supposidly the baby will try to 'get away' from something cold and go the oposite direction. Suffice it to say, it didn't work.

The next morning we went in for an external version. To say I was nervous would be a vast understatement and risks?, yes, I understood the risks, but knew there were equally as many risks to an automatic C-section so off we went.

It worked. Amazingly the odds were so against it. Praise God, it worked. My WONDERFUL Doctor hugged me and told me to go home and wait for things to happen the 'regular' way!

We went home that evening with such joy in our own lives all the while watching as our nation would be changed forever.

continued in part 2..

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Thank you for the amazing week Curt, Jen and Emily!

What a whirlwind week!! We yanked John (1st grade) out of school and headed North. Its about a 10 hour drive and we were only on the road for about 40 minutes until Elizabeth started the "are we almost there yet?" questions! OUCH! A day and few dozen stops later we arrived at our destination.

Each year after Labor Day we love to visit this beautiful (yes it's really beautiful :) area of the country as the crowds have gone, the weather is still nice, and it has almost become a rite of passage in a way to end our Summers. We enjoyed such a fun week with our family and were treated to a traditional Lobster Fest thanks to Cousin Jen! More on this including pictures of the live lobsters last moments later! lol.

Our travel home was hampered by a nasty little head wind from the remains of hana. Roads were flooded and the rain was so torrential that at times we were only at a crawl. It wouldn't have been so bad if it hadn't happened on the I 95 corridor from Philadelphia to the Washington D.C. area. We had much fun with all the potty breaks on the interstate under those conditions :) :)

Back on the home front, John returned home from school and I could hardly pick up his backpack! Inside we had books for missed homework from the previous week. We knew this was part of the 'deal', so we got to work right away. Tonight, after almost 5 hours of school papers, reading, etc.. I can say I am so proud of our sweet boy! He stuck with it, and finished almost an entire weeks worth of work today.

Now, off to the attic for our Fall decorations!