Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Snow much Fun!

Last Sunday, we were blessed with the most beautiful snow! Shannon worked all weekend at the hospital, but got home early due to the weather. Just in time to feed the horses and go sledding with Pyper. What was I doing you may ask? I dressed Pyper, took pictures and kept an ear out for a sleeping Raegan...The horses were ready for dinner!

The snow was so beautiful on the pines.

And Pyper had to make a snow angel. She remembered about snow angels from a few weeks earlier sledding with her cousins.

Shannon pulls her down the hill to make the track...

She loved all the snow

Pyper sledded (is that a word???) until dark.

She loved it. And we loved watching her enjoy the wonders of this magical snowfall.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

So Sad...

It has been confirmed by 2 vets that Riley has mammary cancer. My sister-in-law, Kerry, a vet, looked at her on Saturday and confirmed the worse. She has tumors all along her nipple lines between her legs, neuropathy in her back legs and not to mention arthritis in her elbows and hips. I have been blessed to have had her for as long as I have. 14 years is a long time for a German Shepherd dog. This is how I will always remember her. Regal and beautiful.

Head tilt, and 2-Scoop ears.

She loves to lay in the sun.

And play in the snow.

With her buddy, Hannibal.

This picture was taken this past Saturday. The white around her muzzle is not snow...it's white hair. She's my best girl. I'm determined to make the time she has left wonderful. I always tried to do that though.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

We Love Love!

From our little family to yours, Happy Valentines Day! To tell you the truth, I've never been keen on this holiday. But lately, I've had such an overwhelming sense of love in abundance, I wanted to share it. So did Pyper.
She made you hand-dipped chocolate strawberries!
I really thought she wouldn't be able to do the entire process, but she surprised me with her determination to make these. I showed her once, but if I offered to help, she would tell me, "No, Momma, I do it!" Well then. Have I mentioned how much I love our Learning Tower? It puts her at the right height for the counter and is very safe.

She's picking just the right berry for you!

As a side note, when I went to collect eggs, this one had a feather attached to the top just like a little hairdo. So, I made it a friendly egg for Pyper. She loved it. Hope you have a wonderful day of love and joy, and be sure to tell all those who fill your heart how much they are appreciated.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Baby Wearing, Teething Tablets, Knitted Hats & Necklaces

Raegan has been teething. She's not been a happy camper--at all. My friend, Brandy, knitted this adorable little hat for her. I think it makes her look like a little elf. It keeps her warm, and a warm baby is a happy baby. Except for when they're teething. Oh, I could kiss those cheeks forever.

One night, I ended up just walking the floors for HOURS while I wore her. Anytime I would stop walking and patting her bottom, she would wake up and scream. Needless to say, Shannon and I were exhausted. I wore her, the nanny wore her, Shannon wore her...you get the point. Wearing a baby is so comforting for both the baby and caretaker. There have been studies that show that a baby that is worn grows faster physically, developmentally, cognitively, and emotionally. She frequently nestles down and takes naps while I putter around the house while I wear her. In the above picture, she drooled some of the left-over teething tablets onto the wrap. Tylenol has become our friend as well.

After 3 days of teething and a nasty cold, she graced us with one of her trademark smiles. This makes going to work with one eye open (with a toothpick, at that!) and falling into quick sleep just to be jerked awake by cries, worth it.

A sad note--we thought that by mid week, she was finished with teething. Until she started waking up crying again. Co-sleeping didn't even soothe her. From what I have researched, babies can teeth on and off for MONTHS. YIKES! Pyper never suffered this badly. Today, the nanny has had to wear her nonstop. So now I'm going to try one of these:

Not the random baby. The necklace. It's a Baltic Amber Teething necklace.
Amber is a natural analgesic (pain reliever) and anti-inflammatory. When amber is worn on the skin, the warmth of the skin releases trace amounts of healing oils on the skin. Commonly known as "teething jewelry," baltic amber has been a natural and traditional European remedy for teething discomfort for hundreds of years.

It may sound a little out-there and wacky. Perhaps even bordering on mysticism. But I'm willing to try ANYTHING people! My friend Brandy, the same knitter-extraordinaire, has used these amber necklaces for both her kids. She says they really do work. They were on sale, so I bought one. I do believe in natural remedies, even if I am married to a Pharmacist. :)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Chicken Tonic

Ida Mae eyes the Chicken Tonic in the bowl...

The last week or so, I have noticed a marked decrease in egg production. The girls deserve a break, but I also wanted to ensure they were feeling their finest. In the evenings, I typically find 3-4 eggs in a nesting box. Lately, this is what I find.

My collection for the day. Thinking the girls may be getting ready to molt, and noticing their combs looking a little limp and pale, I decided to whip up a healthy treat for them. A Chicken Tonic.

I blended Vitamin C, Echinacea, carrots, celery tops, asparagus, garlic and water into a fine puree. They gobbled it up. In the top picture, Ida Mae was the only one that explored the tonic in the great outdoors. The rest ignored it all day. Until I put it in their coop that night. It was gone in no time flat.

I love Stewpot's coloring. He is so shiny. He seems to be weathering fine, but the ladies look a bit worse for wear.

Also, I try to supplement their calcium with baked egg shells. I know, it sounds gross, perhaps a bit cannibalistic, but, as you can see--they love egg shells.

So, if your chickens need an immunity boost, whip up a Chicken Tonic pronto!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Cave Dwellers

In keeping with the theme of "unplugging" our kids, we cancelled our Direct TV. I was going to give it up for Lent, but decided I needed to make a more permanent decision for our family. I discussed it with Shannon, and he agreed that we watch too much TV individually and as a family. We had noticed how over-commercialized programming has become. So much so, that our 2 year old asked for a product that had just been advertised. That was a wake up call. So, we decided that after dinner, we would play as a family, or read, or weather permitting, go outside as a family. The theme being "FAMILY."

I got about 10 of these big boxes at work. They are the perfect size for Pyper and her buddy Hunter to play in comfortably. We decided to make a cave.

I took some brown paper from some packaging and a roll of brown paper and had Pyper crinkle it up really tight into a ball. You could also use brown paper bags. Then we smoothed it out.

Ok, I smoothed it out. She liked balling the paper up WAY too much.

Then we taped each piece to the box giving the effect of earth or rocks. Here, Raegan is making sure the opening of the cave is large enough. I love that sweet baby.

We covered the entire box. Then it was play time! Pyper took her markers and did cave paintings inside and outside of the cave. I also looked for a strand of white Christmas lights to put on top. I was going to poke little holes on the ceiling of the cave and make the constellations, but couldn't find any lights. Oh, well.

After playing with the cave for a little bit and unsuccessfully trying to lure Hannibal inside, Pyper decided to play the piano. Shannon was playing Abba's "Dancing Queen," and Pyper played along, singing.

Belting it out!

Having too much fun. I'm so glad we decided to get "unplugged." It has really taught us to use our imaginations when playing and spending time together. Now, we still have our TV, and we watch movies. But we really try to limit her movie watching to no more than an hour a day if that. Some days, it's about a half hour. My only regret is that we didn't cancel the Direct TV sooner. Oh, well. We live and learn. Now, Shannon's wondering where he'll watch the Super Bowl! My timing is flawless...hee hee!