Daisy’s Doin’s, Day 57

Well, this should be the last blog regarding Daisy’s first litter.  All but one of the puppies are adjusting to their new homes, receiving MUCH more individual attention than our family could give them.  The remaining pup is Belle, and her Texas family has asked us to keep her until they can get up here for her in mid-March.  Belle plays hard and sleeps hard.  As a matter of fact, she was ready for bed early in the first half of last night’s Super Bowl.

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Belle all zonked out.

As promised, Daisy Mae got her spa day today.  We shaved off her matts, trimmed her face, clipped her nails and gave her a warm bath.  She looks pretty naked, but she seems to be enjoying the freedom of her new do.  She’s been running around like a nutjob, which landed both her and Liberty (aka Libby), our 7-month-old standard goldendoodle, in a time-out.

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Miss Daisy, fresh from the tub and posing for a picture.

Libby is growing at a fairly rapid rate right now, and she has a tough time keeping tabs on all of her body parts at once.  When she plays rough, furniture and lamps can get a bit knocked about.  Daisy can now duck under Libby, which leaves Liberty confused and keeps all of us entertained.  At one point during the big game last night, Belle was playing under Daisy, and Daisy was playing under Libby–while Libby was trying to watch them both.  Craziness.

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Even Liberty got an all-over comb and a face trim this morning.

Although Gracie is shouldering the biggest part of the potty-training load with Miss Belle, it definitely takes a village.  Belle’s doing pretty well, but she has to be watched every single minute.  And, she’s currently not too crazy about time alone.  Littermate withdrawal is a terrible thing for a puppy.

All in all, Daisy’s first litter was a success.  Daisy proved to be a great momma and maintained her health throughout.  The pups enjoyed good health and are now welcome additions in some fantastic families.  The kids made back their investment with money in the bank, and they learned a lot about responsibility, teamwork and business in general.  And, our family made some new friends along the way–folks we may have never met if it weren’t for these furry babies.  We are truly blessed.

 

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Selfishly Slogging Along

I am a selfish person, and my understanding of the depth of my selfishness increases with my age.  I would really love to die to this nasty habit once and for all and just get it over with!  It would be like Abra cadabra:  New creature made perfect!!  One…two…three…DIE, Selfishness, DIE!

I don’t think that worked.  I guess I will have to wait for Heaven.

So, I continue to slog along with my selfish, sinful self, trusting that You can use me as I am–incomplete, imperfect, somewhat short-sighted and disgustingly self-absorbed–but willing to be better for You.  I thank You, Lord, for Your loads of mercy and Your patient grace…and Your willingness to see me through the perfection of Your Son.

Gimme A Break

I think I’d been living under the delusion that I should not need a break.  I mean, really:  How can a strong, capable woman need a break from her amazing life?

Well, she can get tired.

I’m tired.

I truly have almost everything I have ever wanted in this life.  I have Jesus in my heart.  I have a husband who is 100% committed to me.  I have three healthy, gifted children.  We have a nice home, a supportive extended family, solid friendships, fulfilling ministries and on and on and on.  I really do have it all.

But, man!  I’m tired!

When I had three children under the age of five, I was physically wiped out by 4:00 almost every afternoon.  My kids were fun little preschoolers!  They were energetic and creative and well-mannered and energetic and smart and, well, energetic.  I didn’t sleep well in those years.  My senses were on high alert through every night.  Did the baby need fed? Was someone getting sick?  Did I hear crying?  I mostly catnapped my way through those years, always ready for the solid sleep of the dead that my husband managed to enjoy almost every single stinkin’ night.  (What was up with that?!)

Now, I have three teenagers.  They are amazing.  Remarkable.  So very gifted.  They can be so much fun, and they can make me laugh hard enough to shoot my drink through my nose.  I love, love, love my time with them!  While there have been uncertain moments, never in my life has a day gone by when I have regretted any financial and career “sacrifices” we have made for me to stay home with them.  I love them to the very core of my being, and there is no other way I’d rather spend my days than as their momma.

But I’m still tired.

While my parenting game used to be primarily physical, it is now more mental, emotional and spiritual.  Childhood misbehavior was so black-and-white.  Toys were not picked up.  Siblings were pinched.  Lies were told.  Rules were clearly broken.  Consequences were quickly dealt.  The expectations were clear on both ends.

Snuggles, cuddles, made-up songs and silly games were acceptable forms of communication, and public displays of affection were perfectly acceptable.

Things are just different.  Not better.  Not worse.  Just different.  I’ve found that while they are adjusting to all of the internal and external changes they’ve got going on, I am adjusting as well.  I’m learning new likes, new dislikes, figuring out more effective ways to communicate, adapting to their more adult-ish personalities while still allowing for them to be kids.

People used to warn me about the teenage years with a “You just wait…!” mentality.  I resented that.  I refused to anticipate that my kids were going to be trouble just because they were teens.  I didn’t think it was fair to the kids.  I still don’t.  The uncertainty that affects most teens is normal.  They are often just insecure with so much.  Perfectly capable young people doubt the value of their own existence during this season of their lives.  I think the danger during this season of parenting is to take it personally.  It’s easy to do, because it seems so personal.  I mean, we are the ones who see the good, the bad and the ugly, right?  We are the safe place for them to let those insecurities fly in whatever form seems right at the time.  Is their behavior normal?  Yes.  Always acceptable?  Um, no.

The truth is, neither is mine.  When my kids were little, and I was so irrationally exhausted that I could (and would) cry (and quite possibly scream) over spilled milk, my kids gave me an awful lot of grace.  Their sweet faces still smiled, their soft lips still offered kisses, and their chubby arms still wrapped my neck in hugs.  Although I strove to teach them grace back then, they naturally modeled the concept much more clearly and easily than I did.  The purity of a child’s love is a miraculous thing.

This is why it’s so important now for me to take a break.  I need time every day to bask in the love of my Heavenly Father so that I can call on His unconditional love.  I need wisdom.  I need clarity.  I need Truth.  I need strength.  He makes all of these things–and so much more–available to me as I seek them.

And, sometimes I need a change in scenery–a walk outside, coffee with a friend, lunch with my siblings or an overnight with my mom.  The fact is that this parenting journey is an exhausting one.  I believe that it is a spiritual battle, one in which the stakes are high.  I need to do whatever I need to do to stay the course.  I am not called to be a friend to my kids.  I am called to be their momma.  And parenting takes a special kind of commitment.

Lord, thank You for equipping us to do the job You’ve called us to do.  Even more, thank You for giving us the privilege of helping to raise these extraordinary children.

 

 

 

Daisy’s Doin’s, Day 50

Good news from the vet today:  Daisy’s puppies are perfect!  (Well, duh!)  Their sweet faces captured the hearts of everyone there, and the doctor was pleased with their good health.  Five of the six took their shots without a complaint.  Macy, however, gave the fiercest growl she could muster, which only resulted in chuckles from her assailants.  From then on, Macy was referred to as “that sassy girl”.  Ha!!

Even better news for our family is that Miss Daisy Mae is in excellent health.  The vet and two techs were oohing and ahhing over how sweet and gentle and pretty she is.  Daisy promptly rolled over on her back and let them rub her belly as they sang her praises.  The vet and I agreed that, after the pups go home this weekend, Daisy gets a spa day.  Were going to give her a new “do” (to get rid of the matts in her fur), a soak in the tub and a pedicure.

As I type this, all 6 fur balls are running, romping and racing around our kitchen and dining room, sounding remarkably similar to a herd of rhinoceros.  These little ones are almost impossible to wear out; their energy seems to increase by the hour.  The good news is that they pile up and sleep hard at night.  A tired puppy is a well-behaved puppy.  🙂

Daisy’s Doin’s, Day 46

Today’s warmer temperatures and magical (yes, magical) sunshine made for a perfect opportunity to get the puppies out and about for exercise and potty-training.  The little ones enjoyed running around outdoors, playing follow the leader and King of the Mountain.  (Isaac was more than happy to be the mountain.)

Have you ever picked out the perfect gift for someone’s birthday?  Maybe you found the gift early and could hardly wait until it was time to see them open it.  That’s kind of how I’m feeling about these puppies.  I can hardly wait to present them to their new families!  They are so sweet and so much fun and just soooo…perfect!  We know they will bring many smiles and lots of joy to their new homes (along with some sleepless nights, puppy bites and possibly even a few wet socks).

Daisy has enjoyed the sunshine today.  She and I both took a nap this afternoon after a long inside romp with the pups.  I then took Papa Butch on a very long walk around our 20 acres and through the woods.  I enjoyed the exercise, and he enjoyed the freedom to stop and smell every weed and stick that drew his attention.

I just peeked in on the pups, and they are all piled up together in their cage, drunk with exercise and sunshine.  A tired puppy is a well-behaved puppy.

 

Homeschool Headlines

As a homeschool mom, I am deeply disturbed by any news of abuse within the homeschool community.  Fortunately, over the course of the 13 years our family has opted to home educate, incidents of proven abuse have been exceedingly rare.  Of course, that does not discount the terrible experiences of those children who have endured horrible neglect and misuse under the banner of home education.  They have suffered at the hands of those who have been ordained to be their greatest advocates.

I am fairly well-immersed in the homeschool community, and, to a person, the parents I know who have opted to home educate have made that decision out of love for their children.  They sacrifice financially, invest wholeheartedly and live resourcefully to see their kids thrive.  Just like all loving parents, regardless of education-based decisions, they do what they truly believe is best.  Unfortunately, there are parents on both ends of this spectrum who don’t deserve the children with whom they’ve been entrusted.

In today’s society, one of the common refrains that results from any great tragedy is for increased legislation and regulation.  This concerns me.  We are more heavily regulated and more expensively legislated than we have ever been as a country…and yet the value of human life and the standard of common decency seem to be at an all-time low.  We call our society progressive…but to what are we progressing?  Families are disengaged.  Prisons are full.  Elementary-aged children are suffering from anxiety attacks.  Junior high children are eating laundry detergent.  Lifetime prescriptions of medication are commonplace. Credit cards are maxed out.  We have regulation.  We have legislation.

We have a broken society.

The horrible truth is that abuse and neglect can often be hidden in plain sight. No matter how the government tries to regulate abuse, people will still abuse. The sex trade is a perfect example of this. There are truckloads of children being shipped across America–right alongside our own minivans–and I can guarantee that there are people on both sides of the law taking advantage of them.

The government offers foster homes for at-risk children, and there are documented occasions of those poor kids going from the frying pan into the fire–and few things are more highly-regulated than foster homes. When people are sick in their spirits, they hurt other people. When evil people can profit from someone else’s pain, they will. No regulation can stop that.

The most effective ways to combat this hell is for each of us to choose to do what is right and to watch out for the well-being of people around us. Invest in people’s hearts. We’ve all heard stories of abused children whose lives were changed because someone went out of their way to love them. We, as a community, MUST be diligent in this. We cannot be so distracted by our own busyness/personal comfort that we overlook our greatest potential for impacting others.

It’s not about home education or public school.  It’s not about regulation and legislation.  It’s not even always about knowing the difference between right and wrong.  It’s about doing what is right–choosing to put others before ourselves, opting to leave a legacy of love and peace and life to the people around us.

One of my most often-repeated prayers for my children is that God gives them the courage and the self-control to do what is right instead of what is easy.  I ask the same thing for my community.  The choice is ours.

Daisy’s Doin’s, Day 44

At their current level of energy, these 6 puppies sometimes seem like an even dozen.  If only modern science could bottle this kind of cute, fluffy energy!

Lots of changes in the past week.  All of the pups are in the process of being weaned from Daisy (who seems pretty pleased about this turn of events).  Sharp puppy claws take a toll on Daisy’s teats and belly.  All of the girl pups are down to three nursings a day, and will soon drop down to two.  Woody, the only male of the litter, is heavier than his sisters by a solid three pounds!  Let’s just say that he was the first to be completely weaned…and it was not by his personal preference!  He would gladly continue to nurse if given the option.

Another big change is that the puppies have been relocated.  The little rascals discovered that they could escape from the whelping box, so instead of being kept in our guest bedroom on the main floor of our home, they are now in specially-designed cages in our basement.  The kids have set up a cage to sleep in, a cage to eat/play in and large cage big enough for us to get in and play with them.  It’s like a huge puppy playground!

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Climbing out of the Whelping Box

My daughter took each puppy, in turn, outside yesterday.  They weren’t quite sure what to think of the wet grass and the wind.  Some of them, like Woody, loved it!  Others, like Macy (who was originally named Lady) preferred to stay curled up in Gracie’s arms.  Most of the puppies have been re-named by their new families.

The puppies’ absolute favorite pastime is playing.  The like to play with each other, play with us, play with our guests, play with Daisy–but they love to play with our seven-month-old standard goldendoodle, Liberty Belle.  For as big and clumsy as she is, “Auntie Libby” is remarkably gentle with the pups, allowing them to climb all over her, tug on her beard, bite her ears and pull on her tail.  This gentle, patient, good-natured disposition is what we most appreciate about this breed.

 

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Auntie Libby plays with the babies.

Our days are kept very busy with people visiting puppies, cleaning cages, making sure everyone gets fed and playing, playing, playing with the little ones, in addition to our normal day-to-day responsibilities of school, homemaking, outside jobs and extracurricular activities. There is a great deal to organize and oversee at this point, and I find that my brain is ready for bed by about 6:00 these days. I confess that there are several odds and ends which are being overlooked–none of which are these puppies!

People often ask me if it will be hard to send the puppies to their new homes.  To be honest, not really.  We’re pretty picky about where these babies go.  People think they come to see if they want one of our puppies, but they really come for me to see if I want them to have one of our puppies.  🙂  We do our homework on our customers, and we are as sure as we can possibly be that each one of them will be a great home for these little ones.  And, while caring for these puppies, we put a lot of things on the back burner for our family.  It’s always nice to be able to stretch out a little bit again.  Will we miss them?  Absolutely!  Will we keep in touch with their families to monitor their progress and answer questions?  Of course!  We will wish we’d kept every single one of them?  No way, Hosea!