Thursday, May 19, 2016

It's All In the Name

In an effort to help other parents of small children, here is solid advice for naming pets. It's tried and true. Do not name your pets (or other children ) these names:

Tucker - the "T" is harder to enunciate than you think. One of the most common mispronunciations for small children is "truck". That "T" becomes an "F" and a very clear one, at that. It's the same for Tucker. 

Baxter - Baxter quickly becomes the child of unmarried parents. 

Georgie - the second "g" is easy. The first one is left off. Pretty soon, Georgie is a very lovely party of naked people with loose morals. 

How do we know this?  Well, we were smart enough to head off Baxter. The other two are part of our lives. 

Meet my parents' dog, Tucker. 

Meet our cat, Georgie. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Field Trips & Big Falls

I have had the pleasure of being a parent on the kindergarten field trip for three years. It's one of my favorite trips because they get to go to the zoo. Today was Josie's trip to the zoo. I figured it would be the same trip as the last two years. I should have known she would keep it exciting. She put a different spin on the trip. 

The zoo was great. 

We had a great picnic lunch followed by some fun time on the playground. This is when Josie amped up the excitement. Somehow, she managed to fall from the platform around the fire pole. I am guessing it was a good 5-6 feet. Her head caught her fall. She split that baby like a melon. 

With the help of her class para, we hustled to the ER. All she was worried about was stitches. Stitches mean needles. Josie HATES needles. I was worried about the excessive bleeding and shaking. We scored a great emergency room experience. We have experience. When I say we have a lot of experience with emergency rooms, I mean it. We have sampled quite a few of them. I can think of at least six we have visited. Don't forget who I am married to. 

The nurse was an amazing guy who kept Josie as comfortable as possible. The doctor was so nice and understanding of Josie's fear of needles. She gave Josie the option of skipping the numbing shot and just getting the staples. Josie jumped all over that. Josie did warn the doctor she might scream but to keep going. No screams. Barely a flinch. According to Josie, staples in the back of your head is not nearly as painful as getting one ear pierced. She didn't even show signs of a concussion. This is really her opinion. 

She is home. The blood is washed out of her hair. She has requested ribs and baked beans for supper. All is back to normal. Well, until the whiplash sets in. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Seven Years Later

Seven years ago, the horse in the upper right hand picture got its foot caught on the gate and flipped over. She landed squarely on top of Austin. I watched him try to crawl out from under her as she got up. He couldn't. From my seat near the stands, I thought he had broken his leg. I gathered up Degnan, barely two years old, and Makenna, eleven months old, and started for the truck so I could load him up and head to the hospital. Then, Austin's friend, Gary, came and told me it wasn't a broken leg. The ambulance took Austin to the nearest hospital. The kids and I followed. 

When we the doctor came out from examining him and told me he had crushed his pelvis and broken parts of his back, I thought "Well, this is definitely not good but not life threatening."  Then, the doctor said they were air lifting him to a larger hospital because they were worried about internal bleeding. That will give you pause. Austin had surgery and spent the next few days in the hospital before being moved to a rehab facility. I remember sitting next to him, thinking about how we were going to manage. My main concern was how I was going to keep two toddlers from crawling all over Daddy when we got home. How was I going to get his wheel chair in our house?  Were the doors wide enough?  Would I be able to go back to work?  He sure wasn't, for awhile. Also, how was I going to find time to get myself adoctor  appointment,  because, the day before the rodeo, we had found out I was pregnant with Josie. 

Thankfully, a lot of this was answered relatively quickly, for me. My parents had a ramp built, at their house, and we stayed there until he could move on to the walker.  The kids were very gentle with him.  My job gave me time off.  When he graduated to the walker, we came home. All he had to do was sit around and heal, or so we thought. A week after we got home, he started having intense pain in one of his feet. He described it as if it felt like someone had out gasoline in his veins, lit them on fire and pounded on his foot with a sledge hammer. The ortho doc told us it was all part of healing. My dad had broken his pelvis and I didn't remember this being a part of it. After a month of the pain, we went to our regular doctor. I knew something was really wrong when Austin asked if they could amputate the foot. Thankfully, our doctor didn't write him off. She looked further into it and told us that she thought Austin had RSD, or as it was becoming known , Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).  CRPS is a nerve disease that produces intense pain.  You are never cured of it. If you can manage days without the intense pain, you are considered in remission. 

This began a three year nightmare of trying treatments that included Accupuncture, spinal blocks, removal of hardware, nerve conduction testing  and a whole bunch of prescriptions. He was in pain, either thanks to the CRPS or the arthritis in his back, all the time. There wasn't a good day. He didn't have pain free days. He didn't have pain free morning or evenings. He couldn't enjoy the kids. He didn't get to ride horses without paying for it for days. The medicines made him sick. They made it hard for him to sleep. He was a zombie. He looked awful and he felt awful. I prayed and prayed the doctors would find something to help him. Then, my prayers changed. I didn't care who or what helped him, just as long as there was help. 

I began trusting the prescriptions, less and less. It was clear to me that they were doing more harm than good. They didn't take the pain away. They weren't putting him into remission. They were eating his stomach and stealing him from the kids and I. In July of 2014, Austin agreed to try something else. He agreed to try the "voodoo crap" the kids and I had been using to help us feel better. In eight short days, it looked like the answer to our prayers was finally here. He could walk without bending over. His flares were fewer and farther between. He had energy. He had an appetite. He stopped taking all those medicines. 

Seven years after that horse flipped over on him, I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around all of it. It is still hard to believe that for the first three and half years of Josie's life, Austin was in bed before she was. For that period of time, he couldn't enjoy doing what he loved, riding horses. Seven years later, I still can't believe we found remission in a box of "voodoo crap". I am so very grateful God shoved us towards that box. It's nice to have the healthier, happier guy in the bottom left picture. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Bottle Calves and Nevers

Degnan is almost nine. That means I have successfully avoided having a bucket calf for about six years. He started asking around the age of three. 

At first, I just flat out said "No!"  Then, he recruited his sisters. I said, "It will ruin your lives!  You can't go anywhere."  Then, he started recruiting grandparents and aunts and uncles. I said, "Great!  Ask them to get one for their house and you can live there while you take care of it.  I am not feeding one.  That's what will end up happening. I will have to feed it."

So I won, right?  Yea right. There wouldn't be a blog if I had won the battle. It turns out God sided with Degnan, Makenna and Josie. He showed his favoritism with a set of twin calves. The mama cow was showing her favoritism so we got her leftovers. 

Has it ruined their life?  No. Have they left the house?  Yes. Is it still at our house?  Yes. Have I had to feed it?  Of course. But, I will say the times have been few and far between. The creepy country kids have really stepped up to the plate and taken care of Twitch. Yes, that's her name. So, meet Twitch. 

For the record, the milk replacer still stinks. Washing bottles is still gross. The calf is still cute. But, look at how happy the rancher is. Ugh!!

Monday, February 22, 2016


Signs from Heaven. It's a tough one for me to talk about. The few times I have opened up about it, I have been shut down or subtly made fun of. I get it. It's kind of weird to admit you believe someone is coming back to guide you through something.

Who do my signs come from?  Mostly, my brother, Jared. For those of you who haven't been in my life forever, Jared passed away when he was fourteen. I was seventeen. I also get some pretty clear messages from Papa, my grandfather. 

What signs have I seen or heard?  Jared's usually come in the form of his initials. It isn't as if his initials spell a word I see on a daily basis. They are "JDK". I see the letters on trucks. They stand out in things I read. I see them on signs.  When I was pregnant with Chaney, I was filled with worry. Two miscarriages in a row will do that to you. Whenever the worry would hit hard, I would see the initials.  I also run across small things that come out of nowhere. Jared loved "Calvin & Hobbes".  It isn't exactly a mainstream cartoon, these days. Yet, it popped up on my phone, just the other day with a message I needed to read while dealing with disappointment. 

 My signs or messages from Papa are usually a clear mental insert in my thoughts.  Just as I am struggling to hear what God is trying to point me towards, there is Papa's voice tuning me in. 

What do they tell me?  Unlike the delivery, the message is usually pretty consistent. "Don't worry. Trust God."

I don't know if everyone gets these type of messages. I don't know how they come to others. I do know I am grateful when I get mine. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Almost Perfect

I am not sure what a perfect day looks like, but this was darn close to showing me. 

Components of an almost perfect day are:

1.  No school for the kids.

2.  No work for me. 

3.  Beautiful springlike Kansas weather ... in February. 

4.  Great horses. 
5.  Spending time with Grandpa and Grammy. 
6.  Puppies. 

7.  Exploring old buildings.

The only thing missing was Austin. Darn jobs!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Goodbyes & Black Eyes

Degnan said goodbye to Tattoo this weekend. Tattoo taught Degnan a lot of lessons. Most of them weren't fun lessons. They were the kind of lessons only a pony can teach a kid. Degnan returned the favor. 

Degnan began to really miss Tattoo this evening. He mentioned that he wished he could have just kept him. I told him that he would have many horses in his life that he liked. I said it would be impossible to keep them all. He said Tattoo would have been one to keep. I compared Tattoo to Clancy, otherwise known as Equine Jesus around here. I asked Degnan if he would keep Tattoo over Clancy.  He looked at me and said "Of course not!!"  
*photo credit:  Amay Photo

I compared Tatoo to Dandy (equine apple of my eye) and asked if he would keep Tattoo over her. To my dismay, he said "Yes."  At that point, Makenna vehemently said "Hey!  I will fight you to the death for her and it starts with a black eye and a bloody nose!"  

Makenna quietly secured her place as favorite child of the day. Degnan backtracked (out of fear or wisdom) and agreed with her. Dandy is a better horse than Tattoo. Where was Josie in all of this?  Quiet. No one had mentioned her horse hero, Casino. She had no need to pipe up. 

It makes me feel good to know that we are giving them options of horses to love. Growing up, I had Jake. He taught me to love horses. It didn't come naturally to me like it does to Degnan. None the less, it was important to me to have Jake. I am glad we are giving our kids that experience. I am also happy to hear it is a love that will bring about feelings of fights to the death and black eyes. We all need to feel that strongly about something.