Thursday, December 7, 2017

Life with Kids is Fun-ny

Imagine if you will.....

You're doing household chores.

In typical 'squirrel' fashion, you head toward the bedroom to put something away when you see the overflowing bin of plastic grocery sacks.  You make a slight detour to begin putting said bags in the empty tissue boxes you save whenever the tissues run out.  (This was a FABULOUS tip I received from my good friend Heather.  Putting recycled grocery sacks into tissue boxes to toss in the car, camper, wherever.  BRILLIANT!)

This is a simple task.

One that requires very little thought processes.  Just grab a bag; shake it out; stuff it in the box.

Repeat until the box is full.

I actually had saved up several boxes so was hopeful I'd be able to deplete my bag stash.

As I monotonously went through this process bag after bag, I came across some that needed to just. be. tossed.

You know the ones - the handle was ripped while toting the groceries in.

The bagger at the store filled the bag WAY to full and the bottom exploded leaving a tube more than a bag.

Yeah, I chuckled wondering why these bags ever made it to the 'storage' space, but... it happens.

Then, I came across a bag -- a rather nice, thick bag that we had gotten when we were in California.   The bags there were thicker, more sturdy.  I had been saving and using them for more 'industrious' purposes.

These bags (there are only a few) are not kept in the boxes with the rest.  They are 'special'. LOL!

As I started to shake out this particular bag to put it aside for it's one-day-more-important-purpose, I noted it was knotted at the top.

Unusal.

Upon further investigation, I also discovered a small 'bump' in it.  What felt like a toy.  Maybe the girls had used this bag to transport their toys for one of our car trips?

I needled away at the knot and untied the bag to retrieve the toy.

I pulled the handles apart and peered in.

Much to my surprise, I did NOT find a ball or small toy.

No indeed.

To my HORROR I gazed upon a small. dead. mouse.

Apparently this particular 'special, thick, nice bag' had been used to dispose of a tiny mouse that our cat, Silas, had - at some previous point in time - killed.

However, instead of disposing of this wonderful little trinket, some child living in our home, just tossed it up with all the other plastic bags awaiting the day mom would come along and put them all in the tidy boxes.

This.... was..... that..... day.

My assumption is the mouse was bagged.  The little package was simply left in whatever room the   mouse was originally found - most likely the girls' room as that's where our cat likes to take his tiny, caught, treasures.  At a later date, someone else (who knows, maybe even the same child who had since FORGOT about the mouse they put in the bag) found that bag upon cleaning and just tossed it up with all the other bags to be recycled and used again.

Giving ME the joy of opening a bag to a dead, stiff, not-smelling-so-good mouse.

Yes, life with kids is never boring.

Always something new and fun -- or at least funny (after you get over the initial gasp, gag, and shock anyway.)

Yet, I wouldn't change it for the world - although, I am hoping to not repeat this particular scenario again any time soon.


Thursday, November 30, 2017

Newest addition

In a quirky twist of fate, we added a new member to our Mini Mountain Menagerie.

While getting my hair cut a week or so back, my hair dresser mentioned she and her husband are fostering an adorable 10 mo old German Shepherd and wondered if we knew anyone who might want to adopt him.

She showed us the pictures and.....

Not THE picture she showed me, but still a cute photo of this awesome pup.
I.... Fell..... In..... Love!

This precious guy is a dreamboat.

Kuno is his name.

He was purchased by a family with children when he was a young pup.

He was a GREAT dog.

Loving and loyal to his owners and home.

He adored the children.  Was gentle with them.  Protective of them and their dwelling.

HIS home.

Apparently too much so for the grown-ups preferences.

He would bark and posture when anyone would come to the door.

Well - that IS what guard dogs do, after all.

The family was uncomfortable with his protectiveness so they relinquished him to the Front Range GSD Rescue.

My hair dresser and her husband are fosters for this group as well as raising 5 of their own german shepherds.

I half jokingly told Techno I wanted him.

He was THAT cute.

I love how he tilts his head when he's curious.  Which is often.
As we left, I nudged him more about the desire to get this dog.

We know Apollos is 'on his last legs' so to speak due to his age.  He's dwindling before our very eyes.  

(Granted we thought the same thing 2 years ago when he began having seizures and we got Titus, but....
 he's now 11 and losing weight despite eating and I don't foresee him making it another 2 years.  
Watch him prove us wrong.  Ha.)

Much to my surprise, Techno wasn't AGAINST the idea of another dog.  I won't go so far as to say he was FOR it, but.... NOT being against it is quite a stride forward.

German Shepherds are one of Elijah's favorite breeds of dogs so that was a huge 'advantage' toward Kuno.  Plus, it would be another dog for 4H dog training.  Not to mention, german shepherds are highly intelligent dogs so we could potentially train Kuno to be a D.A.D - Diabetic Alert Dog!!!

Bonus.... Bonus.... and... Bonus!

I contacted my hairdresser and she put me in touch with her husband

We went to their house and visited Kuno last weekend.
He's just so stinking cute.
We told the kids we were taking Titus to meet a new trainer - as it would be difficult to explain why we were taking Titus to Fort Collins -- that's not something we've EVER done.

They bought it..... hook, line, and sinker.

Little did they know, we were going to determine if this beautiful dog was a good match for our family.
Fortunately.... he was a PERFECT fit.
Once we were there, it initially seemed as though the 'trainer' was just showing us his training style.  Demonstrating with his own dogs to show what he was capable of doing with our dog. Then, he began talking about what to expect once Kuno was in our home.  I overheard Bethany whisper to Elijah, "Are we buying this dog?"

I believe Kuno knows he COULD take Titus out if he wanted to.... fortunately he doesn't seem to WANT to.
Titus holds his own, though.  He's just at a bit of a disadvantage size wise and breed wise.  LOL!
We talked more; answered questions; learned Kuno is already crate trained, housebroken, does well on a lead, has never run off even off-leash, and demonstrated he understands the commands for sit and down; we assured the foster family we were committed to raising Kuno for the long haul; that we were prepared for his guard dog nature as Titus is very similar; then we asked the kids if they wanted to bring Kuno home and welcome him into our 'pack'?

Without hesitation, they all bellowed, "YES!"

Even Bethany had a HUGE smile on her face, answering brightly and predominately in the affirmative.  (For any who know Bethany well at all, realize she is a CAT person all. the. way!  For her to enthusiastically root for getting this pup..... well, that spoke volumes.)

Titus also approved.
This was taken after Kuno came home and joined our pack, but they got along fine at Kuno's foster home as well.

The two dogs got along and played tentatively together.  Both were a bit timid with each other, but there was NO aggression between them.

Phew!
Now that they are home - they rough house quite often, but still... no knock-down-drag-out fights.

Techno and I headed back to For Collins the next day to bring him home.  We needed to prep the house for his crate and belongings.

He's officially 'OURS'.

The kids are ecstatic.

He's already attended his first 4H dog training class.
He did quite well after some initial 'barking' at all the other dogs
to show his protectiveness of our family when we walked in the door.
Now.... introducing him to our current 9 year old cat and our new 3 mo old kitten.... well.... that's proving to be a bit more interesting as he's never even SEEN a cat before now.

His crate is set up in our living room so he has a 'safe space' to go as he adapts to being part of the Williams' Mini-Mountain-Menagerie.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Change of Season Chores

I know all households have the 'change of season' chores, but our mini-mountain menagerie has brought all sorts of new-to-us chores to our list.

Before moving to the 'wild west' our change of season chores entailed bringing out the winter clothes, making sure the furnace was serviced, putting plastic on windows (this didn't happen all that often), and being sure the snow blower was ready to fire up when needed.

Now that we live in the mountains of the west and have added 29 animals to our family.... these chores have multiplied.

We still have to swap out summer and winter clothing; get out the winter boots; unpack the heavy coats; and gather up the gloves and hats -- but we also have to do a whole. lot. more.

We put plastic on all the windows in the office and craft camper - that was accomplished back in late Sept early Oct -- in the office, anyway.  I may not do the windows in the craft camper as I am not out there THAT often in the winter.

We have to get all the propane stoves serviced or cleaned AND we have to light all the pilot lights.  (Some  will most likely need to be 're-lit' multiple times throughout the winter as the strong winds often blow them out at the most inopportune times.)

We also still get the snow blower ready to run -- we just need to do this earlier than we'd ever have to do back east.

In addition we have to consider all our new animal friends.  Those we choose to have and those that just like to visit.  :-)  Much of our winter preparedness is to protect our animals from some of the visiting critters that like to hang out on our property.

The rabbits need to be moved this year because our current hutch is located in an area that results in heavy drifting.  Digging a trench in a 5ft drift each morning to be able to feed and water the bunnies gets old... fast.  Not to mention, our hutch is leaking like a sieve.

Our rabbit hutch than I assembled 2 years ago with old wood shipping crates.
It's leaking and the snow drifts in front of it tremendously,
so the rabbits have been moved to the garage.
Moving the rabbits before the first BIG snowfall was high on our priority list.  We managed to do this mid-November -- what a chore and adventure.  Our garage has rabbits E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E!!!!

Then there's the rabbits we need to process.  It's best to do THAT task while the weather is still 'slightly' warmer.  The colder it gets, the harder it is.  One's hands get quite frozen as you butcher rabbits hour after hour.  (This has yet to be done, but I do keep selling a couple rabbits here and there AND have a phone number for someone who will most likely help us.)

Then there's the camper to winterize -- although, fortunately that has already been accomplished as Techno feared frozen pipes when our first snow fall was predicted back in September.

The ONLY picture I could find of our camper.  Weird.
Speaking of snow, the perimeter of the property needs trimmed to avoid drifting along the roads from tall grass from our yard.  Always a joy to compete this task on 3 acres of land.

The dog run needs to be set up in preparation for the drifting that WILL occur as the snow begins to fall.  Leads need to be tied out as it won't take long and the drifts will be so tall the dogs can just walk over the fencing.  (This was an easy accomplishment, but we now will need a third with the addition of Kuno to our pack.)

In addition to the tie outs for drifting, I wanted to extend Titus' little 'dog shelter' and make a 'front' for it so snow wouldn't simply drift right into the opening making it rather useless in terms of a warm place to get out of the snow/rain/wind.  I managed to finally accomplish this by adding a pallet and some old scraps of wood we had around the yard.  Now the shelter is bigger and has a front wall with just a small opening along one side of the house for the dogs to fit through.  Hopefully this will keep the snow mostly out and allow a place for Titus to huddle when the weather turns snowy.  (Not that we don't bring him into the house, we do.  He simply tends to prefer being outside as his thick fur results in him overheating when he stays inside too long.)

It ain't pretty, but so far it's functional.  Maybe next summer we'll paint it along with lots of other structures that could use some sprucing up.
Our 'make shift' dog shelter for Titus.  Made completely from recycled wood/pallets we had around the yard.

The opening near the wall of the house is where the dogs can enter their new expanded hut.
Hopefully this will keep snow from drifting inside the shelter making it less than useful.
Inside the dog shelter.  Where the beds are located,
 Titus dug a nice 'hole' to keep himself cool in the summer.
Then there's the chicken coop and run.  First a good deep clean to prepare for the cold months is always in order as deep cleaning in the winter just. ain't. happenin'!  Putting down bedding in the coop and nest boxes to help keep the temps a bit warmer is useful too.  Getting the heat lamps and water heaters set and ready has to happen along with timers for lights and warmers to save on the electric bill a bit.  (Some of this is done, some is still in process -- like getting timers and the heat lamp set up.  Plus with the extended warm weather we've had, I think we'll go ahead and do another deep clean of the coop.)

Finally, I'm attempting yet another plan for keeping the run a bit less snow filled.  Last year I tried to put tarps along the far side of the dog run to help prevent some of the drifting INTO the chicken run and the area directly in front of the run door.  That backfired, however, and the drifts were in fact worse.  Mostly as a result of the tarps being partially torn off due to the wind generating strange drift formations.

This year, my plan was to 'wrap' the chicken run with the tarps which would allow for a lot more points of attachment.  Not to mention, the wind will be blowing against them so hopefully they will simply plaster themselves more solidly to the run structure.  (Nice dream, eh?)  I finally accomplished this just recently since we've had such a mild fall.  Prayerfully, this will keep the run from 'filling' with snow and allow the chickens to roam a bit more outside the coop throughout the cold winter months.

The side of the chicken run w/the door.  I wrapped the door separately so it still opens easily.
The back/end of the chicken run.  Hopefully this holds up through our harsh, windy winters.
Can't be any worse than last year, anyway.
Phew!  Living in the mountains and owning animals adds a lot to ones 'change-of-season-chore-
list' but... I wouldn't have it any other way.

We still love our mountain home and adding the animals has simply made for a more interesting adventure.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Right of Passage

Growing up it was the norm to ride in the back of dad's pick-up now and again.  Not daily, mind you. But... if you had a boatload of friends over and you were heading to the beach or park or some other venue - or... the cab was full of adults and no room for you - you'd all pile in the back and enjoy the wind in your face, hair whipping wildly about as dad zoomed down the road.

Now a-days, that's a BIG. FAT. NO. NO!

Unless living on a farm or ranch, most kids don't get to enjoy this wonderful thrill.

Yes, I know the dangers.  I understand why it's illegal (I think) and frowned upon to pile a bunch of wryly kids into the back of the pick-up and take off.

Believe me, I've been 'that mom' in my own vehicle driving down the road to see another parent with kids sitting in the open bed of a pick-up truck and thought, "How careless to put their kids's lives in jeopardy; how idiotic to allow their kids to be in the back of that truck on this fast highway."

Key words being 'main road or highway'.

Yet, this day.... as we prepared to go clean the cabin of Doug's aunt and uncle... our kids did just that.

They piled in the open bed of our Toyota pick-up truck along with our vacuum cleaner and away we went.

A quick trip around our private road to go clean a cabin.
They ended up doing this twice this summer - this pic was the second time.
Granted -- the whole trip is along dirt roads and my speed never reached much more than 15 mph during the duration of our drive.

Not to mention, the drive itself is probably a mile or three at most and we didn't pass a single car on the trip there OR back.  For all intents and purposes it was LIKE we were on a farm or ranch.

So... the kids got to experience the thrilling ride of bouncing along in the back of a pick-up bed as we hit and dodged a myriad of pot holes and boulders sticking up from the dirt road.

They were thrilled and in our Williams homeschool fashion, the girls got to ride and clean in their dress-up clothes they had put on earlier in the day for a tea party.  (Unfortunately, I don' have the pic of them in their dress-up clothes downloaded.)

Country living has it's perks.

Prior to moving to the wild, wide open, west I would have NEVER considered plopping my children in the back of the truck to go for a drive.

Now - with the private dirt roads, slow speeds, lack of traffic and other vehicles - I threw caution to the wind and gave my kids a taste of my own childhood.

I imagine I may be opening myself up to being flogged, flayed, and brought before the firing squad, but....

It was fun.

It was safe.

It was a quick ride on a bumpy, dirt road.

Another benefit to our mini-mountain-menagerie.

We simply love our mountain home.

Friday, November 24, 2017

False Alarm

As promised, here's the update on our 'potentially pregnant' 6 month old rabbits.

Fortunately, it appears as though our 'worry' was a false alarm.

Phew!

Although it is always fun to have kits - these were just a tad too young for my liking to be bred.

Not to mention, most of these rabbits are set to be 'freezer rabbits' not necessarily breeding rabbits and of course the worry of 'in-breeding' as it was siblings that were in the grow-out pens together.  As well as the fact that we are in our 'cold season' which - from previous experience - can result in the loss of baby bunnies.

With the worry that one or more of the young rabbits might be pregnant, we held off on moving the cages to their winter location.

After last winter - we knew that EXTREME drifting in front of the hutch doors would be the norm once the snow starts flying so... we rearranged some things in the garage to make room for our rabbits.

The kiddos were thrilled with this decision as it means not needing to dig out 5 ft drifts each morning.  :-)

Plus, our make-shift hutch has seen better days and is in dire need of some repairs - which I didn't feel would be easy to accomplish in the cold, snow, and wind of fall/winter.  (Yes, I realize I SHOULD have worked on that over the summer, but... hindsight....)

As of last week, we have now moved all the rabbits into our garage for the winter months.
These cute little guys will be toasty warm - until they hit the freezer, anyway.

They didn't fit quite as concisely as I'd hoped so we now have rabbits ALL. OVER. THE. PLACE!

But... at least they won't get drifted in or dripped on by melting snow.

Hopefully, by next winter we'll have their permanent home built - a pole barn - which will be better all around for everyone involved.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Discovery Days

As Bethany and Elijah are in their senior year of high school, they have had opportunities to visit colleges and attend 'fun' activities.

Just this month, Techno and I went with them to Discovery Days at the University of Wyoming.

An all day event where we started by visiting 'booths' of the various colleges/careers/activities that the kiddos could consider.

We spent a great deal of time at the psychology, engineering, and honors college tables along with quick stops off at the performing arts and research booths.  (Techno and I also grabbed a little information from the health services and scholarship booths - because, you know... parents.)

After meandering around the tables, we sat through the opening presentations to give an overview of UW.  Hearing from a panel of current students was informative and enlightening - although somewhat redundant since Jacob is already a student there -- this isn't our first rodeo.

UW really is a great school with lots of options for various types of individuals.

We divided and conquered as Techno and Elijah headed off to the engineering program presentation while Bethany and I went to the Arts and Sciences presentation as that's where the field of psychology falls.

Once these presentations were complete, we met up at the campus dining hall and had a quick lunch.

Some students feel the food at Washike isn't very good, but our kids, Techno, and I have to disagree.  Maybe it's just in comparison to the meals we were offered when we were in college, but... the variety is diverse, they have plenty of gluten free options, anything we've ever eaten there has been tasty, and if all else fails, there's always cereal, waffles, and ice cream -- what more could you ask for?

A quick pic after lunch.
I had intended to take pictures of each stage, but it just didn't happen.  Sigh.
Since the kids have stayed on campus in the past, we've seen the dorms since Jacob lived there, we skipped the dorm tour to give ourselves a bit more time to eat a leisurely lunch.

Following our meal, we headed off to hear about the cost of attendance for in-state students.

Again, somewhat redundant as Jacob is currently a student, but it was good to hear some of the minor changes and see the prospects Bethany and Elijah have for covering tuition.

To end the day we trekked across campus to view the Honor's House.  The house where honor's students can apply to live.

Techno and I had toured the house with Jacob when he was visiting campus, but I had forgotten some of it.  The atmosphere is quite nice; the living space and kitchen are amazing; the study rooms are spacious; the 'game/TV room' is open yet cozy; but the bedrooms are TINY!  Yet, they have carpet and look cozy and welcoming.

Bethany fell in love; Elijah not so much.

To see their differing personalities emerge in these areas is quite comical.

Bethany loved the Honor's House.  The camaraderie of being with like-minded students. The homey feel of living in a house with others.  The potential for building friendships and connections.

Elijah on the other hand decided it was too close for comfort with all those people.

Ha.

So true to their personalities.

They've both been accepted to UW and will most likely be among the students tromping around campus this fall.

Now we simply wait to hear about scholarships; acceptance into the Honor's College; housing assignments; and roommate determinations.

An exciting time.

A nervous time.

A time of change.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Turning 21

So many milestones.

Just a few weeks ago Bethany turned 18.

Now..... Jacob turns 21!

When you have adult children that no longer 'live' at home, you have fewer updated photos.
This was from Christmas 2016.
Whoa, how did that happen?

Not only did he turn 21, but today, on his birthday he will fly out to spend the week in Virginia with his girlfriend, Jenna, and her father to celebrate Thanksgiving.

WHAT?????

WAIT!!!

A new era of parenting all around.

We now have 2 adult children, one of which is old enough to purchase his own plane ticket and skuddle across the US to visit his girlfriend and spend a holiday with her and her dad.

On his birthday, no less.

Yes, times are a changin'!

Seems like just yesterday he was a mere tiny babe in my arms.  The perfect little being that made me a mom... Techno a dad.

Now?

Now he's heading out on his own - not coming home for the holidays.

<<Cue tears here.>>

Don't get me wrong - we are so very proud of who he is.  What he's doing with his life.  All he's done so far.  The strong character he imbibes.  The independence he exudes.

We love his girlfriend and are thrilled he's getting this opportunity to spend some special time with her.

It's all just. so. very. new.

Different.

We raise our kids in preparation for them to spread their wings.

To move out on their own.

To live a productive, purposeful life.

I'm proud to say, Jacob is well on his way to accomplishing all that and more.

So....

on this.....

his birthday.....

 I say....

Happy Birthday, fabulous young man!
I LOVE that he still comes home and decorates Christmas cookies with his siblings.
Not sure how many more Christmases we'll have this memory with him.

Now that those wings of yours are spread.... fly high.  (Quite literally, today, as you hop on that plane to go see the young lady who has captured your heart.)

Enjoy your birthday.

Happy Thanksgiving.

We'll celebrate once you return.

I'm confident this is merely the beginning of many changes in our lives as parents of adult children.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Behind the Scenes with T1D

Recently, the girls had to do more finger pokes to check their blood sugar than is typical now that they have continuous glucose monitors.

With having the Dexcom continuous glucose monitors (CGMs), they usually only need to do a blood glucose meter test twice daily to calibrate their CGM sensors.  This eliminates a lot of needle pokes to their tiny fingers.
Usually we rely on the Dexcom continuous glucose monitor for the blood sugar readings. Sometime, the CGM fails or the readings are just off and we have to revert to using the manual blood glucose meter and finger sticks.
This technology is a Godsend and we are so blessed to have it at our disposal.

However, at times, the CGM's are off; not reading; in warm-up mode; or other situations that require additional blood drops for getting accurate blood glucose readings.

Accurate readings are paramount to safe treatment of their diabetes.

It seemed recently that was a prevalent event for both girls.

I watched as Selah washed her hands; pulled out her test strip; slid it into the blood glucose meter; grabbed her 'poker' (as she calls it); pulled back the plunger to prep the lancet for jabbing her petite finger; choosing one finger, then another, then another before deciding which to poke; finally plunging the lancet into her little finger to elicit a minuscule drop of blood; once she 'squeezed out' an adequate amount, she placed the test strip to that drop so it could be 'drawn in' to then be read by the meter.  A beep; a pause; another beep; then the number appeared on the screen.  54.  LOW!  Too low.

Checking her blood sugar.
A juice.

Wait 15 minutes.

Check again.  (The scene above re-enacted to discover if the fast acting carbs had worked or not.)

A better number appeared.  

Breath released.

Later, in the middle of the night, a similar scenario played out as Trinity, through sleep filled eyes and staggering, gangly legs, went through all the same steps.

Reading low on her CGM -- a mere 42 -- we sprang into action.  This was a new sensor and we know from experience that the first day or so of a new CGM sensor can result in inaccurate readings so a finger stick is advisable before administering any corrective measures.  Hence, the need to wake her slumber.

She stood in front of my footstool - command center for 'all things diabetic' in our home - and began the process of checking her blood sugar.

Trinity taking insulin via a pen needle early on after diagnosis.
The routine played out again -- just with a different child.  Washing her hands; getting a test strip out; placing it in the meter; picking up and pulling back the plunger on her lancing device; choosing a finger - like her sister, she places the 'poker' to one finger, then another before pressing the button to release the small blade that will pierce through her skin on her bony fingers to draw a small drop of blood to the surface; once said drop is sufficient in size, she brings her meter to it and allows the test strip to absorb the blood and begin the calculating process;  beep; pause; beep; the reading appears.  56.  Not quite as low as her CGM alerted, but still too low.  Particularly while sleeping.

A juice.

Wait 15 minutes.

The process begins again.

A better number so back to bed she goes.

Mom's muscles relax - tense from the fear such lows elicit.

As I watched both girls, I found my heart weeping.

Tears threatening to  pool in my eyes.

This IS their life.

It won't end -- not anytime soon.  Not till a cure is found - which seems far off if attainable at all.

As I watched them, I was struck with how the actions were so smooth.

So familiar.

So ordinary.

So...... 'NORMAL'.

Yet at the same time I couldn't help but ponder how 'ABNORMAL' it all really is.

They will be doing this every day.....

.....multiple times a day.....

.....for the rest of their lives.  

Pokes, prods, blood drops, shots, needles, insulin pump insets, dexcom sensor insertion needles, juice boxes, honey sticks, eating carbs even when they aren't hungry due to low blood glucose levels, NOT eating even when they ARE hungry due to high blood sugars, guessing at carb counts, measuring and weighing food, calculating insulin to carb ratios, figuring out correction factors, blood draws at least every 3 months, endocrinology appointments at the same intervals, carrying life saving supplies daily - EVERYWHERE they go, dealing w/insurance for said life saving supplies, insulin, glucose tablets, syringes, alcohol swabs, test strips, blood glucose meters, lancets, glugagon kits that cost a fortune.

Some of the many things the girls need.... Just. To. Survive!


THIS.  IS.  THEIR.  LIFE!
The life saving insulin that keeps them alive, but has the potential of taking their lives as well.

I'd take it away and live it myself in an instant.

Unfortunately, I can't.

For that, my heart breaks.  Tears sting.  Thoughts swirl.

At the same time pride soars.

These girls are so resilient.  So strong.

This is the needle that inserts the pump canola - that's a big, long needle if you ask me.
 No wonder they get nervous.  And to think I used to fret over getting my blood drawn.
They take it all in stride; they don't let it stop them or really slow them down too much.  

They are fighters!

Warriors!!

Pump site after insertion.  They have to go through this every 3 days.

My heroes!!!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

OOOOPS!!!

Raising meat rabbits has become one of our journeys in 'homesteading'.

We have a very limited rabbitry compared to many..... maybe even most.

We have 16 rabbits now -- after selling 4 Silver Fox rabbits this past weekend: 11 of which are our meat rabbit stock.  Many rabbitries we know of have well over 100 rabbits.  I'm sure large meat rabbit productions have significantly more than even that.

WHOA!!  I.  CANNOT.  EVEN.  IMAGINE!

Part of the reason we have a smaller number is the cost, but also the limited amount of space we have to successfully keep rabbits.

This lack of space may have resulted in an 'OOPS' in our rabbit raising.

From research, we have chosen to start breeding our rabbits once they are around 8 months old.  Granted, some rabbit breeders choose a younger age - 5-6 months - but the limited research I did indicated that the doe will have bigger litters and will grow to a bigger size if you wait until she's closer to 8 months.

That said... we do allow our rabbits to 'grow out' together in larger cages until they get a bit older.  We had our rabbits mixed together:  does and bucks happily co-habitating in their little grow-out pens.

A couple weeks before selling our 4 meat rabbits, I separated the does and bucks -- placing several bucks together, 2 different cages of does together, and a single buck in a smaller cage.  (Rabbits not used to living together may fight and harm one another, so the single buck that had been with several does, ended up in his own little bachelor pad.)  Lucky him.  The others have to share their space.

Recently, the girls noted one of the cages where 2 does are rooming together, looked as though fur was being pulled.

See those tufts of hair?  There was quite a bit of that in/around this particular cage of 2 does.
Hmmmm.... that's a sign of kindling occurring soon.

Initially I thought maybe they were just 'molting' or pulling each others fur a bit since they are roommates.

However, the fur clumps were getting bigger.  More prevalent.  Not just a tuft or two.

JUST IN CASE - I went out and the girls and I separated the two does and put nesting boxes into their cages filled with a bit of straw.

This young doe appears to like her nesting box -- pregnant or not.  I imagine it's nice and cozy if nothing else.

As I moved one of the does, her tummy area did feel a bit 'full and lumpy' - both signs of kits growing within her womb.  The other one less so.

This is the one I THINK seemed 'more pregnant' but.... who really knows.
Time will tell now.

I hope that moving the mamas didn't cause too much stress if either of them ARE in fact pregnant.  I'd hate to be the cause of losing a litter (or two) of kits -- even if said litter was unplanned.

Another lesson learned in the trenches.

When separating kits from mama rabbit - put bucks in one cage and does in another.  Even with the best intentions - you may not get around to separating them later before 'accidents' can happen.

Stay tuned to see if one or more of these potential little mama's have baby bunnies in the next few days.




Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Costumes

As Halloween approached, the kids began their 'quest' for costumes.

I honestly think our kiddos enjoy the 'dressing up' WAY more than the actual act of trick-or-treating and getting candy.

The girls had expressed some of their plans.

A lady bug character from a Netflix cartoon they all watch; lego people from another show they occasionally view.

The older kids -- they were still discussing what they could be together -- a 'group costume', if you will.

Then...

.....we went to the consignment store.

Trinity found a 'goddess' type dress and decided she was going to be a 'Fall/Winter Princess'.

The cream and blue, long, flowy dress with a gold leafed headband cinched her plans.

Once she made this decision, the other two quickly changed courses on their costume choices.

Lady Bug and lego people were out - Spring/Summer Princess was in for Selah and a 'Royal Peacock' was the plan for Charity.  With how quickly they changed and with such precise costume ideas, I can't help but think they had a back-up plan in the works all along.  LOL!


<<Glad I hadn't started purchasing supplies for the OHTER costume choices they had mentioned.  :-)>>

Meandering through the same consignment shop we found a formal dress in a teal satin w/a teal blue and green mesh overlay covering the same teal satin skirt along with teal blue and black feathers adorning the chest area.  It was appropriately labeled 'Peacock Prom Dress'.  Originally I balked at the price -- this is a COSTUME after all, but an employee walked up as we were admiring the dress and informed us it was 50% off.  THAT made it worthwhile.  If I were to buy material to make a peacock costume, it would easily come to the cost of this dress or more -- at least at it's sale price.

We purchased both the 'Goddess' dress and the Peacock Prom Dress on the spot.

My work had just decreased exponentially with these purchases.

All I had to do was take Trinity's dress up a bit at the shoulder so it wasn't too low cut and the length was a bit shorter so she wouldn't trip.  Purchasing an off-white shirt to go under it to give modesty and warmth completed the package.

Taking in the side of the prom dress, cutting off a little length of the 'underskirt' and 'bunching' up the mesh and satin overlay in various spots, resulted in a nice, elegant start to a 'peacock' costume.  Adding a few 'sparkly peacock feathers' to the back of the dress, a headband with more feathers on her head, along with a black shirt under the whole shibang, and Charity'll be quite the 'royal peacock' for her dress-up debut.

A few days later - browsing through the costume section at Walmart - Bethany found a 'Goddess' outfit in a child's size colored pink and white that mimicked Trinity's dress.  PERFECT!  The two princesses were set.  A simple white long sleeved shirt will make Selah's dress warm and modest as well.
Pretty Princesses and a Perky Peacock.

Of course, they did want sparkly princess capes to 'complete' the look, but... that's not hard to accomplish.

A bit of mesh material, ribbon, some elastic and a few seams later - voila - princess capes were done.

Glittery cloaks and shimmering feathers to complete the look.
While at the Goodwill some days later, Bethany found a white and gold 'Goddess' dress that mirrored the girls' dresses.

The little girls BEGGED her to get it.  To have a costume that matched theirs.

It was rather inexpensive so we went ahead and got it.  Since the boys hadn't made any decisions about 'matching costumes', we were making it for them. They'd have to come up with something to go with HER costume. LOL!

Girls rule that way.

After some discussion, debate, and disagreement -- a compromise was made.

The older three are being 3 of the elements - fire, earth, and air.  Who needs water, right?  LOL!  The girls determined they are the princes and princess of said elements - the wind princess, the earth prince, and the fire prince.  Appropriate, I guess. Royal costumes abound.

Bethany, in her white flowing dress w/gold accents will be 'wind'.  A gold shirt and white leggings added under the dress and she'll be toasty warm not to mention her modesty will be in check.  A headband adorned w/gold 'gems' and ribbons and voila -- the WIND PRINCESS!

The Princesses with their Royal Peacock.
Jacob will wear red and orange to exemplify 'fire' - drawing flames on his shirt with fabric paint; coloring his hair to embody the 'flame idea -- and -- is having me make a grey and red cloak.  <<How does a cloak make one think of fire, you ask??  I'm not entirely sure, I think it's more because he simply likes cloaks. :-)>>  Edited after the costume debut -- he chose to wear black and grey with some red hair spray in his spiked hair along with the cloak I put together.  He didn't have time to make his 'flame shirt'.  (Not sure I'd say he pulled off 'fire', but... fun was had by all, none-the-less.)

The Princes and Princess of the elements - Earth, Fire, Wind!
Elijah will wear brown pants, a green shirt with leaves and moss sewn on by yours truly to represent 'earth'.  Bethany thought plants, leaves, vines - that would be a good way to express earth easily.  I agreed.  Since I'm the one making said costume -- that's how it shook out.

Earth Prince and Wind Princess.
Dressing up is such a fun event in our house.  I wouldn't be surprised if many of our kiddos get involved with Cosplay as they age.

How else can grown adults get away with elaborate dress-up costumes on a regular basis?

I guess they'll also have the chance as they have their own kids and dress up with them on Halloween and various costume parties.

The 5 kids at home all dressed up in their costumes for the day.
We even went to the girls' endocrinology appointments in these get-ups.
It's usually a fair amount of work, (often resulting in a bit of stress for the one MAKING the costumes) but it's fun to do - creativity flows - not to mention watching the joy on our kiddos faces as they ALL tromp around wearing their new imaginative dress-up clothes.  Giggling, smiling, pretending.  Living out their imaginations - together - as they 'become' whatever their costume represents -- a princess, a peacock, a fictional character enacting an element.

The memories alone make it all worth it.




Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Making of a Cape

Since this year I was privileged to make not one, not two, but THREE cloaks for costumes.... I thought I'd share the simple manner I discovered to make them.

This was the easiest cloak pattern I could find with the fewest steps and least complicated techniques.

I found this tutorial on Pinterest (https://mellysews.com/2016/02/easy-princess-cape-tutorial.html) and adapted it to my needs.  (Giving credit where credit is due.)

For the girls simple, sparkly, mesh, capes - I pretty much followed the above directions precisely other than the measurements.  My girls wanted their capes long and their hoods 'big' so they could have a 'veil' when the hood was on and a lot of 'poof' when not wearing it.

For the third cloak I continued with the basic concept, adding some modifications due to the fact this frock was to be 'lined'.

First - Jacob bought his fabric.

He chose a grey and red 'knit' type material.  Not my favorite textile to work with, but.... hey, he paid for it..... so.... I had little to no choice but..... to go with it.

I laid out both pieces of fabric on our living room floor -- one on top of the other with the right sides facing one another, since the cloak was to be lined.

Next I simply had Elijah lay on the fabric to determine the length of the cape and hood.

To do this, I measured from the top of his head to his shoulders and added several inches (giving the 'hood' a little extra 'poof' and bulk); then I measured to the bottoms of his feet and added an inch or so for the seam allowance. 
The grey material and red material - right sides together - Elijah stretched out on them to measure hood and length.

I marked both.

A line across the top for the 'hood' measurement
and a line across the bottom to cut off the excess for the proper length.
Next, I cut off the excess.

I used my cutting mat and rotary cutter to make this step as simple and precise as possible.
After this, I sewed all four sides closed, leaving a small section on one of the short sides (the one that will become the bottom) so as to be able to turn said cape right side out.

Sewing all 4 sides together -- with the bulk of close to 4 yards of material -- proved to be tricky.
Upon turning the cloak right side out, I debated with myself.  Was this sufficient or should I sew a topstitch around the entire cloak to give a more 'finished' look?  Completing this step would allow me to close up the bottom seam leaving the entire garment looking polished and refined -- especially the hood.

HOWEVER.... upon viewing the cloak in it's sewn together state, I determined putting the topstitch around the perimeter was simply not necessary for a costume.  That means I will need to do a quick stitch of the bottom when it's all said and done.

Not a big deal in the long run.

From here, I used my large sewing ruler as a 'guide' and marked a line for the placement of the ribbon (as my original mark was now on the inside of the cloak.  Doh!)  This will define the 'shoulder' section and also become the tie closure for the cape.  Pinning the ribbon down, I decided to place it on the inside rather than the outside of the cape as I'd done for the girls.  This will allow Jacob's tie closure to be 'invisible' when he wears it.  Above the ribbon will be the hood, below the 'body'.

Once the ribbon was pinned in place, I simply sewed down both long sides to make a 'pocket or tube' in which to thread the elastic.  I cut the elastic according to Elijah's neck/shoulder width so the cape would be 'gathered' once it's fed through and sewed into place inside the ribbon casing.

Sewing the ribbon down to make the 'casing' for the elastic.
Before adding the elastic, I folded the cape in half lengthwise with the ribbon on the outside.  By having the ribbon on the outside, the seam of the 'hood' along with the tie will be on the underside or inside of the cloak and not visible upon wearing.  Next I marked a curve along the 'point' of the hood as Jacob opted to not have it 'pointy'.  Then I sewed the 'top' of the cape together along said curve, making the hood of this simple cloak.  After it was sewn together, I cut off the excess material where I sewed the 'curve' and the bulky seam of the hood.

The cloak folded in half and pins to mark the 'curved' hood.
After that was all accomplished, I was able to thread the elastic through the ribbon casing to gather the cape at the neck/shoulder area.  Sewing the ends of the elastic in place at the edges of the ribbon casing on both sides completed this step.  The ribbon extends past the edges of the fabric to allow it to be tied shut - or a pin could be used as well.

The finished product with the hood down.  It's not as 'full' as Jacob had wanted,
but Elijah said, "If he doesn't like it, I'll take it."  LOL!
Just a few modifications and I had a lined, hooded cloak in a handful of simple steps.

Not to mention the time it took was fairly minimal.

The longest amount was spent getting the material laid out straight.  Go figure.  :-)

With the hood up.
The most difficult aspect was the shear volume of material with which I was working.  Close to 4 yards of knit fabric - doubled - is A LOT of fiber to maneuver.

The back with hood down in the back.  I like the rounded hood.  Probably could have rounded it even a bit more.


Monday, October 30, 2017

My Career - Motherhood

I consider being a mom and wife as my biggest 'calling' in life.

It's the most important 'job' I could have.

Yet, the prevailing message I perceive from our society is that this 'career choice' is no longer valid or valued.

Sure, there are still some of us 'die hard' moms out there that choose to stay home with our kids, but for the most part.... it's not respected.

Even more...   for those who do choose it, it's not considered 'ENOUGH'.

I'd dare to go as far as to say it's somewhat looked down upon - almost with disdain.

I see it on social media; in conversations w/friends and strangers; in commercials; TV shows; magazines.

The goal as a woman is to 'have it all'!  And 'all 'certainly is NOT to JUST stay home with one's children.

I recently read a 'new blog' in which the author was talking about just this very thing.  She mentioned being a mom and wife, but went on to say she's a '21st century woman' and can have it all, do it all.  Granted her point was that she's not trying to be what others say she has to be, but at the same time her emphasis was that she's not JUST a mom and wife. 

The prevailing message is:  Be a mom, but for heaven's sake 'don't lose yourself' while doing so.  Have your career - outside of the home. Something that DEFINES you. Don't - by any means - allow the terms WIFE and MOM to define you.  You are MORE than that.

That's the underbelly of most sentiments around the career 'MOTHERHOOD'!

When our older three children were young - infants and preschoolers, I joined a mom's group called MOPS - Mother's of Preschoolers.  It was a Godsend.  Techno and I had decided when Jacob was 18 mo old that I'd stay home - full time - to care for him and our home.  It was such a blessing to be able to do that.

I'm not going to say being home full time is always rosey - it's not.  Especially when you are in the trenches with young kiddos and have limited contact with adults during that time.  It's tough.

Sometimes you just want another grown up to talk to.

MOPS filled that need..... and more.

Friendship; encouragement; compassion; camaraderie; were all found with other woman navigating the same trenches I found myself in.

It also acknowledged the nobel calling of motherhood, wifehood.  It shed light on the importance of being home with one's children; of choosing to care for the home and your husband.

I was so elated when this group came into my life.  It helped me embrace the role I knew God had prepared me to fill and cemented my belief that such a role was meaningful.  Important.  Vital.

When our girls were born, I noted a change in the direction of that group.  It still supported moms of young children, but the 'bent' of the group was more toward empowering moms to meet their FULL potential - which now seemed to mean MORE than 'just motherhood'.

I was perplexed.

Motherhood, in and of itself, is an AMAZING way to fulfill one's greatest potential!  What greater way to impact lives than to raise up your own children?

I chose to not remain a member of that group.

It no longer fit my needs.

Plus, I was older, more mature, more established in my beliefs and friendships.  My older kids were being homeschooled and to be honest - I had more than enough conversations to fill my day.  :-) (Which if you recall, was one need I had when my children were young - conversation that included more than 2 syllables at a time.)

Reflecting now - I still see this same sentiment expressed.

Sure, being a mom is important, but....

..... it's not 'enough' for most.

Why?

It should be.

It could be.

It IS!

Maybe not everyone WANTS to be a full-time-stay-at-home-mom, that's their prerogative.  However, for those who do... shouldn't it be a viable, acceptable, even applauded role?  Just as any other 'career' a woman chooses is commended?

When I attempted to work part time, once all of our kids were school age, and I felt a few days a month working a few hours a day wouldn't be a big deal, I discovered an interesting mindset.

First of all was my own.

Even though our kids were a bit older - the youngest was 7.5 and the oldest was 19.5 and off at college - I still felt as though my 'job' should be at home - with those children.  Even though they don't 'need' me like they did when they were young, I could still be present to mold their character, answer their questions, console them when they were sad, comfort them when they were sick, rejoice in their triumphs, encourage them in their failures.

Just being there is important.

It matters.

More interesting was the perspective of others.

When I'd express how my kids missed me and I them, the prominent response I heard was, "Well, it's good you can be home with them, buuuuut it's really important that you get time away for yourself.  This is good for YOU.  You NEED this time away."

Most everyone I came in contact with espoused this opinion.

I was shocked.  Dumbfounded.  Saddened.  Mystified.

Maybe I'm just a mutant in my thoughts and feelings, but... I enjoy being home with my children.

I revel in watching them grow, mature, learn, even fail, and try again.

Sure, time for myself is important and necessary for prime health, but.... I can honestly say a 'job' or 'career' outside of the home isn't necessarily the way to accomplish that.

My CAREER is that of WIFE and MOM.

Those who choose to work outside the home - to have a different career - need time away from their job as well, right?  It's no different for moms who have made 'being home' their career of choice.

Most people don't get a second job in order to 'get time away' from their first job.  That's crazy talk, am I right?  No, most people take a day off; go shopping; go to the spa; go golfing; play tennis; take a day trip; stay home and watch Netflix; take a vacation; whatever it is that they find relaxing.

Why should it be different for me?  For stay-at-home moms?  My 'job' is wife and mom to my wonderful crew.  When I need a break, I do any number of the items mentioned above or some days.... I just take a nap and that's enough 'time away' to do wonders.

I'm a homeschooling mom to 6 wonderful children (well, 5 now as the oldest is off on his own in college) and wife to Techno.  My job is to teach these children - not only academics, but life skills; as well as tending to our home - via household chores, cooking, etc; and being a good wife to Techno.

If I do my job well, our children will become excellent members of society.  They will be movers and shakers in their own rights.  My husband will thrive in his chosen field.  Our home will be inviting, warm, and welcoming.

Just as a woman who values her corporate job and the successes she has there, I relish in my chosen field and appreciate the fruits of my labor when I see these smiling faces.

The reason I chose this career as MOM!  Why I LOVE my job so much.
I take my job description seriously.

I LOVE this career I've chosen.

I wish others valued it as well.

At the very least I desire that others wouldn't diminish this choice as something 'less' or not as fulfilling of a career as some other occupation done outside of these 4 walls I call home.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Bunny Woes

Cappuccino - Trinity's chocolate mini-rex rabbit, suddenly displayed some alarming symptoms.

In under a week she had dropped significant weight and overnight had become quite lethargic.

Still eating and drinking, I wasn't sure what could be wrong.

How could she be losing all this weight and be eating all her food daily?

A text to my 'expert' rabbit friends and it was obvious a trip to the vet was in order.

Once the vet saw her, she determined it was most likely a very mild respiratory infection along with dehydration and not enough nourishment.

What?  How can THAT be?  She eats all. her. food. daily.

We feed 16% protein pellets and usually hay.

However, we had run out of good hay and what we did have had gotten wet and I didn't want to risk giving it to the rabbits for fear of mold growth.

Apparently, hay should be the majority of all our buns' diet.

Some rabbits just don't tolerate and gain as they should on pellets alone.  'Cappy' appears to be such a rabbit.

So.... many dollars later -- like triple the cost of said rabbit -- she is home; getting oral antibiotics twice a day via a syringe directly into the back cheeks of her little mouth;  a whole slew of hay; along with her pellets; and of course fresh water; and she is doing SO.  MUCH.  BETTER!

Since she is inside - separated from the other rabbits - to avoid spreading any infections, the other two girls wanted to bring their bunnies in for me to 'check'.

Mocha is doing well.  Her fur is growing back nicely and she is gaining weight well.

Wrinkles looks great.  He's curious, a good size, and his fur is so soft and supple.  However, upon flipping him to check his nose and teeth, one of the girls noted the fur on one of his back paws was worn off and he had a small red sore.

This happens sometimes when rabbits live in wire cages.  Boo!
We will be making small wooden 'pads' for our new rabbits to sit on in their cages.
Sore Hocks.

Geesh -- when it rains it pours, I guess.

Fortunately, the girls made first aid kits for both our rabbits and our chickens this past year for 4H fair.

They have both been quite handy.

We washed the foot with warm soapy water to remove germs; rinsed the soap off; applied antibiotic ointment; then a coat of aquaphor to protect the area.

Adding antibiotic ointment to Wrinkles poor sore hock.
(forgive the blurry pic, Trinity was in charge of the phone.)
We added extra hay into his cage for him to 'rest' on until I can cut out some boards for him to sit on in his cage.

THIS is why it's so important to 'examine' your rabbits regularly to be sure all is well.

We caught both of these instances early.  Quickly.

In so doing, we were able to treat them before either ailment became life threatening.

Having our mini-mountain-menagerie is definitely a learning experience that keeps us on our toes.




Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Individual Zone Cleaning

After we moved to the mountains, some of our 'cleaning schedules' began to break down.

I'm not sure why.

The smaller space?

Our schedule slowly becoming busier?

The kids' school work getting more intense?

My bought of depression after the girls' diagnosis and my mom's death?

I'm sure they all contributed.

But... whatever the reason, we got into a rut.  The house would slowly deteriorate throughout the week.

Resulting in Saturday being an 'all-day-cleaning-day'.

This wasn't a HORRIBLE thing, but it did mean by mid to end of week, the house looked awful and come the weekend ALL we did was clean.

Not to mention the chaos if for some reason we were 'busy' with some other task on the weekend.  Then?  The house would become a veritable pit before the next weekend hit.  Sigh.

It also meant the house really only felt and looked tidy and peaceful for a day or two -- MAX.  At least on the days we DID get to the cleaning.

That in and of itself was deflating to me personally.

To counter this, I came up with assigning 'areas' to each child to work on daily -- 15-30 minutes a day.  (Originally I figured 15 min a day twice a day, but it's turning out to be more like 20-30 once a day due to their school work and other 'chore' schedules.)

This approach actually appears to be working quite well.  (Most of the time, anyway.)

We plan to rotate areas every several weeks.

Allowing each person to get 'good' at their particular zone, but also preventing any one person from having the 'lion's share' of the work.  I originally thought of rotating weekly, but decided this could allow one person to 'slack' on their zone resulting in the next person being responsible for 'picking up that slack' and being bogged down.

Let's face it.... cleaning the school room is no where near as demanding as cleaning the kitchen etc.
Plus, next year the older kids go off to college.  The girls need to know how to do ALL of the chores so it's not a shock to the system once they take them over in just a mere 11 months or so.

Now, this may sound 'extreme'.

ONE person is responsible for the kitchen?

It's not quite THAT bad.

The breakfast dishes and cleaning of the island/table/counters are the girls responsibility while the older two walk the dogs.  They even have a chart on the refrigerator that divides out who does what, when.  Lunch is on the big kids.  Dinner once again falls to the girls while the older two again walk the dogs for the evening.  Not to mention I do some of the dishes as I cook and meander through the kitchen throughout the day.

Then, once a day, the individual who has the 'kitchen' chore is responsible for a more thorough clean. Putting everything on the counters away; wiping down the counters; wiping off the fronts of the cabinets (although this one still gets forgotten often - maybe MOST of the time, actually); sweeping the floors; emptying trash etc.

The living room gets straightened - everything off the floor and put away; swept; dusted at least once mid-week so it doesn't build up too much - again, I'm finding this one gets 'forgotten' more often than not, but.....  (We live in a VERY dusty location so it can look not dusted mere hours after completing said dusting.)

Same with other areas of the house - the dining room gets swept, straightened, table cleaned, and the pantry 'picked up' daily.  The bathroom counters gets wiped, toilet swished, floors swept -- daily.

Each 'zone' in the house gets a little 'spruce up' throughout the day.

Since all the chores are being done regularly, the house stays looking 'presentable' and the 'all-house-clean' on Sat doesn't take near as long.  Plus, if we happen to have a week where Sat is already full, (which happens often as we get further into the school and 4H year) the house doesn't look as though a tornado went through -- or at least it looks like a category 1 or 2 rather than a 5.  :-/

I think it's been a win-win for everyone.

The kids are learning to do things bit by bit; picking up; putting away instead of simply stepping over the 'mess' on the floor; being more purposeful; etc.  Plus, their Saturdays are not completely eaten up cleaning the house.

More free time in the long run.

The house may not be perfect - my post about messes in the kitchen made that obvious - but... once a day, the house usually looks 'decent'.

(Although, busy schedules still tend to wreak havoc on the best laid plans -- when we have appointments out of the house; big projects due in school; other chore projects that eat up more time than expected; this system still 'breaks down'.  However, it's better than it was so it's a gold medal in my book.  Plus, habits are being formed that'll last a lifetime which is the greatest incentive of all -- that's the hope anyway.)

I don't twitch nearly as often.

My blood pressure doesn't rise, pounding in my veins as I walk through the house.

I've come to accept our house will always look 'lived in' because, well, that's exactly what we do.  We live and love in our little house.  That results in constant messes, constant dishes, constant books and papers on surfaces.

However, I've also come to expect that we can keep some modicum of order in our everyday chaos.

The zone daily cleaning is helping us accomplish that order.

At least on a minor scale.

It may not be 'Martha Stewart or Pinterest Worthy' but.... it's homey; it's safe; it's ours.

Our little 'controlled mess'.