A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Crazy Cat Lady


First, a little update on volunteering.  Since May, I've served more than 130 hours with 8 different organizations.  75 of those hours have been at SPCA.  I think it's safe to say, I've found my favorite. 


One of the things I like best about SPCA is that there are so many different things I can do there. 


Hanging out with cats and kittens waiting to be adopted was what drew me in, and I love to do that. 


On the days I don't have anything else going on, I like to go in right after dropping the kids off at school, before they're open to the public. 


Starting the day giving some love to my furry friends makes me happy.  And so does the high turn over rate.  Most of these cats pictured have already been adopted. 


Another way I like to help out is by working the vaccine clinic days.  On these days, people bring their pets in for their shots.  I've learned a lot.  I've done a variety of positions on vaccine clinic days, and I like that it's interesting and busy.  It's funny, I've never been a dog person, but I'm learning to like them because of helping out.  Puppies can't be on the floor of the clinic until they've had all their shots (usually around 6 months old) and some of the larger breeds require a cart during their visit.  I've assisted people with their carts and met some nice dogs.  And I'm often handed leashes while pet owners use the restroom.  Whether I'm taking names, or helping people carry pet food to their car, or drawing up shots, the time passes quickly on vaccine clinic days. 


This sweetheart is Shirley, who is a special kitty I always liked to stop and visit.  She spent most of her time perched up on a shelf.  But she loves to have her head scratched.  Her info has disappeared from the website, so she may have been adopted.  I'll be sure to check next time I'm in. 


Another favorite way I serve is at the feral cat clinic.  Concerned citizens trap feral cats and bring them in to be spayed or neutered.  I had no idea how large the feral population was until I started helping out here.  We usually fix around 100 cats each weekend.  Those animals are then re-released into the colonies they came from.  I work recovery, helping them wake up after surgery, and it's always a little sad to know that all those beautiful animals are homeless. 


Some of the pictures I take while I pet cats end up on the website, and I hope they are helping to find those animals homes. 


Benny is a gorgeous kitty who was so photogenic I just couldn't resist snapping a few shots of him from outside his multi cat habitat during a vaccine clinic day.  I sent a couple on to one of the "real" volunteer photographers, who added them to Benny's profile online, and Benny has since been adopted. 


I know people think of SPCA as cats and dogs, but there are often other small animals in need of homes, as well. 


We frequently have bunnies, and various other smalls.  Right now, there are a couple of chickens and a bird. 


It's probably a good thing Paul has said I can't bring any of them home.  I fall in love with somebody pretty much every week. 


It's easy to do when they're so eager for attention. 


This is Boots, who is very vocal.  We had quite the conversation last week! 


The vast majority of the cats are short haired, so I'm sure someone will see Boots' longer fluff and fall in love. 


I am blessed to be able to "give back" in a way that gives so much to me. 


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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

November Happenings


I mentioned in October Happenings that we had an Emergency Room visit while Paul was gone for 2 weeks.

With that in mind, it was no great surprise when Paul called me to ask, "Which ER do you take the kids to?"  These things tend to come in 2s and 3s.


Brianna went in October, and this time it was Eli.  I was really glad it was Paul's turn.  (Small families probably don't argue over whose turn it is to do the ER run, do they?)

Eli was telling me the story later, and he said the doctor walked in and asked, "So, what did you do?"  I told him the doctor was asking if this was an accident or if your last words prior to the incident were, "Hold my beer."


So this is how he went to school the next couple of days.  (It actually occurred during weightlifting, he was maxing and strained his wrist.)  I told him if any of the administrators gave him the hairy eyeball to put on his innocent face and say, "Root beer, of course!"  He said, "I'll just tell them 'My mom wrote it.' "  Pretty much all the teachers just laughed at him.


Paul and I decided that, as much fun as it is to go to Costco and the auto parts store, just the two of us, it would be even more fun to go somewhere different.  So we went to the Nimbus Fish Hatchery in Folsom.


Grammy and I took the kids here, ages ago, when we first moved to the area and were exploring all the fun stuff.  But it's been a long time.  Somewhere, there's a picture of Zach on the giant fish climbing structure.  From like 2005?


You can't really see them, but there are monstrously large fish in there.  Salmon and steelhead.  After this, we went into the visitor center.  I was a little put off by the guys whacking the fish with a rubber mallet on the other side of the glass.  I know the fish die, I just don't need to see it, you know?


Then we went for a walk.  That building down there is the visitor center.


Fishermen in the American River.


Old people selfie.  I was trying to get the arch of the walkway in the background.  Instead, I got my finger.  Wrong generation.


When we went to Apple Hill, I bought a box of apples.  They were starting to turn, so Josiah peeled them and we made applesauce in the instant pot.  We made it on Friday, and I put it into single serving containers, thinking I'd put it into the kids' lunches the following week.  By the time I pulled out the lunchboxes Sunday night, all the applesauce was gone.  I'm told it was really good.  It was super easy to make, so maybe I'll have to make it again.  Literally 5 minutes cook time in the instant pot.


I don't want to get too excited, just in case something changes, but I've got a new bed set up in the corner of Josiah's room, anticipating a special visitor this month!  I'll have to get a couple of pillows for him.


I had told the girls they couldn't wear pants until it started raining.  Call me a big meanie.  We had our first rainy day, and upon coming home, Katie's brand new pants looked like this.  I suppose duct tape would be tacky?  If I tossed every pair that got holes in them, they'd go through 40 pairs a year!


This picture had gone missing when I posted the Marine pumpkin and the Army pumpkin last month.  I found a copy, so I thought I'd share it.  I thought it was pretty cool that Brianna and Boy chose to carve all the branches represented in our family.


First quarter ended, and I had conferences with the younger kids' teachers.  I'm pleased with how well everyone has transitioned to school life, and I think out of all 5 students, we only had 1 D on report cards. 


Eli made my day by bringing home leftovers from my favorite pizza place ever, which is too far away for us to patronize with any regularity. 


Hannah and Katie collaborated to color this autumn book that I had printed ages ago. 


Part of Katie's homework is to read for 20 minutes each night.  This is not a problem.  Katie likes reading.  In fact, I'm having her read through our baskets of readers one last time before I do a big purge of them.  I had a hard time paring down our collection of board books when she outgrew those, but I'm dumbfounded that it's time to say good by to the level 1 and level 2 books, as well.  I'll keep a handful of favorites, of course, but we don't need the rest any more. 


Wheeling and Hannah, sharing a sunbeam. 


My little zombie children, watching an unfamiliar movie at Shriners. 


We're working our way through the "new leg process."  Paul took them to their last appointment in October, where it was decided that they would have to recast Katie (basically, start over).  This was another long appointment, but we're getting closer.  We should take delivery of the completed legs in December. 


This time, we brought homework with us, since the girls were missing a day of school. 


While we were there, we talked with the film crew doing a new promotional video for Shriners, and they got some footage of Katie's fitting.  If we end up in the finished piece, I'll be sure to share a link. 

May you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We have so much to be thankful for. 


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Saturday, November 11, 2017

Adoption Book Review: Jack and Almost Jill


I love to see children's books about adoption, and not just for adopted kids.  The more we normalize adoption to all children, the less "different" that makes it. 


My youngest daughters, Hannah and Katie, were adopted from China.  However, there are different ways of adopting.  Jack and Almost Jill is a kinship adoption tale. 


I read Jack and Almost Jill, A True Story of a Twin Adoption with my girls, and we all enjoyed it. 


We may never know why Hannah and Katie's birth families were unable to care for them, but hearing this story gives them one of the reasons why a family might choose adoption for their child or children. 


In the family depicted, there were 3 sets of twins born to the same parents!  We have twins that visit us from time to time, so my girls have a pretty good idea where the phrase "double trouble" comes from. 


Hazel Quintanilla does a great job with whimsical illustrations throughout this easy to read book, geared toward K-3rd graders. 


There is one sentence that might not be appropriate to all adoptees:  "Being adopted means you have two families who think you are very special."  In closed adoptions (be they domestic newborn, foster adoptions, or international), we don't know what the first family thinks, and we need to be cautious about what we assume.  Overall, Jack and Almost Jill is a fun little book that depicts adoption in a very positive light. 

Author Jackie McReynolds-Ruchti also wrote a book about self-confidence and bullying called, Freckles are Fabulous


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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Apple Hill with Grammy


We had a weekend with Grammy planned before the Sonoma County fires broke out, and there for a while I wasn't sure if she'd be able to still come visit for not.  Fortunately, she's back in her home now, and it all worked out. 


The high schoolers had a half day Friday, so we took them out to lunch.  Aren't they adorable?  Later, we ended up taking Boy with us to pizza dinner, but there were no pictures. 


Saturday, we set off for Apple Hill.


Usually, we go during the week, with just the homeschool kids, but since no one is homeschooling this year, we had to brave the weekend crowds. 


I tried to get a group picture taken, but it didn't work out. 


We stopped at 3 different farms.


We bought apple donuts and apple butter and apple pies.  And plain old apples, too. 


Brianna wanted to make sure she got a chance to come this year, since if all goes well, next year she'll be in the Army. 


The girls got to ride horses. 


This really shows how far Katie has come.  She used to be so terrified of all animals. 


Hannah rode a horse at this farm the very first October she was home. 


Three generations of strong women. 


Donuts only hold you for so long.  We stopped at Taco Bell for a late lunch on our way home. 


Jack got Lego candy at the candy store behind High Hill, and built this wall when we got home. 


Grammy and the girls assembled this gingerbread haunted house that Grammy brought.  I supplied some partial cans of frosting out of the fridge, and a bit of extra candy. 


Jack helped with the decorating of the roof. 

It was a nice weekend, and it was really good to see my mom was doing okay after all the stress of the fires and being evacuated. 


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