Wednesday, December 28, 2011

We will celebrate Hanukkah

     When I made my 101 List I thought that I wanted the use of a new Advent Calendar to be my new family tradition. I also considered a few other things but I came around to something totally different; possibly controversial. The purpose of my resolution to decide upon a new tradition and to develop it is to create something unique that my family does that will educate our future children and has meaning. After reading and great deliberation on John and my behalf, we have decided that our family will celebrate Hanukkah.

      In no way are we leaving our Christian faith or roots in the church. However, correct me if I am wrong, but did Jesus not celebrate Hanukkah? Do the Christians and Jewish faith not worship the same God? Christianity has it's roots in Hebraic tradition and our religion was born with the Jewish people.

     I am not ignorant nor naive enough to suggest that there is not a great divide that happened many centuries ago between the people of Judea and the Followers of Christ. I have simply made the decision that we will recognize and celebrate the holiday.

Hanakkah is what exactly?

       (Excuse the simplification) Hanukkah is also known as the Feast of Lights. Israel was under the rule of Alexander the Great but the Jews were allowed to continue with their religious practices and celebration of their holidays. Then after several generations, a localized ruler came into power (Antiochus IV) and began to oppress the Jewish people. This time period included the massacre of their people, prohibition of practicing their religion and the desecration of their Temple.

      A rebellion against the opressors came into fruition led by Mattathias and his son Judah Maccabee. The rebels were able to push the Syrian opressors out of their land. It came time to re-dedicate their temple; however, when it came time to light the Menorah, there was only one small jar of oil sealed by their High Priest available.  Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days until new oil could be brought in. 

     Since then, Jews have celebrated the victory over their oppressors and the Miracle of the lasting oil. The celebration lasts 8 days and on each night a new candle is lit on a special Menorah.

     God's provisions for His people was a miracle for them, and I believe His miracles should be celebrated always. If there was a holiday dedicated to the splitting of the loaves and fish - we would honor it as well. 

The 7 Biblical Celebrations
       When you look at the 7 different Biblical Celebrations, all a part of Jewish tradition you will find that they are all full of Messianic significance pointing to Christ.

Our Celebration

      We will still celebrate Christmas - and when the two holidays occur at the same time, Hanukkah will still have an important role in our household.  We will light a candle each night of Hanukkah remembering how God provided for His people in a time of need. Each night when we celebrate we will pray for the missionaries and people around the world. 

      For those who question how this will impact our future children, I answer that our children will understand the holiday and respect the importance of it to the Jewish belief and how the history is involved in our Christian Faith. 

     Since the celebration of Hanukkah will be about understanding and respect, I'm not sure if we will have gifts during the holiday or not. Possibly once we have children, but small things only. 

      I know many Christian families that do not include Santa Claus in their Christmas traditions, or they don't give gifts on Christmas (rather they choose Kings Day in January or Boxing Day on the 26th). Others choose not to include the Easter Bunny or eggs in Easter, or even yet call it Resurrection Day rather than Easter at all. Now I have learned of the many, many Christian homes who celebrate Passover and Hanukkah and various other Jewish celebrations 

While we don't have children, I believe we will probably keep the pagan rituals in our holiday celebrations but teach the true meaning of the Holiday. After all, none of these is a Biblical holiday or a Commandment from Christ - the purpose of all of these celebrations is to celebrate God. If your heart is in the right place you are celebrating the true meaning of the holiday.

Chanuka Sameach or Happy Hanukkah!

** Regarding marking this off my 101 list - while we have decided that this is what we will do, I will wait to mark it off the list until I have purchased a Menorah and we have actually celebrated the holiday. **

Pinterest Love

       If you aren't familiar with the wonderful world of Pinterest - you need to be!! Some people just use it to collect other peoples "pins" - but in my case where I had been saving pictures of products, websites and blogs to my Microsoft OneNote - this was a great breakthrough!! I could save the same things, in a very similar fashion (using "pin boards" rather than pages in the software) but even better was I could share them with my friends on Pinterest, send it over with a simple "like" on to Facebook and access it from any computer, or of course my handy dandy phone!

       You have to be invited to join - or you can put your name on the waiting list. So, if you would like to join - send me your email address and I will invite you!! You should know, it is highly addicting!!

       Number 79 on my 101 List is to complete at minimum 25 of my pins from Pinterest. There are so many great ideas for crafts or storage and holidays ... that if I didn't put a goal and deadline out there I would simply be collecting pictures of pretty things and good ideas for nothing! I went through my various pin boards and picked the ones that I really wanted throughout the year but just didn't have time to do and created a spot for them all together (click the here to see my inspirations!).

       The pins I picked to complete were a wide range of tasks and projects. Many of them were several small projects encompassed in a larger overall goal.

  1. Decorate Ceramic Pumpkins
  2. Make a t-shirt quilt from my high school t-shirts
  3. Create an activity Advent Calendar
  4. DIY ornate Christmas Trees
  5. Fancy up our boring Christmas baubles
  6. Make organic wallflowers
  7. Make a Texas Tech Wreath
  8. Put all our wedding cards into a booklet
  9. Turn all my hangers around in my closet to know which clothes to get rid of half way through the year. (completed 1/17/12 - will clean out the closet again in July)
  10. Paint my knife block to match my kitchen
  11. Start a years worth of memory jar to read on New Years Eve each year.
  12. Get cheap wine goblets to use as candle holders and use them to tablescape at a dinner party
  13. Make Garlic Paremesan pull apart bread
  14. Make a shadow box with keys from our past homes
  15. Try the green Shreck smoothie
  16. Put together a memorabilia frame of things from our wedding - store away what I don't use
  17. create a cupcake stand out of plates and tea cups
  18. Set up storage for wrapping paper on a closet ceiling
  19. make tile coasters out of our monogrammed wedding napkins
  20. Go through and do everything on the daily, weekly, and month cleaning checklist by Martha Stewart in our house to create a really clean home... then I will hopefully maintain it.
  21. Set up and grow a pot of onions
  22. Create a "dates to remember" frame
  23. Make a year round wreath for our front door
  24. Create a visual weight loss aid
  25. Make a baby mobile. Be it for myself (should the need arise) or for a friend!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

In no particular order...

       Number 13 on my 101 List is to finish all the major house repairs. Well, if you're superstitious then you're probably right on this one. The number 13 on our list is a bugger of a task. It will probably take one little thing a day for the entire 1001 days to get all of these tasks completed so this can be crossed off the list.
      Some of the things on this list actually have to be done in an order - hence the sub-points, and many of these things need to be finished before we can do several of the other things on our 101 list. We are very grateful that we have a roof over our heads, but that doesn't change the fact that as of now - I would DIE if I were to have a friend show up at my front door. A fact that drives both John and I nuts since we would both love to entertain often.
  1.  Remove linoleum from kitchen floor
  2. Rip carpet out of dining room
  3. Rip carpet out of living room
  4. Fix hole in little bathroom wall
  5. Replace tile fixtures on big bathroom vanity
  6. Replace bathtub in big bathroom
  7. Paint front door
  8. Replace lattice work on front porch
  9. Paint dining room
  10. Paint big bathroom
  11. Install a shelf above the door of the little bathroom
  12. Paint the Little bathroom
  13. Replace the little bathroom door
  14. Install sheet rock on South wall in kitchen
  15. Paint our bedroom
  16. Rip carpet out of our bedroom
    • Completed 6/10/12
  17. Paint the guest room
  18. Rip carpet out of Guest Room
  19. Finish the patio
    • Pallet table
    • paint stones on pathway
    • create stepping stones with quick cement
  20. Paint the living room
  21. Screen door for front porch
  22. Build cabinets for front porch
    • Clean/organize front porch
    •  Paint the porch
  23. Clean out cabinets above Washer and Dryer - fill with dishes
    • Completed May 2012
  24. Resolve pantry issue
  25. Paint storage building
  26. Replace old housing panels
  27. Build lattice work screens for West facing windows
    • grow vines up the lattice work for shade
  28. Remove broken back french doors and replace with a single door
    • install sheet rock
    • texture & paint
  29.  Repair front security light 
    • rebuild that corner of wood
  30. Replace/Repair boards on the house between eves and walls
  31. Move swing set
    • Paint and repair swings
  32. Build a front "play yard" that includes the swing set and garden, section for dogs too
  33. Repair the roof
I'm sure as time goes on this task list will grow, but for now these are the tasks that need to be done and then some that should be done for my mental well being.

101 in 1001

       One of my friends posted a 101 in 1001 list on her blog. I think it is a wonderful idea! The basic idea is that a single year isn't much of a time frame to set for tasks and goals to be completed in. I am a list person, so this is a great way for me to get things done. The tasks on the list must be realistic, stretching; all of these things are items that I really want to do or desperately need to do. This is the motivation to do it!
        You get 1001 days because while the purpose of lists is to avoid procrastination, you still need to give yourself a realistic time period for some of these life changing events.

        So far I have been quite surprised at how difficult it is for me to just come up with 101 important things I want or need to do. Some of them were easy to pick, like the trips; others like the Pinterest task were more of a stroke of "oh, I really want to do all these things, but will I ever?"
I know myself pretty well. When I was planning my wedding there was more than one DIY project that I committed myself to that I knew full well I would not A) have the discipline or B) have the time or various means to complete. I was right, almost to a tee. I called it on what projects would fall apart, were too much for me to handle alone or at all, or would simply fall through the cracks. I wonder what a psychiatrist would say about my habitual patten of knowingly setting myself up to fail means? I honestly hope I can actually complete all 101 of these items. They are all important to me in their own specific way.

Starting Date: December 27, 2011

Date to be completed by: September 23, 2014

Items crossed off are complete, items italicized are in progress and items unmarked are still to be completed.
  1. Go to Six Flags (Six Flags Fun!)
  2. Buy a brown winter coat
  3. Take a Cake Decorating class
  4. Visit another country
  5. Visit family that we don't see often in California July 2014!
  6. Visit family that we don't see often in Houston
  7. See the Grand Canyon and visit family July 2014 (family moved back to Texas so just the Grand Canyon)
  8. Build up an emergency fund of at least $1000 (completed in summer of '13)
  9. Have a baby (or pregnant) or be in the adoption process
  10. Start a new family tradition (see the plan & why it's still on the list)
    • perhaps make and use a family advent calendar
  11. Do something that worries me, because I usually wouldn't take that leap
  12. Take a cruise
  13. Paint pottery (with John)
  14. Host a party - just because at our house
  15. Finish all major house repairs.We moved!
  16. Attempt at least one recipe from each book in my collection of cook books
  17. Have a "Christin the China" dinner party!
  18. Create a Menu board, including recipe cards
  19. Do something political I voted... Several times!
  20. Make a purchase of at least one item from (my first Etsy purchase)
  21. Spend a day at the lake with John
  22. Go to the Nutcracker or some sort of a Christmasy fine art event
  23. Have my car professionally detailed
  24. Eliminate all credit card debt (Completed Summer of '13!)
  25. Host a game and dinner night Hosted in Spring 2014 - Apples to Apples and Chicken Parmesan
  26. Go to Lubbock for a fun weekend and Texas Tech football game
  27. Clean out closet and donate all too small or too big clothes to good will or freecycle
  28. Clean out John's closet & donate the clothes to a good cause.
  29. Meet my goal weight of 145
  30. Go to Hawaii
    ... A change in plans, this probably won't happen by the deadline.
  31. Visit John's Grandparents at their house in New York
  32. See New York City
  33. See a Broadway play
  34. Have a family photo session Just after Cora was born
  35. Host a Sunday lunch with my family like the ones we had with Grandma (We started this tradition back in July 2013!)
  36. Have a useful and used vegetable garden Summer 2014
  37. Set up the patio completely
  38. Bake for my office just because (Bun in the Oven Cinnamon Rolls!)
  39. Bake for John's co workers, just because
  40. Go on some sort of an overnight trip with friends
  41. Post to the blog at least once every two weeks in 2012 or start over in 2013 if I didn't succeed.
  42. create a Guest basket for the bathroom  (Created for our new house in July of 2013!)
  43. Have at least one guest over for a night - outside of the family (check!)
  44. Eat at 5 new restaurants with John
    • 1, 2 (completed 1/21/12 - Los Toreros for Lauren's birthday), 3, 4 (Mooyah's for my brother Robert's 22 bday), 5
  45. Start a pet emergency fund, have at least $1,000 in it.
  46. Take John on a surprise local date
  47. Take a spontaneous trip out of town with John (see #52)
  48. Have all Christmas Gift shopping finished by December 1
  49. Go to a fine arts event with John Dallas Symphony Orchestra with my brother Robert and his friend Kimmi
  50. Purchase another vehicle. My Mom-Mobile!
  51. Bake for a social event I'm not hosting
    • See the cake I baked here
  52. Take John to Corpus Christi or Galveston
  53. Visit St. Augustine Florida
  54. Go to the Harry Potter Theme park in Florida
  55. Have a spa day - get my nails done and maybe a massage John's 1st anniversary gift to me!
  56. Clean out my undergarment drawer and go panty shopping. Buy at minimum 5 new sets of panties and bras.
  57. Go to either the Dallas or Fort Worth Zoo It was actually the San Diego zoo... which is better so I say it counts!
  58. Help a friend in a major/life altering way
  59. Design/create/buy some sort of kitchen pantry (we moved and have a pantry in this house)
  60. Celebrate 1 year of marriage
    • Read about our anniversary celebrations here.
  61. Celebrate 2 years of marriage   - Check!
  62. Go on a picnic (using my handy dandy picnic basket) We take picnic lunches to Daddy sometimes to get out of the house and visit him at work!
  63. Help a new mom with any aspect of life involved in being a new mommy Dinner for Tiffany's family!
  64. Give a gift to my choir students that is from me, not the choir budget (completed 5/9/12)
  65. Have our house Decorated for Christmas (completely) by one week after Thanksgiving
  66. Clean out our guest room that is currently acting as a storage space. Put everything away or give it away.
  67. Decorate our bedroom - including buying a comforter set and pillows
  68. Find our 9 puppies a safe and loving home (completed some time in mid-March)
  69. Get Pepper spayed.
  70. purchase appropriate storage for my Christmas dishes and store them away
  71. Purchase appropriate storage for my Bankhead silver and store away.
  72. Either buy new or refinish an old china hutch to properly store my nice dishes and crystal.
  73. Have a Will in place for both John and I designed to span, at minimum, until we have heirs.
  74. Draft a Declaration of Final Arrangements for both John and I.
  75. Draw up a Medical Power of Attorney Document for both John and I, to be used in the event that one of us was to become incapacitated. 
  76. Purchase a nice new black winter coat.
  77. Install a television in the East end of the house that can be watched in both the bedroom and the dining room/kitchen. (thank you Daddy)
  78. Should one of my brothers become engaged, host a special bridal event for either the Bride or the couple. Something other than a traditional Wedding Shower: qualifying events include a true Bridal Shower, themed wedding shower, Couples Shower, Engagement party, Bridal Luncheon.
  79. Complete a minimum of 25 of my pins on Pinterest. These pins cannot be counted if they also go towards marking off one of the other items on this list or the home repair list.
  80. Pay off current car loan
  81. Be at least one payment ahead on all student loans by the end of the 1001 days.
  82. Have John visit an orthopedist for his knee and shoulder.
  83. Take a multivitamin every day for 6 months, or begin again.
  84. put together a wedding photo album
  85. Prepare a weeks worth of outfits (including jewlery, accessories, shoes etc) on Sunday afternoon. Do this for a minimum of two weeks in a row.
  86. Cook at home every day, for 5 days in a row. Only days 6 and 7 can be "left over" days.
  87. Read 5 of the books that I have purchased and not started. 
    • Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin; completed on  1/22/12
    • Something Blue by E. Giffin; completed on vacation in late Aug. '12
  88. Finish wedding Thank You cards in some capacity
  89. Host a family affair at our house that my family and extended family attend. Spaghetti Dinner when Cora was born. We had 13 guests, filling the extended family requirement!
  90. Go to a sporting event that I would not normally attend; basketball, hockey, or soccer.
  91. Go on a camping trip!
  92. Start a batch of Friendship Bread and pass it around
  93. Buy a nice watch John's 3rd anniversary gift to me!
  94. Install smoke detectors in the house
  95. Purchase a new set of Corelle dishes, so we don't break our nice stoneware or china for everyday uses.
  96.  Donate Blood (completed 9/14/12)
  97. No fast food for a month
  98. Update my legal name documents and get John a passport
  99. Run a 5K
  100. Stop biting my nails (consider accomplished if I have successfully not bitten my nails after 6 months)
  101. Create a new 101 list upon the completion of this one.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Drip, drip, drip, drip...

If you will remember back with me to my second post, "Let the Lists Begin!", number two was ripping out the carpet in the dining room where there was a past flood from a burst pipe. When the house was built, Quest plumbing was booming. Well, obviously this particular type of pipes render themselves useless and if they aren't leaking now, they will eventually. Not only are they susceptible to freezing and breaking; but in our case we have problems year round, and particularly in the summer. Living in rural areas means that we have well water from a water service. In attempts to keep water up and flowing for all the summer demands in a great expanse of an area, the service pushes water through to the houses at a very high pressure. Since we have crap plumbing that means that pipes burst, particularly at the joints.

Our philosophy on dealing with the plumbing has been to replace the pipes as they need to be repaired. We can't really afford to overhaul the entire house. So naturally in the few months we have lived there we have had two and a half water leaks!

I say two and a half because in our attempts to quasi fix the second leak to get by until we could properly repair it that weekend, we managed to send the leaking water back up the outside the pipe...
through the wall...
and into our kitchen floor.
I was less than thrilled when we noticed we couldn't keep the water off the floor and thought it was coming through the sheet rock. We really didn't want to have to cut into the wall to repair pipes.

Repairing the second leak was not much fun, it was a joint that had broken and was dripping steady and fast, but not catastrophic by any means. Robbie came out to the house with me after a visit to our local Lowe's and a few hours later it was an issue no more!

The first leak however, while very contained and non-damaging came at an inconvenient time and made for a very frustrating morning...
the next day...
You see the pattern, it was 2 days before we could fix the issue.

John was in the shower, we were running late getting out of the house (per our usual Monday routine) and I still needed a shower too. Then I hear him yell my name in that voice that means he is really mad about something. He couldn't get the shower to turn off! Apparently the valve in the shower wall had corroded and was not going to shut! To turn off the shower we had to shut off water to the entire house!!

Then, because of our work schedules we couldn't do a whole lot each day to repair the issue. By the time we got off work, stopped to get parts (key problem in the delay in fixing the issue was buying the wrong parts), and got home and into the wall to find/fix the problem meant we were well into the evening when we found out we needed more/different parts. We live 30 to 45 minutes from the closest home repair store. Once you get off work, get home and get good and started in a project - those stores are closed. : (

If we didn't need to replace the carpet before... we sure do now! Just to finish the living room set up so we can move the stacked junk to their respective homes allowing us to empty out the dining room so then, and only then can we rip out the carpet! (We still aren't sure what we're going to put down on the cement slab)

"What on Earth are you doing?!?!?"

"What on Earth are you doing?!?!" Was the startling exclamation from John when he walked in one evening after his run to find me on the floor of our dining room smearing Joint Compound all over the walls. Actually, his comment was something more along the lines of "What the H. E. Double Hockey Sticks.... are you doing?" But I thought 'Earth' was a nice replacement. : )

Sometimes I will get a burr in my saddle and start a project, whether or not it is a good idea. The area that is our dining room is the space that was both the living and dining room when we were kids. The room was going to absolutely have to be painted and there are some spots that really needed repair from various toys, old nails etc creating holes.

When John left for his run I was mentioning that I might go ahead and fill in the holes with Joint Compound. Well, I didn't like what it looked like and said, oh how hard could it be to texture the entire wall? I had seen the texture style done at a couple of different houses and knew they did it themselves so I figured I could do it too.

Using cheap plastic putty knives and a large bucket of Joint Compound I smeared heaping amounts of the putty on the walls in varying, short choppy strokes. What I didn't do however, was tape my door frames, baseboards or remove fixtures. Speaking from experience, you should always do this!! I have now added another step to this lovely project since I will have to sand the compound off our pretty wood wall plates, frames and baseboards.

Also, if you plan on doing this project yourself; I recommend using smaller amounts of Compound to start with. It isn't fun to have to go back over if it looks too light but, it sure beats the sections that I got carried away on and have now cracked. This is not really a project that can be split between two people. I tried to let John do a part of one wall and it isn't that he didn't do a great job, because he did!! It is just that if you don't match the patterns in the texture (although there is no "real" pattern, it is all just random) and make the same strokes it doesn't look the same at all! I had to go back over what he did and work to make it match my work.

So, if you have been paying attention to my posts you are probably as impressed as I am that it appears that (**for the most part**) I did a DIY home improvement project from start to finish. Well, don't be. : (
Remember how I was telling you that there are neat little stacks of boxes and piles of our belongings throughout the house where we haven't been able to really "move-in" for stuff we still need to move out etc. Our walls reflect that perfectly. I'm texturing 2 walls in the room since one of those walls runs from the dining room into the kitchen and I thought it would look awkward if it abruptly stopped in the kitchen (where we still have hideous wall paper) or only one wall was textured in the kitchen. The shorter of the two walls has a very large entertainment center sitting against it that will eventually be moved out (very heavy, giving it away on craigslist in exchange for labor to get it out of my house!!) so I could only texture a quarter of that wall. On the other longer wall there are entire sections that are textured from the ceiling down but toward the base there are box shaped sections of non-textured walls where I couldn't get to them for our stuff. : (

It's like we can't do anything constructive for all the projects that we need to get to but can't for various reasons.

As I've unpacked those boxes and found homes for the items I've continued texturing down the wall, it will be finished eventually I assume.

In the unlikely event that you too are texturing your walls in segments: If you taper off your compound you can pick up where you left off over lapping into your pre-existing textures without a difference.

**UPDATE** We have finished one whole wall!! - John was out of work between jobs for a week. We were stressed about it at first, but it turned out to be a huge blessing! He was able to get so much work done on the house!! With him being home during the days while I was working he got so much stuff unpacked, boxes consolidated and stuff we don't need in the house moved to storage!!

That freed me up to finish the long wall. We're still blessed with having our large ugly entertainment center in the dining room and that is putting a krimp on my ability to finish that wall, but one day it will be done! I have hope!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Goat Killer!!

As I mentioned in an earlier post we have 8 goats on the property with us. I was less than thrilled about this fact when we were first moving out there, but now they are much more like a pack of 8 dogs with horns. They all have names and personalities of their own! John and I have grown to love the varmints!

Meet the Goat family! The first three goats my brother Robert brought out there were Lucy, aka Nanny (because of her breed (female pygmy) and she is a momma goat) and her two sons Fred and Ricky (ha, ha, ha... the joys of pre-named goats!). Then he added two Nubian goats, Clifford and Lady. For those unfamiliar with goat breeds (and I would pretty much expect you to be unfamiliar with them...), a Nubian goat is a European breed of goat - they are very large! About the height of a big miniature horse, their heads come up to about the height of my shoulder. Then came the misfit pack, two fainting goats (Rupert and George) and a really cute three year old pygmy goat named Cooper (by far the most pet-like of the pack).

Clyde cooling off on a hot day.
Living out in the rural parts of Texas means that dumped dogs are a common-place feature. Very frustrating but a reality. We had a black and white blue heeler mix come up to the house as a stray. She is such a good dog! We couldn't help but fall in love with her despite all my insistence that we wouldn't take her in. We let her hang around our two dogs, Clyde (a boxer - our rescued dog!) and Chloe (an AKC registered Chocolate Lab) in the back yard while I put up fliers in the area thinking that surely she was just lost. For goodness sakes, she is housebroken and other than a particularly pesky habit of chewing things (like my undergarments!) she is a great dog!

Well, Chloe and Pepper (yes we named her... and yes, before you ask, we still have her) both like to chase our goats; and when they did it together, they were very good at herding them. We weren't terribly worried about it. Pepper obviously has a herding instinct and therefore was bred to know not to attack... or so we thought.

I was leaving to see friends and looked out in the yard (we always do a goat head count to make sure they aren't getting in trouble) and saw that all three dogs were on the defensive, seven very angry goats were protecting a very dead looking Nanny/Lucy. I was terrified!!

It had been about 3 hours since I was last outside doing stuff so for all I knew this could have been going on for three hours! (We can't hear a lot from the pasture into the house) I got John and we went to see if there was anything we could do as I called Robert.

Nanny's neck not long after the attack
We were pretty sure she was going to die. The dogs had ripped her neck up. We could clearly see muscle and tendon tissue. She had lost a lot of blood. Then there was the minor detail that it was a holiday weekend... getting a large animal vet to even look at her (ie a house call) is now going to be $200 + . Robert works with a retired vet so we called in a favor, which was really more like we were sending him pictures and he told us what to do. We wanted to try to let her live. Once we got her out of the pasture and into the large "dog pen" area she was doing better immediately, translated, she could stand up and her beating calmed. We decided to give her the weekend, if she didn't greatly improve we would have her put down.

We stuffed the muscle tissue back into her neck and repaired what we could with butterfly strips. Then cleaned the wound with peroxide, disinfected with alcohol and covered in iodine. Next came a generous helping of Triple Antibiotic Ointment on sterile patches and then we pushed the hole closed by wrapping an ace bandage around her neck. The tears of the skin were not clean enough for stitches and we knew it was going to be essential that the wound close internally first. All this was topped off with a heaping shot of penicillin (the shot to her hip brought more of a reaction than any of the other treatment did surprisingly enough). Rinse and Repeat... we re-bandaged twice a day for a week.

She was obviously on the mend. We managed to get maggots in the wound at one point, which turned out to be one of the best things! They ate away the dead flesh leaving only healthy and we caught the little critters early enough that with a squirt bottle of peroxide and a pair of tweezers we were able to get all the maggots out in a matter of 3 days (we had progressed to only needing to change the bandages once a day).

After a month of great attention and care Nanny was back to normal! She had gained a healthy weight (She had been a little underweight before the attack), was eating greedily and the wound was healed to the point of appearing to be an external cut. We laid the fence down in such a way that when she was ready she could go back to the herd but they couldn't get to her (we weren't sure if they would accept her again or if she would be on the bottom of the 'pecking order' and get beat around). A week or so later she hopped over into the main pasture and never looked back!!

We continued with shots of penicillin and re bandaging her wounds to keep them clean and monitored.

The day after Nanny was attacked, Pepper slipped through a gap in the gate and got a hold of Cooper. Fortunately John had only stepped inside to get his phone when she got into the pasture so he only suffered some superficial scratches to the neck and back. I'm sure it didn't feel great but we weren't concerned with whether or not he would live. We moved him into Nanny's pen and treated his wounds as we did Nanny's, but he was healed in about 2 and a half weeks.
Cooper likes to get himself int things he can't get out of...

If you don't believe that goats are smart and have individual personalities, then you need to come see ours! Cooper milked his injuries for everything he could get! That goat ate more sweet feed than I have ever seen another eat! All of which was hand fed of course because he refused to bend down for food from the ground. At first we thought it was because his skin wasn't stretching for him to bend where there were scabs, but we eventually caught him eating when we were inside...he just knew he could be hand fed!

Pepper is quite the cutie.
Now this raises the question of what to do about Pepper...
I first had the instinct to shoot the mut... I know a lot of people who would have. However, we had taken in the dog, we assumed responsibility for her. For heavens sake, we had gotten her shots! I didn't feel it was fair to shoot a dog for acting in their nature. It was simply a matter of she can not be around livestock. She is great with kids, cats, other dogs... her only issues are things she thinks she needs to herd.
Well, we have livestock so we obviously can't keep her.

I called my dad and he said he would keep her until we could find a new home. He too understood that she is a good dog, just not the dog for us.

I talked to all our friends I could think of that wanted a dog and would be in situations that she would thrive. I felt it was only fair to be honest about why we were giving her away - and I can't fault them, but no one wanted her. They all felt that she posed too high a risk.

We had mixed emotions about handing her over to a shelter... we quickly shot down the idea of any shelters that had "kill" policies. Then I looked into giving her up to ASPCA. We researched the process and we would have to pay over $60 for them to take here, some of which was a non-refundable "deposit" of sorts for them to consider the dog. We were willing to do this if we knew she wouldn't be put down and had a chance for a good home. BUT, ASPCA won't take dogs that are strays, they say that they support reunification with their homes they were lost from. We explained very kindly that she had clearly been dumped and we couldn't keep her, that she didn't "cooperate with livestock" and needed a "home in town". If you ask me, they knew we weren't going to dump her and they didn't have room for another dog.
This is the only "no kill" shelter in the area so we were back to square one.

She was doing just fine at my Dad's house and John and I enjoyed playing with her when we visited (multiple times a week), plus she had fun in his back yard with my brothers two dogs, Midnight and Bobby. For the time being we decided that she would just stay there, we planned to build a completely separate and secure fence and bring her back home eventually.

Chloe is the sweet Chocolate lab
Well, the past week has been pretty crappy if I do say so myself. Chloe died last Saturday.
John came home between work and going to see my brother march in the high school half-time performance in another town to feed her and Clyde. If we fed the two of them they would stay in the yard with no problems.When we got home late that night she wasn't there. This was very unlike her to leave at night. Even if she were out in the neighborhood she was just a holler away and would never be gone at night.

We were very worried. We looked for her for a couple of hours with no luck. The next morning John was running in the Susan G. Komen 5K so we were up very early and were taking a different route than normal to town. Along the way we found her, she had been hit a few miles away from our house - which is soo much farther than what she would go if she were out in the past.

Clyde doesn't do well by himself, so we've brought Pepper back out to the house for now - keeping her separated from the goats is a chore, but it is helping Clyde and of course we love her.

Unfortunately we lost Nanny. We don't think it had much to do with the wound. She had been healed for over two months with continuing treatments of antibiotics. For a couple of days before her death she was acting strange. We thought maybe she had worms (aren't livestock fun!?!) so we moved up her treatment that was scheduled for a week later. She was a very old goat, about 10 years old, so as sad as it was - it was to be expected.

Pepper has 9 adorable puppies now!! Long story, but being a stray we weren't certain if she was 'fixed' - the vet that gave her shots with all the other dogs said that he believed she was from what he could tell. Well, no, she wasn't. A fence jumper came to see her and a couple of short months later we have a zoo in our living room floor!

Monday, October 3, 2011

So much time, so little done.

Yes, I know that it has been 5 months since we last posted, so you would assume we have made amazing progress on the house... yeeeahhhhh, not so much. Since we both work and have other obligations we stay pretty busy. Also, not many of these projects are one person adventures.

We got moved in with only a few casualties. We killed a bookshelf, frustrating but cheap to replace (since it was walmart furniture to begin with), and we lost a lamp. Based on the way we moved (remember that whole trash bag technique - I don't recommend it!) not too shabby.

Project number one was setting up the bedroom! It is absolutely amazing how much furniture we have fit into a very, very small room. (Read: 2 night stands, a jewelry armour, a small chest of drawers and dresser... oh and let's not forget the bed it's self). I'll have to post pictures to express the enormity of this accomplishment! This little project came with challenges of its own. When we officially moved into the house there were very large aquariums and a love seat being stored in the room. We couldn't put any furniture in it, particularly the queen sized bed. The first night I slept there John worked an overnight shift and I laid in a chair with my feet propped up on an exercise ball. Not the best nights rest.

Then there was the construction of the bed frame.... I have a wonderful younger brother who I do believe could fix just about anything. All three of my brothers are really quite handy! Josh had put together the bed when it was delivered to our first house, all I had done was hold parts where he needed me. Why on God's green earth did I think that I could handle holding large heavy pieces of frame while connecting others when I didn't even know where to put them?!? It took a week to coordinate our schedules for him to come and construct the sucker for me (John was still working 2 jobs - I didn't have the heart to ask him to do yet another something for me). And Wait, There's More! We misplaced the hardware for the headboard and foot board. Which turned out to not be such an awful thing. They became our ghetto clothes racks!

Clothes racks you ask? There is only one closet in the entire house... it is in the end of the house we currently aren't using. Due to stacked furniture and boxes and all kinds of junk my brothers and I need to sort through from our childhood, we can't even get to that closet right now.

The kitchen is set up, and just as I feared, there is sooo not enough space for all my stuff! And I really don't have that much "stuff". I was able to pick up some dresser drawers off craigslist that are painted in funky colors that I think are fun. I filled them with the things that are seasonal or only occasionally used in the kitchen and have put them in the waisted space between the cabinets and ceiling. Best of all, it was FREE!!!

The dining room is a large open area with our hallway of a kitchen divided off by a bar height counter top. It is currently serving as our living room as well. The couches are still stacked in the other end of the house, aka what will be our living room.
So translation on the dining room is: the chair (my bed that first night), exercise ball, the TV, our table and a stack of chairs. The table has one dining chair and one office chair pulled up to it and sits next to a neat stack of end tables on top of the coffee table with boxes placed in the cubby-like holes the legs create. NOT ideal, and driving me NUTS!!

We pretty much brought it on ourselves with how we moved and didn't wait to take care of some of these known space problems (like getting rid of the pre-existing stuff before adding our own). But after this much time. I am ready to have a "HOUSE"; or at least a place to have my couch on the floor, where I can sit on it rather than, where the couch currently presides; on top of a bookshelf and stack of boxes. : (

I will do my best to catch up on some of the 5 months of events. Most of which are interesting learning experiences in their own right, all of which were time consuming set backs.

To no one's surprise, we are Living & Learning!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

It has begun...

Remember the puzzles you would get as a party favor as a child where you had a picture on tiles that was all mixed up with only one square missing to move the pieces. The trick is always deciding which peace to move first. Well, we're playing that game again, just a much bigger version - our entire house!

We "packed up" and moved over the weekend. We decided that it was useless to throw away another months' rent into a house we no longer needed just to make things more comfortable where we were moving. I say we packed up, but there was no time to truly pack. Somethings we threw into a box, but most of it was just thrown into trash bags and slung into the back of my brothers trucks and trailers. To further complicate matters, we needed to tear down a barn to the frame and rebuild it; changing it from a hay/animal barn into a storage barn to give us a place to put all our stuff.

The house is stacked sky high and the name of the game is to set up one room at a time. First is our bedroom. My brother and I got a window unit installed into the room so we can actually stand to sleep out there and tonight I will set up our bed.

First project now that we've gotten the barn rebuilt and the a/c installed - a new doorknob! The next real project you ask? I will be building wooden boxes to create display/storage boxes to paint and put on top of the kitchen cabinets. Wasn't really a planned project, but turns out it will be a necessary project as there isn't enough space for the basic kitchen supplies and utensils much less extra stuff.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Let the Lists Begin!

The decision was made that we are moving... then I was up all night thinking about how I so do not want to live in the middle of no where and amongst other less-than-fun things, with a herd of goats in the back yard. My number one fear you ask? Where will I put all of my kitchen stuff?? There isn't enough cabinet/counter top space!!

I keep telling myself that it will be an adventure!

My little mental chant has become; "remember, it's an adventure! A second car, no more ugly notices from the credit card companies, and an actual savings account with money in it!" It didn't help me sleep much, but it at least I haven't backed out yet! We'll see if that continues though, John and I go out to inspect all the work that will need to be done before we can move in and all the work that will need to be done to stand living there. It won't be easy, or cheap - but the cost beats paying rent by a long shot!!

So far, from what we already know about the property and what my brother (who is out there tending to the livestock daily) has told us, we know that we will need to:
  1. Install insulation and Sheetrock on the back wall (which also happens to be the kitchen wall) to keep the house cool/warm and most importantly, the critters out!
  2. Rip up the carpet from the living room/dining room. Years ago we had some pipes bust and it flooded the main areas of the house. The carpet should have been ripped out then, but better late than never. We've decided to go with an area rug over the smooth cement slab for the time being rather than re-flooring the house.
  3. Install a new front door (hopefully just the door knob) so it will do little things, like LOCK!
  4. Paint! okay, so obviously this isn't a necessity - but! I will lose my mind looking at bare white walls with the stains of our childhood juice boxes and such! The kitchen cabinets, walls and the main areas of living space. I think we'll also paint what will be our bedroom and leave the 'office' space white for the time being.
  5. Install a ceiling fan in the living room. For the foreseeable future we won't have central heat or air in the house (nor is there a fireplace) so we will jump on anything that will allow us to cut back on an electric bill and not smother in the Texas heat.
All of that is just to move into the dang place. We know we'll have more to do after that. The back door (formerly beautiful french doors) have been totally destroyed by the darling goats and will need to be replaced. The central heat/air unit will need some serious work if it is repairable at all. The "big" bathroom's bathtub needs to be pulled out and replaced - in the mean time we just won't be using that bathroom or that end of the house at all.

Let's just call it our practice run for when we actually buy our first home. I'm sure it'll be a "fixer-upper".

New Things...

I am Rebekah and I am married to the Love of My Life, John! We were married this past January and have been together for two years now. Although we have only been married for a short few months, life is moving along quickly. We're still in that honeymoon stage and have lovey dovey emotions for each other; but real life is here and we have to face it.

John and I are both very proud people. We frequently discuss how although it was difficult (and at times near impossible), we have worked our rears off for everything we have! Unfortunately, sometimes that means sacrifice, something we're both familiar with.

This is meant to be a journal and a source of sanity as we embark on the journey and work towards our ultimate goals. I'm sure there will be drama along the way, but what would life be without challenges?

What doesn't kill us makes us stronger...
and This. Just. Might. Kill. Me....

My father and late mother are very much like John and I. They worked for everything they had. When I was about four, they bought a piece of property; 4 acers and a small awkward house. Their plan was to build their dream home on the land. (Forgive me for summarizing about 18 years into a paragraph!) Hard work and years later we were ready to break ground on a house when my father lost his job. Finances and the health of my brother quickly fell apart. The house had MAJOR issues but they were tolerable when you had the goal in sight and unbearable when that goal was ripped away. When I visit the house, there are some very mixed emotions; especially since the last of my time there was as my mother was beginning to lose the race with cancer.

All of this is important because... John and I are moving into the house. We are both terrified that the broken dreams and past will cloud into our relationship. However, we know that it is the most financially responsible decision we could make at this point in our lives. We are a one car family, and truly need a second car. We also really need to get out of debt, or we will not have the chance at our dreams in anything resembling the near future. Living rent free is going to give us much more financial freedom to pay off debt and start building a nest egg for our future.

I just hope the cost is worth the gain.

So join us on our path to financial freedom && everything that comes with it along the way! We'll start with house repairs and then the joys of moving (from a 3 bedroom house into a 1.5 bedroom house). Who knows what else the future has in store for us, but I'm sure there will not be many dull moments.