Believe it or not, I have not fallen off the face of the earth.  Nor have I run away again, after returning from my glorious vacation.  Nope.  Since I returned, life has just been happening non-stop. 

First, there’s little A and his weekly physical therapy appointments, where he gets a his casts changed each week. 

He looks like he survived a trainwreck, and it’s always funny to see how people look at him in public.  Thankfully, he’s young enough to not notice.   He gets around just fine in them, surprisingly–no doubt the result of all the balance work we did last fall.   Despite the still-cool weather here, we have had to start dressing him in shorts to keep it simple…..and possible.   I did start taking him back to the chiropractor though, as the weight of the casts are causing his weak hip to turn out of place again, and that’s the last thing we want to happen.  Just FYI, when he got his first set of casts, the angle his ankle and foot would bend relative to his leg was -3*.  In other words, he couldn’t quite stand flatfooted and still stand up straight.  All his muscles from his hip all the way to his feet were over-tight and refused to stretch to allow him to walk normally.  Now, after 3 weeks of casting, increasing the stretch and angle slightly each time, his range has increased to 7*.  The ultimate goal is about 20*. 

His most recent casting occurred on his birthday.   We have a tradition where the birthday child gets to choose what they want for dinner, what kind of cake they want, and they get to help make the cake if they desire.  A chose white cupcakes with chocolate frosting.  So, we set to work.

All the kiddos got help with the frosting of the cupcakes.  Well, the 4 older ones, that is.  I managed to put R down for a nap for that part. 

After the cupcakes were finished, set aside, and the house cleaned up a bit, it was time to take A to therapy for his weekly casting. To prevent abusing our babysitters, I take all the children sometimes.  The therapy clinic simply plugs in a DVD while A and the other kids watch, and the therapists work on his casts.

Next, it was time for dinner.

Now, I just have to say here, that I spend a lot of time and effort to make my children healthy, homemade, from-scratch, meals.  I strive to teach them healthy eating habits, and to help their food cravings develop into desires for good, nutritious foods, rather than junk foods.  For the most part it seems to work.   Birthdays however, seem to be the ultimate tests.  I guess I have failed with A and N.  Like N did back in January, A requested pizza.  And no homemade pizza either.  He wanted “restaurant pizza.”  Great.  Just great.  Of all the things he could have chosen!  Nonetheless, we decided to head to Old Chicago’s for pizza and a little humiliation by the staff singing “Happy Birthday”.  A was a bit embarrassed, but he got a free cookie out of the deal, so I think he was OK.

Then it was time to head home for his cupcakes and presents. 

On the way home, we had to swing by Toys’R Us to get his present.  I had a great present for him, but while I was back at Red Gate, his big brother mistakenly gave it to him.  So, I had to come up with something else.  Of course, this meant there was no time to wrap it, as the time was now well past bedtime, and I still had to milk the goats!  So, A got the joy of opening the Toys’R Us bag.

We bought him a toy we had found while researching interactive educational toys previously.  This little Robot is named “Alphie,” and does all sorts of annoying and quirky little things to encourage learning.  We’ve had it 3 days, and it is effectively driving me crazy.  The kids, however, love it, and if it will help A learn, then it’s worth every gray hair I gain.  I’m also secretly hoping it will help me entertain him for his upcoming 3 day EEG, when he isn’t allowed to leave his hospital room for that time. 

Then there’s the goats.  As you know, our primary milker, Onyx, was put down, which left us quite desperate for milk.  Faith isn’t due to freshen until the end of the month, and both her and Bell are first fresheners–meaning it’s not likely we will get enough milk to do all I would like to be able to do with it.  As a result, a good friend with a few extra goats offered to sell me one of her quality Alpines who is due to freshen next week.  An added bonus is that this doe is a second freshener, and a daughter of Stallion, our former top quality buck who is well known for passing on excellent milking genetics.  In order to hopefully ensure she is what we need though, we worked out a deal to wait until the doe freshened, and the current owner will keep the kids to bottle feed and sell, and then, when the doe proves healthy, I can come milk her, see if I like her, and buy her at that point.  It seems like a good deal, and in the mean time, S and I are really praying for wisdom regarding whether we should purchase yet another goat (returning our total number of does to 3).   In the mean time, my friend loaned us an extra doe she had whose twins had just been weaned.  This big girl is Coco, a Nubian/Boer cross, and she is providing us about 6 pounds of milk a day.

In addition to Bell’s 2.5 lbs of milk in the morning (her buckling still nurses all day), we have just enough to drink and to make one or two other dairy items each week.  All the other kids have already left for their new homes, so otherwise, we are settling into our routine.  I would still like to find a good home for Bell’s little boy, but we don’t have much of a Kinder market here.  In fact, to be exact, there is only one other Kinder owner in the whole state (2 others if you count the lady who purchased Bell’s doeling).  So, the poor little guy is destined for meat unless I can work out a buckling swap later–something S actually suggested.  We’ll see what happens.

Finally, I am still trying to catch up on all the children’s homeschooling corrections, working on the spring garden, catching up outside from our lengthy winter weather, and dealing with a few other issues not really worth mentioning.  They say an “idle mind is the devil’s workshop,” so I’m pretty sure the devil gets quite discouraged with me since my days are anything but idle!