Friday, September 30, 2011

The Birthday Party

So, where was I? Oh, right. The memorable birthday party.

The party was starting to disassemble and my side of the family (the early attenders) were leaving. Joe's family (who arrived later) were still hanging around. During the party we had a huge downpour (which has been typical of life in Maryland the past month or so). After things cleared up a bit, the kids went out to play.

One of the kids ran in the house to report one of our hens in the neighbor's yard, so I quickly put on my shoes and went to retrieve the hen. She was hiding from us and it took three of us to get her out of the brush. As soon as I grabbed her, I tossed her over the fence into our yard and walked home. I kicked off my shoes and was about to relax.

Moments later one of the kids ran into the house screaming there was a dog in our yard. We do not own a dog. I ran around the house looking for shoes I could wear out in the wet grass. By the time I got outside, the dog was gone.

But I was out there in time for the chaos that ensued. As I walked near the smokehouse, I saw a hen with feathers everywhere. I screamed to Joe, "It killed a chicken!" At that point I saw the hen was still breathing and screamed back, in a panicked state, "It's still alive!" As we frantically ran around the yard, children running everywhere, chickens clucking and freaking out and heading for safety (under the deck), I noticed another injured hen right near the children's playground.

My niece was calling my name from across the street. A freaked out hen had gotten out of our fenced yard, crossed the street, and was trying to take up residence on my neighbor's front porch.

It was so chaotic and crazy. I walked across the street to get the freaked out hen, I tried to gather my flock and get them back into their coop, and Joe was putting the injured hens to rest.

After a head count, we realized we were missing a hen. I felt terrible. I let them out to snack and this terrible attack happened and now one was missing. I could just imagine she was still clutched in the jaws of the dog. Joe and the kids walked around the neighborhood looking for the hen and/or the dog. We found neither. At first.

Long story short, Animal Control said that they could not do anything about the dog because an adult did not witness it, only children. Joe hopped in his car with his cell phone, found the dog still running the streets of the town, and video-taped what he saw. Another call was placed to Animal Control and the dog was found and picked up.

We found our missing hen hiding in the (front yard) pumpkin patch. As I stood on our sidewalk, talking to neighbors and Joe's family, I kept hearing a familiar sound. I finally brought it to the attention of the others and Carter found the hen who was hiding for her life.

Sadly, because the owner of the dog was irresponsible, the dog was put to sleep by Animal Control. The same dog had attacked, killed and dismembered four chickens in town just a few weeks earlier and a neighbor also reported the dog for trying to knock over his rabbit hutch.

To think that all of this could have been prevented. If the dog had been fixed ... If the dog had been on a leash ... If the dog had been properly trained ... Knowing that my chickens are now safe does not make up for the fact that a dog was just being a dog and the owner was being irresponsible.

Yes. It was a memorable birthday party. Despite the events, Sawyer still claimed it was the best birthday party ever. (And there are still two presents I forgot to wrap and give to him ... which is probably another story in and of itself.)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

This Little Man of Mine


It seems like yesterday that this little man of mine was born into this world. The baby that seemed like he was in no hurry to come out of me. The baby that has grown so much over the years. Years. As in five years.

Five years. Oh my. Where has the time gone? (So many of my bloggy friends have been around for five years. And a little longer. It's a milestone, I tell ya.)

I'm lucky enough to have Sawyer home with me for one more year. His September birthday was just a little too late for him to start Kindergarten. But, seriously, I don't mind it a bit. I always say to him, after the kids leave for school, "It's just you and me, kid." At one point (last school year) he asked me to stop saying it, and so I obliged. I started it again this year and he has started to say it to me.

He often asks me during the day to cuddle with him. Usually it's when I'm busy cleaning the house, doing dishes, etc. I have learned to stop what I'm doing and cuddle with him on the sofa. It's not going to last forever, even though I wish it would. And he really is the best cuddler in the world. He's so good that he nearly puts me to sleep every time we cuddle. (And it's not just because I'm waking every morning before 5:30 to take Taylor to Seminary before school ;-)

And my little man loves his preschool homework. He is so proud of himself. He is eager to learn and willing to do the work the minute he finishes his lunch.

He's really one of my best friends. I spend the most time with him. He's a good listener. He's a good talker. He's a great hugger and cuddler. And he's so obedient. He is wiser than his five years of experience in so many ways. Oh, the things he says. And asks. And figures out. His mind must never rest. Always busy, busy, busy.

I bought him the Cootie game recently. I remembered that we had that game many years ago. I used to play it with Taylor (and Carter ?) until we lost all the pieces in a move. I have deja vu when I play with Sawyer. He is so much like his eldest brother. Even down to picking the red cootie body and head, cowboy hat and googly eyes. It just resonates with me that we were always destined to be a family from the very beginning. He was always meant to be mine and I was always meant to be his. And I could. not. love. him. more. I'm so happy he's here.

To celebrate Sawyer's 5th birthday, we had family over for a little get-together on Sunday after church. Really nothing elaborate. Just brownies + ice cream, chips + salsa, and carrots + dip. Just some cousins (of all ages), grandparents, aunts and uncles.

Somehow, I managed to throw a memorable party, but you'll have to come back tomorrow to read about it. (I mean, why taint such a nice post about my boy with birthday party stuff?) Really, you don't want to miss it. We'll see you tomorrow then?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Cleaning the Slate

I guess it's time to wipe the slate clean with "Trips to the School Nurse" and "Soccer Goals."

Trips to the School Nurse 2010 - 11
Taylor: 2
Carter: 2
Jackson: 0
Mason: 6 (4 in one day!)
Spenser: 7

Soccer Goals Fall 2010
Taylor: 0
Carter: 0
Jackson: 2
Mason: 0

And, for the record, Mason has already visited Nurse Maureen. And so the love affair continues ...

Edited to add: Spenser just came home with a slip that she visited Nurse Maureen today.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Nine Years


Nine years ago today, my sister, Kristen, died. In following family tradition, we met for breakfast. Today is also my parents' 44th wedding anniversary, so my parents, three sisters and I met at a local, family-owned restaurant.

When I pulled into the parking lot, I looked around to see if I recognized any cars. I saw my parents' car, so I hopped out and walked toward the restaurant. I thought I heard my sisters talking, so I stopped and looked around. I didn't see anyone, so I continued walking. Then, very distinctly, I heard my sister, Kate say (in a sing-songy voice) "Laurie." (No one calls me Laurie, except family. I do not like to be called Laurie.) Again, I stopped, looked around and said (out loud), "I hear you. I just don't see you." And nothing. No sisters in sight. No other voices. I walked into the glass vestibule at the restaurant and a police officer was standing there smiling at me. (I'm hoping he didn't think I was too loony.)

I walked into the restaurant and only my parents were there. My sisters arrived five minutes later. They were not in the parking lot. They did not call my name. But I heard it. Kate's voice is similar to Kristen's voice. We all joked that Krissy was playing a game with me and said to our grandmother, "Hey, Mom-Mom, watch this ..." and then called my name.

Whatever it was, it was a tender mercy of the Lord. And it is surely something I never want to forget.