Monday, December 23, 2013

Post re-run ... So much to be thankful for

This post was originally published on January 12, 2013. We kept a Jesus Stocking all through Advent last year (and will again this year). Each evening after dinner, we would all write down one thing we were thankful for and place it in the stocking. Then, we read all of the bits of paper aloud on Christmas morning. A quick aside ~ I mention at the bottom of the post that I could have kept it going all year long. Well this actually is something we do all year long now. The girls and I write in our Gratitude Journals most mornings. There's no better way to start the day than with gratitude for all that God has blessed you with!

Enjoy ...


You may have heard me mention the Jesus Stocking we kept this year for Advent. I'd been meaning to share what was inside.

I will tell you that when we read them all on Christmas day, the Hippie cried more than once because she felt bad that she "didn't write all the good stuff" that we did. The poor girl felt so guilty that she had only said "family" and not listed us individually. I assured her that we are all different and that we just thought of different things to write at dinner each night, but I know her heart and have no doubt how thankful she is for everything. That girl truly has a heart of GOLD. Anyway, I thought you might like to see what was written. (As expected, Momma's were mostly "novels" compared to the one word entries by the others. Forgive me. I like to write. :)

These are in no particular order ~ just stuffed in the stocking. And, yes, there are a few repeats. Hey, it's hard to remember what you've already written after 24 days!

The Princess:
Mommy and Daddy to make the food
Going to Germany
Faith and Trust
Mommy and Daddy to make everything happy
Seeing my cousins, B*** and S*** (sorry, safety and all)
Mommy and Daddy
Happiness, not madness
Judah (our cat)
W**** (the Hippie)
Saint Nicholas
Not washing the dishes (the Hippie had to wash ALL of the dishes for a week as a punishment ... turned out to be a great thing for the Princess, lol).

The Hippie:
No dishes or chores on my birthday
Nativity scene
Family needs
Water heater
The Christmas Tree
I am thankful for my wonderful family.
Gifts and Daddy being off on December 23rd
I am thankful for my shelter.
I am thankful for food and water.
Jesus ... Merry Christmas
Table and chairs

Dark Chocolate
Hot Shower
W* (The Hippie)
Being a Daddy
Herbal remedies
Family Pets
Boards (surf)
M* (The Princess)
Friends and Family
Days off
Dinner time with the family
the Ocean
S* (our best friend/brother)
Days off work

I'm thankful to have a roof, a floor and a warm, cozy bed.
I'm thankful that God gave us Jesus so that he could show us how to be loving and kind.
Blue skies and sunshine
I'm thankful to be married to my best friend and soul mate.
To live close to the beach
Hot tea, Hot showers ... and Ice Cold Beer
Easy access to clean water and fresh, local produce
The chance to spend each and every day with my children
Family Dinner Time ~ listening to the girls' prayers, our conversations and the laughter
Two healthy children
Nanu (my Momma)
I'm thankful that God gave us B* and S* (my nieces) before taking Uncle W* (my little brother) back to Heaven.
God's Love
The time I got to spend with Papa (my dad) and Uncle W* (my little brother)
That Homeschooling is legal
Aunt C* (family friend for 32 years)
For my Babies
Access to books
Music and my ability to hear it
Animals ~ all of them, but especially our pets
W* (the Hippie)
M* (the Princess)
I'm so very thankful to have found my one and only soul mate and to be sharing my life with my very best friend in the world!
My eyesight ~ so that I can see God's beautiful creation, my beautiful family and so that I can read books.

Almost a 100 things to be thankful for ... and I could have kept this going all year long.

What are you thankful for today?
Until next time,
~ Irie Momma

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Post re-run ... Are you living at the center of God's will for you?

This post was originally published on June 11, 2012. 

Enjoy ...
"In the center of a hurricane there is absolute quiet and peace. There is no safer place than in the center of the will of God."
                                        ~ Corrie ten Boom

As I sat there with my piping hot tea on Sunday morning, I read this quote in my daily devotional.

If you place yourself at the center of God's will, He will provide for your needs and direct your path. I truly believe that. Do you?

But, how do we know when we are living at the center of God's will for our life? Does your life feel centered and peaceful? I'm not talking perfect or quiet (especially if you have children in the mix). I'm talking about your spirit. Do you feel centered and peaceful?

If you feel at peace with what you are doing with your life, then I'd venture to guess that you are probably living the life God intends for you.

If you feel internal chaos and discontent, you are probably unknowingly fighting the natural forces that are trying to guide you onto your path. If you feel like you are constantly struggling, maybe it's because you are fighting against what God has planned for you.

And, I mean really. Who can win in a battle against God?

No one.

This small bit of my reading yesterday morning really struck me.

Am I doing His will?

No doubt.

I know to the core of my being that I am doing His will with regards to my choosing to be a wife and mother above all else. I know that it is God's will for me to be at home. I know that it is God's will for me to provide food for my family in a loving way, each and every day. I know that it is God's will for me to keep my girls home and form lasting relationships with them while educating them about this amazing world that He created for us. I know that it is God's will for me to provide a loving home for my children and for my husband to thrive in. I know that it is God's will for me to strive to be the Proverbs 31 woman for my husband and for my family.

But, are we as a family wholly living in the center of God's will? Would He be providing more for us if we were more directly in the center of His will? What is His will for us? What is His will for my husband? What is His will for my husband's career and the manner in which we earn a living? What is His will for how we, as a family, spend our days? What might we be missing? How do we find the answer in the midst of day to day survival?

I don't fully know the answers to these questions, to be perfectly honest. But, it certainly got me thinking. And, I brought it up to my husband, so it got us talking.

It takes quiet time and reflection to really meditate on what God might want you to do with your life. But, figuring out the what is only half the battle. Putting steps into place to make that happen when you are struggling just to survive each day ~ now, that is hard. How do you work towards a goal when you have to work 10 hours a day to pay the rent? How do you start to make changes when you have to work 6 days a week to buy food for your family?

These are things we are working on here in our home. If I know nothing else, I know that none of it is going to be possible without the help of God. So, I took the first step. Prayer. I asked God to show us what it is that He wants us to do. I asked Him to provide the means to make it happen if it is to be a significant change. I asked for His strength and guidance and for Him to give us the courage to live the life that He wants us to live.

Where do you get your strength when things get tough? Do you lean on God as He has instructed us to do? When your life continues to feel like an uphill battle, do you ever stop to think that maybe you are out in the middle of that hurricane rather than living peacefully in the calm of God's will?

Something to think about. I'll leave you with a few verses to inspire your next Quiet Time.

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart; And lean not upon your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your path." 
                 Proverbs 3:5-6

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
               Jeremiah 29:11

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you."
             Psalm 32:8
"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
            Isaiah 41:10

"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." 
             Philippians 4:13 
Until next time,
   ~ Irie Momma 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Post re-run ... The TA-DA List

This post was originally published on January 17, 2012. I thought it was appropriate for this time of year because so many of you have never-ending to-do lists during the Holiday season. Take a moment. Slow down. Revel in what you did do at the end of each day.

Enjoy ...

Have you ever invested yourself totally and completely into a task only to have your heart crushed when what is noticed is what you didn't do rather than what you did do?

You know what I'm talking about. You clean the house from top to bottom, inside and out, every corner, every crack, every crevice. You get on your hands and knees, you scrub with a tooth brush. You clean until your fingers bleed. Then, someone comes along and wipes a finger along the one window sill you forgot to wipe and comments on the dust.

There's nothing worse than that feeling.

If we're lucky (and I most certainly am), we don't find ourselves in that situation with our husbands or family. If we are lucky, we are with people who love us and appreciate all that we do and would never dream of criticizing the things we don't do.

But, as women, as wives and mothers and homemakers, don't we do it to ourselves? Don't we spend all of our energies making a wonderful life for those we love and then turn around and beat ourselves up for what we didn't do today?

It's funny.

God is gracious enough to bring us together with men who treat us well and then we turn around and treat ourselves with criticism. Don't you think we owe it to ourselves to begin to appreciate all that we do and are and stop harping on all the things that we can't do or aren't?

I can't remember where I saw it (and I do apologize to whomever came up with this for my inability to give you credit), but I recently saw on another blog where a mother said something about her "Ta-Da List".

I fell in love. On. the. spot.

That tiny little phrase spoke to me on a deep level. It was something I desperately needed to hear.

I thrive on order, so I make myself lists. Lists upon lists of things to do. But, as we all know, getting everything on the list actually crossed off is near impossible. Well, maybe if I had a maid and someone else was teaching my children and I had no animals and could spend 100% of my time working on my lists without interruptions. But, yuck. Where would the joy be in life? What would be the point of the things on my list if I didn't have these sweet people to do them for?

Oh, but I digress. Back to the point.
I like lists. I do best when I have a plan of what I need to accomplish. The problem comes when the day is over (or whenever my mojo runs out) and the list is not completed. Now comes the guilt, the shame, the internal name-calling and degradation. I know I'm not the only wife/mother/homemaker/home-educator that does that!
What if we turned it around a bit and spent a few minutes at the end of our day noticing what we did accomplish? What if we focused just as much attention on our "Ta-Da List" as we did our "To-Do List"? Wouldn't that be a boost in our confidence and self esteem?
So, the other day, I did just that. I had about 15 to 20 things on my "to-do list". Things like baking muffins and doing school and reading my Bible and cleaning the kitchen well and taking a shower and cleaning the bathroom and blogging and calling my mom and balancing my checkbook and making phone calls and doing our library stuff online (what needs to be returned, reserve upcoming materials for school) and type out a poem for the Hippie to memorize and reply to two emails asking me questions about food (raw and vegan) and make dinner and make lunch and clean up after each meal and .....

I worked hard, but as you might have guessed, I did not finish everything that day. At the end of the afternoon, though, I took a minute to look at my "Ta-Da List". Here is what I had accomplished:
  • Spent time with GOD
  • Completed the day's school lessons
  • Talked to my mom for over an hour
  • Cleaned the kitchen WELL (dishes, appliances, sweep, mop, etc.)
  • Published a blog post
  • Prepared three healthy meals for my family from real, whole foods
I could have felt guilty (and believe me, I tried) about not baking muffins or replying to emails or getting to all of my office-type work. Instead, I felt good about what I had accomplished.
I had done the things that mattered most, really. I mean, what is more important than God, the education of my children, maintaining my relationship with my mother and feeding my family healthy and nutritious foods?
If you take what is most important to you (in my case, that would be God and Family) and what you accomplish aligns with that, what could really be wrong?
There's always tomorrow to get those other things done.
And, for the record, I did bake muffins the next day and as of this moment most of those other things have been taken care of. And, even if they haven't, I can feel good about what I have been doing. Taking care of my relationships with God and family, educating my children and maintaining my home to the best of my ability (amid constant interruptions and distractions) are things to be proud of!


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Post re-run ... Wise Words for a Peaceful Holiday

This post was originally published on November 19, 2012. The beginning of the post talks about Thanksgiving, but the wisdom is just as applicable to the coming Christmas holidays.

Enjoy ...
The girls at Thanksgiving 2010 ~ My two daughters and my brother's two daughters

Thanksgiving is just a few days away. From what I understand, it is one of the most traveled holidays of the year, if not THE most traveled holiday. That tells me that there will be a lot of people sharing space with family ~ with siblings and parents and in-laws.

Now, that can mean one of two things.

It can be a beautiful thing. A time of love and kindness and peace. A time of memory-making and joy.

Or, in many cases, I'm afraid, it can be a stressful thing. A time of dealing with family members that get under your skin. A time of biting your tongue as comments are made.

Even the most amazing and beautiful families on the block have conflict. It is a normal part of life and family culture.

But, that doesn't mean you can't have a beautiful holiday celebration with your family. The holidays can still be a time of love and peace and kindness. Memories can still be made with all of those perfect little children. Joy can still be at the center of your celebrations.
Cousins ... PURE JOY!

Here are a few thoughts to get you through the upcoming holiday season.

"Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless." ~ James 1:26

I said, “I will watch my ways
    and keep my tongue from sin;
I will put a muzzle on my mouth
    while in the presence of the wicked.”  ~ Psalm 39:1

No sinful word, nor deed of wrong,
  Nor thoughts that idly rove;
But simple truth be on our tongue,
  And in our hearts be love.  ~ St. Ambrose

Let us all resolve, - First, to attain the grace of silence; Second, to deem all FAULT-FINDING that does no good a SIN, and to resolve, when we are happy ourselves, not to poison the atmosphere for our neighbours by calling on them to remark every painful and disagreeable feature of their daily life; Third, to practise the grace and virtue of PRAISE.  ~ Harriet B. Stowe

Surrounded by those who constantly exhibit defects of character and conduct, if we yield to a complaining and impatient spirit, we shall mar our own peace without having the satisfaction of benefiting others.  ~ T.C. Upham


In a nutshell, the message is to keep LOVE in our hearts and on our tongues, even and especially for those who trouble us the most.

Jesus taught us to LOVE our neighbors. He taught us to "turn the other cheek". Let us apply that same philosophy to our words. If someone in your family gets under your skin this week, simply smile. Love them and pray that God will give them the peace and happiness that they deserve.

If there is someone in your family that gives you particular difficulty in this area, start praying for them now. Each and every morning in your quiet time with God, pray for the person who tests your righteous behavior the most. Pray that they are blessed. Pray for peace and happiness to find its way into his or her heart. Pray for that person to find whatever it is that they need in order to become a shining light for the glory of God.

And, then pray for your own resolve to maintain what you know to be right and good, even in the face of adversity.

These simple steps along with some great food, the laughter of children and an attitude of THANKFULNESS will get you on your way to a beautiful holiday. Remember to GIVE THANKS for all that He has blessed you with, including that amazing family that can drive you a little bonkers sometimes.


Until next time, 
~ Irie Momma

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Post re-run ... So what DOES a Vegetarian family eat for Thanksgiving?

This post was originally published on November 26, 2011. I realize it is a bit late for your Thanksgiving dinner, but you can always make this stuff for Christmas.

Enjoy ...

People often wonder what in the world we eat for Thanksgiving.

It's such a silly question to me ... we eat what you eat, just not the turkey.

And, we LOVE it.

Thanksgiving is my favorite meal of the year.


What do we have?

Whole wheat crackers and gourmet cheese spreads
Cornbread Stuffing
Mashed redskin potatoes
Green beans
Squash casserole
Pumpkin Cheesecake
Olives, sweet gerkins
Shirley Temples for the kiddos
Interested in recipes?

Mashed Potatoes
1 bag of redskin potatoes
sea salt
sour cream
Chop potatoes and boil until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain and mash with the remaining ingredients. Keep taste-testing and adjusting seasonings until it is perfect.

Amazing Vegetarian "Turkey" Gravy

I got raves and raves on this one, especially from my meat-eating friends. They couldn't believe I made it without any drippings. :-)

1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup all purpose flour
4 teaspoons nutritional yeast
4 tablespoons Braggs Liquid Aminos
2 cups vegetarian vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon "chicken seasoning"
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Melt butter in a small sauce pan. Saute onion and garlic in melted butter. Add flour, nutritional yeast and Bragg's and combine with the butter. Slowly whisk in the broth, combining with the flour mixture to avoid clumps. Add seasonings and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring constantly for about 10 minutes. YUM.O.

Squash Casserole

6 yellow squash, diced
EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1 onion,chopped
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 cup crushed Ritz crackers
Turn your oven to 350 degrees. Saute squash in the EVOO in a deep skillet for about 15 to 20 minutes. At the same time, melt the butter in another skillet and saute the onion in that butter. Add the onion, butter, sour cream and cheese to a big mixing bowl. When squash is finished, place a clean towel in a colander, add squash to towel and squeeze as much liquid out of the squash as you can. Add the drained squash to the mixing bowl. Mix your 3 seasonings together in a separate bowl or cup. Now, measure out 1 teaspoon of that and add it to your bowl of goodies (throw the remaining seasoning into your mashed potatoes). Combine all of the ingredients well and then add to a square baking dish. Top with crushed crackers and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes. ENJOY.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

1 8 oz package of cream cheese (or Tofutti if you are vegan)
12 oz light firm tofu
1/2 cup sugar (organic evaporated cane juice, no white stuff)
2 tbsp corn starch (non GMO)
1 1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (canned)
3 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 graham cracker crust
Turn your oven to 350 degrees. Place the first set of ingredients (six) into a food processor with the s-blade. Process until smooth, scraping the sides and processing some more. Spread 1 cup of this mixture into the bottom of the pie crust. Now, add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor and process until smooth, scraping the sides again. Smooth the pumpkin mixture over the white layer in the crust, leaving a slight heap in the center. Bake for about 50 to 60 minutes.


I hope you all had a blessed Thanksgiving with people you love, food that was delicious and more to be thankful for than you can even list.

I know I did!

Until next time,
~ Irie Momma

Friday, December 13, 2013

Post re-run ... Memories

This post was originally published on December 10, 2011. A couple of years ago, yes. But, still so very true.

Enjoy ...

Please forgive the quality of the pictures. These are from the 80s. Even if I were to try to give you some more recent pictures of these amazing people, the pictures would still be fuzzy. Why, you ask? Well, two of them went to be with their Heavenly Father before the "digital age".

Here we are. December 10th. Smack in the middle of my favorite time of year.

Really. It is. Always has been.

I loved the Holidays as a child.

Thanksgiving in Louisville. The longest day ever, but oh so worth it. I didn't watch football back then, so it bored me to tears to have an entire day of waiting to eat the food that was smelling up the house so wonderfully. Football in the background. Smells swirling through my Nana's home. W.A.I.T.I.N.G.

Then, finally the fellowship of family. My aunt and uncles. My cousins. My near 100 year old GrandMomma. My dad. My mom. My little brother. My Nana & Grandpa. Stuffing balls (hehe), olives, sweet gerkins and SHIRLEY TEMPLES. Oh the SHIRLEY TEMPLES.

Christmas at home. The earliest day ever, but I'd venture to say it was also oh so worth it for my parents. It was the one day we could wake them up before dawn. Now that I am a parent, I have a whole new respect for their willingness to get out of bed SO VERY EARLY, just for us. I remember trying to wake my dad up at 4:30 a.m. once. He just nicely told me it was a bit too early. I waited patiently until about 6:00.

We woke them up EARLY. They made us W.A.I.T. while they got their coffee (Of course, I TOTALLY get that now). They wanted to see our faces as we came into the living room. Beautiful, amazing, wonderful memories.

I simply L.O.V.E.D. the holidays.

I still do. Now, I'm the one making them wait while I get my tea.

The only problem with this time of year is how it brings my childhood memories to the surface. They are wonderful. But, they are bitter sweet.

You see, those memories include four people ~ my mom, my dad, my brother and me.

As I sit here today, only two of us remain ~ my mom and me.

I can't help but get a little weepy this time of year. I turn into a big baby. I miss my Daddy. I miss my little brother. I want to wake my Daddy up at 4 in the morning again and have him tell me ever so sweetly that it is just a little bit too early. I want to wait for my Daddy to make his coffee. I want to squeal in anticipation with my little brother as we are both about to climb out of our skin. I want to hug my Daddy and feel his rough fingers as they squeeze me back. I want to see that joy in his eyes as he spends Christmas morning with the greatest thing he's ever done ~ his family. I want to joke with my Daddy and my brother in Louisville as we wait for dinner at Thanksgiving (my immediate family were the only ones who didn't watch football in those days). I want to watch as my brother makes jokes that no one gets but us. I want to watch as my Daddy shows my almost 100 year old Grandmomma the most attention she's seen in a while, as he patiently listens to all of her stories of "way back when", simply because he loves the elderly as much as he loves children and animals.

I want to step back. Just for a minute, please. I want to smell them. I want to hug them. I want to feel their arms around me.

But, I can't.

I just have to accept that and move on.

And, thankfully, God has blessed me with a beautiful distraction.

He has given me the gift of a family of my own. He has given me the opportunity to make those same memories for my own children. I must look forward. Always remember and appreciate the past, but move forward, making memories for my own children.

So, here we are.

I'm making memories for my girls. We are decorating our tree. We are making them Shirley Temples and watching football on Thanksgiving. We are making them wait just a bit longer on Christmas morning as we fix our hot tea.

And, we're making new memories for them.

We're taking them to The Nutcracker Ballet. A real ballet. But, we're reading the book first and listening to Tchaikovsky first, so that they know what they are seeing and making connections on their own.

We're taking them scootering around the Friendship Fountain while listening to Christmas music on the loudspeakers (maybe that's Florida's version of Ice Skating in New York???).

We're taking them to Bethlehem. To see the Roman Soldiers and listen to them demand your taxes. To see the people of Bethlehem, selling their wares. To see and smell and pet all of the animals, goats, sheep, chickens, ponies, horses, donkeys and of course the camel. To see the little children of Bethlehem cooking over their fires, weaving on their looms. To hear the shofar as the Rabbi calls people to the temple. And, to the inn that had no more room. To the stable to see the live baby Jesus.

We're taking them to friends' to celebrate the season with a beautiful Advent Spiral.

We're taking them on Christmas bike parades and Christmas hay rides.

We're helping them make and wrap gifts and making hot cocoa and Organic Egg Nog with nutmeg.

I will forever cherish the sights and sounds and smells of my own childhood memories.

My Daddy.

My Brother.

My Momma.

And, I can only pray that my girls will forever cherish the sights and sounds and smells of their childhood. All I can do is move forward and give them the same LOVE that I always felt from my family.

It's a beautiful time to have a family!

Until next time,

~ Irie Momma

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Post re-run ... A day in the life

This post was originally published on May 29, 2011. I include it here not because it has anything at all to do with the Holidays, but because I got some good laughs out of reading it and thought you might need a laugh as well. Moms ~ remember that when your days look like this, even if it feels as though no one is watching and no one appreciates how hard you work, God is always watching. He knows what you do and He is thankful that you do it!

As an update to the information in this post ~ the two cats we now call Marley and Judah were once two of these adorable kittens. I guess we did end up keeping a couple. Oh, but they are the sweetest cats ever!

Enjoy ...


What a DAY Friday was.

I couldn't make this up if I tried.

I wanted to share it with you immediately, but it totally and completely drained me ~ physically and mentally.  By the end of it, there was no "writing" left in me.  Of course, by now, I can't remember all of the details, but let me do my best to share what I can remember. 

Friday is supposed to be our Homeschool Co-op day.  This particular Friday was supposed to be our last co-op for the year.  

Keep in mind, this co-op we've been attending this year is 45 minutes away ... in another city entirelyGas is expensive.  But socialization is important.  The girls need that time to spend with their friends.  

It requires a lot of work for us to go. I have to make lunches for all three of us. We have to walk the dog (and get her good and tired to spend the day in her kennel) close enough to our departure time, but with enough time left for Momma to take a shower.  We have to load up and be out of here in time to drive the 45 minutes and hopefully have time to eat our lunch before the co-op starts at 1:00.  

Friday started pretty typically.  I started with my tea ... I skipped my workout (shame shame), but went ahead and began preparing the girls' lunches.  I had no idea what to make for me because our kitchen was BARE ... I mean BARE.  I mean only ingredients for COOKING .. nothing for me to eat.  No salad fixins.  Nada.  

So, I'm trying to figure out what in the world Momma will eat (I would have just gotten one of my Vegan Carribean Tempeh wraps, kale salad and an Honest Tea at my favorite health food store on the way, but we were flat broke and Daddy had just informed me that his paycheck was about $250 less than expected ... the start of the GOOD NEWS of the day, I guess)While I'm trying to come up with something for me, the Princess informs me that she doesn't feel well.  Her tummy hurts.

A few minutes later, the Hippie informs me that she has accidentally pulled the towel rack out of the wall in her bathroom.  Not just a towel rack.  It ripped a HUGE whole in the wall.  Fabulous.

I begin to wonder if we should go.  It's the last day of co-op.  Most people have summer fever at this point and aren't coming much anymore.  The Hippie hasn't knitted enough on her hat to finish it today in class anyway.  There's not even anything planned for the third hour for the girls.  The Princess doesn't feel well.  Gas is expensive, we're on empty and I don't have the money to fill up (really).  I have nothing for lunch.  Maybe we should just take the day off.

But, the Hippie really wants to go.  Insert Mommy-guilt.  She wants to go; I should take her.  

Back and forth.  I eventually decide that we'll just stay home.  We'll run to the store, stop at the library and pick up a movie for the three of us and just snuggle up at home.  Take it easy.

HA ... little did I know.  

Okay, the girls are okay with this plan.  Excited about a girlie movie with Momma.  

But, we have to walk the dog first.  If not, she'll poop in her kennel while we are out (she's a royal pain in the #@!, though I love her).  

So, we head out at about 10:30 am for our usual morning walk.  I'm not planning to "huff it" (for exercise).  I don't even have my tone-up shoes on ... just flip flops.  Let's just get the dog to do her business.  

We get to the end of our street and take a right.  Like every day.  We are crossing the street when the Hippie notices a small animal crate.  "What's in the crate, Momma?  Can I check and see?"  

"Sure, honey.  Let me pick up this poop." (the dog had done her business pretty quickly)

"MOMMA, IT'S KITTENS!!!!!!!!!!"

"Great" (to myself)

I head over to check it out, and sure enough, there is a Momma Cat and a PILE of kittens inside this small crate.  Can't tell how many, but a big ball of fluff.  


I ask the guy nearby who is doing yard work if he knows anything about it.  Nope.

I ask the cute couple coming out of their apartment to get into their car about it.  Nope.

I ask the electric company worker about it.  Nope.

No one left to ask.  Yep, someone dumped this poor cat and her babies here.  


If you know me or my family, you know that we are NOT going to leave them here to die.  This means, I now have the responsibility of finding homes for all of these kittens and the momma cat.  

"Well, we have to walk the dog first.  Let's just head up to the bridge and back and I'll grab them when we get back."

"No, we can't keep any of them.  We can't afford it right now."

The girls are IN LOVE.  Uber excited.  Naturally.

Momma's racking her brain for people who might want kittens.  Trying to figure out how to tell Daddy.  He, too would NEVER leave them (or any animal) to die.  But, he is adimant about us not getting another cat until the one we have dies.  He doesn't want more than one anymore.

Let me give you a little background.  

Three months ago we had four pets ~ two dogs and two cats.  

Our beloved Faith (14 year old Rotta-Mutt that Daddy and I got when she was 5 weeks old and we'd been together just over a year ... that Momma & Daddy loved dearly ... was our first "baby") died in February.  Well, we had to pay over $300 for tests and x-rays and ultimately put her to sleep.  Not a happy day.

A couple of weeks ago, one of our cats got sick.  I first noticed that he was VERY skinny.  But, he was "normal" otherwise.  We tried to fatten him up by buying him straight tuna and salmon and mackerel.  We brought him into the back porch so that he didn't have to go far to get to his food.  We watched as he became paralyzed.  First has hind legs quit working.  He would drag them around.  But, still HE was normal (same personality, no pain, no suffering).  We simply could not afford to take him to the vet only to pay several hundred dollars for tests and for them to once again tell us we needed to put him down.  So, we decided to just try our best to nurse him back to health.  And, if not, as long as he wasn't in pain, we'd let him live out his days in the comfort of his home, eating tuna like a King, happy.  That is just what he did.  He never suffered. 

He died Thursday morning.  

Back to Friday.  So, my precious daughters lost their dog, Faith, three months ago.  They lost their cat 24 hours ago.  They actually lost our other dog a couple of years ago ... another story.  So, in their short life, they've lost three beloved pets.  

In comes a super sweet Momma Cat and her six kittens.  Into a family that cannot afford to care for the animals it has (well, we can afford food and we have heart guard and advantage, but we can't afford the vet when something goes wrong).  So, here we have a 6 and 8 year old little girl, in love and excited about a cat and kittens, who just lost their cat, who cannot keep any of these.  Heart-breaking for Momma.  

Anyway, I thought that was it.  

HA ~ wrong again.  

We walk back, all the while I'm planning the conversation with Daddy in my head.  I pick up the crate and start heading home, dog on the leash in one hand, crate in the other, two daughters on scooters and a ton of traffic (oh, did I mention that my sweet little residential street is now a highway and near impossible to walk down?  No?  Oh, well they are doing road work on the main drag, so they've decided to detour all of the traffic coming off of I-95 into our huge city DOWN MY STREET ~ lovely!).  

Kittens are screaming because I'm tossing them around, so I give the Hippie the leash so I can hold the crate more securely.  

The Princess is having trouble carrying both scooters, so they trade.  We finally make it home.

"You guys stay in here with Sweet Pea (our other little dog) while I set up these cats out on the porch".  

I start setting up some food and water and a bed for her, cleaning up, when I hear "Momma, she just peed".

That makes no sense ~ we just walked her.  I come in to clean up the pee and she vomits.  


I begin to clean up the vomit and she walks away, like a V-8 commercial ~ sideways, disoriented, walking into chairs and the table and the wall.  Drunk Dog.

Terrific.  Something is wrong with the dog.  

I hurry over to see what's up with her.  She vomits again.  She is shaking.  She seems stiff.  She won't lay down.  She's drooling profusely.  The Princess thinks she's going to die now.  

To be honest, I wonder the same thing.

Spectacular. I haven't even had the chance to call Daddy about the kitties yet and now I've got to tell him the dog is possibly going to die.  

Now, I have two piles of vomit and some dog pee to clean up.  A dog that something is clearly wrong with.  A cat and six kittens that I haven't fully fixed up yet.  Two little girls hovering, asking "What's wrong with Sweet Pea?" ...

I know I need to take her to the vet.  I can't NOT take her.  I just can't .  But, remember.  We just learned that our paycheck was $250 less than we expected.  I have just enough for rent.  A vet bill will cut into that. 


I call Daddy.  Tell him first about the dog.  Then the cats.  Poor Daddy ~ information overload.  Hah ~ poor Momma.  I'm the one in the trenches, dealing with it.  :=)

I tell him I have to take her.  I'll do my best to keep the bill down.  We'll figure it out.

So, I call the vet.  The girls and I load up in the car with Sweet Pea and head over.

Long story short (hahaha), we spend over two hours there and almost $300 in vet bills (exam, bloodwork, fluids, a couple of injections, a couple of prescriptions and some special food).  The Hippie nearly hyperventilates with boredom (I'm exaggerating here, but she was BORED!!)  I still don't know exactly what caused the dog's "episode".  They tell me she's dehydrated.  They give her fluids.  Her fluids are leaking.  She takes a dump on the vet floor ~ nice one, Sweet Pea.  They have to muzzle her to do anything ~ she's super sweet for the four of us, but is a b#%ch to other people.  


Three hundred dollars out of my rent money.  

Cat and six kittens to find homes for.

I'm STARVING ... remember, I have no food at home other than food I have to cook.  

Sooo, we head home.  The girls eat the food I'd made them for co-op (good thing we decided not to go, haha).  I cook some cabbage and black beans for me.  

It's 2:30.  We haven't made it to the store.  I'm SPENT.  My dog is leaking fluid on the floor.  

I put the girls down for 'quiet time' ~ Momma needs it now more than ever.  I veg out for 45 minutes to a Dr. Phil.  

Then, the thunderstorms start.  The power goes out twice.  Yippee.  Could this day get any better?

How can I make dinner without power?  We certainly can't order out.  Let's head to the store ~ can't do anything here with no power anyway.

The girls and I load up at 5:00 in the evening, in the middle of a downpour (I know ~ poor judgement on my part.  I think my brain was fried by this point.  But, we NEEDED cat food and cat litter for the new cats and Daddy needed contact solution and we needed SOME food to eat).  

We braved the storm and 5:00 traffic (made worse I believe by Memorial Day Weekend traffic) to go all the way to the store.  Got what we needed and didn't get home until 7:30pm.  

My girls, who normally are in bed by 8-8:30, ate dinner at 8:00.  We finally got them to bed and then I made some food for Momma and Daddy.

I splurged and spent the $6.41 to get a six pack of beer.  

I needed a beer after the day I'd had.

Then, I watched the kittens for a bit and just reveled in my day.

A crazy one. For sure.  

But, blessed, as always!  

On a homeschool note, the Hippie just told me a couple of days ago that she wanted to "study cats".  Before I could even get to the library to help her "study cats", God placed a perfect "cat study" right in our path. 

Gotta love life on the narrow path ...

How was YOUR Friday?
Until next time,
~ Irie Momma
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