July 30, 2010


Yesterday the neighbor brought over a toad he had found in his garage.  We have an unspoken sort of agreement that whenever we find an interesting creature, we show each other's kids.

We learned a few things about toads yesterday.

1.  They are very hard to identify.  We tried several different internet sites and looked at a ton of pictures.  But within each species they differ greatly in the coloring and warts.  We think he is a Texas Toad.  Maybe.

2.  To tell if a toad is male or female, gently turn it over onto its back.  A female will squirm around.  A male will squirm around and make all sorts of squeaking noises.  We had a male.

3.  Toads really do pee when you pick them up.  They do this for two reasons, both defensive.  First, by eliminating some of their water weight, they can jump farther.  Second, their urine is acidic so if a dog or other predator had the toad in its mouth, the toad would pee and the predator would spit them out.

4.  It is hilariously funny to anyone under the age of 12 to see a toad pee on an adult.  And they pee A LOT.  The toad probably lost half his body size by the time he was done peeing all over the neighbor.

You can find more information about toads in the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Comstock, pages 170 to 177.  Also, the Christian Liberty Nature Reader Book 4 has information from pages 159 to 166.

Here are some picture books which would be perfect for a study on toads.

Toad by the Road: A Year in the Life of These Amazing Amphibians - Joanne Ryder
Frogs, Toads and Turtles (Take-Along Guide) - Diane Burns
Frogs and Toads - Bobbie Kalman
What's the Difference Between a Frog and a Toad? - Mary Firestone
Adventures of Old Mr. Toad - Thornton Burgess

All About Amphibians - Animal Life for Children series by Schlessinger Media
Amphibians - Animal Life in Action by Schelssinger Media
Amphibians - Bill Nye

image of Texas toad taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_Toad

July 19, 2010

Happy (Belated) 4th Birthday

We just returned from a whirlwind vacation - we were gone for a month and hit 6 states.  While we were traveling my baby turned 4.  I didn't have access to my pictures of him, so I didn't post about it, but now I'm home and want the whole world to know what a great kid he is and what a blessing he is in our lives!
He was born 7 weeks early.  We were eating dinner one night when I peed my pants.  I was mortified (we had company over).  I sat there trying to figure out how to gracefully leave the room when I wet my pants again.  I could not believe that I had done it again and was even more at a loss to figure out what to do.  Then a huge gush went all over and it hit me that my water had broke.  I'm sort of slow about things like that.

We dropped the 3 older boys off at a friend's house (who told me to "cross my legs") then rushed to the hospital, hoping we could keep him 'inside' for a while longer.  My husband told me to "Cowboy Up" during an especially painful contraction which came as we hit a pothole during 80 mph.  I must admit that while I have a pretty good sense of humor, I do NOT have one while delivering babies.

The doctors determined that I had lost too much fluid so they were going to let me try a v-bac, when another doctor ran in and yelled, "We're taking him now."  Something on the monitor didn't look good.  We found out later his cord had prelapsed.

I was rushed into surgery, but it took 45 minutes to get him out, due to an excessive amount of scar tissue from my previous c-section.  When they pulled him out my husband said, "He's blue, and he's not breathing."  Then he left the room with the nurse and my son.  No mother, ever, wants to hear those words.

I lay on that bed praying like I'd never prayed before.  After 15 minutes they told me he was fine but needed to go straight to NICU.  I lay on that bed for another 45 minutes, still praying because they couldn't get me to stop bleeding.

At midnight that night I was allowed to see him - well, his toes.  He was hooked up to all sorts of machines so his bed couldn't be moved and I was still flat on my back so we couldn't get my bed in close enough to see him.  I couldn't even touch him.  I couldn't hold him for 3 days because of all the tubes.
The next 3 weeks were a roller coaster.  We drove back and forth to the hospital 6 times a day, and some nights and I still had to care for my 3 young sons.  The nurses were wonderful.  He was a big boy for NICU, weighing 6 pounds, 9 ounces.  He had a full, thick head of hair that they loved to part.  He was by far the biggest kid there.  He just couldn't breathe very well.  They told me later that if he'd stayed inside me much longer, he would not have made it.  I'm thankful now that he was premature, but at the time I didn't understand it.  The Lord knows what He's doing.
We had some wonderful angels watching over us - one friend watched my boys for every doctor's appointment leading up to his birth.  She watched them 3 days a week, for up to 8 hours a day.  Because the pregnancy wasn't going well I had LOTS of doctor's appointments, and often had to stay for extended monitoring.  She cheerfully watched them and even made me dinner to take home on the long days.

Another friend called the first night I got home from the hospital, without my baby, to see what I needed.  I confessed that I really needed a duel breast pump and couldn't get one that night because everything was closed.  She had one at home that I was able to use right away.  Bless her for listening to the prompting to call that night.  She will never truly understand how much that eased my aching mommy heart.

One sweet lady brought me a bag full of activities and snacks so that my boys would be entertained during the long hours they sat in the hospital waiting rooms.

Someone anonymously gave us money to pay for gas as we drove back and forth to Omaha.

And many people brought meals.  And paper plates so I wouldn't have to do dishes.
My baby is now 4.  He has no delays or problems of any kind.  He acts like the youngest of 4 boys and loves to wrestle and run and climb.  He has no fear and has the scars and bruises to show for it.  He is loving and affectionate and regularly hugs me and tells me he loves me.  He makes us laugh.  He makes us roll our eyes in frustration.  But he is so very wonderful and so very mine.  We hold him tight and cherish every moment we have and thank the Lord for modern medicine and good friends.

One more thought....I sometimes think that service projects are dumb and a waste of time that I could spend doing something else.  I hate making little quilts and filling baggies full of "stuff".  Well, thought, hated.  The night we went into his room to see him for the first time, there was a quilt there, donated by some church group for those babies who came before their parents were ready.  I bawled my guts out at their sweet gesture and felt comforted at a very dark hour.  So make as many little quilts as you can, dear sisters.  It does mean a great deal to those who receive them.

July 6, 2010

Winter Menu

Winter Menu

Week One
Monday – White Chili, fruit
Tuesday – 3 Side Dishes, fruit
Wednesday – Chicken Mozzarella, Salad, fruit
Thursday – Korma, Rice, fruit
Friday – Pancakes, Bacon or Sausage, Cottage Cheese or Yogurt, fruit
Saturday – Borscht, Bread/Rolls, fruit
Sunday – Breakfast Casserole, fruit

Week Two
Monday – Tacos, fruit
Tuesday – Chicken & Stuffing, Bacon Green Beans, fruit
Wednesday – Tator Tot Casserole w/peas, fruit
Thursday – New Recipe
Friday – Waffles, Bacon or Sausage, Cottage Cheese or Yogurt, fruit
Saturday – Lasagna, Salad, fruit
Sunday – Shrimpy Soup, Bread/Rolls, fruit

Week Three
Monday – Bean Tostadas, fruit
Tuesday – Monterey Beans, Rice, Salad, fruit
Wednesday – BBQ Sandwiches, Coleslaw, Baby Carrots, fruit
Thursday – New Recipe
Friday – French Toast, Bacon or Sausage, Cottage Cheese or Yogurt, fruit
Saturday – Spaghetti Casserole, Salad, fruit
Sunday – Olive Garden Soup, Bread/Rolls, fruit

Week Four
Monday – Quesadillas w/Black Bean Salsa, fruit
Tuesday – Chicken Ham Curry, Peas, fruit
Wednesday – Cheesy Chili, fruit
Thursday – Hash Browns, Eggs, Bacon or Sausage, Cottage Cheese or Yogurt, fruit
Friday – Make Your Own Pizza, fruit
Saturday – Spaghetti & Meatballs, Salad, fruit
Sunday – Cabbage Soup, Bread/Rolls, fruit