Archive for December, 2013

New Year’s Eve

For New Year’s Eve it was just the grownups and the two littles.  Since we were spending the evening at home – I was excited to throw a “party”!

LOLLIPOPS!

LOLLIPOPS!

Loving his Lollipop!  (Which is good, since he didn't make it to the cookies at midnight!)

Loving his Lollipop! (Which is good, since he didn’t make it to the cookies at midnight!)

We took our time getting all fancy – and put on our BEST clothes.  I had the first of their treats for the bathtub (reindeer candy canes).

Papa, Went, GO

Papa, Went, GO

Papa, Me, Went, GO

Papa, Me, Went, GO

GO had a LIST of pictures she wanted taken...

GO had a LIST of pictures she wanted taken…

Me and my Girl

Me and my Girl

GO with her Papa

GO with her Papa

Otto and Me

Otto and Me

Even Papa Otto got in on the fun!

The Crafty Basket:  cards, snowmen, poppers, stickers

The Crafty Basket: cards, snowmen, poppers, stickers

Snowman Craft!  The green scarves are girls, the red scarves are boys...

Snowman Craft! The green scarves are girls, the red scarves are boys…

I made up a basket of crafts to do with GO, and we spent the evening taking pictures, crafting, watching TV, and her favorite – baking cookies (just her and Papa!).

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Playing with Papa while the cookies bake.

Playing with Papa while the cookies bake.

Again, don't understand the pose - but love it!  (Around 11pm, we put on jammies to prepare for midnight snack!)

Again, don’t understand the pose – but love it! (Around 11pm, we put on jammies to prepare for midnight snack!)

I don't know what this face is for, I simply think it is adorable.

I don’t know what this face is for, I simply think it is adorable.

Ready to put the cookies in the oven!

Ready to put the cookies in the oven!

She made it until Midnight for fresh baked cookies and sparkling grape juice!  (Went had passed out around 10:30 pm.)

Sharing with my girly!  She was so proud that she made these with Papa, and withOUT my help!

Sharing with my girly! She was so proud that she made these with Papa, and withOUT my help!

Carefully carrying the Sparkling Grape Juice!

Carefully carrying the Sparkling Grape Juice!

Sparkling Grape Juice in a big girl glass!

Sparkling Grape Juice in a big girl glass!

I love making memories like this with her!  I hope 2014 can be as perfect as the start.

~Mummy Butterfly  )i(

Happy Birthday, B10!

I can hardly believe my oldest baby Caterpillar turned 14 today.  I’m the luckiest mum alive to have this kid as my own.

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Cake and Presents :)

Cake and Presents 🙂

Singing.  :)

Singing. 🙂

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday!

B10 said he thought that 14 Year Olds should ALSO get a "smash cake".

B10 said he thought that 14 Year Olds should ALSO get a “smash cake”.

We celebrated with Granddaddy and Minnie Mouse, before his birthday (he was at his Daddy’s ON his birthday) and we will celebrate at home in early January.  They made sure he had a delicious cake and ice cream.

"I think there is a smidge left in the bottom, my tongue can reach it!"

“I think there is a smidge left in the bottom, my tongue can reach it!”

"Got - To - Get - It - ALL!"

“Got – To – Get – It – ALL!”

"Oh, NOM NOM NOM!"

“Oh, NOM NOM NOM!”

"This is good, Brother."

“This is good, Brother.”

I think it was a hit!  😀

Granddaddy helping Went "sing".

Granddaddy helping Went “sing”.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY – I’m so proud of you, B10.  You have a life plan ahead of you, and you work hard every day to make your dreams happen.  You’ve got values and firm foundations of right and wrong.  I am blessed!

I don’t usually share personally stories about my older Caterpillars, to give them privacy – but I wanted to share an incident that happened recently.  B10 gets a lot of flack, because he is his own person.  His mind is his own and while that means he is very much NOT a follower, it also means he can be quite bullheaded and stubborn.  He had his first “date” recently, with a girl who was a good friend, then one of his best friends, and now he asked if he could take her out on a date.  I chaperoned and was so proud of his gentlemanly behavior – not just opening the car doors and such for her, but doing the same for me.  During this date, I saw at least twice a grownup giving my son and his date a sideways look, and I’m sure it’s because this sweet girl (a family friend and fellow homeschooled student) is black and as you all know, B10 is about as white as they come.

Both times, I saw my son draw up and stand tall, ready to defend himself and his date – but not being confrontational.  I could not be more proud.  That’s the kind of man I want my son to become, and to see his behavior when he didn’t know anyone else was watching made my heart sing.

B10 – you are amazing.

BABY PHOTO BOMB!

BABY PHOTO BOMB!

All my love,

Mummy Butterfly  )i(

Happy Birthday, Jesus! Party at the Preschool!

GO had her Christmas Program (she actually had a speaking line!) and her Happy Birthday, Jesus Party.  I was helping in the office, and made it to her class just as the *incredible* Co-Room Mum passed out cookies for the kids to decorate.  She had made sure to make enough so Went could also “make” a cookie.

Watching Sister decorate her cookie.  Getting pointers!  ;)

Watching Sister decorate her cookie. Getting pointers! 😉

OH NOM, NOM, NOM!

OH NOM, NOM, NOM!

Love that Cookie!

Love that Cookie!

GO and Went

GO and Went

GO's Prince

GO’s Prince

The kids enjoyed themselves and GO indulged her giving spirit – bringing gifts for all her teachers.

I adore her preschool and the emphasis they place on Christ at Christmas.  Special thanks to all the other adults who love these kids and make their experience in preschool so special.

~Mummy Butterfly  )i(

 

When Strangers Disappoint

I have hesitated to talk much about my experience this summer/fall, when we were contacted and gave assistance to a needy family.  It opened my eyes to lots of problems in society, by making them REAL and RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME.  But, what I have come to realize is that many might not agree with my conclusions to my observations on the failings of the system.

This summer, my family participated in a food program in our county.  Six Fridays in a row, we drove our van to the local food bank/thrift store and loaded up with over 200 lunches.  Then we drove up and down our “route ” (same one each week) slowly.  I honked my horn (three quick beeps – over and over and over) while my Caterpillars handed out lunches to hungry kids.  It changed how we saw needy people.  Joy over a peanut butter and jelly sandwich was mind-blowing to my kids and they have all asked to work again next summer.

Towards the end of summer, school supplies where handed out, and on our normal Friday run a father asked if we had any extra.  He had taken in his sister-in-law, her boyfriend and their four girls.  The two oldest girls had no school supplies for the coming year.  Otto and I had felt very strongly that God was calling us to DO something that day, so I took their school information and we provided ALL the supplies (including backpacks and new shoes) for ALL the children in the household.  I also left them my phone number, in case other school supplies came up (as it happens often during the first week).  We also brought colouring books and  crayons for the little ones.

Two weeks later I got a phone call, late at night.  The family of six were being kicked out of the home in the morning, and had to pack and had nowhere to go.  Or a car to even live in.  Would we help?  Did we have any idea of where they could go?

Crisis.  Crisis Problem.

I can solve Crisis Problems.  Otto and I prayed, and at 11pm at night we drove to a scary part of town, with boxes – so their belongings could be packed.  I promised to be there in the morning to pick them up, and encouraged them to PLEASE send the two older girls to school.  (The fear was they couldn’t get them after school, so they just weren’t going to go.)

Why did they get kicked out?  Simple – only two adults can be on food stamps in one household.  Because there were four adults in the household – and two already were (the two mothers), neither father could be on food stamps.  When the father who lived in the house applied, the mother who lived in the house was “kicked off”.  I don’t know how I feel about this.  I understand the need to curb food stamp abuse, but at the same time – none of the applications listed anyone on multiple stamps.  (So each mother had her own children – only, and the fathers weren’t on anything.)  The problem was the address.  The parents living at the address could NOT have both been together.  It’s hard to understand, and I do see the problem.

I don’t know the answer.  And if it’s feed your own kids or feed your sister’s kids, I cannot speak for those who have to make those hard choices.

We (Otto and I) put them in an extended stay hotel.  I got the older girls enrolled in school.  Bought groceries, living supplies, found them clothes and shoes, and got donations of blankets and pillows so the girls would have a comfy place as they slept on the floor.  Generous friends provided Pillow Pets and matching PJs for the girls.  Cooking implements were secured.  My mother, Cookie, did their laundry every week so they would have clean clothes and wouldn’t have to pay to go to a laundry mat.  I am grateful for each and every person that helped us in that moment.

I had two friends even help pay for the Extended Stay Hotel – at approx $200 a week, eight weeks was a staggering proposition.

But, I told them upfront – we were just regular people – NOT an organization.  We could not help/sustain them forever.

So I gave them resources – the number to the Lilburn Co-Op.  The information for Family Promise.  How to get help from the county.  And I *begged* them to use those resources.  I drove them to and from where they needed to go once a week, and took them groceries until their food stamps came in again.

After the initial 72 hour period, I asked how things were going.  Family Promise had said they couldn’t take any families until October 1st, but to keep checking back.  Every day was okay.

I asked them to commit to that.  If they were calling Family Promise every day, and filled out the paperwork, I would take them ASAP when they got an interview.  And we would help them stay in the extended hotel until that happened.

Fast forward to October 1st.  Family Promise has no space, and come to find out – the mother hasn’t been calling, in fact, hadn’t called back since September 1st.  They were paid in the lodging through October 21st, so I asked her if she could please make sure she was calling daily from then on.

She didn’t.  She didn’t make the phone calls to help her children.  At all.  In fact, I started getting threatening phone calls about how “I owed her family this place to live”, because “my family was so rich.”   And I should be paying months in advance for them to have a place to stay.

I stopped answering the phone.  It was heartbreaking.

I’m not rich.  Our kids went without some stuff, so we could pay to help this family.  Our entire Christmas giving budgeted money went to help this family.

Do I feel bad?  No.  Do I feel cheated?  No.  We helped as much as we could, while being up front with the limits of our abilities.

We can help with Crisis Problems.  Chronic Problems require self-motivation to fix.  They now had a Chronic Problem.

Some people will say that all poor people have Chronic Problems, never Crisis Problems.  I’m not sure I agree.  I like to believe that a different family would have taken two months of free rent, shelter, and resources, plus gifts to get their family on its feet, and gotten themselves REAL help in a way that could prevent this from happening to them again.  This family felt help was owed to them.

Do I resent helping this family, rather than another?  No, this is the family God put in front of us.  It is not my job to judge God’s will or my fellow man.  I’m disappointed.  I hoped for more for them.  But I just as I cannot judge, I cannot DO for someone else what they won’t do for themselves.

And that is what I came away with.  The resources in general were there for the taking, but the adults in question lacked the motivation to DO what needed to be done.

I pray their children are okay.  I pray they are all safe, warm, and dry – with food in the kitchen.

But I cannot be the one to fix their lives.  Everyone has to want to live better, in order to live better.

Thank you to every single friend who gave assistance to this family through me.  The four little girls had their lives touched, and regardless of the parents thoughts – they will remember someone cared enough to provide for them.  I appreciate you all.

~Mummy Butterfly  )i(

Mary, Beloved Guinea Pig

Normally, I don’t post as much about our older Caterpillars, for their privacy.  It’s hard enough being a preteen/teenager, it can only be worse if your Mum is constantly putting everything you do on her blog.  However, CW came to me and ask me to post about Mary so there would be a memorial to her online and so that other boys his age could see it is okay to cry and be upset if you lose a pet.

I felt strongly I needed to honor his request, so this blog post is about Mary.  We let CW choose how to deal with her death, and he was very adamant that he wanted to build her a coffin.  I am grateful to the older gentleman at Lowe’s who didn’t talk down to CW or make him feel like his request was stupid, but instead took the time to help him choose the best lumber for the job.  It was very important and meaningful to me to see this adult treat my son with such respect.

CW wanted to bathe Mary, himself, and spent a lot of time drying her coat and taking care of her, while crying on and off.  (He has asked us to not yet move her cage out of his room, but says he will ask Papa to move it soon.)

Placing Mary in her coffin.

Placing Mary in her coffin.

Mary's Coffin (made of Aspen Wood).

Mary’s Coffin (made of Aspen Wood).

Otto finished up his work early to get home as quickly as possible to help CW, and sat beside him when CW just wanted to talk.  I found an old piece of yellow fabric to line the coffin with, and CW wrote a beautiful letter to print out and go in the coffin with her.  His letter is below (and I haven’t changed anything for grammar, other than his name):

Mary

I wish you were back with me right now. I will and always will miss you forever. I think you will have a good time up in heaven, I wish I could be with you now. We will have lots of fun when I go to heaven and come home. I will pray for you always, and I hope you meet lots of people. You will love all the treats that are up in heaven. Go meet all our family and love them a lot. I hope you get to move in to our house or your house and put up lots of pictures.

CW

love you mary.

CW knows about heaven, but was asking lots of questions – after explaining that I can’t speak truth from Scripture, I can tell him what I think happens.  I believe that animals are in heaven (and will be on the New Earth), because I don’t believe God will reject the creatures who never rejected Him.  I also believe that all the people on earth who were allergic to animals – they aren’t when they get to heaven, and I believe that Mary is being well loved and taken care of by those people, until CW arrives.  I believe my grandmother, Mimi, is spending time with her great-grandson’s guinea pig and loving her lots.  I believe that God sees a child’s heart and allows it to grieve and heal.

CW saying goodbye.

CW saying goodbye.

CW asked me to seal the lid of the coffin, so he wouldn’t have to nail the top on.  While I was doing that, he and Otto went to the backyard to dig a grave, below a tree that CW particularly loves.  Otto said CW did most of the work, and after he placed the box in the grave, he wanted to cover it up himself.  We quietly stood by and respected his wishes.

It was a horrible day, and I know my son is devastated.  But I am grateful for a husband who hurries home to help take care of the *heart* of our child and that I have a son who trusts that we, as parents, will stand by him and respect him and love him.

~Mummy Butterfly  )i(

(This post was written with permission and encouragement of CW.)

Purex Insider: Purex Fels-Naptha Laundry Soap

As part of being a Purex Insider, I was given a free Purex Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar.  I have never used such a thing before, and was eager to see if it would hold up to the many stains of my house.  I have never used ANY laundry soap before as a stain remover, but I knew that the Caterpillars would give me a great testing ground.  I was thinking it would be one of the older boys that would produce the item of clothing for me to test it on…

Then I did one of those “stupid mum things”…  Went has an adorable Thanksgiving Outfit.  A-DOR-A-BLE!  It has a cute turkey on it and says “Thankful for Mommy” and he is just precious wearing it.  I was saving it for our Thanksgiving Day – but Otto had a flag football game on the Wednesday night before TurkEve and I thought “ah, wouldn’t he look cute wearing it to the game?”

Stupid mistake.  That just meant that my son wore his special Thanksgiving outfit and walked all over a nasty, dirty, concrete floor.  I was so mad at myself when I saw the stains.  He had a few around his collar and wrists, but the bottom of his feet made me want to cry.

Stains on the collar (I let him feed himself...)

Stains on the collar (I let him feed himself…)

Stains on the cuffs.

Stains on the cuffs.

The feet of my Little Turkey.  That is gum on the "Turkey" side. I tried to scrape it off with my fingernails and it was disgusting... :(

The feet of my Little Turkey. That is gum on the “Turkey” side. I tried to scrape it off with my fingernails and it was disgusting… 😦

That’s gum! GUM!  I felt so stupid.  As I used the laundry soap, I kept telling Otto that at least if it worked as a stain remover on some of the stains, or just the collar and arm cuffs, I would feel better.  But I could not believe I had ruined his Thanksgiving Outfit.

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I wet the bar and rubbed it all over the stains.  It was incredible simple to use (I left the bar in my Master Bath, since that is where we undress the baby).  Then, Otto tossed it in the regular wash cycle.  I had asked him to let me possibly reapply the laundry soap and wash it again, before drying it, but we were so busy, he forgot and put the entire load straight in the dryer (and I’m not going to complain about a husband who generously helps with the laundry)!

I'm Thankful for Purex Fels-Naptha!

I’m Thankful for Purex Fels-Naptha!

On Thanksgiving Morning, Otto dressed Went and brought him downstairs, telling me to get my camera.

Look at these feet!

That's my Little Turkey!  (With CLEAN FEET!)

That’s my Little Turkey! (With CLEAN FEET!)

That is ONE application of the Purex Laundry Soap.  I had *no idea* it could save these feet AND get the gum off!  It looks brand-new!  And I have a bar to share with one lucky reader.  Just leave a comment (on the blog – not on Facebook), and I will randomly choose one winner. (Please make sure you leave a valid email address, or I at least know how to get in touch with you!)

I can’t wait to share!

~Mummy Butterfly  )i(

(I was provided with free Purex Fels-Naptha Laundry Soap, but I don’t have to say anything nice.  I just do, because I LOVE it!  They have also, graciously, provided me with bars to share.)

Reuben – His Furever Home

I’ve briefly introduced Reuben before, but I want you to meet our newest family member.

Me and Reuben at Fort Yargo State Park on TurkEve.

Me and Reuben at Fort Yargo State Park on TurkEve.

Reuben is a Plott Hound, from our local animal control center.  He spent almost 6 weeks in the shelter – and I wish I could tell you why.  He’s adorable, sweet, kind, and perfect with people.  I can only suppose that God was making sure he came home with us.

He weighed in at 49.8 lbs and the vet believes him to be between 5 months and 7 months based on his baby teeth.  Overall, his health is excellent.

We adopted him on November 28th and he was transported to the vet on the 29th.  One of the best things about the local animal control shelter is that they transport the animal to the vet, and you pick up from the vet after surgery (spay/neuter, microchipping, and rabies shot).  Due to family plans, we had to board Reuben for one night – but hurried home on the 30th to pick him up.

He did amazing in his first car ride with the family, you can tell from the picture he is already understanding who is little girl is.

Riding Home with his Little Girl

Riding Home with his Little Girl

In fact, he travels so well – we have driven with him to Rome and back, plus he comes along some days on our general errands, just to be with the family.

Chilling in his seat in the car (he has a blanket next to GO in the last row).

Chilling in his seat in the car (he has a blanket next to GO in the last row).

Look at that content face!

Look at that content face!

For TurkEve, Went, Otto and I took Reuben to our local State Park to run in the woods.

Playing at the State Park!

Playing at the State Park!

Reuben and his new Papa, Otto.

Reuben and his new Papa, Otto.

For Thanksgiving, we made a puppy safe plate and he ate right with the rest of the family.

Puppy Safe Thanksgiving Feast  (He liked everything, except the sauce!)

Puppy Safe Thanksgiving Feast (He liked everything, except the sauce!)

He is now spending his days outside playing with his family (six kids and two adults – with a giant fenced backyard), watching Little Einsteins and Sofia the First (puppies AND little people like Disney, Jr), sleeping on his *two* new beds (one upstairs and one downstairs), cuddling with his Mummy and Papa on the bed and sofa, and generally enjoying his new life.  He is currently in love with his bed underneath the Christmas Tree (and has only tried to take one ornament off).

Watching TV with his GO.

Watching TV with his GO.

Under the Christmas Tree with his new red bed.  (His blue bed is upstairs in the Master Bedroom.)

Under the Christmas Tree with his new red bed. (His blue bed is upstairs in the Master Bedroom.)

Socks and leashes on the other hand, they stand no chance!

I want to say a giant “Thank You” to the Barrow County Animal Control and the Saving Barrow County Animal Control Pets Facebook page for helping us to find our furever puppy.

~Mummy Butterfly  )i(