Friday, April 29, 2011

Pizza Anyone?

This has been a big pizza week. My fourth graders had state testing all week. I like to do some particularly hand's on style learning during this time after all the tests. We just finished the chapter on matter in our science text. All those states of matter, physical, chemical and phase changes, solvents, solutes, etc are a bit abstract. I don't even think I had an iota's bit of exposure to those terms until 8th or 9th grade.
In an attempt to bring it to their level, we make our own lunch, mostly from scratch. At first they are a bit put off when they find out what we'll use to produce a chemical change in milk. But when we actually add the rennet from the stomach of a ruminating animal, they are fascinated to see it form curds and whey, and then cheese. We use the leftover whey to make pizza crust. Since winter, we've watched various herbs grow under the grow light and used them to create a mixture of pizza sauce and Ranch dressing from the original recipe. From lemons, oranges and sugar we concoct a drinkable solution. Lastly, we mix solids and liquids, apply heat and change it to yummy caramels. Dee- wish -us! And all that science jargon makes a bit more sense.
Well, we did it Wednesday. Whatever I do with my class my gramerlings want to do as well. So Wednesday night was more pizza. I don't really even like pizza, especially twice in one day, but I do love teaching these kiddos.
Pull, push, pull, push.

Push really, really hard!

Well, that pushing and pulling was fun, but we're still not quite done playing in that fun white fluff, so get the princesses for a little play time.
On with some favorite toppings.
Speaking of eating, I just got a call from Rae returning from Gideon's two week check-up. He's already gained a pound and is thriving. Thank the Lord!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

In My Easter Bonnet

We were blessed with warm weather, and a break in the torrential rains for about three hours Easter afternoon. So, we took the swimmies off the Easter Eggs and decided to hunt instead of bobbing for eggs.
It was a very special day in and of it self, but made more so by Aunt Lois and cousin Randy being able to attend. She has not been to visit here in a very long time. We celebrated her birthday all together.
Then, a new little bunny added to the clutch never hurts either. Gideon slept Easter away in Mommy's arms.
Behold, a bunch of pictures. Not the best pictures I might add. The adults come hungry and the kidlets want to change so they can play. That makes it hard for the hostess to be much of a photographer. Well, I tried.

A family friend made these hand smocked dresses, and no way were they changing until I had some sort of picture.

The bluest eyes you've ever seen are at Gramerly's, and the hills are pretty green at the moment too.

And they're off, to slosh through the swamp in search of treasure!
No, guess we don't have an age limit on who can hunt.

Antebellie has a tough time deciding who she is most in love with, Jakee or Michael.
Ahhh, their first family Easter picture. Rae-rae is starting to look like herself again. Thank you Jesus.

And lastly, the front porch picture. I guess I have one of these for the twenty five or so years I've been hosting the Easter festivities. It kind of makes me teary. How the ones who were hunting are now helping the babies. The babies I took pictures of now hide the eggs for the little ones. Of the ones who aren't here. Maybe I love Fiddler on the Roof so much because I am such a sucker for tradition myself. It is like there is two of me. One, rejoicing in the blessings of the those present, another side grieving those not there. I didn't really know if I could pull off Easter this year. Actually, I couldn't have without Handy Man helping me so much. I didn't do nearly the things I usually do, but no one seemed to notice, there was lots of good things to eat, and nothing I could ever pull off is as fabulous as stomping through the creek and screaming and running every time you find the hole with Darth Vadar's bones. Seriously, what could top that?

Ceece here! While Gramerly was busy hostessing I snapped a couple pictures too!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Some Baby Love

It was hard being at school this week. I had planned to take off at least a day or two, but we don't have a big substitute pool and three people were already out Monday. So I showed up there everyday, but my heart was somewhere else.
On Friday, a sweet mom who subs volunteered to come in and take my class. I went in and got things settled, stayed to do Stations of the Cross with my fourth graders, who were reading for the service, then left.
I ran and did the last minute Easter Dinner shopping, then headed to Louisville for some baby love.
Such sweetness. Our new grandboy is one week old already. Billi counts going down, NO tethered spine-praise the Lord! Mommy slowly returning to the land of the living. He is a snuggly boy I am happy to report.
Still a bit jaundice, but headed the right directions now. He has a terrific sucking instinct and anything is fair game. He thinks his little fingers are a delicious treat, and is in heaven when he finds his wee thumb.

Whilst I was Gramerly of the Weekend, This was Grandma of the Week, saying bye to the boy for a day or of two of a much deserved rest.

And lastly, my baby, doing what she likes best, smooching on her baby. I haven't posted any piks of her yet, as her lack of any color was a bit distressing. Still, there is quite a contrast between her and Gideon's kind of nice orangey tone. She is better and before long we'll have some shots of back to health Mama and baby. Again, much appreciation for the your prayers.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Willow Tree Woods

Gideon is a bit jaundice, so they've had to take him for blood work daily. If it's up again tomorrow he'll have to have his first tanning bed experience I guess. He also has a lumbar dimple and will have an ultrasound on his lower back tomorrow to rule out tethered spine. Raechel is improving day by day, though these trips to the hospital are wearing.

A sweet friend Claire made her baby boy a mobile from a tree branch that I loved. You might recall from an earlier post that I have been playing around with wool felting. Since Gideon's crib set is woodland themed, I thought I'd try my hand at making him a mobile from a Pussy Willow branch and critters I felted. I used this book, Wool Pets as my guide. Well, I clearly have some room for serious improvement, but I've really enjoyed the process. Since all the other gramerlings love stories, I figured I'd better start developing a story line for these little creatures.
Actually, Tree Beard, Chippy and Squirrel have long been a part of swingtime stories for Bean, Bugg and Buttercup.

Gideon’s Mobile

A wizened old owl in Willow Tree Woods

told stories to Gideon as wise owls should

about the willow woodland fair

And all the creatures he’d find there

A tiniest bird with red on her chest

Making a perfect lichen nest

Hummy the hummingbird, small as can be

Makes a home for her family of three

There is Bartholomew Beaver a feller of trees

though seldom will bother one full of bees

He’s ever busy making his family safe

an underground cabin, a fabulous place

A tiniest chipmunk, Chippy’s the name

Who’s protected by Tree Beard and loves to play games

On warm sunny days he scampers about

Hoping that Gideon will get to come out.

Follow the nut to find the squirrel Grey,

Munching and crunching his stash of the day,

He gets in trouble, a sneaky boy

Who likes to grab wee Chippy’s toys.

Don’t forget Stinky, who’d miss that smell

But he surely has lots of stories to tell

Of folk who run when they see his rump wiggle

He does it on purpose and it makes his friends giggle.

Sitting quietly on a branch of the willow

a finch of gold, a mighty fine fellow

who shares the news of woodland days

when wizened old owl is snoring away.

But as dark settles in, Owl’s eyes open wide

Watching as Gideon dreams by his side

Looking over his bed, he who whoos soft and low

His own wise blessing for a boy who’s loved so!

Update- Gideon's counts are going down, no need for lights- thank the Lord!

Sharing on Creative Friday.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Home They Go

Well, you know hospitals today. The minute Rae was able to walk around the bed they were filling out discharge papers. They went home yesterday afternoon.
We went over last night to take some supper and treats for the week. The new family had a nap and are of course a bit weak, tired, weary and very in love with this boy.
He's a bit jaundice, as you can tell, but we were happy to discover that her milk is in and he's nursing like a champ.
Between the low blood/fluids, shock and then all the Benedryl to get her through transfusions, I was a bit concerned about the milk. Thank the Lord, that's going right on schedule.
He is a content boy, eats well, burps easy, etc. I enjoyed changing him into his little onesie and gown, snugging him up for rest. Then Raechel was able to get a shower and sat while I dried her hair. Naturally, she's pale, and is trying not to overdue.
I'm headed back to work this morning, as Michael's parents are there to hold down the fort.
That's probably all they'll be holding. Rae's mama bear instincts were in no way compromised by the trauma and if Gideon squeaks, then she wants him-right now!

I figured I'd best snap this pik of him in the cradle while she was showering, as I'm not thinking he's going to spend much time in there.
Again, thank you for your prayers.
We are all trying to process and recover from three days of joy, then fright, no sleep, etc. This morning, Handy Man and I could both use a transfusion.
I still can't go there without feeling hysterical and sobbing. So, let's get on my game face for my kid's at school. I need to get as much done today as I can, in case I need to take off again.
Have a blessed Holy Week.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

All is Calm

Gideon Tolan Bailey 7 lbs 15 1/2 ounces 21 inches long
Welcome to the world baby boy.
And under that cap-

Thunder is over, and my fondest hope and prayer is that this crisis with Rae-rae is mostly behind us. I came home this afternoon after she was well past the reactionary stage of the transfusion. I slept soundly.
I woke to good news. They told us to expect a one point rise per pint of blood. It was 4. 4 and she received two pints. While certainly it would make her feel better, 6.3 is no great shakes. Drum roll- Blood count 7.7- hallelujah!
Though it is with great difficulty on my part, I am going to stay home. They think they can manage now and Michael's mom is camping out in the waiting room in case they need to call in a back-up.
Isn't life weird sometimes? To me, through most of this experience, it seemed like Raechel was still, I don't know, fourteen. Not in how she acted, she was most courageous throughout, but in how she looked and how I felt. It's is challenging for me to walk away from that.
She isn't fourteen, however and with some renewed health, she and Michael are up for the task.
So, perhaps it's back to just being an excited grandma for a new perfect boy and his Mama and Papa.
Again, thank you so sincerely for every phone call, meal and smile. Mostly for storming heaven's gates. Raechel has always been just like me. Her most fervent hope in all of growing up was getting to be a mommy. Then before you turn around twice, she's found Prince Charming, and that long awaited boy shaped joy is pulled out into the world into her waiting arms. I have it, in living color-her sitting up in the birthing chair, one last push and two little hands are up and two mommy hands swoop him right up into her arms. We laugh, and cry and smile and turn around again, suddenly, unexpectedly, terrifyingly, to all my thoughts going back to my baby, the one on her head, who's blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen are dropping through the floor. Who looks more dead then many dead people I've seen. Surely, my own heart stopped for a time and screamed, "No, No, this baby needs this mommy." And it did not beat true until she was the kid I recognized this afternoon. Thank you Jesus.
So Lord, Bless this new family with long life, good health and a peaceful end. For all things Lord, we offer you praise!
Welcome to the world, Baby Gideon. You are a blessed boy and I am a blessed Gramerly!

Thunder Over Louisville

Good Morning World and faithful friends and family- Rae is sitting up this morning and able to manage wee Gideon Tolan on her own for a bit. I've been amazed at her tenaciousness in nursing this boy and holding him in spite of how she's feeling. He is nursing well. She's a bit woozy, but no fever, swelling or shakes. She can sit up a bit, but can't get up at all. Based on advice from a few trusted sources, we try the transfusion again this morning with a different protocol. Hoping for a bright and happy post this noon.
We were finally moved to a regular room at nine last night and both Rae and Michael actually got to sleep for a few hours for the first time.
If all goes well, this tired Gramerly will be headed away from the Thunder activity and home to my warm and cozy bed and Handy Man this evening. Though the circumstances have been daunting, I've enjoyed watching this threesome become a family. Precious. I've enjoyed this tiny newborn immensely, in spite of the chaos and fear I've felt over my girl.
Umm, did I say I've never been as scared as I was yesterday.
So thankful for faithful prayer warriors and people willing to be the hands and feet of Jesus to us. I can't conceive it's just now been 24hrs.
Okay, today is a new day.
Lord Bless us everyone.

Friday, April 15, 2011


update 4:00 Raechel just had a bad reaction to the blood. This day has been a million years long, have mercy. She is need of some prayers
update-Okay, hoping we're soon to be out of the woods
it's 1:30 and we're still in Labor and Delivery.
Her blood count is only 5.3
that is way, way low, so she needs a transfusion
maybe she'll get in an actual room sometime today
I would never have guessed that a drugfree labor and delivery would result in my kid being on pitocin, oxygen, antibiotic, blood transfusion and painkillers, wow
Gideon is a beautiful boy and Raechel did great until afterwards. It's 3 1/2 hrs post baby and she's had four shots to stop the bleeding, she's on oxygen. Please pray the bleeding stops.
I'll update when I can. We are all spent.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Happy Dance- Hallelujah

Just a quick update on Rae. My friend, Ms. Gardner came to entertain my fourth graders this morning so I could be at the hospital for the big, "Move the Boy" event.
When I got there they were getting ready to give a her a drug to keep her from having contractions, that would make her heart race, etc., etc. I was already feeling a lot of anxiety over this procedure and that did not help.
Anyway, I hear a doc in the hall and recognize the voice, as it was Ceece and Ol' Mother Hubbard's OB. He says he'll start the ultrasound and not wait for the midwife. So he takes the magic wand and starts at the top, and says, "Well, where is that baby's head?" He keeps on moving down and says, "Down here, right where it should be. You can go."
Yee haw!
Thank you Jesus.
Land's sake, I am so relieved, as was the mama and the papa.
Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.
Keep heading south sweet dumpling. We're waiting.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Saturday Cook Off

Handy Man and I headed over to deliver Baby Gideon's cradle and to help Rae-rae prepare some meals for the freezer.
I took some from free range beef and she had chicken stewing. We made chile, taco stuffing, King's Ranch Chicken and meatloaf. There was some extra beef, so I whipped up some Mexican Cornbread for our supper.
It was sweet to see all things made ready to welcome our new boy.
Clearly, the baby had dropped.
She's going in Tuesday for a Manual Cephalic Version to try and turn him if he's still breech.
The girl is in that way pregnant, quite miserable mode. She's still working and I guess we'll just see what this week holds.
Missing any part of this "Daughter's First Baby" experience that I'm welcome to attend is out of the question, but I always have a lot of anxiety over leaving my classroom. This is completely prideful on my part, as I guess it boils down to thinking there isn't anyone else who can do as well as I can- ha.
Also, my Bohemian teaching ways can't be easily explained. When I have to write it all out, it's like doing two days work to be off a day. Of course, I don't even know when that day will be.
Ahhh, the thrill of being a control freak. Lord help!
Any hoo, the new mama and papa, and that sweet boy, uh, and me, would appreciate your prayers.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Happy Accident and Innocence

Several years back, Ol' Mother Hubbard and I took the poopies to Wendy's for lunch. The kidlet meal surprise was an audio of Mary Pope Osbourne's book, Dolphins at Daybreak. Bean was only about three and the Magic Treehouse books are third grade chapter books, so I didn't think it would be of much interest to him- wrong!
I put it in the CD player in the car, and low and behold, he was smitten-at three. Since then I've bought numerous audios of Miss Mary's and he loves each one better than the last.
If you haven't heard of them, they are books about two young children, Jack and Annie, who travel through time, via this magical treehouse. All the history, or information about people and places is true. He learns a lot through these CD's. Now, at the ripe old age of six, he's reading the chapter books on his own.
Though he loves to hear those stories and asks for them in the car, and loves to read the books and seems to pack one around with him all the time, he still wants to hear my stories.
Today when I picked him up from Playplace, he said, "It's pretty today, so as soon as we get home can you push me in the swing?"
"Sure, I will."
Of course, before I started pushing came the next request. "Can you tell me a story?"
"Sure, pick five characters." He wants to tell me all the little details of the story, including all the people he wants to show up. This can run into more folk then I can keep up with, so I've learned to set some limits.
Jack, Annie, Bean, Morgan and Oliver were to be in this tale and it was to take place during the American Revolution.
Not only does Bean want to pick the characters, but he wants them to stay "in character" as he views them. Gee whiz, this is work.
Anyway, I guess I inadvertently expressed some boldness in our Magic Treehouse boy Jack, and was quickly corrected and reminded that Annie is the bold one and Jack is the timid, scaredy cat.
So, to the innocence alluded to in the title. The next time Jack came up in the story, they were in the deep dark woods with a little patriot named Oliver, who was hiding and waiting for Paul Revere to show up and exchange his horse for a fresh one. Bean suggests that something's gone wrong with ol' Paul and they should take the horse and go after him. Remembering Jack's nature, I quickly had Jack tell Bean that it wouldn't be a good idea, and it was best to continue waiting.
The realtime Bean chirped in, "See, I told you he was scared of everything."
I don't know. I just thought that was so sweet that he obviously thought Jack's personality expressed itself in the story, with no help from the teller.

Hmm, I'm rambling.
I got a surprise phone call tonight. Pete was calling me because Kaye wanted to talk to me. Unbeknownst to me, she had surgery this morning and they amputated her toe. She cried when she told me. I feel sort of sick and out of sorts. Hence, the story above. Just trying to find my joy here.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Oh The Work There Is To Do

It's 70 degrees here and I was happy to have a normal kind of day.
This last week had too much sad. Uncle Berry, Bran's Granny, Sallie's Daddy, a local eighteen year old boy, Sammie's mother-in-law, c'mon-enough! Lord bless us all in this grieving time.

Today I cleaned the coop. The Easter Eggers have started laying again and it is still a delight to find a blue/green egg in a nest box.
Rae-rae and Michael stopped by and we shortened the elastic on Gideon's Fuzzibunz and talked all things baby. We then went to a new farm store that recently opened close-by. They have a different chicken feed with probiotics included. I give my chickie-girls yogurt from time to time, but thought I might give this feed a whirl. I enjoyed spending some putzing time with them and the Handy Man.

We returned home with the intent to plant lettuce. Handy Man is about to croak waiting for the gardens to dry so he can live out there with his new tiller. He tried just a corner for me and it looks good. Gale force winds however discouraged me from trying to keep teeny weeny seed where it is supposed to go. So, instead I clipped lots of stuff back.

I told Handy Man that after all the money and labor I've poured into plants, the biggest thing in the yard just blew in on a breeze and settled in my garden, yes, right in it, and called it home. It's somewhat of a misnomer to say Butterfly Bush, though that is it's common name. It should say Butterfly Tree. It is the hugest thing I've ever seen. Someone said,"Why don't you cut it back," and I laughed. Today, I whacked off at least half of that girl. If past years are any indication, she smiles and sends out six more shoots for everyone I cut. Now you know I love her when she's in full bloom and those interesting moth creatures that at first make me think of a humming bird are flying around. And the butterflies of all makes and models are a joy on a hot afternoon. The honey smell is so delicious. I remained amazed. She is big though, and in the garden. Who am I to argue when you've found your niche.

After tackling the garden monstrosity, I went after the black raspberry canes. The old ones have to go and some new ones too, if there are too many, and you know there were. Two wheelbarrow loads of old canes and vines were moved out.

Arwen, if you recall, is a Great Pyrenees. Great Hair Ball would be a more accurate name. Handy Man has already started brushing her. It's so cute. He calls her name and holds up the brush, and she comes running, plops her self down for spell. When Handy Man stops to clean the brush, she paws him and tries to kiss him, for she fears he has stopped. She looks completely lovesick. I sort of feel that way when he scratches or rubs my back, so I get it. Every bird in this area could line their nest with Arwen fur. She is the sweetest dog.

So, back to work tomorrow. Let's hear it for a calm, uneventful week. Well, unless that sweet new grandboy of mine wants to turn himself and head for the nearest exit, that would be alright by me.