I am smarter than a rodent.

This morning, and past few days, have been so crazy I am going to attempt to convey the normal chaos that is my life.  Add in the time change, and it is a perfect storm.

Let's work backwards.  I just finally, at nearly 11 am, cleaned up breakfast.  Before that it was a dog bath, a dirty diaper, waffles for all, disposal of a rat, and inducing dog vomit.  Let me explain.

For the past few weeks, we have been dealing with rats coming into our laundry room at night.  It has only been confirmed in the last week, so I haven't been fully aware of it until recently.  I cannot even convey how extremely disturbing this is. For many reasons.  Knowing that there are vermin out there roaming my kitchen and laundry room every night is disgusting.  Just lying in bed wondering what they are touching, where they are going, and what diseases they may be spreading is a literal nightmare.  I dream about rats.  When I actually do sleep.  It is gross.  I don't even feel the need to apologize for this being a "first world problem" and how I have this amazing house I live in whilst other people have rats crawling on them while they sleep.  I don't care.  I hate them and I want them to die.

So. We have been trying to outsmart them and trap and kill them every night for about 3 nights.  We have killed three. I rigged up this elaborate "stairway to heaven" rat trap that involved them crawling into paper tubes and falling into a trash can full of water.  After trying this for 3 nights, it finally killed one last night.  Jimmy has been setting traditional traps.  After setting two traps a night for three nights (so 6 traps) we have killed 2 that way. Not a great percentage, but we'll take it.  They manage to eat the bait without getting snapped or falling into the water.  It is discouraging.  I chant a new inner mantra which is "I am smarter than a rodent.  I am smarter than a rodent."  I'm not so sure.

Last night I added a new method- mix dog food with some flour, oatmeal, and some plaster of paris.  They are supposed to eat the plaster of paris, have it turn to a rock in their gut, and die.
(They seem to love dog food- they've been chewing the lid of the dog food bucket every night for about 4 weeks.  It's like their own version of Shawshank Redemption. Eventually they will make it through.)

This morning Jimmy checked all our torture devices.  Drowned one.  Got one in a trap.  Sadly, they didn't seem to touch the "poison."  (This is our new morning routine- I lay in bed clutching the covers up to my neck and Jimmy goes to see what happened the night before.  It's disgusting.  I'm fully aware.) We hung out in our bedroom for a little while discussing it, and I got dressed (okay, just put on a sweater and my slippers, which I'm still wearing) and went out to start breakfast. I saw the dog chowing down on the plaster of paris mixture.  Ugh.  Have I just killed my dog?

So now I am mixing up waffles, holding Violet (her morning routine) and googling how to induce vomit in your dog.  Hydrogen peroxide will do the trick.  We hold her mouth open and go for it.  Send her outside.  She hurls white paste all over the yard.  Time for breakfast kids!

After I eat toast standing up while serving waffles it's a baby diaper change, bath for the dog, and all the while I am discussing countertops with Jimmy. For our new kitchen which we are planning to purchase all the cabinets for one week from today at IKEA- their kitchen sale is ON.

This week is Spring Break.  My "break", while it will not involve home school or extracurricular activities, will involve play dates, infinite laundry, planning a kitchen renovation, trying my hardest to kill as many rats as possible, editing three photo shoots from this past weekend, preparing for my bible study, and feeding six children three times a day.  (I was thinking about potty training this week, but to borrow a phrase I love to hate, "I can't even.")  I'm not gonna lie.  When it's only Monday morning of break and you've had to deal with dog vomit and dead rats and have not gotten anything even started on your mental list of spring break must do's, it's a little discouraging.  So you sit in your pajamas and write a blog about how wacky your life is and hope that maybe you can deal a little better after you get it out.

Well, it's out there.  Like dog vomit in the backyard, I'm going to let the rain wash it away and start anew.  Spring break here I come.  I am smarter than a rodent.  I am smarter than a rodent.


Ramblings of a Temporary Chicken Farmer

My Dad, a.k.a "Pop Pop," hatched some chicks while we visited over Thanksgiving weekend and again at Christmas.  As a special treat, when we left after Christmas each kid got to each pick a chick to bring home and enjoy for a few weeks, as we had plans to visit and bring them back the third weekend in January.

We brought home 5 chicks (Jackson's not really into claiming a small fuzzy bird as "his") with us in the van and I became a temporary chicken farmer.

From the title of this post it seems like I'm going to ramble on with some amazing stories and anecdotes about raising up these chicks for a few weeks.  Really, it was pretty uneventful.  (And I can let the photos speak for themselves.) But it's the first time I've ever taken care of an animal other than a dog, and it was really quite fun.  At one point I moved them from their box in the garage to a cage outside and we had to make sure they had food, water, warmth, and shelter.  Home school.  Mostly, for me, because while I was doing all this I wasn't really teaching them a whole lot about what I was doing, I was just trying to repair a water dispenser and figure out how to shield them from our dog, who would have loved a chicken nugget or two.  Or five.  Oh, and now (as if I didn't already) I say "WASH YOUR HANDS!" every five seconds.

The children have enjoyed the chicks immensely.  They hold them, talk to them, have named them (of course), and I fear they have traumatized them to the point of the chicks needing to see a chicken psycho therapist when they're all grown up.  But whatever.  They put the chicks on the swings, they carry them up into the playhouse, and I had to stop them from sending them down the slide.  If there is one thing I've learned it's that chicks are resilient.  And that they like to poop all over my children's clothes.

This is "Lemonhead."  Violet's chick.  Violet was traumatizer numero uno, as she could care less whether she was nearly squeezing one to death or not.  I heard multiple times from inside the house, as they were outside with them- "Violet! No!" and I was sure she would have squeezed it to death, but   she managed to allow them all to live.  (So far.)

This is "Youngster." Juliet's chick.  Appropriately named, Youngster is the smallest.  Juliet has trouble catching them now that they are bigger and move faster, but youngster has had plenty of love from Juju.  Juliet was quite the mother, she would place Youngster on the patio table and place torn napkins under his bum- waiting for him to poop, so she could change him.  This is the only time in your life you will be eager to change a poop filled napkin, Juliet.

This is "Hope"-- aka "Bob Hope," and "Bob Ross."  Penelope's chick. It was originally Hope, but seems to be looking like it's a rooster, so Penelope renamed it "Bob Hope," then that became "Bob Ross."  I don't know who he is currently.  Penelope reminded me of the "feed the birds" lady from Mary Poppins.  She was constantly letting the chicks roost in her hair, on her shoulder, or on top of her head.  She always was rubbing her face against them and pretty much LOVED them ALL THE TIME.

This is "Bono."  Cash's chick.  Named after the U2 lead singer, of course, and very appropriately so, since last week the boys and Jimmy got tickets to see U2 this summer which we will never forget, as we will never forget our time as temporary chicken farmers.  I named him Bono because he had gray hair, which reminded me of Bono.  Old, but forever hip and young, like a baby chick.  Shortly after I took this photo of Bono on Cash's back, he pooped on Cash.

This is "Solera."  Libby's chick.  Named by Uncle Willie shortly after hatching.  Libby was a lot of help with the chicks, and also helped keep the dog away from them countless times.

We will be taking them back to Pop Pop in two days, and will all be sad to see them go.  Our HOA will not allow us to have chickens, sadly.  I feel bad for them, as they really seem to like their home here.  There is something very fulfilling about making a good home for something and seeing them thrive.  I wish I could see my children in that way.  That simple way.  Instead, I make a good home for them, love them, take care of them and instead of feeling fulfilled, I let my mind fill with worry that I'm doing enough, educating them enough, providing enough.  That's not the kind of mother I want to be.  I fight it.  This temporary chicken farmer is a permanent mother.  May I focus on the simple and enjoy them immensely.