Overcoming A Fear Of Cats

Yesterday, my two youngest boys and I went to visit friends that we haven’t seen in a while.  My friend had her two youngest children home with her.  My friend and I had a chance to catch up on our lives and all four children played very well together.  It was a great visit.

However, when I told Jack, my 3 year old, where we were going, the first thing he said was, “But they have cats!”  I thought, maybe this play date isn’t such a good idea.  But he wanted to see his friends and he decided that we should go to their house anyway.

You see, Jack has a terrible fear of cats (and dogs).  We don’t know where it comes from.  He’s never had a bad experience with a cat or a dog.  He’s never been attacked or bitten.  In fact, he’s had very little contact with cats or dogs, so I think it’s a fear of the unknown.  If we are at a park or in the pet store and a dog comes near him, even if it’s on a leash, he jumps into my arms and screams at the top of his lungs.

Almost as soon as we walked in the door, the cats appeared.  It’s as if they know that Jack is afraid of them.  As hard as my friend tried to keep them out of the room we were in, they kept coming back.

Jack wanted me to hold him every time they came around.  The second time he jumped in my arms, I decided to walk over to the cats and pet them.  I wanted to show him that they won’t hurt him and that they were friendly and soft.  My youngest, James, want to pet them, but Jack didn’t.  He did allow me to carry him over to the cats though, which was a huge step for him!

Jack went back to playing, but a few minutes later he asked to pet the cats!  I couldn’t believe it.  I walked him over to the chair the were sitting on, he climbed up and started petting them.  He was so proud of himself!  I was so proud of him too!

Next, we need to conquer his fear of dogs!  🙂

My Why: FREEDOM

Over the past year or so I’ve been a journey of personal development and self reflection.  I’ve read a number of personal development books, joined Facebook groups for support and encouragement and spent countless hours thinking about what I want to change in my life and what I want my life to look like.

As a result of all of this effort, I’ve solidified My Why and it is simply FREEDOM.

1)  Financial FREEDOM:  Throughout our 16 year marriage my husband and I have made a number of bad financial decisions.  Even though we were making a decent amount of money during the first 11 or 12 years, we lived beyond our means and we are paying the price now.  We purchased a business in 2010 and it barely provides enough income for our basic necessities.  We borrowed a lot of money from family members to purchase the business.  We have huge credit card balances (I’m embarrassed to tell you the amount, so let’s just say it’s way above the national average).  All of this debt creates a lot of stress for me, my marriage and in turn for my children.  I want the financial freedom that comes with being debt free.

2)  FREEDOM to work from home:  My husband works at our business 4 1/2 days a week.  I’m there for the 1/2 day that he is not.  We both work from home on nights and weekends.  We are working hard, but not working smart.  Although we have employees that work for us for the evening and weekend shifts, the business is not profitable enough for us to hire help during the day allowing us to be at home with our children.  Although we love being small business owners, we don’t have the flexibility that we had hoped for.  I want to create my own home based business so that I have the freedom to volunteer in my children’s classrooms or chaperone field trips and so that I can be the one to take care of them when they are sick rather than leave them with a sitter because I have to go to work.

3)  FREEDOM to move to a different house:  Did you notice that I didn’t say bigger house?  We don’t need (or want) a bigger house.  We simply need a different house with a different layout.  One that works better for our family of 6.  Currently we have the world’s smallest kitchen.  It only fits one person comfortably, but it’s where everyone wants to be most of the time.  A laundry room on the second floor would also be amazing!  I want the freedom to live in a home that suits my family and our needs.

4)  FREEDOM to give generously:  We give a small donation to our church each week and we donate small sums when a family member or friend is raising money for a worthy cause, but there isn’t much money in our budget for any other donations.  I want the freedom to be able to bless others whenever I see a need. 

my why

I would love to hear about your WHY!  Please share in the comments.

How to Bring Your Runaway Rooster Home

One evening I was spending an unusually quiet moment by myself.  My younger three children were in bed and my husband went upstairs with my oldest to watch TV in our bedroom.  I was reading and enjoying the peace and quiet.

Then I heard my rooster, Foghorn, making lots of noise.  It was already dark and I was surprised to hear him.  I ran onto the back deck and saw all three chickens right behind the house, obviously upset about something.  At this time of day they should have been locked in their coop for the night.

Foghorn, Muffin and Brownie  (Yes, I realize that Foghorn is not a Leghorn.  He is a Silver Laced Wyandotte, but he was supposed to be a girl.  When we figured out that he was a boy, Foghorn, was the best name we could come up with.)

Foghorn, Muffin and Brownie (Yes, I know that Foghorn is not a Leghorn. He is a Silver Laced Wyandotte, but he was supposed to be a girl. When we learned that he was a boy, Foghorn, was the best name we could come up with.)

With the craziness of our evening routine, I had forgotten to put them to bed.  Oops!  I grabbed a flash light, put on a pair of shoes and ran outside.  By the time I got out there, they had moved to the front yard.  I grabbed Brownie, one of the girls, and put her in the coop in the back yard.

When I returned to the front yard, the other girl, Muffin, and Foghorn had crossed the street and were in the neighbor’s front yard.

Why did the chicken cross the road?  (Sorry, I couldn’t help it!)  🙂

I was able to catch Muffin and returned her to the coop also, but not the rooster.  He was spooked and was not coming back home!  No matter what I tried, I just drove him further from home.  I decided to leave him alone with the hope that he would come back on his own.

I called it a night and prayed that I would see him again in the morning.  At 5 am I heard him crowing, so I new he survived the night and was close, but I didn’t know where he was.

A few hours later I found Foghorn across the street two houses down.  He was hanging out in a stand of trees on the neighbors’ property line (I’m sure they loved that!).  A friend and I tried to coax him out.  No luck.  I brought some food over to try to lure him home.  No luck.

I posted a message on a chicken forum and didn’t receive any helpful advice.  I called my town’s animal control officer to ask if he had any advice for me.  He laughed at me and explained that because our town allows chickens to roam free, he’s never had to catch one.

Finally, I asked for help in a Facebook Group that I’m a member of.  It’s actually a group for bloggers, but I knew that a number of other members were homesteaders, so I thought they might have dealt with a runaway rooster before.  Rhonda at http://www.positivelythoughtful.com had the answer!

runaway rooster

She suggested that I bring one of the hens over to him, but hold on to her rather than put her on the ground.  Let them “discuss” the situation.  Then leave with her and he should follow.  It worked!

Muffin, Foghorn's favorite hen

Muffin, Foghorn’s favorite hen

I couldn’t believe it.  I brought Muffin, Foghorn’s favorite girl, and he followed us across my neighbor’s big front lawn and across the street.  He did get sidetracked by another neighbor’s garden, but a friend happened to be driving by at that time and she stopped to help.  She walked behind him while shaking her car keys, which was just enough to keep him following me and Muffin.

So now you know how to bring a runaway rooster home!

Has your rooster ever run away from home?  How did you bring him home?

Posted in The Homestead Barn Hop at The Prairie Homestead

Posted in the Homestead Barn Hop at The Easy Homestead

My Story: Miscarriages, Part 4

The 3rd time’s a charm, right?  Well, not for me!

On July 10, 2007 I had my 3rd positive pregnancy test in 8 months.

For 18 days I was hopeful, but scared.  I didn’t lift anything heavy for fear of causing a miscarriage.  I immediately stopped drinking caffeine.  I did anything I could think of to keep this baby alive.

However, on July 29th, I realized that I had lost this baby too.

I couldn’t believe it!  So many questions were going through my mind.  Why is this happening?  What am I doing wrong?  How do I fix this?  Will I ever be able to have more children?

I started to ask my doctor these questions.  I was told that they don’t really start looking for any medical issues until someone has had 4 or 5 miscarriages.  WHAT?  So I needed to go through this emotionally draining experience again before they will start to look for a cause?  I was frustrated to say the least!

I was under a lot of stress at work and I wondered if that could be affecting my ability to carry a baby to term.  My husband and I started talking about the possibility of me switching from full time work to part time and what that would mean for our family and our finances.

Our son, who was 3 1/2 at the time, had been in daycare since he was 11 weeks old.  With the thought that he might be our only child bouncing around in my head, I realized that I didn’t want to miss out on any more time with him.  I wanted to enjoy his early years without the stress of work always hanging over me.

My husband and I decided that it would be best if I stepped down from my position as vice-president.  In September I started working 3 days a week and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!  I enjoyed that extra time with my son more than I thought I would.

The pain of my miscarriages was still there and I still feel it to this day, but that pain helped me to appreciate the miracle that my son is and no matter how crazy he makes me, I am grateful for him every single day.


 

Here are the first 3 posts in this series.

My Story, Miscarriages:  Part 1
My Story, Miscarriages:  Part 2
My Story, Miscarriages:  Part 3


If you are going through the heartbreak of miscarriage and would like to chat with someone who knows what you are going through, please leave your email address in the comments and I will contact you.