Sometimes I feel like I live in a zoo

We have a house and property full of critters. Our newest arrivals are a trio of Fire Belly Toads. They are pretty cool.

I am not confident enough to handle feeding them though. The tank they are in has a screen top with a metal clip on each side to “lock” it. We feed the toads crickets (which have their own little habitat), and superworms that we also feed to our Golden Tegu. I have had a hard enough time feeding the lizard, because I think the superworms are gross. I will only pick them up with tongs. The crickets freak me out, since they jump around. I really don’t want to lose any in the house. The habitat comes with tubes that the crickets crawl into, so you can use those when you feed your pet. I have not tried it yet. I am afraid that I might lose a toad when I open the tank. Luckily a feeding once a day is sufficient, so I leave it up to my husband. 😉 Here are two of th toads in a little

Here are two of the toads in a little “river” in the tank.

Here we have one on the vine which goes into the swimming area of the tank. We put a few fish in the swimming area. We caught them in our outdoor koi pond. They are just regular feeder goldfish that have bred out there though. I think we have about 100 babies in our pond! The toads might eat the fish since they will eat anything they can fit in their mouths.

Here is a close up of the nasty superworms. The bedding is oatmeal, which is also food for them. We have to feed them bits of fruit to keep them hydrated too. These turn into large black beetles that put off a stink. We will find the beetles in the lizard enclosure, because they escape from the food dish. The lizard enclosure has a mulch bottom, so the worms burrow and hide until they transform.

This picture is too blurry to show the little crickets, but it shows the tubes that they crawl into. The tubes slide out of the habitat and the opening has a cover. I see how this is better than opening the whole top… risking a mass exodus. ;P

Here are some pictures of our ball python and our golden tegu.

This is Sweetie. She is about 4 1/2 feet long. We have had her for almost 20 years. 🙂 I had her out the other day when my son’s friend was over for a visit. My son was not very amused when I put her on his head like a hat. I wore her around my neck, and that made them nervous. She is very strong, but I didn’t let her coil around my neck. Most of her body was hanging down the front of my body.

Here is our golden tegu. He/She doesn’t really have a name. I refer to it as a female, and call it Lizzie, but the boys think it’s a male. They don’t really call it by a name though. This variety of tegu is not easily tamed, so we don’t handle it. It’s just a lookin’ at pet. 😉

We do have “normal” pets like cats and dogs, and outdoor animals like ducks, fish and a rabbit. We had 2 rabbits, but lost one recently to old age.

😦 I had written in another post that soon we will not have the ducks, since we will butcher them for food. I plan on starting that Wednesday.

7th grade registration is done.

Yesterday we met with the guidance counsellor of my son’s school, and took a tour. She was pleasant, and my son didn’t seem stressed out. He was happy to see the computer lab.

I don’t feel good about sending him at all. I realize the school was being cleaned, but besides the clutter and smells it felt like a dungeon. The school seems pretty run down, and outdated. 😞

My son will have access to decent technology, but overall I am not impressed. Hopefully his teachers will impress me more than the environment. 😉

Shortly after meeting we found out they had set my son up as if he were starting 6th grade. That was changed by crossing his name off of one list, and adding it to another. I didn’t mention the misspelling of his name when she re-wrote it though. 😛 She asked us about how he was doing in math, because they did have pre-algebra as an option for 7th grade. We chose to put him in it. After a month, if he and the teacher feel he’d be better off in the standard 7th grade class he can move down. I am pretty confident that he’ll do fine.

He’ll be starting in 3 weeks. It will be so strange not homeschooling him. Last year he pretty much did everything on his own, since it was computer based learning, but he was here. We had so much freedom, and now we will have to conform to the school schedule. 😛

I am feeling anxious about having all of his schol supplies ready, worrying that he might get lost trying to find his classes, worrying he might get picked on or ignored. I can’t let him see my anxiety, or it will only cause him to worry. Part of me wants the next 3 weeks to drag, so we can just have our normal lives and part of me wants to speed time up so he can start…and hopefully adjust well. 🙂

Putting off tasks

Do you ever put off difficult tasks? I sure do. For example…we have 8 ducks. 7 females and one male. They give us eggs, and have provided ducklings, but we are so done with them. My husband and I have been saying for months that we need to butcher them and use the space they inhabit for another purpose. (One that won’t be so messy/smelly/ time consuming.) 4 of the birds have names. I’m only slightly attached to one of them though. She was mean when we bought her, but she ended up being a very good mother and then became the outcast of the flock. I feel sorry for her and will talk to her the most when I care for the birds. 

When it comes to butchering our birds I am the one who has to make the kill.😞 It will be so hard. I should probably start with her, so I don’t end up leaving her to the end and deciding we could keep just her. 

Cleaning the birds is a lot of work, so we really have to be committed to getting it started bright and early on our one day off together. We set the date a while back, but then the day came and we just didn’t feel up to it. We just purchased another bag of feed, so we have said it will be our last. Hopefully something doesn’t keep us from getting the job done, and we can move on from this experience. 

We have to do it before winter, since keeping heat on so they stay warm and to keep water from freezing gets expensive in New England. 

I was just thinking about this now, because I am boiling a dozen of the eggs I have collected. If we follow through with our plan these may be the last ones I do.😒

Trying to find where we belong

My husband has been searching for a church for us for quite some time. We were members of one in a nearby town until we questioned practices and were basically ostracized. This happened around Christmastime, when the church was planning activities to invite the public to. We thought that not doing all of the comfortable/typical/worldly Christmas activities would help us stand out as a church and do more for the Kingdom of God than decorating Santa cookies etc. The problem was, that the church leaders were not willing to let go of man’s traditions. They thought we were taking the joy out of life and being legalistic. We thought we were stepping away from the greed/envy/jealousy/stress etc. that the holiday season brings with it.

My husband has looked into so many different Christian denominations. Some are pretty close to what we believe and some are way off. Most recently, he has been looking into Judaism. Christianity hasn’t felt right, so he’s digging deeper into the roots of our faith. Jesus was Jewish, and followed the Jewish practices. Whether Jesus was or wasn’t the messiah, he was Jewish. If we’re supposed to follow him to the Father, shouldn’t we be following Jewish beliefs?

Worrying about what the right religion to follow is, has caused many sleepless nights for my husband. I am so grateful that he is our family’s spiritual leader, and that he really cares about our relationship with God. My constant prayer is for God to show us the path to follow, and how to be who He wants us to be. I think God has been answering my prayer through our religious transition over the past several years. We went from believing everything we were told to be true, to actually doing research and trusting our guts. When something just felt wrong we would do research and find our feelings to be justified.

Whether we convert or not, my husband found something very interesting in his research. He read about the seven laws of Noah. These Noahide laws are supposed to be a binding set of laws for the “children of Noah” which is all of humanity! These laws are said to assure those who follow them “a place in the world to come”.

Here is the list he found…

1. Do not deny God

2. Do not blaspheme God

3. Do not murder

4. Do not engage in illicit sexual relations

5. Do not steal

6. Do not eat from a live animal

7. Establish courts/legal system to ensure obedience to said laws.

We know we are far from perfect, but we are striving to be what God designed us to be. We want to set a good example for our children and set them on the right path. We don’t want to give them mixed messages, and confuse them about our faith. We are growing in our faith all the time, and learning new truths as we do. My oldest child is 12, and has experienced some changes in our belief system. I really want to find truth and our place soon, so the little ones don’t have to experience the confusion and stress of sorting through mistranslation, flat out lies and discrepancy.

Getting Ready For School

We have been out school clothes/shoe shopping over the past couple of days. It’s so strange to be doing this for the first time in 6-7 years. We had planned on unschooling this year, but my son’s medical condition changed our plans.

Hypothyroidism doesn’t always lead to the mental conditions my son developed, but since it’s what we’re dealing with we have had to make some big changes. My son really craves socialization, and with two brothers so much younger than him it can be tricky to find opportunities that work for our family’s needs. School will give him an opportunity to be around kids his own age, and give him a break from the babies.

My husband and I feel that he has a good grasp of our family values and beliefs. We hope he won’t just go along with the crowd when he is surrounded by beliefs that go against ours. He has been given the opportunity to know about other beliefs and make his own decisions about what he personally feels. We’ll see what actual exposure to other’s beliefs/teachings will do.

We meet with his guidance counselor on August 8th, and we’ll go on a tour of the school then. I am thankful that my son has an appointment with his mental health counselor later that day. I don’t want to anticipate there being concerns, but in case there are he can tackle them right away. 😉 We had planned on his last session actually being his last, but the morning of his appointment he had some troubling thoughts. In that session we also realized that he’s counting “normal” thoughts of frustration as “bad thoughts”, so his idea of having a bad day may not be as bad as we think. For example, if he has a “what the #@$%” thought, he counts that as a bad thought. I explained that it is unfortunate that swear words have become part of everyday language for many people, but having that frustrated thought is totally normal. We want to avoid saying and thinking the swear words, and try to work through frustrations in a better way but that’s all. We can’t eliminate thoughts of frustration over things such as people doing things in a way that cause us inconvenience, or other irritations but we can work on having them affect our moods and behaviors less.

I do worry that he will have issues in the classroom. I worry he will interrupt his teacher or classmates, get annoyed if they teach things he already knows, and get frustrated if he has questions that can’t be answered when he wants them to be. I know there are many more possible situations that could arise and lead to stress on my son, but I have to think positively and not bring up potential problems in front of my son. He will stress himself out over those possibilities and not even think about the potential good experiences. Right now he is looking forward to going to school. Hopefully the good will outweigh the bad. None of us are looking forward to new sleep habits, but I know we’ll get used to it. We’ll see how bad homework is….he’s never had to do school plus more.

Niagara Falls

What a fantastic trip! The falls are beautiful and awesome! 

The rain poncho on the Maid of the Mist is hard to wear properly with an infant in a carrier attached to you.😉 The baby and I got really wet, but it was so cool to feel the power of horseshoe falls.

This is a picture of the Cave of the Winds. We did this too. The deck closest to the waterfall was called  Hurricane Deck. My 12 year old got on it, and I went right up to it. The deck had moving water rushing across it, so I did not go on it while wearing the baby. 

Here is a view from the top of the falls. The rainbow bridge is in the background. 

We went back to the falls for the 10pm fireworks. The show was pretty impressive for something they do nightly. I was happy that the sound was not as loud as I’m used to, and it didn’t hurt my ears. I didn’t have ear plugs for the kids, and none of them complained. The baby wasn’t scared at all, and seemed to enjoy the show. The 2 year old loved everything! 

The buildings around the falls were lit up at night. My 12 year old really enjoyed looking at all of the buildings and seeing the colors changing on one of them.😊

We also went to the Buffalo Zoo. It was a nice zoo. They were working on some of the exhibits, but there was still plenty to see. They had quite a few gorillas on exhibit. There was a baby and another young one that were adorable. They mature gorillas were impressive. They are huge!