Reincarnated As A Mother

Monday, December 28, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen-- We Have ANOTHER!

I swear, a writer for a sitcom or drama could not come close 
to making this stuff up.
We finally got one baby calf to the point where we think she is going 
to survive and boom!!!-- tonight just before dinner another one
dropped a calf.
 This one is much smaller (actually more normal sized)
and got right up and started walking.
It wasn't nearly as cold as the other night so that helped.
 But get this, the dumb thing would root all around
but never latch onto her Mama-- even with Byron
squirting milk into her mouth and forcing her
mouth open and over the teat.
We finally tonight resorted to breaking out the
mega bottle of colostrum.
 It was quite a chore getting her to figure out how to suck the bottle
but she finally did.  Sorry my picture is so dark-- it is quite tricky
trying to take a picture while holding the bottle 
and Byron is holding her.
Still no go on the Mama yet.
Sigh... maybe tomorrow.
p.s.  here's the deal:  our neighbor brought his bull over
and told us it would take a while for him to get acclimated
and "get busy".  Umm, he must have gotten busy the first night-
because we weren't expecting babies for at least another month.
This is definitely not what I had envisioned for Christmas break!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Babies, Babies, Babies (The Barker Bovine Breeding Center and Puppy Central)

So much for a quiet little Christmas.
Our lives have been INSANE the past few days.
I don't even know where to begin-- 
so I'll begin with the cliff notes on Christmas.
All the girls wanted was a puppy.
That tricky ol' guy with the white beard and red suit
left them a stuffed puppy and a note-- saying he couldn't find
them "a puppy" and that we'd have to go as a family to pick
out one that would be a perfect fit.
But he did say he left a couple of small presents up in the barn.
 We all (and I mean all-- the Bodily's, the Moomey's, my parents
and Byron's mom) traipsed up to the barn-- where the girls
found these two little fur balls.
 Drum roll please-- meet Lola...
 and Monroe (as in Marilyn).  They call her Ro for short.
The sisters are Aussie/Border Collie and Blue Heeler mixed.
Trust me, they are even cuter in person.
 The funniest thing is they think Kean is one of their chew toys.
It is so funny to watch them interact.
 As if two puppies away from their mama for the first time
isn't enough... we came home Christmas night to find one of our
cows had literally just given birth.
It was about ten degrees outside and the new mama cow
didn't go over and clean off her baby.
So as hypothermia set in, we rushed the baby to the barn
(Byron's extended garage) and with the help of Ron Moomey,
dried the baby off and cleaned him up.
 We all took turns blow drying the fur on the little guy.
Crazy... not something I ever thought I'd do in this life!
 Between the puppies, the baby calf and Kean who got a new bed
for Christmas (have I mentioned he does not like changes in his routine?),
we were up ALL night.
The baby calf-- I think the girls have decided on the name Elfis (like Elvis
but the Christmas version), was really struggling by Saturday morning--
a runny nose, weak and wouldn't get milk from his mom.
We weren't sure whether it was the mom or the baby-- but he wasn't 
getting any milk and was really worrying us.
So even though Byron had put him back out once he was dry,
he got cold again and we brought him back into the barn.
 The most we could get the mom to do was nuzzle him and moo--
but no milk.
 So Byron went out and found a supplier open and bought some
colostrum and got that down the baby, plus some vitamin shots.
By Saturday night, he still wasn't latching on- so we got the mama
into the trailer, Byron tied her up and forced the baby onto her.
It has been a long two days (and nights) but the Cow Whisperer, aka,
Byron thinks we have rounded the corner and the little calf is now strong
enough to drink and will survive.
That's the good news.
The scary news is we have 7 more (yup, 7)
pregnant cows.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone!
* this is from our Make A Wish trip last month to Orlando.
Hope everyone feels loved during this holiday season.
We have certainly felt blessed to be able to call so many of you
Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Road Trip

Clearly we are not as young as we used to be.
Get this.  We got up at 3:30 a.m. Saturday morning, drove
down to Salt Lake for Mark and Nicole Moomey's wedding,
hit their reception that night and then drove home.
We are paying for it today.
But, I must say, it was totally worth it.
Mark is like a big brother to the girls-- part of the family-- and he
also worked for Byron for many years.  We love this guy (and his bride).
We started (after driving) our morning with a family brunch.
Kean ate us all under the table.
He sure has his appetite back and has "made friends" with food again.
 Here is Mark and Nicole as they walked out of the temple--
shortly after being married.
It was a lovely, lovely ceremony.
 What made it even better (for me) is I ran into this guy-
he's a few years younger but grew up with me in Vegas.
Nathan Henderson's wife is the sister of the Bride's mother.
Small world, eh?
 We had a grand time at the reception that evening.
Kean was pretty good (thankfully he got a 2 hour nap)
and was totally into the dancing part of the reception.
 It was so worth driving with the kids in the car back and forth.
They were wonderful and we all loved being there for these two 
we hold so dear.
 Every one is in bed as I write this-- and I'll be there in a few
but we did have enough energy to play a rousing game
of newspaper "snow ball" fights.  Reese made snow balls
out of newspaper, set up boxes and divided us into teams:
Grandma and Byron vs. Lonni and Reese.
 We had to see who could get the most snowballs into the
other team's box.
I'll save you from having to tune in to ESPN-- ha, ha.
Reese and I smoked the others-- 10 to 4.
Whoo hooo!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Black Magic

Zany might be the word for the day.
Byron went in to give Reese a hug goodbye before he 
left for work this morning.  As he stuck his arm
under and around her pillow-- he found this-- a metal spoon.
Reese was pretty groggy but Greer was happy to answer
his question as to "WHY?".
(Because, if truth be told, she had one under her pillow too).
Evidently, they somehow got it into their heads that if they "kissed
a spoon and slept with it under their pillows" -- today would be declared
a snow day (no school).
Um, didn't quite work.
But, seriously, where do they get this black magic stuff?
We about died laughing.
Kean got to wear pajamas to school today.
I'm certain as I changed him out of the pajamas he slept
in-- into another pair of pajamas, he thought I was crazy.
It was Polar Express day in his class--
and look at this cute picture his aid sent me of
the boy with the conductor.

Monday, December 14, 2015


Kean has done remarkably well in the healing department.
In fact, I only gave him pain meds for the first day
and he went to church yesterday and school today.
He's such a stud!
We've been busy.
I guess I should say, who isn't?  It is December, after all.
Greer and Reese joined three of our neighbor girls
to play elves at the nursing home.
Grandpa and Grandma Bodily (the Gobily's)
serve as Santa and Mrs. Claus each year.
 The girls were quite the talented elves.  Not only
did they pass out candy canes to all of the folks, they
serenaded them with several Christmas Carols.
 I just had to include this picture.
Aren't they the cutest?
I was asked to give a speech to about 150 women
at the Crane Creek County Club.
It was so much fun.  I didn't have to prepare a lick--
I was asked to share our Make A Wish trip.
At each of the table settings, they had a little card
telling the story of some of the Make A Wish kids--
including Kean.
 This was the group of ladies I sat with for the lunch
portion of the event.
It was so fun to get out and we raised enough
to grant two children their wishes!
 And finally, Greer had her school's holiday concert.
Remember, she goes to the Fine Arts school and is a 
"vocal major".  
She was selected to do a duet with another student--
and I have to say (and really, it is not because I am biased)
she and her friend were one of the very best.
 There were lots of great numbers but Greer and Nicci
sang their hearts out and had fabulous stage presence.
It was so great to see Greer 100 percent in her element.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Third Boob Is History

Ah, Kean is one brave boy.  Either that, or he is completely numb 
and checks out each time we are in the hospital.
 He breezed through today's surgery.
Probably, because we had Grammy along for moral support.
 He had to wait (fasting) for hours before they came for him.
They let me dress up in what looked like a garbage man suit,
go back in to the operating room and hold him until he got
enough gas and was out.
 His surgeon said all went well and he came out of the anesthesia
with no problems (just an extra dose of grouchiness).
Oh and did I mention he was hungry and thirsty--
4 pieces of bacon were the appetizer.
 I thought you'd like to see what his ol' port looks like.
The purple part with the rubber insert is what caused the bump in his chest.
Then, the tube (it is cut short) threaded up his chest and connected
up near the right side of his collar bone to the main artery
that leaves the heart.
Much of his Chemo was administered through
this little device.
It will make a great show and tell some day.
Finally, a memory I'll want to hold on to forever is this:
as we were leaving this morning Reese got up early to smother Kean
with goodbye kisses.
She told him when he comes home tonight, he won't have his port anymore,
he won't have cancer anymore but...
he will still have Down syndrome.
It was hilarious.
That girl.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Results

Well did we ever start today off with some excitement.
About five minutes before Kean's bus came, his very first tooth
decided to exit his mouth.
I think Kean was a bit perplexed as to why Reese and I were 
so very excited.
 This afternoon we had his monthly testing at the hospital
to make sure that ol' enemy-- cancer is staying away.
Since this will be his last time using his port (he has surgery
on Thursday), I thought I'd walk you through how it all works.
After we numb it up at home and the nurse takes off
the "sleepy cream", she has to clean it with a very stinky
astringent.  My dear friend Pam Brown went with us today
and as you can see has to hold his hands and head up and away.
(We actually had to sanitize his chest twice because Kean licked it.
Ewww.  Gross-- if it tastes anything like it smells!).
 The worst part is usually inserting the thick catheter needle--
I don't think it really hurts him-- it is probably just some pressure.
But basically, inside his chest (we call it his third boob) is the port--
which I like to think of it as a rubber filled thimble.  The port
is connected to the main artery leaving the heart-- so all the Chemo
he used to get would go right into that main artery.
In today's case, we used his port just to get blood for all the 
tests they ran.
 However, once again, his port decided to live
up to it's nickname:  Persnickety Port.
He probably had some clotting or film grow over the port--
so the poor nurse could not get any blood- no matter
how hard she tried or how many different positions we put Kean in.
 Even though we earned an extra hour to our visit
(they had to order and administer an anti-clotting drug- TPA
and then wait for it to work- which it did), Kean was soon
all smiles.
 Love this picture-- gappy smile and all.
 Miss Jen- his favorite Child Life Specialist (it is her job to play with
the kids) gave him a darling red sweater as part of the Red Dress Project.
A little girl died of cancer a few years back.  This little girl
LOVED everything about red dresses.  When she died and her friends
asked her parents what they could do to help-- they answered donate red
dresses.  They now give out hundreds of red dresses each holiday season
to little girls fighting cancer and red sweaters to little boys.
By the way, that hard to get blood carried good news.
Kean's counts are looking good.  No worries and his immune
system is slowly starting to build.
Here, here!

Monday, December 7, 2015

A Little Snow and A Little Surgery

We had a little weekend escape up to the mountains
and Lake Cascade.  Here's our view from the cabin--
gorgeous, just gorgeous.
 I don't think the Barker's can do boring.
Reese let Greer bury her in snow (for 40 minutes-- she swears
she was cozy warm)-- all on a dare.
 Everyone went out for an afternoon of snow mobiling.
Byron took Kean for about twenty minutes.
 The girls (and our friends the Borup's) were on other sleds...
 Kean LOVED every minute of the "cold" snow cycle ride.
And let me tell you, he was one unhappy puppy when
I took him back to the cabin for a nap while the rest of the gang
went on a snow mobile adventure.
 You know it was a good trip when the kids come back to 
our home and we find them snuggling on the couch- out cold.
By the way, we have a big week this week.
Tomorrow (Tuesday) Kean has all of his monthly
testing at the hospital to make sure that evil cancer stays away.
And then on Thursday, it is surgery time.
He is getting the port taken out of his chest.
Big, big day.