Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Back in the Saddle

I haven't blogged in ages. My life blew up on August 15th, 2008 when my husband said he was moving out. It was the day in between our two girls' birthdays and it was a Friday. By Sunday he told me he was going to have a relationship with the next door neighbor and by Monday they were sleeping together.

I never felt so hurt or betrayed in my life. I soon filed for divorce and am in the process of finishing it. Due to the harassment by him, I have since moved out of our house and am living with my 4 kids at a mobile home on my mom's property. I'm in a custody battle with my soon to be ex over our two girls. He would like shared parenting, largely because he doesn't want to pay child support (his actual involvement in day to day parenting was minimal). I'm working part time and will be going back to college full time come January 20th (which I'm nervous about).

It's the 10th of December 2008 and I'm just now starting to feel "normal" for whatever that means. I discovered DivorceCare through the instructor at a county required divorce class and have found a group close enough to join. I signed up for their daily emails and have found them helpful. I am looking forward to joining the group. I wish I could find one for the kids, too.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Mortgage is caught up... FINALLY

I finally sent in the mortgage payment that will have us caught up. I'm so relieved. I worked more time than usual at my part time job for the extra money for it and I'm glad.

We went to counseling on Wednesday and finally got to discussing the finances and my husband's business that still isn't making money. The counselor suggested he consult someone that will help him decide if he'll be able to keep going and dig out of debt with this business or if he needs to fold it up. He gave dh the homework assignment of contacting Lampo and setting up an appointment with them and he told me to stay out of it. Dh needs to do this. Ok... good... that's what I wanted to hear anyways.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Taming of Peppy aka Snapper

I made a new friend not long ago. She's an older lady who lives alone. She has bought some of my candle products from me and she called to see if I had any of a certain scent. I didn't but we found one she liked. I surprised her by dropping off her order at her door on my way home and she invited me in. I instantly heard her bird babies and asked her about them. She took me back to her bird room where she had 2 Jenday conures, a pied cockatiel and a parakeet. I asked her if the cockatiel was a male and she said, "Yes, do you want him?" I was surprised and said, "YES!" before thinking about it. I have a pretty cinnamon white-faced pearl hen at home and I was fantasizing about the pretty babies they'd make together.

My friend surprised me by giving me a cage and a stand also. I still am looking for a nice way to thank her. She has been emphatic that she doesn't want monetary compensation, so I may call and invite her over to see the new Peppy, which was the name she had given him. I'm certain she'll be amazed at what we've accomplished this week with him. He was biting so hard when we first brought him home that I would have to pry him off whatever he latched onto whether it be my hand, towel, glove, or pencil that I was trying to pick him up with.

I asked her when she did come over to visit last time for some more of his history and she said that she'd gotten different stories. The lady that gave my friend the bird said she was glad that my friend took Peppy because she would have killed him. My friend also heard that at one of his other homes he was terrorized by kids sticking things in the cage, and that's when I figured out that he had learned to bite that hard and it would take some patience to teach him some new social skills.

I found a video online about how to get your pet bird to stop biting and got some good clicker training tips. I tried it over and over, and really didn't get anywhere except that he started calming down a bit when we were around the cage. I realized that he probably never has been tame at all, and doesn't know how nice we humans can be. I doubted he had ever been pet and groomed, which cockatiels absolutely live for, because he wouldn't even let our sweet hen near him.

I left him alone for a week or two and then by accident, found a bridge to help get us past the fear. I was herding him around the living room with a blanket and noticed he wasn't scared of me anymore when I would encourage him to huddle up against my legs when I was sitting. Putting the blanket on him also didn't make him panic, so I gently scooped him up in the blanket and made a sort of pouch out of the blanket so I could keep him in and still open it up to look at him and coo at him. I tucked him in the cradle of my arm. I got brave enough to touch the top of my head and he didn't react so I pet him a little without ruffling his feathers then put him back in the cage.

Today, I got him out of the cage again (this is also tricky) and herded him around with the blanket again. I was anxious to try to pet him again so I scooped him up in a makeshift blanket pouch again. He got a little anxious because I was moving too fast so I let him get adjusted. I started stroking his head, then started preening his feathers a little. He was tense, but obviously enjoying it. I groomed him a little longer then put him on top of the cage (I use the blanket which keeps him calm). When my kids came home I was excited to show them the new Peppy. I showed my son how to herd him with the blanket and this time I sat on my legs to give him a little cave to hide in. He really liked it and made no hissing or biting gestures. My son wanted to give it a try, so I let him. I left the room and let them bond. My son yelled at me to come look so I did and he was petting Peppy's head.

So, mystery solved. Poor Peppy had never had positive human interaction before. I think he'll come around quickly now as long as we keep holding and petting him. Before he saw hands as dangerous threats. Now he's experienced good human interactions and he obviously liked it.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Here I am

I spent a lot of time with my very devout grandmother when I was young. She was one of those people that never missed church because she wanted to be there. It wasn't about how she looked or who she talked to. She played the piano every Sunday and never missed her commitment unless the roads were so bad from a snowstorm that she couldn't get there, then we had church at home. She took care of her friends that were older and she made me my Sunday dresses. She gave me a choice as to where I slept the night, after watching Love Boat, of course, and I either snuggled in bed with her or out on the living room couch in the next room. Never was I banished to the guest bedroom at the back of her mobile home.
Grandma never yelled. She never needed to. She was naturally an incredibly kind person and it percolated from her being onto all of us. I naturally wanted to please her and learn from her, and just be with her. Grandma never threatened spankings or harsh punishments. She didn't need to. I have been trying to emulate what she did with me with my own children for years, and after coming back to Christ, I thought the search for parenting materials that were in line with the gentle Christian upbringing I had would be easily found. It still amazes me on how little is out there. I find glimmers here and there of what true discipleship with children should look like and I was delighted to find this blog post by Sally Clarkson recently (thank you, Sally!):