Excited to Tears

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One day, when I was a little girl, about seven years old, I held a baby lion at a shopping mall in Gadsden, Alabama. It’s somewhat hard to believe that this was ever a “thing,” but it was. That day, I happened to run into my best friend, Amy, from a grade or so ago, which was kind of crazy because I didn’t live in Gadsden, and neither did she. Our parents decided to pay for us to have our picture taken holding the baby lion. I never saw Amy again, but I still have that photograph. And while I don’t agree with using wild animals in that way, as a little girl it felt like a dream come true.

Over this past weekend, I had a similar experience with an orphaned fawn. Though this time it was a “not for profit” deal. We spent a few moments with the baby before she was driven to a wildlife rehabilitator. I kept it together, but honestly, on the inside I felt a little like Kristen Bell when she realized she was going to meet a sloth. (That’s a youtube link) Once the little fawn left, I told Jonny that I might burst into tears. Not because she was gone, but because I had the opportunity to interact with her for those few minutes. I just have this thing for spotted fawns. I LOVE them. It’s part of the reason we try to go to Big Meadows at least once every summer. You’re almost always sure to see them on the meadow during the summer months. Anyway, that was the best day I’ve had in a long time. I felt like a little girl again. I know I’m super corny, but I’ll never forget that little fawn.

Of course, I also get really excited about things like homemade mayo. I made some over the weekend, because I’ve been buying the healthy stuff made with avocado oil for the few of my kids that eat mayo, but it’s just too expensive. Making my own was easy, and since I used a yolk from one of our free range chicken eggs, it was yellow like butter! Gabe didn’t get my excitement. He said he’d rather have white mayo. (I followed a recipe from this cookbook.)

Jonny and the boys have been working hard at our old house, getting it ready to sell next month. It’s bittersweet watching all the unfinished projects of recent years getting completed. On the other hand, I get excited thinking about making it all fresh and pretty for a new family. We love that place so much. It’s still hard to believe that we are going to sell it. The elderberries I planted there last year are blooming. I gathered a bunch of the flowers a couple of nights ago and made a tea with some of the flowers. The rest went into the dehydrator. I honestly didn’t care for the flavor of the tea, but it’s supposed to be good for treating illness, so we’ll save the dried flowers for this winter.

Silas’ birthday is this week, and I’ve been working every night on a gift for him, but it’s a surprise and my kids look at my blog, so I don’t want to risk posting a photo. I’ve posted a couple of progress photos in my Instagram stories over the past few days, and will keep doing so. It’s not a big deal, but it feels good to be working on something in secret for him. I’ve also been planning for Mabel’s first birthday which is in less than a month now! I dyed fabric and yarn for a friend to use to make her a little baby doll, and I’m making progress on a little knitted top for her. That’s practically a Yarn Along photo up there, isn’t it? I’m knitting this pattern, and after a few fiction reads, I’m now reading this book.




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I am trying my best to get out for a walk in the woods every day, sometimes twice. I want to learn this new land in each season. I have a sore neck, and I told Jonny that I think it’s from looking at the ground while I walk, not wanting to miss a single plant. I usually don’t take a camera with me, but I did recently get my first smartphone, so I carry that sometimes. I wish I had it with me the other day so I could have gotten a photo of Larkspur. She was wearing six dolls using a variety of improvised carriers including this one, and exclaimed, “This is what’s it’s like having six kids ages five and under!” She looked hilarious with all those dolls hanging from her body, and she was very concerned that she might drop one. Jonny joked, “It’s okay, you’ve got so many you won’t even notice.” A conversation about how every child is precious, no matter how many you have, followed.

Thursday evening, Mabel put a piece of a tortilla chip in her mouth that she found on the floor. I was standing right next to her when she did it, but didn’t notice until she started choking. She’s at that stage of babyhood that I know so well, the one that has me spending half my life scanning the floor for choking hazards (no wonder my neck is sore. I really do spend all my time looking down!) I do believe that Mabel is the worst of all my children when it comes to putting every single thing she can in her mouth (Gabriel pulled a living housefly from her mouth yesterday, I kid you not.) Of course, Jonny, the guy who knows how to handle every situation from a broken toilet to a choking baby, wasn’t home when this happened. The situation progressed from a bit of coughing to her face turning blue in a truly unnatural way and I thought she was going to die. Panicked thoughts began racing through my mind, similar to those that I had during those minutes during Job’s birth when he was stuck. Mabel’s color was all too reminiscent of his when he was finally born. I became a mad woman, pleading for help. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t let my baby choke, but I didn’t know how to stop it. Later, after the crisis passed, I read online what to do if a baby is choking, and realized that I did everything wrong. Had Jonny been home, I feel certain he would have calmly laid her across his lap and pounded her back just the right way. Not this terrified mama. I truly had no idea. It hurts to think back on what happened and how helpless I felt. Relating the story to my sister, she reminded me that I got that chip out of her throat and she’s alive. But if you’ve ever been in a similar situation, you can imagine that I continued to replay and regret for a couple of days. I’ve been telling Jonny for years that I want to take a first aid/CPR class. There hasn’t been a six hour stretch where I felt I could do it. In another month, I think Mabel will be able to be left for long enough that I can. I plan to. I never want to feel so incapable in the face of a crisis like that again. I’m passed reliving it now, and I’m not sure exactly why I’m writing about it. Maybe a bit of a release for me, and a nudge for us all to do what we can to learn how to handle emergencies.

Goodness, sometimes it feels like a challenge just to keep them alive. What a terrifying and awfully humbling experience. And honestly, a good reminder that ultimately God is in control (Sorry, I know that sounds cliche.) When we are in a panic holding our babies and screaming for help, and it seems there is no help to be had, He’s there.

Oh, sweet baby girl. She’s pure happiness, and she’s got a birthday next month. So I’m knitting her a little vest in some of my avocado stone dyed sport weight wool. Depending on life, there may be a cardigan too. Of course, if I don’t finish in time,So my little June baby can probably hold off till fall for an onslaught of new woolens.

p.s. Gabe had a birthday and I was only granted permission to include one photo of his adoring siblings watching him unwrap their gifts for him. I made all his favorite foods and I do think he had a really nice day. Also, one of our hives swarmed (Jonny caught it), and the baby bunnies were here for a visit. They’ll be here to stay in a few days!