Sunday, February 21, 2010

Our Crazy Life-Part 2

Part 2-6 pm on Friday-9 am on Saturday

So, my phone rings.  It's Aaron.   He asks how things are going.  Exasperated, I explain that it is not a great time.  He says he fell asleep on the floor in PuLue's apartment.  Perfect.  I say I'll talk to him later.  I have lube on my arms up to my elbows.

Aaron calls back 10 minutes later.  Says he's on the way back home.  Says he has a surprise.  Great, I think.  I could use a surprise.  Maybe an early birthday present.  Or a late Valentine's present.  Something to make up for my traumatic sheep birthing experience.  Then he tells me what the surprise is.

He's bringing PuLue and two of his kids with him.  To spend the night.  Perfect.

Did I mention the electricians are still here?   And that we still don't have power in the back half of the house?

Fast forward one hour.  On my kitchen floor I have PuLue holding a newborn lamb and a 9 year old Karen boy using a blow dryer to warm up the lamb.  There's an 11 year old Karen girl sweeping the living room floor with the Swifter (she's fascinated with the battery powered trigger that squirts cleaning fluid onto the floor).  We have two Mexican electricians just finishing up, and my 6-month old son Kai soaking it all in in his exersaucer.  Aaron and I made eye contact from across the room and just busted out laughing.  We have a crazy life, and sometimes it literally makes me want to pull my hair out, but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.  Yes, living on a farm and having sheep a that decides to give birth a full month early can be a bit overwhelming.  And having a husband that would literally give the shirt off his back to a Karen refugee or a Mexican immigrant to help him out can present unique challenges very often.  But we are happy.  And we're making a difference, albeit a small one.

The lamb is a healthly black ewe named "Lulu Sunflower."  Lulu at Meredith's request, and Sunflower at Moo's request (Moo is the 11 year old daughter of PuLue).  Both mom and baby are doing great.

The electricians finally successfully finished restoring power to the back of the house.  We are now invited to Juan's grandson's christening next weekend.

I whipped up a quick dinner of yellow chicken curry and rice.  The Karen are fans of most Thai food because they spend a number of years in Thai refugee camps before they come to the US.  The verdict was that my curry was good, but not nearly spicy enough. :)

PuLue and his kids rejected the guest bedroom because it was "too nice," and instead opted for an air mattress set up on the living room floor. 

The next morning, I made breakfast tacos--yes, even Karen refugees love breakfast tacos!

It was a pretty amazing 24 hours.


Our Crazy Life-Part 1

Part 1--6 am-6pm

Last Friday started out like any other Friday morning.  We usually work from home on Fridays, so I got Kai up and ready, and headed out the door to go to the gym for a quick workout (he's 6 months old now, so he can go to the "Kid's Klub" at 24 hour fitness).  As I'm headed out, Aaron mentioned that he had asked a couple of men he had met at the clinic the day before who happened to be electricians to come out to our house to work on some electrical problems we had been having in Kai's room.  Turns out he had asked them to come out on Friday.  Perfect.  No worries, I thought.  Aaron would be at home to monitor the progress and figure out what supplies they would need.

So, I headed to the gym with Kai, did a short workout, and as I'm finishing up I get a call from Aaron.  He says that our refugee friend, PuLue, is being discharged from the hospital and that he needs to go pick him up from the hospital and take him home.  Okay.  Not exactly what I thought we'd be doing today, but fine.  I figured even with the drive to Dallas and back home, Aaron would still be back home by 2 pm or so, which would be before the electricians would be finished and we'd be all set.

I go back home, introduce myself to the electricians (who speak only Spanish, while I speak only English, unfortunately), and entertain Kai while attempting to get some work done.  Fast forward a few hours to about 5 pm.  Aaron's still not home, the electricians are still here.  I decide to take Kai outside with me to feed the animals before dark.  As we walk up to the sheep, I notice that Cecilia has a lamb's head emerging from under her tail.  It was stuck.  I will spare you the gory details.  Needless to say, I realized immediately that there was a problem and returned inside to call my sister, Meredith, who graduates from vet school this May.  When Meredith asked if I had any "lube" around the house, I knew my day had just taken a serious turn for the worse.  We did indeed have lube in the medical kit, purchased a couple of years ago when we got our first animals, apparently just for moments such as these.  I put Kai in his exersaucer, "lubed up" up to my elbows, and literally dove in.  I am not sure who was more traumatized--me or poor Cecilia.  Let's just say neither of us were happy campers at that point.  Sadly, the lamb was too big and had been stuck for too long, and it was dead.  Feeling defeated yet relieved, and still a bit in shock, I called Meredith back to tell her the results.  Much to my dismay, she insisted I return to the scene and "feel around to make sure there's not another lamb inside there."  What???  You have got to be kidding me.  How is this my life???  AAAHHH!!!

So, with a big sigh, I lube back up and dive back in.  Feeling nothing (though not really sure what I'm supposed to be feeling), I determine Cecilia has no more lambs hiding in her uterus and return inside again.  After getting cleaned up for the second time, I take Kai back outside to resume feeding the animals.  I round the corner, and to my amazement, there is Cecilia with a tiny black lamb--and this one is alive!  It was at this point that I realized that I would apparently be the worst vet ever, as I had only minutes before made my determination about the lack of a yet to be born twin. 

I decide that I need to tap into the people power that I have in the house, and recruit the electricians for some assistance.  While Pablo held Kai, I dragged Juan back outside to help me set up the pen for CiCi and her baby.  I am quite certain they both thought I was insane at that point.  Finally we got things set up and as I returned inside, my phone rang again. 

Yes, it gets crazier.  See Part 2 for the conclusion of this story and photos from the day.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Well, it's certainly nothing like the blizzards they've been having in the northeast this week, but for Texas, this is pretty impressive!

Carl getting up close and personal:


Molly Wobbles, Maude, and Gertie

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Relishing spring-like weather, if only for an afternoon

The other day it was actually warm enough to be outside for more than a few minutes.  Still a little chilly, as you can see from Kai's choice of attire (sweater + bare feet)!  We are getting cabin fever, and are ready for spring to get here so that we can spend some time in the garden.  For now, we settled for a little time at the picnic table visiting with the chickens. :)

Monday, February 8, 2010

A week in the life of us

The spring semester started a few weeks ago, and the new and improved Mitschke clan is adjusting to the craziness that comes with living on a farm, working full time, community, and avoiding traditional day care.  I thought it might be interesting to share what a typical week is like for us nowadays.

Sunday--We go to the 10 am service at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Oak Cliff, which we absolutely love.  We've been going this church for about a year now, and really feel like we've found a church community that matches our values and ideas about life in general.  We had a really neat child dedication service for Kai here in November, which was similar to a traditional Christening in other churches.  Here is a picture of all of us after the dedication at church:

After church we drive to Arlington to pick up Christina, who has basically become part of our family now.  I've talked a lot about Christina in previous blog entries.  She's now in her second semester at UTA and is living in the dorm, making lots of friends and studying very hard!  Sometimes we all go out to lunch together, then head back to our house on Sunday afternoons.  Sunday evenings are dedicated to studying with Christina--Aaron helps with her Math and Nursing homework, and I'm the tutor for Political Science and English.

Monday:  On Mondays Kai stays at home with Christina, while Aaron and I carpool to work.  Christina is really great with him, and he absolutely adores her.  Monday afternoons I drive back home from work (45 min. commute), pick up Kai and Christina, and bring them both back to Arlington because Christina has a class on Monday evenings.  Kai and I pick up Aaron and head back home.  The car definitely gets a workout on Mondays!

Here is Christina studying at our kitchen table looking very smart with her glasses on:

Tuesday:  Tuesday is Kai's day with Papa and Gran-Ree, my dad and step mother, who live in Granbury, about an hour from the farm.  He's the first grandchild, so he is absolutely spoiled rotten, of course.  Aaron usually meets them in Fort Worth to drop off Kai in the morning, and then I drive to Granbury after work to pick him up.  It's a long drive (about 2 hours total) and makes for a pretty late evening, but it's fun to visit and eat dinner together, so it's worth it.

Here is a picture of Kai with Lucy, Dad and Ann-Marie's adorable chocolate lab, on a recent Tuesday:

Wednesday and Thursday:  Wednesdays and Thursdays are VERY long days for everyone in the family.  Aaron takes Kai to Dallas with him both days, and they have to be in Dallas by 7 am.  While Aaron is working with his students at the community health clinic in the mornings, Kai stays with Caroline (Christina's mom).  Then, in the afternoons, Kai, Caroline, Aaron, and the nursing students all do community health outreach with refugees in Dallas and Garland until 7 pm or so.  I work in my office at school both days (working toward tenure!).  I also teach on Wednesday nights from 6-9 pm and on Thursday nights I have choir practice at church from 7-8:30.

Here is a picture of Caroline and Kai:

And here is a picture of Kai "working" with refugees doing outreach:

Fridays we usually stay home and regroup, clean the house, and do laundry.  Did I mention we live on a farm?!!! Every day we feed and water the animals, let them out in the morning and put them up in their pens at night, collect the eggs from the chickens, and chase the goats out of the yard.  Well, we don't chase the goats everyday, but they do keep life interesting.

All in all, we lead a very busy, full, and happy life as a family of three!