Thursday, April 23, 2009

Veterinary Science 101

Well, the girls had a fine lesson in calf-pulling today. I'm proud of their observation, otherwise we would have not only lost the calf, but the cow, also. While getting ready for the day, the Ballerina noticed a Heifer (yep, she was last year's calf) laying in the field alone. She thought it was odd that the rest of the herd was no where around, so she took a closer look out the window and was shocked to see a leg sticking out. Because the heifer was a light cream color, and the calf leg dark brown, it was noticeable from such a distance. Now, here's where their judgement proved lacking a bit. Instead of notifying an adult, the older 2 Dalrymples trekked out into the field to gaze astonishingly at the back side of the poor heifer with the calf sticking out. Finally, Dalrymple #2 came to tell mom, who was just getting out of the shower. Ah, yes, dressed in my town clothes, I went to see how serious it was. It was pretty bad and the calf was already dead. She was hung up on a broken leg. My wonderful calf-pulling husband should have been home from work at this point, but wasn't, so I called him and told him to "GIT ON HOME OR WE'RE GONNA LOSE ONE!" :0) Now, later, when quizzed about what on earth they were thinking by going to the cow themselves, instead of telling an adult, Dalrymple #1 (aka the ballerina) said she thought she could just grab the leg and pull it, but then decided not to try. !!!!!!!!!! My, my, my!!!!!! No tellin' what mighta happened if she had attempted that feat! It took my husband, myself, 2 ropes, and a 4 wheeler about an hour to pull that poor thing. By poor thing, I mean was very small and frail...not sure it would have made it had it survived the birth. Aggravatingly, it was female. It's worse to me when we lose a female b/c I think of all the calves she could have added to the herd. :0( The heifer is not feeling so great. She had already made a bag (was ready to nurse) and hubby says that will make her sick for a couple days. So not only did she experience an excruciatingly painful still-birth, but now she's gotta be sick on top of it. So sad. Right now she's resting, but we are praying she gets up soon and isn't paralyzed from having her calf pulled so roughly (we didn't have any other options due to where she was on the back 40.....NO WHERE NEAR the chute where we could have placed her head and then used a come-along to pull the calf....much easier on the mama than a rope and 4-wheeler, with my husband holding her head and horns. That must have been hard. Think about it.....he was pulling on one end and I was pulling on the other!) The girls got quite a lesson and had lots of questions, which my husband patiently answered while laying on the mama and soothing her.
We all really do love farm life....just not losing calves. Did I mention Junior was hiding behind a sad little tree the whole time? For some reason she was scared of that heifer! LOL Her daddy kept telling her to get over there and watch, but she was scared because he and I kept having to grab the mama by the horns, dig our heels in, and hold on for dear life.
Life on the farm, heh. Is it naptime yet? ;0)

On a better note, I just found out that I won 2 tickets to see Coyote County Loser, which was written and produced by some graduates from John Brown University, our local Christian College! I'm SO excited!!!!

Hope you all have a great weekend! :0)


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ballet News, Updates, and a New Blog

The Ballerina had her Grade 4 Cechetti Exams today and passed WITH COMMENDATIONS!!!! That's the 2nd highest score a ballerina can possibly get! (Can you tell I'm proud?! LOL)

So, that's 1 major event down, and 4 to go.

This week is Fashion Revue, in which both Roo and the Ballerina are entering 2 outfits each. These are outfits they have constructed and will be modeling/presenting before a board of judges. I'm proud of both of them for all the hard work they've put in....these are some amazing outfits, especially considering neither one of them had constructed an outfit before! :0)
This weekend is State Bible Drill in Little Rock, in which both Roo and the Ballerina will be competing. They've already won at the church and regional levels. Again...very proud. :0D

Then, at the beginning of May, Jr. will be graduating kindergarten. It is a big accomplishment and we are very proud of her, as well.

At the end of May will be the Ballerina's recital. I'll be taking just a few deep breaths after that, and hopefully we'll be done with our school (we're on the right track to be). The reason for just a few short breaths is that Roo is working daily with her colt to get him trained, and it will be time for Roo and Jr. to bring their goats home to start working/training for the county fair in Sept. Yep....we are BUSY! :0) The summer will be spent getting projects and such ready for the fair. The ballerina will be competing/performing on June 17 in Alma for O'RAMA (4-H). She has to choreograph her own performance, which she's done before for her exams, but only in 1 minute increments, really. It will be exciting! She also has youth camp in early June and then ballet summer intensive in Tulsa the last week of June.

Whew! Did I forget anything? I'm sure I did. LOL
Through it all I will be working, finishing their school year, hunting down curriculum for next school year, taking care of my dad, and running ragged in general....AH THE LIFE OF A HOMESCHOOLING MOM! ;0)

Speaking of Dad....if you would like an update, or to stay informed, visit my new blog I've started called "Our Journey" at

Thanks for all the prayers everyone! Have a great week!!!!!!!


Tuesday, April 14, 2009


My dad is getting worse....rapidly. This weekend he began having "spells" in which he starts to shake uncontrollably and cries...usually asking for help from my mother or I and reaching out his hands for us to hold. I've discovered that if I look him in the eye and get him to concentrate on breathing in through his nose and out through his mouth over and over again, the spells are milder and don't last as long. Unfortunately, they occur more and more often.
His dr. appt. didn't happen. By this, I mean that we got up at the crack of dawn, got to the dr.'s office early, sat and waited...then waited some more...only for the receptionist to inform us that the dr. called in sick. Go figure. We are taking him back tomorrow morning (Wed.). I truly hope the dr. can and will help. If not, then the pursuit of another dr. will begin.
My brain is jam packed with all I've learned in the past few days...all the research. I've had to sit my children down and try and explain this incurable disease to them....which is so hard to understand at their ages. However, they've come up with some great ideas on things we all can do to help. My girls are precious.
I'm having constant headaches....a sign that my clinical depression is surfacing again. That means I need to make a dr.'s appt. for myself in the near future. It's been a couple of years since I had my meds checked and I know that life changes and upsets can trigger my med-controlled chemicals in my brain to be altered. Constant headaches, wanting to sleep a lot, disengaging from my world....these are the symptoms I've learned to watch for. I've been battling clinical depression for 11 years. I've used natural/herbal meds for some of those years, been med free for a few, but for the last 5-6 years I've been under constant medication...and too afraid to try and get off. I've also been through a lot of counseling on/off and know that I have a firm grasp on how to care for myself and the signs to watch for. I recently learned that suffering depression in your life increases your risk for developing Alzheimer' dad suffered from it as well as my biological mother who has mental disturbances still. My genetic gene-pool seems rotten and stagnant, eh? My poor girls.
I'm now checking on my dad multiple times daily....worried about him having a spell while home alone. I set their phone to have me on speed dial....which means him pressing 'dial' and the #1....but he thinks he can't do that. I'm going to have him practice it. I found him coloring at lunch time today. That made me proud! :0) He says he did some reading, but I can't ask him what or he will have a "spell". Questions seem to trigger the spells as well as choices (like what to eat or wear). Sometimes nothing triggers them, though. They are like panic attacks.
I'm grateful that over the past 3 years the Lord has brought me so many great friends. Friends I can truly call on at any time and for any reason and will drop all and come running. I've not had to do that a lot, and it's hard for me to do period, but knowing they are there and that they care so much is very comforting. I'm sure the near future will require me to lean on them more than I care to. I feel like a bottle of soda that is constantly shaken up and ready to explode....not angrily, mind you, but the tears, sadness, mourning....they come in waves. I'm not used to being so emotional so often. Every time I leave my dad I cry. I worry about him. I'm scared of losing more of him than I already have. I'm sorry for him that he is enduring this at the age of 59. I'm sad for what this means for my girls and our family. However, it does have some positive effects on me. I'm now more determined than ever to LIVE ON PURPOSE. I want to make memories.....have fantastic memorable moments with my father, and my family. I want a strong memory bank to draw from should I ever face this. I want my dad to have good recent memories to concentrate on. Much of his life and childhood were filled with harshness, so now he needs the sunshine.
Some ideas I/my daughters have come up with are:

-Take him fishing (he used to love this)
-read him a chapter/day of a great book (like Tom Sawyer)
-take him on lots of walks, maybe mushroom hunting with all this rain we are having
-pull out the old round-table and listen to his (and consequently my) old favorites
Most of all, I want to make him smile as much as possible and make him feel loved. I want to take many pictures and create a memory book for him to look at often. Something to help him live in the present (or most recent past).

I want to thank those of you who are bothering to read this-to listen while I attempt to empty some of the raw emotion and frustration of this disease. Please continue to pray for my dad and especially my mom, who bears the brunt of this. She is such a wonderful woman and a great caretaker, but none of us are perfect and I can only guess at the toll that this is taking on her health. I'm thinking of starting another blog where I can post updates about my dad's illness and other's can share of their experiences as well. I'd like to keep the "Dalrymple School Among Thorns" a happy place.....a place to hide, perhaps, on the really bad days.

Thank you, all my friends. I love each and every one of you.


Friday, April 10, 2009

Memory Loss and My Father

This is not a feel good post, nor a happy one. I'm sorry, but if you feel the need to stop reading at this point, I will understand. I beg of you who do continue to read, though, to pray....fervently, and offer whatever information you may have in the comments.

My dad. I will be blatantly honest and say that he has never been well put-together. He's been a pathological liar for far more years than I realized (until I was about 26). He created much of the strife in our dysfunctional home. However, a few years ago he began having "spells" at work. After many of these, and much time off work, the doctors began to suggest they might have been small strokes. It would be nice to believe that were true and simply have the answers, but I'm not convinced. In the last couple of years his memory has become extremely troubled. This started shortly after I confronted him about a lot of lies and mistreatment of family members. For the first time in my life, he admitted a few issues....laying the blame on his horrible childhood. He, indeed, had a terrible upbringing, and I know it to be true simply by the fact that 3 of his siblings (out of 4) who were raised by his father and mother (the youngest was an "oops" and was only 6 when their father died) were mentally "off" as well. Just odd, they are/were. Strange stories and recollections of terrible beatings....all sleeping in the cellar as children. Anyway.... my dad received counselling for a short period and I thought things were going to finally start "normalizing," but I was wrong. The mini strokes followed. His family doctor of 20 years kept insisting there was nothing wrong with him, other than him being his normal (story-telling) self. This made it difficult to feel sorry for him. Really difficult. During this period he was forced into early retirement. Financially, that was quite draining since he was....56, I think? So, finally, my mom (step-mom, but mom for all intensive purposes as she raised me) applied for disability. The doctor that "examined" him (asked lots of ?'s) at first thought there was nothing wrong with him, but after a bit realized he would get this "tick".... a faraway look in mid-conversation. She said she thought it was from the mini strokes. She gave us hope that his memory loss would not get much worse, if caused by strokes. If it was Alzheimer's, it would get worse progressively. His mother has Alzheimer's. the last 9-10 months since he saw that doctor he has gotten horrendously worse. I could give examples all day long, but he's becoming a danger to himself and that's most important. We live just down the road a bit from him, which works out well when we aren't CRAZY busy b/c I can sort of keep an eye on him. He used to walk up and down the roads all day...just getting out and hoping to run into someone to talk to. Now, he mostly stays home and sleeps....and eats. He will eat his lunches that are for a couple days all in one day b/c he doesn't remember eating. My mom has to work during the day. She has to. It's not an option. She's nearly 58 and my dad will be 60 in June. They cannot retire anytime soon. In order to be "officially" diagnosed, my dad needs an MRI. That's about $4,000.00. They have no insurance, since my dad was forced into early retirement by his company and my mother's employer does not provide insurance. With disability, you have to wait one year before applying for Medicare. Hopefully he will get that in June and be able to go for the scan....which will, again hopefully, tell us something. Anything. Just so long as we get some answers.....preferably with treatment solutions.

Meanwhile, my dad is slipping away from us so quickly. Despite whatever bad might have occurred in my childhood (he was never physically abusive or anything like that), he is still my daddy and I love him. He's really all I have left as far as family (outside my husband and children). He and my step-mom, whom I worry about constantly as her health is not that great and now she is the primary caretaker of her husband, who has become more like a child. My siblings...we've never been close. Even as children. Some of them are quite messed up, due to my birth mother's abusive ways. Some just got fed up. It's understandable. Most don't live close enough to really understand all that is happening with dad and they don't call or visit. I feel gut-wrenchingly sorry for them because they have no idea how serious things really are. At this point, we are trying to avoid putting him in a home. It's very hard when you have 3 active children (one is a teen and one is almost a teen), homeschool, and work having a farm. I need to find ways to spend more time with him. I've suggested he do cross-word puzzles or word searches, but he won't. I don't think he can, really. But he doesn't even try. He says he reads, but when I ask what book he's reading he simply says that he has many books to read.

Does anyone have any experience like this? Is there some way that it's NOT Alzheimer's? He seems to know when a "blip" is coming. He will stop mid-story and say, "Here it comes," and then he's forgotten what he was saying. That doesn't sound like Alzheimer's to me. But I'm no doctor, either. He talks openly with my husband about his fears of losing his mind...when they are alone. He won't talk about it with me. When I ask questions he says he's fine, or he's getting better. I think he's trying to protect his baby girl. I know he loves me dearly, which makes this all the more heart-breaking.

If you have any advice, experience, anything....please help. If you don't....please pray....with urgency. Please.

Thank you.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Little Extra $$$$

I know that right now we can all use a little extra cash, so I thought I would share a way to make a little extra greenage.

The following text is taken from a post on If you haven't been to her site, you should check it out. She has great frugal living tips, plus links to awesome coupons. She also lists weekly savings at our local stores.

"Here’s how it works:

You use their program to view ads, and you get paid for each ad that you view. Instead of google and other ad companies making the money, you are making it! Sometimes it’s .25 cents for viewing an ad, and sometimes it’s .10 cents. It takes me just a few seconds to view all of the ads they have for me each week and I make $3-$6. That’s not a lot, but over the coarse of the year that can really add up. The nice thing is that they pay you through paypal every Friday. The first week I signed up, I started viewing ads on a Friday. I spent about twenty seconds viewing all the ads, and because it was Friday I had over $4 in my papal account within a few hours of first doing it. You can bet I was pretty excited about it!

Quick Tip: Sign up for a free paypal account and do NOT upgrade it. This way you will not be charged any fees from Paypal, because the money YouData sends you is funded. YouData does take out a few cents if you select to be paid with Paypal.

But not only can you make money by viewing the ads, but you can also make money for referring friends. You get $1 for each person that you refer, and for each of the first 100 times one of your referrals is paid for their attention, you receive a $0.01 referral bonus. That can really add up over time.

Payday is tomorrow, so go ahead and sign up with YouData HERE, view some ads and enjoy the extra money that comes your way. When I first signed up it took a few days for ads to finally come in, so just be patient if you don’t have any paid ads right away."

I have signed up and made over $4 within a few clicks. It's easy, it's safe, and I can do it while checking email or blogs. :0)

Enjoy the extra!

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Spring Has Sprung!!!

I love spring! Park days and play dates, playing in the mud...making mud pies, yum, yum! Butterflies and Daffodils, dandylions, too. Lush green grass and blooming trees, the tweet of the birds...everything is fresh and fun!

Here's what we did yesterday....

No matter how many times you teach your kids the proper way to use the slide, you will still find this.....

Here is Roo...being the monkey I've always known she was! ;0)

Ask the ballerina what 2 things you never call me....

OLD or INCAPABLE!!! It'll get ya taken down every time! :0)
She thinks that since she is as tall as me now that she can take me....I have to show her differently a LOT lately....hopefully I can keep my bluff in for a few more years! LOL
Maybe the smallest should not be the first in the train down the slide? LOL

I was plum tuckered out at the end of the day...laying on the slide, when Jr. came hanging over my I snapped a pic! She's so cute!

I hope you are enjoying your spring days (the ones that aren't full of rain, like today!)! :0)