Gifts and Goats

Chapter 1: GIFTS
For those who haven't been around a long time, last year we had a phenomenal Christmas. Hubs and I did not go shopping. We entered zero malls. We participated in zero sales. Our children gave up their Christmas presents from parents and St Nick to help fund a surgery for two special people in Ethiopia. It turned out to be wildly successful, and the best Christmas ever. It was very non-presents based, and it felt very special. The children were very happy with the few presents they got from extended family, and we spent most of the holiday talking up how excited we were about helping others because that is exactly what Jesus would want for his birthday.

We are a little late in figuring out what our special project will be but we are excited to get the kids pumped up about a cause again this year. Someone we can help. We will likely took again to Ethiopia for obvious reasons, but in the meantime, we are focused once again to keep the presents side of things really small. Like, silly-putty-in-the-stocking small.

But then I found something I wanted to get the children. See, a few months ago, before the girls came home, I hit the chapter books hard with Samantha and Cookie Monster, who are four and six. We read Chancy and the Grand Rascal, Charlotte's Web, Castle in the Attic, fifteen or so Magic Tree House books, and then I decided it was time for Roald Dahl. I didn't want to start with Matilda or Witches because those are a little scary and intense, so I chose a book I had never myself read. New to us all, we read Fantastic Mr. Fox. It was the experience every parent dreams of having with their children. Every night they begged for more, riveted, eager. Then came a pivotal moment in the book wherein Mr. Fox shows truly how Fantastic he is. And at this very part in the novel, my kids almost peed their pants laughing. This moment is in the top five of my life, where my children wiped tears of hysteria from their cheeks, and I delighted in the joy it was to have such children, with whom I could share a love of reading. I loved that they got it.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. Our new girls are learning English. I find it exasperating how everyone and their mother LOVES to claim how kids learn so fast. Because it is hard. And frustrating. And they are doing great, but it feels very slow. But reading together every day and night is certainly helping. Samantha and Cookie suggested that we re-read Fantastic Mr. Fox, so we could share it with them. They were anxious to hear it again, and knew we could polish it off in less than a week. So we did. And the children loved it. All of them.

So, this gift I found, for the children? The one I feel like I wanted/needed/wanted/needed to buy for them? On the official Roald Dahl website is a store. There are limited edition art prints of some of Quentin Blake's timeless illustrations, and lo and behold, the picture, from that one moment of the book that brought howls of laughter from my children, was for sale. It is gorgeous. It is a memory. I knew when I saw it I wanted it somewhere in our house, to canonize forever the special experience we had of reading it together twice, and both times loving it.

It isn't cheap. I have been sitting on this decision for a month. Shhh. I just clicked "purchase." (Sucking in breath). I think we can still accomplish a slow, mostly present-free Christmas. I don't think I ruined it. Please tell me I didn't ruin it by being a spendy hypocrite.  Heck, it might not even get here by Christmas, it is shipping from the UK!  Time to go find our person/organization to help and remind our loving and generous relatives that we do not want any toys or movies to enter our home this year. It's tough being a control freak around the holidays...

And now for a giggle, Chapter 2: GOATS, OR, A FACEBOOK CHAT GETS OUT OF HAND

Me: Guess what I just found on craig's list?

Friend: What?

Me: Nigerian Dwarf goats that could come home tomorrow and are the size of your dog and need to be milked. THEY ARE SOOO CUTE

Friend: Why are you not getting them right now?
Friend: I want them right now

Me: I know, right?

Friend: get in the car

Me: This solves our need for raw milk issue, and the kids will never ever be able to complain about pets again. We have a problem. We don't have room for them.

Friend: Hubs can figure it our while we are in the car on the way to get the BABY GOATS

Me: The kids are on board

Friend: How much are the goats?

Me: I think $150 or so, some are up to $400

Friend: My dog cost a crap-load more than that and he doesn't do anything

Me: Exactly. These goats will provide milk. And fun. And more poop in my life. 

Friend: They could live in your garage. 

Me: OMG that is so TRUE
Me: This is my dream. A crap-filled garage

Friend: You are already half-way there

Me: That is also true. I read you have to trim their hooves every 4-6 weeks.

Friend: I will do it. It can't be any different than cutting my dog's nails. When are we buying the tiny goats? Also, I want a tiny pig. Can we get a mini-pig?

As you can see, not only do my children want more animals, but I get peer pressure from friends who are willing to take up hoof duty in the name of tiny dwarf milking goats.

It takes a village. Would you ever consider owning goats? Tiny cute ones? On second thought,  maybe it takes a crazy village. Hubs laughed when I told him my brilliant plan. The laugh that means I hope she's kidding. Remember our town won't even let us have chickens...Dangit, she's never kidding. Why isn't my wife ever kidding with these schemes?
Enjoy this wonderful holiday. Counting my many blessings this week. Be well, friends.


Jessi said...

I so want goats. Seriously.

2plus2mom said...

I have no interest in goats. But I like your friend. Everyone needs a friend who can get them into trouble!

LJ said...

I understand the draw of goats. I am still trying to figure out the milk thing. But goats eat everything. Everything. The baby goats that lived a couple houses down from mine growing up decimated our landscaping plants more than once. Like hundreds of dollars of bushes and trees. The goats would figure out how to get out of their fences and then eat everything in sight. I don't know if I could take the risks to my yard. Or my neighbors. Maybe someday. Luckily, I rent and don't have to cross that yet. But someday I will have chickens...and a big garden....and I will figure out the milk thing. I would love to know what you are thinking on that subject.

scooping it up said...

LJ, I am fairly certain in a few weeks time our family is overhauling the milk thing completely in an obscenely expensive way. The goats are a pipe dream (garage dream) right now, but a fun fantasy. A post on how we are going to change breakfast and dairy in general is in the works, once implementation actually happens.

Kate and Jeff said...

We work very hard to do a small, not so commercialized Christmas here as well. We always do a donation on his anniversary and this year we stayed close to home, donating to several programs that provide services, equipment and resources to families of children with special needs. Let me know if you are looking for somewhere to give :)

You should move to our little town. You could definitely have goats...many of our neighbors have chickens, bees, etc... and goat's cheese is so so yummy in roasted peppers!!

Jessica said...

I REALLY wanted goats. So we got a few nigerian dwarfs. A doe (who was supposed to be pregnant) and a couple wethers for companionship.

Now here are the reason's why you DON'T want goats:
- They are freaking LOUD. Some have the most ridiculous bleat you've ever heard in your life and you Cannot Make Them Stop. You won't even know if you got an overly obnoxious one until it's too late.

- Goats are stupid. They do not listen to you, they do whatever you want and you cannot scare them with evil eyes or screaming at the top of your lungs.

- Goat poop is prolific and they give zero warning when it's coming. The poop just falls out and seems to never stop.

- To milk does, you have to be on a consistent schedule and never miss a milking or you'll have a goat with mastitis and infection. To always have someone giving milk, you always have to breed them to keep the supply going. But you also have to give them breaks from being preggers all the time so in theory you need two milkers on alternating schedules so you're never out of milk.

-Nigerian dwarfs commonly have two-three babies. If you want some of the milk, you have to remove the babies from their mother either in the mornings or evenings so the doe can "share" with you. (And babies separated from their mamas are LOUD.) Then you have to bottle feed the babies either milk replacer (another expense) OR the milk you're saving for yourself which defeats the purpose.

- Goats are escape artists. They want to get OUT but don't know why they want to. (Refer to "goats are stupid.)

- Goats, contrary to popular opinion, are actually fussy eaters!! They like the best hay out there but once it falls on the ground, they won't eat it. They are wasters and hay isn't cheap!!!

-Milking is a tricky talent. And that's if your doe is cooperating. Expect carpel tunnel and paying a fortune for a decent electric milker.

-Need I go on?!

We don't have goats anymore. Paying someone else for raw milk is soooo worth every penny. ;)

findingmagnolia said...

Okay, so I've come back to your blog about eight times intending to comment on this post and haven't managed it. BUT! Here I am!

First, my brother and his family get raw goat milk from a neighbor and love it. The whole family has benefited from making the switch. They advocate getting the milk elsewhere; they goat-sat once for my aunt and still haven't recovered from the difficulty. :)

Second, we love Fantastic Mr. Fox here, and now I am seriously tempted to order one of those prints for my girls' room! That is the book we read to Z every night when we were in Ethiopia for a month during her adoption. Such good memories. I totally understand spending a larger amount than one usually might on something that is so meaningful.

scooping it up said...

Jessica, thank you for this comment. I really appreciate your intervention. You are brilliant, and just my kind of loony.