Click on their pictures above to see more photos!
One week old today! Though they may look similar to their introduction post, these puppies are growing and changing. Let me give you a glimpse into their lives at one week old - eat, sleep, and repeat all day long. If they are not sleeping, they are eating. If they are not eating, they are sleeping or searching. At one week, puppies cannot walk, see, or hear, but they sure can get what they want! They can propel themselves all over the whelping box using their paws in a motion best described as "swimming." In addition, they root for food and burrow in a pile for warmth. Below is Midnight determined to find a snack in my soft blanket.
The puppies' highlight of the week was visiting the vet for tail dock and dew claw removal on Tuesday. The rest of their week was centered upon gaining weight. Their weights as of this morning were Luna - 1lb, 3oz; Hiro and Midnight - 1lb, 1oz; and Bella - 14oz. Luna, Hiro, and Midnight have doubled their birth weight - a milestone we like to see by 7-10 days old. I expect Bella will reach the milestone within in the next 24 hours.
Our care for the puppies during the first week is making sure they have a clean, comfortable place to rest and making sure their mama is properly cared for. Sheerah, as well as all our dogs, has constant access to fresh water. She also has Life's Abundance food available at all times. Free-feeding (leaving food out all the time) is something we only do during the end of pregnancy and lactation. Otherwise, our dogs are fed on schedule. In addition to her food, we supplement her with a Life's Abundance vitamin and small amounts of goat milk from our goats. Sheerah spends nearly one hundred percent of her time with her puppies feeding and cleaning them. At the one week mark, she does leave them for periods of time to get her weekly bath and to play outside, but she's always eager to go back and check on them.
The puppies are handled several times a day by me. The children are only allowed to handle them when their eyes open up. I handled them to weigh them and change their bedding. You may be wondering why all this focus on weight. Someone once asked me as she was peering into the whelping box watching them competing for a spot to latch, "How in the world do you know if they all nursed?" The answer - by weighing them. You cannot know just by watching because it's hard to tell them apart when they are in a pile and it's hard to know how much they are getting. Weight gain is an overall good indicator that all is well. In addition to weight gain, we look for them to be sleeping in a twitching pile. Yes, twitching! Researchers think healthy puppies twitch due to activated sleep that helps with their muscle tone and brain connections. Whatever the reason, it's adorable to watch. Since the weather is warm, these puppies don't always sleep in pile, but they are often close to one another or Sheerah.
Since sleeping is the biggest part of week 1, I'll close with some interesting sleeping positions.
Thanks for stopping by and sharing in our joy! Blessings!
Introducing Sheerah's 2020 Puppies
Sheerah and Cooper had 4 puppies on May 23, 2020! With the birth of these puppies, one of my children announced, "Now all our animals have babies!" It's true - almost. Our goats and cats had babies in April. Our chickens did not actually have chicks, but we bought some peeps in May. Lots of new life around here!
We feel very blessed that the labor and delivery went well, and Sheerah and the puppies are all doing fabulous. Below are their pictures in birth order and names. For those who've been around my blog, you know we take delight in picking names for our puppies (and goats and kittens, too!) Our children also like to claim a puppy as "theirs" for the 8 weeks they are here with us. With 5 children and 4 puppies, some sharing had to take place this round.
Note: All the puppies have individual pages as well with more pictures and details. Click on their pictures below to go to their individual pages.
Bella was the firstborn of the litter. Her name means "beautiful" in Spanish. AJ, age 9, chose it because we've been working on learning Spanish as a family. Her name also reflects another tradition we have of choosing one name from the Bible to honor God as the creator and sustainer of life. Now, you may ask where Bella is in the Bible. It's not. But, as we were choosing her name, the verse came to my mind about God making all things beautiful in His time (Ecclesiastes 3:11). I thought that verse applies well to our current situation of a global pandemic. I looked up the verse and was delighted to find how it ended, "Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end." (NLT). Though we cannot see the whole scope of God's work, He has the whole world in His hands - pandemic or not. (Side note - Sheerah's name IS in the Bible - see 1 Chronicles 7:24.)
Hiro (pronounced "hero") entered the world next. He was named by JJ, age 7, and EJ, age 3, in honor of one of their favorite trains from Thomas the Train. As the story goes, Hiro is an old engine from Japan. My two boys chose the name because Hiro is strong!
Luna was named by MJ, age 5 (the only girl among our children). She chose the name because luna means "moon" in Spanish, and Luna's white markings remind her of the moon. Luna's markings, as well as her brother Midnight's, remind me of Elsa from Sheerah and Cooper's 2019 litter. Though all these puppies are black & silver, Luna and Midnight have more defined markings.
Last to join the crew, was Midnight. As CJ, age 8, debated over a name, he had to decide between "Knight" and "Midnight." He chose Midnight because of his white markings on his mouth reminding him of the moon at night. Then CJ added that his eyebrows are the stars!
Thanks for stopping by and meeting our newest litter of puppies! Weekly updates will be published on Saturdays.
Diclosure: A Plan a Place offered me a free planner for posting an honest review of their planner. All opinions are mine.
As a person who thrives on planning and organizing, I have a natural attraction to planners. The lists, the boxes, the calendars – all waiting to be filled – draw me in to the pages begging to be filled with well-thought-out plans. However, I find that after the newness wears off, most of my planners fall by the wayside. Perhaps because they require time. Perhaps because I think I can remember everything. Perhaps because using a planner isn’t a habit. Whatever the reason, despite my attraction to them, planners never worked for me until I discovered planners from A Plan in Place. I first read about them online and became intrigued. After perusing their custom options on their website, I decided to give their planner a try. That was 3 planners ago.
If you are new to A Plan in Place, it is a company started by 2 homeschool moms that specializes in creating custom planners. I ordered my first customized planner 2 years ago for the 2018-2019 school year. It was a delight designing a planner just for my homeschool needs. In this post, I’m going to review my Teacher Planner from A Plan a Place. I’m going to explain what my planner looks like, how I use my planner, and why I order year after year.
What My Planner Looks Like
The planner I use from A Plan in Place is their Teacher Edition. It is a slim, spiral bound book that is a mainstay in our homeschool classroom. The planner comes with 3 sections and an optional 4th block calendar section. Two of the sections are standard – “Goals & Planning” and “Record Keeping & Notes.” The third section is the “Weekly Schedule,” which is the heart of the planner and the customizable part.
The “Goals & Planning” pages are in the front and provide space to plan for the upcoming year with a mission statement, brainstorming boards (pictured below and one of my favorite pages), curriculum lists, long and short-range planning, and more!
The “Record Keeping & Notes” is in the back of the planner. It has pages for important dates, spending records, resource lists, and lined note-taking pages (super handy for homeschool conferences to jot down notes!).
The middle section is the “weekly schedule,” and here’s where you can customize. You can choose a one or two page spread for your weekly schedule. I started with one-page my first year and have been ordering the two-page since for more room for my growing number of homeschool children. You can see all their options for a weekly schedule here and see mine below. (You will not see my option on the website as they fulfilled a special request from me when designing mine. That's how stellar their customer service is!)
How I Use My Planner
My planner gets daily use during the school year. In addition to being close at hand while I'm teaching, it accompanies me to all homeschool conferences, the library, and vacations. It is the hub of my homeschooling planning. When I sit down to plan for the upcoming week, I lay out my planner and all my teacher’s manuals. As I look at each subject, I jot notes for each day in my planner what we will do for that subject. Many manuals have detailed plans and maybe even a weekly grid like the planner, but the planner brings everything in one place. Sometimes, it may just be writing down the lesson number or page for the day. In addition to writing down plans for each subject, I have boxes for each child everyday. I write down lesson numbers and any special instructions or plans I have for them for that day. As I’m looking at the upcoming week, the “notes” box on my weekly schedule gives me a place to record any supplies I’ll need or things I need to remember. I keep track of library books I need to check out or reserve in the back section of the planner.
On a typical school day, I begin with my planner in hand flipped open to the weekly schedule. At a glance, I can see what the day will hold. Each time we transition to a new subject, all I have to do is check the planner to see what we are doing that day. My children each have independent work and I use my block for them as a checklist to make sure they completed their work. (I'm thinking that perhaps some Student planners from A Plan in Place might be in our future, too!)
Why I Order Year after Year
I’m on my third planner from A Plan in Place, and I plan (hehe) to keep ordering a yearly planner because I use it and it aids without creating extra work. It brings together all my yearly, weekly, and daily planning. Because it can be customized to fit your weekly schedule, it becomes a useful tool rather than predetermined general format. As an added bonus, the company offers exceptional customer support and tips as you create the planner for your needs. They also offer some handy add-ons like pocket (or 2) in the back and a pen-loop.
If you are looking for a planner to fit your needs, check out A Plan in Place today!
Vanessa from Russell Homestead. Follower of the Lord Jesus, wife of my knight in shining armor, mother of 5 wonderful children, and joint-keeper of the Russell homestead. Thanks for stopping by!
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