Welcome to June!

June 1st, 2016

The weather has been great this spring in the Pacific Northwest and we’ve been having fun at our new place. Our current challenge is chickens. We got 18 and a couple turned out to be roosters.

For exhibit one, we have Mean Chicken (named by Sarah — although I  think he’s now her favorite). He’s a good rooster but has been a little noisy in the mornings. Our next-door neighbors who are close to us are not happy when he wakes them up at 4:30am. We’ve tried locking them in (which doesn’t keep him from crowing) and more recently have had some success with a “chicken collar” which restricts his airflow a little bit (without impeding his ability to eat). It seems to be working. I hope we can keep him (without disturbing the neighbors) since he’s pretty friendly and seems to do a good job protecting his hens. Here he is, front and center with his hens.


Number two is Napoleon. He’s a silkie — a mutated, black-boned hybrid chicken who looks ridiculous. He’s a little guy, but definitely a male. The chicken collar was less successful with him. He seems to not be able to handle it. Our plan is to give him away to someone who might be interested in a weird-looking bird.


We also got some bunnies from our neighbors (who we are blessed to have). Very cute, very fuzzy, very useless, but they sure are fun. One almost got away when Liam (who now goes by the moniker “Chicken Boy” dropped when he was taking out. Here’s a picture of Chicken Boy:

chicken boy

For the bunnies, we don’t have names yet, but “Dr. Fuzzball” is a request for one of them from the boys — the name of our previous, almost rabid-acting hamster.


Andrew has been busy with the yard, trying to remove rocks, get grass growing on the north lawn, and trimming back a couple years worth of blackberries and other overgrown brush at the front of the property. There are several trees that we’ve marked for removal and hope to get those down (giving away most of the wood to a friend who burns it for heat in the winter) later in June. We don’t want to take down too many trees, but some are dead, dying, or simply in the way. There’s also a plan for a Koi/duck pond to be added that will also hopefully help address some of the surface water and drainage issues that we experienced this last [very wet] winter. More pictures of that as it develops. For now, some exploratory digging…


Boys have been busy with school, Lizzie just wrapped up preschool (and will be starting Kindergarten in the fall).


Overall, things are going well. Still not sure about where Sam will be next year. He’ll either be at Pope Elementary (if there’s room) or we’re going to pull him back into the regular class at Hunt Elementary. Sunrise Elementary was not a good fit and it’s a pain to have yet another school to drive to. Sam, Ethan, Liam, and Lizzie have all been playing soccer and having a fun time with that.


Patrick has been playing Little League (and doing well — highest batting average on the team) and Andrew has been coaching the South Hill Little League AAA Dodgers. It’s been fun. Not a lot of wins this season, but the boys on the team have been learning and growing a lot. Andrew’s planning to coach in the Summer League so July will be busy with another 8 games in a less-competitive, but hopefully still fun environment.


Sarah’s been keeping busy, taking prerequisites for her teaching program that she’s planning to get into, driving kids to soccer and other activities, clipping chicken wings, keeping the house together, and of course making cake pops.

cake pops

When she’s not doing those things, she’s been running a lot — several 5Ks this spring.


… as well as taking Patrick on field trips.

field trip

It’s been a good spring so far… lots going on!

We’ve got a pulse!

May 11th, 2016

Wow… we’ve been away from this site for over 4 years. The last post was shortly after we got Emma (who will be turning 5 later this year). Lots of changes have happened with the Flanagan’s in the last 4-5 years, but I won’t try to cover everything.  My hope is to start posting again about once a week to provide updates, especially to those who don’t use social media.IMG_1616

Some of the highlights:

  • We now have our 5 kids in 4 schools: 4 in local public schools and one at the Christian preschool a couple miles away.
  • In August of 2015, we moved to a 5 acre lot in Puyallup: still close to things, but a lot of room (and a lot of trees!)
  • Our life is WAY more involved in the kid’s school, sports, friends, and other activities than it was before… There’s always another extra-curricular activity to drive to
  • In addition to our dog Emma, we now also have 2 hamsters, a cat, and 18 chickens
  • Andrew’s still working for the same company (with a new name: Leidos) and also doing a lot of side-work with a Tacoma-based non-profit called 4US (that raises money for ultrasound machines)
  • Sarah’s keeping busy with the new house: gardening, taking care of chickens, shuttling kids, and also thinking about going back to school at some point

… that glosses over a lot. But going forward, at least once a week, the plan is to start writing again.



March 13th, 2012

Back in January we added a new member to our family. We got a dog! Emma is a black labrador retriever and has been probably the best dog we’ve ever had. She has been very easy to train and the boys have really enjoyed having a puppy in the family!

Emma’s mat, where she has to sit after she comes inside





I was definitely a bit nervous about adding a dog into our already crazy life, but things have gone really well with Emma, and I’m so glad that we have such a sweet, obedient dog in our family 🙂

6 Weeks…

December 29th, 2011

It’s hard to believe that today marks 6 weeks since my injury and tomorrow will be 6 weeks from the time I had surgery. As far as how things are going, I’m doing so much better than I was even a week ago. Things are healing and I feel my strength returning a little bit each day. My incision site is healing up nicely, although yesterday and today I’ve had a little irritation from clothes rubbing against it. I also have two wounds on my left side where the G and J tubes were removed. They are both healing well (at least, from what I can tell), but I’m not suppose to take baths or submerge them for yet another week or so. I’m slowly increasing my lifting limit- the past few days I’ve started picking up Lizzie again (she’s 14 lbs), but I’m not really going much heavier than her. It makes my life so much easier to be able to carry my baby again! It was really quite difficult to not be able to lift her because that was so needed in my care of her. As far as my diet, I’m slowly but surely starting to add to add more normal foods to my diet and it’s going really well. I am chewing the life out of every single thing I put in my mouth, and as such I have become an even slower eater than I was before. I am also limiting my portion sizes to about a cup at every meal. It seems like I’m tolerating it. It’s been really nice to be able to eat meat again. I personally could never be a vegetarian because meat is such a big part of my diet. I have been sticking with ground beef and very well cooked poultry and pork so far, but hopefully once I get back into eating more beef it won’t be a problem. Steak was usually the thing that I always got stuck in my throat the most, so I don’t think I’m going to be trying that for a while. I’ve also been nervous about trying to swallow pills again, just because I really do not want to get anything stuck down there again.

As far as treatment, I will going back to a gastroenterologist on the 12th of January to discuss treatment for my eosinophilic esophagitis. It had been previously mentioned to me that a common treatment is a steroid, similar to what they would use for asthma, although instead of being a mist that you inhale it would be a liquid that I’d swallow. There are other treatments I seem to remember, but this is the one that they specifically mentioned. It is my hope that this steroid will allow my esophagus to stay open and to no longer constrict and make it easier for food to get caught in it. So, I would appreciate that the doctors will be able to find a treatment to help with that.

So, in all, things are going really well. It has been a very crazy last 6 weeks, but things are definitely on the mend and soon this will probably all be a distant memory. I appreciate all your prayers and support during this difficult time in our family!

One Step Back to Normal!

December 21st, 2011

Today I had my (hopefully) last visit with the doctor who did my surgery. This visit went very well. They say that I’m doing great, healing up nicely, and that everything looks good. He wants me to decide on a gastroenterologist to take over the care of my esophageal condition, and besides that wanted to know what I was doing on my diet. When I said I was still on soft foods and taking things slowly he said that was good, so the plan is that I will continue on soft and very gradually move towards a regular diet as I feel comfortable. The best part of the visit was when they told me they’d take my tubes out! The actual removal of the tubes wasn’t very pleasant (I’ll spare you the details), but it feels SO good to have them out now! I feel like I’m finally getting back to normal finally. It’s hard to believe that I had them in for a full month! No more taping plastic bags to my abdomen every time I want to shower and no more worrying about the boys headbutting my tubes. No more feeling like I’m a walking horror movie every time I look down at my stomach, and no more worrying that clothes are too tight and will put too much pressure on the tubes. I feel free and it’s a beautiful feeling. This has got to be the best Christmas present ever. I can deal with a soft diet pretty well- it’s restrictive, but it’s not as bad as being on purees or liquids- it was the tubes that were the most difficult thing to handle. I feel like everything else is a walk in the park compared to having them in. I’m so thankful for those that were praying that they would be able to come out today, and I’m thankful for all the help we’ve received over the past few weeks. I assume that I am still on a lifting and activity limit (I meant to ask the doctor about it, but forgot to get to it, though my dad said 6-8 weeks, and on Friday it will be 5 weeks since surgery), but I’m definitely regaining my energy levels and I’ve been able to do small amounts of housework, which I’m actually finding to be very liberating as well. I can’t wait until I can really tackle everything on my own again! Well, that is all for now. If I don’t write again before Sunday, I hope everyone has a very merry Christmas!!!

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