In the beginning, JD adamantly only wanted two children. I thought that four would be perfect. Once we caught God's vision of putting orphans into families, our plan was multiplied by God. We are currently blessed with 12 children; five biological, six adopted and one more waiting in Ethiopia. Our first adoption was from the U.S., the next three were from Liberia, West Africa, and our last two were from Ethiopia. We are traveling back to Ethiopia this year to bring home our 12th child. We have found God's ways are higher than our ways and true joy is found in following His plan!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Camp Is Coming

 Every weekend in April and May are filled on the calender. Tomorrow we are heading out of town for family camp. We will then be attending Easter service at our friend's church that we spoke about orphan care at last year. You might think that I would be packing for tomorrow, but I have instead spent the day on the fireplace room downstairs. I decided it would be optimal to have both coats of paint on the floor before we go, so it can cure while we are gone and be ready for baseboards and furniture when we get back. JD and the boys moved everything from the fireplace room to the now finished game room.

The boys then scraped any paint slops from the walls off the cement. This morning, after a quick doctor run to ensure James didn't have strep, I painted the last closet and touched up the walls. 

We then swept, vacuumed, mopped and mopped again the floor. James volunteered to mop at lunch break in spite of not feeling too great. 

Then I put the first floor coat on - the second will need to be done before we leave around noon tomorrow. (Hoping and praying the husband volunteers for that one.) In all irony, he ended up Easter dress shopping with Alyssa after her travel clinic appointment while I was painting.

We are loving our first few spring days! Tori likes to help cook and I'm enjoying the help as well. It's always best if your spring lamb can don an apron and participate.

When I did the community yard-sale with Alyssa, I bought four sleds and a rip-stick for $10 - (no negotiation, that was what he asked.) The kids had a fun few hours with the sleds before they were put away for next year.

We like it when we can walk to the bus stop, but we are having some chicken issues. The boys have abused the fence for so many years that it has to be completely replaced this year. Since I want to expand my flock, I considered having the Amish (that are coming to build the garage anyway) move the coop to the back part of the pasture. We then are going to enclose the fence to keep the bully guineas out at feeding time. The plan then was to allow the chickens to free range the pasture during the day. The new problem is that the electric fence won't keep them in and they will ran-sack my garden. Now we are discussing fencing the garden also. So many details to figure out, but in the meantime - there are chickens everywhere!

The bus stop ditch - always fun to jump over
More chickens in the goat stall sharing goat breakfast. One roosted in their hay feeder the other night, causing them to refuse to eat the contained hay.

 Here's our barn kitty, Talley, that thinks she is a goat. She has chosen to live in the stall with the goats and shares their goat feed at times. I had forgotten about her ways after not having goats for several years, but she did the same thing six years ago when I had the milking Nubian goats.

Speaking of intelligent animals - here is Lincoln that I allowed to sleep in over the winter because I felt bad for him. Now it's 70 degrees, the kids are outside and....here he is!

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

BIG BIG Saturday

 Sometimes all of the big events hit at once and that is what happened at our house today. JD had to make an early morning building plans trip to the Amish and then be back to host a church men's event - "Beans and Bullets" at our house. I had to drive to town early to help Alyssa and her friend Jordan set up for a community yard sale towards their fast-approaching mission trips. I then had to leave before that was over to come home and get the boys to a 2:00 soccer game. Alei was sceduled to go sky-diving today because it was her only weekend off for a number of weeks. In the end, Aunt Deb cancelled her plans to spend the night here because JD, Alei, Alyssa and I all had to leave for three different locations before 6:30 a.m. 

Funny I didn't get pictures of the yard sale, but thankfully it was a success. Alyssa made about $170 towards her remaining $1500 needed. 

When I made it home, I was thrilled to see how many men turned out for the men's event. Our driveway was lined on both sides with cars most of the long way down - I think every one of the 60 RSVPs showed up.

The guys shot several kinds of weapons for hours and broke for super yummy pulled pork. I arrived home in time for the food.

Lest you be concerned about safety, it was very well covered! JD even had the local sheriffs in on it!

 Aunt Deb took the little guys to the playground at the Y during the morning shooting time. By afternoon shooting, I just let them play the Wii downstairs; except for Julia who totally hung out in the food zone sunbathing.

 My adventuresome daughter, Alei, was off a few counties away on her first sky-diving venture with her friend, Allie. (In case any readers have been wondering how to pronounce Alei's name - it is pronounced the same as her friend, Allie.) So, they are Alei and Allie. The deal with the sky diving is that Alei payed two deposits for her and Gabriel as his wedding present last July. Then it rained the weekend they were supposed to go...and he got married and headed to Florida and then moved to California. So, Alei has waited for almost a year to find a buddy that would go with her. 

The girls had to jump tandem, of course, so Alei was paired with this experienced jumper.

After all the talking and training, they were off - 


(These pictures were taken from the picture DVD that she left on the table without her permission.)

 I don't have a bucket list, I don't know why but I found the whole idea rather  annoying, BUT if I did have a bucket list - sky diving would NOT be on there. I guess I'm thankful my kids didn't inherit my fear of heights. (Or as Alei tells me, I don't really have a fear of heights, just of falling.) Either way, NO THANK YOU!
I had a good time at the yard sale!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Plan Change for Goats

 After getting the school kids on the bus yesterday, I was packing up Elijah and Bella to head to Classical Conversations. Everything took a detour, however, when Ben came in and informed me that Princess Leia, our Nigerian Dwarf goat, must be in heat because Hans, our weathered male goat, wouldn't stop harassing her. Since I missed the heat cycle last month AND I was getting ready to head up to DC for two days, the school plans were detoured for a quick trip to the "goat lady" for a stud goat. Unfortunately, JD took the Ford Escape, so Leia and I got to pack into the Prius. (A perk of the small goat breeds is that they fit in small cars!) She wasn't incredibly impressed with the kennel but quieted down after a few minutes on the road.

 After arriving at the farm, we put her in a small pen with Sonny, her handsome stud goat. She wasn't super impressed with Sonny, so little in fact that we decided to leave her for 24 hours to make sure that she warmed up to him enough to allow him near her. Elijah cried when I decided to leave her because he was sure that she was going to be scared of being abandoned. I don't think her reasoning ability is that evolved.

 While we waited, Elijah and Bella got to hold some baby goats.

 I love the ones that look like the Chick Fil A cow - we had one one time that we so cleverly named "Baby Cow."

After the two hour commute for the goat, I still made it home in time to pack up and head to DC to see JD. We had a nice get-away. We stayed at the National Harbor - it is quite impressive. I had the cheapest breakfast on the menu this morning - the $17 omelet. We won't be taking the kids to Sunday brunch either at $39 a person!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Happy Progress

My happy progress is that the back game room is finally finished, other than window sills, which is obviously not going to slow me down too much.

This was a project that originally was going to be completed before we moved in almost six years ago. Ben and Tori have been waiting since March to host a combo-birthday party, so we should be ready to set up the game tables and send out invitations after Easter.

We are now down to two rooms that need the ceiling painted, walls touched up, floors painted and baseboards hung. I am going to be so happy to start being able to use these rooms in the manner we intended.

I've already painted the ceiling portion here since I took this picture this morning. 
After the basement is completed, we are going to push through the last two jobs in the screened in porch - the rest of the ceiling and the tile floor. Then we can eat out there without climbing over scaffolding and saws! I can't wait!

In the meantime, I have to show my spice cabinet. My friend Wendy blessed me with Tupperware spice containers for my upcoming birthday. I was so thrilled to clean out the cabinet and put my spices into these containers that will keep the spices fresh far longer than the ones they come in. 

I told Wendy that I like to leave the doors open now just so I can gaze at them as I walk by - I'm sure only a full time Mom can even begin to understand that. 

Elijah, Bella and I are wrapping up the last few weeks of Classical Conversations for this year. I do intend on putting them back in next year. What will stink is that they will be in different classes and I'll have to split my time between them. We are currently doing a study on classical music and the orchestra. I wouldn't have thought that it would have interested Elijah much, but I was wrong. I pulled out an old "Classical Kids" tape set that was my oldest children's. (They don't make it anymore, so if you ever come across one - grab it!) They took classical songs and added words that are about character traits. Elijah will literally stand in front of the tape player and listen for quite some time. 

His interest now has spread to Peter and the Wolf, which was written to help children recognize the different instruments. 

We have found some variations of Peter and the Wolf on Netflix and You Tube also. 

Another good progress I have seen lately is that Selah is starting to grasp the idea of sounding out words. She and I will be working through Hooked on Phonics this summer; I don't like to pile work onto her K load already, but she needs it.

On the Bella front, she is learning to play! Children from orphanages do NOT learn to play like regular children. I have fought that with her since the beginning, but lately she has been playing by herself with toys. Big progress!

On the outside front, I am excited to expand my chicken flock this year due to our enormous egg consumption. Before we do, however, we (JD) is going to rebuild the chicken fence (that the boys have torn up climbing over the last few years) and we are going to net the top to keep the guineas out. They roam on their own until the chickens get fed and then they swoop in to bully the chickens for their food. Then the guineas will be locked out and the chickens will be locked in, except for free-range times. The boys will be thrilled that we won't have to trim wings anymore either, since they are ones chasing and catching several times a year. Before we start, I need someone to paint the chicken coop. Any takers?

They are very loud watch-birds!
 Thanks to my sister, tomorrow I get to head to DC for an over-night with my husband that is working up there. It's really nice to have a leisurely evening away with a dinner out!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Carpet, Walls and Guns

 When we built this house almost six years ago, the builder initially shipped 13' foot rolls of carpet instead of 17' (or 18' or whatever they are.) When they realized their mistake, they sold us over 2000 sq. feet of Berber carpet for $1000. At the time, we figured that we would install it in the basement. Once we decided that we didn't want wall to wall carpet in the basement, we used it for new carpet in the upstairs of a rental house. After that, we cut three rooms worth for bedrooms in the basement. For the last five years, the remaining rolls have lived on this pallet in the game room we are attempting to finish. 

Yesterday, we unrolled them one by one, measured them and figured out that we still have enough to carpet the two bedrooms in Alei's apartment. So, I haven't blogged about it YET, but we are on to our next building project in our usual fashion of "start the next big project before you finish the last one" - or THREE as of right now. In my positive moments, I am still claiming that we are going to finish the basement, the screened in porch and the fencing outside before the big building project begins. It is just in the planning, pricing and permit stages right now. 

Can you tell where we left off painting five years ago?

 It's super convenient in the basement right now. A few carpet rolls are running right down the middle of the fireplace area along with the baseboards.

And the other ones you have to climb over to enter the TV room area. 

Once I get the right half of the back room painted, we can move the carpet rolls back along the walls while they wait to be installed.

So, after cramming everything into the left side of the big back room, so I can paint the right side, I went down this morning to paint the first coat on the ceiling. See the blue ladder against the wall? That is my painting ladder.

And see the paint cans on the shelf? Yep, that's where my ceiling paint was waiting for me. Bad, bad planning. (I had to get James to crawl through the stuff under the pool table.)

And see this monkey? He keeps me company and talks non-stop while I paint. Bella plays happily in the play room and he TALKS - I've never had a child that talks so much!

You may be wondering how the guns play into this blog. Well, for about two years now, Elijah has been building me a gun collection. Whenever he is out playing and comes across a stick that resembles a gun, he brings it to me and asks me close my eyes. It started with a pistol collection that is actually on top of the cabinet, but now it's grown into an extensive rifle collection as well. (I don't even want to see the dust back there.)