OUR PLANS MULTIPLIED

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 supporting our 12th child in Ethiopia after her adoption could not pass court.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Be a Blessing Today

Want to make a bit of difference in the world today? There are two families fund raising to adopt five severely neglected children in Eastern Europe. The bonus is that there are tons of prizes to win in a raffle for as small as a $5 donation. Once you read their stories, however, the prizes fade; these families need help to get these children's ransoms paid; one already adopted four and is returning for four more.

Take a look and consider being a blessing to them today: many $5s will go a long ways.

http://covenantbuilders.blogspot.com/2016/07/crib-mates.html

God bless,
Jenny

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Happiness

Sometimes happiness is the little things, like my first 12 quarts of salsa canned and lined up on the shelf.


We are also thankful that Tori made it home safely from Gabriel and Alayna's house in time to swim in the last swim meet before finals. It's always awesome to watch her swim; she is just fast.


Tomorrow is Julia and Elijah's birthday. We are celebrating a bit today with a trip to see The Secret Life of Pets; Tuesday movies are a much lower price so we can't wait from tomorrow!

                                                                 Jenny


Saturday, July 23, 2016

Gunieas - Can't Live With Them, Can't Live Without Them

The guineas have just turned into one big pain. They are roosting in the barn every night, making a mess, and then attacking the grain every time I attempt to feed the goats or donkey.
 
They also found out there were weak spots in the garden electric fence and have helped themselves to about half the tomatoes, and then ate bites out of every watermelon. I have spent too much time flushing them out.


Here's one hot on the run -


 These three large bowls are damaged food from the guineas; I then pick the veggies for the chickens. All of this hassle, however, there have been many copperheads this year in our area and three dogs have been bitten. We haven't seen a snake since getting the guineas and I'm sure our tick population is cut in a fraction, so I keep putting up with them.


I'm still left with a nice haul for today's salsa making plans.


Our green beans are a disappointment this year. They have strong fibers running through them; we call them "dental floss beans". I have not had that happen any other year, so I'm calling it quits with them, pulling them and putting something else in their space. Maybe another try at beans if it's not too late in the year.


I have a new crew for cutting bean ends this year, but they are little and tire quickly.


We had VBS all week, so things are piled high - off to make salsa because the tomatoes can't wait as long as the laundry.


                                                                         Jenny





Thursday, July 14, 2016

THE Wall

JD's big house project for some time has been THE WALL. The wall is actually four walls, with the largest going from the front, along the side and wraps around the back of the house. JD ran out of bricks and had to order another 500; it is likely that he will have to place one more order. The wall is on break now so that he can get the footers in for the future deck as well as the wiring for the electricity to be run. After the breaker boxes are up, the siders can come and finish the last wall. Then the wall will get a bit higher, but lifting the 60 pound blocks is easy compared to the digging, leveling and graveling.

Here's the front (obviously) where the one wall starts. The first is way up by the actual house and the second is between the second and third garage doors.

 

Here's wall three and four running along the side; there had to be two because each one can only have so many feet of dirt exposed, etc, so they have to stair step.


This is the back where the side walls just kept on running.


I guess we will plant bushes along the area between the walls; it has the potential of being very pretty.


Up close picture of a wall built by a bit of a "building perfectionist". He's a pro with the level. Since the heat index is over 100 today, it's good that the major wall work is done!

                                                                                                      Jenny

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

On the Coasts

JD has joined the west coast kids, and today treated them to a tour of the Midway. The Midway is one of the first (maybe the absolute first and I should know this...) ships JD was stationed on, in Japan, and has now been turned into a museum in San Diego. JD likes to visit it (over and over and over), and while none of the rest of us are interested in seeing the same ship multiple times, there are enough of us that he still has new people to tour every now and then.  


Since there are no floating museums in our area of Virginia, we gathered some friends, put on our cow spots and headed to Chick Fil A for some free eating. Dress like a cow day has become part of our summer tradition and contrary to Selah's look, we all had a good time!

                                                                                                                  Jenny

Sunday, July 10, 2016

California

I am dependent on my children to send me pictures of the adventures in CA. Tori wins the prize since she sent me a long line of Sea World photos. Tori arrived on Thursday and the group, minus Alayna who couldn't fit in the SUV, headed down to visit Alyssa in Marietta on Friday, since she leaves for Mexico tomorrow.

Here's the Marietta group, minus Chris who I assume took the picture.


Nathan was interested in whatever Alyssa was showing him.


He decided to make himself more comfortable and get a better look. It's quite possible that he wins the prize for most aunts and uncles that are totally infatuated with him.


Tori is having a blast with the big kids in California.


People are continually getting Moriah and Alyssa confused. They work at different places and customers ask them if they work where the other works. I think I have to agree that they look more and more alike the older they get.


Gabriel wins big brother of year award. He took everyone to Sea World yesterday; that's Nathan watching the polar bear.  



Chris has family in San Diego also, and attended the Bible college where Alyssa is now, so he has been able to cover visiting his friends and family as well.


All those animals are fun but the little guy can only go so long before he has to nap.


I love this picture. All the aunts are great, but you can't replace Dad time.

                 

                                                                                     Jenny

                                                                                                                    

Friday, July 8, 2016

Sunny CA

Nathan and Moriah
 
 We put Tori on the plane yesterday by herself for CA - I'm working on an update on my kids currently in CA; and the horrible events in the news.
 
In the meantime, look how big Nathan is getting? Check back...
     
                                                  Jenny
 
 
 
 

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Swim Team and Blog

 I have not been able to load pictures to the blog for days because of some error message, but JD came home from his trip and fixed it, so I'm back. Since I last blogged, JD has made a trip to San Diego and Wisconsin and is going to head back to San Diego. Alyssa is in CA at the Bible college that Moriah went to last summer, outside of San Diego. Moriah just left for San Diego yesterday to visit Gabriel, Alayna and Nathan. Finally, we are sending Tori for a visit next week because she has wanted to go so badly, and they will not be living there too much longer. She will overlap some time with JD, Moriah and Alyssa, but Gabriel is taking leave to take her to Sea World and the famous San Diego Zoo once the others all clear out. We bought her plane ticket but she has saved up all her spending money for the trip.


As is our norm, summer revolves around swim team. The above sweatshirts are so cute, they have our last name on the hood so everyone can identify the families. I am so proud of Elijah. He has been my most reluctant swimmer. On day one, he asked to quit before he got in the water. I explained that learning to swim well is like riding a bike and it isn't too fun when you are falling, but to stick with it until he could swim like he rides. He trusted me and worked hard.

He not only has learned to swim well, he's pretty fast for a first year swimmer. We have done two meets and he has swam three of the four strokes in both meets. Here he is about to dive in; he has also come a long way in the area of being comfortable in front of a crowd.


He was the first swimmer in a free style relay and they came in first. It was an exciting moment for him.


He isn't the only ribbon winner; Bella took first in the individual freestyle. She has made huge progress this summer also.


Today was picture day and fun day. Swim team has been a great experience; we are blessed to be able to do it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

This and That

I have been on the road day after day; this weekend alone, I did two trips to Richmond and one to the far side of DC. On each side of that, I have made trips to deliver the cow and a trip to the Amish. My home well reflects when I'm not there enough and not in a good way. I tried to find the dining room table yesterday under the piles, but  it was not a success. I'm going to give it another try today.

Here are a few shots of our last several days. You have to love kids; I sold their pool, so now they play in the "sand box" that was under the pool.



I resurrected the wooden chore boards that were the bigger kids and the little guys are painting and customizing them for themselves. We definitely need a chore overhaul around here; too much is dependent upon people remembering.



It's so nice that they are all readers now and can read to themselves.


The garden is looking great other than my tomatoes have blight. I am quite sure the ones I bought from the nursery came with it, because the ones I planted in pots for Alei also have it. If anyone knows any magic cure (that doesn't seem to exist), please let me know.


We delivered Mooster back to her original family, they bought her back from us. I'm happy she is with her cow family again and I'm enjoying the lighter animal load. Since we won't be milking our own cow, I found a raw milk source in Amish country. The three little guys and I made a trip over with a friend to negotiate the deal. We made a "quick" stop for JD on the way at Lowe's. This is JD's idea of a quick stop - check out my little loaders.


The kids enjoyed the Amish farm. The lady let them hang out and pet all the animals in the barn. Selah spent some time bonding with baby calves that were only a few days old.

dark picture but look how little those calves are
These were the sweetest horses I have ever seen. There were like 10-12 of them and they were all so gentle and loved the attention from the kids. I decided that if we ever get a horse, I want a Amish retired horse. JD pointed out that they aren't trained to carry riders, just to pull, so that could be a bit of an issue.


I'm going to clean, have a happy day!
                           

                                                                                                    Jenny


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Little Afros

When we ordered our meat chickens, the children each chose a Polish chicken for a pet. There were four color choices, so we have a variety with a few matching. We have called polish chickens "afros" since our first round of them several years ago when we bought them out of a large Rubbermaid at the Amish flee-market and had no idea what they really were. They are about 9 weeks now and pretty tame.

Elijah and his afro named Shadow


James named his gold and black guy Thorn - I didn't ask why
Bella named hers "Nice Boy or Nice Girl" waiting to see what it is
Selah's gets a name change every few days so I can't keep up
The afros are living on one side of the coop with the one chick we hatched and a few Tractor Supply chickens that were bought for our lone chick. They are just starting to enjoy treats. At first they ran from the scary treats.



After JD's lengthy chicken butchering event, I am just going to give away some roosters on Craigslist that we planned on putting in the freezer. If you are in the market for a nice rooster - come now!

Just one of the many choices
This is Gus, the pee-meister; he pees on everything in the barn; it isn't a good quality in a cat!


The goats are enjoying their movable fence and Hans is very fond of his big rock that was reject concrete from the garage floor. I have learned that the goats really don't eat the grass. They eat every weed, bush and tree and leave the grass. I never realized this before because the donkey obviously eats the grass. I'm wondering if I can put the donkey in the electric fence or if he'd come crashing through. My "we won't have to mow as much" plan isn't working as I hoped.


Han's rock
And just for fun, my roses are blooming now.