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.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

My Hats

 I pulled myself from bed at 7, so that the kids and I could make it to the home school book sale right when it opened at 9; so I then could make my next appointment by 11. I ended up with a really nice haul of books that will be incorporated into next year's curriculum.


We made it back home at 10:30 to unload the books from the van in the pouring rain. I then grabbed the folder JD had prepared for me to role play landlord and ran out the door to meet the new renters for the first month rent and key swap. Thankfully Alyssa was home to watch the other kids and I made it on time.

On my way home, at about 11:30, I had a request about my baby goats that have sold to have the one banded (neutered) and also an adoption request call. I was working on both of those in my mind when I pulled up the driveway in time to wave to the UPS man as he was leaving. It's normal for UPS to come everyday, but I was surprised to see a large vacuum and compressor blocking the entire entryway. Upon closer looking at the label, I realized that no one at my house ordered either, they came to the wrong address. At that point, I had to spend 30 minutes online with UPS before I even began the goat and adoption request calls.

I changed into my farm sweats and took James out to assist me in neutering the baby goat that JD did not have time to cram in before his trip. Since I had never done it, I relied on James paying attention to the times he helped JD. It really wasn't too big of a deal; we banded him.

After whipping up some grilled cheese for lunch, I handled the adoption support portion of my normal life and made a few calls. After all of that, I rallied the troops to help pick up the house before Deb and Joel made it back from her airport run to get him.

I got the house "clean enough" before I went all the way back to my home school mom role. At that point, we started some math and enjoyed a few of the items we bought this morning.


Bella doing a puzzle book - she managed to lose a piece of FL already
Elijah really wasn't able to focus on anything very educational until he plastered his African mask from the kit we bought. He got the boys working on it. 


Basically I reviewed the instructions, told them to read them and Elijah asked a lot of questions. 


This is Elijah's helpfulness while the boys plastered. One of them decided to add a bunch of extra water which complicated the project considerably.


The mask has to set overnight, then Elijah can paint it tomorrow.


And for any observant readers, yes, I cut Elijah's hair short for the first time in his life. He wanted it done for swim team and I obliged.


before
after - he looks older!
 As for my new books, why am I more excited than the kids? Crazy kids wanted to watch TV instead of getting a jump on reading all of them!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Occasional Break in the Rain

 Surely it has made the weather channel that it has rained almost everyday here for the last few weeks. It is getting really old. JD's half built retaining walls are flooded and the fields are swampy. I just get out between the showers and do things in the garden and with the animals as much as we are able.

We expanded the mulch walkways around the garden this year. Last year it was cramped getting around the outside and no one enjoys zapping their backside on the electric fence trying to pick a cucumber. JD got a huge trailer of mulch and the kids and I laid soil cloth and mulch. The downfall is that we had to order another 50 feet of fence, but it's on its way and nothing has eaten the baby plants yet.




We also ordered some electric goat fencing so I could stage the goats in areas that need to be eaten. It doesn't make sense to mow areas of grass they would love to eat and then feed them hay, so I'm moving the goats around like lawn mowers. They really don't eat very much very quickly because I am hardly seeing any change after rotating a few different goats in and out of this area over the last few days. Mooster, however, has inhaled the whole back field; looks completely mowed!


Selah just loves the animals, so she passed her "how to hook and unhook the solar panel to the electric fence" qualification so that she can get in safely. 


She and Elijah spent a lot of time with Skippy and Scooter today; they will both go to their new home next weekend. Lady is close to having her baby(ies) in the next few weeks I believe, so we won't be cute baby goat less for long.


While I honestly prefer to stay home, most days demand my presence away from home at least part of the day. I spent about seven hours on the road on Thursday to buy a car part that we desperately needed this week. I made it home 10 minutes before swim team try-outs. I knew Selah had it, but was concerned about Elijah. I am happy to report that Elijah also made it fair and square; Bella also tried out and gets to swim the beginning of the swim team practices, in hopes of being able to keep up enough to be on this year's team. I am proud of all of them and it will be so fun to watch them blossom into awesome swimmers this summer!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Pre-Mother's Day and Mother's Day

 The older I get, the more I realize how scheduled holidays become painful times for so many people. There are so many women that mother's day is a hard day full of struggles for many reasons. The last two Mother's Days for me have been much more about the pain of child raising than the celebration. I hate I feel that way sometimes (frequently honestly), because it is unfair that say, two children can sway my emotions more than the other nine. I don't think it was necessarily linked to Mothers Day, but we have had some super tough Saturdays before Mothers Day the last few years that have resulted in JD taking the kids to church alone on Mothers Day because I have not wanted to face the world.

This year I was blessed to attend a women's conference at our church all day Saturday. At the end of it, JD picked me up and we headed to DC for a C.S. Lewis play that we wanted to see. We stayed up in DC last night and leisurely made our way home today with a few stops at Ikea and Tractor Supply.


I came home to a nicely cleaned house courtesy of my daughters, as well as flowers, balloons and gifts. They really made it great for me this year and I am grateful. 

The play didn't get out until like 10:30 - that's kind of late for us old folks and we look tired!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Behind

 I am behind, behind on blogging - I intended on posting the picture of Alei on her actual birthday of April 29th. Alei showed up for birthday dinner and cheesecake with 22 inches missing from her hair. She is donating it to cancer wigs. Julia made her the 3D clay birthday card and I took a picture to show Julia, as she is down in Virginia Beach with friends.


 Other than that, things are the same busy. The chickens are laying; I know there was an over-achiever chicken feeling the egg below. Our meat chickens are growing quickly, as they are supposed to, and our cow still has not given birth. Since the milk machine is assembled on the dining room table and I don't know how to use it, I'm not complaining.


I put Scooter and Skippy up for sale and they sold the first day. They are remaining here with their momma until June 1st, then they will move to their new home. I am quite sure that Lady, last year's doe, is now pregnant in spite of me trying hard not to let Vinny near her, so we will have another round of cute baby goats in the next few weeks.


While it has rained and rained, I got a little clear sky yesterday and took the trailer into town and bought an old Ethan Allen table and four chairs for our new school table. It's about time to wrap up this year and get organized for next.


Tomorrow I am off to a one day woman's conference, then JD is picking me up and we are heading to DC for a C.S. Lewis play. We will make our way home about the time the kids get out of church with their Mother's Day crafts. Honestly, nothing says Happy Mother's Day quite like a nice hotel breakfast that you don't have do dishes after!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Garden Day

 We spent yesterday from 8 until we had to leave for math class at 1:30 in the garden. James used the weed eater and mower and tidied the grass up around it. Ben dug up the kamikaze grass-looking weeds that grow up along the wall. The girls, Elijah and I planted our baby plants that I bought, as well as the ones that I started from seeds in the milk cartons. I have two beds left to plant, one for green beans and the other for cantaloupe and watermelon. I am hoping to do a little research on what watermelon like, because mine have never tasted very good.

We created a wooden tent structure for the cucumbers to vine up; I think I need one for the zucchini also. They were pieces of Alei's old deck that were falling off.


We built three round little beds for kiwi plants. My one plant met a tragic end a few years ago when JD pulled it thinking that it was a dead tomato plant. At that point, I could not remember if the remaining plant was the male or female. We transplanted that plant to the middle bed, and I ordered a new male and female for the ends; next we have to build them a trellis.


I woke this morning to this sweet moment of Elijah and Selah reading a library book on hippos. The picture is dark, but I have to remember these moments when they are arguing later in the day.

What isn't as cute is Bella attempting to lick the sticky off her hands rather than wash them.

  

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Happy Saturday

 I know I may be unusual, but I'd chose a Saturday working in the yard over any Saturday shopping! It rained a bit this morning, but then turned into a beautiful day and we all headed out to work.

Moriah bought me this pretty plant -


We pulled the garden fence out this morning; I like the ease of being able to get to all the beds more easily for planting. I am also going to widen the walkways around the beds with more ground cover and mulch to reduce the weeding. The bottom is the kiwi plant that we relocated; of course this the first year in at least five that Lowes does not have kiwi plants for sale now that I need to buy it a kiwi mate.


It's amazing how nicely the grass can grow where I don't want it and yet doesn't grow in the middle of the yard where I actually plant it!


I think Mooster is going to have that baby in May. I ordered her milking machine and it is sitting in the living room in a box almost as large as a dishwasher. JD gets to set it up, figure it out , and give me lessons. He's pretty excited, (not!). 


Mooster showing off her new purple harness

 The guineas are out taking care of any bugs in the area that Mooster makes such a mess with her hay.


While James attempted to fix the mower and helped JD swap tractor attachments, Ben got to start moving excess dirt left from wall number one.


JD drew out where the lower wall will be and started digging it. He is going to work on the two side walls simultaneously, so the tractor can be used on both walls. He switched to the smaller tractor, in spite of the smaller bucket, due to the steep hill.


Standing where the lower garage drive way will be shows the need for the retaining walls!


Back to my planting - my sister just drove home from a visit in Memphis with her trunk loaded with plants that were multiplying at my Mom's house. I put in several plants in the middle of the driveway.


After trying a few things, hostas are the only plant that I like and thrive around the front patio in the shade, so she sent many more hostas and I filled in the empty spots.


Happy Saturday!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Camp and Crud

 I have been planning on blogging about camp since we rolled back home on Sunday night. JD was leaving the next morning for San Diego, so we needed to turn around some laundry so he could repack. Then Tuesday was our final week at CC, which meant I had planning to do. 

Of course, when the schedule is packed is when some child crisis happens. It didn't really happen on Sunday, it was just discovered on Sunday. To put it bluntly, we are at about the 18 month mark with crisis after crisis due to incredibly poor choices our one teen son chooses to make; then many of the times, the other teen son isn't wise enough to not follow suit. I'm tempted to just tell you the whole story, as it really is quite entertaining if you don't live with the sneaky dishonesty on a daily basis, but I'm hard pressed to find much humor in any of it anymore. Let's just say that the end result is that both boys have a nice hole in their RIGHT ear since they had never heard the connotation about jewelry and gender identity, and unfortunately, their 50% odds didn't fall in their favor.

My conclusion is that I really need a wardrobe of t-shirts to wear that say "Remember, I really am not as stupid as you think I am;" and then when I hear a story that may be as ludicrous as a bug bit me in the front of the ear, and then flew around and bit the back of my ear.....oh, and the same happened to my brother, I can just point to the shirt (and turn red, but not say something along the lines of "that is the stupidest lie I have heard to date - congratulations, you have really outdone yourself"). Hypothetically speaking, of course.

Anyway, we really did have a lovely weekend at camp; even the laundry wasn't too bad.


Moriah came this year. While this is a lovely picture of her and her father -


here's the real reason she came, Chris was invited too. We like Chris and he enjoyed the camping things much more than Moriah. See her being super supportive of his fishing?


We enjoy the lake time.





The kids also enjoyed the games and sports, especially rock climbing.




And we are blessed with a taste of African culture during African drumming and dancing.

 
So, here's where JD is - San Diego with all of our favorite baby boy. The cool thing is Nathan was thrilled to see him since he Face times us regularly since leaving in January. I can't wait to see the little buddy live!