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, March 30, 2016

Late Easter

I'm disappointed that I didn't take Easter pictures of the kids in their Easter finery, but here we are back at home and in our casual clothes -


We hid Easter baskets inside and the eggs outside. I give them a number to find and they quit when they have that many. It keeps the "I'll beat you to the candy" mentality in check a bit.


Moriah's boyfriend, Chris, provided some egg hunting counsel.

Selah is always super enthusiastic about the festivities.

Deb stayed home from church sick, but got up for dinner. Thankfully she felt much better the next day when she and Joel needed to leave for Chicago.

Here's an example of when we tell people to look and smile -

Here's an example of when we don't warn people that we are going to take a picture. (If this disappears, you will know Moriah read the blog!)

Next blog post will be retaining walls - what can be more exciting than walls? So, be sure to check back soon!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

All in a Day

 JD was on travel all last week, so I had seven little people with me the entire week. By Friday, I knew that I needed to face the reality that I had children that needed clothes and shoes for Easter; so I loaded them all up and headed to three clothing stores. We finished our shopping out with lunch and a "quick" $600 food spree at Costco - all these kids do is eat! I was feeling like I had run a marathon by the time I made it home.

On Saturday, I planned on spending much of the day corn-rowing girls' hair and swapping for spring clothes, but instead I found myself dealing with Rooster poo in the barn loft. The roosters that took up residence in the barn over the winter spent way too much time upstairs and pooped on everything. I also have a barn cat that feels the need to pee on tarps and cardboard that is in the barn. My sister has quite a bit stored up there, so I spent over five hours repacking things and cleaning. Here is a horrible before shot; you will have to believe me that it is clean up there now!

JD went on an urgent hay run - two new round bales for the pasture. Hopefully that will keep us going while the grass grows!

I still debate daily if I can pull off this whole cow thing; she isn't very easy to handle, so I can't picture milking her. Her cow harness just arrived so I'm going to start working on putting that on her tomorrow.

Leia is definitely pregnant, so that will be fun; I think she is due in May.

We also had a delivery of 22 pallets of retaining wall bricks! They are for the steep hill around the side and back of the new garage and apartment.

I don't believe I ever showed our big purchase back in the fall - I remember blogging about the trip to get it, but not the item.

We bought a camper! Gabriel and Alayna are going to move to Florida in the early fall, so we are going to be doing a few beach stays in the camper. The kids are pretty excited. 

Happy Easter - I will catch up with that in the next few days.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Best Garden Start Ever

 So, this is my best garden start ever, because my sister's boyfriend is here for seven weeks after moving back from Asia. The awesome garden link for me between Joel and the garden is that he is a horticulturist and can answer all the questions I have, as well as suggest better ways to do things. I didn't get pictures, but the first gardening task he did was to prune my long neglected fruit trees!

It was beautiful outside today, so Joel helped me plant three of my seven beds with spring crops. We planted kale, spinach, lettuce, broccoli, onions and snap peas. The minute it is over 70, the children have to be in the water to "survive" the heat.

 About a week ago, we shoveled this years chicken compost into the garden beds and JD tilled it all in. Today we finished weeding the first three beds before we planted. Even Debra participated in that least fun task.

 I don't think Joel had a clue that I took these pictures, so you can see how a dedicated horticulturist focuses on the task at hand!

The girls are actually quite helpful

Elijah just hangs out and talks!
I also have more seeds planted in milk cartons than that are going to fit into the remaining garden beds; so I am turning the middle layer of the back yard into a huge garden area using the Back to Eden idea of gardening. More on that later.

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Latest

 Last week we made a trip to Richmond to hang out with my friend, Wendy, and another friend who has a daughter from Ethiopia. I did not take one picture during our time together, which annoys me. I did take this picture after we split off from the group, and stopped at the museum that was the site of the largest Civil War hospital in the south. Why there is a Statue of Liberty outside of it is beyond me, but I took a picture.

We stopped at Alei's house on the way home for a bit. The kids enjoyed feeding the goldfish in her pond.

We spent last weekend doing some upkeep on a rental home before the new renters moved in. It didn't look like much, but took me a full day and JD about three. There are always tasks pulling him away from doing the taxes that so desperately need to be done.

When I have a few moments and a few milk cartons, I plant more seeds. The milk cartons are lined up in the first garden bed. I am planning on putting in lettuce, kale and spinach seeds straight in the ground in the next few days as well.

The kids and I also made an Amish run for animal feed and wheat. They always enjoy watching all the activity around the feed store. I need to make another trip for grass seed at a store near the Amish.

Tomorrow is our last day of CC before spring break. We all have spring fever, but are pushing on. Here is Selah doing some school while tending to her baby African style.

This morning we did school at the dentist while six children got teeth cleaned, one son got a small filling and another son had a chipped tooth fixed. The whole event was slightly under three hours, which didn't seem bad for basically eight appointments. I have a few more appointments next week and then we will be free for six months.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Doing Stuff

 There is a lot going on and I often forget to stop and blog about it; sometimes I even forget to take pictures!

We are happy, happy, happy that it is spring, at least feeling like it. We celebrated one nice morning with fresh donuts.

 Saturday was Tori's last weekend basketball game. See that blur going for the ball? That is her. She played really well and enjoyed the team. Her Saturday game was in the neighboring county that Alei lives in and Alei was hoping for her Dad to visit after the game with his drill.

I had a pressing matter that needed JD's attention more, however, so James and I showed up with the drill. James helped her with about three pieces of furniture and we installed a doggie gate across the kitchen for Toby to stay in while Alei is at work. Toby has never minded using the carpet if it isn't convenient to go out to the bathroom.

JD stayed home and built a cow stand that we can lock Mooster's head in for milking. I've been gored with her horns one too many times to even try to prepare her for milking without locking her in. So far, I have fed her the last three nights in the stand. After a week, I will start locking her in. Then I'll work to rubbing her and attempting to tie her tail to practice for when the calf comes and we need to milk.

We own too many fat goats at the moment and I'm pretty sure that Leia is close to having this springs babies. I thought I had bred her for a May delivery, but I think Vinny must have jumped the fence early as she is looking rather round and waddling.

Hans the pig, I mean goat
I have figured out that it's ok to have all the spring roosters live at your farm all summer; they basically just hunt bugs full time. What isn't a good idea, however, is to go into the winter or next spring with them. I had about 14 roosters move into the barn for the winter and poop on everything. Now that it is pretty outside, they are still living and pooping in the barn. A few days ago we put one rooster in the hen coop to fertilize eggs and a second snuck in. Turns out they spent the day fighting each other and we have two one-eyed roosters now. We are going to have to narrow down our rooster population, as there are more eggs in the incubator already that will result in a new pack of roosters along with the desired egg laying hens.

We haven't tackled cleaning the chicken coop yet, but it's close. We did rake all the gum balls out of the chicken mansion and put down a layer of fresh leaves for them to dig around in. Elijah was very helpful as you can see.

Today I finally started planting seeds in milk cartons. I sure hope they work out the way we hope and I get a jump start on my plants, so we can have an earlier harvest. Selah and Bella love to help plant.

A full day of classes and an evening of outside put the girls to sleep tonight by chapter two of our read aloud book -