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.

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!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

More Walls

 We were supposed to have a church men's event at our house on Saturday, but it was too cold, windy and rainy. Since it didn't really rain, JD took advantage of the day and started retaining wall number two. This one was pretty deep and required a large drainage line to be installed under it.

 The highlight of Saturday for Elijah was the trip in the tractor all the way to the gas station. He came home smiling and drinking a root beer.

Elijah is demonstrating his version of planking on the first built section of the wall.

Today JD and Ben continued the wall into the curve. JD did the math - they lifted 142 blocks just today at 61 pounds each for a grand total of 8,662 pounds of lifting. Better than the gym I'd say. 

Wall one and two define the level to get into the first two garage bays. The next section will be lower for the larger door and a trailer pad next to the garage. The third wall will extend from the front all the way down the side and around the back; yikes.

We have been letting the baby goats out with Leia to socialize. There really isn't much cuter than baby goats running and playing. Fiona is more than happy to assist Leia with goat tending. 

Selah is the number one animal kid at our house; she spends hours with the baby goats and baby chicks each day. Here the little goat is running behind her. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Spring Break and Beyond

 I planned on doing a spring break review at the end of spring break, but amazingly, that has come and gone. We had a big day at CC today as Tori did her history paper on King Solomon; she dressed up as him and read the paper out loud to the class.

However, working in reverse, I feel like we accomplished a lot over spring break. I swapped out all of the children's spring clothes for the winter ones. It's never a fun job, and I'm really over it on about the 5th child; thankfully, I only do about six of them now. (And we are ignoring that it is freezing out again!)

We had 22 pallets of retaining wall blocks delivered. JD is tackling this part of the building project himself, in spite of not doing the current ones around our house that seem much smaller than what these are going to be. There are three in the front and two long ones that will go from the side all the way around the back. The side of the garage area drops many, many feet down to where the future cow pasture will be.

 Here's the first one completed, other than the mess around it cleaned up.

Today we had two loads of driveway rock dropped  for the part of the driveway that will continue into the garage doors. Oh, how I wish we could pave it all, but it will not be for some time, if ever.

We had baby chicks hatch over spring break; the problem was that it was the worst hatching we have ever had. I think I figured out the problem with the humidity in the incubator, but we ended up with five hatched and four of them dying. So, we went to Tractor Supply and bought our lonely chick a half-a-dozen friends. Since I have polish chickens on order, I only wanted to purchase two, but there is a Virginia law that chick purchases are a minimum of six. I bought two Asian and four pullet mystery breed, since Tractor Supply didn't know what they had after the signs all got pulled down.

Today as soon as we arrived at school, I got a text from JD that Leia had her babies. We came home to find healthy twin boys. I definitely am not keeping any of this year's babies, but we sure will enjoy them while they are here.

Selah is quite the animal lover, but all the kid attention guarantees sweet, tame goats.

 We also had a cow knowledgeable friend over to assure us that Mooster is pregnant. Her delivery could be as soon as two weeks.