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.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Came and Gone -

 Joel came over a week ago, then my parents came for almost a week. Joel left on Saturday back to Canada, and my parents left this morning back to Memphis. Alyssa also headed out on Saturday morning for her second year of hanging with her friend from a mission trip that happens to live in St. Thomas! I did my usual poor job of taking pictures, but I was smart enough to add the ones that my mom took to my collection.

This is Joel, Deb, Alyssa, Grandpa and Alei at Alei's house. She made them dinner and had them over the evening that JD and I, with the younger kids, went to our last home group before summer.

 Grandpa swapped out to take a picture with Geema also. As some history, Geema is called Geema because it is how Gabriel attempted to say Grandma as a two year old and it stuck. Worked out much better since JD's mom was already Grandma to her brood of grandchildren and Geema was a first timer with Gabriel's birth.

Chris and Moriah weren't in the Alei's house photo shoot, so here's a shot Geema took of them at our house. Some trivia on Chris is that he actually has the same last name as my parents; which is obviously also my maiden name and Deb's last name. Kind of cute I think.

Here's Geema and Grandpa with the younger crew this morning before they headed to the airport. I declined being in the shot as I had just rolled out of bed and milked a goat.

We had some nice memories made during the trip. Grandpa let the kids work through the cool books we had from the library. They like the "We Can Read" series that has the adult read page on the left and the kid read page on the right. Bella read a whole one that was more on Elijah and Selah's grade level. (I'm thrilled to have taught everyone to read at this point, it's rather exhausting!)

Geema helped all the kids with plenty of school; we have a ways to go on math.

Geema and I spent one hot morning in the garden weeding, and Joel finished pruning the apple and pear trees. They look so much better!

Geema took these pictures out by the barn on one of our milking excursions. I like that it shows the kitty, Tally, and the white rooster that both moved into the goat stall. I'm rather fond of that rooster and am going to keep him around when the rest move on.

JD and the boys are spending Memorial Day butchering our meat chickens; it's the first time we have done our own, so the verdict isn't in if JD wants to continue ordering meat chickens. I had a hair appointment this morning and took off 8" for L'Oreal's program that makes wigs for women with cancer. My hair with be mailed off and I still have plenty.

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.

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


 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!