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, 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!


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.

Monday, June 6, 2016


 Can you identify this farm animal? I can give you a multiple choice between a collie or a naked mole rat with a mane. You may think she is slinking off because she is embarrassed with the summer cut, but she is just camera shy. She doesn't seem to be scared of anything other than cameras and always hides in her igloo if I'm carrying one.

Fiona is the best farm dog ever though; she patrols the animals and garden and keeps predators away.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Saturday, Saturday

 We have had a bit of a rough weekend around here - more on that another day, so I decided that today would be fun in spite of my long to-do list. We started with a trip to the berry farm. They have a play area, sky walking goats and pick your own strawberries.

All pictures were taken by Tori, or I would have only the last one.

Baby goats
Sky walking goats
Here's the one picture I requested that Tori take - turned out cute.

After the berry farm, we came home, ate lunch and headed for the pool. We bought a rental home in a nearby neighborhood last fall, and since we pay HOA fees, we get to use the pool and lake. I decided to finally ditch the small pool in the front yard and we are just going to use this pool for the summer. The kids are loving it; they see friends there and it has a diving board. (And it's large enough that I don't hear, "he's splashing me" over and over!) This picture is to show how "uncrowded" it was, even on a Saturday! I'm thankful that pool cleaning can be marked off our Saturday to-do list.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Real Farmers

 We recently experienced the defining point of feeling like real farmers - it was the moment that I was delivering my first goat baby, that wasn't quit entering the world correctly, and JD was unable to come provide moral support because he was butchering chickens! For the record, he couldn't have done a thing to help me since he knows even less than I do, but I was desperate. This also was our first batch of meat birds and I am super thankful that I ordered 25 instead of the 50 that JD initially requested; it took him two days to build the proper equipment and have them looking like birds from the grocery store.

I did not enter the picture until it was bag and seal time. I did the first round with JD and then Julia helped on the second day. By the end, she did the last several on her own.

Back to my goat delivering, Tori and I headed to the barn to feed the animals for the night when we discovered Lady in active labor. It appeared to be a baby head that was out, but it was hard to tell with the sack and fluid still intact. Since the tiny bit I know included that the front feet were supposed to come first, I knew things were not going just as they should. I called our friends and neighbors that have sheep and asked what to do. With them on the phone as tech support, and the gloves that Tori got me from the house, I managed to help reposition things enough that she delivered the baby. I cleaned the baby's nose and watched him take his first breath. We got Lady some molasses water and watched her clean the baby while the other kids came streaming from the house to see the new baby. About that time, Lady laid down and popped out the second baby boy with little effort. As I cleaned his nose and waited for Lady to turn to even look at him, I saw Bella in near hysteria in the corner. Bella has a unique ability of hysterical crying without making sound. When I asked what was wrong, she bawled that it was all making her stomach hurt. I sent her in the house. 

baby #2
 This isn't a good quality picture, but look at that sweet baby face looking at his momma.

Here's a bonus picture of my egg layers tucking themselves in for the night.

The next morning we all went out to see two dry, steady goats walking around with their mom.

This one is currently Bandito -

Bonus picture of Tally, the cat that loves goats, so opts to sleep in the stall with them.

And here is Mini Vinny or Baby Cow or Avalanche; he doesn't quite have a name yet, but he sure has a sweet face!