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.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The State Fair

We had a great day at the Virginia State Fair on Friday; it was homeschool day so we got discounted admission.  The day was hot; and I'm pretty sure after two years of dehydration, that I am going to remember to pack tons of water next year, (since they charge $3 a bottle, but you are allowed to take your own in!)

Initially the kids were disappointed that the alligator wrestler and karate demonstration teams weren't present, but there were several new, cool things in their place.

This little guy is a friend's son that has only been home from China since spring; he is a favorite among all my kids! He has such a sweet personality.

We did some snake holding, (well, not me, but the crazy kids that wanted to).

 Elijah and I both are hoping to see a local bear in the wild. Not long ago, there was one sitting in front of city hall where Alei lives. I was getting ready to load the kids and head over, but the police roped off the roads and waited for him to go back into the woods. JD saw one years ago crossing a road between here and VA Beach. We just keep our eyes open, but we probably need to extend our search up north into the mountains a bit!

We got to do some cow milking; turns out there isn't any difference between cow and goat milking. My kids that milk goats daily looked like pros! Kind of funny that we waited in line to milk.

The boys checked out the new tractors; still looks the same as the one we bought 12 years ago.

We hit the pig races; always a good time and this year they allowed us some pig greeting time afterwards.

We enjoyed a wild west show. I was feeling badly for the bad guys wearing those coats - it was hot out!

Selah and Bella got a shot with an acrobatic family.

In case you are wondering who we leave in charge of the farm when we are gone - that would be Fiona, the guard collie! You can tell that she is taking her duty very seriously. (And she is quite aware that she isn't welcome on the new porch couch!)


Saturday, September 17, 2016

Our Saturday

I started the morning by cleaning and moving the goat milking station to the paved stall; I'm excited about animals not being in there except at milking time so that it will stay cleaner. JD is doing taxes (no judgment here, yes, they are still 2015 taxes on an extension), but he wanted a break and to do something outside in the nice weather, so started extending our parking spaces along the circle that we recently cleared. Since we are having weekly MMA at our house (and the reality that a few, like three!, of us have hit one vehicle into another in our very own driveway), we knew that more practical parking had to be added.

So, JD started scraping and removing top soil. Nathan "Face Timed" us and I let him watch Granddad a bit; he has the cutest expression when he is amazed and intently watching. He will be here in a few weeks to ride the tractor with Grandad! After a bit, JD decided that he and Elijah needed to make the voyage for gas about 1.5 miles away. Shortly after they left, as I am covered in cobwebs in the barn, I receive the SOS call that they ran out of gas with the tractor.

I load gas cans and drive down the road to find this -

It's good to have fun while you are broken down on the side of the road.

We went and filled the gas cans and I deposited them back off at the tractor. I then headed to recycling because that is about the only place I could go and not insult people with by barn cleaning attire.

Once I got back home, and was back at work, I received the second call that there must be something wrong beyond gas because it broke down again on the way home from the gas station. This time was about 50 feet from the turn to our road and still in the major highway. James found tow ropes and we towed the beast of a tractor home.

That didn't slow JD down much, he as a backup tractor and went right back to work.

Today I got my first peek at the baby guineas that hatched last week and are following the flock around. While the guineas and I are still not on the best of terms, it is so cute to see 7-8 fluffy babies following the momma around.

Here's another thing that is such a blessing this time of year - the garden. I usually end of completely neglecting it once school starts, but every week I go out and there is still so much to pick. I did weed some today and want to plant one or two fall crops, we will see, I say that every year....

The parking is about done; we are going to have crush and run dumped. See how it extends beyond the circle?

Should really help since the circle can remain clear!


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Remember the Beach Goat?

Remember the goat I brought home from the beach? Well, she is a fence jumper, which is why she was given to me. I was sadly mistaken when I thought she would jump out of my fence; she jumps in and out all day long. For now it isn't much of an issue, because Fiona, the collie, flushes her back towards the barn when she starts to head toward the house and eat the plants there that I don't want eaten. I also assume she won't jump out when she has a baby, because she will want to remain with it. Today, she took up fence walking, just strolling along the 1/2" fence like the cats so.

Crazy goat -

So, this makes me super happy - GRASS! I have literally planted grass seed every fall for about 10 years and this particular seed this year has actually grown! It is even choking out the weeds that were prominent here; I'd say it's maybe 50/50 now. It also seeds itself while still quite low, which is like free seeding at this point. I sure wish we had been told about it years ago, it was a freebie tip from some county worker that had to keep coming out to make sure we weren't infringing on a dried up spring deep in the woods when we cleared the land for the garage.


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

First Week at CC

We had our first day of Classical Conversations this week. There are six classes and I have a student in five of them; it was a great day for all of them. It was so cute to see Selah so completely excited and counting down the days, when she did not enjoy public school previously. Tori, Julia and I are taking the Essentials class in the afternoon; it is hardcore grammar complete with sentence diagramming and then writing using IEW. Both are a stretch and seem to do a far better job than any English class I ever took in high school and college. I honestly didn't understand the Classical model when I began CC, and there are still parts that are rather mysterious to me, but the memorization is definitely the way to go. I am pretty much demanding that Tori and Julia do the memory master program, which means they memorize items in every subject every week and I am hoping to have Elijah and Selah join them. We are hitting the year memorizing each week thoroughly, including the chapter of Ephesians 5.
Here is Julia when we got home the first day while the other kids started watching a movie - she was going over her notes from Essentials. I'm pretty excited about my white board; since we had zero walls to hand one on, we put it on the shelf and it comes on and off with hooks.

Friday, September 2, 2016

And the Dojo....

I forgot to show the "dojo" - that is my new goofy term for the backroom of the basement. I wish I had a before picture, but I was honestly too embarrassed to even take one. I sold the pool table, fridge, two couches and a few other items of minimal value, but the rest was just stuff. Now most of the stuff is in the garage (and messy), but it is at least where it eventually should live neatly, since saws and generators are garage materials.

The ping pong table and treadmill are going to remain on the back far side of the room in the alcove area, but the items are the left are still going to move as they are able. Our first night of MMA went very well and the kids were excited to be back at lessons.

Sometimes empty space is far more valuable that anything that fills it; I'm very happy the boys can continue with MMA and we were able to provide space for them and some other kids who were taking.  

A bonus is a gymnastic practice area also!


First Week of School

We started school this week; I anticipate it being a very good year since I feel like I have finally mentally made the transition to a Classical approach to our school at home. The first year I was in Classical Conversations was mainly observation, now I'm on my third year of tutoring and it has kind of taken me that long to transition to doing our at home work along the same line that we do our CC at school work.

Here is our official back to homeschool photo - I did monogrammed backpacks for the CC crowd that should last a few years. I have a thing for everyone's everything labeled!

We did our first day of school on Monday and then had an awesome back to school field trip on Tuesday. We joined a large group for an informational lesson on bats and made a bat craft.

Then we got to swim in an Olympic sized pool with a diving board and slide. The kids would have stayed for hours longer, but Tuesday was also our meet the tutor night at CC so we all had to come back by late afternoon.

I have crammed in a few other things this week, but it's hard once we go back to school. Today is Julia hair day and I have paperwork piled high, including Tori's green card renewal (no, the poor girl still isn't an American citizen, but don't ask my opinion on that when immigrant's children become automatic citizens when their parents do, however, adoptees do not.....)

I did get up early one morning to cram in one more smaller batch of super hot salsa for JD. I can't eat even the regular hot, but Selah and Bella scarf it down without even water.