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, August 27, 2017

Sunday to Sunday - Summer to Fall - Snapshots of it All (Well, actually a small picture of a little of it!)

Things are very busy as we ease back into the school routine. Last Sunday the kids had a bowling party for Alayna's local little brother - 

Here's the little girl who has inherited the "clean out the Tupperware cabinet" job after numerous warnings about opening the door and throwing the clean Tupperware in, with no regard to what a mess it creates.

The garden is still pumping out green beans and tomatoes -

We begin CC this Tuesday and week one history is Columbus, so I assigned these books this week, (other than Where's Waldo).

Alei came over one day and we sat outside with the goats. I wondered what the donkey would do if we let him out. He had a blast, just eating grass and weeds around the yard. He went right back in with grain when I needed him to.

After taking Lincoln to the vet the day before for some infected bite on his foot, Storm started acting weird while the goats were out. Reflecting back, we realized that she was when we let her out also, but it got much worse. After she was unable to stand, I called the farm vet, who came within 30 minutes. She seems to have some neurological issue, but it is improving with the injected meds that he used to treated a few random issues. I'm not loving the vet bills of the week!

 It's back to school on Tuesday, so I'll take the expected picture and post!



Monday, August 21, 2017

Salsa and Tomatoes

JD did much of the salsa work this year - he grocery shopped, and chopped while I did tomatoes.

I did about half salsa jars and half straight tomato sauce - I think we ended with something like 65 quart jars.

I did two or three rounds a day, each as a double batch that made 10-12 quarts. Once I was done with tomatoes, I canned the pears we had picked. I still have a pear tree to go.

 Doesn't seem like we should be nearing the end of the summer but we are. Tori began Challenge A last week and the other Classical Conversationers start next Tuesday. I am busy making lesson plans. I am hoping to put in a few fall crops but the weeds are totally out of control again already so we will see what I get done there!


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Farm Life

Farm-life is a lot of work. While all the other moms worked out at the Y or sat on the bleachers this summer during swim-team practice, I dropped off kids, worked in the garden, dropped off more kids, took care of the animals....you get the idea. James was gone all summer, and Tori gone twice, so I often did double of my usual list.

These are the moments, however, that it all seems worth it! Tori and I harvested one pear tree that actually produced good pears. I still have another loaded tree and a third that is too young to produce well. My peach trees have some disease and my apple trees are a disaster, but I'm thankful for the pears!

The pears were much higher than Tori on the ladder, but shaking them worked well. I only got hit on the head once!

Tori and I picked them up very quickly when we shook the trees, since the goats discovered quickly that they like pears.

My new venture this summer was growing the entire middle layer of the backyard in pumpkins. The idea is to store them for winter treats for the animals, after canning our fair share. I'm getting nervous because the squash bugs have descended upon them, and I don't think there is a successful pumpkin farmer out there who doesn't spray their fields. I have used dust on the ground lately, which I hate to do, but I'm not sure it's enough.

There are many decent sized pumpkins growing in there and the guineas seem clueless so far. 

We left some eggs with several momma hens who wanted to sit on them. They have successfully hatched many, many chicks. These six little guys just hatched last night. Selah is also being mom to eight guinea babies and a chick baby that hatched in the incubator from an abandoned guinea nest.

I bought a chicken tractor that can move around the yard that Luna, Selah's bunny, and the momma-less baby chicks share during the day. We move them back to safer night cages, because of the fat fox that is stalking the chickens.

My tomato crop was pitiful this year, so I had to resort to buying these from a local farmer. Guess what I am doing today and tomorrow?


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Good Swim Season

Years ago my cousin's husband referred to summer swim team as "swim cult"; while it may feel like it a bit, it is only two months of the year and the best sport for large families. I have a few, mainly one nine year old son, begging to do year-round swim but I just can't fit that into my life or budget right now. 

At finals, the little guys swim morning, the relays are in the middle and the older kids swim afternoons. 

We set up our tent in "Shark tent city" and prepared our seats for a long, hot day. I will say that yesterday was a high of 85, which is about 15 degrees cooler than any other finals I ever remember; it was so wonderful!


I write my kids event numbers on my hand so I don't lose the paper and not show up for an event. 

Here's Bella watching a sibling's event while waiting for her own.

Elijah and his relay team made it through all six meets and finals undefeated and will get the gold. Elijah somehow also managed to get the gold in back stroke in spite of never winning it before and stopping a bit short and then continuing. 
Elijah and Jayson
 Thankful for another good season. Now I have to turn my attention to being ready for school which starts in only a few weeks!



Thursday, August 3, 2017

Summer and Selah

 I have Selah scheduled with a pediatric neurologist at VCU, specializing in sleep disorders; thankfully after getting her paperwork from the local doctor, they moved us up from Sept. to August. For now, I am working to prevent further episodes by not driving her far at night! They have all started in the car and all have been at night, other than one. It's really a strange set of events and it will be nice to have some answers. 

We have had a blast at the local lake this year. It is a private lake in a close neighborhood that we own a rental home in and get to use the lake and pool. I bought two small paddle-boards the other day and the kids were good at them. We have friends that let us borrow their kayaks at any point also. It's been a blast for the kids!

Julia and Elijah have both been swimmer of the week this summer. Elijah is going into finals on Saturday with an undefeated relay team. Tori and Julia both had undefeated ones also, until the last meet when Tori was at camp and Julia had a relay partner confused what lane to line up in and miss the race. We will all be cheering for Elijah's team at finals!

A long and narrow 10 acres on the side of our property sold and the neighbors are building a house. Turns out that it is sitting right behind our garage.  I know it looks a ways back to the city readers, but I can already hear the construction workers talking and their music playing. I hope the retired couple moving in is understanding when our noise carries over there!

 Here's our potential excitement that has been years in coming - can you see it?