Tuesday, June 27, 2017

365 challenge - week 24

Here's my photo challenge week...

[ 161/365 - modern *from week 23 ]
modern art on a modern device.

[162/365 - a bottle ]
 reminds me of Blue Bottle Coffee. 

[163/365 - the weather today ]

[ 164/365 - walk ] I do have an idea for this one....

[ 165/365 - dessert ]

[ 166/365 - hello ]
 Did you know that Eric once had a pet crow - that he trained how to talk.  No, really!  He did!

[ 167/365 - free choice ]
Who stole my little boy?  

 [ 168/365 - I found this ]
This robin's nest is right under our deck.  There are 2 little blue eggs in there.  We can peek down through the spaces above to see them, but we haven't seen the mama in a while.  I am not sure if it is because we scared her away or if she comes, but we don't know it because we are trying not to look very often so that we don't scare her away. 

Monday, June 26, 2017

A dozen things I learned while gardening today.

Today I tackled the much needed job of weeding the garden, and as I was out there for several hours I learned some things.

1.  Soft soil is easy to work with.  
This made me think of this verse in Ezekiel  36:26 "Moreover, I will give you a new heart and a new spirit within; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh."
A soft pliable heart is teachable and mold-able.  I want to be this way.

2.  Some weeds are easier to pull than others.
Every time I garden I can't help but think on the analogy of weeds to sin.  Weeds (sin) dealt with early are easy to get rid of.  Some weeds (sins) can have deep roots and take effort to dig out.  Some weeds (sins) hide right next to the "good crop" disguising themselves.  
I took a little time to pray and before I knew it, I was completely thinking about something else. 

3.  I am easily distracted by my own millions of thoughts in my head.  

4.  Flies are super annoying.  
They have 5 acres of air space to fly and be free, but they chose the 1" space around my ears instead.  Actually, I think it was just one.  One persistent, pesky fly. 

5.  Lavender smells soooo good.
I'm pretty sure that it is my favorite botanical smell.

6.  Basil smells amazing.  
Just smelling it made me think of all our favorite uses for pesto.
I felt like Anton Ego.

7.  Squashes haven't appreciated the June of 60's' and rain that we've been having.  
It's a Northwest saying that summer never really begins until July 5th.  Not much longer to wait then.

8.  Goats like blueberries - especially if they are behind a fence.  😠

9.  I love to hear the kids playing. 
Ellie was on the deck playing with toys in a bucket of water - all in her own make-believe world.  I am thankful that she has not been pressured by various influences to grow up.  She is innocent and imaginative without worries of what others think.  
Meanwhile, Maryanne was flitting around the yard like a butterfly - first on the swing set, then petting the goats and bringing them viney maple leaves, then climbing on tree stumps.  Just enjoying a carefree summer day.

10.  If I could do a do-over with the garden - I would use raised beds.  
I think it would make the job feel more manageable.  Like checking boxes off the list.  Plus I could probably just have rocks or wood chips in the walking paths - making for less weeding.

11.  After a couple of hours there is no comfortable position.
"Cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.  Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you will eat the plants of the field; by the sweat of your face you will eat bread..."  Thanks Adam and Eve, if only you had obeyed God in the first place!

12. I need to tie a tighter pony tail.
By the end of it all, I was hot and sweaty and sneezy and my pony tail was falling out and I was doing my best "Deb" impersonation. 

I was a bit of a hot mess, but the job is done for now and it looks nice again.  😀
We are growing lettuce, green beans, beets, basil, zucchini, spaghetti squash, and butternut squash.
Hoping to anyway.  

- Carol

Friday, June 23, 2017

Ordinary days and a few thoughts


I find I've been at a loss for what to say here on this ol' blog.  Even though we are officially enjoying summer vacation from school, I still remain busy with the typical and ordinary things of motherhood. My days are full, but typical and ordinary don't seem to offer much to write about ~ and worse may come across as complaining, and I would never want that!
Here is a little bit of what's been going on.

It has been so nice to have Matthew and Hannah back home.  Even though Matthew's work schedule doesn't leave a lot of time to interact with him, I still like knowing he is in the same state and time zone.  They had such a marvelous time spending time with family, forming new relationships, and strengthening and deepening others.  They really enjoyed seeing so many different sights and even the warm/muggy East Coast weather.  A change of pace can be so refreshing.
I have to admit, it felt so weird without them here.  Weird because I knew they were across the county.  Weird because we all felt the hole from their absence.  Weird because it allowed us to see just how much they do to be a help and participate in family relationships.  Weird because they were making memories and I wasn't part of that.  I know that may sound proud or egotistical.  I don't mean it that way.  It's just that we have done things, especially big things, as a family usually, so I share in the experiences.  Of course each of us has our own perception of things, and memories are uniquely our own, but this time they were off and my only participation is to view their photographs.  Weird.  I know this is how it is all supposed to go - they don't stay little and at home forever.  I'm ok with that, but it still takes getting used to.

. . . . .

No rest for the weary - and boy was she weary from her very exciting, exhausting, fun, memorable trip.  This week was full of appointments.  Another doctor appointment for Hannah.  This one was with a GI specialist with Children's Hospital.  She is baffled by Hannah's symptoms just like all the other doctors we have seen.  She has ordered an endoscopy.  Perhaps a look inside will help? Meanwhile, my girl suffers so.  I know that God has this particular trial for her to bring her closer to Him.  A close abiding walk is the result of utter dependence upon Him.  I can see a complete surrendering to His will.  That is never easy, when the situation seems bleak.  Will we find answers? Will she ever not hurt?  Will this last forever?  These are overwhelming and terrifying and discouraging thoughts.
So we take one day at a time.

. . . . .

The other day was National Skateboarding Day!
It's also the first day of summer.  See what they did there?
I had several things I wanted to get done that day, but before the afternoon got away from me, we went for a quick trip to the local skate park in our town.  We had it all to ourselves.

Hannah has been teaching herself how to longboard dance.

. . . . .

Ellie has been having chicken troubles.
She has one hen that is very broody - or at least that's what we think is going on.  She sits in the nesting box all day - all night.  She makes noise at you if you try to move her out of there.  Because of this she is getting hen-pecked when she does come out.  We decided to separate two of the more aggressive hens, and put them in the barn to try to adjust the pecking order a bit.  Later that night, Ellie went to check on them and there was only 1 hen in the barn!  No signs of mischief though,  No feathers, no blood, but no chicken.  She and Dan checked the barn high and low and there was no sign of her. LOTS of tears with thoughts of maybe an owl getting in the barn and snatching her away - or that she flew out and over the fence and was wondering alone in the wilderness.  She tried her best to put on a brave face, but...
4 days later when Daniel was cleaning out the goat pen, he heard noises, and checked it out.  He found the chicken stuck under a pile of wood, behind some fencing.  Not quite sure how she got herself there. She had laid two eggs though.  Suffice it to say, when she was put back into the coop, she drank and drank and drank and ate and ate and ate.  I think we found her in the nick of time.  She seems to be fine.

. . . . .

Father's Day
We all pitched in to give him just a little something so he knows he is very much loved and appreciated! He is a servant - always fixing broken toys for the younger children, broken vehicles for the older children, household anything for me. He's way better than I am in the kitchen, and he enjoys cooking (how did I get so lucky?)
He knows so much about so much that if any of us needs to know how to do something, we pretty much know we can "just ask Dad" and he will have an answer.

I'm not sure why I chose to only take a "men" picture rather than with all the children.  Duh.
But whatever.  Look!  Dan is just about as tall as Eric.

We have this old fashioned cookie cutter which reminds us of a certain Looney Tunes cartoon. 
It was Ellie's idea to make cookies for Dear ol' Dad. 

If he could have done anything on Father's Day it would have been to spend some time on his skateboard.  He has been off of it since April 30th, and he misses it so much.  He was so hoping that at his most recent appointment with the orthopedist that he would be given the A-Ok.  
The good news is that he is no longer wearing the sling AND there is new bone growth.  It's not completely healed yet so there are still restrictions in place.  No heavy lifting.  No skateboarding. Both for another 6 weeks.  BUT he can drive now - so he feels a little bit of freedom. 

. . . . . 

Summer for me is a time to reflect on the newly completed school year and try to figure out what we accomplished and where we need to make adjustments for the coming year.  It's also a time that I need to take advantage of by using it wisely for training the children in new chores and responsibilities.  But, I love the loosey-goosey schedule of carefree summer days.  

I am having the little girls read aloud to me daily so they continue to make progress there. 
Of course, I don't have to require reading from Dan and Hannah.  Pulling them away from their books is more of the challenge.  😉

. . . . . 

Eric and I have been learning about coffee roasting and how to become coffee roasters.  Not just home roasters, but honest to goodness for realsy reals certified coffee roasters.  
We are excited about this new endeavor/adventure, but scared to death too. 

We want this to be something that can bring Eric home from the corporate world.  Something we can do with the children.  Thinking mostly of Hannah and Daniel, but as the girls grow, they will grow into jobs that they can do.  It is overwhelming though!  There are so many aspects of a new business to think about and put into place.  It can definitely get a little overwhelming.  
Working with the county on a specific idea we have is  s  l  o  w  -  g  o  i  n  g.  It's also frustrating for many reasons that I'll share at a later time, but suffice it to say, that the Lord is showing me areas I need to grow.  One area in particular is patience in His timing.  I have come to discover that I tend to be anxious.  I fret and worry, and don't even realize it.   It's a constant battle of my mind to choose to trust Him.  You know that verse that says, "Oh Ye, of little faith."  UGH!  

And that has been how our days are rolling.  Mostly home, doing a little of this and a little of that with some fun thrown in for good measure.  

- Carol

Friday, June 16, 2017

365 photo challenge - week 23

Hello Everyone.  
In true Carol fashion, I am running a bit behind on posting the photo challenge pictures.  These were the ones I took for last week.  I am missing a couple, but I'll try to get them this week (even though there are only a couple days left of this week. 😵 )

[ 155/365 - local ]
This children's museum is FAB.

[ 156/365 - what I'm reading ]
This is our summer reading goal poster that the girls made.  For every 15 minutes of read aloud time (each one of them to me, and I to them), we put a sticker on the rainbow.  When the rainbow is completely filled, everyone will get an ice cream treat.

[ 158/365 - feet ]
 Freshly painted little toes.

[ 159/365 - I cherish this ]
I cherish my littlest one, I cherish that she sees the world with such wonder, and I cherish that she picks flowers for me each time she goes outside.

[ 160/365 - self portrait ]
This challenge has so many self portrait prompts.  They are not my favorite.  I find them to be the most challenging not just because I am the subject and the photographer, but finding creative backdrops and positions is also a challenge.  And...I'm just not comfortable in front of the camera. Selfies (unless with others to document an event or occasion) are just not my thing.

. . . .

Today is Hannah and Matthew's last day on the East Coast.  We'll pick them up at the airport tomorrow morning, and I am so looking forward to hugging them and hearing all about the adventures they had.  It's such a different dynamic when people are missing.

- Carol