Monday, April 20, 2009

Wow! What a week!

Alliteration. It's a marvelous literary device.
We have had quite a busy week!!
And it seems that in these last few, hectic weeks of school and with all the sickness we've been facing, I am averaging writing about once a week.
Oh well, it's better than not writing at all, I guess.
Here are some of the things that have been keeing us hopping around these parts.
Last Friday, we took an all-school field trip to the ranch and farm that Rachel works on, as well as to her home, which is also home to various goats, rabbits, dogs, horses, etc.
We started out at B&N Ranch, the home to the hunt club she works at, and where "much cattle" are rounded up and sorted ( I know Patty got my Jonah reference there).
Rachel explained what rounding up cattle is like, and had the kids play a game in which they were cows being rounded into different pens.
She showed them a squeeze shoot, and they got to see some of big farm equipment.

Next, it was on to Wesbrook. There, the kids saw chickens in a coop (very interesting for me, since we are looking into building one of our own here), hunting hounds, and some horses.
They had lots of questions, and Rachel answered them all, satisfying the young curiosity that was abuzz.
After that, we went on to Rachel's house and had a picnic on the lawn.
It was such a perfect day: sunny most of the morning with blue skies and big white clouds lazily floating overhead, warm and breezy, hazing up in the afternoon.
When we were done eating, Rachel introduced everyone to the animals: there was a baby bottle-fed calf, whose name I do not remember; Snickerdoodle, the cow; Tia, the wild mustang; Blueberry, the donkey; Bounder, the big sweetheart horse; Scout; the pony; and a heard of goats (some of them new babies!) as well as sundry dogs and bunnies.
The kids were able to touch and pet the animals, and took turns visiting the baby goats,
and getting horse and pony rides on Bounder and Scout.
Here are some of my favorite pictures of the day:

When it was over, the boys and I headed home, and got Isaac ready for his first big Boy Scout camp-out.
Joe and Isaac equipped themselves with waterproof boots and ponchos, among other things, to meet the weekend, which was calling for rain, rain and more rain.
And rain it did.
In spite of the weather, there was a fire, good friends and his dad, and Isaac had a blast.

I was not there, but I know he got to cross a rope bridge,
throw a hatchet,
and probably about a thousand other things they didn't tell mom about!
This picture is worth a thousand words!!!
They returned home Sunday, wet and tired and full of stories and memories.
After dinner at Gramps, it was time to head to the all school skate party.
The party was a celebration for exceeding one of our recent fund-raising goals.
See this picture of Josiah skating. That's him in the background, hanging on to the sides. It is the only picture of him skating that you will see.
About five minutes after this was taken, Josiah fell and broke his arm. Well, he has two buckle fractures in his left arm from falling on it.
I was right there and I watched it happen. It was as if everything was happening in slow motion, but too fast for me to get there in time -- to stop it.
Here we are, deciding to take Josiah to the hospital.
I was frantic, to say the least, but Joe wanted to take him to the hospital while I stayed with Isaac since he had not seen him all weekend, and he thought the ordeal was something Josiah would need his dad for.
I stayed and skated with Isaac, and we had so much fun together, but a part of my heart was across town with Josiah as he was being examined and x-rayed.
Here are some pictures of the skate party, post accident:
Doin' the YMCA

The first two days after the accident, Josiah was in a lot of pain.
It is so hard to see your child hurt, especially when there is nothing you can do to ease the pain or take the hurt away.
I am so thankful for prayer.
When there is nothing else to do, nothing else that can be done, there is always prayer.
We went to an orthopedist yesterday, and he set Jo's arm in a cast up to his elbow. He got to pick the color: light blue.
While all of this was happening, Daniel came down with pink eye -- both eyes!! Yikes.
You know the saying "when it rains, it pours"? Well, lets just say I feel like I've had my umbrella up for quite a while.
So, after Jo was done with his doctor visit, we took Daniel to get his eyes looked at.
I have to say, I thought the eye drops would be a bigger deal than they are. He actually does pretty well with them for being not quite two yet.
When we got home, we disinfected the house and I started getting dinner ready.
The kids were outside and we began to notice that our cat, Tigger, was breathing funny and was not wanting to come out of her box. We had known for some time that she was pregnant, and it looked like her time had come.
Sure enough, she began delivering kittens in the late afternoon. It was the first time I have ever seen kittens born. Amazing.
She had four kittens within 12-13 hours, but only three survived. One was still born. It is very sad, and my boys feel badly about that, but they are so happy with the three tiny kittens, and we have visited them often today. They are all Tabbies.
Three kittens, like three boys. I think all the kittens are boys, too. I know at least two of them are.
I want to name them Wynken, Blynken, and Nod, but Josiah says no to that. David thinks it is not a good idea to name kittens who may end up leaving home when they are older.
But I say it's okay to get attached, to love them, to care for them, to name them.
And if the day comes when they leave us to live with other families, those happy people can give them new names; but we will always know that once upon a time, three kittens lived in our garage and in our hearts, and their names were . . .

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Party all the time, party all the time, party all the ti-ime

Well, I'm sure you've noticed that there's been a lull.
Not in my real life, mind you.
Oh, no. That has been as hoppin' as ever! It's been one party after the next -- literally.
But there has been a lull in my blogging life these few days gone by.
This is, in fact, a direct result of the busy nature of my "life" life.
So, I would feel badly about not having written anything this past week, but . . . I'm too busy for that.
I would love to have hours, or even minutes, to sit and write about all the daily stuff that makes up life in our family.
Sometimes I get that. Sometimes I don't.
It is my life's hope to one day have time to write everyday.
If I were really dedicated, I'd get up at 5 a.m. I suppose.
Yeah. Tell that to my eyelids.
Anyway, on to the good stuff . . .
We had a birthday last week.
Josiah turned seven! There are several cultures in which seven is a milestone year for a boy.
His dad looked at me the other day and said, "I think this is going to be an important year for him."
I looked over. He was so solemn, concentrating on drawing the picture in front of him.
Josiah. He is my river-running-deep child.
He takes everything in. He is careful about what he lets out.
As serious as he is sometimes is as delighted at life as he is others.
When something touches him, he says, "Mom, my eyes are just leaking."
We had his class birthday party last Thursday. I made him chocolate cupcakes and brought sprinkles of different colors for the kids to decorate with.
I wanted to tell the class about the day Josiah was born, but I was facing seven sugared-up first graders and, well, I didn't get very far.
There was no teacher's meeting that afternoon, so we headed to gramps and I made Josiah's favorite thing in all the world to eat -- pasta e fagoli.
He had two bowls!
Daniel tried to help with decorations!
After dinner he opened gifts.
And then there was cake . . . again.
The next day we were off for Good Friday. It rained all day, a steady, soaking rain. It cleared up in the afternoon, and by early evening, I was out planting our 54 strawberry plants in the raised bed Joe built.
Saturday was Sunny and cool, but the right kind of day to have Josiah's "friend" party outside.
Joe and I cleaned and readied the house for our young guests. We put the finishing touches on the volcano cake and preped the snacks. Mom and the boys were busy decorating and setting up the yard.
In the midst of all that activity, Bekah and Donnie came over and planted lettuce and green beans.
Bekah and Donnie are helping out in our "backyard-farmer" adventures, and will reap the benefits of their labors -- again, literally.
From 2 to 4 p.m. the voices of seven young boys rang out across our yard as they played games and chased each other and had general good fun.
And there was even more cake!
It was a good day, and Josiah quietly beamed at his friends as he ate his cake, listening to everything everyone was saying, interjecting where he thought he should. You could see the happiness shinning out of his eyes.

When things began to wrap up, Isaac got on the John Deere to mow.

Little man wanted to try too.
After the party, the big boys went to a friend's house and mom and I went Easter shopping, and then to eat at the deli. It was a pleasant evening.
When we all got home, the boys washed up and watched the Sword in the Stone. After that, we read the first part of the Resurrection story. And then it was time for bed.
We did not do big baskets for Easter this year. To be honest, I haven't really done those for a while. The boys get a little something, but that is not what I want the focus to be on on that Day of all Days.
What we did do, was replace the beans in the sacrifice jar with jelly-beans, to remind the boys that the rewards from Jesus for our labors will be sweet.
Have I mentioned the sacrifice jar before?
We had a jar set out on a table with a bowl of dried beans beside it. We loosely followed lent this year, each giving up something to show that we were willing to sacrifice for the One who made the ultimate sacrifice for us. We didn't follow the readings this year like I would have liked to, but we started out that way, and we did the best we could. I am hoping for more next year, but it was a good first experience, all in all.
Lent runs 40 days, culminating on Easter. During those 40 days, anytime we sacrificed ourselves in prayer, fasting, acts of kindness or helping and preferring others, we put a bean in the jar. On Easter morning, the dried beans were "miraculously" turned into sweet treats. This also symbolizes the sweetness of Jesus' sacrifice for us, and of salvation.
After church (Doug preached a tremendous sermon about the reality of the Resurrection), We went to grandpa's for dinner.
Grandpa outdid himself this year.
He's pretty pleased with himself, and he should be! Amazing job, grandpa!!

Pictured is chicken cutlets, lasagna, and eggplant lasagna. Traditional Easter fare for our family. Ummmm-mmmm that was good stuff.
Our good friends, the Dowlings, shared this amazing feast with us.
For dessert there was cream puffs, sweet pie (ricotta pie), and Italian knot cookies. Again, yummy-yummy.
Mom handed out bags full of Easter goodies to all. In my bag: black flip-flops with white polka-dots, two Reese's peanut butter eggs and a small baglet of Jelly Belly jelly beans (which are the best jelly beans in the world, by the way).
We had a really good day, even though it was rainy and cold.
My plants are enjoying the rain, and sometimes, I like it too, especially when I can hunker down with a warm blanket and a good book, or snuggle in with my boys on the couch for a family movie.
Well, that has been the happenings here.
Now, the long day is over. The boys are all sleeping. The house is silent but for the ticking of the clock on the wall and the clicking of my fingers on the keys. Tomorrow is another day, a gift of grace, an opportunity to do things better, to do them right.
This gift came only through the cross of Christ. This new opportunity was won at his expense.
Thank you, Jesus, for your blood, and your salvation and your grace which opens my eyes to new mercies each day.