Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Working in the Peach Orchard

Thinning the peaches.

Constantly on the go!

Don't you hate it when someone takes your picture when you are looking right into the sun??  It always makes a terrible picture. :) 

Andy and Meagan working hard.

Weeding Mamaw's flowers

   Saturday started our Memorial Day with a cookout at the house of one of our church members.  The guys enjoyed a game of horse shoes, while the kids ran off some of that never ending energy.  It was a relaxing evening.
   Sunday was church.  We had some good services, and a few visitors.  After church Sunday night, Andy and I hung around with our song leader's family and sang around the piano for a while.  This is rather becoming a routine.  Its good for us, though, and we all enjoy it.
   Monday, Andy headed out bright and early in the truck for his Grandmother's house.  He wanted to get an early start on thinning the new peaches before the noon cook out.  I got there at noon, and after a wonderful meal of hamburgers, hotdogs and all the trimmings, I took the kids out to the orchard and got in on thinning.  Andy and cousin Meagan had already done a good bit of work.  Christian loved running around getting dirty and Audra played in the grass beside the peach trees.  She was so fascinated at all the "balls" falling from the trees around her!  You know, I can't hardly stand the thinning process!  It would seem that you'd want to keep as many peaches on those branches as they could hold!  But instead, here we are picking them off and letting them fall to the ground.  All that good fruit!  Oh, it hurt to think about!  But, they do grow the best peaches in the world up here, so if picking off half the fruit is the way to do it, I guess its worth it.  I couldn't go as long as Andy and Meagan, but I did enjoy the few hours I was out there.  It was good to get out in the sun.  And with the breeze blowing across the open fields, it wasn't very hot either.  Perfect weather!   I left at 7:00pm to head home and get the kids cleaned up and in bed, but Andy and Meagan kept at it til dark.  They got half the trees thinned and fertilizer on a little over half before they ran out.  We'll go back up on Friday to finish.  It was a good day!


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Very Busy Weekend!

   I'm getting a little behind with so many things going on this past weekend!  Let's see....   On Friday, we took the kids to the Indianapolis zoo.  We'd gone to the Nashville zoo last year, and it only took us three hours to get through it.   We got to the Indy zoo at around 10 in the morning and by 5 that evening, everyone was so tired we had to pack up and head home.  And we still hadn't gotten to see the bird and butterfly areas nor the gardens!  And the animals!  They had every kind you could imagine!  It must have been a good day or something, because many of them were right at the fence.  It was a little weird standing about three feet, literally, from an African lion!  And about 5 feet from a huge white rhino!  The rhino saw the crowd and walked over to the fence and just stared up at us!  He was enormous!  I've never actually been able to catch the zoo animals that close before.  Normally, you can barely spot them sitting on a rock, or laying in the grass some distance away.  I got a lot of good pictures.  Christian LOVED the train ride and the carousel just about more than anything there!  :)  He wanted to ride the roller coaster but was just a few inches too short of the required height.  So Andy took him and Audra for another spin on the train and I sneaked back to the roller coaster for one ride.  Now I'm not real big on roller coasters and you'll NEVER get me on a real big one.  But this one was pretty small, so I mustered all my courage and climbed aboard.  I have to admit, it was fun.  But one ride was enough.  We were all so tired by the end of the day, but we had a great day as a family.  Christian thoroughly enjoyed himself.  You can tell that by the look on his face in the pictures below.  :)

Wouldn't want to meet up with him in the woods!

I love Christian's grin!  He's having the time of his life!  (Pardon the woman in the back ground with a baby bottle in her mouth.  She probably would be mortified if she knew she'd been caught doing that!  :) 

At the dolphin show.  I just love watching dolphins!  They're beautiful!

The dolphin show.

Riding the train. One happy little boy!

Jess, I couldn't help but think of you guys in this safari section.  :)

We could have fed the giraffes, but it was getting late so we passed on that.

These guys were massive!

And this picture isn't zoomed!  We were really that close!  It was great!

Nice, kitty, kitty....

The of Christian's favorite stops.  Those little fellows can flat swim!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

   My days have been seemingly getting shorter.  Or maybe I'm getting busier!  It seems the older Audra gets and, with the latest stages of development that Christian is going through, they are keeping me hopping!  If my tummy wasn't getting bigger, I wouldn't even know I was pregnant!  :)  I'm too busy to notice.  Ok, that sounds bad.  I mean, I haven't even hardly given the the nausea and the tiredness as much notice as I did with the other three pregnancies.  And yes, I'm still throwing up.  I thought that was supposed to slow down by now, and I was supposed to get my second wind!  I did pretty good up to the past few weeks, now I'm getting waves of tiredness and the morning meetings with the toilet are still a regular thing.  Oh well.  The days are flying by.  I'll be holding this baby before you know it.  Audra is everywhere at once these days.  She's learned to climb the stairs and is REAL proud of her great accomplishment.  There's a little landing halfway up where the stairs turn a corner, and she'll sit up there grinning down at anyone who walks by and notices her.  Then if you start up the stairs, she'll squeal and scramble up the rest of the way, thinking you are after her.  Now, coming down is a different story.  She gives me a heart attack every time I see her start the slide down.  She can't figure out that coming down head first is a bad plan!  She gets stuck laying on her tummy, with her hands on one step and her legs and bottom on the one above, not knowing what to do next.  I have to push her back up, then pull her legs around til shes sliding down on her tummy feet first.  This way is no problem for her.  She comes down almost as fast as Christian.  But I just know she's going to loose it one day trying it her way head first.  My ears are highly tuned to the BUMP, BUMP, BUMP of little persons coming down the painful way.  At least that landing slows down the progress a little!
    Christian begs for piano lessons every time we go to church.  He'll make a great piano player someday.  He can "feel" the music, if you know what I mean.  He'll sit at the piano, gently pushing the keys, swaying slightly forward with every note, head cocked to the side with slight grin and a far away look in his eye.  Classic musician pose?  :)  Almost as if he's "riding" the music.  He can hear it.  Many times, while I'm practicing on the piano, he'll be beside me on the keyboard and amazingly, many of the notes he hits go perfectly with mine!  He begs for lessons all the time!  He's got it figured out that someday, he's going to play for Audra while she sings.  Then he proceeds to tell me that he's going to play for church too.  AFTER he gets done preaching!  Which, he does quite often already.  :)  At the house, that is. I normally have a preaching CD playing in the kitchen while I cook or clean.  The other day, he climbed up on a chair with his Bible, after the CD stopped, and declared that he was going to preach "about Hebrews".  He went on to preach about Joseph being chased by a "mean man", then went on to talk about all the animals Joseph had on the boat.   ....well, ok, it's a little off the original stories, but he was sure getting into his own version.  :)  Then he prayed for Mama and Daddy, and Audra, the food, and "his big house in the country" before climbing down to find a truck or tractor to play with.  I LOVE hearing those little sermons!  I pray every day that God will use Christian in a mighty way and keep him close to the Lord.
   "His big house in the country".....   We found a big house that sits on about 3 acres of beautiful property out in the country.  Its surrounded by rolling hills, pasture land, and corn fields.  The house, too, is absolutely beautiful!!!  It was built in 1890, and has been empty for several years.  The woodwork and built in furniture on the inside is stunning!  Its got lots of huge windows, high ceilings, and massive solid wood pocket doors.  Its our dream house!  It does need a lot of work to get it fixed up again, though, its foundation is solid.  It basically need paint inside and out, varnish on the floors, some wall and ceiling repair, and the bathrooms and kitchen replaced, etc.  Its big enough for us to keep missionaries comfortably, and also for our family to grow.  There are also two working wells on the property, a barn and three sheds.  We've done a lot of research on the place and think we can get a great deal on it because of all the work we'd have to put into it.  Andy's going to make an offer on the place this weekend.  We are praying that God will give us this house.  We want His will, and if this is not it, then we will wait.  But everything seems to have fallen into place so far, and all of our prayers have been answered up til now about it.  The only thing standing in our way now is the actual offer, whether or not the owner will take it.  She lives in Colorado and has never even seen the place!  We've discovered that raising kids in town is just about the worst thing in the world, and we'd give just about anything to get them into the country again.  If this house deal goes through, I will post many pictures of it, inside and out, you can be sure!  :)
   I taught the two year olds class at church last Sunday.  Andy asked me to do it at 8:30 Sunday morning!  Hey, if you want to be a teacher, ALWAYS be prepared!  :)  I've been sitting at the piano playing to open the service before when someone came up to me and asked if I'd take their class.  That's when you scramble through your purse for some item to use as an object lesson.  :)  It really does work too.  The kids think you spent hours preparing!  Well, that's sort of how it was last Sunday, except this time, I was just getting ready to walk out the door.  I dug out an old lesson I'd visualized a few years back, grabbed a few tennis balls out of Christian's room, and Christian's colorful tumbling block quilt, then I found a huge piece of plain white paper, some stickers and some crayons, and I was ready to face anything those little toddlers threw at me!  :)  Actually, my class ended up being just a few toddlers, one of which was my own son so that made it easy.  I spread the quilt on the floor, choosing to pass on the table and chairs, and we all sat around in a circle on the floor while I told my story.  Then I laid out that big sheet of paper on the table and let the kids enjoy scribbling on every inch of it.  Then we played a game with the balls, letting each child get a turn hiding them, while the others hunted for them after counting to ten.  Then, to use up the spare time, we colored some more.  Even Audra tried to do everything the "big" kids did.  :)  At the end of the class, one little girl asked me if I was going to teach again next week, so I guess I passed the test.  :)  I sure had fun too!  I enjoy teaching an older age group a little better, but those toddlers were so good and well behaved, I had no trouble at all and thoroughly enjoyed them.
   I also played piano for both morning and evening service on Sunday, something I've not done since leaving McMinnville.  I was a bit rusty, not to mention having to get used to a new song leader.  But we worked well together and he seemed to like my playing okay.  I'll be playing every Sunday starting the first of June.  Then, after church my family took me out to eat Chinese, so that topped it all off!  Happy Mother's day!
   Every year, at this time, my heart overflows at how much God has blessed me!  I remember how hard Mother's Day used to be for me when I longed for a baby of my own.  How many tears were shed on that dreaded day!  It was a stark reminder of my own empty arms.  It was a hard day, and one I didn't look forward to.  So, after that long wait of 5 years, now that God has filled my arms three times over and soon to be four, the richness of those little blessings is so much more emphasized than it would have been if I'd been able to have children when my husband and I first married!  I realize that 5 years is not long considering the wait some women have had to endure, but when you want something so badly, pray for it almost every waking moment, long for it.... even one year is an eternity.  For me it was 5 long years of prayers before God saw fit to give us Rebekah.  Oh, God is so good!  Now, looking back, I see those years of waiting was for my good, preparing me for His plan.  As I look at each one of my children, I see God's love for me.  Mother's Day has a very special meaning to me now.  I don't take it for granted.  Just another holiday.  A day just for mom.  No, I feel humbled by it now.  It brings tears to my eyes.  Tears of thankfulness and joy.  Tears of gratefulness to the God who loved me so much.  My arms are truly full of good things!  Precious jewels.  God has given me the great privilege of motherhood!  What a humbling, yet wonderful gift!  HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!
Her first taste of a Popsicle.  I love her chubby little baby hands.  :)

Sunday School

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Its me again...

   I finally made it to the doctor!  :)  At 16 weeks, I've rather put it off.  I was able to hear a strong heartbeat, which is always comforting.  These early months make me nervous when you don't feel the baby every day.  I begin to wonder if there even WILL be a heartbeat.  But, as I was sitting in the waiting room, baby gave me the strongest kick yet, so that really put my mind at ease.  I go back in four weeks for my 20 week ultrasound.  Yipee!  I can hardly wait to find out what the baby is!
   We've had some sickness around here.  Christian had a virus last week and ran a fever for about three days.  I thought Audra had escaped it, until Sunday night.  Sometime in the middle of the night, I woke up to hear her whimpering.  I knew from the sound of it, before I even saw her that she was sick.  She was running a pretty good fever, so I brought her downstairs, gave her some meds and rocked her for awhile until I was sure the Tylenol took affect.  I don't like it when my children are sick.  It really makes me nervous.  Some mothers are able to take it in stride, but me, perhaps you can call it a slight touch of panic, but I start in to praying as soon as I feel a hot forehead.  Why not?  The Lord knows the situation and cares, even if it is just a simple cold.  But I've had too many "close calls" and, adding Rebekah's experience to the list, well, I just don't like to see a small child suffer.  So, I start praying.  Tuesday was miserable for everyone.  Poor Audra fussed constantly!  At first I thought it was her teeth, but that night, when I checked on her and she was running a 104.6 fever, I knew it wasn't just teeth after all, but probably what Christian had had the week before.  Only he handled it a little better.  104.6 is a little high in my book for a 12 month old baby.  Her face was beet red, and burning up to the touch.  Her eyes were glassy and that really worried me.  She couldn't stand up and, even when sitting, just the slightest touch would tumble her over.  I ran a cool bath and rubbed a wet rag over her little body.  She hated it!  But who wouldn't?  I remembered all too well the many times I ended up in a cool bath when I had malaria and we fought to get the fevers down.  To this day, I despise cold water!  After about an hour, the fever came down ever so slowly.  I woke up every couple hours the rest of the night, checking on her, and giving her another dose of medicine.  Needless to say, we're both exhausted today!  Christian had been restless the two night prior, so that makes three in a row of rather sleepless nights for me. I used to be able to handle that, no problem.  Those days are history!  :)  I need a good 8-9 hours, or I'm useless the next morning.  You can be sure, I'm going to try ever so hard to get the kids in bed at the same time this afternoon!  I need a couple hours to play catch up!  :)  Hopefully, this virus won't last long and Audra will be back to herself again.
   Several folks up here hunt Morel mushrooms.  Ever had them?  A lady at church gave me a bag of them for Andy.  I've heard they're real good.  BUT, any mushroom in my book is an abomination!  They're kind of slimy, crunchy, mushy all put together that slithers down your throat!  Oh, yuck!  Did you ever research how they are "made"?  You'll never want to eat another one again!  My mom raised us to eat everything on our plates, ESPECIALLY when we were at someone's house!  If I so much as made a face and the hostess OR mom saw it, I was in trouble when we got home.  So, I learned to eat the little fungus.  Well, "swallow" is more like it.  On one trip we made during one of our furloughs, we were on the road for two weeks straight.  You know what we were served every day of those two weeks?  Italian!  Now, I'm very grateful for those cooks who worked so hard to feed the missionary.  But I've learned that you don't cook Italian for missionaries.  Why?  Because they get that ALL THE TIME!  Its easy to make for a crowd, and so, its the perfect choice for company.  We ate it everywhere, on every trip. Even my Italian loving family was getting weary of it by the end of that trip.  Now, I'm not big on Italian...(did you guess?).  Guess what everyone likes to put in their Italian?  MUSHROOMS!  So, I'd wait til the hostess turned her head, then I'd chop up those little abominations into tiny particles, and swallow them like pills with a gulp of water, one at a time, til the little pile on my plate was gone.  There's more than one way to skin a cat!  Well, spring is here and with it comes the Morels!  Several folks at church go mushroom hunting and when my mushroom loving husband mentioned that he'd love to try some, a lady gave him a bag full.  I've never seen a morel mushroom before now.  They look a lot like a sea creature, the kind that comes in a shell, or crawls on the bottom of the ocean on rocks or coral like a snail!  I really had a hard time working up the nerve to touch the ugly things, much less overcoming the smell of them cooking.  My nose is working REAL well right now!  BUT!  I did it!  My great love for my husband overcame my nauseated stomach!  :)  He's got a plateful of fried Morel mushrooms waiting for him in the kitchen.  (That's only a fourth of the bag.......ugh!  Maybe he won't like them..... We can hope, can't we!?)    Hey, does anyone out there know how to store the leftover uncooked mushrooms?  Do they freeze well?  I don't want to throw the rest out.  ....Thanks to mom, I can't even throw a mushroom away!

I took Christian and Audra to the park the other day.  It was such a beautiful day and we all enjoyed getting out in it.

What Mama's do to their children for entertainment.  :)

Audra LOVES this four wheeler!  I love hearing her saying "VROOOM"! quite loudly as she pushes it through the house.

Christian was helping Audra learn to walk  I love the look of trust in Audra's eyes. 


Learning to walk

Give a baby a basket and a few scrubbers and she's entertained for hours!  (they're :)

He never gives up.