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We are glad you stopped by, we hope you are blessed, and enjoy your stay. We discuss a little bit of everthing here, from homeschool, parenting, adoption, farming, our faith, and our plain lifestyle. May God Bless Your Day!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Spring has sprung:

BUT... we need to do a bit of a recap on the winter activities around here, as we did have ALOT of winter!
Way more winter than I needed this year. At one point, weathermen told us we had 55 days of below 0 temps, and that was followed by at least 10 more.
When the temps started staying above 0 around March 10-15, I was THRILLED!!!
It is pretty sad when 15 feels balmy.
Still, we had lots of fun sledding in our backyard. The little boys learned lots of new things on their sleds, and ENJOYED them to the max.
 Isaac was just a trooper this year on the sleds-he marched up our backyard hill 100's of times, would throw himself down on a sled, and squeal all the way to the bottom. He gained tons of muscle control this winter:)
 Lili learned to balance and stand up on the, while it was moving-thanks to Tyler and Rose holding her hands a few times to help her get the feel for it-I was quite proud of all of them

 Tyler would continually come up with new ways to keep them all entertained-the train was comical, and they LOVED it:)
 Isaiah tried standing on his sled too, I was impressed he even wanted to, his balance is so bad from his head injury, but he was actually staying up for a couple feet before sheer fear drove him to the ground-but he gets an A+ for effort
 The dogs all had fun on the nice days, but most of the time they were cowering on the back step begging to com in-it was such a brutally cold winter, they could only stay out most days for minutes at a time

And then, when Daddy started pulling them around the yard with the Gator, oh my, then the big ones got into the act too, and did you hear squeals and laughter from all of them then--even Dad!!

 Those foolish dogs would chase the gator round and round the yard, yipping and barking all the way...they think they should be riding:)

The battery died so I only got 1 shot of the gator sledding party they had each night after chores for a week or so-the big ones really had a blast then, and the littles loved riding in the gator!!

We had a new experience this past January.
Dad became a stay at home Daddy again-and we are so thankful for that.
Farming without Father was not a lot of fun for me, stressed me out, and put a lot of pressure on Nick to be "in charge" of lots of things, which he did very well, but still, its way better when Dad is home, and can make a lot of the calls about the days' activities:)
It was a long 11 months of farming with Chuck working off the farm. We probably didn't gain much from all his time away, as it led to issues with cow health, issues with children who needed the strong arm of their Daddy around, and attitudes that needed reining in due to mom and dad pulled in too many directions to deal with issues properly.

 Jersey twin heifers-born on a COLD day in late february-we are so happy they survived, and are thriving

 Our calf nursery was filled to overflowing for much of Jan, Feb and March-I am glad we can get calves back outside into hutches now-it is SOOOO much easier to feed them
Kendell's heifer is 1 yr old-almost, and has grown so much-she loves to be led around the yard, farm, and barn-she is such a barn baby, LOVES to be in the barn!!!

We are quite happy to all be home and working together. We are seeing some real growth in Kendell and Nick in their abilities outside-they both do so well with the outside responsibilities. Tyler has days where he acts like he is 15 too, and then, poof, he has a day of, "oops, he is only 9" but he really loves having his dad home all the time, he would spend his whole day with him if I didn't insist on SOME schooling.
When you begin life without a Daddy, it's just hard for me to limit their time together too much, and I consider all the things they do together LIFE LESSONS-things they would NEVER learn if they went to public school every day, all day long!!!

We also had 2 February birthdays:

Rosalyn turned 16 on the 5th, and Isaac turned 5 on the 9th.

 He's so little, we still consider him our baby, but he surely proves that dynamite comes in small packages!!!

He is so delighted with so many simple, little things-the slinky only lasted a couple days, but it sure was fun while it was around!!!

This year, they each had their special day, and then we had an anniversary the next week, so there was LOTS of cupcakes and cake around this house for about 10 days-LOTS!!!!!
Good for the sweet tooth, not so good for the waist:)

We did some testing with our Rose, and though we don't have the results in hand yet, the Dr spent ALOT of time with me telling me where we stand, and what we will be dealing with in the future.
I will save all that for another post, as it is ALOT to process, and I am still not OK with everything I heard-it is hard to hear some things, and we are still trying to figure out what life will look like for her down the road.
Rose will also be going thru a surgery in May, a bone graft to repair the clefts in her gums, and I am beginning to process everything that will entail for her and our family, for a couple months. I know it is a necessary repair for her, but boy, how I wish it had been done in Ch@na at the appropriate age, like 10 years ago!!! Actually, what I really wish, is that she would have had a family a lot earlier in her life-it would have meant so many less issues for her ---
Well, I will close for now, as it is supper time, and there are littles that need some tending to-
I am sure this is the most neglected blog around...but...its just LIFE for us these days-
Thanks for checking in, and enjoy your spring!!
Chris for all 9 of us

Well, we thought it was spring-Satuday and Sunday we had 3 inches of rain, sometimes torrential, and then Monday morning, we woke up to a winter wonderland again-2 1/2 inches of snow accumulated, and I WAS NOT HAPPY!!!
Nor were the children-
we were all sure the snowpants were washed for the last time!!!
oh well, this is life in Wisconsin.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Some GOOD things from 2013

I couldn't just let the whole year be washed away in all the confusion, chaos and crisis that we walked through-
There were some really GOOD things that happened, and that is the stuff that makes a blog a happy place to be, so here goes, in no particular order:

Tyler, our energizer bunny, snuggle bunny, class clown, love bug, love note writer and middle child turned NINE!!!!
He is our go-to guy when we need 2 little boys entertained for awhile, and if you ever want to see a legos creation completed, in record time, without any pictures except whats in his head, Tyler's  your man-he has created some of the most elaborate drawings of machines, and he has a complete understanding of how and why he is making it the way he is-I'm not sure what his future will hold, but creativity is definitely his strong suit-which leads me to believe I have a right-brained learner on my hands, in a household of logical thinkers--uhoh!!!
On Aug 31, we celebrated Chuck's parents' 50th anniversary.
It was a surprise party, and were they ever surprised!!!
We were so thrilled to have pulled off the surprise part, and the party itself was a huge success, lots of family and good friends and lots of great food and fellowship-on top of a terribly HOT afternoon, but it was SOOOO worth it:)

The first week of October was beautiful weather, and we made our annual trek to Madison to take in World Dairy Expo. It was a quiet day on the grounds, lots of cows everywhere, and tons of farm exhibits to walk through-it was a great day, and it is one of the highlights of our fall each year.

the whole family got into the act when it was apple sauce season this year.
It was our only real canning effort this year, and we were able to use our new kitchen in the basement, which was SOOOOO nice!!!
We needed the whole crew helping out as we, for the first time, did a whole bin of apples, which is 20 bushels, which is over 350 quarts of applesauce-and yes, I was ready to be done with it by the time we finished.
We split the sauce-making days into 3 days, and the Cortland apples make a delightful pink sauce, and itis so worth it, but that was a HUGE project for us this year, but a good way to break in that kitchen. Next year, our garden will be in full force, and we will be canning everything again-I sure do love a 2nd kitchen though, and it was some cooler since it was in the basement, but what I love the most, is the MESS stays downstairs:)

In Novermber we had a homeschool field trip to a cranberry marsh.
It was COLD, in fact, they were fearful the hard frost would hit before the harvest was in, and it was so late this year due to the funky weather we had all spring and summer, but it was a fascinating afternoon on the bogs.
We learned about cranberry history, the nutritional side of the berry, how they are grown and harvested, and got to watch them loading the berries to take to the loading station.
Afterwards, we enjoyed cranberry snacks and juice, and we able to purchase some "fresh from the marsh" cranberries, and for this happy mama, it was the first time in about 15 years I had fresh cranberries on hand over the holidays.
Besides baking, I finally broke down and make cranberry sauce-ridiculously simple, and sooooo tasty-a new go-to side when I need something in a pinch, seriously, it takes no time at all to whip up a batch of sauce.

The end of September, we finally took time to have a picnic at our nearby state park-and I mean "nearby" !! Its only 8 minutes away, and it was the first time all year we had a picnic there-but it was a great night, the view was fantastic, and we made it for the sunset-
A must for this year is another year-long pass, and MANY more picnics and hikes-it is something we all enjoy, and it is not that hard to have a picnic meal ready to go by the time they are done with chores and head on up the road!! Here's to many more picnics this year:)
 Isaiah turned 7 in September-he is our birthday boy-he LOVES birthdays, every time we celebrate one, he is sure its his!!!!
He has grown so much this past year, filled out, and has gained so many new skills-some day I need to do a post on him and all the wonderful gains he has made!!!

 Rose turned 15 in Feb and Isaac 4 a few days later. SOOOO, we celebrated together, because we were in the midst of milking cows on a new farm, still trying to get the house ready to move in, still packing and cleaning and still working chores for hubby's boss-it was CRAZY, and it was February for goodness sakes-who ever moves in February???
Talk about nuts-it was so cold-but it was SOOO fun to be moving into our new farm:)

Kendell turned 14 in April, and is growing into such a lovely young lady-she is sure a farm gal, and daddy's right hand girl-but for all her cow-lovin, she was thrilled to get a sewing machine for her birthday, and has put it to use, and has gained lots of knowledge over the past year, and isn't afraid to try anything-
she is another creative one-HATES patterns, would rather come up with something on her own!!!

 Lili turned 8 this past summer, and is growing sooo much.
She has turned into a pretty good helper in the house, and on a good day, does her fair share outside, although she would rather play on the swing set than feed calves-
She will keep Kendell busy sewing though, as she is growing like a weed, and LOVES birthday parties too:)

I don't have any pictures on the computer of Nick's birthday last Jan, so we will jump into his 15th birthday---can you believe it??? Our first son, our long-awaited little baby from a Russian orphanage, that we waited over 2 years to bring home at 2 1/2, is now FIFTEEN!!!
And such a fine young man he is growing into-
He has a kind, compassionate spirit, is gentle, logical, our Fix-It Guy, and lover of all things with 4 legs:)

He is a very hard-working young man who has shouldered a big load this past year with Dad's working off the farm all year-and he has grown physically as well-he is 5'6" and 110 pounds, and ALL muscle.
He is not afraid to work, is always looking for ways to be a help to someone, and is the kindest soul, with a real love for learning-I mean, HE LOVES school.
I am looking forward to seeing what the Lord does with his heart in the coming year, I KNOW it will be wonderful things!!!!

 Kendell's calf is approaching a year old, and is SOOO big for her age, and this daughter of mine, the one who LOVES cows, is in love with this precious red and white heifer.
Nick and Kendell each got the animal they are leading in the picture below, and Kendell's cow is the mama to her calf above-Nick's heifer will freshen this year, and even tho she is having a bull calf, we look forward to many more calves out of her, and yes, hopefully, they will be heifers!!!

The hottest days of summer brought yet another house project, one I was not eager to begin, and I hate to think what the spring thaws will make it look like, but...
 we tiled all the way around our house to eliminate any water problems-and there had been PLENTY of problems before, so, NOW, we should be dry, all the time...
Isaac loved watching the excavater digging right outside his window..
 OH, If I could JUST TOUCH IT!!!!
 It was a very good project to get done, and after the dirt was all put back, and after we backfill a bit more this spring after it all settles, we will be ready to start some serious landscaping...

 and I am ready for some green, and floral, and maybe a pretty porch on the front, and a patio on the back:)
and yes, that was my son and husband down in the trench digging, and it was about 100 degrees in the shade, and they were right out in the hottest sun, all day long, as we only have 1 shade tree--so far!!!!

And, to end this LENGTHY post, Just a glimpse from my front window of those awesome sunsets:

and out the back door, the beauty of the sunrise in the early morning

"From the rising of the sun, to the going down of the same, the name of the Lord is to be praised"
Psalm 113:3
May you be blessed, and thanks for stopping by!
It was fun to look thru the year, and see the good that was in our lives, even if it gets hidden by the yucky stuff sometimes!!!
Chris for all 9 of us