Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

If you are like me and have young children and can't imagine keeping everyone up until midnight, try this. We are going to watch the New Year come into being in London! This happens beginning at 6:30pm EST and finishes at 7pm EST! How cool is that?!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

A short and sweet getaway

Thanks to Veronica being here, this past week we had an opportunity to get out of town for just one night. My mom's sister, Janet, and her husband, Ed, were taking a bit of a sabbatical about 90 minutes from our home, and they invited us to join them. Also in attendance were Ed and Janet's youngest son, Eddie and his wife, Hannah, and their five children. They actually live in Asheville, and have become very good friends of ours. 

Janet organized a gingerbread-making "contest". It was great fun! Here are some photos of the adventure:

Abigail (who had some help from Daddy)

Isaac working hard ...

Oein working on his masterpiece.

Check out the chin of Anna ... believe it or not, just an hour after we arrived, Anna fell and cut open her chin. John had to administer stitches. Ha! It never ends!

Abigail with her main man (and my main man too).

This is my mom's sister, Janet, helping Isaac with his gingerbread house.

Sidge goofing around

My first cousin, Eddie, with his son, Oein

Genevieve and her house.

Hannah being helped by Eddie's wife, Hannah

Friday, December 29, 2017

Friday Funnies

Me: "Hannah, do you know where Jesus lives?"
Hannah: "In heaven."
Me: "Where else?"
Hannah: "In your heart."
Me: "Does he live in your heart."
Hannah: "No."
Me: "Would you like him to? You can ask him."
Hannah paused an looked a little freaked out. Then she slowly said: 
Hannah: "No, I think I'd like him to just stay in heaven."


Hannah: "Mom, my body hurts in my bender."
Me: "Your what?"
Hannah: "Where it bends. See?" (She proceeds to bend at the waist to touch the floor.)
Me: "Oh yes, I wonder what happened?"
Hannah: "I'm not sure, but I can't clean up any more toys today."
Me: "Aaaaahhhh ...."

Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Dogs' Voices

Veronica just spent the last week and a half or so with us here on the farm. I was so blessed to have her. She truly is family to us ... like really part of our family. She allowed our family to get away for a night (more on that later) and just helped with kids and life on the farm while JB was doing his Christmas run. I'm not sure how I would have gotten through this holiday without JB without her here.

Anyways, that aside, I wanted to share something fun she and I did. Scrubs always had a "voice" for us. And Veronica (aka "V") and I decided that Ritter and Arabelle needed their own voices. So, we worked on them. And here's what we came up with:

He's a big lug -- just loves pets and will roll onto his back to let anyone scratch his belly. He truly would leave the farm with anyone who opened their car door and promised to give him belly rubs. He has no preference for any person. (Well, he really loves my friend Robin!) But overall, anyone who pets him is his person for that moment.

With Veronica. MAnnnnnn does Veronica looks like her Mom (Ebby) here.

Arabelle is the protector. She barks at any new people and makes sure I welcome them before they join us on the farm. She is MY dog. She wants to go everywhere on the farm with me, and while Ritter would gladly stay with anyone who will pet him, she wants to be with me wherever I am on the farm.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

My friend Cara wrote a book

I have made a really wonderful friend here in TN. I actually met her when we were assigned to work together in children's church one day. 

I remember thinking: "I like her. I think she could be my friend."

But alas. She is busy. I am busy. Life goes on.

And then, we joined a Life Group (weekly Bible Study group that meets at someone's home.) There are about seven families in the group and Cara and her husband and beautiful little girl are in our group!

Yay! Maybe we can become friends.

Anyways, all that to say, my friend Cara wrote a book! I encourage you to check it out and buy one for yourself. SO EXCITING!!! The book contains a study on 19 classic hymns including:
  • It is Well With My Soul
  • Amazing Grace
  • What a Friend We Have in Jesus
  • Take My Life and Let it Be
  • Blessed Ensurance
  • And more!
Each daily reading including scripture as well as the background and history of the hymn and its writer. 

Oh! Here's the link: Hymns: A Study of Classic Hymns

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

We Bought a Farm: In the MUD of it

The last five days have been very cold. And very wet. And very muddy here on the farm. I snapped this picture of me loading up the pig container. 

John is finally off of work after a ridiculously long holiday run. I am beyond blessed that Veronica was here with me. I am not sure how I would have done it without her. Today we moved the sows, the rams, and the ewes, and my new Christmas present -- A FITBIT -- was proof of how much I walked. 

(By the way ... the FITBIT ... LOVE IT!)

I am so glad to have a few days of JB home. I love him so much! We have a nice little family outting planned that I'll Blog about later. I'm really looking forward to it. 

We had a wonderful Christmas despite the cruddy schedule. Praying you and your family did too!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Where we've been at Christmas since 2005

I decided to look back at where we have celebrated Christmas since I began this blog:

2017 Third farm Christmas
2016 Second farm Christmas (Home forever!)
2015 First farm Christmas (Home forever!)
2014 Spring Hill, TN (we lived here for one year)
2013 Azores, Portugal (we lived in the Azores, Portugal)
2012 Fort Lauderdale, Florida (we lived in the Azores, Portugal)
2011 Incirlik AFB, Turkey (we lived on Incirlik AFB, Turkey)
2010 Istanbul, Turkey (we lived on Incirlik AFB, Turkey)
2009 Eglin AFB, Florida (we lived on Eglin AFB, Florida)
2008 Eglin AFB, Florida (we lived on Eglin AFB, Florida)
2007 Fort Lauderdale, Florida (we lived on Eglin AFB, Florida)
2006 Fort Lauderdale, Florida (we lived in Minnesota)
2005 Fort Lauderdale, Florida (we lived in Minnesota)

One of our Christmas mornings!

We have been opening one or two presents each morning when Daddy comes home from work at 7:30am. Then he goes to bed for the day. Yesterday, we opened presents from our Uncle Keith and Aunt AD in Florida. They gave Hannah a bag full of hand-me-downs. Here she is trying them on during just a few minutes of Christmas time: 

These are the Harry Potter glasses she got from Mr. Shane and Ms. Linda. She is wearing them non-stop!

Abigail got a doll to go with her horse. She has never been into dolls, but was sooooo excited about this!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

A Bit of a Bad Atttitude

I link many of my Blog posts to Facebook. People can click from Facebook to my post.

But I don't link them all.

This is one that won't be linked.

I just want to complain. And it's my Blog, so I am going to complain for a moment.

Please hear me say this. I know I have a blessed life. I have a blessed family. I have a blessed farm. My husband has a blessed job. I know all of that. But I'm just a bit weary, and I want to blow off a little steam. I consider this a safe place to do this. It's my space. If you are upset that I'm complaining, then please don't leave a comment telling me that. Just move on.

Tonight I have a bad attitude. I've lost a little bit of my positivity.

Please understand. We are having a wonderful Christmas. I've kept a good attitude out loud. But inside my heart, I'm frustrated.

The first thing that is hard for me is the fact that my husband is not home for the entirety of the Christmas holiday. I don't want to go into this too deeply, but let me just quickly say, I understand that by working in an ER, he has to work holidays. I also know that my husband has a fantastic job that he loves very much. I know he had to work holidays when he took this job. And I'm truly okay with that. But to work all the days surrounding Christmas on either side for no real good reason, I'm just frustrated by that. There's a lot that goes into that statement. But I'll just leave it at that.

During the day yesterday, Hannah cut her chin open. This was no small thing. It took most of the afternoon and meant I had to wake JB up from his during the day sleep. The weather has been horrifically rainy and muddy making farm work especially challenging. And the farm work must carry on.

And then yesterday evening I had a baddddd migraine. I get what I call vision loss migraines -- where everything goes blurry, and I can't see clearly. I can't read things, and I have to turn my head to take in a full picture of what is going on. It is like someone took a photo with a flash. And the flashing light we all know keeps on hours after the photo has been taken.

It was nearing 6pm. This is the time JB has to leave to head up to the hospital. As he is preparing to walk out the door, I was combatting severe vision loss from my migraine. These are hormonally-related so I'm dealing with female stuff on top of that. Isaac has just finished a night of throwing up. Hannah, had wet the bed two nights in a row (which is very unusual for her) and so that had me up as well.

Just as JB is walking out the door, Hannah starts throwing up. I am sitting next to her, fighting horrific head pain. Veronica is cooking dinner. I grabbed a bowl from the center of the table that held napkins, dumped them out, and just held it up as Hannah threw up all over me and the table and the chair as JB shut the door and started trying to help clean up the mess without getting mess over the scrubs that will probably get mess on them in the course of the next twelve-hour shift he is preparing to work.

"Maybe you should take a shower and change," I say to him. But then I remember I haven't washed any of his other scrub sets. He is wearing the only clean set he has.

I'm carrying Hannah to the bath, and I am asking JB if there is any way he can call in, even though I know there isn't. This is part of my frustration. They are running the ER with four docs. They need five. And they don't have any substitutes to fill in. If anything happens to the doc supposed to come in, they must scramble. And so, unless death or near-death is involved, calling in is basically outlawed. I feel I need him home. And he can't be home. And so he rushes out the door, pelting rain smacking him, to go take care of other people.

I ask him if he can close up the egg mobile since we've had to relocate it to the other end of the farm due to a barrage of hawk attacks. He can't. The throw-up needs have taken away any extra time he has. Veronica speaks up. She'll get the chickens to bed. I breathe a sigh of relief.

But I'm just frustrated. And you know how when you are frustrated with one thing, you start to feel like you are frustrated with everything? And maybe you are. But maybe you aren't. Maybe it is just the one thing but it feels like the whole thing.

Ever since we had our house flood back in August, I've tried to see the big picture. I got our house "livable" and we have made it work while we took our time in discussing the changes we wanted to make to our house. The girls have slept in our bedroom, and while the boys originally slept in the living room, we managed to get the upstairs usable so they could sleep in their room again.

We've taken our time because we wanted to do this right. We have always loved this farm. I mean we have so much space here, we have just always felt like we can make the fact that the house is cumbersome work. We have never loved this house. It is beautiful from the outside, but inside it is quirky and challenging.

But as I'm cleaning up the throw up and putting Hannah in the bath and being careful not to get her chin wet since she just got stitches a few hours earlier, I'm stepping over beds on the floor and piles of stuff and I'm just frustrated. I want my house done. I want the renovations to start. (Rumor has it we should be starting right after Christmas ... finally.) I don't want kids sleeping in my room and nails sticking out of the floors and nothing being where it goes.

... I told you. Bad attitude.

I want to tie this post up with a big bow. But I don't really have the energy to work for an ending. Let me conclude by saying I AM FINE! We are MORE than fine! Life is good.

We are just all sick. We couldn't go to communion service today. I can't let any friends come by because we are all sick. And I want my children sleeping in their own rooms.


Thanks for listening.

I love my life.
I love this farm.
I love my husband.
I love my children.
I love Veronica for being here with me.
I love my dogs.
I love our animals.
I love Tennessee.
I love the USA.

I just needed to blow smoke for a few minutes.

The minutes have passed.

And now I'm off to bed.

Thank you for listening. :)

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Don't Judge

I'm hoping to make this a new "feature" on my Blog. Mom's sharing photos. Me sharing them with the Blog world anonymously. The title will be "Don't judge." And it will be the truth of what you are doing to SURVIVE as a mother. This does NOT mean we con't like being a mom. We LOVE it. But there are hard moments. And we are going to share them and the truth behind them.

Here's my first contribution. diapers, wipes, and alcohol ... 

Stitches #8

Here is the impressive past record of stitches in our house since 2011:

Guess what? Today ... was #8. 

I'm trying not to be a big bump on the log. But it's very rainy here on the farm. And JB is working every night. And thank goodness Veronica is here with me, but it's kind of a bummer having your husband working through the whole Christmas break and that he has to sleep during the day while it's raining outside and you and your four kiddos are trapped in your still-not-rennovated-yet-house. You have lots of friends, but let's face it, they are all busy doing their own family things. So that leaves you and the rain and your farm.

Did I mention that I've been really exhausted (not sure if it is an illness or what) and in the middle of last night, Isaac threw up (this happens when he gets migraines but he could also possibly be sick) and Hannah wet the bed (which hasn't happened in forever.)

Debbie Downer.
Didn't mean to do that.
I was instead going to talk about ... stitches!

Around noon, I took all four kids upstairs to put their laundry away. We always do this as a team. Hannah had one hand on each side of the door jam, her socks slipped, and her hands flew behind her. She ended up clobbering the tile with her chin.

I know enough about chins and tile to immediately look at her chin. I've also learned after seeing kiddos needing stitches enough times, what is a stitches injury and what is just a basic cut. I immediately knew this was the former. 

I yelled to Veronica, she scooped Hannah up on her lap, and I called JB who is sleeping at his parents house while they are visiting one of their kiddos in Portland. He answered, which is shocking. That guy is usually dead to the world during his day-time sleeps. (He has to use sleep meds and ear plugs and light blockers and everything to sleep during the day.)

Poor JB arrived at our house in a fog. But he was, as always, amazing with our little girl. "V" captured a few videos during the adventure. (If you are squeamish, you may want to pass on these.)

And here are a few more photos of our tough girl doing a great job:

Me explaining to Hannah what was about to happen.

JB doing his thing despite being only half awake.

No big surprise. Abigail wants to watch. This kid LOVES medical stuff.

Hannah wanted to see what happened so Veronica took a picture to show her how bad the cut was.

She wanted a picture of the final product to see too!

Our cutie pie. She was so brave!

Love this little lady.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Friday Funnies

Hannah: "Where are we going?"
Me: "I have to take Isaac to the dentist, and you are going to come with us."
Hannah: "Do I have to get dentisted too?"


Isaac: "Dad, have you ever seen a pink katydid?"
JB: "No. Are they real?"
Isaac: "Here's a photo!"
JB: "I never heard of that. Very cool."
Isaac: "Wow. Teach Dad something? That doesn't happen everyday!"


Hannah (walks in the bedroom as JB as pulling on his shirt): "Woah! Your armpits are furry!"


Me (in the truck to the kids in the backseat): "Girls! Find something to do!"
Hannah: "We are doing something! We are pinching each other."


Isaac corrected Sidge's bad grammar by saying: "That was not grammarly correct, Sidge."


Hannah: "Ohhh, I got to go poop. I mean I thought it was a tootie but it was a poopie."


I told Hannah I needed to take her with me to Isaac's dentist appointment. Hannah: "Am I going to be dentisted too?"

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Moonrise Kingdom

Very odd but very quirky and entertaining movie that JB and I watched on Netflix the other night: Moonrise Kingdom. 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Review: For Love of Liberty (It's dedicated to me!!!!!!)

A Match Made in Heaven? Or Someplace a Whole Lot Warmer?
She's stubborn, educated, and looking give women the vote. 
He's bullheaded, successful, and looking to give her a piece of his mind.
But when things heat up, they just may give each other a piece of their hearts.

Okay folks. I've made no small secret about my obsession for all things Julie Lessman. She is, without a doubt, my favorite Christian fiction writer after Francine Rivers. Truly. She's that good. I just loveeeee her.

I had the opportunity to review her most recent book: For Love of Liberty which is actually a prequel novella that she was writing for her new Western historical series entitled Silver Lining Ranch. Well, it was supposed to be a novella, and it ended up becoming more of a short novel, and I just finished reading it on my Kindle.

It was, as are all Julie's books full of love, fun, and always a good twist. This is an easy and fun quick read that won't leave you disappointed. But it will leave you excited to read what is coming next. The lead characters are incredibly well-defined and jump off the page at you! You fall in love with both of them and can really feel yourself stuck with them in their uncomfortable plight.

The actual Silver Lining Ranch series will follow this prequel -- 17 years in the future -- and will follow two suffragists from New York, a godmother and her goddaughter, who fall in love with confirmed bachelor ranchers in Virginia City, Nevada in the mid-to-late 1800's.

Now here is the coolest part of the whole thing. The dedication page (which if you click this link, you can actually browse the beginning of the book and actually SEE the dedication) includes MY NAME!!!!!! I honestly was blown away. I simply love Julie's writing and love to read it and edit and it get sneak peeks. And now I've had two characters named after me AND a dedication.

eeeeeeekkkkkkk ....

If yo haven't given Julie a chance, PLEASE DO. You will not be disappointed. And to read all my past points featuring this amazing author, click here. 

Hannah is quite "young"

Check out this story about the longest frozen embryo being born! Hannah was frozen from 2004 until 2013 so she was pretty young in comparison. :)

All jokes aside, I truly want to remind anyone doing IVF that discarding embryos doesn't need to happen. There are plenty of opportunities to place and adopt these embryos.

Check out a family from our church's story: Tri-Cities Couple Gets Pregnant Through Embryo Adoption.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

We Bought a Farm: Clownin' Around with Joni

Today, Joni successfully made it home. We got to have her an extra day due to the power outage at Atlanta airport that bottlenecked flights all over the U.S. and the world! Here were some fun pics she took on one of our sunny days here on the farm. One of the things I love MOST about Tennessee is the fact that winter doesn't mean horrendously cold temperatures for long periods of time. Unlike Minnesota which once it dipped below freezing, it probably wasn't going to go back above it for most of the winter, here in TN we can see snow one week and be wearing shorts (or at least not jackets) the next.