Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Sweetness of Family

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This post is picture heavy since pictures contain "a thousand words"....

It's been an eventful ten days here at The Sweetness of Home Farm...Early on Friday, June 10th I woke up to continous contractions.  We called our friend Emily to come and watch the kids, but on the way to the hospital the contractions completely STOPPED....so frustrating....so instead of bringing home a baby we brought home Stripe and Spot

Spot is the closest goat in the picture.  She is a French Alpine goat-just born in March.
Stripe is a one year old pygmy goat.
They are in the outdoor pen that we had built for our now deceased dexter cow.
Jason began tethering them in our tree line this past weekend to help with brush control.

Then this past Wednesday, June 15th at 10:21pm Elizabeth Grace joined our family at 5 lbs 2oz and 18 1/2 inches long:

Jessie's prayers were answered because we were able to sneak her and Joey in before visiting hours Thursday morning so that they could hold their new baby sister before leaving to visit family in Wisconsin:

Katie and Anna think their baby Libby is pretty special as well:

We came home from the hospital to find that the Momma Duck had hatched her eggs!:

Then on Friday we helped out a friend in need.  We are going to graze their Jersey steers in exchange for getting to keep some of the meat:

My mother-in-law Debbie came down to help for the weekend.  It was such a blessing to have her help with meals and taking care of the toddlers while I focused on making myself rest and nursing Libby!

Joey and Jessie are in Wisconsin visiting my first husband's family.  They are all such wonderful people and mean the world to all of us.  We consider them all our family and thankfully they consider all of us family as well.

Joey absolutely adores his Uncle Jakey.  Jacob just graduated from high school and will be attending St. John's in Minnesota in the fall.

Jessie always enjoys her time with all the aunts and uncles.  I love seeing all the pictures.  Everyone always comments how blessed we are that our blended family looks like they are all complete siblings and not step siblings.  While this is very true it's also nice to see how much Joey and Jessie look like my first husband's family:

(Joey and Jessie with their Cousin Reagan above.  Jessie with Reagan and her Aunt Laura below.  By the way, Reagan and Laura both have the middle name of "Elizabeth"-we picked a saint name and a family name for our new daughter.)

My brother-in-law James married his high school sweetheart Amanda this past weekend.  I was really disappointed to miss the wedding, but have enjoyed looking at all the pictures.  We are so happy and privileged to have Amanda join our family.  We wish them many blessed years together and look forward to whenever God blesses them with children.  (Yeah-more nieces and nephews!)

We are looking forward to my other sister-in-law Mary getting married next February to her fiance Joey Sobotka.  Her Joey will be deployed in August to the Middle East, so are praying for his safe return and protection while he serves our country!

I have been blessed with two fantastic mother-in-laws.  Here is my mother-in-law Sherry and father-in-law Larry dancing at the wedding reception:

Here is Sherry with Joey:

Thank you for making it through this long post!  You've shown perseverance....just like Anna did when she insisted on holding her baby sister Libby for the first time.  (She held her for five minutes and cried when Jason picked Libby back up.  This is my favorite picture ever!)

We pray that you are all having a blessed summer and that you are enjoying life....remember to dance as if no one is watching you-enjoy all the blessings of God to the fullest.  Our Joey does this very well:

My mother-in-law Debbie took us out to dinner on Father's Day.  Happy Father's Day Jason-I  am so blessed by God to have found true love with a righteous God fearing man twice...I can't imagine my life without you, farm animals and all!

My goal is to try and make at least one blog post a week-knowing that some weeks this will happen and some it won't.  Just know that from my family to yours we are wishing all of you the sweetness of your home and family!



Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hearts for Home: Birthday Traditions

Look who just turned 11! (How on earth is that possible?)

My oldest child, Joey, turned 11 last week Thursday.
Birthdays always "turn my heart towards home!"
They make me all "mushy" inside thinking about how fast the time flies by-even when one is on bedrest!
(Sorry if the picture is blurry-all I had was my cell phone to use last week.  The regular camera had gotten taken to our business.)
Last year after he turned 10 I felt like I was having a mid-life crisis....
where had those ten years gone and how could I possibly teach him everything he needs to know in the next eight years before he leaves for college?......
Thankfully my sweet hubby helped put everything back in perspective: we do our best one day at a time and remember that God's in control.

Birthday Traditions

My family really didn't celebrate birthdays or holidays as a kids growing up.
My mother still lives by some pretty untraditional ideas.
The first birthday tradition I "stole" from my friend Wendy K.-that is the birthday person gets to pick the menu for the entire day: breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Usually the kids always pick a sugar cereal that we only buy as a birthday present for breakfast.  I have found that I have to limit them to one big bowl each per day-so that maybe the box will last two days!

Joey's lunch menu got changed because our dentist fit us in at the last minute to adjust his retainer before he leaves to visit my late first husband's family for the next three weeks.  He got to have the extra special privilege of eating out on his birthday since we were all famished by the time we got out of the dentist office.  There was just no way that we were going to last for the thirty-five minute drive home plus cooking time for homemade macaroni and cheese.  The babies had already been playing in the waiting room for an hour.....some days you just have to waive the white flag of surrender.

For his supper he picked baked beans and salsa chicken-the chicken we used was our homegrown chicken.  As we ate it I couldn't help, but think about how even more wonderful it would be when we were eating our own canned salsa as well-hopefully next year!

Joey asked for homemade cookie cake, but in 91' weather without air conditioning in the kitchen and nine months pregnant, I just couldn't make that.  So, I did some brainstorming and realized that for the first time in seven years he hadn't put strawberries, his favorite fruit, on the menu.  So we compromised with "strawberry shortcake" for dessert.  I took the easy way out and bought the mini-cakes at the bakery and both big kids helped cut up, sugar and smash the strawberries.  All of us except for the birthday boy topped ours with whip cream-he just ate four helpings of plain cake and strawberries by himself.  (I guess he decided to give us a glimpse of how much he'll be able to pack away as a growing teenage boy.)  The strawberry shortcake got served in Homer Laughlin Fiesta Ware china that my mother-in-law and daughter Jessie got last Thanksgiving from their outlet store.  The outlet store has dollar paper grab bags and my mother-in-law has gotten really good at feeling the bags to figure out what's inside: bowls, coffee cups, etc.  She usually buys some bags for the kids to open whenever she stops at the store.  Last Thanksgiving Debbie and Jessie "scored" six of these two handed custard bowls-and they were all matching yellow.  Doesn't the strawberry shortcake look lovely?

Jason, Joey and Jessie enjoying their dessert:
(Jessie had been helping the babies "cool off" in the toddler pool in between supper and dessert time.)

Anna just eating the whip cream and strawberries.  Sweet sister that she is she left the cake for Joey to eat as one of his four helpings:

Katie eating her dessert (sorry I couldn't figure out how to flip this cell phone picture in the post):

Our last birthday tradition is only three years old.  Since we homeschool year round I came up with the tradition of "game day" for birthdays.  I usually leave a list for the kids to pick from when they get up in the morning.  For instance we've played Scrabble as our spelling class, charades as drama, baseball as gym, stretched uno to be math for a second grader-the sky's the limit.

Unfortunately because of all my on again/off again contractions I didn't think ahead to get a sitter to help entertain the two toddlers-they really don't cooperate well with board games right now.  (At least by Jessie's birthday in October my mother-in-law and Jason's grandmother should be here to help out with game day-yeah!)  So, Joey got to pick a movie off of netflix to watch during the afternoon heat and talked to most of the long distance family members before 6pm that night.  Then thankfully Katie and Anna went down early for bed.  While I was getting the babies down Joey and Jessie played a few games on the Wii and then the four of us played Blokus-awesome game!  Think board game version of tetris-and I won both rounds!

The birthday presents and cards are opened when everyone is present-so that means the birthday person has to wait for daddy to be home from work.

So, this is how my family "keeps our hearts at home" for birthdays....what does your family do?

Check out all the other "Hearts for Home" links!:)Cherished Hearts at Home

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Sitting Hen

Duck hen waiting.

Last week Wednesday I went in for an ultrasound check and they found that baby Elizabeth Grace, aka Libby, had flipped into position and was no longer breech. Since I was at 37 weeks they had me immediately stopped taking the medication that I had been on since January for stopping the contractions....things looked really promising. For pretty much two days I had strong on-again/off-again contractions, especially during the middle of the night. We made the mistake of cancelling our company that was due to come over for dinner on Friday night, so of course, my labor stalled and stopped. Since then, even though we have had two storm systems blow through, I have only had a few contractions here or there...

It is God's sense of humor kicking in of course. We have been specifically praying since January that "Libby would be born in the hospital with Dr. Edwards as close to her due date as possible right side up...." (My last two babies came out "sunny side up"-very painful births that I hope not to repeat.) Libby's due date is June 20th, so as much as I would like her to come out NOW-or even to have come last week-I have to be thankful for God's faithfulness to our constant prayers....Now of course it is 90+' outside-which makes a 9 month pregnant woman, in an old farmhouse without central air, pray even more for a quick delivery....(Thankfully we do have window a/c units in two of the bedrooms. The other two units are not working properly and have to be taken in to be repaired.) My two oldest kids leave in a week for my brother-in-law's wedding in Wisconsin and I have to admit that I was hoping Libby would come early so I could attend as well....but instead I will be here in Ohio-hopefully holding a new born baby or still trying to patiently nurture my "something sacred on limited bedrest"-the newborn baby that God has blessed us with......

We now have three duck hens sitting on eggs and at least one of them rarely leaves her nest. They have all taken up residence either near or inside our barn. The one hen that rarely leaves her nest is actually inside the barn....I can't even imagine how hot it is in there for her the past few days....yet she stays on those eggs-nesting her babies.....and hopefully around the same time that Libby is born we will see her leading out several newborn chicks! I have told my husband that we need to find a way to band/mark the duck hens, because you always want to keep your hens that are good nesters...I want to make sure that we keep any hens that actually produce new life.....

The picture above is one of the hens finding her way onto the top of back deck railing last month...you can see that the garden had become all grass again from all our rain this spring. We've now been plowed and my husband has been able to plant potatoes, tomatos, green peppers, onions, lettuce and spinach. We have a lot more to go, but it is tough with his full time job, the rain and my bedrest to get it all done-we just try to remember that slow and steady will eventually win the race. Whatever we get planted during this time is a blessing to the family.....and is more than we have been able to do in the past few years with the opening of our business.

Wishing all of you peace in your sweet homes!