31 August 2015

Henry in the Hammock

Maybe we need to hang one inside...
While waiting for Evelyn's bus, Jack put Henry in his new hammock and guess what? He loved it.
Waiting for Kate to push him.
Like father like son.
I don't know why Kate always is assigned to rock everyone...
And like sisters.

(But not me. I've had too many bad experiences with hammocks to every truly trust them again).

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27 August 2015

Baby Boy

The big sisters!
I'd been hoping and praying that our baby boy would arrive after the cultural celebration and temple dedication. Not that I would be disappointed, but I was really hoping that I'd get to be a part of both. Luckily, I got my wish. I took it easy the week before, was able to go to both spectacular events and the following Monday, got back to work.
Just born!
All of our kids have arrived later than their due date, so imagine my surprise when I rolled out of bed five days before my due date and my water broke. Good thing I'd been preparing for a few weeks and with the kids and animals taken care of and the house in order, we left to go to the hospital.
Father and son.
My labors have always been long (yay...), so we tried what we could to speed it up. Between walking, a labor chair, resting in bed and pretending to ride a horse while sitting atop a giant peanut-shaped yoga ball, I progressed to a nine. Then promptly got stuck. After trying to overcome for a few hours, I opted for an epidural so I could relax and within an hour, our giant baby boy was born shortly after nine in the evening.
And I thought I was delirious late last night...Jack's always good for a laugh!
He weighed in at eight pounds, thirteen ounces, which is not the heaviest baby I've delivered but at a whopping twenty-two and a quarter inches, he's definitely the tallest. He's got Jack's nose and hair color and is already obviously a sweetheart.
Kate taking her first peak at her baby brother.
Welcome Harry Potter Eliker!

No...no...that's not right.

Orson Wells Eliker?

Nope...that's not it either...

Maybe Kody Dody Eliker?

That was Kate's contribution...

Perhaps Peter Pan Eliker?

Uh, sorry, Evelyn...

How about Meatball Spiderman Eliker?

Thank you, but no, Claire.

Indiana Jones Eliker?

I do love Indiana Jones...but, no.

Well, we'll have to fill you in on a name when we decide.
Welcome, Baby Boy Eliker!

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23 August 2015

Indianapolis Temple Cultural Celebration


The cultural celebration committee. Yes, I type with my laptop resting atop my pregnant belly.
Last night, we were able to attend the Indianapolis Temple Cultural Celebration put on by the youth in the temple district. It was an incredibly special occasion for me because I was able to help coauthor the script used for the performance (the Agriculture, Crossroads/Indy 500 and Anxiously Engaged B parts, to be exact). It took many hours of meetings with musicians, choreographers, fellow writers, technicians and others to hash out a vision of what the youth would be performing, then more time spent writing and editing. The interesting thing is that it never felt like a burden. It was always a joy to work on and it felt like a great honor to participate in its creation.
Everyone was (mostly) happy.
It all culminated last night. Once the program had been finalized, the youth and their leaders went to work, also spending countless hours practicing their parts. It was amazing to see how so many kids could be so invested in celebrating a special religious event by sharing their talents for singing, dancing and performing. We arrived late, accidentally missing dinner and being a bit crabby after we woke them from falling asleep in the car but we found our seats and once a cloud covered the sun, we enjoyed the perfect weather and waited for the show to start.
Some of the youth who performed.
President Henry B. Eyring came, along with Elder M. Russell Ballard and a few other visiting general authorities. It was a special treat to sit near them in the premier section, along with other members of the committee. After the youth were all seated, President Eyring addressed them before they began. We listened quietly, until Kate spotted something. Her finger shot up skyward and she shrieked, "AIRPLANE!" into the silence. Well, airplanes are pretty exciting to two-year olds.
Right after Kate spotted the fateful airplane.
After President Eyring was finished, we were treated to a fantastic performance. I'm not afraid to admit when I heard the first section of my part of the script being narrated that I burst into tears. It could have been because it was such a tender mercy to see and hear the fruits of my labors. Or, it could've been because I'm nine months pregnant. We'll never know. Whatever the reason for my weeping fit, I just went with it and let the tears fall while laughing with Jack about it.
Look at those kids swing dance!
The kids did great. Our girls were thrilled with the music, gymnastics, drumming and charismatic dancing and it turned out to be a beautiful tribute to the state of Indiana, as well as to the completion of the new temple.
The Big Beat Angels.
When the show finished, we sat and people watched for a few minutes, then waved goodbye to a few friends we spotted on the way out as we slowly ambled with the masses back to our cars. The girls had been exceptionally well-behaved (especially for not having had dinner beforehand...I'm really sorry, kids!) so we treated them to some supper at a questionable pizza joint, filled with very polite, very tattooed ruffians, who may or may not have been running the restaurant as a front to something else illegal. Oh, well! It was all part of the experience that will make the evening memorable.
President Eyring approves!
There were a lot of neat experiences working with the cultural celebration--I was stretched as a writer, composing sections of the script, a press release and program. I was in a photo of the cultural celebration committee that was put in the cornerstone of the temple, learned more in depth the history, culture and tradition of the state we call home and was able to take my family to the event to sit near church leaders whom I respect and admire. But, most important of all was the spirit felt and the special connection to the Lord's house. It will always be a cherished experience for me!
Pushing one of the Indy 500 cars out.
Well done, everybody!
The finale!

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22 August 2015

Strolling

Checking on the grapes--they're almost ready!
With three little kids and another on the way, it's not always easy to find the time (or babysitter budget!) to go out together. Fortunately, that doesn't deter us from having fairly regular date nights. There's plenty to do and see around the property and while the girls play together, Jack and I get some much needed (at least for me!) adult time.
He still picks wildflower bouquets for me.
After dinner, we stroll around our acreage and assess how the grapes are coming along...
The newest hive Jack tamed from an earlier swarm.
...and if the bees are doing well (they sure are!)...
The tadpoles have eaten the mosquito larvae and have started working on the algae.
...and peek into the horse trough to watch the growing tadpoles.
Putting up the last of the second rail in our new pasture!
Sometimes we finish up some projects that I can't manage to do by myself...
...and we put the animals away and make sure everyone's happy and healthy.
Another beautiful bouquet! (Maybe Jack should become a florist...)
It's fun to go out for an evening of fun at the end of the week, but in a lot of ways, I like strolling around in good weather, holding hands, chatting and working the best.

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21 August 2015

Stoney's Friend

Stoney doesn't even mind Raven, which is a far cry from what he thought of dogs when he was younger.
Stoney's a pretty likable guy, especially in his old age. He gets along with most people and animals, is pretty laid back and doesn't have many complaints. So, it's not a surprise he makes friends easily. Here's a cowbird he befriended this morning.
A cowbird catching a ride and a meal.
Of course, the bird was probably just there for an easy breakfast of flies, but that's the kind of friendship I approve of.
You're welcome anytime, little bird!

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Baby Sprinkle

Creating a onesie for their baby brother.
Some friends threw a baby "sprinkle" for our upcoming baby boy and it was a blast. The food was delicious, it was so fun to make some personalized artwork for the baby and to just sit and chat.
It was like Christmas morning for the girls.
Thanks for celebrating the newest addition to our family!
Some of the fun artwork and puff paint onesies people made!


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18 August 2015

Partners in Crime

For some reason, they love to sit on top of the truck when they're eating popsicles...
Evelyn's been back in school for a few weeks already and though Claire and Kate miss her during the day, they haven't missed a beat. Last year, there were several days of relative silence--Claire and Kate weren't quite sure how they were supposed to play with each other without the direction of their big sister.
Working on their stash of cicada shells.
Their friendship has really flourished lately. If they aren't scaling trees or sitting atop trucks, they're coloring each other's hair with chalk, putting insects on their face or going wild and crazy on the bounce house.
Working at their typical afternoon coloring pages.
They're becoming real partners in crime.

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14 August 2015

Katie's Tack Trunk Book Review

To purchase Headed for the Win, click here!
One of the highlights of being an author is hearing back from readers who enjoy your work. The writer of Katie's Tack Trunk recently read and wrote a review for Headed for the Win and was honest and kind. I loved every word of it! Here's a snippet of what Katie said:

All in all, the plot twist makes for an excellent book. Headed for the Win was a very fun read, and I'm eager to begin reading Road to the Regalia. Rachael Eliker is certainly an author to watch as she thinks and writes outside of the box.


To read the rest of the review, head over to Katie's Tack Trunk!
The books are doing well!

Thanks again, Katie!
To purchase Road to the Regalia, click here!



(I sure appreciate them!)

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12 August 2015

Kermit

I was finishing up the last of the mowing when a little hopping creature caught my eye. Thankfully, I avoided rolling over him and though it took some effort to catch him, he was soon in hand: Kermit came for a visit!
Watching the frog take a swim around the pool.
It goes without saying that the girls were excited to have a little froggie around. He was promptly taken to the swimming pool where he swam a few laps before settling into the bottom to try and hide. Of course, the girls have a hard time keeping their hands off things that are creepy, slimy or crawly, so he was quickly scooped up and gently cuddled.
Passing Kermit off.
We left Kermit outside to his own devices while we had lunch and speculated maybe he was involved in laying some of the eggs that we found a few weeks earlier, deposited in the pool.
Evelyn trying to set Kermit up with one of her Littlest Pet Shop toys, after hearing he split with Miss Piggy.
Eventually, after everyone had a chance to look at and hold him, Kermit was let go. He has a lot of work ahead of him, eating mosquitoes and flies and unwanted bugs. Or course, he's always welcome to come and take a dip in the pool whenever he likes!
Futilely trying to hide under the water.

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