27 November 2016

Give Thanks Unto The Lord

Psalms 107:1 O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
Thanksgiving is usually a quiet time around here. We have a big meal but the rest of the weekend is spent working on projects and hanging around the house. This year, we managed to convince some family to come for a visit and the house has been anything but quiet.
We had our traditional Thanksgiving meal and it was a lot more enjoyable having someone help prepare the food and clean up. I wasn't nearly as exhausted as I usually am, even though I still managed to slip in a nap. We've been eating leftovers for days and it's been wonderful.
Henry's spent some time working on his big brother skills with his little cousin Camille. He's learning to be gentle even when excited and that sometimes, he can't be the center of attention. He'll be ready for the next sibling in no time!
Of course, we pulled Stoney out of the pasture and gave him some exercise in exchange for some grain. He always agrees when something sweet and crunchy is involved.
We built a beautiful table and benches for our kitchen! As much as I love the island, we've got a few too many people to sit around it comfortably, especially if guests are visiting. Problem solved!
The cousins, who have a family history of animal allergies, worked on not getting them by being sure to snuggle the cats. A lot.
The horses were brushed and handfed to their hearts' content...
 ...and the dogs have been running nonstop, chasing everything from tennis balls to horses to unsuspecting cats.
There are still chores to do...
...but there's still plenty of time for fun and games.
Everyone's exhausted by the end of the day but we've been having so much fun together that we start bright and early the next day with a new adventure.

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!

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21 November 2016

Then and There

Let's begin by taking a smallish nap or two... -Winnie the Pooh
At the start of Thanksgiving week school break, we wasted no time getting things done--we switched out the summer clothes for winter ones, sorted toys and cleaned rooms, filled the horse tank, did some laundry, cleaned out the chicken coop and while I was finishing up splitting the last of the wood, I looked up only to find Kate passed out on a nearby bench.

Sometimes, you need a nap right then and there.

(Ah, to be a child again...)

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20 November 2016

Hog Roast

Friday, we were working outside all day, washing the dog and finishing up winterizing the house, farm, and animals. Then, by Saturday morning, we were bundled up and lighting the wood burning stove for one of the first times of the season to stave off the cold. What better day to have a hog roast??
Jack cooking us eggs and bacon for breakfast on the smoker's griddle.
Jack had been planning a hog roast get-together with friends from church and work for a while and though it was too cold to be outside much, especially with little ones, we improvised.
A good portion of the day was spent tidying up the house...
...the animals were fed (and thankfully, enjoying the new footing in their shed, though I should probably talk to Stoney about sharing)...
...and the rest of the time, we babysat the smoker and ran errands for Jack.

Then, we partied. And I didn't get a chance to snap any pictures. Some were squirmish about eating pork that, well, looked like a hog but most agreed it was delicious. Another fun evening in the books!

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17 November 2016

Winterized

So much wood to split...
With all this nice weather we've been having, I think I've been living in denial that winter is coming. But, seeing others' pictures of snow and the plummeting temperatures in the forecast, I decided I'd better take advantage of the good weather while it lasted and winterized. We mowed one last time, finished splitting (most of) the wood...
So much crushed limestone...
 ...fixed the footing in the horse's shed so it won't be so muddy and stocked up on animal feed...
 ...and covered the wood to keep it dry.
The horses are so  spoiled that they nap while having their mani/pedi's.
The horses got their feet trimmed and I picked up a couple more bales of hay, this time actually putting them out for the horses to nibble. And, naturally, the kids always enjoy playing on them, too.
Henry conquering the slide.
After all the work, of course, we had to enjoy some playtime, too. Who knows when we'll be getting nice weather like this again!

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13 November 2016

Family Fun

Claire taking a turn splitting the wood.
I feel like this whole summer, I played around like the grasshopper instead of worked like the ant. Sure, we had our share of projects completed but when I thought of the things that needed to be done before winter, like splitting wood and buying hay, I kept putting them off.
Mercifully, we've been having a very mild autumn. I'm finally getting over some very persistent morning sickness and Jack has returned from a few months of intensive work travel. A friend told us her mother had some wood that needed to be cleaned up, so we spent a few Saturdays cutting up the wood and loading it onto the trailer, where we took it home and got it prepped for burning.
If there's one thing Jack is determined to teach the kids, is that work is fun and it's even more fun if we do it together. While I like to try to include them--like I split, they stack--Jack is hands on to the extreme. They're going to learn to swing an ax and like it. Of course, they all think it's incredible that they're powerful enough to split wood...with dad's help. It's all giggles when those logs split in half!
Though everyone is expected to help when we're working on a family chore, it's obvious that everyone enjoys doing different ones. Some like feeding the animals, others like raking leaves, or collecting eggs. Henry? As long as he gets a ride in the wheelbarrow or gets to do something with water (or there's a manly-sounding machine involved), he's happy.
Getting the chickens some clean water.
Of course, it's not all work and no play. I'm getting better about being able to stop myself, even when a job isn't all the way done, to leave time for real fun.
Although I won't be partaking in Jack's idea of fun...casually laying by the beehive to see how they're doing.
I'm glad that the kids are learning that family fun doesn't have to mean only play or mindless entertainment but that working and accomplishing something together can be just as satisfying a way to spend time together.. 
At-home Mongolian Grill dinner to celebrate finishing splitting the wood!

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08 November 2016

Fall Family Photos

A few weekends ago, we met with our friend, Amy, to take some family pictures. Though I'm not particularly fond of taking photos of myself, taking family portraits is quickly becoming one of my favorite yearly goals.
We met at one of the oldest parks in Indianapolis on a very crisp--and when I say crisp, I mean freezing--fall morning. There were lots of cool structures, trees, and trails and there will literally dozens of other families doing the same thing as we were.
So, here are some of our favorites--it's hard to pose with so many little ones but there was a lot of laughing and several promises of suckers and playing at the park when we were done.
 I think this one will get printed off and put on the wall...
 ...though this one is cute, too. Everyone kept tumbling off and they couldn't stop laughing.
I loved this old tree!
Sisters!
Nearly ten years married and we still love each other. ;)
A family forest photo.
 Giggly Claire.
 Smiley Evelyn.
 Happy Henry.
Content Kate.
Had to break out the suckers early, but hey, anything to keep Henry smiling.
I think this will be my new author photo...

Thanks Amy for helping us cross off another 2016 goal! If anyone in the Indy area is looking for a great family photographer, check out Amy's website and Facebook page!

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