So, on the adoption front, we have assembled the papers for our dossier, minus the items that are still in process. Our social worker will review them tomorrow and let us know if anything needs fixing. I don't know if that means that we can send what we have over to Ethiopia for translation, or if we have to wait for the other documents to catch up.
I do know that today I am aching for our little girls. It is a good thing I teach the three year olds at church as I really got to lavish love on them - loving on a toddler/preschooler is a bit different than my older kids to say the least! I could use some serious baby snuggles though.
We also now have two sixteen year olds in the house now - Zeri turned sixteen this weekend! He had a great bonfire party at home with quite a few friends. It was fun, loud, and no one got hurt - even playing football in a field! I think he enjoyed himself! So, the current rundown of ages in our home is 16, 16, 15, 14, 12, 11, 11, and 11. One more birthday coming up shortly! Then we will have two 12 year olds and two 11 year olds until fall. It is so funny to say all the ages to folks - they try to figure out how many twins or triplets we have! But seriously, the kids are all enjoying that spring is here, that we can be outside, that soccer season started last week, that horse show season is here. Needless to say, it will be a busy summer, as always.
Tonight I am looking over more items as we renovate the upstairs - we are sorting books from up there, and most are school related books. Those are harder to get rid of! I have several new ideas for us for this week, based on what we pulled out. Love homeschooling, we all learn so much!
I have borage drying in my pantry - it will serve several functions as a herb. I am learning lots about whole foods, natural health and all. Taking it small bits at a time, but using what we have. This weekend I started two batches of dandelion wine. I always wondered about it (who hasn't who has a yard full of dandelions!), but got to taste some last week, and it reminded me of my husband's homemade honey mead (a honey wine, absolutely delicious, and basically needing to be sipped). So, I gave it a try - sent several kids out to pick dandelion flowers from my garden - no herbicides or anything on that, so it should be good. Turns out the medicinal qualities of dandelions are pretty amazing. Hey, worth a try! We pulled the yellow parts of the dandelion flowers - needed six quarts of the yellow to make what we wanted to. I figure if I am going to do something labor intensive, it better have a good yield! I got to watch a good movie while I plucked and various family members joined in with me as I did it! A tedious task, but made better by conversation, a good movie and good company! I completely understand how settlers got by with all their work! We actually end up having quite a good time doing these kind of things!
I am hoping that things are dry enough now so I can get some more things planted in the garden. I have some of the root crops in, but need to get more going, and get our beans and tomatoes in. I would like to can a great deal, and the kids are already requesting that we make apple butter again this year. I am learning how to manage herbs, and the medicinal properties. I love teas, and am learning to dry leaves to make some things of mine. It is very simple, very very simple things that I am trying to do. I have a friend who is quite accomplished and very good with whole foods too, so I am learning, but she really encourages people to just try what you can, don't be overwhelmed, and that any positive change is positive change. So, that is what I am working on. I do love my time in the garden though!
We have found a loving home for four of the equines we rescued last fall. They are very sweet, and this is the best home ever for them that they are going to! I am so pleased! We never really planned on keeping them indefinitely, but would only let them go if we found a phenomenal home for them. God has provided that and I am so glad! So, hopefully this week I will be driving them to their new home! Though we are taking a six year old paint gelding in trade! But it still puts us down three head of horses overall! We have gotten to play with the animals more since the weather has been nice, and it is amazing how each individual horse learns differently, has a very different personality from another, and generally loves to learn. We have been able to open up some more pastures, and divide up the horses more, and it balances things out better.
Summer time means building time on the farm as well as planting time. We are renovating our horse barn this year and maybe the summer kitchen. We are big on using what we have, so we aren't really putting too much money or materials in it, just doing a lot of rebuilding, and then adding in things. I cannot believe all that we learn!
Well, this mama is tired after a long weekend of celebrating Zeri!
Remember, we are still doing our puzzle fundraiser, puzzle pieces are $2 a piece, your name is placed on the back, and when the puzzle is done, we will put it between plexiglass and frame it to hang on the little girls' wall - a true example of how loving people were "part of the puzzle" to bring to orphaned girls to a loving home. We have a chip in button on the side bar here. We have about $400 more than is listed there - I cannot figure out how to add donations that we have been handed to the chip in bar!!!! But it is there! Our goal is to get to the last document we need to send to Ethiopia - the puzzle pieces totally cover that amount, and then our next goal is $1000 to send the dossier over to Ethiopia for translation and processing! Getting ready for court!
I am working two full days a week, and three shorter stints on other days, to help cover all this. It all adds in! We have been blessed to sell some items (generally small, but every dollar helps!), and keep working! God is so good and keeps us going with reminders that this is the path he has set us on, that these two girls are HIS children first, and we are excited to be able to parent them. Of course, I want to be there TODAY, but that won't be, so we keep going with working on getting there, and loving our life here. It isn't simple, it is hard work, but it is wonderful. To see our children thriving, growing, learning and loving. To enjoy so much the gifts of our family. It is challenging - seriously, we have four teenagers!!! But teenagers aren't the horror that they are made out to be. They need the same intensity of guidance as our toddlers did, but at an intellectual level as we balance getting them to be more and more independent, making good choices, being grounded in faith and good values. We cannot stop parenting - it is way, way too soon! But it is different also. They are all so amazing in their own ways. Some days I swear they will turn my whole head grey, and then the next day I am totally laughing constantly. That is life!
Anyway, now I am really rambling, so I am heading to bed! Hugs to you all, thanks for reading my ramble, I hope it spoke something to you somehow - even if it is just brutal honesty about the day to day challenges of raising kids, walking the adoption road, raising a large brood, living in a rural area, all of that!
God bless you!
"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11