Sunday, December 21, 2014

Some of our December Busy-ness

We have had a busy couple of weeks!  Lots of fun things for the girls and the rest of us :-)  I wasn't able to get pictures of all that we did, but here is a sampling of what we have done.

 Party time at the barn!  The barn that Isabella works at had a pot luck for all of the families.  After eating there was a bon fire and dancing.  The girls and some of their friends that knew, helped teach the others the Virgina Reel.  Everyone loves this dance!!!  I forgot to get online and have them learn a few other 'barn' dances.  Maybe next time.

 Ok, this looks a bit crazy, but everyone was really having fun.  Merida was enthralled with the sparks from the fire.  She would point to them and get all excited. The boys were very good around the fire.  Which is a good thing.  When they were up at the 'dance floor' they were crazy savages :-) All week long it has been so warm out, and then....the one night we are going to hang out outside it is freezing.  Which reminds me that the other freezing night we had was the night of Christmas caroling.  It was SO COLD.  Brrr.  At least at the barn party there was a fire!

After the barn party we took the boys to see some Christmas lights.  The girls stayed behind to dance a bit longer.  We were waiting in line to get on the little train to see the lights on this one guy's property.  He has an impressive display!

 One of the displays.  It is nice to see that some people are keeping Jesus in Christmas.

I always get a kick out of this whale.  It sits at the opposite side of the pond.  You can also just make out on the very left a crocodile, with a santa hat, trying to 'eat' a penguin.  Very funny.

 I could not get a good picture of this display, but it was one of my favorites!  Christmas pigs!  Soooo funny.

 Coming back to the start.  We headed home and it was straight to bed for some very sleepy kiddos.

 Isabella and Moira had their first drama performance.  Here is Merida waiting for the show to begin.

 Isabella got a speaking part in her skit.  Moira was a caroler in her skit.  Moira was a bit disappointed that she didn't get a speaking part.  Maybe next time.  All of Isabella's practicing paid off. She remembered all of her lines....and tried to help some of her fellow actresses to remember theirs.  They had two performances that night.  The first one didn't go as planned.  They regrouped and managed to remember all of their lines for the second show.  Their teacher is doing a great job.  The drama club is quite large, and she is trying to help everyone out at their level.

 The older two girls finally made it to a Christmas Ball!!!  Last year they came down with the flu then night before.   They were so happy to be well for the ball this year.  I wish we had a picture of Moira's hair.  It turned out so great!  Here is the youtube video I used to make her hairstyle: everyday updo  Moira's hair looked like the one in the video, except that I had each round spaced closer together than in the video. Isabella had a small braid that went from the top of her head to her ear.  Her hair has really grown since she first got it cut, so I managed to do a little french braid on the side of her head.  It was a little something to dress up her hair.

The girls had so much fun at the ball.  They love the dancing!  I love hearing about their night.  They are both hoping to go to the prom this coming spring.

I wasn't able to get a picture of Moira's hairdo, but she got a snap of the lovely waves that it produced once she undid it!

Let's see, besides the pictures here, we also attended Saoirse's Christmas play.  I would post pictures. but all of them have a ton of other kids in them, and it would take me a long time to put little circles on their faces!  Flannery was brave enough to attend a middle school Christmas party by herself (as sisters).  I was very proud of her for going.  She is a bit on the shy side, so I was a bit nervous about how it would go.  She had fun, though she was quiet a lot of the time.  Then the three oldest girls went to our church's youth group Christmas party.  Lots of fun.  We also attended the Christmas parade, where Moira participated (I think I wrote about that last time).  We had a small fellowship gathering of our care group at church after Saoirse's play.  I think there was at least one other event that I am forgetting about.

For the next few weeks we do not have anything on the calendar.  It will be 'just us' for Christmas this year.  The first time we have been 'just us' for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Probably for the better as the boys all have this cough.  For the first few days I thought we would be through this quickly.  However, and I am assuming it has something to do with the sugar they consumed, they are really coughing up a storm, and their eyes are all red.  As a matter of fact, both Jed and Jonah came up to me asking me to put them to bed...and it was only 8:10PM!  They don't even start getting ready for bed until 9 PM at the very earliest!  Jed was complaining about his ear hurting him.  He was really carrying on about it.  I told him that it might be a good idea to tell me a whole lot sooner about any pain that he has!

Must be off.  I am making some homemade card and board games for the kids for Christmas.  Not sure if I will have them ready by then!  So I must get off and get cutting and laminating.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

A Family of Hats

Well, at least a half family of hats!  I've been busy whipping up a bunch of hats to keep everyone warm.  It's been trial and error to get some of the sizing right.  Since I wanted just a very basic hat, and didn't want any bells and whistles, I went with the 'base' of a hat that I made a couple of years ago.  No problem.  Except I was working off of memory, and what I know of crochet.  The first hat I was making was for Aubrey.  He wanted a gray, green and blue hat.  I made it all up and put it on him.  Too big.  So I tore it out until I got to the increase rows and took a couple of increase rows out, and made it back up.  But, being a wee bit smarter this time around I decided to try it on before I had it all finished.  Too small.  Ugh!  Jeremiah suggested I try it on Merida.  A perfect fit.  But not the perfect colors, since I had gray, blue and green.  Jeremiah suggested I finish it off with a pink trim.  And ta-da, it looks great!

It was back to the drawing board for Aubrey's hat.  I now knew how many increase rows to do.  I started the first round in gray, like the above hat.  Aubrey walks in and exclaims he no longer likes gray, and wanted a rainbow hat.  He proceeded to point to ALL of the yarn I had and said he wanted each of those colors.  Hmmmmm.  Alrighty then.  So I made him a lovely striped hat.  The only problem is I don't have a picture of it.  The picture is on Flannery's camera, and it is a joke trying to get the pictures downloaded.  I decided to take more on my camera, but now his new hat is missing in action.  Oy.  I am sure it is right under our noses, and when it turns up I will take a picture of it.

On to Jonah and Jed's hats.  Jonah wanted a gray and blue hat.  Jed wanted a white (I had cream), and green hat.  I got those made lickety split.

Those were pretty basic.  And I made them that way because I know my boys.  Not two days after I made these we went by a display of gloves in the store (and they needed gloves!!), which came with a hat.  Yup, they are wearing their new black hats, which match their skeleton gloves.  Sigh.  I am sure they will wear these hats above throughout the winter, but I knew enough not to put a ton of time on something my boys are very capable of loosing, destroying, or lose interest in.  So I balance the reality with my desire to create things for my family :-)

I had already made Moira a bear hat.  It came out great, and everyone who saw it loved it.  Problem is, I got it finished a few hours before she took off to NY, and didn't get photos of it before it went missing.  I am thinking that maybe I should have some sort of cable attached to what I make and it's owner?  She says she remembers wearing it one time after NY, and that she put it back in her room.  You, know, the black hole of a bedroom.  No, actually, their room is not in bad shape, which makes this all the more perplexing.

Ok, so on to the last hat (so far) that I have made.  Any more hat making will be put on hold as I will be tackling my first knit sweater.  Not only do I not usually knit (though I know how), but this sweater will be for Jeremiah.  I chose what seems to be a basic sweater, with what looks like clear instructions.  We shall see how it goes.  For my hat I wanted something colorful.  My wardrobe consists of green, brown, green, a bit of blue, green, more brown,, yeah.  So I made a rainbow hat for myself.  I really liked how it turned out.  Since my hair is so poofy, I can live with the spaces that are in the granny pattern.  Ha, ha!

There you have it, a half family of hats.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Getting a new family photo

Oh my.  Let me tell you how NOT to take a family photo.

:: Do not wait 3 years to take your next family photo.
:: Do not wait until winter to take your family photo...if you are not prepared with warm clothing.
:: Do not plan to take the photo during the work week, when your husband can not make it to the photo site until 15 minutes before sunset.
:: Do not scramble to get into a spot, any spot, and click away, then look at the photos when you get home (we did look in the preview window, but we couldn't see that the back row was coming out a bit blurred).

Well, I am sure there are more, but I think those are good lessons to pass along :-)  Actually, for the few minutes we had, and the few photos we took, I am surprised that we at least got one decent shot.  We definitely want to wait till a weekend and try again though.   But, hey, at least we finally have our whole family in one picture!   So I'll take it.  Here it is:

We had quite a few shots of half of the kids not looking, or Jonah making silly faces or waving his hands...hence we made him put his hands in his pockets.

All the kids.  Back row: Jedidiah (8), Jonah (6), Aubrey (3).  Front row:  Isabella (17), Moira (15), Saoirse (10), Flannery (12), Merida (10 months).

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Getting out and about

We've had such a busy couple of weeks.  Between all of us getting a cold (I lost my voice for 4 days....I am sure that was the highlight of the  year for my children :-)), and trying to keep up with everything it seems we have been going non stop.  Not all of us were sick at once, so we had different sets of people going out and about at different times.  We are finally all getting better and we were able to meet up with some friends at a nearby botanical gardens.  Below I have a hodgepodge of pictures from different days and events.  I don't have a lot of time to spare, so I will just post captions (and I do believe my cations are paragraph length anyways!!).

PS, not just a few days ago Jonah woke up and came up to me to give me a morning hug.  I immediately could tell that this same child I had just hugged last night had grown since the night before. It was so obvious.  I looked to see when the last time we measured his height and it had only been 20 days prior.  I stood him up to the door that we measure everyone at and he indeed grew at least one and a half inches!  If not two!  I didn't have a ruler with me, and I meant to get a picture of the lines on the door.  But alas, no proof for you :-)  Kids really do grow 'over night'...if not in 3 weeks time.

 Little miss getting better and better at balancing on two legs.  She will get very upset if we pick her up now.  She used to want to be held all the time, now she wants to be down exploring all the time.

 Ooohhh, I love baby faces!  Don't you just want to squish those precious cheeks?

 She was nodding her head back and forth quickly, making this face.  Too funny.

 This is one determined little girl.  If she falls, she may cry a bit, but gets right back up and tries again.

 Yay, yarn!  I have been dying to get my hands on some yarn.  Between a sale and a 'teacher' discount, I was finally able to buy some.  I think I had only bought two other skeins of yarn this year, and that project turned out wrong!  We plan on using this yarn for various projects.  Right now I am working on a cowl and some wraps for hot water bottles.

 We had a wonderful day weather wise the other day.  We took advantage of it by getting outside and then heading off to the botanical gardens.

 When you get to the gardens you have to sign in, in case you get lost I suppose.  The gardens only have two paths.  We walked one path last week, and the second one this week.

 The boys turn.  We were waiting for some friends to arrive.  They came on our walk last week and really loved the park and asked that we go back to walk the second trail.

 I loved the sun coming through the trees.  Right before I took this picture it had thundered.  There were some gray clouds before we left, and we checked the weather, but nothing showed up on the radar.  Thankfully it only thundered twice, and no other incidences occurred.  It totally freaked out Jonah, who wanted to run out of the woods.  I can't say I blame him, but we were exactly at the half way point and had no choice but to go through the woods to get to our van (the whole trail, save the pond) is in the woods.

 All of the kiddos, except my friends youngest and our youngest (who were each attached to their respective mommies).

The highlight of the walk was the bamboo forest.  The kids LOVE this little place.  It has a little water fall as well.  Flannery, Saoirse and their friend Dasha spent the whole walk scouting out video and photo shoot spots for their Breyer horses. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Growth Spurts....all around

It's always fun when kids have growth spurts.  The noticeable ones are the most fun.  But as fun as it is to see kids growing up in stature, I find it more fun to see their growth in other areas of life.  We seem to have had a lot of growth with multiple children recently.  From oldest to youngest:

Moira has been wanting to get a job to earn money.  She tried for babysitting jobs with no luck.  There is a tea room close by that she heard good things about.  She asked if she could see if they were hiring.  She first called to see if they were hiring, and it seems that they are.  So we took off to grab an application.  When we got there, we were told that they were looking for people to work during the weekdays.  Most people make their money on the weekends since they are busier then, but this would at least get Moira 'in the door' to start.  However, they did not have any applications on hand, and we were asked to come back the following day.

So yesterday we took off to get an application.  However, they were too busy at the time (we were not thinking about it being the lunch hour!), and again asked to come back later. Moira told them we could come back in an hour, but that was before speaking to me.  We were not able to make it back an hour later.  On the way home Moira commented that her drama club experience really helped her be able to talk with her potential employer without completely freaking out :-)  She said that the drama club has given her more confidence since she has to get up in front of people and act/sing.  This alone was a noticeable growth, but what happened later was more so.

Like I said, we couldn't come back an hour later.  Moira was openly lamenting that fact.  She kept trying to convince me we would have time (I have a wonderful friend who had called me earlier in the day and said she was coming over to help me get my house cleaned up!), but I knew we didn't and told her she would have to ask Jeremiah to take her after he was done working.

She was not too happy about that.  And she was getting antsy later in the day when it looked like they may be too late to get there before closing.  They did make it in time, and 'it just so happened' that there was someone there they knew (a customer).  This lady was with a friend.  They came up to Moira to chat with her and they found out she was there for an application.  Turns out that the lady's friend is personal friends with the owner of the tea room!  She said that she was going to email the owner that evening and give her a good report on Moira!

Moira learned that God does indeed work things out for good, even when we think they have been ruined.  (In this case what she saw was a lost opportunity)  We are praying that God would direct her in her pursuits of employment.

I've written before that Saoirse has had difficulty with reading.  She is ten and still not reading well at all.  So far it works the best if we work consistently for few weeks, then take a few weeks off.  Otherwise her learning ability seems to take a sharp downturn and she becomes *very* frustrated.  I've taught reading to 3 other girls so far and know that frustration in the process will only negate any efforts put forth.  When we come back to lessons I always start a few lessons back and then we are able to move forward again, until our next stopping point.

A friend of mine suggested that maybe we get her tested for dyslexia.  She has a lot of experience with this as a mom, and was relating what she has read and learned.  I do think it is interesting that Saoirse has more of the 'global' learner mentality, which is what a dyslexic person would have.  But like most things, I think there is a sliding scale, and I believe that Saoirse is on that scale, but more towards "normal" than "dyslexic".  (I hope that made sense.)  For example Saoirse has a hard time sticking with a task. She really needs a check list, or someone to tell her the next thing to do.  With her reading, she needs me to cover up some of the word because she is trying to see the whole word, instead of breaking it down into readable chunks.

I decided that we would give it a gung ho try this past month to see if she just needs more time, or if intervention is required.  I am happy to report that Saoirse was able to read the whole Series 4 Bob Books to me in the past two days!  Still below a level of a ten year old, but a huge achievement for Saoirse.  I think we will continue on with what we have been doing, knowing that it will take more time for her to 'get it'.  At this point she is making steady progress, and has even had a jump in progress, so I don't think intervention is needed at this point.

I always thought that people with dyslexia have problems in all areas of schooling, but that is not so.  Saoirse is very good at math.  And she has some great skills when it comes to playing Sets :-)  That girl can find sets in lightening speed!!!  Sets is a game of trying to find a set of three cards that have all the same, or all different qualities in four categories.  The categories are shape, color, number and pattern.  We made our own Sets game per THESE instructions.

Jedidiah has been two years behind in pretty much most things.  He is very intelligent, and in some ways on target or ahead...but ONLY when he figures it out himslf.  I might have to explain that a bit.  I just realized myself this morning that I believe Jed still has issues with auditory processing.  He used to have big issues in that department, but since it had improved so much I didn't think it was a concern anymore.  However, it seems that when we are *trying* to teach him something, especially through words only....he doesn't get it.  But, if he sees it, or does it himself, he gets it right away.

Two examples.  The first being his ability to narrate.  The backbone of the Charlotte Mason method of education is narration.  You read (or the child reads) the passage, and they tell you what they read.  Seems simple enough, but this is something that needs to be learned.  Most of my kids have picked up on this very quickly.  Jed?  Not so much.  I would read a paragraph and ask him what we read.  Blank face.  Then he will sit there saying, "Ummmm, ummmm."  all while tapping his chin.  So I started reading just 2 or 3 sentences to him and asking what we read.  Same thing happened...'ummm, ummmm.'  If there were pictures he would look at those to see what the story was supposed to be about and make up something!  Although creative, that is not narration.

So I took to reading one sentence at a time.  Bingo!  Finally he was able to tell me what I just read.  The only problem is that now he stops me after EVERY sentence to tell me what I just said.  Ha!  I'm just glad that he got the concept and from here we can build on.

The second example is in counting.  He has always been into counting, though it was mostly 'his version' of it, and not the standard numbers.  Well the other day he came to me with our 100 number board.  He asked me to count with him (again, here we are talking he has a visual aid, instead of us just counting out loud).  He has been getting the hang of the teen numbers lately, so we worked a bit on those.  He did not know the 10's (20, 30, 40, etc).  Well, it all clicked!  Although he needed help with the 10's he figured out that after each ten the ones numbers started over!  Big light bulb moment for him.

Jonah has been growing in so many areas by leaps and bounds.  It seems he has spent the past 6 years growing physically, and now he is growing mentally.  Jonah has always been a bull in a china shop, though a very sweet bull :-)  And though he was never behind, or dumb, it just seemed that there wasn't a bright light in the attic.  Well, let me tell you!  He is exploding with light right now.  His ability to narrate is amazing (for his age). Much, much better than any of my girls when they started off.  And they were older when we started!  He seems to be making connections all the time.  He's really into cooking, and remembers what we need for a recipe.  He has been trying to build a fort and bench, by himself.  It is amazing to see his plans for those things.  The list just goes on.  So many connections and abilities that he has gained in the past couple of months.

Well, being a baby, there is always noticeable learning going on it seems.  But her most recent advance has been really cute.  Along with learning to clap, give five, and wave bye-bey/hello she is 'talking'. Well, her talking that is.  For a few months she has been saying maaamaaaamaaamaaa, or daaadaaadaaadaaa.  But never 'mama', or dada'.  So we haven't been sure if she is really calling our name or not.  She has started almost saying "kittykittykitty" when the girls take her out to visit the cats. (though her version is more of a 'titta titta titta'.  And after she says that she does this clucking sound with her tongue.  She does this every time she sees the cats.

For the past few months the baby has joined me in the daily feeding of the animals.  She really enjoys going outside to see the animals.  So much so, if we open the door and don't go out, she cries!  Though is is certainly easier to feed the animals with two free hands, I bring out with me because she enjoys it so much.  She started to try to 'fling' the chicken feed to the chickens!  Not much of a fling, but she knows what to do.  Yesterday before we got dressed to go out, I asked her, "Merida, are you going to help mommy feed the animals?"  And to my surprise she says "titta titta titta' and does her tongue clicking!  Too cute!!!  She totally understands what I am saying!  I know, after 7 other kids you would think this would be old hat, but it's NOT.  I love seeing my babies (and all my kids) 'get it'.
Well that was pretty long!  Sorry about that.  Like I said, lots of kids having learning growth.  What are your children learning?  (And, just because some of my kids were 'left out' of this post does not mean learning hasn't been happening.  Some of it is more personal, and some is a bit harder to put into words, and as a parent I am sure you understand!)

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Merida...getting so big!

The past couple of days have seen us spending lots of time outside.  After tomorrow we will be getting more cold weather.  So we are trying to soak up what may be the last of our nice days.  It is hard to tell, as weather here in NC can be a bit wonky.  But, it is November after all, so we got ourselves outside.

Jonah has taken to building a fort in the back yard.  The other two boys spent a bunch of time fighting on the trampoline.  Silly boys.  The girls spent some time with their friend from next door.  Merida was awake this time, so I decided to get some pictures of her.  She is growing, growing, growing.

I was thinking of an incident that happened about 4 years ago.  Someone was trying to discourage me from having any more children.  I was told repeatedly that I was too old.  I needed to get on with my life, and be done with the baby stage.  This person went on to tell me that my eggs are old, and that means that any babies born would be getting the short end of the stick.  This person described a talk they had with another older mother, whose son did something...not smart.  This mother's response was, "Well, what do you expect...he's from an old egg."  In other words, my babies would be on the stupid side.

Now, don't get me wrong.  Since sin has entered the world, things do not go as they should.  Eggs do get old, there is no denying it.  But that doesn't mean I'm going to have a stupid child because of it.  There are any number of issues that can pop up with having a any age.  I know plenty of people who had a first child with problems, and I know people whose last child had problems.  No one is completely immune to the possibilities.

But one thing is certain.  Every child, every. single. a gift from God.  No matter how young or old my eggs have been, or are.  This brings me to Merida.  Out of all of our children, she is the most intelligent (as babies go).  She figures things out very fast.  You can see the wheels spinning.  And that's just not me saying it.  I've had countless people tell me that they can see her figuring out the world around her.

Merida is one smart cookie.  I feel blessed beyond measure to be her mommy.  And that goes for all of my children.  My smarter ones, my challenging ones, my loud ones, my sweet ones....all of them are amazing.  I truly can not imagine if I decided to not have another baby after Aubrey.  If I had been given a glimpse of who Merida was before having her, if I decided to end my childbearing years....that would have been torture.  I could not imagine spending my days without her.

And so, here is our smart little cookie...and her brother...and a few other random things:

The first time I have ever put her down, while outside.  She was looking at me like, "What is this?"

Hmmm, I think I like this.

 Of course hanging out with my big brother makes it even better.  (how cute it this picture!!!)

 Oooooh, lots and lots of *little* put into my mouth.

 Maybe I'll take this one over here.

 Who, me? I'm not doing anything I shouldn't be.  I have no plans to pick up this small rock and put it into my mouth.  Nope, not me.

 (Jonah handed her a leaf)  Um, I'm not sure what to make of *this*.  What is it?

Look at her hair growing :-)  And, by the way, she did try to eat a small rock, and did try to eat the leaf.  She didn't stay on the ground for long!

 Jonah found this!  Jedidiah was very upset that he caught it.  He was on the verge of tears, saying, "But *I'm* the bug boy!"  I told  him, bug boy or not, Jonah caught the lizard, and that it was ok.  Jed didn't think so.  Mr. Jed got some inside time for having a wee fit about the whole lizard thing.  Oy.

 Jonah snuggling with Miracle.  This is the kitty that we thought wasn't going to make it, having been completely paralyzed for a whole day.

 A little bit of 'making do' by the girls.  Need a bike basket?  Use your brother's wooden tool box.  Makes sense.

A couple of chickens hanging out in the front yard.  Still some bugs out there, despite the weather being warm, then freezing, then warm, then.....(although Aubrey still asks me nightly to go out to catch fireflies)

 After getting the mail, all of the boys heading back down the hill to our house.

Remember these?!?  We did.  We brought these out to light last week.  We found the candles to put inside, but we didn't have any working lighters.  We finally bought some, and had one night of soft light beauty.  Then we left them the rain.  Some of them made it, some...not so much.  The layers of tissue paper were held on with white glue.  Not exactly water proof.  Thankfully most of them will see another night.  The boys and I had a lot of fun sipping hot cocoa, looking at the stars with these candles spread out along our porch banisters.

It is getting late.  The baby had a rough evening, so I am going to turn in and catch some Z's before she may need me again.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A tad bit of our day

Today was a 'slow' day.  Slow as in, sleep in a bit, wander around aimlessly a bit, just slow.  Yesterday I met my sister in northern VA to pick up Moira.  Moira's two month visit turned into a two week visit.  Unfortunately for my sister, their family's plan to move fell through.  I know someday they WILL indeed make that move.  And when they do?  It will be glorious indeed.  In the meantime they  try to figure out a new plan.

Moira really enjoyed spending time with her cousins.  There are plans for a cousin get together (of sorts) for this summer.  I know she will be looking forward to it.

I took Aubrey and Merida with me on the trip North.  Merida did amazing, seeing as how we left here at 11:30 in the morning and did not return until 12:30 AM.  She only did a wee bit of crying.  Aubrey was a great big brother, helping to keep Merida happy, and helping me when we needed to make a few stops along the way.

Needless to say, I wasn't feeling very motivated to do much of anything today.  I took the boys out this morning.  The temps are supposed to go from spring like (mid 70's) to chilly fall (low 50's).  Today was one of our last warm days for a spell.  The baby went down for a nap, and I found myself with free hands!  A novelty for me :-)  I figured it had been long enough in the 'no picture taking' department for myself, and ran inside to grab my camera.  I still had two boys in particular who kept asking to go here, or there, taking my attention away from what I was hoping to do. But, to have two hands to actually take a picture?  Pure bliss I tell you.

Below are some of the pictures I took outside, and a couple of what caught my eye inside.

 A lone rock on top of one of our fence/gate posts.  It seems that maybe one of the girls put it up there to keep out of the reach of the boys.

 The view from our driveway, into the goat area.  I love the fall golden sunshine.  All of the shadows are long, despite being close to noon.

 Jonah and Aubrey taking their bikes up the hill to ride down.  It is cute to hear Jonah coming down the hill.  He repeats a little mantra, "Peddle, peddle, peddle, brake....peddle, peddle, peddle, break..."  He is afraid of going too fast down the hill ( a very reasonable fear I might add!) so he keeps himself on track by following that pattern.

 Our peach tree has really taken off!  We have one apple tree that is doing very well, like the above peach tree.  The other trees, however, are much smaller.  Not sure if it is due to the type of trees they are, or if we have some sort of deficiency in our soil.

 Jonah, our newest training wheel-less bike rider.  A very happy boy.

Our rabbits!  I think I wrote about them already.  If not, meet our newest members to the homestead....meat rabbits.  They are American Chinchillas.  We have added a book on rabbits to our 'everybody together' schooling.  We are clueless as to how to properly care for them.  We better figure it out sooner rather than later!

 The boys enjoy helping to feed the animals.  I am sure that they will be able to take over some of the animal feeding soon enough.

 This may be an odd picture.  A bunch of acorns...and other stuff.  This is a wonderful sight to my eyes.  Last  year we had NO acorns.  None.  Neither did the whole Eastern USA.  It is usual for either the Red Oak, or the White Oak to not give acorns in different years, but last year neither of them did.  On top of that there were a few other trees (hickory, walnut) that did not give nuts.  No one could figure it out.  It was quite disturbing to hear.  So, it was music to our ears to hear the acorns 'raining' down around us.  They make a particularly loud bang on the metal roof of the 'shed'.

 I don't remember if we have the White, or Red oak, but we have the one where you have to do more processing to the nuts if you want to use them for cooking.  You can tell by their caps.  All of our acorns are found without their caps on.  If you have those, you have the harder to process acorns.  The acorns with their caps on are easier to process.

While I was on the road yesterday the two older boys had a project to do to keep them busy.  I bought them at the Dollar Tree for $1.  They came in a package with the shapes cut out, and instructions on how to glue them together to make the above helicopter, or in Jed's case, an airplane.  Jonah was SO excited to put this together.  He kept asking me every 15 minutes if I was leaving!  Ha, ha!

 Showing off his helicopter.  Aubrey showing off a leaf?  Aubrey kept photo bombing our pictures.  The little ham.

 It is hard to see here, but this is our fast growing apple tree.  Behind, off to the left, you can see a glimpse of the white painted trunks of two other apple trees.  Notice the huge difference between them and the large apple tree.  Sigh.

 Our pathetic garden.  Leftover tomato plants.  At least they produced tomatoes this year!  We are always so late in pulling things up.

The mess of an herb garden.  All of our nicely placed rocks have been overturned by boys looking for bugs.   We have some serious garden work to do around here this fall/winter.

This is a 'wall' that our neighbor built on the side of our road.  He knocked down a ton of trees, and there has been some wash out on the road due to that.  This is a wall to keep the dirt and rocks on the road, and not in the gullies on his land.

 Looking up at the sky.

 We don't have a lot of red this fall.  Lots of yellow, no orange, and a teeny tiny bit of red here and there.

 The land across the street from  us.  This used to be ALL woods.  They cleared the front few acres worth this past spring.  The brush really grew over the summer.  It is probably a good 6 feet high.

 A little more red.  I got an email this afternoon from a friend who asked if they could come over for some play time.  Totally last minute, which agrees with how we do things around here.  The kids had a blast.  She is from Michigan and was saying how she really misses the vibrant fall leaves that the North has.

 Some lemon rinds soaking in vinegar, to become a cleaning solution.  I dehydrated the lemons.  I love to have fresh lemon in my Immune-T, and I can never keep them on hand when I need them.  Dehydrating solves that problem!

Our kombucha, which really needs to be strained and fed new tea.  It always seems to be the last thing I get to on my to-do list.

We have a busy weekend ahead of us.  Hoping it goes as 'planned'.
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