We have some special friends from our church who take good care of us. :-) Ginger and Richard have graced a blog post or two in the past but this time it is to thank them for our new rooster! Isn't he handsome?! (I mean the rooster) Indiana is not so happy about her arranged marriage to a short guy with a salt and pepper "hair do" I really don't think it's the feathers or the height so much as they have to establish pecking order. Indiana Jones, it turns out, is a bit of a militant feminist.
That's not following that she is doing. It is chasing.
My two animal lovers. These two really are buddies. And, I am just noticing, remember when Max first came to America? He was the same size as Annette. I think he has taken the lead now only one short year and a half later!
Here is your new home...
Ah! He looks good in it, don't you think?!
And what about his name? So far we are calling him by Grandma Falk's suggestion, "John Quincy Adams"
A blogging friend emailed this link to me. It is the story of an abortion survivor. In her own words she speaks of her experience and how her life has been permanently affected by abortion.
This is a two-part video and will require 15 minutes of your time. She is not "the only one" out there with this kind of story. There are many. There are also many who survive abortions briefly only to die of injuries sustained during the procedure in a few moments to a few days later.
I have so much I can say about this. I am going to keep it short here right now and hope that you will watch these two videos. And, in case you are the squeamish type, there is NO graphic imagery in these videos. Only the woman herself talking.
We had a great time visiting with My Uncle John, Aunt Karen, and my cousin Lisa and her family of four small children! Lisa's husband was out of the country and so they took that time to visit Grandpa Anderson, and by default, us. :-)
We went to the Lenoir City park one evening for a picnic. We drove over in the rain but were fortunate to drive right out of it by the time we got to the park! The weather was beautiful and the park is on the lake so we had a nice breeze and lovely view to enjoy.
This picture is of Lisa and her youngest, James.
I threw this one in here too. This is George. He is five and had fun at My parent's pool with us all one day. I kept having trouble getting a good shot of this little cutie. My camera was picking up a bunch of flare and washing out the pictures of her! I tried to fix it because I just love that hair and you had to see it! Ivy and three-year-old Grace enjoyed playing together.
Here they are playing at the park.
Anther washed-out photo but it is funny, isn't it? George and James. (But not in that order.)
Little Abigail They all have that hair!
James again. He makes you smile. You just can't help it!
My Grandpa, Ivy and my dad.
Eating hot dogs, or, as Misha says it "Hot DAAWGS!"
Evan, trying to look muscular and his girlfriend Kelsey. Kelsey is listening to Annette who is asking if she is going to marry Evan and if they are going to have any babies and other very personal and awkward questions like that. :-)
Grandpa. He turned 90 this year. Isn't he handsome?!
Uncle John and Aunt Karen.
Like I said, we had a great time with them and it was especially nice to see Lisa and meet her children! It's been a long time since we have seen her and her family has grown quickly--and nicely, I might add. :-)
Misha found this 2 ft long snapping turtle in our side yard the other day. Isn't he handsome?! The mailman saw us looking at him as he went by and even had to get out and come and see. It was pretty cool. And the next day, Steve brought home a turtle that he found on the side of the road.
In fact, another wet-dweller incident was while Jenny and Will were visiting. The kids came in and said there were thousands of baby frogs in the driveway. We trooped out to see. And while "thousands" may have been an exageration, "hundreds and hundreds" would not have been. It was some kind of baby frog migration across the expanse of the driveway. Each little frog was no bigger than my pinkie finger nail.
It has been kind of wet here lately. Maybe wetter than I realized...
Some friends of ours from church are in the early stages of adopting from Korea. They have started to blog their process. If you like to follow adoption stories, then this is the time to start watching theirs. They only have 2 posts so far!
I know they covet prayers as they are truly stepping out on faith in this new phase of their lives. Please take a moment to "drop by" and leave them an encouraging note.
Right now there is a little baby or small child (or both!) in South Korea who thinks that the life she is leading is all there is. Imagine her surprise when she finds out what a forever family is and how life will change for her because of love. Love that is already in action, seeking her out to give her the gift that she never knew she always needed.
Tuesday and Wednesday, we had a great time with Steve's sister and her husband, Will! They were able to come right to our house, kind of on the spur of the moment (if you can call the eleven hour drive, "spur of the moment").
We enjoyed a relaxed time of visiting and eating too many cookies. Jenny and Will normally live in Niger, Africa so we don't see them very often. We had a chance to catch up a bit, which was nice. Steve, Will, Jenny and Hannah and Max even went down to the lake to jump in a few times off of some cliffs there. Of course, swimming is always fun!
They are off now visiting more family and friends before their long flight back to the sweltering heat of Niger. (Remind me not to complain about the heat this summer!) And I am off to get kids to bed early tonight for a change!
This week we will be going every day to Vacation Bible School. Actually, we've already started! Day one is gone. The kids are all glowing with excitement and anticipation of tomorrow. :-)
All six kids are tucked into bed. In a couple of hours, Steve's sister Jenny and her husband Will will arrive! Everyone is excited about that too. Jenny lives in Africa but is visiting us here for the day tomorrow!
And maybe we will get some swimming in at Mom's this week.
Not bad for a whole week's worth of plans, is it?
The week after that? Back to school for the boys. They can't afford to take the whole summer off. Poor things. ;-) And let's not forget their summer school teacher! Poor her too....
Now, off to finish getting ready for Jenny and Will!
Our backyard stinks. Not that it's a bad backyard. It is a very nice backyard. It has a swing set, a little hill, a small woodsy area. It also has a dead skunk. So, It stinks.
The skunk has actually been tossed across the street into the woods where the main road drains but the smell is still there in the backyard.
So, why did we have a skunk in the backyard? Well, for the last three nights Steve has been out hunting raccoon. He took a few freezer burnt fish sticks and put them out there in the dark and sat and waited for a raccoon with a taste for chicken--or at least one with a hankering for some crappy fish. He didn't sit alone. He had Hussein with him. That is the name of his shotgun.
He didn't wait long before someone came up to take the bait. Actually, it was someones. Bad grammar, I know. Both a skunk and a raccoon were vying for a place under the chicken coop a little ways from the bait but but only inches below a pretty white chicken friend of ours who slept oblivious to the commotion about to occur. I am sure that just as usual Indiana Jones was roosting all snugly in there, softly clucking with every exhale. I imagine that there was a sudden, startled, "BAAWWK" when the scuffle under the coop began. Raccoon vs. Skunk. Who will win?
The scuffle wandered far enough away from the coop for Silent Steve to take aim. Bang! Bang! One down, one running into the woods.
Like I said, my backyard stinks, so you can guess which one made it back to the woods.
(Annette and "Bustard", as she called him. See his "hairy" feet? He is a Silky variety and they have their toes covered in long feathers! )
While we were in Florida, our good friend Ginger chicken-sat for us. She determined that Indiana Jones is definitely a hen after all. Phew. I was glad to find that out! Now we wouldn't have to worry about noisy roosters....
So, Steve took Misha who had a potted plant to give to Miss Ginger to thank her for Chicken-sitting his chicken. I think a couple of other kids tagged along too. And what did they come home with? A baby rooster!! Ha ha!
I was surprised but thought it was funny that Steve had brought home a rooster and figured this was a sort of sign that he was no longer seriously thinking of moving us into a subdivision! (yay!) The black silky rooster's name was already Buzzard but I quickly started calling him The Black like in the books The Black Stallion. (Vitali, who calls Indiana, "Indian Jones", called the two chickens, "those two Indians". Annette called him Bustard. No reason, she just said it wrong.) "The Black" put up with lots of hugs and handling. Not a single attempt to scratch or peck. Perfect for us.
The bad news is that on his second night with us, I went to lock up the coop and it was already dark. The Black had not been with us long enough to know to head to the coop. Indiana Jones was already sound asleep in there but finding a black chicken on a particularly black night was sure to be impossible so I decided to lock in Indiana and hope for the best. Max, in the morning, opened the front door to go for the Sunday newspaper and found the results of my chicken-ignorance. I wish it had occurred to me that he would head to high ground! The front porch has a light after all. The black was spread all over our front porch, individual feathers tossing about in the breeze among splatters of blood. Steve and I were out there like a couple of CSIs looking for evidence. We found some faint coon prints and passed a death sentence on that coon right there!
Then, the sad part, telling the girls. Annette was devastated. Hannah sat, thinking mental daggers at all raccoon-kind. In fact, no one in this house likes raccoons anymore. Annette had alligator tears all day off and on. Max said he had had to give her a hug in Sunday School (he is such a sweetie) and I was comforting her in church.
We came home that afternoon and Steve and the boys went off to bury the scant remains. I could hear Vitali skipping after them saying, "We will dig and put dirt on him and he will be alive again!" I guess he thought it was like planting seeds. :-)
Annette has not shed another tear after the initial deluge. In fact, she was just here reading over my shoulder and laughed at something and skipped away.
So, now we need a new rooster... There is something I never expected to be saying. Ever.
And, as for the Subdivision thing--we have spent some time looking at acreage lately. Maybe we will get a cow or two...
Sun setting on the beach. Ah, how beautiful! I love the warm glow of the last moments of the day. It is so pretty and makes for great photos!
Our friends Angela and Joe invited us and another family to go to the beach with them! We had a fabulous time at the there. Expecting rain, we pulled into Destin just as the clouds parted and the sun came out! We all ran down to the public beach when we first arrived and soaked up some sun. Ahh, it felt good!We actually only stayed one night in Destin. After that we moved down the coast just a little while and stayed in the 'cabins' at Grayton Beach National Park. The 'cabins' were actually more like condos. And while the basic hotel rooms without views were over $160+ with priceline, our condo (still no view) which had room for all of us and a full kitchen, back screened in porch and a grill was only $110/night! We would have needed two hotel rooms, too!
Another plus of staying at the state park was that we had a section of the beach that was practically clear of other people, relatively speaking. Maybe ten other families stretched out this beach within our sight range. It was beatiful and we could easily keep track of everyone. Even when someone wandered (which a couple of mine did)!See in this blurry picture of me, there is no one else there on the beach except Joe and he was with us! Nice!
The kids had a blast:
We even stopped to see the alligators since they eluded our view the rest of the time. We had to go to a special place to see them. The kids were happy to even be able to pet them! Our final stop on the way home was an overnight in Montgomery (which my good little home-schooled girls recognized as the capital). We couldn't get any adjoining rooms so we split up, girls in one room, boys in the other. I think that I got the better deal! :-) We watched some TV and nobody tried jumping on the beds or yelling or anything. I called over to Steve's room at one point. Different story. ha! ha! Boys! More pictures in the posts below this one. I told you: a MILLION!
See Vitali laughing and having a good time? That is proof.
Next, you see what happens when he decides that he is a bit tired and overwhelmed and wants to test our resolve. Do mom and Dad still stand their ground in the sand? Leave it to Vitali to wonder....
No. We are not allowed to throw sand. We do mean it! Vitali loves to throw and whack stuff. All that sand was a HUGE temptation for him. Finally, we made him a time-out island. This inspired the other kids to make a patch of islands as well:
(Jane and Sarah, two of Angela's girls.)
Then it was, I don't like to go in the water. This was really more of a game of "make-everyone-feel sorry for Vitali" It worked pretty well but remember the "proof" above. :-) Steve and I would hold him and quietly remind him that he was always safe with us. He cried anyway. Didn't want to have to depend on us. That was the real issue there, I believe. (and, by the way, some of my pictures are blasted with light. I am blaming it on the fact that I had my polarizer on the lens. I don't know if that was it or not)
Throwing sand again! Vitali threw sand again so Steve filled two buckets with sand and sent Vitali to the water's edge to throw all that sand into the ocean. Turns out that wasn't as fun as whipping it at his friends. He said things like, " I don't want to throw sand!" the whole time.
Vitali, not wanting to throw sand. Really, after this, he didn't anymore. And, for the record, most of the time he was this happy little guy!