28 July 2012

Audrey's belated first birthday....

Audrey's birthday is actually July 18, but today was my first Saturday off, so it worked out well for a birthday in the park.

A variety of relatives attended, including my son Josh (center in the very back in front of column). He and his family moved back for the SECOND time after he secured a job here. That's a gift in itself! Most of these folks are from Audrey's dad's side of the family including two grandpas, a great-grandma, three aunts, some cousins and the gal in the red shirt on the left, who took photos when Audrey was born. She's expecting her own little bundle soon.

That's her mama, Micah, standing. Expecting little Hazel Jane in September!

Audrey ate cake... (Note the lack of clothing. That was planned.)

...'til she was full...

Then she got a bath in the river...

Then it was on to opening presents!

She got lots of cuddly animal toys, stacks of beautiful board books, a laptop, a computerized stuffed puppy that can be programmed to play lullabies and teach her to spell her name (sheesh!) and her favorite...a cellphone... (I'm sorry to admit, we bought this for her. I think my hubby wants his remote back...)

Then it was time for Audrey's first real aquatic experience in the Fish Hook River right next to this park!


There was a short dramatic interlude when Dad's hands                       
slipped and Audrey went into the drink. Her head went under and she was a little shaken...

A little spluttering; a little coughing; a little comforting.

But in the end, she thought it was pretty neat and she looks forward to doing it all over again!

As I type this, Audrey is parked next to our horse pasture in her stroller. She is yelling unintelligible comments at the horses and watching the foals race around. The perfect ending to a perfect birthday!


22 July 2012

After another storm...

Driving home from work tonight it was raining so hard I could hardly see. By the time I got home the rain had stopped and the sky was spectacular!

This looked prettier from my living room window, but when I take photos out the window my camera focuses on the window screen. :)

Nighty-night and shalom!

21 July 2012

Evening entertainment...

We've begun a little tradition in our family on these hot days. We arrange our lawn chairs at one end of the vegetable garden in the shade of an old tree, and we sit and visit, drink iced tea and laugh at Audrey's antics.

We watched the sprinkler over our weedy garden. (We actually had it rototilled recently, but I haven't done much hand weeding.)

And we watched a thunderstorm rolling by. It stayed to the east of us, so we enjoyed listening to the rumblings and watching it light up the clouds.

This one reminds me of a painting by one of the old masters.

A close-up of the little pink guy in the middle of the cloud.


Then the flies started biting my legs and I headed for the house!


15 July 2012

An awesome sunset and a llama named Tony...

 Hubby, Bob, and I were sitting in our lawn chairs visiting and enjoying looking at our weedy garden. Hey, it's green! The evening was so nice and cool compared to earlier. I just had to run for my camera when I saw the sun setting!

We moved some of our horses into the pasture behind our house. We also moved the llama, Tony, and our only goat, Olga. (There's a round bale in the background. Tony's bottom isn't actually THAT big!)

They like the horses, though some of these horses had never been in the same pasture as Tony and they're a little scared of him. He took it all in stride and followed them around checking them out. It's his job to protect the herd, so he investigates any newcomers to make sure they aren't mountain lions or anything. ;)  Actually, my daughter bought Tony to use for 4-H, so now he will live out his life among the horsey set. We've had so many goats over the years. We're now down to one, but we plan to look for a good milker eventually. I had planned to take more photos of the mares and foals, but my camera battery died, so I'll try again tomorrow.

In a totally different vein, while reading Hazelnut's blog today I just had to look up and identify the very unusual looking flower in one of her photos. Would you believe it's called an orange-ball-tree? Very cool, but...

what really caught my attention was this photo!

Yes, it's giant rhubarb! This was taken somewhere in England and I can now see why they are the land of fairy tales. Aren't these magical? Can't you just see fairies living among them?

And one more photo. My granddaughter, Tori, and great-grandson, Oliver. Aren't they a cute couple of people?

Good-night and shalom!

10 July 2012

Daughter Micah's baby shower creation!

My daughter, Micah, is going to a friend's baby shower and she wanted to get her something really different. So she decided to make her something. Now this may not be a new idea to some of you out there, but I hadn't seen it before. It's called a diaper cake! I think it turned out really cute!

In case you can't tell from my photos, she used a pizza pan as her base, covered it with a folded baby blanket and then stood a bottle of sparkling grape juice in the middle for a support. Then she rolled up tons of little disposable diapers and arranged them around the bottle holding them together with rubber bands. Then she stacked another tier of diapers on top of the first and then a small third tier. Then she secured a ribbon around each tier and tucked baby items into the ribbon. It's about $50 worth of stuff, but this is one of her best friends so she thought it was worth it.

Oh, and here is a photo of the first lettuce from our garden, with Ranch dressing. You can't get any simpler than that, but it was delicious. Later editions featured boiled egg, bacon bits and garbanzo beans. My favorite combo!

Well, I'm off to enjoy my day!


05 July 2012

Things keep on changing, don't they?

Well, what we thought was a permanent move to Minnesota by our kids from Texas turned out to be a short visit. As Josh explored the job market and cost of apartments he came to the conclusion that the cost of living is actually higher here, in our little backwoods community, than it is in the Ft. Worth area! There are a lot of complicated issues behind the scenes, but the end result was that they decided to call this a vacation and turn their van southward once again.

This mom was disappointed, but I really feel that they will be happier in Texas. They are still unsure about whether Jess's parents and siblings will be moving, so they will stay with them while Josh finds a job and they can get an apartment there. I think they are really attached to the community there and that's where they feel at home. So, once again, we let them go. We didn't really have any control over that anyway. They're grown up and have to figure things out for themselves.

We sure loved seeing them and they promise to visit again before a year is up. Here are some photos from our visit.

The first meeting of the cousins who have only seen each others' photos on Facebook!

Audrey and Nathan playing with her little house filled with balls. His favorite toy!

Starry borrows Audrey's jumperoo...

Grandpa's loving it!

Nathan meets Dachessa...

...and Jesse.

And drives Grandpa's tractors...

With Mommy Jess...

and Daddy Josh.

Well, sometimes these big decisions about moving are trickier than we think. Our love follows them wherever they may live, and I'm very happy for Josh's brother, Jordan, who will be glad to have him around. Also, I can't imagine how Jess's family felt when they left; not knowing when they would see them again. These babies have lived with them most of their lives and to see them move away must have been heartwrenching. I know they're rejoicing at the news of their return. I'm praying that these young folks can make some wise decisions and get their family settled in a place of their own soon!

It looks like our lives will settle back into their regular rhythms, until the next change comes about. :)

Praying for safe travels for our loved ones. Thank you, Lord, for blessing us with them!


02 July 2012

Cooling off...

It was so stuffy in the house today (no air conditioning) that I finally took my glass of iced tea and some sketching materials and sat in my favorite chair by the garden!

Do you like all the weeds? The combination of a long spell of rain combined with lots of heat has been great for growing weeds. Unfortunately, this combo happened at the same time that our rototiller is in the shop, and the repairman is in no apparent hurry to get it fixed! I suppose we will rent one eventually, but for now...

I'm just trying to keep up with the peas, beans, carrots and tomatoes the old-fashioned way. :D

This is what the rest of the front "yard" looks like from my lawn chair. It's actually just a pasture that we mow, but it will develop in the years ahead...Lord willing and the creek don't rise.

Here's that bit of sketching I was working on in my copy of "The Enchanted Barn" by Grace Livingston Hill. I also read a chapter of the book. My reading is way ahead of my drawing, so there's no danger of covering up the story before I get to it. Ayala Art has a challenge to draw 31 hearts this month. I don't think I'll try to keep up. I like hearts, but I prefer a simple quick little heart here and there; not anything complex. I thought I'd do one more intricate one and then an occasional one. This isn't finished yet... (It was hard shooting this pic left handed!)

Besides looking at the garden and sketching, hubby Bob fixed us some supper and we ate outside in our chairs! (scrambled eggs, waffles and sausage!) Sorry, didn't get a picture of that! This led to Micah, Adam and Audrey coming out (they ate inside) and everyone sat around the garden visiting until it got dark and the mosquitoes discovered us. It was a good way to keep cool! We'll have to do that more often. Micah is exploring the idea of building a fire pit so we can make s'mores!

I took this shot on one of my trips into the house. Glorious! We did feel a drop or two, but overall it was sunny.

I just discovered this photo in my camera. Doesn't she look innocent? The fridge is one of her favorite things.

Well, everyone keep cool today. I have to work from noon to eight and the kids from Texas should show up tonight. I don't think I'll see them until tomorrow evening maybe.

Keep enjoying your summer and shalom to you all! :D