Sunday, September 25, 2011

Just Two Years Ago

Just two years ago yesterday, we welcomed the sweetest, most amazing red headed baby boy into our lives! 

Cass Lee has become such a special part of our family, bringing us all more joy than we ever could have imagined! 

His smile lights up the entire room and it's always been as if every part of this little guy just glows when that grin comes across his face!

So in honor of our sweet little birthday boy, let me share his special day with all of you!  Cass Lee, you have been such a gift and it's so much fun watching you grow up, keep up with the big kids, and to share our days with you!  We love you little man!

And to brag a little before.....can you believe Cass has been peeing on the potty time and time again, even before his second birthday?  A little more time and commitment from Mommy and little man will have himself potty trained!!!  And as Tommy says, I will be embarrassing him for the rest of his life!

Birthday boy!  Ready for his party!

A look at the table before his guests arrive!

Look at him trying to blow out those candles!

He got so excited and just knew this was a moment to clap and say "YAY"!

Mmm mmm, that's some gooooood stuff!

Present time!  He had three helpers!  This sweet little boy wanted to stop and play with each toy, wasn't even worried about opening the next ones!

Now that there's a fittin' fine hat isn't it?

Soooo excited about this present from Grandma!  Look at that expression on him!  He loved this helicopter toy and has dragged it (literally) all over the house!

And of course we've gotta love the trucks!

 Baby Tucker is tuckered out at his first party!

And we can't leave out the after picture!  What a perfect end to a day full of partying......


Friday, September 23, 2011

A New Season Brings Simple Joys

I find a joy so simple and pure in what many would consider too hard of work for a busy family of six.  It serves the opposite purpose in my heart and that of each and every one of us here on this land.  Something about planting, canning, and simply letting the kids be kids seems so much closer to the way things are really supposed to be!  We have gotten a good start on this new fall season, so do let me share pictures of what we've accomplished around here!

This here is the beginning of a fall crop for us.  I look forward to greens, cabbage, onions, brussel sprouts, carrots, and some winter lettuce varieties!  I hope to have the shelves full of fall's bounty!

I caught a cow!  Well, three actually.  The intended target (big yellow Mama) use to be quite capable, and thoroughly enjoyed, bullying me into fear of her.  Yes, she is mean, but I hold the upper hand now because I'm just simply not terrified anymore.

I must pause to share with you the pictures of these little ones helping start the garden.  What is fun for them and enjoyable for us to watch, also serves as lessons on how to work their land and be good stewards of what the Lord has given us.  In preparing our home and pantry, we prepare them along side us with priceless skills.  Even if never a survival necessity in their lives, they do not lose, because I know they too will carry this knowledge into their own families one day.

A little dirt NEVER hurt!  At least sister thought so while covering Cass in such!

Strike a pose....and get to work while you're at it kids!!! ;)

WE HAVE CARROTS!  These last minute finds from summer gave us all a great laugh!  So tiny and actually proved to be HOT as I believe they must have cross pollinated with the radishes planted behind them!

And one of my favorite accomplishments of all!  We have more pears than I'll ever be able to put up this year.  But so far, I've canned these as accidental pear honey (meant to be preserves), pear butter (Uh-mazing), and pears in syrup!  I'm excited to see just how many jars I can get put up before the harvest ends!  In this picture is one of the most special birthday gifts I've ever Grandma's food mills and some utensils, some of which has been passed down for more than one generation!  LOVE THEM and making the pear butter was a snap!  Something about preparing fruit, canning the fresh tastes we've gathered, and looking at these beautiful jars, brings me a peace and satisfaction I can't put into words!  Prepared?  Getting there.  Content?  Absolutely!

NOTE:  For a wonderful pear butter recipe, go here!

Are you serious Mom?

Lazy family evenings follow the hard work around this house!  Readers raise readers, right?

Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.  Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her mean in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.  Proverbs 6:6-8

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.  Proverbs 4:23

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Sad Loss & The Great Chicken Massacre Of 2011

Before I begin to share the horrible story of our chicken massacre, I must first share the story of another sad loss.  The bond between a man and his dog can't be understood by someone who hasn't ever seen it.  Neither can the value of a great hunting dog be summed up in dollar amount.  And when the dog is both man's best friend and a great hunting companion....the loss takes quite the toll on even a strong man's heart.  Tommy buried his best dog this week so let me take a moment to share pictures of Rawhide Ridge Jack who will be greatly missed.

And now onto the next sad story, unfortunately.  The chickens.  My sweet little chickens that we've raised since they were just little peeps.  I made the decision to set them free onto our land, to close back up in the chicken house at night.  Free during the day and safe from the coyotes at night.  So after Aiden went on to school, Gracie and I made our way outside to accomplish this great mission!

We were so proud, and as you can tell, the chickens were pretty proud themselves.  It took a few moments of uncertainty and then they stepped out in their mighty move of bravery!  Free at last, free at last.....

And then perhaps my most horrible homesteading moment of all....the butchering began.  It was unplanned, unintentional, and once the damage began, there was little I could do.  So people, learn from my a much better, much more thoughtful job at this than I.  The culprit?  Dogs that weren't restrained well enough and the two didn't mix this sad day!  And now, I have only 7 chickens left (counting the duck that believes he is a chicken himself).  And yes, I'm grateful that it's at least this many as I originally thought the damage was even greater.

I got mad, I got sad, I blamed everything I could come up with and then the truth set it.  It was my fault, an oversight, and lack of proper planning.  So it is what it is but at least I'll know better next time.

Before pictures for my winter garden.  The grass is already down from what it was just a few days prior.  And with the proper equipment, it will be down low enough and ready to till any day now.  That equipment would be none other than some hungry cows!  Thank you sir and madam's for your services! 

And with that, we'll carry on into this new week.  I look forward to the smell of freshly tilled ground and the hope in planting new seeds.  The cooler weather is a relief and the itch to decorate for fall has officially set in.  It's really too bad concerning the loss of Jack and so many chickens for no good reason at all.  But what else is there to do but carry on and look to the next steps of fall and the excitement of another harvest? 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday Dinner

Around here Sunday dinners bring with them lots of yummy food, a fairly restful day, and great family time!  I personally couldn't think of a better way to spend a day!

Aunt Carla and Tiffany came to visit this weekend, and that always means hair styling for the girls!  They LOVE to have their hair done pretty!  Gracie continually asked me, "is my hair messed up?"  We actually took bets that those would be the first words out of her mouth when she woke up this morning!  And sure enough, this groggy little princess walked into the living room and the first sounds out of her mouth were, "is my hair okay?"  And as she watches me type, she's asking the same thing, followed by, "that bout both of my hair do's?"

One of those perfect moments I was actually able to capture with the camera!

Apple pie crust!  I've decided that this is what playdoh originated from!  I do believe that if I was around back in the 'old' days, I'd find my children finding joy in the simple shaping of dough into a ball!

Quite the Sunday feast.....brought to you especially by Alaina!  She wanted to cook so she chose the menu, made her ingredient list, grocery shopped with her Daddy and prepared the meal today with the help of Gracie, Aiden, and myself!  It was amazing, she did awesome, and I love seeing her want to create and share meals that won't only taste great, but bring us joy and memories as well!  All three of these recipes came from my favorite cookbook from The Pioneer Woman. 

Such tiny hands, what a wonder to his little cousin who herself isn't so very big either!  Gracie just loves baby Tucker and enjoyed holding his hand today!

Sweet Tucker Wade taking a Sunday snooze!

Loving their new cousin!  Nobody can ever get enough turns of holding the little guy!  

I can't imagine life not full of all of these little faces!  I wouldn't want to.  Our dirt road may get dry and dusty at times, but it's never low on what really matters.  I thank God for bringing me to this place in my life, for I don't think it could get much sweeter!  As the days cool down and the season changes once again, I remember that the love of my children will never change!!!


Saturday, September 3, 2011

All About The Child

It's coming a flood down this long dirt road today.  The long, soak the ground, good kind of rain that we often find ourselves wishing for!  Other than that, we're in the clear.  We live high enough up in the state of Louisiana to really feel any out of the ordinary effects from a hurricane or tropical storm.  Unless that is, you want to consider being right along the evacuation route which at times brings long lines of traffic from people moving inland to avoid a horrible storm.  That however, is not the case this time.  I've only seen it once, and that was before the hurricane that followed Katrina.  Every radio station played evacuation messages and told information of what was available where, car after truck after bus after ambulance drove their way to safety.  But it doesn't happen often.

Yesterday was a long day made into a fun mini getaway for our visit to Shriner's Hospital with Aiden!  We had a long wait, as the orthopedics department proved to be busier than they expected.  We only have room for gratitude there, because they are always so good, so joyful, and ready to provide anything that Aiden needs.  And nowhere else will you find a lobby and cafeteria (gym included) at our complete disposal for play and entertainment!

A picture of Gracie and Cass playing during our wait.  This is only one in a long line of rideable toys there for the children's enjoyment!

Aiden playing on the touchscreen game system in the internet and gaming corner of the lobby!  We will be sure to post pictures of his new brace in the near future!  He's excited to get back to school on Tuesday to show his class!

These are only small peeks of an AWESOME place for the kids to play, parents to wait, and children to be able to forget any anxiety they may have about being at the hospital.  You are always sure to have a conversation with an employee that will brighten  your day or focus on making your kids feel great about themselves.  GREAT place.  Please remember this anytime you come across a fundraiser for Shriner's Children's Hospitals!  It truly is all about the kids....the WHOLE child and family!

Princess ballerina Gracie!  Dance bag in tote and tap shoes on hand!  Ready for dance class!


He's ready to go!  First grade, here he comes!  We've lost another tooth since this picture!  He's so wise, telling Gracie the other night that, "back in princess times people rode in carriages.  And they even lived in giant castles."  I love this little boy, and it's so neat and entertaining to watch him think and speak for himself about the world around him!


Gena and Tucker!  Today I hope to catch up on some much needed new nephew bonding time!


Gracie loves her baby cousin!  She daily pulls out all of the stops in an attempt to get to Tucker!  The other night she informed me of a conversation I strangely don't remember....."Mom, e-member you said we go see Gena's baby when it got dark?"

Sweet, sweet Tucker Wade!  How well I know he won't be tiny for long!  Before you know it he'll be giving these kids a run for their money!

And now, it's off to deal with the natural disaster that strangely hasn't been broadcast on The Weather Channel or local news.  The tornado that has swept through this home!!!  Busy day ahead but happy to be home with three of the little people that I love the very most in this world!!!