Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Strawberries in April!

Yes, strawberries in April! First ones discovered yesterday afternoon.
Someone was happy!
Another someone loved her first taste of strawberries!
It should be noted that the evening before and the evening of eating our first berries, we also had fired in our wood stoves...
Kali has gotten into putting her stuffed animals on leashes - here she is seeing what Alida thinks of that treatment.
They are growing - fast! And we couldn't help ourselves and now have turkey eggs in the incubator...
Alida prefers to play with their shavings over playing with them.

Savoring moments...

And there are so many to savor right now!  I'm taking a few moments in this crazy week at work leading up to graduation to quickly post a few recent happenings and fun moments.  The next posting will just be pictures with captions, but here are three fun recent videos:

I think Kali's next book for Alida is going to need to be helping her learn the difference between a true "uh oh" and "on purpose."  To date she flings supper off her tray and then proclaims, "uh oh."

This is now a nightly ritual, and becoming a morning, afternoon and evening one too.  She is pretty proud of her two feet and their ability to take her places.   I'm trying to soak up every moment of crawling as I imagine she will soon give that up for walking.

The girls love their dance sessions together.  But the littlest gets tired out sometimes!  But this video seemed worth it for the few seconds of head bobbing at the end. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I woke this morning to the sound of Jason's phone ringing in the closet. Before having a chance to be annoyed that he left it with the ringer on in the bedroom, I answered and heard, "this is the Penn Laird post office...your ducklings have arrived." It took me back to an early morning in our Hamlet Drive apartment when we were newly married and got the call that our chicks had come in to the Harrisonburg post office. Fond memories...Not too many moments later, Alida helped us wake Kali with the news:

It's amazing how cooperatively and quickly Kali can get up and be ready to head out the door when the destination is the post office where duckling await! I think we were all pretty excited about the adventure as we headed out in the rain (which we are also rejoicing in). We counted them before leaving and they had even given us a bonus duckling so we headed home with 11 cute "fuzz balls" as Kali calls them. One was pretty interested in seeing the world outside the box and all of a sudden I heard Kali say, "oh no, one got out" from the back seat. Sure enough, there was one sitting up on the back of Jason's seat. He/she sure had a lot to say while I held it until I could safely put it back with its fellow ducklings.

Here they are getting adjusted to their new home:

They are just about as cute as can be. Kali goes up often and often brings one down to show Alida and I. Not surprisingly, Alida is about as interested in sprinkling their feed around as she is with them. It's fun to note how different they are from chicks. They are BUSY buggers. They took less than a minute to find their water and food and while they snag little naps now and then, they are quite intent on growing it seems, and fast. We are enjoying them! It seems doubtful they will last inside as long as the chicks did, so Jason will need to finish his new coop SOON! For today, anyway, we are savoring the rain and he's working on garden trellising.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Look who's walking!

She's been shuffling but she took her first steps tonight while we were out weeding and mulching Kali's garden by the fire ring. By the time we headed in, she was doing a solid 10 steps or so. She hasn't gained the same confidence indoors but it won't be long.

In other news, I'm already wondering how absolutely "wonderful" Alida's diaper will smell tomorrow morning as she enjoyed her first asparagus tonight at dinner.

One final piece of news: duckling arrive TOMORROW!

Here's a few pictures from our evening - flowers, girls and yes even chicken coops!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

In other news...

It seems like there are always new things popping up around here - I guess that is to be expected in springtime and in a home with two creative, fun youngsters. They sure keep us on our toes. I've started thinking of this blog as my place for "depositing" things that I don't want to forget or I want our girls to be able to look back on (when Mom told me this was my form of scrapbooking, it not only relieved my "I don't scrapbook" guilt but also helped me frame a bit more of why I do this and to help me think of my audience more clearly (as this is all kind of just hanging out there for anyone to land upon)...

So the tidbits on my mind this afternoon:

Kali's an amazing big sister, and not just because she is a huge help! She loves on Alida all the time, and Alida loves it except it seems that at bedtime she is not such a fan of Kali's preferred method of saying goodnight to her (by rubbing Alida's head with her mouth and kissing her). She is too tired for that kind of closeness at that time of night. But she tolerates it. Kali now watches Alida inside sometimes while Jason does the chicken chores. And Kali almost always is willing to watch her and play with her if she isn't too deeply engrossed in a book for me to get various tasks done around the home. It has become her way of "pitching in" and we are all quite happy with the arrangement. It was noticing this shift that helped us make the final decision to add another animal to our homestead in 2012.

Tomorrow is ship date! 10 baby duckling should be arriving by mail Tuesday or Wednesday of this week. The excitement is building and the adults in the household are hoping the minutes between now and then will afford us enough preparation time. The swimming pool will be set up once again in the common room to house the little ones until they are big enough for their outdoor pen. We'll all eager to see what adventures we'll enjoy having ducks around.

Backing up a bit, Kali said on Easter day that it didn't seem so much like Easter. For a gal who doesn't like to talk to many people (other than those she is very close to), she sure does love big social gatherings (if she can stay on the fringes and not be expected to engage in any particular way). There was not enough hubbub for her. I, on the other hand, loved being "just us." The day prior had lots of fun with some family around for an Easter egg hunt. Alida and Kali are still playing with eggs and still finding them occasionally around the yard and house.

I'm not sure I've mentioned it in this space but one thing that has been occupying a lot of my thinking space has been the contents of my journals from about 15 years ago. One night after Alida fell asleep a few months back, I grabbed one off the shelf to peruse. That landed me back in 1996 when I was heading to Immokalee, Fl. for a 4 month voluntary service stint. Who had any idea the books would be such "page turners" but I'm now in the fall of 1998 and can't seem to put them down. They are embarrassing, entertaining, enlightening and quite though provoking. In all honestly, it feels like it has catapulted me into a time of looking inward a bit more, thinking back and dreaming forward. I feel like a very different person now in some ways, and in other ways very much the same. But I'll just share my one thought for today. I've been noticing something that I need to tease out for myself and think through more - I'm ready through the tumultuous days of Jason and my engagement, my first year back at school after our time in Bolivia at the orphanage, and the year of growth and change in how I viewed my faith journey and relationship to God. What an intense time! Leading up to that point I was often an "up front" person - leading things confidently (at least outwardly). I've stepped back from a lot of the things I used to "proclaim" boldly but today I was thinking about some things that I miss. I've been missing communicating in Spanish and being more involved with music, to name a few. I think there are various things that were painful by association with painful times in my life and connected closely to things I no longer believe in the same way. But I'm starting to wonder if it is a small case of "throwing the baby out with the bath water." Just some of my musings. We'll see where they lead. What I'm most happy about is that I can approach this time of reflections with very few heavy laden expectations for things turning out a certain way or a need to hear the "right" answers from on high. I'm glad about that (particularly because life on Fruit Farm Lane doesn't include much uninterrupted times of reflection but bits and pieces here and there on the edges of a full and engaging life in the here and now!). I'm glad that my life has a lot less guilt and pressure in it than it once did and a lot more joy and fullness. So I'm hoping anything I pick back up or find ways to add to my life will be because of the richness it will add to my life and to others.

Speaking of richness, I love the life I'm living and the people I'm living with. And our eldest is going to whip me into shape in no time if she keeps improving on her bike so much. Alida has "graduated" to the jogger for many of her "nappy walks" (to protect our backs if nothing else) and so I have found, with no clear decision to pick it back up, to be jogging a bit more just to keep up with Kali zooming down the road on her bike. We just got back from one such walk/jog/nap.

I'm out of time as Kali is ready to be off "Alida-duty" and I think it is time to head outside to enjoy a picnic and the beautiful evening.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Friday, April 6, 2012

New things at every turn...

I thought it was worth taking a few moments to make sure we highlight some of the recent new things... I'm taking a few very precious moments of complete quiet AND alone time to do so. The picture here explains what Alida is doing right now. While she still takes many naps in the pack or jogger or our arms, she seems to also be enjoying laying alone sometimes. Jason is working next door and Kali is enjoying a play date at a park with friends.

The chicks had a big move a few days back. Here you can see Alida going to visit them for one of the last times before they outgrew their indoor living quarters.

They are now in an snake-proof pen and just get outdoor playtime when we are nearby to monitor their surroundings. This connects to the other really new thing that happened this week. Jason and I enjoyed our first date since Alida joined our family. We cashed in a birthday coupon (yes, from September) for my folks to have an evening with both girls while we enjoyed an evening to ourselves. We enjoyed the time right where we most love to be - at home! Mom and Dad brought Chipotle burritos home for us and then the girls happily took off with them for a park and picnic.

I won't try to argue who had the most fun that evening, but the pictures here clearly show that our girls were not spending much of their time pining for home. Jason and I had fun sitting outside eating our dinner while the chicks entertained us. They were not quite confident yet of the great outdoors so they would jump on each other right at the entrance making them tumble out the entrance from time to time, only to turn around and try to get back in to safety as quickly as possible. Finally one stayed out long enough to peck at a blade of grass and I think that was the turning point. They now love to come out and run around and eat the delectable clover all around them.

Jason had developed a LONG agenda for our precious uninterrupted conversation time. We took a leisurely walk until dark and maybe got through 2% or so of the agenda. But it was a start. We feel the need to look together at all we are doing and try to determine together what we feel most passionate and excited about, what we do well, and what we could let go of. We both have a deep desire to create a home life that is sustainable and lifegiving for us and for all those that come in contact with our little homestead. We know we have a ways to go, but I'm glad for the space that evening opened up to keep working at it together...

Well, the sleeping baby is no longer sleeping and the big sister is home again so thus ends the alone and quiet time. Alida is so precious napping but you can tell her little mind can hardly slow down to sleep. While she was nursing at the tail end of her nap she was nodding her head "yes" in her sleep, one of her current favorite things to do. Very sweet!