Saturday, May 30, 2015

Book Review - The Midwife's Tale by Delia Parr

The latest book I'm reviewing is The Midwife's Tale by Delia Parr.  It is set in Pennsylvania in 1830, where main character Widow Martha Cade works as a midwife in a small town.  Her world is turned upside-down by many events, starting with her teenage daughter running off with a theater troupe.  I expected this book to be a romance (just because so many of the books I review are), but this really isn't one.  There is a hint of romance to it, but mainly it is just Martha's story, so the title is very apt.  By the way, mentioning that it isn't a romance is in no way a negative!  I really enjoyed this book.  It delves deeply into Martha's life and several challenges, or "gifts," cause her to open her eyes wide to areas of her life that she didn't realize needed examining.  Martha gets through all of her trials with grace and faith, and her character is well-developed and endearing.  There were several times that I thought I knew where the story was heading, but I was mistaken.  Several secondary characters were quite intriguing, especially Will and Samuel.  This is a book about life, which often meanders in ways we don't expect, and the tale is well-told.  I also appreciated the historical details, including the medical and midwifery knowledge of the day.  I highly recommend this book.

I was given this book by the publisher, Bethany House, for the purpose of writing a review, but all opinions are my own. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Chicks and Garden

We're in the growing season now, for both chicks and plants.  The chicks are getting bigger all the time:
As you can see, the black astrolop chick on the right is a cockerel.  That's a buff orpington chick in the middle of the astrolops.

On the left is a silver laced Wyandotte.  The others are unidentified.  :)
We have 10 chicks, and still the same 6 hens (which right now are giving themselves dust baths/naps by the shed).
The tomato plants look healthy, too.

The peppers look healthy, but very, very small right now.  They enjoy the hotter weather to really get growing, but we've had really mild temperatures so far.  I'm not complaining, though!  (And I'm sure it will get hot soon.  It's already muggy and hotter today.)  Also, the crescent beans look fabulous, and the broccoli looks decent.  Most of the herbs are in pots, and they are growing well.  The tomatillos even have blooms on them, and the raspberries are growing.  Cucumbers and a couple of cantaloupes have sprouted.  Things are going well so far.  Hopefully this continues! 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Full Weekend

9 kids and 5 adults make for a fun-filled weekend.  Polly, the kids, and I had a lot of fun while the other adults went kayaking.
Gyunay had a good time.  He adapted really well to all of the chaos. 

Also, I never posted from the week before.  We had Gyunay baptized. 

He kept touching his wet head, but he didn't cry. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

The 2015 Garden

This is the "small garden".  This year, it has tomatillos, peppers (Bulgarian, Pimento, and Sweet Chocolate), a few extra tomato plants (including 2 yellow pear), Sultan's Golden Crescent beans, green beans, a couple of Calypso beans, broccoli, and to the far right (off screen), some lettuce, arugula, spinach, and dragon (purple) carrots.  As you can see, I need to hack out the tree thing that is growing against the house amongst the day lilies.

Same garden, side view.  As you can tell, I ran out of straw halfway through this garden, and I haven't bought more yet, so it's partially naked.  Under the straw is a layer of newspaper.

This is the new garden.  On the other side of the fence is the old "big garden".  This new garden has 2 rows of raspberries (it looks like 7 are thriving), and 26 tomato plants (Black Krim, Golden Jubilee, Mortgage Lifter, Italian Heirloom, Mexican Midget cherry, and a golden cherry that has a long German name meaning little blonde girl).

This is the biggest raspberry.  It looks healthy!

And see, raspberries!  Yum, yum.
I also have a few things planted in the old big garden, which will actually be two sections this year.  The middle will be fallow, because that ground got impacted by big machinery during our sewage fix.  Anyway, I do have 4 zucchini plants in the ground, plus 3 mounds of cantaloupe seeds.  Elijah planted 12 cucumber seeds (white and green varieties).  I still need to plant more cantaloupe and pumpkin on that patch, and on the second patch we will have blue corn, sunflowers, and maybe some butternut squash.
I have a few extra tomato and pepper plants that may end up somewhere.  The front porch is full of pots, with carrots, radishes, lettuce, herbs, marigolds, and strawberry spinach.  Oh, and in the herb garden, the sage looks great, and some cilantro volunteers are coming up well.  I need to plant dill seeds there as well, and some others, maybe the thyme.  I have basil and mint in pots.  I also have some blueberries planted by the fountain, and the big one should bear this year.  All in all, the gardens look great so far.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Shopping With Purpose

Hi, all!

I just wanted to take a minute to let you know that May is the Sparrow Fund's Build the Nest month, and all of these shops donate at least 10% of their sales this month to Sparrow Fund, which supports adoptive families and orphans.  Here is the link to the shops:  This links you to the Sparrow Fund's blog, which I have been reading for over a year now.  It has lots of advice and encouragement for adoptive families of all types (international, domestic infant, foster/foster adoption).  And yes, my little etsy shop is one of the shops donating this May.

In other news, here's Malachi measuring Lydia for a school assignment.  She's wearing the new dress I made for her:

Monday, May 11, 2015

Chicks and Hens

This weekend, we moved the chicks into the coop with the big hens.  It really freaked the hens out!  The chicks actually seem pretty confident for such little things.  They were hopping out of their pen in the garage and pooping all over the place, plus they are all feathered out, so to the coop they go!

So far, it seems to be going well.  We've got food and water in a couple of locations, so everyone should be having no problem getting sustenance. 

Also this weekend, we refilled the sand in the sand/water table, and the youngest two had a blast yesterday playing in it.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Book Review - Shadow of the Mountain by Cliff Graham

I just finished Shadow of the Mountain by Cliff Graham.  It is the story of Caleb of the Old Testament, but since the Bible doesn't give us the backstory of Caleb, the author was free to write his own backstory.  He leads the reader through the days of Egypt through the eyes of the great warrior, Caleb.  It is enthralling.  It should be noted that the author does not shy away from realistic (and bloody) detail in his battle stories.  It should also be noted that although I do not traditionally enjoy reading of battles, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  The narrative is sweeping and compelling.  As the elderly Caleb tells his story to his nephew, we see the lands of the bible in a more personal way.  I love that the author lets Caleb show the humanity of the Egyptian people.  I was also happy to see that he put the exodus of Moses and the Israelites during the reign of Thutmosis III, which most people wouldn't care about but is a timeline that makes sense to me.  (Yes, you are seeing some of my history nerd tendencies here!)

Overall, this book is well-written and engaging.  It flows from the time of Caleb's youth to his old age as commander of the Hebrew army quite easily.  This is the first book in a series, and as such, the book has a conclusion but not a complete ending (which means that I'm going to have to read the next one when it comes out).  The author actually also includes some women in the narrative, and although none are main characters, they are important characters.  Often women are left out of stories like this, so I was pleased with the inclusion.  I recommend this book highly.

I received this book from the publisher, Bethany House, for the purpose of writing a review, but the opinions are my own.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Weekend Project

Nathaniel took on a weekend project: repainting the gazebo and deck.  Elijah and Malachi did a bit of helping, too.  Here is the before and after of the deck (complete with cutie model):

And the gazebo, which really looks fabulous with all of the spring greenery:

And one of our latest attempts at a family photo:

Believe it or not, this is probably the best shot out of 6 or 7 attempts over 2 days.  Really. 

Friday, May 1, 2015

3 Months Home

Well, this past month has shown that the "honeymoon stage" is over.  We had a very difficult week last week.  We were prepared; all our adoption education told us that our little man would most likely try to push us, especially me, away, and he tried pretty hard last week.  My two-year-old tornado tried to get into everything and do every dangerous thing he could think of - all at warp speed.  Jumping on the couch? Grabbing at the burners of a hot stove? Pulling the dog's ears? Climbing Furniture? Trying to open the oven?  Trying to get at the (child proofed) electrical outlets?  Check on all, with a steady dose of physical aggression towards me.  Yet, when Nathaniel got home, he was fine.  He's mainly tested me, and to a much lesser extent, Lydia.  And, our house has been very child proofed specifically for his safety, so there's only so much danger he can get into.  I was so amazed and thrilled at how Lydia responded to him when he was pulling her hair and poking her in the eye.  She's a bit of a tornado herself, and willing and able to punch anyone who messes with her, but she chose to be gentle with Gyunay, and to model to him gentle touch with my help, over and over.  She never hit him, which is itself a huge victory!  And now he's back to being her happy shadow, giving her abundant hugs and huge grins.  As for him and me, he's doing so much better now.  Our days have calmed down.  He's trying to say, "I love you."  I know he will still push me sometimes, but he seems to be settling into the fact that I'm not going anywhere, and he's much calmer.   He obviously loves all of us. 

He started therapy this week.  He had speech first, and today a developmental interventionist.  Honestly, neither one is doing anything that Nathaniel and I don't already do with him, but I still think it's good for him.  He enjoys playing with the visitors, but he's obviously still checking in with me the whole time.  The therapist today was blown away by his understanding of English, and she made my day when she said, "You can tell he's really attached to you.  You're his anchor."
My heart overflows with love for all of my kids.  This little guy is so firmly planted in our family that no one can imagine life without him. 
You have been told, O man, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: Only to do the right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.  -Micah 6:8