Sunday, October 7, 2012

We Have Puppies!

Two weeks ago we put deposits on two Anatolian Shepherd/Great Pyrenees puppies.  These breeds were developed as Livestock Guardian Dogs (LGDs) and are meant to live with the animals they guard 24/7.  It will be difficult for us, to raise adorable puppies and not bring them in the house for cuddles but we’re up for the challenge!

After realizing we were getting the pups, a sister and brother, I started researching names.  I wanted good strong names that mean defender or protector or the like.  I fell in love with names like Titus (defender) and Argus (vigilant protector) for the boy but the girl name was harder.  I discovered that Trudy means “maiden of the spear” or “strong spear” but I wasn’t sure I loved the name.  The nickname “Tru” sounded kind of cool though.  Still I wasn’t sure.  We need to get to know them I guess.

Yesterday we got to go pick up our 9-week old pups (though one of them ended up NOT being one we chose, there was a mix up, but we’re keeping her and it seems a good fit so far) and bring them home.  Today after church we broke down the stock panels making the goat enclosure and moved them inside the new goat yard and put them back up to make a home for the pups.  The pups kept us company the whole time under Zion’s watchful eye.  We also got the goats’ new stall in the barn ready for them and now they get to sleep in the barn with direct access to their yard.  No more shuffling goats back and forth from the old goat run to the chicken yard and back again at night.  Yay! 

So at the end of the day we were all exhausted!  Evidence:


That’s Titus in the front.  We all loved that name.  The kids wanted to name the girl Leah though and I wasn’t in love with that one, so we compromised.  We’re calling her Trulea (like truly) a combination of the Trudy and Leah.

There will be many more pictures to come of this sweet duo, we’re smitten already!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

TEN! - Part I

A couple of years ago (boy, time flies - how many times will I say that, really) I was planning a little getaway just for myself.  A weekend to take off and recharge.  While I was researching places to stay I found Thornewood Castle and it just happens to be within an hour’s drive of us.  I immediately fell in love.  Who wouldn’t?  I knew we couldn’t justify the expense for my little solo getaway but I asked Rob if we could start saving for our tenth anniversary.  Still I was dubious.  Would we really truly make it happen?  Well we did I’m happy to say.  And in true Julie fashion here I am MONTHS later to tell you about it.  LOL

First, my sister came to stay with the kids.  Apparently she brought a tent which she erected IN my living room.  Ha!  The kids definitely had a great time while we were gone!

Then Rob and I headed out.  Ah, sweet freedom!  We grabbed dinner out and watched a GORGEOUS sunset!


This house is not where we stayed but was across the street from the park where we watched the sun set and it was just too cute!


We not only got to watch the sun set but also a fog roll in and a lightning storm.  I didn’t have a tripod in order to catch the lightning though but that’s OK, it was still a great night.

Afterward we headed to “our” castle and we met by cozy robes and a huge heart-shaped Jacuzzi tub in our fancy little suite.


Off to edit more photos…

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fun Times

We packed up the kids and headed to the Fair yesterday.  I feel lucky that we have so many to choose from around here.  I LOVE going to the fair!  I love everything about it (except the crowds, it was the most crowded I’d ever seen it yesterday).  Especially the food.  And the animals.  And the grange hall with all its displays.  And the food. Yeah, especially the food. LOL

The kids always want to stop at the fountain first.  I’m not sure the appeal but I guess at least it’s a good place to get a starting out photo.



There’s also a stage nearby and it just so happened that The Gothard Sisters were getting ready to perform within minutes of our arrival.  Perfect!  They are a Celtic trio of sisters (not triplets, just a trio) who sing, dance and play all their own instruments.  They were super good! 



Elias clapped and clapped.


Then we danced.


Then he just watched and watched.



Next we stopped at the caramel apple stand to see if they sold them sliced up and lo and behold the woman said that she’d slice a whole one for us so we bought an M&M caramel apple.  There were six slices.  Perfect!  I could have done without the M&Ms.  Elias could have done without the actual caramel and apple.  Next time we’ll have to work out an arrangement.



Then we meander on through the carnival games to Sillyville where all the kids rides and entertainment are.  There is a Pirate show for the kids.  I hoped that Elias would be happy sitting in the little boat so we could watch.  It worked!  (For a  while.)


Zion got to be IN the show!  I thought it was pretty cool how they let children volunteers dress up and be part of the show.  Zion was a fish/ocean waves.



Random bubble photo.



Holy cow ride tickets are expensive!  We bought enough for the kids to pick two rides, Elias got one ride and sheesh, that was enough!  But the kids had fun.  Zion and Gabe went through the fun house together.  Zion clung to his arm before going in saying “You need to take care of me!”  :)


Gideon chose the kids’ roller coaster but was too short to go alone so I went with him.  I FINALLY got him to put his arms up a round or two before the ride ended.  He’s so brave!


We wanted Elias to have a ride with a steering wheel, that would be just his sort of thing, but they were all either down for maintenance or he was too short.  So we picked the canoe because Gideon wanted the canoe too.  But with no belts in the canoe who would keep him from jumping out (that would be SO like him).  The guy manning the ride was nice enough to let all the kids go through even though we didn’t have enough tickets (we didn’t ask, he volunteered when we asked him how many tickets were left on our ride card).  So all four of them got one ride together.  So sweet!



As usual there was the junk music statue.  The kids love to drum on all of the different elements.  It is very popular and VERY loud!




Gideon has come such a long way in his ability to handle noise and crowds.  This year he was excited to go and had fun right from the get go, he wasn’t at all overwhelmed and enjoyed participating in everything we did.  Yay for Gideon!



Another stop to find some shade and have a snack.  This time chocolate sprinkle mini doughnuts.  yum!


I don’t even recall what upset him.  I think it was Rob stepping away to buy a corndog for Gabe.  He’s just so darn cute even when he’s upset so I had to take a picture.



Random Ferris Wheel shot.



Time for the animal barns!  This is an Americauna chicken.  They lay colored eggs.  As in blue, green or pink.  The Americauna mixes are called Easter Eggers.  Though we were told we were buying Americaunas when we bought some of our chicks I’m pretty sure they are Easter Eggers.  Still it will be fun to have colored eggs.  :)



This is a pheasant. The male was nice and calm, just hanging out.  The female was kind of freaking out.  That’s her zooming by in the background.  Poor thing.  But the male, SO gorgeous!


There were many variety of geese as well.  I don’t want geese.  I wouldn’t mind some ducks though.



Elias let himself nap for a while.  He slept until he tried to roll over to his tummy and realized he was sitting up, not laying down so that was kind of impossible.


We walked past the draft horse barn but it was roped off so they could ready the horses for and exhibition so this was the only shot I got.  I edited it to give it an old timey feel.  I like it.


After that we tried to walk through the sale barns with the folks shucking their wares and the grange hall but it was SO crowded.  At times we were stuck in a glut of people, moving like molasses and really unable to stop and look at anything or move on to get out so we decided it was enough and time to go home.  We’d been there 7 1/2 hours though and the kids were pretty tired.  What a fun, fun day!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

First Days of School

Yes, first dayS, because Gideon and Gabe started school on Wednesday and Zion started today, Friday.  I did not want school to start or summer to come to a close (though it was about 90 degrees today so our summer is in no way over with).  I love having my kids at home.  Alas, the dayS came. 

First came time to drop off my sweet Gideon.  I was not sure that he would let me, he is my homebody, preferring to hunker down with a show or toy than go anywhere – ever!  But he did well.  All morning Zion had been coaching him on what to expect since she went there last year.  What a great big sis!

So here we are, about to enter the school…and he’s more interested in eyeing the playground behind me.


Then he needs to sign in.  Our summer was so nuts we didn’t do much teaching at home so I brought my highlighter, wrote his name and he wrote over it.  I was surprised today at how many letters he was already able to do today, his second day, even though I didn’t write it out first.


Then Zion showed him where to put his back pack and where to find a toy and he was all ready for me to leave.  Just like that. *sigh*


I had no time for emotions, I had one more to get to school this morning.  So home we went and I packed Gabe’s lunch complete with a special note and a little pack of Smarties candy. 


I’m not yet sure if I feel we are lucky in that we are living with the “walking zone”, I’d much rather a bus pick them up, but walking isn’t so bad (though most days I will drive them). 


He allowed me just a couple of pictures and then said “I have it from here, Mom.”  Why do they have to grow up so fast?  *sniff*


On the way home Zion has to climb and have her picture taken. 


And I take a shot of random grass.  I love Fall (except for sending my kids back to school).


Fast forward to Friday and I’ve got three to get to school.  Zion starts Kindergarten today, Gideon has a second day of PreK (he goes three days a week for 2 1/2 hours) and Gabe has his third day of third grade.  First, Gabe and Zion and Gideon wants in on Zion’s photo so we do a silly one first.


Then just Zion in her sassy outfit.


Then we go find her classroom, where to put her bag and her desk.  She has been looking forward to this for years.  I might have cried if I wasn’t trying to keep Elias wrangled.  He is a good distraction.


And before we knew it we’d survived our first week of school.  Liked it even.  Today I went shopping with only one child while the other three were at school.  I guess there is a benefit or two to sending the kids off to school.  Maybe.