Category Archives: Imported

December Brought…

Christmas brings | Inanorchard

….an uncommonly tidy house.  It didn’t happen by itself.  The house-tidy-up-fairy didn’t come; I spent the days following Thanksgiving scrubbing, dusting, chiseling, sorting, and giving the whole house a giant and much needed freshen-up.  The clean house lasted a record breaking 4 hours, and in that time I brought the two boxes of Christmas decorations in from the shed, and made the house look festive.
Christmas brings | Inanorchard

The kiddos helped me make some coffee filter snowflakes for the back door windows.  They look so pretty with the afternoon sun shining through them.
Christmas brings | Inanorchard

I replaced the orange polka-dot curtains with something more Christmas-y.  The bottle brush Christmas trees have been lined up and Miss P can hardly keep her little hands off of them.  ”Mamma, can I have the yittle Christmas trees?!  Peeeaze?!”Christmas Brings | Inanorchard

Christmas Brings | Inanorchard

Every fall I think “I’m going to force some Paperwhite bulbs and have flowers in the house at Christmastime”, and every year I completely forget, but not this year.  My sister-in-law and I spent an afternoon hanging out and potting up Paperwhites for our houses, and to give away as gifts.  Christmas Brings | Inanorchard

Colder weather and shorter days mean more time in the house.  Miss P has a good amount of toys; but her brothers’ hand-me-down wooden blocks are by far her favorite. Christmas brings | Inanorchard

She has an uncanny knack for building very tall towers that seem to defy the laws of physics.  Christmas brings | Inanorchard

The magic is in the tongue…Christmas Brings | Inanorchard

Christmas Brings | Inanorchard

Colder days mean more baking in the kitchen.  Miss P and I made these Chocolate Chip Banana muffins the other day, and they were such a hit that they disappeared in one day.  You can find the recipe hereChristmas brings | Inanorchard

Justin was able to take time off during Thanksgiving to work on some improvements for our property.  That meant heavy equipment and excited children…Christmas Brings | Inanorchard

Christmas brings | Inanorchard

Christmas Brings | Inanorchard

On the first of December the kiddos started their Advent baskets; a fun tradition I started when the boys were just little guys.  It’s just a basket full of clumsily wrapped trinkets, but they look forward to it every year.  This year Miss P joined the fun and J decided he was a little too old for little trinkets, so there are only three baskets this time around.
Christmas Brings | Inanorchard

Usually advent gifts are small, inexpensive dollar section items, or candy, but this year I did something special for the first day of December.  I made all the children Christmas pillowcases.  I found an assortment of Christmas prints on the 50% off table at the fabric store, and used this pillowcase tutorial.Christmas Brings | Inanorchard

They were genuinely excited about their handmade pillowcases.  Even J was pleased.  Target had pillows on sale for $4.50 so I also picked up new, fluffy pillows for each kiddo.  Those pillows have been all over the house!  They pile them on the floor and read books, watching tv with them, they even tried to bring them outside but I put my foot down.Christmas Brings | Inanorchard

Another one of the advent gifts was a bottle of cheap shaving cream.  I know it sounds silly but shaving cream is a lot of fun to play with and surprisingly easy to clean up.  It doesn’t stain clothing and it makes the house smell kinda nice.  I let them squirt it in a glass pie pan.Christmas Brings | Inanorchard

Christmas Brings | Inanorchard

Miss P was uncertain when we first squirted the shaving cream in a big pile for her.  She turned up her nose and said, “dat poopy!”,  which is her new and not-so-subtle way of telling you she doesn’t like something.  She very quickly got over her squeamishness and jumped right in!Christmas Brings | Inanorchard

December has also brought short days, and long evenings. Long evenings with cooped up kids has lead to some stir-crazy moments and a very frazzled mama.  The other night we busted out our Memory game in an effort to calm the crazy.Christmas Brings | Inanorchard

A warm fire and Peanuts comic books seem to help sooth the savage kids as well…
Christmas Brings | Inanorchard

The kittens are doing well and growing like weeds.  They let us think we’re still in charge but they know better.Christmas Brings | Inanorchard

Speaking of kittens… Monday night we got our Christmas tree all set up.  Lights on, popcorn strung, ornaments hung, the reservoir filled to the top with water, and then we all went to bed.  Sometime early in the next morning we heard a big crash.  I jumped out of bed and rushed towards the noise only to witness a downed Christmas tree, water all over the floor, soggy popcorn garlands, and broken ornaments. The terrified kittens had scattered leaving us to deal with the mess.  We put everything back together, and have vigilantly squirted the cats with water anytime they get anywhere near the tree!Christmas Brings | Inanorchard

December also means that my sewing room has turned into Santa’s workshop.  Every spare minute I can steal I’m in the sewing room working on handmade gifts.  Hopefully I’ll do a post about the gifts I’ve been working on, but for now it’s all top secret.  I’ll give you just a peek at a project I’m working on for Miss P.  She loves all things “fancy” and I thought it would be fun to make her a hand-painted necklace. These are the beads I painted for her new necklace.
Christmas Brings | Inanorchard

December also brings our annual “torture the children day”, otherwise known as, “Christmas picture taking day”.  It’s always a little crazy, someone inevitably ends up hurt and in tears, there’s lots of goofing and a bit of hollering, but in the end there’s usually one picture worth mailing to our friends and family. Christmas Brings | Inanorchard

 

I hope your December has been cozy so far and thanks so much for stopping by!

~ April

November in a Nutshell

November | InanorchardHazy phone pictures are all I have to offer for the entire month of November.  My trusty red camera never made it out of it’s case.  Lots of coming and going this month, which means the convenience of my camera phone trumped having quality digital photos.

We started out the month with a quick trip to see my folks in Oregon.  We enjoyed seeing their new home in a small country town, spend our days and nights being with them and getting much needed Grammy and Grandpa time.

November | Inanorchard

The fall leaves were stunning

November | Inanorchard

We ate breakfast at the local restaurant/ice cream parlor November | Inanorchard

Wandered the streets of their small townNovember | Inanorchard

Collected leavesNovember | InanorchardAntique shopping down a picturesque main street.

November | Inanorchard

There were bike rides at dusk, and sad goodbyes but we’re looking forward to more trips to Oregon!November | Inanorchard

We came home to a small second crop of pumpkins.
November | Inanorchard

Art projects at the kitchen tableNovember | Inanorchard

Stacks of library books and reading with daddy in the big bed

November | Inanorchard

Our plan to take a family trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium abruptly changed when sickness descended on the house.
November | Inanorchard

I took G and Miss E to the aquarium with Grandpa and Grandma W and the cousins…November | Inanorchard

…while Justin stayed home with this poor guy and Miss P.
November | InanorchardThe sewing room was a very busy place this month but not the usual kind of busy. It was covered with craft projects instead (maybe more on that later)November | Inanorchard

This is were the children end up when Daddy is watching Sunday night football on the tv… all piled on my bed watching Chip and Dale cartoons on a tiny screen.
November | Inanorchard

We spent Thanksgiving at Dad and Mom W’s eating, putting together puzzles, shooting clay pigeons, eating some more, throwing the football around, dozing on the couch, and topping the day off with at trip to the cinema to watch The Peanuts Movie.
November | Inanorchard

This month we read and loved these books-

Which you can purchase on Amazon

 

The Sign of the Beaver was recommended by a friend and the whole family loved this story!

My friends…it’s December!  I’m looking forward to cozy evenings, paper snowflakes, many rousing renditions of Jingle Bells, children checking off days on the calendar, advent stories read by an old friend, wreaths on the door, and foggy mornings.

What does December bring for you and your family?

 

The Passing Weeks

Some afternoons call for a mandatory reading hour.  Inanorchard

Some days homeschooling means working harder to keep the toddler occupied Inanorchard

Weekday mornings involve kitchen table learning with a bed-headed boy

Inanorchard

Weekends are all about afternoon napsInanorchard

We added two lovely little ladies to our family.  Meet Lucy and AvaInanorchard

A certain someone is pretty pleased with the new editionsInanorchard

Mr. J finishing his Harriet Tubman report.  The same report that we spent the better part of an hour looking for, only to find it in the hands of the 2-year-old who was getting ready to decorate it with her crayons.

Inanorchard

Colder days, darker evenings, and candles burning Inanorchard

Rain on the pumpkins and puddles around the porch.  Inanorchard

Justin went to France for the week.  He brought back pictures and stories and little trinkets for us. Our family and friends kept us busy while he was away.IMG_0231 (3)

Inanorchard

I sleep so poorly when he’s gone.  Staying up too late every night; not wanting to face the big empty bed.  Freshly brewed coffee became my saving grace each morning.
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InanorchardI flipped the calendar over to November and smiled.  November brings fall to our part of the world.  With it comes brightly colored leaves, a trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Thanksgiving meals with family, a Turkey Trot down Butler Road, and fires burning in the little black stove.

Celebrating 60

60th | Inanorchard

60th | Inanorchard

60th | Inanorchard

60th | Inanorchard

60th | Inanorchard

60th | Inanorchard

60th | Inanorchard

60th | Inanorchard

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60th | Inanorchard

 

60th | Inanorchard

60th | Inanorchard

60th | Inanorchard

 

60th | Inanorchard

 

60th | Inanorchard

60th | Inanorchard

60th | Inanorchard

60th | Inanorchard

60th | Inanorchard

60th | Inanorchard

60th | Inanorchard

60th | Inanorchard

60th | Inanorchard

My Mother-in-law turned 60 this fall.  I type the words mother-in-law just for clarification, but to me she is just mom.  The woman who has known me since I was 15-years-old, who loved me like I was her own long before I took her son’s name.  She’s a quiet one, who doesn’t like a lot of fuss made over her.  Prefers to work hard behind the scenes, and shies away from the spotlight.  I imagine if she had had her way, this milestone birthday would have passed quietly by.  But there are a whole lot of people who love her dearly, and we weren’t going to let this day pass without celebrating!

My sister-in-laws (Jessica and Angela) and I started planning months ago.  We decided on a quiet dinner with just our small family (kids and grandkids) followed by a dessert with mom’s siblings and mother.  We planned an elegant meal in the backyard and served homemade lasagna, crusty baguettes, salad, and strawberries, followed by a dessert bar filled with birthday cake, chocolate torte, macaroons, cheesecake, salted caramel apple bars, and fresh roasted coffee.  Angela’s mother made the cheesecake and chocolate torte and they tasted SO good! My wonderfully talented and hard working sister-in-laws did an amazing job with every detail of the party.  Angela added all of her beautiful artistic touches to the invitations and the place cards.  Jessica put together a wonderful digital scrapbook for mom, filled with childhood pictures, family, friends, and traveling adventures.  It was fun to watch her look through the book as she would beam and laugh!  It was beautiful night, for a beautiful woman who’s love and devotion to her family shows in every little thing she does.  We love you mom!

 

Pumpkin Patch Wrap-up

 

Pumpkin Patch | Inanorchard

Pumpkin Patch | Inanorchard

Pumpkin Patch | Inanorchard

Pumpkin Patch | Inanorchard

Pumpkin Patch | Inanorchard

 

Pumpkin Patch | Inanorchard

Pumpkin Patch | Inanorchard

Pumpkin Patch | Inanorchard

Pumpkin Patch | Inanorchard IMG_20151015_1407315_rewind

Our pet Pumpkin Patch project has come to an end for the year, and what mixed feelings I have about the whole process.  It was work.  So much work.  We made mistakes (truthfully I made mistakes).  Mistakes that cost us a third of our crop.  We stood in the sweltering heat killing Squash Bugs with our own hands and feet.  We walked through the sea of pumpkin leaves, getting our arms and legs scratched, checking and rechecking our crop, placing our pumpkins on their bottoms, and helping the bees pollinate the blossoms.  The Spider Mites that were happily living in the corn crop next to our property, all came to live in our pumpkin patch once the corn was chopped.  In a matter of a week our healthy pumpkin crop got very sick.  The Jack O’ Lanterns and white pumpkins all went down.  Thanks to Justin’s research and fast action we were able to save our crop, but not without a cost.  At one point I stood in the middle of the patch on the verge of tears thinking I’d ruined the boys project.  But once the Spider Mites were stamped out, our vines recovered nicely and we got a whole new wave of baby pumpkins.

I also had planted a couple of rows of sunflowers for Miss E to sell in the fall, but they preformed miserably!  The plants looked so good right up until it was time for them to bloom.  Then everything went down hill.  The sunflowers all bloomed in a matter of one week, none of them had long stems, and then they all died back.  Miss E was so sad, and I was struggling to know how to make it up to her.  Fortunately my own little cutting garden was still going strong.  So the morning we opened the pumpkin stand, Miss E and I picked the garden clean, and were able to put together a dozen lovely bouquets for her to sell alongside the boys.

But in spite of the all the hard work and set backs, the first week in October came around and we actually had a decent crop of lovely pumpkins to sell.  As the children and I hunted around the patch and piled our colorful harvest in piles to wash and sell, we all started to get really excited.  Those pumpkins looks so beautiful all lined up, cleaned, and ready to sell.  We were all so proud! My big concern was that the boys would make a profit.  I knew they would probably sell enough pumpkins to cover their costs, but would it be enough to make a summer full of hot work worth the effort?  The boys did all the work to set up their pumpkin stand. Scrubbing the pumpkins, arranging them on bales of hay, setting up tables, arranging prices and signs.

Do you know what the most amazing part of this story is?  Our friends and family came in droves to buy pumpkins from our boys, and flowers from Miss E that warm October Saturday!  Car after car came down the lane, people piled colorful pumpkins on the table and more often than not, when the boys tried to give them their change the answer was, “Keep the change!”.  In a matter of just one day we sold out!  Miss E sold all of her flowers and there weren’t any pumpkins left!  Not only did the boys cover their costs but they made a tidy sum to put in the bank.  I was so relieved!

As our friends came and went that day the question we heard over and over was, “So, can we look forward to another year of pumpkins?!”  I laughed and said “That’s like asking a woman who just gave birth, if she wants to have another baby!”.  But after all is said and done, I feel like we should at least give it another year.  We paid our dues, and I think next year would be much smoother. We know how to manage the pest that plague pumpkins, and the boys will be able to do more with less supervision. I figured out which pumpkin varieties preformed the best, and I already have a metal list on new varieties I’d like to try next year.  So here’s to hard work that pays off, learning new things, a community that supports young entrepreneurs, and working together as a family!

 

Dexter

 

Dexter | Inanorchard

Not all childhood stories are memorable because they remind us of carefree, simpler times. Sometimes a childhood memory stands out from the rest because it marks a first, the first time our heart truly breaks.  When we realize for the first time, in some small way, that life is fragile.  That loving sometimes means hurting, and being sad.

When we got back from our Colorado trip Dexter’s bright eyes and hyperactive tail were not there to greet us.  At first we weren’t too worried.  He likes to visit his dog friends that live down the canal.  He always comes home.  As the day stretched on and I would find myself listening for the familiar jingle of his collar, but there was only silence.  Justin left late in the afternoon to call on neighbors, asking if they had seen him wandering about.  He returned with a very serious look on his face.  He had found Dexter…by the side of the road.  It wasn’t like Dex to wander by the road.  Even when I would walk to the end of the lane to check the mail or collect the garbage can, he would sit and wait by the gate not wanting to be near the speeding cars.  But something must have tempted him to cross.

I buried my face in his shoulder and cried.  Cried for the sweet, brown-eyed dog who had won over my calloused heart.  For the children who loved him more than any other animal we have ever owned.  How would we tell them?  What could we say to comfort them?

Dexter | Inanorchard

Let me tell you something, a mama never gets used to seeing her babies cry.  I watched my oldest son make a little wooden cross for our simple funeral service.  The tears pooled in his eyes and dripped on his hands as he pounded the nails into his homemade cross.  Miss E picked flowers for his little grave while G located a few shovels.  All of their faces were streaked with dirt and tears.  I will forever remember this scene.  We sent the rest of the day hugging, crying, and repeating the words “It’s okay…it’s okay to be sad, it’s okay cry.”

Many times over the last two years I had planned on sitting down and writing Dexter’s story.  I wish I would have done it sooner.  His story still feels like a bit of a miracle to me.  But I should start by telling you that before Dex, we had had a string of hand-me-down, cast-off dogs in our lives.  The vast majority of them were big, hyper, would knock over the children anytime they got near, constantly running away; having to be found and brought back home, only to turn around and run away again.  I was so weary of crazy, high-strung dogs I was ready to swear them all off for good.
Dexter | Inanorchard

I remember so well the day Dexter entered into our lives. It was an unseasonably warm January afternoon, and I had walked to the end of our lane to fill in pot-holes.  I had just finished with my raking, when I glanced down the road and saw a small brown dog trotting down the side of the road.  I thought nothing of him.  Roaming dogs are a common sight out in the country.  I walked down the lane with my big straw hat on and my rake in hand.  Suddenly all the children were running out to greet me, waving their arms and pointing.  I looked back to see the small brown dog trotting happily behind me.  He gently greeted each excited child with a friendly wag and pushed his small nose into their open hands. I smiled and shrugged.  He’d wander off soon enough, but might as well let the kids have a little fun in the meantime.

Dexter | Inanorchard

But he didn’t wander off.  He stayed and played.  I offered him a little of our leftover lunch which he politely accepted and quickly devoured.  That night when we turned off the house lights and headed to bed, he was curled up on the front porch step, sound asleep.  It seemed he had found his home.  We looked at the lost and found ads online, asked around the neighborhood but no one seemed to be looking for this delightful little guy.  It completely baffled me.  Who would abandon the world’s most perfect dog?!  He was so tender with the children, house-trained, didn’t bark at friends… he was a small miracle that restored my faith in dogs.

Justin went out and bought him his own collar with an ID tag, I gave him a good long bath.  I remember when I got him out of the tub, both the girls decided they would get Dexter looking nice and fancy. He sat perfectly still with his ears submissively down as they combed him all over with little pink plastic doll brushes.  I grinned and thought “Any dog that would put up with this is a keeper.”  And he was.

Dexter | Inanorchard

Dexter | Inanorchard

While Dexter loved us all, it was clear from the beginning who his favorite was.Dexter | Inanorchard

He claimed Miss P as his own straight away, and she adored him.  I could never tell if Dexter thought he was a baby or if Miss P thought she was a puppy, but it was clear that they viewed each other as being cut from the same cloth.  She would grab handfuls of dog food out of his bowl, and he never blinked or made so much as a small growl about it.  She made sure she dropped lots of goodies for him each and every mealtime.  They were quite the duo.Dexter | Inanorchard

Dexter | Inanorchard

The look of absolute adoration that dog would give her!
Dexter | Inanorchard

When she would lay on the couch sick with a fever, he was always hovering nearby like nervous nursemaid.  Worrying and fretting.

Dexter | InanorchardI always picture those two growing up together.  But sometimes what we want is not always what ends up happening.
Dexter | Inanorchard

He is now just a memory, he has become a story that we tell, a small empty place left in our hearts.

Dexter | Inanorchard

Adventures in Colorado

The plan for our trip to Colorado was to spend the weekend before Labor day driving with the kiddos in our blue mini van to Colorado Springs, to visit my brother-in-law and his family for the week.  We would spend the first part of the week hanging out and having fun with the cousins, and the last part of the week in Boulder tagging along with Justin on his business trip.  My brother and sister-in-law were expecting their baby baby at the end of September, and it seemed like it would be a good time to visit.

The week before I was starting to make packing lists, and planning for a long car ride with four kiddos.  One night Justin decided to do a quick search for plane tickets to Denver.  It was a long shot; tickets are usually so expensive especially for a family of 6!  But low and behold he found a couldn’t-be-turned-down deal on plane tickets, so he quickly booked our flight for the next Sunday morning.  Suddenly, I was shifting my plans and trying to pack enough clothes for 6 people, for a 6 day trip, into 2 suitcases.  Nevertheless, we were all really excited about flying, and turning our 2 day car ride into a 2 and a half hour plane trip seemed like a dream come true!

It was 2 days before we were set to leave when we got the call from Justin’s brother L, saying that my sister-in-law A, was having some contractions.  The next morning the contractions were still coming and it looked like the baby was going to be coming soon!  Our newest nephew was born 4 weeks early on the day before we flew out to see them!

Inanorchard

Inanorchard

Our flight left from San Francisco early in the morning which meant hauling the children out of bed at 2:30 am.  They were so excited and they loved the flight, even Miss P!  I had packed snacks and new books in each of the kiddos backpacks and that kept them entertained for most of the flight.  Justin had downloaded a bunch of Chip and Dale cartoons onto my tablet which also helped keep them from being too fidgety.

We were quite the sight in the airport with 4 children trailing behind, and our arms full of suitcases, diaper bags, car seats, and backpacks.Inanorchard

We drove straight from the airport to the hospital to meet this little guy!  He spent the first week of his life in the NICU, but everyday he made huge improvements.Inanorchard

When we weren’t visiting A and the baby at the hospital we would hang out at their lovely home in the woods, playing with the cousins, and coloring, and running around.Inanorchard

Tuesday we went for a hike to Seven Falls just outside of Colorado Springs.  It was a gorgeous day.  We walked along a wide paved path, that followed a stream, that led up to the falls.
Inanorchard

Inanorchard

At the base of the falls is a restaurant and a small gift shop.  When you walk over the last small hill and see the beautiful little buildings tucked into the mountainside, it feels like you’ve stumbled onto Rivendale.Inanorchard

Inanorchard

Inanorchard

Inanorchard

The long set of metal stairs that lead up to the top of the falls was so steep!  Between the altitude, and the hundreds of steps, I was very out of breath by the time I got to the top.Inanorchard

But the view was worth the effort!Inanorchard

Inanorchard

I never really thought I had an issue with heights, but when we turned around to walk back down those stairs my stomach sank and my head started to spin a little.  I had to take a few deep breaths and focus on the back of Miss E’s shirt to keep from getting too dizzy.Inanorchard

We all made it to the bottom just fine and then took an elevator up to another lookout point.Inanorchard

The hills really are a beautiful red color and on an overcast day they looked particularly red.Inanorchard

Inanorchard

Inanorchard

After our hike up to the falls we went to The Carriage House car museum.  It was a free museum full of vintage carriages, cars, race cars, and motorcycles.  I was a little nervous to take all the children into a very nice automobile museum, but the kind gentleman who met us at the door said “Welcome!  Please come in and let the children look all around. We even have drawers and exhibits that they can open and look through! Even the littlest one, let her down to explore!”  It is not often that a group of people with 7 children in tow get greeted so warmly and it touched my heart.

Inanorchard

Inanorchard

Inanorchard

In the evening we had pizza and campfires and s’mores, and the children had such a good time being together.Inanorchard

On Wednesday we left for Boulder, and spent day 2 days and 2 nights there, while Justin had his business meetings.  The kids and I wandered around Boulder during the day, and met up with Justin in the late afternoon for dinner and more wandering.  We shopped on Pearl Street, ate at so many delicious restaurants, and stayed up a little too late each night watching American Pickers in our hotel room.

We drove back to Colorado Springs for our last night in Colorado, to stay with L and A.  Our sweet nephew was moved out of the NICU and we were able to hold him for the very first time!  He was so tiny!Inanorchard

We got up early on Saturday so we could spend a full day in Denver before we caught our flight out of the Denver airport later that night.

Our fist stop was a special treat just for me!  Fancy Tiger Crafts is an amazing fabric/yarn/craft store in downtown Denver.  I’ve followed their shop on Instagram for a while now and I didn’t want to pass up an opportunity to see it in person.  Justin dropped me off with the instructions to “take my time and pick out some things to bring home”, instructions I was more than happy to follow :) Inanorchard

After that we drove to The Tattered Cover which is a local and well-loved bookstore in Denver.  The Tattered Cover is located in an old theater and in the basement there is a delightful children’s corner that captured the kids attention.  It has that magical feel that only a quaint, comfy bookstore can evoke.Inanorchard

Inanorchard

Next we drove to the Capitol building and walked around the grounds.Inanorchard

InanorchardOnly a few city blocks away was the Denver Art Museum.  We hadn’t planned on going in, but we discovered it was free admission day at the museum, and that was an opportunity we just couldn’t pass up!

Inanorchard

Inanorchard

In one section of the museum they had an art room set up were anyone could come in and make their own art.  There were tables and easels set up with all kinds of paints, pens, and pencils.  This was the kids favorite part of the the museum tour!Inanorchard

Inanorchard

Outside the museum there were lots of whimsical art displays, this giant broom and dustpan was a favorite.
Inanorchard

Inanorchard

After spending the whole day walking all over Denver, I think we were all a little glad to climb in the car and head to the airport.  Home was sounding starting to sound real good.
InanorchardEven though our trip met with a few unexpected changes, we still had an amazing time!  Meeting our sweet new nephew, giving the kiddos their first experience flying, and making family memories that will last a lifetime.

 

Easing in slowly

 

Inanorchard

Inanorchard

Inanorchard

Inanorchard

Inanorchard

Inanorchard

Inanorchard

Somehow a lot of time has passed between this post and the last.  I hardly know were to start, and at the end of each night I find I am either too busy or too tired to fill in the blanks.  But it’s time to start, so we will ease in slowly, with a few pictures from the last few weeks.  We’ve fallen into the routine of homework after dinner, early mornings, school at the kitchen table, and dusk coming earlier each night. The garden is absolutely overgrown.  I keep flowers by my bed because I know it won’t be long before there are none to pick.  Harvest is in full swing all around us and we all wait patiently (or not so patiently) or cool weather and rain.  Rain to wash away the dust and clear the skies.

It’s getting late, but soon I will post about all of our comings and goings.  Good night friends, see you soon!  ~April

 

 

The Last Piece of Bacon

I love a good hearty breakfast for dinner.  And in the winter when it’s cold and it gets dark so early, we have breakfast for dinner on a regular basis.  It’s an easy meal that the whole family likes and I always seem to have the ingredients on hand (which is great for busy days when 4:30 rolls around, and I don’t have a solid dinner plan).  Usually, we just have pancakes or waffles with scrambled eggs and maybe some fried potatoes, but sometimes I bake up a pan of bacon as a treat.

In a family of six; a one pound package of bacon doesn’t go very far.  Especially when you have growing boys who like to pile their plates high with crispy bacon.  I’m always careful to watch the bacon plate to make sure that Justin gets that last piece of bacon.  After all, if anyone deserves the coveted last piece of bacon it’s him.  The man who leaves us every morning, commutes to his job, and works hard each and everyday for us.  There wouldn’t be any bacon to put on the table if it weren’t for him.  I watch because I know it’s only a matter of time before one of my children’s hand reaches out to snatch and devour that last piece of bacon.  This particular night it happened to be all three of the older children who were vying for the last piece.

“Hey!” I said sharply as they all attempted to reach for it, “That’s your dad’s piece, you leave it alone.”  Justin quickly reached out and took the last piece of bacon.  He broke it into three small pieces and handed one to each of the children.

“That’s okay” he said, “I don’t mind sharing it.”

There have been many times in my life I have been proud to be that man’s wife, but at that moment I don’t believe I have ever been prouder.  Such a simple gesture, but to me it represented so much more.  It was a moment that encapsulated exactly the husband and father he is to us.  Selfless, even in the little things.  Happy to give what is “rightfully” his to those he loves.  Everyday he shows us what it means to love, what it is to be faithful, he is showing my sons and my daughters that strength (real strength) looks a lot like gentleness.  He is being God’s hands and feet.

Inanorchard

 

Inanorchard

 

Inanorchard

 

Inanorchard

 

There is always room on his lap for his children.  In the evenings he folds his long frame up into their small beds and makes up funny stories and songs for their listening pleasure.  His hands are used to help and protect, his words to build up; never to tear down.  My children never have to wonder what it means to have a heavenly Father who loves them, because their own father does such a good job reflecting His love to them.  He doesn’t expect praise or accolades, he wouldn’t want it, but I can’t help but tell the story I see day after faithful day.

If my friends, you have been tempted lately to despair at the stories that are so widely circulated in the news; if you have wondered “Are there any good men left?”.  I will tell you that there are so many good Godly men who are quietly, faithfully, and loving, serving their families. Men who gladly give up the last piece of bacon.

I think it’s time we told their stories. I think it’s time to sing their praises; so that others will follow in their footsteps.

The last of the Summer days

The last of the summer days | inanorchard

Let’s just imagine for a moment that we are not entering into the second week of school.  Let’s pretend that I’m actually enough on the ball to post pictures, and write posts in real time. I know, it’s a bit of a stretch but let’s give it a go.

Summer has been winding down.  The “first day of school” date has been looming on the calendar but we’ve been ignoring it.  Because we’ve been ever so busy with lots of important things like; flower picking, swimming, ice cream eating, staying up too late, dirty feet, happy faces, summer time fun.

The last of the summer days | Inanorchard

She found “baby pumpkins” ready to pick and was delighted with her discovery.

 

Every evening, after dinner, you will find them all in the pool.  Shouting, hopping, splashing, and playing to their heart’s content.

The last of the summer days | Inanorchard

 

Last of the summer days | Inanorchard

We also spend our afternoons drawing on the kitchen table with art books we found at the library.

The last of the summer days | Inanorchard

The lazy, sleep-in-mornings are numbered and we are enjoying each and every one of them.

The last of the summer days | Inanorchard

Archie comic books are such a hit in our house.  So many tattered, well-read copies floating around the living-room.

The last of the summer days | Inanorchard

On the last weekend of the summer we decided to have a camp-out in our backyard.  Mr. G has been fascinated with astronomy for the last year now, so at the end of the school year, we took the time to write all the important astronomical events down on our calendar.  When we flipped the page to August it said “Perseid’s meteor shower”, so we planned a night of campfires, s’mores, sleeping on the trampoline, and midnight meteor showers.

The last of the summer days | Inanorchard

 

The last of the summer days | Inanorchard

It was a gorgeous night.  A clear sky and a new moon gave us the advantage for viewing meteor showers.  We piled the trampoline with blankets, pillows, sleeping bags, and set our alarm clocks for midnight.
Last of the summer days | Inanorchard

The fire was so beautiful that night.  We made s’mores and kept our eyes turned towards the heavens.  The kids and I (including little Miss P) camped out on the trampoline, while Justin slept in his hammock right next to us.  We fell asleep watching meteors steak across the sky.  We woke up to our midnight alarm clock, but couldn’t stay away long enough to get a good glimpse of the meteor show.  Miss P was snuggled up to me all night long and slept so well, but about 2:00 in the morning the dew started settling on our faces, and hair, and sleeping bags.  Miss E was the first one to head into the house at about 2:30 a.m, followed shortly by her daddy.  Around 3:00 in the morning the dew was getting heavy and Miss P was starting to stir, so I nudged the boys and said “Hey, we’re headed into the house to sleep the rest of the night, but you boys are welcome to stay out here.”  Mr. G sat straight up and said, “This was a bad idea.  I want to sleep in my own bed!”.  So we all trudged sleepily through the wet grass, into the comfort of our own sweet beds, and no one stirred until 9:30 the next morning.

I hope the children remember these days, because they are permanently etched on my heart.

 

Long live the summer days of our childhood…