Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Fall day

Fall is finally here and I'm so distracted by all the pretty colors out our windows. It is absolutely gorgeous and I know it will end as quickly as it began. The kids and I are spending as much time as possible outside because soon enough winter will be here, there will be plenty of time for astronomy lessons and long rear-alouds then. The Pendwicks can wait, this week, it's all about taking in the beauty in our woods, the smell of the damp leaves and fresh nuts.
Some things never get old and watching Hazel explore the fallen leaves and nuts is one of those things for me. It gives me so much joy seeing the wonder in her eyes as she picks up a leaf or sticks a nut in her mouth. She toddles around and trips over her feet, her pudgy little hands get dirty as she struggles to get back up and going again. Her excited squeals as the damp cool air hits her face and pushes up her hair, makes my heart happy. It makes me very happy.
As much as Hazel is like me, loving the cool air so much it delights her, Laynee is like Joe in that she is freezing. She was a bundle of cuteness today wrapped up in a quilt... and still shivering.
Brady wanted his picture in front of this bright yellow Hickory tree. The camera doesn't come close to capturing the amazing colors in any of the pictures but especially this one.
After Brady and Anne ran through a mud puddle, we found Bethany and Jenna in the woods near this tree that has Pileated Woodpecker holes. They were in the creek, digging up some kind of a sign Jenna found.
Bet ya can't guess which of these two are hot and cold natured, can you? :)
Turned out to their great disappointment that the plastic sign was for a beer. We all had a good laugh.
Boone, our Lab, Border Collie mix, became a member of our family in June, a few months after we took Max to the pound. After a year of having Max it became more and more evident to every one in the family that he was not a good fit for our family. Though we loved him and tried our hardest to make him a part of the family, he wasn't loyal. He had lived the life of a roamer and that is all he wanted to do, run and roam. We had to keep him chained and on a leash at all time, because at the moment he was loose, he was gone! He didn't like cats and the kids had to witness his dislike for them a couple of times when he killed stray cats, plus he killed a neighbors chicken. We hated to take him to the pound and tried to find him a home but finally came to the point where we knew we had to get rid of him for the safety of our kids and his unhappiness. It was a tearful day taking him to the pound, I hated every bit of it and yet, it was such a relief to have him gone. To our surprise and pleasure, he was adopted!! It was so rewarding to see on social media that he was adopted and for the kids to have the peace of mind that he was loved by some one else. We all laugh about it though, because we honestly doubt he stayed home and probably ran away the very minute he could.

We promised to get another dog when we got rid of Max. It took us a few months, there were letters slipped under our door at bedtime many nights. Contracts signed and dated by all the kids, promising to do anything and everything to get and care for a dog. Joe and I gave into the pressure and finally asked on Facebook if anyone knew where we could get a good dog. Someone responded, a vet who said he had a dog that someone had brought in with a broken leg due to getting hit by a car. The owner never came to pick him up and he needed a home. Joe and the four oldest kids went to look at him and came home with a 6 month old puppy. By the time came home, they had already agreed to name Boone. He is Daniel Boone's namesake. :)

Overall, Boone is a really good dog. We all love him and call him Turd almost as often as we call him Boone, because he really is a puppy. At first, he slept alot and didn't chew anything, we thought this was great. I think he was still growing and maybe recovering some. He nipped at the kids and what we thought was tried to herd them. At first, this was really concerning to me because I thought he seemed to have more Border Collie traits and didn't know how he was going to do with the kids, especially the little ones. With time, he has gotten much better about nipping and doesn't try to herd the little kids anymore. Now, he is full on chewing everything up! It's a wonder the house hasn't been eaten. His chewing is out of control, but I'm hopeful that this too shall pass! He can't have a bed because he'll just destroy it. 
He is pretty obedient and does well with basic commands most of the time. He LOVES being with us. He sticks close to home and really likes being around us. His greatest offense to date was getting the neighbors free range chicken and retrieving it. He didn't kill it or even injure it. The neighbor wasn't very impressed and threatened to shoot him, so that has caused us to keep him chained more times than not. He does well when we let him loose though and we let him inside some too. I think with time, he will learn his boundaries and become a really good dog for our family. Did I say we all love him?
Joseph was tinkering with a leaf blower while I was in the outside snapping pictures with the rest of the kids. I finally caught up with him when I came inside. He was reading a Roald Dahl book, his current favorite author.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Big South Fork Camping and maybe, I'm back...

It's been awhile, almost forever. I've missed blogging. This year has been a whirlwind. Our baby girl, Hazel, turned ONE, our oldest, Bethany turned 13, we got a dog, Boone. We bought my childhood home from my parents. We'd lived with my Mom for the year prior, most of our belongings were in storage and it took awhile to get settled. To unload the storage unit, to set up house again, to settle into our new home. It finally feels like home, my home, our home. I love it here, it's all kinds of beautiful that I get to live here with my family. so very special. Maybe I'll blog about that...

My Canon stopped working last December, my computer crashed earlier this year, and then my desktop stopped recognizing it is connected to the internet. Between all the technical issues, I just resigned that blogging wasn't going to be something I felt guilty not doing. I've always loved blogging and keeping sections of our life in a hard-copy form this way. I don't have the best memory, so writing things about our life down, is the best way I have found to hold on to these precious days. They are going so quickly! I can't get over how fast these past 18 months have gone by. It feels like forever ago that we sold our house and moved in with Mom when I was 20 weeks pregnant with Hazel. So long ago, sixteen months, since she was born. Homeschooling 5 kids this year, having 7 kids ages 13, 11, 9, 6, 5, 3, and 1, it's alot. Maybe I'll blog about that...

Honestly, the blogging break has been good. It has felt right. I've really missed capturing most of Hazel's first year with pictures on my Canon, but it's been good to let go of pressure I often put on myself to keep up and to keep going. Sometimes you just need to be. Time to re-evaluate, time to process and time to withdrawal. I certainly don't feel like I've arrived, moved past things that have really changed me or found all the words that have failed me. I hope to write more again though.

God has given me so many good things this year. He has provided peace to my chaotic heart, He gives me what I need each day and I am so thankful for His constant presence, even when life doesn't make sense. I sought a mentor relationship earlier this past summer and that has proven to be a huge source of encouragement and continues to help me grow as a person and Christ follower. It has been one of the greatest things I've done to invest in myself after an emotionally draining and stormy season in my life. I'm so thankful God saw fit to provide me with a sister in Christ who is willing to invest in me and share her wisdom. It's been such a humbling gift.

Even in the hardest times, God is good! I am amazed by all of His provisions to see me through 7 pregnancies, to not only give me 7 children but sustain me daily to train and educate them. I look at pictures of them all lined up and it honestly takes my breath away. I've been so inspired in my homeschooling this year through many different resources and podcasts. Maybe I'll blog about that...

I'm so excited that fall is finally arriving! It's my favorite season and I can't wait to experience all the beauty that is getting ready to happen in our woods. 3 nights of our fall break we spent camping, our yearly fall break tradition. This year we camped at Bandy Creek in Big South Fork. Camping is one of the hardest things to do with 7 kids, it's exhausting and this trip was one of the worst we've ever had with a baby in tow. Despite how challenging and exhausting it can be, I still look forward to the time we get to spend camping, it's very memory making.

Hazel was recovering from Hand, Foot and Mouth and she was a basket case the first 24 hours we were there. I ended up passing off my, newly repaired, Canon to Bethany because Hazel kept me busy, so many of the pictures above she took, which is really awesome! I loved seeing her point of view and watching her discover photography. We visited Historic Rugby, Blue Heron Mining Community in Stearns, KY and stopped at Alvin C. York's Home. I shared all the details about our trip on my Instagram, that's where you'll want to go for all those moments.

This is really just my attempt to say, "Hey, I'm back...maybe," And here is a little peek into where I've been and here is to hoping I can get everything moving in the right direction to be back more often.