Surgery and Beyond

It was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I had to place my precious 9 month old daughter in the arms of the nurse and watch her walk into the operating room. I just wanted to run after the nurse, knowing MaryAnne would probably be scared.  No, she would definitely be scared – she doesn’t even like to go to her grandparents that she sees once a week.  I needed to be there to comfort her, to let her know it was going to be okay.  But I couldn’t. And my heart nearly broke imagining her fear.

All I could do was pray and wait.

MaryAnne was taken into the OR at 7:45am that morning. We spent the two previous hours getting paperwork done, meeting with various medical personnel, and entertaining MaryAnne. The great thing about the surgery being performed at a Children’s hospital, is they accommodate well to little ones. MaryAnne had great fun being pulled around in the little hippo-wagon.

So happy!

So happy!

9:30am rolled around and our neurosurgeon came to find us, since I hadn’t noticed our vibrating beeper had gone off. He told us that the surgery couldn’t be going better, MaryAnne was stable, currently getting a blood transfusion, and his part of the surgery was over. The plastic surgeon was now doing her part. At 10:30 the plastic surgeon let us know that MaryAnne was now in the recovery room. Now we wait some more. We were told that if they didn’t call us back into the recovery room, it meant MaryAnne hadn’t woken up yet.

At this point, I felt such relief. It was over. MaryAnne had done great and we could move forward. And now I sensed my exhaustion creeping in. I felt such peace.  Even knowing that the next days could be anything but peaceful.  Two hours later, at 12:30pm I was finally allowed to see MaryAnne and a half an hour later she was ready to be transferred to a regular room!

Sweet little girl

Sweet little girl

The next several days were a blur. I was so busy trying to keep MaryAnne from tugging on all her cords – she had a drain coming out of the right side of her head, three leads on her chest, catheter, oxygen monitor on her big toe and an IV in each foot. The day after surgery MaryAnne was trying to crawl and stand already and it was a full time job trying to keep cords from tangling and keeping her occupied in the small area that her cords allowed.

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Gradually the various cords were removed and MaryAnne loved being able to get out of her room and take a stroll around the hospital floor. Her eyes did swell shut, but she was amazingly cheerful. Four days after surgery MaryAnne was ready to go home.

The transition to post-surgery has been difficult. Before the surgery things that would have not been an issue, now are a concern. MaryAnne’s head is extremely sensitive and the smallest pressure to her head causes tears.  So tables, chairs, doorways, all those normal things that she could bump into while crawling around become dangers to her head. MaryAnne also wants my constant attention and I end up carrying her around for a large portion the day. And sleeping has been rough. Really rough. We’re talking about waking up every hour and hard to console. But healing is taking place and our post-op appointments with both physicians has been very encouraging.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 was one passage that came to mind during these difficult days:

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

When I am tired, exhausted, beaten down, who do I run to but the one, true and holy God.  He who can carry all my burdens and be my strength when I have none.  So I continue to thank and praise God even in my hardship.

One week after surgery!

One week after surgery!

And I sing:

“Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
naught be all else to me, save that thou art –
thou my best thought, by day or by night;
waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.”

The Return Home (Road Trip part 2)

We started our return trip from Iowa in the evening of a Tuesday, hoping to do some driving with sleeping kids since we aimed to be at the family reunion in Northern California on Friday morning.  As we drove through the Black Hills the station wagon died on us a couple times.  We have had problems with our crankshaft position sensor before, and this seemed as if it was the same thing.  The dashboard would read “reduced engine performance” and would slow to under 20 mph, no power steering, etc or just die completely.  But after restarting the car the problem would go away and be fine. Our mechanic did a simple fix on it, but said it may cause problems in the future.  Well, the future arrived.

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Nice cabin in Deadwood, SD

We enjoyed our cabin in Deadwood, SD and checked out a creek nearby.

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Beautiful views!

We drove out of that tourist town to a little town only about a half an hour away to refill our gas tank.  There was a mechanic next door, so Josh asked him about our check engine light that had come on with the “reduced engine performance” reading.  This was a new issue, so we thought it wise to have to looked at before continuing on. The mechanic said it was safe to drive on, concerning ruining the engine.  So we drove to the entrance to the road where we stopped for traffic and the station wagon died yet again.  But this time it did not start back up.  The mechanic we just spoke with was busy so Josh did a search of nearby mechanics and then tow trucks since we couldn’t get it to start.  The kids and I walked down the block to a fast food restaurant to get some food.  A nice local overheard our problem and offered help, so she directed me and the kids to the city park. So the kids and I walked to the park while Josh waited for the tow truck and then rented a car, since it seemed this would not be a quick fix.  Thankfully the problem was located right away and the part was in Denver, so we paid for overnight shipping and prayed it would come the next day, Thursday, since the family reunion was Friday.

After the car stuff was settled, we rented a room at a local hotel that had a nice pool.  We dropped off our stuff in our room and searched for our supper meal.  We saw a storm come in and during our supper the kids witnessed their first hail storm.  Thankfully it was only pea sized hail and our rental car was not damaged.  The next day we went to Bridal Veil Falls and found another little trail to enjoy.

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Bridal Veil Falls (littlest one was sleeping)

When we returned to town, our new sensor had been put in! The mechanic took a test drive and also found a split in our coolant hose, so that had to be fixed yet.  The kids and I spent the rest of the time perusing the local Kmart as rainstorms kept us from enjoying the park.  This was definitely a test of my patience.  Have you gone shopping with small children? How they touch everything? Pick up everything? Ask to buy everything? And we were only there because we had no where else to go.  We bought some drinks and a snack and sat at a nice patio set display by the door to the Kmart.  We saw the storm come in and a middle-aged couple joined us.  They were quite funny, pretending we were grilling some supper up and just sitting around waiting for it to be done.  They talked to the kids and helped us pass some time.

We spent a lot of time in the toys section, checking out all the noisy toys that would occupy them for a while.  And we took several bathroom breaks, which was located at the opposite end of the store.  I got a good work out!  Eventually I felt at my wits end, feeling my frustration rise.  Thankfully, the Lord impressed upon me the realization that relief to these frustrations would only add to the chaos about to errupt.  And the idea of letting the kids literally run free descended upon me.  So I found the back isles, the least occupied and told the kids they could run to such and such a point. The older two kids were much more obedient to the rules than the little one.  So I had to keep up.  So I got more exercise.  When Isaac found some other kids and began roaring at them, my feelings cannot quite be described – a combination of horror, anger, frustration.  And God rescued: Josh had arrived with the station wagon ready to go.  Well almost – we had to put the luggage rack back on, re-pack the vehicle, put the carseats back in, etc.  But at least there were now two of us again.

At around 5:30 that evening on Thursday we left Spearfish, SD and headed on our way.  We ran into a rather large storm with crazy swirling winds, yet we safely found a motel in Wyoming at 3:00am on Friday.  We started out a mere 6 hours later and drove 11 more hours to reach the reunion.  The last 30 miles were the hardest for me – not because it was the last miles, but because we drove curvy roads up into the mountains on roads that had no guard rails.  Imagine 3000 feet drop out your window with nothing in between except some trees.  Rather terrifying for me.

We had made it to the family reunion, yet our adventures did not end there.  Isaac developed large blisters on his feet.  Really, I mean large.  One nearly went 360 around his toe, and the toe next to it developed an almost equally large one. Another one spanned nearly the entire width of his foot.

The remains of the blister - after blistered skin fell off.

The remains of the blister – after blistered skin fell off.

That particular one burst, resealed, became infected, and the infection started to climb his foot.  So we drove the treacherous 30 miles back down the mountain to the ER.  I was so worried about his foot the drive didn’t even bother me.  The blister was drained, antibiotics prescribed.  Providentially the hospital was small but efficient.  The doctor saw Isaac while still in the waiting room since they were so busy, and after we were put in a room to drain his blister the doctor personally saw the prescription called into the pharmacy that closed in 20 minutes.  Our discharge papers were speedily given to us, and as I walked out the doors a nurse was giving me directions to the pharmacy.   What a blessing that it was a small town hospital that gave us such service rather than a large hospital where we would have been just another number. After this our adventures finally came to an end.  We spent a great time camping and an uneventful last day of travel.

I think any road trip after this will be delightfully boring.

~Mindy~

Tile Grout

I have mostly tile and hardwood floors.  And tile counters in my kitchen and my bathrooms.  That is a lot of tile.  I love my tile floors (I don’t like the tile counters, but that’s another story.)  But what I do not love, is the grout.  Why? It’s dirty.  Filthy dirty.  I wouldn’t notice it, except that my mother-in-law had a buffet that covered a large section of the tile for close to 20 years.  I don’t have a buffet to cover that area so there is one large section of grout that is a nice peachy tan color.  The rest is brown.  Dark brown.  So I went to Home Depot and got my tools.  TileLab Grout Cleaner and Polyblend Grout Renew.

My supplies

My supplies

So I first sprayed the grout with cleaner and used a grout (hard-bristled) brush.  But I found that actually was scrubbing the tile too much.  Probably cleaning the tile to what that used to look like too.  But that will be a project for another day.  Or year.  Abigail, my 4 year old helped me scrub. We used old toothbrushes.  Abigail thought it was fun. 🙂  We also watched Jane Austen movies as we scrubbed.  Good bonding time. It amazed me how well the cleaner worked.  We used a cloth to wipe away the cleaner and voila.

Grout cleaned with cleaner vs. non-cleaned grout.

Grout cleaned with cleaner vs. non-cleaned grout.

It took me several hours a day and many days to complete all the tile that runs through my house: dining room, kitchen, hallway and 2 bathrooms. But it was done and looked wonderful.  But I couldn’t stop there!  I discovered that when the dishwasher was installed, two tiles were removed and when they were put back in, they color-matched the grout with the dirty brown grout.  So I could scrub and scrub and scrub and those two tiles would be surrounded by dark brown grout.  So out comes the the grout colorant and sealant. I picked a brown rather than a pinkish tan color.  Maybe the dirt wouldn’t show as bad? It didn’t end up being as dark as I thought it would be, but it looks great.  But it takes much much longer to do.  I do one side of the tile at a time, brush in the colorant, wipe away the excess on the tiles before it dries, and move on.  And no little helper for this.  Too difficult. But the results are again wonderful.

Non-colored grout vs. colored

Non-colored grout vs. colored

Click on the picture to enlarge it and the difference will be much more apparent.  Trust me, click on it.  The grout has an even color to it, rather than shades of light and dark, some dirty spots I couldn’t brush away, etc.  And it’s a sealant so hopefully this means it’ll stay this color longer and keep the grout from deteriorating.  I’m not done with the whole house yet.  I lost my enthusiasm and drive when it became such a slow process.  So I don’t use every spare minute on it, like I used to, but I keep working on it. Definitely worth it! It makes the tile look brand new!!

And my funny kid quip: My 4 year old went outside to play in the 60 degree weather.  She came inside and told me: it’s freezing out there, it’s like Iowa!

~Mindy~

Ants and their farming behavior

I have never minded ants really.  Okay, so when they are invading my house  I don’t like them so much.  But I didn’t treat them as I do spiders, which my thoughts are, “die spider, die!”  But not anymore.  Now I see ants and my thoughts turn towards squashing every single one of them.  My story begins a year ago.  I have a little lime tree. (Sorry, my pictures aren’t the best.  I have to work on my photography skills.)

Dwarf lime tree

Dwarf lime tree

I was so excited to see all the little blossoms turning into itty bitty limes.  As I monitored the growth of my little limes I saw some ants on the tree, but ants don’t eat trees so it didn’t bother me.  But as the days went by, I noticed there were some little black scab-type things starting to develop on the branches.  Not on the leaves, but the actual branches.  Again, sorry about the poor picture, I couldn’t get my camera to focus. But you can see all the little scabs.  The whole tree looks like this. DSCN0359 I was slightly concerned at this point, and then I helplessly watched as my little itty bitty limes disappeared.   So after my husband did some wonderful research for me, I spread diatomaceous earth around the base of my tree.

The white stuff is the diatomaceous earth

The white stuff is the diatomaceous earth

It kills the ants by soaking up their essential oils, drying them out.  And since ants have an exoskeleton, they need that oil,. The only problem is that if it gets wet it no longer does the job.  And the ants start digging a little tunnel through it and that somehow it is not as effective as if they have to climb on it.  You can see the tunnel they built to the left side of the tree trunk in the above picture. And the little line of ants going down into it. So anyway, a year goes by and my ant problem is still there.  After more research,  I came across a article that stated that the scab-type thing is actually a encapsulated aphid.  I thought, really? I have had aphid problems on my rose bushes and other plants, but an encapsulated one? And the article said they would be on the leaves, not the stems and trunks.  So obviously it couldn’t be that, right?  Wrong.  I took a pointy stick and could actually flick off the little encapsulated aphids.  Hmm.  Now what to do.

A side note: I watched A Bugs Life.  Not long into the movie, the queen ant is talking and is holding an aphid.  I used to think it was funny – the ant has a pet aphid, like we have pet dogs and cats.  This time, I was horrified.  Those rotten ants are killing my lime tree with their farming of aphids.  The ants are really like little dairy farmers.  The aphids are their little milk cows.  The aphids secrete honeydew (sweet substance) that the ants like.  So the ants “milk” the aphids. And my lime tree is the aphid food. I have no good solution either.   I can’t really attack the aphids externally since they are encapsulated, other then flicking them off one by one (which would take hours.) Or I can give the tree a systemic pesticide which would kill the aphids as they eat the pesticide along with their lunch (my tree.)  The only problem is, then I can’t eat my limes either.  But I am determined and persistent.  I keep spreading the diatomaceous earth and flicking off a couple aphids every day.  I will succeed eventually! I hope.

Last week when I watered one of my succulent plants and witnessed the swarm of ants carrying little white aphids, I reacted with speed.  I tried to drown every last one of them.  Not sure how my little plant liked it, but I was saving its life.  And then the very next day, as I was putting clean water in a bird bath, another stampede of ant-bearing aphids swarmed a beam on the aviary I was in.  Ahh!!  I have a beautiful rose bush that is growing in the aviary.  And since the finches in the cage enjoy eating the rose bush, this would create an even larger problem then my little lime tree.  Systemic pesticide would be out of the question, and I don’t know if the diatomaceous earth would be safe for the birds either.  Thus, it would probably result in the removal of the entire rose bush.  Did I mention this rose bush is about 9-10 feet tall?  It will be a sad day when I have to take it out.  But thankfully I have not seen any signs of the ants getting closer to my rose bush.   But now I have eyes like a hawk, looking for any sign of ants on or near any plant in my yard.  Ants have become the bane of my existence.  But I will prevail. 🙂

Suggestions anyone?

~Mindy~

Wraps and Granola

I’ve had a few new ideas for foods to try, but none of them are very “spring-y” or “summer-y.”  Sometimes during this time of year its nice to have some lighter foods instead of casseroles and filling breads and buns.  I’ve fallen in love with some breaded chicken strips that I found at our local grocery store.  They’re a little bit spicy (and a little bit expensive) but SO GOOD.  We decided to mix it up a little bit and make a chicken wrap out of it.

We actually cook our chicken strips on the pizzaz – makes for excellent crispy chicken strips in 20 minutes.  We cut up the strips and threw some cheese and lettuce together on a taco shell.  Drew was getting a little creative and added some fried bacon.   I was digging through my fridge and remembered that I’ve wanted to try a recipe for quite some time: Honey Mustard Dressing.  I got it from Genvieve at one of my wedding showers and haven’t ever tried it!  The wraps were pretty delicious.  Next time I think I’ll do a little less honey – it was a little too sweet for my taste.

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I also bought myself some yogurt and fruit to make some sort of a parfait.  I thought I had granola at home, but of course was expired.  Like WAY expired.  Apparently I haven’t eaten that in a while!  I have a friend that is quite the blogger and quite the cook.  She loves to try new things – and luckily enough not that long ago she made her own granola.  So I thought I’d give it a shot!  Her recipe is here.  I sort of like it – and I like that I can really make whatever flavor I want.  Next time I think I’ll do less cinnamon and maybe some brown sugar instead :).

Home-made granola fresh out of the oven!

Home-made granola fresh out of the oven!

Enjoy!

~ T ~

Honey Mustard Dressing (from Genvieve)

1/4 cup vinegar
1 cup mayonaise
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 tsp salt
dash of pepper
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp chopped onion
pinch of parsley

Mix mayo, mustard & honey until smooth.  Add the rest of the ingredients. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Slow down and think.

I am generally very good at doing my devotions every night, but sometimes I end up doing them without thinking.  I once challenged myself to complete a Read-the-Bible-in-a-Year study.  Well, I did quite well in the way of completing it, but do I remember it? I was just checking the verses off.  I was succeeding. But did it do me any good?  What is the purpose of my goal if I attain nothing from it? Isn’t the Bible supposed to be a “lamp to my feet and a light to my path?” (Psalm 119:105)   If I don’t remember it, how will it light my path?  So I tried to take is slower.   I stopped looking at the dates, instead of reading three different passages each evening I read one.  Well, this helped slightly.  I was doing better, but was I understanding, was I meditating on it?

Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night. Psalm 1: 1-2 (emphasis added.)

Isn’t that what we are called to do as Christians? Not to just read the Bible, but gain knowledge and wisdom from it? To learn from it!  When I was in school and reading a text book, did I just read it to get it done? (Well, maybe. 🙂 Sometimes.)  I read it to learn, to be able to answer questions about what I read, to take a test on it.  Isn’t the Bible much more important to my life than a school textbook? Then I was given a weekend devotional written by Donald Whitney. (Tabletalk October 2011)  It was entitled The Gospel and Journaling.  Whitney said a few things that really helped my dilemma.  “As opposed to the kind of daily experience with the Bible in which we pass our eyes for two seconds over each verse on the page, not remembering a think we’ve read, journaling can help us to slow down for a few moments and actually think about and absorb the passage we’ve just read.”  He goes on to explain how writing things down clarifies our thinking.  Just like in school when you think you know or understand a subject until you have to explain to to someone or write it down.

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It makes sense, doesn’t it? So now I have a journal.  I am going through Psalms, slowing down and thinking about what I am reading.  I use a study Bible and read the notes to help engage me. And I also don’t leave my devotions to the two minutes before I go to sleep.  I am not that clear-headed in the morning so I still do my devotions before bed, but I give myself more time and do it earlier.  How can I think and meditate on it if I’m too tired to think? And you know what, my devotions have made more of an impact in my daily life.  Because I remember and recall what I have read.   James 1:25: “But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.” (emphasis added.)

So, slow down and think.  And be blessed by the Word of God.

In Christ,
~Mindy~

Day 1 of Clean-Up!

As many of you now, we had a major ice/snow storm this April!  Tuesday started out with rain which quickly turned to sleet or freezing rain.  This lasted all night!  At about 6pm we lost power for an hour.  After digging out our candles, the girls and I played dominos by candlelight!  By bed-time the lights were back on.  Not for long, though!  At 9pm  we lost our electricity for good.  Sleeping with no nightlights, fans or any noise, but the freezing rain and cracking branches, was tough for the kids and quite eerie for me!  Wednesday morning we ate breakfast in front of the fireplace and then decided to wait out our ‘no power’ at grandpa & grandmas.  You see… we only have well water for our house, so no power means no water…  no flushing the toilet, no showers, nothing!   So, we packed up a few things – intending to only stay some of that day.  Wednesday night brought on the second storm with 8-10 inches of snow!   So…. our 1 day turned into 2 days, then 3 and by the end we were living at grandpa & grandma’s for 5 1/2 days!!  (Our house was without power for a total of 5 days).  We made a few trips back to the house to get more clothes, unpack our freezer to bring over, and to assess the damage.  Here are some pictures of our yard….

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Look how much ice!

Look how much ice!

We should be able to see right across to our neighbors!

We should be able to see right across to our neighbors!

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After the snow…

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This past weekend my husband’s parents came to visit.  With their help, and my dad and his chainsaw, we started Day 1 of our clean-up!  Even the girls pitched in by dragging branches to the fire!  (We have a burn permit -MN law!)  By lunchtime, we were thinking this would take all summer to clean up!  It was very slow going.

The girls helping.

The girls helping.

So, after starting out again in the afternoon, the guys decided dad needed to go get the tractor.  It’s amazing what you can do with a tractor!  Now, we started dragging the branches to a long pile in the back and dad would push them all the away across the yard to the burn pile.  Oh My…. how much easier and faster that was!

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Coen had to check out the tractor!

‘C’ had to check out the tractor!

Then, too, dad would park the tractor by a tree, get in the loader bucket, and cut down the big branches that just wouldn’t give up.

Dad in the loader - cutting down the branches that were still hanging on.

Dad in the loader – cutting down the branches that were still hanging on.

I was so amazed how much the guys got done during that afternoon.  We had quite a fire and have many piles of future firewood!

Our fire at the beginning. It got a lot bigger!

Our fire at the beginning. It got a lot bigger!

Now… don’t be upset if you didn’t get to help this weekend, we still have plenty left to clean up and you can always help the next time! (he, he)

I, also, just want to say I am so thankful for my family who is willing to give us their Saturday  – or evening – or whatever it may be –  to help us!  We are so blessed!

~ M ~

Starting a Garden

Well, I’ve lived in California for almost three years now. Now that we own our house I decided it was time to plant a garden.  Did you know that in California people BUY soil to plant a garden? I’m just used to that rich, dark Iowa soil that grows everything.  Well, I didn’t buy soil.  I just decided I would use miracle grow instead. 🙂  And to be economical I decided to buy seeds rather than buying the small plants that have been started for you already.  I can get many more plants with a lot less money, if I prosper.  I wanted to be successful with the seeds, so I bought a starter-grower thingy. Also known as a seed starter tray.  I planted tomatoes (the skinny little plants) and pumpkins (the big ones.)

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Then I ran out of room!  So the rest of the seeds will just have to go straight into the ground. While I left those plants to grow, I began digging up the weeds and grass for my garden.  I made a little bit of progress:

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So there is my partially dug up garden, which took a lot of work. There were a LOT of weeds.  First I dug it up and pulled the grass and weeds including their roots.  It was a lot of work.  But my little helpers, 2 year old Isaac, and 4 year old Abigail would take the weeds and put them in a pile for me.  Until they got bored, of course. Saraiah came over and helped me plant some seeds.  I purchased 10 year old Saraiah’s services as Mommy’s helper at my church’s silent auction.  So we planted cilantro, watermelon, and sweetcorn.  But alas, as I was digging up more of my garden to remove weeds I saw a long piece of grass about 2 feet outside my garden wiggle to and fro and then disappear into the ground! I took my shovel and slammed it into the ground as hard and deep as I could.  Did I get the rotten gopher? I do not know.  I brought the subject up to my husband, Josh, who promptly told me I better gopher-proof it.  *Sigh* More back-breaking work.  I did my research and decided the best course of action would be to dig up 8 inches of soil and lay down wire.  Josh had leftover wire from when he built an aviary in the back yard as a high-schooler, so I already had that at hand. (We live in the house Josh grew up in.) So I found boards to lay around the garden to staple the wire to so it wouldn’t shift. It was difficult since I had part of the garden already planted.   I couldn’t just dig out the entire garden, but had to do it piece by piece.  I had to be careful not to throw dirt on top of the already planted areas and I felt as though I ended up doing double work. Here is the first section completed.

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And what did I find as I dug? A gopher hole.  Running the entire length of my garden, smack dab in the center.  Now I’m very thankful to my husband for telling me to gopher-proof. Most of time I worked I had my wonderful helpers at my side.  Not that they were actually helped. Just observing.  Or getting in the way.  Abigail peppered me with questions, and repeated the questions when she ran out of new questions.  Why are we digging up the garden? To lay the wire.  Why do we need to lay wire? To keep the gophers out. Why do you want to keep the gophers out? Ahh!!! It about drove me nuts! But I know she’s just curious and it was a great time to explain about gophers, how they live, what they eat, etc.  Science lesson in the garden!  Abigail would also wander around and was rather a nuisance getting in my way, sitting where I wanted to dig, standing in the pile of dirt watching it cascade back into the already-dug area.  She did help dig slowly, since her shovel was only a small spade.   But she was helping – in her own way, even if she did end up putting dirt back where I had just dug it out.  Is that what God feels like? Watching us try to do something, thinking we are doing good when we are actually undoing the good that was there before? But anyway, back to the garden.  My legs are killing me.  My hands have blisters.  And Abigail’s inquisitive mind is coming up with question after question. But I made more progress! Pushing the dirt over the first section, digging out the second.  Then I ran out of wire. 😦

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Well, it’s getting there, and meanwhile Abigail came up with a new topic of conversation.  Jesus’ crucifixion. Since it’s Easter time, she has been hearing the story of Jesus’ death quite a bit.  Why did Jesus die? Why did they want to kill him? Did he have to die that way to save us from our sins? Did he want to die?  I was amazed at some of her questions.  Especially when some of them I had never thought of myself.  DID Jesus have to die on a cross to save us from our sins? My response: Ask your daddy, because I don’t know. But then the repetition begins again.  I just wanted to tell her to stop asking questions.  Yet it brings to mind Matthew 19:14, “But Jesus said, Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”  Would I be hindering Abigail by refusing to answer her questions?

Back to the garden: so, the plants are growing.  What is growing? Sweetcorn!!!!! DSCN0128

I hope the gophers don’t destroy it.  (It’s in the non-gopher-proofed area.)

Now my husband comes to help, yay!  He wired the overlapping pieces together so there is virtually no way the gophers can get in.  He has been battling mice in our aviary and has learned that rodents are quite smart and can get through the smallest of cracks.  So now the wire is pretty tight and when pulled acts like one piece of wire.   So we can finally put the dirt back on!  And plant more plants!!   I did buy soil for my already-started tomatoes and pumpkins.   So I dug a small hole, filled it with store-bought soil and then planted the small plant in the soil.

Gopher-proof garden! (left side beyond the board buried is NOT gopher-proof)

Gopher-proof garden! (left side beyond the board buried is NOT gopher-proof)

Ahh…success.  Feels so good to see if after all that hard work!

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Pumpkins - the kind that are great for baking

Pumpkins – the kind that are great for baking

Watermelon - in the non-gopher-proofed area

Watermelon – in the non-gopher-proofed area

Sweetcorn - it's getting bigger!!!

Sweetcorn – it’s getting bigger!!! With strawberry plants in the background.

The cilantro I planted still has not popped up.  I hope it will, I’m being patient.  Trying anyway.  And now my garden has turned into an experiment – since only half is gopher-proofed.  We shall see if the gopher proofing was worth it.  Do the gophers eat my watermelon and sweetcorn? Is the gopher-proofed area really gopher-proofed? We will find out in a couple months!

~Mindy~

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Man of Sorrows! what a name
For the Son of God, who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim:
Hallelujah! what a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned he stood,
Sealed my pardon with his blood:
Hallelujah! what a Savior!

Guilty, vile, and helpless, we;
Spotless Lamb of God was he;
Full atonement! can it be?
Hallelujah! what a Savior!

Lifted up was he to die,
“It is finished!” was his cry:
Now in heav’n exalted high:
Hallelujah! what a Savior!

When he comes, our glorious King,
All his ransomed home to bring,
Then anew this song we’ll sing:
Hallelujah! what a Savior!

~(Hymn “Man of Sorrows” also known as “Hallelujah! What a Savior”)

Jacob’s 2 months!

Jacob is two months already!  Really? Has it been that long already?  Well, he just had his two months appointment and it definitely shows! He had started out with slow weight gain as it took two weeks to even get to his birth weight. But now he has gone from being in the 30th percentile for his weight to being in the 80th percentile!  He is now weighing 13 lbs 5oz and 24 inches long!

Jacob - two months

Jacob – two months

Isn’t he cute? 🙂  And well, I do love to compare the growth of my kids.  And their pictures.  So first we have big sister Abigail. My long lean little girl was 24.5 inches and 10 lbs. Taller and thinner.

Abigail

Abigail at 2 months!

See the resemblance?  If she wasn’t wearing pink, I could most assuredly mistake her for Jacob.  Okay, so now on to big brother Isaac.  He was definitely big!! And a bit short I guess.  He was only 22.5 inches long but a whopping 15 lbs.

DSCN1527

Isaac at two months

So there’s my little kids.  And for a little giggle, a small glimpse into my life with a 4 year old.  Here is the setting: I am seated on the couch, checking my email.  Abigail comes up to me and asks me very politely if I can move to the other couch.
Me: Why?
Abigail: My imaginary friends Kyra and Cali are here and Krya is going to sleep there (pointing at the cushion I am leaning against.)  Cali is going to sleep there (pointing at the cushion next to me.) And I am going to sleep there. (Pointing to the third cushion.)
I reply: Oh, that wouldn’t be nice if I squish Kyra would it?
Abigail: No.
Me: Can I squish you? (I’m feeling a bit ornery)
Abigail: Nooo.  But you and daddy can squish each other.

😀  Gotta love the mind of a 4 year old.

~Mindy~