David turned 4 last Saturday. He decided on peach cobbler for birthday breakfast. Yum!!
Then it was time for present-opening. I made a birthday hat out of felted sweaters and hopefully we can reuse it for the other kids.
Playmobil was the theme of the presents. I found a fisher price pirate ship at a garage sale and that was the centerpiece.
Of course then it was time to PLAY with the playmobil.
David requested a trip to West Park where they have some water features. It was a hot day, but the kids had fun. It's pretty obvious the kids are "stairstep children":
Then it was time for chocolate-zucchini cupcakes with Grandma: We had pasta for dinner on Saturday and then the family came for lunch on Sunday. David requested cheesecake and Auntie C made it. Doesn't it look good!!! It was!
David and Grandma are only 4 days (and a number of years) apart. So we celebrated both birthdays together:
Out they go: David informed me that he is "no longer cute now that he is four." I guess that means he's handsome now. :)
The very first thing we did upon arriving home from church camp Thursday night was to check on the duck. This is what we saw: one egg shell. According to the 27/28 day incubation time we found, our duck wasn't due until next week. I hoped it wasn't a bad sign, and no one had attacked her while we were away.
But, look what Michael saw the next morning:
Aren't they the cutest things??!!! Yes, the ducklings hatched just hours after we got home. We are pretty sure there were 7 ducklings.
Mama Duck kept the babies carefully hidden in the nest and occasionally, if the coast was clear, let them wander a foot or two away into the garden. Michael's office is, fortunately, right there by her nest, so he could keep a close eye on them.
About 2 o'clock Michael alerted us that the ducks were on the move. This was the part we had been waiting for all these weeks. It would be our only chance to really see the ducklings because once the mama took them from the nest to water she would never bring them back.
Carefully, with furtive glances, Mama Duck led her babies across our doorstep and behind the bushes on the other side of the house to the edge of our property.
Then it was a short distance across the grass to the neighbor's garden. Up, over the little wall the ducklings poured:
Except for two that had trouble. After a few cute jumps, and the Mama coming back for the last one, they were all over.
There's Mama Duck, resting the ducklings and looking out for danger.
From the flowers they waddled across our neighbor's driveway,
and along the edge of her house:
Then there was a long stretch of grass to reach the next neighbor's lawn:
Across their lawn: to another set of bushes:
And from there, across the sidewalk to the road: (I was hoping no cars would come!!!)
And then across the road:
safely to the otherside and into a clump of bushes beneath a tree. They stayed here for some time and we finally left as I think Mama Duck did not want us watching anymore.
Fifteen minutes later the ducks were gone and I think they headed between the houses and out these gates to the woods and the water beyond.
Upon arrival home this is what we found:
We tried "candling" the egg and decided to agree with Mama Duck that it is indeed a dud. We are leaving it in the kitchen for the inspection of the relatives tomorrow.
And so our duck saga is at an end. We all find it amazing that Mama Duck chose our busy house to have her nest. And I find it a special gift from God that we were able to enjoy this close touch with nature. I hope the kids always remember it. Can you believe we nearly missed the ending to this story?! I'm so glad we made it back in time.
And now today is David's 4th birthday and we are having a day of celebration!
My garden is doing so much better this year than last. Little by little the dirt is improving. It will still be quite a few years before I can say I have good dirt. I love the fact that we now have so many birds in our backyard because of the garden. The gold finches make me the happiest, and the humming birds.
One thing I don't really post on my blog is pictures of how dirty my house can get. Everyday I fight back thoughts of annoyance that I can't have 5 children AND a spotless house (or at least a very clean house). At this point my typing was interrupted to go fish a washcloth out of dirty toilet -- UGH!
I do have priorities, and they run something like this: laundry, bathrooms, floors. But I just don't seem to be able to have most things clean at the same time. :) And, I just can't seem to get to those projects like wiping down the cupboards and the baseboards and the walls. You might say those aren't necessary. Well, after a year of dirty hands, they are!!!
Most aspects of housekeeping I enjoy: cooking, ironing, gardening, and to some extent laundry. I don't really enjoy cleaning, and maybe that's why I get frustrated because I feel since I don't like it I should do it or I'm being lazy. :) I sure do enjoy "stocking the larder". Put me in front of a jam pot or next to a pile of berries to freeze and I'm in bliss, although the berries always seem to arrive when I'm strapped for time!
I'm sure most of you already have heard of the term "Renaissance Mom." Well, I just learned it this week. I think (I think) that's what I'd like to be. At least according to the definition in the above link. Maybe I need to work on the fitness aspect of it a bit more. :)
Now, I must get back to work. It takes a lot to get out the door with 7 people for 5 days away!
I have two volunteer sunflowers in the garden this summer -- kindly placed there by birds using our birdfeeder. This sunflower has about 5 different heads on it and is adorable. We finally ate dinner out on our back patio on Monday evening. With the sunflowers in the background, I pretended we were in Italy on vacation. :)
Christina and JK are back in their own home. We had a great time with them -- something one doesn't often get to experience with relatives who live in the same town.
This week strawberries and blueberries are on sale for the lowest price of the season. I've just bought 35 pounds and must freeze them all before leaving for church camp on Saturday. This happened to me last year -- the fruit went on sale just before our Florida vacation.
Have many of you watched the Murder on the Orient Express available on Masterpiece Theatre this week? I found out today that not only did Michael and I watch it last night but my mom did too, and Christina and JK did as well! Great minds think alike!
Rachel and Andrew both finished knitting projects this week. Andrew's been working on the pink hat for Laura for a few months and was very pleased to finish it this week.
Rachel, entirely on her own, picked up a knitting book from the library and made the doll. She never asked for any help, except to tie the yarn bows onto the dolls hair. I was very impressed. Laura seems happy. :)
We began our Fourth of July festivities with a visit to Conner Prairie last week. The kids loved the Militia Muster the best I think.
I loved the militia's outdoor kitchen.
Complete with their lunch of chicken stew cooking over the fire:
I also loved the tea tray set out and noticed they were drinking lavender tea. Mom and I tried the idea on Sunday by mixing 1 tsp. dried lavender flowers with some decaf green tea. It was surprisingly good -- of course very floral -- the best part is that the tea turns pink after awhile!
Seeing live animals is also a treat. The little boys loved holding baby chicks and everyone enjoyed petting the goats, sheep and calves in the barn. One of the interpreters brought by these oxen. After lunch there was a parade to participate in.
David marched with his "Quaker Gun".
Then we all gathered to hear the Declaration of Independence read. I am ashamed to say I can't remember if or when I've last read it. I was intrigued to hear all of King George's misdemeanors listed and wondered how hard it must have been for those early patriots to make the decision to break with England.
Many of those early leaders were either Christians, or highly respected the Bible, and so think about how hard it was for them to decide to overthrow the government when the Bible urges us to live at peace with all men, submit to the government, etc. And, that God will hold us accountable for the decisions we make. The Bible does make provision for not obeying authorities that ask you to do wicked things, etc. But, often in these matters things are not always black and white.
Our family knows something of how hard it is to make decisions where the answers are not black and white. When is enough, enough? When do you overthrow an oppressive king? I bet those patriots often felt like the weight of the world was on their shoulders! I'm just thankful that they made that decision and I didn't have to.
After the parade and the assembly, there was square dancing, which Rachel really enjoyed.
She even got me to join her for a bit.
It was a fun outing, the start to a very busy weekend. Here it is the end of another week. Christina and JK and Baby John are staying with us right now while their lives are in limbo due to mold infestation at their house. There's lots going on in the kitchen and we're trying to find some time for knitting. Only one more week until we head to church camp, so there is plenty to do!
What a festive 4th of July we have enjoyed! Friday we went to Conner Prairie for their celebration.
Saturday we went to the Brownsburg parade in the morning and met these adorable quadruplets, whom we happened to sit next to. Check out the 4 blondies sitting next to the 4 brown haired kids. Isn't it cute?! (Although Rachel does look more brown than blonde in this picture.)
Laura finally decided just to skip the parade and take a nap:
The parade was great and between it, and the parade the kids went to on Monday, we have a TON of candy. After the parade we had an open house to attend and then we headed to some friends for an evening BBQ. Our friends made grilled flatbread for the appetizer. It was amazing! I can't wait to try grilled pizza. It doesn't look hard at all.
Christine, as always, cooked terrific food on the grill: two flavors of ribs, chicken, and the flat bread. Unlike the last two years of cold and rainy weather, the weekend was gorgeous! I spent most of the evening trying to keep poor Laura happy -- all she wanted was her own bed.
Here's Emily, enjoying her favorite holiday. Incidentally, Emily is off to Arizona for two months to do an occupational therapy internship. So far she is loving it. We all will miss her!!
The boys got haircuts in time for the celebrations.
Emily made a sand castle cake for the BBQ to celebrate our friend's birthday.
Jimmy isn't looking very pleased in this photo, but we all enjoyed the cake, including Jimmy.
Laura did have a few minutes of happy smiles:
Sunday we grilled hamburgers after church and then on Monday Michael took the kids to another parade while I did my homeschool planning.
And then we joined friends in the evening for yet another cookout with amazing food. It was a full and fun weekend.