That's not all we have to say about new life and babies - this past spring Dave
attempted to hatch chickens in his 4 year old classroom! He started out with over 60 eggs and approximately a dozen hatched (yeah, that's not many, but we have since learned from our mistakes - stay tuned for next spring's hatching attempt!). Oh what fun it was to go to his room every day and see little beaks poking out of cracked eggs, new chicks under a heat lamp, or a few of them running in the plastic kiddie pool! Those little buggers were such a mood uplifter! On a normal day, the promise of a pancake breakfast will work wonders to get me out of bed quickly, but I must say, I bounded out of bed to see the chicks quicker than that! As if
that wasn't enough to fulfill our urban farming dreams, Dave helped me
build garden boxes. Not just two or three, but 16!! Not everything I planted did well (my mint never got started! Weird...) but some things did better than I expected (yay! Basil!). One of my favorite parts about gardening was that the boxes were located at my best-friend-in-town Tracy's house. The other part I loved was the fact that all summer Mo came along and got to see
where some of our food was coming from. In our family this year we have been making some changes in what we eat. For instance, we've been buying more local foods, which makes me a little sad because it means less trips to one of my favorite places - the grocery store! But we've been getting to know some local farmers and finding other sources for our food. This shift is by no means complete. Believe it or not, I am learning to cook using foods like quinoa, fresh vegetables and pasture-fed meat!
The summer of 2009 was one of the big events we had been looking forward to...we celebrated 10 years of marriage with a party at Kohler Andrae State Park! We reserved the group camp and a shelter and invited most everyone we knew! It was a beautiful day by the lake and brought back memories of our wedding, another beautiful day by a much smaller lake. The summer also brought about a few changes in our house. For starters, Pumpkin moved out and joined his dad and family early in July. Don't even ask me if that was hard, because you know it was! But the good news is that we were at peace with it. It helped so much to be able to release him to a family...again, I could talk about this more, but I think you can imagine the gamut of emotions! Shortly after, Pickles moved out as well. We felt like empty nesters! I couldn't help but ask God where He was taking us next. Just when things in our house seemed to be really quiet...my mom had a seizure. There really isn't any answer as to why, other than the fact that people who have sustained a brain injury are more susceptible. Again, we felt it was a time to persevere and push through. Shortly after that, we were able to take 2 sisters for emergency foster care! Thankfully, Dave was home and willing to stay with the kids and his mom was able to come over and help out, as well...so I was able to be with my mom while she recovered and my dad was gone on business. If that wasn't enough, we got a follow-up call to bring a possible pre-adoptive foster daughter home from the hospital, all within the same week! Suddenly we were a family of six, four of whom were under 5!! Oh the milk we went through! Oh the giggles! Oh the little socks and the diapers and pullups and oh the HAIR! Since all the foster kids were girls at that time I had to go buy some new combs and hair doo-hickeys! I learned a lot about little girl hair! The sisters were in our house for about 3 weeks, which really gave us a taste of what it's like to have twins or something! We considered it a blessing to have them, but once they were gone we could really focus on Fabi (her secret identity) and her medical issues. Shortly after her arrival, all 4 of us were on our way to Delaware for a
much needed beach vacation!! We rented a house one block from the beach and spent every day there. For me (Mel), that was one of the best vacations. I was happy not to be criss-crossing all over the map. I loved having our own kitchen to prepare healthy meals, being so close to the beach and having enough space for everyone to get their own room. It was cool to see the ocean in the morning and at night, on a sunny day and on a really stormy day...we were there over the week of Moses' birthday too, so it was fun to decorate the house and celebrate by making sand castle cakes and riding waves!
...and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3
Merry Christmas to all of you! We pray that this letter finds you in good health and spirits, or maybe you're persevering through some things of your own. We'd love to hear from you - please keep in touch! If you don't know how to get a hold of us already, leave a comment and we'll get you our info...if possible, it would be great to get together in the new year!
1) Save postage. We love you, but we're cheap!
2) Save paper. You just recycle those cards after you read them...you do recycle them, don't you??
3) Save printing costs. See reason #1!
4) Save stress. Nothing to print, sign, stuff, address...
5) Expand our options! Now you can see a practically limitless amount of photos.
6) Our greeting to you is saved in cyber-space for posterity! Yes, we can be that vain sometimes!
7) It went so well last year...we heard a lot of positive responses, and even some people who said they'd try it themselves. Welcome to the dark (green) side! (Sorry that was a goofy Star Wars joke...)