Friday, February 28, 2014

A basketball team

     Or maybe two pairs of doubles volleyball teams, with an alternate. Or what else??? Enough bodies to completely fill our Odyssey (it holds seven). That's what we are about to have, come August. Five more months and we will be the proud family of a new little blessing from heaven.
      I don't know why I've put off shouting it out but it may have to do with the "I think your crazy" comments or the look of shock we keep getting from so many people, but we are excited about this next family member. I always feel the need to add that I am pretty sure that this will complete our family, but one never knows, as if that will take away some of the shock others feel and express. We always thought that we would have between four and six kids, and five is right the middle. But that is a lot out here. I was looking around and noting that there are only a few, maybe four or five families in our ward with five kids, none with more who are young. And outside church there are even smaller families and so five seems huge in comparison to two. Joe and I both come from families of two and two is just as consuming, just different. I firmly believe that having children is hard, no matter how many and how old. The challenges are just different in each family, but there are no shortages of challenges. But more blessings than can be counted.
        This new baby is due middle of August, and with a sister and brother both with birthdays within three weeks, we are prepared for either sex (seasonal clothing wise) and so are leaning towards leaving that a mystery to be revealed in the labor room. We did that with Julia and it was such a fun thing. It made those moments following a quick, painful, unexpected delivery so much memorable. I was so focused on knowing if it was a boy (I thought boy the whole pregnancy) that I didn't think about anything else immediately. It was just a fun thing. So was finding our the sex at the 20 week ultrasound. It's been fun every time. Just different and unique to each pregnancy and child. A different story. It helps me remember each one because my brain is quickly turning to mush, that must be why I am getting so many gray hairs. No more brain. The best thing I've bought in the last two or three years was a watch with date, timer, stopwatch functions. If it weren't for the date I would be lost whenever anyone asks, how old is..., or when does ______ blah blah blah...
       You know what is also fun??? There are three other ladies (that sounds weird) in my ward who are due within a five or six week period, with me number two of the four. It will be a blast going through all of this with them, we can help remind each other how far along we are. It was like that with Sean, three babies within six weeks. Who, by the way, goes to nursery SUNDAY. WOOHOOOO!!!!! Good thing because Joe and I both teach Sunday during the third hour. I'll have to find a back up for diaper duty if needs be.

Busy as a bee

      Last year we had a family from our ward over for dinner a few times and got to talking while the kids played. This family is not like most of the families in our ward. They raise cows and chickens, the wife makes cheeses and ice cream, and they sell their beef and milk at local farmers' markets. They are cool people. Well, we found out that they keep bees as well. Joe and I were instantly interested. I read a book they had on beginning beekeeping, we went to their home and helped with a few hive inspections, and then we accepted one of their hives and put it in our backyard.         Beekeeping has become our thing. It is so fascinating to read about the amazing honey bee. We can watch the hive from our master bedroom and get sucked into just watching the bees come and go for minutes at a time. We had already put up a small fence and gate in our yard to separate the main yard from the garden area. So we had a great spot already set up, in our garden, that would keep the kids and guests away from the hive. We also already had tons of bees in our yard prior to the bee arrival and haven't noticed any more since. Which makes since if you know that flowers have limited pollen and nectar producing capabilities and so only so many bees can forage any given plant in a time span. Plus when you watch you see that they leave the yard and fly over the neighbors home, and ours, and are on their way to more flowers.
       I know someone will ask, in the 5 months that we've had the bees only one person, me, has been stung and that was because I was brain dead and was in the hive without any protective gear (face mask, gloves) and one got me in the ear. (Which describes well how it felt, like I just got my ear pierced, not fun but nothing fatal) Plus we had just harvested the honey and I think they weren't happy with us. My father-in-law walked two feet in front of the entrance to our hive while Joe and I were working in the hive and he wasn't bothered at all. It's too bad we all grow up being told that bees will sting you because though it is true, they will, they won't if you are slow, gentle, and nowhere near their hive. I took one off a shirt recently and it, she, just walked on my finger (bare finger mind you) until she flew away. I was no threat to her and she had nothing to protect, so why would she kill herself just to sting me, a none threat?
       Bees are amazing, the more I learn of them the more I love having them in my yard. I feel a little closer to the earth knowing that we are aiding in a small way the production of so much. Bees are HUGE contributors to our food supply through pollination, without them we all are in trouble food wise. I love it. They take some work, more monitoring than anything else, but are so worth the little bit of time. An hour every seven to ten days in the spring and summer and even less in the winter. Oh have they loved this weather. And they fly in the rain. Tinkerbell did something to me and I was a little shocked when I first saw that, but then again, bees aren't fairies.
We are looking forward to this being a family industry, a few hives at a satellite location (in a few years) and one or two in our yard. The honey is amazing and so much healthier for you than what is sold as honey in the store. Oh and if we ever sold any (we've only given it away to some friends so far) you can make a little change to  pay back the investment of equipment.
I will post pictures of our hive this week. It's just such a cool experience. I love it.

Blessings from heaven

           I am sure that most have heard about the drought in California. It was kind of weird how it just "happened" while we were playing outside enjoying the gorgeous weather. We never had horribly hot weather just so many unbelievably beautiful warm days to play with all the now 14 kids within four houses of ours. But so many dry days mean, ta da, so many days without rain, the driest calendar year on record. Well, the First Presidency asked all members to fast in February for rain, and guess what. It was rainy before we even left for church. It's been such a blessing the way that Heavenly Father has blessed us with rain. A few days of moderate rain (1/2-3/4 of an inch) then days of sun then some more rain, than sun. To see that Heavenly Father is taking care of us in giving us a bit at a time so that we don't have mud slides and floods is faith building. How nice to be able to say after just a few days on intense rain, "ohh yeah, drought is done." But to do so quickly would cause even more problems. We just have to be patient and remember to keep asking for rain and he will give it to us.
        On my mission, every single day that there was a marriage scheduled between investigators there was rain. While the 20 or so members were in Spain, being sealed in the temple, there was a tropical storm that rained for a week. Rain had huge meaning for me on my mission. This drought in Cali is nothing compared to the normal conditions in Cabo Verde. Though our farmers (as of now) will get NO water for their crops this year (so just get ready for produce sticker shock come summer) it doesn't compare with the absolute lack of moisture that I saw there. Therefore, the rain was a blessing from heaven. Heaven showed it's approval for those couples and blessed a whole island.
      We took the girls our in the rain today, too bad it was pouring, and they enjoyed every minute of splashing in the puddles and carrying umbrellas and making paste out of chalk. And we saved a number of worms from drowning and helped a few lawns in the process. Such fun. I will say that I no longer enjoy getting wet in the puddles, but I do like sweeping the water around in the gutters. It's kind of fun to watch it push forward then retreat, carrying dirt and rocks, and then finally falling through the storm drains.