My twin sis and her younger kids came for a visit over the 4th so among Independence Day activities, we also squeezed in a day trip to Ritter Hot Springs with Mom and Larry. Rina's cousin, Jess, just can't get enough of her baby cousin!
Waiting with friends and family for the 4th of July parade to start!
Rina and her 4th of July frosted cookie face. I absolutely love this dress that her Nana and Papa got her.
The last week Michael was in Virginia for Warrant officer school, our family helped me out by watching all our kids and getting them to their different camps, so that that I could fly back to Virginia to see Michael for a week. Oh, what fun we had! I'm hoping to find the time to blog about my trip in a separate post. Looking back at the pictures, I'm amazed at all we managed to cram in around his schedule. This was the first time I'd ever been back east further than Kentucky, so I was really excited to be able to dip my toes into the Atlantic Ocean.
It took Rina a little bit to warm up to her daddy since he'd been gone for two months, but it wasn't long before she was snuggling up to him. We were all so happy to have him home!
The kids hadn't ever been away from our family that long before. We didn't see Josiah for two weeks because he left for his Boy Scout Camp the week before we left, and then Hailey was gone for her camp the week we were gone. I could tell the kids missed us a lot, as well as each other. Again, a huge thank you to all our family who helped us juggle the kids while we were gone! Poor Stacie. Rina was teething the whole time we were gone.
The kids loved all the souvenirs we brought back. Hailey is holding up the old fashion sticker book and wearing the netted hairband we got her at Jamestown. Josiah is holding his hatchet and the fun wooden chicken toy we got Rina.
Michael quickly resumed his fatherly duties and took Josiah fishing so he could finish his fishing merit badge since he was unable to catch a fish at Boy Scout Camp. They made up for it and brought home quite a haul thanks to our friend, Lee, who took them out in his boat. Josiah made us fried fish that night. Yum!
Michael began working on the new chicken yard with his sweet little helper that likes to get dirty at every opportunity.
This girl eats dirt like I eat chocolate! She's building lots of immunities, that is for sure.
Rina got stuck in her crock. I have three different sizes of crocks in our living room for decoration, and we just decided to use these to hold her toys and books in the living room. I love functional decor!
Michael's brother, David, brought up two of our nephews from Michael's side of the family, Dylan and Shawn for a short visit. We always have so much fun with these kids! They both enjoyed their ride in Uncle Michael's T-Bucket. What a delight to have them stay with us again.
Shawn taking his ride with Uncle Michael. Before we know it, Uncle Michael will be teaching them to drive the T-Bucket!
Rina is my little homestead helper. I let her carry the empty egg basket down to the chicken coop where she throws some cracked corn for the hens. She loves to help me with whatever I'm doing, so I try to find little jobs for her.
Our "free" honeybee hive ended up costing us about $300, because we had to get Michael's wedding ring cut off his finger and then fixed again. Michael caught part of the hive, bought a queen for it, but we ended up nothing for all the trouble as the hive was empty when he last checked it. You win some, you lose some. Luckily, the hive Josiah caught this year is producing well and we should get enough honey out of it for our own use this year. Won't be selling any this year, sadly. Oh well, we're learning a lot and hoping to catch a few more wild swarms come this spring.
I found this cute cowgirl Dr. Pepper sign super cheap at a yard sale to go in our vintage camper.
I didn't have much of a garden this year, but our berries and grapes did well, and so did our gigantic pumpkins.
Finally getting around to fencing off our large lower pasture in anticipation of having sheep later this summer. We're in desperate need of animals to keep the vegetation down. Josiah is rolling out the horse wire in this picture.
Michael had Josiah use the winch on the ATV to help stretch the wire from post to post. Worked really well. Feels good to finally have this pasture fenced off. We refuse to go into debt on our homestead, so it takes us awhile to get projects done because we only buy materials when we have the money to do so. When we wait for it,we appreciate them more when we eventually are able to buy them.
Rina is getting "gasp" blonde hair! She is definitely not a red-head. All her dark hair is gone and now she is a tow-head just like her daddy was. She definitely broke the redhead mold in this family ;) What a sweet joy and delight she is to us all!
Blessings to You All,