Wednesday, March 21, 2012

As of Today...

 Kenton and Dad-and the dumb dog- at the end of the day.

My safety conscious Dad put in the railing.  He forgot that several of our regular visitors are below the railing height.  He'll be adding to it.

Jonas and Scott starting putting some equipment into the parlor basement.

The ceiling is up in the parlor and Dad's shoulders are relieved.

Kenton's planning to pour the floor of the stall area in the parlor tomorrow.  

Maybe I should take a poll: When do you think the parlor will be up and running?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Somebody had a birthday! 

Where does the time go? 

(The pirates who don't do anything!)

 (Obeying the letter of the law, "STAND STILL!")

(Gorgeous blue eyes!)

(In the days before John Deere and the color green ruled his wardrobe preferences)

Davis has been telling me for months that his meal of choice for today was a sandwich from Rick's (our local gas station).  Um, yeah!  With gas station subs and hotdogs boiled in maple syrup as favorites that doesn't say much for my cooking, does it?
This morning I ordered a "birthday" sub from Rick.  He was pretty excited to hear that Davis rated his subs as #1.  When we arrived Rick had a sub, AND a bag of chips, candy bar, chocolate milk and a card with $1 in it ready for the birthday boy!  They also gave him a rousing round of Happy Birthday!  It was pretty special. 

Sam and Ted were here to play today and Josh and Caleb came after school. 

Jumping on the trampoline made for hot, sweaty kids.

Gifts from grandparents added to the special day.

The long awaited gift he didn't get for  Christmas is finally his. 

It looks like everyone will enjoy it. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012


Since it's been a little bit since we talked about Emily (Be so thankful you don't live in our house right now.  Fifty percent of the conversations around here are about Emily, traveling for Emily, China, and how life will change once Emily is here.  Another 35% of conversations are about the new barn, building the new barn, arrangements for getting the barn done, and how life will change once the new barn is done.  Are you seeing a theme here?  Conversationally, Kenton and I can be like two ships passing in the night.  Really, you'd be bored to tears!)

All that to say...We have a name!

This little one will be Emily MeiPan (May-Paun).

That's the short version.  Those of you who aren't into details may want to tune out now!

Still with me?  This is EMILY!   The child we think about and plan for and pray for every day. Mostly hourly, and sometimes minute to minute.  I worry...throw it into God's hands, have peace, start to worry...and well, I'm sure you're seeing another general theme here. 

Emily's Chinese name is Pan.  It's pronounced paun and means hope!  Is that perfect or what?  We kept Kaitlyn's Chinese name Ying for her middle name and I really wanted to do that with Emily.  BUT...Emily Pan looks a little off to my western eyes.  Mei (May) means beautiful and little sister.  So we added Mei to Pan for Beautiful Hope.

One special thing that happened, the day after we requested to adopt Emily, I was reading to Davis.  The story was about a little African boy who traveled many weeks to attend a mission school.  One day he asked the teacher's wife what that thing was that she was sweeping dirt into.  When he got to school he announced, "My name is no longer Tisese, 'the-animal-which-runs-through-the-woods'.  Now that I am a Christian, my name shall be 'Dust Pan' forever!"  Dust Pan?  "I want to be a dust pan, so that when I go home I may carry out the dirt from the lives of my father, my family, and all my friends.  I want to be a Dust Pan for Jesus!"
Dust Pan's father was one of the most famous witch doctors in that part of Africa, and usually killed more than six hundred people every year.  He put to death anyone who offended him by poisoning them, burying them alive, or tying them to ant hills and letting the ants eat them.  But Dust Pan's faith and love won the hearts of his whole family--even that father.  Both his parents, his three sisters, and all five brothers were converted and became Christians.  Then Dust Pan began to share the Gospel with others in his village.  When the missionary returned the following year, he found three hundred and sixty-four new Christians waiting to be baptized, all through the witness of one young boy.  What a lot of sin, darkness, and dirt had been carried out of that corner of Africa, by one Dust Pan in the hands of Jesus! 

Beautiful Hope!  How could we not retain her name after that?

We are currently waiting on our Letter of Acceptance from the Chinese government.   We tentatively expect to travel sometime between July and September.  Of course, we would be thrilled to pack suitcases and leave YESTERDAY but red tape prevails. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Something Old, Something New

 Mom and Dad are here.  Dad is tied up doing electrical...and being drafted for anything else like hanging ceiling anytime Kenton needs him. 

This means Mom has time for her personal project - turning my house into one fit to be on the cover of Better-Homes-And-Gardens.  Of course, unless these improvements come with a maid, gardener, and cook this won't be possible.  Lack of effort on Mom's part will never be the obstacle that prevents it. 

The girls will be needing more room once Emily joins them so we flip-flopped with them.  This is my old room.  Of course, realistically it didn't look like this very often. 

Mom assures me that "color is in."  I'm pretty happy with this blue for our "new" room. 

It was lavender when the girls had it.  Kenton was totally befuddled about why I wanted to paint it a different color.   Okay, he was puzzled why we can't just leave everything where it's at and add another bed to the existing room.   He hates painting, change, and abhors moving furniture or GASP! moving pictures on the walls! (Aside: apparently so does the board at Goodwill Mennonite Home.)  However, he took the high road, acknowledged it was a battle he wasn't going to win, figured it would keep us out of his hair (the REAL reason) and told us to paint away without bothering him. 

Eventually I'll have some pictures for the walls and doors on those upper cabinets.

And just to confirm that the circus lives on here...

Thursday, March 15, 2012


 We needed to go pick up our "new" bulk tank.  Kenton said to meet him at the farm so we could leave right away. 

This is what I found when I arrived.  

This is what we found when we arrived at the farm.  The tank was surrounded.

I figured this was going to be a long job.  But six farmers were innovative - although their methods probably wouldn't be OSHA approved -

Jack it up, put tire jacks underneath the corners

Push and steer

Put it up on skids and slide it onto the trailer with a skid loader.

Voila!  Our "new" 6000 lb. 4000 gallon tank was ready to go.


As requested by the Florida contingent.... Parlor updates. 

Parlor basement with glassboard up.  Looks a little different since you left, eh?

Starting to put up the ceiling in the parlor.

They started installing the parlor equipment.

The Zimmerman's were super about helping Kenton load the tank.  They also showed us around their new facility.  Kenton got some new ideas that he's hoping to implement. 

Here's one.  Check out the brilliant boot washer!

I think seeing someone else's completed facility helped us see the light at the end of the tunnel for this project.  Between adoption stuff, parlor stuff, the state Holstein meeting, Domingo's broken hand, etc. it has been a rough winter.  Yes, without doubt many blessings, but still difficult.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What's Up?

 Kaitlyn is really into puzzles right now. 

She also scored a new calf.  The big kids all have a cow (or two) in their names.  Kenton gave Kaitlyn one out of a "93 point Durham".  (I guess that means  it's good?)  She decided to name it Puzzle. 

Angie and Matt came through on the way to visit D.C. with their middle son Ben.  As you can see Angie is still drinking from the Fountain of Youth.  She and I were roommates.  Matt was our Help-in-time-of need. 

Ben was a really good sport. 

And FINALLY!  The moment you've been waiting for...parlor updates!

Kenton got the parlor floor poured, the block was laid...

Once the block was laid he needed to put fill in above it where the cows will stand.  He rented this really neat packer complete with remote control to settle all that fill before this area can be poured.

Sidenote:  The bigger they are, the more expensive their toys are.  

And now

to break my habit of being at least a week behind

As of today:

We have the beginnings of the actual parlor going into place.  

Fun in the trenches

Kids have fun too.  

The willow tree had to go.   Sigh.

Are my in-laws glad to be in Florida missing the hassle and mud?  Or are they ready to rush back to Maryland so they can defend their yard and offer advice?  :P tongue

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Scenic Vista Maple Syrup

 Kenton told me I should add to the blog.  This is not what he meant but he rarely reads this so he won't know the difference.;) winking      

Marla told me to come down and check out their maple syrup operation.  The kids loved collecting sap with the four-wheeler. 

Kaitlyn, Georgie, and Raven had a great time getting acquainted and climbing all over the wood. 

Marla stoked the fire regularly to keep the sap boiling and evaporate a lot of the water. 

Smaller quarters, less clothing, and a bar of soap would have made for a "sweet" sauna.

Marla's Aunt Darlene and Kenton's Great Aunt Dorothy were there to enjoy the company and bring back some memories. 

After boiling, run through screens to remove dirt and debris, bottle, and enjoy!

Enjoy?  Boy, did they!  Our kids are now firmly convinced that epicurean delights are hotdogs boiled in maple syrup, ice cream with maple syrup, and hot maple syrup to drink.  Are you seeing a pattern here?

New friendships are always a bonus, too!

Kenton was not overjoyed that they wanted to use his hoarded real maple syrup (as oppposed to that corn syrup they sell at Walmart) to boil up some hotdogs for lunch the next day.   :P tongue