Monday, April 23, 2007

We spent all day Friday outside getting ready to landscape and garden. Since we didn't do very much gardening in Houston due to high temperatures and oppressive humidity, this is something that we have been looking forward to all winter. My parents made an outing to the Home-Depot want-to-be store and purchased seeds, flowers and herbs. We then played around with the placement for a while.

After a delightful picnic lunch, we began weeding, pulling up the ugly plants, transplanting nearly all of the tulips, and turning the soil over. After we had that done, we dumped several bags of top soil and mushroom compost on two beds and mulch on the other two. Even our dear Jessica who is deathly afraid of anything creepy-crawly came out to help...and I don't think we could have moved those hastas without her. :)

When we were just about finished, Dad came out to give the little ones a ride on William's...oops! Did I say William's?!?! I mean, Dad's John Deere. ;-)
Though we haven't had William's birthday party yet, we did give him one present. Judging by the look on his face, do you know what he got?

A John Deere tractor just like his Dad! :) He did notice that there were no John Deere decals or pictures of a deer on it, and it didn't make any cool noises either, but I think he was pretty happy.

He even decided to help out and pulled the tulip bulbs in his trailer from one flower bed by the house down the hill to the other bed where Melissa was planting them.

I know this sounds really stupid, and for those of you who see me on a regular basis, go ahead and laugh again. It really is stupid and very funny. As I said above, we didn't garden very much in Houston. As a matter of fact, the only time we really went outside was to get from the house to the building. So, since the weather on Friday was absolutely and perfectly gorgeous, I donned an apron and straw hat and went out to thoroughly enjoy myself. And now for the stupid part...I didn't notice the sun blazing high in the blue sky. :) I mean, I knew it was there, because when the clouds covered it, I got rather chilled, so I really looked forward to it coming back out. But I didn't think about what sitting under direct sunlight for a few hours would do to somebody. I was wearing a glove on the hand I used to get things out of the dirt, but since we were all wearing the little girl's gloves, I didn't wear one on the hand I used to shovel. After a few hours, I went to brush some dirt off of my arm and instantaneously my arm began to burn. I inquired after sunscreen, but we came to the conclusion that we got rid of them all before we moved. By the end of the day, the top side of my arms were a beautiful strawberry color and the under side of my arms were their usual peachy shade. My left hand matched the under side of my arm, but the glove-less one decided to go with the new fad that my arms had adopted.

They didn't hurt too bad on Saturday or Sunday. Today, on the other hand, just before lunch, a combination of pain, burning and a great desire to scratch my already red (I mean strawberry colored) arms seized me. We tried Aloe Vera, lavender water, cold wash clothes, hypericum gel, and lavender essential oils. Nothing at all worked. They didn't hurt all the time, it just came and went as it pleased. My rather silly sisters tried everything to distract me when the pain hit, all to no avail. So, my dear doctor of a Mom soaked some gauze in lavender and cold water and wrapped it around my arms, you know, mummy style. :) It didn't take the pain completely away, but it did help. The overall look turned out to be rather cute...for all I know, it might be the new fashion statement! ;-)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Rather eager to board, I'd say.

Late last night we arrived back home from our trip to Washington State. Even though our schedule was tight, we had a wonderful time before, during, and after the conference. William and I became the best of friends as we adjusted to life without Melissa. When we walked in the house, he actually preferred me over her and Jessica. (A first for those of you who don’t know. William is very picky and likes to play with hair…long hair, of which I do not have, thus his preference to Melissa. ;-)) During the few days that we were away, his vocabulary and his mannerisms went from baby to toddler. He became quite the copy-cat and even held some intelligent conversations.

The poor baby missed all of his doting sisters and brothers. We were driving from the Portland area to the Seattle area when his face became soaked from uncontrollable tears. We tried Jessica’s tactic and recited Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116, and a line about how much we loved him, to no avail. Finally, he started calling Jessica's name. When I suggested calling her, the tears ceased, a smile replaced his frown and his eyes sparkled with delight. So, we dialed the number, got Jessica on the phone, handed it to William and watched him blush and sigh contentedly as we heard her saying, “William, I love you. I love you like the day is long. Like the sun and the moon together….” Throughout our stay there, we had to call her twice to make this poor neglected young man happy.

The conference was simply wonderful. The volunteers were always more than ready to help. We had a private room for William to play and take naps, and a family had been assigned as our personal guides for the weekend. The people who we were able to meet and spend time with quickly became new friends and we were also able to see old friends during our visit. Some of the families from the conference also attend the church we visited on Sunday.We were glad for the opportunity to talk and visit without worrying about conference schedules.

We were also extremely delighted to finally meet the Bradrick Family. We have corresponded for several years over the phone and via email, but when we tried to get together a few years ago, something came up and we were deprived of their company. I knew from the start that I was among some very dear people. We went to their house after church and truly enjoyed the fellowship of the saints. After a wonderful dinner, we sang from the Psalter and laughed and talked long into the night. As we left yesterday morning, I was refreshed and encouraged. Thank you, Bradrick family for hosting us while we were in the area. We are so grateful for the time we spent in your company and are looking forward to many more meetings.

Here are some moments that I captured while we were away. I also put some others on my photo know, the more artistic ones. :) high on the...John Deere!

"Nothing runs like a Deere..."

William trying to decide which kind of latte to order at Starbucks.

William and his new found buddy, Master Cormick.

Mrs. Cormick and my Mom

William, his "Guckie," and his John Deere.

Some new friends.

Hmmm...I wonder what He's going to play next?

Sweet Mrs. Bradrick and....

...two of her sweet daughters.

And he says he's not a baby doll!

Ahhhh, now this is life...