Sunday, June 29, 2014

How Are Things At The Zoo?

Just ducky!!

We worked at the farm Saturday afternoon then took a break for a weiner roast before heading home. 
Things are chugging right along at the farm. David has kept the garden in good shape. Cows and goats all look good. 
Momma duck can't catch a break sitting a nest. Something got into the latest nest and destroyed her eggs. 
We find an occasional egg layed in random places around the house still. Two were found yesterday. Grant put them under a lamp wrapped in a towel determined to get them to hatch. They are now incubating in my oven under the oven light. Only with his sheer determination, a huge amount of luck and a small miracle from God will these eggs hatch, but how do you crush the kid's eternal optimism that he can hatch a baby duckling?  

Cale took john and Emily to the farm early Saturday to do some four wheeling and horse riding. I think john and Emily are suddenly realizing the benefits of having a cousin with a license living in their house!

Baby E went home Tuesday. Grace helped me give him one last bath so he could go home smelling sweet and fresh. 
She snuggled with him for a while saying her goodbyes. 

Today we are just hanging out at home getting things ready for our big trip out west in a couple weeks. I am optimistic I will be travel worthy by then. The doctor says I am healing fine. Now if I can just get some energy back!

Grant is finished with the regular baseball season. The team record is not so great, but grant had fun.  That counts for a lot. 

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, June 21, 2014


Momma duck didn't succeed in hatching her first eggs. It looks like a coon might have gotten into her nest while she was off of it. She is sitting on a second nest.  Crossed fingers for duckling this time. 

John is home from church camp. He agreed with me that being a counselor is far more fun than being a camper.  Emily finished her week of working at science camp. She is already talking about doing it again next year. 

 Grace is scheduled to go to church camp in two weeks. She is so excited that she has her suitcase packed already. 

Grace and Grant went to the dentist this week. To celebrate having no cavities we stopped at Steak 'n Shake to enjoy lunch.  I wonder how many more years they will happily wear little paper hats when we go to Steak 'n Shake?

Chores are part of the summer routine at the zoo. Summer school work and reading time are on the chore list. Grant is reading the children's version of Moby Dick. He just finished White Fang. Grace just finished Great Expectations and is working on Little Women. 
Though I am proud of their time spent reading during the summer, I am a bit concerned. Grant still prefers some pretty strange positions while doing his summer reading. See?

What would summer be without a tea party?  And what would a tea party be without a few doggy friends invited to share the fun?

Happy Saturday!  We're off to work at the farm today!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Throwback Thursday

Does anyone recognize this wonderful lady?

Our family purchased a box of books at a Aunt Lois's estate sale.  Included in the mix was an Albion High School yearbook.  We found many familiar faces including David's dad but none so surprising as this one!

Maybe there should be a prize for a correct answer!  

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Thief In Our Midst

We wear many different hats as parents. I fully expect to play chauffeur, dietician, teacher, psychologist, seamstress, nurse, maid and social coordinator among some of the many roles we take on as parents. One job I never expected to take on was that of detective.

Grant has an infatuation right now with Pokemon trading cards.  This is a typical little boy phase.  I can remember John carefully sorting and trading his own set of Pokemon cards several years ago.  Grant has been slowly building his set of cards.  With the convenience of internet shopping, I have purchased sets of cards for him several times online. I always make him pay for his own cards when I buy for him. He will faithfully bring me the money from his bank. 

After several days of buying cards online for grant it occurred to me that he had spent a WHOLE LOT OF MONEY!  I began asking him how much money he had left.  Numbers didn't add up. I got a little bit bolder with my questioning.  His answers were quite vague and highly unbelievable.

After much pushing and questioning, I finally pulled a tearful confession from my seven year old.  He had taken to a life of crime stealing money from his sister's safe. (Life lesson - don't share your safe combination with your siblings) He had taken MANY dollars from her safe so he didn't have to spend his own money.

Obviously, it was time for one of our "little talks". We discussed his life of crime and how he should make things right with his sister. Grant was contrite and apologized for his poor judgement.  All has been forgiven and Grant has reformed his ways.

I have hung up my detective hat and resumed my more mundane jobs such as laundry service, cook, vet, peacekeeper and judge.  Grant has promised to spend only money that belongs to him from now on.

In other news, grant plays another baseball game tonight. Their team now has a record of 1-8 right now....not great, but he doesn't seem to mind.  

John is spending a week as counselor at our church's summer camp.  He is working with fifth graders.  He was so excited about this new adventure.  Emily is also working this week.  She is a teacher's aide at a summer science camp at a local private school. Both kids are getting some good work experience as well as some good activities for a college for everyone.

We now have a calving record of 3-1....three healthy calves and one stillborn.  I think there are four more cows yet to give birth.  The garden looks great.  It also looks as if most of it will be ready to pick about the time we leave on vacation.  Anyone need some garden produce?

The best news on the medical front is that I received my pathology results last friday.  Everything from the second surgery came back cancer free.  That means no chemo or radiation are required.  That is wonderful news.  I will need to have frequent scans to watch for reoccurrence, but no other treatment is needed.  Praise God!  Now I just have to work at getting fully recovered and back up to speed....all in due time, I know.

Baby E has a court date next Tuesday.  On his one month birthday he will go to live with his forever family.  They are so excited as they count down the days.  We have spent the past many days getting to know them as they spend time in our home with Baby E.  We are excited for them.  Of course, it is always a little sad to see these babies leave our home.  They have a way of sneaking into our hearts while they are here.

Congratulations to Joselyn and Pat.  Sorry we did not make it out this weekend to help celebrate.  Thank you Cale for taking Emily with you this weekend.  At least one of the Shupes was able to celebrate with family.

Also, happy Father's Day to my dad.  We love you very much!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

He's Baaaack!!

Baby E has changed so much in just one short week. He is settled in and napping like a champion this afternoon. I was able to meet the adoptive parents.  They are anxious to get this little guy home. For their sakes I hope the courts move quickly. Sadly that isn't usually the case. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Catching Up Time - Again

I'm back.

Lots to tell.  Let's hit the highlights and move on.  Shall we?

Wednesday, June 4, I had my second surgery.  Things went well and I returned home Thursday afternoon to begin the process once again of resting and recovering.  The fun thing about being in the hospital (if there ever CAN be a fun thing being in the hospital) was that I was only the second patient placed in an entirely new hospital wing.  It was almost a party atmosphere in the place.  Nurses and aids were giddy with excitement about being in the new location.  Of course there was a fair amount of chaos as no one new where anything was located...including their patients!  More than one staff person got lost looking for my room...not that I could be any help to them.  We are talking new everything beds, equipment, even my hospital gown was new!  Holy Hit The Jackpot!!!  It was beautiful too.  If that is the trend in medical care facilities, they are going to have trouble getting people to want to leave!  I might have considered another day or two myself, but I had places to go and people to see.

We will get the pathology results from this second surgery on Friday, June 13th.  If I were a superstitious person, that might bother me a bit.  Good thing I put my faith in powers mightier than a date on a calendar.  I look forward to finding out the results and moving forward with wherever this process leads.

The kids are now officially finished with school.  Friday the sixth was their last day.  We bid this year farewell with a bit of sadness.  All four kids have had a fantastic year.  I wish every year could go so easily and pleasantly.

Grace and Grant had their awards programs at school on Friday.  Grace received honor roll and excellent attendance certificates and a medal (OF COURSE).  Grant hung on to perfect attendance for the year.  He was one of only three kids in first grade who earned the honor.  That is out of approximately 150 first graders.  He has a right to be proud of that one!  He got a certificate, a medal (OF COURSE) and a T-shirt for that accomplishment.  Let's see if he can repeat the performance next year!

The rest of the days have been spent trying to get back on my feet again and trying to catch up.  Grandma Simms came to stay for a few days and watch the kids while I was in the hospital and home recovering.  She left Saturday afternoon.  I hope we didn't wear her out too badly.  We have made a few trips to the pool and played a few baseball games along the way.  Not much else is going on here at home.  It has been unusually quiet around here actually.

That is about to change.  Baby R has been living with our social worker since Tuesday before my surgery.  He will return to our home Wednesday this week to finish out his days waiting for the adoption process to be finalized.  The wonderful news from the past week is that he now has an adoptive family.  The family adopting Baby R actually live within a very few miles of our house.  I am sure we will be seeing them on a daily basis until they are able to take Baby R home forever.  Also, for the record, Baby R will now be known as Baby E as the adoptive family has selected a new name for their new son.  Don't you love the new name?!

In farm news, David reports the garden is looking great and the goats are growing like weeds.  I'm glad the goats are growing like weeds instead of the weeds in the garden growing like weeds!  (sorry, I couldn't resist that one!)  Two cows have already had calves the past week.  A bit earlier than we predicted, but hey, we weren't really there for the courtship, so don't know exactly when things, ahem, happened.  What happens in the barnyard stays in the barnyard, right?  Still more calves to come.  I'll post some pictures of the happy families when I get out there.

Well, way more reading than some may want, but I wanted to let you know how things were going here.  I will get back to regular posting and pictures going forward.  Again, I will say thank you so much for the cards, kind words, emails, prayers, offers of help and sympathetic ears.  The love you have shown our family is amazing.  Once again, I am humbled.

Love you,