Week ending 5-7-23 Alexis is home!

by Marcie
Alexis is home! Picture of her and her sister in the car

We had a productive week. We stayed home every day except Tuesday picking up Alexis. I worked hard on a music curriculum I want to sell online. We also did a project outside for a couple of hours each day. The week started out chilly which is fun for May. I enjoy putting on cozy pajamas at night and reading before bed. Here’s our week:

Monday: Cutting up a dead tree

A tree died in our front yard that was squished between two other trees so I cut it down a week ago. The kids loved playing on it with all the branches still on it. But since Lexi was coming home I wanted the yard mowed and looking nice so I cut off all the branches and cut up the trunk. We all worked super fast and made quick work of it. We hauled branches and twigs to burn piles and loaded up the logs in the wheelbarrow. I have the best working team!

kids cleaning up wood from a fallen tree
kids picking up sticks from a tree that was cut down.
kids pick up wood and sticks but then the wheelbarrow falls over
Kaitlyn took this just as the wheelbarrow was falling over and Makenna was trying to save it.
kids load wood into a wheelbarrow in spring
Reloading the wheelbarrow.

Tuesday: Picking up Alexis in Charlotte

Since Alexis landed at 11pm we spend the afternoon at Lake Norman. Unfortunately it was cold and windy. I wore my sweats and enjoyed reading while walking along the beach and fishing docks. These 5 braved the cold and went for a quick swim.

5 siblings swimming in Lake Norman, NC

My sister, Lori who lives in Charlotte, met us at the Lake. It’s always fun to see her. Since it was cold we had the beach to ourselves and that was pretty relaxing. We read and talked and then she threw a frisbee with the kids. I didn’t bring my good camera, but had my iphone which is super old (5) and has a bad camera.

Lori has a kid on her back and someone else is doing a cartwheel or hand stand.
Walking on the fishing pier as the sun set.
5 siblings standing on the fishing dock at Lake Norman
We had a great time despite being cold. We swung by the airport at 11pm and got Alexis and all the kids fell asleep on the way home.

Wednesday: Hanging out with Alexis

Since we got home at 2am, Wednesday we took it easy. Cleaned out the school cubbies and playroom and hung out with Alexis. She’s been at BYU and just finished her freshman year at 17. She’s the one who picked this area to look for houses in and did so much work helping us move here. If it weren’t for her I might not have gone through with it. She’s good at picking people up when they need encouragement and setting them back on their feet. Needless to say, we’ve missed her a lot.

a 17 year old shows younger siblings how to do a blood draw on a fake arm.

I got a free nursing kit with fake arm you can really practice drawing blood from. Since Alexis is a pre-nursing student, the kids were anxious for her to come home and show them how to do it. She made the blood and set it up so that it pumps through the arm. Then she did a needle stick and was able to do blood draws. The younger 5 kids watched in fascination. Then they showed her the new chickens and played outside with her. It’s great having her home. The kids adore her.

kids practicing blood draws on a fake arm
17 year old does a needle stick on a fake arm while little kids watch
17 year old does a needle stick on a fake arm while little kids watch
17 year-old girl holding 4 small chickens
Alexis holding the 4 new little hens we got since she’s been here at Christmas.
5 year old girl holding a rooster on her farm
Tilly holding Nottingham the rooster. It’s a challenge being able to catch and hold the rooster so they’re always proud when they do.

Thursday: Dead trees on driveway

We split up and did several different yard work projects. Thomas and Anderson push mowed and trimmed the grass along the steep driveway. Kaitlyn, Makenna, Samuel and I cut down 2 dead trees on the driveway and hauled the wood home in the wheelbarrow. Alexis and Talea picked up sticks all over the yard from a few windy days.

Friday: Blueberry Hill

After giving Alexis two days to sleep in and get adjusted to eastern time zone, unpack, and de-stress from finals, we put her to work. She joined us as we put in a couple of hours on Blueberry Hill. We’re getting a lot done and it’s looking so much better. The end is finally in sight and I can’t wait to be done.

Although we’ll never be done. We’ll always have to mow around it and between the rows, cut wild blackberries that are always growing throughout the blueberry patch, prune the blueberry bushes, etc. I actually dread that part. I prefer to work on a one-time project like clearing out brambles than do the regular maintaining work. I can’t wait to be done because it feels so good to accomplish something we’ve been working on for 1.5 years. But I will just want to start a new clearing out project rather than maintain that one. I really love the process of projects, sometimes more than the finished product. Anyone have a blueberry patch that needs clearing? We’re your team!

A mom pulls out a stubborn vine from a blueberry patch and smiles at the camera.
I’m trying to pull out one of many nasty, stubborn vines entangled all over the blueberry bushes.
A 15 year-old boy trims tall blueberry bushes.
Thomas trims the tall branches so we can make a path between the rows.
An 11 year-old and 17 year old girl grab dead branches to haul them to a burn pile.
Makenna and Alexis drag the trees we cut out of the blueberries.
11 year-old smiles while carrying branches to a burn pile in a big grassy field.
Makenna is a hard worker. She never complains, she works fast, and is able to keep up with how fast Sam and I are cutting stuff out and tossing to her. She is almost always the last one still working with me. Like 99% of the time. She doesn’t go in until I go in. And she’s the first to volunteer for a job too.
a 15 year-old boy drags a small tree through a grassy field.
Thomas takes the taller trees to the brush pile so that Makenna doesn’t have to struggle with them.
an 11 year-old carries branches towards the woods.

Saturday: Beautiful weather, chicks and peas

I baby-sat two kids all day and we all enjoyed playing outside in the beautiful spring weather. We’ve been here almost 2 years and I still can’t get over what a beautiful yard we have. I love the South, I love living in the country, I love the weather and beauty here. I was going to say I love May, but really I love every month. We have great weather and it’s always pretty.

I especially love hearing kids running around squealing, laughing and playing. I love the freedom they have here, far from a main road or cars or neighbors. They sing while they mow the yard, they practice their musical dances in the front yard, they make mud pies. They use pocket knives and power tools without supervision. They build funny looking forts and hideouts. They run around pretending to be dragons for hours at a time. Nobody is watching them so they can be themselves. It’s a wonderful life.

Sorry for my tangent. I didn’t get pictures of the kids playing; I should have. But I was enjoying taking pictures of the beautiful yard. I sat outside with the baby playing in the grass and kept an eye on the chicks too, which were being cute. I tried to read some but mostly get carried away looking at the beauty around me.

spring welcome flag in a large and shady yard
rhododendron blooming
Our beautiful rhododendron that blooms every May.
close up of rhodedendrom
close up of rhododendron just starting to bloom.
close up of white iris blooming
white irises and purple rhododendron blooming in a country house yard.

Chicks at 3 weeks old

two 3 week old chicks side by side
They are camera shy. When I try to take their picture they usually turn around. But today I finally got a few cute pictures of them facing me.
two baby chicks outside on the grass
two black and white chics
cute black and white chick

Peas forming in the pea patch

I love watching the incredible process of our food being made by nature. Flowers, tiny peas forming, peas growing. Next week we should have some to pick and eat right off the vine.

white pea pod flowers
a pea flower about to drop off with a pea pod forming behind it
a pea pod just forming
a pea pod growing 2 inches long

Anderson and the child we baby-sat this weekend. His parents are pilots so he stayed with us for 2 days and went to church with us, which was fun. We also watched his 8 month-old sister who was adorable.

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