Monday, May 21, 2018

A 'Staycation'

With Mother's Day and my Mom's birthday last week, we turned a couple of days kind of into a 'staycation' (twice!) and enjoyed rest and relaxation and lots of family time. It was a wonderful several days! So refreshing after some very busy weeks and months.

We started off with Ivan, Leah and Abel coming over the Saturday before Mother's Day . . . .

Mother and daughters . . . so thankful for the special mom God blessed us with and her heart for following the Lord and being a godly example to us. I especially appreciate her servant heart and how she thinks so much of others!  

And . . . it was Leah's first mother's day! Which was really special. :) It is beautiful to see her as a mom to Abel and to their precious little blessing due in October! She is about halfway through now and they (and we!) are getting even more excited to meet baby!

 Mom and I (Photo by Leah)

For these next pictures which are Leah's, I am going to steal her captions that she had on facebook. :)

" I love this boy!" (Photo and caption by Leah)

"It’s impossible for my mom to go outside without pulling at least one weed 😂 " (Photo and caption by Leah)

 "These two ❤️ After taking a hit to the wrist from the soccer ball, Abel was icing it while being a little rascal at the same time and refusing to let me get his face in the picture. If this photo had sound, you would hear a lot of laughs coming from behind that turned head!" (Photo and caption by Leah)

"Feeding time for the goats" (Photo and caption by Leah)

Dad had also gotten Abel a soccer ball recently, and since we don't have goals, they used 5-gallon buckets as 'goals'. It was so fun to watch and listen to them! They were trying to see how many kicks it took to kick the ball across the yard into the bucket. Whoever got the fewest kicks won. It was quite the rousing and entertaining game!

Abel with his first kick!

Such fun family times!

The next day, Dad, Mom and I went to the Katy Trail (I had enjoyed my time there with friends so much a few weeks ago, that we decided to go the three of us), and we weren't the only ones with that idea as there were a LOT of people there with it being Mother's Day weekend!

It was beautiful out, and we enjoyed the time together walking along, taking pictures, listening to the water flow, watching birds, and looking at the unique rock formations.

Dad and Mom enjoying the view while waiting for me to catch up . . . I had seen a rider and his mom that I know from the Therapeutic Riding Center so went to say 'hi'. And when he saw my binoculars, he excitedly asked if he could look at some birds! I spent a fun time with him while he looked through them at birds, trees, bikers, and anything else he could find!

Swallow nests up high on the cliffs

Water flowing down out of the rocks . . . a lovely sound!

Makes me so curious what this was used for back when the trail was the railroad!


It was neat to see this majestic Bald Eagle soaring overhead!

History in the rocks . . . the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad lines

It was back to regular life for a few days, and then it was time to celebrate Mom's birthday! The evening before her birthday, we went up to Ivan and Leah's place and she opened her gifts, we went to a park for a walk, had dinner at a country/family-style buffet, watched a "Fixer-Upper" episode, and then headed home. It was a special and enjoyable time celebrating the life of a very special person . . . so thankful for you, Mom!!

Ivan was jumping on the bridge to show us how 'stable' it was. :)

A creek winding through

My wonderful parents

Ivan blazing the trail

Pointing out the poison ivy to Leah . . . leaves of three, let it be!

Anyone have an idea what causes this? We saw several trees that had these strange clumps of disfigured looking leaves right at the trunk. We were thinking it was some kind of poisoning maybe? Or a disease?

Finding and looking at a Rose-Breasted Grosbeak singing away

We have lots of fun together! :)

Love these people so much! (And the photographer and Abel, too!)

Sisters and best of friends

On Mom's actual birthday, we had a fun family day with the three of us and she chose to spend it driving through a couple of historic towns looking at old homes and buildings, a spontaneous stop at "The Donut Palace", and driving through Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area and walking a lot there, too. It was such a wonderful day and was thoroughly enjoyed!

An old railroad bridge

It was neat to see the old, beautiful homes! I love their architecture and history. Of the below ones, which is your favorite?

(This is Dad and Leah's favorite)

(And mine)

The Post Office which used to be the bank

We came home for a bit to get a cooler of drinks and headed out to Eagle Bluffs . . . .

Faces only a mother could love ;)

A Dickcissel singing away . . . these birds were quite numerous and let us get close to them. Their song is beautiful!

The Dickcissel in between songs

Looking for soras and wrens. It wasn't successful, but it was fun exploring! (Photo by Mom)

Mom was happy to see a bunch of her favorite animals

It was neat to see these Hooded Merganser babies! They were with their mom, but she was under the water when this photo was snapped.

A Bald Eagle perched on a Wood Duck nest box at the edge of the water

Mom enjoying taking pictures

Ah, one of the beautiful views! I loved soaking it all in! There is just something about being out in God's creation . . . listening to the birds, seeing the wildlife, feeling the breeze, and everywhere you look, seeing such diversity, detail, and beauty.

Dad looking for birds out on the water

Me walking along taking pictures and watching for birds (Photo by Mom)

This Red-Winged Blackbird was putting on quite the courtship display! Usually they don't let me get close, but this one stuck around. It was neat to watch him!

An Eaglet on the nest! It was really neat to see!

A muskrat chowing down on cattail stalks

Now it has been back to regular daily life! Which is fun and enjoyable, too. :)

Sunday, May 13, 2018

April to May ~ Baby Goats, Family Outings, and More

The transition from April to May flew by as the Mother's Day rush with my business was in full swing during that time. Just as quickly, barren trees and brown fields burst into leaf and color as we hurriedly skipped over spring into what feels more like summer now!

The days have been wonderfully full, and we have all been thoroughly enjoying the beauty outdoors as well as digging into the outdoor work (well, I haven't had much opportunity for the latter yet, but now things have slowed down with work so I will have more time to!)

Here is a glimpse into what has been filling our days . . .

Baby Goats

Early last week, I discovered quite an unexpected surprise in the goat pen! Due mid-this week, this buckling and doeling decided to make their appearance early . . . .

Other than the buckling being very weak and unable to stand at first and unable to walk for several days, they seemed to be doing well. But then they had difficulty with the richness of their mama's milk for awhile and seemed lethargic and weak. We weren't sure they were going to make it, but with lots of TLC, they turned a corner and are acting like regular newborn kids now!

During those first couple of days, I helped them nurse around the clock, but now they are on their own which means no more middle of the night and very early in the morning alarms going off. :)

Visit with Blogging Friends

One day last week some blogging friends were passing through Missouri on their way back to Wisconsin, and we were able to meet up at the Katy Trail for awhile to walk and talk which was so nice!

It was good to see you both again! Thank you for coming!
(Please pardon the haze . . . my phone camera must have had moisture on it)

After they headed back out, I lingered a bit longer and enjoyed capturing some of the morning beauty in photos . . . .

The little 'depot' with the interesting history of the area (and see the van on the right? That's mine! After months of researching and looking in December and January for a vehicle that would work for business, as well as personal, use, I finally found this one late January. It works great for market!)

The mighty Missouri

This pair of geese weren't so sure about me

A Bit of Randomness

This little visitor came s.l.o.w.l.y. past the barn one day. The picture of him in my hand is for perspective to show how little he was!

Dad, Mom and I stopped by this place right by the Missouri River last week and did a bit of birdwatching. It was fun! Though hard to see the little warblers flitting around way in the tops of the cottonwood trees. It was beautiful out and enjoyable to listen to the wind in the trees and the river flowing.

A meandering path beckoning me to venture down it

Speaking of birds, my bird bath has been popular among a wide variety of bird species. It has been neat to see them all! In the below photo is a female Rose-Breasted Grosbeak . . . the Cowbird attempted to chase her away, but her hiss/shriek at him and rather aggressive look kept the bird bath as her own! I love seeing the diversity and beauty God put in His creation . . . .

Leah came over one day and helped with some planting which was fun. Mom's dedicated work also got the entire vegetable garden in last week!

Cedar Creek Therapeutic Riding Center

Last spring when I tore the labrum in my hip, I switched from sidewalking to being trained to mount and dismount riders (something I could do while I was physically limited), adjust tack, etc., as well as having the opportunity to occasionally lead the exercises. I so love doing this and the spring session this year was especially wonderful and enjoyed to the fullest!

One day, Leah came! It was fun to be back to volunteering together again. :)

As much as I enjoyed sidewalking, I love being able to interact with so many of the riders each week with what I am doing now  . . . talking with them, helping them mount based on their physical needs, encouraging them, getting everything adjusted just right with their tack, and more. I am continuing to learn more as well how to help them become more independent, to learn, and to use their muscles, words, etc.

The last day of this spring session was very special and memorable. Some of the highlights were:

- Seeing all the riders do so well and observing the progress each one has made

- Their excitement for being in the horse show (which is always on the last day of each session) and the big smiles on their faces

- Having the opportunity during several classes to instruct and 'judge' during the horse show and present the ribbons to each rider (so special to see the joy on their faces when they got their ribbons!)

- All the hugs, laughter, enjoyable conversations, memories made, the gift of a flower from a little rider, and more

I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful group of people!

After one of the classes with a little friend and the sister of one of 'my' special riders (she told me that she wished I lived next door to her :)

Business Work

It is so nice to have the window open and listen to the birds while I work! (Plus the chorus of the Spring Peepers)

When you have your own business and a busy season (mother's day) was just around the corner (several weeks ago), you can't exactly call in and take a sick day :) . . . but you can take a slow day and take extended breaks curling up with an afghan, books, and a cup of hot tea! (And with the window open blowing in fresh springtime breeze.)

The Mother's Day rush kept me very busy putting together gift sets and packaging orders, plus ones for birthdays, bridal showers, and thank you gifts, too. It is always fun to see what the customers choose to put in the sets and write in the notes, and then to put them all together and send them out.

A few of the many just about ready to go

A bit of product photography . . . plus simply enjoying the lilacs :) Nothing says 'spring' quite like their old-fashioned, fragrant blossoms!

And to close this catch-up post, a passage from Lamentations that I read last week that was encouraging to me . . . what a faithful, loving God we have!

"This I recall to mind,
Therefore I have hope.
The LORD's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
'The LORD is my portion,' says my soul,
'Therefore I have hope in Him.'
The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,
To the person who seeks Him."
Lamentations 3:21-25