Alianna, my mom and I took a trip up to Philadelphia to visit and celebrate my niece Iris’ third birthday. Ali and I had not had a chance to meet my newest nephew Jack and niece Tahlia in person yet – they’re 9 and 8 months old respectively – so that was a big highlight for me. Ali’s highlight was playing with her cousin Iris and all of Iris’ toys. She also got to spend a morning playing with her cousin Eli. My brother and sister and I haven’t been together since last Christmas and I can’t remember we took a photo of the three of us. The morning before we flew home we went to a local farm with a pumpkin patch, hayride, fabulous muddy puddles, lots of farm animals and fields and fields of beautiful zinnias.
I’m officially in my second trimester with Baby Froggie now. He or she is the size of a peach and getting bigger everyday, as is my belly. I’ve graduated to maternity pants. I can’t even bear the pressure of the belly band on my regular pants anymore – perhaps because I usually wear pretty tight fitting clothes. I’ve gained around 10 lbs. and it’s no wonder because food! I want to eat everything that crosses my mind or my nose. My only real pregnancy symptoms are hunger and tiredness. I’ve been craving spicy foods since the very beginning, and still do some as well as salty/vinegary things like soup, pickles and olives. I’ve had a touch of heartburn after too much of the above but no big deal. I’m very thankful to be feeling good. We got to hear a good strong heartbeat at my 12 week check up and we’ll get to take a listen again at my 16 week appointment. Soon after that I should be starting to feel Froggie’s movements which is fascinating and not as freaky as I initially thought. In early December we’ll have the big ultrasound appointment where we’ll hopefully find out whether we have a son or a daughter swimming around in there.
A simple Saturday afternoon project gave our chickens a lot more freedom. We’d been letting them out into our whole backyard sometimes, usually when we were home to supervise, because they’ve been destroying some of our garden plants and mulch beds and pooping on our patio. The worst was when Sunny, my super friendly hen, would stand at the backdoor step to look in and peck on the window, and then eventually drop a gift on the back step for us. Gross. We decided that a portable, accordion-style fence would be a good solution to give them more yard space while still protecting the areas where we spend the most time. The girls are happy and I’m happy. It’s been a couple weeks and they’ve managed to eat all of the grass pictured here. We’ll be mulching the area in the coming weeks. If any fellow backyard chicken keepers are curious, it’s 3 feet high and we’ve only had some escapes early one. One chicken in particular got to the other side several times but then was pretty stressed out about being separated from her friends. If it continues to be a problem, I’ll add a wire across the top of the fence so they’re not able to land on it. I’m pretty sure they’re not able to clear the fence without perching on it first but I’ve never seen an escape in action.
We have five layers now. The sixth should be starting within a month. Omlet, the Buff Orpington, is the last one to join the party but I can tell she’s close because suddenly she’s not just unafraid of me—she runs to me—and then submissively squats if I reach in her direction. Last week I got to pet her for the first time since she left the brooding box.
We’ve been getting 1 or 2 speckled eggs everyday. This was was particularly pretty with blue specks. I think it’s my Black Star, Poach, but I’m not positive.
We recently spent an afternoon at the pumpkin patch with a couple of Ali’s besties and their parents. Jaron is our friend and neighbor and Eliza is Ali’s cousin. These three have been friends since birth—and we’ve been friends with their parents for much longer—so it’s always special to see the three of them together. They had a great time picking out pumpkins, exploring the activities and going on a hayride. I remembered to get out my good camera for a change. (Jason was on the road that day.)
As quickly as little Pumpkin came into our lives, he’s back out again. It’s amazing how much I can fall in love with a little person in just three days. Though I’m sad, I’m also happy because he’s on the fast track to adoption by a lovely couple from his mom’s support network. He’s going to be loved and treasured as the blessing he is. Yesterday at 9:00 we had a meeting where I learned about this alternative placement for him. At court later that afternoon it was decided and I kissed him goodbye in the courthouse parking lot. Bittersweet.
Every fall Jason plays a series of concerts at Dollywood park in Pigeon Forge with Guy Penrod. Everyone brings their families and we have a big time exploring the amusement park, watching concerts, exploring the Great Smoky Mountains and eating lots of yummy food. If you know anything about my experience of pregnancy so far you know I was most excited about the food! Ali was most excited about the rides and the concerts. She’s a huge fan of her Daddy and of Guy. We went to one of the three concerts each of the three days and spent the rest of the time playing, eating and sleeping. Ali took a nap in the van each afternoon (praise the Lord!) and we even snuck in a little time to swim in the hotel pool one evening. One of the biggest highlights for me was getting to meet up with my foster mama friend Nicole who lives in nearby Knoxville. We were able to get some extra tickets for her and her girls for the park one day. Her youngest is the same age as Ali. The girls hit it off and danced together through a concert (Guy even came off stage to talk to them during the concert, which Ali is still talking about!) and rode all of the kiddie rides together. I can’t show photos of her face or share her name but I did get lots of photos of them together. Ali’s favorite ride was the little roller coaster that she called “the pretend train.” As always it was a wonderful time and I came home completely exhausted.