Monday, December 20, 2010

We have a 10 year old boy in the house!

Pla Shee celebrates his 10th birthday this week, and in honor of his big day we celebrated by visiting the Gaylord Texan's ICE exhibit.  Ann-Marie made an incredible basketball cake (see below).

And, I looked up at the ceiling this morning and saw this:

Any guesses?  It's a green slimy/sticky hand that Pla Shee decided to throw onto the ceiling above the front door.  I know I could just pull a chair over to reach it and pull it down, but now that it's held on for over 24 hours, it seems like we should just see how long it can hold out.  This could be a world record or something, I think.  Anyway, it's clear I live in a house full of boys!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

You know you live in the country when...

...instead of dropping a dead squirrel or rabbit on the front porch, your dog shows up with a cow leg, complete with hoof, skin and hair.  I opted to post this without the benefit of a photo, but rest assured, it was a lovely way to start the day. :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

One Year Anniversary

One year ago today, on October 23, 2009, Aaron and I got up at 4:00 am, headed to the airport, and boarded a plane for an 8 hour flight to Honolulu. We'd made the trip probably 20 times before, but this trip could not have been more different. We spent the 8 hours on the flight in relative silence, as neither of us could think of what to say that might seem somehow meaningful or significant. I think we just didn't want to jinx anything. We had been put through the ringer in the adoption world, and had faced devastation with two adoption plans that had fallen through in the year prior. But on this day, we were emotionally, financially, and physically invested in the 2 month old baby boy that was waiting for us to arrive in Honolulu that we had no words to describe the combination of excitement, relief, fear, anxiety, and joy that we were feeling.

Well, as you know, this story has a happy ending. We arrived in Honolulu uneventfully, breathed in the sweet island air and headed to our hotel. We freshened up a bit and then were called to the lobby where we were introduced for the first time to our sweet baby Kai and his first family. This is a picture of me taken with Aaron's cell phone when I was holding Kai for the first time once we got back to our room. It was amazing. I am, quite literally, glowing.

Kai is an incredible blessing in our lives, and we will always be grateful to his first family for sharing him with us and for allowing us to make him a part of our family. He is loved by so many.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Life in a small Texas town

With Pla Shee at Venus Elementary, it's forced our hand a bit in terms of getting more involved in the town activities, especially those that involve the school.  Hence our participation in the Venus Homecoming Parade, which unfortunately was scheduled for yesterday afternoon at the exact time we had a huge  thunderstorm blow through town.  We made the best of it, though, and I thought I'd share some of these shots that Aaron managed to capture despite the rain.

Venus Cheerleaders and Bulldog Mascots

Yikes.  Not sure how these folks are associated with the parade.

FFA (Future Farmers of America) "Float":

Whataburger "Float."  Yes, those are cardboard french fry containers taped to the side of the truck.  Sweet.

Pla Shee got to ride on the Elementary School float because he exemplifies "good moral character."  Yes, that's a direct quote from the permission slip he brought home.

Kai hanging out in the rain watching the parade.  Note the package of candy he's saving for later stored safely between his thighs.  Nice.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hangin' with the donkeys

The donkeys, particularly Leroy and 6 month old Batman, seem to be just as infatuated with Kai as he is with them.  Every morning they greet us from the pasture and jog up to the fence to visit and beg for a carrot or some other delectable treat.  This morning, we took a mental health day and skipped out on church and just hung out as a family.  It was very much needed, as it has been a crazy first few weeks of fall trying to get back into the swing of things.  As you can see, Kai was modeling his Romo jersey in preparation for the big game against the Chicago Bears.  I think the donkeys were unimpressed. :)

Monday, September 13, 2010


Since Pla Shee is a very typical 9 year old boy in that he has LOTS of energy to burn, we decided to sign him up for soccer this fall.  He LOVES it.  Even though the other kids on his team have been playing for several years already, and this is his first time, he's caught on really quickly and seems to have quite a knack for it.  Tonight was the very first game for the "Funky Monkeys," who unfortunately lost 3-5 to the "Tornadoes."  The disappointment at the loss dissipated as soon as he saw that each player received a Caprisun and snack--for free!  Apparently it's the little things that make the difference.  :)

Looking very intense!

Aaron & Kai hanging out on the sideline, cheering on the team.

Listening to a pep talk from the coach after the game:

Pu Lue and Pla Shee:

Friday, September 10, 2010

Embracing a lifestyle

As you already know, we've jumped head first into our lives with the Karen refugees, and this means that we often eat, drink, play, and work as they do in some ways.  Our integration with the culture became particularly clear to me this afternoon when I came home from work to find Kai like this:

To explain, Kai is sleeping peacefully in a hammock that is strung up between two posts inside our barn.  What you don't see in the picture is that Paw Moo, Pu Lue's wife, is standing guard about 2 feet away and rocking the hammock.  Why would she need to stand guard, you ask?  To protect him from the stray chickens and goats wandering around, of course.

Kai normally spends his days in his new preschool, but, as luck would have it, he caught a cold that became another ear infection after his first week.  Paw Moo was on vacation this week, and decided to spend the week here at the farm with Pu Lue, and was literally thrilled to keep Kai while we went to work.  A win-win-win, for sure.  Anyway, just thought that this was a great thing to come home to and wanted to share.

Friday, September 3, 2010

We have a famous goat!

Well, it's official. Louise "Weazy" Mitschke has found her calling. The Hollywood scouts should be calling any day now. This morning, Weazy, Aaron, and Pu Lue were featured (well, featured is stretching it a bit) on Good Morning Texas, a local news show here in DFW. They were pitching Texas Fried Frito Pie, which is currently a finalist in the 2010 Creative Fried Foods Contest for the State Fair of Texas.

See the clip from Good Morning Texas here.

One word. Awesome.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Update on the farm

The Garden: We've been so busy this summer that we haven't done a very good job keeping up with the garden. Hopefully we'll be able to turn things around this fall. All is not lost, though. We are growing some luffa sponges, which have done surprisingly well. I'm excited about being able to dry them and encase them in glycerin to use as soap. We'll see how that actually pans out in the end! We're also growing winter squash, which, despite its name, does surprisingly well in the Texas heat. And, of course, okra always seems to be able to beat the heat in Texas. I wish it tasted better! Pu Lue's been growing bitter melon vines with quite a bit of success.

The Sheep:  The heat of the Texas summer is never particularly enjoyable for our animals, and this year was especially rough for the sheep.  Despite having sheared them twice this summer, and providing lots of access to shade and water, we lost two rams to heat stroke in early August.  This is the first summer we've lost any of our sheep, so we're trying to figure out what we need to do differently to prevent this in the future.  We've also got to figure out our plan for acquiring a new ram, since breeding season is just around the corner!

The Goats:  Curious as ever, and all five of them are trouble makers.  They're still my favorite, though.  We'd like to get Louise, our Nubian, bred this fall so that she'll start producing milk again in the spring.  With Kai drinking whole milk now, it will certainly be nice to have our own supply rather than having to run to the store every five minutes!

The Donkeys:  Leroy & Daphne are good as usual, and their son, "Batman," is about 5 months old.  Let me know if you (or anyone you know) is interested in adopting him ($50).

The Chickens:  The first chickens we ever purchased from Murray McMurray in 2007 are finally starting to show their age.  We're gradually adding new hens to the coop, so our egg production hasn't suffered too much.  The recent outbreaks of salmonella have certainly increased interested in farm raised local eggs, so I imagine we will continue to build up the size of our flock.

Back to School

We had a really great summer!  This was Kai's first summer, and so it was a summer of firsts:
As you've probably gathered from our postings, Pla Shee, Pu Lue's 9-year old son, has been living with us since May.  He has been a wonderful addition to our family, and Kai especially enjoys having a big brother to emulate.  Pla Shee started the 3rd grade at Venus Elementary last week, and so far seems to be adjusting really well.  I think it helps to have a smaller school environment because he feels special, and everyone knows his name.  Here's a picture of the boys on Pla Shee's first day of school:

Kai started preschool (I know, crazy!) this week in Arlington.  He is going Tuesday-Friday and LOVES it.  He is such a social little guy, and though he is small in stature, he makes up for it with his smile! ;)

He he is the morning of his first day, complete with miniature backpack:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Gearing up for the big birthday bash

The party preparations are in full swing for Kai's 1st birthday!  The party will be here at the farm on Saturday, August 14th, and all are invited to come join in the fun.  Both the Marshallese and Hawaiian cultures make a HUGE deal out of first birthdays, and we witnessed a good number of 1st birthday celebrations when we lived on Oahu.  To celebrate Kai's Marshallese heritage and his Hawaiian birthplace, we're literally inviting everyone we know to come check out the farm, hang out with the animals, and munch on a birthday cupcake or two.  If you are reading our blog and would like to visit, we hope you'll join us for the party.  Just shoot us an email at so we can give you the details and directions to the farm.  Hope you can come celebrate with us!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Arlington City Pool

A few pics from our afternoon at the Arlington City Pool on Sublett Road this afternoon.

Friday, July 16, 2010


We are in Colorado this week with my mom and Dennis, my sisters Stefani and Amanda, my bff Holli, and my aunt Sara and uncle Lyndy, and we are having a blast.  We are staying at the YMCA Camp of the Rockies in Estes Park, CO, in a cabin that we've rented for 7 days, and it is absolutely wonderful.  I love it here.  We have been coming here for family vacations in the summer time ever since I can remember, and I love that even now, as an adult, I can share this amazing place with my family, friends, and child.  The weather is perfect, the mountains are breathtaking, and the wildlife is fantastic.  This is a place that rejuvenates my soul and brings me closer to my family and the people I love.  Besides that, we get to do a lot of cool stuff that we never do at home:  ride horses on a mountain, hike through the forest, climb on big boulders, raft down the rapids, paint on silk in the craft hut, and play cards as a family until late in the evenings.  Here are a few pics from our trip.

My boys on our hike to the Baldpate Inn, home of our favorite restaurant ever:

Family portrait:

Amanda, mom, me, and Holli on our hike.

Mom and Kai saw a huge elk on the road near our cabin!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Brady, TX

We took an overnight trip to Brady, TX last night because Aaron had a speaking engagement at the hospital there this morning. He presents 4 hour lectures to nurses in rural hospitals so that they can get their required continuing education hours for their nursing licenses and it provides us with a little bit of supplemental income and an excuse to take road trips around the state every so often. As noted in the previous blog, we made a side trip to Fossil Rim to see the animals on the way, and then ended up in Brady in time for a late evening swim at the Best Western. Thank goodness that had a swimming pool, because I've recently found that a love of swimming is one thing that 9 year old Pla Shee and 10 month old Kai seem to share. This morning I entertained the boys while Aaron did his presentation at the hospital. We swam, visited the public library and read a few books, and hung out at a great local park, where I snapped these pics. It was a really simple, great trip and it made me appreciate enjoying summertime with people I love very much. :)

Fossil Rim

We headed to Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glenrose, TX on Sunday afternoon. I remember visiting there with my grandmother and cousin when I was about 8 years old, but that was the last time I had been, and Aaron had never been. We thought it would be fun to take Pla Shee and Kai to see the animals, and it was, of course! It's a little pricey, but very cool in that the animals come right up to your car and you can feed them (very over-priced) food. A couple of important lessons learned: 1) Make sure that EVERYONE goes potty before you get started. It's a 9.5 mile drive at about 10 miles per hour that can be somewhat miserable if a certain 9 year old realizes he needs to go about 1/4 into the adventure. 2) Make sure you have more than 1/8 of a tank of gas BEFORE you start the drive. (See above reference to the 9.5 mile drive at 10 miles per hour). All in all, it was fun. I'm not absolutely totally sure it was worth the $70.00 price tag for the 4 of us, but I'm not totally unsure either. Part of me thinks the pic of Kai looking up at the giraffe made it worth every penny.

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