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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A few pics of Kai just for fun

A few gratuitous photos of our bear just for fun.  Have I mentioned how much I love our new camera?!!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Wild Plums

Having Pla Shee stay at our farm has opened our eyes to some wonderful resources we have that we never knew about. Here he is climbing a tree collecting some delicious wild plums. Yummmm!!!
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Thursday, June 17, 2010

New Refugee Blog

We know that some of you who read this only want to read about the farm and the menagerie of animals, and others want to see pictures of Kai, and still others may be interested in our work with refugees.  Well, we've launched a new blog today that will focus on our work with the refugees in the Dallas area.  We'll post stories about the successes and challenges that the families we meet are facing, and we'll post updates about our microenterprise efforts in the areas of carpentry and weaving as we try to help specific individuals create a sustainable future here in the U.S. 

The new refugee blog address is:

Most of you may know that Aaron recently resigned from his job as a faculty member at the university in order to spend more time doing outreach in the refugee community in Dallas (unpaid in the traditional sense, though high dividends in the spiritual sense!).  This was a decision that we made as a family, and we feel really good about where we're headed.  Sure, there's lots of uncertainty and days where I think we are a little looney, but most of the time I am able to see that we are incredibly blessed.  Our lives continue to evolve, and we're rolling with it.  We are already starting to see ways that we can be organic farmers, academic researchers, and outreach workers all at once.  And though we do sometimes feel like we are going a million miles an hour, we've also found that amidst the chaos there are moments of amazing peace that keep us at once grounded and motivated.  I can honestly say that we are living our passion, and we feel like we've found a way to make a difference.  And that's pretty cool.  So we hope that you'll join us on both blogs as we juggle the craziness! 

Monday, June 14, 2010

Slip n Slide

We have been trying to beat the heat with our crab pool, sprinklers, and new last week, a cheap slip n slide from the dollar store. Pla Shee (9 year old Karen refugee) has been staying with us, and has been a very tolerant photo subject for us as we experiment with our fancy new digital SLR camera. A few pics from the literally thousands we took:

Friday, June 11, 2010

Kai's first haircut

These are the reasons we recently shaved our almost 10 month old son's head, in order of importance:
1) to be culturally relevant.  In most Asian and Pacific Island cultures (including Marshallese, Kai's ethnic background, and Karen, who we spend most of our time with), it is customary to shave an infant's head during their first year.  Some say it is for good luck, others say it promotes a thicker, healthier head of hair.  Mostly it seems it is just because it is a tradition.  So we did it.

2) his curls were a little crazy, and though we absolutely had no problem with strangers telling us what a cute little girl we had, we figured at some point he would probably need to at least have most of his hair the same length.  We figured if we had to cut off the curls anyway, might as well cut it all off.  So we did it.

3) it's really hot in Texas.  Having no hair naturally helps keep him cooler in 100+ degree heat.  So we did it.

4) it will grow back.  We're sure of it.  It's just hair.  So we did it. 

And he's still super cute.  :)

Bee Crisis

If you've read our blog for a while, you know that we got bees a couple of years ago (  They've been for the most part a pretty ho-hum part of our farm life.  They're very easy to take care of, and mostly we forget they're around until I remember every so often that we should not have to buy honey at the store, and convince Aaron to suit up and retrieve some honey so I can have some biscuits with honey.  For those of you who eat biscuits with jelly instead of honey, you're seriously missing out.

Anyway, Tuesday was the big day to tackle the honey problem.  Pu Lue (our Karen refugee friend and a wonderful carpenter) and his 9 year old son Pla Shee have been staying with us for a while during the week, so Aaron thought it would be fun for them to get in on the action too.  Here the three of them are all suited up:

This picture was taken about 5 minutes before the first bee sting happened.  One thing we've learned about bees is that once you're stung once, it's like the dam has been broken and you're bound to get stung again until you cry uncle.  Aaron, being oh so brave, decided to keep at it.  Four stings later, he'd had enough and decided to call it quits.  Unfortunately this time the bees gave him a run for his money.  For some reason, he developed an allergy to the bee stings for the first time in his life and his entire body broke into hives and began to swell almost immediately.  It was CRAZY!

We headed to the ER where they immediately started an IV and pumped Benedryl, steroids of some sort, and various other drugs that made him loopy into his system.  We ended up getting home around 1 am once the drs and nurses were convinced that he was on the mend and would not have a permanent "pillow hand."

I took this picture of him about 30 minutes after the bee stings.  I can't even recognize him!  For comparison, Aaron normally looks like the photo below this one.  Wierd, huh?

In all of the craziness, Bear (aka Kai) got his first bee sting, right on the noggin.  He took it in stride, though, and decided it wasn't too painful once he was able to munch on one of his coconut cookies (his favorite).