Friday, April 30, 2010

One crutch

Julie ditched one of her crutches this week. After a good report from the doctor and the okay from her therapist Julie graduated to walking with one crutch. She may lose the other crutch next week if she can walk without a limp.

Julie's bone doctor was pleased with her progress. Her pelvis is healing just as quickly as it can. In fact, her body has concentrated so much on growing bones that it has neglected her big toe nails. She hasn't trimmed them since January.

Julie and Betsy attend therapy together three mornings a week. Aaron also began therapy to restore strength and movement to his shoulders and neck.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


where morning dawns and evening fades
you call forth songs of joy
Psalm 65:8 NIV

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ice cream outing

Betsy likes to get out of the house every day. Most afternoons Julie, Betsy and I plan an outing--we walk in the gardens or run errands or, as was the case Tuesday afternoon, meet friends downtown to eat ice cream.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Behold the mercy of our King,
Who takes from death its bitter sting,
And by his blood, and often ours,
Brings triumph out of hostile pow'rs...

What we have lost God will restore--
That, and himself, forevermore,
When he is finished with his art:
The quiet worship of our heart.

~John Piper

Monday, April 26, 2010

Hot dog roast

Hot dogs are one of my favorite foods.

"If you stay home two weeks, we will have a hot dog roast," Libby promised when I returned home from Pennsylvania. Then she threatened, "If you leave we will have a hot dog roast as soon as you're gone."

I didn't make any promises but we had a hot dog and s'more roast Friday evening. Depending on who you asked it was either a celebration that I was home or a reason to burn the clippings from the apple orchard.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


...on the tree a vase

Photo credit Betsy Cook
....and in my hair.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Spring gardens

A couple of times this week Julie, Betsy and I took advantage of season passes to a local gardens that is in the height of its spring glory.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Farm truck

Aaron and Brian attended an auction while I was in Pennsylvania. At just the right time their hands went up, and Brian drove home a white Ford f550 Diesel Power Stroke automatic box truck with a 7.3 liter diesel engine. Once the truck warmed up, it refused to go faster than twenty-five miles per hour. For the time, it is limited to our farm lane, but Brian has bigger plans for it.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


The best part of going away is coming home.

My parents and six of my siblings were at the airport to greet me when I stepped off the plane in Michigan early yesterday evening. Dad shouldered my backpack, Logan carried my bag, and Naomi took me by the arm.

It is good to be home. Though, I suspect there is a little girl in Pennsylvania who wandered around the house saying, "Aunt Amy? Aunt Amy?"

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Aunt hat

Photo credit: Judith Cook

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sun in the sky

Colors not described by words.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Baby faces

Janessa is growing and changing. She's awake more and aware of her surroundings. Her eyes focus and she can hold her head a little when she's on her tummy. Just the past couple of days her cheeks have grown chubby. When she stretches her toes reach the end of her newborn sleepers.

She still sleeps a lot but...

when she's hungry she has a way of getting our attention.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Sometimes it's an advantage to have small hands.

Yesterday I retrieved the nail clippers from the lint vent in Judith's dryer where Kaelyn had deposited them after Judith trimmed Janessa's fingernails. I also pulled out a wad of lint.

A few weeks ago, my little hands aided in the rescue of something even bigger than nail clippers. At the time, Judith wondered if she would be pregnant for the rest of her life and I decided not to share the story online. Now that Janessa is born I have a tale to tell.

Brian had eleven kids already when Foxy, a first-time mother, decided to kid last month. She appeared to have everything under control when Brian checked on her in the afternoon. After he'd gathered his birthing supplies he discovered something was wrong.

Goat kids are supposed to be born front legs first with the head and the rest of the body following them. Foxy's kid was partially born with one leg and its head outside of Foxy. In such a case the manuals suggest pushing the kid back inside the goat to reposition it. This would have killed the kid since the sack had already broken and the kid was breathing.

Brian called inside the house and Betsy, Libby and I ran outside to help. Libby held Foxy's head, Betsy searched for the vet's phone number and I helped Brian pull on the kid. But the kid stayed stuck.

Finally Betsy found the phone number and Brian got ahold of a vet. She suggested turning the kid, lubricating it, and then pulling. Brian tried to turn the kid and managed to move it a bit. Then he tried to smear it with petroleum jelly but his hands were too big. "Let me try," I said. For the first time I stuck my hand up a goat.

As I felt inside Foxy I realized exactly what was wrong. I felt Foxy's bones and the kid's bones wedged against each other. The kid wasn't going anywhere. So I wiggled my fingers and then I pushed and I felt the kid move.

"Pull!" I yelled. "Pull!"

"Push!" Brian yelled at Foxy. Foxy just yowled in pain.

Then with a pop the kid was born. Brian grabbed the kid and hung it upside down. He and Mom rubbed its limp body with towels. Within a few minutes the kid began to respond and despite his traumatic birth appears to be healthy, though a little greasy from all that petroleum jelly.

We named him Ping after the last duckling in Marjorie Flack's picture book.

After the dryer was rendered serviceable yesterday, the toilet stuck up. Goats and dryers I can do. I didn't volunteer to stick my hand down the toilet.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


A few days before Janessa was born, Judith's friend Fran's Bernese Mountain dog Missy gave birth to puppies. Tuesday morning we visited Fran's house and Judith held Fran's puppies while Fran held Judith's baby. The friends were happy to cuddle the newborns.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Family portrait

Sunday night after combing hair and washing faces, we headed to a park for family portraits. Kaelyn was more interested in the playground with swings and slide than posing and smiling for Aunt Amy's camera. So I shot a lot of pictures and then sorted through them. We ended up with a few cute ones of Joel, Judith, Kaelyn and Janessa.

(Okay, I didn't sort all of the uncooperative ones out, but it does fit the cute category.)

Monday, April 12, 2010


I was concerned about Betsy. I was afraid that she would do too much while I was in Pennsylvania.

Betsy was concerned about me. She was afraid that I would do too much while I was in Pennsylvania.

Before I left we set up iChat on our MacBooks so that we could check on each other. We connect our laptops to the internet and then Betsy and Julie sing along while Kaelyn and I do the hokey pokey. They tell me about their day. They show Kaelyn a baby goat and kittens and Kaelyn and I show them baby Janessa. Kaelyn waves to Grandma. Then she says, "Come," beckoning to all her aunts and uncles.

I ask Betsy how she is feeling and she shows me her new ice pack. And she tells me what she thinks I should and shouldn't do, and I do the same for her.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Winter forgotten. Spring has come.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Big sister

Kaelyn is the big sister. "Shh!" she says with her finger over her lips. "Baby sleeping." It doesn't matter whether the baby really is sleeping or not, which is fine since the next minute after whispering Kaelyn may let out a whoop and go jumping across the floor. Janessa doesn't mind anyway. She's listened to Kaelyn for nine months already and a little big sister noise doesn't disturb her rest, at least not yet.

If Janessa does cry, Kaelyn is concerned. She wants to hold Janessa and kiss her to make her feel better. So far her efforts aren't effective since Janessa usually is hungry and wants her Mommy. It won't be long, though, before Janessa realizes that her best friend is her big sister.

Kaelyn has inherited a love of shoes from her Byler aunts. She is eager to share shoes with her baby dolls or Janessa. She also likes trying on Aunt Amy's shoes.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Six hundred miles...

...three airports,
two "puddle jumpin'" airplanes,
one weather delay
(resulting in one missed flight)
and two adorable nieces.