The boys and I spent most of the day at my parent's house. Dad smoked a boston butt, and we had BBQ, peas, fresh cream corn, cantaloupe, and broccoli bread. After feasting, we settled in and the kids watched some history on t.v. and I made peach preserves. After canning three batches, Dad asked if I wanted any apples. OF COURSE! I think I could can 100,000 pounds of apples into applesauce and apple butter, and the kids would eat it all! I love that I can control the amount of sugar in what I home can, and the fact that the kids are getting home grown fruit, with no preservatives is so fulfilling! So after we got cleaned up from the peach preserves, we rode around the corner and picked a 5 gallon bucket full of apples. When we got back, it became a true family affair, as both Andy and Nathan decided to help Daddy cut and core the apples. After a lesson on how to correctly handle the knife, and core the apples, they did amazingly well! Alex worked briefly bringing apples from the sink where we washed them, to the sink where we cored them. As they continued coring, I began sterilizing jars, measuring sugar, weighing the cut up apples, and cooking down the apples for apple butter.
|Yummy! Cooking down the peach preserves|
|Ladling hot preserves into the hot jars|
|I even had 4 bags left to freeze for peach cobbler later|
|There are 6 jars of Beef Stew Mom canned in the back ground, but the rest are all peach preserves|
|Daddy telling the boys to be sure to get all the core out|
|Mom showing Nathan how to cut the apple safely, and Nathan sampling the product|
|Andy worked diligently until all the apples were cut and cored...he's such a hard worker!|
|Batch #1 cooking down|
|Batch #1 in the crock pot, ready to cook all night and get extra yummy!|
We wound up with enough apples to make 3 full recipes, and have enough left over for an apple pie tomorrow ;) After cooking the apples down some, and pureeing them, we added spices and put them into the crock pots to cook overnight. It is soooooo much easier to make apple butter in a crock pot than over the stove. It gets so thick and sticky, and you have to stir it constantly on the stove, but in the crock pot, you'll get the same consistency, but no stirring or standing over a hot stove! When we were almost done with the apples, Greg came up and had a bite of dinner. He has been sleeping all day since last night was his first night back to work. He's super sick with bronchitis, and even though he's been on an antibiotic since Sunday, he's really getting worse instead of better. Tonight he went in to work, and wound up shutting the pharmacy down, and leaving to come home, which he has never done in the 14+ years he's worked for Walgreens. He has a fever of 102 degrees, and is nauseated in addition to having a horrible cough that just sounds pitiful! Please be in prayer for him, as he needs to kick this thing ENTIRELY, before we leave for China!
Speaking of China, there is no real update today. Tomorrow we will have our travel conference call, and will have our final travel packet sent to us. It will include our itinerary, in China travel expense, hotel information, and much more. It's been difficult, with Greg being as incredibly sick as he is, to even begin the list of things that needs to be completed before we leave. Tonight I replaced the light switch cover that was missing from Annabella's room, and I sat down and sorted everything I'd set aside to pack making a final decision on what was going, and what was going to stay here. Tomorrow I'm sure I will have another list of things to take care of from the adoption agency, and I have to go to the store for several things we still need. This weekend I've got to wash, dry, and fold all the laundry, and set aside all of the clothes I will be taking to China. We've signed up for a VPN account, so hopefully we will be able to still blog and Facebook while we are in China.
On the medical front, we also still have yet to see the reappearance of the penny that Andy swallowed 11 days ago. On Tuesday the doctor was sure he'd pass it in the next day or two, and we still have no penny. I am still praying that he will pass it, but we have to check with the pediatrician again in the morning to see what he wants to do from here. Time is running out for us to be able to handle this situation, and I am just praying that Andy will pass that penny before I have to call the pediatrician tomorrow! I came across this verse while reading during my quiet time, and wanted to share it. It sums up exactly how I feel.
"I will praise You, oh Lord, with my whole heart, I will show forth (recount, tell aloud,) all Your marvelous works and wonderful deeds!" Psalm 9:1
This verse is so very powerful, don't you think? We are told to be faithful in spreading the word of God, and though I try to do that, it made me realize that maybe I need to do it more loudly, more forcefully, with all of my heart. In prayer, I am quick to thank God for the good, the bad, and the ugly. I praise Him for His timing, for His wisdom, in all that happens in my life. But do I do that out loudly enough to others? Do I praise Him and His works publicly the way I should? I do love the Lord our God with all my heart, and I praise Him with all that I am and will ever be. I am so thankful for the Love, compassion, and strength that He has pumped into me these last months. Even though we are facing uncertainty in Andy and in Greg and the health, I praise Him. He alone knows what the purpose is for the timing, and He will let us know if that is His plan. I praise Him for allowing us to be parents to Annabella, and to our boys. I praise Him for his grace, his mercy, for his chiding when I need it. I am overwhelmed in the love and gratitude I feel for Christ that He died for ME. Me, who is so unworthy of that sacrifice and that love. And I will praise Him for all of my days! Since I'm such a music person, I'm again going to close this post with another wonderful song. Enjoy and God bless!
I actually typed that post up last night, intending to add a picture of the finished apple butter today and post it early. Well, today didn't go quite the way I'd planned! This morning we got up early and I took Greg back to Urgent Care. They did a repeat chest X-ray and found that the bronchitis was actually pneumonia. His fever was at 104.2, and he was severely dehydrated so they sent us on to the E.R. After spending most of the day and part of the evening there they finally decided to let him come home with some strict orders. It was very touch and go on coming home, as his oxygen stats kept dropping and he had such a high fever. Finally around 6 he was able to walk around the rapid admit area and keep his stats above 90 for 4 minutes, so they allowed us to come home. He will not be going back to work, and will be taking three antibiotics, pain meds, breathing treatments, cough meds, something for chest congestion, and a nausea med. He is on bed rest and hopefully with all that, will be feeling better in a few days.
Early in the day we were told that he might not be cleared to fly, so I began a mad scramble to find out how this would affect our adoption trip, what would need to happen paperwork wise, plane ticket and hotel room wise, and plan for all types of different possibilities. Our first thought was that my Mom could travel with me, but after checking with her, she had only 5 months remaining on her passport, and China requires 6 months. If he was unable to go, we would have to have several additional pieces of paperwork, and we would have to go through a re-adoption process here. I could adopt Annabella there, but we would legally have to "re-adopt" her together here. After checking with the airline, we would be able to add flight insurance to our ticket price, so we would not have to lose the tickets at least. We do have travel insurance, it just covers everything except the ticket price at this point.
I am so very thankful for answered prayers, because Greg is already looking and feeling a little better tonight. The fluids he got at the E.R. did him a lot of good, but the prayers he received from our church and friends did him so much better! There is still no news on Andy and the penny. We contacted the pediatrician's office this afternoon, (with all the excitement with Greg this morning, I was not able to call sooner,) and he had already left for the day. Tomorrow morning they will give him the update that Andy still has not passed the penny, and we expect an answer on whether we will wait it out or do surgery. Please continue to pray for the reappearance of this penny and for Greg to continue to improve. An adoption trip is a very grueling thing, and her needs to be at his best possible health before we fly. Tomorrow I will try to make the time to post more about what our timeline will be, and about the adoption, travel conference call I took this afternoon. In the meantime, thank you for your continued support and prayers for our family and journey!