Emily sadly, lost her baby, so the GREAT Gi-Gi title is on hold for a while. She is doing fine , and even though her mom, my daughter in law Diana was in ROME with my son who was on a two week break from his assignment in Afghanistan, other Gramma, Amy was able to be with Emily as were several of her aunts. Her military husband was not home at the time either. Life is never without speed bumps. How wonderful that God never leaves us alone or "unaccompanied' (as the military refers to how service members are separated from their families for a tour of duty)!
We wrapped up school in August, finally. In our home school students do not flunk; they repeat and re-work until the learning has occurred. Sometimes that makes for a long school year but there were a couple of our children who finished early. That option is also available.
AUGUST. SO HOT that our water bills were as costly as a typical electric bill and the electric bills were larger than the mortgage on our previous home! I'm thankful that we were comfortable and that we all agree to keeping the house to 84 when it's 114 outside! It is amazing how cool 84 feels when one has been out working in that 114+ weather! We all enjoyed our pool very much, and from it we had a wonderful view of the garden we worked so hard to prepare and so anticipated harvesting. Draught, even in the presence of $200 water bills was the victor in the fight to maintain a great garden this year. No corn, no peppers, no tomatoes, few squash, great crop of okra, interestingly enough, very few beans, almost no cucumbers. HOW did we raise as many cantaloupes and water melons as we did, I don't know except that the huge leaves and deep mulch underneath gave greater protection than I could have imagined. When I gave up on the corn patch, the goats were thrilled to have free access to the dry stalks. It was like "corn hay" I guess. They did an excellent job of clearing up for us!
I had the wonderful opportunity to go to son Caleb's Drill Sergeant School graduation later in August. We hadn't seen each other for a year and this occasion was a "HAVE TO attend", so plans were made. Drill Sergeants are a very small elite group of soldiers in the Army, the school is not large and there were 40 grads in Caleb's class. He will finish his assignment in Kentucky and head for Ft Leonard Wood to begin his new career in early October. We are so proud of him!! My departure was not without event, as Life would have it. As we prepared to leave the hotel for the airport so I could catch my 6 AM flight, a phone call rocked our world. The Sheriff deputy on the other end was calling to let us know that Gideon had been in a motorcycle crash and had been life flighted to OKC from our town. DEAR HEAVENLY FATHER, I was praying and spiritually "flipping a coin" DO I GO on the plane or do I GO HOME? The deputy was able to contact the ER department who called me really very quickly to give me a status report. While Gideon was very seriously injured, his injuries were NOT life threatening. I barely made it onto the plane; it felt rather like Ping the duck, being slapped on the back for being the last duck on the Wise Eyed Boat, but I made it!! We didn't get as much time together as we'd have liked but we had a special time. I got off the plane back in Tulsa, went home to hug all the children and have lunch with them, then Charlie and I loaded up to go get Gideon from the hospital in OKC. The doctors asked that I come to learn how to dress the puncture wound in Gideon's abdomen and the road rash which covered 80% of his body, as well as how to monitor the multiple stitches and staples. I honestly was not prepared for how my son was going to look. SO swollen, cut up and bruised. Literally his head was stitched and stapled back together! What I saw was GOD'S HAND of protection. Gideon should have been dead or totally in a vegetative state. He had no broken bones! A lot of internal injuries are still healing, including a brain bleed and concussion, the 1" puncture wound (probably caused by the clutch handle being snapped off and Gideon falling against the broken stump.) His knee will need surgery . My heart was overwhelmed with gratitude to God for sparing my son, and amazement at what ALL had happened as the result of one poorly planned late night motor cycle ride. Four weeks later Gideon is still staying at our house. He can't live by himself yet, is still in a lot of pain, and obviously can't work yet either. I see God working in his heart and causing him to address some things that have long needed addressing and if THIS is what it took, I am content. He and I had some pretty interesting private moments since he was unable to bathe for the first two weeks. It was Gideon and me, the shower chair we got for my stroke afflicted mom, the hand held shower and the only way I could give my 26 year old son some dignity in the situation: a large lap towel. I shed a tear when he thanked me for even thinking about his dignity in light of everything I had to do for him. I cry a different kind of tear as he and Daniel lie side by side in front of the TV : Daniel in his special horizontal chair and Gideon stretched out in the recliner. I have dubbed that TV zone as the "Neurological Unit" Gideon talks to Daniel and encourages him to cheer for the favored teams, trying to convince us all that Daniel is also a Dallas fan! I also hear frquently, "Hey D, whatcha think man?They gonna win this next game?" The things that touch a mamma heart!
And then there is Esther! She gave birth to our precious grand baby the day before my husband's birthday and who weighed 9 pounds 15 ounces!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She is beautiful and we are totally in love! Esther and Casey were so precious to watch as she labored and then together with their brand new baby girl. I was honored to be part of the day. It was not the way we all anticipated the day to go, but Esther and Riley are fine. I could editorialize about meddling medical interventions but that is another post!
Sweet grand baby Charlie turned 2 the day after my husband's birthday so the three of them will always celebrate together! September is the month for Grandchildren's birthday for sure! Joshua's 2 (Emily and her brother Ethan) Caleb's son, Jon (Hannah)'s daughter Mady for a total of SIX September Grandbabies!!!!
We've started piano lessons and a new Alpha and Omega curriculum school year with several more computers so that the day moves much more smoothly. Our summer temps have given way to cool 80's and our new AC unit is already on hiatus. Let the wood chopping and stacking begin!!!!
|Meet Miss Riley Kay!!|
|Esther and 1 hour old Riley Kay|
|A proud Gi-Gi and Riley in the blanket I finished as Riley was being born!!|
|Four generations of Keyser-Smith women!|
|Yes he did! Got right up to his cake and licked that whipped cream right off!|
|Cousin meets Cousin|
|Leah, Esther with Riley, Casey, Rachel, Isaiah in front of Linda, Isaac behind Linda,Charlie holding Daniel,Naomi,Jael, Gideon ,Jon holding Charlie, Mady and Hannah, Noah, Sopheak and Malachi|
|Caleb with some of his fellow Drill graduates|
|Drill Sergeant Caleb|