The wonderful world of Justice and Mommy aka Mary!
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Post Vacation Update
Justice is working very hard to make "Word Wizard", by memorizing a certain vocabulary list and I am in the homestretch of my Intermediate Algebra course. I have 1 week until my last test and the due date for all extra credit work and 2 weeks until the final, so you can see why blogging must be put on the back burner for now.
In the meantime we will be attending a hot air balloon festival this weekend, followed by study time, study time and more study time! If I get the chance, I will try and post at least 1 or 2 pictures to give you a small window into what we've been doing!
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Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Migrant Farming At Cracker Boy’s U-Pick Farm
Cracker Boys Vegetables and U Pick is so new they don’t have a web site or even a regular business line. When I called the phone number I found listed for them it actually went right into the owners voice mail. I left a message on Friday and waited for a return call. I wasn’t even sure if they were opening or monitoring the line, so I didn’t expect a return call right away.
As luck would have it the owner of the farm happened to return my call on Sunday morning and let me know they were open that day. After jotting down the directions, I called Justice from the west wing of our one bedroom apartment and got ready to do some grocery shopping in a field.
We put on our shoes and hopped into the car hoping for a good experience and that’s just what we got. After a thirty minute drive on I-95 we exited onto Bridge Road and headed east for about three miles. It was a long, seemingly unending country road where everybody traveled at high speeds and seemed to know exactly where they were going.
We actually passed our destination two times before we were able to find them due to the high speeds and smallish sign set just a little too far off the road for out of towners like us. As we pulled into the white gravel driveway I took note of the small field of crops and even smaller country store. I must admit my expectations were not high; however, I am happy to say they were far exceeded.
After we got out of the car we checked out the country store lined with unfinished lattice and filled with good old country folk and fresh produce. Dad was sitting on a rocking chair with his toddling daughter while mom was behind the register, as her school aged son roamed about. Immediately I had a good feeling about Cracker Boys U-Pick Farm. I could see that this was a labor of love for the family and I knew we were about to be blessed by their hard work.
I checked in with mom at the register to find out what was available for picking. She told us we could pick green beans or tomato’s then gave us a bucket and walked us out to the field. Justice was very excited. Prior to this we have only tried out one u-pick farm and it was a hydroponic farm; therefore, this was a completely new experience.
In no time at all Justice was bent down on the ground picking feverishly, moving from side to side like a crab on the ocean floor. His eyes were locked onto the beans and he was hell bent on filling the large white bucket in his hand. Of course I realize we only have two people in our house, so I had to put a limit on what he could pick. He agreed to limit the amount of beans he picked; however, I think he was secretly wishing we had an army to feed so he could pick as much as he wanted.
After we had a sufficient amount of beans we decided to check out the produce stand; but, as soon as we got in there Justice wanted to know what else we could pick. We don’t normally eat a-lot of tomato’s so I was planning on skipping them; however, Justice had other plans. After he promised me he would eat them, I agreed to picking them.
The lady running the store actually walked us out to the field again and showed us where to pick. When we reached the proper row, we were met with another family member who was tending the fields. He offered to direct us to the best rows and pointed out the types of tomatoes they had. I was curious about the green tomato’s because I’ve never had them and didn’t know how to prepare them. He suggested frying them. I didn’t think that sounded too complicated, so we picked a few of them and agreed we would try a new recipe that night. Besides, after watching “Fried Green Tomato’s” so many times, I’ve always been a bit curious about this southern oddity which was quite lacking in Philadelphia, where I grew up.
After picking just the right amount of red and green tomatoes, we made our way back to the store and began perusing the plain wooden shelves. Everything was so fresh and the prices were amazing. We actually got a pound of pre-picked strawberry’s for $2.00! Again, Justice wanted to take two of everything and fill our basket; but, I knew we could only eat so much and didn’t want to waste food.
After we had gotten all the fruits and vegetables we could possibly eat in one week, we made our way to the register. I was shocked when the lady told me that we owed he a mere $7.90. We had so much in our bags! I looked around and noticed a large white sign with red lettering which said “Boiled Peanuts”. Nether of us had ever had them and our bill was so low, so I ordered a small cup for Justice.
I took a few moments to chat with the lady before leaving while Justice inspected the curious nuts in his foam cup. I asked her how long they had been open and how business was. She informed me that they had only been open since October and business was just ok. I also asked her where their other produce came from and she was happy to reveal their sources. It was nice to know where our food was coming from and to do business with friendly people.
As we drove off, I had a feeling of complete satisfaction. We had found a really great new farm to harvest and purchase our produce. I look forward to making day trips to Hobe Sound and exploring the area’s parks and beaches over the next year. It will provide me with yet another opportunity to experience another part of Florida with my little sidekick, who quite loudly exclaimed from the back seat “Hey I do like these boiled peanuts. They taste just like beans!”
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Monday, April 7, 2008
Justice’s Illness Of 2008
After Justice finished his 10 day course of Amoxicillin he seemed to be mostly better. Mostly would be the key word here. He still had a bit of a cough; but, was for the most part ok. About a week later I noticed his cough getting worse and he had an earache bad enough to warrant pain medication. Justice is bit of a trooper when it comes to pain, so when he asks for pain medication I can be fairly sure he is in real discomfort.
We were close to the weekend and luckily his doctor has Saturday morning hours, so I decide to have him looked at. My prudence paid off and the doctor was able to determine that Justice had an ear infection. He put him on another 10 day course of antibiotics. This time we has prescribed Omnicef, a stronger medicine.
Justice had only been on antibiotics once in his whole life, so this was quite staggering for me. We are huge fan’s of natural medicine and usually try to support the immune system naturally; however, sometimes western medicine is necessary. Justice spent 20 out of 30 days on antibiotics out of sheer necessity.
Today we got up early again on a Saturday for a follow up appointment and I am happy to say he is a healthy child. The doctor checked both ears and was quite pleased with his prognosis. I was pleased too. Hopefully this brings the illness of 2008 to an end and hopefully we wont have another year like this for the rest of our lives.
Below are just a few quick snapshot's in the doctor's office.
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There are so many wonderful things I want to say about Michelle’s wedding; but, I think the video below says everything. There are just two parts that I’m going to take the time to write about, because they were so cute. Justice and Hannah.
Justice was the ring bearer and he was taking his job very seriously . He had been to the rehearsal the day before and new just what was expected of him and we had a long talk about how his good job and good behavior could be his gift to Michael and Michelle for their wedding. He didn’t want to give a bad gift, so he concentrated very hard on his part.
When he got to the end of the aisle he got a funny smile on his face and just stood there for a moment. He knew where he was supposed to go; but, he wanted to do something else first. Torn between his duty and his desire he stood on the precipice of decision for a moment then decided to go for it. His desire. He threw his arms open as wide as they would go, gave Michael a million dollar smile, then ran into his arms. The shared the sweetest hug for a few seconds, then Justice dutifully took his place with the groomsmen.
When Hannah’s turn came she stated out just a little uncertain. She’s a bit younger than Justice and wasn’t able to make it to the rehearsal; but, she watched the others go first and had an idea of what to do. She started out just fine, putting one ballet slipper covered foot in front of the other. She was advancing perfectly down the aisle and then she stopped. She looked down into her white basket filled with petals and knew she had something else to do.
With a purpose in mind, she grabbed a handful of petals and dropped them on the ground- and then another, and another and another until the basket was empty. She looked around somewhat confused and start to walk again. With a little coaxing she made it to the front then turned around to show us her basket. She turned it upside down and said “It’s empty!” Apparently we had not given her an adequate supply.
Everything else went off without a hitch and it really was a lovely wedding. Please watch the video below to get a glimpse of the day.
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In Betweens And Odds n' Ends
Here are few of Justice's birthday presents from Sarah and Phil. After a grand adventure with Justice, a boat and a shark in the tub, they felt the need to lounge by the bathroom vanity. Justice placed them there himself!
The week before Easter, Vintage, our church, was giving out free coffee to the neighbors each morning. They had asked for volunteers to hold bright yellow signs and wave at morning commuters each day that week. On Friday Justice came to help out donning his best superhero cape.
This is Justice opening another birthday gift from Mrs. Dottie, a co-worker of my mom in Philadelphia. She gave him some supercute p.j.'s which he wore to bed that night.
Below are a few pictures I took of Justice at Mounts Botanical Garden in West Palm Beach. My camera is on the fritz right now, so I'm not getting the shot's I normally get; but, here are a few of the one's that turned out ok.
Here's a mama and her ducklings...
This is Justice and the lily pads. We were both intrigued to find that they are actually floating sprouts from plants on the liquid floor. It sounds silly; but, I always saw the lush green leaves floating on the waters surface as being unattached. It never occurred to me that they were party of an intricate web of life beneath the watery surface.
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Sunday, April 6, 2008
Little Napoleon, Great Gene's And Easter Eggs
Timbra and her boyfriend Jay needed a little break, so I decided to come over and watch the kids. I came armed with 2 dozen cage free eggs, a glow in the dark egg kit and a camo egg kit. Yes, that’s right camouflage eggs. How cool is that? When I saw the kit on the shelf at Publix there was no way I could pass it up. It was just too good to be true.
I made the children some chicken and served them dinner while I boiled and cooled the eggs. Justice and Hannah ate their dinner without much of a fuss. Luke was a different story. He’s a very picky little eater and very opinionated for somebody who’s still in diapers. When I first showed him his plate he squawked at me like sort of angry parrot and ran out of the room crying….forcefully.
When he calmed down a bit, he came back into the kitchen looking for candy. There was no candy, there was a nice plate with perfectly cooked chicken. I looked him square in the eyes and very politely laid down the law. “If you want to dye eggs with us, you will need to eat your chicken. If you don’t eat the chicken, you don’t get to dye the eggs. It’s your choice.” He looked at me incredulously, then ran out of the room crying….forcefully. Do you see a patter developing here?
At that point the realized Timbra had left and wanted his mommy back. I don’t think he was thrilled with cousin Mary who was trying to feed him a plate full of dead bird. From the kitchen I could hear him screaming at the garage door “MOMMY! YOU GET BACK HERE RIGHT NOW!!!!” I couldn’t help but laugh at his futile demands. He was like a little Napoleon and we were his kingdom- or so he thought.
After a while he calmed down and tried to put the plate of chicken out of his mind. Three plates remained on the table. Two were empty and one was not. The children had all gone off to play and I needed to get the table ready for our egg dying extravaganza. Luke happened to notice me picking up Justice and Hannah’s plates. “All done” he said with an impish glimmer in his eyes. I looked back at him with my own impish glimmer and said “Justice is all done” and showed him the plate, “Hannah is all done” and showed him her plate, then I picked up his plate, still quite full and said “Luke is NOT all done”. He looked at me in disbelief, screamed and ran away.
I ignored his outburst and placed his plate squarely back on the table. The eggs were ready to be dyed and I was anxious to get the show under the way. I looked around the house and decided the best place to dye eggs would be the little table where the children eat. The only problem was, it was a really nice, really expensive looking table and past years have taught me that egg dye does just that. It dyes. It dye’s eggs, skin, clothes, carpets and more. I realized we needed a drop cloth of some sort and choose a large garbage back to protect the surface. It worked perfectly.
I filled plastic cups with water and a bit of vinegar then dropped in colored tablets and watched as the water began to congeal and change colors It fizzled like some sort of science experiment bubbling and bursting with an unforeseen energy. Next, I moved the eggs to the table, along with the cups of dye and other odds and ends that came with the Paas kits. I surveyed the table and decided we were ready to begin. I called the children and they came running. All three of them.
As we sat down to make our works of art, I quietly reminded Luke that he had to eat his chicken or he could not participate. At first he looked like he was about to cry again; but, when he saw the first egg go into the colored water he quickly changed his mind. I saw his already large eyes get even larger and noticed his little fingers reaching for a piece of chicken. He watched and ate as we dyed the first few eggs.
Soon he had fulfilled his obligation and joined in the fun. All of the children seemed to like picking which color the eggs would drop into and with some assistance from me they dropped their eggs in the color of their choice. We decorated some with stickers and some with glow in the dark paint. Other eggs were pre-decorated with a wax crayon that prevented any paint from dying the shell that had been colored on. Hannah really liked the wax crayon. It was like magic to her.
My favorite eggs were the camouflage one’s First we dipped them in one of the dyes, then we covered them with camouflage shaped stickers and re-dyed them in another, darker, color. When they were done marinating, we scooped them out and carefully peeled the stickers off. The effect was quite amazing. I think the pictures speak for themselves. (CHECK BACK ON THIS POST IN 1 WEEK FOR THOSE PICTURES!
Eventually Hannah and Justice grew tired of our project and ran off to play; but, my little buddy Luke stuck with it till the very end. I think if we had a bucket full of eggs he would have stayed with me all night. He seemed to like naming the colors as they came out. “Pink! Blue! Orange! Yellow!” he kept telling me. He was quite proud of himself and his vast knowledge concerning colors. I have no doubt he will be an amazing conversationalist when he grows up.
The next day Timbra and the kids met me and Justice at Kelsey Park, in Lake Park, for the annual egg hunt. We had color coordinated the children’s outfits, hoping to take some pictures after the hunt and it was obvious that our efforts were worth the trouble. The children looked so nice standing side by side in their spring colored clothes. They were picture perfect.
First they had the 0-3 year olds “hunt” for eggs. They were so cute toddling about with their caregivers in tow and I think Luke was the cutest of all; however, I am a bit biased. Timbra carefully guided him about the lush grass and helped him pick up the brightly colored eggs. One by one he filled his basket to the brim. Eventually he became just a bit more interested in his purple lollipop and gave up on the eggs.
The timing was perfect because it allowed us to position ourselves for the next egg hunt. Justice and Hannah’s. They stood at the edge of the field with one foot just in front of the other readying themselves for the start of the race. With their baskets in hand and feet at the ready they sprung into action when the “Ready, set, go!” sprang from the megaphone.
Justice darted this way and that filling his basket with the fervency of a hungry cat while Hannah advanced further and further into the field with each scoop of an egg. They were in kid heaven and we were so proud to take their pictures as they sprang into action. SNAP, SNAP, SNAP went our cameras as we tried to capture their now. CLICK, CLICK, CLICK went our shutters as they memorized their movements in mega pixels and files.
The hunt was over almost as fast as it had begun. We caught up to our babies and sat in the grass checking the eggs for the coveted prize tickets while the last hunt, for older children took place on another field. One by one we cracked the eggs checking their contents. “Oh!” said Timbra, “Luke got a chocolate bunny.” “Oh!” she said again, just a few minutes later. “Hannah won a Chick-fil-A kids meal”.
Justice looked a bit deflated at this point; but, I lovingly reminded him that we were thankful for everything we had received and he recovered quickly. He has a pretty good view of the world and the advantages we have as Americans due to the importance I place on learning current events and giving back to our world community; therefore, he is more able than other children to adjust to having less. I am thankful for that.
After we had scooped up their prizes we made our way to the east end of the park for our official photo shoot. We placed the children strategically in front of a particular palm tree and began to shoot. They looked this way and that and Luke held onto his precious bunny for dear life. It was cute; but, we did have some trouble getting THE shot.
Next we placed them on a brick lined planter, which was the perfect height for a bench. Again the children seemed to be at a loss for where to look; but, they gave it their all. They kept getting up and down and it was then, that I noticed a great shot. Justice was running around the edge with his arms out wide for balance. Almost as quickly as I saw it he stopped and sat down for the pictures. Damn, I wanted that shot. I knew I needed to get him to do it again under the guise of fun. When he realizes he’s being photographed, he tends to pose and the picture’s become decidedly less interesting. He’s so completely amazing just being himself, he doesn’t even realize it.
After we got our pictures, I offered him the opportunity to run around the perimeter again. He was happy to oblige, and I was happy to shoot him. I got some of the most amazing pictures of this moment in time. It was one of his most precious moments as a child, uncluttered with the things that plague adulthood. For a brief moment he was just a soul with outstretched arms enjoying the ocean breeze and the free spirit that only a child can have.
Soon the children began to run through the lush, green, planter. They tromped through the thick, grass-like bushes, with the ferocity of atrocious dinosaurs. They snarled and laughed all at the same time as they traveled about their secret garden in childes delight. Their imaginative play was inspiring and produced some of the most incredible picture’s I’ve ever seen on everyday camera’s. Hey what can I say- the Gerber’s have great genes. I think the pictures speak for themselves.
The next day was Easter Sunday and after we had all gone to church we met at Timbra and Jay’s for the most delicious dinner ever. Timbra had never made a ham before and was a bit hesitant about the outcome; but, it turned out AMAZING! I think it was the best ham I’ve ever had and so did Jay. The whole meal was perfect and the company was even better.
Our Easter of 2008 was one that will stand out in time for years to come and I truly wish that we have many more like it to come. My StumbleUpon Page
The Fascinating Lives Of Migrant Farm Workers
Justice felt the need to bring Buddy Bob, a sweet baby blue bear he made at Build A Bear. Buddy Bob say’s “Ooh, Ooh, Ah, Ah” over and over, just like a monkey- in Justice’s voice when you squeeze his left hand. I think Buddy Bob really liked his first trip to the farm. He even posed for a few pictures with Justice.
It was such a nice day and it would have been great to take a trip to one of the surrounding park’s; however, I felt Justice really needed some more rest and quiet time. As it turned out, my motherly instincts were dead on, because in the next two weeks he would be on antibiotic’s again; but, I’ll have to save that for the next volume of the “Justice’s Illness of 2008”
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