Quacks n Wood

Remember those cute, tiny ducks? Here they are...getting huge. They're only half feathered-out, so they're still in the gawky phase, but they're starting to get pretty. The two dark-billed are females and the light bill is (I *think*) a male. They are Speckles, Sprinkles and Whiskers. These are the 3 we'll definitely keep. If Whiskers turns out to be a female after all we'll pick one boy to keep in addition to these 3. They're starting to get their quacks now and almost surprise themselves when they belt out a mature "WACK!" instead of a wussy little "PEEP!" It's amusing.
Here is Speckles up close. She is a silver-phase and will have more "black" to her than the gold-phase, which will be more brown.

This is Spoon. He is obviously the alpha male, but he's pretty stupid. He couldn't figure out how to get into the pool, so for 2 weeks he'd roam around the side of the pool while his buddies were swimming and just peep at them. He sticks his head over the side to get a drink and just looks pathetic. He finally learned to get in the last 2 days. He picks on Whiskers, so he'll definitely go, but he's the only unblemished male, so it makes me sad that he'll be eaten.

This is Sprinkles. She is a gold-phase, so like I said above, she'll be more brown.

This is a close-up of Whiskers. We know who he is because he has a dark stripe down his bill. He's always been the calmest and sweetest, but the others seem to pick on him. My hope is that once the others are gone, the two females will realize he's their only hope for some play and warm up to him. He is by far the kids' favorite, so no way is he going anywhere.

Let no one ever say we're afraid of color. Here is the new trim in our kitchen. This will be painted an off-white color when they're done. Doesn't it look GORGEOUS? Ignore the taped up big-ugly. That will be going away soon.

Here's the dining room looking into the library. This trim will be stained. It's really starting to feel like a home, we are SOOO excited! Only a couple more weeks and we can move our stuff back in, (it'll be like Christmas x 10 since we haven't seen any of this stuff in over 5 months and lots of it in 3 years!), and live in our house. PRAISE GOD we don't have to leave and can enjoy this beautiful new home for a couple of years.

Here is a spiffy column where we cut out a wall and had raw wood showing. These guys doing the trim are ARTISTS. Allan was nervous because he hadn't met them at all, but I told him from the minute the guy walked in the door I trusted him. He's been a fabulous contractor and his workers are great. For anyone in the area, his name is Craig Garland and I got his name through Blazek. I HIGHLY recommend him! They are awesome.

Here is the other column on the other side and the bookshelf "honoring" the door that used to go from the stairwell to the diningroom.

The library window. In time that room will be full of custom shelving units and our countless books and we can light a real fire in the fireplace and read and relax and enjoy each other. We are so Blessed!
There it is...things are coming along swimmingly. I'm sick as a dog and realizing I was nuts to think I could get away with a pregnancy feeling good. We are looking into getting a van, (my dream is the VW Routan), and we're anxiously awaiting Allan graduating after only 5 more days of school! Hope all is as well with you and yours. We love and miss you all!


Some New Things

We celebrated Allan's 37th birthday on Saturday. He got a big cookie, a mug with writing on it from us and a new Wii game. He also got to go shooting with his teacher and classmate, I'm sure that was the highlight of his day. Then we all went for a miniature train ride in Ft. Worth.
While the guys were shooting, we went to the Stockyards and explored the shops. Here are my little cowgirls.
Here is a really bad picture of some of the ducks swimming in our currently flooded yard. They are in the "ugly teenager" phase and just starting to feather out. They'll be prettier in a couple weeks.
And here is our single, HEALTHY 6 week and 6 day old baby. He/she is due December 15th and has a heart rate of 140 bpm. It was very exciting to get to see the heart and to HEAR it beating. Man technology has come a long way, even just since having GraceAnne. That looks like an exceptionally large gestational sac to me, so I thought for sure there were two, but no such luck. Oh well...God has a plan for this family and farbeit for me to impose on the plan! He is a faithful God, so I will trust in Him to carry me the next 9 months while I carry this tiny vampire.


Are you CRAZY?!?

So since I'm terrible at keeping secrets and since this started off as a baby blog, we'll come full circle and announce to anyone who didn't already know--we're expecting. According to a chart, we're due in early December but we have a sonogram scheduled for Monday to find out for sure. We're praying that there are 2 boys in there and we've been praying for this pregnancy since we were about 7 months pregnant with Violet. We're all absolutely elated, (except Violet, who smiles blankly when we say "BABY" emphatically and point to my belly), and the timing is just perfect. Things will be chaos for a while, of course, but my house is chaos anyway, so no biggie.

I've discovered, however, that there are a great many people who are absolutely opposed to anyone having more than 2 children. I'm really sorry they feel that way. Truly I am, but if you do, please keep your comments to yourself. Some people really know how to attempt to rain on God's parade and well, it's just not gonna work around here. So I thought I'd answer a question I've gotten this last week as we've been sharing our good news.

"Why would you want more? Are you crazy?" Yes. I am crazy. Crazy about my kids! And anyone who sees me grumpy once in a while can kiss my butt because I challenge you to do my job 24/7 and not be grumpy sometimes. Yes, my kids get yelled at once in a while and they get on my nerves on occasion, but I love them more than words and they make my whole life worth while. I consider them God's gift to me and Allan and we take our job of raising them to be God-loving, caring, thoughtful, giving, sweet people seriously. I want 2 boys because this is our last pregnancy, (Allan says he'd like to enjoy his retirement), and I really want to raise some boys to be great dads/husbands like their daddy. Of course it'd be great to even out the hormones in this house, too. My last answer to this question are the pictures below. With kids this great, who wouldn't want more? They're so amazingly beautiful, sweet, kind and smart. I kinda see it as our job to put more GOOD people into this world of nastiness. We can and WILL make a difference in this world for Christ through our children.



Check us out...

Our friend, Jina Armstrong, is a professional photographer working on a portfolio, so she took our pix for us yesterday. Here are her faves.


Obviously, we're the Doyles.


Daddy-Daughter Camping

100% without a doubt, never any question in my mind...these 4 are the most precious people in my life. I have never in my life been happier than when I have them all together and even moreso when they are having fun together. Allan took the girls, (all 3 of them!) camping last weekend with his class. He took them BY HIMSELF. Right down to 11-month-old Violet. He's such a great Daddy and they really had a good time.
I got reports that Violet played great by herself and was incredibly content while they were there. 3 days without Momma did her good, too. She seems more calm and less clingy than she was. Allan said she slept pretty good, despite her double ear infection and yeast infection from hell.
I've never seen any child so excited about and by her Daddy before. Because of my own issue with my "2 dads" I find so much joy in this. Reminds me of Genesis 50:20-"Even though you planned evil against me, God planned good to come out of it." Had I not experienced the bad men in my life, I wouldn't be so appreciative of the good one He gave to me. He is so faithful!

Glorious child! GraceAnne has the joy of 10 children locked up inside of her and she LOVES to let it shine out. Some days that translates into the drama or the disobedience of 10 children, but most days it is pure joy to be around her. I've never met anyone so eager to share her love, joy and happiness with those around her. When she walked in the door from camping she literally jumped into my arms and yelled, "MOMMY!! I had the BEST Daddy-Daughter camping time EVER! And I missed you SO MUCH!"

These two are the best sister duo in the world. There was never a little sister loved so much or so well as GraceAnne by Rhiya until Violet was born. Now Vi gets both of these wonderful sisters to love on her. There was a time in my life I begged God or the universe or the spirits or whoever would listen to not give me little girls but obviously God knew better than I did and I can't imagine my life any other way. They are so beautiful and keep me so balanced.

Blurry, but AMAZING just the same. Rhiya is the best big sister in the world, I think! She plays non-stop with the girls and loves on them all the time. She's eager to please and such a joy to have here. I'm so sad that she leaves in less than 48 hours. The months stretch by way too slowly between her visits and the days pass by way too quickly when she's here. I'll post more pictures of her visit in a couple days, but for now I'm going to soak her up!
I hope you're all feeling as Blessed as I am! We love and miss you all.


Our newest additions

The much anticipated phone call came this morning that our special package had arrived at the post office. We were getting GraceAnne ready for school, so we hurried up and ran to the PO so she could see the babies before she had to be dropped off. They sent 12, but only 11 made it safely. I only ordered 10, so we're ahead of the game anyhow, but it's always sad to lose one!

Here they are in the shipping container from Metzer Farms.
Here is a closeup of one of the girls. We have named 4 of them that we intend to keep. They are sprinkles, speckles (Rhiya came up with both of those), Whiskers (GraceAnne) and Count Drake-ula (Allan's doing.) We will be raising 6, however, because Allan's veterans' representative wanted some to eat.
Vi and I really bonded with them while GraceAnne was in school today. They think we are their mommies now. Vi would become disinterested and crawl away and they would peep like crazy for her to come back. She loves the duckies, and kept saying DUH DUH DUH and peeping back at them.
They have a pretty sweet setup free of any way to make messes. The last time we had ducks I was a retarded duck mom and didn't really build them a suitable abode. This time I researched the heck out of it and this is the medium size baby pool from Wal-Mart with a duck feeder in a pie plate and a waterer made from a half gallon milk jug in a 13x9 dish. They can only get their heads in the holes, so they can't splash the water all over the pool, which really helps cut down the level of nast. Right now there are 8 babies sleeping downstairs under their brooder lamp. We sold 3 today and tomorrow 2 more go to our friends, the Darsts. That leaves me with the 6 and I know they're going to look so tiny in that pool all alone. Give em a week...then I'll be freakin' out that there isn't enough room!

Hope you enjoy the pix of the quackers. I'm sure there will be many more to come--GraceAnne, Rhiya and Allan have yet to be photographed with a peep and then there's always peeps in the grass, peeps in the Easter basket, peeps in the tub for a swim etc. etc. etc.