Thursday, May 30, 2013

Our First Egg Candling!

We candled our eggs for the first time tonight.  It was awesome.  We could see the teeny tiny chicks (which look like black spots at this point). In some of the eggs, if we held the egg really steady, we could see the little chickie moving.

If you look closely at this picture, you can see one of our babies (black spot). 

 We are on Day 7 of incubation, and I have to admit that I was pretty nervous to candle tonight....what if all we saw was a whole lot of nothing!?  Thankfully, the little ones seem to be growing and healthy.  2 more weeks until hatching!

We will likely candle them again next week, and hopefully we'll see more progress.  Stay tuned!

Monday, May 27, 2013


 Ever since making the decision to home school, I have been looking forward to hatching chicks.  I had never done this before, but it's pretty common to see eggs and little chickies in primary classrooms around here during the last weeks of the school year.  I almost changed my mind about doing this, because our Spring ended up being so crazy and a bit unsettled, but in the end I decided just to jump right in.  I bought an incubator, ordered fertilized eggs from a farm in Wisconsin, got in touch with a farmer who is willing to take the chickens after they hatch, and read up on the process.

The kids were very excited when they found out what we would be doing.  The day that we knew to expect the egg delivery, they were so eager for the mail to come.  When we got home from running some errands and saw the "EGGS" box on our front porch, we were all super excited.  We opened up the box, and I have to admit that I was a little surprised that they looked just like eggs we get at the store.  =)  I knew that they would look similar, but for some reason I wondered if I would be able to tell that they were a different.  Nope.

We ordered a dozen; she sent us 15.  Although I placed all 15 in this one crate, they came "packaged" quite differently....only 2-3 per tray, with layers of trays in between as padding.
What?  Doesn't everyone have an incubator in their living room?

I learned two very important lessons on Day 1:  1) once the incubator's temperature has stabilized, LEAVE THE KNOB ALONE and 2) don't put any water in on the first day as it will likely be humid enough at first (I added water, probably a little too much, on the first morning and the humidity shot up way too high).  Seriously, I pretty much camped out in the living room that day to make sure that the levels stayed normal.

 Finally, after a day of some frantic adjustments on the incubator, and some crazy high humidity readings that I needed to lower, it finally stabilized at a smidge above 99.5 degrees (99.5 degrees is the ideal incubation temperature) and between 55%-60% humidity.  Phew!

The kids did a little craft after we talked about how eggs are
 traditionally incubated. =)

I had bought this book last summer, with this project in mind, and it has been a good resource.
 Typical incubation time for chicks is 21 days.  Meredith made us a calendar to count down the days until our chickies hatch.

I have to admit that I have already gained a bit of an affection for these soon-to-be-chicks.  Knowing that a little life is growing inside each of the shells is a daily reminder of God's amazing ways.  I am hoping to do some egg-candling in a few days so that we can see the progressive development of our "babies".

East Coast

We took our first real road trip as a family, and we all survived, phew!  A couple of weeks ago, we packed up and headed east to see Uncle Warren graduate from the University of Virginia School of Law.  On the way out there, we drove straight through the night, and although it was hard on Kris and I, the kids slept most of the way which was wonderful.  On the way back, we split up the drive and stayed for a night in Dayton with Aunt Loeta & Uncle Randy.  The kids did really well during those hours of traveling as well, despite the long stretches strapped in and fully awake.

Our time in Charlottesville, Virginia was a lot of fun, somewhat relaxing, and very special.  We made some great memories. We took hundreds of photos throughout the week, but here's a "handful" from our time there...

We stayed at a beautiful house with my parents, Warren, Kirsten (we missed you Jon, Evie & Zach) & Katie.  Seriously, this house was incredible.  Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of the actual house (what was I thinking?!), but trust was amazing.

I did get a few pictures of outside...

  A highlight for the kids was this great tree swing.  Higher, higher!

They also loved to explore...

There was even cattle to feed!

One day, we drove to D.C.  Neither Kris nor I had even been there, so we wanted to make the trip. 

Sweet girl taking a rest.
Caleb was very excited to visit the Air & Space Museum, which was the highlight of his trip to Washington.

His first impression of the inside of the museum...he just loved it.

Going into the space station - Caleb's favorite part.

After spending time at the museum, we checked out the Capitol, which is at one end of the Mall.

Poor Shaner-bug was so sleepy, he fell asleep.  Here's proof that he visited the Capitol.
We (Kris & I) really wanted to see the Washington Monument & Lincoln Memorial, which are of course at the complete opposite end of the long of a walk as it was going to be, we were determined to do it. 

Thankfully, all 4 kids could fit on the stroller if necessary. =)
And there were cold drinks along the way.
Although we didn't visit the White House, we were able to see it from our walk.

Thanks to the great zoom lens my Dad let me borrow for the day, we could take a closer look.

Almost there!


War Memorial...

Ducklings in the Reflecting Pool...

We made it!

Washington Monument (still under construction)...

After our long and very tiring day, the kiddos enjoyed some milkshakes.

One night, the McCarty fam went out to dinner in downtown Charlottesville...thanks, Kris, for staying with the kiddos!

A few pictures of our littlest love...

Sweet time with Auntie Kir.

Warren & his best law school buddies...a great group of guys!

One day, Meredith woke up sick.  She fell asleep on the couch mid-morning...

Thankfully, she felt better as the day progressed...

And of course, the main reason we took this trip in the first place...Warren's graduation!

War is in the bottom left of this picture...on the aisle of the last row.

Congrats, Warren!  we are so very proud of you!


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