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Strawberries don't last long in our house, so with strawberry season upon us, we decided to take the kids strawberry picking.  What better way to enjoy fresh, delicious berries!  Maybe we will even have enough extra to make some jam and special desserts. ;)

We were prepared to drive out to Markham, VA to one of our favorite u-pick farms (Hartland Orchard), but everyday as we drove into town, we passed a strawberry picking sign along the roadside. Every time, my husband would suggest we check it out.  I was not convinced by the "random" strawberry picking sign that had popped up so close to our home and was sticking to the plan to load up and head out to Markham.  Luckily, our schedule has been so busy, we never made it out to Markham.  ;)  I was determined to pick strawberries before the season was up, so I relented to trying the strawberry place by our house.  It was a wonderful experience!

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It is not a random patch set up on the back part of a local resident's acreage like I imagined. :P  Hidden behind the houses along the road is a full size farm called Messick's Farm Market.  The farm is run by a family committed to the sustainability of their farm.  This has driven them to be creative and innovative.  They are transforming their family farm into a u-pick farm and farm market.  This season they have a number of delicious fruits and vegetables available to pick or buy pre-picked.  They share recipes and ideas, are friendly, and willing to answer your questions.  One of the farmers walked us out to the strawberry patch personally and shared information about the farm and the strawberries they've grown.

They grow their crops using organic principles and you can eat/allow your kids to eat straight from the field without worry.  They have a vision to build and develop their farm so they have fresh produce and healthy local foods available throughout the year.  Already they have a number of crops growing that I am marking on my calendar so I don't miss taking the family over to pick our own.  Their farm market building is under construction and promises to be a wonderful place to stop in and buy local produce and foods.  Who could ask for more- friendly people committed to growing organically, running a farm right by my house (literally a 2 minute drive)!

If you live in the area, I encourage you to check out Messick's Farm Market!  You can also like them on Facebook so you can keep up with what's new.

 
 
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I cannot believe how close we are to seeing a sweet little face sleeping away in this swing again! Now that we have passed the halfway mark, it is an exercise in self-control not to start getting baby gear out and going through the tubs of little clothes in preparation for our new little one.  I know many of our friends are wondering just what clothes will we be sorting through; clothes for girls or clothes for boys. :)

Brandon and I debated on whether to find out the gender at the 20 week ultrasound or wait until delivery.  We enjoyed waiting until delivery with our previous two sweet babies.  Both of us had fun with the 9 months of building anticipation and the excitement pulsing through the air as the doctor made the eyewitness announcement.  This time around, we took into account the fact that we have 2 children who understand to some degree that we are expecting a new baby and how finding out the gender ahead of time might aid in preparing them both.

We chose to have the gender revealed to us because we felt it would help each child in a different way.  Our daughter was certain we were having a little girl and she would be getting a little sister.  After watching a video online of a family revealing their new baby was a boy and watching the 4 year old sister dissolve into tears of devastation and disappointment, we decided that Aubrey might need time to accept and adjust if the baby is a boy.  Jackson didn't seem to be really understanding at all that a new baby was coming and we thought the more details we can provide him, the more prepared he will be.

I wanted a girl and a boy.  Too bad twins aren't in the genes. ;)  I wanted Aubrey to have the sister she desired, to see all those cute little clothes get reused, and know that Brandon and I could easily agree on a girl name.  I wanted Jackson to have a brother who would grow into a buddy he could horse around with, play rough and get dirty with.  I wanted to see those baby baseball caps, rock star clothes and cool shoes get used again (I love all baby clothes. ;) Lol!).

We scheduled the ultrasound for Saturday so we could all go together and not be rushed.  The kids were excited, Brandon was ready, and I was eager to see the little one on screen, hear that everything looked good and the baby was growing and healthy.  The kids were attentive for the first part of the scan, but quickly lost interest.  The technician was the worst I've had and just took the pics and measurements she needed in silence, so there was little to add to what the kids were seeing to help keep them engaged.  She did make the announcement when she checked the gender.  Good thing, because we'd of never guessed that's what we were looking at!  The big news is it's a BOY!  

We are all excited.  Aubrey took the news very well.  She was happy as soon as she heard.  No drama, no tears, no disappointment. :)  Jackson likes to say, "It's a boy like Jackson!"  He makes the cutest face when he says it too. :)  Now the hard part...agreeing on a name.  This is going to be a process.  Brandon and I seem to have very different tastes in boy names and we were lucky to have found one for Jackson.  If we announce in September that we welcomed Baby Boy Gibson into the world, you know why. LOL!