Friday, April 30, 2010

Get on Board, Little Children

Last week we headed to Little Rock to meet our "feinds" and visit the Union Pacific Steam Locomotive #844.

We were so glad that Kent could join us. It's so much fun to get together with another family - mom, dad and all the kids.

Does Griffin look a little excited?

The steam engine is HUGE! It's probably close to 20 feet from ground to the top of the smoke stack. A ladder/platform was set up so the kids {and adults!} could walk up and peek in the conductor area.

Raegen, Lynden, Granddaddy and Aunt Robin were also there. I guess Raegen was "pictured out" because I couldn't get a good one of him for anything!

Aren't the wheels huge! They are about 7 feet tall!

9 kids with 7 out of 9 looking - I call it a success. LOL

After we checked out the engine we were able to go in a train car. One of the rear cars is set up as a souvenir shop. The man letting people on and off the car asked Ty if he liked trains. Ty told him "Not really, I'd rather see tractors.". LOL! The man suggested Ty think about his answer and try again if he wanted to get on! He finally conceded that the train was "pretty neat" but I'm pretty sure some muttering took place about the superiority of tractors!

Daddy and Ben heading in the train car.

Henry liked watching other trains pass by. The tracks are so close together.

Mrs. Jessica and most of the kiddos at the back of the car.

Daddy was drug to the back as well.

Mr. Jake works for UP and was explaining different aspects of the train yard to the boys.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Ty's Baptism

This past Sunday, Ty was baptized. Kent went to the church early to start filling the baptistry. He figured out a way to run the water through his steam cleaner. I think it was the first non-freezing baptism we've had in 15+ years!

The boys were fascinated with watching it fill up.

Henry is getting so big and pulling up to everything. He crawls just enough to get to something and pull up.

We could tell the water was warm as Kent was a little windier than he was when Madisyn was baptized. However, when it's your kid being baptized, you tend to get a little excited.

I love the expression on Kent's face! You'd think Ty was a 500 pound man who can't bend. :)

Ty isn't as touchy, feely as Madisyn but he didn't seem to mind the seemingly never ending stream of hugs that came his way. Kent told him that when Nana started playing and people starting coming to the front he'd realize just how loved he was.

Ty is extremely found of Mr. Mark and Mrs. Janet {or Mrs. Mark as Ben calls her ;) }. He went home with them one Sunday afternoon and the way he keeps talking about it you would think he had been there at least 1,000 times.

Madisyn was awful proud of her "little" brother.

I think this is one of the few hugs from Uncle that didn't end with one or the other trying to see who could squeeze the hardest. One of these days, Kirk won't win. :)
I think I have cried as much as Madisyn and Ty's baptisms as I did at their births. I can't express how precious it is to see one of my children accept the Lord as their Saviour and follow him in scriptural baptism and church membership.
I have no greater joy than to hear that
my children walk in truth.
III John 1:4

Monday, April 26, 2010

Walter Henry you are ELEVEN months old!

I can't believe how fast the time has gone!

You wear size 9 and 12 month clothes.

You wear a infant size prefold and small cover.

You weigh 17 lbs 1 oz.

You crawl with your stomach completely off the ground.

You are starting to pull up and got your first bruise from thinking you were more stable than you are.

You are sucking on your two fingers more and more. It's quite cute when you use your left hand to hold them in.

You rarely cry but boy can you make a face when you aren't happy!

You love your sister! Your list of favorite people is Mommy, Daddy and then Sissy.

You love to clap.

You are such a sweet boy and love to snuggle.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Happy Birthday, Madisyn!!!

Happy Birthday, Madisyn!!!
It seems impossible that 9 years have passed since we brought our beautiful baby girl home.

She has grown so much and has turned into quite the wonderful young lady.

She has the most caring spirit.

She has always been a talker. :) I can fondly remember her carrying on conversations with adults at the age of 2.

This is one of my absolute favorite pictures. Her puppy was a birthday gift from Uncle Phillip and she carried it around like a baby doll.

The Lord was so gracious to bless us with such a wonderful gift.

She's hardworking,


super intelligent,




and spiritually minded. I don't think she's missed a day of her daily Bible reading this year!

She has brought such joy to our lives and to those around her. Words cannot express how truly thankful I am to not only know her but to be her mom.

Happy Birthday
to our wonderful daughter.
We hope your day is half as fantastic as you have made our lives!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Spring Cleaning

It's that time of year again - Spring has Sprung! Our couch was used when we purchased it and has seen better days. The light color and 5 children just didn't go together very well.

So Daddy brought home a trailer and we loaded it up to be hauled away. Thankfully, Nana is giving us a new (to us) couch to hopefully be delivered soon.

We also have a copier that while incredibly handy was also monstrously large. When we used the playroom as a school room, it lived in there. For some reason Ben playing in a room with a copier just didn't see like a good idea. :) Daddy also loaded it up and took it to his office.

No matter how big or small, no one gets to sit by and watch others work around here. :)

Working with a smile on his face - makes a momma proud!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

5 + 3 = Tons of Fun (and way too many pictures)

This was the best picture out of the approximately 8092170432957430957 that I took. Eight children who have been playing at the park extremely hard are somewhat difficult to photograph. :)

A few months ago, Mark preached at a sister church and after the service visited with a really nice family who was new to homeschooling. Mark mentioned our family homeschooled and suggested they contact us.

He brought a card back with their information and after waiting way too long (my perfectionist personality thinking I had to write a novel LOL ) I finally sent an e-mail.

We corresponded through e-mail a few times and then met at a conference for homeschooling families. We thoroughly enjoyed spending time with the other couple and our 8 children got along really well. Their sons even tolerated my sons' constant tractor chatter. :)

Some more time passed and we wrote a few e-mails and were ecstatic when Mrs. Jessica called to let us know they would be passing through our area and would like to meet for dinner. We met at a Chinese restaurant and I think we were there over 2 hours. They were ready to close before we finally gave in and ended our conversations.

Last week, my van had some issues so I took it to the dealer where we purchased it for warranty work. I contacted the M's to see if they could meet us at a park and they took it a step farther. Rather than confuse me with directions :), they came to the dealership, helped me get everyone loaded in the rental car and let us follow them to a very lovely park.

Mrs. Jessica and I must have chatted while the kids played for over 3 hours. The kids ran all over that park, most of the time with Mr. Jake right behind them. It wasn't until Griffin started telling me he was hungry that I realized how long we had been there.

Let me just say right now - we feel totally blessed to know this family. Our family doesn't really seem large to us (the whole what's one more thought) but entertaining or dining with a family of 7 is overwhelming to most people.

Aiden and Austin are some of the best behaved little men I have ever met. And sweet Miss Ava is already betrothed to someone in our family (we can narrow it down to one of the 4 boys in a couple of years :).

I wouldn't trade my life for anything. I love my children, I love my husband, I know that I am blessed beyond measure to be at home with them.

However, that can also be a lonely lifestyle. We don't take fancy trips, we can't carpool with another family for a trip to the beach, even going to WalMart can be a production. Jessica and Jake understand all of that. They are going through the same life stages we are and it's so great to have another family to share the journey.

It's human nature to want to belong, to feel included, to feel "normal". That's how we feel when we're with the M's. Sure when we show up somewhere to eat with 8 children we get lots of looks and comments but those looks and comments are much easier to take in the company of friends.

We have since met up with this wonderful family again. This time they invited my crew to their home. Again Jessica and I talked for hours. I was shocked when I saw a clock that said 6!

I think that's something I've been missing as a stay at home parent. That time of sweet fellowship. It seems others we know are too busy to just hang out. Everything minute of their lives is structed and orchestrated so their is no time for fellowship.

It has thrilled my heart to hear my 4 older children talk about visiting their "fiends" as Ben calls them.

I can honestly say that I've never been around another family whose children played so well with our children. Of the multiple hours we've spend together the last few weeks, I haven't heard a single fight.

We've even been so brave as to take 8 children to restaurants and have gotten nothing but compliments on their behaviour.

Words can not express how thankful we are for this fantastic family. We can see ourselves planning many more activities with them.

Everytime we leave at least two of my children ask "How many more days until we get to see the M's?". The countdown begins before the van is on the road again.