Monday, October 31, 2011

What is it like to ride on our bus with 7 children?

My children all love to sing. They love being in choir. They love to play their instruments. They really enjoy all music!

When we are in the bus, this is what the majority of the time is filled with - music.

Here is a trip we took today into town to walk along main street and find beautiful autumn leaves from as many different trees as we could find.

Please forgive the cinematography as I was driving and taking this out of the rear view mirror.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Parable of the Pumpkin (Family Night)

We have done the parable of the pumpkin family night the last couple of years, you can read what it is all about here.

Ewww, pumpkin guts!

It's all about the design...

Such Concentration!

J found ways to stay busy, too!

Every one's pumpkins up close in the order they finished them!

Everyone enjoyed finishing up our evening with cookies and hot cocoa while admiring their happy light-filled pumpkins and listening to Bible passages to tie our lesson together!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pumpkin Patch

We tried to go to the same place as last year, only to find that they closed down.

Then we tried to go to another pumpkin patch/corn maze, only to find it was really expensive!

Finally, we went to a plant nursery that was quite a bit further away. It was free. Their pumpkins were a bit pricey, but it was worth it for all they had going on and we were happy to support them.

Everyone enjoyed the bouncy house, train ride and of course the pumpkins!

Friday, October 28, 2011


When Ashley was born, I felt like the twins needed something to help "accept" her. We came across the idea from Focus on the Family to give a gift from the baby to her older sisters...and to let the older sisters pick out something to the new baby.

We decided (again with the help of FOF) on dolls. Anna's was wearing a purple outfit, while Bailey's wore a pink outfit. Anna named her doll Sarah. Sarah traveled with us as a member of the family for many years. Sarah has been to Southern California twice, to Yellowstone, the Redwoods, Mt. St. Helens, Kalaloch, Leavenworth and many more places! Sarah even got to come to the hospital to see Callie when she was a preemie...and have their pictures taken together (it remains one of my favorite pics of Callie's NICU stay - it really shows how little she was that Sarah is the bigger of the two!). About 1 year ago, seeing that Callie loved Sarah, Anna, very selflessly, gave Sarah to Callie.

Sarah, now accompanying Callie, still comes along with us to choir, band, Shelton, the park, playing outside, trips, etc. Callie sleeps with her every night.

As you can imagine, Sarah gets very dirty! And it is pure torture for Callie to have to put her into the washer...then into the dryer.

Callie has a great deal of patience. On Tuesday (I think?), she sat. And sat. And waited. And waited some more. I tried to get her to come outside with everyone else, to read books, do some therapy, etc. Each time, she said, "No, thanks. I am waiting for Sarah." I finally gave up and took a picture instead. In this picture, you can see Sarah at about the 7-9 o'clock positions in the dryer. Look towards the middle, in the back...and of course, Callie was watching.

I wish I had a video of Callie opening the dryer to pull Sarah out...then snuggling, hugging and kissing her nice warm, clean baby...I might have to try to get a video of this next time!

(What you don't see in this pic - and the reason, I didn't get the video of Callie w/Sarah coming out of the dryer - is that J was behind us, at the Washer, crying and CRYING because his blanky was in the washer...)

I love having a bus!

At times, it can be hard to find parking for, and other times, it can be difficult to maneuver through traffic...but overall, I LOVE having a bus! Especially now that it is running so much better!

During choir, we have space to play. We bring some toys, and some therapy to work on...

We have even had a couple other families come take advantage of the extra space! Here are J and his friend Titus looking out the window. The little girls thought it looked like such fun, that Jubilee and Callie decided to join them!

Serenity is 1 year old!

Wow...this first year always goes by so fast! Then each year after that seems to go even faster than the last. Serenity has grown and changed, almost by the day!

She can now go down the stairs...though it isn't the safest route, it does seem to be working for her. She sits and slides down each stair - something she has learned for Justice, who slides down the stairs for fun.

On her birthday, she seemed to really decide that she can walk. She was doing a lot more walking yesterday than we had seen before. She took her first step at 11 months old, but is just now deciding that she really wants to walk.

She is very vocal...she has a shriek that is almost unbelievable. You have to hear it to believe it! She is also saying some words. (I can't think of some of them now, so I will come back and update this later.)
Thissy (Sissy)
Dis (This)
J (Justice)

She is signing, come, milk, and more. Along with pointing, waving and clapping.

Serenity still enjoys nursing, but on her terms...when she wants to and for only as long as she wants (normally not more than about 5-7 minutes).

She eats everything that we eat off the table, and feeds herself. She also uses a sippy cup on her own.

She is getting to be such a big girl these days! Here is a 1 year progression of Miss Serenity...starting with her newborn pic, and doing 1 pic/month until her first birthday.

As I look back over these pics, I remember her birth. I remember the difficulty of 3 hours of TRANSITION. I remember how God carried me through when I didn't think I could handle anymore. I remember the relief, and the gratitude I had for my midwife, who had the expertise to help us through a difficult that easily could have ended in a c-section! I remember those first precious days when, for the first time after having a baby, I took it easy. I loved those first days of getting to know my baby, establishing nursing, and being able to rest.

As she learned more and more things, I was reminded of the miracle it is that God gave us a drive to learn to sit and move. To interact and imitate others. I was so glad to see her doing things automatically...such as using an arm to stabilize herself while she reaches with the other hand to grab something when sitting up.

She has always been very observant. We could just tell with the way she intently watched everyone and everything that she was taking it all in. She has always loved the activity level of the house! The older she gets the more involved she wants to be with that activity level.

I thank my God for this amazing little girl He has given us! What a blessing she is. I praise God for allowing me to be part of His plan to bring forth life. He is the Author of Life, and what a miracle that He would allow me such an important part of it as to carry a baby in my womb, then to entrust their soul to me to train in His ways. It is an awesome responsibility...and one that I take very seriously!

Happy 1st Birthday, Miss Serenity!

This post is just for your birthday party (which consisted of our immediate family...those who live at our house), I will do another post on all the things you are doing shortly.

You had a lot of fun! You liked being the center of attention all day. You loved dancing when we would sing Happy Birthday to you!

You had lots of help to blow our your candles!

You loved your cake - which was actually a frosted brownie...ok, you really loved the FROSTING, lol!

PRESENT TIME! But you just were not overly interested...your sisters were very excited to show you what they picked out for you, though!

You did rally, and found it was kind of fun to crinkly the paper, and really liked the doll, and toy phone (that plays music and talks).

Check out the super cute vest and hat that Grandma made far, you are NOT a fan of the hat...though you thought it was funny when you put it on Mommy's head and your new dolls head, you did NOT want it on yourself!

Callie LOVED pushing you in the doll stroller.

Serenity's favorite thing from her birthday seems to be her card, which sings Happy Birthday when it is opened!
After the girls went to bed, we were able to show her that the balloon really is fun...with a bit less activity!