The Bell Family

Random ponderings on God, life, and the humor all around us

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Bell Family Update–October 2018

If October being my favorite month of the year is wrong, I don’t want to be right! This month just brings all the feels and all the colors and all the traditions and all the cozy clothes and all the FALL! Bill was back at month this month, and we are in full-blown school time.

My cooking helper this month braiding challah bread like a champ!20181005_190514146_iOS

There will never be enough read-alouds on the couch. Ever.20181006_125851919_iOS

We took a week-long vacation to Myrtle Beach!!! God gave us rainbows on the way there and back (we haven’t seen one in years), mountains, downtime, laughs, and sweet peaceful togetherness. I think it was my favorite vacation. We actually just felt rested and blessed. Here’s the first glimpse of mountains we saw on the way down. I might have started bawling when I saw them…20181008_163326040_iOSPosing at a rest stop looking out at the mountains20181008_170726024_iOSWe got to the beach right at sundown. This was the first time Malcolm and Cheyanne had seen the ocean, so it was particularly special. Victoria lost her flip flop in the waves a couple of minutes after this (Hurricane Michael hit in Florida while we were there–though we were only on tropical storm warning, the water was super choppy the first three days). This pretty much crushed her little heart. Four DAYS later, Ariana was walking on the beach toward our room and found Victoria’s flip flop!!! I know it sounds so small, but it was huge for our whole family. One more way God just kept showing off all week.20181008_231132704_iOSThe view from our penthouse balcony. Yep, had to throw that out there cause Bill is a ridiculous deal finder and found this amazing place for way cheaper than he could have found a hotel. It was seriously a penthouse and perfect!20181009_120737418_iOSWe went running together the first morning there. I hate running but could run on the beach all day long.20181009_131157007_iOSThe choppy waters brought in tons of sea foam, so our kiddos enjoyed making boots out of it.20181009_132107627_iOSEven though we were under tropical storm warnings, we had gorgeous weather every day but one. And the last two days were perfect beach conditions and water.20181009_192806499_iOSLots of sand play and chilling 20181009_193804198_iOS20181009_193931515_iOSWalks on the beach every day. These two little men started holding hands, so I joined in.20181010_170726563_iOSA sad boy finding comfort in Daddy20181011_142159047_iOSThe one stormy day we stayed in the room except to eat out. This little one learned how to play this solitaire game after just watching me and asking a few questions one time. She became addicted!20181011_173133038_iOSThat night, the storm clouds brought in the most gorgeous sunset of all times. Oh. My. Word!!!20181011_224925000_iOSWe got this view almost every night.20181011_235013150_iOSAnd sunrises on the balcony. How great is our God!!!20181012_104824895_iOS20181012_112103875_iOSShe made a garden with peas, apples, and corn. Shells were the seeds.20181012_161312929_iOSTabernacle Village. With a French accent.20181012_172053625_iOS20181012_172115852_iOSAnd a hot tub20181012_185221805_iOSChillaxin in the outdoor poor which had a lazy river.20181012_193305128_iOSWe don’t have Krispy Kreme in Indy (glazed ones in the grocery don’t count!), so when we saw the “Hot Now” sign, stopping was a must.20181013_144821689_iOS20181013_145413715_iOS20181013_145427190_iOSThis guy claimed Miriam as his (her?–we didn’t check…) pet.20181013_162825941_iOS20181013_173021838_iOS

We spent a day at a farm with my mom and friends. I wish I’d gotten a better pic of Ariana and Liam on the Gyrosphere, but Ariana was pretty epic to watch. She would not open her eyes. Even for a second.20181021_173111044_iOS20181021_184753099_iOSAt one point Victoria was interviewing me with her corn mic. I had no idea Bill recorded the whole thing. But oh he did and it can be used as blackmail for years to come.20181021_200347551_iOSHayride!20181021_202504904_iOSOur friend captured this pic of Bill. I love it so much because Bill had no idea his pic was being taken, and this is simply a Bill look. Just quietly thinking and taking in his surroundings.


Our kids are continuing to exercise with us. Aiden is pretty much a stud, so he gladly joined Daddy in kettle ball swings.20181027_142228707_iOS20181027_142229407_iOS

Carving pumpkins!20181027_175424541_iOS

And 2018’s Halloween Costumes–The Twelve Days of Christmas!!! And this year my mom was able to help since she’s HEEEEERE.20181027_202705255_iOSDrummer Drumming20181027_202220609_iOSPiper Piping20181027_201902987_iOSLord a Leaping20181027_201914208_iOSLady Dancing20181027_202015488_iOSMaid a Milking20181027_201923862_iOSSwan a Swimming20181027_202051522_iOSGoose a Laying–we forgot to have her hold an egg carton in this pic! 20181027_202120211_iOSGolden Rings20181027_202254733_iOSCalling Bird20181027_202001299_iOSFrench Hen20181027_202159379_iOSTurtle Dove20181027_202133911_iOSPartridge in a Pear Tree20181027_202230694_iOSTrunk or Treating in Franklin, IN20181027_212310399_iOS

We got to celebrate Halloween night with my parents!!! They moved in their new home the day before Halloween a year ago, so we’ve now officially celebrated a year with them here. Mom made soups and all kinds of fun foods for our kids. Ghost string cheese, a pumpkin fruit face, grape eyeballs, and mummy pretzels!20181031_204055641_iOS20181031_204101448_iOS20181031_204106436_iOSThey actually get tons of trick-or-treaters in their neighborhood, something my kids have never seen.20181031_211704325_iOSAnd the last stop was Nana and Peepaw’s house. Andrew Luck, ahem, Peepaw was happily in the driveway passing out candy. So fun!20181031_223757835_iOS

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Bell Family Update–September 2018

Bill was still on paternity leave for two weeks this month, so we continued much adventuring. Our family is so jacked up. Truly. It’s not reflected much in the pics we put here, but it’s true. When Bill was looking at the pics, he said, “There’s so much joy reflected here. It’s easy to forget how blessed we are as a family. These pictures are a good reminder that we get stuck in the hard and forget to see God’s goodness.” So this is not ever intended as a best-face-forward post but rather a reflection of the grace we’re given each day.

A new collage of our kids to reflect the official addition of Malcolm and Cheyanne20180901_111030221_iOS

A sweet ordinary moment where Victoria got hurt on a walk, so Daddy just automatically carried her the rest of the way. The simple is the most beautiful to me. And the way she snuggles into him is the way I want to snuggle into the Father.20180901_151122597_iOS

Our church has a testimony time each week. Just a short “here’s how God is working in my life” time. I’ve always been terrified to speak in front of people. Five minutes before this moment, one of the pastors asked me to share. It was nothing profound, but it was real. Funny enough, it was also a moment God worked in my life. There’s nothing like being vulnerable to experience edification.20180902_140106322_iOS

I have a cooking helper assigned to me each month. Love watching them get more comfortable in the kitchen!20180902_161215445_iOS

Bill and Esther biking date20180902_192954682_iOS

Continuing to work with these cuties each week for preschool!20180904_144218816_iOS

Liam got accepted as a MAP (Museum Apprenticeship Program) at the Children’s Museum!! We were a tad thrilled. He had to fill out an application and do an interview and everything! This is him teaching one of the leaders how to floss. 20180905_234815984_iOS

Walking in one of our favorite forests. I hope our updates never stop showing pics of us hiking in the woods. It’s such a huge part of our family dynamics.20180906_145425443_iOS

Day trip to Columbus, IN. This play area is free and across the street from an inexpensive children’s museum, complete with a huge toilet you flush yourself (climb) down. We take this trip every year!20180906_165437471_iOS20180906_171600050_iOSMe pretending to be a young elementary child when they know you’re taking their picture. Pic 1–Smiling but distracted by something off to the side.20180906_175532822_iOSPic 2–When you tell them to give a real smile…20180906_175539867_iOSB-ball with the boys20180906_181413224_iOSA fun ice cream joint on the same street as the playground and children’s museum20180906_190453929_iOS

She’s a terrifying warrior20180907_164806827_iOS

It’s Colts season!!!! Which means this is how you’ll find me on the couch during every game.20180909_184208077_iOSJosiah was so excited to get to wear his jersey for the first game. We had no idea what he was talking about, so he disappeared and came back with this. It’s his jersey he designed during camp at the children’s museum this summer. 20180909_211746350_iOS

Day trip to New Harmony, IN. It’s gorgeous and unique!20180910_171719353_iOS20180910_193703601_iOS20180910_200630797_iOSThis swan just swam over to us as if to say, “Take my pic.” So we did. Gorgeous!!!20180910_200754297_iOS20180910_201550020_iOS20180910_201657535_iOS20180910_202104555_iOSTwo types of labyrinths 20180910_202935700_iOS20180910_204137981_iOS

Reading to my preschoolers…and my own littles who are usually drawn in for picture books20180911_130937990_iOS

A day downtown. I still love our city!20180911_173541270_iOS20180911_181033993_iOS20180911_181650232_iOS


Yep, another Josiah sleeping picture. They never get old. Right?!20180912_114423919_iOS

Our first family bike ride! 20180912_200639013_iOS

Brown County State Park20180913_152640901_iOS20180913_154054073_iOS

Liam as a Backyardigan. And a stellar big brother.20180914_182856982_iOS

These two practiced a whole circus performance for us. The Greatest Showman has nothing on us.20180917_233916939_iOS

Bill and I started a new workout routine and way of eating to try to help with Crohn’s-related sicknesses. The best part of it over six weeks is how our kids have joined us. It reminds me how to find joy in hard work.20180919_123731756_iOSUsing whatever they can find for weights20180920_131152125_iOS

A creation for school20180925_133750314_iOS

It’s a dangerous home. You have to be armored up.20180927_201722794_iOS

Future henna artist20180925_212408484_iOS

Annual apple picking. And my mom got to join us!!!20180928_133219174_iOS20180928_133226014_iOS20180928_133548640_iOS

Two years ago we went to a family camp for vacation. Our family helper came in to Indy to a conference, so I picked her up one day to have lunch with us. We love and miss her so much!!!20180928_163146585_iOS20180928_171958775_iOS

Fall means yummy comfort food. Which we embrace fully.20180929_154815989_iOS

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Bell Family Update–August 2018

Oh my goodness this month had been filled with amazing goodness!!! Malcolm and Cheyanne’s adoption was finalized, and as a result Bill has four weeks of paternity leave. And we’ve been eating up all the together time!!!

Esther and I got a day to spend together. We walked, shopped, jumped at Sky Zone, painted a bird house, and ate lots of yummy food. Here she is learning to be a master archer.And here she is proving she’s my clone. Dramatic singing to 80’s music in public places.

Cuties creating. Seeing this picture reminds me that I lost Aiden’s glasses not long after this and still haven’t replaced them…

We got to go to the drum corp finals with other band nerds!

Never too early to clean, even if the vacuum weighs four times as much as you do.

Our Cheyanne turned 11!!!

And this little man lost treat, so this is how he forlornly stared at the remains of the cake. 

We started school this month, which meant this beautiful lady and sweet man teaching my kids science!! We loved being at their house every week for science and swimming.

I did some supplemental science at home. My absolute favorite age to teach ANYTHING. I want to see the world through their eyes again.

A friend gave Bill several shirts because he felt like they were more Bill’s style. The friend posed in a pic of himself in the shirt, so Bill mimicked his pose.

Bill played Top Golf with co-workers to see off one of the greatest bosses he could have ever asked for. I’m tearing up writing this even now because he is so dear to our whole family. We love our Matt!!

Bible study with our church family.

One of our closest friends actually got this little cutie to let him hold her. Such a sweet moment!

Mother/daughter super serious pics

Is there a such thing as too many pics of sleeping boys? I don’t think so.

He lost his first tooth. He’s the baby. I’m totally OK with this, but it is pretty dusty in here.

We serve at a transitional housing camp each week. Here’s how the boys spend their time.And here are the girls. OK, the boys serve, too, as can be seen by Malcolm, but when I originally took the pic, it was truly girls serving and boys playing. 

A friend we hang with tons is a chef. He came over to make our family risotto, complete with demonstration and assistants!

Putting together a puzzle in a nature center

Each year, our kids get reading points at the library and earn a day of bowling, laser tag, and mini golf. It’s one of our favorite days of the year!

We spent a day at the children’s museum with our Wednesday son (I babysit him this day). 

Esther the Pooh

A day at Cataract Falls and McCormick’s Creek State ParkGoofing off holding hands

ADOPTION DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Malcolm and Cheyanne’s case worker (she was Heaven and Aiden’s CW, too!) and CASA. Love these women so much!Grafting them in our family treeOur friend, Melissa, director of public events and family programs at the Children’s Museum, came by our house on adoption day with gifts of checkers and Chicken Toss. And then she stayed to play one with us. She is so great!And the staff who work with our kids made these for our family and brought them by for breakfast on adoption day! This still makes me cry. Our family is so well loved by these people, and we are so grateful for each one of them!

I started teaching these cuties preschool this year!!! I thought it might be too much for our family, so this was a trial run, but it has been perfect! Their little inquisitive minds delight me every week, and my kids are loving helping as much as I love teaching.

Fort Wayne ZooShe’s a mama bird feeding her regurgitated food to her chicks…

Indians game–also a reward of the library reading program.

A day on the canal and at the NCAA museum20180831_163511576_iOS20180831_174455980_iOS20180831_181704147_iOS

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Bell Family Update–July 2018

This month went by fabulously slow! I think it was because instead of having full calendars, we just got to be together as a family more. I’ll take more months like this, please!!!

Bill takes pics like this all the time because it’s so reflective of daily life. This little man always, ALWAYS, finds his way beside me on walks so he can hold my hand. I will miss that maybe more than anything else as we leave the littles season of our lives.20180701_212012646_iOS

Liam and I played mini-golf one day and this mama duck with her ducklings was literally right beside the green. Never flinched at all!20180702_151807090_iOS

Love love love how much the kids still enjoy picture books, no matter the age.20180704_114806589_iOS

Lots of July 4th fun!!! Making patriotic strawberries and a cake.20180704_182937113_iOS20180704_183302306_iOS20180704_183758198_iOS20180704_210654132_iOSHanging with these fun friends, Olan Mills photo and all.20180705_003603334_iOS20180705_013809199_iOS20180705_013819647_iOS20180705_014741183_iOS20180705_020812927_iOS20180705_021107782_iOSLoved this pic of the three littles sitting side by side entranced by the fireworks.20180705_022622727_iOS

Nine of our kids were at camp at the Children’s Museum for four weeks, which meant Bill and I got some sweet time with our teenager. 20180705_145512926_iOS20180705_174341954_iOS


Canoeing with the boy20180706_145737687_iOS20180706_183257891_iOS

Creek stomping!!!20180708_171712457_iOS

Ice cream for relief from the heat!20180708_193243919_iOS

We got a new couch that actually sits all the kids, along with their prettiest faces.20180712_212214000_iOS

Rex greeting our kids at the Children’s Museum!20180713_130539031_iOSCamp Celebration!20180713_203952500_iOSMr. Andrew has been in charge of camp since we started, but he’s moving to a different position for next year. We’ll miss his energy every day!!!20180713_205641004_iOS

We did a 5K as a family for the ministry we work with, Active Grace. They had a kid run at the end, and they all had so much fun!!!20180714_134112217_iOS

Will never have enough sleeping kid pictures.20180715_015614520_iOS

This sweet baby’s mama and I are developing a beautiful friendship. And this little cutie is becoming my Sunday baby! Those eyes!!!20180715_141337496_iOS

We are robots from the planet Boxtox.20180715_204545438_iOS

Best buddies always planning to wear their Cars outfits on the same day.20180716_120311605_iOS

Leg wrestling. I won’t say who the family champ is, but it’s me.20180716_135329108_iOS

Searching for four-leaf clovers.20180716_145457266_iOS

Feeding ducks20180716_172557568_iOS

Picking new glasses!!!20180717_134608469_iOS

We did a video scavenger hunt around town. Since it was video, we didn’t get many pics, but here they are all fitting in a shopping cart.20180717_150427158_iOS

We watch a little friend once a week and draw a rocket for him so he knows how long it will be before Mommy picks him up. Josiah drew the rocket this day and spelled “Mommy” perfectly.20180718_125648921_iOS

Family Olympics! Finding a specific family member by following their voice while blindfolded. 20180718_141651122_iOSWho can hula hoop the longest?20180718_143259592_iOSBe the first to fill the bucket relay20180718_145011625_iOSDrop the tennis ball in the hula hoop by carrying it between your knees.20180718_150936359_iOSHow many bugles can you throw onto the whipped cream? And then how many can you eat from the ground?20180718_153436966_iOSWho can keep the feather in the air the longest by blowing it?20180718_155527118_iOSTransfer jelly beans to bowls with straws20180718_161343209_iOS

Hand-clapping games20180718_174006196_iOS

Well-child visits with a sister is way better!20180719_131938242_iOS

Cheyanne and I had a sweet weekend trip together to Lafayette!!! Here we are at a cute little zoo they have.20180720_143539903_iOS20180720_144020855_iOS20180720_153349557_iOSAnd getting tickled during a pedicure.20180720_182245408_iOS

Team fort-building!20180721_191056914_iOS

These girls hauled rocks and bricks at one of our favorite parks to make this cool fairy path!!!20180723_151828673_iOS

Checking out one of our sweet neighbor’s garden in her backyard20180723_212917123_iOS

Decorating cookies for fun20180725_214839756_iOS20180725_214931363_iOS20180725_215621740_iOS20180725_215855000_iOS

Out to lunch with my friend and my Sunday baby!!20180726_152547134_iOS

Liam had his first interview!!! He applied for the Children’s Museum Apprenticeship Program. He worked so hard for it.20180726_183428586_iOS

Our three ten-year-olds had a joint birthday party with a detective theme!! Twelve friends came to celebrate them, along with other friends and family who came to help.20180728_011254303_iOS20180728_185710272_iOS20180728_185720571_iOS20180728_195511760_iOS20180728_221004510_iOS20180728_221008182_iOS20180728_221013459_iOS20180728_221020406_iOS20180728_221159889_iOS20180728_221337172_iOS20180728_225428727_iOS20180728_225449929_iOS20180728_231139041_iOS20180729_010104383_iOS

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Bell Family Update–June 2018

June was a bit of a slower month for us in on the one hand, but on the other hand, nine of our kids were at the Children’s Museum for two weeks this month. So while we didn’t do as much as a family, the kids still had full days!

At the butterfly garden at the zoo!20180601_134915775_iOS

This baby girl turned seven!!! 20180601_151419624_iOS

So close to having all Bell kids in one pic…20180601_151510076_iOS

A few of my loves.20180601_152830164_iOS

Unloading the dishwasher, he says, “Mommy, I don’t know why the drawer won’t close.”20180601_172217378_iOS

Best news anchors ever.20180601_180038598_iOS

Perfect fit!20180601_180401811_iOSRainbow hair for the birthday girl20180601_185730681_iOSStill nine kids! How does this keep happening?!20180601_190611938_iOSCarousel!!! And Malcolm’s face here is pretty priceless…20180601_193623356_iOS

This was the back of Esther on a date with Bill. I just thought it was a gorgeous picture of her!20180603_110105562_iOS

Creek stomping with friends!!!20180604_143511331_iOS20180604_145915363_iOS

Block fortress!20180604_214108235_iOS

These two handsome guys make me smile big-time!20180604_235519754_iOS

This girlie got an Evangeline Lilly Wasp haircut. I wish we’d recorded her when she saw herself in the mirror for the first time afterward. Jumping up and down and yelling, “I love it!!!” There might have been some dust in the air around Bill and me…20180605_172700511_iOS20180605_181420027_iOS20180605_181425442_iOS

This boy has so much glam.20180609_204314909_iOS

Before this pic, there were Josiah tears because he couldn’t get it to magnetize together into an oval. With a bit of help from Daddy and perseverance, he succeeded!20180610_185615445_iOS

This thing. So much fun. Yet so incredibly annoying since we either think someone has a taser or someone’s turning on the gas stove top.20180611_122950322_iOS

Family walks are still some of our favorites.20180614_134658377_iOS

The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference was in Indy this year, and this sweet sweet friend from Louisville and I got to have lunch together! I wish it could have lasted so much longer.20180615_155745800_iOS

I did my first mud run! So much more challenging than I expected, yet more fun, too.20180616_140733336_iOS

Still missing one! So close. We spent Father’s Day hiking at Clifty Falls State Park. Liam was at a youth camp. We ended up taking a trail we thought was between 2-3 miles long and very rugged. It was the hottest part of the day, and the trail ended up being twice as long as we expected, so Bill ended up hitching a ride with a couple of strangers back to the van so we didn’t have to hike it back! 20180617_162701822_iOS20180617_175113938_iOS20180617_183521058_iOS

And a few days later we got to celebrate my favorite human!!!20180621_212229949_iOS

At the end of Liam’s camp, he and some friends opened a letter our dear friends sent them. It was one letter cut into several pieces! So cute!!20180623_162726238_iOS20180623_162827692_iOS

My mom came over and taught me how prune a couple of our plants. Way easier than I thought it would be and instant gratification!20180624_184516000_iOS

Ariana made a balloon animal on her own when we were hanging with friends!20180624_225110574_iOS

Since his other sibling are at camp at the Children’s Museum, Liam has had themed weeks, too, since he aged out of that camp. The first week was the youth camp, and the second week we called “Spread Your Wings Week.” One task: He rode his bike on his own to a nearby gas station and bought me eggs! Good job, Kid!!!20180625_190244036_iOSThen he helped me decorate Josiah’s birthday cake!20180626_184243532_iOS20180626_192755755_iOS20180626_215313943_iOSAnd he power washed my parents’ house!!!20180628_115420000_iOS

Since Josiah’s birthday fell during one of the camp weeks, we had a special day on a Saturday to eat his special foods and do the activities he wanted. That included going to the zoo (and seeing the dolphins!)…20180630_142158053_iOS

…and some family screen time. 🙂20180630_203334381_iOS


Bell Family Update–May 2018

I always love May. The beginning of real spring weather with all its smells and beauty. And I’m always ready to see the end of all the busy: school, dance, and after-school programs, to name a few. When these wrap up, things start to feel much less hectic. Bring on the slower days of summer!

One of my dearest friends along with her son designed and gifted us with this picture!!! One of my favorite gifts of all times!20180503_145114245_iOS

Both Bill and my favorite birds: a blue heron and a red-winged black bird.20180503_181720860_iOS

Visits to the Children’s Museum20180503_215019596_iOS

One of our friends teaching at our church’s monthly men’s brunch. Bill and Liam have been enjoying this time with many of their friends.20180505_154610961_iOS

Pillow fights!20180506_191513249_iOS

Malcolm’s first birthday with us!!!20180506_193346558_iOS

Playgrounds galore!!20180507_151909457_iOS

A snake Liam almost stepped on at 100 Acres. Ewwww!20180507_204333132_iOS

Nature creations20180507_205308588_iOS

Getting my baby fix on with one of our friend’s newbies!!!20180508_222554353_iOS

Our buddy I get to have each Wednesday20180509_135931615_iOS

I had a day out with my oldest girlie! This was first of many meals that day.20180510_114544388_iOSWe did archery together!!! We’re addicted now!20180510_151026159_iOS20180510_154755298_iOS20180510_155037429_iOS

A couple of friends came in from Louisville and we got to spend a bit of time with them at our house! 20180511_214816424_iOS

Liam’s 13th birthday party!!!! This group was so fun and I want to keep all of them as mine except that would mean this many tween/teen boys and two is pretty much all I can handle at this point. 20180512_183708094_iOS20180512_183714959_iOSSkyZone!!20180512_192151654_iOS20180512_192456797_iOS20180512_192834753_iOS20180512_193354442_iOS20180512_195536139_iOS20180512_201432132_iOSThe Party-Goers20180512_202056388_iOS20180512_202919421_iOS

Bill rented a pontoon for Mother’s Day!!! Such a gorgeous, relaxing, and fun day!20180513_141902056_iOS20180513_141907889_iOS20180513_144127723_iOS20180513_144354135_iOS20180513_144705264_iOS20180513_151352633_iOS20180513_151430803_iOS20180513_151931376_iOS20180513_152734124_iOS20180513_173244546_iOS20180513_173506233_iOS20180513_173749323_iOS20180513_174504234_iOS20180513_181832681_iOSThey even swam. I think Heaven’s face lets you know how cold the water was…20180513_185008411_iOS

This little neighbor hung at our house for a few minutes one day, and I thought this picture was so sweet!20180514_163623696_iOS

Our first teenager!!! Yay! And sob…20180514_201455845_iOS

Orchestra POPS concert this sweet friend blessed me with!20180518_235720401_iOS

A ministry with which our family is involved had a family fun festival. Ariana got to face paint a bit!20180519_215025958_iOS

Our Christmas present, along with most extended family, to our kids was redesigned bedrooms! They knew they wouldn’t see the present until April or May and had no idea what it was. So much fun getting this together and seeing the delight on the kids’ faces!!! 20180521_144725723_iOS20180521_144751134_iOS20180521_144758374_iOS20180521_144822302_iOS20180521_144832500_iOS20180521_181113106_iOS20180521_181123829_iOS20180521_181135951_iOS20180521_181142025_iOS20180521_220148266_iOS20180521_220159630_iOS20180521_220225766_iOS20180521_220236664_iOS20180521_225712914_iOS20180521_225803222_iOS*This picture makes me laugh really hard because both girls look like they want to cut Bill. In reality, they didn’t know he was there and turned to look right as he took the pic. The next pic he took has them smiling, but I thought this was a much better one to include! 20180521_225834775_iOS

Explorers Celebration at the Children’s Museum! Ariana and Malcolm both graduated this year.20180522_230959552_iOSI love so much that my parents get to be here for all the things!!!20180522_232522418_iOS

Our kids sent us on a scavenger hunt to several neighbors’ homes where they had gifts waiting for us on our anniversary!!! Two of our neighbors especially went all out to help our kids with this. One came up with many of the ideas, and another went all over town and online ordering supplies. Makes me choke up even as I type it! The kids paid for it with their own money. They even had a star named for us!!!20180524_151256942_iOS20180524_151419307_iOS20180524_152058504_iOS20180524_154030501_iOSFamily picnic waiting for us at the end!20180524_154428433_iOS

Strange creatures invading our house20180525_133933671_iOS

I had Lasik!!! The second pic is me during the procedure including my eye on the screen, but I had to include this first. A man brought in his pet monkey!!! So so so adorable!!!!20180525_161056113_iOS20180525_175605201_iOS

Memorial Day fun!20180528_151106789_iOS20180528_160641893_iOS20180528_201037758_iOS20180528_201158169_iOS20180528_235310426_iOS

Family walks20180529_111903230_iOS

This girl is making so much progress on the guitar!20180529_165321932_iOS

Cuties with creations20180531_200137331_iOS

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Bell Family Update–March/April 2018

March and April were two whirlwind months for us. Between all of the activities and outings, we’ve been in the thick of homeschooling, dance, ministries, and day-to-day life. It feels like there’s barely been time to just breathe. But God is faithful and looking back over these pictures, we clearly had a lot of fun memories that we shared.

Nana and Peepaw let us know about a little job fair/play town at their local bank. The kids had a blast trying out different jobs. Malcolm and Cheyanne were city clerks, and in the background, Heaven is a librarian.


Esther and Victoria worked for the kid bank.


Miriam worked at the animal rescue–and loved every second of it!


Boys and fire…


We took a day trip to Cincinnati to visit the Harriet Beecher Stowe home and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Here we are at the Freedom Center.


Posing down near the riverfront.


Nana joining in the play at the riverfront playground.


Even Courtney put her rock climbing skills to the test!


Ariana and I took a daddy-daughter date to Starbucks. Ariana sure likes her mochas…


The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis just opened their Sports Legends Experience expansion. We got the opportunity to come preview it on a very cold day. It was pretty darn spectacular.


Courtney and our friend Becca got to walk laps on the walking track while getting to catch up while the kids wore themselves out doing all the new activities.


One of our favorite things is to make a “laser” obstacle course in the hallway. Here are some noteworthy (and some not-so-noteworthy) attempts to get through unscathed.


And somehow this expanded and grew until it became a girl hangout zone.


Courtney made a new dish in our house: chicken piccata. Nom nom…


On a home date, Courtney and I made some homemade large pretzels.


We celebrated Pi Day with various forms of pie. Here are a few selections from the day:



Blueberry pie.


Someone cute as pie helping to make pie.


French silk pie.


One night, Josiah was tuckered enough to fall asleep on Court. So sweet!


Liam and I took a day out together to just hang and do some fun stuff. I really don’t know when this kid stopped being a kid, but I think it happened…


Well, I guess he’s still kid enough to like Legos!


Laser tag!


Getting some air time.


Nascar. This was the face he made as he was running my car off the road, by the way…


I’m, um… I’m not really sure what happened here…


Mmmmmm. Diet Mountain Dew…


These two boys were fighting one morning. They got to experience the joy of parents helping them learn the important lesson of reconciliation…in a t-shirt.


We took a walk on the Fall Creek trail and stopped to do a bit of exploring.


As has been our tradition for quite some time, we celebrated the first day of Spring with the traditional Easter-type activities so that we can focus more exclusively on the resurrection when Easter Sunday rolls around.

Cinnamon roll bunnies.


An indoor egg hunt (the weather was nicht so good…).


Grilling out!


Decorating eggs.


At our new church, we’ve been starting to have brothers and sisters over to get to know them better. One family, the Neals, joined us for brunch. Here’s some of Courtney’s spread from that morning.


The Neals!


love watching this woman teach our kids and I love the joy they have every time they reach a new milestone.


Goofing around at a playground.


We really don’t just take pictures of dead birds, but here was one that Aiden found and decided to pick up. Blech!


We got to join the 50th anniversary celebration of a family in our church. The kids got to play on an old playground that had seesaws, which totally freaked them out and filled me with nostalgia! Oh the cruelty they could help you unleash…


The celebration also included an egg hunt.


One morning, we “slept in” a bit…till about 7:30. But some of the kids took it upon themselves to make our breakfast, along with Earl Grey for me and coffee for Courtney. The little sweeties!


My brother Oliver cooking up some made-to-order omelets for the Men of Brookside.


The Greatest Showman has become a huge family favorite. Here we are doing karaoke with it on Miriam’s birthday.


Miriam wanted to go to Chuck E Cheese as well.


Momma and the birthday girl.


Nerd moment for me here. We went to the Cincinnati homeschool convention to stock on school supplies. Convenient for me, I saw that my favorite living novelist, N.D. Wilson, was going to speaking there. We went to one of his sessions (which was pretty awesome, by the way) and then stopped by the Canon Press booth to meet him. Full disclosure: I’m super awkward around strangers, especially when I feel like they’re super awesome. So, Courtney and the kids had to herd me over to him, because they knew I was too nervous to meet him though I wanted to. They were successful, though, and I got to have a fun time chatting with him. Here’s the photo evidence.


For a school activity, the kids worked together to open a grocery store in the living room.


We spent some time outdoors on another nice day. While we were crossing a creek, a beaver emerged from under some wood and we got to watch him swim around for a while.


We also got some fun playtime in. One of the big hits was the monkey bar-type things. Aiden tried them, but was unsuccessful. So, he came up with a different approach…


Just hanging around…


Dolled up to see a brother and sister at Brookside get hitched!


Courtney got to take Miriam out for their mommy-daughter weekend. They spent most of it outdoors, doing outdoorsy things like canoeing, hiking, and riding horses (her favorite!).


The weekend also included Miriam sleeping like a psychopath.


Miriam also got her ears pierced. I think it was a little traumatic for her, but she looks cute. (And no, she didn’t have to do it–she chose to go through with it.)


While they were gone, I turned into a puddle without my wifey. So Victoria had to take over all the cooking duties. 😉


We also did some outdoorsing, too.


Eight of our kids have been taking dance this semester. We got to have their recital and they all danced beautifully. Here they are with their instructor, Christina.


During the performance.


And posing with their previous babysitters, Kayli and Jocelyn.


Courtney got to have breakfast with our friend Laurelen and Trippe!


We ended April with a last-minute decision to head outta town, hit some start parks, and be unexpected. It was marvelous.