The Bell Family

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


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Bell Family Update–May 2017

Summer break summer break summer break!!!!!!! I love teaching my kids, and I love the break from it, too. May started that break while still finishing up other priorities that correspond with the “normal” school year. Loving my time with my family.

Bill was attempting to get a pic of me in an awkward position, but I lost it right before he caught it. The boys did much better than I did. I won’t mention how terribly they follow the rules and freely move their limbs as they please to make it easier. I, however, was awesome.20170505_155517632_ios.jpg

We joined Conner Prairie again this year. If you ever visit Indy, you must go here. It’s my favorite museum!20170506_155244711_iOS

We found out we’re getting a new son and daughter!!!!! Bill and I have had three visits with them, and they are amazing. All our kids meet each other next week! We can’t wait for them to live with us in a few weeks. A friend and neighbor came over to take some pics of us that we put in a book for M and C, including a pic of us making room for them. We love them so much already!!!!20170507_172334584_iOS20170507_172430258_iOS20170507_172529050_iOS20170507_172538123_iOS20170507_172606393_iOS20170507_172624207_iOS20170507_172645760_iOS20170507_172658002_iOS20170507_172712079_iOS20170507_172743803_iOSThe real us.20170507_172750187_iOS20170507_172803036_iOSThe posed us.20170507_172808974_iOS20170507_172818848_iOS

Spring doesn’t just bring animal babies. It usually brings plenty of human babes, too! This is one of our sweet neighbors at only a week old. I’m always a really awesome servant for my friends, holding their babies to give their arms a break for a while. I’m holy like that.20170510_222600635_iOS

Michelangelo in the making. 20170512_153338018_iOS

This is the city, folks. Rail trail on the near east side. Seriously, we see horses all the time, even on downtown sidewalks.20170512_185026317_iOS

May block party. Serving junk food in style!20170512_222829159_iOS

I just love this picture. Bill took it without me knowing. It’s just a morning moment with my smallest girl, simply chatting. No makeup, no hair fixed, just us not posing.20170514_134020882_iOS

My oldest is now 12. My eyes get blurry typing that, so no more caption.20170514_232608436_iOS

First splash pad and playground of the season. It won’t be the last.20170517_163343128_iOS20170517_170545629_iOS

The Children’s Museum currently has a circus exhibit. As part of it, they do a show in the main part where they “shoot a kid out of the canon.” Miriam was picked to be the kid!!!!! It was such a fun experience for her getting to act on the fly. She was spectacular!20170520_150347110_iOSHere she is being shot. 😉 20170520_151133061_iOSAnd she’s OK!20170520_151144836_iOS20170520_151219161_iOS

I started teaching voice again last fall, and my students had their first recital. They were all amazing! Bell kids even performed “So Long, Farewell” with only two weeks to practice. Love my students and family.20170521_175939491_iOS20170521_182835815_iOS

Cleaning champ!20170523_150948484_iOS

When you can’t get along, you wear Daddy’s shirt together and cooperate to clean up toys. I laughed the whole time. They didn’t. I’m a nice mommy…20170523_191719429_iOS

Our 3rd-5th grade kids participate in an amazing after school program at the Children’s Museum. This was a picture of the group this year (Ariana and Esther are hidden in there) along with the teachers we love so much. We are truly blessed to live so close to this place!20170523_230927294_iOS

I bought this for Bill on his birthday and then basically twisted his arm to wear it to work. He was super happy about it. But he did it cause he lurves me!20170524_154625225_iOS

Bill and I took our annual trip away. We went to Saugatuck, MI, and it was maybe the sweetest trip we’ve ever taken. So thankful we have an amazing friend who tackles the kids (sometimes literally!) for a long weekend so we get this time each year. 20170528_162749743_iOS20170528_184506664_iOS


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Bell Family Update–April 2017

This month was less eventful with “special” days, but I’ve been praying to learn each day is special. It was a sweet month, while busy beginning to wrap up normal school year stuff.

This is always a bitter/sweet season for us. The beauty of spring and looking forward to a more open schedule. But it also brings more stress and challenges as a family. Attitudes are high, and we all kind of flake out with our responsibilities. We’re all just over school and our very full daily calendar. I want to keep it real here, because pictures only give a partial picture. Though if you look closely enough, you can see more. For instance, you’ll notice the absence of one of our daughters in many pictures. Particular rebellion is typically high this time of year, which results in several losses of privileges. Not every moment is bad, but every moment isn’t grand either.

There are fewer pics this month because as usual, we forget to document much with a camera! One event with no pictures was our block party. We had a sweet time with many neighbors grilling hot dogs and hanging out in our yard. I seriously love our neighbors to the moon and back!

These girls spent almost an entire day making this huge Lego town, complete with zip line!20170331_210802044_iOS

We decided this year to train as a family for a 5K. The kids, even the little ones, are all doing amazingly!!! They talk when we run. I don’t. Which says a lot.20170331_213550769_iOS

We spent a day at the Children’s Museum with some dear friends from Louisville! The same day, we ran into friends from our college days!!! One of my favorite days. 20170401_143609051_iOS20170401_153715133_iOS20170401_154045120_iOS20170401_185025671_iOS20170423_224313235_iOS

MDKT (Mom Dad Kid Time) that we do with each kid each month. Love this individual time!20170402_202127870_iOS

This girl dances in style!20170403_135329196_iOS

The girls spent our monthly Rule and Drool day at a bookstore and The Flying Cupcake. We’re super serious, ya’ll.20170407_182248803_iOS20170407_182913774_iOS20170407_183324300_iOSThese water bottles would. not. open.20170407_183846095_iOS

These girlies are three of my favorites in the world. Our tweens are blossoming in friendships these day, and this mama couldn’t be more thankful.20170409_193452366_iOSI’m a pretty ginormous fan of this lady, too. Love her so much!!!20170409_193513282_iOS

Showing fabulous artwork.20170411_005132690_iOS

Birthday girl!!!20170412_121717264_iOS20170412_231714723_iOS

Day at Shades State Park!20170415_160536390_iOS20170415_191027308_iOS

New ‘do!20170419_195822241_iOS

Look! Bill made it into a picture! One of our besties took this before we went to celebrate a sweet wedding. Isn’t he dreamy???
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These little cuties officially finished preschool! The exclamation point is there to remind myself I should be happy they’re growing and all my children are now school age and my hands aren’t as full anymore and yada yada yada. But I still want my babies!!!!! So there.20170425_140358741_iOS20170426_130204584_iOS

I pulled my rotator cuff in my left arm (no idea how!), so this is world’s best hubs fixing my hair for me. He rocks!20170426_195524824_iOSFinished product!20170426_200725040_iOS

We enrolled Liam in an acting class. He had a great time with it! We got to watch him on his final night perform his monologue–from Harry Potter, of course. This mama might have gotten a bit teary eyed. From the dust in the room…

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Bell Family Update–March 2017

I have to say that March 2017 feels like a blur. It might have something to do with the fact of the girls having their dance recital and a VERY full calendar. Regardless, it was still a fun month with lots of joy and laughter. Here are some highlights!

 

I just think she’s the cutest!

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I mean, just look at her!

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One of the fun and unique things we got to do this month was attend the NFL Combine Experience here in Indy. It was free and a ton of fun for the kiddos.

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Sprints (squad 1)

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Sprints (squad 2)–check out that burst of speed from the dude on the left. 😉

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Catching footballs

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They were so sweet when the little ones gave it a shot.

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An obstacle course

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She’s a blur of speed and agility

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Mid-air catch!

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That’s a Heisman-worthy pose right there!

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Virtual reality

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This was a really cool remote-controlled tackling dummy. The guy operating it kept messing with the kids and scooting it away right as they’d approach. It was awesome.

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They had this field laid out to the side. When the tackling dummy operator saw, ya know, our incredibly large number of kids, he took the dummy over there and did us the great favor of wearing our kids out chasing the dummy around the field.20170303_180935770_iOS

Long jump–they have some, um, interesting form!

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The fam posing around our favorite team logo!

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So, Court always says I’m never in the pictures. Which is true. But here’s my “Before” picture of my current weight loss regimen. I include it because it’s practically the only picture of me this month!

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I can’t remember what they were watching, but clearly they were in suspense!

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Courtney has started learning some nail art techniques. She glammed Vi-Vi up with some Hello Kitty.

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Esther designed her two-dancer artwork

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Because our dance instructor was about to have her baby, our girls’ dance recital was earlier than usual. We were in a new but very small venue. Here are some photos of the little lovelies.

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The boys, while waiting for the recital to start, engaged in this epic staring contest. Their game faces are really something…

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One of our goals in 2017 is to walk the entire Monon Trail (not all in the same day). We picked a particularly cold Saturday to get started. We got about two miles before we ditched back to the house (the smiles in the picture are deceptively happy compared to the frigid weather!). But more to come!

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On the first day of Spring, we had our annual Spring Celebration. Since we’ve decided not to mix our Jesus holidays with the other fun activities of the season, we do baskets and bunnies and eggs on the first day of Spring instead of Easter.

Bunnies for breakfast

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Following the Bell tradition, the kids had to hunt in the house to find their individual baskets

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It was very cold and wet, so we also had the egg hunt indoors

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I thought this was a totally great snapshot of our homeschooling day. You can see three of the kids working at the table while Courtney answers a question for Ariana. Also, as usual, we probably don’t know where the other four kids are (just kidding… kind of…)

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Josiah took the magnetic letters and numbers to make this number line. He was quite pleased (look at that cute smile!)

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Courtney teaching one of her students. Look at that dropped jaw! And that lovely face!

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I took my annual personal retreat this past weekend. I spent quite a bit of time hiking around Turkey Run State Park. I had several times of complete solitude and silence–it was very refreshing. Here are some scenic photos I took. I’m not in any of them. Because I don’t selfie. Because, well, then I’d be in a picture…

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While I was on my retreat, Courtney and the kids had a blast of a time. The last night, they all camped out together in the same room.

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Good grief, she’s a hottie!!!!

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Go Team Bell!!!!

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Bell Family Update–February 2017

The shortest month of the year wasn’t going to let itself be forgotten! Packed full of busy, stress, tears, and also much sweet fun. We had two birthdays and two trips. Memories!

We took a long weekend vacay to Cincinnati this year. We got to stay in the cutest little cottage with nooks and crannies everywhere! The kids enjoyed being there as much as the things we did around town.
Eating at O’Charley’s20170203_160603299_iosVisiting the Creation Museum20170203_222649000_iosPetting Zoo at the Museum20170204_183829542_iosWe’ve done this girl a great disservice by not living on a farm. She was made to take care of animals!20170204_184359072_iosAnd I decided I want a cow. Like in a big way. Not to eat. Those eyes!!!20170204_184533831_iosIntense game of Frogger20170205_165335362_iosFancy seafood restaurant20170205_173213536_iosThe aquarium. I love Esther’s face!!20170205_190632316_iosPlaygrounds in downtown Cincy.20170206_163006288_iosMaybe we shouldn’t have all gone down at the same time… Miriam is the wise one.20170206_163327667_iosBreakfast for lunch, with Popeye in the back.20170206_175224465_ios

Each month, we have a “Sacrifice the Normal Day” or SND for short. This month we spent the day in Terra Haute, IN. The Children’s Museum, Clabbergirl Museum, and hiking. Loved it there! 20170210_173940744_ios20170210_174047856_ios20170210_174113020_iosThis is now one of my favorite pictures of all times!!!20170210_182033871_iosBill may have ridden one of these for a long time…20170210_190006748_iosIt’s a good SND when the kid who NEVER sleeps in a vehicle is the only one to sleep on the way home.20170210_214207540_ios

Because of weird warm weather in February, we took more walks than usual this time of year.20170211_173758684_ios

How does Leia end up in so many of our blog posts? And how is she so stinking adorable???20170212_190300858_ios

School project making pomander balls.20170214_144912431_ios

Bill’s a seminary student again, so I get to hang with these weirdos by myself Tuesday nights. We all decided to sleep together. Really. We’re totally asleep. No, really.20170215_004945872_ios

Hanging at one of our favorite rocks at the beginning of one of our favorite trails.20170215_180136685_ios

Dates with four of my young loves. 20170216_135202306_ios

I always talk about how Bill manages to never be in pictures. He texted this one to our church, so I knew he was proud of it and would want it on the blog.20170219_183427000_ios

Lots of park play with our awesome neighbors. Does your tongue feel like mine?20170219_223247627_ios

Finding this in your purse=real parenting.20170220_155149057_ios

Bill and I have long-standing slug bug battle. It gets real. I upped the ante when I took a picture of one when we weren’t together and texted it to him saying “Slug Bug White!” I win.20170221_180705069_ios

This kid and his trees. Yes, one of our friends may have told us this tree will eventually need to be cut down, but shhhh.20170221_205422295_ios

This girl and I had our “coming of age” weekend with me! We headed to Bloomington and had a sweet time together for four days.
Playing at Wonderlab20170224_191553738_iosBill taking the kids grocery shopping while Essie and I were gone. Don’t worry, Aiden didn’t suffocate.20170224_195452744_iosBuilding20170224_201414503_iosIce cream!!!20170224_205917010_iosUs on coffee and sugar way too late in the day.20170224_212929339_iosMy little beauty. Please stop, Time.20170225_123555641_iosGetting her ears pierced like a boss.20170225_155507006_iosAnd done!20170225_155620265_iosMatching hats!20170225_195808522_iosOne of the women who cleaned our room tucked in baby doll! So sweet!!! 20170225_202808728_iosCan’t tell from the picture, but we went skating together! It was my first time in at least 19 years. I could have stayed all day!20170226_193056163_iosPlaying house while Mom and Essie are gone.20170226_193908760_iosManis and pedis20170226_204344132_ios

This was a big month for this girl, since she also had her ninth birthday! She said she thought this February was her favorite month ever.20170216_144911078_ios20170217_232844010_iosChuck E Cheese’s to celebrate the birthday. Victoria just stood still waiting for Chuck E to come out for more than 10 minutes. She’s a fan!20170217_184403303_ios

Heaven’s bed head one morning! It was so fantastic we think we’re going to try to start a trend.20170204_190641055_ios


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Bell Family Update–December 2016

We love December. Our neighborhood is quiet from the cold, extra-curricular activities take a break, and we just get more time to hole up as a family. This has been a sweet month for all of that.

Always a family favorite–wrestling Daddy. It’s getting harder and harder for him to overtake them these days. 20161128_211800468_iosAnd while he still can…20161128_211915747_ios

The choir I sing in gave our premier performance. I love these people.20161203_011303205_ios

The girls were again in the Nutcracker. We are so blessed to dance with this studio!20161208_230743873_ios20161208_232822331_ios20161208_234054723_ios

Our first snowman! 😉 20161209_182501621_ios

A glimpse into our lives in a few years. The girls taking off their makeup after the recital. Oh, boy.20161210_010007752_ios

Games!20161210_192004000_ios

And a better snowman. This was the perfect snow for it!20161213_202135579_ios

Twinsies20161218_155149815_ios

Ariana baked cupcakes for Aiden’s birthday all by herself!20161219_190702337_ios

We all had an amazing and hard-working week with Nana!!! She came in to help me give my home a clean-sweep/re-org for the end of the year. This woman is better at this stuff than anyone I know, and she never stopped, even with a sore knee. This is an end-of-the-week movie time, complete with Nana snuggles. I was relieved Aiden wore his helmet, too, in case something came flying out of the TV screen.20161219_230521230_ios

Grocery shopping date with Daddy20161223_153416208_ios

Coloring time. Bill gifted me with a FabFitFun subscription box! The girls loved helping me decorate it. Aka, I did nothing. 🙂 20161224_152627026_ios

Family reading time20161224_161946228_ios

The traditional search for baby Jesus to put in the manger on Christmas morning20161225_120720548_iosAnd the finder of said baby20161225_121026379_ios

Ah yeah, buddie, dig in to that stocking candy.20161225_123155651_ios

Sugar cookie time!20161225_211732127_ios

Legos for days20161226_210418209_ios

And a cute little birthday boy!!!20161228_145553130_ios


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Bell Family Update–November 2016

This was a much slower month for us. Yay!! Though, like the rest of the world, some of that was due to sickness, it was truly nice to simply stay and be more this month.

My favorite day this month was this girl’s birthday! She entered the double digits, and I’m loving this tween phase.20161103_195310096_ios

She got a Harry Potter birthday party, and we all had a ridiculously fun time.20161105_190037483_ios

These two got to go watch the epic violin concert of one of our neighbors. Other neighbors took them along on their date night! I’ve told you we have ridiculously awesome neighbors, right?20161107_235510185_ios

Bill and I were blessed to attend an oh-so-needed adoption conference. Our dear friends took the kids all day on a Saturday to give us the opportunity, and they even took them geocaching! Ten kids, ya’ll.20161112_150917139_ios

The next day we got to see their middle daughter’s piano recital. Though we got a video of Faith playing, we forgot to take her picture. Here’s the rest of the fam, though. Leia was totally into the whole thing.20161113_215158875_ios

This day, people. This was hard. It was the day I realized my son is faster than me. And I’m suddenly challenged to run every day to be able to beat him again. [I don’t run, but I also don’t accept defeat easily, so this is a serious conflict of interest.]20161116_002251673_ios

I got to sing carols with a fun group of people for a Christmas event. Bill was standing right in front of us making weird smiley faces trying to get us to crack up. One of the men didn’t know him yet and told us he thought Bill was a sweet man with mental problems who was just really enjoying himself. I laughed for something like four days.20161118_000510538_ios

Our neighbors hosted a block Thanksgiving dinner, and it was such a sweet time! I love all these people.20161123_001141119_ios20161123_001154102_ios20161123_001205610_ios

Decorating for Christmas!20161125_214800571_ios

Our Thanksgiving was quiet. Just our family. Though it was super nice to have a simple day, I missed my family, especially since it was my mama’s birthday that day. Traveling seems to get harder through the years. Maybe next year, though!


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Bell Family Update–September 2016

 

I always get to these and think we didn’t have much going on over the past month. But when I look through pictures, I realize just how full our month was! Here are a few things we did.

Though there aren’t many pics of these things, along with school still being in full swing, all other activities are, too. Speech therapies, dance, after school program at the Children’s Museum, and Aiden’s half-day preschool. It’s fall, ya’ll!

The kids all worked hard reading books for the summer reading program. One thing they all earned was a game of mini golf, laser tag, and two games of bowling at Woodland Bowl. It was a full, beautiful, and fun day!20160829_203631766_ios

Two of our dear friends got married at the beginning of the month. I basically set them up, oh yes, I did! Bill had the privilege to officiate their wedding. *Bride not pictured, cause, well, she was a bit preoccupied on her wedding day. Weird, huh? 😉20160903_005707396_ios

I had to include a few of these, because as I was going through all the pictures, there were an insane amount the kids just took on their own any time they had access. I just saw most of these for the first time.20160905_100120120160905_100142120160905_10071220160905_1008210

In honor of the 2016 Olympics, Liam made up his own version for our family with five events. The kids made flags and medals. His games were so creative!20160905_172230193_ios20160905_180207913_ios20160905_181112683_ios

Every month, we have something we call an SND (Skip the Nap Day). This month we took a trip to Dayton, OH, to visit Boonshoft Museum of Discovery. We’d never been before, but it was an easy drive, and there are many reciprocal benefits to other museums around when you have a membership. We really enjoyed it!20160909_195322703_ios

Family walks, one of our favorite ways to spend time together.20160910_205651369_ios

Silly faces!20160913_164335000_ios

Ariana and I got to make sugar cookie dough and colored frosting for our sweet friend, LaKieya’s, eleventh birthday party. Her mom planned an at-home Cookies and Canvas party. The girls painted the cutest emoji canvases and decorated cookies. Ariana had a blast! 20160916_150614042_ios

We had our annual girl/boy weekend this month. This year, the girls and I just stayed home, and the boys went camping, a first for the little boys! Bill was a brave, brave man. Pics from the weekend follow:

The Girls
Since big sis was at her Cookies and Canvas party, the other girls and I painted our initials on canvases at home.20160916_212025807_ios20160917_200817794_iosMiriam gets really into movies. This candid shot of her during a tense part of Maleficent is the best!20160917_001346385_iosFinished products of a Michael’s Kid Craft event. 20160917_142850628_iosEsther and Ariana eating like a boss!20160917_154353512_ios20160918_185605000_iosMaking a fairy garden!20160917_180728446_ios20160917_184410833_ios20160917_185657851_iosThe results of a baking day and tea party.20160917_202145196_ios20160917_202227381_iosFun hairstyles20160918_122933796_ios20160918_144704310_iosPeewinkle Puppet Theater. The puppets seriously look alive. The puppeteers were so talented!20160918_165531369_iosPainting pottery at Half-Baked Pottery. I could have stayed there for hours! They were amazing to work with and so good with the girls. We left everything for them to glaze and bake the finished products, and we picked them up a week later. 20160918_192814149_iosLosing a tooth!20160918_225049282_ios

The Boys
The guys were in Bloomington at a Jellystone Park. They spent one rainy day at Wonder Lab down there.20160917_135650594_ios20160917_140318976_ios20160917_141839995_ios20160917_153629540_iosPlaying at the pool20160917_181146317_iosMeeting Boo Boo!20160917_193102442_iosKris Kross will make ya jump, jump!20160917_194141294_iosMy handsome fellas!!!20160918_125850016_ios20160916_235055747_iosLittle guys napping and Liam finishing the last Harry Potter book! 20160918_191014469_iosHiking20160918_211750665_iosBoys get crafty, too, yo.20160918_225424000_iosBell boys in da house! Or outside the tent.20160919_115959335_ios

One of our friends began a community choir this month, and I’m participating! Though I’m teaching private voice lessons again, I haven’t sung in a choir in years. This pic is totally candid. Really.20160920_004350783_ios

By far the best event of the month was that our little Miriam was baptized!!! Her beautiful faith challenges me all. the. time. She was pure joy during her baptism (she pretty much tried to baptize herself she was so excited) and getting to participate in her first Lord’s Supper. For our other children who have been baptized, we’ve partied afterward, telling them they can choose to go wherever they want for ice cream, cupcakes, cookies, whatever. In true content Miriam form, she just wanted to stay home to bake cookies with me. Love her so much!20160925_143528000_ios20160925_163830546_ios