The Bell Family

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

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4th of July Weekend

We got to visit one of our favorite families in the world for the 3rd year in a row this past weekend.  This was the second family we met when we moved to this area 6 years ago, one of the first dinners we shared, some of the first people who knew we were pregnant with Liam, and our first swap dating experience (which was amazing!).  I cannot express how dear they are to us.  Brian pastors a church “way up north.”  He is truly gifted, and the Spirit works in my heart each time I hear him preach.  Kacie is a kindred spirit.  She is full of wisdom, joy, and encouragement.  It’s clear the moment you are with them that their first love is the Lord, and they minister to us each time we have the joy of fellowshiping with them.

Kacie posted pictures of our visit here.  As always, we had a wonderful time.


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Branson, Day 7

The final day in Branson.  It was literally just a day of breakfast, packing up, and heading out.  Here’s a picture of the sign for our resort.  Exciting, I know…


This really has nothing to do with leaving, but I just thought it was darn cute to see all of our sandals side by side.


Liam and Ariana at breakfast (featuring the freaky fish-shaped fruit bowl on the table)


Esther eating with Court in the kitchen in the background.


On the way home, one of our stops was at a McDonald’s playplace so the kids could get some monkeyness out.  Here are the last pictures I took from the vacation.




Well, that’s it for Branson, folks.  It was an awesome family vacation with great weather, a fantastic place to stay, and a lot of great time together as a family.  A special thanks to our good friend (if you’re reading this, you know who you are) who blessed us by giving us a time-share for the week so that we could stay seven nights for FREE.  And as always, my greatest thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus who gave me this amazing family and this great time to enjoy them and the world he made.

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Branson, Day 6

The sixth day (and final full day in Branson) was a nature day.  We ended up with some free tickets to go up in something called the Inspiration Tower. 


The kids checking out the view in the glass elevator as we went up in the tower.


I think Miriam was actually paying attention, too.


Up in the observation section, the kids are checking out the scene and, of course, all the historical/geographical material.  Right…


Ariana was all into pushing Esther around in the stroller.


The view from the tower.


We also found a nature trail to walk that included this rickety tower thing.


Court said she wasn’t interested AT ALL in going up the thing, but Liam, Ariana, and I decided to brave it together.  Check out my little troopers.


Saying “hi” to Court and the little girls down below.


After that, we went to Stone Hill Winery (which was super close to the resort) for a tour, but it didn’t really work out.  We ended up just walking around, pointing at grapes (as part of the nature day, maybe?), then heading out.  A little disappointing, but fun just to be together.


And tomorrow will have the last Branson post.  After that, onward and upward into new posting realms…

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Branson, Day 5

So, I know I’ve been taking FOREVER to finish the vacation pictures, but the last posts are finally all finished and are scheduled to post over the next three days so that we can finally get on to some other stuff on this blog.

Day five in Branson was a “stay at the resort” day.  It started with a little pool action (this is obviously the kiddie pool, in case you’re thinking that the resort had a sick sense of humor with their “pool”).


Here’s Liam with a little jumpin’-in action.


And a sweet little Esther-girl


Due to a bit of a mix-up with having a new bathing suit shipped to the resort for Court to use, she was without one until we left.  So, here was her interaction with the pool.


There were also 18 holes of miniature golf at the resort.  We decided to try it out with Miriam in the sling, Esther in the carrier, and the older two kids playing some mini-golf with Mommy and Daddy.  We only got through nine holes (and that was stretching it), but we had a good time nonetheless.

Check out that AWESOME putting form.



Essie on Daddy’s back


 Miriam’s usual disposition when in the sling against Mommy.


Some sweet close-ups of Ariana and Liam.



A couple of “out-take” close-ups of said children.



My sweet little family


Like I said, Day 6 of the trip will post tomorrow (Saturday) and Day 7 will post Sunday.  Again, sorry for taking so long!

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Branson, Day 4

Okay, so I know I’m totally behind on these, but there was more than just three days in Branson and I’m determined to log all of it here.  So, without further ado…

Here’s Court trying to get a good picture of all the kids together before we went out.  You can see how well that went…


Our ultra-serious driver for the morning:


Passengers of the previously aformentioned driver (and this also shows what four car seats in a van looks like, in case you were wondering):


We went to this strip mall by the river called Branson Landing.  There they had this outdoor play area like a pirate ship.  Here’s Court holding sweet Miriam and watching the other three play on the playground.


Liam and Ariana as train conductors:


It’s Essie the Sailor Girl (toot toot)…


Sliding away…


Not so exciting for little miss Miriam, but awfully comfortable.


We followed some play with a meal at Famous Dave’s and then back to the resort for naps.  The evening was an enjoyable combo of the following items:


All in all, it was a pretty uneventful day, but we had a blast together.

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Branson, Day 3

The big event for day three was a visit to Predator World, the zoo and aquarium in Branson.


There was a big tank inside that had several bull sharks (up to about 6 feet long) and a sea turtle.


Here’s Liam feeding one of the sharks.


Here’s Ariana feeding the sea turtle.


They also had a big tank full of sting rays.  Here Liam is feeding one by dropping the fish in the water.


Here’s me feeding the rays by sticking the fish between my fingers and letting the rays gently suck it out.


One of the zookeepers showing the kids the “smiley face” of one of the rays.


A kangaroo in the petting portion–though they said not to pet it because it tends to bite.  Not kidding.


Ariana checking out one of the big land turtles.


Another zookeeper laying down in the wolf cage, letting the wolves walk on him and lick him.


Liam and Ariana watching, probably wondering if the wolves were about to have a zookeeper snack…


My gorgeous wife holding little Miriam.


Esther’s just along for the ride and loving it.


The zoo/aquarium also had free arcade games.


Miriam wasn’t so interested in the arcade portion…


Court reading to Ariana after naps.


Essie being her usual crazy self.


Court dolled up our doll a bit.  Liam saw her and asked, “Is she a princess?”


Court also played with Ariana’s soft, pretty hair.


And you know it’s a good day when there are two ribeyes on the grill for supper.



Branson, Day 2

Went to a sister Acts 29 church up in Ozark this morning.  Here’s a billboard for it we saw on the way…


Then we drove a little farther up to Lambert’s Cafe, the home of the throwed rolls (and awesome country cookin’)!


A quiet afternoon with all asleep back at the resort…


Daddy reading to two sweet kids in bed…