Monday, February 28, 2011

Goodbye :(

Monday, February 21, 2011

Have I mentioned that Brody loves holding babies?  Well....he does.  He was very sad when he found out that today is the day Ben & Julie are leaving Texas.  He wanted to hold Sylvia extra long because he said he was gonna miss her!!!
Barrett and Mikayla on the other hand were still bent on pushing each other's buttons.  Classic example: 

"Mikayla...this is MY water bottle!"
Malachi and Brody are such good buddies.  They played so well together this past week and I know that Brody is really going to miss spending so much time with Malachi!  He's going to be begging to go to Colorado soon!
When Ben & Julie started loading up their van all the kids ran and climbed aboard.  This was Brody's face when Julie said, "Why don't you and Barrett just come to Colorado with us?!"  I think he really would've gone!
Their leaving wasn't without incident though.....
Brody and Malachi decided to play catch in the front yard.  I was sitting out there watching all the kids (holding Sylvia and trying to keep Barrett & Mikayla out of the street).  Ben & Julie were walking to and from the house loading their van.  Julie was walking one time from the van to the house when she just happened to be in the line of fire of Malachi's pitch to Brody.  When the ball struck the side of her head it sounded like the crack of a bat!  She immediately hit the ground face down!  I ran to her (Sylvia in my arms) and asked if she was ok.  It was a minute or so before she began to cry and then asked what happened.  Her head had a huge knot on it (a good sign) and she had a splitting head ache.  She had blacked out for a few seconds and had no idea that she'd been hit in the head by a baseball!  Malachi felt awful and we tried to comfort him...telling him it was an accident and that she was going to be ok.  She finally got up and went inside to get some Tylenol before climbing in their van (with 3 children) and driving to Oklahoma.  What a time to get a headache!  I'm just so thankful that she is ok!
When the van was loaded, we all hugged goodbye and then the boys and I stood in the yard waving "bye" until we couldn't see them any more.  What a FUN week!!!!

Dinner without the kids!!!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Mike, Julie, and I took all the kids to church this morning while Ben drove back to Abilene to meet with 2 kids and their parents that are interested in Ekklesia Mountain High!  The other night, Daddy Steve and Namaw offered to watch ALL FIVE KIDS so that we could have dinner with Ben & Juile sans kids!  Tonight we took them up on their offer.  We dropped ALL THE KIDS off at their house around 5 pm tonight and then fed them dinner, played with them, and got them ready for bed while we had a night on the town!

We headed to Sundance Square in Fort Worth and the first stop was Mike's new office building.  The former CEO of his company likes the older buildings in downtown Ft. Worth and so rather than buying one huge building to house all the employees, the company buys several smaller, older buildings and restores them to their former glory!  This is the lobby of one of the restored office buildings.  I should've taken a picture of the elevators. They had the old dials above the elevators and lots of beautiful mahogany trim.
We went to dinner at an Italian restaurant called Taverna.  I ordered a delicious brick oven pizza (however, it wasn't as good as the ones Ben makes in his backyard brick oven!)  It was so fun to be able to talk without interruption...and I think it was a much needed break for Ben & Julie on this 3 week long trip!

We walked around Sundance Square for a little while afterwards, but it's not as lively on a Sunday evening as it is on a Friday or Saturday evening.  We didn't see a single street performer!  Julie and I tried to get a picture in front of one of the murals on the side of a building...but it was too dark.
On our way back to Daddy Steve & Namaw's we stopped at Coldstone for some much needed ice cream ;) 
Daddy Steve & Namaw - Thank you sooooooo much for watching the kids for us!  It was wonderful to have time alone with Ben & Julie before they had to leave!

Friday, February 25, 2011


Did I mention that Barrett & Mikayla fought a lot?  They were always picking on each other and pushing each other's buttons.  So....if Mikayla doesn't work out for Barrett...I think Sylvia is another great choice!  Or...Brody could marry Mikayla and Barrett could marry Sylvia.  Who am I kidding?  It never works out when parents hope their kids will marry each other!  lol  One thing I know for sure....they'll all be friends!

I really loved taking pictures of baby Sylvia.  Isn't she gorgeous?!?!?  I think I can smell the baby soft cheeks through this picture!

Fun times with old friends

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Justin & Christy were the first friends we made when we moved to Sterling, KS in 2000.  Mike and Justin were on the football team together and played the same position.  We hung out with them a lot over the next 2 years.  In 2001 they asked us to go do dinner with them and another couple "named Ben & Julie".  They told us that they thought we had a lot in common with Ben & Julie and thought we'd really like them.  They had no clue that were introducing us to the people that would become some of our best friends and who we would spend countless hours with on vacations, rock walls, and mountain peaks. 

Justin & Christy live about an hour from us, so we invited them over while Ben & Julie were in town.  I'm sad that I can't find a picture of the 6 of us from Sterling (Christy or Julie can you scan and email me your copy?!?), but we look a little different almost 10 years later.  This picture may not look much different from the one we took on July 4, 2002...
but THIS one sure does!!!!!   This isn't everyone either...Justin & Christy's daughter, Brooklyn, was sleeping in the other room.  We are officially outnumbered!
I didn't take many pictures tonight because I was so busy talking and having fun.  The kids played outside most of the afternoon/evening and the guys went out there and played with them a lot. 

Sylvia, Brody, Barrett, Malachi, Mikayla, and Gabriel (not pictured:  Brooklyn)
Once it got too dark to play outside, the boys armed themselves with an assortment of guns!  It got noisy for a while until we turned on a movie...but even then we had to keep turning up the movie so they could hear it over the adults talking/laughing....which made us talk louder to hear each other...and them ask for the movie louder....  lol
I just had to post this picture.  I set my camera up to try to get a group shot and Julie was being my model.  I didn't know this picture happened until I was looking at the pictures on my camera.  Hilarious!

We had so much fun tonight!  I hope it's not another 10 years before we're all together again! 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Bacheolor ain't got nothin' on Barrett!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Ok...I'll admit it.  I'm a reality show junkie.  I love shows like The Biggest Loser, The Bachelor, Survivor, Top Shot, and (my favorite) The Amazing Race.  On The Bachelor, there are always girls in the swimming pool....but do you think they'd be in the pool if it was winter time?!?  Well, Mikayla was all about impressing Barrett by showing him how tough she is!  ( maybe they're only 2 years old, and there's no romantic interest, and they were really just having fun in the pool....but maybe when they're in college they'll fall in love and get married...and then we'll get to visit CO more than once a year...and these pictures will be super cute in their wedding video!)
"Barrett, do you dare me to get in the freezing cold pool?"
"It's not so bad."
"I mean.  Really.  If anyone thinks this water is cold they're a sissy!"
"Wow!  The longer you stand here the less you feel your toes!"
"Whew!  Maybe I was wrong!  I'm not sure if I can feel my feet at all!"
"It's ok girl.  Just act tough.  He'll never know that you're hoping from foot to foot so that you keep feeling in your toes!"
(I should try to empathize with her.  I'll act like I'm cold too....)"Brrrrrr!"
"See Barrett, that wasn't so bad!  Actually, I think I like swimming in February.  My dad is always telling me about swimming in ice melt pools in the mountains.  I think I'll join him next time he goes."
Barrett - "I think it's time to go ask our mommies to wrap us up in a warm towel.  I'm cold just watching you swim!"

Swimming in February

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Our children's temperature sensors are defective!  They begged us to let them go swimming today!  They are crazy!!!
Malachi was the first one to jump in the pool.  He came up gasping for breath...but them swam all the way to the steps.
The other kids eased their way into the pool at the steps.
Barrett (every the ornery one) took it upon himself to splash the only girl brave enough to get in the pool.
"Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!"  Mikayla thought the water was freezing!!!

Brody finally gave in to Malachi's pleadings and jumped off the side.
He too came up gasping! 
But he also came up smiling...

Can you believe they swam for over 1/2 an hour?!? 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

We all SCREAM for Ice Cream!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Julie and I promised the kids that we'd get ice cream after the zoo....but since they all fell asleep...we extended "after the zoo" to after dinner tonight.  Daddy Steve and Namaw met us at the yogurt shop.  It's a fun place to get ice cream (I mean yogurt).  The yogurt is self serve and there are lots of different kinds to choose from.  Then you add the toppings that you want and pay by the weight.  You really have to help the kids so that they don't get 5 pounds of gummy worms on top of their frozen yogurt!

(I didn't get a good picture of Malachi.  Oops!)
After we finished eating, we loaded up the kids in the Durango and then I shut all the doors and told Daddy Steve, Namaw, and Julie, "Shhh!  Hear that?  It's really quiet out here!"  Namaw responded by giving us their keys, taking our keys, and telling us that they'd drive the kids to our house and we could ride home in a quiet car!  What a gift!  It was so quiet driving their car home (did I mention that all the surfaces in the yogurt shop are hard and the sound echos off the walls?!  It's loud in there...especially when a kid hits her head on the bench and cries!)  After we got all the kids in bed, we spent some time relaxing in the living room until 9:45...then we headed to bed too.  Is that a sign of getting old?  Friends are in town visiting (who we typically only see once a year) and we can't keep our eyes open past 10:00 pm!!! 

Ft. Worth Zoo

Friday, February 18, 2011

Yesterday was a work day.  The boys went to school.  I went to work.  Julie worked from our house (she teaches some online classs for a university).  Malachi caught up on his school work (he'll be gone from school for 3 weeks!)  Mike was at work and Ben was driving back to our house from his second trip to Amarillo.  After dinner, the boys went over to Daddy Steve and Namaw's and played with all the kids in their cul-de-sac.  Everyone was worn out by bedtime!

This morning I got up early and went to the gym with Daddy Steve.  As soon as I got home Julie found me and said, "I'm so sorry...but Malachi gave Brody a black eye!"  The story goes that Malachi was playing golf with a baseball bat (in Brody's room at 6:30 am) and when he swung he hit Brody just below his right eye!  The screaming crying brought Julie running from the other room to find out what they were up to. (You'll see the shiner get progressively darker during this week of pictures!)

Today Mike took off work and Ben offered to help him work on the bathroom.  (I've been forbidden to post pictures until it's done...but the work they did to the bathroom this week has transformed that space!!!)  While Mike was making breakfast for everyone, Julie and I escaped to Starbucks for some coffee time!  It was great to get away from the noise for a few minutes of one-on-one time with one of my best friends!  We knew we were gonna need it since we had big plans for today.

When we got back to the house we announced to the kids that we were taking them to the zoo!  They were all super excited!  It took us a little while to get the Durango loaded up (2 adults, 5 kids, 4 carseats, a double jogging stroller, a backpack kid carrier, 2 purses, a big diaper bag, and lunches/snacks for everyone)...but we finally did it!  We made it to the Ft. Worth Zoo around 10:30.
Malachi and Brody were eager to be our guides.  Malachi taught Brody how to read the zoo map and they let us know which direction we should head.
Mikayla and Barrett started out riding in the stroller while Sylvia rode on Julie's back in her Ergo Baby carrier (which I put Barrett in later in the day and absolutely LOVED).  This significanly slowed us down as they got in and out...and in and out of the stroller.  After lunch, Julie put Mikayla in the carrier and Sylvia in the stroller.  That meant Barrett was now the only one slowing us down.
Brody's favorite exhibit at the zoo was the zebras.  There's a movie called "Stripes" that he's been watching over and over on Netflix instant download.  It's about a zebra that thinks he's a thoroughbread race horse.  I think Brody truly believed that the zebra at the zoo is Stripes!  He made sure I got a picture of him with Stripes (to hang on his bed, of course).
Malachi loved the penguins.  There was one that came over to the glass and talked with Malachi for quite a while! 
Sylvia was content no matter what we were doing!  I think the only time she fussed was when it was time to eat.  She's such a sweet and happy baby!
As it was getting later in the afternoon, we headed to the petting zoo and play area. 
This is Mikayla showing me her excited face when we entered the play area!
I could tell Barrett was getting tired...but he just ran faster when we entered the play area.  I'm thinking that he had to run so that he didn't just collapse in fatigue!
After a quick visit to the gift shop, we loaded everything back in the Durango and headed for home.  Julie and I tried really hard to keep everyone awake so they'd nap at home....but we failed.  It's a good thing we left when we did...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

They're Here!!!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ben, Julie, Malachi, Mikayla, and Sylvia arrived at our house last night around dinner time.  We were so excited to see them!  It's a treat for us to get to see them more than once in a year!  Ben is traveling around the US promoting a new venture at their school.  The program is called Ekklesia Mountain High.  Here's a blurb about it from their website:

“Ekklesia” means “assembly,” or literally, “called out.” Christians are those “called out” to be a witness for God’s kingdom. EMH is about allowing students to experience education in a new way as they explore this idea of calling and community. EMH gives 11th grade students the opportunity to participate in a semester or a year of challenging academics, unforgettable outdoor adventure, and incredible spiritual growth as part of a community set in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. Learn about Christ’s vision for community, leadership, and discipleship. Prepare for college, form lifelong friendships, and shape an eternal perspective as you participate in four 10-day courses in the Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and Wyoming wilderness, a 20-day overseas mission adventure, and much, much more. Take your education outside: outside the traditional classroom, outside your comfort zone, outside the common experience.

This program is something that Ben has always dreamed of leading.  I'm so excited for him and can't wait to see what God will do with EMH! 

This morning Ben drove back to Amarillo for a presentation.  They were in Amarillo a week ago, however, they got there just as the snow storm arrived and the town was shut down for the day (meaning his presentation was also cancelled).  While he was out of town, Julie invited Kelly over to visit.  Kelly used to live in Colorado and now lives in the DFW area.  She brought her boys, Matthew and Andrew, with her and they had fun playing with Malachi and Brody.  It was neat to get to meet one of Julie's friends that now lives close to me.
Andrew, Kelly, Julie, Sylvia, Mikayla, Matthew, and Malachi
Brody and Andrew are a year apart in age...
and so are Malachi and Matthew
They had fun playing together, but it seemed like a lot of the time it was the older boys vs. the younger boys! lol

Monday, February 21, 2011


Sorry I've been MIA.  Some of our best friends, Ben & Julie, came to town last Tuesday and are leaving this morning.  Get ready for some picture overload over the next few days!!!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

USPS Leftovers

The other day Mom ordered 40 $0.17 stamps via our local mail lady.  Typically when you order 40 stamps, you get 2 full sheets of stamps like this (only full)...
That's why Mom and I were shocked (and couldn't stop laughing) when she pulled the stamps out of the envelope from the mail lady.  She gave us 40 stamps...but it looked like this....
At first we wondered what we'd done to offend her!  Why did she feel the need to give us 40 stamps like this rather than on 2 full sheets?!?  Today we found out that she was given these stamps by the clerk at the post office.  So either they were running low...or they just wanted to get rid of all the leftovers!