Saturday, December 28, 2013

Potty Training and Other Minor Calamities

This morning started out pretty calmly for Kenton.  Then he came home for breakfast.  

I dropped him and the boys off at the combine
 after breakfast and got stuck.  

Well, not stuck by Kenton's standards since he gave me that disgusted look
and drove right out, but stuck enough that I was spinning.  
I hate that look.

Kenton forgot to shut off the auger last night
and when Jamison took off in the combine all the corn was augered right out
on the ground for the first couple rounds.

The big truck really did get stuck and Kenton had to get the tractor to get it out.

But the big drama is that I'm using Christmas break to start potty training Emily.
I really need a vacation.
However, I am a total failure at combining homeschool and potty training.

Of course, I'd place high in the competition for World's Worst Potty Trainer.
I would be willing to pay someone to move in and train my child.  

I've come to the conclusion that Emily will not train herself.
Ergo I'm probably the one to do the job.    

So I'm dressed in sackcloth and ashes while toting dry pull-ups and
a timer set for 45 minutes.

I think I'll move to Australia.
(It's summer vacation there, right?)  

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas to You

If you missed my Thanksgiving letter it's because you're not in my address book.  I probably either need to put your address where it belongs or one of us needs to move farther away.  This is a real problem because chances are there's a picture of our family that's sitting piled on my desk that was intended for you.  Feel free to demand your copy.

Here's what I would have shared about our family if you haven't received your copy...

Dear Friends and Family,
It's hard to believe that a year has come and gone.  It's been an interesting year for us as we've continued to adjust to being a family of seven.  In the spring Emily was diagnosed with cyclic vomiting syndrome and Long QT.  She's only had two episodes/hospital stays since she began taking meds for CVS.  We are so thankful that we have been able to resume a normal family schedule.  Last year's schedule took a heavy toll on our family.  Since she was sick on both Thanksgiving and Christmas last year we are looking forward to a real FIRST Thanksgiving and Christmas with her this year.  Her first year home was characterized by hospital visits on every trip and most holidays.  We are so thankful to have a diagnosis, effective treatment plan, wonderful hospital staff, and to God for helping us survive a difficult time.  I know may of you prayed for Emily and our family.  God answered so many of those prayers with YES!  Thank you!

Jamison (12) was thrilled that our new homeschool group has a woodworking class.  He loved every minute of it.  He still plays soccer, planted most of the cover crop this year, and shot his first buck, a six point.

Megan (10) loves to play with dolls, scary rides, playing piano and singing, being with friends, soccer, reading, listening to music, and being active.  She's still neater than I am and I foresee a day when I get complaints about my housekeeping from her.

Davis (8) likes to climb trees, listen to music, finish school before everyone else, and fish.  He plays soccer and still thinks John Deere tractors are the only ones that anyone should own.  He's our family comedian.

Kaitlyn (6) is loving having a younger sister.  This is partially because she loves to be the boss.  She plays with her dolls and bears, makes "nest" on the floor of her room, can't wait to read fluently, finished kindergarten math in two months, and can't wait to be a grown up.  The other day she told me that she's going to have 43 children.  When she takes one to the doctor, I get to babysit the other 42.  That should be fun.

Emily (3) is exuberant, joyful, and messy.  She loves to look at the photo albums, cut paper, playdough, dance, jump, make noise, and all things Mickey/Minnie Mouse.  She had many delays but now that she is well she is catching up.  No more "failure to thrive" for her!

Kenton and I have been so blessed this year.  We hope each of you are experiencing God's blessings as well.  Merry Christmas to each of you!

Lots of Love,
Kenton, Holly, Jamison, Megan, Davis, Kaitlyn, and Emily

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

 We had ours today.
I think it was the best one ever.

After Kenton came in from the barn, we had breakfast, and then settled in for gift giving.  

Emily carried this gift around for the last two days.  Every time anyone tried to show her another one of hers she'd push the new one away and yell, "NO, MINE!" while clutching this one.  She rapidly picked up the concept of more than one today.

Megan will HATE this picture.
  She was enjoying the chef's cap, aprons, and oven mitts for her dolls.  

The days was a bit of a blur.  Turns out so are most of my pictures.

We added to the family again.  
This is Kaitlyn's new baby Molly.

The boys got a bunch of new farming equipment.  Davis's new barn was a hit with both boys.

Kenton was appalled that I got a drum for our loudest child.  
It was a hit.  (Pun intended :-P )

Megan wanted a matching outfit with her doll. As she grows it's getting harder and harder to find one in her size.  

We opened presents, snacked, ate, watched movies, and just hung out together.
No one even suggested playing monopoly.  What a great day!

Lego construction was a big part of the day also.

We had our traditional Christmas dinner. 
I got brave this year and made the chicken cordon bleu from scratch.  
Not too shabby!

We wish each of you a Merry Christmas as we remember
the birth of our Savior and the hope we have in the gift
of salvation He offers.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas is Coming...

 Before Carl and Martha left for Florida, Carl helped Kenton dig through to install the pipe to the pit.  I think Carl wanted to make sure there were no cave-ins while Kenton was working down below.  Thank you!

The pit is one step closer to being finished.
I won't mention how many more steps are between here and there.

During a moment of relative tranquility, I found the kids doing some painting.
(Only one shirt was ruined during this episode although there was plenty of 
paint to clean up later.)

It was nice to experience a little peace on earth.

There's been enough bickering I was tempted to tell them about Santa
and his naughty and nice list.
If true, we'd have enough coal here to last until Spring.

The snow and the joy of snow lasted for several days. 

It was nice to have a child-free house for a little while.

It was so warm that the coats and mittens didn't last long.

Snow pants were a little more important because everything was melting like crazy.
On Saturday the temp was in the 60's so the yard is pretty green right now.

We spent a little time decorating gingerbread.

I've been asked continually for the last few days...WHEN can we eat them?

With enough harassment I caved and told them to go ahead today.

I heard one kid warn the others that he was going to eat HIS part later.
I figured that wasn't going to be very effective.

Apparently he didn't think so he informed the others that he'd licked his share.

The kids had their Christmas Sunday school program yesterday.  
 We couldn't see Emily or Kaitlyn.
We couldn't hear Davis.
We couldn't see Megan.  

We sang one Christmas carol during church.  
I will refrain from further comments on this topic.  

Kenton decided to drain the local pond this morning.  

So much for childproof!

Emily's had a bit of the belly bug lately.  
We've been so happy to survive it without a hospital visit.
We're on Day #127!

Today, I'm cooking and cleaning the kitchen 
and cooking and cleaning the kitchen, and
doing it some more 
TOMORROW we are having Christmas!  :D

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Kids in Snow

 The kids played outside in the snow for a long time today.  

It was nice to have a break from the...ummm....joyful (yep, that's 
the adjective I'm looking for)noises of children at play.

The noise and mess were outside for a couple hours.

We went to a Christmas puppet show on Sunday.  Last night we went to the historic district in Cumberland and walked around looking at the lights.  We took the wagon and, miracle of miracles, Davis pulled Kaitlyn and sleeping Emily for a good chunk of our walk.  I figured we'd hear plenty of whining but they were all good sports.  :-)

Do you know the Officer Buckle and Gloria story?
It's a favorite around here.

Naturally, the kids listen to Officer Buckle about as well as they listen to me.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Birthday Party

 Kaitlyn had a little birthday party today.  
Little is the key word.  They came, they played, they ate, and went home.

I feel a little guilty that I didn't have anything special planned.
However, no one seemed to mind.

Canning is back in season.
Jamison brought home the bacon and I get to fry it up in the pan...or
He shot and butchered the deer.  Now I have to can it.

Since my gasket decided to kick the bucket tonight, this meant a panicked trip to the hardware store.
Hooray!  Who knew that they carry those things year 'round?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


A new record...almost...heading into Day #109!


Should I be alarmed that on a list of "Things to do in Pittsburgh"
the Allegheny County Jail shows up?

That should make Pittsburghers proud.


We put up the Christmas tree today.
Nothing screams chaos like having the help of five kids putting up Christmas decorations.
Blaring Christmas music, spilled hot chocolate, squeals of joy at locating treasures, stuff everywhere...
Need I say more?


In a moment of weakness, I caved and joined facebook.

Go ahead and laugh.  

I'll join you once they remove the straight-jacket.


What's a blog post without pictures?

Davis entertaining Emily a few weeks ago.  

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

In November...

 Catching up on the things I should have posted...

Kaitlyn sang with a children's chorus.

The older three were in Jonah's Druthers: a Whale of a Tale.

Jamison and Megan both had short speaking parts.

Davis just helped with the singing.

Megan sang a short solo.


Davis and Caleb were successful pigeon hunters in the barn 
while Jamison and Josh didn't see any deer during Youth Hunt.  

Following our annual candy hunt, costumes were a popular activity.

Kenton's family had "Christmas" on Thanksgiving while Ben and Janelle and tribe 
were here and before Carl and Martha leave for Florida. 

Four grandkids were missing.
Next year we HOPE to have ALL nineteen.  

Grandma wanted a picture of the grandkids to compare how they've changed since last year.  
Think she'll do the same with her kids?

(Janelle, Kenton, Rich, Lillian, and missing Dennis.)

It was a crazy, special weekend for us:
Bender Christmas on Thursday.
Paul and Bonnie and their kids came from New York for the weekend.

Saturday: Jamison got his first buck (Sorry, he's SO HAPPY!)

Kaitlyn turned six.
(This was a tremendous relief to her parents who have been hearing daily, if not hourly, countdowns to the BIG day.)

There were lots of extras around to help celebrate.

Grandma Adamson made her a new dress.

On Sunday, Kenton turned 44, Grandma Bender had our house of fifteen, Janelle's five, and three of Rich's for dinner, and some of the Mast cousins got together in the evening.

On Monday, we had our last bit of fun with the New York crew and Janelle's tribe came for dinner.

(Emily and Abby)

Today, everyone woke up with a big smile, energized to get back to our regularly scheduled program.  


Every kid woke up determined to be miserable and not suffer alone.  

Their success in this effort was unsurpassed.   

I think I'll move to Australia.

In other news, tomorrow is Day #108 for Emily.  That's the longest she's ever made it before.

Please cheer for a record breaker!