Monday, April 29, 2013

Ava @ 4 Years!

Ava Marie, you are 4 years old!

You are Momma's big helper! We call you little momma and you tell me you want to be just like me!

Your favorite activity-holding Arynn
You want to grow up too fast. You might be disappointed when you wake up today and realize you can't drive. You have been telling us that when you turn 4 you can drive a car, cook dinner and be a momma!


Home from the hospital
You are very loving, you like to hold Daddy's hand at the dinner table (he now eats with his left hand!) We also call you "the whobody". This started when you were two, instead of saying somebody, you used the word whobody, the name stuck.

One year
You are very intelligent, you are insisting on starting school this year, so I ordered you some Kindergarten worksheets. You also enjoy working puzzles and copying letters and know most of your letter sounds.

Two years

You are playful! You like to ride your bike. You play house with Addy, you both call each other "momma" when playing. You take turns pushing each other in the stroller.

Three years
You love your boys and tend to "mother" them, Aus takes it pretty well, but you and Aiden tend to butt heads.
Playing at the park
You are very caring and love all babies, especially your baby sister. The first words out of your mouth every morning are, "When can I hold Arynn?" You also love your baby dolls, Tommy and Maddie are a few of your favorites. You spend a lot of time playing with your family set.
You always have a smile for the camera!
You might be considered high maintenance. ;-) When we asked you what you wanted for your birthday, the list was endless... a ring like momma's, dinosaurs, a real phone, and a real car were just a few of the answers.

You are your Daddy's girl. When you found out that Daddy was going out of town for a week you cried your eyes out and wouldn't let him out of your sight for the rest of the night. It broke your Daddy's heart but he assured you that it wouldn't be for long.

Our big girl!

It is so fun watching you grow up every day with the new things that you learn and say.  We know that God is going to do wonderful things with your life and we feel so blessed to have you.  You are growing up too fast but by the grace of God we are going to raise you for His service.  We love you so much!







Thursday, April 18, 2013


One night after church, I sent the girls to get ready for bed. I forgot their dresses zipped up in the back and they would need help. About the time I remembered and walked in to check on them. I walked in on this conversation.
Ava: "Addy, you turn around and Sissy will unzip your dress."
Addy: "Okay"
{I ran to grab my camera.}
Ava: "Okay, I'm done. Now, Sissy's going to turn around and you need to unzip mine."
Addy: "Okay."
This is the picture I got, poor quality but I didn't want to forget this moment.
Sometimes they fight and yell but they truly love each other and work to help each other out. Their bond is so sweet it almost makes me a little envious. ;-) I hope they always stay close and rely on each other. I know Arynn will be right there with them soon! We sure do love our sweet little girls.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Arynn @ 6 Weeks

Arynn Lizabeth, you are 6 weeks old!
You weigh 10 pounds 11 ounces. You are in 3 month clothes and size 1 shoe. You are wearing a size 1 diaper. You have been traveling! Memphis, Hot Springs, Little Rock, NWA, and Hope just to name a few places. You sleep very well in your car seat. In fact you sleep well at night too! You are such an easy baby.
 You are smiling a lot these days. You always have a sweet smile for your sisters and brothers. You are awake from 9:00 until 11:00 at night before you nurse one last time. Then you sleep until 5:00, you nurse again and sleep til around 9:00 am. You are getting to the stage where you think you have to nurse to go to sleep. During your awake period before bed, you talk and smile. Everyone else is already asleep so it is yours and momma's one on one time. I look forward to our visits together every night. When you wake in the mornings, your brothers and sisters climb in the bed with you and love seeing that same sweet smile.
 Your face is still broke out and I'm not sure how to fix it. Maybe time will make it better. You went with Momma to her 6 week postpartum visit and Dr. S thought you were adorable. I had to get a picture of you with the Dr. who delieverd you. I love the expression on your face. He said you needed to go on a diet!

You are such a joy and we can't imagine life without you! Time is going by too fast! We love you sweet baby girl!

Date Night

One of the things we learned at our marriage retreat is something we already knew. It is so important to not neglect your spouse so you can take care of your children! Your spouse should always come first!
Arynn was ready to eat!
For a long time now, my sweet husband has insisted we have date night. We are so blessed to have parents who want to watch our babies which allows Jake and I to go out once a week.
Mommy and Arynn
 Jake used to work second shift and we weren't able to have a night out, but he has been on days for about year. Our date night consists of dropping off the kids (nursing babies go with Momma) around 5:30, dinner and usually some type of shopping/errands. When I was pregnant we would buy groceries so I wouldn't have to go during the week with the kids. We try to pick up the kids around 9:00.
Daddy, Mommy andArynn
 I know it is a luxury and most people don't have a babysitter but I encourage you to make time to talk to your spouse. Even if you just have to put the kids to bed earlier and have a date at your house! I feel so blessed to have such a wonderful husband! We cherish our time to talk and the kiddos enjoy visiting with the grandparents.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Easter Sunday was very wet at our house this year. Usually we dye and hunt eggs with the grandparents on Sunday afternoon, but because of the weather, we just stayed home and did nothing! I have to admit that I am getting slightly spoiled to a Sunday afternoon nap.
Mimi has been working on lots of sewing projects for her 3 girls. She made the older girls' gowns for Christmas and Arynn is now getting to wear hers. Mimi is so talented and the girls love to see what she has made for them.
The girls wearing their gowns made by Mimi.
We have "Cinnamon Roll Sundays" at our house and Aiden likes to fix breakfast. Obviously I cheat and buy the cans, but the kids like them just the same. After he got breakfast in the oven, he wanted to hold his baby sister.
Aiden getting some cuddle time with Arynn.
Arynn has been trying out the bumbo and seems to like it. I guess her cheeks just got too heavy and she had to rest them for a minute. :-)
Arynn needed a power nap before church.
Mimi also made the girls' easter dresses. I will have to get a better close up picture, this was taken as we were leaving for church and we were already pretty late if that's believable!
Our little chicks.
Easter fell on 5th Sunday and at our church we have specials during the evening services. Aiden started taking guitar lessons last fall but only got to take them for a few months. He is still practicing and knows 3 chords. At Christmas, he played Silent Night and I sang with him. He wanted to play for 5th Sunday and Ava said she wanted to sing with him this time. Aiden worked on writing down his chords for "Jesus Loves Me" and they practiced together. Austen decided to join in last minute and Addy was not going to be left out. Ava had a bit of stage fright, but Austen was able to carry them through. Addy had a wardrobe malfunction and was without shoes when they started singing. After Nana buckled her shoe, she showed up for her part. This was the video Nana took with her phone. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

17 Kids and Lots of Fun!

The Friday before Easter, we had plans to go to the Memphis Zoo with our friends the Tims and Witchers. We woke up to lots of rain at our house and were unsure if we should make the drive just to be rained out. Thankfully our friends suggested the Children's Museum and the drive to Memphis was worth the sweet time of fellowship we had with our friends.
Who knew checkers could be so much fun?
Austen is making big plans.
The first stop was at the checkerboard. The kids were excited to see each other and get some energy out, so no one actually played a game of checkers. It didn't take long for them to make up their own game of making a tower with the checkers.
Austen and his hula hoop.
Madisyn finally got to hold Arynn, I know she was wondering if she would ever get a chance! When they came to visit, I sat and rocked her all day. It wasn't until they left, that I realized I hadn't offered to let Madisyn hold her! You can tell just how much Madisyn loves babies! 
Madisyn holding Arynn for the first time.
I didn't get near as many pictures as I would have liked, but it was pretty hectic that day at the museum. So to see more pictures of our fun day visit the Tims' and  Witcher's blogs. *Disclaimer- My goal is to become as efficient as these Mommas, so one day they can link to my post!!!*
Aiden, Griffin, Ben, Grady, Lee and Austen
Altogether we had 17 kids, ages 1 month to 11 years, and 5 adults. (Mr. Kent met up with us a dinner time.) It is funny to see other people's reactions to our group as we walk by. Lots of people count, some shake their heads in disbelief, but it is such a joy to receive compliments. At dinner that night, multiple people (including the manager) commented on how well-behaved our kiddos had been. We had a wonderful visit with our friends and a great start to our 3 day weekend!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Happy Birthday Poppa Kenneth!

Poppa's birthday was at the end of March. He usually heads to the lake around his b-day time, so I made sure we got to celebrate before he left. We like to take the grandparents out to eat for their birthdays, just because we are quickly running out of room to entertain at our house. One of our favorite restuarants we like to go to for big events closed this year. So we decided to cook and we took dinner to Nana and Poppa so he could stay in his comfy chair.

These kids were waiting as patiently as possible.
Jake grilled steaks, which were wonderful, the girls and I fixed a salad and copied a cake from our Fort Rock trip. It was so yummy, I had to try it! It was a pretty big hit, you can't go wrong with chocolate cake, condensed milk, cool whip and heath bar!
Daddy held Arynn while I was serving cake.
I caught him tasting it before he had a free hand to eat with!

Arynn was being sweet and cuddly.

Poppa doesn't like to hold "new" babies.
I think this is only the 2nd time he held her.

Nana, on the other hand, can't get enough of her grandbabies!
We ate too much and stayed too late as always. We hope Poppa knows how much we love him. Happy Birthday Poppa!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Fort Rock Marriage Retreat

A few weeks ago, Jake and I were able to attend a marriage retreat. I have been trying to get caught up with everything blogging so this is behind, better late than never!

Last fall, we attended a Maxwell conference with our good friends the Witchers. (It was not the first one we had attended with them, in fact we met their family for the first time at a Maxwell conference in September of 2009. Back when we just had 3 kiddos and they only had 5, before we needed 12 passenger vans!) At the conference last fall, we were blessed to meet another new family, the Tims. Candyce sent me a sweet card a few months later letting me know she wanted to keep in touch. We had exchanged info but she had misplaced it and googled us! I'm doing good to remember my own name, let alone someone else's! She later sent a package in the mail for Arynn and I finally got around to calling her back. I do have good intentions, but I just can't seem to get it all done!
Stacy and Liberty, Candyce and Clara, Jess and Arynn
We kept in touch and she told me about a marriage retreat coming up in the spring. I told Jake about the retreat and passed the info along to Stacy. Jake begged for me to go, but I wouldn't commit because the retreat was too close to delivery day, especially since our babies like to come late. Then Stacy told me they were definitely going and Candyce was too, I couldn't miss out on a chance to hang out with these wonderful ladies, so we signed up! We prayed for an easy recovery and we ended up going with our 3 week old baby girl! No regrets we had a wonderful time!
Kent, Jake and Don
Jake and I were looking forward to spending the weekend together, but we were both more excited about spending time with our wonderful friends. We enjoy visiting and letting our kids play together, but sometimes it is difficult to carry on a conversation while keeping up with our little ones. We knew this would be one of the few times we would have the luxury of uninterrupted adult conversation!

A group shot 

Fort Rock is a family camp set up like a fort/town from the 1800s. They offer family camps (Lord willing, we will be attending in the summer) and marriage retreats. The speakers for this retreat were Dr. S. M. Davis and THE DUGGARS! I had purchased a DVD from the Maxwell conference from Dr. Davis on reverence, which I highly recommend and I was excited to be able to hear him in person. There were so many key points we wanted to remember, so during our retreat, we bought a collection of 150 of his messages. Jake has been enjoying listening to them on the commute to work and I have been listening to them at night before bed. There were multiple things he talked about that really hit home. Sometimes it's easy to get discouraged but we felt so uplifted after leaving this retreat. Not only is it helping our marriage, but a stronger marriage benefits our children.

Jake being the guinea pig.
There were lots of activities including a zip line, archery, tomahawks, rifle range and horseback riding. I used the "only 3 weeks postpartum" excuse for the zip line. But honestly I would not have attempted anyway! Jake was the first in our group to do the zip line, Kent and Stacy followed. Jake liked it so much he did it a second time. I feel like if the weather would have been better he would not have ever gotten tired of it!
My brave husband!

Arriving safely on the other side.
Couples were a team for some activities and they kept score at the rifle range, archery and tomahawks. The prize was a gift card to Olive Garden. Needless to say we didn't get a gift card. : -(   Jake says I have to put in a lot of practice before we go back in July!
Kent and Jake practicing.
Don and Candyce (she looked like a pro)

Jake getting some tips on how to throw the tomahawks. It is much harder than it looks!
Not sure how Jake managed this one.

The girls

The guys
Jake signed up to ride horses without me, but didn't get to go. At the end of the day, they asked if he wanted to help take the horses back to the barn. I got brave and decided to go with him. Stacy and Candyce were going to watch Arynn. I was on my horse for literally 1 minute and it did not want to listen very well. Jake told them if there was any question on whether or not I could control it, I needed to get a different horse. I decided I would rather stay and not get a new horse! When they returned, Jake said I made a good decision because I wouldn't have liked it.
Kent and Jake taking the horses back home.
Saturday evening Jim Bob and Michelle arrived. Before their speaking session we played a few games. I'm pretty sure Jake and I could have won the "newlywed game" if we were called. It was fun to watch the other couples' anwers. We also played a game where everyone stood up and as they called certain situations out, you would sit down if it applied to you. The last couple standing won the prize. Jake and I were pretty close to winning that one but he had to sit down on "if you have ever painted your wife's toenails!" I can't believe he admitted to doing it but he has done that for me almost every pregnancy! He's such a wonderful husband!
Michelle and Jim Bob playing the "newlywed game."
Our last pic before going home.
Thanks to Jamie for taking this picture!
We ended the night with a visit with the Duggars. They truly are precious people. I am working on speaking to my children in my "Michelle voice" but I need lots of practice. I admire their dedication to their family and God. It is refreshing to be able to speak to someone who knows what you are experiencing and has not only survived but their family has thrived. I pray God will grant us mercy and grace as He has for their sweet family. We ended up leaving that night and didn't get to finish out the last session on Sunday morning. We heard it was just as great as the others. The whole experience was wonderful and Jake and I feel so blessed to have been able to attend. You might also want to read about Stacy's and Candyce's experiences at Fort Rock.