Friday, July 12, 2013

Far More Pictures Than Anyone Should Ever Post

Always fun learnin' stuff with our  Poppy!
So nice how everyone obeys at tea time here:)

"Large Family Logistics" in full swing
Singing together at the Christian Heritage Conference... a highlight of the "Wheels on the Bus 3 Day Tour" 
Seems like we're always having our own family conference?
Sweet friends Hannah and Audrey King from Montana
Heavy competition at the shooting range
Don't know where Charlie is, but this is his lovely "Mayflower", due in early August.
Popsicles with some of the King brothers and Crosby, who thinks she's one of them.
Another one of Carver's captives....later returned to its mother.
Shot by Charlie, caught by Lina and hung up to dry by Cass.
Bami and Poppy
After all these years, they still love each other and they even MATCH!
Only a boy named Crockett would climb this high?
In search of the cucumber tea sandwiches.
The world famous lollipop girl, who tossed one just like this over a balcony
and managed to land it in an unsuspecting Mama' s hair. (!)
Dr. Peter Hammond of South Africa told us his amazing stories of smuggling Bibles into Communist countries, being captured, imprisoned and beaten. A true hero, who also taught us how to drink a proper cup of tea.
Toilet paper is just so FUN!
Official meeting of the men on their way to feed Hoot and Holler...our  baby goats.
Feeding Hoot!
In honor of Campbell's 4th birthday: A Candy Land tournament.

Campbell riding the "hot rod" Bami and Poppy gave him.
Birthday flowers for Carolina. How can she be 18?!!
Celebrating with favorite friends and family, and dear Abigail and Madison.
It's always a happy day with Daddy.
Aunt Kali came all the way from Florida for hugs and kisses.
Writing class, poetry tips, an intro to couponing,  fantastic finds at Savers, hot tea, fresh garlic, grilled everything and new exciting guitar chords for Cassidy!
More goat feeding. Can you tell this farm livin' is a novelty to us?
Planning and zoning for the latest fort
The Lord provided very last minute tickets to Virginia to attend memorial services for Doug Phillips' father, Howard.
He was a longtime friend of my Dad, Don McAlvany. 
These are a few of my favorite girls: Mary, Liberty and Jubilee...
...and Beall, who is one amazing, gracious and devoted Mama.

The Air and Space Museum in DC following the funeral, with brother David and adorable nephew Declan.
Bill's Berry Farm in Sunnyside, WA.
Blueberries are the perfect height for littles to pick. It is quite possible Crosby ate an acre or so.

Last minute insanity: Threw everything into the van and headed out July 5-7 for Berry Daze to fellowship with sweet homeschooling families and help where we could.
Had a wonderful time filling our buckets while big kids directed traffic, helped with rides and lunch, and weighed berries. Big ones and Curtis camped in the tent; the less adventurous stayed at the Grapevine Inn.
Mr. Placzek and Curtis with the BEST BLUEBERRY DONUTS . 
Another adorable play area...Oh, how I long to be outdoorsy and creative!!
Highlight of whole thing:
The Animal Train.

Absolutely the cutest, artsiest, yummiest place you've ever visited.
What happy hearts we have:)

Sunday, March 31, 2013

About Courage

Several days after we posted in November we found out we were expecting. The enthusiastic Mama in me cheered loudly, of course, while the realistic and cautious Mama braced for all this could mean in the months ahead.
At the time our dear friends had just delivered a stillborn baby, and I was reading a book on grief, thinking maybe all those states and national monuments last Spring had just distracted me when we lost Columbus.

My doctor agreed to schedule extra visits for January when I was most concerned something would go wrong. All was perfect at our 15 week appointment, and the girls and I were preparing to head to San Antonio for the Film Festival.

When she listened at 17 weeks, there was no heartbeat. Again.
I guess knowing what to expect this time made it easier in some ways. We checked into the hospital, met our nurse (a dear Christian Mommy), and started labor.
The next morning, February 1, we delivered our 8th perfect and precious baby boy. We named him Courage Wilberforce, and had the privilege of studying him, talking to him, memorizing his little feet, hands, knees and elbows, and wrapping him in a soft sweet blanket to bring him home.

Our family gathered once again in the yard to sing, pray, and thank the Lord for what He gives, and for what He takes away. We sang "The Love of God" and "Be Still My Soul" and marveled at how the Lord sends such grace and peace in the form of beloved hymns.

Carolina made Courage a cross next to Columbus and we cried buckets of tears, knowing that he is with Jesus but missing him and all that he would have been to our family so very much.

I've had several people ask lately if we're ever updating our blog again (ha) and I've said..."UGH. I have nothing to say." But really, there is so much to say:

The Lord has been incredibly good to us. We marvel at His blessings every day, and we thank Him for each child, here and in Heaven. We have been loved and prayed for so kindly by the body of Christ and our families. Friendships formed walking difficult roads are priceless treasures; God has given these generously. Our baby boys were spared the hardships of this life and know only Heaven.
Our hearts are broken, but the Great Physician is mending them faithfully.
And I have a new love for all the verses on courage:)