Florida Family 2013

  We love when our Florida family comes to visit!  My brother Chad, Sis in law, Lauren & my nephews, Brayden & Colby came to visit for almost a week.  They have changed SO much since last time, when they were itty bitty crawling babies!!!!!!!!!

  We had so much fun with them, it’s always that much harder to say good-bye though. Wish we could convince them to move to the Mid-west already!  🙂

  Anyhow, here are the photos from their visit.

Due to lack of space at my house, Chad & Lauren moved into mom’s side of the duplex.  She moved over to Grandma’s side.  God is so good to have worked out my mom and Grandmas “neighbor” status. He knew they needed each other close by!

We hung at Mom’s some nights, but were over here at our house most of the time. 

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  Mom and Great Grandma were brave and kept all 6 kids between the duplex sides OVER NIGHT, so we could have a date night with Chad & Lauren!  HOW AWESOME!

  It’s State Fair time, so we went and walked around and ate yummy food.  I didn’t take my camera because I wanted to hold hands with my man, but we got this shot before we left.  My favorite part of the night was watching Lauren peel herself off the floor of our “boat” during the ride Ye Old Mill.  Lest you think I wasn’t fazed by this ride, I will tell you my throat was sore from all the screaming I did. 

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Saturday morning I was privileged to be asked to do a food demonstration at an awesome kitchen store downtown, Apron Strings.  They asked for me to make a seasonal food, so right away I said BBQ Chicken Pie. It always reminds me of Back to School!

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Mom and Lauren were GREAT helpers and I wouldn’t have gotten my prep done in time without them. Next time, I will go earlier until I know my way around that kitchen a little better.

  And yes, there will be a next time! They asked me to come back in January.  I am thinking Settlers Beans and Cornbread, what do you think?

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The rest of the time we just hung out.  Honestly, with 6 kids in the house, and 4 extra adults with mom and Grandma coming over for supper, it was a loud, full house and there was always something going on.  I LOVE that part!  There is nothing better than being elbow to elbow with your loved ones talking loudly over each other.  blog 1

We also made sure we had the extended family over for Sunday Night Snack Supper.  Food, fellowship and some outside duck & chicken feeding fun. 

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You break it, you buy it BUDDY!

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The 2nd Cousins

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Monday was no school, so we headed to the Fair with the whole crew!

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With 3 strollers, 6 kids, 5 adults and an Electric Scooter, we soon had to divide up, but it was still a great day. 100* hot, but great!

  Because it was dollar day, we were able to do a lot of the rides.  Pax pretty much hated all of them!  Here he is on the Carousel, it was all fun and games until his hat flew off, then he sobbed and sobbed. I think he thought HE was flying off next.  It broke my heart, and I almost jumped the fence to rescue him, mid-ride, but he did fine inspite of the sobs.

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  The big kids thought Chad & Lauren were the COOLEST Uncle & Aunt EVER after they did the White Water Ride with them.

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  Destiny met up with one of her friends from school and got to go with her and her mom the rest of the afternoon.  I knew they would take good care of her, and she’d be able to do more big kid rides, but I missed her too!  Just another step in the process of her growing up and away from me.  Pax hated these rides too, every turn he would hollar, “I DON’T WIKE DIS WIDE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

  All except the truck.  That one was the most slow, boring one ever, but he loved it! Is my adventuresome one finally taming?!?!?!?!

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  One day Aunt Gena brought over a 32 pound Watermelon she grew in her garden.  We had it for after school snack, and would you believe most of it was gone in 20 minutes?! It was goooood!

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    I almost cried when I packed back up the baby toys and put away the cribs.  We miss the Bontrager Family already!  The good news is, we MIGHT get to see them again over Thanksgiving!!!!

  Tomorrow, I will share their family photo session that I took their last night here.  Busy, don’t hold me back, 1 year olds are always a challenge, but we did our best! 🙂


Florida Fun: Meet the Twins Edition

  Remember when I posted this a last November when my brother, Chad and his wife, Lauren came for a visit?


They were pregnant with identical twin boys.  From the get go, the Lord has worked miracle after miracle for this family, first in the womb, then during an emergency c-section at 32 weeks gestation, on Mother’s Day no less!


And here they are, home from the NICU at last!

Colby and Brayden


  I was soooooooo excited when Dale said he’d stay home with the kids, so I could fly down for 5 days and help out with the babies.  {Squeee!!!!!}  God is good and provided me with a ticket $200 less than the other prices I had been finding.

  At 10:30 pm, the night before I left, it was decided Paxton should come with me.  For multiple reasons, but partly because this is the last time he could fly free as a lap child.  Why not take advantage of some one on one time with Pax?!  I am a planner by nature, so it was out of character for me to be packing the morning I was leaving, but I went with it.  See how laid back I am getting in my old age?


The airport was SO exciting!


   Paxton was supposed to ride as a lap child, but the Lord was good to provide us a “spare seat”  on part of the way down. 


  He played quietly with the few cars and books I packed, and sat nicely. I was so proud of him! 

  We had a 3 hour layover in Atlanta.  We walked and played during our long layover and watched the “pwanes” coming and going.  I love experiencing things through the eyes of my children!   

  We arrived way earlier than scheduled, but Dad and Drea were ready and waiting for us at the airport. Drea stayed with the car so she wouldn’t get a ticket, but Papa and Pax had a sweet reunion in the airport.


  We drove the hour and a half to Chad’s house.  YAY! It was time to meet Brayden. Colby was still in the NICU at this point.  We all prayed really really hard that the doctors would allow him to come home. They were being very strict about him, as he was having some trouble with a dropping heart rate during his feedings. 


  PRAISE GOD, he got released the morning after we arrived, so just as planned, I got to be there for Chad and Lauren’s first days at home as parents of identical twin preemie boys.  God is so good to give us the desires of our hearts! 

  Lauren went up to the hospital all by herself and brought those precious boys home: SUPER MOM already!

  They stopped at the family furniture store first, since that’s where we all were.


Is it a bird, a plane?



  Two babies in the car and she still stops to get Chad his favorite drink AND walks in all by herself! 

  Naturally we had to take lots of photos of the happy family, together at last!


Uncle Chad and Aunt Lauren playing “Zoom” with Paxton.


  My “vacation” was BUSY! In a good way.  I helped Lauren with the boys, cleaned their beautiful home, cooked, put some extra casseroles, cubed chicken and easy dinners in the freezer, reorganized the kitchen and played with Paxton! It was great!  I am ready to go back!  🙂



I have never had a tiny baby, after Destiny’s 7 lbs 11 oz,  they were all 9 1/2 & over 10 pounds.  I loved being able to hold Colby and Brayden one handed!  And my arm didn’t even go numb like it used to with big babies Avery and Paxton! 🙂


  We had one sunny day while we were there, since Hurricane Debbie was parked out in the ocean the whole time.


{They got about 25 inches of rain and surrounding towns had tornadoes!}

   I didn’t care, I was there for the babies, so the rainy weather made it extra fun to be holed up in the house with the boys.


I told Pax, “Be sure to hold his head.”


“Uh oh, Mommy! He is starting to make some noises.”


“You ok, buddy?”


  Brave Chad and Lauren decided we’d all load up and head somewhere fun on Saturday.  We went to a really cool park.  You paid by the carload to get in, then you could swim in the natural spring! It was amazing!  Next time we come, I want to bring the kiddos and do this.  The water was so clear!


   We put our names in at this cool restaurant that used to be a sugar mill.  It was such a cool old building.

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The wait was long, like an hour and a half, so we went to play while we waited.


“I did it, Papa! Thanks for showing me how!”


“I love you, Papa.”



“Let’s eat already!”


The twins thought it was time to eat too, so Chad and Lauren went and found a shady bench. You should’ve SEEN the crowds gathered around them asking questions about these itty bitty identical twin boys!


We were all getting so hot and tired, but it was worth the wait in the long run. 


This restaurant is famous for:  IMG_2399

  You cook your own breakfast on a griddle in the middle of the table! Too cool!


  It was SOOOO delicious!  What a fun treat!

    My trip was drawing to a close, and I missed my own little family, but it was hard to say goodbye, knowing I wouldn’t see these precious ones until they are 6 months old! IMG_2237

  After a long flight home, Pax and I were anxious to hug on our Ferguson family. 


  The whole crew came to the airport to pick us up.  I, of course, don’t have photos of it, but Avery and Paxton held hands the whole way home, then giggled and played like best friends rest of the evening.  Destiny said the house was TOO QUIET with Paxton gone!  They have forbidden me from leaving for Florida again without them! They wanted to go meet Colby and Brayden, too!

  Thank you Chad and Lauren, for allowing us to come be a part of your first week home, all as a family!

  Love you, kiss those precious boys for me!

~ T 



Wedding Bells


  My baby brother, Chad (FINALLY) proposed to his girlfriend, Lauren, a few weeks before our Florida trip.  She said “Yes! It’s about dang time!”  (Ok I am not for sure that’s what she said, but I bet I am close…)


  After much debate, they decided to get married while we were in Florida.  Meaning they planned the entire thing in…….

20 days. 

Can you IMAGINE?!?!??!

  They did this so we could be a part of it, bless their hearts!!!!!  They knew there was no way we could save up to fly back again this year.  Lauren pulled it off, and it was AMAZING! 🙂


  They asked our children to be part of their big day. They, of course, were thrilled.  Lauren’s wedding colors, Fushia & Tangerine Orange, were the ones I had picked out for my wedding 10 years ago, but I guess I was ahead of the trends, because back then we couldn’t find anything in those 2 colors, and people looked at me like I was NUTS! lol 🙂  To say I lived vicariously through Lauren would be a small understatement, I had so much fun sending her cake and flower pictures using those colors. And, she let me pick the little girls flower girl dresses! {squeeeeeeeal}

I immediately began scouring bridal sites….too expensive and too fancy for an outdoor Florida wedding.  Then, I remembered Etsy, my favorite new addiction.  I hit the JACKPOT, praise the Lord, finding a gal on there who would sell me a 3T fushia and tangerine tutu with matching headband for $20 AND custom make me a matching size 7-8 with flower clip for $25 by Monday (it was Thursday I do believe). 

  And boy, did she deliver!  These tutu’s are made from an excellent quality tulle and the hair accessories are well made.  I HIGHLY recommend her!   Check out her shop here at Caroline’s Boutique, and please tell her Tonya from Kansas sent you.


We love you Uncle Chad & Aunt Lauren, thanks for making us a part of your special day!  xoxo

Here are the photos from their amazing day!










Proof that I should’ve taken my children’s photos BEFORE the wedding rather than after: 


(But who has time for that when trying to do hair and get little people dressed between afternoon naps and a 3:00 ceremony!?!??!)  🙂 



Considering that we were drenched in sweat by this point and ready to go inside, they did very well.



I had Chad and Lauren’s photographer snap a family photo for me….easier said than done.


SO close, thanks Ty!


I tell ya, the more kids you have, the harder it is to take a good family photo!

Oh well.

Congrats to Mr. & Mrs. Bontrager! We are SO happy for you two!