Thursday, June 11, 2015


Our family always looks forward to going to the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. We missed it last year since we were out of town, so we were extra excited this year!

A few days before going to the rodeo, we mentioned the Mutton Bustin' event to Ian. We never in a million years would've guessed that our cautious little boy would jump at the chance to ride a crazy sheep. But, he sure did ...even after seeing the arena and other 5- and 6-year-olds getting thrown off their sheep! (We made him watch the event before waiting in the 1.5-hour line! Only 20 or so children can compete each round, and they are weighed to make sure they are between 50-55 pounds.) We were proud that he wanted to try it (especially since it really is a once-in-a-lifetime experience), though Kim started to have second thoughts about what we had agreed to let him do when Ian had to put on all of his protective gear. :) It was really neat that a little girl from Ian's kindergarten class also happened to be in line at the same time, so they were in the same show together!

the mutton bustin' arena
Ian was beaming the whole time they were suiting him up and never seemed to have any second thoughts.

We don't have any pictures of him on his sheep -- who was named "Toddler Tosser." Unfortunately, our video isn't uploading properly either. Next time you see us, please ask if you'd like to see the video ... it's hilarious! The announcers introduce each rider and give some basic stats (like saying that Ian's favorite rodeo event is the tractor pull). Ian held onto the sheep's fur successfully for about four seconds (halfway across the arena) before the sheep veered toward the side and jumped, knocking Ian off. He had a little scrape on his side from getting dragged a bit, which he was pretty proud to show off. They even give the riders a score (Ian's was 88), but I have no idea how they really determine this. Ian was also quite proud of the ribbon that he and all of the other 19 or so participants got at the end.

Ryan and Momma went to the petting zoo during part of the time that Daddy and Ian (and Nathan) waited in line.
As a family, we went through the farm exhibit. This has always been one of the boys' favorite parts of the rodeo. The boys completed all of their necessary tasks, including gathering produce,
feeding the chickens and gathering eggs,
pumping water,
milking the cow, etc.
At the end of the exhibit, the boys "sold" all of their goods in exchange for two pretend dollars -- one to give to the "bank,"
and one to spend on a treat to eat. How fun!
Soon afterwards, our family enjoyed some fair food together ...
...and then we headed to the rodeo. The boys were quite interested in the events and asked a lot of questions about what was going on.

We even got to try some cotton candy while we were watching.
We were all definitely too tired to stay for any of the concert afterward (plus we weren't sure how age-appropriate it would be for our boys :)), so we headed home! What a wonderful family outing!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Sweet Nephew Isaiah

While we were in Michigan for Matt's parents' retirement celebration, we got word that Chelsea and Jon were having their baby . Little Isaiah Jonathan was born on March 10. When our plane landed late the next night, we drove directly to the hospital. There's no way that we could wait any longer to meet our new nephew! Matt and I took turns going into the hospital to meet and cuddle sweet Isaiah while our three boys slept in the car. We thought he was just adorable!

The next morning, we headed over to their house as soon as we heard that Isaiah was coming home. Ian and Ryan were thrilled to meet their new cousin.

They proudly hung up the "Welcome Home, Isaiah" sign that they had carefully and diligently decorated with stickers, markers, and crayons.
The new parents, Jon and Chelsea, seemed to be doing very well. But, since it was spring break when Isaiah was born, we took full advantage of going over to hold him and offer help to his parents each of the rest of the days of break. Our main goals were to cuddle Isaiah as much as possible and to try to help Chelsea get some extra sleep, but we were also able to help with some meals, cleaning, Isaiah's first at-home bath, and providing entertainment (because our family of five is often synonymous with "three-ringed circus." Ha!). What a privilege to live so close to Jon, Chelsea, and Isaiah ... and to get to know Isaiah from day 1 (or at least day 2). :)

Chelsea's mom came in to help after spring break -- right as Jon had to head back to school. Perfect timing!

A few weeks later, lots of other family members came into town to celebrate Isaiah's baptism. I don't think Isaiah was put down very much during that stretch. :) The family members gave our three little ones plenty of love and cuddles, too.
Matt's Aunt Mary (holding Nathan) and Mary's granddaughter (holding Isaiah)

Grandpa and Grandma (Matt's parents)

We were honored to be asked to be some of Isaiah's godparents.

all six of Isaiah's godparents -- Chelsea's sister and husband; some church friends from Lincoln, NE; and us!

We love you, sweet Isaiah, and promise to keep you in our prayers -- that you would love Jesus with your whole heart and seek to serve Him each day until He calls you home!