Here is the family photo. Any of you who received our Christmas card have already seen this one. It is also the photo on our church website. The address is www.gbcpaxton.com if you haven't looked at it yet. It is still under construction: I have a little more work to do on uploading sermons and completing the visitors page.
Levi and Carol . . .
Joel (will be 13 on 2/9) . . . a teenager!
Laura will be 12 in May.
Grant will be 10 this year.
John will be 8 in July. (That is how long we have been in Paxton; it is kind of interesting that our 4 younger children have only lived in Paxton - this is the only location they have known. Joel and Laura remember Belvidere/Cherry Valley and Grant joins them with minimal memories of Shelby/Lattimore, but the younger ones only know central Illinois!)
Kara just turned 5 (she shares her mother's birthday of January 10th).
And . . . Gardner - 2! (Yep, the picture is an accurate representation of his personality!)
We paid a pretty good amount of money for all of these pictures. I can take some pretty good ones myself that don't cost anything . . .
Believe it or not - the kids wanted to do this (take the pictures, they don't know that I put them on the blog yet!).
For the Holidays
We spent Christmas Day in Belvidere with Grandpa and Grandma Bumgardner. We went to Missouri for New Years; our crew joined Dad and Mom and three of my brothers and their families as well as my Grandma, my Aunt and her family for chili, oyster stew, some other soups, and crab dip (a New Years family tradition!). A friend gave us 2 pigs to butcher while there, so we spent a couple of days working up meat - 180 lbs of pork total from our two. The third one is for Dad and Mom.
For the church
We purchased a baptistery for our new building. It arrived in the middle of January; it was too big to fit through any of our doorways, and so we are going to have to remove on of the big windows this Saturday to get it in the building. Consequently, it is now stored in the church garage,which we just had to jack up and put back on the foundation after a strong mid-western wind blew it partially off a while back. We did fix the garage before using it to store the new baptistery (either spelling baptistery or baptistry is acceptable - for those of you who are curious).
Putting the south wall back on the concrete pad.
For the house/home
I finally got a chance to rebuild the back steps on the deck. Sometimes, I'm overwhelmed by the work that I have to do around the house. Slowly I attack little jobs, but it seems like others add themselves to the list faster than I can keep up with them . . . are you familiar with the carnival game "whack-a-mole" . . . ? It seems like the story of my life! :-)
12 Tons of gravel here - intended to make the driveway stretch all of the way to the garage as well as make it large enough for both vehicles - but mostly just to fight the mud in the wintertime!
Another little problem that had to be dealt with was that our washing machine sprung a leak. I couldn't put that one on a waiting list, we do too much laundry in our family for that! The washing machine is 7 and 1/2 years old and does an estimated 20 + loads a week which equals at least 7,800 loads of laundry - it is probably about time for some parts to start failing. The pump had a little hole in it that probably was the result of some little piece of metal or rock coming out of Tom Sawyer's pocket (er, I mean, Joel's or Grant's, or John's or Josiah's pocket :-). I can't complain about the longevity of the washer . . . it was pretty simple part to replace, thanks to the help of my brother being on his computer looking at diagrams and telling me what to look for and how to do over the phone . . . I have yet to stump him with a problem (you don't need to tell Stephen I said that . . . he already knows it!).
The hole is right next to the base of the tube on the right. It's amazing that so much water could come out of that little hole.
Grant had a skate night at school in their gymnasium. There used to be a roller skating rink in town, but it's now our church!
Carol made this cheese ball "candle" for Christmas dinner at her folks - she loves to be artistic in the kitchen. She had a picture and recipe, but it's still pretty good I think.
Finally, I was talking to my brother, Michael, on skype a few months ago. As he sat down to talk (I think he was in the college student center), he innocently centered his head in front of the Christmas wreath - I couldn't help but laugh and quickly take a picture of his head . . . he knows about the picture and is pretty good natured about my humor, maybe even docile.
Well, I didn't quite finish the post before picking up the kids from school, but came pretty close.
Enjoy! (I/we sure do . . . )