We Gotta Get People Back On This Thing! :-)

I am speaking to myself as well, of course.

Us “Non Facebook People” don’t want to miss precious news.

Faye, Elsie, Elaina and I tackled the backyard and house with as much gusto as we could bring to the task.  Always wish we could do more in a day, but God helped us to accomplish quite a bit.  Many layers of stuff got dealt with, including some we’ve never done before.

Faye is napping, which is so good.  We’ll walk when she wakes up.  Elsie’s family night tonight. One of the things we did was weed through all the videos, including all the ones form Rivendell North.  After working hard all day and evening, from ten to twelve thirty Friday night we watched the old Steve McQueen “The Great Escape” (a double video cassette–LONG, but fun!).  Really brought back memories!  Elsie and Elaina practically memorized it after one watching, and have been quoting snatches of dialogue to each other ever since.  They are now watching it for the second time.  They just helped me pick up a ton of sticks in the yard from the tornado we had the other day, and helped with the pool, so this is a kind of a reward.

What’s your billy goat’s name, Kevin?

The tornado didn’t last long, but was rather awesome.  I watched it from the window in front of me (facing the back yard–“Grandma and Grandpa’s room”).  Sun is shining now, but during the storm all I could see was a sheet of white blowing sticks and leaves violently toward the house.  We were without power for a couple days, and my generator didn’t work, so it was kind of a pain.  🙁  Seems to have hit this immediate area hardest, and took some huge trees down.  We lost only some limbs, but it made a big mess.

Liesl comes tomorrow, and Luke Tuesday.  We are super excited.  It will also be fun to drive up to the Farm for the 4th.  We plan to leave Thursday morning, and return Sunday afternoon.

One of the things we did is make the “kitchen” part of the garage much nicer.  It’s only a bandaid, but a much needed one.  While working out there, the huge black snake began to show up.  Six feet long, almost two inches in diameter.  Once at midnight Faye was putting things on the shelf.  A thing of tomato paste wouldn’t go back all the way, so she reached up to investigate, and it was the snake.  She screamed bloody murder and couldn’t go  back to work or sleep for two or three hours.  🙁  I didn’t even wake up.  I came back from the store the next morning, and saw the snake slowly disappearing into a cinder block.  I grabbed a flat shovel and chopped with all my might.  I had him pinned under the shovel.  He pulled and the shovel was sliding! I was wondering madly what to do, and didn’t want him to get away, so I reached down and grabbed this back end and pulled.  He came apart.  He left a bunch of his guts behind him, so we are sure he’s a goner, but he got down into the garage foundation.  We haven’t smelled him.  Jesse, he’s got to be dead, right?  We also haven’t seen him, or any of his friends.  We found a bird’s nest in one of our lunch boxes, and also a piece of snake skin!  It was up high, too.  You can see that this area had suffered from some neglect.  🙂

The whole kitchen has been gone over, and is now wonderful.  Anything Faye works on always comes out both very practical and very pleasant.

Nasty case of poison ivy.  I’ve got to be more careful.  🙁

Very eager to see all of you soon!  Jesse said they may get a house offer this Tuesday, so please pray, everyone!  Would be wonderful!  Pray, too, for Rivendell North to sell!

Faye’s up.  Gotta walk!  Love you all so much!

Whew. The last of the folks from our 3 day Back Yard Bible Club left a few minutes ago. Glad we did it but it was tiring. We picked 10 lbs of blueberries in the wicked heat this morning. And we acquired a new billy goat today. And Perry found us an All American canner for $25 that Jess brought back on Thursday. That’s an incredible deal and we’re excited to start making some progress on learning to can some things. I’ve been too busy to water much outside and we’ve had a major heat wave so most things are dying out in the garden but we’ve been eating tons of tomatoes, cucumbers and herbs and a handful of bell peppers for a while now, so I don’t feel like things went too badly for this first year. Hopefully this fall and next spring will be even better when I can start using my poo compost… Maybe next summer I’ll be able to get things through the worst of the heat.

We’re hoping that this billy goat will do his work and we’ll have a kid or two before we come up for Christmas. Not sure if our regular animal sitters are going to be up for milking chores. We’ll have to see how that goes.

So happy to hear that the Poortenga’s house sold so quickly. It was fun to get the 5 minute tour through it when we stopped by there last Saturday night. Maybe the PA Hakes are getting some bites on their house this weekend with all the showings?

Hope your move went okay yesterday!

We thought of you!

So enjoyed catching up on this wonderful stuff!

Our two weeks at the ocean were wonderful.  Saw almost all of you!  So wish you could have joined us, Kevin and Becky!  🙁  And Luke!

June has been getting ready for the Poortenga’s arrival–their house looks so beautiful!  Pray for Rivendell, the Poortenga home and Jesse and Elizabeth’s home all to sell!

Faye and my trip to the Jersey shore for a couple days was also wonderfully blessed.  Ginny, Andy, John, Connie, Faye, me, John, Margie, Cathy and Michael were all there.  We talked and laughed a ton.  Very wonderful–we were all so glad we could do it!  I told Faye that getting into the car to make that trip was like getting into a time machine.  So strange, but wonderful, too.

Faye and I watched “Still Alice” last night.  Very sad, but very worth watching.

We took Goob to the airport a week ago tonight!  🙁  You all have seen their wonderful photos.  Nice to think of them all together.  I know that it meant a ton to Liesl to spend this time with Luke and help him.  Getting the 87 pound keyboard onto the plane was an adventure, but God blessed, and Luke now has it for his big concerts.

My heart is very full.  We love you all so much, and are so proud of each one of you.  Please pray for Faye, and pray for wisdom as Joel and Katie come and we move forward.  Faye has been pretty miserable, and we need to make some tough decisions.  Thank you so much for your prayers and your love!

Happy Belated Birthday, Noel!

May God bless this next year of your life! Thanks for posting such sweet pictures, Becky! It is especially poignant to see those newborn pictures compared with her birthday pictures since Elsa has worn all of the clothes in the newborn pictures (and just outgrew them a couple of weeks ago!).

Elsa was nine weeks old yesterday and had her two-month doctor appointment in the morning. Isaac took her because I have some kind of fever/stomach bug virus, and she was 11.4 lbs already! The doctor said she is healthy, strong, and developmentally well beyond the two-month point. Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow morning, Isaac and I will finally be moving into our new house, Lord willing. We are thankful to finally be getting our life consolidated into one location again, and we are thankful for all the progress we’ve been able to make over there. God has provided just the help we need at each step on our way to this point, and we trust that He will continue to provide as we move in and settle down into our new home.

That said, we can use a lot of prayer right now. As I mentioned, I have been sick the last couple of days with a flu bug which has rendered me even less able to help with the moving process than simply being a new, nursing mom would have. Also, last week we found out that my Grandpa Vandevort has to have a cancerous tumor removed from his bladder before it kills him, but since he is almost 94, there is a high likelihood that he won’t make it through the surgery (it is scheduled for sometime this coming week, but he was originally supposed to have the surgery today). Thankfully, since we live only 30 minutes from him and my grandma, we were able to see him last week and on Sunday, but it has been very hard for me emotionally. My parents and siblings drove up from NC for the weekend to visit him, so they are here to help with the move, which is nice. Also, although our kitchen appliances are all hooked up, we still don’t have a shower, the toilet is broken, and right now Isaac (along with my stepdad and brother) is frantically painting our bedroom floor so it will be dry before we move in tomorrow. I might be a little overwhelmed. 🙂 Our church is going to help us move, though, which is so encouraging.

We love you all so much, and we are praying for you! Love, Hannah


Noel turned 1 yesterday. I can’t believe just a year ago she looked like this:

For her birthday dinner she enjoyed her first real 3 course finger-food meal. She seemed to like her dinner more than her cupcake!


Yummy dinner

Yummy dinner














Elaina’s Original Omelet Recipe… They’re to die for! ;)

“Frying an Egg”

by Elaina

  1. Pick the Frying Pan you want
  2. Turn on the oven
  3. Put a table spoon of butter or oil in it
  4. Get a bowl big enough to hold all the things you want in your egg
  5. Couple leaves of spinach, 5 or 4 tomatoes, a little bit of cheese, and one onion (and make sure it all fits!)
  6. Put all these things in the pan
  7. Let one side cook and flip it over and let the other side cook then peek under to see if it’s done cooking on the other side.
  8. If it is done cooking then…
  9. Put it on a plate and give it to someone or eat it

Becky, thanks for posting those videos of Noel!  Talia and I also like to scroll down to Judah’s artwork so we can click on “Daddy getting the garbage can”  🙂  It makes us laugh every time!

Silas is full of smiles and laughs these days, and Caelyn is a spoonful of sugar.

Noel took a few tentative steps some weeks ago, but her main mode of transportation was rapid crawling. However, these past few days she was suddenly inspired and began trying to walk more and more with such progress that we officially have a little toddler on our hands 🙂 She is 11 months old, the youngest of my kids to start walking. Some videos below of her toddling ventures. Also, she’s pretty good on the monkey bars too! 😉

Wow! It’s the month of birthdays!

Happy Birthday Liesl Faye!! 🙂 You are a splendid Aunt and sister! I hope you are enjoying a wonderful day at home, maybe? Somehow thinking of you being 20 seems too old and too young, simultaneously.

A happy belated birthday, Jessica! You also are a splendid Aunt and sister 😉


Happy 10 years, Talia!!! What change a decade can bring – from a sweet little pea to the wonderful and responsible oldest sister of five! We hope you had a wonderful day.

….And happy Mother’s day to all you mothers in the family 🙂

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