A Spring Day at the Bridge

"While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease." Genesis 8:22

Allison and Hudson enjoy a quiet moment. Best friends!

Walking.............maybe the two of them are looking for more stones to throw in the water?

Elizabeth is admiring one of God's creations-a lovely creek just 1/8 mile from our house.
Hudson is following in Chelsy's footsteps as they head back home.


Daily Life at the Bontrager Household

Allison --sitting at the desk.

Someone asked what a typical day looks like at our house. My question is "what is a typical day?" With traveling, music lessons, farm life, and keeping house for 11 of us, each day seems to take on a life of its own. So now that you understand that most days do not go according to the schedule, here is what we aim for! Marlin is usually out in the barn for nearly 1 1/2 hours before the rest of us even hear an alarm. The 5 oldest children like to be up by 5:30 for their quiet time and some quality schoolwork before the little ones wake up around 7:00. Breakfast and family devotions is around 7:30 followed by morning chores (feeding calves, laundry and breakfast cleanup). By 9:30 Hudson is in bed for a morning nap, the 5 oldest are back to doing lessons, and I read from Character Sketch to Denver and Taylor while Elizabeth looks at books. The rest of the morning is spent with the older ones finishing up schoolwork and practising music while I work on Phonics with the 2 little boys and make a quick lunch. There have been times in the past when the older ones have taken turns reading or doing projects with the little ones but for the past few months this is working for us. I'm sure in the fall with a new baby and Hudson taking an afternoon nap we will go back to the older ones helping with the little ones more in the morning. After lunch we read aloud for at least 15 minutes if we aren't going to music lessons or involved in farm work but today I think we read for 1 1/2 hours. The rest of the afternoon is spent mostly on farm chores and household work and lots of play time for the younger ones. Supper is around 6:30 then it is clean up and maybe family read aloud if supper isn't too late and we are all at home. As farmers, we are often in bed by 9:30 and the younger ones usually by 8:30.

There are many days when one of the boys will get up at 3:30 to milk for Marlin, 1 or 2 boys will need to help load or unload hogs, we are all traveling, or something else comes up to interrupt our day. I consider all these interruptions as part of our education!

Today we got 100 baby chicks so that consumed quite a bit of time both this morning and afternoon. We start them out in our garage which is usually warm enough with a heat lamp or two, but this year it is quite chilly. We got a few extra heat lamps plus a little space heater to keep them warm.

Life on the farm with a large family is never typical so I find myself needing to be flexible which is a struggle at times. I know this is one of the ways that God uses to keep me trusting Him instead of relying on my own plans.

"Trust in the Lord with all thy heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:5-6


Happy Belated 40th, Marlin

"As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate." Psalm 127:4
"That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth;" Psalm 144:12a

"That our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace:" Psalm 144:12b
On Friday, March 30, we celebrated Marlin's 40th birthday. This is a rather belated "Happy Birthday" wish to our dear husband and father. In the last 6 years we have seen his heart being turned to the children. What a blessing this has been to all of us!
Some of the great memories we have with this dear man we call daddy are:
  • listening to him read a book aloud in the evenings (the book we are working on currently is "Ark Fever")
  • riding in the tractor or combine with him
  • playing "hide and seek" in the house or going outdoors in the summer to play "piggy wants a motion"
  • hearing the daily news retold by him at mealtimes
  • getting to ride with daddy to the bank (Elizabeth usually gets this honor and the treat that goes with it-a cookie or doughnut)
  • playing football or basketball
  • discussing if we should sell a certain calf, heifer, cow, or bull

Some of Marlin's favorites:

  • food-taco salad, pizza, seafood enchilados, chocolate cake, and cheesecake
  • ways to relax-read or visit with friends
  • places to go-Barnes and Noble or a quiet restaurant
  • summer activity-walking by the IA City River, camping, or playing ball
  • winter activity-keeping warm
  • farm work-driving the combine
  • favorite verse- Malachi 4:6

In conclusion, we want to say "We love you, Daddy". We are so thankful that in God's providence He planned for this family to be in this time in history.