Memories From Our Last Tour of 2014!!

We enjoyed participating in our community's Fall Festival to kick off our fall tour.  
For Rebecca's birthday activity, she wanted to go to the zoo.  Although this ended up being a few weeks after her birthday, the parents and littles had a great time visiting the Columbus Zoo on an off day.
They loved the variety of fascinating animals!
Liz, Rebecca, Taylor, and Hudson
We loved enjoying some major yumminess at "The Hitching Post" yogurt shop in Shipshewanna, IN.
sister love
oh yeah!!!
Time with far-away friends is always a treat.
We enjoyed hearing the other families singing at the Bluegate Theater venue with us.
in concert at the Bluegate Theater
The Bontragers in Bible Bee (pictured above) loved getting to spend time with some Bible Bee staff when we were at the Bible Baptist Church.  
We sang at "Family Day" and it was such a neat fall event!
In between the morning service and the afternoon concert, dinner was served, and the children enjoyed fun activities.
Caramel apples were the perfect treat for a fall party!
This sweet couple invited us over one evening, and we had a wonderful time at their home!  They work for the Bible Bee, and it was a special treat to get their perspective on all things Bible Bee.:)
"Serve the Lord with gladness: come before His presence with singing.  Know ye that the Lord He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves." (Ps. 100:2-3a)

-posted by Allison


Birthdays//Our Traditions

We love "birthday season" around here!  In the fall/winter, we have 8 Bontrager birthdays in 5 months.  And we party, I'm tellin' ya!
We have some pretty fun birthday traditions around here:
//birthday tradition #1: food//
 The food is always a yummy affair, with a menu planned by the birthday person.  Some of the "most requested" birthday menus are pizza, Mexican stacks, enchiladas, and fajitas (yes, we have a thing for Mexican:).  Dessert is usually chocolate cake and home-made ice-cream.
The little Hudson-man is growing up so fast.  I love to watch him live life with such zest!  He is such a little gentleman, always watching out for his sisters.  He throws himself wholeheartedly into whatever he is doing- schoolwork, chores on the farm, Bible memory, or football.:)  And he gives the best hugs and kisses!
My dear mother.  She is rather ageless, I believe, both in her youthful beauty, and in her lovely heart.  She is best friend, counselor, role model, and teacher to so many (all her children included).  We had a delightful time celebrating her birthday on a recent Sunday afternoon.
//birthday tradition #2: family activity//
The birthday person gets to choose an activity for the family to do together.  Mother chose a walk for her activity.  It was a perfect day, one of those last mild fall days in which you can feel the change to cold just beyond the horizon.
We walked back the woods lane, laughing, talking, enjoying the togetherness.  
Mother and Father
the siblings
having a bit of fun:)
Back in the woods, we sat at the picnic table and sang hymns in God's cathedral.
walking home through fallen leaves
crimson color of fall
And one day, a little Miss turned 7!
putting candles on the cake
Oh Rebecca!  When did she get old enough to be loosing teeth?  Just yesterday we held her in our arms, in awe of this baby girl.  And now she is 7?!  
//birthday tradition #3: affirming words//
After enjoying the birthday meal, we sit around the table and share affirmation and blessing with the birthday person.  It is a precious time of celebrating their strengths, an opportunity to share with them the things we most admire in them.  
Ahh.....there's nothin' like a bowl of home-made ice-cream!
//birthday tradition #4: gifts//
 We wrap up all manner of wonderful things- books, clothes, tools, games, etc.  With a big family like ours, there are a lot of people giving gifts, so there does end up being quite the pile sometimes.:)
feeling the gift......what could it be?
A rousing game of Swat was enjoyed by all at Rebecca's party.  Truly, this game can be downright dangerous in a ultra-competitive, high-energy family!  
I love these words from Ecclesiastes 3:1&11:
"To every things there is a season, and a time to every perpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die.............He hath made everything beautiful in His time."

(posted by Allison)