Saturday, November 15, 2008

New Addition -- Ryleigh Ann

We have a new addition to the family -- Ryleigh Ann. She arrived on Sunday, November 2 and stole our hearts the moment she discovered America.

As far as Ryleigh's birth . . . to describe it in one word -- FAST!!!! I started having contractions around 4 a.m. on Sunday morning. Having had contractions with Avi for more than 24 hours before she was born, I figured I had a little time. Around 6:20 or so Keith heard me breathing deeply during a contraction and said, "This is it, huh?" During that contraction my water broke, so I headed to the bathroom as Keith called the midwife, Lisa. She said she would pack up her stuff and head over, but not in a real hurry. Once I got to the bathroom, I could feel the baby's head, so Keith called Lisa back. Needless to say, she picked up her pace in getting here. Good thing, since Keith was not interested in delivering this baby. Lisa arrived at 7:10 in her bathrobe and with her husband, Vince. She normally has an assistant but her assistant was located in Maryville, a good 30-40 minutes from here, so Vince was called upon to assist. With Lisa in place and the next contraction, Ryleigh was born at 7:23, just 13 minutes after Lisa arrived. Quite the whirlwind of a morning!!! Much different from Avi's birth.

Ryleigh weighed 8 pounds and was 20 inches long. Avi sure seems to be enjoying being a big sister. We only hope the Ryleigh survives all the "loving."

Here are more pictures.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Just for Fun

Avi on Bubble Wrap

This one is just for Gramma Decker, who has a fondness for bubble wrap as well . . .

Filling Daddy's Shoes

Avi has a shoe fetish. She absolutely LOVES wearing shoes. The first thing she wants when she wakes from a nap is to put her shoes back on. She prefers her own, but when they are all put up, any old shoe will do.

Animal Sounds and Parts of the Body

Here is the latest of what Avi has been learning.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Technical Difficulties

Due to technical difficulties, I have been unable to update the blog with any pictures or videos. In latest Avi news, she is now a semi-professional walker at 15 months. She is enjoying her new-found freedom. The Great Lou-dini has even figured out how to open the sliding screen door and escape to the back porch. The back deck has proved to be a bit of a biter and has inflicted many splinters on little hands and feet. Avi is learning to "say" some things like ball, bird, and Papaw and likes to say animal sounds (sheep and lion are my personal favorite).

Hopefully in the near future our glitches will be fixed. Until then . . .

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Avi's Dada was out weed-eating.
That must've been why he couldn't hear her.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

On the Farm in Ohio

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Great Grandma Decker & Avi

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Lake Camelot

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Great Aunt Jan and Cousins Julie and Laura invited us to a picnic at Lake Camelot. The weather was beautiful and Avi loved the water, of course.

Great Aunt Joycie's

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We were able to go to Illinois and Ohio on a vacation that included a class reunion, time with families, anniversary night, and work. As I get time, I'll post pictures and highlights. This first is from Aunt Joycie's. She has a garden to make us jealous with black raspberries the size of your big toe!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Summer Fun

Mamaw & Papaw Henschen got Avi a pool. She loves it!! Thanks so much!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Avi's Tennessee Orange Dress

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4th of July

We attended the Powell Community Parade and Picnic on the 4th of July. It was a warm (of course, it's Tennessee) and sunny. Avi enjoyed the parade and masses of people to watch and even came home with a few items -- mini football, flag, balloon. She'll enjoy it even more when she can get the candy they throw!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Avi's 1st Birthday Party

Avi celebrated her first birthday party with friends and family today at the Henschen Barnyard. She had a farm theme. The weather was a little warm, but a nice breeze helped. Avi had lots of fun with all of her guests. It's hard to believe she's already a year old. What a precious gift the Lord has given us!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Watching Dad Mow the Lawn

It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it.

Dad's Whiskers

They are just so ticklish!!!

Is it bath time?

Avi definitely gets excited when it comes time to take a bath.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Flower Child

Avi went out with me to get the clothes off the line. She does not like the grass on her feet, but did OK when I sat her in the grass and showed her how she could pick blades of grass and flowers.

Memorial Day

Keith, Avi, and I took off to Big Ridge State Park on Memorial Day afternoon to enjoy the beautiful weather. We hiked a little and spent some time on the playground with Avi Lou. She had a great time.

New Testament Church Pioneers

This past week we have had the privilege to be involved in part of the New Testament Church Pioneers Training Week. What a great group the Lord has brought together "for such a time as this."

Please pray for them as they are going out this summer to help local churches and pastors here in the United States and around the world. The Pioneers will be assisting in areas such as teaching, preaching, visiting, conducting Neighborhood Bible Clubs, and anything else the pastors need help with.

We have linked the Pioneers' blogs to our lists of links on our blog. Please visit them to get a better idea of the types of things they are doing and also to know how to better pray for them.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bad to the Bone

This is Avi's "bow-hawk."
Her hair stays in this position after being in a hair bow.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Learning to Whistle

Avi has just recently learned how to "whistle." She loves all sorts of "music." One of her favorite toys is a book of nursery rhymes that has buttons to push to hear the songs. She also likes humming and singing. Her favorite things to hum and sing to are the coffee grinder and vacuum cleaner. Perhaps she will be musically inclined? We'll let you know when she starts harmonizing.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Playing Blocks with Dad

Despite having a rough week working on two teeth and fighting a cold, Avi still had some fun playing blocks with Dad.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Ice Cream Anyone?

Saturday we took Avi to Brusters for her very first ice cream cone. As you will see in the video and pictures, we have concluded that she is a big fan of ice cream. (she gets that from her mother of course)

Can I have that ice cream cone? TODAY???


Hey it's good on this end too.

Yes, I am going to finish this and No, I am not sharing!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Grandma & Grandpa Decker's Visit

Grandma and Grandpa Decker came down from Illinois to spend a few days with us around Easter. The guys were planning on working on getting the trailer ready to rent again. This included tearing out carpet and lineoleum, washing and/or painting walls, and other miscelaneous fix-ups that needed attention. We girls had plans of doing a little shopping since Mom found this shoe store she really liked last time she was here.

But alas, many of our plans were foiled and spoiled. For 3 out of 5 of us were sick for at least some of the time (4 of 7, counting my brother and sister-in-law, who arrived on Saturday). Nevertheless, we enjoyed each other's company, and it was so nice to see them. I miss my parents very much, and often think of missionaries who are long distances from their families. The Lord must give them special grace. I am thankful for the time we had together and am looking forward to being together again.

Grandpa Decker & Avi eating pretzels and swinging. (She is wearing an outfit that I wore.)

This picture cracks me up every time I see it. Avi is trying out a couple of gifts from G&G. Grandpa picked out the hat for her, and she also got a new pacifier clip that has a lamb on it and reads, "Jesus loves me."

And this was Avi's announcement to Grandma & Grandpa. For those of you who can't see the caption at the bottom of the picture, it reads "Brand new big sister!" (11/01/08)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sweet Squeals

When we came home from church tonight, Avi Lou was in such a squeally mood. Our usual routine is to give her a bath and then wind down for bed. Some of my favorite times are when she is sitting on the bed while I'm getting things ready for her bath. She loves to giggle and play peek-a-boo. These are just some of the precious moments I cherish. We were fortunate enough to capture a little on video tonight. We hope you enjoy this glimpse of our little squealing sweetie!!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Couples' Retreat

It has been about 2 weeks since we attended the Faith for the Family Married Couples' Retreat in Gatlinburg, and we have been meaning to post. Our intentions included a picture slideshow, but we've obviously not mastered that element just yet. When we do figure out how to add the show, we'll be sure to add it to this post.

We had a wonderful time at the Retreat. It was held Thursday, February 28 - Saturday, March 1. Speakers included Pastor & Mrs. Sexton of Knoxville, TN, Chris & Kathi Lamb of Birmingham, AL, and David & Trish McCoy of McDonough, GA. There were sessions in the evenings (7:00 pm) and mornings (10:00 am). The morning sessions included split sessions. The afternoons were free to enjoy the activities of Gatlinburg.

It was refreshing to hear messages geared specifically to couples. I especially enjoyed the session on teaching and training children, since we are on the threshold of that chapter of our lives. I also was encouraged by Pastor's message about expectations. We can have high expectations in our marriage and home because of the God we serve. May the Lord help us take the things we heard and apply them to our home and family.

Our accommodations were a 5-bedroom
cabin at the edge of Pigeon Forge. It was absolutely wonderful. The setting was gorgeous and the rooms were fantastic. We invited 3 other couples and 2 college girls to join us. Nikki and Jessica watched the children while we attended the meetings. Keith and I made breakfast (OK, mostly Keith) for everyone on Friday and Saturday morning. The Giallourakis and Ylitalos had a snack for after the evening meetings. Friday evening everyone joined in a game of Apples to Apples and Grandpa Don came out the winner.

The dates for next year's retreat have been set for February 26-28, 2009 at the Gatlinburg Convention Center. We are looking forward to going again and hope some more of our friends can join us.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Keepin' an Eye on the Chickens

About a year ago the Snow family gave us 5 young chickens - 4 hens and a rooster. They are the Dominique variety, not the best egg-layers, but they keep us in good breakfasts. We affectionately named the rooster Tyler after the Snow's son, who liked him so much. For a little while we could tell a couple of hens apart and joked about their names -- chicken Salad, chicken Potpie, chicken Kiev, etc.

Last summer, we were given 5 other hens to go with our existing 5. We even hatched out several chicks. Unfortunately, only one made it to adulthood, until about a couple weeks ago when a hawk got her. We've had a hard time keeping our chickens from being gotten by other critters -- coons, hawks, cats.

One of the chicks we hatched out in the incubator (seen in the lower left corner).

Today I sat Avi in her chair near the window so she could watch the chickens as they were venturing across the road into our front yard. The chickens like to scratch around in the mulch of the flower bed. Avi sure enjoyed watching them.