Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Elliott's New Blog


Elliott has a new blog that can be found in the sidebar and at this address

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Alexanders ~ 2013


Sheridan turned six! 

Harrison turned twelve!

Sullivan turned fourteen!

Oliver turned twenty.

Elliott turned twenty-two.

Meredith happened to be visiting with us for her birthday because Stephen was deployed. 


One of the things we enjoy as a family is a shared love of Christian music between the generations. Because of the way music has ministered to us, Timmy has prioritized taking all of us to concerts whenever our favorite musician-ministers are in town. 
This year was really great as we enjoyed seeing many of our favorites.

We had to do some fancy footwork with evening milking to make it to the 
Phillips, Craig, and Dean concert 3 hours away.

We dressed in our "Gomer-orange" fan club colors
 when we went to see Third Day.

Oliver usually brings along his harmonica case for the artists to sign.

We got in line several hours early to get good seats for the Steven Curtis Chapman concert. 
Some of the guys made a dinner run to Chick-fil-A and we ate while we waited in line outside. 

Performing with SCC were Jason Gray and Laura Story. 
All three of the artists ministered from a place of brokenness, evidenced in their testimonies of great loss, handicaps, and sorrow. Yet God is using their pain to spread hope into the lives of the listeners.
 It was the most powerful revival service we attended all year.  

This was our first time seeing Michael W. Smith.
 Sheridan is a big fan and loved the concert. 

Steve Green concluded a wonderful year of concerts. We absolutely loved
 hearing him sing all our Christmas favorites.  
Our family's love of music extends beyond concert attendance as it permeates our daily lives not only in the house but also on the farm.  For several years now the milking crew has filled the milking parlor with a music selection schedule that they decided upon: "Third Day Sunday", "Matthew West Monday", "SCC Tuesday" (because he is "Tuesday's Child"), and so on.

We continue to be thankful for Sullivan's namesake, Steve Riley,
 for introducing us to a world of God-honoring music.

Summer Fun


We had a great preview of summer in March when Sullivan, Harrison, Sheridan, and I accompanied Elliott to Florida where he attended a conference. After we dropped him off, we headed to Disney for a super, fun-filled mini-vacation. 

Though it was snowing back home, we were swimming and playing in the warm sunshine. 

We had fun strolling around Downtown Disney where they make the most beautiful treats. 

The kids love the Lego creations and the Lego store. 

What a neat place with fish tanks all across the ceiling and around the building. 

We had fun watching a mime perform on Disney's Boardwalk one evening. 

What a great little vacation!

Since the farm's delivery route shifted to include weekly trips to Williamsburg, we thought it was the perfect summer to get Busch Garden's season passes. 

We enjoyed bringing along Meredith, Margaret, and Oma sometimes. 

Margaret loved the preschoolers water area where they had shows throughout the day.

A teenage girl complimented Sheridan on what appeared to be a cowgirl fashion statement. However, the boots were strictly for the purpose of adding extra height so Sheridan could ride Apollo's Chariot.

Just strolling through the beautifully maintained grounds is refreshing. 

The younger kids enjoyed passes to the water park as well. What fun!

Meredith and Margaret came for a visit while Stephen was away training. 

We enjoyed a fun day at Busch Gardens, 

and plenty of fun on the farm. 

Bruster's has half-off banana splits on Thursdays if you bring a banana,
 so it is an Alexander weekly tradition to take advantage of this yummy treat!

We fit in a girls' day out and loved a trip to the Cheesecake Factory -
 complete with a shared slice of cheesecake.

Summer Projects

Sandwiched between the fun was a remodeling project on the cottage
 to prepare it to sell. 

We spent the longest days ever removing dead fall from the property,
 bushhogging, painting, and renovating.  

Everyone worked so hard.

 Timmy, as sweet as a school boy, surprised me by etching our names
 in the paint over-spray that he was scraping off the windows. 

Mission accomplished.

Summer also brings with it many hours in the pasture baling hay.

Sheridan even helps sometimes.

Sullivan has become a great tractor operator.  

Harrison is a stacker while Tim, Elliott, and Oliver throw bales.

Elliott's Farm

A neighbor asked if Elliott might be interested in buying his family's farm.  Here we are touring it for the first time.

It has a couple of dairy barns,


and several outbuildings that would serve him well.

It also has the most incredible field of organically growing mint. 

Elliott has experimented with drying it for tea.

There is a stream running along the property line. The kids have already made such happy memories swinging on a rope, at the cliff's edge, over the water and landing in the lush foliage.

The property has a house but we're not sure if it's worth fixing up. For now, the farm is home to Elliott's new duck and rabbit ventures and is a constant reminder of God's goodness to all of us.

Camp Hammer

                             Meredith's family welcomed Sullivan, Harrison, and Sheridan into their home for the second annual "Camp Hammer" while Timmy and I spent the week on a cruise.


       Just like last year, the week was packed with swimming, bowling, and many other activities. They began the week by going to the grocery store and stocking up on special treats to enjoy throughout the week. They also went out to have pizza at Sam's Club one night (a very inexpensive but fun tradition!) and on an ice cream trip to a local farm later in the week. 

 This year they were able to go to their first airborne jump. 


                                                   The kids had such fun ice skating.  

                                        Margaret enjoyed watching from the sidelines. 

            Stephen challenged Sullivan and Harrison to wrestling matches every evening 
after dinner so they could work on their "skills".

                    The kids helped Meredith with some projects needing attention around her house.

What an unspeakable blessing to have a grown daughter who enjoys spending time with her younger siblings.  Knowing that Meredith was taking as good of care of the kids as we would, Timmy and I were able to enjoy a completely carefree anniversary vacation. We couldn't be any happier with the wonderful grown girl Meredith has become. What a blessing she is to us! 

Anniversary Cruise

We celebrated our 29th anniversary with a completely relaxing cruise to the Caribbean. 


Lots of delicious food and fancy meals 

Lots of fun in the sun 

Our room attendant had a new towel creation awaiting us each evening, along with candy on the pillows, and the schedule of events for the next day.

 This anniversary trip was so special as it marked an important year of our marriage that was characterized by openness and brokenness. 


Although we school year-round, it's a tradition to kick off the start of a new year with a special outing. 
This year we opted for ice cream.  

We enjoyed including Margaret in our school day when she was visiting. 

Margaret was so cute  as she would recite words 
along with the kids during their computer Spanish lessons. 

Time for recess. 
Each start of a new school year reminds me of how very blessed we are 
to spend our days with our children homeschooling them. 

Welcome Jobby!

We rejoiced at God's goodness to bless Stephen and Meredith with another precious baby! 

Wanting for everyone to see the new baby, we drove like crazy to visit with precious John Bradford in between the farm's morning and evening milkings. 

What a gift this sweet newborn is to all of us!

Alexander Family Pictures

After a previous family picture-taking attempt failed, I was so thankful for the offer of a new friend to take the Christmas card pics for us.

Thank you, Rachel Coker, for fulfilling this mama's desire to get some updated 
family pictures!

The Annual Barn Dance

We look so forward to this event each year when we get to see our friends both old and new.

  We roasted a pig and everyone brought dishes to share

 Dancing in the barn loft is always so much fun! 

The boys constructed an obstacle course for some added fun this year. 

Harrison demonstrating the "Bale" Out Obstacle Course 

It was great watching the kids race through the course. 

The teen crowd was really competitive,  

but didn't compare to the wildly competitive dads!

 Watching the action

Catching up with friends 

 This year we also encouraged folks to bring their instruments for some pickin' around the bonfire. 

What a beautiful way to conclude an incredible day 
with voices and instruments joining together in song. 


Elliott is helping 6 year old Sheridan read a Christmas verse.

We love to visit Bass Pro Shop at Christmastime. 

 The younger kids were part of our church's Christmas play. 

We enjoyed a nice, long visit with 
Meredith, Margaret, and John Bradford since Stephen was deployed. 

Sheridan wanted her hair fixed like "Cindy Lou Who" from "The Grinch" so we braided it with a pencil in the center.


The "Eliminating Verbal Clutter Game"

We played a game for a couple of weeks where we tried to eliminate verbal clutter from our conversations. If you say things like "you know", "umm", or "like", the person who first catches you gets to take a piece of your candy. 
Included on the list of infractions were irritating and sarcasm. As one can see by looking at the containers, someone is struggling with those unwanted habits!

The  younger girls had fun making cookies with Meredith. 

The older girls had fun shopping after the little ones were tucked in for the night. 

Jobby chillin' on Uncle Elliott's shoulder.

Farmerdaddy was sweet to babysit so the mamas could go shopping.

The girls in their Christmas dresses 

We had a nice visit at PatPat and PaPa's on Christmas Eve.

Following the morning milking on Christmas Day, Sullivan read Luke 2 aloud, as is our tradition, before we began opening gifts.

Margaret was happy to get an American Girl Bitty Baby to love.

Sheridan was excited to get an American Girl wheelchair and the doll "Caroline." 


Harrison was thrilled with a new farm bike and a guitar. 

We were all excited about Sullivan's new accordion. 

We decided to do something different this year with the grown-up kids. Instead of spending money on things they don't need or can buy themselves, we chose to sponsor precious, underprivileged children in other countries. In honor of Stephen and Meredith, a little girl in Africa, born on the day they were married, will have financial assistance to meet her family's needs this year. The little boys sponsored on Elliott and Oliver's behalf share the older boys' birth month and day.

'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." Matthew 25:40

Stephen calling from Afghanistan to wish his bride a "Merry Christmas."


The boys had fun on Christmas night going to a movie. 

We had such a great time visiting with the Hershbergers over the holidays.


We also enjoyed spending time at Oma's while the Hershbergers were in town, as well visiting with Granddaddy and Grandma, the Conners, and all the cousins.


The Civil War Charity Ball

 Becoming an annual tradition, we had so much fun at the Civil War Charity Ball that benefits the local Crisis Pregnancy Center. 

Sheridan is blessed to have plenty of brothers so she can enjoy many of the dances. 

Margaret was eager to have "Nana Joy" be her dance partner. 

What a sweet, sleepy-headed baby. 

And so concludes 2013 and begins 2014. 
God has been so incredibly good to our family this past year. 
He has met our needs and blessed us in more ways than we could imagine. 
May our lives be an expression in the year ahead of our gratitude and love for Him.