the brady bunch




Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bailee as Clara in the Nutcracker

She had the most lines to memorize and had them memorized in no time! She gets that from her daddy!

The Mouse Army, aren't they cute!
Phoebe and the Penny Whistlers.
Mouse King, The Aunt, Sugarplum Princess,Clara, Fritz (Clara's little bother)
*Side note about "Fritz:" Apparently one day on the playground there was a heated debate about Bailee's mama being fat!!! "Fritz" ended the debate by standing up for Bailee and said "She's actually skinny." I love that boy!!
ONSTAGE for the Curtain Call!

Daddy and I were very proud of our little 3rd grade Bailee. She really loves to be on stage (she gets that from her mommy). Last year in the school Christmas program she had a pretty big part singing and dancing as the gingerbread man. I told her not to count on getting Clara this year because it was someone else's turn to be in the spotlight. Needless to say she prayed about it!!! Love that little girl, too!!!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Stanley The Snowman!

The first two Decembers we were here in Montana I think God was taking it easy on us. We didn't even have a White Christmas! However, these past two Decembers have been more of what were expecting, temperatures in the negatives and wind chills down to -30s!!! When it is too cold the snow won't stick together to make a snowman or even a snowball!! So, when it warmed up to 30 degrees we all headed outside to play! I took Hallie, Bailee and Jay ice skating at our beautiful outdoor skating rink. When we got back we found Charlie and daddy rolling a big ball of snow around the yard. Once we got him dressed in his snowman kit that my sweet southern friend Mary sent us, Riley decided he looked like a Stanley. So, Stanley will probably be with us until March! Thankfully, our protective and not so bright Yorkies have stopped barking at him!!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Winter Formal


Dinner at our house.

Braving the cold! It was about zero! Tanner rented a car that matched Riley's dress. How cool!!?? In our town at Winter Formal and Prom the guy's only ask friends, even if they have a girlfriend they take a friend. I kinda like this strange tradition. So, this was Riley's first date!!! Knowing everyone was going as friends made it so much easier!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Chestnuts Roasting on an open fire...

One night when Hallie was four Brady was playing with her on the floor in the living room. He lifted her up like an airplane overhead for one of his strong daddy tricks. His hands must have been gripping her a little too tightly around her ribcage so as not to drop her on her pretty little head! Because she, in her adorable tiny tot voice, said "daddy you are hurting my chestnuts." Needless to say we giggled about that one for awhile. Until it turned cold (which in Galveston meant in the 60's) and Bing started crooning his Christmas songs. It was then that our families giggles turned into hysteria. I mean come on... "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire...." "at the fireplace where we'll watch the chestnuts pop, pop, pop, pop." You couldn't contain the laughter that instantly filled our car the first time we heard those songs after Hallie coined our new nickname for that particular part of a girls anatomy. I'm sorry to say that those songs will never be the same for us. I just hope I haven't ruined them for you by letting you in on one of our Banta Family Secrets. Let me tell you, we have some good ones that we will never share!!!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Giving Thanks for Kari!

I lost a sweet friend today but heaven gained a beautiful soul. Kari was in a Beth Moore Bible study that I was trying to lead in 07-08. That is how I met her. She has one of those beautiful memorable smiles, a great laugh and always sweet positive things to say. What drew us closer was her prayer request towards the end of our "Daniel" study . She and Tom, her husband, had been married for a few years and wanted children. "Tom and I have decided to go through the adoption process and we need your prayers." As the months passed and they jumped through the adoption hoops and filled out countless forms and were interviewed they finally got to start the waiting part. While she patiently waited Kari decided to help put together a calendar entitled the Naked Truth. She was the photographer taking modestly and creatively covered naked cancer survivors in our community. It was sold all over town and an article appeared in our paper showcasing the calendar the very week she was diagnosed with Leukemia. I talked to her on the phone and she told me she was hopeful about her treatment because it could possible cure her lupus as well. HER LUPUS!!!??? You mean I was in a Bible study with her for over a year, went to church with her, ate her husbands delicious oyster stew on Christmas Day and she never complained about having lupus once?!

Kari bought a ticket to go see Beth Moore with our Bible Study group of girls that fall. However, she was stuck in a hospital room on the oncology floor while we took turns going to see her smile after we'd been to the conference. (Beth Moore wrote her a beautiful letter wishing she could have seen Kari while she was in Billings. ) Her husband Tom was at her side every time Brady and I went to visit her. The strangest thing would happen when Brady and I would leave their room. We were there trying to encourage them and without fail, they would spiritualy encourage us!!! How is that possible except through Christ alone?

Tom and Kari kept a Caringbridge website to let people follow her long road. From the first entry on Oct. 16th, 2008 until the last entry this morning it has been a beautiful testimony of faith and perseverance. Most days giving me a scripture I needed and a hysterical little idiom to make you laugh. Tucked in those journal entries were Kari's accounts of the day with never a complaint. No drama, no exaggerations, and most of the time her plight was undershot. I can't even begin to imagine what she and Tom endured. Scary fevers, being poked and prodded thousands of times, bone marrow biopsies, nausea, vomiting, insensitive medical staff, isolation, seemingly unanswered prayers. And yet I never heard a complaint or a grumble. I have learned something very important from Kari as she lived and through her death. Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe. Philippians 2:14-15 In my world Kari shown like the North Star. If only I could apply this scripture to my very easy life as she did in the face of many difficult trials. If only I will count my blessings. Lord, please help me live this life bringing you glory and not bringing you complaints!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Happy Birthday Dear Brady, Happy 36th Birthday to you! Brady wanted me to go hunting with him as one of his presents. So, Jay and I spent the day with daddy looking for Antelope and "The big buck." We didn't "get" anything but some exercise, fresh air and fun memories.
His mom came over to join the party for brisket and birthday cake. PoGo even got to come in the house for the evening to help him celebrate!
Then over to some friends house for trick or treating with a little Bumble Bee, a Leopard and Tiger Lily!
Charlie was determined to be Zorro, even though there wasn't a Zorro costume to be found in any store. Daddy, Riley and I all worked to make his costume idea a reality.
Jay in the parade around the school as THE GOOD KNIGHT.
Bailee was a Leopard. Shockingly, she was the only one in the whole school, even though I got it at Target. Living in the middle of nowhere does have its advantages.

Monday, November 2, 2009

PoGo Ate...

PoGo Ate by Riley, Hallie, Bailee and Vicki

PoGo ate Bailee's Friendship Bread and
PoGo ate her first bed!
I feel I should go check on that darling louse
I think I hear her chewing on the house!
PoGo ate some one's Christmas lights,
A mouse and some birds she finally got her snacking right!
PoGo ate my cutest sandals (brown and black),
I nearly had a heart-attack!
PoGo ate tons of our pool toys
but, she wouldn't eat those goose decoys.
PoGo ate my flower pot made of clay.
Oh well, I never liked it anyway.
Pogo ate one of our Sprinkler heads
Whatever she gets a hold of she quickly turns into shreds!
PoGo ate the contents of my purse
just when I thought it couldn't get any worse!
My lipstick and journal gnawed on in the grass,
I think I'm gonna spank her.... hiney!
PoGo ate some snow boots and Jay's soccer ball.
PoGo actually ate a hole in the wall.

Oh the fun has just begun,
this all happened in year one!
We love that puppy, yes we do!
I wonder what she will consume in year two?

Friday, October 30, 2009


Christmas 2004

Texas Bluebonnets 2005

When we lived in Galveston and the girls were little, they would complain about whatever I made for dinner. Too much whine with dinner, if you know what I mean. I didn't want to make two dinners every night so they ate some portion of what Brady and I were eating. There were several evenings they survived on rice or bread. Oh well, they survived! Anyway, I still didn't like hearing the complaints! So, when Brady had to do an away rotation in Washington, D.C. I thought I'd cut them some slack and fix them "kid-friendly" meals for seven straight nights! I was so excited to finally get a break from the bad reviews I was receiving from my food critics in training. The first night I proudly placed tacos on the table. Guess what? They complained, deep breath, okay! The next night I made hot dogs! Guess what? They complained, Grrrr! The next night I let them help me make pizzas. You guessed it, they complained, here come the water works! I called Brady, sniff, sob, sniff, they are still complaining about dinner. He said "okay, here's what you do... make them one more meal they should like and WHEN they complain make them oatmeal for dinner the next night. Keep making them oatmeal for dinner until they learn to quit complaining!" I was like... this is genius! Plus, I won't have to plan dinners for awhile!

On the fourth night I made pigs in a blanket and mac-n-cheese, no-fail-meal, right? Wrong, THEY COMPLAINED, how could they? As soon as the first complaint left their perfectly proportioned pouty lips, I said "TOMORROW NIGHT YOU WILL HAVE OATMEAL FOR DINNER!" In one perfect harmonious chime my three little darling girls yelled " YAY"!! So, as planned, I made oatmeal for dinner the next night and all I heard was yum and mom this is so good! UGH! What's a mom to do? As a last resort I prayed for wisdom on how to handle my serious whine with dinner problem. As a result of my prayers, I told the girls this whole story from beginning to end and how their whining made me feel and they laughed and laughed. We all laughed!

I haven't heard a complaint about dinner in years. Maybe I just tune it out now!? I just try to focus on the "thanks mom," or the "this is good" I hear every now and then. However, one Saturday about a year ago Riley complained about lunch. My retort was, "I'm sorry you don't like lunch, what are you going to make for dinner?". She got on the computer and looked up the recipe for Asian Chicken, we went to the store and bought her ingredients. She cooked it all by herself. It was delicious and she hasn't complained since!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Monday, August 31, 2009

Colorado in the Summer

Brady and I took Hallie, Bailee and Jay to Colorado for a fun vacation the week before school started. Unfortunately, Riley had to stay in town for dance team and cheerleading practices. Charlie was happy to stay with his Mimi! Even though we missed them terribly, it was a blessing to spend some more focused time on our middle little ones! We went to Frisco, Co to see our friends Jason and Mary. Brady and Jason spent four days on lakes and rivers fly fishing. Mary and I took the kids hiking one day, we found a little time to do some back to school shopping and we even took them through a museum! I felt like such the academic momma!
Jason and Mary, they are too cute!
Here are our wilderness trekkers! The girls had so much fun together communicating with their walkie-talkies! Sweet Andrew tolerated little Jay . Jay admired Andrew with good reason... he skates at a real skate park and can hop on a pogo stick like no one he's ever seen!

On our last day with them we went to Breckenridge and rode the Alpine slides. SO FUN! Jay loved it, I'm afraid he is going to be an adrenaline junkie like his daddy.
Jay and I - Hallie and Kate - on the ski lifts up to the slides.For the second half of our Colorado vacay we went to see Brady's Uncle and Aunt who live in Ridgeway, Co on Ralph Lauren's Ranch. They live in a beautiful log cabin tucked away where only the bears could find ya. We had such a wonderful time seeing them!

They even gave us a tour of Ralph Lauren's beautiful ranch! Here we are in his saloon wearing some of his decorations!

This was taken in Ralph's theater room. My poor children they are just so shy! We even watched a little of "The Office."

I've always been the kind of girl who thinks it is not a vacation unless I've been to the beach. However, this trip changed my mind. I totally get why people go to the mountains to get away from it all! It was amazing hiking up a mountain for two miles and encouraging myself, I mean, my kids all the while. The views of God's creation was magnificent. We even went home with a couple of healthier cookbooks and some agave nectar for my coffee!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Texas and Oklahoma Trip Summer '09

This post is a little over due but, better late than never. With four of my five kiddos at school this morning I found a moment to fill you in on our trip down south.
(The house cleaning will have to wait,
I'm working on getting my priorities straight.)

The second and third week of summer we drove to Texas and Oklahoma to see friends and family we hadn't seen in two years! We spent the first night in Cheyenne, WY. Then we went to Brownfield, TX for a couple of days to see Brady's grandparents and his dad! (Sorry, no pics of this part of the trip because the camera battery was dead grrrrr.)

Next stop Abilene, TX to see Brady's sister and her husband and their two adorable girlies. I also got to see my sweet, beautiful cousin, Erika, who is about to get married and graduate from ACU. Contrary to popular belief, you don't get a husband included with your diploma! She showed us around the campus so our kids could see what it was like. It will be four short years of high school and then Riley will be "on campus."

With Abilene in our rear view mirror we headed to Ft. Worth to spend one night with our college friends Clay and Anita. We had too much fun! No really, we did! Thank goodness no one took any photos!

Dallas was our longest furlough. Three days and three nights of warm weather, swimming, great food, and even better company. My sweet aunt Penny from Houston drove up to see all of us for a couple of days.

Brady and Jean Ann had to head back to Montana for work so they dropped the kids and I off in Oklahoma. I got to meet my niece Bianca for the first time and we think she's going to be a lefty! My mom and Jim got to have all seven of their grand kids under one roof and in one swimming pool! And of course, we went out to my dad and Vickie's farm. So fun!

The last leg of our trip was me driving all five kids home (two ten-hour days of driving, much road construction in the summer). My philosophy for road-trips is expect the worst and hope for the best. So, I was pleasantly surprised by how much fun we had! We stayed the night in Denver...Starbucks for breakfast, Sonic for lunch, and Jim Gaffigan keeping us laughing. The Lord blessed us with safe travels and healthy kids. I only made one wrong turn (which Riley quickly pointed out)!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Family Fun

My dad (whom Charlie is named after) came all the way from Oklahoma to see us again this summer.
He took the kids fishing and made his famous fried fish!!
My step-mom, Vickie (whom I am not named after) patiently taught the girls to make pillows.
We planted trees, swam, shopped and of course ate great food!
It was a wonderful week with my Dad and Vickie, filled with sweet memories we tucked into hearts.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Met Me in Montana

A couple of weeks ago the kids and I met my sweet friend from Texas/North Carolina (Medical School/Residency) in Rapid City, SD. Which happens to be the closest Sonic (YAY!) Oh and Mt. Rushmore!I am so thankful God made Jason and Mary our neighbors eleven years ago! She has always been such an encouragement to me through the years. She loves her husband, loves being a mom, loves to cook and just loves life! She doesn't know this but, she is inspiring me to love running. I really want to run a marathon!

After South Dakota she and her kids followed us home and spent a couple of nights. We took a tour of our local winery, yes I said winery. A wonderful retired preacher and his wife are growing a beautiful vineyard. With God all things are possible (even a vineyard in Montana!)

Riley and Mary's oldest, Andrew, were toddler friends. Mary and I were pregnant at the same time with our younger girls!Baby friends grown up!
Kate and Meg loved Molly!
Had to stop for a snow cone, one of the big attractions in our little town! Thank you Mary for coming to see us! We had a great time! You are such a blessing to me!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Hallie is a decade old!

For Hallie's 10th we had a Luau Sleepover. It included swimming, homemade pizzas, Church, not much sleep, more swimming! Very fun! I LOVE MY SWEET HALLIE! These days she's into cooking, photography, anything purple, softball, sewing and she still loves playing the piano. She also loves to go hunting and fishing with her daddy! So far this summer she has caught four fish!!! When Hallie grows up she wants to be a preacher's wife - LOVE HER!

Hallie Brittany and Raquel - her Best Friends in the whole wide world. I just love these cuties!
Hallie and Jay at the waterpark!
On her official b-day we drove to Rapid City, SD to meet some sweet Texas friends (more to come in next post.) Ate at Chili's, went shopping and played at a waterpark. Does it get any better? Life is Good! HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD!!!