the brady bunch




Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Day 2010

We started off Christmas Day with Cupcakes for Jesus' Birthday! We sing "Happy Birthday" to HIM and yes, we ate cupcakes for breakfast! YUM! And yes, it was still dark outside!The kids going through their stockings!
The day was so beautiful, everything was frosted!
The high was about 20 degrees.
The kids got sleds, so of course, that afternoon we had to try them out. Brady and I even jumped on them a few times. Hallie and I's favorite "run" was the snow-stuffer. She appropriately named it because your coat gets stuffed with snow!!Bailee's, Jay's and Daddy's favorite run had a nice jump in the middle.
Mimi kept saying these kids are fearless!Brady made an amazing smoked Elk roast for Christmas dinner.
Christmas 2010 for our Brady Bunch was fun. Even though, we still miss all of our southern friends and family. Each year I keep waiting for it to get easier to be so far away.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

December in Montana

I took these pictures just outside the front door (because it was about 2 degrees outside). When a fog settles on the trees it makes our whole town look like Narnia. It comes about once or twice a year but, usually only stays for about a morning and then it blows off the trees or melts. This fantastic frosty freeze stayed about four days. We've already had two big snows and it isn't even Christmas. I, like most, absolutely love the snow in December. I love to go ice skating with the kids and Brady takes them sledding. We just aren't as enchanted when it is still coming in April and sometimes May.

We've been in Montana for four and a half years now. I'm still trying to get acclimated to the below zero temperatures. I've been told it takes five years to feel at home where we live and I definitely need six more months.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Elk Hunting Trip

The boys and I invited ourselves to go on Brady's Elk hunting trip. We didn't want him to get too lonely on his week long visit with his Uncle Greg and Aunt Maria in Ridgeway, CO. However, things didn't go quite as we had expected. This is a picture of Brady staring at his stuck truck on the first day. Not to worry, in a matter of minutes a one armed smiling angel came to our rescue and pulled us out. Needless to say, that was the only day the boys and I actually went "hunting" with him. We kept ourselves busy by swimming in the hot springs at Ouray, a day in Telluride and a day in Ridgeway, of course. I'm just sayin' don't feel too bad.
The boys did find time for a snowball fight that day.

Nice one Jay!
Charlie has a great arm, too!
I LOVE Maria and Pearl! Two of the nicest girls you will ever meet! While we were there Maria and Greg insisted we stay one night at The Historic Weisbaden Lodge. It is in Ouray, Co. and has a flowing natural hot springs vapor cave. God's version of a steam-room. It was amazing!
Did I mention this is Ralph Lauren's Ranch, the RRL Ranch.
Brady's Uncle Greg took him to the best spots on the ranch to hunt.
After five days of hard hunting Brady did get an Elk. I am beginning to figure out why they are called trophies.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Love is Blind!

Currently, we now have as many pets as kids! One thing leads to another around here. It all started with Molly, then Brady "needed" a hunting dog PoGo our Springer Spaniel, next we inherited Newton another Yorkie. PoGo was allowed to run free around our property since she was booted out of the house for bad behavior. Run free she did, and she was quite popular around the neighborhood with many suitors. We were blessed with eight panting puppies on the first day of summer. Thankfully, we found homes for seven of the puppies. One of the puppies is in heaven because of me and I don't want to talk about it. So don't ask! This brings us to our fourth pet, Camille. Did I mention one of the homes for a puppy was ours. We now have PoGo and Camille in a pen.

The last two winters we have had some unwanted guests. Thankfully, not Galveston rats, but rodents none the less. I was blaming them on Newton, one of our Yorkies, claiming he was making friends with the mice even though it was his dog food they were eating. (Side note... Yorkies were bred by the working men of North England, who developed the breed for catching the terrible mice and rats that infested clothing mills and mine shafts. Evidently, Molly and Newton didn't get the memo.) I have set traps, put the dog food in plastic storage containers, consulted neighbors for their mice advice, ect. The consensus was we needed a cat. The road we live on has several wild cats living in the ditches, so I told Brady I should just go pick up one and bring it home. His response was, " if you do that please tell me when and I will grab the camera and film it." From that, I deduced that was not a good idea and would not go well. I didn't want to be uploaded to YouTube wrangling a wild cat.

I know at this point you are thinking "woman, just call an exterminator". Turns out we don't have one in our town. Surprise! Surprise! I did get a number for one that lives in another town and have been calling him for many months. He almost came by one evening two months ago but canceled at the last minute, sigh.

Our fifth and "final" pet is a kitty, Ginger. One of our sweet friends from church gave us one of her barn cat's kittens. She is quite friendly, I have noticed more cats hanging around our house and even a goose in the garage (a story for another day). Then it occurred to me that maybe when Pogo was running around our house the wild cats were staying away and that is why we have had mice for the last two winters (exactly how long PoGo has been running around!) Anyway, it is too late to get rid of Ginger as we have all fallen in love. I have a soft spot for her because I don't think she can see very well so, I thought we should change her name to Love. No, really, she is blind as a cat, I mean bat! Oh yeah, we have those too!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Beauty Tips for my Daughters

  1. Pretty is as pretty does.
  2. Eat raw fruits and vegetables (and sprouted flax seed) everyday. If God made it, it is good for you to eat.
  3. Smile! Don't take yourself too seriously. Laugh at yourself.
  4. Sweat a little or alot everyday. Drink your water, especially my little desert mouse.
  5. Don't say anything about someone that you wouldn't want said about yourself.
  6. Read your Bible and pray everyday. HIM shining through you is very beautiful!
  7. Compliment and encourage others.
  8. Use sunscreen! (When you are old like me :) Don't buy expensive age defying junk! Use "retin a" and a cheap nighttime moisturizer.
  9. Clothe yourself with dignity and humility.
  10. Don't compare yourself to others. You are a beautiful unique snowflake!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Summer of Charlie

July 22nd Charlie turned 4. That week Riley had been watching Cupcake Wars, I think, and was inspired to make Charlie's Birthday cake and cupcakes per his request of Transformers. His birthday wish which he said aloud was for "a real live grandmother." Who was sitting right next to him. When he opened his eyes I said pointing to Mimi "look Charlie your wish came true!"

Charlie loves swimming! This summer he learned to swim without floaties and was brave enough to jump off the diving board and go down the slide! He started pre-school this year and loves it. He goes on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 8:30 to 11:00. He wishes it were everyday!
When we went to Colorado this summer he did really great hiking. I think next year he will be ready for the big Mohawk hike! He also loves to "go on adventures" with Bailee when she takes him exploring outside.
Of course he and Jay love to go bird hunting and prairie dog shooting with daddy. I must also take this opportunity to share the new way Charlie has shown me to view each day. One morning when we were getting ready for school he asked me if I wanted to suck seed? What? Ohhhh, succeed! Yes, today I want to succeed and NOT suck seed! If you do have to suck seed some days may they be sunflowers!!!

One of the other funny things Charlie did this summer was cut his own hair. I thought I had almost made it through five kids without a haircut story. One night we all sat down to dinner, prayed and I look over at Charlie's adorable face and notice something is not quite right. "Charlie did you cut your hair?" "Yes." Knowing I had a mess to clean up somewhere in the house, "Where did you cut your hair?" pointing to the top of his head Charlie said "here and here" as if I hadn't notice. We could not stop laughing all through dinner. Charlie immediately stopped laughing when Brady whipped out the clippers! He cried for a little bit because he was worried he wouldn't be handsome. I still think he's handsome with his buzz but, I don't think he will be cutting his own hair for awhile.

How to make a bad hair day good!

Dear Riley, Hallie and Bailee,

I wanted you girls to know there is a way to make a bad hair day good, besides throwing on a cap which is usually my remedy of choice. If you know me at all, you know this isn't going to be about hair styling techniques. I'm sorry to say, I haven't known how to "fix" my hair since the eighties. Even then pictures of my hair makes you laugh. From the time I was old enough to use two mirrors to view the back of my head, I was horrified to find out I have a cowlick the size of Texas. I have struggled with covering that "bald spot" ever since. It was then I gave up on allowing my hair to make or break my day. It says somewhere in 1st Corinthians that a woman's hair is her glory? We can safely say my hair is not my glory.

Turning the proverbial "bad hair day" around happens inside your head and not on top of your head. It is easier to control your thoughts and attitudes than the hairs on our head. I'm so glad we have control over something in our life, in my 38 years I finally figured out that the only thing we can control is our own thoughts.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hallie is 11

I am very behind on The Brady Bunch current events. I feel like my kids have felt this past week as their teachers have asked them to write about their summer. I shall begin with Hallie's birthday...

We made her favorite cake, Strawberry with Strawberry Icing, she helped decorate it of course. She loves to be in the kitchen and is always there to help me with dinner. She makes fabulous guacamole!
I asked her if she wanted to have a BIG short swim party with lots of friends or a smaller slumber party?

She chose the smaller slumber party with her closest friends!I love these girls! She played softball with all of them this summer and just started dance class with them, too!
Her favorite color right now is purple. She collects rings, the bigger the better. She is also playing the drums again this year. She also loves to read, I think she has read The Percy Jackson series three times!Also this summer PoGo had eight puppies!!! All but one are gone and Hallie is so glad that there was one left. It just happens to be one of her favorites, Camille. Hallie has been so good about taking care of them feeding, bathing, training and even cleaning out their pen! As a reward for cleaning out their pen Hallie got to drive the "arctic cat" around the house. She might be a little bit like her mom because she likes to drive fast! I am very proud of this young lady if you couldn't already tell!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Daily Dethroning

When Brady and I lived in North Carolina we went to Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem. Our Pulpit preacher was having health issues so Dr. Gary Chapman the marriage and family minister at the time stepped up as interim pastor. The very same Gary Chapman who wrote The Five Love Languages. That man doesn't know me from Adam or Eve, but I love him and learned so much from him for the year he took over.

The sermon I remember the most and still try to implement into my life even today was about the throne we have in our lives. Dr. Chapman was explaining the difference between an effective fruit bearing Christian and a defeated non-fruit bearing Christian. He is an extremely practical and bottom line kinda person so, this concept is easy to understand. Either God is on "The Throne" in your life or you are on "The Throne." If God is on the throne you are His to use, to bless and to be a blessing to others. If I am on the throne I am serving my own interests and desires. It is very difficult to serve others when you are on a throne! The other difficult thing to do when you are on a throne is to dethrone yourself. Has there ever been a King or Queen in all of history who chose to depose themselves? However, it can be done! It needs to be done daily!

Not long after I heard this sermon and after it had laid heavy on my heart I made up this dorky little poem that I would say in the mornings or whenever I've noticed that I'd plopped my hiney down on the throne again. "You be on the throne today in all I do and all I say!"

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A field trip

I think this is the lower Mohawk lake. Note the snow behind us in August!
The guys went even higher and had so much fun fishing they forgot to stop catching long enough to drink water!
Mary and I, so thankful she introduced me to Colorado in the summer.

Last week we went to Colorado with our good family friends, The Suit's, second year in a row. So fun, we rode bikes several days and hiked several days and one day we... wait for it... biked and hiked! One day, same as last year, we went on a particularly long hike up to Mohawk lake. It was beautiful but, hard, my heart is starting to pound in my chest just thinking about it. I'm sure it was just the elevation making it difficult :0

As we began our ascend Riley and I and others, who shall remain nameless, but especially Riley and I began stumbling and tripping over the rocks all the while mocking ourselves and trying not to feel shame. By our TRIP down the mountain we had stopped trying to come up with clever remarks to ease our embarrassment. I even banged my knee pretty hard on a rock and earned a beautiful bruise of bravery. I will add we were moving pretty fast up the mountain because the Daddies wanted to spend the night camping at the top so they were moving us at a rapid rate. Our hurry down was to get into Breckenridge to have cupcakes and crepes before dinner. There I said it, we aren't as healthy as you thought!

Even as I was putting my little backpack in the back of my car I tripped one more time over a stumbling stone just before my hand was safely on the driver's door! I just laughed (or was it the little rock laughing at me?), "they" just had to trip me up one more time!

The next morning I opened my Bible and continued my current study on faith. Amongst the scriptures on faith I read Romans 9:30-33

30 What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. 32 Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the "stumbling stone." 33 As it is written: "See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame."

I can't tell you how many times when I am faithful to do my Bible study He will use His living word to speak to me in a way that even little 'ol me can understand! I love HIM so much for that! You see, I have struggled with working my way into heaven all my life! I have stumbled over this more than I'd like to admit. Jesus is the cornerstone, the one we trip over and fall to our bruised knees. His plan for our salvation is simple, why do we make Christianity so complicated?

I have taught many a Sunday School class, hosted Bible studies, kept nursery, blah, blah, blah, in hopes of earning my way into heaven. In other words, I am pursuing righteousness based on the law. When I do these things in my own feeble strength, I get frustrated, tired, annoyed and unlovely like a clanging cymbal. If I will serve Him out of my passionate love for Him it becomes easy and a pleasure and a wait for it... JOY! Ohhh that I would pursue righteousness through faith. Ohhh that I would just simply believe in HIM and not be put to shame!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Last Night's Devo

I started off by saying "this is probably the most important thing I will ever tell you!! (They have heard this schpeel before but I wanted to get their attention!)

Me: A flower needs what to grow?
Them: Sunshine and rain (Riley: Air, soil, nutrients.... Me: Okay, little missy)
Me: Yes, sunshine and rain.
Me: A Christian needs what two things to grow?
Them: praying and reading the bible
Me: Yes, every six months? every week? every day?
Them: every day!

We do this devo over and over again because mommy needs the reminder to read her bible and pray everyday so... I know my little cuties need this reminder too.

This very year HE showed me the importance of both aspects of spending time with HIM, if I truly want to grow as a Christian. If I want to become more like HIM and display the fruits of the spirit(love joy peace patience kindness goodness faithfulness gentleness and self-control) on a daily basis. And believe me a mother of five needs to display love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness gentleness and self control daily!!!

There have been times in my Christian walk where I would just pray or I'd just do my bible study. Then He showed me doing only one or the other was like having a one way conversation. If I just prayed it was like I was doing all the talking during our time together. If I just read my bible (and marked it off my check list) it was like He was just talking to me. And as crazy as it sounds HE, the creator of the universe wants to "hear" from us as we pray to Him.

As a side note, there have also been many days, months, years when I wasn't doing either, praying or reading. I can honestly say they were difficult times when I was foolish, selfish and or depressed. I think reading your bible and praying everyday is the next important step after asking Jesus to be your saviour. My girls have asked HIM to be their savior but there is more to it for them if they want to "walk" with HIM!

As we finished our devo time we sang a song we have sung since the girls were tiny. It seemed to make perfect sense to this 37 year old girl who is still growing!

Read your Bible, Pray everyday, Pray everyday, Pray everyday
Read your Bible, Pray everyday,
And you'll grow, grow, grow!!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

When the girls were younger for about six or seven years almost every night before bed we would have family devotional time. We would have them where ever we were, many times we had them in the car on the way home after a busy day. Regrettably, in the last three years those "devos" have become fewer and father between almost nonexistent. This past weekend we went to Rapid City, SD for Hills Alive, a Christian music festival. I was convicted of my lack of convictions to keep those nightly devos a priority. Yes, it is hard to keep all of their attention when the age gap is 11 years. Yes, the boys don't want to sit down for more than two seconds. However, the kids LOVE it when we do them. When we say "Devo Time" they all come running. (Please Lord help me make this a priority. It is as important as feeding them physically, I must feed them spiritually!)

Most of the time our devos are different every night. However, we have a few Banta family devos that we do at least once a year. I am going to post some of those for the kids to read for when they have their families.

One of our very favorites is called "TRUST." It is the one they ask for by name and the easiest one to keep them all interested. We read Proverb 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." Didn't have to look that one up because we have done this devo soooo many times! Each one of them repeats that scripture back to us.

Then all the kids line up and fall into daddies arms backwards. Through this I have learned that my heavenly Father will be there to catch me, even when I can't see Him and usually at the very last second, but He is always there.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

May 1 Riley turned 15! 15 is hard to believe but, even more difficult for her daddy and I is that in Montana they are allowed to get their DRIVER'S LICENSE!! Yes, I know we live in a small town in the middle of nowhere. Yes, I know it only takes five minutes to get anywhere. There is no rush hour, there are no traffic jams and she never even has to get on the highway. Now I am glad we live here!! :)
Here is Riley with her Dance Team friends on her actual birthday. Her busy school schedule is one reason I am excited about her new found freedom! Brady and I had to get up many mornings last year around 5:00/6:00 so she could squeeze all her Cheer-leading and Dance Team practices/Driver's Ed into her day. I will be ever so grateful to have her in charge of her comings and goings next year! :) Although, I will miss her being my DJ and finding out what her favorite song of the day is and her great ideas to go through the drive-through to get a drink because she was literally dying of thirst, my little desert mouse!!
This is her cousin and life-long friend Hannah. They came to see us last week, more to come on that story as I am extremely far behind on my blogging posts.
To fill Riley's long days of summer she has gotten into painting, jewelry making, still doing photography and she has even started a blog as well, called OH SNAP

If, right now, you are staring at the computer screen trying to figure out what you will click on next will you please pause for a moment and send up a prayer for her daddy and I as we are stumbling our way through these teen years with her. It is sooo difficult watching our oldest start to frustatingly fidget as she stretches her wondrous wings. She will be leaving the nest in just three VERY SHORT YEARS! I want her to fly finding her confidence in Christ alone.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

In Him

For the longest time, I think since college, I close a letter, email, and sometimes a text with...
In Him, Vicki

Since no one seems to read blogs anymore this has turned into my way of scrapbooking and journaling for my children. It popped into my head today that I wanted my kids to know why I write "In Him." It is because of Acts 17:28 'For in him we live and move and have our being.' If it wasn't for HIM I would be nothing. I said that the other day to your daddy and then I stopped myself because I almost wish I could just be nothing. At least nothing is neutral. Without HIM I am worse than nothing.

So, it is In Him I live and move and have my being.

In Him, Vicki

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sir Isaac Newton

We adopted Sir Isaac Newton into our family back in the fall for Hallie and Bailee. He was born in North Carolina, Bailee loves that about him! He is a wanderlust at heart, PoGo loves THAT about him. Thankfully, he always comes home! Riley gets cracked up by his ears and by the whites of his eyes always staring at us.
What I love about him is whenever I pray he comes over to me and nudges my hand with his nose so I will rub him while I am praying. No sense in my hands just sitting there doing nothing right? The girls say he wants his "prayer rub." When I read to the boys at nap time he squeezes in between them to hear the story too and look at the pages.

Awhile back we had the youth group over and played T.P. games of course Hallie included the puppies! I love that Newton and Molly's coloring are the very same so they look like brother and sister! Hallie reminded me I had forgotten to do a blog post about him. He is very sensitive and would be crushed if he knew I hadn't blogged about him.
But, the very best thing about Cutie Patutie Newtie is that he helped potty train Molly!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Miracle Grow

Miss Riley behind the scenes. She loves the creative and complicated and hates the ordinary easy stuff! ie... making crepes vs. cleaning her room, designing jewelry vs. giving Molly a bath! She spent a whole day taking beautiful pictures of her sibs. She has such a sweet love for each one of them and they for her.
Hallie is working on her science fair project these days. She is researching hydroponics and the effects "Miracle Grow" has on plants. She has been diligently weighing her plants and recording info bright and early every morning! She volunteers in the Library and helps her teacher with tutoring. Hallie knows how to use everyday to the fullest!I realize I recently gushed over Bailee on her birthday but, she is keeping herself busy these days honing her social skills, mastering consecutive kart-wheels and spinning like a top on the play-ground. We prayed for their husbands and his parents the other night. We prayed that God would be protecting those boys, teaching those boys and making them into HIS mighty men! (Bailee was confused and giggling when it was over) Notice her locket!
These girls are growing up so fast! They have me confused, giggling and spinning like a top! I either want time to slow down or Jesus to hurry up! If neither of those things happen... I know HE will accomplish the creative and complicated miracle grow of these girls for HIS glory.