Sunday, May 24, 2009

Bragging Rights

We went to Tennessee this weekend to celebrate the graduation of two of my nieces. They, along with their 14 brothers and sisters, are homeschooled (for TLC fans, no, they are not the Duggars (but they are good friends of theirs and have been on their show a couple of times)). Seeing them graduate is such an inspiration to me, as I continue to "bump along" in my early years of homeschooling, because they are some of the smartest, sweetest, happiest, and most generous kids you could meet, and I think being homeschooled, and being raised in a family devoted to God, has done a lot to shape that character. (Plus, on days when I'm ready to pull my hair out over my kids, I think, well, if my sister-in-law can handle 16, maybe I can do 4...)

One of my graduating nieces also performed in a piano recital this weekend. I've heard her play before, and have always thought she was just amazing, but she really outdid herself at this performance. The video on my digital camera kind of muffles the sound, but here is a video clip (yes, I'm bragging by sharing, but I am soooo proud of her!).


You can also hear her play here on a TLC webisode. She's been offered all sorts of college scholarships, just from people hearing her play on the Duggar's show. Her musical style somehow breathes new life and joy into worship music. Someone said, "you feel like the gates of heaven themselves are opening up when you hear her music". Am I bragging too much? I'm just so excited for her, I can't help it. She's recorded one CD for friends and family, and hopes to do more in the near future. I have a feeling that now that she's been exposed on TLC, she'll have plenty of opportunities for doing that soon.

Here are a few shots from our trip to "the cousins'" (as my kids call our nieces and nephews - it's a little quicker than saying all 16 names)

Car Fun...

Tennessee sights (from the car)...

lots of wildflowers

lots of rock

rest stop sculpture

more wildflowers

"We made it!"

The Duggars and several other families arranged for a new addition to be built on "the cousins'" house. With 16 kids, it was a very welcomed addition! Everyone was soooo excited. TLC is filming the building process, so look for it on an upcoming episode of "18 Kids and Counting".

Even with a wall missing in the dining room, life (and dinner) must go on (it's hard to tell in this picture, but one end of the table was outside).

The Duggar Family was here for a week helping build the house. Here one of my nephews is wearing a hat signed by all the Duggars (yep, they all fit!)

a little "fun break" on the construction site

BeachPea's turn on the tire swing

MyBuddy was fascinated by the cousins' guineas

(part of) our clan leaving the recital

Lil' Diva is debating whether to share her book with her cousin (born 2 weeks apart)

enjoying the mountain view at the cousins' house

we did lots of hiking

here one of my nephews is doing some hammer juggling with John David Duggar, who stayed behind to help with the house
(another "fun break" apparently)

Lil' Diva meets a farm horse

CarriBear introduces the cousins to her Petshop toys

Lil' Diva shows off her gymnastics skills
(or maybe she's just being a kid :))

we got to do some cave exploring with the cousins
(CarriBear, here pulling desperately at daddy's hand, is not sure spelunking is for her at first, but she is brave and gives it a try in the end)

the girls get in on some construction work, too

BeachPea visits the cousins' beautiful filly

OK, enough pictures for now. Thanks for staying with me, and letting me share.:)


  1. Those are great pictures!
    I love watching the Duggars show on TLC. I have recently read their book and it has inspired me in so many ways.
    It looks as if you all had a wonderful little "vacation".
    Love the expression on your little one's face in the picture of her with her cousin and a book.

  2. I like that picture too! What a great capture of her expression! Thanks for sharing all the pics. It looks like you all had a great time. Where is the cave you explored? Oh, and thanks for sharing the piano recital. My husband and I watched in awe.

  3. The cave was just outside of Lake City. It was huge. I'm sure we could have explored it all day, but we had lots of little ones who were ready to head on out. Maybe next time.


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