Thursday, December 24, 2009

2009 Christmas Letter

Once again, since it’s that time of year, we reflect on the comings and goings before they cease to be near. 2009 was anything but uneventful for the Kuykendall family.

Our number one highlight was meeting our fifth son, Judson Lee, on October 27th. He has brought a tremendous amount of joy into our home. Judson is starting to smile at us- we never grow tired of that! It is especially blessed to see the way his older brothers look after him. They really love their baby brother. We are excited to see him grow and develop his own unique personality. Children are truly a heritage from the Lord (Psalm 127).

Jared, our oldest (the gunea pig in reality) is in third grade this year. He is a detailed, organized, and conscientious young man. Jared’s music has really taken off this year. He does a great job on the fiddle and piano, and even plays for fun now (i.e.- we don’t have to force him to practice very often anymore). We are proud of the young man he is becoming.

Jesse is in first grade. He has become a pretty good reader. Like Jared, he plays fiddle, but he’d rather be outside shooting his BB gun or throwing his tomahawk. Jesse is very sweet to his little brothers and is about the most forgiving and loving kid I know. Elaine and I get notes and pictures by the truckload from Jesse. We love them!

Justin is four years old. No one knows how to put on the charm like Justin! He loves cowboys and indians and playing legos with the big boys. He is doing pre-school worksheets and is enjoying his role as mommy’s lunch helper. Someday (in BJ’s dreams) we will have a Kuykendall boys quartet. I’m counting on Justin to be my high tenor.

John, age 2, is one of a kind. His little personality really blossomed this year. Everything he does: talking, singing, praying- is LOUD! For about 3 months every time we prayed John would yell out, "HELP PAPPA NONNIE (help Grandma Connie), HELP NAMA (help grandma), HELP DOBIE (help Colby, my mom’s dog). Right now the love of John’s life is tractors. Almost every day when I come home from work he says to me, "ride tractor?" He brings a lot of smiles to us and everyone around him.

I (BJ) was in a convenience store with my boys a while back and a lady with a thick foreign accent said, "Are all those boys yours? God must really love you." We have a long way to go but our heart is to raise these little guys for the Lord.

Elaine and I celebrated our 10th anniversary this June 19th. She remains (even after the 5th time around!) the one and only queen of the house. Elaine was made to be a mother. There aren’t enough hours in the day, but she does an excellent job keeping the home in order and takes VERY good care of all her boys (especially the big one). I am always excited to come home to my wife and the house that she makes a home.

After serving as a youth minister for 10 years, I resigned from his position in May. For some time I had felt the Lord leading me toward becoming a senior pastor and it was time to move on. It has been a stretching and growing time for me and my family. I had an asphalt sealing business this summer and have been doing construction full time since the middle of September (when it got too cold to seal asphalt). I am thankful that I have always had work, especially since the county we live has 15% unemployment. Still, my heart is in ministry, and I am anxious to be placed in GOD’s time. Through the ups and downs we have found God to be more than faithful. He has been so good to us. He has sent encouragement and support at exactly the right times. More than that He has been our peace. Where would we be without Him?

When it comes down to it the Psalmist was right, "The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want." The Lord is with us- we need nothing else. Friends and family, we pray that God blesses you with a wonderful Christmas. John 17:3 comes to mind, "And this is life eternal, that they may know thee the one true God, Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent." The #1 prize in being a child of God isn’t answered prayers, it isn’t the deliverance from the bondage of sin or even the promise of heaven someday. The greatest prize is God Himself. Knowing Him is the most blessed state in the universe.

May the Lord make Himself known to you in 2010.
In Christ,
The Kuykendalls

Christmas Eve 2009

The stockings were hung....

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Maybe in a few years...

I have these great ideas of traditions I want to establish for my family. I have dreamt of having special Christmas traditions since I was a little girl. Saturday night we made up hot chocolate for the boys ( I grabbed Starbucks:) and we drove around town listening to Christmas music while looking at lights. Seriously, I had been looking forward to this all month, even had it scheduled on our calendar. There was something peaceful about the thought of it....all our boys strapped in seatbelts, happily oohing and aahhing over the lights, enjoying their cocoas. Reality....not a whole lot of cool lights in our town, children using their outside voices, a few fights, and a few stops to take care of the few fights. Not as relaxing as I imagined, but still a good time with my family. Maybe next year...... :)

Santa's "Little Elk"

Justin: Mommy you are Mrs. Claus, Daddy is Santa Claus, and I am the Elk!

Mommy: The Elk?

Justin: You know, mommy, Santa's little helper. :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy Birthday Jesse!

We had a great time celebrating on his birthday (the 18th) at Chuck E. Cheese. With his birthday being one week before Christmas, schedules are always a little full. We were happy to drive to the one in Longview so that Grandma Sally and Papa could join in the fun. I sometimes feel a little guilt over not having a friend party for my boys, but then I realized Jesse had his four best friends with him to celebrate. :)

Yes, this gift makes mommy nervous. But don't worry, there are rules.

J.R. enjoyed his brother's cupcakes.

Justin really enjoyed the cupcakes.
Jud was a party pooper....he slept almost the whole time!

The boys (except Papa) spent the whole time eating with their heads turned to the tv screens.

The next morning BJ and I (and Jud) were able to take Jesse out to Denny's for breakfast. We would like to start doing this for all the boys on their birthdays since time alone with mommy and daddy can be rare. (Thank you Lauren and Big Justin for watching the other three.)

I love so much about this boy...including his toothless grin. :)

Happy Birthday Jesse! We love you!!!


It sure is fun to see how much Jared has improved on piano. Somedays the practicing drives me me a little crazy, but it is well worth it! Jared is our detailed child... very careful to practice the exact 3o minutes six days/week and follow Aunt Linda's directions. I love that our boys have a love for music. :)

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Wonderful Life....

For the past couple of years we have picked a night to watch "Its a Wonderful Life" together as a family. We pull out the hide-a-bed (great fun for little boys) and make a mess with popcorn. :) It is now officially a tradition. As the boys grow, we will need a bigger couch! This movie is always a good reminder of what a wonderful life we live.

Gingerbread House

A dear friend of ours brought over a gingerbread house kit for the boys to enjoy. We had a great time assembling and decorating this thing. Our biggest challenge was keeping J.R. and Justin from eating all the candy!

Finding the perfect tree.....

In the dark!

Fun at the Parade

We braved the cold weather a couple weeks ago to attend the parade. The boys had fun, but we were frozen by the time it ended. :)

You've gotta love these small town parades. I think Jesse and Justin are admiring the fire truck? :)

Trying to stay warm!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Mommy's quiet shower....

I thought my shower seemed a little more peaceful than usual.......

I don't even want to know how many he ate! :)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thanksgiving in Florence

We had a nice time relaxing and visiting at my mom and Ray's home. On Friday, BJ took the boys to the beach for a few hours to burn off some energy. They came home so excited about the shells they found (and brought home in their pockets). Grandma told them they could wash off the sand in her laundry room sink. While Jared was rinsing them off, two crabs crawled out and startled him! It took Jared a while before he would put his hands back in his pockets. :)
I would love to write more, but Judson is sleeping...and I need to sleep while I can!

Walla Walla, Washington

Three weekends ago we headed to Walla Walla, Washington. Kind of crazy with a 2 1/2 week old...but we had a great time. The Blue Mountain COG needed a preacher for that Sunday and Isaac suggested us. :) I really wanted to go because my sister's baby was due that Saturday (she was delivered early with her other two.) Unfortunately, Paisley Mae didn't arrive until two days after we left. I kept looking at Amy thinking how nice it was to not be pregnant anymore!

My boys had a great time playing with GIRL toys! Everything in Esther and Gracie's room is pink. Uncle Isaac took a few good "blackmail" pictures of my be used at a later date.

Queen Esther on her throne.

Another highlight of the trip was seeing my mom and Ray. My mom's counts were up so she was able to make the trip and meet Judson for the first time.

A visit to 44 Francis Drive, one of BJ's childhood homes. He thought the backyard seemed bigger as a kid. :)

After looking at our pictures I realized that we packed quite a bit into our one full day there. Here we are at the Whitman Mission. I found it so interesting. The boys loved seeing the tomahawks and Indians and were even fascinated by the story of Mr. and Mrs. Whitman.

Our dream...until I start thinking about how hard life really was back then.

Uncle Isaac is so stinkin' RAD! He built a half pipe in his youth room. It makes an awesome slide for kids.

The Cousins minus one. :)

Meltdown time.

This trip took a lot of energy but I am so glad for the time with family.

Friday, November 27, 2009 I can admit that life has been just a little bit overwhelming and busy! (As evidenced by my neglected blog.) Jud is a sweetie-pie, but lets just say that he likes being held best! Thankfully I do have two very willing baby holders. :) Our baby is now one month old. In his little life we have already traveled on a road trip to Walla Walla, WA and to my mom's in Florence, OR (where I am currently). Packing for myself and five little guys is exhausting...the laundry from seven people and a weekend of not doing laundry is exhausting...being in the car for five + hours is exhausting/sort of relaxing! We have really enjoyed our trips and visits with family, but I will be glad to stay close to home for a while. Posting pictures of our trips is on my to-do list! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving....there is so much to be thankful for.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


...of life as a family of seven.

10. Some confusion between the names Justin and Judson. Thank goodness for nicknames (baby Jud)!

9. After a few trips to doctor appointments, we were ready to trade in our minivan and suburban for a 12 passenger van.

8. While holding his new brother in the hospital, Jesse pointed out two things about baby Jud...his skin smells different than ours, and he has never broken one of the ten commandments. :)

7. Sleepless nights

6. The older three boys really stepping up to help with chores and even arguing over who gets to hold baby Jud next.

5. Hearing J.R. say his little brother's name in his low, booming voice... "Baby Dud."

4. BJ and I crying out to God for strength, energy, and wisdom in raising our family.

3. Hearing the boys exclaim how "adorable" newborn size diapers are...and trying to get the clean diapers on fast enough!

2. Figuring out a new routine in the mornings when mommy isn't up and ready on time.

1. Cuddling this gift of life in my arms.

The past two weeks have been a little bit of an adjustment...and just a little busier than usual. :) We could not have done it without the help of friends who provided meals for us every evening and help with our boys. We are in awe at how God meets our needs and cares for us.

Our boys had written us welcome home signs from the hospital so BJ made this sign to welcome them back from Grandma and Papa's.

Family worship. Jesse is known for picking random pj tops and bottoms...and J.R. loves to wear my longaberger basket liner on his head!