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One Husband, One Wife, Five Children and Everything in Between

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This week has been a week of traditions for me. Alan left for a trip with several students on Sunday night, while in the mean time I wrap up the end of Christmas and the year reflecting on all that has come and gone.

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If you are interested, I have included links for our past year reflections. Not sure what happened in 2011. Ha!





Before I begin, I must admit something I noticed about this year. I have hardly used my real camera. It’s not really surprising, because of several reasons. One I started working more, and therefore have less “free” time. Two, the camera on my phone is a lot more convenient. No matter, I have also noticed what I take a lot of pictures of, and have decided to be more purposeful in what I capture in 2016.Also my phone broke in the summer so I lost my photos that I didn’t back up. Thanks to IG I have a few of them saved.

January: To start the new year, we were on our way back from a fantastic trip to Colorado for Christmas. My family met together to celebrate my parents’ 50 Anniversary and first Christmas together in almost 30 years. There are 7 of us kids, so it’s hard to all get together. We made a brief trip to visit my aunt and uncle in the flat top mountains. Although it was extremely cold, we love the gorgeous views and 18 inches of snow on the ground. We spent New Years Eve crammed in a hotel room on our return home. That is after spending 5 hours that morning traveling and then realizing my phone was lost on the flat top mountains where it fell out while I was taking pictures with my real camera. What a way to end 2014!!! As I looked through all my pictures, the only one I have from January is the one below. I had bought a set of 4 view finders and the disks for less than $2 and my kids loved it. For a couple of days. Well worth the 2 bucks.


February: Is always a busy time with Valentines and other school activities. Alex was in a play at school. Tori got her glasses for the first time. 3 of 5 kids had the flu, one of which had to be taken to the ER because she was dehydrated. Fun times at the Bandy house! About this time our dog had chewed up my Bible I had since I was in college. I cried for 2 days. However, about the same time I had discovered Illustrated Faith and Bible Journaling. Alan had gotten me a journaling Bible (at a great cyber deal) for Christmas and so a new personal adventure began. Alan began to fill in as Interim at a church near by.


March: Usually with warm weather, although it can still snow, we begin to spend time out and about more. Spring Break always falls in March for us. Alex was turning 16 this year, and had been planning a big weekend for her sweet 16. I took her and several of her close friend to Nashville for a long weekend. It was a fast, all girls, shop til you drop and stay up late fun time. I’m sure it’s one she won’t ever forget. A dear friend of mine found out she had cancer, which is never an easy or good time.


April: This month is kind of a blur. I’m not going to lie. Easter is always a  very full weekend for me with the nature of my job. This year we hosted a large event, and made it bigger by creating what we called “A Family Passion Week Journey.” With that out-of-the-way, the end of the school year began to wind down. We had tons of showers & birthday parties, as well as play rehearsals, land runs, and field trips.


May: May began with a bang. The large play at the High school was the first two weekends. We had major rain storms that dropped 8+ inches in an hour. Dance recital. End of school awards. Before I knew it the month was coming to a close as well as the school year. Alan took the older two kids to TX for Comicon, which was a first for all three. They had a great time! I believe somewhere in this time, Alan received Tenure at his job.

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June: During this month, Josiah was only home for one week. He had a couple of camps, plus spent some time with a friend. Tori went to her first camp with the church. My parents’ moved from the state they lived in the longest, after retiring, to a much closer state to us. Honestly, June was a bit of a blur. It was a down time to relax and enjoy the summer. Because Kiki’s birthday was at the end of the school year, we had her birthday party in June. I went for the old school at home, let the kids play with very little planned style. All we had planned was decorating cakes. It was fantastic.  At the same time I had also begun to work more. My dear friend had surgery to remove her cancer, and because we worked together, I began to help fill in while she was in recovery.

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July: Always begins with a bang. Ha-I’m so punny. We celebrated in our tradition by going to Pops. (A little burger joint on Rt 66.) Alex took driver’s ed. VBS was a huge success. Then we went on a late vacation at the end of the month. After having a nice visit with Doc and Hunny for a few days, we headed on down to the beach. I had done a little research and found out that sea turtles began to hatch about the time that we would be on vacation. Our first night there at dinner we were talking about what we would like to do at the beach. I told everyone that I wanted to watch baby sea turtles hatch. That night, Alan took the kids to the beach to catch ghost crabs and I stayed behind with the little one. He called me almost right away, because they came to a nest of hatching turtles. The rest of the week was full of them We were between two nests that hatched every night. It was an amazing time to turn 40.

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August: I don’t like taking a vacation so late in the summer because when we return we hit the ground running. The kids always begin the school year mid-August. During August, we also went down to help my parents move in to their new home.

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September: Looking at the calendar, September was a quiet month for us.  Kiki got her first pair of glasses. The kids were in full swing at school. I was still working more hours at work. Uneventful is always a good thing.


October: This month began with Alex in One Act (which is a competition play) with school. During Fall Break we decided to take the kids camping for one night to unplug and make some memories. Only three of the kids dressed up for Halloween, which as a mom is kind of sad. Alan’s mom ended up being very sick, and so we began to make plans for her to finally move in with us. When we bought this house, it was knowing that one day we would need to help give her more care. It was good to see long-term plans begin to occur, although  seeing your loved ones ill and aging is not always easy.


November: It’s kind of funny for me to look at my calendar for November and see barely anything written on it. I know it was full, because everyday is full. I love all the sweet blessings that our family brings and means. In our fullness there is joy. It doesn’t mean that it is easy or fun, but making everyday count is what life is all about.


December: Perhaps November doesn’t seem very full because December is off the hook crazy. There was one day in particular that pushed and stretched me, but I didn’t crack. I got a glimps to see what I was made of, and what I saw is that I am limited. We all are, but we can always face far more than what life hands to us. To know that I have the Peace of Christ in me, there is more to this life than the moment I am in. Life is not made up in moments, and true greatness in not ever found in things. You can always give more of yourself, and it’s not until you are completely empty that you find how full you can really be.

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As I look ahead to 2016, I honestly have no idea what lies ahead. For us, big changes are coming- our oldest is almost done with High School. What?!?! But there are so many things we don’t know are coming. Both in joy and sorrow.  My hope is that I am humbled by the blessings and challenged to be more by the trials. Never take love for granted. Hug your babies, don’t be afraid to be messy, laugh at life, be challenged to love the unlovely, and be a light for those struggling in the dark.

Happy New Year, from our family to yours.


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We just got back from our holiday travels. I realized about 10 days before Christmas that there was no way that we would get Christmas cards out this year, and resolved myself to let it go. This morning I realized that it’s already January 2, 2015. For all you Generation X-ers, it’s the year of Back to the Future 2. I like to look back over the year, see how much we’ve changed and accomplished. Here is to having a happy new year to you and yours.



Alan returned to the Amazon region of Peru with a small team of students. They were gone almost half the month of January. The kids returned to their school routine, and I began my resolution of making 50 things for the blog (only later to realize how this wasn’t a good goal for me. I probably did make 50 things over the year, but most I didn’t bother blogging about, and about mid year stopped making the Nifty Fifty posts.)


This month was super busy for us. Alan took all the girls to see Beauty and the Beast Musical, Josiah’s robotics team competed for Nationals (it had been snowed out in December) and our oldest daughter had corrective surgery for Scoliosis.  She spent a week in the hospital, and then 6+ weeks recovering. Before her surgery, we finished with her bedroom redo, which was a fun project.

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Spring Break always comes for us during the month of March. Alan took a team of students with him to Turkey for a class. Because Alex was still recovering from surgery, I stayed home with the kids. We weren’t able to do very many things, because she was still in a lot of pain, but we did manage to squeeze in a couple of day trips out.

Painting of Paul from a cave church above Ephesus Cappadocia, Turkey Feeding zoo


This month is full of great weather. Kiki had a musical at school, Josiah had a science fair, and Tori’s class celebrated the Land Run at school. Alex was slowly getting stronger and started back at school. Easter is always busy for us, but especially with things at our church.  Overall, it’s one of those months that easily slips by.



This month is full of birthdays, end of school events and awards, a wedding, and we left for our summer holiday trip. The calendar was full almost everyday with events and appointments. Best of all is the beginning of summer break.

Birthday Party


We spent half the month in the east coast with my parents. After returning, the older two left for a week of camp. Vacation Bible School plans began to be finalized for church, so it was nice to have only half of the house of family.

Washington Monument

In Gettysburg Baltimore Harbor


Because of my job at the church, VBS pretty much takes over my summer. Alan spends much of his summer writing. We keep the kids busy with activities. Usually OK is extremely hot and miserable, however this summer we had an unusual amount of rain, and July felt almost cool. Since Alex had her surgery, Alan planned a trip for the two of us to spend a week in Turkey with some friends who lived there. It was a birthday/anniversary (for the next several years) gift for me. BEST GIFT EVER!!

Pergamum, Turkey


This month for us means the return to school for everyone but the baby and I. It means routine, and with it, less family time. The kids were all excited to return to school. Alex was finally fully recovered from her surgery. This would be a great place to post back to school pictures, but I don’t have any. (Slacker mom!!) Kiki did loose her front teeth, and I managed to get a couple of pictures. (Sorry it’s blurry, I was playing with the light.) Alan also baptized Josiah and Tori.

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Appointments, practices, routine, busyness -this is what September means to us. This photo was taken while waiting at ballet for one of the girls.

Boys: noise with dirt


As the year begins to close, this month seems to be a continuation of September. Cooler weather, fall colors, cool breezes. It’s my favorite season. Alex had her competition for Drama club, Fall break, and Halloween. We officially adopted another Greyhound, and the girls had a fall concert at school.



Thanksgiving, DNow, Conferences. Overall, this was a slower month. I was making crafts for the fall, the kids were getting ready mentally for Christmas break. Of course having a snow storm in the middle of November helped that even more.

Family Pic 2014


As the year came to a close, I decided to end on the positive with the blog. I posted everyday for the Jesse Tree until we left for holiday. The month was full of merriment and ended on a positive note. My parents 50th anniversary was celebrated by all 7 siblings and families. This was the 1st Christmas we had all been together for over 25 years, and the last one was spent at the hospital when my brother and BIL were in ICU after a car accident. It was a true joy and delight to spend the time together. We closed out 2014 by returning home and beginning 2015 with great excitement. You never know what tomorrow brings, so don’t waste a day. Tell those who matter most how much you love and appreciate them, work hard, and make memories.  (And use a camera to help you remember)

My Parents' Anniversary

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How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?
~ Dr. Seuss

I remember a time when I use to think that it would be forever before time would pass. I no longer think in those terms. Now all I want is for time to stop, but it only speeds up more quickly. Alan and I were talking about the coming year. My parents will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary at the tend of this year, which is amazing to me. (we will celebrate out 19th- which blows my mind even more.) As we were talking about the kids and how sweet T will be turning 10….that leaves only two that will be in the single digits. Time slips away! With that, I pause to remember what 2013 looked like for our family, one month at a time. Here are a couple of links to previous years, and to looking for a full and adventurous 2014.





We took the kids to sledding in a baseball field the last day of Winter break in January. It’s a big deal, because Oklahoma has no hills that are good for sledding.



February was the only day it snowed (well until December), but it didn’t start until time for the girls to go to school- which wasn’t cancelled. Since The Boy was the only one home-schooled he got to play in it. It was almost all melted by time they got home from school. We also closed at the end of February on this home that we leased for two years. It’s not a good picture of the house, but it symbolizes this huge achievement for our family.



March, for 2012, meant an early Easter. For our family, it was a sad weekend. Early March, we discovered Daphne had a growing tumor of some sort. Her health quickly declined, and she left a huge whole in our hearts. We still miss her so much.



April is a symbol of the end of the year. We had lots of programs at school, end of year testing, spring air, etc.  Looking through my pictures and blog, it was also a time of great loss and hardships for many of my friends. Oh- the seasons of life, each one unique and filled with times of great triumph and times of deep sorrow.



Looking through my 2013 calendar, May, August and December (well and October) were our busiest months. We ran in the Color Me Rad 5K, celebrate  two birthdays, end of school, this year the Oldest “graduated” from 8th grade, a wedding, and family time. Of course on top of that, there was the May 19th and 20th tornadoes in Oklahoma as well.



June we disappeared for three weeks. Alan taught a summer class on the east coast, so we made a holiday of it. We saw both sets of our parents, my brother’s family, and all our friends from NC that are really more like family. It was a time we will never forget. I have decided that if I ever have a mental breakdown or depression that I want to be placed on the beach to do nothing but soak up the sun and tranquil sea breeze. There I said it.



July is always full with catching up from holiday, 4th of July, and my birthday. This year we went to the salt flats in Nowhere, OK and dug for crystals. It was a perfect day, staying in the 80’s (which for Oklahoma is amazing).



August, as I have already mentioned is a busy month for us as well. School starts back, I started working more at my job, Titus  turned 1. The Boy started school for the first time in public school this year, which was a HUGE adjustment for him. We have taken it on day at a time, and he is doing very well. Although he would never admit it, I think he even likes it. a little.













I don’t know what happened in September. Another birthday, but then after that is gets a little blurry. This picture is just a sample. I was going to do a series of posts about the cool observations I made with all the neat things we found at the beach, and…..well…….. yeah… didn’t happen. So I’ll mention on of the things here. We discovered that the shells fit inside each other if you line them up by size and shape.

never mind.











Sweet T finally won a Halloween costume contest at Alan’s employment. Everyone (but Titus) has officially won something. It was a really big deal. Now, she said, “It doesn’t matter if I win again.” She is the one taking a bubble bath on the front step.











We love the fall. Or rather- I love the fall. It is our tradition to go up to the university and take pictures. They are difficult to get to co-operate, but once in a while they pull it together. I must be trigger ready, because it won’t last long. My 5 little blessings.

Must. stop. them. growing.










And in a flash the year is over. Alan turned the big 4-0. We filled everyday with as much parties and sharing time as we possibly could. And now we have said good-byes to those memories. We look forward to tomorrow with boldness knowing that no matter what it holds, we have each other. Here is to wishing you a happy 2014

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