Tuesday, November 30, 2010


oh the hubs. he had a tooth pulled yesterday, and the thought of such an occurrence literally makes me cringe. the problem started in april when he cracked a molar and he has been dealing with the troubled area with toothpicks and careful chewing for 6 months. the time had come for dental intervention. benjamin wickstra did his job well and brad spent the evening hungry, but with relatively little pain for an extraction. the pulled tooth did shape the evening slightly by necessitating activities that did not raise the patients blood pressure. so instead of chase and ramming, we played DOMINOES.

i felt very laura ingalls wilder as we sat by the fire with the dominoes strewn about and the tv off. it was a very good feeling. now, do not get impressed that the boys were playing such an adultish game. for they were not. instead, we set up huge (more than 10) runs of dominoes that the boys would knock over and create the chain reaction of tipping over the dominoes. not normally a difficult feat, the presence of little boys made any attempts at more elaborate systems impossible. maxer and bear would shake the table, "accidentally" bump a dominoe, or set some of their own dominoes too close to one our trains and the whole thing would start crashing. oh they would laugh.

max exemplified what would happen if you gave your child drugs by running wild through the whole house when the dominoes would fall. wes would look at brad and imitate exactly the noise and motions that brad did. we moved on to building domino towers. brad turned the activity into a lesson about stability and taught both max and i some tips on tower building. weston insisted on sitting right on my lap and carefully place dominoes on top of mine. so cute.

being in one another's company with christmas music blaring in the background, the night was sweetly enjoyable. the beauty of each family member's presence was exemplified by the lack of other distractions; a rare treat we typically opt out of for the sake of watching a little mike rowe on dirty jobs.

thank you christ jesus for the gift of family. you have blessed us so much with each member, thank you for the opportunity to appreciate the uniqueness of gifts and characteristics you have bestowed upon each member of our fam.

Monday, November 29, 2010

celebrations continue

the turkey is almost gone, but that does not mean the fun and festivities are over! another day of celebrating dawned on sunday.

we took the whole fam to 10am church and sat in the centre, the old auditorium of ridge that is now equipped with play structures and tables galore to encourage families to experience church together. this scenario works well for us as our children are phobic about nursery, and i am phobic about the germs in nursery (we had the flu 4 times last winter, i have cause for concern). the ready availability of cheerios and cinnamon toast crunch just solidifies this venue as the best choice for the meistes. well, the good times got better when my bro, sissies and almost bro in law rounded out our table. in the midst of worshipping and learning more ways to be jesus to people, one adorable boy playing near my more adorable boys stood on a block and roared obnoxiously. as that boys parents were gesturing to one another to tend to the situation and get that lion under control, bear bolts up, charges over to the lion and stands mere inches from the kid, right up in his face. bear did not utter a word, just stood there and glared menacingly into the childs face. lionboy stopped immediately, stepped down and went to play with some girls.

i almost peed my pants. that bear, he has got it under control!!

anywho, we churched, we returned home, we loaded up maxer and weston in brads parents vehicle and ventured forth to megan's vogelzang bridal shower. entertaining. such a cacophony of STRONG personalities. meggles was sure showered with something...

when we finally came home for the afternoon, we marinaded in the christmas spirit present in our home through the tree (my one and only decoration), and christmas music. so far only 5 ornaments have been broken. the tree has been up for 1 day. max and wes really especially enjoy a little stroller ornament that i received as a newborn. the stroller contains a teeny tiny ornament baby and the boys are constantly checking on that baby. i keep moving the ornament higher and higher up the tree which results only in the dragging of stools over to the tree and boys climbing up said stools and tumbling into said tree. i have a feeling that ornament may be the sixth to be broken.

we headed over to the lampens (brads parents) for pizza in the evening. delish for sure. my fave is just the 20 minutes it takes to get all children locked and loaded into the veen. hilarious. the whole time both bear and max start hollering for daddy to drive, not mommy. so, without fail, brad of course pretends he is going to drive and the boys panic and yell and beg and scream for him to drive. do you think this says anything about my driving skills? let's be honest, good driver or not i will be behind the wheel of that fine looking piece of vehicular machinery come rain or shine. watch out other drivers!

rest assured, ayla is doing well. i bought her stocking today while at meijer. it is hot pink with faux fur and glitter. yes, i love having a girl!! check her out in her cute christmas dress!

Saturday, November 27, 2010


happy birthday maxwell alan!

you are four, four years old max! you my son are worthy of celebration!

i praise jesus for blessing me with you as my son.

i rejoice in the lord for the gift you are to my life max. i cannot get enough of your presence. when you nap to long or are gone from me for even a short time i anxiously await getting one of your huge hugs and tight squeezes.

you are an awesome big brother. jesus gave you a caring spirit, a nature that tends towards encouragement, support, and helpfulness. both your brother and your sister adore you, and you delight in making ayla smile and teaching weston all you know. your best buddy, bear, is the recipient of such good times and great gifts. on your birthday, you would let bear have parts of your presentsi n order to ensure bear feels included and gets to have a part in the playtime.

max, you are growing and developing so quickly. it is a joy to witness you begin to recognize some letters, count in sequence, and figure out how things work. we occasionally get the opportunity to work on these things, just you and me, when the younger two are napping. i love having that special time with you.

maxer, you behave so well. you listen and obey most all the time. last week, we had to give you a little bit of vinegar in your mouth when you talked back to daddy. you were broken about that discipline. it tasted yucky, but your heart was absolutely hurt. you whimpered and trembled the rest of the evening. now when we mention that possibility you immediately apologize and change your behaviour.

daddy and i love you more than we can even comprehend. you are an absolute joy and every day with you is a true gift. it is our desire maxwell, that you will come to know that "this god is our god for ever and ever he will be our god even onto death" and begin your eternal relationship with jesus christ, following the example daddy and i strive to set before you. psalm 48:14

jesus, may we be worthy of the calling you have set before us in raising this beautiful boy to know you and make you known.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

good night

guess how long it takes me to put these precious boys to bed at night.
(this pic looked nice and warm and the boys so sweetly determined. but nothing to do with bedtime, i know)

here is a hint: when brad is around it takes between 10-15 minutes to brush teeth, jammy, and tuck in.

well things sure change when he leaves! the last couple of evenings have required HOURS of love and preparation to get maxer and bear to sleep. here is the biggest surprise:

i have loved every minute!

okay, not every one. the minutes that bear cries uncontrollable screaming words i cannot understand due to over tiredness are not the minutes i am referring to. (for future reference: he would like both his teddy bears in bed with him. so if he does that pointing at the door things while screeching and pumping his legs, try looking for said stuffed animals.)

but after each boy was tucked in with various comfort items all around them, pure bliss ensued.

they asked me to sing a couple lullabies for them. clearly very happy to oblige them that request.

we prayed lots for daddy, the black kikiki, and lots of thank yous for items i may have left out had it not been for their reminders. we had candy, warm snuggly nests, new toys, max's bday, and grandma with all the cars, and grandma with the boat all prayed over last night at the boy's direction.

then came the back scratches. first bear for like 3.2 seconds until he fell asleep. then maxer's turn.

but first a pee break for max.

then he was to tired to climb the stairs.

so i carried him. he is heavy. but he wrapped those adorable big boy arms around my neck and gave me an appreciative squeeze when i dropped him off at his bunk. oh that boy. so grown up. so generous with me, allowing his younger sibs to hang on me and be held while he goes without. but in those tired moments before he falls asleep, he cherishes being held, and getting his back scratched, and being so loved and adored by his mama that sleep engulfs his tired body and peace fills his tired mind. as i gazed at that big boy all snuggled up tight, my heart was overwhelmed with gratitude that jesus gave me that precious boy. yes he can be naughty and whiny and even a little exhausting, but he has filled every day of the last four years with a joy like no other and love overflowing.

i hope tonight brings more quiet time of adoring reflection of one mama and her two sons.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

fun at the fairfield

in order to help with the coping of missing bradley while he is hunting, the children and i took holland's fairfield inn by storm. we were not alone on this adventure. the adorable habers, nyhof, and kamphuis families joined the overnight fun fest. we pulled front and center into the parking lot promptly at check in with a whole entire van full of kids, supplies, and food. the process of unloading is much compounded when you are outnumbered three babies to one mama. i tried locking them in the room, but alas, they escaped. well, not ayla, she was an awesome listener the whole time.

other than the fab fams, the main draw to the hotel was the pool. swimming in november, fun for all ages! even the large troupe of 9 eight year olds celebrating a birthday. whoa. they were loud, the pool area was tiny and oh so humid, they had rhythm and chantings, and they were super intimidating to my easily overwhelmed swimmers and ears. after a fair amount of pool time, we headed to our room to destroy, i mean to play and prepare for a delish supper of little ceasars.

when our delivery girl, steph, arrived with food in hand, we all stormed the breakfast area and enjoyed the meal. translation: the adults quickly wolfed food down while taking turns trying to round the littles up and keep said children from running wild in the hotel and turning the lights on and off. good times were had by all.

eventually we could no longer keep the children from the pool and headed back into that hot arena. we had some time there without the birthday girls which really increased the fun level. fave activities included playing with the shower head meant to clean one's feet, kicking a large ball into the pool and nearly beheading the swimmers, running and slipping hard on the tile. ayla's fave was looking stinkin adorable

bathtime followed pool time, and sanck/movie time followed bath time. all the swimming and ramming made for some tired boys, so they were mellow as i prepped the babe and got cleaned of the pee/chlorine combo that made up that pool. brad called to report all was well at deer camp and gave me a beautiful pep talk. a good night's sleep ensued, during which both boys ended up with their feet on the pillows and baby ayla giggled in her sleep. so presh. the heat/ air conditioner presented me with a constant struggle to maintain the right temp so all peoples were comfy, but all in all morning found us raring to go.

6:30 am, ayla and i started coffee. i sipped while she smiled. bliss

7:00 boys awake and hungry. with ayla in the stroller, i wheeled back and forth to the the breakfast area bringing loads of cereals, fruit, bagels, and orange juice to my waiting boys. we consumed some food and spilled some food. sorry fairfield cleaning peeps.

another round of swimming with the preteens kept us busy until we cleaned up and checked out. reflecting on our mini vacay, i am so grateful for great friends, cute kids, and a delightful husband who suggested such an endeavour.

Friday, November 12, 2010


the love of my life turns 33 tomorrow. my desire to celebrate the whole day through directly contrasts with his desire to go to deer camp tomorrow. well, the bday boy wins. as much as the circumstances create a bipolar response from me: overwhelming love and appreciation in celebration of my man's birth, juxtaposed with frustration and sadness at my man's departure; i am rather grateful the two events are on the same day. it makes me try harder to be nice and send him off with a kiss and fond memories instead of guilt :) i just really depend on the man.

so this happy birthday, i will fondly relate the blessings brad brings into my life and focus on those instead of the sadness of not having the fam complete without him.

- the daddy playtime. oh these boys need to play like boys: wrestling, throwing/catching balls, running wild, riding on people: all things dad does better or instead of mom.

- my morning kiss. though i can barely remember brads departure in the morning as i am desperately trying to squeeze in the last minutes of available sleep, i always recall the sweet kiss and proclamation of love every am.

- his appreciation of my cooking. when it is just me and the boys and baby ayla, i am really the only one willing to branch out of the usual mac and cheese or hotdog options for mealtime. with brad home, he always bravely tries new recipes, and assures me my hard work in the kitchen is well worth the effort.

- the sense of security that bradley brings. he sleeps on the side of our bed closest to the door in order to be in better position to protect me if we had an intruder. ADORABLE

- the team. brad and i make such an incredible team. we balance one another's concerns, hold one another's hands through good times and bad, tag team with disciplinarian issues, willingly hear one another's troubles and tribulations, and build one another up when needed. i am way better at teamwork than independent parenting.

- attitude. never have i interacted with someone as jokey, funny, and consistently upbeat as my hubby. though it can grate on one's nerves if not feeling the same temperament at the time, spending some quality time with brad will ensure your spirits are lifted.

until my many man returns with a buck in the back of the truck (or corey's deer as the case was last time :)), i will do my best to enjoy the time with my kiddos all to myself and not shave, cook, or really wear anything but comfy clothes. books will be read, mcdonalds will be eaten, and brad will be missed!!

Saturday, November 6, 2010


i recall a date with brad before marriage in which we ate at johnny carinos in an intimate booth, focused primarily at the love shining from one another's eyes.


five years later, i now have a new johnny carinos image seared into my memory. we had some family errands to run last night, so we decided to eat out as we were already "in town" already. earlier in the day, i had sneaked to mcdonalds for lunch so i was attempting to nonchalantly steer us away from a burger joint. as brad drove into culvers, i commented on how empty johnny's parking lot appeared. so we gave it a go

we sat in a similar booth as our date night, only this time all three kids were crammed in there with us. max is to big for a high chair, so weston thinks he is as well. the boys sat next to brad, and i had ayla in the sling as well as all the jackets next to me. it was snug. it also seemed the table was shoved way close to me and ayla. which might have been a result of the fidgeting and ramming coming from the boys' side.

the service was fast, tho lacking in the friendly. when we speedily received our food, the waiter, alvin, literally shoved brads arm out of the way with his bowl of chicken gorgonzola. the boys ordered pizza but quickly had their eyes on the prize sitting in front of me: spaghetti. while i did try to direct their attention back to their own meal, the shrieking coming from our youngest son made me much more willing to share.

i planted my plate of spaghetti in front of bear, and he and max quickly began forking noodles into their mouth. by into, i mean all over themselves with one or two noodles reaching the desired destination. thinking quickly, brad zipped up bear's coat so most stray sauce and noodles landed there. in a matter of minutes, bear was covered head to toe. as i was starving, and nursing at the time, i reached gracefully over the table to get my own forkfuls of which landed equally gracefully all over ayla and me. brad inhaled his meal. i asked for more bread to mop up and fill the hole of hunger remaining in my belly after the majority of my meal was consumed by my sons. we were out of there in about 20 minutes all together. i was laughing the entire meal, brad was sweating, ayla was nursing, max and wes were spilling.

oh what a night

though there were plenty of differences from that first romantic rendezvous at carinos, the love between brad and i was magnified. there he was, my handsome hubby, choking down his supper and doing heroic damage control for the spillage dripping off our sweet and adorable boys. our eyes met across the table and there was no mistaking the love, adoration, and joy of having entertaining and exciting date nights now that we have three little blessings.

how romantic!

Monday, November 1, 2010

trick or treat

oh halloween. a weekend full of delish candy delights and the most adorable max puppy, bear lion, and ayla ducky around. our festivities began on thurs evening with a JCI office trick or treat route. my dad invited us to visit his work and participate in this event and we happily obliged. my sis kels was there to assist in the visual contact of the oh so excited boys. the boys quickly picked up on the benefits of halloween, and raced from one office to another saying please and thank you instead of trick or treat. oh well. i was shouting from the back on their behalf. and sometimes on my own behalf, there was really good candy at stake. we followed the arrows to office after office, except the two times i got us lost in the southview jci plant due to my overeager arrow misreading. though we found no candy in those areas, we did meet some nice folks.

my dad dressed as a cowboy/howard stern man. he is clever that one. last year he was a disturbed veteran complete with bloodied army fatigues. he turned off the lights in his office and laid on his desk with a bowl of candy resting in his outstretched arm. when a child would approach, he scared them, bad. some children have not recovered. after we made our rounds, we hit the cafeteria for donut holes and cider. yum. then we went on to supper at russ. my dad wore his wig inside the most conservative restaurant around. good times.

on saturday we joined some friends to participate in the treats and trails event at the outdoor discovery center. outstanding program. as we toured the trails, the kids got candy, lessons on owls, a hayride, some up close and personal time with snakes, and smores. such fun. ayla got hungry during this activity, so at one point i nursed her in the sling while walking the trails. no one could even tell. well, some people could but i was still discreet :)

we had so many treats this weekend, brad thought it time for a trick. yesterday i asked him to listen for ayla so i could quick take a shower. while i was still in the bathroom, i could hear her screaming so i was frustrated with my man and hurrying to tend to her needs. i rushed into the room after glaring at brad and could not find her on the bed where i had put her for her nap. i panicked and searched the surrounding floor. sure enough, she was laying next to the bed crying hard. at this point, brad remembers me waving my arms, taking a step forward and back, screaming "brad, the boys tried to pick ayla up and dropped her on the floor", and finally surging forward to rescue the little angel. brad could no longer contain himself and burst into laughter. he assured me ayla was not harmed in the making of this dramatic joke, he just gently laid her on the floor knowing i would reach a stage 4 spaz attack. never a dull moment. i have eaten approximately 14 pounds of candy to soothe myself.