Monday, December 19, 2011

the reason for the season

on saturday, we went christmas shopping. perhaps that sounds more involved than the actual activity. we literally loaded the veen and headed to target to buy each and every present save for a couple randoms i ordered online. we were armed with some giftcards earned via brads credit card, a teermans christmas bonus, and my teermans paycheck.

yes all three adorables were along.

the experience was intense. it was festive. it was expensive. it was successful. and it was anxiety inducing.

i seriously adore my babes and husband with everything i have. i desire the very best for them in every aspect of life. somehow, at christmas, this desire morphs into buying into the concept that more is better. maxer likes remote controls, i want to give him every one they make. bear is fascinated with cheetahs, i want to buy a real one and keep him out back. ayla jo is a girl, so i want a wardrobe for her complete with lace and pink and frills.

there is always more and better things.

this feeling of desperation to fulfill my children's every want and blow them away with even more THINGS is in direct juxtaposition to what christmas really celebrates.

the birth of our saviour.

to a virgin. in a manger. ultimate humility. ultimate sacrifice.

and the ultimate gift. redemption.

that is more than enough. my heart pounds with gratefulness and shame. i am so thankful for all baby jesus' birth represents. and so so sorry that i so easily slip into our society's distracting and commercialized version of an act of love so incredible it is beyond my comprehension.

other kids will get more toys this christmas. but mine will get enough. so i put back a pink princess chair for baby blue, a garbage truck reminiscent of toy story 3 for bear, and a set of lincoln logs for maxer. and i read my cuties luke 2 this morning and hid a baby jesus in a manger for them to seek like wisemen. and i prayed that the lord help me with my unbelief, that he overwhelms my heart with knowledge that He. is. enough.

Monday, December 12, 2011

let it snow

right now, as i type, i do not see any snow. the only white is the cloudy sky. otherwise, the grass is greenish still, the driveways soaked with puddles, and the trees bare and brown. however, this was not the scene on friday. on friday, we woke up to snow!

a beautiful sight awaited us, all bright and white. i am so grateful i was up before the boys this day, for i got to witness their adorable reactions. bear caught a glimpse outside the upstairs window on his way down the steps and said, "max, the snow came back!" both boys kept exclaiming that they must have been asleep for a very long time. and then came the request to venture outdoors and play.

after 35 minutes of layering, searching for lost mittens, zipping, shoving mittened hands through arm holes and overall bundling, the boys were ready for the first snowy adventure of the year.

thankfully, there was a little snow left on sunday, when daddy was home to play. my three boys took to the hill in our backyard. leave it to bradley to come up with a sledding game in which he shot the boys down the hill and aimed for objects at the bottom such as the tractor frozen to the ground or one another trying to make it up the hill.

those couple wild outings practically wore away all the snow, so scant the accumulation and so hearty the play.

the amount of fun they packed into their sledding extravaganza's was immense. enough to last through these incredibly mild temps.

snow is cold, requires much more preparations, creates hazardous road conditions and severely limits activities. however, it sure provides some good times in the backyard.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

love these nights

with the opportunity to work at teermans and the stow co, many of our nights are spent apart for a bit. we always end up together, and that is my fave. however, the busyness makes nights home even more beautiful.

last evening brad had pig school. the boys were incredibly disappointed that they could not accompany him to get pqa certified as i imagine they were picturing pigs at school. sadly, that was not the case. i was feeling a bit burnt out after a really intense crafting session yesterday resulting in some christmas presents and baths for all three. so the thought of being alone for the night with the little was daunting.

the crafting is happening in the pic above. can you find where our ginger haired princess stashed her lollipop? yeppers, its stuck to her cute tights. that makes me laugh out loud.

thankfully my husband the hero rolled into the driveway at 6 instead of his 10:30 prediction. we were all thrilled. brad probably the least of all as i was not really planning on him for dinner and therefore made us all some gourmet grilled cheese. by gourmet i mean regular grilled cheese. and chips. wow. lucky, lucky man.

so the night was spent enjoying one another's company. one of our fave fam activities occurs on the stairs. bradley and bear are on one end, and maxer is on the other. they whip a ball up and down. i am petrified of this game as i cannot catch to save my life. and it really seems like they are trying to hit one another more than toss it gently. either way, i am out.

these two crazies were looking especially handsome all night long sporting some john deere hats courtesy of great grandpa and grandma. they are both beyond proud because they think they can read the john deere on them. max does point out all the letters correctly and is now somewhat convinced that john deere and john zoet (brad's boss) are one in the same...

please note maxers shiny face. he had chapped lips. apparently brad had/has this problem as well. so maxwell likes to put his own vaseline on. this results in lots of vaseline all over his nose, cheeks, foreheads and a little even on his lips.

this little lovely has a fever. i know. the only benefit of illness is that it forces us to slow down and just be. here is ayla jo being a princess. playing dress up with her pretty.

ayla jo is saying cheese. look at those lips!! i just want to plant kisses right smack on them!

thank you lord for these fabulous family nights together where not a lot happens other than togetherness. what a blessing to live in this love!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

blood draw

i took ayla jo and weston to zeeland community hospital yesterday to get baby blue's blood drawn for a routine lead level check that is required of all babes her age. i know what you are thinking, what an amazing mom. the first day no one is puking and you make her go get poked?! but here is the thing, with this fam you just do not know when the next round of throw up is going to happen, so you have to live life with a seize the day attitude. so we seized.

maxer had school and we were out and about anyway. of course i had lost the work order given me by dr lund three weeks ago so i called in the am to request that the office fax the work order downstairs to the waiting registration nurse. nurse ruth assured me that would be no prob.

prepared as i was going to get, i dropped max smiling and wearing red for red day off to school and proceeded to zch. there we registered and bear beelined it for the drinking fountain. have we really been there enough to remember locations of drinking fountains and toys and whatnot? apparently yes. so wes got a large cup of water while i wandered around with the dolly until two two year old twins and their parents bombarded the waiting area and entertained themselves with my daughter. aylaroo was real tolerant though they were all up in her business chasing her back and forth down the hall. bear joined in the fun and i kept trying to drop large batches of purel on the twins because i no longer see other kids, just other germs.

finally, we were brought back to another registration area where this sweet grandma tried to overlook the fact that bear kept falling off his chair and ayla jo kept pouring wes' cup of water all over herself. i gathered she has 1 grandson named jack who lives in the area, has a photographer as a mom, has many sleepovers with her, and who was really hungry during their last shopping trip thus becoming a monster child. i think that last tidbit was her way of suggesting i try feeding my kids once in a while in hopes they would become less monsterish. thanks.

we were then whisked to the blood drawing area where two girls, at least 20 years my jr, had all four of their hands full with my fam. weston made himself at home on a bed in the room while i squeezed sister between my legs and bear hugged her while they took several attempts at locating her sweet little vein. i prayed out loud constantly "jesus be near! guide her to the vein lord, protect baby ayla" etc. seriously, painful to watch. at last the blood was drawn and i look over to weston, very concerned that he will be scarred for life after watching his sister traumatized by this bloodwork. he speaks into the chaos " hey, do you have any stickers?"

they had stickers.

we left with several bambi stickers, a little less blood, and with the knowledge that we made quite an impression.

Friday, December 2, 2011

take two

confession: i am a little bit obsessed with the twilight saga. i know, i know. ridiculous. but here is the thing, it is a love story consisting of amazing passion, beautiful commitment, and entertaining storyline. there, i said it. judge away. and just to be clear; i know it is just a story and i still love jesus.

so last night, i sneaked away for a 9:20 showing of breaking down at the holland 7. i met my dear friend steph there after putting children, and even the husband, to bed. i called my sissa's on my way there for moral support as i was feeling like an elderly lady attempting to recapture her youth by watching a movie intended for teens. megan assured me there were some older people like me when she went. i am one of the older people, alas. thankfully, the ticket boy disagreed. he charged me as a student, which was conveniently almost $2 cheaper. score. i mean, he probs just hit the wrong button, but for real. thanks holland 7 boy.

during my conversation with meg, we recounted the last time i went to see a twilight movie. brad called during the show to let me know max had the pukes. i was feeling confident that this time would be different as we just had the pukes. 2 wks ago.

guess what i came home to at 12:30 am. the pukes. from max. and tears from wes, and panic from brad. (the panic was due to the fact that i had given maxer winter oreos, with red frosting for his snack before bed. so you can use your imagination as to why the pukes would be alarming in color.) boo.

so here we are again. after frantically calling dr lund with vain attempts at remaining unemotional, i pleaded for any information into what i was doing wrong. why are my kids getting the flu repeatedly. i am going to have to homeschool, there is no way max can keep up with classwork when he is home with the pukes every other week. we are all going to be sickly thin and surviving on saltines and 7up until the kids are out of the house and coping with their own pukey offspring. i asked brad to please consider farming in hawaii. they cannot possibley have the stomach flu down there as much. i asked brad to also please consider pine rest as i am getting a little beside myself.

now before grandma hops on the first flight back to michigan, let me assure you we are fine. just doing a lot of this:

hunting games on the computer.

wearing jammies


and healing. my sis in law amber suggested praying boldly and loudly over my kids this verse in isaiah"by his stripes we are healed". that is my theme verse right now. winning victory over sickness in the name of jesus!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

five little monkeys

tuesday afternoon, i picked maxer up from school and he literally started singing "5 little monkeys jumping on the bed" in the parking lot, and did not stop singing/chanting until he fell asleep. i believe they may have learned that in school today...

he was beyond precious, the way his little voice inflected, the way he used his pinkie and pointer finger to make the phone on which mama called the dr, the way he always referred to the monkeys as little monkeys throughout the song.

since it was happening all evening, i began thinking; that poor mama. sounds like she had 5 little weston's. always bonking their heads. always calling the dr. she must be one tired mama, because i only have 1 bear and 2 other monkeys and that is enough. enough. enough.

my weston monkey is battling a bad cold right now. croopy in sound, gravelly voiced, and bambi watching in attitude. our home is just not the same without a little bear ramming around. feel better soon bear bear.

ayla jo has mastered the steps, up and down, like a little monkey. so cute to watch that little person get just where she wants to go. last night, she slept straight through the night. i think this may be the second time. ever. it was amazing. she has also recently caught on to our attempts at distracting her with another toy in effort to take captive the one in her clutches. she just handed me a plastic horse and expected me to give her my phone. apparently she had some things to discuss with bopa.

love my 3 little monkeys.

Monday, November 28, 2011


maxwell alan meiste was born 5 years ago, nov 20. ever since that day, he has been an incredible blessing. i recall thinking how fitting it was to be gifted with my son just before thanksgiving. yes, i had more room to devour all those amazing foods, but mostly i recognized how drastically each and every thanksgiving had suddenly changed now that i had maxer in my world.

this year was no different. as i sat around the wenke's dining room table, gazing at all the family members there i so adore, i was overwhelmed by how abundantly god has blessed me.

we celebrated max at our thanksgiving feast. this was the third celebration for this special boy as he had one on his actual bday involving grandma lampen and spaghetti, and one with bopa and naomi involving shopping and jets pizza. this weekend, we had my sibs over for a maxwell fest. things got a little out of hand during the puzzlemaking.

i have no doubt max felt valued and very special this year.

as did bear.

maxwell, i love you so completely. you make my every day beautiful. you are such a fabulous student, your confidence and knowledge is growing exponentially. your anticipation of family outings, holidays, and getting together with friends is contagious. you are creative in how you play with toys and spend your time. currently, you and your bro adore taking off the ornaments and putting them back on the tree. this little adventure has resulted in several more broken ornaments and many minutes of happiness.

your daddy is your hero, a very appropriate choice for you to model yourself after.

your habit of biting your cheek continues to be a prominent coping mechanism when you are excited, nervous, or otherwise. somehow, you make it adorable.

maxer, you are a peacemaker. you have only recently begun talking back, but quickly apologize and cry as your heart breaks even when you break ours.

this thanksgiving, you were most thankful for briella, your cousin. cute. (bear was most thankful for emma klien. seriously, adorable.)

whenever you received a gift, you were most gracious and grateful for whatever it was. daddy and i got you a remote control gator and you were beyond excited.

max, we eagerly await how god will show his glory through your life. we are teaching you all about jesus, and you are learning his ways of love and grace and righteousness. we pray that we will provide examples emulating lives full of gods hope.

my prayer for you my firstborn son, my eldest child, is that you continue to grow into the child of god he has masterfully created you to be. may you find home a safe place to nurture your considerate spirit, grow in knowledge and relationship with christ, and explore the facets of your amazing character. may the lord make his face shine upon you this year and every year, and may you constantly seek his face and his blessings in your life.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

thanksgiving prep

o how we anticipate the thanksgiving holiday. though we have blessings enough to be praising the lord daily for his bounty, dedicating a day to pause our usual busyness and lift our hands and hearts in gratefulness is beautiful. this year we are especially thankful that the puke a palooza has ended in time for us to gather with precious family and celebrate together. we are kzoo bound tomorrow after brad takes care of the chickens and we are excited.

today is a day full of preparations. and there is excitement in getting our spirits, foods, and selves ready for the holiday tomorrow. this morning we squeezed in some much needed haircuts for the boys courtesy of booker institute. while looking through some recently developed pics of maxer's first day, it became painfully obvious the time had come to trim that fuzz. maxer was completely independent and considerably well behaved the entire time.

weston was not. while getting him dressed this morning, he asked if he could take a pink spatula along. i said absolutely, he responded "i will hit that girl with it". we left the spatula at home. during the cut, he screamed as if in severe pain and yelled to miss katie to put his hair back. wow.

the results were adorable though.

since the morning was already quite stressful, we thought, hey, lets join the 1.5 million people shopping at meijer today. truthfully, the children were exceptional throughout the shopping. they were rewarded with donuts, while i was rewarded with starbucks. we almost made it out when i noticed the jr's sweater dresses were on sale. i have really been wanting one and thought thanksgiving the perfect occasion to sport a new ensemble. so i harassed a little 13 year old stranger into telling me which dress she liked for me, and proceeded to purchase my forced fashion consultants choice.

auntie kels visited this afternoon, much to the delight of the whole fam. we are thankful for family! after a delightful service at ridge we returned home for tacos and bed.

even as getting ready consumed our day, may we ready our hearts to acknowledge the giver of all good and perfect gifts. thank you jesus for your sacrifice, your love manifested in death to bring us life. may tomorrow serve to bless you lord for all your blessings to us. your mercy is new every morning, and we are eternally grateful.

Friday, November 18, 2011


praise the lord our daddy is home!

brad returned last night from his annual hunting trip. truth be told, i am thankful he gets an opportunity to be manly with other men. however, i am terrible at being left home. especially when home has the pukes.

harv never left the sikkie's side. one of the rare occasions that i adore the dog.

and this home totally had them. so all my fun plans of going to the zoo with auntie beans and uncle austin were flushed down the toilet along with the contents of maxers tummy. i quickly mentally rearranged the possibilities of this week, throwing out exciting outings and fun with friends but keeping mcdonalds and no cooking for mama. sadly, day one had nothing redeeming. when i tried to convince maxwell to take a ride in the veen and get a new redbox, he burst into tears saying he still did not feel good. his whole body was broke he said. well that was that, no leaving.

bear and ayla and i spent a long day attempting not to disturb the hurting and broken big brother. maxer flopped from the couch to the floor, whining and crying constantly. i tried locking the littles into ayla jo's room, weston's room, my room, any room away from max and coating anything and everything with lysol in desperate attempts to keep the pukes from spreading.

day 2 we ventured out.

it was like a rebirth. though slow on the draw, max was done puking and restless. we went to the

outdoor discovery center, mcdonalds, and redbox.

there were tears and crabbiness every step of the way. at mcdonalds, i saw my uncle jeff but looked so atrocious i avoided him. sorry jeff, really it would have embarrassed us both to acknowledge my disheveled and gross presence. i let each child pick out a cheap toy from walgreens to left the morale and round out my puke prevention/treatment purchases of gatorade, saltines and squirt.

day 3 maxer seemed to go back a couple steps. he had hot poop. bear complained of an owie tummy as well, so i equipped him with puke bucket and towels. later, i found the puke bucket in the bathroom filled with pee. when i confronted bear on this disgusting discovery, he laughed. and then was punished. i then emptied another container of lysol. eventually, we went to the library in order to settle some disputes regarding fox and the hound 2. things did not go well and we returned home crabby one and all. baby blue took comfort in food. just like her mama.

day 4 the darkness continued. bear puked during the night. i had pine rest prepare the paperwork for my admission as i was losing my mind. i did go to russ' for comfort food as we needed to return the redbox again and they have a drive thru. max hit me. he cried. i cried. wes cried. ayla cried.

day 5. the homecoming was beautiful because brad was present and he brought donuts. brad even surprised maxer at school. when max spied daddy through the window during snack time, his whole face became an exuberant display of love and adoration. precious. as soon as he was released, maxer ran right to dad and told his friends, thats my dad. when climbing into the truck, max yelled out to elliot "my daddy brought my truck". dont tell max, but i do believe brad offered to sign it over to his eldest son right then and there.

today we continue to recuperate. ayla jo got the pukes the day after brads return and there is tummy troubles left and right around here. but we need not wait to feel 100% to be 100% content, grateful, and happy to all be home and a fam together again.

welcome home bradley.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

show and tell

maxer presented show and tell for the first time ever yesterday. this is a big deal. each day a student gets the opportunity to present one of their fave items. and bring a snack, but that is really the mom's job to get that to school. and with me as the mom, you just never know. the last 2 things i have been responsible for bringing, an apple, and broccoli, i have brought the day before it was due. embarrassing.

i digress. this was maxer's day.

we spent the morning selecting the cars to go inside his chosen object to share: a red semi like jason kleins. maxer was excited. i was excited to have the requested chocolate pudding in hand on the right day. wes was excited to watch a show in the veen. ayla jo was just excited about her blee blees.

as i escorted him into school, he held tightly to his truck with a look of pride and anticipation on his cute little face. i arrived early to pick him up so as to ask his teachers about details involving the big event. i asked miss cassie if there was any telling or just showing today. at conferences, miss molly had mentioned maxer is super shy and quiet and they would love to see him open up a bit. well, he did.

miss cassie said she had to ask maxwell to stop talking so they could move on to other things. he had so much to say about the cars, his favorites, how mom bought it at a garage sale, and the truck with the crane that fits perfectly into the bigger spot on the bottom row. my heart delighted in knowing he excitedly expressed himself at school. so. precious.

now for some fun facts on the other two: weston bear has been really testing me lately by flinging himself on the ground and scream crying loudly in public places. hate. this. but yesterday, when i took ayla jo to get her pics taken, bear really rose to the occassion and modeled beautiful behaviour. he listened obediently, and assisted me in keeping baby blue occupied and inside the studio without me even asking. wes really cherished all the positive praise he was getting. we attempted this picture visit while maxer was in school, so he was the biggest bro and loving it. he kept telling the photographer he was 3 and had spiders on his coat. i thanked him repeatedly for being such a good boy.

the baby cutie pye continues to grow and develop in the most enchanting ways. she enjoys attention and shrugs her shoulders cutely when people remark on her fabulous ways. ayla jo now lifts any injury to my lips for kisses and oinks whenever i put her jammies on because one pair of them has piggies on the feet. she does not differentiate that specific sleeper, just oinks for every one.

love those babes!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

austin's deer

let it be known: i adore my nephews. every one is seriously amazing. what a blessing they are to our lives; showing my boys how to grow into young men and giving us many opportunities to celebrate.

saturday we celebrated a huge accomplishment in austin's life. a 9 point accomplishment.

i am no hunter, though the hunting shows on sunday morning with the girls hunting all pretty with their hair curled and lipstick on and pink camo does appeal to me, i completely recognize if i dont do my hair for my life now, i surely will not spend time getting pretty for the deer. so i leave the hunting to the boys in my life: brad and the wenke's mainly. though my darling daughter may have a future in pro hunting. just check her out all geared up in an outfit basically planned around the deer in her cute little hat. yes, they are reindeer, but seriously, how stinkin presh.

we got the call sat morn, along with an email shortly after showcasing the huge buck. as soon as we could, we departed for grandpa jack and grandma evie's house in order to see that monster for ourselves. the boys were so eager. while we were waiting for brad to get showered, i asked the boys if they would like me to rake some leaves into a pile for them so they could jump around. they responded by vocalizing their desire to just go and see that deer.

the excitement caused some members of the fam to pass right on out during the trip to kzoo.

we arrived and took a moment to appraise that huge animal hanging upside down. austin's pride and maxer's awe are apparent in this pic:ayla jo was the bravest of my kids, touching it and making little barking noises. brad asked all the right questions, then requested a reenactment. we walked the trail to austin's tree stand. that was my fave: a beautiful fall day, a picturesque wood, leaves crunching beneath our feet, kids running all around, and the atmosphere of accomplishment.

maxer contented himself with hunting jake, the wenke's dog. so glad jake survived.
brad took the opportunity to teach us all a bit about agriculture. love that wise man. we all snacked on dried up soy beans, my heart beating in gratefulness for this man i married feeding the world.

here is the cutie pie and her mama. we girls gotta stick together in these settings.

eventually, we departed for wendys. only to depart from wendy's after quickly noting our baby blue had the most teeth of all other patrons in wendy's. she has 6. we then convinced the boys russ' was the place to be. we settled for the second russ' we stopped at due to severe busyness at the first. with out tummies full, we made it home, a huge lollipop for each child and beautiful memories for each parent.