Tuesday, August 30, 2011


the day after our return from camping always proves to be quite the adjustment for the fam. suddenly there is laundry to do (mounds and mounds), work to accomplish, and errands to run. our day testified to the craziness and confusion of reality.

after supper, i loaded up the veen for our weekly outing to the salem township library. the boys get to choose a show to watch while brad is at golf league, then play at the park for a bit. good times for all. when i asked the boys to please find their places in the veen, they typically have a toy or two they want to take along. when weston bear asked if he could take a small yellow pail i instantly agreed and buckled.

there were giggles galore in the back of the veen and i thought what a good mom am i, boys happily involved in a quest for entertainment and education. when we arrived, i caught on to all that blissfulness in the backseat. the yellow pail held a new pet. a caterpillar nestled beside a piece of chalk for fun and several blades of grass for food. oh well. better than a frog i guess.

i forced the boys to leave their new pet in the veen while we perused the library. we played at the park immediately after renting some books and a tom and jerry dvd. then we stopped at the gas station to pee and get a little treat. brad called us to say he was home and awaiting my assistance in unloading another ton of pellets in the garage. we sped home and climbed on brads truck to pass bags of pellets.

at long last, all was quiet and settled and calm. until bear asked where his pet was. we ran to the veen only to discover the yellow pail was EMPTY. there is a caterpillar loose in the van. we cannot find it. every trip now gives me the heebie jeebies thinking of that hairy little thing crawling around.

when the boys were finally put to bed after overcoming their grief, i sat down with a book only to be interrupted by bear's frantic cries from upstairs. constantly on the alert for pukes, i ran upstairs to find wes walking in his closet, trapped, panicked, and calling for his mom. no pukes, just sleepwalking. in the closet. scared.

today things are slightly smoother. though right now the boys are discussing whether i must get the vinegar out for bear's naughty mouth. max told him he was breaking my heart. and weston responded with "dont say that ever again!"

time to intervene.

Monday, August 29, 2011

good morning tri ponds

every morning, around 9 o'clock, for the past four mornings, mr tony greeted us with this proclamation and we knew our day was going to be a great one! tri ponds again provided a haven in which to enjoy our summer days as a fam. we camped with the habers, and enjoyed their company immensely. thanks to abby's influence, maxer spent hour upon hour at the pool whereas when it is just us, the younger two always want to leave before he has experienced all he desired.

maxer was able to take a split second from his fun to smile for a pic. then back to play.

running from one attraction to another, the kids enjoyed feeding the goats, bouncing on the jumping pillow, playing at the park, excavating at the beach, swimming in the pool, and feeding the fire.

saturday night included a special story time by mr tony. he took the kids on a lion hunt. adorable. every child was so engaged, and bear's motions were beyond precious. maxer's retelling of the story was even more fun than the first time we heard it.

it even just looks blissful!

life tip for next trip: bear would really like to wear actual pajamas to bed instead of just comfy shorts and shirts. extreme exhaustion may have attributed to the meltdown, but he does care to have quite the say in his apparel. and really, when you look this cute, i guess it comes naturally to want to flaunt your incredibly charming self.

maxer really honed his tether ball skills with this boy we dont really know. i love to watch max's social skills develop. they reached a new level when this boy, maybe nolan is his name, would fall to the ground and max would spank his butt. proud mama right here. please note weston and lily in the background plotting some acrobatics on the slide.

ayla jo won many hearts this weekend. the habers girls were quite fond of this baby girl. the opportunity to just experience my kids is so beautiful, and camping allows for that to happen. i love to just play with them as much as they love for me to be included in their games, watch their tricks and cherish their unique attributes. brad is especially wonderful at seizing this moment. whether playing monster or swimming or sleeping beside his boys, lots of bonding takes place.

brad played some pool basketball with the boys at the beginning of the weekend when there were few people populating the pool.

it seems i feel the need to keep my mouth wide open when posing for pics. it is a good look for me. clearly. aylaroo seems impressed.

blessed to have this weekend with all the good times, delish food, wagon rides, tantrums, tears, giggles, and friends.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

birthday girl

ayla jo you are 1 year old!

what a blessing you have been aylaroo. you enchant us all with your bold and charming personality, the wrinkle of your nose when you get excited, and your closed mouth variation on uh oh.

you are such a sweet girl, a little cupcake to your adoring fam! crawling quickly, you zip from one thing to the next, following your big brothers. sometimes scowling, sometimes shrieking, you let us know when you do not like something. typically though, you are a happy happy girl, a true delight to your mommy and daddy.

ayla, this year has been one of huge growth, celebration, and development. with each milestone you reach, we give praise and glory to god for allowing us the privilege of raising you, our beautiful daughter.

we celebrated our cutie pye in cadillac this sunday! the wenkes generously allowed us to take over their cabin for the weekend, first by brad and his golf trip buddies, then by our fam of five starting sat afternoon. although i was anxious about getting me, the kids, and all our overnight essentials up north all alone, i was successful! we had one stop to pee, eat, and get some snacks. let me just say, peeing with three kids is quite a tricky ordeal. we all went into the room and locked the door. while i held ayla on my lap and tried to concentrate on the task at hand, the boys held their hands under the dryer and screamed. then ayla screamed out of fear, and i screamed for them to stop. so then the boys left, and came back in and left and came back in. i frantically attempted to pull up my shorts and hold onto the baby squirming and crying. exciting.

once we were settled in the cabin, all was well. not exactly peaceful, but an excellent mix of relaxation and jumping on the tramp. just the right combo of shooting bb guns and taking nature walks. a fab 24 hours of ice cream, park, beach, and the movie balto.

i made a confetti cake and decorated it all in pink sparkles. bliss. here is the happy birthday baby enjoying her piece. outside. in her bathing suit. (i learned a thing or two from her last bday party :))

purchasing and giving baby girl presents was a personal highlight. love love love this ride on princess toy. it plays songs, lights up, is super pink and gets my girl smiles. precious.

what a fab way to celebrate our baby girl.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


last night was max's soccer meeting.
whoa baby whoa he is old enough to play soccer!
my excitement outweighs his by approx. 17000 times because ladies and gentlemen, i am gonna be a real live soccer mom!! after respectively declining the opportunity to coach max;s team due to complete and utter lack of knowledge and patience, i pledged to be a snack slingin mom.

we were late. i worked late, brad mowed. kids slept in the veen. adrenaline was pumping as we barrelled down the road. then max shouted, "i am not wearing shoes!" well good grief. how many times does this happen?! many, many times. so we race back to the house, i jump out of the van while it is still moving and retrieve some crocks. away we go again.

sidenote. we are taking all three. baby and bear have not eaten supper yet as i let them sleep in the veen while we ate with maxer. so they were not crabby due to sleepiness, just crabby due to hunger. fun.

so hamilton highschool is hoppin. there is a line to get in and i am sweating. a nice man tells us max is u6-10. i responded, "super!" then stared blankly, but enthusiastically until he clarified maxer's team number ten in the under 6 category. got it.

the auditorium is bursting at the seams. we cram next to a nice family on the steps. brad told me to say hi to eric, the dude i was sitting by. so i did, and we did not know eachother but carried on a lovely nervous convo. then i spied sarah essenburg and got even more excited and sweaty. some nice man who directs it all began introducing us to the wonderful world of soccermania.

no stepping over the line. yessir.
be your kids' biggest fan. i am there.
dont yell at the ref. absolutely man.
no snacks. what what? thats okay, i will sneak some in for my team.
i am serious, there are allergies, troubles. no snacks. (it was like he was reading my mind.) no snacks.

so we met the coach mcintyre. got our sched, uniforms, etc. tried to leave, thought i had the coach's copy, went back to the coach only to hear him assure me he intended to give that one to me and i could just. leave.

so glad i made a super first impression.

then we stopped for ice cream so i could lower my core body temp and feed my children an ice cream supper.

then brad proceeded to swerve the veen into the gravel shoulder. repeatedly. the boys would giggle and beg for more. i was over it. after the 20th time, i was like, could you please stop. brad responded, but babe, look at the smoke!

behind the veen was a trail of dust.

the boys, including my hubs, saw it as smoke forming from our sweet ride as it sped towards home. must be a boy thing.

what i noticed and adored was the fact that my man so loves my sons that he makes every outing an adventure.

love them one and all. so blessed by my fam.

mini golf, major fun

my little sister kels and i took the kids miniature golfing on monday evening. what a beautiful time of bonding we had! we arrived to sundae sundae golf golf to find ourselves the only customers. not allowing the kinda lame name or lack of people thwart our enthusiasm, we marched to the window, the three adorables in tow. much to my delight, and kels' dismay, the college aged girl behind the counter first asked if kels and i were twins. me, a matronly mother of three, twinner with this beautiful 18 year old?!! yippee. we corrected her that we were sisters, not twins to which she declared we must be only a year or two apart, or ten.

so i was already having a super time. when choosing ball colors, maxer asked for "grasshopper". thankfully, the attendant translated that correctly to green. kels and i were really optimistic in thinking one of us would get to play as well. there we were, all geared up and ready to embark. let the fun begin!

the quality of the course left a little to be desired, and a lot to be attentive to so as not to lose one's ball forever.

things were chaotic. kids and balls and clubs were everywhere. baby ayla was crawling and climbing, bear was swinging and running, max was putting and hitting.

on the second hole, maxer "won the hole" as he puts it. in reality, he got a hole in one. for real, his first time out. what a talented boy!

part of the monday night deal included a sundae. we overtook the small park and

enjoyed our lengthy stay while lingering over popsicles and ice cream and the slide.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

toothpaste is important

mondays are long long days for this mama. after a glorious sunday during which we got to spend every waking moment together as a fam of five, mondays are a big adjustment without our dad. to make matters even longer, brad has golf league, so he not only gone for the day, but also for the night.

yesterday was absolutely super. we played at a pool with our dear friends the nykamps. eden, their eldest, took beautiful care of ayla jo while the boys all played with maxer and bear's new monster trucks.

we went to the library where my dreams of having a nice, normal conversation with the librarians came true and the boys chose to rent a boring movie and two good books.

we played outside. taking aforementioned monster trucks to the swingset and making loop after loop with the pup.

despite the good times, weston was whiny. way, way whiny. now, there is something inside of me that cannot handle that noise of complaining and whining for no reason. even if there is a reason, i cannot deal. the last time we were camping, i read a book entitled say goodbye to whining. this book encourages parents to look at the heart issue of a child, the emotional motivation to their whinyness. unfortunately, when in the moment, the only heart issue is mine is racing with frustration. clearly, i need to practice recognizing the issue behind the whine.

anywho- the whines happened all the night through. until brad returned. then bear was his precious self.

all this background info is to set the stage for the end of the day when things are winding down. my anticipation is high for some quiet and some coparenting. as soon as bradley walked through that door like a knight in shining armour i began to implement the bedtime routine starting with "brush your teeth boys" and ending with " i love you. see you in the morning" before they were even in the bathroom.

i had just enough time to start preparing the sippy cups for the boys, and glance bitterly to the living room where brad was intently watching the bachelor pad after repeatedly voicing his opinion that my choice of show was smut, before i heard a scream.

i raced to the bathroom and there was bear.

with soap dripping down his chin.

he had used soap instead of toothpaste to brush and now was in misery.

i wiped off his mouth, gave him something to drink, offered him a snack, brushed his teeth with actual toothpaste and still nothing was "working" to rid him of that taste.

the hysterics did make him fall asleep super fast as soon as his clean little head hit the pillow.

oh the drama.

Monday, August 8, 2011

sweet summertime

summertime is

(especially on this fine day when i took the three adorables to the critter barn where i discovered even more appreciation for my hard workin man who spends hour after hour with smelly animals and their poop to provide for his beyond grateful fam)

so sweet
(please note this fashionable baby girl sporting a precious ensemble from her auntie beans)

(she also stole her brother's lollipop)

(is it possible this honey is almost one?!)



(thanks to the lampen's pontoon boat and lots of swimming)



Monday, August 1, 2011

happy campers

we have just returned from another camping adventure. this time, we invaded hungry horse in dorr with some of our fave peeps. upon our return, and reentry into reality, i have made some observations regarding our camp experience that i miss desperately but am deeply grateful for the experiences as i feel they taught me a little more about the joy of living.

living in community with people you adore and admire. what a blessing it was to watch and learn and live with friends day after day!

simplicity, having enough to meet your needs but not a lot of extra space, clothes, or things.

quality time. my main objectives for the days were to be with my kids and come up with a meal or two. brats and hotdogs really do not get sickening when camping. there was no cramming each day to the very fullest. instead, i appreciated spending time with my cherished children, husband and friends.

it is my conclusion that camping is closer to the way christ intended us to live than our busy schedules, large homes, many many possessions, and isolated experiences that fill up our normal days. this is not to say camping is the only way to achieve the beautiful simplicity of which i write, only an example of a length of time where the simplicity is really and truly experienced.

jesus, help my every day belong to you. fill it up with your will, desires, and beauty. thank you for the opportunity to experience you at hungry horse.

heres some proof of the awesomeness of camping

playing hard all day long left us all exhausted at night. such a sweet boy, clutching his treasures as his baby sis rather delighted in them as well.

ayla jo is quite smitten with elliot leegwater. we swung them together in the swing. much like a first date. elliot really came to love the experience. so did baby blue.

the boys both received extra large bouncy balls from the machine near the office. the thing to note in this pic, however, is the height of bear's shorts. seriously. brad always does that and thinks it hilarious.

bear, emma, and max all crammed together on a toy meant for one kid. sorry leegwaters!

the boys had just finished swim lessons the day before, so they grew more and more skilled with all the practice our week provided.

the temps were hot and the pool was cool (ish). hungry horse now utilizes salt water instead of chlorine for the pool so i had a difficult time not thinking that the salt on my lips was a result of people's attempts to keep the pool clean and not a result of sweat and pee.