Monday, October 31, 2011

happy halloween

allow me to present our little fairytale:

maxer, the hunter

weston, the dragon

ayla jo, the princess

add them together, and you have pure adorable.

we have been celebrating for days over here. the festivities began with a journey down the orange arrowed tour of johnson controls, trick or treating at various offices and reaping great amounts of candy.

brad was unable to join us as he was farming the day away, so we were very grateful for bopa's candied distraction.

the event was totally worth my own discomfort at knowing only my dad and mr dykstra in the whole entire plant. sadly, when i feel awkward i talk, so the whole company of jci now knows the ages, likes, and dislikes, costumes, and other fun facts about me and my children. please accept my apologies johnson controls.

after our bags were laden with candy, we settled in for a little show and donut holes. yum! maxer kept sneaking to the table and looking hungrily at the lady distributing the goods until she said he could have another. good tactic

the festivities do not end here. saturday evening was spent at the outdoor discovery center's treats and trails outing. for this much fun, we needed to call in the reinforcements: auntie beans and uncle austin.

this time around, both boys went with a hunter ensemble. a little ironic as we were at a nature preserve...

regardless, they looked beyond cute. we even got aylaroo's face painted. she hated it, i loved it.

the boys took some time to mash some corn. very effectively i might add.

there were people galore, a hayride, a bonfire complete with smores, and cute festive games. check out the hunters with daddy get their marshmallows roasted to perfection. auntie beans was serious about her smore as well. the night ended in pizza at the deweerdt's where all our boys worked together to line up every tractor and truck the deweerdts owned. delightful to have such wonderful neighbors so nearby.

when the actual holiday rolled around on monday, we were ready yet again. a pretty pirate joined us for dinner, aka auntie beans. bopa and naomi stopped in with gifts of candy, water bottles, and entirely fabulous little outfits for baby blue. then we loaded the veen once again with hunters and princesses and pirates and went to trick or treat by my grandparents. they were generous with their candy offerings and pleased to show off their great grandchildren to the neighbors. the littlest hunter was beyond tired, resulting in lots of tears, whines, and crabbiness. so the visit was a short one.

today, we are continuing to enjoy the treats of that weekend and week beginning of costumes and candy.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

fall is fun

when the lord gives us gorgeous fall weather,

we take advantage.

we dress in layers, which serve to keep us warm, and somehow to enhance the cuteness.

on this day, we headed to kollen park in holland after running some errands involving the chiropractor (for the third time in 5 days due to an accidental visit when the office was closed) and the bank.

and we played


we roamed

we rode purple dinos.

we bonded

we climbed

we fell in love with fall.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

game days

nothing better captures the essence of a fall weekend like attending friday night football games and saturday morning soccer games. this weekend, we got to do both.

friday evening found the meiste's headed for kzoo. our mission: to support cousin carter. (the kids' cousin, my nephew). carter is a sophomore on kalamazoo christian's varsity football team. this is the first opportunity we have had to root him on as i had either been working at teermans or the weather had been less than desirable for game watching. so we were excited. brad's excitement was obvious by his interesting efforts at talking with an accent the entire trip to kzoo. not sure what accent he was going for, but it was mildly amusing, and then annoying. my own excitement got ratcheted up to a new level when we found a kfc on our way that involved a buffet. heaven.

keep in mind all are still struggling with colds. and crabby. so we had to wake them up from their carseat slumbers in order to obtain our dinners. bear was especially anticipating some pop. so when the people in line ahead of us did not run to the counter to place their order bear shot ahead of them and yelled to us that he got us a spot. brad gracefully scooped up bear and tried to explain the whole concept of a line. beautiful as that explanation was, bear heard not one word as he proceeded to hurl himself onto the floor and cry. the volume and intensity of the tantrum escalated until brad picked wes up by his coat, literally choking weston in the process. i ducked and ran to a booth, the babes all in tow. maxer went over to the soda to direct brad in his flavor choice, only to drop his entire cup of diet coke all over the floor. we quickly scarfed copious amounts of fried chicken and were back in the veen before the authorities were alerted.

fed and re energized, we again took to the open road for kzoo christian. however, when we arrived, it became glaringly obvious that the game was not actually held at this venue. an empty stadium met us, along with a portapotty. so while all the potty trained meistes peed, we frantically called anyone who may know where the game is actually held. then, in desperation, we just called anyone who may have heard of the wenkes. we connected with austin, carters older bro, and were once again on our way.

craig met us at the gate, and we gathered up everyone and their cold weather garmets and their snacks and their activities and made our way to the bleachers. so perhaps we missed the first quarter, we were there nonetheless. i made up for my severe lack of knowledge about the game by engaging the boys in facts i did know: carter is number 72, look at the scoreboard, see how those boys are running, etc. though the game was intense, i found my gaze mostly locked on my cuties: the little honey girl looking like a pink marshmallow, the boys zooming cars back and forth to eachother on the bleachers, maxer ringing the cowbell whenever we encouraged him to do so. adorable.

in the end, the comets lost. carter's season came to a close amid fans and family alike congratulating the players efforts. we again loaded the veen and headed for home only to repeat the gametime process for maxer's soccer game bright and early at 10 am the next morn. here are the incredibly cute spectators, all wore the exact same outfit as the night before.

thankfully, bradley was able to join us for this game! maxer did so well. he is improving like crazy. he literally, almost had a goal. though we were down 2 players, we managed another victory for team silver. celebratory doughnuts followed this escapade.

here are the future soccer players, aka the younger brothers of maxer and his teammates. notice who is captivating them all, ayla jo.

sunday was a day of rest after all these games. we had the privilege of michael hidalgo back at ridge, the zoerhofs for an omelet lunch, and many rounds of trophy hunter for brad and the boys. a blessed day to recharge us for the week ahead!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

pumpkin carvings

its the middle of october. its raining. 5 out of 5 meiste's have colds. the conditions are perfect for some pumpkin carving.

this adventure began yesterday after school. we always pass this wagon o pumpkins on the way home so this time i stopped, unbuckled and unloaded the babes to scour the wagon in an effort to find the perfect pumpkin. last night was way hectic what with soccer practice, no husband, and a small fire that happened on the stovetop. (just turned on the wrong burner, not a big deal. except now all the bread kinda tastes like burned plastic...) therefore, we did not get to carving until this morning.

guess who picked out this pumpkin?

yeppers. wes, those are his cute little toes.

bear was eager to begin. maxer was far less excited about the prospect of slicing into the very pumpkin he so carefully picked out. i convinced him to join us by presenting a hammer and nails. we initially nailed around the top of the pumpkin, creating holes that i followed when cutting off the top, sorta connect the dotsish. whenever tools appear, boys are soon to follow.

please note the top of another pumpkin laying on the table. this was our second pumpkin carving attempt of the morning.

upon opening up the pumpkin and finding all the guts and seeds, the part i anticipating the boys most enjoying, max and wes refused to go near. maxer only touched it when i bribed him with more hammering. he was not happy about it.

we decided on a cat pattern as bear is currently in love with all things kitty. he made this picture of black crayon scribbles and cat stickers and he literally carries that thing all over the house. strange. so the website labeled this particular pattern as appropriate for a 12 year old, so i thought it was something i could handle. i was wrong. i suck at crafts. plus the pumpkin was smallish.

voila! check out our kitty cat pumpkin. yes, its a cat. see the whiskers? and the mouth is somehow attached to the nose. again, not an artist. complete with candle and everything tho. impressive, i know.

thankfully, the boys are not very critical. they both adored the final project. and the fire.

here is the little ginger admiring our handiwork. she napped during the entire ordeal, so this was her first glimpse of our creation. she put her little fingers through the holes and said "hot" repeatedly. gorgeous little dimples in this one :)

in an unrelated event, bear took this pic of his tiger being crammed into a choo choo train. bec
ause i could not correctly stuff the entire thing into the train, weston had many a spaz resulting in tylenol for all. a bit of a glimpse into the life of weston bear.

Monday, October 17, 2011

the colds came

we have been wonderfully healthy for an amazingly long time full of fun and happiness.

until this weekend. we had big plans: church and a nooma bible study night. both were thwarted when sunday morning dawned without much sleep and with a lot of snot.

maxer had been fighting a cold all week, and sunday the cold was winning. both bear and ayla jo went to bed healthy and woke up completely congested, coughing, and crabby.

suddenly our plans changed.

instead of getting dressed up and worshipping together at ridge point, we turned on the pellet stove and lingered over our day old doughnuts brad purchased when he got gas the night before. we worshipped together over devotions at home around the table. we read again the beautiful demonstration of god's love for us in the sacrifice of jesus christ for our sins. the boys' understanding grows with each study, as does brad and mine. together we grow closer as a fam as we experience the story with each other.

instead of accomplishing lots of goals, we puzzled over these. yes, ayla has joined her brothers in using the table as a platform instead of a table. here she is showing off her incredibley fashionable ensemble.

instead of running around in the crisp fall leaves, we read stories together on cozy blankies. the boys were teaching our little cupcake how to make animal noises and she delighted in the process. aylaroo has correctly mastered moo, quack, meow, woof, and tweet. not necessarily matching the noise to the animal, but endearing to listen to nonetheless.

instead of filling every available moment with activity to make up for an absent father during the week, daddy and baby blue had some peaceful bonding. (please note the down comforter is back, yippee!!)

instead of bible study with friends we opted for hungry howies and a bugs life viewing. amazing togetherness among the fam, snuggled in the nest built right in the middle of the living room.

god gave us some gracious time together as a family right when we needed it, after a long week of fieldwork. though we missed the community we had planned on, we wholly embraced the family time.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

farmer brad

we have this toy magnet that sticks on our fridge amidst various pictures of our friends kids, maxer's adorable soccer pic, his monthly preschool newsletter and his soccer schedule. the toy is a red barn with interchangeable magnets that go in the middle, like where the barn doors are. it talks, celebrating when the kids make a match or playing music and a silly song when they make a pighorse or some other such mixed up animal. always when you turn the toy on, it says, "hi! i am farmer thad!" i mean, i think its thad. it rhymes with brad, and since farmer brad is our dad/husband, we fill in the farmer thad part with farmer brad. thus, the title of this post.

when brad and i were dating, somehow knowing he was a farmer told me lots about him. his hard work ethic for one, but there was something deeper, more enchanting that just working diligently and determinedly. we married, and that part of brad became more brilliant and more sacred to me. as my babies daddy, i find myself ever so grateful for choosing a farmer with which to parent.

i recently read this excerpt from ann voskamps blog and thought it beautifully captured the captivating and moving essence of a farmer

" It has to do with men and food and that the first man was a farmer.

It has to do with our story coming out of soil.

It has to do with tilling the earth and reaping a harvest and it’s what Goethe said, “Sowing is not as difficult as reaping.”

There is ultimately no crop without unwavering commitment.

These men — it strikes me, rattles me like a wind through dried bean pods – these men who turn over the earth, they revolutionize the world.

When a man makes a living from tending to particles of dirt, when a man does small things well – he makes all things become great things.

And when a man works dirt, he cultivates a life needing patience and kneeling to Providence: you can’t drive a seed to grow and you can’t demand a sky to give"

my feelings of admiration and thankfulness directly contradicts my feelings of overwhelming exhaustion and inadequacy that flood my heart during harvest season as i attempt to parent primarily without my mate. brad and i grow distant as our only interaction is via nextel and is interrupted repeatedly by our attention being directed either to our children or the beckoning of the ready fields. when brad returns home late at night after an incredibly early start to the day, he is weary, i am weary and far less gracious and loving to one another than is essential when our days are so separately demanding.

every season brings another opportunity for me to learn to practice the grace and love jesus bestows upon me daily. i found this incredible method of drawing near to brad and to the lord while he is absent: prayer. i am praying daily and specific prayers over brad, presenting him to the lord and surrendering (again and again) my desires to have brad by my side.

so today's prayer is :

that brad's relationship with God will bear much fruit in his life, and that he will be a man who seeks wisdom and understanding. (Proverbs 3:7, Psalm 112:1)

check out to join along in the prayer fest.

this afternoon, brad will be joining the fam as the corn is a bit to wet to harvest today. we will greatly enjoy his presence and praise the lord for his influence in our lives.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


yesterday we needed a day of recovery.

we were recovering from overtiredness and exhaustion brought on by school days, soccer practice, and full time farming.

from the crabbies,

and from communication based only on the whine

so we ventured to a place of healing and rejuvenation and fun. the beach. i asked the boys what they would like to do special today and they requested the beach with auntie beans, uncle austin and auntie kels. well, since the aunties and uncles had school and jobs to deal with, the boys settled for the beach with their mama and off we went.

jesus provided us with a beautiful beach day in oct. the weather was made for sandy dunes and splashing. warm temps, sunny skies, and happy children filled our trip. we ate a picnic lunch consisting of saltines and peanut butter, apples, juice boxes, and some cookies. clearly i should have gone to the grocery store, but the beach was beckoning. i called my dear friend blair who lives nearby and she took her son lj over for a bit. the kids slid, swang, and ran while we chatted and delighted in their happiness.

at long last, we climbed the steps to the lake. we had a dump truck and monster truck in tow so it was a long hike. but totally worth the trip. at the beach we found some "hot tubs" leftover from other adventurers. ayla jo crawled right in and proceeded to splash herself silly.

maxer, typically not a fan of getting his clothes wet and dirty, went all out and embraced the sand and water.

bear got increasingly wet and uncomfortable that he had to continuously take off layers until he was sporting only his incredibles undies and some tears. the tears were from a teaching moment in which he splashed me with water and i splashed him back. he did not enjoy this lesson.

the babes crawled and ran and dripped and laughed and took advantage of all the beach had to offer until the crying outweighed the giggles and we packed up all the wet clothes, toys and kids and hiked it up the steps.

at one point on our journey to the veen, i had the baby girl on my hip, wes on my back, drippy clothes clutched in one hand, keys, camera and phone in the pockets of my wet pants making them perilously close to sliding right on off, monster truck strung through the fingers of my other hand and sweat pouring off me.

the lord was faithful today and we made it to the veen. i dropped off one load and went to retrieve discarded shoes and toys by the play area. i then attempted to turn on oliver and company, the vhs, to quiet the escalating fits of my hungry, thirsty, tired, wet and demanding children. at this point i noticed, my keys were no longer in my pocket.

i panicked. i had visions of the keys slipping out of my pocket as i hauled kids and toys up the steps. i broke out into hives and emptied my disaster of a van onto the parking space next to me. finally i remembered that in order to have got the kids in their seats i had to have unlocked the van at some point so the keys were around here and not down by the beach. a mere 15 minutes later, the boys had emptied all water bottles, the cupcake pooped in her last remaining diaper on the trip and i found the lost keys wedged in between the drivers and passenger seats.


we made it home without further incident and are spending another day recovering.