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.