Thursday, March 31, 2011

And they're off...

The kids left EARLY yesterday morning for Tucson with my parents. They will stay with my grandpa for the next 6 days. They could not be more excited before they left and are having a blast. They will enjoy 90 degree temps, swims in the pool, hikes, a theater show, and amazing Mexican food. My parents and grandpa have been planning this trip for weeks! We miss them terribly, but know they are making the most amazing memories!

"What will you do?" is the question we hear the most.... we started yesterday by taking the day off and spending it in downtown Detroit. I took Tom to a few of the places I discovered on my spring break trip (AMAZING places...if you are curious, please ask...Detroit isn't all what you think!) We had breakfast at a fabulous local bakery, visited the Rivera murals at the Detroit Institute of Art (as well as the other exhibits), ate at the best Mexican restaurant ever, visited the conservatory at Bell Isle...

We also have plans to see a movie, clean the house, have dinner with friends, and I must admit...sleep in.

Keep the kids in your prayers (it's a long week away from home), my parents and grandpa (for energy!!), and us (because we miss them so much!)

Happy Spring Break!

Detroit Metro Airport: 4:00am! The Rivera Murals at the DIA (have you seen them?)
Relaxing and Playing with my new iphone at Belle Isle

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Celebration of Learning

Noah's boat
Sophie's boat
Abby's boat
Noah dancing
Sophie (purple dress/white sweater) and Abby dancing (lt. green dress/white sweater)

The kids had a 'Celebration of Learning' at school last night. They did a wonderful dance and then we returned to the classroom to build boats and determine if they sank or floated. It was so fun!! My mom drove all the way over to be there and ended up driving back the same night to avoid the ice that may come today. Thanks mom!!

This evening (unless I'm iced in) I will head to Detroit to be part of a Social Justice Immersion Spring Break trip. I will be joining an amazing group of 8 women (students) from Hope College learning about and experiencing first hand Urban Agriculture. I am very excited for this adventure (and a little sad...or a lot to be leaving the kids). Please keep our group in your prayers. I will be home late Saturday night. You can follow some of what we are doing on the blog of the community where we are staying.

Friday, March 18, 2011

#214: 7 years of Awesome Abby in our house...

and our family being at home, together. Funny, aside from Abby's hospitalization in 2006 (?) I struggle to think of another night that the kids have spent apart, not under the same roof. They've been away from us, but not from each other. Watching their bond and their love for each other is truly one of the most precious gifts in my life.

Abby Jane is a gift. She shows the best combination of spunky, spirited, love and thoughtfulness. I love Abby's smile. I love how she loves to snuggle in to my chest even as a 7 year old. I love her passion for her interests (currently BIRDS and Star Wars). I love watching her draw, paint and write. I love listening to her read.

Sophie forgot her homework today so I brought it to school (thanks Kate!). It gave me an extra opportunity to give each kiddo a kiss (story about Noah's response later). The classroom was in shambles because the kids were cleaning out their desks. Paper was piled EVERYWHERE! I literally had to tip toe around piles to get to Abby. Abby was sitting quietly at her very clean desk...reading. "look at the bird book I got from the library mom". This is the same child who got one finger at a time messy when finger painting.

Abby realized this year that she was in the hospital longer than her siblings. Just seeing her process this brought a tear to my eye. It was a terribly difficult time to have two preemies at home and one in the hospital. I am thankful for the amazing family support we had during this time. I did my best to stumble through an explanation of why she was there and how lovingly she was visited. Even showing her pictures. Noah piped up, "NO FAIR" Not my favorite comment and I assumed it was not going to end well, but I asked anyway, "what do you mean?" He responded "Abby got all that extra special hospital care". Abby smiled. Thank you Noah, you are wise beyond your years.

Today I am thankful for my Abby Jane. My AJ. My Birdie. And for the house full of love that I have. 7 years ago today a collective sigh of relief emanated from my house (as well as houses in Livonia, Byron Center, California, Florida, Seattle......) while we still had worries (does that ever really end?) our triplets were home. They were tiny but they were strong. God is good.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day (early!)

We had a wonderful time last weekend at the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Holland. The kids got to bring food to donate during the parade (and picked up their share of candy as well). They really wanted to know the 'real meaning' of the day this year. Sophie wanted to know what it had to do with God because holidays 'always have something to do with Him'. It was sweet and opened up good conversation about St. Patrick! (ok, I had to do a little research I have to be honest!)

Looking forward to Shepherd's pie and soda bread on Thursday! (though I'm not sure they are 'real' traditions!)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

#176- 7 wonderful years with Sophie at home

Do you see the thought I was kidding didn't you?

Today is Sophie's special day, the day she joined her brother at home. Today we celebrated Sophie. Her amazing smile. Her passion for life. Her enthusiasm. Her laughter. Sophie had a wonderful day, after school the kids were surprised with the direction to "get in the van". We have a very important rule in our house and that is when Captain Sundae opens, we must eat there that day. The rainy, foggy, cold didn't keep us from our goal. The kids enjoyed the first Captain Sundae of the season (#172) in the van! Sophie selected homemade mac and cheese and fresh pineapple for her special dinner. It was perfect.

Tonight the girls went to the Ash Wednesday service with me. (Tom stayed home with Noah who is doing MUCH better and will return to school tomorrow!) For some reason one of the most beautiful moments in recent memory was my girls with crosses of ash singing beautifully from the red hymnals (psalm 103) (#173). What a beautiful day for a beautiful girl.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

#169- 7 amazing years with Noah in my house

Today is Noah's special day. Today I am thankful for Noah. I am thankful for his smile, his warm hands always ready to recharge my batteries, for his caring heart, his giving spirit, and his braveness. Today Noah had to go to the dr. He had a throat culture (which he greatly dislikes). He has strep. He also had to have bloodwork done. Everything is perfectly fine, but for just a moment it brought me back to the NICU days. IV's, bloodwork, hospitals....

Today I have a strong, healthy, amazing boy and I couldn't be more thankful.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

An afternoon at the Grand Rapids Art Museum

We spent a couple of hours at the Grand Rapids Art Museum today where the kids got to sculpt a caricature of themselves out of clay. They had a blast (and did a great job!) Afterwards we browsed the galleries and did a scavenger hunt. It was so much fun!

Abby at work

Sophie and Noah
Sophie's finished product

Noah's finished product

Abby's finished product

L-R Noah, Abby, Sophie

Friday, March 4, 2011

Our week

Beauty at the beach

More beauty at the beach!

Tom told Noah he used to carry around a football when he was a kid. Because Noah would do anything to be like dad it's his new thing. When he is not at school, this football does not leave his or NIGHT!

Noah waiting for a rebound

We had a wonderful week!
Last weekend the kids had their last basketball clinic and all three enjoyed scrimmages (I was watching Noah this week). It was a great experience for them! There was also sledding, the movie, 'Gnomeo and Juliet' and a birthday party for Bill. Sunday-Tuesday poor Noah was sick but was ready to roll by Wednesday! Wednesday is a super busy day around here where I pick the kids up from school at 3:55 and then get them to Religious Ed by 4:30. We've tried a couple of different things in that half hour but it usually brings crazy rushed stress. The best way we have found to fill the time involves a drive to the beach where we have a 'car snack' and watch the beauty. We can talk about their day and relax a bit before the next thing! Of course they really love it when I show up with hot chocolate or Shamrock Shakes! Thursday I was blessed to be able to spend a day in Chicago with my dear friend Kate and a local artist. We had a private tour of the Art Institute, an outstanding and very swanky lunch, time to draw (i know!) in a gallery, even a little time to shop, and a lot of time to chat, laugh, and relax. It was amazing (thanks Joan for helping with the kids).

Today, I am thankful that it is Friday and I look forward to a weekend of snuggles and laughter at home.