Wednesday, October 1, 2014

100 happy days: Moving to Instagram

I will be continuing my journey of 100 happy days on Instagram!  Check it out over there!

Monday, September 29, 2014

100 happy days: day 15

Coffee with my dear 'tea friend' on a sunny fall afternoon.  Happy.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

100 happy days: day 14

Last Allegan antique market of the season!  See you in April!!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

100 happy days: day 13

Sometimes it's hard to really listen well.  The month of September has been so busy that I often end a day not sure I really took the time to listen to each kiddo and the stories they have to tell about their days.  Today we had a wonderful day, and had just finished picking apples in Fennville when we went over to have donuts and cider.  I loved this moment because I was really looking at Abby and listening to her story.  Sophie had my camera and I had no idea she was taking this shot.  She captured a moment that filled my heart.  Happy. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

100 happy days: day 12

 A homemade pumpkin spice Cafe Miel.  Thankful for fresh starts each morning.  Happy. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

100 happy days: day 11

You are never too little to love, nor are you ever too big to cuddle up and read a children's book.  When the kids were in Kindergarten I would snuggle up with each one separately and read a book after the got off the bus.  It gave them special time one on one time to snuggle and even interrupt the story to tell stories of their own from the day.  Because our afterschool time has been crazy this year and we are still trying to get in a groove, today I started the individual snuggle time with a  book.  The kids giggled a little at the choice of books I had prepared, but no one hesitated to climb in the chair and listen.  Happy. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

100 happy days: day 10

Tom and I went for a walk around the block after dinner tonight.  It is the rare night off from football practice, so we were enjoying the 'free-time'.  When we got back, Tom stepped on the porch first and exclaimed, "Look at your kids!".  This is how we found them (as I looked in the window).  For some reason they were sitting snug as three bugs in a rug reading old yearbooks and class memory books...together.  I love that they have shared memories of their school years.  I love that they sit hip to hip on the couch.  I love them.  Happy. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

100 happy days: day 9

Lunch with Tom in Grand Haven.  I missed my regular Tuesday lunch buddy, but 2nd choice was still wonderful.  We laughed.  We enjoyed the sunshine.  We talked.  During this busy season this does not happen as much as it should.  Happy. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

100 happy days: day 8

A really nice card from a very thoughtful student on a sunny fall morning.  Happy. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

100 happy days: day 7

I love my vintage yellow Pyrex bowl.  I love it because I use it almost daily to make food for my family, or even with my family.  I love to think about all of the memories that have been whipped up in this bowl over the years, before it even came to be in my house.  This morning it was used to make banana whole wheat pancakes (with a few chocolate chips) for the girls before they sang in church.  Notice Sophie's new spatula as well.  Baking for my girls in my vintage yellow Pyrex bowl.  Happy. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

100 happy days: day 6

Girls day!!  Lunch of leftovers by candlelight.   Starbucks, an estate sale, and 2 hours at the library.  Our FAVORITE dinner at Thai Palace.  Chocolate malts, popcorn and 'The Little Princess' in our nest in the basement.  Even an amazing rainbow on the drive home.  Quality time together with no rush, no homework, no 'what's next on the list' was priceless.  My heart is full.  Happy. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

100 happy days: day 5

The kiddos have been going to school early 4 days a week this year, so Tom is driving them.  That leaves only Friday for me to walk them to the bus as I have done since they started 1st grade.  I love that my 5th graders still want me to walk them.  I loved standing there with them in the chilly fall air this morning as they laughed and goofed around (and snuggled me to keep me warm....without my jacket!).  I love that they still wave at me as the bus pulls away.  Happy. 

100 happy days: day 4

Often when we see a beautiful 'sun view' the kids will say, "Look mom, God is shining his grace on us"  This was a fabulous thought as I drove to work this morning.  Happy. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

100 happy days: day 3

Comfy, soft slippers after a long day in 'dress shoes.' Happy.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

100 happy days: day 2

Amazing tea with a beautiful friend in the afternoon.  Happy. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

100 days of Happy: Day 1

Today I am starting 100 happy days.  I came across this challenge while waiting for Noah to get his haircut last week.  After finishing the 'photo a day' over the summer, I think this will be a worthy challenge starting the fall and back to school.  I try to find time each day to notice things I am thankful for.  Things that make me happy.  I am still recording my 1000 gifts (3000+), but this will allow me to be conscious of snapping a pic of something that makes me happy each day. 

Knowing this was starting today, I took a few pictures of things that made me happy.  But, I decided that the happiest moment of the day (so far) was right after the kids got home from school.  They have been doing about 2 hours of homework a night since 5th grade started, adding in football practice and choir and it isn't leaving much down time.  I have come to cherish the short 'forced' down time right after school.  We snuggle up under fuzzy blankets and watch a short cooking show together.  I rotate to each kiddo for some good hugs.  Today I was also enjoying a green tea chai that I created the recipe for yesterday!  When the kids walk in the door after school, and we make the time to sit, to gather close, everything clicks together in my world.  Happy. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The first day of 5th grade

This last year of elementary school I wish you laughter.  I pray that you will embrace your childhood, and be silly.  Play on the tire swing and play baseball and play and play and play.  I wish that you will gather knowledge and learn not only from textbooks and teachers but from your classmates and the books you read for fun and from people you only meet in passing and places you visit.  I hope that you will grow and mature, and still sit on my lap and snuggle with me in the morning and at night.  I love how you still wave at me as the bus pulls away in the morning.  I pray that you will have wonderful friends who cherish you for the individuals that you are, who appreciate your uniqueness, your sense of style, your sense of humor.  I hope that you will be the role models, the oldest in the school, set the tone, set an example of faith and kindness.  I pray that you will do activities that you love and that nurture the things you enjoy and I also pray that we keep dinner time special and join each night around the table.  I pray that we have time to make pancakes and grill and try new recipes.  I pray that we grow as a family.  We learn together.  We laugh together.  I pray for you everyday because I love you and I know 5th grade is going to be amazing. And I pray for you because I miss you when you aren't at home.    

Monday, September 1, 2014

Monday September 1

It's a wrap.  Summer of 2014, it was amazing.  This afternoon during a trip to Captain Sundae we talked about our favorite moments.  We talked about cousin time, New York, Climbing the fire tower (conquering a fear), and really everything (well some things more than others....not the Pneumonia or dad being gone).  For me it was the small moments, lunch together everyday, snuggling up at a random 2:00 in the afternoon, morning snuggles in my bed, and pancakes...we made a lot of pancakes this summer (all from scratch and many different recipes).  As all the summers have gone this far, it went too fast.  It seems like we were just unloading backpacks and today we loaded them back up (maybe that's because Noah just cleaned his out this afternoon before re-loading it).  We packed in a lot of memories.  A lot of fun.  A lot of laughter to bring us through the long days of school.  As I say every year, I do not do a happy dance on the first day of school.  I cry.  Big sad tears.  The best days are the days that we are home together.  But, tomorrow starts 5th grade.  The last year of elementary school.  New things to experience, to learn and to love.  I pray that we keep the treasures from this summer tucked closely to our hearts as we start up the busy.  I pray that we can carry a little bit of summer over in to our fall.   A little of the slow.  A lot of the laughter.  Maybe even a few pancakes.  Ready or not, 5th grade here we come. 

Sunday August 31

Today we enjoyed a wonderful morning at the Allegan Antique Market with my mom and dad.  We did a lot of hunting for treasure and had a great time!  The afternoon was full of final back to school preparations before a wonderful dinner.

Saturday August 30

Today was toasted marshmallow day!  We decided yesterday that it would mean a toasted marshmallow at each meal.  Noah made s'more pancakes for breakfast (from scratch) and we put a toasted marshmallow on top.  At lunch we enjoyed a toasted marshmallow over the stove.  Mid afternoon the girls decided we needed to make homemade marshmallows for dinner, so we did.  They were the perfect way to top off a great day!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday August 29

Sometimes something happens and in that instant everything is right with the world.  This is one of those instants.  Just like that.  Daddy came home today from nearly 2 weeks in Asia.  It was a crazy two weeks of Hope starting up for me, football starting up for Noah, Pneumonia, broken AC (and our most humid stretch in the entire summer).  Today, everything was made right. 
I would not have survived these two weeks without my parents.  They were my right hand, my left hand, and hands I didn't even know I had or needed.  They took care of the kids, they played with the kids, sewed with the kids, they cooked dinner for us when there was no possible way I could (without me even asking), they set up a spa for me in their basement after a really long day.  Having them 3 miles away is one of the biggest blessings of my (our) life.  Thanks mom and dad.  Welcome home Tom. 

Thursday August 28

Today was the annual shopping for school supplies at grandpa's co-op!  It was a big outing for Noah, and he did great!  After the shopping we even headed to Byron Center for our THIRD ice cream of the week with grandma and grandpa Bonnema!  It must me summer vacation!!

Wednesday August 27

Some weeks require two trips to Captain Sundae.  This was one of those weeks.  After a day of class and a kick off at Hope for me this was the perfect ending for the day.  I met the kids and my parents here on my way home and we all (not mom) enjoyed some ice cream! 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Tuesday August 26

Since Noah has been sick, we have been spending quite a bit of time at home.  While I'm at work, the kids venture to grandma and grandpa Mosher's house (or we all venture there for a 'cool' dinner), but otherwise, we have been laying low!  Today we decided we needed an adventure, so we built this 'nest' in the basement.  We are enjoying snuggling up and watching our favorite shows in there! 

Monday August 25

Monday after a day at work I took sweet and sick Noah to the doctor.  From there we moved to the hospital for a chest xray.  The poor guy has pneumonia!  He has been so sick, we are thankful for a diagnosis and medication to help him heal.  While we waited for his prescription to be ready (I was a bit impatient), I decided it called for a Captain Sundae run.  That has been known to cure many things!  We ate in the car because of his horrible cough (and the AC works, which as Ernie mentioned, the one at home does not!). 

Sunday August 24

Today was hot because our air conditioning is broken especially because I have a fur coat! Grandma and Grandpa lent us a big fan that mommy had when she was a kid. Don't I look like a movie star? That fan sure had force, though.  I was still awesome! I hope it cools off soon!
By: Ernie

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Saturday August 23

Today, since we hadn't done the lemonade stand yet, we decided to try. Last year we made 30 dollars so we each got ten dollars. After and hour and a half we had only about five dollars. :( We knew we would not be able to divide five dollars in half, so we divided to do it again tomorrow. Also, we thought that we were only out there for a hour and a half, so we had to keep going. Lemonade we only 50 cents, but most people gave us more than that and said to keep the change. It was really hot out so we had to move into the shade halfway through ( hence that we are in the shade in the photo). Whenever a car would start to drive down the street, we would  hold up the sign until they passed. We had such a fun day.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday August 22

Breaking the we have 3 photos!!  The kids were challenged to participate in the 'Ice Bucket Challenge' to raise awareness for ALS today.  They excitedly took part! 

Thursday August 21

Today Sophie made us a special dessert!  She made peach milk shakes with some of the bounty of peaches we picked a while back.  It was refreshing and delicious and a perfect summer treat!

Wednesday August 20

Today started 'the crazy' two weeks.  I"ve often referred to it as my least favorite two weeks of the year, but that's not entirely true.  I enjoy a lot of parts of these two weeks, including meeting all of my new Hope students!  This is the time when I am back at Hope (part time, thankfully) and the kids are still on summer vacation.  I jokingly told people at work I was leaving my sunglasses on my  head until the kids are back in school.  My testament to being on 'part time' summer vacation, still.  The front seat of the van reflected the change of 'seasons'...sunscreen, a summer 'Bon Appetite' magazine, a chair from watching football practice (it started raining, so I quickly threw it in the front) and my work bag.  I'm working really hard to be present in the moment during these two weeks.  Being present with my new group of students at Hope, and present with my amazing kids at home.  Savoring the moments at both places.  And allowing myself to be imperfect.  I can't do everything, well... ever, but especially not during these two weeks! 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tuesday August 19

After a fun day with Noah and time catching up with the girls we all ended up at Noah's football practice.  He played well again and had a great time.  Abby and Sophie enjoyed a little time in the fresh air reading (and playing on their ds'). 

Monday August 18

Today Abby and Sophie had a friend over, and then went home with her for an overnight.  That left Noah and I lots of time together!  He had his very first football practice of the season, and I was able to stay and watch the whole thing.  He did great!  He played hard and had fun!  After practice I took him for ice cream!  Once we got home we curled up and watched a little pre season football together!  It was wonderful! 

Sunday August 17

Today while we were in Grand Rapids dropping Tom at the airport, we took advantage of the opportunity to back to school (!!!) shop....and make a stop at the Krispy Kreme!  Watching the donuts never gets old!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Saturday August 16

We had a wonderful day today spending time as a family. There was homemade waffles for breakfast, salsa tasting at the farmers market, go-karts and Craigs Cruisers, a little shopping, a late lunch, and a snuggle movie in the afternoon.  When Noah left for a slumber party with friends, the girls and I enjoyed a pizza dinner and even Captain Sundae at dark with daddy! 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday August 15

Today we packed up and headed to Grand Haven to our favorite park for a picnic with dad.  It was a funny lunch composed of PB and J, left over deviled eggs (yummmmy!), various crackers with fresh mozzarella and roasted tomatoes from our garden, hummus, snap peas, peppers, and plums (all from the farmers market).  The kids played and we all enjoyed a mixed up and thrown together but amazing summer lunch. 

Thursday August 14

Noah and I enjoy our Thursday mornings!  The girls head off to acting club and we head to our favorite coffee shop, Lemonjellos.  I enjoy a Cafe Miel (I'm a brand new coffee drinker, and this is a latte I could drink every day...) and a 'Johnny bar' and Noah enjoys a GIANT cinnamon roll.  Today we had the time and savored our treats at the table talking about life, the Tigers, and what Noah planned to cook that day.  He had big plans...very big plans.  We spent all afternoon in the kitchen as he prepared Cowboy Bacon Beans, which provided us with enough beans to feed all the cowboys in Texas!  And, deviled eggs.  I love spending time with Noah, especially in the kitchen. 

Wednesday August 13

Today after a morning run to the farmer's market we walked over to the park near our house.  Noah played baseball with a neighborhood friend and the girls spun around endlessly on the tire swing and did a tightrope walk across the horseshoe pit.  I enjoyed a little time in my chair with my book and savored the sound of the kids laughter!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tuesday August 12

Today, despite 60 degree temps, wind and rain, we picked peaches!  It felt a bit more like apple picking season, but we had a blast!  We enjoyed time with friends, delicious peaches and even a donut!  We also celebrated 'middle child day' today, which Sophie was sure to let us know about!  Sophie picked our dinner location with grandma and grandpa B tonight and we all enjoyed Thai food!  She also made a peach pie with the help of her brother and sister.  Even though it felt like fall, it was a fabulous summer day! 

Monday August 11

Laughter.  I love summer laughter.  Sweet silly Sophie.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sunday August 10

Home sweet home.  We are so blessed to have made this trip.  We made so many magical memories.  We laughed, we conquered fears, we dove down to the bottom of the pool and did somersaults, we drank lattes (not all of us), we laughed some more, we ate s'mores, we piled on one bed and read as the rain came down outside of the cabin, and even after 8 days and many miles-we continued to laugh hard as we drove back in to Holland. 

Saturday August 9

Today we woke up in Cortland, NY.  We had found out before we left that this is the location of the NY Jets summer practice.  So, we dropped Noah and Tom off at the field to watch a few hours of practice and get autographs and the girls and I made the 30 minute drive back to Ithaca to visit the Ornithology lab.  The lab was phenomenal.  We spent an hour walking with binoculars around the grounds, stopping to observe birds, bullfrogs, and chipmunks (and more mosquitos than we would have liked).  After our hike, we went inside to watch amazing films of Cornell Ornithology Research and 'play' in a real sound studio.  We could have stayed there all day observing the birds at the feeders and walking on the trails we did not get to take.  It was a truly amazing place.  Maybe we'll be back someday with Dr. Abby, but for now, I was happy to pack up my 10 year olds and head back to pick up the boys.  We had so much fun this morning that it became clear that we would not be making it back to Holland tonight as we had planned.  We took off for our final stop of the trip.  Right before arriving at Niagara Falls we stopped in Buffalo at a Diner that was featured on a favorite show of ours, 'Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives'.  We enjoyed delicious food in a real old diner.  Niagara falls was just as I remembered it as a child, crowded and commercialized, yet still amazing.  We visited the American side, holding hands as we struggled through mobs of people.  After spending a few moments in awe, we packed up and took the kids across the border, to their first stop outside of the US.  We spent the night in a beautiful hotel in London, ON. 

Friday August 8

Today we woke up for the last time in our cabin in the Catskills.  We savored the beauty and the slam of the screen door, we packed up and headed out.  We also remembered and celebrated that 16 years ago today Tom asked me to be his wife.  I would say yes every day for the past 16 years.  I love that man.  We enjoyed one of the most beautiful drives we have ever had across the State to our next stop:  Cooperstown, NY.  Noah and Tom enjoyed a few hours in the Baseball Hall of Fame.  While the girls and I enjoyed a used bookstore and a bakery.  By mid afternoon we headed out, next stop Ithaca, NY to visit Cornell.  Abby has loved birds since she was very small.  She collects bird books from all of the States we visit.  She can name nearly every bird and owl we see and hear.  She has a wonderful goal of becoming an ornithologist someday, and one of the premier PhD programs in this area is at Cornell.  So, we made our first college visit.  It was a beautiful campus, and we enjoyed exploring a bit.  After a HUGE dinner just off of campus, we made the drive to our hotel for the night. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Thursday August 7

Today we climbed a five mile hike (two and a half miles each way) , and it was up mountain! It was in Woodstock, New York. First we had to go on a ten min. drive to get up to the right height. From there we started the hike. After a half hour we had a "drink break". Not long after that we came across a rock sticking vertically out of the ground over a valley. There was a space were there was no grass or weeds, so we had to go on it. It was cool. We kept on walking for a really long time until we came across a old hotel  ruins. The photo above shows the entrance, or what used to be one, that is. If you look carefully to the left of Noah, you can see a circular shallow well, I thought it used to be a fountain, now there is a tree growing out of it. Inside the only thing left standing was some stairs, two rooms and a fire place. A sign said to watch out for snakes! There was a second part to it that still had the window frames, not the glass, of course. We looked into one of the window of the second one, and guess what we see......A bathtub! A tree was practically growing out of the bathtub, it was next to it, actually. After that we moved on along the path, we still had more to go! After about half a mile we made it to the top. There was a fire tower you could climb up to look out. Mom climbed up fine at the beginning of the tower, but when she was three steps away she started whimpering, she is scared of heights, you know.We climbed down to go to the overlook. The overlook was a big rock, with no railing! People inscribed there names into the rock, the oldest one was from 1910. We snapped a few pictures, then left. About half way down I heard a slithering noise. Looking over to the side of the path I saw a thick yellow line with black tip. Snake! I yelped and pointed it out to every one. Every ones saw it except for Sophie. Dad turned back to look at it after we walked away a few feet to see if it was still there. It turns out it was a rattle snake. Thankfully it didn't rattle. When we finished the hike we stopped by the Buddhist Temple nearby to check it out. After that we went to a few stores, then came home. We are having burngers for dinner and  S'mores for dessert, yum!
By Abby

Wednesday August 6

Today we hiked to the Saugerties Lighthouse. It was a half a mile walk. The scenery was beautiful, but we couldn't go to the top (it was closed to public). There was a  pretty picnic spot and mom said that we should've brought our lunch. We went down some steps (left) and stood on the rocks. As we were walking up the steps, Abby said to mom, "Hey, a snake.", and my mom says that she "Lept to safety." Today was awesome!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Tuesday August 5

We spent today, the kids 1/2 birthday, relaxing in the Catskills.  The kids swam in the pool at our campground for hours, Noah fished, the girls antiqued, we cooked out on a charcoal grill.  It was relaxing and rejuvenating! 

Monday August 4

Today we enjoyed another amazing day in NYC!!  We started in Rockefeller Center, we were a little late to see the Today Show, but we still got to see the set (it was a very late night last night, we woke the kids up from a total sleep at 8:30!).  We enjoyed 'the best bagels in NYC' according to Zagat (and we concur!).  We ventured out to the Statue of Liberty and enjoyed seeing Lady Liberty up close.  The boat trip out was absolutely beautiful as well.  We visited Chelsea Market (ok, my favorite place ever!!) where Noah found his souvenir a Bacon Cookbook!   While walking to our next stop, we found the "High Line" which is a true place based on one of my favorite children's book, "The Curious Garden" (no, really my favorite place).  We couldn't believe we stumbled upon it completely on accident.  We proceeded to spend the next half hour walking the track, enjoying the amazing miracle of the garden sprouted right in the city!  From there we summoned the energy (well, the kids did...and we dragged along behind) to park hop in Central Park.  We hit 8 playgrounds in a little under two hours, nearly sprinting from one to the other!  We also found the exterior of the building featured in one of the kids favorite Disney Channel Shows!  By about 8:30 we got back to our car and began the 2 hour drive upstate to our next stop.  Exhausted but full of memories of our amazing two days in the City! 

Sunday August 3

Whew!  We had an amazing day in NYC today!  We toured around on a double decker bus, saw One Freedom Tower, Fulton Street Market (and an amazing Maple Spice latte for me!), Waffles and Dinges (as seen on a Food Network Throwdown), American Girl Store, 'The original Pizza place in the Country'-Amazing!, a walk through Little Italy with Gelato and Italian ice, and a night trip up the Empire State Building!!  We loved our hotel in Time Square, where our room was on the 41st floor overlooking the sights of the city!  We made memories!!

Saturday August 2

During a LONG day on the road we are so excited to stop and celebrate 'National Ice Cream Sandwich' day!  It was the perfect pick me up to get us the rest of the day to our destination! 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Friday August 1

Hello August.  We are not really sure what happened to July, but we are happy to see you.  We are excited to travel and camp and watch meteors and pick peaches.  We can't believe we will be starting football practice and teaching classes and going to 5th grade open house.  We pray for hearts that savor each sweet moment this month, enjoying every day for what it is not what tomorrow will bring.