Tuesday, September 30, 2008

working hard...

Easton working hard on his school work! He is learning to wield a scissors quite well! At first I had to hold the paper, and I thought my fingers would be cut off, but now he is doing very good with them!

The boys working on their school work. Look at the concentration on Spencer's face!

Anaya working (actually sitting) on her masterpiece! Oh how I love the Aquadoodle mat! She goes to town on that thing!

The guys playing guitar, actually they don't know how to play yet, but we are hoping to find someone to teach them ~ soon! Dylan just started piano lessons back up, he hasn't had them since we moved! He wants to be a worship pastor, although ever since we moved, he has been rethinking that decision. He doesn't want to have to move around ~ he would like to stay in one place his whole life!!! Sounds like someone else I know~um....(ME!) So I am trying to figure that out right along with him, and allow God to show us what He wants us to be and where He wants us to live. I pray that Dylan will see the benefit of following God's desires above our own, and desire to do what would please God! I didn't sign up to be a pastors wife, in fact the thought NEVER crossed my mind, as the man I married was not at all "pastor material" dare I say...He was always the first one out of church, and very fidgety and nervous in front of people! I always tell people that the biggest miracle I have ever seen is Ryan! He changed so much over the years, and I can't believe he is the same man I married!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Guess what season it is?


Finally, fall hunting season is upon us (Ryan's thoughts). This is the first fall that Dylan can hunt for the entire season. After he turned 10 last February he shot his first squirrel, but this year he could go on many more hunts.

It started on Labor Day with a goose hunt on Grandpa VZ's farm. Shot no geese but saw a few. The guys in the field next to us shot 16. Bummer.

Then there was an early doe season on Uncle Robb's farm. We did not shoot any, Dylan was wishing he was 12 so he could use the gun as all 8 does stayed around 25-30 yards away. Dylan has practiced hard with his bow and can consistently shoot in the bulls eye within 15 yards. So any deer that ventures that close will be filling our freezer.

Then this past Saturday was a youth (10-16) duck hunt. We could not go in the morning as Stacy was at a women's retreat, but she returned by late afternoon and off we headed to our favorite waterfowl pond. Uncle Matt and Bryce were our guides and Dylan shot his first duck as it flew over his head. . I do not know who was more excited but I think I saw Matt doing a dance by the other pond . Thanks Uncle Matt.

Next comes the most anticipated season of all, bow season on October 1.

Mommy always knows it is nearing hunting season when the boys wear 2 pieces of camo every day! No joke! The rule at our house is, you can not leave the house (unless of course you are going hunting)with 2 pieces of camo on. Only 1 piece of camo if we are going in public! But during the day, I don't really care what they wear if we are at home and camo is the uniform of choice around here!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


My friend Lee has been such a blessing in so many ways, one of which is when she shares the bounty of her garden! Tomatoes! So I went to work at making salsa, since it was kinda last minute, I was on my own(no time to plan for Mom and Grama to come up!) I was saying that it was a lot harder to do this alone, and that I was missing the extra hands and Ryan suggested I enlist the boys to help, and boy did they! I was dunking them in boiling water and as fast as I could get them out they were peeling and chopping them! They thought it was fun for a little while, then by the time they were fizzling out on me~we were already done! Many hands really do make light work, even when the hands are small!

Thank you Lord for my hard working little men! And my big one too! He (Ryan) has been such a blessing to me as he helps so much with the kids, and the housework! This year as I was dreading the school year, (knowing how far behind I can get on the housework) he stepped in and has helped so much (even more than usual!) I certainly do have the BEST HUSBAND EVER! Thanks Ry~I love you! And thanks for the SWEET post you wrote on my birthday~you're AWESOME!!!

Monday, September 22, 2008


Stacy Renee Vander Zwaag
It is your 34th birthday so…
Here are 34 things I love about you…

1. I love your joy for life.
2. I love you love for orphans.
3. I love how you want to be with me (turkey hunting).
4. I love how you exemplify God’s grace.
5. I love how you start most days out with you and God time.
6. I love your decorating skills.
7. I love your smile.
8. I love your love for your parents and sisters.
9. I love your petite body and how you care for it.
10. I love how your mother our children.
11. I love how you love pink.
12. I love how you are a girly girl, but yet can hang with the boys.
13. I love being married to you.
14. I love your commitment to a healthy life style (Izzy vs. diet coke etc.)
15. I love your willingness to sacrifice your comforts.
16. I love that you and I are so different yet we love to be together.
17. I love spending time with you.
18. I love how you give thought filled gifts.
19. I love your heart for the Spanish speaking people.
20. I love your sense of fashion.
21. I love how always look your best when I come home.
22. I love your instinctive gift of knowing how to solve relational problems.
23. I love your sense of right and wrong.
24. I love how you teach our children.
25. I love your sass and spunk.
26. I love your independent spirit, but yet you still listen to my heart.
27. I love how you let me dream.
28. I love how you are my sounding board for ideas.
29. I love how you shop, finding bargains and knock offs.
30. I love how you choose joy, no matter what God allows into your life.
31. I love how love and care for our family.
32. I love spending time with you after the kids go to bed.
33. I love your passion for the things of god.

I love you more than you'll ever know! You're my best friend and hero. You taught me about grace and God's unconditional love and acceptance. If it weren't for you I'd still be a legalistic, shy, nervous man who does not have a passion for Christ or the things of Christ. I love how you love people. You care for those around you so deeply. I'm always so excited for new people to meet you because I get to watch them discover how amazing you are all over again!There is no one on the planet like you! I pray with all my heart that our children grow up and call you blessed. Happy Birthday Stacy!
Love, Ryan

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Time with family and friends.....

A few weekends ago, I had the chance to go to Chicago with some friends, and boy did we shop!!! We had a great time and almost bought IKEA out! I kid you not, there was not an inch of unused space in that mini van! We walked out to the van with 4 carts loaded to the gills(a queen headboard/footboard, 2 dressers, a night stand, a large desk, and bookshelves, and a big chest, and lots of little things too!)And it was a bit of a task to pack it just so, a few of the IKEA workers just sat back and watched(never offered any help)and I think they were laughing at us as we put things in and took them out and rearranged until the last item was in! That was all in the first couple of hours there! We even went back the next morning to grab a few more things before we headed out to MI City! We had a great time together!

Then this weekend I was able to go to a ladies retreat with my Mom, and sisters! While there we were in a cabin with one of my oldest and dearest friends, along with her mom and sister, and several other ladies. We had a wonderful time talking and catching up! It was great to see so many familiar faces, and be around old friends. What a blessing it is to have my Mom and sisters as my best friends, and to enjoy our times together so much!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Jayden has ALWAYS been a funny guy....

And Sunday was no exception, I told them to gather a few toys together to take to our friends house to play with, and he came upstairs with his special hankie tied to a stick and all of his toys inside! I don't know that he knows what a hobo is or where he got that idea from, but we had a good laugh at him, like usual!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Easton is one funny guy...

Here are a few pictures of Easton from this summer, finishing off the ice cream!

This morning the kids came up and climbed into bed with us (which is a rarity to have all of us in bed together, usually Ryan is up and at em pretty early!) While we were talking, Spencer decided he wanted to marry mommy!=) Then Easton threw his arm up in the air and said, "I get married when I get hair under here!" and pointed to his armpit! I laughed so hard I cried! I don't know where that came from, but he is right, he has to wait until LONG after he gets pit hair to get married! He says the funniest things sometimes. I love this little guy, he cracks me up!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bad hair days....

Poor Anaya always wakes up with "scary hair!" She is the object of the boys laughter every morning, and then they say "get a picture of that Mom!" So, here are just a few of the bad hair days Anaya has had recently...

Even if I wash it the night before, it still looks something like...Either way we still think she is as cute as can be! Oh the joy that little girl brings!

"Thank you Lord for our little blessing, we are so thankful to have her in our lives!"

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I feel smarter when....

"I feel smarter when you are right here!" This is what Dylan said to me today as I was leaving his side after helping him do a math problem. He always thinks better when I am hovering over him for whatever reason, it has been that way since he was little, and his brothers are the same way! Which makes for an interesting day of home school! "Mom, come here", "Mom, can you help me?", "Mom, I need you"... Well, after a few hours of this, I feel smarter when everyone KEEPS QUIET!!! I really feel like my head is going to burst sometimes!
I have one kid who completely freaks out when his work is not perfect, which has been funny to watch, (as I always choose laughter as opposed to crying about it!) Oh the joys of home school!
Dylan's comment reminded me that ~ ya know what, I too feel smarter when God is right here. I need to start the day with Him, and now that we are in school mode, I am reminded that I need Him for wisdom in this daunting task of schooling my children each day, let alone his help in keeping my head from exploding!
" Thank you Lord for making me feel smarter when I call on You!"

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Look at all those peaches! No, I did not do them all by myself, in fact I did very little! My Mom and Grama came up and they peeled and sliced them, I was in charge of the syrup and the canner. I did make a couple batches of peach jam all by my big girl self though!
35 quarts of peaches, and 2 batches of jam! YAY! I am so glad that is done! I don't mind canning since I always have Mom and Grama to help me, if I had to do it myself, it may not get done! It is fun to have all 4 generations in the kitchen working hard (they work harder than I do, because of that 4th generation!) Fun wonderful memories!
I received some spools of ribbon from a friend as part of Anaya's baby gift, and look at what I made!(yes, all by my big girl self!) It isn't perfect, like the one I got for a gift, but it works for Anaya's hair. I can't wait to get more ribbon and make some more!
Well, even with all of the peaches and bow making, I managed to do two partial days of school. At one point I was trying to teach the 3 older boys something (?) while Anaya stood with her face pressed against the glass door screaming away, I was trying to press on with my last bit of instruction when the boys all started laughing and asking if they could go pick her up! So I still have to figure out how to keep her from stealing the show, but all in all it went rather well!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

video from the dunes!

For whatever reason(I think my connection speed is too slow?)I can not get my video's to upload, (after many failed attempts~I give up!)so I tried again today, and it worked!

Here are the kids flipping down the hill.

Monday, September 1, 2008

So long lazy days of summer... you will be missed!

Those crazy boys! They have so much fun together, you never know what they will come up with! Here they are being pirates!
After canoeing on Saturday, we had a birthday party for my niece Rylie, my nephew Brayden, and my Sister Jen! Then we decided to check out the dunes. We have lived up here for around 7 months, and I have never been up to the dunes! Wow, is that a crazy place! LOTS of sand, and a beautiful view of Lake MI, and Silver Lake. And LOTS of CRAZY people, we saw lots of dune buggies, cycles, quads, trucks, cars, and even a souped up mini van! I still do not think it looks like fun, it looks dangerous to me, but it was intriguing, to say the least!
We climbed to the top~that is a work out(my calves still ache!) The little white rectangle to the right of Ryan's head is our house! We can see a sliver of the lake, and the dunes from our house, so I figured we would be able to see our house from the dunes!
The view of Silver Lake. The kids loved doing flips down the steep hill, they were so incredibly sandy, I had to scrub their heads and shampoo them twice, you should have seen the shower!

My Mom took 6 of the grand kids school supply shopping today! Thanks Mom! They are all excited to use their stuff. I wish I could say I was excited, I am not, however I guess I am ready to get into the groove and settle back into a routine. So here it goes ~ So long summer! Hello school year!