Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

  From our home to yours!
 We've had the Vander Zwaag Christmas party...
 Our family party...
and tomorrow we head out for the Tuinstra Christmas party!  We've done lots of baking...
 Lots of packing...{more on this later}, took down the tree, literally!

I said, "Jayden, don't just yank the lights off the tree, your gonna make it..."
Fall!  Nice. we have lots of nice white stuff falling to the ground! YIPPEE!!  But come Monday morning at 4 AM, we are heading to MEXICO!!!!  Now, lest you think we are going on some wonderful exotic vacation...think again.  We {Ryan, Dylan, Jayden, Spencer, and I} are all heading to Chihuahua Mexico on a mission trip to Lily of the Valley Orphanage with about 30 other people from our church.  We are driving in 2-15 passenger vans and one car, non-stop 30 some odd hours!  So, um, no glorious warm vacationing, in fact, Chihuahua is the coldest state in Mexico!  We're talking 20's at night(just got word it is 18 there tonight!) But it looks like we may be blessed with a warm up coming next week of upper 60's during the day!  I really am looking forward to this trip, however...I REALLY don't want to leave Luisa{or Easton and Anaya for that matter} but I've never left Lucy, except for once a couple weeks ago when I went to Chicago for the weekend!  I know that I will have plenty of little ones to love on while I am there, and I am sure time will fly.  It was a life changing experience the last time I was there, and I am so excited to share that with the 3 older boys!  If you think of us, please pray for safe travels and no car sickness!!
Have a wonderful time celebrating the birth of our savior, Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Happy Birthday Luisa Joy!!!

I can't believe how fast this year has gone!  Last year at this time we were anticipating a trip to Colombia to pick up Luisa, and now here she is turning 3!  It feels as though she has been in our family forever, I can not imagine life without her, she brings so much JOY into our lives, and we are so SO blessed to be her family!  Happy Birthday sweet girl!  We love you so very much!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Last weekend was our annual girls weekend get away.   While we were shopping, this santa grabbed us, {literally} and brought us to his fancy chair so we could have our picture taken!  We were kinda taken by surprise, but we were laughing so hard, he was quite the jolly soul, and the real deal, no fake beard or stuffing!  I haven't had my picture taken with santa since I was a little girl!  We weren't sure what we were getting into, but they took our picture, and gave it to us, no strings attached!
 My brother in law Eric also surprised us with tickets to go on a chocolate tour!  We met our tour guide,{the one with her arm up, she held a flag saying "Chicago Chocolate Tour" up the entire time we were walking!} and we went to about 5 or so different little shops and bakeries around town and they gave us a chocolate creation to sample and told us about their store, chocolate and how they make different things.  It was very fun and we found a few new places to visit when we come back next time!  Thank You Eric!!
Our favorite place was Hendrickx.  Oh my, it is on Walton street, I believe, and both the waffles and croissants were AMAZING!
Another place we went, {but I don't think we need to go there again,} is a cupcake shop that sold some really good sounding cupcakes, and some really nasty sounding ones too.  Like, for instance...good= salted caramel, chocolate caramel, the bad= bacon cupcakes!  Say what?  So, of course, we had to try one, I took a small bite, and really it was sweet and salty, but I just got too grossed out to try any more, we all agreed bacon should only be used for breakfast!  Definitely not cupcakes!
Always fun hanging with my mom and sisters!  {and baby Josiah too!}  I didn't get a picture of him this weekend, but here he is in all of his chubby cuteness, he is such a good little guy, and loves to be kissed, which is good since he got lots of lovin this weekend!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Happy Birthday Spencer!!!


 More cake... Good thing we love it!
Yesterday we celebrated Spencer's Birthday, I can't believe he is 9! 
We love you Spencer!

Friday, December 2, 2011

It's BIRTHDAY season at our house!

First up is Ryan AND Jayden...
 Yes, these 2 share the same birthday!
 Not one, but 2 knives for Jayden...yikes.  He was thrilled!  Ryan got 2 pairs of much needed shoes, he was not all that thrilled. 
Happy Birthday boys!  I love you both so very much!
Next up is Spencer on the 5th...Luisa on the 18th...and then of course JESUS on the 25th!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

World Aids day...

Today is World Aids Day, and we are praising God for the advances in meds that are keeping Luisa alive and healthy!   I just heard today that a recent survey showed that one in four people still think you can "catch" HIV from sharing a cup.  UGH!  Please, take a few minutes, if you haven't already, to watch the Truth Pandemic {click on the icon on the top left of my blog.} And share it with your friends.  Thank You!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

O Christmas tree...

On the hunt for the perfect tree...which took longer than usual this year, not sure why, there were tons of really nice trees, I was just being indecisive, {I have that problem from time to time!}

The kids in front of our tree.
Thankful for the boys, they now do all of the dirty work!

We brought the tree in and decorated it while Lucy was sleeping, when she woke up and came downstairs she looked at the tree and said "hey!"  Like, what in the world is that?  We all had a good laugh at that.
Lights on the house, tree and village up...
and yes, even a few gifts under the tree, thanks to a crazy "Black Friday" I mean all night Thursday into the morning on Friday shopping adventure.  Oh the things we do to save a buck!  Actually, it was a good time spent with friends, and very productive too.
Our goal for this week is to finish emptying out the pole barn so we can get rid of the lovely dumpster turned lawn ornament in front of the house!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Jaydens first deer, and other firsts...

First and foremost, hunting season is upon us and we now have 3 hunters in the family.  Ryan took the boys hunting this past week on opening day and Jayden shot this nice 3 point buck.  The next day he got a button buck!  He loves being able to actually shoot something!
 Dylan shot his first deer with a bow this year as well. 

Another first is for Luisa, she has stayed dry for 2 days now!  She is really getting the hang of this potty training thing, it makes her momma very happy, and she is enjoying the candy.  Found out she loves Tootsie Rolls, she picks them over all the other candy, every single time.  Anaya loves to help Luisa, and she takes her in with her when she has to go, just to show her how it's done, too funny!

I was able to park my vehicle in the garage for the first time!  This was a momentous event, one of my favorite things about this house is that we finally have a garage, and now it is cleaned out enough that I can park in it!  We were giddy with excitement last night as we were taking the groceries in and could hear the rain and wind out side!

We also were able to hang clothes in the closets for the first time since we moved in.  Ryan finished up all of the kids closets this week and it is so wonderful to not have the huge mess of clothes on the floor.  Ours should be finished this coming week and we will be done living out of suitcases!  We still have to get closet doors, but, for now...

We are looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving this week, we sure have a lot to be thankful for! 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

a great week...

Remember this eye sore?

well, it is no more!!

 our horses are getting bigger and fuzzier!

 Painting the floor of the mudroom and putting up the bench.
So, I have been taking pictures on my new phone of all of the projects we have gotten done over this week,  I just sat down to blog about it, and I realized that the cord that came with my phone, doesn't work with my computer.  So,...hopefully I will figure that out soon, for now there are a few pictures to keep things interesting.  But, we made some great progress this week, including my mud room is done, my island has laminate, they replaced all but one of the windows we were replacing, finally got our dining room table put up and ate sitting down as a family for the first time in weeks!  Closets are starting to take shape, we fixed the siding on the house,  Ryan got more of the trim up and I 'frosted' the glass on the bathroom door{Yay for some privacy}...still no doorhandles on yet though, I am sure that will be done soon.  Getting back into a good school routine and settling in.  I took a break last night and watched a movie with the kids, feels like life is getting back to 'normal!'   So incredibly thankful for a nice warm house with all this windy rainy weather!     

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

pumpkin carving...

 Oh so many choices...look at them contemplate!
 Luisa walked up to one and grabbed it!  Plenty good...let's go!
 Eww!  Pumpkin guts!  I was shocked Anaya stuck her hand in it, but very soon, she was asking to wash her hands.
 Lucy was loving it...Anaya...{big shocker} not so much!  Yes, she got pumpkin guts in her hair, they were flinging it everywhere, seemingly non intentionally, however, one can never be sure, she was not impressed!
 Easton doing a happy dance because he likes the way his pumpkin looks!  That kid is too funny!
I was thinking pumpkin carving would not happen this year as I had not yet located any sharp knives..."they are in the barn somewhere..."  is the notorious answer for everything that we can't find.  But, my children would not let that happen, instead of looking in the barn for our knives, they went to the garage and found sharp objects.  Power tools gave new life to our pumpkin carving adventure!  They used a drywall saw and a sawzall and they had a blast!  I doubt we will ever use those puny little pumpkin carving knives again!