Sunday, December 30, 2012


In just a few days, I will be traveling to Haiti with a group of ladies from church.  I can't believe the time has finally come, we have been planning this trip for a long time.
We will be holding conferences for ladies where we will be teaching classes on basic life skills and health, sewing, mending, doing medical clinics, and most importantly sharing the gospel with them.  We also realize that in order to meet the spiritual needs of people we must attend to the fact that they are starving for physical food.  We will be serving food to the ladies each time we hold a conference, as well as handing out bags of beans and rice.  We plan to go to a school and feed around 300 school children as well.
It has been almost 3 years since the earth quake ruined the already impoverished country of Haiti and so many are still living in tattered tents struggling to survive. Recently Sandy also took its toll on Haiti.  We want to go and love on the women, let them know they are not forgotten and hopefully offer hope.
I would really appreciate  your prayer support, as my friend Hannah and I will be teaching classes on health, specifically cholera and HIV prevention as well as basic life skills.  I was assigned this post, I'm not much of a teacher, I really felt weird about teaching basic common sense things such as hand washing and not drinking contaminated water, but God...God sent an encouragement to me in the form of a Haitian national who came and spoke to our group and wouldn't you know it, he said "The number one thing you can do is teach the ladies basic hand washing, the importance of treating water and prevention of HIV" I left that meeting so excited that God had spoken to my jittery heart.  I'm still nervous, I mean it's easy here to do those things, we have soap, clean water, flush toilets etc...It's a whole other story over there.
We will be staying at a mission house in Port Au Prince we will be traveling to several different villages a few hours away, please pray for good health and safety for our group.
I hope to be able to blog while there, but internet is not a sure thing.  This is one of those trips where, I am so excited, and at the same time, I know I will be wrecked by what I see and left wondering what more I can do...I hate that there is such poverty that women make mud 'cookies' for their children because they are starving, and I live here and have so much.  But, I am excited to go and share God's love and also see what God will teach me through this experience. 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Merry Christmas!

a brief overview of our Christmas celebrations...

our little family party at a hotel opening gifts

the kids opening their date books from Grama T. always a highlight of the Tuinstra party.

 tonight we celebrated with the VZ family
look at Anaya's feet...? how is that even possible?

 the girls were making themselves right at home, eating directly off from uncle Johny's plate! 

We hope you enjoyed celebrating this special time as much as we did!  So thankful for family, traditions, and especially the gift of JESUS who is the reason we celebrate.  We are incredibly blessed.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


To my sweet girl who LOVES to dress up.  Every day she comes down and asks me to help her put on some sort of dress up clothes.  She will wear this all day everyday when we are home.

I wore this dress when I was her age in a wedding!

I can not believe she is 4 years old already!  This morning after we sang to her, I told her that she was now 4 years old and she said, "Oh, OK!"  She is such a sweet kid!  We are so blessed to be her family.  Sometimes people ask if we are going to adopt again, and while I LOVE my family and feel like we are complete, I would never want to say "NO" and miss out on the blessing if that is what God calls us to do.  But for now, we have no calling, just enjoying these treasures we have!

 A robe and some items for her baby dolls.  
She loves to find things that match or are "same" as she puts it.  I have a robe that I wear, so when she opened hers she said "same like you mommy....wwwwobe!"  Too cute! She is talking so much and sings so sweetly, we don't always readily understand what she says, but for the most part her speech is coming along.  It feels as though she has always been a part of our family, I truly can't imagine life without our Luisa JOY!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Happy Birthday Spencer!!!

I told him yesterday morning {on his birthday} that he is like fine wine, he gets better with age!  He was quite the crier as a baby and a handful as a toddler, but the kid is sweet as sugar now! 

 We had a couple of his friends come over after school and have dinner and cake and ice cream before AWANA.

We bought the boys lined work overalls for working in the barn this winter.  So glad they like the practical gifts we tend to give.  
Happy 10th birthday Spencer, we love you!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Happy Birthday!!!

To these guys! We love you both so much!
Ryan turned the BIG 40 and Jayden turned 12 today. 

This weekend we had a birthday party for Jayden...
 We played several fun minute to win it type games and had a scavenger hunt.
The boys had to weigh in their steers for 4H Saturday morning, so the kids went with, after eating waffles with nutella, Jayden's favorite breakfast, at 6:30am.

Ryan took them squirrel hunting in the afternoon! Such a great dad and brave too!  {only 2 had guns!}
And of course there was cake! This is the week we get really sick of cake around here. Jayden choose a yellow cake with chocolate frosting for his party Friday night, Ryan always wants angel food cake {gross!}
Spencer's birthday is Wednesday, so we will be celebrating again.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Is it just me...

or is this year flying by at an incredible rate of speed?  Wow, how did it get to be this time of year already?

 I am so thankful for these treasures God has given us.
We had a great thanksgiving weekend.  We were able to spend time with family and we went out and got our Christmas tree.
 We found the perfect tree pretty fast, but Ryan brought only this little dinky hand saw and let Easton saw it down...needless to say it took a while! Eventually he let each kid take a whack at it and it finally fell!
  I think he stood a little taller that day, too stinking cute!!
 We took the dog with and she did better than some of the people for our family photo!  Not too shabby for our DIY photo shoot of setting the camera on the back of the truck, turning on the timer and running up the hill!

 We had a few light issues, (why do only half the strands work? grr...) I dumped several strands and we made due but it was a tad frustrating!
 my light bulb repacers
I had lots of 'help' from these guys, I had to go around and replace a few ornaments as they were all in the bottom 1/2 of the tree!
Years ago my mom bought my Christmas village and painted most of them as a hobby{I did a few,} the problem is that we can't find them anymore, which means they are irreplaceable!  Not good with 6 kids around.  These guys were super careful as they helped me put up the trees, love their concentration, {it is hard to get them to stay put!}

It is so cozy in this house with our warm pellet stove and the glow of the Christmas tree, I am loving it!  So much to be thankful for!

Monday, November 12, 2012

more random updates....

*We got a new kitten.  I really didn't want another cat, but it just came out of nowhere one day.  I must admit, it is pretty cute, so here it stays. {We tried to make it a barn cat, but it kept coming back under the front porch.}The kids named it Lucky.  
*I didn't really want one of these either, I think it's kinda ugly, but...after paying for fuel oil last winter, I was eager to do anything to cut down on our heating costs.  Well, it may not be cute, but it stays because I LOVE being warm!  I have a chair right in front of the thing and I pretty much do school from there everyday!  We have not run our furnace yet, and we estimate that even with having to buy the pellet stove and pellets we should still be way under what we paid for fuel oil last winter!
 The kids had a fun time at a recent harvest party with friends from church.  We went all out with dressing them up...we were so creative, the girls went in their traditional dresses from their countries, 2 boys were dressed in camo, which they pretty much wear every day, and Easton was a soccer player.  We obviously don't go all out for these things, but they had a lot of fun playing games and gathering candy!

*After living in this house for a full year now, we finally got all of our stuff moved out of the pole barn and either put where it belongs or dumped it!  What a great feeling that was! Just in time for Dylan's new purchase...
Yes folks, I cried a little today when MY BABY BOY bought a TRUCK!! Thankfully it will sit in the above barn for a while as he is only 14.  We are proud of the smart young man he is and feel he made a wise decision to buy this very affordable truck from some extremely trustworthy people! The best news is, it's a stick shift!  I love to drive them, my first car was a stick too and he paid the same for his truck as I did for my first car many moons ago!