Family weekend

Here are some pics, even though I didn’t get many, from this past weekend. We had such a great time hosting all of the Kwaaks–everyone traveling from different places– from Denver (Nick and Jess surprised everyone!!), Ontario (Reuben, Heidi, Eden, and Harper counting down to their big biking adventure), DesMoines (Mom, Dad, and Eddye who got to meet our crazy family for the first time :) , and of course Kim, Paul, and Marley in GR (Marley turned 3–the impetus for everyone gathering this weekend). Although the weather was pretty crappy (rain and even moments of hail), we totally enjoyed celebrating, laughing, sharing in more memories together. These wider family gatherings are getting fewer and far between which makes each one all the more sweet!

Pickerel Lake hike--Claire and her Uncle Nick

Heidi & Harper

Me & Levi with his wooden truck hand made by his great-Opa delivered all the way from B.C. Canada!

Nana, Papa, & Marley the birthday girl!

Party & presents at Kim & Paul's.

Marley & her mommy.

And some other pics from this past week– signs of spring are slowly emerging over here in Michigan…

Sidewalk chalk--the best $3 a mom can spend on these kind of days.

Toothless Emma by her front yard tree.

Claire's favorite climbing tree.

Levi loves playing outside!


Some of my experiences lately include:

A trip out to NW Iowa to see my friend from Dordt, Tonja VanBeek, get hitched! It was so wonderful to see old college friends (not that we’re old–it’s just been over 10 years since I’ve been at Dordt–crazy!). Friends flew in from all over the US. I experienced alot of laughter, happiness, great conversation, reminiscing, and generous hospitality. I hope it’s not too long before I get to see all these lovely ladies again…

Rehearsal dinner in Hartley--small town with a big heart!

Wedding day--Tonja with her new hubby, Jon.

Two weeks after this trip, I set off again–this time for Seattle. It may sound like I”m the traveling queen, but these two trips are the first times I’ve been away from my family ALONE since I’ve had the kids. The past 6 years have been full of other experiences…like birthing and nursing–ha ha! Hard to get away during that time, but now I’m able, which I’m so thankful for! Curt stayed home with the kiddos while I attended a training to become certified in Gottman couples therapy. I was pretty much star struck– to meet and be taught by John and Julie Gottman–I’ve read so many of their books over the years and professionally have come to admire them. The training was wonderful and so useful. I’m looking forward to moving on in the process towards full certification.

I also LOVED exploring Seattle (the training was during the day every day I was there–mental note–slot one or more days in for fun and exploration next trip!). In the evenings, I spent time with my friend Becky who lives outside of Seattle who drove in 2 nights to spend time with me, the conference participants–other therapists from all over the US were great to converse with– and also with my wonderful hosts for the time I was there–Joe and Rachel. I came back really invigorated–time away was great on so many levels.

I took public transit to the Seattle Center each day and walked past the space needle each morning!

The Market--it closed just as Becky and I got there because of the time, but it was still great to see!

View from GasWorks park. Obviously, much better in person :)

Becky and I at a delicious cupcake shop in Ballard neighborhood.

My wonderful hosts took me to the top doughnut shop in Seattle and also to another park with a view one rainy morning.

Since I’ve returned, my experiences have been a bit more small in scale, although not less joyful. I’m certainly gently reminded of the stage of life I find myself in…

First outdoor family bikeride/walk to the track--spring is a-comin'!!!!

Time at the track. The kids just love this.

Claire biking around the track. She biked over 3 miles on Sat morning–with a smile on her face!
Emma and I headed out last night to Reeds Lake to see the “SuperMoon”–biggest in 20 plus years. It was fun. I also realized that middle school science may have failed me–I really did not know the answers to most of her questions about planet rotation and orbit, etc. Ah, to be humbled yet again by my 6 year old!!

Supermoon illuminating the side of my face.

Emma loves science. And birds, don't forget birds.

Some great experiences this month–hopefully more to come!

Snow days!

We’re on snow day #2 over here. In our 11 years of living in Michigan, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much snow dumped on us at one time. My favorite name for this mass blizzard that I’ve heard so far is “Snowpocolypse 2011.” Feels like it! Today is the 2nd day schools are closed, but businesses are opening again and life is getting somewhat back to normal. We’ve been snowed in the past day and a half, literally. Norwood just got plowed late last night and Curt shoveled all of the snow plow leftovers from the bottom of our driveway this morning so we could get the van out. Some ingredients to eventful snowdays around here include (drum roll please!)…

* No work-I had mentally prepared for an 8 client day, but my day opened up, felt like a ‘bonus’ day when going to work wasn’t even an option! It was such a nice break to be home and cozy up instead.

* Waffle breakfasts, always making sure to leave 1 quarter of each waffle syrup free for each girl (the odd requests of 4 and 6 year olds!). I guess there is an art to cooking bacon. Wasn’t on my game this morning, I suppose :)


* Lot of cuddles and books. With nowhere to go, we spent alot of time hanging out inside…and Levi playing in the dishwasher. Random and strange, but he’ll literally do this for an hour at a time.

* Forts forts forts. right now we have about 5-8 large boxes (thank you Costco) utilized for all different purposes (puppet theater, bird house, etc) laying around our house. Here is the fort that was made yesterday, still up today:

*Watching PBS while sitting in one of the boxes sitting around our house (?) and staying in PJ’s until 4 in the afternoon.

*Multiple shifts of playing outside (the kids can usually handle it for 20-30 min at a time and have gone out 3-4 times each day). This equals lots of putting snow gear on and off…one of the joys of young family life ;)

* Yak Trax–I went for a run yesterday afternoon, which was awesome despite some strange looks and comments thrown my way. There was absolutely no way to go early morning with my running gals since the snow was up to my thighs. Thanks to yak trax strapped on the bottom of my shoes, I was still able to move, however slowly. I enjoyed the scenes of the city as i ran (random boombox playing loud oldies on someones porch, many neighbors pulling together and helping each other get shoveled out an unstuck, etc).

* Supper at Queen’s Pub. we all walked to Brandywine, a neighborhood restaurant for supper but it was closed due to the snow…so we headed to the closest place, a great little pub by our house and enjoyed some pizza together.

*Hulu–hey, after a day of hard core shoveling and play, we decided to relax for the evening and catch up on the Daily Show (yeah, that’s right, Heidi, go Stewart!!)