Saturday, December 28, 2013

Easter 2013

 We celebrated Easter with the Brouwer family.  The families got a game instead of candy this year, such a good idea by nana.  While all the kids were together we had them say The Easter Story that we had learned at school, so proud of them!!!
This is the link to the video

Karinda Turns 10

 Karinda had many celebrations for her birthday this year.  Up North with grandpa and grandma Meeuwsen before they left for Florida, at home with Sadie, and with Carter and Trey in April.
 The long awaited celebration was her friend party.  We decided to go to the Holiday Inn Express for the night with some friends.  She choose, Sheldon, Merideth, Emma, Elle, and Bella came later.  We had some fun in the pool, pizza, presents, and some fun "spa time" for the girls.  Our little planner thought about all the details of this for months, and me being a planner as well, it tended to cause a bit of frustration.
 Karinda you are a great girl, you love to read and have a gift for playing the piano.  You love to spin and dance around the room.  We have had some growing pains with friends this year, but unfortunately it is part of life.  You are a great student and we couldn't be more proud of you.

Monday, July 15, 2013

More Snowmobiling

Once we had the "two-up" snowmobile it felt like we could go a bit farther and see some new things on the trails.  The Jordon River Valley Trail is my absolute favorite and I couldn't wait to show the girls.  A lot of the trail is along side the Jordon River, and it is just beautiful because there are all kinds of little clumps of white snow mixed in with the flowing water.  We had been there a few weeks earlier with Jeff and Tobi and we had stopped at the fish hatchery for the first time.  I thought the girls would love it!

It turned out to be a little to far for them yet, they were sick of it before we got there.  They did like checking out the fish hatchery, but I think I was more impressed than they were. We went a little bit further and took this picture, but it is a good thing they have helmets on because I am sure those are scowls from all three of them.

There where a few other highlights from the trip.  Karinda got to stop at the sign for the 45th parallel (Eric had Kylie on with him at the time and they blew right by it.)We also got to stop at the Penny Candy store for some gas and treats.  I am still not so sure that we will be trying that trip again next year yet.  I think it will need to be their idea.

Cross Country skiing with "The Cousins"

 The girls have a week off in February as part of their "year-round school."  I love this schedule, it is perfect, especially for kids that need routine.  Another reason I love it is getting out all year round and trying new things, like cross county skiing!  It was the perfect winter day, there was enough snow on the ground to play in and warm enough to enjoy being out in it.  In the morning we met a group of kids from school to go sledding at VanRaalte Farms, it was so beautiful we grabbed some lunch at Subway and spent our afternoon at Pigeon Creek on the trails.  It was the first time for all of us and we all loved it, especially Karinda.

The girls had so much fun they didn't want to leave once we turned in our ski's so we got the sleds back out for a half an hour.We spent the second half of the week doing some snowmobiling at the cabin and we have had some Cross Country Ski's at the cabin for years.  Karinda and I tried them out but quickly figured out that blazing your own trail and skiing on groomed trails is very different. 
The girls loved skiing on the trails so much they couldn't wait to go again, so the following Monday  we called "The Cousins" to see if they could join us.  Gage was gone for a birthday party so we took Sheldon, Jaden, and Bryce.  When we got there the lodge was not open.  Apparently the week before had been a Winter Holiday, so they had been open.  So, what to do now???  We were all excited to go skiing so we drove to Kirk Park to check out the ice burgs.  It was beautiful!!!  The kids loved running around in the snow covered dunes and playing "Hunger Games."  I loved that there was no one there and I could just let them run and play while I soaked up a little sun.
 I would have loved to go out on the ice bergs but there was a little water right on the shore and did not want any trouble, so we stayed where it was safe.

We stopped at a gas station for a snack and headed back to Pigeon Creek to get some ski's.  The kids loved it, it wasn't long before the older ones were gone.  I could usually hear them and they would wait at the corners, but they got fast and confident.
Bryce was such a trooper, he is only in Kindergarden so he was getting tired after playing in the dunes and his little legs were shorter than the others, but he tried his best to keep up in between falls.

 We all made it back to the lodge safe and sound, minus a few coats.  After that we met Bryan and Amy at Applebee's to celebrate Sheldon's birthday!!!
Silly Skiers

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Snowmobling Fun at the Blue Beaver Lodge

 We have spent more time at the cabin this year than any other, and we have had a ton of fun.  Cliff and Karen, Brian and Kelly and the kids came up for New Years weekend.  We didn't spend any time out on the actual trails but we had fun eating, playing games like "hide the blankies",  and going in the hot tub.

 Karinda tried out the ice skates for a bit, and everyone went sledding and knee boarding behind the snowmobile.

We have some neighbors renting the place next door this year too.  When Karinda saw that little boy riding around the lake on a little snowmobile she decided that she was big enough to do that too.  Grandpa took her out and showed her how to drive, and she gained a lot of confidence.  Out on the lake she didn't really need the brake but that would have been a good bit of information for when he let her drive it up to the barn between the cabin and all the trees.  Thankfully she came close but didn't hit anything.
Sometimes the sled doesn't have enough room so we tie another one behind it.
 Popcorn and movies with grandpa and grandma.
The first weekend of January Eric and I spent in Nebraksa for the NCP Christmas party.  I ended up having to go alone because Eric was sick in bed, it was fun but it just wasn't the same without him.
The following weekend we had the PGP Christmas party on Friday, and then quick drove back to go to the ZFS Christmas party on Saturday night.  It was a whirlwind weekend but very fun to meet new people and catch up with some others I haven't seen in awhile.
One weekend we went up just as a family, and another weekend Eric went up with his dad, brother, and a friend.
The first weekend in February we were going to have the girls miss school on Friday and we left Thursday night.  We completely lucked out with the girls having a snow day for school and we were already up there.  Just Carter and Brian came up to ride with us that weekend.  This is just in from snowmobiling trying to warm up under the blanket together.
 Friday night we talked the kids into riding at night and they did really good.  Saturday was a beautiful day to be out on the lake.
 The guys went out and did some things in the morning one of which was making a fire to warm up by.
 We didn't like these tubes for the water very much but they work pretty good out on the snow.  Kylie is lying on the tube, Carter looks like a race car driver inside his tube.
 Karinda and Kylie go for a ride.

 Brian just pulled Carter in the sled while they were waiting for their turn.
 They just fit!  Uncle Brian was such a good sport, and Karinda likes it in the back by herself.  I think they went around like this for 5 times.  Kylie and Carter just chatted away the whole time.
 Karinda waited patiently for everyone to have a turn sledding, tubing, and knee boarding but what she really wanted to do was ride "her snowmobile."  It is really grandma's but somehow since she has now driven it around the lake it has become her's as well.
This weekend I looked at Carter and realized Karinda was his age the first year we bought the cabin.  We have been doing this for 5 years.  The first year they were so little and could hardly hold themselves up.  I remember going down the trails with the Schuts and Kylie's head would hit the "kill" switch and shut it off.  As they have grown it has become more of a challenge with them in front of us.  We have been looking for a "2-up" snowmobile for a few years now, but good ones are hard to find.  We finally lucked out and found a good deal!  It is so nice to not have to look over the black dome of the helmet in front of me and be able to move!  As the girls grew and got taller it got harder and harder to manouver around them.  The back seat has heated hand grips and everything.  We can fit all three of us on it, with some complaints from one or the other that is, but it is a step ahead, that is for sure.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Christmas 2013

December as usual flew right by.  We started out this year in Nebraska for a week and headed home for the weekend to start our first Christmas party.  The first one was for the Meeuwsen's and Santa stopped by again this year.  We don't really "do santa", personally I hate the whole thing, but the girls usually sit on his lap so they can get a picture and a candy cane.  I may have scared them for life but I really hate how it takes away from the real meaning of Christmas.
 The following weekend on Friday night we had the Top Christmas and on Saturday night the Brouwer Christmas.  I apparently never even got the camera out for that one.
 On Sunday night the girls did their Christmas program for church.  It was so cute and had such a good message.  The girls each had a part and did excellent.
 On Tuesday night it was the Innocademy school Christmas program followed by a quick piano recital.
 This is the girls with their teacher Ms. Amy Harbison.  We are very blessed to have her.

On Thursday night we had Karinda's dance class performance.
And that Friday we had to make an impomtu trip up to the Blue Beaver Lodge because they had lost power.  We quickly packed food that didn't need to be heated and some clothes and drove up there.  It was an adventure!  We all camped out on the floor in sleeping bags in the living room thinking that would be warmer.  It was maybe a degree or two warmer but very uncomfortable, not a good choice.  The power was still off on Saturday so we went snowmobiling for a bit, which was a bonus.  Then we headed into Kalkaska for pizza and when we got back the power had been restored.  We decided to stay the night and headed home on Sunday.

We were supposed to have the Brouwer Christmas but Bryan and Amy had sick kids.  We had food ready so we had Part A of the Christmas party, it was a very strange Christmas without them.
 The girls requested that Nana make them another outfit for them and their American Girls again like she did a few years ago.  They know their Nana can do anything!  The bummer was they knew what they were getting but had no idea what it was going to look like.  They turned out SOOOO CUTE!!!!!
Eric got a new ring for the fire pit at the Blue Beaver Lodge, I can't wait to put it in this spring.
I apparently didn't take any pictures of our little Christmas at home, and I completely forgot my camera on Christmas day for the Meeuwsen Christmas, Pluister Christmas, and Brouwer Christmas Part B.

After spending most of the day on Christmas Eve in the kitchen I decided it was going to be to rushed with church to enjoy our crab legs, lobster tail, and chicken dinner so we enjoyed it Christmas night when we got home. makes me tired just thinking about the December schedule, but I think it was our best Christmas ever.  I am really enjoying our girls and the ages they are!