Saturday, September 29, 2007

Baby Got Book

So I jumped on YouTube this evening, because I am looking for a song that teaches the books of the Bible. I thought it would be good to learn with the boys. And I came across this. Embarassingly AWESOME!!

Friday, September 28, 2007


For you in Michigan, I am sure you know. For the rest of the world... our State looks like it's going on strike this weekend. I didn't even know that was possible. This could be interesting... especially the parts about food safety, recalls, & drawbridges.

Governor outlines state shutdown plan
Posted by The Associated Press September 28, 2007 18:59PM

If a government shutdown occurs in Michigan, here are some of the government services Gov. Jennifer Granholm says will be affected:

  • AgricultureAll Department of Agriculture activities will stop during a government shutdown, except livestock vehicle inspections at the Mackinac Bridge, which are required to maintain the Upper Peninsula's tuberculosis-free designation for cattle. Food safety inspections, recall effectiveness checks, gas pump inspections, animal disease monitoring and migrant labor camp inspections will stop.
    Agriculture export and cattle movement permits will not be issued and horse racing will shut down. Exports from Michigan to foreign countries would essentially cease. Commodities affected include dry beans, logs and lumber, nursery stock, grain, fruits and vegetables.
  • The courts The Michigan Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals will continue to operate with a limited staff to handle emergency matters.
  • Civil rights All Department of Civil Rights activities will stop during a government shutdown. Residents wishing to file a discrimination complaint will be able to leave a message at 800-482-3604 with the details of their complaint. For purposes of meeting a 180-day legal requirement, the message will constitute an official notice of the intention to file a complaint. Residents calling Civil Right's Crisis Response Hotline to report a hate crime or bias incident may also leave a message, although they are encouraged to contact local law enforcement for immediate assistance.
  • Community health Several operations within the Department of Community Health will be maintained to ensure that the health of citizens is protected.
    State mental health facilities will remain open with reduced staffing, though involuntary, non-court admissions will be suspended.
  • Critical laboratory services will operate to ensure newborn screenings are completed in a timely manner and threats of immediate harm can be addressed. Limited Medicaid support will be available to approve emergency medical prior-authorizations and review exception requests for medications and medical procedures.
    The DCH also will maintain the toll-free number to register nursing home complaints of a serious nature.
  • Corrections Department of Corrections functions will continue as needed to protect the safety of Michigan citizens. The state's prisons, prison camps and parole/probation monitoring will continue to operate at a reduced staffing level. Administrative operations outside of the prisons will shut down.
  • Education All Department of Education operations will shut down, except for the Michigan School for the Deaf. If Department of Education employees have not returned to work by mid-October, the state school aid payment due Oct. 22 will not be made. Local schools are expected to stay open.
  • Environmental quality The Department of Environmental Quality will maintain only limited staff during the shutdown to meet U.S. Department of Homeland Security air-monitoring requirements and process critical drinking water samples to address the most immediate public health concerns.
    All other department functions will shut down. This means no permits for air quality, surface water discharge, wetlands, dredging and other functions will be processed and no environmental complaints will be received or investigated. The Pollution Emergency Alerting System will be operational but the department will have limited ability to respond to emergencies reported through that system.
  • History, arts and libraries All department operations will shut down except security and emergency monitoring services at the Mackinac Island Airport and public areas. The Library of Michigan, the Michigan Historical Museum and historic sites around Michigan will be closed. Mackinac Island paid admission sites will close and garbage and manure pickup and road maintenance will cease.
  • Human services Critical Department of Human Services operations will be maintained to protect the safety of children, families, and vulnerable adults. Most local offices will remain open with a small percentage of field staff on the job to respond to child protective services and adult protective services emergencies, make emergency foster care placements and process emergency payments for evictions, lack of utilities and lack of food.
  • Cash assistance, food assistance, child day care, adoption subsidies and foster care payments will continue but no new applications will be processed except for emergencies.
    Child support payments received from noncustodial parents will be sent to families and the state's juvenile justice facilities will operate and will be staffed.
  • Information technology A limited number of Department of Information Technology personnel will be needed to maintain state operating systems and to provide technical support for those services that will continue.
  • Labor & economic growth The majority of Department of Labor & Economic Growth operations will be shut down. Most unemployment offices will be closed, but unemployment checks will continue to be processed and new applications can be made over the phone or via the Internet. The Michigan Career and Technical Institute in Plainwell and the Michigan Commission for the Blind Training Center in Kalamazoo will continue to provide education and training for disabled individuals.
  • Lottery and gaming Lottery sales will end at the close of business Sunday. Players will not be able to buy or redeem winning tickets. Minimal staff will maintain drawings due to the advance sale of tickets. State gaming inspectors will be idled, which Granholm said would force the state-licensed casinos in Detroit to close. But a Wayne County judge ruled Friday that the casinos may remain open.
  • Management and budget A limited number of Department of Management and Budget personnel will maintain state-owned buildings.
    Michigan state housing development authorityThe agency will be closed if a shutdown and all operations will stop.
  • Military & veterans affairs The agency's state finance and state human resources offices will be closed. The state's two veterans' homes in Grand Rapids and Marquette will continue operating with reduced staffing but will maintain the minimum required by law.
    The Youth Challenge Program will also remain operational but with minimum staff. Meals and education will be provided by the Battle Creek Public Schools, an established partner of the Challenge Program. The state's 44 National Guard armories, six National Guard training sites and National Guard administrative offices are federally funded and will remain open.
  • Natural resources All Department of Natural Resources operations will be shut down, except a minimal crew to maintain the state's six fish hatcheries and a small contingent of forest firefighters needed to continue work at the Sleeper Lake fire in the Upper Peninsula and to respond to other fire emergencies.
    A shutdown will require that all state parks, recreation areas, visitor centers and state forest campgrounds be closed, including day use areas. Citizens with camping reservations at a state park or recreation area during the duration of the shutdown will be eligible for a refund.
    The sale of hunting and fishing licenses may be delayed if technical problems with the state server prevent processing, and gated boat access sites will not be accessible. Timber will not be marked for sale or sold. The archery deer season set to open Monday will proceed, but deer check stations will not be operating.
  • Secretary of state Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land has indicated that branch offices will be closed during the shutdown. Online or mail transactions will not be processed.
  • State police Although all Michigan State Police posts will be closed to the public, a limited number of troopers will be maintained to provide critical law enforcement services across the state. Administrative and specialized operations will be curtailed, resulting in the cessation of crime lab services, commercial vehicle enforcement, drug and criminal investigations, detective services and disaster assistance. The Michigan State Police Troopers Association said about 237 of its members are scheduled to be on duty Monday if a shutdown occurs. That's just 15 percent of the union's total membership.
  • Transportation All road construction, routine maintenance and administrative operations will stop. The state's rest areas will be closed. Six of the state's lift bridges, in compliance with U.S. Coast Guard regulations, will be locked in the 'up' position, allowing only water traffic to pass. Those bridges are located in Manistee, Bay City, St. Joseph, Port Huron and Detroit.
    In some of those areas, local governments might staff the bridges so they remain operational. The Mackinac Bridge, the International Bridge and Blue Water Bridge will remain operational.
  • TreasuryStudent loan disbursements and financial aid payments, the Michigan Education Trust and the Michigan Education Savings Plan programs would cease during a shutdown. Revenue sharing payments to local units of government will be delayed if the shutdown continues through mid-October. A limited number of staff would be maintained to process critical payments, including cash assistance, unemployment benefits and debt service

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

C is for Cookie

I think we are getting there. I officially put away the suitcases today, but the laundry is not caught up. But then again, is it ever? I still have a pile of non-junk, but not pressing mail to sort through and other odd and end little piles here and there.

This week has been good - it's been nice to feel back in somewhat of a groove as opposed to the chaos that was our summer. We even started "school" back up. We are continuing the same lessons we started last year, but integrating the next level into it... a little math and science and sounds. So this week the theme is cookies, with the vocab being dough (good week). So our art project was making pretend cookies by gluing real chocolate chips on large circles. The shape of the week is circle, so of course today we had to make real circle cut-out cookies. The letter is I. So we drew big I's and little i's and then we read a book and found all the big I's and little i's. Of course, the book we chose used a font were the big I's didn't have any line crossing the top or the bottom of the stick, so a big I looked like a little l. This comes right after I taught Andrew to draw an I with a stick down and one across the top and one across the bottom. So I tell him that some people just make one stick down for a big I and he got all excited then and told me he found TWO I's! in the word "all". Augh. They did look exactly the same. No wonder people have a hard time learning to read. But he did great and we have a big blue I stuck on our door next the pretend chocolate chip cookies.

This morning I started my Beth Moore study, Believing God. Man, am I excited about it. It seems like it's going to be another great one. Plus, Marc and I are helping with college/career group(starting tomorrow), and the ladies will be doing the same study. So I will be getting a double dose of the study. Yea!

Tomorrow and Thursday, Noah is here and w ewill just be up to working/playing around the house. Meanwhile, I will try to continue to wade through California pictures (I just haven't found the time, yet).

Monday, September 24, 2007

God for real life....

I am starting a new Beth Moore study tomorrow and I am so excited about it. This woman is amazing. God uses her in unbelievable ways and I am so thankful for her. Anyway, I check her blog and wanted to share was she posted today.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

To my Aunt...

Hi Aunt Angie. I don't have your e-mail address. But wanted to send you the file you were looking for.

Here is the link.

Have a great day!!

Home and Tan

Well, I wanted to again thank you for your prayers. We had a wonderful trip with no hitches. Seriously we could not have asked for a smoother vacation. I really want to tell you all about it and share my pictures with you, but there is so much to tell and oh, around 400 hundred pictures to wade through, that I am not sure where to begin. However, since we have been back (the boys and I got home Friday evening), we've just been unburying a bit. You know how it goes... laundry, no food in the house, piles of mail, phone calls to retun, overflowing inbox where most items need actions, jet lag, etc... It's like being welcomed home to a smack in the face. OK, that might be a little dramatric - it really is good to be home. It just takes a few days to get back to normal.

According to my parents, the boys did an amazing job while they were with them. Apparently, they both entered a growth spurt as they ate constantly. And I could tell. Man, when I picked them up, they were huge! AJ went from my baby to a little boy with a new tooth. And Andrew, well, I have been with him for three days now and I am still adjusting to how big he seems to have gotten while I was gone. And it's not totally my imagination... my mom took the boys shoe shopping during the week and Andrew jumped 1.5 shoe sizes this summer. Yikes!

Ok - I want to give you a recap to our California trip, even though a recap won't do it justice. It really won't. But here goes.

  • Monday & Tuesday – I drove the boys down to my parents to get them set up in a routine there and give my dad a little “Dykstra Boys 101”.
  • Wednesday – I drove to Detroit and met Marc and the Sischos before heading to the airport. We arrived in LA and drove to Ventura (home base for next 4 days).
  • Thursday – Santa Barbara. We rented mini cars to zip around the town and spent some time at Sterns Wharf. The guys went kayaking, while us girls did a lot of window shopping. We drove back the long way around Ojai and Ventura seeing a bit of the area where Ryan grew up.
  • Friday – We did the tourist thing and hit Hollywood. See saw the famous sign, hit Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, Sunset Blvd, Santa Monica Blvd, the Walk of Stars (Jamie Foxx got his star while we were there), Kodak Theater, Knottsberry Farm, and we finished the evening off with dinner at Medieval Times.
  • Saturday – The guys took a charter-fishing trip out into the Pacific, while us girls had a down day. We laid by the pool, got Mexican for lunch and finished with a facial. The Sischo’s visited with some family that evening, so Marc and I hung back, relaxed a bit and got us all caught up on laundry.
  • Sunday – We took the whole day to drive about 5 hours north to San Jose. We took the Pacific Coast Highway. The PCH is an amazing drive! We stopped several times just to get out and breath it all in. Our God is an artist!
  • Monday – We travel another hour north to San Francisco. We drove the Golden Gate Bridge, saw Alcatraz, Lombard Street, and the harbor. We rented these standing scooters to zip around the city with. I had a little accident with mine (the scooter was faulty, I swear). We headed back to San Jose for the evening. Walked the city, ate dinner, generally enjoyed the nightlife a bit.
  • Tuesday – We got up at our leisure and drove about halfway back to LA to the Danish town, Solvang. We walked the town, did a little wine tasting, had dinner, window shopped, etc… We then actually hung out at the pool in the evening before hitting this really fun restaurant for dinner.
  • Wednesday – We packed up in the morning and drove the rest of the way back to LAX for our flight back. We arrived back in Detroit around 12:30 in the morning and by the time we got out hotel; it was 2:30 in the morning, Thursday.
  • Thursday – I got up, and left before any of my travel mates were up and headed down to Ohio to get my boys. It was SO nice to see them! Andrew was happy to see me, but was ready to get back to playing quickly. AJ on the other hand, did not let go of me for a quite a while (and I didn’t mind one bit).
  • Friday – we drove the four hours back up home so Daddy could finally see his boys.

I feel like this list doesn't do our trip justice. There were amazing places we ate, funny stories to share, etc... But I least you have an idea of what went on the weeks you are praying. Thanks again. Hopefully, I will have pictures soon. Well, I already have them, but I need to weed through them and put them in a form where someone that didn't take the vacation might actually enjoy them and not be bored to death of yet another picture of the PCH.

Friday, September 21, 2007

We're all home... and sound. Thank you for your prayers! I will give more details and pictures soon.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

And we're off... almost.

Thank you all for your encouraging words regarding our trip. We are here in Ohio, now. The boys are doing well and I leave tomorrow around noon to meet up with the rest of my party in Detroit.

Our trip down went well yesterday. We hit McDonalds for lunch (always a crowd pleaser) and then Cabelas for a breather. And you can bet we called daddy just to rub it in. The boys did quiet a few laps at top speed around their bear statue in the front to wear them out before we went in and did a quick lap through the place seeing who could find the elephant, lion, turkey, etc... first. They napped the rest of they way to my parent's house and we made it in time for dinner. Bonus.

Today we just got papa used to watching the boys. He took a couple walks with them (they found little bity kitties that are so stinkin' adorable and I am not really even a cat person). We hit Walmart to stock up on all the boys 'go to' foods - y'know the ones that you always fall back on once they took their one required bite of whatever "yucky" we made. And of course we had Kewpie for lunch - I LOVE KEWPIE! I miss Kewpie. Papa even changed a few diapers today.

Now the boys are in bed. I am braving the world's slowing internet connection once again to get hotel information e-mailed out. Not sure when I will get a chance to update again. We're off to Californ. I. A.

I will never forget.

I promise.

Sunday, September 9, 2007


Ok - the time has come. I leave with the boys tomorrow morning and head to Ohio (I will be meeting Marc and the Sischo's at the airport on Wednesday). The mom in me is having trouble getting past a few things to get truly excited about this trip. I shouldn't, I know, but I am. Don't get me wrong, I am looking forward to California, but I don't think the excitement will come until I am on the plane. So I ask you to pray.
  1. Protection: For us and the Sischo's, the boys, & my parents. Protection from illness, injury, accidents and evil. For safety on our trip and for the boys and my parents during the week. That my parents wouldn't so much as have to deal with a drippy nose.

  2. Boys: Sleep (everything will go better if they sleep well), obedience, and comfort while we're gone.

  3. Parents: Sleep, extra energy, extra patience and ability to discipline the boys when necessary and not spoil them death. :)

  4. Us: That we and the Sischo's would have like-mindedness with each other as couple's and as spouses. Even though we all lived together for 3 months and remained friends, we want us all to 'get along' during this trip. Also, that there would be no major problems/hiccups on the trip with flights, hotels, rental car, etc...

  5. Me: Peace of Mind. A trip like this makes me think of all the necessary things that I never want to think about - like life insurance, what happens to our kids if something happens to us, medical release forms, etc... That I will leave it all in God's hands along with my very capable parents and not worry about things. That I will be able to relax and enjoy this wonderful opportunity that we've been given to get away.

Thank you and I look forward to telling you all about our fabulous trip.

Saturday, September 8, 2007


Tonight, Marc took Andrew fishing. So AJ and I are home alone. I desperately need to pack for our trip - especially now that I am 'down a kid'. So - what did I do? I plugged AJ in front of the only movie that really holds his attention, Cars, gave him some pretzel sticks and the hat he's been loving to wear around lately - and he's one content and mighty cute little boy.

So cute, in fact, that instead of packing while he is happy, I am taking his picture and posting about it.

Jott Blog Post

Edited to Add: This is test run. I have been using Jott for a while now. I love it and highly recommend it. However, since we are going to California here soon and I will soon be back into the internet wilderness, I wanted to expand my use of JOTT and bring it into my blogging world even more than I currently do. I don't leave for vacation for another day or so, but after that, I will try to keep the blog updated as much as possible (probably more for my sake than for my readers - even through I appreciate any readers out there) via JOTT. So my post will look like the post below with the generic "Jott Blog Post" title. And since Jott is a voice recognition service and I will be calling in my posts via my cell phone and will not really have a way to check/verify them - bear with me/jott if some post turn out a little funny. Although, with my experience with them, they really do an incredible job. I mean, check my test below with Dr. Seuss. Not exactly your everyday language, and other than some puncuation issues, somethey nailed it. Oh and by the way - Jott will always put the "click here to listen" link at the end of the post. Do not feel like you need to click on it. Really. I wish I could disable it, but alas, I can not.

One day, making tracks In the prairie of Prax, Came a North-Going Zax and a South-Going Zax and they happen to come to the same place where they met there they stood, foot to foot, face to face. "Look here, now!" the North-Going Zax said. "I say! You are blocking my path. You are right in my way. I'm a North-Going Zax and I always go north. Get out of my way, now and let me go forth!"
Click here to listen

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Labor Day

Well, it's little late, but I've finally found time for a short update about our weekend. It was a really nice.

It started out Friday, when I met my friend Becky and her lovely kiddos and we went to the Meijer Gardens. We had a great time. I had never really been there as a visitor (only as a bridesmaid, a luncheon guest, volunteer, etc...) and I was impressed. I will definitely be looking into a membership next year.

The best part was these splash pools in the shape of the Great Lakes. By the time the kiddos were done playing they were thoroughly soaked. Andrew and Sebastian were hatching game plans.

Boys behind bars - Andrew, Sebastian, Isaac and AJ (Meagan was back there somewhere, too).

Friday night, we headed to my aunt's where we met my dad. Saturday, Marc fished while the boys and I headed to Toledo with my aunt in the morning. In the afternoon we hit my cousin's little birthday party before the boys and myself along with dad headed down to my parents for a retirement party for my dad. Friday was his last day of gainful employment. Congrats, dad!

Sunday, we hit my parent's church, lunch, then headed back up to my aunts again. We just hung out the rest of day. Monday we took the all the kids to the Butterfly House. They seemed to enjoy it, however the helicopter taking off and landing nearby was much more exciting. After lunch, we packed up and headed home.

Gotta love three day weekends.
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