Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It looks like Christmas came through.

We are home again after a wonderful Christmas. I hope yours was as well. We had Christmas morning here with just the four of us. It was SO fun! With the boys another year older, they were just that much more into it and excited. What a blast!
Our original plan was to stay home through lunch and take off for Ohio at naptime. However, we ate cinnamon rolls for brunch, so once we finished the gifts, we decided to just take off. What we didn't plan for was that we would get hungry around 2 in the afternoon and there would be nothing open on the road. We should have expected it, but it was a lapse on our part. Mmmm... gas station food on Christmas day. What a treat.
We had a great time in Ohio and had several Christmas' with different sides of the family. I a few pictures to post, but I really didn't take many. We got spoiled and we are very appreciative for all our gifts.
We were home by Sunday afternoon and I'm thankful as this week jumped right into busy-ness. Of course there was the mountain of bags, gifts, laundry, etc.. that we brought back from Ohio... add that to the Christmas mess decor already in the house, and I feel like a tornado came through. I watched the my "other" boys both Monday & Tuesday which just makes for not-too-productive days and Marc and I finished our annual 24-a-thon (Season five), which means late nights.

Today is more of a down day. We desperately need to sort toys. We rotate the boys toys, but we didn't get to "pulling" the current toys before the new Christmas toys came.... so toys are taking over. I also need to do a little grocery shopping, write thank-yous, and just get this home into decent shape. We also got snow last night and the boys got sleds for Christmas... so sledding might be on our to-do list also today.

Have a great & safe New Years Eve!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!!

And if you haven't noticed already - my Christmas gift to you is new slideshow pictures... finally.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Fly away, Stanley. Be Free.

On Sunday evening... yet another day of being snowed in and yet another day of being a plowing widow (see how I can turn everything about me?), the boys and I had a relaxing night.

After naps, the boys got a little computer time while I made pizza. Then we watched a little Lightning McQueen during dinner.

Our plan was to finish off the evening with our annual Gingerbread men. But it didn't happen.

We then planned to make them on Monday, but instead had a nice dinner with friends.

So, today... finally.... we made our Gingerbread men.

AJ, Noah (one of the dear kiddos I watch) and Andrew

Merry Christmas Eve!

Monday, December 22, 2008

2008: The Year of No Canes

It just dawned on me! We are 2 days (and about an hour) away from Christmas and we have...


Christmas Poem

Dashing through the snow
In a big red SUV.
Christmas is almost here.
Not as ready as I should be.

I've checked on all my lists,
The baking's finally done.
The presents aren't yet wrapped,
Isn't this season fun?

Much to my surprise,
Santa called my home.
He left a message for me.
Did you know he used a cell phone?

He's got one more surprise,
but he's been working so hard,
That he just doesn't have the time,
to deliver to Hickory Boulevard.

His elves have dropped it off
two miles from your home
at Walgreens off University
by 30th you should roam.

Pick up when you can
It will cost you not a dime
To help poor St. Nick out
And save him a little time.

The photo department is there
Waiting for your smile
It's under “Kelli's” name
Resting in the “Dykstra” file.

It's one last gift from us,
We hope it fits just right.
Our holiday hug to you.
Merry Christmas and have a good night.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Four Years Ago today...

Look Back at my little stinker.

Veered away from my usual material...

At the library the other day, I grabbed yet another Francine Rivers book (the first in a series that I apparently already started). However, while AJ was playing with the train table, I browsed the Junior section and picked up the first of the books, "A Series of Unfortunate Events: A Bad Beginning."

I have mixed emotions about it. On one hand it was a quick read and kept me interested; it only took about a day and a half of me sneaking it in here and there whenever I had a few minutes. However, as warned several times by the author, Lemony Snicket, it is not a happy book. And if you want to read a happy book, find a different book. Yet, I kept reading and kept hoping... but the author was true to his word.

I liked it enough that my guess is I will probably continue to read the series, but not back to back like I've read other series (there are 13 books right now). Since they are quick reads, they will probably be more filler books... when I am in-between books, or just need something quick to grab.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Watching over their clocks by night in the City of David, Amen.

AJ reciting Luke 2 acting like he's two or something.

Snow Day: Update - Sat. 12:36 AM

Marc didn't sleep hardly at all last night (due to his funky sleep schedule now) and started plowing at 6am. He just got home at midnight. I stayed up, tired, just to see him a little before we both crashed. He hopped in the shower, while I warmed up a nice dinner for him. Pork roast, rice, & gravy. With hot chocolate & homemade cinnamon rolls for dessert. He deserved it.

However, as he was getting out of the shower, his boss called, who has also been awake a long time. His truck broke down and he needed Marc to come pick him up. The poor guys... both him and Marc. What a crummy way to end a very long day. So Marc literally scarfed down his food as he was putting his winter gear back on (he was starving), I packed hot chocolate and cinnamon rolls for both him and his boss and he headed out again.

As much as I miss him, I told him that I really needed to go to bed (the boys and I have a brunch in the morning.) So, I won't see him when he gets home...or when I get up. Unfortunately, he has to be back on the road at 5am tomorrow morning... or at least that was the plan when all the trucks were functioning. We have another winter storm coming in on Sunday. Pray he stays healthy among all this and we can continue to praise God for the blessing of this job. This too shall pass, right?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow Day

Pray for Marc - He is now on a third shift sleeping schedule, but all this snow came at a time where they had to start plowing at 6am (his nighttime). And the way it's still coming down & blowing, he may have to restart his route (8-9 hours worth) immediately after he finishes it. I can't even see the tracks that were made in our sidewalk a mere hour ago.

Andrew has his first snow day today (e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. is closed today.) Which is a bummer since it is his last day before Christmas break. They were going to have a book exchange and have a birthday party for Jesus. He was very excited about it.

A Perfect Gift

Grandma & Grandpa Dykstra bought Andrew a ready-to-decorate gingerbread house for Christmas. Little did they probably know just how perfect of a gift it really was. He is totally into 'projects' and is always asking if he can work on a 'project' (meaning something crafty).

Maybe even his four year old mind thinks that "project" is a more man-ly word than "craft".

Anyway, yesterday ended up being an ideal day for his project. I put AJ down for a nap and while I worked in the kitchen on my own "projects" (lots and lots of pans of cinnamon rolls), Andrew decorated his house. I did help him a bit with the icing on the roof and door, but other than that.... he did it all himself.

I think he did a lovely fantastic job.

.....Now if we can keep AJ's little paws from picking off and eating all the candy.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The People Have Spoken...

The poll to the right has closed. The results are in. The new layout stays (thank you), but new slideshow pictures are needed. I will work on that. Hopefully change will be coming soon.

As far as the title banner.... I would really like to revamp that as well (as much as I really love it, it needs updating). However, ever since we moved (or were forced) to Vista, my PhotoShop Elements Three no longer works properly. So even doing very basic tasks like cropping is a huge pain and nearly impossible.... let alone actually designing something that I like and am willing to use.

So until I figure out another solution (anyone got any brilliant ideas?) or break down and buy something that works with Vista (not anytime soon)... the boys and butterflies will stay.
Side note: the slideshow of Andrew from yesterday's post is now working

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Andrew, 4yrs old.

Luke 2 - Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

As Sure as the Dawn & Rapture

This past weekend, the boys and myself headed down to Ohio to visit my family at my Aunt's house. Since Marc didn't come (stayed home in hopes of plowing), I borrowed a book on tape from the library. I never used one before, but I must say... this is the way to go when you travel. Conveniently, it was timed perfectly. I listened on the way down and the way back and finished the book as I pulled on to my exit ramp.

It was another Francine Rivers book.... one of my favorite authors. I grabbed the book, "As Sure As the Dawn." It was really good. However, I realized once I got to Ohio and was talking to my aunt, that the book is the third in a series. AUGH! Fortunately, the way the book was written, it still made sense even without the knowledge of the first books. And according to my aunt, it doesn't really give anything away for the first two books, either.

Guess what is now going on my ongoing library hold list.

I also just finished up the final prequel in the Left Behind series, "The Rapture". It was good in the sense that I find myself thinking, "Lord... Now would be a really great time!" However, the book was a little frustrating in that the timing overlapped the first book, "Left Behind" and became a bit redundant in the end. Still worth the read.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me.

Today I turn 31. Does that mean I am officially in my 30's? Or that I'm Thirty-Something??

Remember this post about the book Devil's Cape and Flea World's contest to give one away...

Well..... I WON! Woo Hoo! Thank you also to FarOutMom for leading me to her site.

Thanks Flea, I look forward to reading it and stay tuned... maybe you'll see it again on this blog sometime. ;)

Friday, December 12, 2008

"I think it was Magic!"

Andrew had an exciting day at school last Wednesday. They made and decorated Gingerbread Men. (Brave teachers to bake with 15 kids). However, while the kids were walking to the kitchen to "check" on the baking cookies, apparently someone snuck the cookies back to their classroom.

So the kids had to go on a "hunt" for their cookies (right after reading the "Run, Run as fast as you can, you can't catch me, I'm a gingerbread man" book). They came to "find" the cookies waiting for each child at their seat on a napkin. Andrew thought all of that was the coolest thing. He still has no idea how the cookies got out of the oven and onto his napkin.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I updated my blog layout and now I have a new poll to the right. Check it out. ---->

Before they were Left Behind

I've read almost all of the Left Behind Series. I say almost because up until recently, I thought I had read them all. However, as I was pulling pictures to post on this blog, I realize that two more books have come out that I have not read. Anyway, I read through Glorious Appearing and thought the series was complete. This past summer,though, I found two of the prequel books at the garage sale but never got around the reading them until recently.

The Rising was a little slow at first and it took me a few tries to get into it. It did pick up speed about halfway and I had trouble putting it down until I was finished. It's written in a way that even though it comes before the other books, I can see why it was written after them. It just sheds more light on the characters and why they are the way they are.

The Regime obviously picks up where the Rising left off. It seemed to be more in the writing style of the middle books in the series.... less character development and more action taking place.

And now I found out that there is yet a third book in the prequel that I will now need to put on hold at my library. I guess I'm just hoping to fill my reading time until the Twilight frenzy dies down and I can actually get my hands on a copy of that one. :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Working through layout kinks.

Bear with me... thanks.

UPDATE: Phew... I think I am finished with this stretch of the blog remodel. Sorry if you checked in and saw some funky stuff going on. If you want you can participate in my poll to the right. I'll try to pretend that I am really interested in how you feel about my new layout and not just wanting to use the cool poll feature that is available.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

If I don't win it, I'll have to hold it.

My bloggy friend at FarOutMom clued me into a book give away at Flea's World that entices me.

I know many of my 'readers' are readers, so I thought I'd pass this opportunity along. Check out her review... it's got my interest.

The Countdown has Begun

Last week, we made our Christmas Countdown Chains. This is something that I have been doing with Andrew for three years now. However, this year AJ was old enough to get a chain. We also tried a new type of chain this year.

I had found out about Stapleless Paper Chains and thought they would be perfect. We used colorful pages of old magazines for our links and slowly we made two Christmas Countdown Chains. 16 Days Left!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Keep the candle burning...

I just finished frying up some sausage for our egg strata dinner tonight. While doing that, I nuked a cup of apple cider vinegar (I have that in abundance vs. regular vinegar, of which I am almost out) so I could clean the inside of my microwave.

Let me tell you.... the combination of those two items has made our house reek! Andrew was literally in tears holding his nose when I made him eat his lunch. I admit... it's really bad.
Just when I think it's gone, I'll venture upstairs for something and when I come back down.... WHAMMO! The smell smacks me in the face again. I have a candle burning, but I'm not sure it's just not adding to the aroma.

So, I am passing on wisdom from experience.... never fry sausage while apple cider vinegar is in the microwave!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

I love it when...

...I reach into the cookie bowl to find not one, not two, but eight chocolate chip cookie bars that have a bites already taken out of them. Yep, somebody (who has little 2 year old bite marks) snuck one bite out of eight bars and then put the bars back into the bowl. Hmmm....

Friday, December 5, 2008

He works hard for his money, so you better treat him right.

We have some good news. Through a friend of a friend, Marc was able to pick up hours working for a company snowplowing at night. It was a complete God thing as they called Marc, when a mere day later, the company had several calls come in by people looking for work.

The bad news is the poor guy just got in this morning at 9am and hadn't slept since yesterday morning. I didn't sleep well either concerned about him and when I did sleep, I dreamt of him snowplowing. (although I feel horrible complaining about how bad I slept, when at least I slept and was in a warm bed and not out awake in the cold.)
The good news is the extra money will help us get through this stretch, if he can survive it.

The bad news is the plowing took longer than expected, and Marc had all the car seats in the Explorer, so Andrew did not make it to school today. It's the first day he's missed and while he was disappointed at first (we didn't realize it until he was fully dressed with coat, boots & backpack on), I think he's okay. Especially since his Daddy mentioned that after he sleeps he might take the boys out to play in the snow. And, we are watching his buddy Gabe & brother tonight... So Andrew was comforted at the prospect of those totally fun things.
Now, I am just doing my best to get the house in decent shape, while keeping all four kids (I'm babysitting today) somewhat quiet so Marc can get much needed sleep. And from the looks of it outside... he'll be back out again tonight. It is really snowing out. It's quite beautiful. Continue to pray for us and our adjustment to all these changes. God is good and he has already shown himself mighty in our current situation.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Monday, December 1, 2008

Our Thanksgiving.

We had a nice Thanksgiving this year. We received some bad news the Friday before that Marc had been laid off. It was a surprise, but we are praying that he will find something quickly and that God will provide all our needs. We decided to make the Thanksgiving trip to Iowa anyway and I'm thankful we did. It was so nice to see everyone and a nice get-away from the stress of unemployment.

I am thankful for my God and his Son, Jesus Christ.

Anyway, we headed out Wednesday late afternoon with our Explorer packed... two boys with car seats, all our gear and presents (we did Christmas, too), three adults and a dog. Yes, we carpooled with a friend and his dog all the way to Iowa and back. And truthfully, both drives went really well. Surprisingly well. Thank you Lord.

I am thankful for my family, both immediate & extended. They truly are a blessing.

We arrived in Iowa and had a nice traditional Thanksgiving at Marc's parent's home. All 15 of us who were staying there. It was really nice to see everyone. Andrew was inseparable from his 6 yr old cousin, Aidan. And AJ played with his 2yr old cousin, Klaryissa, as if he sees her everyday. Sleeping arrangements were a little sketchy, but we survived just fine. We also celebrate Christmas together and got a little spoiled.

I am thankful for supportive friends.

Friday, the whole troupe made the 2hr trip up north to visit Marc's grandparents and aunt & uncle. We took over the nursing facility where we met and they treated us exceptionally well... they even washed and dried AJ's pants when he had an accident and I had no other clothes with me.

I am thankful for our health.

Saturday was rest, recovery, and leftovers. The boys got a little alone time with Grandma & Grandpa. We packed up and headed home Saturday evening getting in early Sunday morning. So I have the house that desperately needs work and laundry that desperately needs done. But that's the way it goes.

I am thankful for a warm house and two cars that run
(most of the time).

Andrew was thrilled to be back to preschool this morning and see his buddy, Gabe, and we are back to our regular Monday Night Bible Study tonight. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving as well.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

We hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving and that your are able to enjoy time with family and friends during this holiday.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gone Fishin'

The other day Marc mentioned how when he was a kid he used to love to sit in laundry baskets and pretend they were boats. We'll this got my and the boys attention. It wasn't long before we had two fishermen in their own boats complete with window-stick fishing poles, painter's tape black fish, & paper bag life vests.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Another Field Trip

Andrew went on another field trip last Wednesday and AJ and I were able to go with him this time. He was a big helper.

In fact, the Monday before, his teacher said something to the effect of they should exercise a lot the day before so they would have strong muscles to bring to help move all the food... because Andrew was bound and determined to 'exercise' all day Tuesday by running the length of our house over and over so he could carry lots of food.

They delivered the food and got to see where it was stored. They saw how much food was there and learned that all that food would only last the pantry one week. We were even there during a 'distribution time', so they were thanked by many of the people that the food goes to help.
It was a short field trip and since it was practically in our neighborhood, we just drove home early vs. going back to school for a few minutes. But I think it was a good learning time for the kids.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Cheap Fiber

AJ recently lost his winter hat, so we were doing to the Dollar Store to get a new one. However, waiting by the door, was a bus driver for a city bus. He stopped me and practically whispered, "The Dollar General (located right next to the Dollar Store) is moving and everything is a dime".

We weren't in a hurry, so we checked it out. There were no signs or notices of any kind, but sure enough everything was a dime. It was pretty picked over already, but we scored a few items including the boxes above and some Hershey's dark chocalate candy bars. Sweet! Thank you Lord for placing that bus driver at the door.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Every house needs...

...a picture of your door on your door, "so everybody will know what our door looks like."
-courtesy of Andrew

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

Christmas Getting to Know You Meme

FarOutMom tagged me and it looks cute, so I'm posting it. As she mentioned, feel free to steal it!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Paper mostly.

2. Real tree or Artificial? We have a fake one. I confess... it's just easier.

3. When do you put up the tree? My goal is the weekend after Thanksgiving, but it's been
as late as the weekend before Christmas.

4. When do you take the tree down? Sometime in January.

5. Do you like eggnog? Yes, but I hardly ever have it. I never seem to buy it and never have everything on hand to make it.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Probably a pair of 'bibs' I bought myself, then practically convinced my parents there really was a Santa.

7. Hardest person to buy for? My dad.

8. Easiest person to buy for? The boys. Like FarOutMom said... it's not like they don't drop hints all the time.

9. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Every year I think, this year I will do Christmas cards. And every year, I don't. I even have a Christmas Card List in Excel, but I've never sent out cards.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Hmmm.... not sure.

12. Favorite Christmas movies? How the Grinch Stole Christmas. We already have it DVR'd for this year.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I try to have ideas by October, but we do one side of the family's Christmas at Thanksgiving... so I need to be on top of things a month early.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Oh yes. Probably something that should be listed under number 11.

15.Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Shrimp Cocktail on Christmas Eve (not even sure how that started). Hot Coffee and something warm & gooey for breakfast Christmas morning. I miss Keiffee Cookies.

16. Favorite Christmas song? O Come, O Come Emmanuel.

17. There was no number 17.

18.Travel at Christmas or stay home? A little of both.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeers? Yes, I know the song. But can you say the 7 drawfs? (Oh wait... that's not Christmas-y)

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Actually neither. Not on purpose, we've just never found one we like.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Morning, of course. What kind of foolish-talk is this Christmas Eve present opening???

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? The Christmas music starting SO early that by the time Christmas comes you swear if you hear Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree one more time you'll pop Rudolph in his Red nose.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? No favorite... our tree is very hodge-podge and beautiful.

24.Favorite dinner food? Doesn't seem like a very Christmas-y question. But let's see... Probably homemade macaroni & cheese made with shells.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? To listen to both boys recite Luke 2.

So, should I tag anyone else? I tell you what... if you want to do it, post it and let me know in my comments, so I can check it out. :)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Unplanned weekend.

This was our first unplanned weekend in a very.long.time. Seriously, since early September. All of our weekends have been good and fun, but planned. We were either gone, or had company here.

But this weekend we've been able to do whatever. Not that what we did was earth-shattering or anything, but so far it's been a good one.

Friday afternoon we took a nice walk/bike ride with our neighbors before heading over to the Sischo's for pizza. After we put the kiddos down to bed, the guys watched the Pistons game and us girls watched "Somewhere in Time". Oh, a good movie. If you haven't, you should see. It's set in the Grand Hotel in Mackinaw Island. I try to go there once a year with my friend, Jill, and it was fun to see it throughout the movie.

Saturday morning was lazy, but we spent the late morning cleaning up the yard. Marc mowed up the leaves while the boys and I washed and packed away all the outside toys, washed the deck, etc...

We warmed up to homemade chicken noodle soup. I'm kinda proud of how good it was (I'm not really a soup maker).
After naps, we fed a boys a large snack and took them to the cheap seats to watch Wall-E. This was a risk since my boys are very picky about their movies and we haven't had great luck trying the theater in the past. But, the boys did pretty good.
The theater wasn't very crowded so there was wiggle room which was necessary for AJ. He only asked me to 'turn it off' once. Andrew stayed pretty glued, however, when all was said and done and we asked him what he thought of it, he told us that he didn't like it. None of it. Yet, both he and AJ talked about the movie quite a bit today.
We finally made it church this morning, the first Sunday in quite a while. Man, I missed it. It was a great service. We had an easy crockpot roast dinner before naps. I love Sunday naps. Marc went to play football with the guys from church, so the boys made a CVS run with me before using up the last of our Burger King free fry coupons. That's disappointing. It was nice to feed us for $3. Maybe too nice - as we became BK regulars when we had those coupons.
The boys got tubs and put to bed. I worked around the house a bit, did a little laundry, and made bread. Now, I am vegging with the laptop, the TV (do I dare confess that Hannah Montana is on it?) and warm, fresh, right-out-of-the-oven sourdough bread with honey. Good weekend.
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