Saturday, July 31, 2010

How we celebrated 34 Years…

Marc’s birthday started out with a pancake breakfast.  However, since I had to work that morning and Marc had to be out early, also…. by the time the pancakes were done, we were practically inhaling them out the door.

After work the boys and I ran a few errands where I completely and totally forgot to pick up a birthday card for Marc.  He requested only money this year to purchase a “New to Us” fish-finder, so the man already has no gifts waiting for him.  Then I go forget to even get him a card.  He didn’t think it was a big deal, but I felt awful.  NOTHING to open on his birthday.

Happy Birthday, Marc Happy Birthday, Marc

But… the boys made him a cake.  They each got to decorate their halves. Get this... Andrew lobbed his whole half with Red Hots before actually tasting one and realizing that he hated them.   Happy Birthday, MarcHowever, that evening we were able to get a sitter and go out on the lake with some friends.  After tubing long enough to make us feel every bit of our 30+ years, we went out for a late dinner before packing up our sleeping children and heading home for the night.   

Happy Birthday, Marc

Happy Birthday, Marc

Hope you had a great day, babe.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Happy Birthday, Marc!!

I love you and hope the next 34 years are incredible!Marc BDay 6

Thursday, July 29, 2010

And they were splishin’ and a’splashin!

We have a free local splash pad near us that I take the boys to several times each summer. We went there last week one evening when Marc was gone salmon fishing.  It’s a nice little set-up. They have a sand area to play in and picnic tables with umbrellas near by for the mamas to stay in the shade. Although, I confess… I’ve had to get up a few times and run through the water to cool down.  And it’s fenced in, so I’m comfortable keeping one eye on the boys and the other in a good book.  Win. Win.



Tuesday, July 27, 2010

PeeWee T-ball

imageThis summer, Andrew is not the only T-Ball player in the family. AJ started Pee Wee T-Ball with a bunch of other four year olds.  It’s…um… interesting.  Of course, they aren’t playing games like Andrew’s group.  They still need to learn basic skills… like paying attention to the coach and not playing the gravel every chance they get.

It's what you would expect from preschoolers…. most of it funny.  Some, not so much. One boy would try to, unsuccessfully, juggle the ball whenever he got it instead of throwing it back.  Another boy would cry when he had to give his ball up.

AJ did just fine and seemed like he enjoyed it, although he got his own fair share of playing the gravel, too.



Saturday, July 24, 2010

My Mama

My Mama

And today the boys and I met her at the Zoo.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Things I Love Thursday - Air Zoo!

US Air ForceLast week, we found ourselves with a fairly free day.  Since the boys have been asking at least weekly to go back to the AirZoo… we packed up a lunch and headed down there.  I must say, I really like the AirZoo.  Not like I love the Gardens… I don’t need to go every week.  But I do like to go each summer. 

And the past two summers, the admission has been FREE! However, if you are interested in riding rides, you can purchase a bracelet for unlimited riding during your visit. Last summer, they only had one bracelet option.  It was about $15 and covered all rides.  Since my boys were only big enough for a few rides, we opted out of that.  We ended up buying a few individual tickets and making them “spend” them wisely.

This year, however, the AirZoo has been more accommodating toward us with younger (or more timid) children who don’t want or need to ride all the “big rides”.  They have three bracelet levels (or colors).  I was able to purchase a red bracelet for each boy for only $7. That got them unlimited riding on all the rides they would really care about or be tall enough for anyway.

Plus, just being so up close to the planes is fascinating.  Many of you may not know this but throughout Jr. High and High School, my heart was set on becoming a pilot.  I fully believe God planted that desire in me to bring me to Cornerstone. Without that I probably wouldn’t be in Grand Rapids and wouldn’t be Mrs. Dykstra.

Anyway, back to the AirZoo. If you get an opportunity, check it out.  There are two part of the “zoo” to visit, so make sure you don’t miss the back building.  It’s just as cool as the front building…. not really… it’s hotter... but you know what I mean.  They also have a nice picnic pavilion between the buildings along a walking path.  So, with us packing our lunch, the two bracelets, and a few individual tickets for Mom… we were able to have a great day trip for less than $20*.


AirZoo DSCN0450    AirZoo DSCN0477 AirZoo DSCN0478

*This doesn’t count gas money, but if you stop at the Plainwell Admiral you can fill up on the way home for cheaper than anywhere around here.

The Diaper Diaries

For More things to love, visit The Diaper Diaries.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Andrew Knievel

Yes, this is as his bike is wheeling down the sidewalk.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Post Vacation Post: Fourth of July

So, we made it back from vacation safe and sound.  Once we had our new alternator, we choose to still go ahead with our plan to leave Friday night. Since we technically had our cabin until Saturday morning, we talked to kids into leaving early by telling them that if we did, we would hit the Fourth of July Parade the next morning.

At 4 am, when we were just getting home, we were wishing we could reconsidering our offer. But, we made it up and out the next morning for the local parade.  The boys loved it and got more candy than they need in a month or two.

We did a little unpacking and a lot of napping most of the day.  However, we picked up a pizza and spent the evening at the local carnival with live music and fireworks.  It was a lot of fun…. but another late night.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Vacation Post: Part V – Beach & Guardian Angel Greg

Thank You Letter to Middleton Towing in Engadine, Michigan:
We just wanted to express our appreciation for Middleton's Towing... especially Greg. My family was on vacation during the week of July 2nd. At 3pm, our Explorer died on us on the side of Highway 2, 6 miles east of Naubinway. We thought we would toast as is was late the Friday before a holiday weekend.

However, we were able to get a hold of Middleton's Towing. Greg, who was on his way to Sault Ste Marie with his family, turned around and came to our rescue. He was able to diagnose our car issue over the phone and even thought to buy the part before picking us up, since everything was closing down for the weekend.

Within an hour, he was installing a new alternator right there on the side of the road and we were on our way.

What could have been a complete disaster turned into a great show of customer service. We so appreciate Middleton's Towing, and especially Greg – who put his family's plan on hold for us – for what they did that Friday. We can't thank you enough.
There are so many mini-miracles throughout this story – that after we left we were all praising God rather than being upset that our alternator went out.
  1. Of the four adults in the car, only Marc brought a phone or a wallet.

  2. We were in a place where cell coverage was spotty at best and our car died in a spot WITH coverage. Plus Marc had his iPhone and were able to look up service options. The first place we called was already closed for the weekend.

  3. The owner of the Middleton Towing was also on the road 50 miles away, but also happened to be in spot with coverage, along with his employee, Greg (who was also on the road with his family).

  4. Greg was willing to turn around and help us despite his own family’s plan. He then had the forethought to look for a part for our car, since everything was shutting down the long weekend, before coming to tow us. He was able to find the last alternator the only open supplier had left before they closed for the weekend.

  5. He was then able to change the alternator on the side of the road rather than tow us (and therefore not have to leave several of us still stranded on the side of the road until we could be picked up.)

  6. They did not charge us an arm and a leg considering our circumstance, but a very fair (if not better than fair) price.

  7. We were planning on leaving that night and driving while the kids slept.  If this problem would have waited a few hours, we could have been stuck on the side of the road at 2 in the morning… over a holiday weekend.

We potentially could have easily been stuck in the UP over the long holiday weekend, which would have forced us to find additional lodging since we needed be out of our cabin the next day.  Extra lodging, extra food, along with car repairs over a major holiday = major $$.   But it didn’t happen that way, thank you Lord and Middleton’s Towing!

Anyway, before, our alternator died, we had a beautiful day at Lake Michigan.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Vacation Post: Part IV – More Day Trips

Tuesday was another dreary day on our lake.  And with three boys in our small cabin.. we had to find something do to do.  On the way in to our town we passed the Mystery Spot. So we thought we would find out what was SO mysterious about the place. 

The Mystery Spot is a place where things just aren’t what they seem. Apparently there are only a few places in the whole world where the gravity or air pressure or something makes things act against what’s normal to nature.  I have my own opinions on what’s going on, but it didn’t matter. It was a fun little tour and the kept us busy.

There was also a putt-putt course  along with a maze to work through. Andrew even got a hole-in-one on the first one.
On way back to the cabin, we made a spontaneous stop by a bridge and discovered a Cut River Bridge and Gorge that led down by a beach, along with a trail and a babbling brook.  It was quiet the discovery.  In fact, we ended up going back to it the next day for more of a look.
Mom rescued a frog down by the beach struggling against the waves to make it back on shore.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Vacation Post: Part III – Sault Ste Marie

Marc and AJIt was yet another windy, cool day. So we headed to Sault Ste Marie and watched the ships go through the Soo Locks. And, boy, it was chilly.   Even through we did this last year (except for Marc), it was still fun to watch again.  It’s hard to believe how they fit the huge ships into the those locks so tightly... clearing the sides by seemingly inches. Big boats… excited boys.

Then, as is becoming tradition, we stop at Goetz Lockview Restaurant for amazing whitefish.

 Soo Locks Ship

Andrew, AJ & Gideon

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