Friday, June 29, 2012

Boating with Friends

Friends and boating are always a wonderful combination!  And that was what tonight brought.  We spent the evening on Duncan Lake with a friend of mine from high school and her family.  The three kids enjoyed each other as well as all the boating activities.

"Okay, who wants to be the first in the water?" And the answer was Faith!  She pretty much jumped right in and encouraged the other two to join her!

Lucy and Faith went on the first tube ride.  At one point we stopped thinking they were finished, and they both wanted to keep going, so we did!  While Shane was pretty insistent about not tubing...

he ended up asking to go for a ride!  Steve rode with him, and he did so well!  Before the ride he continually asked for a slow ride.  But as soon as the boat began pulling them, he asked to go faster!

Children's Museum and the Beach!

Thursday was yet another busy day for us in Michigan!  The day began with a trip to the Children's Museum, and ended with a trip out to Holland to go to Lake Michigan.  Since it was a very hot, humid day, an air-conditioned museum and the beach were great places to be!

Both Faith and Shane enjoyed the new Veterinary Clinic where they were able to simulate giving animals a bath, check their vitals signs, and also look at some x-rays.

Here Shane is working the front desk of the clinic!  Faith answered the phone there, "Hello, this is doctor Faith."  Naturally, they now both wants to be vets!

This girl loves the stage and instruments!

Later in the afternoon we drove out to Holland St. Park to cool off in Lake Michigan!  While the water was a little chilly, it didn't stop the kids from going in the lake!  

Faith had a great time.  Not only did she play in the water, but she also played in the sand building a sand castle complete with a moat!

Chasing Daddy is always lots of fun!

On our way back to Grand Rapids, we stopped by Fricanos for pizza.  Fricanos is a well-known West Michigan pizza place specializing in thin crust pizza.  We had to wait a bit for a table as it was busy, but the kids did well.

Yummmm!  We all loved the pizza, and the two kids actually ate an entire cheese pizza themselves!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Fun day at the pool

The temperatures in Grand Rapids today reached the 90's, so we headed to the pool for the afternoon!  Since the kids absolutely love the water, a good time was had by all!  The water play area was where they wanted to start.

Both kids enjoyed the falling water, playing with the noodles and basketballs, and just running around in the shallow water.

After eating some lunch, we ventured over to the main pool.  Almost immediately Faith shared that she wanted to go jump off the diving board.  Since this is something she has never done before, I was nervous!  After practicing a few times off the edge of the pool in an area that was fairly deep, she felt confident to jump from the diving board!  The above picture is of one of her first few jumps!  She started by jumping to the side as that ensured that she was close to the ladder and the edge; Steve was also in the water to the side too!  

After a few knee-knocking jumps, she gained quite a bit of confidence and started jumping straight off the board!

Doing some keen observing of how all the other kids jumped off the board, she soon started bouncing a bit on the board before jumping off!  We were all amazed at how well she was doing!  And she had an absolute blast!  She literally jumped for three hours straight!  After jumping she would swim to the edge, climb out, and go to the back of the line!  I kept thinking that she would tire of doing this, but she just loved it!  It was a wonderful day at the pool!

Meijer Gardens

One of the places the kids were looking forward to visiting while in Grand Rapids was the Frederick Meijer Gardens.  They love seeing the Christmas trees and trains in the winter, and in the summer there is much to explore in the outdoor gardens!

At each visit the kids always want their picture taken by this particular sculpture!  There are many sculptures throughout the gardens, but this is always their favorite!

The first spot we explored was the Great Lakes play area.  There are five connecting pools of water in the shape of the great lakes in which the kids can play.  Faith had fun taking a boat from the top all the way to the last lake.  At first Shane did not like getting wet, but once we convinced him that it meant he was having fun, he was much happier!

And a picture of Shane also playing in the Great Lakes pools.  This shows a little bit more of what it actually looks like!

The next stop was the sensory garden where Faith went on a color scavenger hunt!  She took her task quite seriously!

Along the walking paths were plants scuplted into animals and people.  The kids particularly liked this one!

One last stop outside in front of the Children's garden before heading in for some lunch.  It was such a beautiful day to be outside exploring the gardens.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Grand Rapids...part 1

While we have only been in GR for a little more than a day, we have already done some fun things!  The kids love to help water the plants at home, and it is even more exciting to help Grandma water all of her beautiful flowers!

More gardening work!  

In addition to gardening, both Faith and Shane have spent quite a bit of their time outside riding bikes!  Shane is doing really well, and of course hoping that he receives a bike for his birthday next month!

Faith on her bike!  They love to race around the driveway!  

We also spent part of today at the John Ball Park Zoo in Grand Rapids.  The kids had fun seeing some different animals than we have in our zoo - such as bears and camels!  Shane especially liked the petting zoo.

It was interesting to see how much the zoo has changed since I remember going there as a child!  There are many more interactive activities for the kids.

A bedtime picture of my two favorite boys!  A highlight of Grandpa and Grandma's house for the kids is the book The Grouchy Ladybug.  Tonight Shane had Steve read it to him in bed.  Just adorable!!

Trip to the Big House

The kids had their first trip to the Big House on Sunday!  The Big House is where Michigan football plays their games.  Since Ann Arbor is on the way from Detroit to Grand Rapids, and since Betsy lives there, we could hardly pass on through without a stop!  After a delicious brunch, we stopped by the stadium!  This is one of those times where I wish that pictures could truly capture the excitement and emotion of a moment as Faith especially was just so excited and amazed!  For me, it was fascinating too as this is the first time that I was able to take in the major renovations that took place over the past few years.  

Shane and I by one of the entrance gates.

Grandma, Betsy, and Faith by the gate!  Hopefully it wont be too long before the kids are able to go to the Big House to watch a game!!

Michigan Weekend

Early Friday morning we flew to Michigan!  While most people aren't too excited these days to head to Detroit, our two kids were thrilled to be going there as that is where the Tigers and Lions play!  Sadly, the Tigers were in Pittsburgh for the weekend, but that wasn't the reason for going there anyway.  A cousin of mine got married on Saturday, so we there for the wedding.  It proved to be a fun weekend filled with family!

The hotel where everyone for the wedding stayed had a pool, which was great fun for the kids!  It is always a highlight to see Aunt Betsy, but especially when she plays in the pool!  

Shane had no fear when it came to swimming...or jumping into the pool!

The kids spent hours in the pool as they swam in the morning, and then again in the afternoon with Steve!  Apparently they went right to sleep that night!!

A few pictures from Kevin and Stacey's wedding!  Thankfully they had great weather for their outdoor wedding and reception!

A picture of my cousin Kate and I!  Our  due dates are two weeks apart!  Since kids were not invited to the wedding, we felt very rebellious!

The cake!  Can you tell Stacey loves Burberry?!?!

The reception was inside of a huge tent.  It was beautiful, with amazing food, and lots of fun!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


This week the kids and I are spending our mornings in Babylon!  It is a week of Vacation Bible School, and the theme is Daniel in Babylon.  The kids are having a blast learning about Daniel, singing, doing crafts, and just being with friends!  Faith also really likes wearing the costumes that are provided for all the kids.  Shane on the other hand refuses to wear his!  And I am in costume as well as I am leading games at the Palace Playground!  Thankfully I have some great helpers! 

To prove how much the kids enjoy VBS, here is a glimpse into this morning.  Since I am on staff, we all need to be there by 8:15 am.  After waking up, the kids dressed themselves, ate breakfast, made their beds, and were totally ready to go by 7:45!  I was amazed!  Mostly because I didn't even have to ask them to do any of these tasks!  Who are these kids?!  We are looking forward to having more fun and learning more about Daniel's life in Babylon!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

First T-Ball Game

Yesterday Faith took the field for the first time to play a t-ball game!  Thankfully the game was short, sweet, and full of success for Faith!

Faith's team, the Orioles, began the game in the field.  She played shortstop that inning, and on the first play of the game the ball was hit to her!  She fielded the ball and threw to first base!  While it didn't result in an out, at this age/stage, the fact that she knew what to do is worth celebrating!  We'll work on "ready position" before the next game!

Here she is looking quite smug after getting her first hit!  In these t-ball games many runs are scored.  I personally think it would be more interesting to keep track of how many outs each team achieves as a means of determining the score!

And an action shot running to second base.  We are looking forward to more fun t-ball games the next two months!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Major Catching Up!!

It has been quite a while since my last posting, but this time it was not my fault!  Our home computer needed to be sent in for some repair work, and the day we sent that in, Steve's lap top that he brings to work started having issues!  So we were completely computer-less for quite some time!  That is when the iPad and iPhone were extra wonderful to have!!  So here is what we have been up to for the past three weeks!!

The kids have continued to ride their balance bikes...all the time!  Racing around the driveway keeps them quite busy!  And they also love to ride them at the beach to get to the beach park!

On Thursday nights we have continued to go to the BBQ at the Pierpont Inn, which is a hotel on the beach.  It is a blast to watch the kids run around and dance and just have a great time!  Having a fun, family friendly activity to attend is such a treat!

At church we had a picnic the night before Memorial Day!  All the little girls received these cool sunglasses and beads!  They had the best time, and just are too too cute!

Also around Memorial Day, we had some sunny, warm weather!  We found this old pool that we had for the kids, and even though it was small, they thoroughly enjoyed it!  Shane was his crazy self - running and jumping into the little pool!

Now that Faith is six, we decided to move her into a booster seat in the car.  She was beyond excited to receive these, and she feels like such a big girl as she is able to completely buckle herself into this new car seat!  Of course Shane wants a booster now too!  We told him he doesn't weigh enough as he needs to be at least 40 pounds.  This has resulted in him becoming a much better dinner eater as he is trying to reach that 40 pound mark!

As the preschool year ended for Shane, his whole preschool went on a field trip to a fish hatchery.  The best part was that we took a train ride to get there!  Riding the train was definitely the highlight, but it was fun to feed the fish at the hatchery too.

Here is Shane on his final day of preschool in the Bumblebee classroom.  He will still go to the same preschool next year, but of course be in an older class.  Shane had a great year of school as he had many nice kids in his class and very sweet teachers.

Last week Monday Steve was off from work, and so we took advantage of that by going up to Santa Barbara to the zoo and Padaro Grill.  Since it had been a few months since we had been at the zoo, it was extra exciting!  And Padaro is always a highlight!! 

One of the bigger changes has been that Faith is now playing t-ball!  The local YMCA has a t-ball league, and it is perfect for kids who are just beginning this sport.  So far Faith absolutely loves it!  She has been to three practices, and will play in her first game this coming Saturday!  Her team name is the Orioles, and she is very proud to wear her special uniform shirt and hat.  It already has been a great experience for her, and we are excited about seeing her team play their first game!