Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas 2010

Memories of Christmas this year:
  • Hosting The Follett side at our house.  Aunt Kimmy stayed at our house for 2 nights.  Papa and Memaw stayed overnight on Christmas Eve.  Uncle Dave, Aunt Shannon, and the girls came for the day on Christmas Eve.
  • Jake waking up to find that Santa ate the cookies he left out.
  • Criss Cross Crash
  • Caleb visiting the ER on Christmas Day, coming home with an asthma inhaler.
  • Kate and I getting each other the same gifts, which were very unique, we thought - custom camera straps.
  • Grandpa having to make a special trip to deliver batteries for Criss Cross Crash on Christmas morning.
  • Completing our kitchen cabinet project, barely.
  • "Lucky", the horse.
  • Fires in the fireplace.
  • Getting one of the nicest text messages from one of my YFC students, at 1 a.m.!
  • Spending time with family!
  • Too many presents.  We are abundantly blessed.

Papa and the Grandkids


Yes, that's a leather jacket

The remains of Santa's cookies

Grandpa's Stormy Kromer

Criss Cross Crash

Helping Caleb

Who's having more fun?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Annual Gathering

We all have those friends in our life that you just wished lived closer.  I have a couple in my life.  With distance, naturally comes less time together.  But, good friends are the ones that you can see only once a year and when you finally do get together, it's not awkward.  This past week, our friends made the trek down from Fremont for our annual (well, it's our second year in a row) Christmas gathering.    We made a commitment to try and take a picture every year with the kids by the Christmas tree, no matter how good or bad it turns out - screaming and not looking at the camera always earns points.  This year it required adults to get in the picture in order for all kids to be included.  And taking it at the end of the night was an added bonus.  Usually kids love sitting still and smiling when tired.
Last year

This year

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Grandma's Birthday

Jake was very excited about "wearing a birthday hat" mandatory.  He also picked out the Birthday Girl pin.  He told me as were walking out of the store that Grandma was going to be "so happy" to get to wear it.

This last picture is probably my favorite.  Jake's face says it all.  I'm not sure WHY he loves birthdays so much!
Happy birthday to the best Grandma and Mother.  She is my hero and I am super blessed to have such a great Mom.  We (me, Jake, Grandma, and Aunt Vicki) celebrated tonight by going to Crazy Horse for dinner.  Grandpa is still up at the cabin and Daddy stayed home with Caleb.  Jake thought he was hot stuff.  I'm not sure who had more fun, Grandma or Jake.  What a great memory!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Poop Talk

Dear Jake,

You are infatuated with looking at your poop while you are going. You will very much dislike that I am blogging about this, someday. But, I have to get on the record all the funny things you say while on the toilet. Usually you just comment on the assorted shapes of your poop(ice cream cones, sharks, etc.). Lately, you've been commenting on how much they splash. Tonight made me laugh a lot though. You asked "Mommy, why are some divers and some floaters?" My response..."I have no idea."

Love you buddy,

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Labor Day Weekend

Packing up all the STUFF for a one and three year-old and heading up to a small cabin is not something I always look forward to. I know, a lot of people would love this opportunity. So, I try and put my personal selfishness and laziness aside and go for it! And I am almost always glad we did. This weekend was no different. Jake LOVES going up to the cabin. He especially enjoyed taking daily trips out to Grandpa's tree stand on the golf cart, and I bet Grandpa never thought he'd be building sandcastles in the woods with dirt, sticks, and moss next to his tree stand. They (Grandpa and Jake) also decided to make shadow monsters outside on the deck, the one night the sun happened to be shining. We also roasted marshmallows that night. Jake insisted on doing it all by himself.

I can only hope to pass along to our boys the wonderful memories as my parents did for us, and it makes me appreciate them all the more.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Happy 1st Birthday Caleb

Before it's super far beyond the fact, we celebrated Caleb's first birthday (twice actually) last week. I decided to go easy on the budget and make the cakes for both parties, and yes, out of a box! I actually like box cakes, maybe I just like cake in general. Pair it with good ice cream and we're good to go. Party #1; the home-made frosting didn't turn out as it should've so I had to mix it with store bought, oh well. Party #2; I went with a different frosting recipe, and the cake went in the trash an hour before the guests arrived! So, I resorted to my emergency Costco size brownie box for a quick back-up. I vowed I would never make frosting again, but I probably will.

Caleb had his one year Doctor's appointment on Friday. He is measuring 30 inches (59%), 24 lbs, 8 oz. (74%), and head size is off the charts in the 99th percentile! Doctor's comments, "well, since he's developmentally not behind, we won't do a head scan!" I guess it runs in the family, have you seen Jake? And P.S., I'm not concerned. We just say that it's packed with brains.

It's hard to believe one year ago were will still waiting to bring him home from the hospital. I had good intentions of making a video of the first year, I started weeks ago, but of course never finished. But, the baby book is almost done!

Happy Birthday Caleb, we love you!

Monday, August 16, 2010


We are very excited to have an addition to our family, Mrs. Morgane Van Voorst! We had the most fabulous time spending a week out West to share in the excitement of my brother's wedding. The house we stayed in was more than what we could've asked for, with one whole side of the house facing the Teton Mountains.

Our sleep deprived Jake had the most fun seeing the buffalo (that move, not the statue we tried to appease him with), riding Trav and Morgane's horses, climbing the mountains, and riding in the airplane. My Jake highlight was watching him bust out his breakdancing moves during the wedding reception, now I KNOW he learned this at daycare.

We missed Caleb, but he was in excellent hands with Aunt Kate and Memaw. It was tough leaving this guy behind, but it was for the better as we got to be a little more flexible during our trip.

I look forward to a lifetime of trips with our entire family out to Jackson, and seeing our little outdoorsmen flourish.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Jake's 3rd birthday

Last Saturday Jake turned 3. Since his birthday fell on the weekend, it was only perfect to have a party! Since the early stages of telling him about his birthday party he was most excited about what else, cake! My Mom and I took him to Costco the day before to pick it up. While riding around in the store cart, he kept saying it was "the biggest cake EVER!" The cake excitement was no different on Saturday, the day of his party. As soon as he woke up and I sang happy birthday to him in bed, he started asking for the cake. you can see from the pictures, I think the wait was worth it.

Now...if we could only get this 3 year old interested in potty training. Funny, the only time he is interested in trying to go potty is before bed. King of procrastination!

Thursday, June 24, 2010


I just need to spew. Not even sure how this is going to come out. After 8 long years of investing in one particular student, tracking her whereabouts from foster home to foster home, camps, retreats, one on one mentor appointments...she shows up today to our lunch appointment, with a baby! What? Really? I just saw you 5 months ago.

She lives in the Upper Peninsula now, so we don't regularly visit except probably 2-3 times a year when she comes down to visit. O.K., she's almost 21, not a kid anymore...but, really? Then the details follow, the Father is no longer in the picture (surprise) and she already has another boyfriend. This guy has no job, no driver's license, and they started dating as soon as the baby was born. Really? All that is within me wanted to scream, partially at her, but more just scream. Instead, I held her baby and we gushed over the miracle of little toes and hands. Then I got in the car and wanted go put my resignation in...rapid thoughts enter my brain - "what am I doing this for? no difference is being made! the cycle of brokenness continues, what happened to all the goals we set during our one hundred mentoring appointments?"

Then, I took a deep breath and called my Mom. We landed on that this now 20 something former student of mine just wants to "be loved." But, but, but, I told her she was loved. God loves her. Didn't she or doesn't she know that? Can't she experience that? Did she or does she not fully understand?

I don't have the answers. I have lots of questions. I feel unequipped lots of days to do my job. Today is one of them.

I'm definitely not looking for pity. I just need to unload my thoughts. There, I did it.

On that note...vacation, here I am.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

River Bank Run and Youth for Christ

This is LONG overdue. I realized that this long awaited run has come and gone and I never posted ANYTHING! Just goes to show how crazy life has been. This event was such a success. We raised almost $14,000! It's all because of the support of a huge group of amazing people. They worked so hard to achieve their personal fitness goals and also surpassed goals to raise a large amount of money for the ministry of Youth for Christ. I cannot say enough about this bunch of people! They have been a blessing to us personally and more importantly are making a huge impact in the community to reach lost kids for Jesus Christ. Thank you!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Dear Jake,

I stayed home with you today because you woke up with one of your eyes almost glued shut with "yuck." After getting it opened, it was very pink. I was all ready for the day and even running a touch ahead of schedule. You changed my plans, and I wasn't too disappointed that I had to miss our staff meeting - it was bound to be a long one today. I took you to the Doctor...and guess what, 2 ear infections! You've had 3 antibiotics since February for those darn ears.

While we were at the Doctor's office she made it very clear that you needed to get rid of paci! So...what better afternoon to spend at home with just Mommy and cry through our nap without paci together. But, you did it! I promised you a lot of things in the process; ice cream (with sprinkles), a movie, disney world, etc. You were almost sleeping and wanted to know if Abbi and Zoe could come too.

You did pretty good tonight without paci, your brother was the one that gave us more of a headache. He probably has ear infections too.

Even though you went to bed without your paci, you didn't go without Mommy laying with you. We are probably starting a new habit in the process of breaking an old one.

I love you buddy,

Saturday, May 1, 2010

New Home

Dear Jake and Caleb,

You are upstairs sleeping right now in your new house on Lake Forest. I am exhausted, but I think it's going to be worth the back breaking move - you both are going to love it here. I'm pretty sure your big dog Jackson is already acclimated. He has already introduced himself to all the neighbors and their mailboxes. Speaking of neighbors, most of them have already stopped by and introduced themselves. I'm especially appreciative of the VanAppledorns at this very moment, they brought chocolate chip cookies.

Daddy just left because he is working on his Master's degree online through an intense one and a half year program. He has a mid-term exam to complete tonight. He was a little late because you (Jake) wanted to rock just "a couple more minutes" (that's your latest saying). If you hadn't gone to bed at 10:15 last night, he probably would've rocked you longer. You are very tired tonight.

I'm proud of both of you boys, sounds like you were good for Tori today. You even took naps for her!

You guys are surrounded by lots of family and friends that love you. Mommy and Daddy are thankful for them too, especially during the move. Maybe we can have a big "thank-you" party for them once we get settled, you (Jake) can show them all the sharks in the basement - "the big one is coming!"


P.S. There was a woman on the Today Show that wrote letters to her daughters in the form of a journal. It inspired me to maybe blog some letters to you....things that you won't remember, but someday you might read. I want you both to understand how much love I have for you.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Caleb 7 months

Caleb continues to be our strong-willed child. One minute he has us all laughing because he is so easily amused, the next he has me wanting to pull every hair out of my head. He has no schedule. And it's not for lack of trying! As soon as he does something 2 days in a row, such as nap - I think "here we go, he's getting it." And then he is back to his old tricks of getting up every night, napping for 25 minutes (a day), etc. Aaaahhh!

Don't get me wrong, we love Caleb with everything in us! I think God just wanted to remind us that we need Him in all circumstances.

Love you buddy!


Jake had a good time hunting for easter eggs again this year. Grandma was sick in the hospital the week before, so we didn't do the normal "cousin easter egg hunt." I think my favorite Easter moment was when he was trying to sneak more jelly beans and he told everyone that his hand was "falling into the basket -it's falling, falling falling!" That kid is something else. I'm still waiting on getting pictures from my Dad's camera. He took pics of both the boys together in their Easter outfits.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Caleb 6 months

Caleb is 6 months already! He weighs 19 pounds and is 27.5 inches long. And his head size...huge! Caleb may look EXACTLY like his big brother, but he certainly has his own personality. This boy DOES NOT SLEEP! He loves to take short naps, if any. He is rolling all over the place and gets himself stuck a lot. Sometimes, I need to pin him down to change his diaper. Not long after he started Daycare, I remember Vickie telling me she thinks he's going to be strong-willed. Um, really? Along with the non-sleeping personality, comes his super fun smiling face. He smiles easily, and LOVES to watch his brother. Jake adores Caleb and loves to get him laughing, which happens frequently. I love my boys. They definitely keep me grounded. They teach me a lot about God's love for us, endless and unconditional. I am blessed!

Caleb also wants to give a shout out to Uncle Travis and (soon-to-be) Auntie Morgane for his Jackson Hole moose outfit. CUTE!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Playhouse Disney Live Giveaway

Stacey is giving away tickets to this fun event! You should also enter to win. I know Jake would love to see his pals on ice. Meeska Mooska Mickey Mouse!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Bath Time

Tonight was one of those rare occasions, both boys were both on the same schedule - including bath time. It has been my goal to get a picture of them together in their matching hooded bath towels. Tonight was the night! Of course, I had to hold them because Jake would never sit long enough to hold Caleb, without injury. Usually he holds him for 2 seconds, decides he's done, and shoves him to the side. We were trying to get Jake to say the normal - "cheese, pizza, etc." He came up with his own, "good times!" Where does he come up with this stuff? Must be daycare, that's our answer to everything these days.

Friday, January 29, 2010


In a couple hours we are leaving for Chicago. We are taking Jake to see Curious George Live! Thanks to Aunt Kimmy for offering up her place and initiating the plan. We are hoping to hit up the Rain Forest Cafe tonight, and I might have to sneak over to the Apple Store. Extra warm clothes are in the bags, Chicago's unforgivable winds should be in full force!

I'm also hoping that Jake will not have his hands over his ears during the entire show! He still talks about the fire trucks from the parades. "Loud, Mommy, loud." He also thinks that fire trucks give out suckers. Every time we see one, he says "sucker!" We took him to the Van Andel for a basketball game on Monday. He faired pretty well, so I'm not too concerned.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Last weekend Kate and I took 16 middle school girls to Camp Geneva. We had a lot of fun. I have one complaint. Every year it takes me longer and longer to recover! It's all worth it though. 3 of my West Ottawa girls made 1st time decisions to accept the promises of Jesus Christ! It's worth every minute and dollar raised to get these girls to camp. If you think of it, please pray for Sonya, Vanessa, and Lateju.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Riverbank Run 2010 & YFC

Once again Youth for Christ is putting together a group of people to participate in the 2010 Riverbank Run on Saturday May 8 in Grand Rapids, MI. You are receiving this letter because you have participated before or we think you might be interested in joining our efforts. Remember, there is something for every fitness level- 5K run/walk, 10K, or 25K!

This year we are attempting to make it more fun than ever. We are attempting a new shirt design, prizes, and more participation!

Each YFC runner/walker is asked to have a goal of raising $500 in pledges for our organization. Your participation will include the following;
• YFC running shirt (in hopes you will wear this the day of the event)
• Friday night pasta dinner at City on a Hill. Families invited!
• Transportation on race day
• Additional gifts that are still being formulated (ideas are welcome – for example, if you know of someone that might be interested in contributing to our prize pool, etc.)

Each participant is asked to sign up individually for your chosen event (5K run/walk, 10K, or 25K) through the official Riverbank Run website ( or by mail. This eliminates logistics for us. In addition, we request that you fill out the YFC form acknowledging your commitment to be a part of our “team.” This helps us collect t-shirt sizes, plan the dinner, prizes, transportation, etc.

We hope that you will consider being a part of our group that represents YFC at the 2010 Riverbank Run. In addition to your accomplishment of your chosen event, you are playing a vital role in helping us reach our financial goals at YFC. Thank you in advance for considering being involved in this exciting event. Please contact us with any questions or to let us know of your commitment!

Tara Follett
West Ottawa

Kate Stouten

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy Birthday Dad

This picture easily sums up the 2009 year. I am so thankful that my Dad is in this picture holding Caleb. One week prior he had a heart attack. Caleb decided to take a 10 day stay in the hospital after he entered the world. I think our entire family is familiar with the new layout of the Holland Hospital. God showed us his mercy and grace during this past year and I am thankful for His unfailing love.

Happy 61st birthday Dad! Looking forward to 2010.