Maranatha Vacation Highlights 2012

by Kristi Van Dyk in

Saturday, June 30: Move in DayMy parents graciously watched the kiddos while Steve and I unpacked in our beautiful apartment for the week. We joined Mom and Dad for dinner on Saturday night, skipped the concert and snuggled the very tired kids to sleep. Dad then came down and watched the darlings while Steve and I got to take in our first sunset of the week on the Maranatha beach





Sunday, July 1: WICKED Date Since our vacation changed weeks mid-Spring (we were originally scheduled for Week 3, but then a vacancy opened up in the apt we wanted at Week 2) With a baby on the way, we figured a sooner vacation would definitely be less risky. So, we moved up our vacation one week, BUT Steve had already purchased us Wicked tickets for July 1. So, we went on vacation knowing Mom and Dad would take the kids while Steve and I went to Wicked. The kids played happily at classes during church, they went to the pool and by the time dinner was there, Mommy and Daddy were back. We had a fantastic (though very sweaty) time at the show at Wharton Center, but wanted to see the kids after we got home. So, a late night beach trip was in order ...




Monday, July 2: Kayleigh's Pool Marathon We wanted to make certain that Benjamin got naps (in order to make it the entire day), but Kayleigh is ALMOST done napping entirely, so we thought we'd give skipping a try :). After going to morning session, Grammy picked up Kayleigh and we brought Benjamin back for a nap. By 3:00, we were all at the pool, having great play time. By the time we finished playing, Kayleigh was exhausted. She collapsed SO HARD on Grammy's couch that I needed to pick her up repeatedly to wake her. She managed to get through class (they both did), and we spoiled them with family flurries at the Whippi-Dip before going to bed.

Tuesday, July 3: Catch Up day After a late night the night before for both kids, lots of activity (and the 4th coming up with even more excitement promised), and so much learning happening at classes, we decided FULL naps were necessary for everyone. We all went to our morning sessions and came back to the apt for family naps. After nearly 3.5 hours of sleeping, the kids woke to head down to the pool. Benjamin was still exhausted so we didn't last long. We only sent Kayleigh to session that night and let Benny take a night off. After which he headed to Grandpa and Grandma's (thinking he'd sleep quickly there) and we took Kayleigh to Grand Haven for a little Musical Fountain fun. She so dearly loved that when we did it last year that we simply had to try again. While she wasn't as excited about the music (it was pretty slow/low key) this time, she definitely had JUST as much fun with her parents.

Wednesday, July 4th: Parade, Pool, Special Foods, Private Fireworks Delayed to Friday On the morning of the 4th the kids scurried off to class so they could get ready for the parade. Benjamin had a rough morning parting with us, so we weren't quite sure he'd make it in the parade. Kayleigh, on the other hand, couldn't WAIT to get involved in "throwing candy" and "waving at friends." They both ended up in the parade (though Benjamin slightly less happily than his enthusiastic sister). And after short naps, we all went to the pool for some swimming, back to Grammy's for special treats (sparkly red and white cupcakes!) and ice cream sandwiches (with sprinkles). I'm not certain that the kids grasp the entire importance of this day in our country's history (nor do I expect them too) but I think they thoroughly understood that it was America's birthday ... and boy do they LOVE the way "America" celebrates that.

   Thursday, July 5th: Benny's Special Date Kayleigh was up early on the 5th, so we decided another day of swimming all day with Grammy and Grandpa would be good. As it turned out, she was a bit naughty in class! She eventually apologized to her teacher, but we didn't allow her to go to class at night time (it was movie/pajama night). She still had fun swimming with Grammy and Grandpa, but this was Benjamin's turn for a special date. After class, we took him to the Sweet Shoppe where we thought we could find him something special to eat. We ordered plenty of options ($$!) but he ate, literally, nothing ... He just enjoyed being the only child. After lunch he got to take a nap, completely sandwiched between his Mommy and Daddy. He LOVED IT (and slept for over 3.5 hours!) We couldn't even take him to the pool/beach because there was no time left in the evening. BUT, he definitely enjoyed his cool afternoon nap.








Friday, July 6th: Our Last Full Day The private fireworks on the beach were scheduled for this evening ... PLUS, the children's program was also in the evening (at the Tabernacle). Kayleigh was in Pre-K this year, and the preschoolers have a part in the program. So, being that her last "program" was a bit of a disaster (she ran off the stage crying), we wanted to make sure she was well rested and ready to go. Both kids went to morning session, and we all left promptly for the pool after lunch. We swam until about 2:30 and then came back to the apt for a long nap. Both kids slept VERY well and we were up for pizza in a knick of time to get everyone to program ... well, everyone but Benny, who simply didn't want to go. He snuggled with Grandpa at the back of the tabernacle and watched sister perform.

Kayleigh did a great job. She wasn't scared (very proud in fact). She ADORED her teachers and did a pretty good job singing and participating exactly as she was supposed to. They did a Bible memory verse, sang a song, sang a whole GROUP song, and another congregational song too!! It was over 90 degrees outside so the non-a/c tabernacle was quite warm. But again, our little girl did a great job.

This was a really fun moment for me (and my parents) as Dan and I used to sing in these very same programs, at this very same age, in this very same tabernacle. My parents met some of my former youth leaders who saw my little daughter singing that evening. They knew right away which little girl was mine ... apparently we share some similarities. Our friends it was like being transported back 30 years (really, only 27 ... but, who's counting technicalities). Its fun knowing that there are places in this world that don't change ...

As a special treat to Maranatha guests and members, friends of Maranatha put on a private firework display on the beach front. Friends handed out free glowsticks to everyone who came down. My parents made it special in addition to the fireworks with more glowsticks, sparklers, and "old school" candy. The kids had candy necklaces, sweet tart suckers, sugar daddies ,etc. It was great fun ... and such an amazing evening. What a precious gift to take our kids to a late night show and be able to be back home in bed less than 10 minutes later, with almost no crowd to battle. Thanks so much, friends!

We had a beautiful get away! Thanks Mom and Dad for making this possible for us!

Highlights from our October

by Kristi Van Dyk in

Several times throughout the end of September and October I thought about blogging. We had a few priceless moments that I said, "This HAS to get blogged" BUT, by the time I got a chance to blog it, the moment had past. So, rather than doing a monthly update on Benjamin (he hasn't changed THAT much), I thought I'd give highlights of what happened this last month. (This may also give you a clue as to why I've been unable to blog ...) :) The weekend of September 23rd the kids went to the GR Children's Museum with my parents. Steve and I were able to use my Uncle Ron's tickets to head to the U of M game. We had AWESOME seats on the 45 yard line just about 10 rows up. It was an amazing game .. and the kids had a great time with Grandpa and Grandma.

















  We had a great weekend on the last week of September, just hanging out at home. On Saturday morning, we went over to the nature preserve. Steve brought the camera and we snapped a few of the kiddos, just having a great time.





























The following weekend we had Auntie Sarah over for dinner/hanging out. We ended up going out to ice cream after a bike ride and time at the park.










While Daddy was at CEA, Mommy and the kids went into Grand Rapids to hang out with Auntie Alaina and Ryan who were here for Ryan's upcoming birthday! It was SO GREAT to see them after a month of being gone. On Friday, we drove in for Ryan's party at Crazy Bounce in Holland. It was a spectacularly fun evening ... so fun, that, well, Mommy had a little problem with her pants!!



















That same Saturday, Steve left to go to the ColorBurst ride in the Lowell area and I went back to Kalamazoo to coach the first of my two scheduled Volleyball tournaments. The kids stayed with Grandpa and Grandma Creswell and went to Post Family Farm with Auntie, Uncle Dan and Ryan for the annual pumpkin selection (and homemade donut consumption) afternoon.






















This past week was JAM packed. I took the kids to Grand Rapids to had a little catch up chat with my childhood friend, Suzanne; we had Alexa over for a couple of hours that day too. We had dinner with the staff at KCHS. On Tuesday, I had a game in Delton in the afternoon. Wednesday we had a crazy fun SPIRIT practice at KCMS. The girls were incredible; they were so competitive and yet so encouraging to each other. It might have been my BEST spirit practice yet.







Thursday of last week we had our last volleyball game, right AFTER Kayleigh had her first FIELD TRIP! K went to an apple orchard and cider mill with her class. It was 40 degrees and rainy but that did not dampen Kayleigh's enthusiasm for picking apples. She was so ready to pick apples, learn about cider making, and ride the hayride.










On Friday, we packed up our stuff and headed North to Mackinaw City. It was time for the race on Mackinac Island. We had a few snags over the weekend (including a blown tire on the way there). All in all, though, it was a beautiful day spent with lots of family. Steve and I ran a great race (for us), and we were SO SO thankful for Auntie Sarah who sat this one out so that we could run it.



















We still have some exciting events on the October calendar: Alexa's Birthday Party, Trick or treating, and soon after October wraps up, Kayleigh will be turning 3!!! (Not to mention Daddy's 31st birthday party, Thanksgiving, and the beginning of the "holiday" season!!!) AHH ... Life just never slows down, does it? :)