Labor Day Cottage Tour-Day 1

by Kristi Van Dyk in

We are so blessed to have two "cottages" in our family. As you know from previous blog posts, Steve's parents have a wonderful cottage on Slayton Lake. My parents have a trailer at Maranatha Bible and Missionary Conference. On beautiful weeks/weekends in the summer, our biggest issue is finding enough free days to divide between the offers for lake front time. We didn't start the weekend with any plans. In fact, we were committed to spending at least one day at home, just being together. Saturday was great for that. But with a 4 day weekend that still leaves at least two days for playing. So, play we did. Saturday much of the family (and all of the immediate family) gathered at the Van Dyk cottage. Here are some of my favorites from that day.

Kayleigh Highlights:

[caption id="attachment_607" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="I like peanuts"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_608" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Just copying the adults ... eating, talking, sitting in adirondacks"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_609" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="My beautiful girl, sipping her milk"][/caption]

Benjamin's Highlights:

[caption id="attachment_610" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Eating with Jess"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_611" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Chatting with everyone while in the exersaucer"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_612" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Benny watches the lake"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_613" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Benny snuggles with Jackie"][/caption]

And a special shout out to all of the extended family who was able to come and so willingly helped out with my kids. I know the immediate Van Dyks are always ready and willing, but it was fun to have aunts and cousins so eager too! It was a super fun/relaxing day! Thanks a bunch!

Our First Campfire

by Kristi Van Dyk in

My husband loves campfires. From the time we met, the greatest summer evenings were spent drinking a beer/Mt. Dew, staring at the lake, and playing with fire. I think it was that reason (plus the two jobs/kids that kept him from the lake as often as he'd like) that he decided to build us our own fire pit. He's been hoping we could get the kids to bed and head out to stare at fire for several weeks now. It simply hasn't worked out that way ... usually because we both have to get up in the morning. Well, tonight we decided to have an outdoor dinner. We had extra helping hands for supper (Bri Bri), so it made it that much more possible to try an outside dinner with the babies. When Steve got home, he grilled up some brats. I set the inside kitchenette table with strawberries, blueberries, chips, buns and condiments. We had some raspberry lemonade and all the goodies for S'mores. We were set. Kayleigh and Bri played with the Mickey Mouse ball in the backyard, blew some bubbles, and ate some Cheez-Its (mostly Kayleigh ate the Cheez-its and Bri taught her some soccer tricks). It was a little chaotic, especially since when it came time to roasting marshmallows, but we had a fun evening. Note: S'Mores proved just too "ucky" for Kayleigh ... she basically had two or three licks of the marshmallow and that was it for her. But she liked all of the ingredients, but none of them all put together.

Here's a few highlights from our first campfire

[caption id="attachment_530" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Cheez-Its, Bubbles, and Big Sis Bri ... "][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_531" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Benjamin chillin' by the girls"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_532" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Playing with Bri Bri"][/caption]

Kayleigh and Benjamin’s Fabulous Friday Fun

by Kristi Van Dyk in

The Friday forecast was supposed to be warm and not humid. Perfect weather for experimenting with my 5 week old outside and letting my 19 month old have a little summer fun. So, I planned to try a 2 nap day with Kayleigh, so her prime swim time would be free. Ben basically sleeps after eating anyway so he was flexible. Kayleigh cooperated by laying in her bed for 1 hour while I set up and fed Benji. Then she was ready for lunch, sunscreen and a suit. By the time we were all set to go (Mommy excluded; why did I need a suit?) :), it was 1:30. We walked outside and I went to settle Benjamin in his canopy, where he pretty much chilled the entire time. He was awake, looking around and "talking" but he never complained. Benji playing in the cabana in the backyard

Once Ben was all situated and content, I started about getting Kayleigh interested in the pool. She was a little scared (probably didn't fill the pool early enough to let it warm). Despite the fact that she's been swimming before, she's always cautious again. She did that at the hotel pool last week too. She flips out about getting started and then, she eventually has a great time. So, here she is checking things out (still in her cover up ... Suit and Cover Ups from Sam's Club??? I thought it was sooo cute).

Checking out the new pool

When it looked like she was comfortable with the water in the pool, I tried the sweet spraying duck atop the pool ...

Kayleigh checking out the spraying duck

She finally got into the pool (with no small amount of convincing on my part). It took a monumental effort to get her to sit down. I tried coercing her, talking with her, splashing, everything I could. Nothing was going to work. Finally, when I had about given up she said, "Mommy ... sit." Since I was already sitting I told her so. She laughed and said "No .. No... Mommy ...sit" and pointed to the water. She was pointing out my hypocrisy ... at 19 months! Why should she sit if Mommy wasn't going to get her butt wet too. I was so impressed with her that I did sit ... without a suit, in my gym shorts. It was most uncomfortable and I sagged quite a bit while trying to move stuff back inside, but I'd do it again for that little face :)

Finally sitting in the pool

One moment when I was off talking to Ben, little sunbather stole my chair and wouldn't get out. All I had to do was threaten to take a picture and she went scampering :)

Stealing Mommy's chair

After all of that climbing, splashing, talking, and playing, Kayleigh asked to go inside. I hosed her down outside, plopped her naked in the breezeway (with a towel) and got Benji inside. While he chilled on the floor, we got K all warmed up and cleaned up. Here she is with her snack, just chillin in the glider while I folded diapers and got Ben's bottle ready. She's now in her room refusing to nap in the bed. I've picked her up off the floor 3 times now and have just about given up ... it's just a nap and just for a few minutes :) ...

This is my tired face ... I'm headed for nap #2

Here's her video ... Swimming 6-25

Time flies …

by Kristi Van Dyk in

These past few weeks have absolutely flown by. Life has been such a whirlwind of activity. Each day moves so quickly that when I finally have a few moments to stop and look back, I can't believe how much has happened! Tomorrow is Benjamin's 3 week mark. Let's recap all that's been the life of 4 Van Dyk's (5 if you include the furry one) in the past 21 days. ~ A new baby, Benjamin Steven ~ Mommy recovering from surgery ~ Kayleigh adjusting to life as big sister ~ Daddy learning he will work as a contract employee at Secant for the summer ... 2 jobs for him! ~  Cousin Rachel's graduation open house ~ The first family beach trip to Tunnel Park with Hoeksemas, VanDykes, and Texers ~ Our first overnight as a family away from home, at Grammy's ~ 2 Playdates with cousin Ryan and Auntie Alaina (Uncle Dan even came to one!) ~ A regional championship for Mommy's tennis team ~ Courtney's open house ~ Benjamin's first time with a babysitter (Jordan) while Mommy coached tennis with Robin ~ Tennis Color Wars ~ Sydney's Open House ~ Spring Sports Banquet ~ Daddy booking his flight to leave for a week in July to study administration ~ A State Championship tournament that included 1 flight championship, 1 runner up and 2 semi-finalists for a 4th place finish and a fantastic dinner at Mangia, Mangia ~ Anna's open house ~ Small group baby shower for Benjamin ~ Cousin Brandon's wedding in Georgia (that we couldn't make but heard was absolutely gorgeous) ~ Cousin Justin and Dawn's new baby girl, Zoe Carol Scott was born

That pretty much includes most of the highlights :) I hope I didn't forget any major ones! It's been a whirlwind of activity, and I wish I could look forward to things slowing down, but we have 3 more open houses this week, a staff dinner with the middle school, :), a cottage birthday party for my little brother, and somehow managing to do the usual chores that seem extra hard with two little ones ramming around.

In all the busy-ness though, I rarely find myself stressed like I was when I was teaching. As I survey all of the things that I listed, they are things that give me joy, that make smile ... that keep me convinced that this is exactly the life I want to be living ... busy as it may be. I just need to remember to take time, when I have it, to cherish the days while my kids are still little and snuggle-able ... After all, before I blink I'm certain I'll be taking Kayleigh to kindergarten or watching Benjamin at his first soccer game, listening to Kayleigh's first piano recital, or drilling Benjamin on his multiplication facts (if that's still part of the curriculum by the time he's there) :) ...

Well, I'm going to continue cherishing the blessing that it is having BOTH babies sleeping at the same time during the evening. I might even go to bed at 9:30 ... why not?

A few photo highlights from the events listed above ...

[caption id="attachment_213" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="This was Rachel's Open House at my new favorite place :)"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_214" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Tying KVA with the school rivals :) "][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_215" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Girls looking spirited for Color Wars"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_216" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Benjamin's Synposis of his first 21 days!"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_217" align="alignnone" width="225" caption="Kayleigh's synopsis of Benjamin's first 21 days"][/caption]