There is so much to be thankful for in life.  God has richly blessed us as a family that we really can't complain.  Our little girl keeps growing bigger, learning new things (copying what we do, whether we like it or not), talking more (or trying to, by repeating what we say), and learning that she has a will and determination of her own.  Andrew has a wonderful job that allows me to be able to stay at home with Avery.  I babysit two other little girls that have become good friends and playmates for Avery, as well as a bit of extra income of my own.  We have a wonderful house we live in and it suits our family's current needs.  We were blessed to be able to purchase a new vehicle for Andrew this summer and sell his old car.  We both still have our parents and siblings, who we can visit and fellowship with on a regular basis.  We are thankful for a soon to be new sister-in-law (the first sis-in-law for us sisters) who will be joining my side of the family next summer. :)  (Just a little excited!)

Our family has been in great health with no major medical problems.  So many things happen in life which we so easily take for granted.  I am thinking of my cousin (my age) with breast cancer, or Andrew's sister's fiancĂ© (younger than us) who had testicular cancer.  Daily we are reminded of the frailty of life and how everything is under the watchful, caring eye of God.  We praise God that he has brought us through to another thanksgiving and soon the end of another year together.  We pray that these reminders will not be forgotten, but kept with us as we plan for the future.  May we learn to be thankful not just on thanksgiving day, but every day of the year.  Each day is a day God has given us, let us rejoice and be glad!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Ps. Eat lots of turkey for us as we will be jumping the border to visit our Canadian family. ;)


Our Cool Chic! ... and cool daddy ;)

Avery loves playing with these sunglasses.  They come on and off on a regular basis.  Sometimes she will even try to put them on us.  So here is Avery and daddy looking cool!  :)


Playing Outside and Taking Baths

After a busy Saturday helping mommy and daddy outside with yard work and digging in the dirt, I get dirt all over my face, hands, arms, legs, and feet.  I think dirt and I are best friends, however, mommy doesn't like it when I get dirty so she puts me in the bath tub.  That's okay with me, because I really like taking baths too!

It is a great excuse to play with my fun bath toys.  I like to stick them to the side of the tub and float my ducks around.

What do you like to do when you play outside and then take a bath?


Applesauce and Salsa

Several days over the last few weeks I have been busy making applesauce from apples picked in my grandparents backyard.  Now, I have several quart canning jars full and lined up on the shelf!  Feels good to have that task accomplished and knowing we will be able to enjoy it for a while.

Next, my garden tomatoes started all turning red at the same time!  I had to come up with a few different recipes that I could use them up with.  I turned one batch into salsa, another into spaghetti sauce, and another into soup.  Any more ideas?  All have tasted great so far and with more still on the plants turning red, I know I can easily make more of what I have already listed.  

Thinking of maybe making my garden a little bigger next year - but have not yet decided what I want to add to it.  This year was tomatoes and beets.  I might add green beans and peppers. 


Birthday Celebration and Artprize 2013

Back on Sept 20th I celebrated my 30th birthday!  Yes, I know I am a little behind on posting, but I am working on catching up so you will have to bear with me on my tardiness and pretend it didn't happen. :)  We didn't do anything extraordinary, but instead we picked up some dinner and headed downtown for a family night of fun.  It was a beautiful evening and I couldn't have asked for a more enjoyable time together with my family.

As usual, Grand Rapids has their annual Artprize event going on downtown and it is always a fun time walking around looking at all the different ideas people come up with.  Here are a few of the fun things that we saw.


lovin' my lil cousin

My sister and brother-in-law decided to move back to Michigan and we were so elated!  First, because there was this super cute little boy of theirs that was born back in May who we had not even met!  Second, now we can hang out and see them more often and the little cousins can play together!  Avery loved her little cousin instantly.  Can you tell?


Our Little Dutch Girl

Avery was helping daddy out on our front porch and she found some wooden shoes.   These wooden shoes I had brought back with me as a souvenir from the Netherlands when I was there about 8 years ago.  They fit her perfectly don't ya think?  Just ignore the pj's, she was in the process of going to bed and was sidetracked - starting out young! ;)


Fun at Daddy's Work!

Back in September, Andrew's work place had a family fun day out in the front lawn.  They had food with lots of activities for kids to do.  Unfortunately the activities were a bit too advanced for our little girl, so we did other things instead.  We toured more areas that we had not seen before and took pictures on vehicles that are on display.  :)

Here is the oldest one of the two vehicles, owned by the company.

Here is the next one that was fun to play on.


This Summer So Far

This summer has flown by!  It has been a crazy summer with lots of rain some really cold days and nights, while other days are super hot.  Avery has been enjoying her time outside playing in the yard.  We were given a water table, cozy coupe car, and I was able to get my hands on a slide and turtle sand box.  All these things have kept her busy on the non-rainy days.

A few weeks ago was had a Victorian Party with a bunch of girls from our Book Study group.  It was so much fun dressing up, playing croquet, and eating lots of delicious food!  Here are a couple pics of the evening.

Even Avery participated!

Avery and I
- I tried the hair loosely up in a clip thing, hoping to mimic the era,
but not so sure about how it turned out.  Oh well.

Last week we were camping with some friends about half an hour north of Grand Rapids.  It was an enjoyable relaxing time, especially for Andrew, as he needed a break from the 60 hours/week of work he had been doing the last 5 weeks.  He is done with that now, so this was a great way to recuperate and head back to work this week more refreshed.  We had some rain, but over all the weather was nice when we needed it to be nice.  A friend brought along a Sea-Doo he owns and so there was plenty of rides going around the lake.  This guys all had to test it out and see what kind of 'tricks' or how fast they could go.  Even I managed to take it for a spin.  I didn't end up taking any pictures, unfortunately, so here are a few that I borrowed from a friend.
Avery with her friend - the sun was a little bright :)

Some of our friend's kids on the Sea-Doo

In a couple weeks we will be camping again at our church family camp.  Hopefully I will remember to take pictures of Avery at the beach and what ever else we end up doing there.  It is always a fun time!


3 Years of Marriage!

Today we celebrate 3 years of marriage.  3 amazing years of seeing where God has lead us, 3 years of growing together through the hurdles of life, 3 years of seeing God's hand of grace and mercy.  We have grown more in love with each other each and every day.

God has even given us a little blessing to care for and with that has come the challenges of parenthood.

I thought about writing some sappy post of wedded bliss, but in reality, life isn't that way.  Marriage can be challenging and hard work.  All married couples know this.  Add in a child or two (or more) and some challenges at work adding stress to the husband's life, marriage life will have it's ups and downs!  We are thankful, though, that through it all God has blessed us tremendously!  Today we look back and see His hand in everything and don't know what we would without Him, who is in control of all things.

Andrew is a WONDERFUL husband and father!  He does a great job in helping out around the house, spending time with his daughter, and being supportive to me.  He is the spiritual leader in the home and I have enjoyed the many discussions we have had around our table.  I look forward to more discussions even as Avery gets older and can join in a bit.  I love his sense of adventure and love for the outdoors.  Enjoying God's nature is how we spent many days while dating and what we still do now as a family!

Avery is getting old enough to know when her daddy leaves for work and even gets excited when he comes home.  I just LOVE watching her walk to him and want up in his arms.  She soaks up his attention the rest of the evening while he plays with her.  I have even tried to get her to come to me and she wouldn't!  She LOVES her daddy time!

I hope I am just as much what he looks for in a wife and pray that I will grow more each day.

I Love you Andrew!  I am thankful for the past 3 years and look forward to spending many more years together, growing closer and closer each day.  Happy Anniversary!


And she is walking! (video is working)

Wow! Times sure does fly by!  Sorry, I didn't realize that it has been two months since my last post.  What have we been doing, you might ask? Well, spending lots of time outside working in the garden, painting the front door, staining the fence, going for walks, practicing standing up on our own, and this week practicing walking on our own.  The last couple items has Avery quite proud.  You should see the big grin on her face when she accomplishes these.  It is amazing how little kids just pick up on things and start doing it themselves and being determined about it.  We have not pushed her to walk and suddenly this week she insists on trying to stand and walk on her own.  She also doesn't want to be held as much anymore, but instead wants to be heading off in one direction or another.  I am afraid that as soon as she walks more steadily one her own, she will soon be running and this momma is going to be getting her exercise chasing after her. I already do, by trying to keep after her crawling!

Well, here is a video of her accomplishment this week.

Take care!


Avery's 1 Year Pictures

Here are more pictures from Avery's 1st birthday and party.

Waiting to open presents

the cardboard tastes better than the gift itself

Yummy strawberry cake

skyping with Grandma and Grandpa Bergsma

Updated family photo with a one year old!