Saturday, December 30, 2006

Gaggle of Guikemas

It was Christmas Day for the Guikemas today and we had a fun day of eating, family time, and gift giving. We were spoiled again this year with great presents ... but the best present continues to be the love and care Mom and Dad show for each one of us and our children. Thanks Mom & Dad.

All the Guikema Grandkids
(Two more on the way ... whoa baby! And no, I'm not pregnant.)

Me & Ziglet
Me & Piglet

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Blue Ribbon for Mommy

The first day post Christmas festivities and we played our own version of Blue's Clue's (with homemade handprints), did sidewalk chalk out on the driveway, got out the messy Playdough (girls played with it for 2 hours), had smores by the neighbor's firepit, and just finished playing the game of Life. I think I scored some major mommy points today! I also think that the kids will be watching a DVD tomorrow! :)

Sunday, December 24, 2006

No White Christmas, but lots of Love!

Here is one of the world's smallest snowmen (made the first week of December when we had snow) and the plate of cookies and glass of milk the kids put out for Santa. Paige also wrote a letter to Santa that reads:
Dear Santa,
I hope you give me a socking stuffer and some toys.
And could I have a sleigh bell? Rite a note back.
Love, Paige.
Have a very Merry Christmas blogging buddies. May you experience the wonder of the season through your children's eyes as you celebrate Jesus' birthday.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A Time to Give

I love this time of year because it is a time that you can show others just how much you appreciate them and all that they do for you or your kids. The Sunday school teachers, classroom teachers, bus driver, piano teacher, Bible study leaders, and extended family are just some of the folks on our list of people we "gift" this Christmas season. The only time I don't like giving is when I feel like I "have to" or am somehow guilted into giving. I will give you two examples.

Yesterday I had to run to the grocery store and pick up just a couple of things for my daughter's class party. I was rushing in and saw the Salvation Army bell ringer. I have given to just about every ringer I have seen this year (mostly because my kids are begging me for change to put in the bucket) and I am more than happy to do it. But today the ringer watched me from the door into the store and said, "Hello. How are you?" I said, "good," and then quickly ran to find the items I needed. Then as I walked out (five minutes later) he once again says, "Bye. And Merry Christmas." He seemed like a nice guy, he said all the normal greetings, and yet, somehow I felt guilty that I didn't put any change in his red bucket. Why did I feel like I needed to tell him I have given to many ringers this year and that I was in a rush?

The second instance of being "guilted into giving" was left in my mailbox and it reads:

'Twas weeks before Christmas and all through the 'hood
The weather was warm and the driving was good
The houses and yards were bedecked with good cheer
And I said to myself "Looks like my kind of year!"
But what to my wandering eye should appear
But an Artic cold front! And it soon would be here!!
It's blizzards and fat Sunday papers I fear!
It's a paperboys' Christmas ... oh but ... Happy New Year.

My paperboy is a 60 year old grown man who deserves points for his creative Christmas story but loses some for including his name & address on the bottom of this Holiday greeting in a shameless plug for a tip.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Mmmmmm - Chocolate

This is a face that only a mother could love.

I am married to Mr. Claus. My husband just LOVES Christmas. He loves to put up the outdoor lights, make homemade Chex Mix, wrap presents, and dip peanut butter balls. Every year his mom rolls out the peanut butter balls (also called Buckeyes) and brings them over for Jeff to dip. I am a somewhat reluctant dipper so Zach & I were "supervising" & bringing in the chilled peanut butter balls for Jeff and the girls. The girls were "dipping machines" and Zach did a great job too - eating the chocolate chips straight out of the bag!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Candy Houses

Here is Zoey and her candy house creation she made last week at school. She was so excited to make it and kept saying to me all week, "Tomorrow is candy house day." (Which proved to me once again that young kids have no concept of time!) I am paying for my busy week last week by being sick this week. I have strep throat and let me tell you, it is kicking my butt. Everyone kept telling me how easy it is to recover from once you get on the antibiotic. Well, I am on dose number three and the only thing I have recovered from is the body aches and fever. The unusual feeling of swallowing needles has persisted however. So, in honor of being sick I would just like to thank these people:

Mr. Tylenol and Miss Ibuprofen - you truly are good friends.

Nick Jr. and PBS Kids - thanks for watching my kids the past couple of days.

And last but not least, to my hubby who took off work at lunchtime yesterday and cleaned the house, watched the kids, and made a steak dinner for the family. You are the man. Now if I could just get you to baby me a bit more and not look at me like I have a leperosy. :) (Since my husband has worked in the medical field, he has become a bit of a germaphobe.)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Put a Fork in this Week - IT'S DONE!

Me & My Man
(Didn't want you to think that we only hung out with our friends all weekend!)

'Tis the season to be busy. Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la. I think everyone had the same idea: Plan Christmas events in the first week of December to avoid the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Result: Stress everyone out and have them realize that they have no time to clean the house, do laundry, or even think about Christmas shopping. Here's a snapshot of my week: Dessert Gala set up and event, babysit neighbor's kiddo, Yearly Dr. appt. (fun,fun), Book Club, Advent Family Party at church, make a dinner for a neighborhood family, bake cookies for two different events, volunteer in Paige's class, design and create 4 bulletin boards at school, make 2 monkey breads for a PTO brunch, & make a gingerbread house with Zoey at school. If you need to find me during the holidays, I will be home with a glass of wine! :)

Monday, December 04, 2006


New outfit: $150

Tickets to Wicked: $200

Weekend away without kids: priceless

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Dogs are Animals & Tree Traditions

Yes, you dog lovers. Your dog may be your best friend but don't foget it's an animal. We dog sat my sister's black lab while her and her family went down to Florida over Thanksigiving break. This is our fifth or sixth time dog sitting and we all love Maddie (I know, some of you have children with that name - the Dog Rescue named her.) The dog was a little stressed out this time and would not go out to go potty unless we walked her out with a leash, decided it would be fun to roll in another dog's poop, and the most offensive thing, ate out of the bathroom trash. For those of you who are thinking, "who cares if a dog eats a kleenex or two?"let me remind you that we have well & septic and certain things just can't be flushed down ... you get it? We had to give the dog hydrogen peroxide (learned this trick from the emergency vet we called the last time this happened) and then tied him up outside to let him purge. Once we thought he was good and cleaned out, we let him back in the house where he immediately jumped up on Paige's bed to sleep for the night and left her a present at 2 a.m. :( Jeff has made a new rule: No dog sitting while I may be having my period.

Thanksgiving weekend would not be complete without going out to cut down our Christmas tree. I think this a fun family activity and really reveals each person's personality.

Jeff: Hunter, must find the perfect tree.
Laurie: Impulse buyer - after about five minutes, I'm good - this one is fine.
Paige: Ever so helpful by tossing everyone's gloves in the maybe trees.
Zoey: Tough girl, has to carry the very long & jagged saw.
Zachary: Happy Wanderer - Chasing a dog & running away from us into the woods.

Friday, November 24, 2006


We recently received a letter that said our church presented the salvation story in our daughter Paige's Sunday school class and she asked Jesus into her heart! I couldn't finish reading the rest of the letter until I dried the tears from my eyes. When we sat down to dinner to talk to her about it, she crawled into my lap and wiped away my tears and kept saying, "Oh mom, are you so happy?" I am so happy and feel so blessed that our church invites children to join God's family at any age.

Even though I went to church every Sunday and attended a Christian school, I don't remember when I specifically asked Jesus into my heart. (He has lived there for awhile now :) and I would say that reading the book, "Left Behind" in college helped me take the big step in living not just a "good life" but, a "Godly life".) Unfortunately, in my community it was often assumed that you were saved and that your faith would mature by the time you made Profession of Faith. For some people, this is fine and they don't desire to tell a dramatic beginning to their faith's story. However, I always felt my story was a bit boring, especially when I was asked to give my testimony while on a mission trip to Russia. Now as an adult & parent, I realize just how blessed I was to say that Jesus was always my friend and that as I grew, so did my faith. Christian schools, a loving Christian family, and attending church every week are a great place to start ... as long as you keep talking and growing.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

It's a Girl

After a fun & sleepless night, my dear friend Sarah and her husband Mark welcomed a new baby girl into their family. She keeps being referred to as a "peanut" according to Mom & Dad since she weighs only 5 lbs. 10 oz. Her name is Megan Merie and she couldn't be more beautiful, healthy, or content. I was so honored to "labor" with them and was amazed to witness this miracle of birth. I have to say though, after such a long night - I thought it would take more than two pushes! Hopefully, the happy family is resting and looking forward to all the family & friends that will be visiting and for their 3 year old son to meet the little person that is about to ROCK his world. :)

Sunday, November 12, 2006


Then & Now
There are times when I look at my son and remember that his story is a story of hope. About hoping for the unimaginable and expecting to receive it. It is about the kind of hope that can only be found in God, and in His son, Jesus Christ. There are many things I remember about waiting for Zachary to arrive. I had never seen the minutes on a clock go slower than when I was on bedrest. I had never wanted to sleep more and be physically unable to. I had never loved my husband more or my daughters each time they came to visit the hospital with their sloppy pony tails and mismatched clothes. And I have never felt the hand of God like I did while lying in a hospital bed and pleading with Him for my baby's life. He sustained me, he comforted me, he encouraged me, and he carried me. The lyrics of this familiar hymn became my song; "I need Thee, O I need Thee, ev'ry hour I need Thee; O bless me now, my Savior, I come to Thee." It is my desire to have this same physical need for God (without being in a crisis) and to feel God's hand again and to understand His grace so that I can then extend it to others.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Quick Update on my Life:
*Last night we caught the 10th mouse in our house. Yes, you read that number correctly. We are in double digits.
*I am officially done with what I affectionately called the "WW" (Weight Watchers) and lost 14 lbs. and went down a pant size. So, pass the Halloween candy & bring on the holidays. :) The most helpful thing I learned - "Food is fuel." The least helpful thing I learned - "Losing a 1/2 of a lb. is like losing a stick of butter." Ummm, o.k. Can I choose where I lose those sticks?
*Bible Verse I am trying to memorize, "But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed." Isaiah 53:5
*Quotes that each time I read them they make me laugh:
"When your Mom is mad at your Dad, don't let her brush your hair."
"Never ask your 3 year old son to hold a tomato."
"You can't trust dogs to watch your food."
"Dogs still have bad breath even after eating a tic-tac."
"You can't hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk."

Since life and relationships can sometimes be hard and complicated, I hope that this gave you a smile, chuckle, or even a LOL!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

364 Days until Halloween Next Year - Phew!

Carving Pumpkins with the Neighbors
(Notice Fabes the U of M carved pumpkin - inspired by Truman's UW pumpkin.)

Paige/Dorothy with buddy Madison/Pirate

My little dragon (Zoey) walking in the parade.

Heading out for the big night.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Random Thoughts

Well, the fall soccer season is officially over. Can I get an AMEN. Zoey's team ended up winless and Paige had to miss her last game because she has strep throat. The beautiful fall weather made the games so much more enjoyable however. (If you live in Michigan, you know I'm fibbing.)

Paige came home with a helpful card about "How to Handle Bullies, Teasers, and other Meanies". (Our school district has an excellent program called Project Charlie that works with elementary through middle school students to teach kids how to make good choices. Prevention vs. intervention - good strategy for life and parenting.) Anyway, I got an absolute kick out of their ideas so I thought I would share them.

Say "that's bothering me, please stop." (Obviously, they have never met my husband, this just encourages him.)

Ignore it and walk away. (Not a realistic option to those of us with short fuses. We never walk away.)

Give a witty comeback. ("Your point is?" "Whatever!!!!" "No, really?")

Agree in a funny way. (For example, someone tells you your breath is bad and you say, "I know, thanks for noticing!" How can they really feel like they teased you after you say that.)

And my personal favorite. Confuse them with a compliment/kindness. (For example, when my dad once told me in my first trimester that I was really big I should have said, "I really like your shoes.")

I love it when we can empower our kids & teach them how to use humor!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Ziglet, Zo-Zo, Zozalina

Zoey has always had many nicknames. Lately, she has been given this one time & time again by her daddy, our friends, and especially by Grandpa Pettinga - "mini - Laurie". It is kind of strange to look at her and know that when I was her age, I looked almost identical. Now the only question is: When are the freckles coming? :) The other day I asked her if she could put on her socks and she said, "Why do I have to do everything? Am I your maid?" Nice Zo, very nice. And just for the record, I don't think you can acheive the title of "maid" when you rarely make your own bed, have your clothes magically laid out every morning, and your snack is always packed in your backpack for kindergarten by mom.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Fall into Fall

Yes, I do like pictures of my kids playing in leaves. And I love reading books to my little dragon. Check out Zoey in her costume (she was looking down and so her face is completely hidden.) She has decided that since Halloween is coming soon, she needs to try on her costume daily. Two entries in two days - just for my friend Fabes who was worried about my blogging hiatus. :)

I am studying Acts in Community Bible study this year and found these passages to be inspiring this week. When we come to God and ask for something ... he will answer.
Acts 4:29 & 31:"Now Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness." After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly."

Monday, October 16, 2006

My Husband, the Indian Princess

Jeff organized a fun event this weekend for the Indian Princesses (now called Y Guides because it is more P.C.) This is Jeff & Paige's 2nd year of Y Guides and they both enjoy this father/ daughter group. They went letterboxing at Seidman Park in Ada yesterday. For those of you who don't have a clue what letterboxing is, let me briefly explain it. Letterboxing is an outdoor treasure hunt where you follow clues to find a box hidden in the woods. Once you find it, you read their log book and stamp your journal with their stamp and can sign your name and put your stamp in their log book. Here are just a couple pics of yesterday's big event ... and it was big baby. My ever capable hubby made homemade caramel corn, bought granola to eat on the trail, and packed an entire cooler full of picnic food. I was impressed and yet, a little bit mystified. After all, if he can get this all together on his own - why doesn't he help me more when we have company over? :)

Saturday, October 07, 2006


Ladies and gentlemen ... it is with great pleasure that I report that after watching my daughters play ten soccer games - we finally have a W in the Guikema home. Oh yeah. The drought has lifted. The month of September found us 0-8 and a little concerned about the future of women's soccer. :) Paige's team finally won today but Zoey's team is still 0-5 (I blame the Coach entirely ... oh wait, that's me.) Both girl's are learning a lot and having fun and the highlight of each game continues to be having a sugary snack after it. Coaching five year old's has been interesting and I have to say my competitive side came out a little today when I saw a girl on the opposing team using her arms a bit too much. After watching her manhandle my girls and go on a breakaway right at me, I just had to stick my foot out and tell her to watch it with those arms. I didn't exactly stop the ball or her forward march down the field ... but I got her to pause, if only for a second. I know, I'm rude. Her mom asked if that was interference and I just laughed and said, "well, she needs to watch it a little." She nodded and kept cheering her "princess" on. (This little lady came strutting up to midfield at the beginning of the game and struck a pose, lost her shoe two times while kicking and made everyone wait while she put it back on, and got "injured" and laid on the ground for a full minute going "oh my gosh" - read as OH MY GOSH.) I feel my actions were more than justified. Wait, am I really trying to teach a valuable life lesson in the middle of a game? :)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Fall Collage

These are the beautiful fall colors found at our house. Our maple tree has four colors right now - green, red, yellow, & orange. In the words of Wheezie on 'Dragon Tales' - "LOVE IT!"

Monday, October 02, 2006

Ohhhhhhhhh Kids

This blog entry is entitled: Things my kids can say to me ... but if you did, it would just be wierd. (Remember, these are real quotes from my kids.)

1. "I don't have a peanut. I'm a girl!"

2. "I like your new underwear."

3. "I need more paper toilet."

4. "Look how big my poop is!"

5. "Why are your boobs so floppy?"

This picture is to document how two year old boys feed fish. This earned 'ole Zach a timeout and a spanking tonight. (By the way, no I did not even giggle a little because this was the third time we lost an entire canister of fish food. The first two went in the toilet followed by a big flush!)

Friday, September 29, 2006

Drum Roll Please ...

After purchasing this old barn window one year ago(at the Allegan antique show of course), I finally have professional photographs to display in it. Steph took these shots of my kids this summer and she truly captured each one of their personalities.
Thanks Steph! I am a bit giddy with this new decoration in my house and could hardly wait to clean up the window and put the pictures in tonight. I think I even scared the UPS man a little.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Thanks everybody for hearing my desperate plea for comments. Except of course for you Steph - what are you busy or something? :) On Sunday, five ladies and one truck hit the road to the Allegan Antique Show. While the weather was less than perfect, the day was filled with "good finds" and "girl talk". Why is it that in our modern homes we decorate with chipped frames, rusted tea pots, & old barn windows? Probably 'cause it looks so cool. My dad however, is someone that just doesn't get it and keeps asking me when I am going to paint my table! (Keep in mind: This is also the man who when he saw the colors I was painting in our first house told me "you paint your walls with off white and decorate with color".) Love you dad, but I have my own style. Here are just a few of the couple of "finds" (which my husband calls "old junk") that I have got down in Allegan.

Monday, September 25, 2006


If you are reading this, then you will notice that I changed my template again. Also, I think if you are going to take the time to read my blog ... you really should take the time to comment. I am waiting in eager expectation for your comment. :)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I've Been Tagged

My friend Stephanie (visit her blog at has requested that I tell five wierdly interesting things about myself. I am realizing that I am not really all that wierd ... oh wait ... yes I am, but I don't want all of you to know that!

1.) I have never colored my hair. I know - you can shoot me now. I inherited my grandmother's red hair and so all I have ever had done is a few highlights in the gloomy winter months.

2.) My Dad, my best friend from childhood, and my husband all have the first name Jeff. I'm sure Freud would have some interesting theory about that.

3.) I can't leave my house a mess before I go on vacation. It drives my husband crazy as he sits in the car waiting while I make beds, load the dishwasher, etc.

4.) My Dad coached football for over 20 years at my highschool and when I was born the assistant coach came into the locker room and said, "Coach Pettinga had another girl ."(#5) To which the entire team booed. What a warm welcome I had into the world huh?

5.) I once got a red card while coaching Varsity Volleyball. Who knew you couldn't yell at the referees while walking out on the court? :) All the parents of my players kept asking me if I was Irish. (fiery temper = Irish descent I guess.)

If you read my blog and have one of your own, you have been officially "tagged." In the words of the recess playground - "you're it and no tag backs!" :)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Wood is Good

Alright, a friend of mine is always blogging about her husband's meat (grilled - get your mind out of the gutter people) SO, I thought I should brag about my husband's wood. (Once again sorry Dad and Mom Guikema - I couldn't resist writing that!) Jeff just got finished building this beautiful kitchen work station and we promised his co-workers that he would finally stop talking about it at work and just show a picture. :) He did a great job and even put in a huge drawer for me to store some "baggie essentials". We actually have had the butcher block in our basement for three years just waiting to be sanded and built. Our first house had this amazing butcher block down on the work bench in the basement. When we moved three years ago, we replaced this beauty with a new top for the new owners. (Before you feel too badly for them - keep in mind that this bench IS the size of my old kitchen. I wish I was kidding.) We just discovered the former homeowner's initials burned in the side of the wood and he has been deceased since the 1970's! We are proud to keep Mr. Hooker's craftsmanship alive and I am glad to have a new addition to my kitchen. So remember, next time you see Jeff you have my permission to say, "nice wood."

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Goodbye Summer - Hello Fall

No summer scrapbook would be complete without these two pictures: kids running in the sprinkler and eating a 'smore.

While I love summer, fall is my favorite season. Here are five reasons why this is my favorite season.
1.) Putting on my jean jacket for the first time.
2.) Pulling on a pair of jeans and finding a ten dollar bill in them. Thank you very much.
3.) Eating candy corn or the candy pumpkins. By the way, they are supposed to make your teeth ache after eating all their sugary goodness.
4.) The new season of all my favorite television shows. Dancing with the Stars was great last night. Go Jerry Springer. :) Also, I can't wait for 'Grey's Anatomy, The Amazing Race, and Without a Trace'.
5.) Watching U of M play football and yes, I must admit I do watch the Lions faithfully too.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

First Day of School

Quick post to show you the girls going off to their first day of school. I started writing a sign for them to hold when Paige was in preschool and now, the tradition has stuck. It is really helpful when you look back and wonder which "back to school" pic was from what grade. For those of you who have little ones ... another cute thing to do is have your kids stand back to back with you (with their backpack on) every year and watch them grow. My sister Lisa has done that with her four kids every year and it is amazing to see her 13 yr. old now almost as tall as dad. Hope everyone had a stress free/tear free start to their year.