Sunday, December 30, 2007

Let Me Entertain You

My kids are in social over-drive. Our week has included 3 Christmas parties, going downtown to ice-skate with our cousins, going to see the movie "Alvin & the Chipmunks", going sledding at the neighborhood hill, and playing at least two board games each and every day. (The kids got five for Christmas and while we are a family that likes to play games, let me just say --- I am gamed out.) Poor Zach has done a lot of self-entertaining while the rest of us play Uno Attack, Operation, Clue, Doodle Cranium, etc. The house is finally starting to resemble a house again and less like the "place where Christmas threw up". :) My family celebrated on the 27th as we awaited the arrival of one of my sisters home from her trip to her in-laws in Canada and right before another sister headed to Mexico to visit her in-laws. We're such an internationally diverse family. :) (I guess one of my brother-in-laws is named Juan but goes by Daniel and is entirely Caucasian. If you call that diversity, then we got it baby!) My parents once again spoiled us with wonderful stockings stuffed with goodies and many great presents. As I look around my house & at my life, I am feeling extremely blessed. Which is a great feeling to have as we head into another January in Michigan. ;)

This is the best picture of my parents together. Check out the bow on my dad's forehead.

My goofy and lovable niece Mya. Cute girl, scary picture.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

These are a Few of my Favorite Things ... and People

Clean kids from their heads to their toes. (And hooded towels.)

Santa Claus/Bill
& Mrs. Claus/Jan

My husband and kids

Great Grandma Pettinga's Banket
And the University of Michigan. (Need I say more?)

Friday, December 21, 2007

One Wild Week

Moms: We made it to Friday. The Christmas parties at each one of our kids' schools are over, the shopping is close to being done, and the cookies are baked. I raise my slice of Costco pizza to you tonight as I watch a movie and veg. out!

Wild & Wacky moments at our house this week:
  1. I hear a huge crash. I ask Jeff, "what was that?" He says, "nothing." Paige looks across the house and yells, "the Christmas tree just fell over." I'm left with some broken ornaments, spilled water (darn live tree), and some concern over my husband's hearing.

  2. Making cookies with my sisters and mom yesterday at our house. With my hands full of corn-flake green wreaths, frosting, peanut butter, etc., all the cousins yell upstairs, "Tyler is hurt. He's bleeding everywhere." Grandpa runs downstairs, Tyler's mom (my sister Cindy) runs down, I run down. A couples hour later Tyler returns from the E.R. with seven stitches and blood all over his pink t-shirt that reads, "TOUGH GUYS WEAR PINK!" (I guess he wore the right shirt to the E.R.!)

One more picture of rafia for Dana (homemade caramel corn this time) & a couple pictures of a game called 'Stuff the Santa' which we did in Zoey's class today. (Thanks Jeff for letting us use your scrubs!) Love

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

French Pedi & Mani

This weekend we had three Christmas parties and so I thought I would ask my sister Julie if she wouldn't mind giving me another french manicure and pedicure. Since she's so sweet & giving, she said yes. However, I think she needs to work on the flip-flops she gives her "clients" when they leave her house. These two flip-flops were the only two she could find in her closet! :)The final result. (Don't my toes look like they're screaming to be free?) After nails, hair, makeup, nylons, high heels, jewelry, a dress, and a push up bra ... may I just say, I wish I was a man. What do they need for a night out? A suit. That's pretty much it.

Monday, December 17, 2007

It's Gift Giving Time

Yep, I'm one of those moms. The kind of mom that puts together a homemade gift for every person that volunteers or works with her kids. This year was one of my favorite gifts I have ever put together. I bought holiday mint foot scrub and lotion ($1/each at Target) and paired it with a pair of fuzzy slipper socks (three pack on sale at Costco for $7.50). A very nice florist hooked me up with small clear bags and only wanted a "thank you" as her payment. I made a homemade card and tied a little raffia bow to finish it off. Grand total for this gift: $4.50. I also make homemade strawberry jam every year and put it in decorative jars and add a cheesy card that says, "thanks for teaching my little berry." Homemade caramel corn is also always a hit. I know, I know... I hate moms like me too. :)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Scary Picture, Cute Cakes

Have I mentioned that my sister Julie is a whiz with frosting? :)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Friends are Fabulous

This weekend was our annual friends get-away to Chicago. Love the hotel, love time away from my beautiful kids, love shopping downtown, love our dear friends. Sorry to our traveling and room buddies Mark & Steph who were still getting ready when we were snapping pictures. Let me just say, they looked hot! :) It was great to hang out with Nick, college buddy of the Calvin boys and Chicago native, and meet his fiancee' Caylei too.
Thanks for letting me borrow your sweater Tara.
I like it so much, I'm going to get one of my own! :)

Brian and Jil & Kevin and Michelle

Sandy and Joel & Dave and Kim

Dutch Boys = Tall Boys

Thursday, December 06, 2007


Picture courtesy of Miracles Photography
So, a couple nights ago the girls asked me to crack their toes. (Don't ask me how this got started or why they like hearing their little bones pop!) Well Jeff thought that if I was touching the kids feet, his should not be excluded. So he proceeded to take off his sock and put his funky toes right in my face. I, the sometimes dramatic one, decided to carry on and on about his stinky toe jam and how disgusting it was. I stopped my rant however when I looked over and saw Zoey standing up on her bed, eyes red and watering, and her hands under her mouth ... gagging like there was no tomorrow.

Seriously, it was so funny and yet we couldn't laugh because she was embarrassed and we felt bad for her. Let's just hope no one ever pukes at school in front of Zoey. She would go down right with them!

Monday, December 03, 2007

To my body: Pick a "problem area" and stick with it. Don't go and create new ones. Thanks.

To the family dressing room in Target: You are very unflattering.

Lions --- You're such a tease

Why must you tease your fans into believing in you every year?
I need to start cheering for a different NFL team. I'm leaning towards New England. Tom Brady is a U of M alum and not too shabby to look at either.
( O.K. the getting another woman pregnant and then dating a supermodel tarnishes his image a bit, but I'm a life-long Lions fan ... I'm used to disappointment.)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Being 3 can be tough!

This little boy can be both highly amusing and annoying. And sometimes he can be both at the same time. He has developed a very loud, piercing scream that he likes to use in the car and out and about at stores and restaurants. It's fun. If I had a digital video camera instead of our archaic one, I would share a little sample of it with you. I just need to remember that he will outgrow this current defiance and short temper. Right? I do want to share some of Zachary Eli's more amusing moments too.
  • He likes to chant this in the car, "Hey, hey what's that sound? Michigan State is in the ground!" That one is for you two Brenda & Patti. :)
  • He starts most stories with, "Once upon a time ..." And most of what follows could never be considered either a fairy tale, or even a good story. Like the other day he said, "Once upon a time --- Zoey had diarrhea and you had to clean the toilet." Beautiful Zach!
  • He made his preschool teacher lift him up to my car window to get a goodbye kiss from me (on the lips of course) when I dropped him off in the carpool line in front of his entire class. Do you think he'll still do this when I drop him off at his high school? ;)
  • And this last one shows just how much I enable my little boy. He stands at the toilet and waits for me to lift the lid and pull down his pants before he goes. I must really love this kid.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

What I'm Thankful For by Paige

The thing that I'm most thankful for is my family because my brother and sister play with me and my parents care for me. Also I'm thankful for my family because they do the best for me. Zoey is usually always there because she is almost everywhere I go. (NICE!) Zach is the one that makes my life crazy. (MINE TOO!) Mom and Dad are always taking me to cool stuff. That's what I am thankful for most.

Paige just asked me if she was a "fashion girl" after a friend told her that her boots were fake Uggs (like I'm going to spend $100 on boots she is going to outgrow in a year ---please little girlie. And we weren't trying to get fake Uggs because ... proving just how fashionable we truly are ... we didn't even know what Uggs were! LOL!) I answered Paige's question by saying, "No, not really but either am I." She said she was glad that she didn't care about always having to wear the latest trends and styles. (I hope she keeps this kind of self-confidence as she grows older.) She obviously has adopted my shopping style. If you can't buy a bag of potato chips in the next aisle over, forget about ever getting new clothes! :) Cheers to Costco & Target.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Oh My

Since today I am now half-way to 70 --- oh my --- we had a FFD. (Yes, we created this title last night for our Family Fun Day.) We went to the Children's Museum, Yesterdog, and saw 'Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium.' It's all about me today as you can see! Motherhood redefines how you celebrate your birthday.

I had to renew my license and get an eye exam since I am getting so old :) and I've decided that the Secretary of State's office is one of the last places that can be considered "A Great Equalizer". It doesn't matter how old you are, what race you are, how rich or poor you are, how many kids you have & drag in there with you ... everybody, yes everybody has to go in there to either get a license plate or renew their driver's license. You can't hire someone to do it for you. There is no contracting out this job. You have to show up (with the rest of the city), take a number, wait in line, take a test, and cough up some cash, check, or Discover card. (Seriously, who has a Discover card?) I found this "equalizer" rather refreshing. But maybe that's because I got there early and only had to wait 10 minutes. (And the people watching was very entertaining as I tried to figure out who was with who and how that lady managed to feed her baby a bottle while she took her driver's test.)

My college roomate Amy gets some major friend points for mailing me a card from Washington state and having it arrive on my birthday. You have now done what my mother has never been able to do! :)

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Paige in one of my dresses and Zoey in Daddy's suit coat dancing together.

Last weekend when I tried on my fancy dress, the girls were way into it. So I asked Paige if I should wear my "suck you in" underwear to which she responded with, "Well Mom, your feet are already going to be uncomfortable in those shoes. Do you really want your stomach to be too?"

Good point Paige. Good point.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Mr. Sparty

There is a man at church who I will just call "Sparty" in order to maintain his anonymity. Sparty is a typical MSU fan; happy when his team wins, thrilled when Michigan loses. Mr. Sparty was very loosed lipped after the first two games that Michigan lost but has been avoiding us at church ever since. Curious huh? :) After last's week big game where Michigan once again won, we said nothing to him, his wife, or his children who are little Sparty Juniors. (He is the type of guy that even when you give a hard time, it's not very satasifying. Like when we teased him a few weeks ago about MSU losing he replied, "Oh, I don't care about football. I'm waiting for the basketball and hockey season. How is Michigan in basketball and hockey?") Ugh, walk away from Sparty. Well, he hunted us down yesterday and gave us a little crap to which I smartly followed my own advice and walked away from Sparty.
And one more thing, how come the most avid sports fans look like they haven't ever played a team sport in their life? I'm just saying ...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Adults Play Dress Up Too

This post is for Patti (dear neighbor who came over for a sneak peek and her husband Scott who loaned Jeff some dress socks), Julie (my manicurist/sister), Sarah (best friend who let me borrow the jewelry), and Jeff's brother Steve who hooked him up with the suit. (Steve was amazed that Jeff has made it into his mid 30's without ever owning a suit. But hey, when you're in the medical field, you interview in scrubs!:) I believe everyone is more excited about the "gala" we are going to than we are! Now if I don't sprain my ankle in my sexy little shoes ... I should be good to go!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Really Random

O.K. I am going to go from kids accepting Christ to these random thoughts. I yam what I yam.
  • I had a dream last night about laundry. Can you say "pathetic"? Now my dream life is as boring as my real life.
  • How come when a man wins at cards he is skilled but if someone else does it's all because they got the right cards?
  • We are going to an art exhibit opening this weekend where the invite read, "Black tie optional, ball gowns preferred, pretty hair expected." Let me just say it again, I am what I am. I guess my 'am' is going to have to step it up a bit.
  • I realized this week that I am conservative. Especially when I realized that I was calling the Grand Rapids Press a.k.a The Daily Christian Press too liberal.
  • I need to get on the treadmill (time to pump my fists to the 'Eye of the Tiger' that can only be heard in my head) so that's all for now. Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A wage vs. a gift

On Sunday, I got the privelege of teaching my 2nd and 3rd grade Sunday school kids about how God loves them so much he sent His son Jesus to die on the cross to take the punishment for our sins. I love to teach these kids and usually feel pretty confident and prepared each week. However, knowing what I was going to teach this week I had a nervous anticipation and prayed that God would lead the kids to open their hearts to him and choose Him as their forever friend. We got into a great discussion about the difference between a wage and gift. Interestingly, they really didn't know what the word "wage" meant. (Ahhh, to not know about working for money. To be a kid again!) After we talked about it for awhile, they understood that you earn a wage but Christ came as a gift. An undeserved, unearned, freely-given, amazing gift. My prayer (and my friends at Bible Study were praying too) was that God would do the leading and if the kids asked Jesus to be their Savior --- great. If not, they could take some time to think about it and choose when they were ready. Nine kids responded and asked Jesus in their heart. Awesome. Way to go God!

Your Opinon Please

If your child keeps coming in your bed every night but always crawls in on the same spouse's side; who is responsible for bringing that child back to his/her own bed?

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Man Rules

#1 Man Rule: If you help out around the house all day, you can watch the entire U of M game guilt free and uninterrupted.

How do I know about these man rules? Today my husband has emptied and filled the dishwasher, vacuumed the house, picked up the leaves, and washed my van ALL without being asked. Enjoy the game hon, you earned it! :)

Go Blue!

And to Mr. Mario Manningham with your gravity-defying, game-winning, touch down catch ... I raise my glass --- of Diet Coke. :)

Friday, November 02, 2007

Another Place by Paige Guikema, age 8

Glimmering snow at a tippy top of a moutin. Pinetrees glissen with doo when the ice rink is so slippery you could fall with one step. Blue and white mountins everywhere some in the distence and some not. Craving a snowy cave I find a littel fawn prancing away. Seeming its getting black the cold dark moon peers through the clouds. Darker and darker the night gets.

Trying to find my way then I see a tiny light a small littel laturn. As I grab one of the laturns I hear a howl like a wolf. Looking up to the moon I see a shadow of a wolf. Running back to the cave I try to make a fire. No use. Trying to get warmed up by a laturn is not easy. Cold night passes quickley. Drop of sunlight fills the morning sky. Peachy colers everywhere. I crawl out of the lump of snow I was sleeping on. Snow falling down my boots. Thats what can happen in another place.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

It's Candy Day!

I would be reported to social services if I didn't share some pics of my kids in their Halloween costumes. And as I sit here and stuff my face with candy waiting for trick-or-treaters to come ring my doorbell, what else do I really have to do? :)

1950's Diner Girl/Paige

(Thanks to Grandma Guikema & Paige won a neighborhood costume contest!) Dorothy/Miss Zoey

Mr. Candy Corn/Zach

Monday, October 29, 2007

New Week - New Attitude

The inside of the dryer.

Last week was a doozy. Tuesday night we locked the keys in the van as we walked into a school function and then Wednesday I washed & dried an enormous load of laundry where a pen exploded in it. No tricks this week, only treats ... please. (Thanks to the internet and other laundry losers we found a way to get this off. What did our mothers do before

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Time for some cute quotes from my kids:

Zach: Are you thinking what I'm thinking?
Zoey: I've been dreaming about how I'm going to look in my costume so I don't need to try it on.
Paige: I look pretty in this picture. (So humble! :0 )

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Gimme a Break (Notice I spelled give me wrong!)

These are just five out of the twenty impossible spelling words my 8 yr. old needed to learn this week.
  1. eclipse
  2. astronomy
  3. satellite
  4. observe
  5. Uranus

I think it's a sure sign that these are too difficult when the parents need to look at the paper to make sure they are spelling it right! (Darn school district that emphasizes academic excellence!) I'm tempted to tell Paige to "throw the game" on Monday when she takes the pretest. Three or more wrong and we would be on easy street. :)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Double JJ = Double the Fun

Since it's the month of October, it's time to celebrate my dad's birthday. My dad who wanted no celebration, recognition, or fanfare when he retired from teaching and coaching baseball, absolutely, positively, loves to celebrate his birthday. He is the only professor I know who would bring in birthday treats to his college students. (If you are actually reading my blog dad, may I just say, I find it very endearing.) So with all that being said, he decided this year's celebration would take place at the Double JJ Ranch in Muskegon. My Aunt Mary was the interior designer for this resort and has a suite that is just plain SWEET. 22 Pettinga's descended upon this place and played, ate, slid down some cool water slides, walked a corn maze, rode a horse, laughed, and had fun. Thanks Dad for so generously giving us a great weekend getaway on your birthday and for giving us the gift of having you as a dad and grandpa every day.
My brother-in-law had his digital video camera and if I can get my hands on some of that footage, I will be posting that too! (I was told by some family members that I would need written permission to use this but since when I have followed the rules? I'm the baby of the family after all!)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Zach Needs a Nap

Seriously? You would think this kid doesn't own a bed!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Growing Up

After the girls saw the pictures of their oldest cousin going to a highschool dance for the first time, they got to thinking about when they will be able to go someday. This was our conversation over breakfast this morning.

Paige: I wonder what boy I will go with to a dance.
Me: You don't have to go with a boy. You can go with your friends too.
Paige: No, I'm going with a nice boy.
Zoey: I'm going with a nice boy but he's gonna be cute too.
Paige: It doesn't matter what they look like on the outside, it matters what's in their heart.
Zoey: Nope! He's gotta be cute. Oh --- and funny too.

When did these two grow up? In this picture, Paige doesn't have her glasses yet and check out those cheeks on Zoey! Slow down girlies, slow down.

#1 reason I am ready for cooler weather: So I don't have to shave my legs every day. :)

Saturday, October 06, 2007


What Bothers Me by Paige
(Sept. school journal entry)
One thing that bothers me most is fake crying to get you in trouble. Don't like it. Hate it. How do I know? One word. Sisters. That's what bothers me most.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Eating a little Humble Pie

Definition of Humble Pie: To be forced to humble or abase oneself. O.K. I admit that I take some credit for Paige's amazing writing ability and the fact that she is ahead of her age in reading. But I wasn't prepared for the fact that the very same day that I posted one of her school journal entries, I would get a call from Zoey's teacher saying Zo needs a little extra help with reading. Hello humble pie. Why do you have to taste so bad? :)

Monday, October 01, 2007

Paige; Future Novelist

My Quiet Place by Paige, age 8

Sometimes you need a quiet place. Bright green grass tickling my feet as I walk at my quiet place. Enormous logs cushioned with soft green moss. Mini-creeks pass by with the little fat frogs jumping in and out. Blue jays and hawks swooping around me. Golden sun beats down on me like lasers. Little mists come out of nowhere. Amazing shiny rocks, big, little, around me like a shield. At the end of the valley I look up humongous trees everywhere. Dirty little paths lead everywhere as if they were expecting me. Yellow, orange, red, and green. Little fawns and their mothers and fathers of all different creatures and babies all look at me and it seems they are almost whispering --- "hunters are coming, hunters are coming". The valley is my quiet place.

(Spell checked by mom. Content all Paige.)
Her teacher's comment to this piece was one word --- wow. You can say that again. :)

Friday, September 28, 2007

Things I Learned This Week

  1. A new parenting philosophy (thanks Betsy D.V.) called Spoiled Strictly. Be strict with your kids on the important things and remember to spoil them sometimes too.
  2. The exposed area in the back is now called the "Second Cleavage." Oy vey. This means that girls not only know that their backside is showing, but are trying to show it off. (And let's not kid ourselves, moms are doing it too as I saw a mom's thong on display when she sat down today. Eeewww.)
  3. I am not as fast as I once was in a game of Capture the Flag and second graders can now catch me.
  4. God desires a daily relationship with me. Keyword for me to remember is daily.
  5. I get the most stressed out during the day moments before the bus is set to arrive.
  6. Don't ever say, "I never ..." Like I never spank my kids anymore ... oh wait ... except when the bus is coming & they are moving like snails and I am stressed out. :)
  7. There are some really great people in this world --- and some really not great ones.
  8. There is nothing like receiving a compliment about your kid that recognizes their character. Not their physical appearance but their character.
  9. That Jesus not only died on the cross for me, but also laid down his dignity as he was stripped, flogged, and mocked. (Beth Moore is so insightful and her passion for the Lord is contagious.)
  10. My kids look forward to the weekend just as much as I do.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Total & Complete Fluff

When I was in college, I dated a string of short men until I met Jeff who stands at 6'4". Now it seems that the men I think are good looking in movies & television are tall, lean, side-burned, sandy-blonde haired stars. Coincidence? I think not.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The little man has started school.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Tagged & My Dancing Girls

O.K. I've been tagged by my friend Michelle who has just told us she is preggers with #3. Congrats again Michelle. I was supposed to write down some rules but I'm a rule-breaker so it goes something like this: using your middle name initials tell something about yourself and if you don't have a middle name, make one up. My middle name is SUE. (My sister's are; Joy, Lynn, Kay, & Joan - good solid 1970's names!)

S - I'm going to have go with Sassy. Whether it's my mouth, or my general attitude towards life.

U - Unrealistic. I have some unrealistic goals like beating the clock when I'm late, getting my stomach back after having kids, being the perfect mom, wife, friend, aunt, sister, & daughter. Sheesh - that's a lot of titles & pressure.

E - Educator. I love to teach, I really do. Whether it be at home, volunteering at school, or teaching Sunday School every week. Maybe someday I should get paid for it again. A novel idea.

I tag Fabes, Brenda, and my sister Julie's new blog.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Funny Because It's All True

  1. I now know of two men who have only ever kissed their wives in their entire life. Sweet? Funny? Or just a bit sad? (By the way, I dated one in highschool. Sorry you missed out on my "wild days" in college buddy!)
  2. Today, while out for a walk with Zach, I was passed by a senior citizen also walking. (I'm sure it was the jogger stroller that was slowing me down. Right?)
  3. When Jeff used the bathroom today at work, he noticed that he had a melted dum dum sucker stuck to his boxers.
  4. During halftime of the Michigan-Notre Dame game on Saturday, my girlfriends and I decided to take the kids outside to play. When I saw a little neighbor boy (who's dad just happened to go to ND) outside too I told him I was sorry that his team was losing. (Yeah right.) To which he quickly responded, "No, Notre Dame just scored two touchdowns." What a little stinker & liar. :)
  5. When Jeff was doing a swallow study on an eighty year old woman and was feeding her applesauce laced with barium, he actually said ... wait for it ...

"Here comes some NUM NUM."

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Strike's Over & Thanks for Commenting :)

This is how I found Zach this afternoon. In a purple & pink dragon costume and fast asleep across the shoes in the bottom of my closet. Looks like someone could have used a nap ... and has sisters!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Blogger on Strike

I blog for comments.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Had to be Repeated

While reading my book club buddy Bradi's blog, one of her friends commented on the rules of min-van ownership. I didn't know there were any rules ... but these ones are worth repeating!

  1. You can't - CAN'T take it out on dates.
  2. You can never drive while your husband drives shotgun. It is the ultimate un-manning of a male.
  3. You can only drive one until your kids are in upper elementary and then, you HAVE to give it up for something cooler. And you can't drive one if you're over 60.
  4. Spare your husband from ever driving it when he's alone with the kids. Remember: mini-van = mini-man.

"Remember, no one ogles a chick in a mini-van." I don't know if this comment was made by a man or woman. While I agree with almost all of your rules, I must disagree with your last comment because I look HOT in my van baby! :)

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Kind Of?

While watching "Bridge to Terabithia" last night, both Mom & Dad were crying.
Paige (who had already seen the movie) noticed our eyes kept tearing up and she said, "Yeah, this movie is kind of sad."
To which Zoey replied, "You call this kind of sad?"

Every time I replay this conversation in my head, I chuckle out loud.