Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sinter Klaas Day

The van Wingerden family started a "new" tradition a few years back. It's actually an old Dutch Tradition, and we all love it. We don't celebrate on the actual Dutch Sinter Klaas Day - we celebrate when we can organize all vW's schedules to get together. This year it was Dec. 13th.
We started with a simple but family favorite meal: Pizza from Lorenzos! (sounds totally Christmasy doesn't it?).
Then we gathered around the fireplace and Opa read the true Christmas story from Luke 2.

Then all the grand kids found their wooden clogs lined up by the fireplace, and posed for the obligatory picture. Kayte, Jack, Gracie and Blake are on top. Hailey, Todd, Chatham, Hannah - holding Abby, Mak and T.J. Then Will in the very front (never too far from his Mommy)

Chatham read to us the opening of the riddles - each kids had a clue in their clogs, and the gifts were hidden around the house.

David read Kayte's Riddle - she wasn't too interested.Kayte loved her new travel bag and magnadoodle! Jack's riddle - of course all the older cousins help him to solve it.

TJ and his new Sudoku game - for the plane trip.Mak showing off his travel bag - did you notice they all got one? Plus something to put in it.
His riddle was my favorite:

No Doctorate, no Masters,
no Bachelors for me,
The reason I work,
I have Zero Degrees.

He found his 2nd clue in the the freezer :)

Grandma has a stack of gifts for each of the kids too - a little activity or book to put in their travel bags.

And to finish off the night we have our traditional snowman cake - which doubles as a birthday cake for Oma.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas Party!

Yesterday we have our "school" Christmas party - actually we just invited a family, who invited another family, over. We made cookies, ate pizza, decorated cookies, read books, ate cookies and listened to Christmas music.
This is "Miss Wendy" (I met her that morning) with Carson and Chatham.
Roll out the dough! We had 9 kids in all. Look carefully to see Jack. He has become a very timid child, and it took him until the cookies were baked and half decorated before he could come into the kitchen - and that was holding my hand. He did come around though and realized how much fun it was.
Carson again!
TJ and Jack
(who has taken to winking for almost all occasions - it gets him out of saying "thank you")
Kayte (who was very upset for some reason at that moment), Carson, Mak and Will. Mak really is tall, but he is also several years older than William.

Will, Macie, Maddie and Chatham.

When I tried a group picture we couldn't see the cookies :) So I broke them up into little groups.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sick doesn't mean sad

I generally don't sleep well when David is gone - he's in Guatemal right now. But last night I had a different reason for my lack of sleep. If my Title and the picture below haven't given it away for you, I'll explain.
Kayte came down with a fever yesterday afternoon. By 5:00 she was exhausted so I put her to bed. She woke up two hours later, a trend she continued through much of the night. Since she is such a picky eater and drinker things are only more difficult when she is sick - so she pretty much only consumed milk yesterday. Getting any medicine in her to help her feel better is also a huge challenge. For example I tried to give her some Tylenol and, being the stubborn girl she is, she gagged on it. That triggered further gag reflexes and it didn't take long before she and I were covered in curdled milk! That was 7:00. David is so much better at the whole medicine thing! By 11:00 she was miserable, and I resorted to strapping her down and giving her medicine basically drop by drop. It helped her (and me) sleep for a bit.
Today has been a "hold you" day. And despite the fact that I am getting nothing else done, I've been enjoying it. She's normally not much of a cuddler.

Jack gave me quite the giggle showing me his dance moves. I tried to hold the camera still...hope you smile as much as I did. I took two videos, and both make me laugh, though they aren't too different from each other. He is such a goof!

Saturday, December 06, 2008


Sorry about the lack of posts lately, I haven't been pulling my camera out much lately...that usually means we aren't doing anything fun or worth posting, which is probably because we are busy just trying to get through school so we can enjoy our Christmas Break!!!! We are very excited because it's been 6 years since we've had a Christmas with the Ewing side of the family - so Chatham was Kayte's age the last time. I hesitated to post our "Christmas picture" (taken on Thanksgiving), because it may spoil the "surprise" of our Christmas card, but oh well.

Above is all Seven of us. I think my boys need lessons in how to smile. Uncle Jason, our very gracious photographer, was quite frustrated with them!

Below is all Twenty seven of the van Wingerden family. There are two expecting mothers in this photo too - but I'm not one of them :).

For the Record (or those who really want to know, but can't remember) Clockwise from back left:
Wesley, Scott -holding Will, Abby, Kevin - holing Blake, CJ & Alison, Opa, Jason, Carolyn & Chris, David - holding Kayte, Chatham, Mak, Keri holding Jack, T.J., Oma, Connie - holding little Abby, Todd, Hailey, Hannah, And Mona - holding Gracie.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Art Class

What started out as a couple Mom's who weren't thrilled with their music program - so we got together once a month to take turns teaching it - has evolved to a very fun day for the kids. Music has been "cut" from the program, but we now do art and science projects, and our group is growing. The other project that I didn't get a picture of - but wish I had, was sewing quilt squares, as a part of learning about travel west and the patterns they put into their quilts to tell a story. From what I hear the boys actually did better than the girls, but they don't want to admit they enjoyed it.

This day they were learning about architectural elements to buildings. They had to identify and then put together a building with, columns, pediments, friezes, etc... they were sad to not get to put a cupola on - anybody have to pull out a dictionary for that one? :)

Mak and Noah have become good friends (and Noah's Mom is our fabulous art teacher).

Chatham and Abby, are also good friends, but they are sometimes unsure how to handle it because of the boy/girl situation.

This is almost our whole group, three kids were "absent".

The best part about the whole thing is that the building we use has a play room for the little kids. Kayte is looking out a "tree house" window.

Monday, November 10, 2008

September, October, November Birthdays and announcements

Kayte is still new to the gift opening process, but since she
was the youngest in the group she got to go first.
She got a lot of "accessories" to the doll house that Bubba built for her
(see next post)
Jack was so thrilled with his first gift of Star Wars Legos
that he jumped off my lap and ran and gave Oma a huge hug!

Mak received the well wrapped (notice the plastic Target bag)

from Aunt Abby.

And here is almost the whole group of Birthday people...
Somehow Scott managed to steer clear of the camera.

Kaytence, Todd, Gracie, Opa, Jack and Mak
And to top off the occasion there were a few announcements to be made.
Come next May/June we will have two new birthdays to Celebrate.
Uncle CJ and Aunt Alison on their #1
And to
Uncle Scott, Aunt Mona, Hannah, Todd, Hailey, Gracie and Will
on their coming addition.

As the vW family grows we find it more and more difficult to get us all together. It was finally November before we celebrated the September Birthdays - so we included October and November too.

For our personal family that included:

Jack (Sept 28 - he's 4),
Kayte (Oct 5 - she's 2) and
Mak (Nov. 27 - which is Thanksgiving this year and he'll be 10!)

Kaytence being girly or as Jack would say: Grilly

I have tried a few times now to tie Kayte's hair in "rags" at night in order to have some curl the next day - very old fashioned I know, but there's no risk of burning her, and I tried it on myself when we lived in Ethiopia with great success. So far, for Kayte, the ones that stay in work well, but I always seem to have one fall out and then it's uneven and looks funny. She sure is cute when it's all tied up though. I'll let you know if I'm ever successful :)My Great Aunt Mim wore hats often and recently I was given several of them.
Here Kayte is showing off one of them.
The others you will see on top of the doll house -
since I have yet to find the best place to keep them.

This is Kayte's new doll house and I am very proud of it. Bubba made it for her when he was here last month, but I was in charge of painting it which is why it's picture is just now getting published. Needless to say, she loves it! (Thanks Dad!!!)

The above picture is before she got her "accessories" and the one below is her showing off her dolls and their things...for some reason her favorite thing is the toilet, and she likes to have the dolls sit on it. Yet she won't use a real one, I know that day is coming though, and I will be done with diapers for good - oh the things we look forward to as parents.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Last week

Last week was an eventful week. David had a business trip to Israel, so I was home with the kids. The problem was that I had been sick with a sore throat before he left, and once he was gone my voice decided to go too. Being a Mom without a voice isn't easy.

During the week we had our final football game - I was happy, the boys were not. Probably because playing is a whole lot more fun than sitting on the sidelines trying to keep track of Jack and Kayte.
TJ also got his cast off. He played every football game with that cast on, and continued with his piano and violin lessons - amazing if you ask me.

At our new house we have a large pile of dirt that has been keeping the boys busy whenever David and I have things to do over there. They are building a fort. This is the view from inside it.
Here is the shot showing the steps they made to go up. And here is a shot to give you perspective on where it is near the hous, and how big the pile is.
They have been warned that the pile will not always be there, someday we'll need that dirt to fill in around the house.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mak's Lego Marble Run

Mak spent a lot of time creating, and to give you a glimpse into who he is you have to listen to his explanation. I promise that "thereby" is not a word I use when I talk to him! Even though you can't see as much as I wish you could, I think you grasp the complexity of it by how detailed his description is. You will also have to excuse Kayte's screaming in the background.

Also take note of his face when it actually works!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

pumpkin carving

When my family was here we carved the pumpkins that we had gotten at Apple Hill.

Bubba was the main carver, and he tried to do what each boy asked for.
Mak wanted to do his own, and was quite private about it.

Chatham had fun cleaning them out.

When Bubba asked Jack what kind of pumpkin he wanted, he said "a grumpy one". So here we are with his grumpy pumkin. Mak's turned out

really cool as a skeleton pumpkin, and Jack's grumpy pumkin actually made him happy. So we have a Happy Jack and a grumpy Jack-o-lantern.

My fun kids

My fun kids
In their favorite tree