Monday, May 24, 2010


My brother Ben wasn't much of a student, growing up. He hated homework.

He originally chose to work in a factory instead of going to college.

But then he realized that he wanted more out of life than factory work, so he signed up for Calvin.

He went to classes, and chose a major. He went to China with their study abroad program.

He worked. Hard. School didn't alawys come easy. He worked late into the night sometimes.

He thought about quitting and going back to a normal job.

It was really tempting.

But he kept plugging through it.

He studied. A lot. We wondered who had taken "our" Ben and replaced him with this guy.

And then...


Congratulations, Ben.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Bump

14 weeks along:

baby belly 14 weeks

I had planned on writing something at 12 weeks. But that date sailed right by, and so did week 13.

As of Monday, I'm 15 weeks pregnant.

Sometimes I still find it hard to believe. And then I look down and it's difficult to deny. There's life in there. A beating heart. A growing body (the size of an apple, I hear!) Limbs that can move around (although I don't feel them yet).

I'm immensely thankful to have made it this far. And I've found that over the last few weeks the Lord is teaching me about dependence and trust like I've never experienced before. I think it boils down to the fact that I know - I know - that I have very little control over this deal.

I certainly had very little control regarding the conception of this kid. The year of infertility taught me that.

I have no control over his/her little heartbeat. (But I've heard it and it's beautiful!)

I have no control over the brain development or the growing of limbs and muscles and organs.

I know that there's still no guarantee that this baby will ever take a single breath.

Or that, once he or she is born, we won't find out some kind of scray diagnosis.

And even so, I'm so very thankful for this little unexpected gift. It's an honor to have made it to 15 weeks. I love carrying this child. And I already adore this baby.

And all of the unknowns? Well, that's life. And it's just an opportunity for me to once again place my faith in Jesus, and trust Him alone for each next step.

And the view of my belly that gets me every day?

This one.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Disney World, Part 2

Disney Signbl

Here I go, wrapping up the list of our favorite Disney memories.

5. Aiydan at the pool
Little Mr. Aiydan is a water baby! He loved sitting in the baby pool and splashing away. He could have easily passed on the amusement parks and just spent the entire day at the the campground recreational area.



4. Seeing family
I have two grandparents, a few aunts and uncles, and then a slew of cousins that all live in the Orlando area. I didn't get to see all of them, but a bunch stopped by our campsite to say hi or join us for a dip in the pool. My aunt Peg and her two girls, Sam and Sydney, along with my grandparents joined us at Epcot, which was a ton of fun. Also, it was Peg's boyfriend that got us into Disney for free (he works there) in the first place - THANK YOU SCOTT!


This picture includes me, Montoya, Aiydan, my grandma, Aiyannah, Aunt Peg, Sam, Sydney, my mom, and my grandpa. We were quite the troupe - with two scooters, a walker, and a stroller. And wet as drowned rats - from the downpour on our way in - to boot.

3. Aiyannah & the rollercoasters
She was fearless. She loved them all. Mount Everest? The Tower of Terror? Splash Mountain? She rode all of them with out blinking an eye. She loved the Rockin' Rollercoaster so much she had to ride it twice.


While the rest of our group was riding the rollercoasters, Aiydan and I spent quality time eating ice cream... and leaves.


(And his "Aunt Jessie" had taken off the kid's pants by this point because it was hotter'n blazes. Ah to be the age where pants are optional...)

2. Aiydan & the parades
Second only to the pool, Aiydan wholeheartedly enjoyed the Disney World parades! He kept pointing at the bright lights, colors, and characters, all with a big smile on his face. Otherwise he spent the bulk of his time in the parks sleeping peacefully in a stroller. BEST BABY EVER.



1. Seeing Disney though someone else’s eyes



By far the best part! I've been to Disney World many, many times. And have loved it every single time. But seeing the face of someone who has just viewed Cinderella's castle for the very first time? Or watching a little girl proudly bring her autograph book up to Belle and chat with her for awhile? Or perhaps overhearing her refer to "Apricot" (Epcot) on a regular basis? Montoya even mentioned she's pick Disney World for a honeymoon spot. The vacation was a hit all around.

It still makes me smile to think about it, and truly gave me a new appreciation for the magical quality of Disney.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Disney World, Part 1

Disney Signbl

The much-anticipated trip to Disney has come and gone, and we’ve got many, many fond memories of our time there. I left, with my mom, friend Montoya, and her two children, Aiydan and Aiyannah from Grand Rapids on a Thursday morning. We returned home Sunday afternoon. It was a quick – and whirlwind trip – but chock full of Disney fun.

Our favorites:

10. Staying at Disney World

In my opinion, this is the ONLY way to enjoy Disney with small children or people with disabilities. We didn’t have anyone in our party with a true, lasting disability, but Montoya recently had ACL surgery and so rented a scooter for getting around the parks. We stayed at the campground, Fort Wilderness, and borrowed a trailer of my aunt and uncle’s to stay in. All of the busses/monorails/etc. were handicapped accessible, so getting around the Disney property was pretty seamless. No trying to lift a very heavy scooter into a car! Also, being so close to our home base was great, because we were able to head back to our campsite in the middle of the day (when the sun was hottest and lines were longest anyway) and take a dip in the pool or take a nap.

9. Walking around the parks


There’s just so much to see that doesn’t at all involve the rides. And I really appreciate the attention to detail found in each and every park to make the experience so unique. There’s Sunset Boulevard at Hollywood Studios. Done up in old-school L.A. style, down to the architecture of the shops, the style of the cafes, and street signs. The pathways of the Animal Kingdom make you feel like you’re in a Costa Rican rainforest, the plants are so lush. Well, that is if Costa Rican rainforests sold Mickey Mouse ice cream pops at $4 each. I love it that even the signs pointing you to different attractions are "in character" with the overall theme. And the Magic Kingdom, my personal favorite, boasts five different “lands” and each one is unique. I love Universal, but Disney has the market on that magical, fairy dust thing, and does a great job of making you feel as though you’ve been transported to a different world and a different time.




8. The rides



I couldn’t go on the thrill rides this year, thanks to the nugget, but I still enjoyed a number of attractions. The Haunted Mansion has always been a favorite, and this time was no different. I also enjoyed the Buzz Lightyear ride at the Magic Kingdom and the Toy Story ride at Hollywood Studios, which, quite frankly, are pretty similar. Soarin’ was a family favorite at Epcot – even my grandparents went on it! It’s a Small World is still lame, but hey, it was in the shade, allowed me to sit down, and Aiydan enjoyed pointing that the moving dolls. My favorite ride was the Safari at Animal Kingdom. We saw some fantastic animals, from giraffes to elephants to ostriches. I was totally impressed.



7. Aiyannah & Montoya’s first flight

Aiydan’s, too, but he didn’t seem to care. Montoya was pretty nervous about it all, and for the flight down took a couple of Xanax to calm her down. By the time we went home, however, she realized that it was actually a pretty nice way to travel and enjoyed looking out the window.

Aiyannah got the special privilege of having her name called out over the intercom. The flight crew made special mention that it was her first flight and even gave her a pair of wings to wear and a certificate to bring home – signed by the captain and everything! She was so excited.


6. Aiyannah & the characters

When asked about Disney World before the trip, Aiyannah always said she was most looking forward to meeting the characters and getting autographs. Man alive, she met everyone! Everyone, that is, except for Princess Tiana, from The Princess and the Frog. We’d gotten to the place to meet Aiyannah’s favorite princess a tad too late, and she was gone for the day. My mom told Aiyannah that Princess Tiana had heat stroke and needed to take a rest in Cinderella’s castle. Aiyannah took the news pretty well, and for the rest of the night she’d look up to the castle and ask us how we thought Princess Tiana was doing.

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I'll finish up with the last 5 soon!