Monday, March 31, 2014

Fun in Michigan with Grandpa and Grandma

The four of us were VERY excited to spend some time with Grandpa and Grandma on their home turf in Zeeland, Michigan! Grandma and Grandpa had spent a lot of time preparing (getting out fun toys and books, checking books out of the library, buying our boys' favorite foods, and planning some fun activities). We had a wonderful time together!

One special activity was a "Family Book Night" at their public library. This annual event is really cool -- there were probably 12-15 "stations" that the boys could choose from. Each station/activity corresponded with a specific picture book -- for example, at the "If You Give a Mouse a Cupcake" station, the boys could decorate and eat their own cupcakes.

Other stations included ...
a face-painting station. (The high school volunteer said that her specialty was making kids look like giraffes. Ian looked a little more like he just had yellow dots all over his face, but he seemed to like it ....),

a barbershop quartet,
and a station where kids could pet rabbits
(and HOLD THEM, too!)
Both boys thought this station was one of the best ones!
But Ryan also really, really liked this car racing/Pinewood Derby station. Ryan would run in laps around the race track -- picking out a car, running it to the start line, and running to see it at the finish. He probably raced 4 different cars.
To add to the library excitement, the day after, Ian received a phone call saying that his name was drawn as one of 10 winners to receive his very own book. He was excited to go to the library to pick up his book -- about a 4-year-old who went bowling with his dad for the first time.

Another BIG activity was getting to play in the snow! Ian spent lots and lots of time outdoors the first three days we were there! He loved seeing his footprints in the snow,

sitting in the big pile of snow on Grandpa and Grandma's porch,

rolling around and making snow angels,
and climbing to the top of snow "hills."
Ryan didn't know what he thought of the snow and cold weather.

He was happy for short periods of time outdoors as long as he was playing with some of Grandpa and Grandma's fun outdoor toys (and NOT in the snow!) ...
... or if he was being held. (Momma totally understands, Ryan. Momma realized yet again that she's a big fan of Texas weather! Ha!)

Ian was VERY fascinated with Grandpa's snow blower. Grandpa showed him how it worked ...
... and even scooped snow OFF the piles and back ONTO the driveway so that Ian could see it in motion. (Now THAT'S true Grandpa love! :)) Ian thought this was VERY fun!

One afternoon, Grandpa took Ian on his own special outing. After taking Ian to the car wash, Grandpa took Ian to church so Ian could help put the letters in the sign ...

... and to do a little bit more snow-playing,

including going sledding down a big hill! :)

We spent lots of time relaxing, playing, and spending time together inside, too. Matt and the boys enjoyed throwing a ball to each other.
The boys enjoyed showing their puppies around Grandma and Grandpa's house.

Grandma read lots of stories to both boys.

Daddy and Grandpa some books to the boys as well.

Grandpa spent lots of fun playing with the boys, too -- including showing Ryan some of the special features of the Little People bus ...

... and spending time watching the garbage trucks out the window.
The boys think it's SOO cool that there are multiple garbage trucks that come by at Grandpa and Grandma's house (since home owners have a choice of sanitation companies).
Grandma spent her fair share of time on the floor, laughing and playing with the boys.

One day, it really warmed up, and the boys enjoyed riding/pushing toys down Grandpa and Grandma's driveway.

Ian enjoyed making the snow blue by spraying some colored water on the snow. How fun!

The next day, we woke up to new snow on the driveway. Ian was more than happy to help Matt shovel the driveway.

Even Ryan did some "weed whacking" to help!
Thanks for your gracious hospitality, Grandpa and Grandma. The four of us had a WONDERFUL time with you! We love you!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Seeing our godchildren ...

 We were thrilled to be able to see Matt's parents in Michigan over our spring break a few weeks back. One of the first things we were able to do while in Zeeland was see our godchildren.

Hannah (7), Elijah (almost 4), and Josiah (almost 1) -- along with their parents, Todd and Jess -- live in the Detroit area. We were good friends with Todd & Jess when we lived and taught in Michigan but now only get to see them once a year. We were so thankful their family was willing to make the trek to the western side of the state so we could catch up with them!

Hannah is so grown up now! She's a great conversationalist and a fantastic artist. She colored a beautiful picture for Matt's parents.
Hannah was also excited to make a Lite Brite picture for us all to enjoy.

All of the kids played well together, but Elijah and I an really seemed to hit it off.

 One of the kids' favorite things to do together was play in the snow. (Actually, I should say it was Ian's favorite thing. Elijah and Hannah were kind enough to go out in the white stuff YET AGAIN and show Ian what it's all about!) Here, Elijah and Ian traipse up a hill.
 Despite Elijah's face, they both really enjoyed getting pulled around on the sled, especially down the little hill in Grandpa & Grandma's yard.

Ryan, on the other hand, didn't so much like the cold weather ... or the snow ... or the sled, even though Hannah was trying to make it really fun for him! 
 Kim got a little workout pulling Ian and Hannah for a while....
 ... and then Ian took a 5-second turn pulling Hannah.
 One of the best parts of Grandpa & Grandma's yard was how HIGH the snow was, especially right by the road and driveway.

 Hannah reminded Ian what a snowball fight looks like ...
 We also enjoyed plenty of fun times indoors. Ryan and Josiah hit it off as well as two babies can ...

... and everyone enjoyed all of Grandpa & Grandma's toys!
 Kim enjoyed a little cuddle time with sweet Josiah! What a great baby! This was our first time to meet him!
 We adults enjoyed the time to catch up together while the kids played. We thank God for your friendship, Todd and Jess, and for your faithful prayers for our family. The Lord is using you mightily -- in many ways -- to advance His kingdom. Your faith and service to others are so inspiring to us!

And you, precious Elijah, Hannah, and Josiah, (as well as Ian and Ryan, of course!) are in our daily prayers, that our Lord would strengthen your faith and that you would always love Him with your whole heart! We love you, too! :)

Thanks again for making the trip to see us, Merz family! Maybe next visit we can come see YOU in your new house!