Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

We celebrated our quaint family Christmas last night, before our Christmas Eve service and dinner with friends.

sweats & coffee mug for Jim.

running apparel for me!

We had cinnamon rolls bright and early this morning [thanks, Amy!] but, the tradition of mimosas was put on hold as I had to work! However, work was slow and I was able to come home around two this afternoon. It's been a quiet Christmas, but, oh so sweet.

Here are a few pictures of the last week.

Dec. 18.
We had SNOW!
our tree.
it's true.

AND. one of the best Christmas presents is yet to come...
My parents and sister will be here on Monday!

Until then, we're busy preparing our humble abode for their arrival.

Merry Christmas friends & family.
We are so thankful for you.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

merry & bright.

dear anonymous,
here is a post just for you, whoever you are.

PS. please identify yourself.


as of lately...

just me & my dog after a day's work.
Watching a movie with my sister, who lives 700 miles away!
Thank you gmail [and our webcam] for making it possible.

Tacky Christmas Sweater Party!

us. before our church Christmas party

All is well over here. We're settling in to our new house and slowly making it our home. Jim has two weeks off after Friday and I have a crazy busy work schedule through the holidays....SO,
someone please adopt my husband for Christmas!
interested? please call.


with LOVE.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

o Christmas tree.

[note the shorts & tree.]
crazy & completely wonderful southern weather.

Monday, November 30, 2009

then & now.

Our house is beginning to feel more like our home. Here are a few before and after pictures of the family room!


The walls are still quite bare...but, we're getting there! I'm just happy to finally have COLOR. I was going stir-crazy with all the white walls!

More to come...

Happy Monday to all.

Friday, November 27, 2009


We celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday with Dad & Sue here in NC.
The sun shown.
The food was incredible [thanks to Marqaux's]
and the company divine.

The house is a work in progress. We'll post pictures soon!

AND. the baby boom is in full-swing...
Rick & Julie are expecting baby number two in June!

We are so blessed.

love & miss y'all.

Friday, November 13, 2009

i heart demolition & procrastination.

We're getting closer to moving...[Nov. 21 is the big day!]
Our lives are a bit chaotic.
We still haven't unpacked from our trip to the mountains last month...
I'm in the midst of the an insane amount of laundry. Perhaps the most I've ever personally experienced.


the dishes are done and we're leaving town for the weekend to go on a youth retreat..
and that makes my heart happy.
I get to escape this mess for a few more days.

Procrastination is a beautiful thing.

Here are a few pictures from the past few weeks!
Our first [and only] night sleeping at our HOUSE.
I like men that aren't afraid of heights...
I'm glad I married him.
Demolition is great.

We're mentally ready to move....if only packing didn't stand in our way!

Love from NC.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Our time in the mountains was amazing.
Our time with family was much needed.
We laughed [a lot].
We hiked [it was glorious].
We cuddled [with Evan].
We had campfires [and roasted marshmallows].
We played games.
Drank spiced cider.
Ate like kings & queens [thanks to Dad & Sue!]
Took naps [surprising?!]
and thoroughly enjoyed our time away.

Here are a few pictures of our vacation. More to come!

[Pictures don't do it justice]


they're the best.

We're back in Raleigh and now homeowners....the fun continues!
We're covered in paint.
The "to-do" list is almost overwhelming.
Yet, we're enjoying [almost] every minute of it!

PS. Being an aunt is definitely one of life's greatest blessings....and the blessings are multiplying! Rachael & Scott are expecting a baby boy in April!

love & goodnight.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

the best is yet to come...

we're anxious.
we're excited.
we're in survival mode for 2 more days.


it's time, my friends. It feels like we've been on the go constantly over the last few months. I've been working almost every Saturday since the start of summer [by choice], but it has left us with very little time off together. Jim's last day is Friday. He's off for 3 weeks. 2 more days of work for me and than I'm off for 9 days.

Pure bliss.

And, did I mention we have a visitor coming on Saturday!?!

sipping on my tea.
a sigh of relief.

good things are happening over here.

PS. Change of plans-our closing date was postponed 2 days. Wednesday is the big day!

Friday, October 9, 2009

friday, at last!

We're ready for a vacation! 7 more days...

What a week! As Jim is wrapping up his second to last week before track-out, the meetings are out of control and the stress level is rising! However, you would never be able to tell...he hides his emotions well. I don't. Can you say...hormones;)

On Wednesday I represented Calvin at a local college fair. It was a riot. I think if I ever need a change from nursing, I would consider an admissions counselor position. Good times.

Last night we volunteered for World Vision at the Todd Agnew and Building 429 concert. What an awesome experience! We helped people sign up to sponsor kids who live in communities affected by AIDS. It was a great concert and a powerful reminder that the world is so much bigger than us. Seeing the photos of hundreds of children who are living in poverty in an AIDS-stricken land truly puts our needs, wants, and stresses into perspective.

World Vision is doing incredible things...and it was a honor to represent them last night!

Speaking of Word Vision, this Sunday my Uncle Tim [Hoekstra] is running 23.8 miles to the start of the Chicago Marathon and then running the 26.2 miles of the marathon itself [50 miles total] He is running with "Team World Vision". His goal is to raise 5o,000 dollars for clean water in Africa and for a new runners/walkers mentoring program in Chicago. He's celebrating 50 years of life, running 50 miles, raising 50K. Prayers are appreciated as he embarks on this journey. Uncle Tim, we'll be cheering you on from Raleigh! We wish we could be there! If interested in supporting the cause, please visit for more information.

Ah yes, the weekend is almost upon us.
good times.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

fall lovin'

I love October...a month which routine sets in after a crazy September, football games, cooler weather, and this year....visitors! This is going to be a great month, indeed.

I had the past weekend off, which was amazing. Saturday we went to the farmer's market, went hiking at Umstead, went on a few walks, went out for lunch and crossed off numerous items on the infamous "to-do" list. It was an accomplished day, and it felt great.

Today, Jim's Aunt Pat & Uncle Bob were passing through Raleigh, so we spent the day showing them around the area. We visited our new house, Jim's school, my hospital, Duke's gardens and chapel. They are some of our favorite people & it was a great to spend time with them. We miss our families greatly and truly treasure our times together. It was great to have them visit our stomping grounds, too!

Kristin, Jim's sister will be here in less than two weeks! We're counting down the days. We become homeowners on the 19th [crazy!] and then we'll join Rick, Julie and Evan in the mountains on the 21st.

ah, yes.
life is great. and crazy. and busy.
and we are so blessed.

Looking with great excitement to the weeks ahead!

PS. i love all the random text messages/emails I have received from people because they know how much i love fall....l love knowing that when you light a fall scented candle or snuggle up with a blanket and sip on apple cider-you think of me. you make my day.

Monday, September 28, 2009

What a week

The picture from yesterday afternoon explains it all. Emily had a busy couple of days at work to finish off the week which left her exhausted. Bentley, well he's just a follower, especially on Sunday afternoons. I, on the other hand, decided to watch some football and do some reading (hence the "The Lost Symbol" in the chair).
The book is great - another book that has kept me, the non-reader, engaged. Thank you Dan Brown. I got on the waiting list for this book 2 months before it came out at the library (yes I was actually on a waiting list for a book). I was number 250 on the list even at that point! The waiting list right now is at 1,125! It is only a one week check out though, so I have been up late every night reading.

My week was filled with a couple last-minute IEP meetings, a couple tutoring sessions, leading the middle school boy's Bible study, and report cards. Tiresome.

It was a pretty exhausting week for us around here to say the least.

Hope y'all are doing well and enjoying your true Michigan Fall weather!


Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Today is the first day of FALL!
Despite the torrential rainfall and warm temps...
i celebrated the start of my favorite season.

and here's how....

1. hot apple spice @ Starbucks
2. my "mulled cider" candle burned as I "fall" cleaned.
3. I made homemade cinnamon bread and topped it off with pumpkin butter
3. We baked Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies-delicious!

Here's the recipe. I highly recommend them!

2 cups flour
1 1/3 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 2/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons molasses [or maple syrup or brown sugar]
1 cup canned pumpkin or cooked pureed pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon ground flax seed

1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup chocolate chunks [or chocolate chips or raisins]

Preheat oven to 350.
Mix together flour, oats, baking soda, salt and spices.
In a separate bowl, mix together sugar, oil, molasses, pumpkin and vanilla and flax seeds until very well combined. Add dry ingredients-folding to combine. Fold in walnuts and chocolate.

Drop by tablespoons onto greased cookie sheets. They don't spread very much so they can be placed only an inch apart. Flatten the tops of the cookies with a fork or fingers-to press into cookie shape. Bake for 16 minutes at 350.


Hope all is well.
Much love from the soaked south.


Saturday, September 19, 2009


I had one of those moments...
the ones that after you commit...

and ask yourself....

"did i REALLY just do that?!"

and then you laugh.

here are the details & pictures as proof.

a hair & fashion show to benefit breast cancer [the ONLY reason I agreed to this...along with the free haircut] at an art gallery in downtown Raleigh. hosted by a local hair salon and fashion boutiques.

my task: to not smile & strut the heels: showing off the latest in hair and fashion.
my hair was chopped, the makeup applied & nails polished....

here's the result....

jenna, my partner in crime at work & on the runway.
what a hoot.
so, i guess black nails are in?

i'm definitely just a jeans & flip flops kind of girl.
with a new short do.

Monday, September 14, 2009


God works in mysterious ways.
The same day our house contract fell through...
this one came on the market.
it's on the same street as the last...
and i love it even more.

a quaint 1,500 sq foot cape cod.
3 beds.
2 baths.
and grass.

we're excited.
to say the least.

We are currently under contract and hope to close Oct. 19.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

When life gives you lemons....

Here's the good, the bad, and humorous details of our life the last few weeks!

We did nursery this past Sunday. Jim was the "child whisperer".
and he got peed on.
and we had a good laugh.

We were "under contract" on a house here in Raleigh! ...until today. The seller wanted out and was making our lives miserable. She got her way. And we're excited not to have to deal with her for the next two praying another house turns up in time to close before Dec. 1.

We are going to the mountains with Jim's siblings & nephew this fall-and we're so excited! Plans are underway...[just think: a quaint cabin, Blue Ridge Mountains, bonfires, apple cider & hiking: that, my friends makes my heart happy]

Fall is in the air...and I LOVE IT. by far my favorite season. We slept with the windows open multiple times last week...the best sleep we have had since the king size bed in Michigan:)

Labor Day -- Chik-fil-A: free chicken sandwiches if you wore some team spirit. We met up with the Wood family and proudly displayed our Michigan and Calvin pride! ...and enjoyed a free lunch. Awesome. (edited at a later time... by Jim. I may have gotten a total of 4 free sandwiches throughout the day. no big deal.)

Phew. I think that's the latest and greatest. We hope all is well with you, our faithful reader[MOM] .


Thursday, August 20, 2009

pure joy.

Here are a few pictures of our trip home to Michigan. Our camera is fixed! We spent a week away and somehow only came back with a few pictures of: Evan [amazing], Bentley [lame] and Jim playing golf [a miracle!]

off to conquer the laundry...


Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Your life.
Your legacy.
Your love for the Lord.
that there is no more sorrow...
and no more pain.

Our hearts are heavy today...the pain is real and the tears many.
It is hard to believe it's been three years.
We love you, Mom.
We miss you so much.

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all our love.
jim & em.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Who's Your Tiger?!?


PS. Did you know Justin's girlfriend's name is Emily?!