A Few Recent Pictures

Savannah loves ice skating!  She’s been taking lessons lately and is one of the fastest skaters in her class.

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It’s always fun to build a snowman on your lunch break.

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I don’t think Jonah could be any cuter.

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This one’s a little blurry but still good …

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Savannah and Aaron went on a date and found ice sculptures near Rosa Parks Circle (downtown Grand Rapids).

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And while they were on a date, we were home making Aaron’s favorite dessert.

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My date night with Madeline.  Coffee for me and Kilwin’s peppermint stick ice cream for her.  

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Fall Fun 2015

Weather-wise, this fall has been my favorite in years.  I always love September.  70-degree days make me want to soak up whatever sunshine I can before the cold weather comes.  I love 60-degree weather, too, and temperatures in the 50’s aren’t bad.  But when ideal fall weather only lasts a couple weeks, it’s hard to call it my favorite season.  But this year, fall has been amazing!  It’s November 16, and the temperature is expected to go up to 60 again today.  At this time last year we were buried in snow.   

This year we had two opportunities for the kids to choose pumpkins.  One was at the conclusion of a train ride we took from Coopersville to Marne (and back), and the other was at Post Family Farm during a field trip with our homeschool group.  

The kids also dressed up in costumes twice.  On October 30 we went to Aaron’s work for a harvest party, and then on October 31 we briefly went trick-or-treating in the neighborhood.  (What a cold and wet experience that was!)  Funny how I mentioned the gorgeous fall weather this year but then posted pictures from the colder days.  🙂

Here are some pictures to share:

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Basil Harvest 2015

The girls were amazing helpers this weekend harvesting the basil we planted from seed in late April.  It took us about an hour to trim all the leaves from the plants and then about two hours to make pesto sauce.  Now we have sauce for the freezer so we can enjoy pesto all year long.  We made our favorite dish, Peppy Pesto Toss, for lunch today.

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Sophia’s Fourth Birthday

Our sweet little princess turned four last week!  We had so much fun celebrating her birthday.  Sophia requested breakfast brownies for her birthday breakfast.  In the afternoon she and the girls watched Grandma Mayes decorate her Dora cake.  I also made cookie-filled chocolate cupcakes with raspberry fluff frosting.  We ate pizza on the deck with Grandma Mayes, Grandma and Grandpa Kerr and cousins, Ender and Grey.  Then we went to PlayWorld for a couple hours of play and exercise.  Such a fun day; such sweet girl!


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Trip to California

Aaron, Jonah and I took a trip to California earlier this month.  Aaron’s brother and sister-in-law have lived in the San Francisco Bay area for five years, and we’ve been wanting to visit.  We booked super cheap plane tickets and spent a long weekend in California while the girls stayed in Grand Rapids with Grandma and Grandpa Kerr.  Though we picked a rainy weekend, we still had a fantastic time.  The warm air felt great, and we really enjoyed spending time with family and friends.  (Some of our friends from Mt. Pleasant now live in CA, too.)


Here we are, ready for take off!  It was a long flight—4.5 hours—but Jonah did amazing!  Lots of people complimented Jonah on being such a happy traveler.  

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The row of seats in front of us was empty, so we were able to spread out a little.  

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This serious little guy got to visit and have lunch at Apple Computers.

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We toured Stanford University, where our friend Andy Saltarelli works.  The church was beautiful!

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This is worth reading!

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At Muir Woods National Monument

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The Golden Gate Bridge

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Joel, Emily, Grey & Ender

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Fall 2014

Here are some photos from our fall so far.  We’ve been busy raising five little sweethearts—there’s never a dull moment!


Fall colors along the Kent Trail.  This same bridge appears in all three pictures, taken on three different days:

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Going to the pumpkin patch:

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Raking leaves & pine needles:

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At the park

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Carving pumpkins:

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Halloween costumes:

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Jonah’s Birth Story

I’ve been meaning to write this for a while, but there never seems to be a good time.  Tonight I decided to give up an hour of sleep so I could tell the story of Jonah’s birth.

The Days Before

Jonah was due Thursday, March 27.  Since he hadn’t arrived yet, we spent his due date with some of our favorite homeschooling friends.  They brought lunch, and we had a fantastic time together as usual. 

That night, however, things didn’t go as we hoped.  Sophia started throwing up.  When stomach viruses hit our family, life can be crazy.  Rarely is only one person affected, and sometimes it takes two to three weeks before everyone is back to normal.

Sophia continued throwing up until March 31.  That day, a Monday, Aaron took the girls to their dance classes while I stayed home with Sophia.  Besides throwing up in the morning, she was actually feeling quite well.  While Kayla and Madeline were at their class, Savannah, Sophia and I finger-painted.  It was also a gorgeous spring day, so we spent a lot of time on the deck.  Too much spring sun or heat often means hives for Kayla, and sure enough that’s exactly what happened later that night.  Kayla had also broken out in hives the morning Savannah was born, caused by a warm bath the night before.  

That night I went to bed close to 11:00 but only slept a few minutes before waking up again.  I felt hungry and wide awake, so I had a small snack and read until I felt tired.  

Waking up in the Night

At 2:20 a.m., I heard Sophia crying over the monitor.  Aaron checked on her, took her to the bathroom and came back to bed.  I was surprised she needed to go potty, because she started staying dry at night shortly after turning two.  At 2:45 she woke again.  This time Aaron brought her to the upstairs bathroom, and I knew something was wrong.  Sophia had diarrhea, but then another funny thing happened.  My water broke!  I started shaking and feeling nervous because from past experience I knew what that meant:  we were going to have a baby, and we were going to have him fast!  My water broke at the start of labor with Kayla, and she was born less than six hours later.  Also from experience, I knew that labor contractions after my water has broken are much more painful and intense.  I had a feeling I was in for a short, intense labor.

Calling My Midwife

I called my midwife shortly before 3 a.m.  She advised me to shower and then try to fall back asleep.  I also wanted to email to some friends, asking them to pray for a smooth birth.  I sent the email at 3:47 a.m., right around the time my contractions really started picking up.  

Active Labor

Falling asleep wasn’t an option anymore, because my contractions were close together and strong.  I tried to watch the movie I had planned to watch during labor—Dan in Real Life—but didn’t get very far.  12 minutes into the movie we paused it because labor was quite intense.  During that time I also ate a popsicle, another thing I had been planning to do during labor.  It made me feel nauseous.  I battled with nausea during most of my labors, so that was nothing new.  

Second Call & Arrival of Midwife

At 5:15 I called my midwife again.  I told her things were moving fast and that I was ready for her to come.  She arrived just before 6:00, got settled in, and then checked to see my progress.  When she said I was about seven centimeters dilated, I felt a bit discouraged because I knew I still had transition ahead of me.  But a few seconds later she said, “Eight!”  Then I felt encouraged because I knew that if I could dilate one centimeter during one contraction, it probably wasn’t going to take much longer.


There’s no way else to say it:  the end is hard.  The pressure is intense.  Everything in you wants to get the baby out of your body!  But thankfully it lasts such a short time.  Jonah was born smoothly at 6:44 a.m.  He arrived five days late on April 1, 2014.  April Fools’ Day was the one day we hoped to avoid, but oh well!  Things like that don’t matter anymore once you have a beautiful baby in your arms.  It took a few minutes for Jonah to be a nice pink color, but thankfully there were no complications with his birth.  

Meeting Sisters

The girls slept through his birth.  Sophia was the first to wake up around 7:45.  Unfortunately she woke up pretty cranky from not feeling well and not getting enough sleep.  After she met Jonah, Aaron went to wake the other girls.  They were super excited!  We also called Aaron’s parents and asked them to come to get the girls.  But we didn’t tell them we had already had the baby!  That was a fun surprise.

The day of Jonah’s birth was the last day of Sophia’s stomach virus, but unfortunately Savannah came down with it on April 2.  Aaron and I were juggling the needs of five kids—one who just overcame a virus, one who was throwing up and one newborn who wasn’t happy with the spicy food I ate for dinner!  

Life has settled down now, but our home is always active!  Jonah is such a precious ball of joy.  We adore him and thank God for knowing our family needed him!  He’s such a great addition!