Monday, August 16, 2010

Great weekend and then...

Wow! After an absolutely crazy fun weekend, it's back to reality. Yep, school started today. But I'll get back to that later. First, the fun!

We decided to take the kids on a mystery trip this past weekend. Didn't tell them until about 30 minutes before we left (because Jordan had to miss football practice!) So, the kids and I got in the car, went to pick up Kevin from work, and headed East. As we headed down the road, Jordan was sure we were going to visit Aunt Jenn and Uncle Eric in Dubuque. And then we turned North, and then he knew where we were going.

Unfortunately, his dream of going to the inaugural season at Target field didn't play out (we weren't going to pay $60 for standing room only tickets!)...

But we did go to Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall of America. We talked about going to Valley Fair, but decided that a Saturday would probably be too crazy and that the kids wouldn't enjoy waiting in line so much. Plus, Valley Fair no longer has a log ride and that was my favorite ride as a kid. I have many memories of going on that ride with my dad, so I wanted my kids to experience that. And it rocked! There were two big drops and for some reason, Kaylie and I (in the front of the boat) got soaked! Jordan and Kevin walked out of the boat almost completely dry. And we laughed and laughed...and those memories - I hope my kids have as fond of memories as I do riding that with dad.

The first ride we went on was a roller coaster. Kaylie was all for it - Jordan...not so much. But we convinced him to just "try" it. It was the Pepsi Orange Streak. Very tame. And needless to say, he loved it. Unfortunately we couldn't take cameras on the ride but we did get a picture of the picture that they took of us. And yes, Kaylie had her hands up the entire time! Let me tell you, that girl has no fear!

For Kaylie, the worst part of the day was being told she wasn't tall enough to go on a couple of the roller coasters. We discovered that Jordan gets a little motion sick on the spinning rides. With a little coaxing, he tried a few of them, but after seeing him get off the last one and thinking that the chicken strips from lunch was going to come back up, we decided that he better take it easy. He truly loved the bumper cars with dad. Unfortunately, that seemed to be one of the longest rides to get on!

While dad and Jordan went on the bumper cars (they needed some quality bonding time, Kaylie discovered the Wonder Pets Flyboat. Oh my word. I got the giggles just watching her!

Yep, once again, she's got her arms up in the air. She absolutely loved the free fall effect. She wasn't tall enough to go on the big person one, but she would've if she could've!

We had an absolutely great weekend together as a family. Kevin and I both commented that this was the best time we have had together - traveling went well, the motel went well, the Mall was great. What memories!

And this morning, it was back to school. Or first day of school. Or whatever you want to call it. After bringing the school supplies to school at the open house last week, Jordan was finally ready to admit he was anxious for school to start. He's the big dog this year, 5th grade. I spent a while talking with his teacher at the Open House. He has the same teacher as last year, and we are excited about that. She will be recommending him for the gifted ed program, which is both humbling and exciting. He's anxious for that because, as he put it, "He's bored at school."

After fighting a ridiculous amount of traffic, we made it to school. Not much time for pictures outside because we ended up parking about 5 blocks away. I know, I should have just put them on the bus, but I couldn't do it.

This is the only year that they will be in the same building. Next year, Jordan will go to Middle School. He acts tough like he doesn't want to be in the same building she is, but I think he really is happy to be the big brother - protector - looking out for his little sister - type of guy. So I took this picture outside of school and BAM, he was off. Ready to find his friends again.

Kaylie could hardly wait while I took her picture by her "K01" room.

She sat right down and was welcomed by Mrs. Greer. She jumped right to work!

And so now, here I sit. All by myself. Reflecting. It's really quiet. I didn't cry - amazing. She was just so ready to go to Kindergarten! Well, I guess I can't say I didn't cry. Not until I got to the van. But not because I was leaving my baby in Kindergarten. It was because as I left school, I ran into Kaylie's friend from baseball, Hayley. Her dad was videotaping her going into school and it just really hit me how blessed I am. As a mom, I was able to witness my daughter's excitement on her first day of Kindergarten. Hayley's mom is serving our country in Afghanistan and she had to miss that. Not only do those service men and women put their lives on the line every day for my family's freedom, but they have to miss these precious moments in their children's lives as well. I don't know Hayley's mom - I don't even know what her name is. I have never met her. Her dad was at all of Hayley's games. I did get to meet her Grandma (who happened to be Jordan's 3rd grade teacher in Viborg). So, I thank God again for her and her willingness to go overseas for my freedom, and will pray for her, especially today.

So it's quiet. Really, really quiet. Even the sound of The Price is Right in the background doesn't make it seem less quiet.

I think I'm going to go and have dinner with Kevin just to break up my day a little bit!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

It's hard to top the month of July 2010!

It's hard to describe the excitement around here the last month. Let me start with an unbelievable weekend. On Sunday, July 11, Jordan publicly professed his faith in Jesus Christ at our church. The fulfillment of the covenant of baptism, in a heart that is just bursting with love for Jesus at age 10! What an exciting moment for us as parents, as well as grandparents, great grandmas, uncles, aunts, cousins, and friends to witness. He is an amazing young man, and we know that God has great things in store for him!

He had the biggest smile on his face while he was waiting for his picture to be taken. And that was truly the joy expressed through him the whole weekend. He was so excited to have his family and friends there. The fact that he understands already what a huge decision this is for his life just blows me away. As Pastor Kevin put it, "this is more important than what school you go to, or who you will marry." This is the one that takes him into eternity with our almighty God! And he gets it! God is good!

A week later, we had the joy of helping with the VBS at our church. Hero Headquarters! Leading the singing was just such a blessing to see the kids yelling out "God is My Hero!" The smiles on their faces, the giggles coming from their toes as they listened to Mac, Pizza Man, and Water Woman... This is Kaylie's group of girls, oh and 1 boy. They were outside at games, and had grass seed to bring to a sheet, which they then parachuted into the air as they were "spreading the love of God". Both kids enjoyed the VBS week and God is so good - 23 kids raised their hand and asked to be prayed with on the last night. Jordan told me that he knew he had already asked Jesus into his heart, but he just wanted someone to pray with him, as school was coming up and he knew that it's not always easy to be a witness in school. As a mom, I got goosebumps. He's realizing the power that prayer can have already. And as we were talking about it on the way home, he looked Kaylie in the eyes and said "not everybody will pray before you eat lunch at school. But it's ok to do it." And once again I am amazed at how God works in the lives of children! And how we should all have that kind of faith!

Since I was able to take the week off for VBS week, we were able to spend a few days with my cousin, Lenora, and her family from California. They drove out with their 5th wheel camper to be with some friends in Ponca, Nebraska for a couple of weeks. We spent a day with them in Sioux Center, showing them around town, and on Friday they drove up to Sioux Falls and we went to Falls Park with them. Yep, it was hot, but it was great just to spend some time with them.

To top off the week, on Friday night, Kaylie had her very first piano recital. little girl has taken a love for the piano. And mom couldn't be prouder! Her teacher, Jessica, is a student at Stewart's School in Sioux Falls, and she did all of the girls hair so beautifully for the recital! Top that off with a $7 dress at Younkers, and Kaylie turned into a princess. She played two songs, "I'm a Little Tea Pot" and the "Tyrannosauraus Rex", and memorized both of them. The recital was at the Inn on Westport in Sioux Falls. A beautiful atrium, with a big white grand piano in the center. It doesn't get much better than that!
Now just a week and we're off to start football. And Jordan is so ready - he's even been running this week, trying to get prepared! And two more weeks and school starts. For both of them. Are you ready for this? Yep, I think we all are. Time to face it - the kids are growing up, and God is wrapping his arms around them (and mom) as we look forward to it all!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Summer has begun!

Jordan is finished with school. I think we survived the first week of summer vacation! I am so thankful for Megan, a college student from our church, that she is willing to stay with the kids when I go to Pender. The kids absolutely love her!

The next few weeks will be filled with baseball, baseball, and more baseball. Jordan is playing in a league for 10 year olds and Kaylie is playing T-ball.

Kaylie's league is so fun to watch - she is doing great, especially now that she has a pink bat. I don't know why, but that seems to make all the difference in the world to her! And yes, her glove has pink on it too! She is one of 2 girls on her team. The coach discovered that putting them together in the same outfield position can cause problems - some chit chatting going on! She gets to change positions every inning (they play 4 innings) and her favorite position to play is first base. Every game seems to end in a tie. 24 - 24. Unfortunately the kids both play on Tuesday and Thursday nights, so trying to juggle that schedule has proved to be challenging!

I am really enjoying watching Jordan play too. It is the first year he is playing with the kids pitching. He decided he wanted to try pitching, and not to brag, but he's pretty good! He pitched in his second game last night. Over the 2 innings, he struck out 5 batters. He definitely has the arm strength...I have the bruises to prove it! Grandma Ardith came to watch games with me last night, and Jordan has deemed her his "good luck charm", as he hit an in the park home run last night too.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Wrestling with God...

It's been a week. That's the only way to describe it. Why do we wrestle with God? We know we won't win, but sometimes our human nature just takes over and we think we are right.

Kevin and I have struggled with whether or not to be Sunday School teachers at church. We still haven't officially joined the church, but yet, were feeling the calling to be a part of that ministry. And low and behold we get a call from someone, asking if we would be willing to teach. After praying about it, we decided that as long as they understood that sometimes the weather wouldn't allow us to make it up to Sioux Falls, that we would agree to team teach a grade, but we had no idea what grade it was. We had prepared ourselves for kids Kaylie's age and younger. Wednesday night, we were asked to attend a Sunday school teacher training meeting. They brought us our materials, and both of us were not prepared to get materials for 5th graders. She asked us if that was ok, and Kevin's respose was "wherever God needs us to teach, that's what age group we will teach." After choking back the emotions, I shook my head yep, that's fine. We have been so blessed by the ministry at Good News. And now it's our opportunity to try and give back. We covet prayers as we prepare for this age group. We have no idea what kinds of questions will come our way, but know that God will help us as we prepare lessons each week. It amazes me the depth of Jordan's faith - the questions that he is asking, the Biblical knowledge that he has already. And these kids are older than he is. Can I do this? And then this morning, pulled out the teacher's manual and began to look at this quarter's curriculum. Old Testament stories - the great ones that define how powerful our God really is. We just read about how Moses led the Israelites across the Red Sea with our family last week, and guess what the first lesson is about. Our kids had so many questions about it - I truly feel that God was preparing my heart for the teaching of other kids. How appropriate that this would be the first lesson that we will teach together. And Kevin's willingness to help with the Sunday School class - what a blessing. At the meeting, he told the Education Director that he felt "out of place because he was the only male at the meeting." She assured him that there were other male teachers who just weren't at the meeting, and she chose us for 5th grade because there were some children in that class who came from single parent homes and that a male teacher in Sunday School could have a huge impact on their lives. And wow, is he taking that seriously.

"I lift up my eyes unto the hills, were does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth." This Psalm has hit me this week, as I have heard "I will Praise you in this Storm" by Casting Crowns so many times while listening to the radio. Things at the dairy have just been hard this last year, with prices being so depressed. It is hard for me to see Kevin work so hard for absolutely nothing in return. I know that he loves what he does, and that is what keeps us going. And we have given it over to God. Jordan introduced us to a movie about a year ago, "Facing the Giants". It's a football movie, so I was hesitant to watch it, but if you haven't seen it, it is absolutely amazing. The first time we watched, there were tears in everyone's eyes. But the message that came out of this movie - "We will praise God when we win, and we will praise God when we lose" - has been our family's motto since we saw it the first time. I think that's all that God asks of us - to love him wholeheartedly, and to praise Him in every aspect of our lives. And to watch our family try and live that motto out has been humbling, and so extremely uplifting.

As we prepare to teach 5th graders this Fall, I can't help but ask myself - what can I learn from them?

Monday, August 24, 2009

A week of Firsts

It has been a week of "firsts" for the Huitink family. It amazes me how often we have those firsts, but it is also very special. Kaylie lost her first tooth on Wednesday, after some prodding from several older cousins. She took a napkin and pulled it out at the Pizza Hut in Orange City. After we got home, she wouldn't go to sleep because she was afraid of the tooth fairy. But, the next morning when she woke up, mom got a phone call that "the tooth fairy left me a buck! I'm not scared of that guy anymore!" Kaylie had a second tooth that was very loose, and on Saturday afternoon, she let dad wiggle it and he pulled that one out. We now have a little girl missing two bottom front teeth! The tooth fairy came again on Saturday night and was accidentally generous, and she found $2 under her pillow on Sunday morning. We told her that it might be a good idea to put one of the dollars in the offering at church on Sunday morning, and she decided that it would be good to put BOTH dollars in. Needless to say, made mom and dad very proud.

Jordan had his first football game in Sioux Falls on Saturday. He is playing Center on offense, and somewhere on the line for defense. No, I'm not an ignorant mom, they just kept moving him around on the line. I think he ended up at Right Tackle, but we'll see where he plays next week! Their team lost, 13-26, but they did score two touchdowns and really played well together for the first experience in an actual game. He had a tackle to prevent an extra point, so he was pretty pumped about that. Although, he did come out of that one with a battle wound... The kid he tackled ended up with his helmet coming up on Jordan's chin. It has turned some funky colors, that's for sure!
Overall, Jordan was satisfied with the outcome. He is anxious for football practice again tonight.

Today is the first day of school. Jordan was ready to go...he has missed the social part of school. Kaylie goes this afternoon - at 12:30. They have an early dismissal at 1:45, so they will ride the bus home. Maybe if I pay close enough attention to time this afternoon, I can get a picture of them coming off the bus together. Kaylie has been asking every 15 minutes "when is it time to go to school", so it will probably be a long morning!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Proud Mama!

I don't believe you can every be TOO proud of your kids. Being a mom has been such an amazing experience. I know, it helps when you have GREAT kids, but really, when my kids do something special, I just beam from ear to ear!
Today was the last day of football camp. Jordan has been going with his friend, Lucas, all week. They have turned into great buddies and spend time talking on the phone. Color coordinating shirts was the topic of choice this week, so that they could be on the same "Razzle Dazzle" team. But somehow they always ended up being "skins"...
Camp was in Sioux Falls, so it's been a little chasing, but we did some carpooling and the boys had a great time. At the awards ceremony this morning, Jordan was told he had the best combined punt, pass, and kick distance. Total of 273'. Jo's comments were, "mom, I was shocked! I knew I had the second longest punt and kick, but I had no idea this was coming!" Anyway, he received an extra gift (a really nice mouth-piece that he can use for football this Fall), and afterwards he went up to Coach T and said, "Thank you for the mouth piece." Coach T said to me, "you have one of the most sportsmanlike kids I have ever had at camp. He is always willing to help someone out, even if he knows that they might not "score the touchdown" and he had the opportunity to just score it himself. He's always pumping the other kids up!" WOW!!! WAY-TO-GO JO!

Here is Jordan with Coach T and the other two winners - fastest 40m dash and fastest obstacle course time.

Official football practice starts next week Tuesday night. Should be lots of fun. Jordan is excited to have 5 kids from Viborg playing on the team this year. Games will be Saturday afternoons at Riverdale Park from August 22 through mid-October (with the exception of Labor Day weekend, no games then).

Monday, July 27, 2009

Bible School '09

We survived our week of Bible School. What a week it was! It was AMAZING to see God at work in the lives of the kids there. So privileged that Kevin was able to come along all 5 nights and help out. And thankful that everything went smoothly at the dairy while we were gone each of those nights. Needless to say, the chores were not finished by the time we had to leave at 5:00 each night!

We studied Go Fish "Backstage with the Bible" for the week, and for me to be the music person was just a total blessing. We learned the 10 Commandment Boogie, and to see preschoolers with the "light going on that these are from God" is just amazing. The kids favorite song was "Stories" which was great, not only because we could sing the familiar songs of Zaccheus and Only a Boy Named David, but they could jam out with "na-na-na-na-na-na WOO-HOO".

Kaylie loved the craft portion. Actually, I don't think there was a part of Bible school that she didn't like. Ok, maybe snack because they always seemed to "mix" foods together. She's much more content to eat them all individually and let her tummy mix them up inside.

I was so proud of Jordan. He was a trooper all week, and did a great job getting the kids in his group to SING! And do the ACTIONS! (not so easy for boys entering the 4th grade - not the "coolest thing" in the world!)
Wednesday night was a big night. We got in the car and he said to us, "At story time tonight, I went into a room with some other kids and Pastor Kevin prayed over us. It was awesome." We asked him why he was prayed over and he said he couldn't remember exactly what it was called, but he asked Jesus to be in control of his life that night. I told him "that's exactly what it's called, honey!" I can't describe the emotions that went through me when he said that. Intense, would be an understatement!
We have truly been blessed by the people at Good News. God is good, and the way He has been working in all of our lives during our time spent there has been wonderful. Life changing. We were able to meet on a more personal level some very neat people there through the VBS experience, and our whole family has been blessed by the experience.