Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Mabel Anne and Emma


Mabel Anne and her first best friend, Emma Bergsma!  You can pick their best friends when they're only 2 months old.  :-)

My cousin, Annalee, took this picture.  I used to babysit her in church nursery, and now she's babysitting my baby!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Mabel Anne, 6 weeks

I had intended to take her picture at one month, but that didn't happen.  Now she is 6 weeks old!  Here she is on the beautiful blanket that her Aunt Aimee made her.

And I may see a glimmer of a smile in this one!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Fall 2014 pics

We performed an amazing feat a couple of weeks ago.  We took pictures of  6 kids!
Check out 2012 and 2013.


Luke, 20 months.

 Aaron, 4 years

 Joel, 6 years

 Andrew, almost 10

 Noah, 7 1/2 years

Mabel Anne Engelsma

(I've started this post about 4x but have been interrupted each time!)

We were so excited to welcome a little girl into our family on October 11!  Mabel Anne was born at 12:47 AM and weighed 7 lbs, 10 oz.  The boys were excited to finally have a little sister!  Our house has seen a pleasant explosion of pink since she's been born.  :-)

Mabel is named after my Grandma who passed away a few years ago.  I pray that she has her godly character.


She has the most hair of any my kids when they were born, and the darkest!  We'll see if she keeps it.

Finally home! 

1Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Psalm 103:1-5

Friday, October 10, 2014

Luke lately

Some pictures of Luke's last days as the baby of the family:

He had already had breakfast, but he wanted to sit with the big boys.

Big brothers.

He has a chunk of broken basket he's trying to write with.

 Snack time!  It's always time for snack with him!

Thinks he's pretty cool sitting in his own little chair.

 Lunch stretched a little too long that day.

He loves Grandpa E's sweet corn!

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Frog's 6th birthday

Joel turned 6 on September 21!

Opening gifts in the morning.  Guns are always a big hit at our house.

Lincoln logs that I found at Goodwill.  He also got a new soccer ball.

He also got to do one of his favorite things on the day we celebrated his birthday, play soccer!

Cake time! It was a brownie layer cake with cookie dough in between. Twas a little rich. :-)

Blowing out the candles! 

Happy birthday, Joel!

Tuesday, October 07, 2014


Portrait of myself reading.

Haha!  This is so Andrew.

Noah's story

Noah wrote this on Sunday.  Accurate translation below:

Once upon a time, there was a man.  He was in church and he was writing down the sermon and he was 39 years old and he had a dog.  The dog went hunting with his owner and he had a gun with an aimer on his gun and a double barrel and he started down the sidewalk and saw some children and he was mad because the children were working hard on Sunday and he was so made that he took his knife and he said, You guys stop working and they said no and he got even madder then ever.  The end.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Clean your pack n play. ASAP

I've seen pins on pinterest about cleaning your pack n play and have wanted to do it for a long time, but ours is in constant use.  It's always up and Luke goes in it at least once or twice a day, usually with a sippy cup and snack.  We've brought it camping with us numerous times, and its almost 10 years old.  So definitely high time to clean it.  Thinking that I may not have too many nice days left until #6 arrives, I took the plunge this morning, and boy, it's a good thing I did!

After reading a few different instruction blogs, here's what I did:

First, I filled my tub with the hottest water I could. 
Next, I added a load's worth of Tide laundry detergent, a good scoop of Tide Oxiclean, and a generous splash of vinegar while the tub was filling so it would all dissolve evenly.  I put the mat part in the bottom of the tub and then put the collapsed pack n play on top.  I turned it after about an hour since I couldn't get it all to fit. 
The railings weren't getting as clean as I had hoped so I took some powdered Oxiclean on a washcloth and rubbed them down and now they look almost new.  I was AMAZED at how much dirt came out.
I was going to post a pic of the dirty water, but I'll let you use your imagination.  It was pretty nasty!  My pack n play looks so much better now.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Spurgeon on Christ's continual intercession for His people

I read this portion this morning and it reminded me of the popular picture that a lot of us have seen depicting the Pilgrim's Progress road with the two paths, one leading to destruction and one leading to glory.  The pitfalls are so clearly seen in the picture, yet while we are traveling the road, we have no idea the dangers that we come so close to falling into because Christ is continually at the right hand of God the Father, saving us from utter destruction.

"I have prayed for thee."
Luke 22:32
How encouraging is the thought of the Redeemer's never- ceasing intercession for us. When we pray, he pleads for us; and when we are not praying, he is advocating our cause, and by his supplications shielding us from unseen dangers. Notice the word of comfort addressed to Peter--"Simon, Simon, Satan hath desired to have you that he may sift you as wheat; but"--what? "But go and pray for yourself." That would be good advice, but it is not so written. Neither does he say, "But I will keep you watchful, and so you shall be preserved." That were a great blessing. No, it is, "But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not." We little know what we owe to our Saviour's prayers. When we reach the hill-tops of heaven, and look back upon all the way whereby the Lord our God hath led us, how we shall praise him who, before the eternal throne, undid the mischief which Satan was doing upon earth. How shall we thank him because he never held his peace, but day and night pointed to the wounds upon his hands, and carried our names upon his breastplate! Even before Satan had begun to tempt, Jesus had forestalled him and entered a plea in heaven. Mercy outruns malice. Mark, he does not say, "Satan hath desired to have you." He checks Satan even in his very desire, and nips it in the bud. He does not say, "But I have desired to pray for you." No, but "I have prayed for you: I have done it already; I have gone to court and entered a counterplea even before an accusation is made." O Jesus, what a comfort it is that thou hast pleaded our cause against our unseen enemies; countermined their mines, and unmasked their ambushes. Here is a matter for joy, gratitude, hope, and confidence.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Father's Love

I think I've posted this song before, but I heard it again today and am struck every time with these words:

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory.

I think some times that we forget the total depth of Christ's human nature and how He felt things just as we do, but can you imagine Christ crying out in the garden for the cup to pass from Him and the Father turned His face away?  The pain He must have felt!


What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this
That caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul!

When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down
Beneath God’s righteous frown,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul for my soul,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul.

To God and to the Lamb I will sing, I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb,
Who is the great I AM,
While millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing,
While millions join the theme, I will sing.

And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on.
And when from death I’m free
I’ll sing His love for me,
And through eternity I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on,
And through eternity I’ll sing on.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Last Trimester

You know you're in your last trimester when...

1.  Your almost 6 year old asks where we're going every time you get dressed.

2.  You're way to lazy to pick up anything off the floor.  That's what the 4 year old is for.

3.  Every time you attempt to pick up or restore some order to the home, your kids want to know who's coming over.

4.  You have approximately 2 outfits left in your closet that fit over your protruding belly.  And that's only if the baby is turned the right way.

5.  You catch your husband trying to measure the girth of your belly.  And not so subtly commenting on how large it is.

6.  All the well-intentioned older ladies at church think you're due any minute even though you have a good month to go.  And your grandma comments that this is the biggest you've ever been.  Thanks, Gram!  :-)

7.  You catch small children ducking as you swing by.

8.  You shoot daggers at the GVSU guys standing behind you in line watching you struggle to lift a case of water from the bottom of your cart.  Can't ya help a huge pregnant woman out??

But most of all:

9.  You are extremely thankful that you feel pretty good, that you can feel your baby moving every day, and that all this will be done in a month's time.  And a pretty spectacular gift awaits you at the end of the journey!

Monday, September 01, 2014


If He could grow weary of me, He would have been tired of me long before now. If He had not loved me with a love as deep as hell, and as strong as death, He would have turned from me long ago.

~Spurgeon, Evening Devotional, February 27

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Train trip to Chicago

Yesterday we went to Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry.  We traveled by commuter train from Michigan City, IN, to Chicago and went to the museum for the day.  Here's our whole group minus Karsten.  Still happy at the end of the day!  And play "Where's Andrew?"  He's hiding.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Aaron's 4th Birthday

My little boy turned 4 on June 1!  Hard to believe, he still seems like a baby to me.

Aaron can be very cheerful and happy, but for some reason, he wasn't quite sure about opening gifts, which is plain to see by the scowl on his face.

After a little prodding, he soon got in to the spirit of things.  He was quite impressed with his Herbie car.

And a train table!  We had one when Andrew and Noah were younger, but they never played with it so we got rid of it.  Aaron loves trains, and he loves his train table.  Unfortunately, he and his younger brother aren't very good about keeping the pieces together, so I plan on hot gluing them down.

Pretty pleased!  Tunnels, hills, noises and all!

Luke was ecstatic to have his own cupcake.  He's never noticed when I've given the boys dessert after dinner before, but when we were eating the leftovers the next day, he made certain to let it be known that he wanted one too!

4 is a big milestone in our house because when you turn 4, you don't get a pacifier when you go to bed anymore.  He put himself to bed for a nap a few days after he turned 4 and I went to check on him and found this!  He didn't get to keep it.  

Monday, June 09, 2014

Magical Coffee

Andrew and Noah are at art camp every morning this week so the 3 youngest and I ran errands this morning.  I was sorely tempted to make a trip to Bigby, but suppressed the urge and instead drank some magic coffee I had in my fridge.  I've tried many iced coffee recipes at home and this is by far my favorite.  And bonus, it isn't full of sugar.

Magical Coffee

2/3 cup coarsely ground coffee (I've used coffee I've ground at Meijer, but this time all I had was Folger's Black Silk and I'm enjoying it just as much as the coarsely ground Meijer Gold coffee.)
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
3 Tablespoons of brown sugar

Pour ingredients into quart size mason jar and fill to the brim with water.  Screw the lid on and shake ingredients around a bit.  Place in refrigerator overnight.
The next day, strain the coffee through a filter or paper towel (Make sure you put a bowl under the strainer so you don't lose any coffee!).  Pour over ice cubes (frozen coffee ice cubes if you think ahead.) so the cup is 2/3 to 3/4 of the way full.  Fill up the rest with milk or cream (whole milk tastes wonderful).

I go through mine in about 2 days.  I may have to start doubling the recipe!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Long time no see

So it's been a long time since I've had a new post.

But I have a good excuse.  I've been busy.

Busy growing a baby!  We hope to welcome #6 in October, Lord willing.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

And Can It Be That I Should Gain?

 And Can It Be That I Should Gain?

 And can it be that I should gain 
 an interest in the Savior's blood! 
 Died he for me? who caused his pain! 
 For me? who him to death pursued? 
 Amazing love! How can it be 
 that thou, my God, shouldst die for me? 
 Amazing love! How can it be 
 that thou, my God, shouldst die for me? 

 'Tis mystery all: th' Immortal dies! 
 Who can explore his strange design? 
 In vain the firstborn seraph tries 
 to sound the depths of love divine. 
 'Tis mercy all! Let earth adore; 
 let angel minds inquire no more. 
 'Tis mercy all! Let earth adore; 
 let angel minds inquire no more. 

 He left his Father's throne above 
 (so free, so infinite his grace!), 
 emptied himself of all but love, 
 and bled for Adam's helpless race. 
 'Tis mercy all, immense and free, 
 for O my God, it found out me! 
 'Tis mercy all, immense and free, 
 for O my God, it found out me! 

 Long my imprisoned spirit lay, 
 fast bound in sin and nature's night; 
 thine eye diffused a quickening ray; 
 I woke, the dungeon flamed with light; 
 my chains fell off, my heart was free, 
 I rose, went forth, and followed thee. 
 My chains fell off, my heart was free, 
 I rose, went forth, and followed thee. 

 No condemnation now I dread; 
 Jesus, and all in him, is mine; 
 alive in him, my living Head, 
 and clothed in righteousness divine, 
 bold I approach th' eternal throne, 
 and claim the crown, through Christ my own. 
 Bold I approach th' eternal throne, 
 and claim the crown, through Christ my own. 

Charles Wesley, 1707-1788

Sunday, March 30, 2014

How Deep the Father's Love for Us!

How Deep the Father's Love For Us

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch his treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.

Behold the man upon a cross,
My sin upon his shoulder
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished!

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What's Cookin'

Wed~Beef and Mushrooms over egg noodles, green beans
(When I showed Chris what I was making for dinner, he said, "You go, gurl.  I think that's a compliment.)
Thurs~Ham, mashed potatoes, broccoli, applesauce
Fri~Pizza, salad (You must try this pizza dough recipe.  I have tried tons of them and this is by far the best.)
Sat~Tomato soup with orzo, grilled cheese

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What's Cookin'

Menu planning is making a come-back!

Thurs~Crockpot pork chops, cheesy potatoes, beans
Fri~Pizza, salad
Sat~Oatmeal pancakes, bacon, fruit
Sun~Chicken chili, brown rice, corn bread
Mon~Hillbilly Spaghetti Pie, bread, carrots

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Aaron's lyrics to "Bringing in the Sheaves" :

"Bringing in the cheese, bringing in the cheese..."

And when cheese isn't appealing enough...

"Bringing in the donuts, bringing in the donuts..."

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Paul's confidence in Christ

"I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.  I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ-the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.  I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead."

Philippians 3:7-11

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Joel went to an eye specialist last week to make sure that his eyes were healthy.  Yup, eyes look perfectly healthy, he just needs some thick glasses to fix his farsightedness.  Apparently, since he got such a strong prescription at a young age, his eyes had trouble adjusting and he didn't have the right prescription (since its kind of hard to test kids who aren't confident in their letters).  So now he is getting a stronger prescription and we will take him back to the specialist in a few months to see if his eyes are doing better.  If not, the dr will try some patches, etc, to train his eyes.  I'm thankful that his eyes are healthy and that he just needs a little help to see better.

(Pic by Aunt Alice)

Joel has the unique position of being in the exact middle of five boys. I have found that he doesn't always get all the attention he wants lately so I've been trying to do more things with just him.  He does say some pretty funny things to make sure he gets some attention.  He told me yesterday, "I am feeling ill."  I think that had more to do with the fact that it was clean-up time, because when I suggested that he lay down in his bed, he perked right up.  This morning at breakfast he declared that he was going to be the biggest pig ever, which is funny because we joke that he is our "fat" child.  He totally isn't fat, he is just a tad sturdier than all of our other boys.  Luke might push him out of this position.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Being Taught, That We May Teach

Remember that I mentioned that Chris actually keeps his New Year's resolutions?  Last year, he resolved to get up at 5 AM every Monday morning to do some extra work.  On January 1, he unveiled the project he has been working on, the website, "Being Taught, That We May Teach."  This website is built around the teachings of Pastor Albert Martin, a Reformed preacher who has been teaching for over 50 years.  Many have been blessed by his preaching and teaching and this website is designed so that you can enroll in a class (free!), listen to his teachings, and then take a quiz on what you've learned.  Right now, the only classes available are "Calling" and "Regeneration," but more will be added over time.  When you click on these links, they will bring you to a course website where you can enroll (Did I mention that it's free??), listen to the lectures and then take the quiz.    

Friday, January 10, 2014

Family picture

Taken December 27, 2013~opening gifts with my family.

A Quiet Activity!

I recently discovered that the boys really enjoy listening to audiobooks.  On the way home from Canada, they spent about 3 hours listening to a Hardy boys book.

After lunch today, they spent almost an hour listening to "Little House in the Big Woods" while they colored pictures.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

A blessed New Year to all of you!

We started 2014 in church and heard an excellent sermon on Psalm 37 on how God will satisfy the desires of your heart when you delight in Him.  After church, we went to the annual Engelsma family potluck.  It was a small group, the potlucking die-hards.  We enjoyed watching a rousing game of Jenga between Chris's Dad and his Uncle Paul.  So funny!  Then we ended the day eating dinner with my family at our home and Andrew opened the last of his birthday gifts (He's 9!  But that's another post.).  And now I am starting tomorrow's chores from my new homemaking calendar (found for free here), because tomorrow's chores involve the master bedroom which is a disaster!  Whew, full but fun day!