Tuesday, December 31, 2013

George's book

Isaac's birth grandfather, George Sjouke Riemersma, Joni's father, wrote a book chronicling their life. I am so glad he wrote it, as it will give Isaac an amazing look at who his grandfather was. Born in Holland, the Rimersmas moved to South Africa before Joni was born -- and that was where her life began. They were then sponsored and able to move to America. (Thus the reason Joni speaks both Dutch and English and also calls herself an African American.) 

Here is the cover of the book and a link to a place you can read it online. Check out page 14, where Isaac's birth is recorded!

2013 in Pictures


January is a month of celebrations -- Sidge's 4th birthday, JB's birthday, and the news that we are in fact, pregnant, from our 5th try with IVF.


The weather in Portugal is absolutely terrible, but our good friend Carla and her two boys, make the wintery days much more bearable.

Despite intense morning sickness, I get a healthy enough evening and am able to take my boys to our first Mother-Son dance.


Awesome news for BECAUSE OF ISAAC! Our first two kiddos: Ethan and Eli, come home to their family forever!

I attend the Women's Conference in Angra through our Chapel on Base.


I host a Mop's Easter Egg Hunt at our house in Porto Martins.

Needing to escape the rains, I take a last-minute trip to America. We spend a week in Washington D.C. and then a week with our family in Florida.


While we are home visiting family in Florida, Isaac celebrates his 5th birthday.

Aunt Connie's two grown boys: Colin and Casey come to visit us in the Azores.

Joni comes to visit us in the Azores!

JB pins on Major. We are so proud of him.


Our neighbor Kristy organizes the boys' first lemonade stand to raise money for Mr. Nick's Peru trip.

The boys are growing up! Safari-theme gives way to Superhero theme.

Aunt Connie has been with us for nine months, and June means it is time for her to return to America. What a blessing that she was with us during a very difficult year for our family. Her help could not be equalled!


Abigail's 2nd birthday party!

We spend a day at a Portuguese Farm.

The boys have their very first slumber party with their friends Jackson and Max. We'll have two more (including their friends Noah and Jonah) before we leave the island and say good bye to these wonderful friends.

We prepare for me to head back to America to have our little Hannah. It will mean five weeks away from our Daddy.

My belly before we left the Azores.

Getting ready to say good bye to our great friends: Nick and Kristy and Mike and Carla and their kiddos. 


Our friends from Turkey: Logan and Brandon, host me and the kiddos as we make the trip back to the USA. We get to meet little Jackson.

Ohhhh the jetlag! It was quite an adjustment getting on American time.

Back in America for five weeks while Daddy stays on the island. It is a wonderful time of catching up with the Kitsteiner side of the family ...

... and the Huisman side of the family.

My friend from Eglin, Joia, makes the drive to South Florida to see me. what a blessing it was to see her and her three kiddos: Moriah, Caleb, and Keenan.


The morning of September 4, 2013, I wake up to prepare for my third (and final) c-section.

And by midday, Hannah Joy has made her debut. She surprises us all coming in at 10 pounds 2 ounces. She also has a full head of BLACK hair.

We spent the next two weeks spending a little time with all of our family. For the first time ever, all the Kitsteiner cousins are together in one place. This includes the new twins: Ethan and Eli!

We manage a picture with all the Huisman-side cousins as well. Six of them under five!

JB and I spend the day in Miami to get Hannah her passport. It is a success, and we make plans to return to the Azores.

Two weeks after Hannah's birth, it is time for two days of traveling as we head back to the Azores.

The kiddos are so excited to be back to their home (and their dog!) Even better news is that Grama K. is on her way to the Azores when this picture was taken to move into the Kitsteiner home!


With Mommy feeling tons better, life begins to return to normal. It's pumpkin time!

Scrubs wins the pet photo contest on Base for the second year in a row. "Snow White" was a real hit.

We attend the Base trick-or-treating event. (The Americans go first, and then they hunker down in a house before the Portuguese take over!)

Our little Halloween sweeties!


I host a surprise baby shower for my friend Rebekah. Having them move in next door has made the departure of previous friends, much more bearable.

We have our first lost tooth!

Abigail and Daddy attend a Father-Daughter dance together.

Finally! Grampa joins Grama on the island. Let the party begin!

We get to spend Thanksgiving with Shane and Linda for the fourth year in a row.

Isaac asks Jesus into his heart.

Christmas day celebrations on the Base highlight our January.

Christmas morning is spent at our home with ...

... Grampa and Grampa and ...

... Ms. Mianna!


Monday, December 30, 2013

Monday K.I.S.S.: Organize your kids' books

Today's Monday K.I.S.S.:
    Organize your kids' books!
We love books in our house! While Abigail still is not a huge reader, the boys have devoured books since they were crawling. I still remember, Isaac, with his favorite book, bringing it to me so many times a day, I would beg JB to take a turn reading it when he got home.

As we've continued to compile kids' books, I've also had the idea that as long as they were on a shelf, that was good enough for me. But Abigail changed all that. She is very picky about what she reads, and in order to keep her attention, I have to pick certain books: Mickey Mouse is one of her favorites right now. She'll sit and read book after book if it has something to feel, a flap to open, or a Mickey too ooh and ahh over.

Only problem was, I had no idea where those particular books were. We kept books in three separate locations around the house, and even then, there was no rhyme or reason to where they were located. I would offer to read with Abigial, and if she couldn't find one of her choice books right away, her attention was immediately lost. 

Our newly organized book center

So I decided to do something about that. I moved all the books in the house to one central location. And then I organized the books by topic. Eric Carle books in one place. Clifford in another. Pooh books have their own spot. Backyardigans. Mickey Mouse. Touch and feel books. You get the idea.

The result has been fantastic! Abigail has spent much more time reading than in the past. She knows where her Mickey Mouse books are, and she'll go and get them when prompted -- and even sometimes on her own. 

Of course, this means a little more work for me. The kids really aren't old enough to put books back where they are supposed to go. So instead, I have them make a big pile of "used" books, and then I put them back on the shelf when I get a chance. I made my system very easy and very quick so that they can keep track of it, and I can too. I didn't get too detailed. There is a whole section of books that are just miscellaneous. I didn't narrow down criteria too minutely.

So there you have it -- after five years of doing it one way, a complete switch, that has made us all very happy!

P.S. have a K.I.S.S idea? Please email them to me at wendi@wendikitsteiner.com!