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Kladder Update: Hello Winter!

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Winter finally showed up! But cabin fever ain’t got nothing on us cause we’ve been keeping busy. With February just around the corner January sure has flown! Here’s a bit of what we’ve been up to lately…

Just yesterday, Jeff and I returned from a super fun ski trip out West with friends. We rented an AirBnB for four nights in Breckenridge, Colorado where we spent two full days on the slopes. On Saturday we drove to Vail where we spent a third day skiing. I was a bit anxious going into the trip - I’m a beginner skier and I wasn’t really sure what I was getting myself into having never been to Colorado. But the trip was incredible! The mountains were gorgeous, the skiing was oddly relaxing and thrilling at the same time and the company was stellar. For the most part the group stuck together outside of a few hours in the afternoons when the guys would head off to tackle the black diamonds while us ladies would seek out the blues and greens. This trip I learned I loved to ski and while I have no desire to advance to the summit runs, I do hope to continue working on my finesse and grace down the slopes. All else fails, I’ll become a professional snow bunny.

While we were in CO the kids spent the weekend with my parents in Schoolcraft. And I swear, they get more of a vacation than we do with trips to Jungle Joes and McDonalds. They eat ice cream for dinner (true story) and they always come home with new toys - which more often than not is something that was once mine and my Mom just wants out of her house. It seems to be her marathon KonMari method. This time she sent home pom-poms. Which were from my elementary school years… ELEMENTARY. What?! We face time them often and neither of them ever seem sad about our absence which both makes me proud and sad at the same time.

The weekend before, Jeff headed north with friends from college for his annual ski trip where they don’t actually ski. These days they spend their time playing poker and watching sports. And after now having skied in CO, I can understand why skiing in MI might not be as appealing. The kids and I stayed home all day Saturday and we filled our time with making peanut butter pie, playing outside in the snow and Natalie had a playdate with our neighbor friend Gwen where got crafty and painted canvases.

A few weeks ago work brought me back out to Munich, Germany for a week long video brand shoot. On the way there I got stranded in Amsterdam for a day due to extremely windy weather conditions so I made the best of it and checked out a bit of the area they call Museum Square. I booked a ticket to the Moco Museum which describes themselves as a boutique museum that houses a wide variety of modern and contemporary artwork. I was particularly drawn to Moco because right now they are exhibiting Banksy and if you’ve never heard of Banksy I totally recommend taking a minute to check him out. In short, he’s an anonymous street artist which some describe as a vandal that makes strong political and social statements through his work. Think graffiti with a message. It was very fun to tour the eclectic museum (it’s an old house) and check out some of his very recognizable artwork. Specifically, the piece titled Flower Thrower or Flower Bomber really peaked my interest because it was the visual used by Mars Hill for our current teaching series: Waging Peace. The Museum also had a great interactive garden that was an Instagrammers playground. I took advantage and got on a giant medal rocking horse - it was the adult version of Sandy the House at Meijer.

Later that week while in Munich for work was I able to meet up with my friend Karen who moved there a little over a year ago from Grand Rapids, for dinner. One of the nights she let me be a tourist and we grabbed a table at the famous beer hall Hofbrauhaus. It was everything I hoped it would be… hearty Bavarian food, a live band wearing traditional garb and the place looked like it had been untouched (architecturally speaking) since it first opened it’s doors back in 1589. We also took an evening to tour the Munich Documentation Center for the History of National Socialism. It was a sobering experience walking through the 4 different levels reading, watching and listening to the recount of socialism in Germany and how it began. Our book club recently finished The Nightingale and The Secret Wife, both stories heavily revolving around socialism so the museum gave even more meaning to the books.

On a lighter note, the day before I left for my trip to Europe we gathered at my parents house in Schoolcraft with my Moms side of the family for a belated Christmas celebration. My Grandma and Grandpa DeKoekkoek celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary on January 3rd and it’s never a bore to see the two of them together surrounded by their whole family. They are a strong couple with lots of love to share. I’m pretty proud to be their granddaughter.

And rewinding to the very beginning of the year… we rang in 2019 with our kiddos and some friends over dinner and drinks. We used one of the Netflix kid-friendly countdowns and let them go wild with noise makers and party hats. After bedtime the adults stayed up celebrating much past our own bedtime making the first day of the new year a little slower than expected. But we’re working hard on our new year resolutions and we’ll keep you updated as we progress.


  • The movie Crazy Rich Asians - Watched this on the plane ride to Europe and found it incredibly entertaining. I also cried which clearly meant I was overtired.

  • The Commons, one of the newest restaurants to the GR food scene - Jeff and I grabbed drinks and apps there before catching an improv show at Wealthy Theatre and loved it! It’s got a great vibe and the food was fabulous.

  • Currently reading The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. This is the second book we’ve picked by Hannah and so far it’s fantastic. It’s about a family from the 70s who move to Alaska and completely change their way of life.