mindi makes me laugh

Mindi Rae It has been almost a year since Deborah and I went to Arkansas in hopes that the family would be able to move there. (It didn't work out but that's a different story.) On our long drive down, we stopped in Iowa to visit my special niece, Mindi. I commented on her cute decor and style. She said Dustin called her style "kindergarten granny." Dustin has more traditional taste than Mindi. Whereas Mindi likes turquoise walls, Dustin wanted neutral tones. As Mindi looked at his paint choices, she said with finality, "Dustin, these are just different shades of dirt." I had just recently finished a book on my dad's ancestry. I told Mindi a few of my favorite discoveries as well as a few less-than-brag-worthy anecdotes. I have always been proud of my Cherokee blood, but this time I shared some less than pride-inducing stories. I ended by... Read more →


christmas letter 2011

December 2011 Merry Christmas from the Gordon Dykstra Family! It’s a beautiful season and I’m grateful that this Christmas letter tradition affords us the opportunity to touch base with you. If you’re reading this letter, you’re thought of and loved. We had a glorious family holiday in March. We went to Orlando and thoroughly enjoyed the heat, the amusement parks and especially our day at Discovery Cove where Hannah and I swam with dolphins. Hannah, at the time, was undecided whether she wanted to be a marine biologist or a tattoo artist. You can appreciate, I am sure, that we felt it very important to nurture the marine interest. (She’s not mentioned tattoo artistry in a while and, I must confess, that’s a tremendous relief.) After Florida, we drove to North Carolina and had a blast with my sister Stacie and her family. From there we went to Tennessee and... Read more →


a wee safari adventure

One of the highlights of our visit in Arkansas was a trip to the Wilderness Safari. Here are some pictures from there. My favorite is the one with Roman covering his eyes. He wasn't comfortable with all the animals traipsing around the car so he covered his eyes. Surely, if he couldn't see them, they couldn't see him! Avery couldn't get close enough and is standing in the window not wanting to miss a thing. Those two are like night and day. A funny memory of the day was Roman seeing the gazelle or ibex (or whatever it was) and exclaiming, "What is that freakin' horned animal?" Read more →


discovery cove, orlando

For each of us, Discovery Cove was a highlight of our time in Florida. Last year we started planning this trip. Initially the main purpose in going to Florida was to see my friend Debbie. We didn't know that she would be gone by the time our trip rolled around. Several times during our time in Florida I felt melancholy remembering that the whole purpose of the trip - in its initial stage - was so I could spend some time with Debbie. I'm sure you've noticed that I don't blog quite like I use to. There are several reasons but among them is the absence of my friend and faithful reader Debbie. So many times I wrote just for her. She loved reading this blog and I loved to write stories for her. I miss her and the trip to Florida was mildly bittersweet because I was often reminded... Read more →


sea world and busch gardens

Here are some pictures from our time at Florida's Busch Gardens and Sea World. We had a good time at both. This one is called the Manta and my family is on it . Nice little giraffe. This ride was freaky because at the very top, which was way way up there, the ride stopped and you dangled straight down. That's the family there dangling. (The family includes everyone but me; someone had to take the picture.) Gordon and I went on a train ride in Busch Gardens and passed this pretty scene. This is the Atlantis at Sea World. Hannah and Deborah are on it. This is my favourite. Gordon, Hannah and Deborah on the Gwazi at Busch Gardens. Aren't their expressions priceless? Read more →


family holiday, 2011

We recently returned from a wonderful family holiday to the southern United States. We left home with three feet of snow still on the ground and that evening were driving around Orlando with all the windows open - smiling down to our livers, basking in the warmth, humidity, and scents. We were starved for warmth, sunshine and greenery. And we found it!! That evening Hannah traveled around Orlando with her head perched in the open window occasionally enthusing, "Why doesn't the whole world live here?" I think the whole family had a touch of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) this winter. I know I did, but it never occurred to me that the rest of the family did too. Upon seeing all the moods pick up, the crankiness and irritability subside, I realized everyone had been afflicted. One of the cool experiences of the holiday were the rides to and from... Read more →


shakerboard kid

My sweet Rachael has her first public job. She's been working for years at paper routes and babysitting, but now she is gainfully employed at Little Caesar's. When she applied for the job the boss asked if she'd work the shakerboard. Rachael had no idea what "shakerboard" meant, but since it had the word board in it she associated it with cardboard and figured shakerboard had something to do with folding pizza boxes. Hence, she enthusiastically responded that yes, she'd work shakerboard. When she got in the car after the interview she asked what shakerboarding was. When she learned that the person who stands next to the street shaking the Little Caesar sign is shakerboarding, she turned red, shrunk down in the seat and groaned, "oh no." Today is her third day of shakerboarding. Gordon and I have been out spying three times. I know I'm her mom and all,... Read more →