Snapshot of 3 months

I just realized we haven’t posted anything on for almost 3 months.  Yikes! Time flies.

 I see too, that others in the family are in the same pattern of ”no posting on” that we’ve been in. In a strange way, I’m comforted to know we’re not the only ones. 

 So what have we been up to since early August?  A quick sketch would include at least the following:

# We are enjoying the process of co-creating with Eddye, what it means to be family. All three of us are new at this, so we’re learning together. 

# I  finished my fifth and final coaching class in Minneapolis in early August, and started CTI’s 6 month certification process on October 5th.  The certification process is rigorous/helpful. I’m learning alot about coaching as well as technology, since the process involves things like making/sending audio files for supervision,  and setting up triad calls with people from various states/countrys, who are part of  the 9-member pod I’ve been assigned learn with.  I do have a free conference number from, so if the whole family (or a sub-group), ever wants to do a conference call together, I can set it up and it won’t cost us a cent to talk as long as we would like.

# Reuben & Heidi, Eden and Harper came to Des Moines for a five-day visit in late August shortly after they, the pedal-powered family, went multi-modal. We had a nice time relaxing with them, and went to several fun events including the Iowa State Fair and a downtown ”Chalkflood” that Eddye helped to organize through her summer Americorp job at Community Youth Concepts.


# We attended Dordt’s Convocation in Sioux Center,IA, at the end of August.  As the new board chair, Lloyd participated in the ceremony.  It was very moving for both of us to be in Dordt’s chapel, singing the alma mater again. So many memories in that place!

# I spent the second week of September in Grand Rapids, MI, to spend time with Kristin&Curt, Kim&Paul and their very precious little ones. Lloyd was able to join me at the end of the week. In a quick 1 1/2 days, we had the priviledge of watching Kristin run the Oktoberfest Marathon in Spring Lake, MI, and of helping with a ”demo” project at Curt & Kristin’s new house.  

# On October 1st, we both ran the St. George Marathon in St. George, Utah. We flew to Vegas with some fellow-runners from Des Moines, and took ground transportation 2 hours further to St. George. On marathon day, we were bussed into the mountains to start the race in the wee hours of the morning.  By the time we finished many miles downhill and into the desert of St. George, it was HOT! 93 degrees to be exact.  We had envisioned a crisp fall marathon out West, without realizing that St. George was located in the desert. If you’re interested in reading a few of our race reports, you can check the wannarun site.

# We were in Seattle, WA, and then in Southern BC from October 8-16. Lloyd had a conference in Seattle which coincided with a different conference that Kristin had in Seattle during some of the same days. It was really fun to hook up with her for a few meals in Seattle, and to enjoy Pike Place Market and the downtown Seattle REI together. When the conference was over, Lloyd and I drove 3 hours further north to visit fellow-Vanderkwaaks in southern BC. We spent some good time with Lloyd’s parents and siblings. We had an opportunity to meet Lisa, the new fiance of Lloyd’s brother, Dave. And we had the very pleasant surprise discovery that Reuben & Heidi, Eden and Harper were still in southern BC! They had led us to believe that they had already continued on their bike trip to Vancouver Island and down the coast. It was wonderful to see them again for a few days as well.

# We’ve been in Des Moines the past 2 weekends, and it has been great to catch up with life around here. This past weekend, we had an outdoor “work-day” at our place. Michael helped to scrape/paint a few areas on the exterior of our house, Amanda and little Mikey kept everyone company, and Amanda’s brother, Jake, helped Lloyd and I with several hours of yard-work, since we had an entire fall’s worth of leaves to clean up.



At the end of a long out-door day, Lloyd and I made our annual Autumn Garden Soup. This soup involves at least two people willing to chop lots of fresh seasonal veggies, including turnips and parsnips. We make a huge batch of this hearty soup and have a tradition of giving most of it away. We still have a few containers to deliver to lucky recipients in the next few days.

 Hopefully, we’ll post more often from now on!


We had supper with Michael and Amanda and little Michael tonight. They are doing well, and send their greetings to the rest of the family. Afterwards, Michael showed us his new tatoo:

Nice, but OUCH!

In Love with Colorado

We arrived safely back to Des Moines yesterday after spending the last 10 days in Colorado, one of our favorite states.  Although we expected this morning’s run in Des Moines to be easier without the higher altitudes of Colorado, it was every bit as challenging to extract enough oxygen from the thick sauna-like Iowa air! The humidity must have been close to 100% even at 6AM, because it started raining shortly after we finished the run.  Yuck! I’m planning to  use my recent experience of clean Colorado mountain air as imagery to help me cope (in other words, dissociate) while running in Iowa through the rest of August.

Recently, our family agreed that we would try to get everyone together once a year at a non-Christmas time, and that we would take turns hosting. It was Nick and Jess’s turn this year. They decided to host the family at Hermit’s Hollow, a campground in Colorado near Estes Park. We all agreed that the three sites they picked (narrowed down to two sites when it became clear that Kim&Paul we not going to make it), were the best sites in the entire campground, and in fact, the best sites we had ever camped on. The sites were quiet, remote, and allowed the little ones a great deal of freedom to play in the dirt and create a “home” with lots of little “rooms” on an adjoining rock-face which could be easily seen/supervised from where adults hung around.  It was amazing to see what they created…..even a kitchen sink with standing rain water in it.

There was no electricity or running water in the park, but no-one seemed to mind. Water was available at the base of the mountain at the camp entrance (5 minute drive down a winding dirt road), and showers were available for a low fee in Estes Park. I think everyone took one shower during the 5 days we camped. From Kristin’s report, it was quite a scream-fest, during the Kuiper/R&H VanderKwaak shower time. Apparently the entire Kuiper family stood in one stall, whileReuben&Heidi and their kids were in the next stall, for a 6 minute/$2 shower. Little people apparently don’t like their hair washed. Nick&Jess and Lloyd&I arrived afterwards, so missed all the noise.

Nick&Jess provided all the food for everyone during the whole 5 days. The food was AMAZING! No ordinary camping food-we pretty much ate gourmet the whole time. Nick&Jess are amazing cooks. For one of the meals, they served brisket made by the brisket-king of Colorado (Jess’ Dad). It was so delicious and remeniscent of when he made his brisket recipe at Nick&Jess’s wedding several years ago.

Our hosts: Nick and Jess with Denali. Denali loved playing with Emma, Claire, Eden, Levi and Harper. At times, he seemed to forget he was a dog!

Since Reuben&Heidi and their kids had spent the week prior with Nick&Jess in Denver, Eden and Harper were already quite attached to Denali.

Harper doing his morning routine

On one of the days, we drove from Hermit's Hollow over Trail Ridge pass to Grand Lake, in order to "case-out" what Reuben&Heidi would be biking soon. Yikes! The drive was what Lloyd calls a "white-knuckle" drive. Views were stunning. The climb was daunting-we could hardly imagine Reuben&Heidi biking on such a steep road. There was plenty of snow to see along the way. Here's Kristin&Curt, Emma, Claire and Levi on snow.

Throwing snowballs was great fun. Watch out for Claire!

On the way back to Hermit's Hollow, we saw a beautiful rainbow.

As we continued to decend down the pass, the single rainbow morphed to a double rainbow. It was quite a sight, and made for some interesting conversations with little ones.

On one occasion, Lloyd and I stayed back at camp to do finger-painting with E&C&E&L&H while the rest of the adults went for a hike. We heard them call from above, and here's what we could see from camp.


No vacation would be complete without ice-cream. Here we are on one of the evenings in downtown Estes Park.

Emma, Claire and Eden enjoying their ice-cream. We missed you, Marley!

Emma, who will be turning 7 in a few days!


Ice-cream night was on the eve of Reuben & Heidi's big trek up Trail Ridge Pass.

Levi can flash quite a smile whenever a camera gets close!


By Friday, the family was dispersed. Kristin&Curt took off for an afternoon in Boulder and then on to Denver to spend a few days with Nick&Jess, who returned directly to Denver to unpack their camping gear and two huge coolers that were full of left-over food. Well, Nick didn’t exactly return directly to Denver, cuz he first biked up Trail Ridge pass to the summit and back. Since Reuben & Heidi started up this pass early Friday morning, Nick decided to find them along the way up, and once again, along the way back. Interesting enough, Lloyd and I (who were too chicken to bike the pass) drove up the pass only to discover Reuben&Heidi (still on their way UP) and Nick (on his way DOWN) at the same rest area. We pulled over and savored a few minutes of family time before everyone went their seperate ways. We drove on up, ahead of Reuben&Heidi, to a rest area at least half-way to the summit, and waited for Reuben&Heidi to appear.

Here's Lloyd, waiting in comfort

And here's Reuben&Heidi arriving to the rest area in not-so-much-comfort. We have such high admiration for their strength and courage!

While they rested, Lloyd and I enjoyed some time with Eden and Harper

Lots of elk in the area


For those of you who know the tradition, this pic of Lloyd and Harper is a keeper for Lloyd's desk at ChildServe.

After this rest break, Reuben & Heidi continued on up the pass. They summited (CONGRATS!!!!!!!!) and made their way on down to Timber Creek campground where Lloyd and I had already found two campsites. By the time they arrived to Timber Creek, Lloyd and I had already left for Grand Lake by car. We parked our car there, and returned to Timber Creek on bike, eager to join Reuben & Heidi for a few days of bike/camping. We left our camera in the car, so no more pics. We can say, however, that we had a wonderful time of bike/camping with them. We’re still fine-tuning how to carry all our gear with road bikes, and are wondering if some new bikes might be on the horizon.  I think we’re hooked with biking and also with Colorado!