Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Three Years

Three years. Today marks 3 years since we've seen Annette's sweet face.

Words cannot describe how much we miss her.

Inspiration has left me this late in the evening and writer's block has crept in. However, this day will never be forgotten by us. The journey has become familiar as we have learned to wear our grief cloak. Happiness presents itself into our lives as God continues to bless our family. We continue to live and love, to be a family with new people to love. We are well and we are blessed. We have also been blessed by you, who have prayed for us and have remembered with us. Thank you.

Today especially we remember Annette. Her spirit lives on in those who love and remember her.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Happy Birthday, Bella...

Forty four years ago you were born and the world was a better place for it. We only got to enjoy forty one years but know we will celebrate again someday.

I miss you,

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The View From Here

This is the view from my front window for the last 13 days.... is there anything lovelier?

We are enjoying the north, the sun, the sand, friends and family....

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Happy Birthday, Bear!!

Sara is 11 today! We are so excited to share her birthday with her. Each year we celebrate and remember the day she was born. What a wonderful change she has made in our lives. We are proud to be her parents and are happy of the wonderful girl she has grown to be. We pray that God will continue to bless her with the richest of blessings, this year and for many years to come.

We LOVE you bear!!! xoxoxoxox

Monday, July 12, 2010

Whole Lotta Cryin' Going On.....

(Actually, my mother-in-law is not crying in her hands, but having her hair sprayed at half-time... the crying would come later...)

The stage was set... the excitement palpable.... orange abounded...






We were on the edge of our seat the WHOLE game... until the satelite went out in the first minute of overtime... then we were on the edge of our seats at the inlaws....



of the


It was so much fun watching over the past month! What a great sport!

These are a few pictures I highjacked off my sister-in-law's blog... looks like they had some Dutch fever as well!! (Did I tell you that Sara is in BC with her grandparents? Looks like they're having a great time! Miss you guys!)

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Random Ramblings...

So many things going on in the day to day living here. So many blog posts. So little time. Life is busy (See below...)

But, we are LOVING summer! School has wrapped up for the kids. Mom still has lots of work to do at school but that will happen over the course of the summer. Soccer continues in full swing for three of us, golf for the fourth.

Sara, however, is having quite the exciting trip. Her grandparents took her on a trip to BC to visit her aunt, uncle and cousins. Lucky girl! She'll be gone for 10 days. I know she'll have a great time, but we sure will miss her!

Connor is busy at soccer camp this week, sweating his little behind off! With 43 humidex, it's a little (OK, a lot) icky here this week. He's staying well hydrated, inside at times, and in the shade other times. Fun but tiring stuff!

Steve is busy back at work, sweating his little behind off! I feel so sorry for him an others working outside in this kind of heat! (in jeans and workboots, nonetheless! YUCK!!). His healing has gone really well. He is now able to work, swim an shower without a problem. He will not get the processor until September as the post takes 3 months to fuse with his skull. Otherwise, he feels great.

And let's just talk a minute about World Cup Soccer. Can you say, "AWESOME????" With four parents born in Holland, you know you we are rooting for! And the Dutch have not let us down! We have thoroughly enjoyed watching all the games and can't wait until the final on Sunday when HOLLAND WINS the World Cup!

Hup, Holland, Hup!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

He's Pegged

Steve's surgery went really well. Things went as scheduled and surgery was smooth. This time, he had no nausea or vomitting from the anesthesia like he did the first time he had a surgery (20+ years ago...) He also had very little pain and recovery has gone well. Just an extra hole in the head and a big, fat bandage.

Thanks for all your thoughts, prayers and well wishes. This was step one: the insertion of the titanium post (drilled into his skull... just thought I'd add that). So he has no reward of better hearing yet... that will come at the beginning of September. Now he needs to heal for 3 months and the post will become one with his skull. Isn't modern science and medicine amazing?

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Going Under the Knife... finally!

Tomorrow, Monday afternoon, Steve will be going under the knife for his BAHA Implant surgery. This is a two hour surgery. The Doctor is going to make an 'H' cut just above and behind his left ear. I'll save you the gruesome details, but the Doctor will surgically implant a 4mm titanium screw in his skull. According to Steve, "Done...piece of cake!!" (easy for him to say!) The titanium screw will need 12 weeks to heal and completely 'fuse' with the skull. So, twelve weeks from now, September 8 actually, he'll go back to Sunnybrook and get 'fitted' with an audio processor that 'clicks' into the titanium screw. The audio processor will do the 'hearing' for him on my deaf side. He's excited and looking forward to the possibilities in these next few months.

Pray with us that all may go well in the surgery and the healing process is quick and painless, hopefully!!

To read about why this is happening to Steve, read here.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

How Does This Happen?

Seriously, how does this happen?

People warned me when our children were small. It was one of those comments or pieces of advice that you think, "Sure, sure, but you're forgetting what it's like to get up at 6 a.m./dress/feed/clean/cook for/play with/clean up after/shop for/bathe/stimulate/take to the park/(and on and on ad nauseum...)for little children while I work part/full time. How can it possibly get busier?" But they all said, "Oh, you just wait, it only gets crazier!"

I am here today to say "they" were right. We are running in so many different directions, we're not sure who's going where on what day and how they're getting there. Soccer for Sara three times a week. Soccer for Connor three times a week. Golf for Steve once a week. Soccer for Mom once a week. 7 or 8 weekend soccer tournaments for the kids. Selling snowcones to raise money for said soccer tournaments. Dance recitals. Church meetings. Piano lessons. Play dates and parties (these kids have better social lives than we do!). Oh, and full time work, too. I can't imagine trying to factor in another person into that equation. How do parents of more children do it??

Busy we choose to be, but busy we love to be. It may sound like whining, but really we enjoy all of these things. Can't imagine giving any of it up! So, I'll hit the Timmy's drive through again, tank up and hit the road.

Will the older years only get busier? Speak up, "They", I will listen to you this time!

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Eleven years ago, we met our wonderful Kurtis for the first time! Now I know I repeat myself with each birthday, but I just can't believe it's been eleven years!
Kurtis is a tender-hearted, generous and kind boy who has brightened our lives. We are proud of the person he is and love him dearly.

Kurtis' highlight of his birthday is that he is getting a new puppy! We can't wait to meet him! I'm sure he'll do a great job taking care of it.

Happy birthday, Kurtis!

(Kurtis loves hallowe'en and spends several months planning out what he is going to do. The picture above is one part of the display that he and his dad put together last hallowe'en. He sure does have a creative mind!)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I Heart Spring!!!

I sure do love spring.

More than summer? Not sure, but boy, do I sure love spring. The smells, the green grass and buds, the warm air on your skin. The sun. The sandy gravel on the road that mixes in your bike tires, reminding me of youth. As soon as I feel the slightest warming, I run to my garden centre and get me some flowers. My friend stopped by and said, "Oh, you HAVE to be the first on the block to get flowers out."

Why, yes I do.

However, even I had to stop and reflect on my geekiness when Connor and I had this conversation the other day:

ME: Look at that nice dirt!
ME: The dirt! At that house! Look! It's all nice and dark brown and lush and rich looking.
ME: Doesn't it look beautiful? It's all mounded up all ready for planting. It's gorgeous!
ME: The DIRT! Over there! It's gorgeous!
CONNOR: WHAT are you talking about?

At this point, realizing I was talking about soil like it was art or something. I really loved the sight of that dirt!

Now, I am NOT a master gardener or anything, but I do love planting and flowers and SPRING!

Please don't hate me for my geeky love for beautiful soil!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Dear Monday Morning,

You're arrival is here like clockwork. You never fail to arrive after a blissful weekend of family, friends, work, fun, and worship.

I must admit, you are my least favourite morning of the week. If I could, I would skip you and go straight to Tuesday. But I know you will continue to show up week after week.

While I dread your arrival, however, you're not so bad after an hour and a good cup of coffee. And I'm working really hard to not let you get the best of me when you creep into my Sunday Night.

Monday Morning, I will find a way to co-exist with you.

Love, Me.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Sunday, April 04, 2010

The Empty Tomb

An empty tomb. The stone rolled away. Huge and heavy, yet rolled away by the earth-quaking appearance of the angel. Guards like dead men. Those Romans sure thought they had planned for everything. But they didn't plan on the power of God.

Do we plan on the power of God? When things are smooth sailing, we sure love to think we do. But when the storms roll in, the stone rolls in, life upside down, the supportive crowds rolling out, do we really plan on the power of God? Earth quaking, guards like dead men, stone rolling belief?

What a sight for the women who went to look at the tomb! They went even though they weren't sure what they were going to do about that stone when they got there. They went at dawn. As soon as was legally acceptable. Eager to do a task for their Lord, even though He had died. Did they plan on the power of God? Imagine their fear and joy at what the angel said to them, "He is not here! He has risen just as He said He would. The power of God. The "piece" that passes all understanding. The piece of God that is beyond our understanding in this life. But, thankfully, we can have the peace that passes all understanding.

the tomb is empty

The tomb is empty.

The Tomb Is Empty!

He is not there. He has risen, just as He said. Come and see. Then go tell!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Happy World Down Syndrome Day

March 21 (3/21) is World Down Syndrome Day. It was chosen to signify the uniqueness of Down Syndrome in the triplication (trisomy) of the the 21st chromosome and is used synonimously with Down Syndrome.

Commemoration of World Down Syndrome Day began in March, 2006. It has grown manifold globally. The observance is used to promote awareness and understanding of Down syndrome and related issues; and to mobilize support and recognition for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with Down syndrome.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Happy Birthday to our Snowbirds!

Dad and Menny are so busy having fun somewhere warmer than here for a LONG time. so we can't share hugs and kisses in person. BUT we want to wish them both (yes, one day apart) an awesome birthday and blessings for many more happy and healthy years.

We love you!! Happy birthday!!

With love from all of us!!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Phone Follies

I generally called Annette or she me at least once a week. Since she lived long distance, I dialed an eighteen digit number (an extra 7 digits to get cheap long distance of course).

My fingers flew over the keypad faster than my mind could think of the numbers. It was just an automatic physical reaction to key in those numbers without even thinking of them. I used 2 thumbs as once. (Maybe I will make a good texter some day...)

I sat down to call Tom the other day. My fingers began their thing without me thinking.

Then I stopped.

My fingers had forgotten.

My mind had forgotten.

I tried 3 times.

Couldn't get it.

Had to look up the number in my phone book.


Friday, February 26, 2010

Happy Birthday, Ryan!!

Ryan is NINE today!! Ryan has brought much joy and laughter into many lives. We are grateful for his presence in our family. It's hard to believe it's been 9 years since he was born. Look how adorable he looks here:

Ryan, we hope you have a wonderful day and that we can see you soon!

Happy birthday!!

We love you!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Ring

Have a look at my ring. I love it, although I don't wear it often. I usually wear the ring from my mom that she got on her 25th anniversary. However, occasionally, when I'm wearing silver, I wear this ring:
It came from my mom. I got it out of her jewelery box. I inherited it from her. I love it for sentimental reasons. I love it because it is so unique as it was crafted from a spoon, from Holland. Do you see it? They clip the spoon part off, and make a ring from the handle of the teaspoon. I remember my mom telling me this. Isn't it beautiful?? What clever Dutch people. Always finding a way to do things frugally.

So, a few weeks ago, I am wearing said ring and my dear sister-in-love, Kathy, comments on it's beauty. I presume to tell her the whole lovely story:

"It's my mom's so it's really special to me."
"It came from Mom's jewelery box"
"Well, actually, it's a spoon handle!"
"I know... very cool, eh?"
"Well, you see, they take one of those fancy tea spoons and cut the spoonie part off and bend it around to fit your finger. Very clever, isn't it??"

at this point I am taking said ring off to show her the creative spoon workmanship...
"...and look inside the ring here..."

Now, here is where I had an SLR camera to take a super duper close up of the inside of the ring...
(I know, you're getting goose-bumps here...)
There is something engraved there.... maybe this will help solve the mystery of when the ring was created... was it an heirloomed, passed down from generation to generation? Did Mom buy it on a trip to Holland? I can't remember, but wish I knew...



thinking" Call me crazy... but...

I'm pretty sure they didn't have AVON in Holland that made spon rings"

Yeah, me too.

Never saw that one coming. I am so sure I remember that I heard that story of the ring coming from a spoon handle. Really. Heard it. Somewhere. But I guess it wasn't from my mom. Must have been in my other life. Or someone else's mom...

And as funny as this was to me, it was twinged with sadness as I can never ask Mom the true story behind the ring. I know Dad won't have a clue where it came from (sorry, Dad, the truth hurts sometimes...) So, it will always and forever now be the Antique Spoon Ring from AVON in Holland...!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Olympic Fever

Yes, we've got it, too! Olympic fever has decended on our house. There is a certain national pride that comes when your country hosts the Olympics.

Despite what we may think about the billions of dollars spent, infrastructure built at the expense of nature, homeless displaced, and the focus on the glory to be only THE best, we can't help but jump on the Olympic bandwagon.

We love our country and are proud to be Canadians. We are in awe of the beauty of God's land of Canada. We enjoy seeing scenery of the beautiful west. We are excited when we win a medal.

So, these two weeks, we will enjoy history in the making. We will be grateful for the land that we live in. We will be grateful for the opportunities we have here.

Go, Canada, Go!!!!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

My New Obsession...

Want to see my new obsession?

OK... obsession is a strong word. But I am in LOVE with the new scrapbooking digital software from Creative Memories. I've always been a novice scapper, using materials from here and there. I've been scrapping books for each of the kids since they were born. However, unfortunately, I'm about 3 or 4 years behind. You know... you just get a little behind, then a little more, then it's way too overwhelming to even begin. That's where I'm at... (however, I did do a whole book on our Disney trip 2 years ago...)

So when I heard about this digital scrapbooking, I knew it was the answer for me! I have all the pictures from 3 years ago on as digital images. Press, click, save-presto! So I'm planning on working backwards with the pages. Here's what I accomplished during the Superbowl:
You can upload these pages to Costco and slip them into a 12 x 12 album. Super excited!!

I was doing a lot of hard thinking about how to change the year 2009 to 2010 for the Halloween page. Connor then came up with the briliant comment, "Uh, Mom, it WAS 2009." Yes, sometimes I'm not smarter than a second grader...

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Got a Few Minutes...?

Want to read something so touching? A blog friend, Tara Marie, found this beautiful "birth story" and shared the link. It is l-o-n-g, but it is well worth the read when you have a few minutes. You will be touched!

(Click here:) Welcome to the World, Nella Cordelia!

Monday, February 01, 2010


You might be dreaming up images of white sandy beaches when you read that word (OK, so the place in California might be spelled "Baja", but the sound is the same...) That once unknown-to-us word (or, more accurately, acronym) has become the centre of much research in our house.

The story begins last April, when Steve came down with a bad case of flu-like symptoms. Shortly followed severe ear pain which prompted a trip to the clinic, a course of antibiotics, severe dizziness and illness, another trip to the prompt-care, including IV fluids and antibiotics and culminating in a deafness in one ear, which we hoped would dissipate with the resolving of the virus. Unfortunately for Steve, it did not. Unbelievably, the virus attacked his auditory nerve and permanently destroyed it, leaving him 100% deaf in his left ear. Not only can he not hear from that ear, but he has constant, loud, jet-engine tinnitus (TIN-i-tus) ringing that drives him crazy on a good day. After a lead on an option called the BAHA from his ENT, we began to research.

A Bone Anchored Hearing Aid is a remarkable newish assistive device. It relays the sound from his left side (the deaf side) through the BONE in his skull so that he can hear those sounds on his right side. It involves a short operation, during which a titanium post is screwed into his skull. The post fuses with his bone and becomes a part of it after 3 months. Then a processor is worn on the post. The processor picks up the vibrations of sound and relays it through the bone where it the sound is then processed in the good ear. So, in actuality, Steve will be hearing (hopefully) all the sounds a normal person hears, but in one ear! Technology is remarkable!

We are hopeful that this will help him hear more and also hopefully alleviate some of the tinnitus. We are grateful that we live in a place where Steve is able to receive this procedure and device. As it is a fairly new procedure in Canada, it is not covered by OHIP. However, the hospital where we went today covers the procedure because of experimental grant money they receive from the government. Steve is a great candidate and so has been approved for one of the twenty surgeries they are able to do each year. The processor is not covered by any government agency and comes with a hefty price tag. However, we are hopeful that our insurance will cover most, if not all of the processor.
(These are pictures from this website...)
The process is worn on the skull. That will be an adjustment. It can be removed for showering and sleeping.

The sound travels through the processor and through the bone in the skull.

We remain hopeful that this will restore some of the things that Steve has been missing for the last many months. It will take 3-4 months on a waiting list for a surgery spot to come open for him. You can read more about the BAHA here.

Friday, January 29, 2010

New to Me Pictures

Annette has many people who knew and loved her. She was very happy to be a part of an on-line community of equally dedicated parents to children with Trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome). She loved to "chat" with them, so much so that she and Tom occasionally traveled to meet some of them IRL (in real life).

I am fortunate enough to have been welcomed in her place in their community. I also like to "chat" with them. I have met 2 IRL (at Annette's funeral). Many of her friends have posted pictures of her on their blogs. Pictures I had never seen before. One day, I got to thinking that I would love to have these pictures for myself. So I asked the girls. And they came through. They emailed me all the pictures they had from meeting Annette IRL. What a gift that is to me. Unfortunately, I really don't have a whole lot of pictures of her, me or us through the years. Something I try to compensate more for now. (Take those pictures!!)

Thanks, ladies, for such special pictures!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A New Year

Happy New Year! I know, only 20 days late. Where does the time go?
We had a wonderful holiday and are now (somewhat reluctantly) settling back into our regular routine.

So many times I think, "I need to comment about this on the blog". But it never seems to get done. Life is busy.

Admist all our busyness, we feel great sorrow for our global neighbours in Haiti. The death and destruction seems unfathomable. We hear the cry of anguish. We see the images. We imagine the pain (or we can't imagine). We raise money and awareness with our children. We try to teach our children compassion. We are helpless. But we are not hopeless.