Today, I need to share some sad news with you. Yesterday afternoon, my grandfather passed away, he was 95. He spent the last couple weeks in the hospital with his health declining. Although I am very sadden by his passing, I know that it was time for him to go. These last few months have been a challenging, he has become frustrated with simple things like his Tv. We went to visit him on Monday, and he was incredibly weak. He responded to my voice, but he was to weak to open his eyes. We stayed with him for about 20 mins. I made this scrapbook page in August after a recent visit. I am sharing it again,

On another sad note, Ethan broke his collar bone yesterday. He went sledding with a friend, flew off the tube and landed right on his shoulder. He slept upright last night because he was quite a bit of pain. He seemed better today. I think the saddest part for him, is that he will be missing at least 6 weeks of hockey. He was looking forward to playing goalie next week. Hopefully he can play the last few weeks of February and a Tournament in March.

The presents!

Our family tradition mandates that we open presents on Christmas even. I argued that is was bedtime and presents would wait until Christmas morning. I was out voted 4-1. So, we stayed up and opened every last present and headed to bed at 11pm, on 3 hours past bedtime. I was surprised that everyone maintained a joyous spirit up until the very end. Every family member was very happy with their gifts this year.
Nadia's favorites: a baby and cradle, a robe, littlest pet shop and a Zu-Zu pet.

Ethan's favorites: 2 castle lego sets, a marble game, and Bakugan (little alien creatures that ball up)

Ben's favorite is his Nerf dart tag game, the castle lego and his disc golf disc.

Andrew finally got a new case for his guitar. He also received a Garmin GPS to find the many hockey arenas and hotels.

I bought a new camera several weeks ago which was my major Christmas gift. I also got a stoneware pie plate, a DMACC sweatshirt and a new digital scrapbook class.

Overall we had a very blessed Christmas.

Christmas Celebrations

We had our Christmas celebrations on the 24th. My family came to Ames for lunch. We had 6 adults and 9 Children. We all agreed this child to adult ratio was probably the best, we discussed ways to maintain it in the future. :) We missed Rachel, Tito, Sienna, Mom and Dad. I guess Panama City is a little far to travel for lunch. Jason and Sarah could not make it either, they were a little worried that the weather would turn nasty. They needed to stay close to the farm to head off any power emergencies. We had a really nice lunch and very riveting conversations. I will not post the details here, I suggest you ask one of us sometime. I will say that Michael was very poorly behaved :) I am sure that most of my family will agree. By early evening, everyone had left and we went to church for the Christmas eve service.

Preparing for Christmas

The kids and I have been spending the last few days preparing for Christmas. We painted Christmas ornaments. It was lots of fun until the paint started to migrate from little fingers to their clothes and the table, kitchen counter, etc... I quickly halted the activity, much to the kid's disappointment. Although, the results were quite nice.

The kids sang in Church on Sunday. Nadia was asked to be the Angel. She had to walk up the stage with her friend Rowan (the Shepherd) and sit by Baby Jesus' cradle. She was very proud of her job. The kids sang very well.
I am not someone who spends days baking for Christmas. But, I did make a big batch of caramel corn and Andrew requested Boterkoeken.

Kids helped with some of the wrapping. Ben cleaned the bathrooms (he complained alot, but did a really good job). We dusted and vacuumed. We are excited for Christmas!

Good winter fun!

The snow last week pushed several of my exams at DMACC back a week. I was hoping to spend this week cleaning and scrapping, but instead I spent the week correcting exams and papers. Grades were due today and I finished them this morning.

Andrew has been home sick for the past 3 days. He has not been this sick in years. We suspect that he has H1N1. He received the vaccine on Friday; he had a headache on Tuesday. He has done nothing but sleep and take tylenol. He is starting to feel a little better tonight.

The boys were excited to have their last day of school for 2009. They are really looking forward to vacation and Christmas presents.

During the snow day last Thursday, we went sledding. It was pretty cold, so we only stayed for about 45 mins. I took my new camera and was pretty happy with the photos. Snow pictures are often difficult. I now need a class to learn how to use all the settings.

Winter has arrived...

November's weather did not prepare us for winter. We definitely were not prepared for today.

The snow started to arrive yesterday and continued to fall over night. We woke up this morning with over 12 inches of snow and blizzard like winds. School got out early yesterday and we don't have school today.

Yesterday, before the wind picked-up, the kids played outside for about 1 1/2 hour. Even Nadia was excited about the arrival of snow. Today the wind is making outside play a little less pleasant. making snow balls & throwing snow balls & Creating snow angels & lots of shoveling

Andrew and I went outside early to shovel the driveway. Our driveway and front sidewalk had a 2-3 foot snow drift across them. We shoveled for over an hour and then gave-up. Andrew realized that even if he got out of the driveway, he would not get through the drifts in our street. Snow drifts on the roof of our house.
Ben is currently reading a book series called, "A series of Unfortunate events." That would be a good title for the last few weeks. Ben unfortunately threw a disc golf Frisbee threw our dinner room window. Reflections glass was able to fix it for about $150. Still waiting for the bill. Second unfortunate event: Andrew backed out of the garage with the end gate of the van up. Did you know that a simple little plastic piece costs over $400. Unfortunately, my camera has not gotten any better and is still struggling to focus. I am slowing researching what I would like to buy, but in the mean time, the camera money has been thrown through a window and you get the point.

On to better news:

The hockey season has started, which adds insanity to our lives. We have had 4 hockey games in the past 2 weeks and many more to come. I can't really describe how much fun it is to watch the boys play. It's worth all the money, the driving and the chaos.

We have so many things to be thankful for. Here's today's Gratitude list:
1. Good jobs with steady incomes -just to cover all the unfortunate events!
2. Health - we have been very healthy even with the H1n1 flu around Ames.
3. Functioning vehicles - They may have cracks and dents, but they work.
4. Beautiful weather sunshine always lifts my spirits

I finally undated my photo album, be sure to check it out on the right side on this page. Until next time....

Trick or Treat

I could not resist scrapping these photos right away. We had so much fun and their smiles tell the story. Ethan has wanted to be a knight for a really long time. We actually bought his knight attire several months ago. Nadia, the little princess, wanted to be a princess. I loved the purple dress. Ben's costume was the most fun. I told him that he could have the money if I did not have to buy him a costume. For the last several weeks, he debated his costume. At 1 point he wanted to be a box, next day he was just going to dress as silly as he could be. He finally settled on being a wizard, by wearing my silk robe and a pointed hat. I thought it was perfect.

The boys could hardly wait to hit the streets for Trick or Treat. Nadia was not sure, she thought it might be more fun to stay at home. She changed her mind after the first house gave her a sucker! It was so fun to watch her excitement and wonder. I think she was amazed that people were giving her candy. She was the first person up to the next door and the first to run back and tell us what treasure she just received.

All in all, we had a great night.

The Princess Fairy movies

The kids were making videos with my camera the other day. I just assumed the videos were of them running around acting crazy. I was so surprised to when I watched them this evening. Just watch for yourself, they have a story line and are well rehearsed! Enjoy!

Fall Family Photos

A friend from church volunteered to take our family photos. We wondered around Ada Hayden park for about an hour taking pictures It was cold, but at least it was not raining! Here's a few of my favorites:

14 years

We were married on September 30, 1995. Yesterday marked our 14th year of marriage. Since I teach a night class on Wednesdays;we barely saw each other. We had just enough time to snap a photo before I left for class.

The month of September was a whirlwind of activity.

My teaching load at DMACC has increased substantially this semester. I am teaching 4 classes and helping to teach another one which starts in November. Football at Roland-story is also in full swing. We are reaching the mid-point in the season and everyone seems to have little aches and pains. It can really be tiresome.

Andrew is working extra hours to complete a project, so he has been going back to work every night after the kids go to bed. He is helping to coach Ben's soccer team, and hockey will start in about 2 weeks , where he will be coaching Ethan's team again this year.

Ben has about an hour of homework every night plus he tries to practice 3 instruments (Piano, Bass and Bells) He hopes to read 25 books this year.

Ethan's homework consists of reading 15 -12 minutes everyday, spelling words and addition flashcards.

Nadia is usually very easy going and just follows the flow.

Life is full, but I feel very blessed.

Great Grandpa

Grandpa celebrated his 95 birthday on Sunday the 20th. We held an open house at his new home. We were really please with the turnout. He enjoyed the day, but was really tired. Here's a few photos of the day.

The Vos family met for it's 3rd annual camping weekend. We were missing only a few; Rachel, Tito and Sienna could not make the trip from Panama, and Joel had to work all 3 days. Everyone had a great time, except Deliah; she had a little difficulty sleeping with all the craziness. We enjoyed the weekend and barely had time to be bored. Here's a little summary of our fun in photos.
Riding a horse Playing some street hockey
floating down the river
catching toads
Eating a Popsicle
Playing baseball
playing disc golf
riding the merry go round
Just hanging out and enjoying each other's company.

Photo Update

For anyone following my Photo a day album. I finally took the time to update the photos. You can few them in my photo album found here: Project 365

Back to Scrap

I spent a little time last Thursday organizing my new scrapbook area. I decided that was not much fun, so I quit the organizing and worked on creating a page. This page is the cousins enjoying some time on the farm. All the supplies are from American Crafts, the sketch is from Pagemaps and the cutter files are Visual Designs by Chris.

Trying to create some order

The last few weeks of August have really gotten the best of me. I worked really hard to get most the boxes unpacked with the hopes of starting the fall in an organized state. The months of September and October are always crazy for me with the high school football and a larger Teaching load at DMACC. The boys seem to be getting back into their routine; earlier bedtime and wake up time, catching the bus, homework, and piano lessons. It hasn't been easy, but we are slowing getting into the swing of things.

DMACC started a week ago, Nadia and I have to leaving the house by about 7:15. I teach all morning. The afternoons seem so short. I have been spending a hour every evening reviewing my classes, just to stay on top of things.

I can feel the choas hiding just around the corner of my life....

Soaking up the Summer

We enjoyed a gorgeous Saturday at Hickory Grove, a small little campground and lake, just outside of Nevada. The DeBoers joined us for a day at the beach. We had perfect weather, with lots of sunshine but not unbearable heat. The boys played beach football, we swam, and rented canoes, paddle boats and kayaks. Everyone was exhausted from a fun day in the sun.

New school year

The new school year started today. We were ready for a schedule, but not ready to see summer end. We had a good, but really busy summer. Our only "vacation" was our trip to Winnipeg. We do hope to camp this weekend, if it doesn't rain. I personally, am not ready for the craziness of my fall schedule to begin.

The first day of school seemed to go very well. The boys really like their new teachers and I am confident that they will both have a good year.

The bus system has not given me very much confidence. They will be taking a bus this year, because of our house move. We are still awaiting the details of our bus schedule. In fact, they were not on a bus list until about 2pm today. I have left several messages for the bus company. When I do speak with someone, the answer I get is: "We are still working on that, we will call you back."

It's another girl!

Our dear friends the Stauffer's had a baby girl last evening. They named her Evangeline Miranda. Check out more photos and the details on Erin's blog: Staufferville I am so happy for them. It was a very long wait.

It's a girl!

My new niece arrived late Friday afternoon. Her name is Delilah Marie, she is about 7 lbs. I have very few details. but she is healthy and Leah is doing fine. (My brother is not so big with all the details) They hope to be home on Monday afternoon. I will take the kids to see her this week, and will be back with more details and pictures! (I borrowed this photo from Leah's facebook account, Thanks Leah!)

I wish I had better news to share with you about Grandpa. He is almost 95 years old and His body seems to be shutting down. He has had several ups and downs the last few weeks. Mike, Missy and I made a quick trip to Pella last night to see him because the doctor seemed to suggested he might not live through the night. But true to Grandpa form, he seems to be doing better tonight. We can only pray that God has a plan for Grandpa.

Ecclesiastes 3 seems to ring true this week with all the life changes I have faced.

There is a time for everything,and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

What a great reminder for me that God has a plan, and my life will follow his plan according to his time. All we need to do is trust, pray and wait for his time.