Monday, December 17, 2012

Florida Visit 2012

To be a tourist of Florida is definitely not as nice as a resident but we take what we can get!   We spent a weekend in Jacksonville visiting some friends, and we camped for 6 nights in the panhandle at St. Joseph's Peninsula State Park.  It was a long drive pulling a trailer but worth every minute of it!  It was absolutely gorgeous.  Beautiful sunsets, sugar white sand, clear blue skies, blue green water and no commercialism. The closest store was 30 miles away.  We spent our time sitting on the beach, reading, enjoying the camp fire, playing games and biking.  It was so much fun.  Our friends for our church in Jacksonville spent Thanksgiving Day with us.  We fried a turkey and had all the fixings.  Asher was so excited to see his friend that he took his chair and sat by the front gate for over 1/2 hour.  He misses Jacob so much!  Actually our kids miss Florida so much.  On the way home Asher said that he thought it would have been easier if we hadn't gone back to visit.  Poor little man.  Our kids are definitely Floridians.

Asher taking full advantage of sand and water.
 His board has been sitting in his closet unused for over 15 months.

Julianna always doing some sort of gymnastics

no sand toys…no problem

our camp site all neat

Thanksgiving Dinner with all the fixings 
cheers to a great friendship
Julianna and Faith

I was pretty excited to see cotton fields.  We had to touch it!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Mom/Oma…a wonderful lady!

Last week I was sorting through Asher's desk cleaning out all last years school books. I came across this wonderful pile of special birthday cards from Oma. He loves them and will keep them forever. It reminded me of all the beautiful notes that I received from her as a child. Often on the day she was cleaning my bedroom there would be a note on my pillow. Always encouraging me in the Lord, or thanking me for doing something to help her. And always, always telling me she loved me. I still have all of them. In a precious box labelled notes from Mom. She still sends the most beautiful birthday cards. Another very sweet thing she does is write a thank you note after every visit. How thoughtful is that? I think the most difficult thank you note from her was her first visit without Dad. I remember vividly reading it and crying that it just said, "love Mom". Thankfully her first visit without Dad was also a visit to welcome Julianna. Sadness and joy. We love having her over and we love how she loves our kids.

some of the thank you notes
Asher's cards
Anna Grace's very precious birthday card.
She walks around with this card at least once a week saying, "my card from Oma, I love her!"
"Her children rise up, and call her blest" Prov 31:28
She is blest and we are blest because of her!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

my sweet little helper

Water and cleaning are her thing.  She rarely plays with toys.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Our Trip to Canada~May 22-June 8, 2012

(It's been a long time since I've blogged.  So many new improvements to blogger, I may be doing this more often)

The last time our family spent time in Canada was Christmas 2009.  Anna Grace was 3 months old.  This trip was long overdue!  The original plan was for the kids and I to drive to Myrtle Beach(19 hrs) and spend a week with some of my family that were vacationing there and then drive up to Canada(15 hrs) and visit my mom, and then drive back to Texas (25 hrs). It all sounded like a great plan months ago.  As we were approaching the date, I was beginning to question my ability to drive that far by myself.  I asked Cor if he would drive me one way.  I could handle driving 3 days by myself.  He didn't hesitate to say no!  I reminded him that he moved our family far away from my family.  Within minutes he announced to us that he was buying us tickets to Canada!  We were all super excited.

We arrived at the airport bright and early Tuesday morning prepared for a 7:15 departure. It was a great 2.5 hr flight.  My sister met us at Detroit.

Some highlights of our trip:

May 22-28

-seeing my mom and sister
-meeting my new great niece Anna (and her brother and parents)
-visiting my nephew and his fiancee in Toronto for 3 nights
-going up the CN tower
-riding the subway
-walking around downtown
-taking the ferry across to Toronto Island
-Black Creek Pioneer Village
-visiting Cor's Aunt Jane and being absolutely spoiled!
-sleeping in the Princess tent (Julianna and Anna Grace)
-visiting the Cambridge Van Dyks

at the CN Tower

standing on the glass floor.  Asher was scared out of his mind!
looking down from the glass floor
Anna Grace 

looking at Toronto Harbor from the ferry
the girls special sleeping arrangements at Aunt Jane's
Jane's dinner spread
Julianna with Baby Anna
May 29-31

-playing Scrabble with mom
-chatting and enjoying many glasses of wine with my sister and mom
-watching my mom spoil and love on my kids. Whatever they wanted and liked, they got!
-watching my mom and kids play many games
-enjoying the crisp, cool, humidity free weather
-dropping in at my sisters
-visiting some of my aunts in Mitchell.
-driving past my Opa's house!  He was the best Opa.
-lunch with a long time friend
-meeting my nephews girlfriends

you must be this short to ride….my insanely tall nephew!
my beautiful mother and daughter
May 31-June 4

-Cor's visit.  He hadn't planned on visiting, but he missed us too much and decided to fly up for the weekend.  It was wonderful.  I was beginning to really miss him and wondering how I was going to make it for another week. The day of his arrival I was so excited, it felt like I was dating him again.
-Asher's first time at school. He went with his cousin
-Stanley Cup hockey games
-my nieces bridal showers
-Oma Van Dyk's 85th birthday!!  What a blessing.
-visit with my brother and family
just a typical shot
Oma Van Dyk
June 5-8

-crossing into the United States.  It always is an ordeal for me.  I always get pulled into the office.
-lunch and shopping with my mom and sisters
-Detroit Zoo
-hanging with my nephews and nieces in Michigan
-4.5 hr plane delay…was to arrive in Houston at 7:45pm but we landed at 12:15 am.  It was a long wait in the airport.  The kids (even Anna Grace) were excellent!  After hanging out that long in an airport, hearing compliments on the behavior of your 4 kids is beautiful!  

the polar bear exhibit at Detroit Zoo is the best!
we are in a tunnel surrounded by water and the polar bear showed off for us
Detroit Zoo is our favorite zoo that we have visited.  
Prairie dogs…they were so cute to watch

baking with Aunt Teresa
We had an absolutely wonderful time.  It was so good to stay at my mom's place that long.  She loved it.

heading home!

And to come home to all the kids bedrooms freshly painted and to this beautiful bathroom
was the best!
my beautiful, huge, spacious,walk-in shower.  I'm in love.
 It turned out exactly how I had hoped

new soaker tub

Friday, August 05, 2011

No longer Floridians...

How sad is that? Very sad if you see the beaches here, but we won't mention that anymore.

10 years ago, July 18, 2001, we (with just Arianna and Asher) arrived in hot, humid, sticky, Jacksonville, Florida. We didn't know if we could survive the heat. We adjusted quickly and loved it! We moved into a 3 bedroom apartment. At the time Cor was working for PriceWaterCoopers as a Manager of Accounting. Shortly after arriving, 9/11 happened. It was an awkward time to be foreigners in a country. In late September Cor lost his job. In the Lord's kind providence Cor quickly received an offer from CEVA Logistics.

A year later we moved into a beautiful new home in St. Augustine. We lived in this house for 3 years.. We loved living there but when Cor saw an opportunity to make some money by selling our place, he went for it. We sold this house privately. The buyers came in the late afternoon on March 29, 2005. The reason the date is so clear in my mind is because it was a day before by due date! I felt like my Braxton Hicks were a little harder and was pretty certain Julianna would be born on her due date. The owners stayed for long time. I tried to hide my discomfort. They finally left and Cor left to pick up my mom from the airport. I was concerned because he would be gone for at least 2 1/2 hours. Asher was born after only 45 minutes of labor. The contractions stopped. He arrived home with my mom, and I woke up early in the morning with serious labor. Julianna was born in the early afternoon. We closed on the house a day after Julianna was born.

319 Diana Court, St. Augustine, FL

We built another house, this time a little bigger 40 miles north of St. Augustine. 2 years after moving in, we put in a pool. We spent many, many hours playing in it. Anna Grace was born in this house. We loved everything about living in North Jacksonville. The people, the sports, the beach that was close. We lived in this home for 6 years. I actually started to think we were planting roots.

12500 Richfield Blvd, Jacksonville, FL
(I even planted flowers...)

so pretty at Christmas time


March 2011, Cor accepted a position of US Controller for CEVA Logistics. The new promotion involved a move to Houston, TX. We leave with many mixed emotions. We loved living in Florida. We left behind many great friends. But, we are also excited for Cor with this new challenging and rewarding position. With each of the moves I've made I've had a sense of adventure in me, I don't feel as adventurous this time. Perhaps it's age? :)

A little bonus for me is that the housing is a little cheaper in TX and we were able to purchase a home that was quite a bit larger. I didn't think I'd like a 2 story home but preparing dinner while the kids are playing upstairs in the game room gives me lots of peace! We aren't on top of each other anymore. Pray for us as we continue to transition here.

 Kingwood, TX

And, as always, y'all are more than welcome to visit us here. We'd love it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Spring Birthdays and Spring Visits

It truly has been a very busy spring. Spring always is for us. We have 4 family birthdays and usually the "good old faithfuls" come by for a visit. Cor has been traveling a lot lately making life seem all the more busier. Spring ball with 3 kids is fun and great for the kids, but we are always happy when it is over as well. For some reason, I don't have pictures of Cor's 37th birthday or Asher's 10th birthday. Cor won't forget that party though. He was in charge of 8 boys Bless his heart! I was at a ball game with Arianna.

Arianna's 12th birthday, she got spoiled of course. Birthdays are very special events!

Julianna turns 6!!

her friends
she has wanted rollerblades for a LONG time! She looks thrilled

My mom and her cousin from Holland, Tante Eef, came for a quick 4 day visit. We had a lot of fun touring Jacksonville and St. Augustine. She doesn't speak too much English, and I don't speak too much Dutch, and my mom can speak both but she was a horrible translator!! But we made it through the week just fine. Julianna told Tante Eef that our dog was English. We laughed so hard! I remember Tante Eef visiting our family when I was a little, so her visiting me now was really special.
Mom, me and Tante Eef in front of beautiful Flagler College

Cor is always loved!

Jon and Kelley came for a week long visit. We always have a great time with them. Thanks for using your vacation time to visit us. We love being together and the kids just have a blast. The kids are getting older making the visits a lot easier. We even went out for dinner one night and didn't have to run out with any crying kids or tantrums. We definitely made 10 kids look easy :)The other patrons laughed at our two families and tried to pair the kids with the parents. They did a great job too!

all crammed in our little breakfast nook. We ate all our meals together.

apparently the kids like it crammed because here they are in the kiddie pool intended for Anna Grace and Nicolas!

still not sure why they sat in that little pool together

the gang minus Anna Grace who was miserable :(

Nana and Papa(Cor's parents) came for a visit the middle of May. We had a great time with them and were spoiled by them!

Playing spoons was a hit!
as was playing basketball in the pool

The kids had a piano recital when they were over. They were proud to perform what they had learned!