Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Happy First Anniversary to Us!!!

It was an unseasonably warm Ohio day, one year ago, that Niels and Jen became Mr. and Mrs. de Jong! Our first year has flown by. The financial crunch of two mortgages--Jen's GR condo is still for sale--has given us many opportunities to make sure we were on the same financial page. Jen's health has given Niels lots of practice in caretaking, which will be put into good use once baby de Jong arrives in December!!! Stresses aside, we took time to travel together: our honeymoon in Curacao, a trip to Vermont for a wedding, a trip to Arizona to see American mom and meet Gramma (plus a fun "just us" day to the Grand Canyon), several trips to Grand ol' Rapids and even a few local road trips around Ohio. We played host to our friends Gabe & Emily, and Gary from the Great White North, and welcomed Dutch Dad and Mom for Christmas, and American Dad, Jen's sister Liz and our godson CJ just this past weekend. We've loved getting involved with our new church family, and our friends from our new small group have spent many hours in our home. Our spiritual life has been a highlight, from the aforementioned small group, to finding a place to serve in our new church, to our daily prayers and devotions, and even leading a small group for adult children of divorce based on Jen's book. Now we know what people mean when they are more in love after marriage than before. It's been a wonderful year and we can't wait to see what year #2 has in store.

Friday, July 25, 2008

da Minnesotans are Coming

The de Jong Resort & Spa is being invaded by visitors from the North this weekend. Jen's dad, sister Liz and nephew CJ are all rolling into town tomorrow morning after their long drive from Minnesota. CJ adores his Uncle Niels so we're pretty sure Niels will have a cute mini-me attached to his hip for the next few days. A premonition of days to come perhaps?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

DJ is half baked!

We have two due dates for baby DJ. The first, December 11, is based on Jen's calendar. The second, December 16, is based on how the baby measured at our 7 week ultrasound. But, as people tend to do when they are looking forward to a milestone, we choose to follow the first date, which makes today the start of DJ's 20th week--half way!!!

It seems like I have been pregnant forever. Maybe that's because I've had the complications of three pregnancies already! When I saw my OB after finally getting rid of the pump, she told me that less than 2% of pregnant woman get as sick as I was. Lucky me!

Niels and I are looking forward to the next 20 weeks (and beyond). I'm still down 12 pounds (as of this morning), but if you look very carefully--or if I wear a maternity shirt--you can see the beginning of a baby bump! We're counting the days til we see our little one again on August 4 and the BIG ULTRASOUND. And if all goes well, we'll finally know which name of the two we've chosen to start using at home. (The rest of you will have to wait unti DJ's arrival!)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Maybe Baby?

Today Jen is 19 weeks pregnant, and we are counting the days til August 4, when our big ultrasound is scheduled. If all goes well and baby de Jong cooperates. We'll find out if we're having a boy or girl!

Jen has been bonding with other December mommies on the Fertility Friend message boards, and yesterday followed a fun link to Make Me Babies. This site takes photos of two individuals to create a baby picture. See our adorable DJ above. We'll have to wait a few years to see how accurate the site is, but in the meantime, Daddy and Mommy have a picture to admire!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Weekend with Gary

Last weekend (okay, the weekend before) we were delighted to host our good friend from north of the border Gary Sharpe. I (Niels) met Gary through a former roommate of his when I was still living in Belgium and Gary was on a European vacation with two of his friends. He always said 'I have a feeling I haven't seen the last of that guy.' Well, he was right. I came to visit him in Kitchener, ON on a couple of occasions and last year I had the pleasure of introducing my wife to him. Unfortunately he couldn't attend our wedding since he was in Africa on a missions-trip so we made arrangements for him to come down later that year. Due to various reasons (among which his change in jobs from a worship minister to an international missions organization) we couldn't get together until early July.

He arrived on Friday and we talked about life and how it had changed for both of us. On Saturday we went to visit the Rock Hall in Cleveland, since Gary - being a musician - wanted to go for the last 10 years. On the way to the Rock Hall he played a few songs of his first attempt to enter that coveted museum as an exibitor. His album 'Change the World' is due out in October and we hope to be in Canada for the CD launch. We had an excellent time at the Hall and I think Gary will be back for subsequent visits (if not to see us, he might just stop in Cleveland... *smile*)

We were very happy to show him our church home 'RiverTree Christian' here. We introduced him to our Tech director 'Tonto' and some of our pastors. He was pleased to see how we rooted ourself in the 'Tree' and how similar it was to Grandview Baptist in Kitchener where he used to work.

On Sunday we had a full program as well. First we had our small group / support group for Adult Children of Divorce (a class based on the activities in Jen's book 'Generation Ex - Adult Childern of Divorce and the healing of our pain') followed by our regular small group gathering. This included a presentation by Gary on his missionary work in Africa (he focused on the project in Rwanda) and a visit from our friend 'Dr Jen - Medicine woman'. We had a great time seeing Gods work being done in Rwanda through Gary and the resource he is able to provide through his job at International Teams Canada.

Around 4pm it was time to say goodbye again, not only to Gary, but also to our small group since we had a wedding shower for one the DJs at our wedding, Jason and his future bride Andria.

Thank you Gary for a great time. We'll meet again soon!

Oh, don't forget to check out his single 'Bleed'. It's up on youtube: Gary Sharpe - Bleed

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Bill of No Rights

The following has often been attributed to State Representative Mitchell Kaye from GA but the famed 'Bill of No Rights" was written in 1993 by Lewis Napper, a self-described amateur philosopher from Mississippi who ran for a U.S. Senate seat in 2000 as a Libertarian.

Kaye's name likely became associated by finding the article and simply liking it enough to forward it to friends. Kaye is quick to give credit where credit is due, and his office routinely informs those who ask about the "Bill of No Rights" of its true authorship. We like it enough to post it on our blog, but don't claim we wrote it... ;-)

'We the sensible people of the United States, in an attempt to help everyone get along, restore some semblance of justice, avoid more riots, keep our nation safe, promote positive behavior, and secure the blessings of debt-free liberty to ourselves and our great-great-great-grandchildren, hereby try one more time to ordain and establish some common sense guidelines for the terminally whiny, guilt ridden, and delusional. We hold these truths to be self evident: that a whole lot of people are confused by the Bill of Rights and are so dim they require a Bill of NON-Rights.'

ARTICLE I: You do not have the right to a new car, big screen TV, or any other form of wealth. More power to you if you can legally acquire them, but no one is guaranteeing anything.

ARTICLE II: You do not have the right to never be offended. This country is based on freedom, and that means freedom for everyone --not just you! You may leave the room, turn the channel, express a different opinion, etc.; but the world is full of idiots, and probably always will be.

ARTICLE III: You do not have the right to be free from harm. If you stick a screwdriver in your eye, learn to be more careful; do not expect the tool manufacturer to make you and all your relatives independently wealthy.

ARTICLE IV: You do not have the right to free food and housing. Americans are the most charitable people to be found, and will gladly help anyone in need, but we are quickly growing weary of subsidizing generation after generation of professional couch potatoes who achieve nothing more than the creation of another generation of professional couch potatoes. This one is my pet peeve...get an education and go to work..don't expect everyone else to take care of you!

ARTICLE V: You do not have the right to free health care. That would be nice, but if it would turn out the same way as current public housing, we're not interested in public health care.

ARTICLE VI: You do not have the right to physically harm other people..If you kidnap, rape, intentionally maim, or kill someone, don't be surprised if the rest of us want to see you put away for the rest of your sorry life.

ARTICLE VII: You do not have the right to the possessions of others. If you rob, cheat, or coerce away the goods or services of other citizens, don't be surprised if the rest of us get together and lock you away in a place where you still won't have the right to a big screen color TV or a life of leisure.

ARTICLE VIII: You do not have the right to a job. All of us sure want you to have a job, and will gladly help you along in hard times,but we expect you to take advantage of the opportunities of education and vocational training laid before you to make yourself useful.

ARTICLE IX: You do not have the right to happiness. Being an America means that you have the right to PURSUE happiness, which by the way, is a lot easier if you are unencumbered by an over abundance of idiotic laws created by those of you who were confused by the Bill of Rights.

ARTICLE X: This is an English speaking country. We don't care where you are from, English is our language. Learn it! The fact this the USA is an immigrant country and will always have an influx of foreign languages is a fact we choose to forget whenever we feel like or when convenient (like for this article...)

If you agree, share this with a friend. No, you don't have to, and nothing tragic will befall you if you don't. I just think it's about time common sense is allowed to flourish. Sensible people of the United States, speak out, because if you do not, who will?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Operation Dump the Pump

Today is day two of Jen's much-anticipated Operation Dump the Pump. After nearly a month on the Zofran pump, Jen was finally given the okay to wean off it. She is extraordinarily happy about this because, even though it did slow down her "worship of the porcelain god," dealing with tubes and needles every day is no fun at all! In order to reach this milestone, her OB required that she:
  1. stop throwing up so much (she's eight days and counting!)
  2. stop losing weight (she was down 15 pounds, but has now gained back two)
  3. starting eating normal foods in normals amounts (the weight loss referred to #2 is a result of a lack of #1, along with a ten-week diet of jello, flavor-ice and Gatorade...Niels can now take her out to eat and she orders more than mashed potatoes and pickles).
Jen was especially looking forward to today's OB appointment because she was eager to hear baby DJ's heartbeat after such a sickly month. She left quite encouraged to hear a very strong rate of 150. (Oddly enough, the old wives' tale about a baby's gender is no help at all. 150 and above is guessed to be a girl, 150 and below for a boy...sorry Gramma Chi!).

The next big day on our calendar is August 4, when we have the BIG ultrasound, aka the "hearts and parts" sonagram where, if DJ cooperates, we'll find out if we're having a little jongen or meisje.

Stay tuned!