Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

Every year this is the time to reflect a bit and think about all the ways God has blessed us. Yes, Thanksgiving is not just turkey, cranberries and Black Friday, but should be a little less materialistic and a little more about family and relationships.

And even though this year has had its share of hardships, it isn't all that hard to come up with a list of things that we are thankful for:
  • A full-term pregnancy: We have managed to cook baby DJ to full-term. There have been plenty of times when that seemed virtually impossible, but beaucoup prayers and lots of bedrest seem to have done the trick. We are really looking forward to Dec 9, when - Lord willing - we can finally hold our son in our arms.
  • A full year of marriage (16 months in 2 days): Our first full year of marriage. We were married at the beginning of this year and will be married at the end of this year. And guess what: we haven't spend a night apart and STILL like each other...
  • Idea in-progress for having only 1 house: After much prayer and counsel we've decided to pursue a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. Even though it was certainly not our first choice (or even 2rd or 3rd), it is a huge relief to finally know the road to 1 house payment is finally clear.
  • A new US Permanent Resident: This year the DHS finally came to its senses and let Niels stay in the US... Nah, the DHS has always been fairly helpful and quick and that alone is cause for giving thanks. After all, it is a government agency and when they are actually helpful, that is cause for praise.
  • Our mid-pregnancy cruise: In August we went north, way north to Alaska for a much anticipated, relaxing and amazing week away from it all. Best of all, it was the one week that Jen felt good during the whole pregnancy.
  • Lots of trips to GR: Grand Rapids was the destination of choice for a number of weekend trips to help with selling the condo, visiting friends and loading up on some Dutch goodies.
  • Arizona: One year ago we were in sunny Arizona (we are writing this with snow on the ground here, sorry Mom!) where Niels met Gramma for the first time and got to take a beautiful trip through Arizona to the Grand Canyon and back. Niels was also introduced to Mom's famous chicken and wild rice... and is looking forward to more in the weeks to come.
  • Gin 13: One more thing we picked-up in Arizona is the card game Gin 13. It has helped us through many hospital waits and fun times at the dinner table too... Just need to get Jen to win a bit more... We play in Dutch most of the time and Jen is getting to be quite the expert at counting (at least from 1 to 10....)
  • Debt reduction: In the tough economic times we are facing we feel very thankful that we've been able to pay off all debt, short of 1 car and the house. That includes those dreadful credit cards... 
  • Bailey: despite a scare earlier in the year, she is still with us and healthy again. She is getting increasingly antsy about some upcoming change she can't quite figure out yet...
  • Visitors: This year we've not been able to travel as much, so we were grateful to have a number of family-members and friends coming to Ohio to see us. There were: Dutch Mom and Dad, American Dad (twice!), our godson CJ and Jen's sister Liz and our good friend Gary from Canada.
  • NFL Sunday Ticket: One of the bigger splurges of this year, but it made bedrest infinitely more tolerable given Jen's major addiction to the game of football. Go Vikes! 
In general this year we've been very touched by the generosity of our RT church family. They have stepped-up to help us during the latter stages of our pregnancy with help cleaning the house and feeding our family. Case-in-point, we have a complete turkey-dinner-for-two in the fridge courtesy of our church family. 

So, all-in-all, with the hard pregnancy, 2 houses, paystub mishaps, 2 miscarriages and 1 breast cancer scare, we look back on these last 12 months with much fondness and gratefulness to God for the way he sustained us and are eagerly looking ahead to next year which will be A LOT different with the arrival of baby DJ in 12 days!!

Gobble, gobble...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Full Term!

According to my OB, today I am 37 weeks, full term! And I feel every second of it! 

Monday, November 17, 2008

Good News from Jen's Neuro

Today we received the okay for Jen to have a spinal rather than general anesthesia for the c-section. This means Jen will be alert for the delivery and Niels can be in the operating room to see his son being born!!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

We're ready to bring DJ home!

Thanks to the Ziesemers and our National City Reward program, we were able to go on a little shopping spree tonight to get the rest of our "must haves."

Here's a few pictures with our finished crib and changing table. We still have a few things to hang up, but Dutch Dad, we're waiting for you! :-)

We finally have a crib mattress so here's the finished crib, complete with dust ruffle, sheet, bumper and quilt.

We also got the changing pad and cover...and needed diaper supplies. We're all ready for Oma, Opa, Gramma Chi and Grampa Elmer to visit!

Auntie Liz, there'll be plenty of opportunity for you to change diapers, too!
One of the projects for Niels and Dutch Dad...hanging up the letters. (And the ledges...and the valance...and the wall art...)
And our favorite onesie...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

One Month From Today...

Our c-section is scheduled for 7am, Tuesday, December 9...just one month from today! It's been a long, difficult pregnancy and we are both ready to meet our little boy! I'm still on bed rest, which is not as fun as one might think! I've watched about as much TV as I can stand, and have become an expert on computer games. I read when my headache and dizziness isn't too bad, but for the most part, I'm learning to stay in bed, or at least horizontal. Whenever I get overly ambition, I usually pay for it for a few days. There are so many things I'd like to do, but they'll just have to wait til after our son just one month!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

USA votes - History has been made

Today not only Canton voted, but also the rest of the United States and they by majority elected Senator Barack Obama the new President-elect of the United States. The next two-and-a-half months we'll see a transition from the Bush-era to a new, historic chapter of the American history. 40 years ago an election of an African American President would have been unthinkable, but today after an incredible graceful concession speech by Senator McCain, the unthinkable has happened.

I'm excited to see where Obama will take this country! 

Monday, November 3, 2008

Canton Votes - part III

Well, it's election eve and we can honestly say: Thank God! It's the culmination of pretty much 2 years non-stop campaigning. Do politicians actually do anything else?? I can't help but wonder sometimes. But, the good thing is that the whole world is covering this election and if you take the time and effort to look on some of the international sites you can actually find some refreshing insight into Election '08.

One of those sites is hosted by the Dutch current affairs program EenVandaag (like 60 Minutes or Dateline NBC). Last week they interviewed me for their web-only series about Dutch people in Canton, this week they interviewed us for the national TV broadcast earlier today. There's a few shots of our car and house at the very beginning, then we're on two features between 16 and 20 minutes in. The first clip has Niels speaking English (with me), but the voiceover and second part is in Dutch.


We'll see tomorrow if it will be President Obama or President McCain...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Canton Votes - part II

Today we found the link to the first interview they made of me for the Dutch current affairs show 'EenVandaag' who are covering the US general election from Canton, Ohio.

The video is in Dutch, but it talks about that life around here revolves around church and schools and since we don't (yet) have any kids we joined a local church (there are some other reasons too, in case you were wondering... *smile*).

Pastor Greg Nettle was talking about the elections and challenged the congregation to look at the major topics not only from a personal perspective, but also 'through the eye of a Jesus-follower'.

The rest of the video is about our personal struggle with prayerfully selecting the presidential hopeful that fits best from our perspective.[backPid]=10&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=33194