Friday, July 31, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
One of my goals when we were on our Midwest Adventure, was to get a four generations picture, with Daniel, me, my mom and my gramma. I didn't get the exact picture I was hoping for, but as news of my gramma's hospitalization reached me yesterday, I'm glad we were able to get what we did. This poem came to me tonight. My creativity isn't what it used to be, so I'll likely make some edits to this, but I like the sentiment of history intertwined.
Four Sets of Hands
Four sets of hands
Lay still on the green cloth
Four sets of hands
Representing four lives
The great grandmother’s hand
Still wears the ring of her late love
A testament to her years,
The depth of her heart,
And the fullness of her life.
The grandmother’s hand
Is marked with rheumatoid bumps
Her life has not been easy
And her hand shows the marks
Of a life filled with dream-chasing and dreams fulfilled.
The mother’s hand
is reaching out
first to her elders, gleaning wisdom from experience
and then to her son
as she learns to nurture him.
The baby’s hand
is curled up tight
life is too new
to fully embrace yet
he is drawn to hands:
the safety of his mother’s hands
the delight of his grandmother’s hands
the serenity of his great grandmother’s hands.
he reaches to them
making their hands his own.
- Jen Abbas de Jong
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
The whole Kennedy family stopped by for dinner and dessert yesterday on their way back home after a month long adventure around the States. It was the first time we had seen the entire family since our wedding almost two years ago.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
Silently you dream
And I cannot help but feeling blessed
While watching you
Every time, it's mine
You are my child
I will always protect you
Oh and I will even let you go
I'll spend the sweetest time holding you
And will let you grow
Every time, it's mine
You are my child
Don't ever be afraid
Don't ever be afraid
Cause I am here
And if you start to fear
Just close your eyes
And hear me say
Every time, it's mine
You are my child
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Daniel: Dan Kennedy, an adopted brother on Jen's side. A married father of 4 kids and a great example what a healthy, Christ-loving family looks like.
Joel: Joel Vriend, an adopted brother on Niels' side. Also a fellow Christian, married and recently became a father for the first time.
Besides being excellent examples of how life is to be lived, they are also extremely good friends and we hope to share many more memories between our families in the years to come.
In order for Daniel Joel not to forget his name-heritage, we reserved a little space in his room to help him remember these two men we hope he'll look up to as role models. (We finally got a picture of him with Dan Kennedy so we were able to update that picture.)
Friday, July 17, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Hence, the big boy seat. That seat will go to 20 pounds rear-facing and to 40 pounds front-facing. We decided not to use the high capacity seats (to either 65 or 80 pounds) since he is below the 50th percentile in weight, by that time he'll probably want something different and a simple booster seat doesn't break the bank.
After beaucoup de research we settled on the Britax Roundabout 40 in a tan color, matching the interior color of the 06 Fusion. Niels put the seat in already and tomorrow we'll swing by the North Canton Fire Department for a safety check as we feel it doesn't fit entirely snug yet.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
by Daniel, with help from Mommy and Daddy
- I'm not exactly sure, but I think I'm over 17 pounds. I was 16 pounds, 12 ounces at my doctor's appointment on June 22.
- Everyone thinks I'm bigger, but I'm still holding to the 25% percentile for weight. The chubby cheeks throw everyone off!
- I am now 27" long. My doctor tells me that's the 70% percentile. I'm a tall, skinny guy... go figure!
- I still wear my 3-6 month clothes comfortably. Except for Gerber onesies...
- I now wear a size 3 diaper. I should be here for awhile!
- No teeth yet, but I can slobber with the best of them!
- I'm now an expert sitter-upper. I can lean all the way forward to kiss my toes or grab a toy and get back to a sitting position.
- I can stand up if Mommy or Daddy prop me up on something first. I've stood up against my exersaucer and in my pack-n-play.
- For that reason, I no longer need the insert in my pack-n-play and my crib will be lowered any day now.
- I can't crawl yet, but Mommy and Daddy think it will happen any day now (!). I can get up on all fours and rock back and forth. I can also scoot backwards.
- I'm now enjoying two meals a day. I get fruits for lunch and veggies for dinner. So far I've had rice cereal, oatmeal, pears, peaches, bananas, prunes, applesauce, green beans, squash, sweet potatoes, and peas. I like it all except the peas.
- Daddy turned 35 this month. Mommy and I took him to Red Robin! Yummy according to Mommy and Daddy!
- Daddy had his first father's day this month. I made him an art project with my feet!
- I'm showing much more personality. I love to laugh at my daddy, and I slap my hand on my leg when I really like something.
- Sometimes when I laugh, it sounds like I'm just panting really hard. It cracks my parents up.
- I took my longest trip ever! Ten days, six states, five different places to sleep, and countless new people.
- I had my first overnight without Mommy or Daddy. I stayed with Gramma Chi at my Uncle Chris & Aunt Kelly's cabin. Gramma said I was a good boy!
- I went on my first boat ride...also without Mommy and Daddy. I hear these grandparent people are good at spoiling.
- Oh...I had my first taste of chocolate cake. Guess who gave me that? Hint, NOT Mommy or Daddy!
- I had my first taste of Culvers custard. Guess who gave me that? Hint, NOT Gramma...
- Besides the pontoon ride I also went on a boat ride in my OWN little boat! Thanks Auntie Kelly!
- I had a great time re-connecting with my Aunties Carisa and Liz.
- While crossing the street at the Mall of America a Minnesota cabbie told me I'm cute... I guess 'Minnesota Nice' is real!
- Got to check-out a real radio station... Thanks, Uncle Ted!
- Saw lot's of fishies at the Minnesota Zoo
- Can't wait to show Mommy and Daddy what I can do when I'm 8 months... stay tuned!
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Monday, July 6, 2009
- ... drove through the night
- Daniel is sleeping while we drive (as he usually does)
- Arrived at 6.30am, VERY tired, but safely
- said many thank you's to Ashley
- went straight to bed... in our OWN bed...
- saying goodbye to Mom and Gramma Ann
- hanging with the Abbas sistas
- dreading a 12hr drive home
- looking forward to sleeping in our own bed
- left at 4pm
- last stop at Culvers for a little while
- fire-alarm batteries in a hotel room are NOT everlasting...
- Daniel met a LOT of people
- Niels went tubing and did very well
- Daniel loves water and his new little floating boat
- both biological grandparents present
- Jen is much better at croquet than Niels
- Last full day of the trip, but ready to go home
Saturday, July 4, 2009
- dressed-up in Viking gear
- Ted reading the Viking story book to Daniel
- Jen reading her childrens book to the Rossing girls
- didn't forget the milk
- joining the rest of MN heading Nort (no, not a spelling mistake...)
- daniel reaquinting with Gramma Chi
- daniel meeting his (Great-)Gramma Ann, Uncle Chris, Aunt Kelly, cousin CJ
- daniel's first sleep-over
- our first night away from our boy...
- jacuzzi, spa and pool at our (almost) 2 year anniversary hotel
Friday, July 3, 2009
- down day!
- slow rise and nice breakfast
- good conversation
- Minnesota Zoo
- good food
- good conversation
- looking at 13yr old wedding pictures (future Facebook fodder... ;-)
- did we mention it was a down day...
Thursday, July 2, 2009
- Sista time with Carisa
- Visit Dad in Buffalo
- Niels' Golf lesson
- Visit John and Pat in Big Lake - fixed the turn-signal, D got golf clubs and a portable, foldable toy chest
- Dinner with Jen's highschool friends in Maple Grove
- Revenge of the Pears...
- Staying at the Rossing Ramada in Brooklyn Park
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
- blueberry pancakes
- driving day
- Daniel's still a champ
- TomTom trouble
- Viking store
- Cab driver loves Daniel--and we didn't even take a cab!
- arriving at Auntie Carisa and Uncle Andy's
- yummy dinner
- Gin 13 evangelism
- gave Dad his bday gift
Jen remembered two people that might have another key and after the 2nd call we actually were able to reach someone with another key! Hallelujah! With a 40 minute delay we turned onto M-131 heading north towards the Upper Peninsula with a planned stop in Mackinaw City for some good 'ol fudge! Our boy kept on sleeping until about 20 before Mackinaw and the drive north was nice, smooth and surprisingly light on traffic.
Since our boy was asleep for most of the ride we didn't stop and were getting pretty hungry so a stop at BK was in order. Daniel got his veggies while mommy and daddy feasted on some steamed items called burgers. They were actually not too bad... ;-) The lady at BK actually was able to give us directions to one of the best fudge places in town, so the BK experience was doubly good.
Niels is a chocolate fan, so you would think a good piece of fudge would be on his radar-screen, right? Wrong. Dutchies are goofy. Fudge is made out of chocolate, but somehow he's more of a solid chocolate fan. Anyway, meeting me opened up a lot of new doors for him including discovering some taste buds he didn't know he has. He actually liked some of the fudge, so we both a nice assortment for the remainder of the trip and made our way towards the Mackinaw Bridge.
I was never a fan of heights and looking at the bridge those feelings were quickly re-affirmed. It didn't help that the two center lanes were NOT paved, but steel grates. Looking straight ahead worked for me. Niels, however, was marveling at the water colors that resembled a blue more like Caribbean blue than the dark blue you'd expect from a lake in northern Michigan. That was not the only surprise the Mackinaw Strait has in store for us...
Apparently, the MDOT that manages the Bridge is a little old-fashioned. They do not take credit cards or have an electronic payment option like EZ-Pass or I-Pass. Even more troubling is the fact that they don't tell you this until you actually cross the bridge and can't return. The only option is to pull-over and pay inside the building (where you CAN pay with a credit card) but besides the $3 tolls they now charge you an additional $2.50. Well, in the grand scheme of the trip that might be nothing, but at the time my easy-going hubbie was pretty PO'd and it earned the bridge a nice comment card. Not that we have even the slightest sliver of hope that it would change anything, but at least we told them...
Anyway, the 'Welcome to the Upper Peninsula' sign lost a bit of its appeal at that time, but we made it to the northern-most part of our trip and Daniel was asleep again. The next few hours we filled with pretty lake-vistas, lots of green, lots of rural scenery and a nice relaxing drive. The first bit of real civilization was the town of Escanaba (in the daylight this time) which we had at about 6pm just in time for dinner. And with this being the Mid-West that means... CULVERS!!
Culvers is burger joint that uses real butter and their claim to fame is the butter burgers and their custard. The slogan is 'Get Culverized' and we actually 'culverized' Daniel a bit by letting him taste some milkshake (but only 3 licks... must... not... spoil... the... kid. ;-)
The remainder of the trip is actually SOUTH to Wisconsin which doesn't happen a lot... At about 7pm we entered the territory of the cheese heads and made our way to Green Bay to start my time-warp since I haven't been to this area in 10 years! We stopped for some pictures at Lambeau Field and drove to De Pere where I was a hall director at St Norbert College. We even shot a little video at the location where I met Brett Favre. Hey, I'm a football fan, so shoot me... ;-)
After a quick phone call to our final destination (Oshkosh, WI) we made our way over there but not before a quick stop at another Mid-West institution called 'Shopko'. Erin, it's a lot like Meijer... After striking-out on finding some Packer-gear we drove south through the Fox Cities continuing my time-warp and at 9pm we were finally done for today and able to meet our host for the next 36 hours, Mark, again.
We unpacked, put Daniel to bed and talked for a bit before we called it a night.
- forgot the milk!
- long driving day
- Daniel's a champ
- Mackinaw fudge!
- not a fan of the bridge
- Lambeau Field
- St. Norbert College
Across the street (44th in Grandville) is the Rivertown Mall where they have something very cool: a big Carousel ride. Since Daniel is able to sit-up now we took him on his first carousel ride. He loved sitting on the horse with daddy holding him. Every time he made another full turn and saw mommy he had a big smile on his face which made mommy very proud!
On the way back to Kentwood we called Melissa and Alex. They are missionaries in Central Asia and are back in GR for a number of reasons, the biggest being the birth of their second son Josiah a few weeks ago. They happened to be home and free for the afternoon and since we had planned this to be a down-day we got together for lunch and to simply catch-up since we hadn't seen them since our wedding. Before we knew it 3 hours had flown by which made it time for us to pick-up Beth and Erin for some sweet Mongolian BBQ.
For those not familiar with it, it means picking out your raw meat, carbs, veggies, fruit, sauces and spices before handing it off to the cook to be prepared to your liking on a big circular heated stone. It used to be all-you-can-eat for 1 price, but with the economy what it is, that is now a $3 option. Still, a very good deal and a lot of fun!
Since it is Saturday we went to the 'Saturday at Six' service at KCC. Normally we walk in with literally seconds to spare, this time we had and needed some time since Daniel was going to go to the nursery. This meant that we had to fill-out a bunch of paperwork (even for a visit) since two weeks before they had a security-breach which thanks to all the procedures got resolved within a few hours. Usually we see a lot of our friends at KCC, but not this time. Well, it was a beautiful night so a lot of people probably opted for one of the Sunday-morning services.
After church we repeated the last trip Jen was able to make before she was placed on bedrest; a trip to Grand Haven on the Lake Michigan shore for some excellent ice-cream. A big thunderstorm thread lead us to not do the 1 hour round-trip walk to the edge of the pier but since we left a little later than normal the clock still said 10pm before we got back to the VV B&B in Kentwood.
Since tomorrow will be the first big driving day (Wisconsin, by ways of the Michigan U.P) we called it a night.