(Grandpa and the girls) Eight years ago today my father-in-law passed away. He was 67. It was a hard time for our family, but I have some sweet memories from that time that I cherish. We told the kids that Grandpa was very ill and that he would get to go to heaven soon. Deborah was nearly three. Rachael was nearly seven, Hannah was nearly six. Each of them processed it very differently. Rachael acted like it was no big deal, but that's a regular coping mechanism of hers. We knew it was big to her. Hannah was astute and forthright. During prayer time at church on the Sunday before he died, Hannah's voice rang out clearly as she asked for prayer. "My grandpa in very sick and he hurts really badly right here," she said as she pointed to her side. (He had liver cancer.) I thought Deborah was... Read more →

white limo day

Yesterday, Grant (Gordon's brother) and Char had a group of people to their house. This get-together was a sort of "thank-you lunch" for those that helped them in their recent move. After lunch we had a most unusual surprise. A limo showed up to take the kids for a ride. Grant is phenomenally gifted with coming up with who-woulda-thunk-it entertainment/gift ideas; this is just one example. The limo carries 16, so we hauled in and went for a little cruise - all the children and five adults. These are some pictures from the ride. That's Deborah getting in. This is our neice Sela, Jo's daughter. Rachael. Deborah, a bit goofy. Our nephew Eric (Jo's second son), thoughtfully watching Edmonton go by. It was a fun memory-maker. I wish I could have captured pictures of all the kids, but my seat in the limo didn't lend itself to that. Did you... Read more →

you might be dutch if...

This is for my pure-blood Dutch husband. You might be a Dutchman if... You finish the food on your plate even when it is burnt or otherwise unfit for human consumption. (I have the easiest husband in the world to cook for. He'll eat anything. Whatever I make and no matter how badly I screw it up, he eats and doesn't complain. This was especially helpful in our early marriage.) You reused plastic margarine containers long before anyone had heard of the environmental movement. (True story: Last week after an ice cream social at church, Gordon plucked the empty pails out of the garbage to bring home saying, "I have all kinds of uses for these babies.") You have a two volume address book, Volume I: A-U Volume II: V-Z (For those who don't get this, many many Dutch names start with van. Dykstra doesn't start with van, as you... Read more →

little eric

(Eric, 2006) Sunday at Deborah's birthday party, our two-year-old nephew Eric wouldn't keep his clothes on. He spent a good amount of time running around the backyard naked. At one point he made his way into the house unnoticed. When he came back, he carried next to his naked little body a book that Gordon had bought just the day before. He lovingly brought the book to his mommy and cracked it open to reveal a green piece of art (scribble) he'd created. Opening the book to his artwork, he proudly proclaimed, "TA-DA." It was a sweet moment of pure innocence. Read more →