Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Annorah Kate Van Dyk

... was born at 10:42am weighing 6lb 2oz.

Pictures to follow when I remember to take the camera home.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Sarah, these are for you.
I look, and feel, like I am about to burst.


It's time.
I am heading into town tonight so the hospital will only be a 5 minute drive away. I will wake up, skip breakfast, and head to the hospital for 8:00 a.m. I will be prep'd for two hours and then at 10:00 I should be heading into the O.R. for a baby.
Please hold us in prayer.
I know you will and thank you with all of my heart.

Friday, July 24, 2009


Monday, July 20, 2009

::Backyard Campout::

I only have a week left until I am on strict orders to be a party pooper. So, we took advantage of the last weeks to do the things I will have to abstain from for now: We camped out in our backyard wilderness. We lit a fire and ate gooey smores and slept in the night air. As it turned out we were joined by scattered showers and a very noisy tree-eating machine in the field next door. But I am glad we took the time to do this.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

::Gabriel 2009::

See Gabriel last year *HERE*

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

::Reunions & Peanut Butter Cups::

We just returned from our *Family Reunion.* Yes, I was greeted with MANY large hugs, paired with 'you are crazy!'s. Aunt Deet & Uncle Harry were thrilled to see us. Aunt Deet told me;"I heard you were thinking about it Jo, but I thought there was no way we'd see you!" "Oh, I had faith, Jo," Uncle Harry assured me.
I just couldn't let two years go by without seeing this wonderful family. They are another form of home to me.

Anyways, Aidan's birthday fell on the Sunday of the reunion and, rather than bring a whole cake, I was inspired by a delicious snack Tara introduced me too: Peanut Butter Cups. They are so much better than Reese's.
Recipe *HERE*

Monday, July 13, 2009

::Elijah 2009::

Click *HERE* to see Elijah last year.

Friday, July 10, 2009

::Caelah 2009::

I will be posting the results of my 2009 photoshoot, one by one.
Click *HERE* to see Caelah last year.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

::Elijah's Date with Dad::

Gabriel's *date* with me in February was such a hit.
Now, it was Elijah's turn...

::Disney's "UP"::
::McDonald's Happy Meal::
::Treat bag for the movie: Jumbo sour keys::

Apparently Elijah was true to form and became very emotionally involved in the movie. He panicked; "Oh, no. Oh no." He felt victory; "Yesssss." He made the lady in the next seat chuckle in delight. Oh, to be a kid again.


For weeks Aidan has been shuffling things around in the downstairs freezer. Elaine drove down from Kingston to celebrate our birthdays--a month early. She came all the way out to pick me up, even though it would have made more sense to meet her at the restaurant. Reservations were early: for 5:30. I was encouraged to dress up. Aidan was overly accommodating when we asked him to get off work early. Aidan hollered, "come back to me by 8:00," from the porch as we drove away. Restaurant banter touched upon babies and showers on more than one occasion. Elaine was very anxious to get the bill. Elaine seemed eager to head home due to "stomach pain."

So many clues.
They are easy to spot, looking back. But none of them helped me at all. I saw the cars spilling out of our driveway, and the balloons strung on the mailbox. And even then, I couldn't guess what the occasion could be. I was utterly baffled.

A baby shower? For me? But why? I'm only supposed to get one!
I guess my friends and family disagreed. My darling sister gathered the troops and filled my house with people I loved, all bearing meals to pack my freezer and clothes to adorn my new little girl. Tiny shoes and frilly bloomers. Handmade crib sheets, blankets and tiny outfits. Pink, pink, PINK! I was so thrilled to get my hands on all the girlie items I refused to indulge in with Caelah.

As is often the case, my heart only became truly touched once the house was empty and quiet once more. I noticed the small touches: the bud vases spread throughout the house filled with flowers in the shades I love most. The candles burning here and there. The food wrapped and waiting in the fridge and freezer. Even a beautiful loaf especially for tomorrow's breakfast. Oh! So much love. So much care and thoughtfulness.

My little sister tired herself out for me. She came and went with loads of supplies: lanterns, pretty napkins, games and prizes, candies and cake. . .


Near-spoiler #1: Aidan had worked hard to keep our freezer somewhat empty these past weeks in order to accommodate the meals Kate had told him would be coming. However, the morning of the shower I happened to head to Costco and came back with a trunk brimming with groceries. Including 11 loaves of bread... Hey, I like to plan ahead! When Aidan opened the trunk and groaned, I assumed it was because he was worried about our budget.

Near-spoiler #2: I was prepared for a girl's night out. I was not at all on track with eating and returning home by 7:30. I tried to drag Elaine all over Chapters after leaving the restaurant. Her "stomach ache" was brought on out of a panicked need to get me home!

Surprises rarely work out, but this party was completely unexpected.
Proof: I wore no makeup!

Friday, July 03, 2009

::Canada Day 2009::

It has been a necessary regression. Three years ago we all went down to the Hill as a family and watched the fireworks up close. Two years ago we left a few kids behind in hopes of managing the oldest few. Last year we parked ourselves blocks away on a bridge to watch. This year we stayed out of the downtown core entirely.

Those of us with young kids decided to try something new. We had a BBQ at Melrose, then walked down to the river. After some deliberation, it was decided that higher is better, so strollers and kids got hauled up the hill. We settled up above my old train bridge and waited in the relative comfort of elbow room and fresh air. No smelly throngs. No elbows in the ribs. No foul language and questionably weedy smells. Just a picnic blanket on a hill, along with a few other families strung out in a loose band across the crest of the hill.


Wednesday, July 01, 2009

::Sugar Maple::

A Holiday-appropriate post:

The City gave us a tree. Yeah, I know the last thing we need is another tree. But this tree has perks. It's a sugar maple. My romanticism projects great things upon this tree: syrup in the spring. Vibrant foliage in the Fall. Branches for climbing. . .

Our lot is packed with oaks that have grown upwards in forest conditions. There are no "tire swing" branches. The nearest branch to the ground is twenty feet up and reaching stiffly up to the sky. This baby tree will be pruned to grow into a full, rounded shape. Maybe ten years down the road it will be strong enough climbing.
As for syrup, I have read that it could take up to 25 years for our little tree to offer up good sap. But we could always give it a try a decade sooner...

And colour-- that is a guarantee. Even this fall, the handful of leaves already grown should offer up more colour than most of our other trees combined.

We've planted out front so it will be the first thing you see when you turn into the driveway. Years from now, in early Autumn, I hope to see a huge splash of orange and red when I take that last turn towards home. Until then, we wait.

Happy Canada Day