Saturday, April 10, 2010

Maetia's Birthday

On April 7th we celebrated Maetia's fourth birthday!! Michael said it really makes him feel old that he will be turning 30 this year and has a four year old child. Maetia has been such a blessing in our lives. She is creative and thoughtful. She is a wonderful sister to Eli and says the sweetest things to us each day. She is playful and talkative at home but quite shy in public. We are finding it takes her awhile to feel comfortable in new situations or when everyone is looking at her. She joined a gymnastics session and then a short dance class this year. She also has gone twice a week to Preschool, all of which we think has helped her learn to follow rules, directions and act appropriately among her peers. Her favourite things to do are to dance like a ballerina, dress up and play house. She loves everything pink and sparkling, which is the one way that she is very unlike her mother.
Pretty typical of a young girl, although we think she is very special and unique of course. We love you Maetia!!

Maetia and Oma (Maetia is wearing and loving her new dress from Grandma)

Maetia was upset when everyone sang Happy Birthday and then we had to get Eli to blow out her candles but she recovered when she got to eat one of Michael's horsey cupcakes.

Maetia loves to wear her bathing suit inside and pretend to swim. She also loves having pony tails in her hair (so does Eli).

Maetia showing me her skills on the swinging bar at Eli's Kinderskills class.


We had a really great Easter weekend and although it was hard to still be 'church shopping' we did enjoy two good services which reminded us why we are really on this earth. My Opa died in March soon after his 91st birthday. While we mourned and celebrated his life, it opened up the discussion sooner than we had planned for Maetia about the death of people. We used the experience to talk about Jesus dying on the cross for us and how Opa is now in Heaven with Jesus. On Good Friday when we were reading about Jesus' death, Maetia said, "But Mommy, Jesus can't die because he has to save the world!".
We hid Easter eggs for the Easter bunny on Good Friday and collected them full of goodies on Easter morning. It was a fun way to celebrate although I still find myself being somewhat cynical about chocolate, eggs and bunnies all going along with Jesus. Maetia told me she would give some to Him if He came over.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

More photos

Because I am finally sitting at the computer, putting off filing my taxes.... some more photos.

In case the earlier video didn't work we will show a photo. Eli moved into a big boy bed with relative ease. We still put a gate across his door for the days he tries to sneak out but mostly it has worked out well. He loves his 'Bob the Builder' sheets and the space to move around at night.

Maetia got a bike for her birthday last year but couldn't figure out the peddling (even with training wheels) so we salvaged this trike and it is working well on warm days in Winter.

Maetia and Eli love to paint and make pictures for the refrigerator door.

If you look closely you can see Eli with his green and yellow hat out in the wetland that surrounds our house. He loves it but has lost many mittens this year already!

Maetia and Janna= best friends and cousins

little Lainey

Here she comes, face up.

Beautiful mother and babe

Me enjoying Lainey at 2.5 weeks while trying to pay attention to my toddlers.

I guess I have been really busy trying to make meals and watch my niece Janna but thought I should post about being blessed with a new niece on February 13, 2010. Maybe it was because we are close or because we used to pretend to be twins but when I was in with my sister, trying to be helpful I had some strong memories and feelings. I had some contractions and nausea and had to sit down. Great coaching!! I made it for the most part though, to hold Amy's hand, cheering and was able to witness a true miracle. Lainey entering the world is something I will never forget. I love you Lainey. Great job Amy!!! A big baby (9.5lbs) and two weeks early. Those VanHattem's birth some big babies.

Birthdays, Memories, and Reflections

Eli didn't need any encouragement to blow out the candle, he knew exactly what to do.

He was given a mat with roads on it and he is already very busy 'driving'.

We had matching glasses which confused him a little.

Eli will play outside all day if I let him. I have to go out and change his mittens periodically and make sure he warm enough. This part of his independence I like.
Yesterday was a blessing because we were able to celebrate my birthday and Eli's birthday. We share this special day and yesterday was very special indeed. One year ago, I was more focused on my own aging self rather than able to properly celebrate him. Two years ago I didn't celebrate myself except to have others cheering me on and praising me for a job well done.
(A beautiful homebirth I will always remember with tenderness and love)
Because last year I turned 30, this year it was just 31. What is it about those numbers 0 and 5. I had a really hard time turning 20, 25 and then 30. Yesterday was actually a bit of a relief. I am in my thirties. I have two wonderful children, an amazing husband and wonderful family and friends that surround me.
I also feel that because Eli and I had a harder time bonding initially, I now look forward to the older he gets, as we seem to bond tighter and tighter each day. This excites me as I realize it will continue as I age; which is a good thing to look forward to! This past year was a good year for memories and a hard year for reflections. I lost my grandmother, my church and had to re-arrange (in my head) where I thought I was going to live and what I was going to be doing there. I was able to do some deep, hard, (what felt like) blind, soul searching. I had been advised to do this over the next week or so from a small business counselor. It took me 9 months. I am still grieving my grandmother, my church and rediscovering my 'future'. But I do feel like the 30th year of my life was definitely one of the most eye opening, challenging and rewarding years of my life so far and I hope to have an equally blessed year this year but maybe with a few less pains.
Eli continues to grow and learn. He is so sweet and affectionate. He is a tease and loves to make us laugh. He has a very serious temper which is starting to get better now that he can use words but because he is so intense, we try to take the kicking screaming child out of the situation as soon as possible. He is talking quite a lot and can communicate much of what he needs but still uses a lot of shrugging and hand gestures. His gross motor skills are not surprisingly good but what did surprise us is that he is left handed and will use his marker or brush with great care and precision. He is not a careful child in most situations but when it comes to art, he really is. It is pretty fun to see the differences between he and Maetia and also to watch them play together and make each other laugh.

Monday, March 1, 2010


I don't normally like to brag but I believe 8 years ago I was in a room with about 20 Americans and only a few fellow Canucks. We were not able to celebrate the way we wanted to for fear of appearing brash or rude. Well, now I would like to just say, "My name is Laura and I am Canadian". HORRAY FOR CANADA!!!!
Check out our kids trying to watch the game with us, or maybe us trying to watch the game with them. In four years when we win again, they might get more into it. And I hope Sidney Crosby is still there to encourage and motivate young Nova Scotians.

Monday, February 1, 2010


For those of you who are trying to view our videos and can't; we think we figured it out. If you click on post of choice on the side bar (left) where the archives are listed, it will work. If you just click the play button on the video screen, it will not. I hope this helps.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

New Bed

This summer Eli and Maetia gave up their soothers at the same time. It was very hard for both children and adults for about a week but well worth it in the end. While this seemed to be sign that they were growing up, we weren't ready to move Eli to a 'big boy' bed just yet. Unfortunately, just after Christmas, he figured out how to escape all other options and we didn't want any serious falls so we decided to make the move. Maetia liked it because it meant she got a bigger bed with Teddy bear drawers (hand me down from her cousins) and Eli liked the idea of jumping on his own bed. This video gives you an idea of the small size of their rooms, their favourite toys, and best of all their fashion sense.

When Michael gets home from work....

Grandpa and Eli playing Sjoelbak

Friday, January 22, 2010

Vancouver Aquarium

We watched the baby beluga being born online through YouTube and we sing the Raffi song a lot so seeing a Beluga in person was a highlight of the trip for Maetia.
Also, allowing them to experience ancient/giant trees was great for us even if it was just for a short walk in Stanley Park. We certainly don't have trees like that in Nova Scotia anymore.


We had a really good trip to British Columbia to visit Grandma and Grandpa Contant. We were also able to see Michael's Grandmother who came up from Washington, and enjoy a meal with most of his mother's side of the family. We had the nativity story read to us in the barn with the DeGroot family with family pictures and good conversation. We were able to connect with great friends from when we lived in the area, we went to the Vancouver Aquarium and watched Grandpa make cookies (Spekulas) from his father's Dutch bakery molds. We had a nice evening meal with Michael's Aunt, Uncle and Cousin and best of all we were able to spend time together as a family within one household, and even had some conversation in the evening when the kids were in bed!! Despite the flu passing through the house, everyone remained mostly in good spirits. The kids had lots of time together playing games, painting, bathing, screaming, etc.
We are so thankful for the time we had together reconnecting and hope it doesn't take another 4 years to get back to BC. This trip reminded us of how very thankful we are for family and helped us to be even more thankful for the family that we do have living close by.

Monday, January 4, 2010

early in December

We got our tree very early this year so we could enjoy it at home before we went on our trip to BC and came home to it dried up on the floor. (It actually lasted a lot longer than we thought!) We did some baking, visiting, and playing in the snow, all before getting ready for our big trip.

The chickens don't like cold feet but got used to it eventually.

We are enjoying the snow more this year than last. The kids are old enough to realize it is fun and not just cold and wet. Eli also is better at holding onto the sled instead of falling out when I go fast for Maetia!

The kids were extremely helpful in putting up the tree. I know Michael appreciated it (and me letting them).


This month was filled with lots of last minute gardening, cleaning up the yard/barn area, and fixing the outside of the house. I have Christmas photos but thought I should post these first.

Here you can see our dining room after the new window is in and the walls are ready for insulation.

Here you can see some of our new counter and cupboards.

Here is our niece Keira in our dining room before the walls came down.

Eli had a phase of loving his bicycle helmet and wearing it everywhere (even in the grocery store!).