Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Night's Entertainment

The Project:

The End Product:

The Verdict:

I won't make the matching slipper. While it's a cute design, the pattern is not very user friendly (perhaps it is more so for more advanced sewers), it is incredibly time consuming, and it involves sewing the sole on by hand (I loathe hand-sewing - that's probably why I never excelled at cross-stitch when growing up). Also, although this was a size 7 pattern, the slipper ended up just a few centimetres too short for my foot (even with using smaller - than - called - for seam allowances). My elasticized heel didn't work, either - rather than cinching the material, the elastic was pulled tight to the shape of the heel and made not a lick of difference.

The pattern called for quilting-quality cotton; I used flannel for the outside and a terry cloth weave. The sole called for felted wool - I just used a section of felt left over from Sunday School lessons.

Welcome, little Nathan Ezekiel Ennema

Nathan Ezekiel Ennema was born last week at only 28.5 weeks. He weighed 3lb 3oz, and in spite of his early arrival, he is a pretty healthy little guy. Nathan is cousin to Joshua Peter Speelman, pictured below. Please keep Nathan, his parents, Rob and Karen, and his nurses in your prayers over the next weeks as Nathan grows and continues to develop into a little man.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Joshua Peter Speelman

This little man belongs to Rachel (Breimer) and Marty Speelman, very dear friends of ours. He's a handsome little man.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

It's a small world after all

A Municipal bylaw inspector came by our house today to check out our questions of drainage (see post on the pond in our back yard). I contacted the city to see if they could check a few things out for us - namely, did the city actually approve all the plans that now drain water into our yard, or can we blame someone for the water issues and have a helping hand paying for our back yard renos in the spring. The answer he gave was not positive. That sucks. However, it just so happens that the inspection officer's mother used to own our house 10 years ago, so he used to trim the trees in the front and the back and he is well aware of the pond issues that we have. He was very nice to me, and promised to do a bit of digging around in the zoning office to see if he just can't help us a bit. I thought that was nice of him. And he was pretty keen on taking a look around a property he used to take care of. Apparently we have much better neighbours now than his mom did 10 years ago - even with the hotboxing of the shed!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Because Apparently the Whole World is Not on Facebook...

Brian's project yesterday: Build two veggie gardens and level our porch area.
This is our future main veggie garden:

This porch needs to be leveled so it no longer slopes towards the house. The plan: remove all concrete slabs, level the porch with screenings, and lay a small path for us to walk from the side of the house to the back stairs. (The porch itself is a project for next spring.)

This is going to be our zucchini / squash / pumpkin garden. Since those plants have a habit of taking over the world, we're going to put them in a place where their growth can be constantly monitored and kept under control.

Hard at work. I don't know what they're doing, but I'm pretty sure they're working.

Marty looks so professional. He probably knows what he's doing.

Taken this morning: Our new veggie garden. Future home of many many cherry tomatoes, regular tomatoes, green beans, peppers, cucumbers, etc.

Our back porch: Not really finished. I think they're going to work on it again on Friday evening. (Check out the frost on the roof!)

Our zucchini / squash / pumpkin garden.

Izzy turned 4 years old on Wednesday. Marty was the only person who loved her enough to buy her a present.

That tall thing is the Behemoth at Canada's Wonderland. It's the scariest ride I've ever done in my life.

Or it was, at least, until I did this ride: The Xtreme Sky Flyer. It's a giant swing. People get clipped onto cables with hooks on their backs, and get pulled up to those posts at the far side. Those posts are 170 ft in the air.

That's Shanna and I. Hanging 170 ft in the air. Eeep. It still makes me dizzy just looking at the pictures.

This is our livingroom. It's actually functional now. Wow. Never thought I'd see the day!

This is Rachel at her surprise baby shower. I don't think she was too surprised.

As one of the shower activities, we decorated onsies so that Rach would have something to remember each of the shower participants. I got the idea from shower pictures that someone else had posted on Facebook.

Here are the newly decorated personalized onsies.

My gift for Rach. I was particularly proud of the slipper with the duck on it.

As most of you know, Brian and I have a very strict couch rule with Izzy - no couch unless she's in her doggy bed on the couch. Well, one evening Brian had pushed the doggy bed to the end of the couch (he was taking a nap). The next day, Izzy tried her darndest to get into that bed so she wouldn't be kicked off the couch:

This was my latest transformation (mid September):

Monday, October 13, 2008

My Brave Act for the Year

Xtreme Skyflyer is Canada's largest free-fall swing. On Xtreme Skyflyer riders control their own ride experience by pulling the rip cord and initiating a 170-foot power flight that takes riders through a breathtaking pendulum swing, soaring a mere six feet above the ground! Drawing its inspiration from skydiving, riders will experience weightlessness and speeds of more than 100km/hr.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Amaryllis Campaign '08 - Huntington Society of Canada

Many of you will remember that last year I sold Amaryllis bulbs to raise money for the Huntington Society of Canada. This year I will be selling them again, so please read the following and send me an email if you would like to purchase any and how many you would like to purchase. Please forward this post to anyone who may be interested. Thank you.

Huntington's disease is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder. It progressively destroys both mind and body, eventually taking away the ability to speak, walk, and even eat without help. Huntington disease is also a disease of families. Every child of a person with HD has a 50 % risk of inheriting the disease. One in every 1,000 Canadians are touched by HD, whether they have the disease themselves, look after someone who does, or have a friend or relative with HD. Currently there is no cure for Huntington's. However, with recent research discoveries we've never had more reason for optimism. It's been a very exciting year!

You may or may not be aware that my dad was diagnosed with Huntington's about 15 years ago and is now in the final stages of the disease. Although only 59, he has been living in nursing homes for the past several years. He is confined to a wheelchair, has not been able to feed himself for more than three years now, and his voice and all he has to say is locked up, unable to get through his uncontrollable mouth and throat muscles. This, of course, means that myself and my siblings are all at risk of inheriting the disease. There are also a few other families in the Redeemer / Hamilton community who have had Huntington's diagnosed in their family, as well.

Every year in the fall, the Huntington Society of Canada sells beautiful "Orange Sovereign" amaryllis bulbs in kits for $12/each that include soil, a pot, and the bulb, to help raise money for research into cures for this disease and others that share similar neurological roots (Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, etc.) Last year, this community helped me raise over $1,400 for the Huntington Society of Canada in only a few short weeks. I would love to beat that this year.

The kits, once purchased, can be stored in a cool, dry place until planted and tend to bloom 6-8 weeks after planting. The flowers are a beautiful bright orange, and they really do make great gifts.

If you purchased a bulb last year and enjoyed it, I would encourage you to buy an extra this year to share with a friend. I have placed a large order this year (based on the overwhelming response of last year) which is scheduled to arrive on November 6th - enough time to plant and have blooms by Christmas and not too far away from Christmas to store the bulb in a cool place until given at Christmas as a gift.

Please consider supporting the Huntington Society by ordering one or more of the kits as gifts or flowers to liven up your office space! Words cannot express how much each vote of support means to those of us affected. If buying flowers is not your "thing", we would really appreciate your prayers for those affected as well as for the scientists who are busy researching a cure.

For more information on Huntington's Disease or the Huntington Society of Canada, please visit

Why the Amaryllis?

The amaryllis is the signature plant of the Huntington Society of Canada. It represents the vitality of our organization, and the hope that we will soon find a cure. With your help, we will win the fight against Huntington disease. The Orange Souvereign is a top quality premium grade 26-28 centimetre bulb. Its tall, green stalks are topped by an exotic burst of orange blooms. These bulbs are specially imported from Holland in limited quantities.

A young man with Huntington's Disease recently posted the following on an HD Facebook support group:

I find myself understanding what my father meant about the silent scream.
It feels like no matter how hard you try no one understands what this world is like.
Your body is changing, your mind is slower, your balance is off, and your emotions are wild.
You're not in control of yourself anymore.
No one hears you.
No one understands you.
People dissociate with you.
People are afraid to learn more.
You are stuck and you're screaming "God, help me!"
Can anyone hear me?

Thank you for your support,

Jenn vanOosten

Now that you know a little, know more.