Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Happy 5th Birthday!

To a brand new five-year-old: Happy Birthday! Since even 5 year olds don't get to stay up until 11:30pm, I know that you've already go to bed for the day, but I hope that you had a very wonderful day! Love from Uncle Brian & Auntie Jenn

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Yesterday was my last day of work in the Registrar's Office. It's been four years and three months since I started working there. I started work on February 13th as a "Registration and Admissions Advisor." I worked 60% for Richard on the Registrar side of the office, and 40% for Dory on the Admissions side of the office. On my last day, I can't even tell you what my full title is - Academic Advisor, Off Campus Program and Transfer Credit Officer? Through my time in the position, I spent several weeks travelling around Eastern Ontario, and I went to Kentucky, Baltimore, California, and Texas for the first time. I attended some very lame conferences (NACAAP, for Admissions) and Linda and I discovered NACADA - The National Academic Advising Association, which was not lame at all and really fueled a lot of the change of focus in the Registrar's office when it came to advising. They have excellent sessions in their conferences.

I've never really blogged about work, because, well, it's work, and let's be honest, all of my "good" stories to blog were personal for the students whom the stories were about. Blogging is not really worth losing a job for. But in the process of not blogging about work, I've never shared anything about any of the wonderful people I work with - the kind and generous friends that I now have!

My (now former) boss, the man of the office (seriously, we have no other men in the office), is, all things considered, a great boss and a good friend. Yes, he's a little busy these days as he sits on a million and one committees and does the job of at least two senior administrators and is almost half way through his PhD (er, or is it only 1/4 of the way?), but what dedication he has to each of those activities! He also makes the absolute best carrot cake in the world (alright, perhaps he's tied with Irene Martin, who made the best ever carrot cake wedding cake for us!) - though he still hasn't held up his end of a baking exchange deal that we had a few months ago.... ;) While he gave me more work and responsibility than I knew what to do with, he also pushed me quite far and I now know that I am an extremely capable worker who can handle an awful lot.

His right-hand-woman is someone who intimidated me quite a lot when we began working together, which was 6 months after I began working in the office. She had been on mat leave, and when she came back to the office we were strangers to each other, and both felt out of place. We definitely did not love each other. The NACADA that we convinced Richard to let us go to in Baltimore was absolutely what gave us that bonding time that we needed. What a strong and beautiful and hilarious and upright woman she is! She is the encourager of the office, and strives to recognize all of the hard work and sacrifices that people in the office do and make. She was my confidant in the office, and I will dearly miss the regular chats that we had. Sure, we'll still work in the same building, but it will definitely not be the same. I take great pleasure from reading her blog, which is listed along the side here. Her stories of her young ladies often make me cry from laughter. Friend, I am so glad that we're friends!

Two years ago in August we hired a new Advisor. This was a partial mat-leave, partial new position, and I got to go through the interview process from the inside. I sat on the interview committee and, quite seriously, was probably more nervous than the interviewees! I was so glad when Richard chose the advisor that he did - she is so fabulous. I'm sad that I didn't get to know her better during my time in the office - she's going on Mat leave in just a few weeks and will have her hands full! What a sweet, kind, and generous woman - with a very subtle firm streak that we both share - "tough love" is what we've called it. :)

Our support staff ladies have just been fantastic over the past four years and change. In the receptionist position, I've seen three extremely different, extremely wonderful people come through; the first of whom I'll be working quite near to starting on Tuesday, the second of whom I still share a deep and joyous friendship with, and the third who is still there right now and is extremely passionate about ... I'm not exactly sure what, but there is passion there, and it often comes out through her work.

The last one in the office, the woman who puts in the frustrating hours creating schedules for classes, and for exams, and then recreating those schedules again and again (among doing other things), she is one tough cookie. She was also off (on medical leave) when I started in the office, and didn't join us until I was about 5 months (or more) in. She has done every position in our office except for Registrar, and she knows her stuff. What attention to detail! To every last single solitary detail! (Um, it could be frustrating at times. But so good to have someone in the office like that!) She was harder to get close to, but she has a very large, very soft heart, and has a lot of wisdom to share.

These are the people I've worked with for the past four years and three months. I'll miss them, and I'll miss my job, too. I'm excited about what lies ahead, and so thankful for everyone who's helped me gain the strength, knowledge, and confidence to get there.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Happy birthday to my one and only niece! What a great month this is for birthdays, and what a beautiful girl to share my birthday month with! Happy birthday, Nadine Isabella!

Monday, May 17, 2010

New Things

This coming Friday marks not only the beginning of the May Long Weekend, but the end of my job as Academic Advisor & Off Campus Program Coordinator in the Registrar's Office at Redeemer. This is, just so you know, a choice. On Tuesday, May 25th, I will take up my post as Assistant Bookstore Manager in the Redeemer University College bookstore. I'm very excited about this new opportunity - the bookstore ladies are really amazing people, and it will definitely be a shift in work for me, from administration to retail. It's also a slight shift up in pay, which I certainly won't complain about! Anyhow, you can be sure that I'll start plugging books that you should be buying from the Redeemer Bookstore. :)

Also new this summer is the lease that we just signed with our new downstairs tenants! As of July 1st, Brian and I will take possession over the whole house for the better part of the month. I'll be redecorating some of the upstairs (the Maple Leafs bedroom is definitely going to go - sorry, David!), and Brian will be refinishing some of the floors and installing carpets in the bedrooms. I like the hardwood better, but let's face it - we don't want to be listening to our tenants' movies when we go to bed at night, and I certainly don't want to impose a curfew on them. So, carpeting, here we come! By July 24th, we'll be entirely moved upstairs and the new tenants will be making themselves at home downstairs.

This weekend we just got new neighbours - Val & Keith moved out last Thursday - they were the longest-standing residents on Cranbrook Dr, and watched the comers and goers like hawks. I'm kind of glad that they're not around to criticize my house anymore. New neighbours are Dave (owner) and his mom - Connie? Carrie? They drink Bud, they ride dirt bikes, and they work at the Ford Plant - so, fairly typical Hamiltonians. But, they also gave us a future invitation to come over to swim in their pool - which is a big step up from Val & Keith! ;) We really want to make a positive connection with the new neighbours, and feel that we have a better chance of doing that with Dave and his mom than with the previous owners. The neighbours on the other side of our cinderblock wall, however, continue to party (Friday night it was until 3am...gah) and hot-house their back shed.

My new nephew is holding his own right now - if you'd like more detailed updates, please visit Marya & Eric's blog listed in the left-most right hand column on this blog -----> They're "The Renkema Report". There are some beautiful new photos of Isaac and his daddy!

Izzy has a new hair cut, and is looking rather ridiculous. Mom thinks that Izzy needs to be clothed right now because she looks too naked. I took Izzy along with me to the Speelman Rez (home of the new twins!) yesterday afternoon to drop off some freezer dinners that I made for them, and while I was there I got a LOT of love from a certain toddler. He was sitting in his high chair when I pulled into the drive way and apparently alerted everyone that I was there by waving and squealing. It is so precious to see that little man toddling towards me with his arms wide open, preparing to hug me (of his own free volition).....and then dropping his arms as he reaches me to shrug his shoulders and say, "Zzy?" and run away to go find the dog. ;) He did come back to me, though, to give me the hug that he had denied me of only minutes earlier.

We have also been trying to catch up on the new season of LOST - we finally watched season five finale, and are three episodes into season 6. My mind is reeling from the craziness. 6 days until the Series Finale and 13 episodes to watch.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Days with Mothers

Last weekend, Brian and I were in Sarnia and got to spend some quality time with his Mom. This past weekend, my mom came up to visit us and hear us sing in the Farewell Dr Cooper choir concert, and we got to spend some quality time with her, as well. Between the two of us, Brian and I have two fantastic, wonderful, and beautiful mothers. Happy belated mother's day!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Welcome to the world, Isaac Aaron Renkema!

Brian and I stopped by St Joseph's again last night and missed Eric (again), but we did get to see Isaac this time. What a tiny little creature! So perfect and beautiful, though! Please continue to pray for him, as he's got a long road ahead of him! (ps - if you don't think he looks so small, take a look at the soother in front of him...)

Saturday, May 08, 2010

May 7, Birthday of three new babies!

Yesterday morning sure was a busy one - at 6:50am, my sister had a c-section and little Isaac Aaron Renkema was brought into this world at a mere 2lb 5oz. So tiny! I haven't had the chance to see him, yet, but we did stop in and visit with Marya, who looks like she's doing amazingly well. It's going to be another long haul for this family - they are no strangers to hospitals, that's for sure! Photos will be coming at the end of the weekend, hopefully!

At 8am, my dear friend Rachel went into the OR for her c-section, and shortly after welcomed Kaitlyn Joy and Kristina Joy Speelman into her life. Both great weights - Kaitlyn at 6lbs 15oz, and Kristina somewhere over the 5lb mark. They are little beauties, and although I didn't think that I'd be able to, I can already tell the difference between them. Turns out that even siblings don't look exactly the same when they're infants! (Unless they're a Renkema. Then it's almost impossible to tell them apart.)
Above: Me and Kaitlyn. She has a flatter nose.
Below: Brian and Kristina. She has a thinner head, and less hair.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

New Restaurant in Town

One of Brian's recent clients is Stonewall, a new restaurant in town. They had a "soft open" (construction wasn't quite finished, only half of the booths were open for seating) on Saturday night, so Brian and I headed out for a late dinner. They have a reall wood burning stone oven in the kitchen, meant for baking pizza - so I was told to order pizza. They had the regular kinds - pepperoni, sausage, red onion, etc., but they also had a "potato" pizza - the ingredients listed sour cream, bacon, broccoli and, of course, potatoes. Why not? I ordered it, and it was really quite fantastic! Who knew that baked potato in the form of pizza could be delicious?