into winter

Even though the temperatures are supposed to rise by the end of the week, today felt like winter. Cold wind, sun shining through the clouds, and a skate outdoors. Thank you, Dennis and Kim, for the use of your backyard rink!

It was so fun to see the girls skate -and improve in their skating as the afternoon progressed. We are thankful for the nursing care that allows us to slip out and do different things that otherwise would be a lot of work.

Speaking of work, it did take some effort, but we packed all four kids in the van for a short ride to the gym at Beacon recently. We wanted to see if Janneke would move more in her walker - without all the door frames, walls, and furniture. Sure enough, she was doing laps in no time. And a nice surprise: Rachel showed interest in moving too! While R and J took time to step, Emily and Sophia also had fun playing in all the space with their dad.

This past weekend, we had both sides of the family over for Christmas. Because it is a challenge to pack up and go places, the fun comes here - to our house. We had the Pot family over on Christmas Eve and the DeJonge/Fluit family over on Christmas Day. Crazy, but fun. A special thanks to neighbours Trevor and Tracy for the use of their hockey nets and sticks for Christmas Day!

Rachel and Grandpa DeJonge

Nothing like a wild game of road hockey for the guys

Uncle Johan earned more than a Christmas dinner
by running the kiddos up and down the road.

Even though we set up the whole house for the Pot family, everyone camped out in the living room to swap stories, plan mischief (something about waffles at the Air Canada Centre?), and make more memories. Notice the blur at the bottom of the photo? That's Janneke, determined to still move around.

And what made the weekend extra special was that nephew Caleb was able to join in all the fun. We do not take for granted his health and good spirits!

We are so thankful for our families - getting together at Christmas time reminds us of that blessing. For some families, Christmas holds a bittersweet feeling because they are reminded of the absence of loved ones. Yet, we realize that Christ's birth is the Comfort, the moment when God reminds us that there will be day when good will forever conquer evil and the sting of death.

For the rest of the week, we look forward to making more memories with our kids before 2011 begins. Rachel and Janneke have been three days on, three days off, in terms of health and sleep. Nothing serious but we appreciate the good health when we have it!