Sunday, August 31, 2008


From Grand Rapids we headed to Grand Bend, Ontario where we spent five nights camping at Pinery's. Considering this summer (rain, rain and more rain) we did good weather wise, with only rain one night and a some sprinkles the following day. The weather was overcast and gloomy for three of the days, so it wasn't exactly beach weather, but at the same time it wasn't overly hot either. Ted and Lynda (Rob's sister) and there gang were also camping for the week, although our sites were not near each other.

For all the talk about Pinery's I must say we weren't all that impressed with the park. I suppose everyone is looking for something different when camping so what some like others won't. The one thing we noticed was the extremely small sites at Pinery's with very little privacy. Yes there were trees there, but such a thin amount between one site to the next that there was no more privacy then the type of parks where you're sitting out in an open field. Many of the sites were just a small clearing pretty much right on the road and some of them had trees still scattered throught the middle of it ... okay for tent camping ... but how does one put a trailer in there? After some looking around we realized that we actually had a rather large site. This is not to say we were impressed with our site as it took some creativity to figure out how to get our large trailer in thereso that it was actually on level ground (thankfully my hubbys a truck driver). The site was large only because it had various clearings off the main area ... but with a firepit right smack in the middle of the site (which we tried to move but with no luck) where were we suppose to put the trailer??? In the end the trailer was just barely off the road and we parked the truck sideways half in the bushes to keep off the road ... worked a bit as a deterent for Matthew to go the road.

So our site was small and they sell you wet firewood, which they refuse to refund, but will exchange for more wet firewood!! No wonder we didn't see a whole lot of fires while we were there. Thankfully there were honest people along the road selling dry wood. For older kids Pinery's would work better, but with little kids we found the park too large and everything far away, seemed we were always hopping in and out of the truck as it was just too far for the girls to bike. But that being said we had a nice week. Matthew ate enough sand to make up for the lack of solids in his diet. By the end of the week his bum was red and raw from the constant sand in his diapers. His face was constantly covered with sand. We had hoped he'd be walking by time we went camping, but no such luck. He took his first steps a few days before we left and can now do about 10 steps or so on his own. He has to learn to slow down as he wants to run instead of walk ... but it's coming.

Must be before breakfast as Matthew's face is still clean .
A more common Matthew look for the week

Marietta and Rebecca studying the campground map.
Matthew checking out his drink options! :)

Rob cooking up breakfast.
Bocce ball game. The girls ran into someone from the Fun-Soccer evenings so she joined them in a round of Bocce Ball.

A walk along one of the trails. It was nice that they provided information phamplets with the trial to give you an idea of what to look at and the significance of various spots.
Mareitta calling Grandma (the rabbit babysitter) to see how Thumper (her rabbit) is doing.

End of the day cleaning ... since it was cool enough we could cover him in long pants and sweaters for the evening and only have to rewash his face and hands before putting him to bed.
Matthew eventually learned that the truck was the place to nap and since we had to use the truck alot he had many short powernaps in there and also some good long naps in his carseat

Recognize this hat anyone?? (No I don't mean from the picture above either).

Evenings around the Fire

Matthew has always had a great facination with cans, especially pops cans. Try as we might to keep him out of the recyling bin he keeps going back. Amazingly he's never cut himself on them.
Sitting with daddy for a few seconds before he's off again ... the boy with the never ending amount of energy. Didn't matter what time he went to bad or how short of nap he had, he was bound to wake us at 6:30 each morning.

Sparkler Fun

Past your bedtime Sam??

Beach Time

Matthew loved the beach. He actually only went one day. We arrived too late on Monday to get to the beach by time we set up. Tuesday we had nice weather and spent the afternoon at the beach. Thursday it was cool and rainy so we didn't go. Wednesday and Friday we had overcast and since Matthew need a nap and I wasn't going to get a tan sitting in the shade I stayed at the camper with Matthew while Rob took the girls. If I had known I'd only make it to the beach once I would have taken more pictures ... or at least some of the girls!

Canoe Time

Calvin decided it would be fun to ram into our canoe ... Lyndsey wasn't all to keen on the idea ;)

On our way home we stopped in at Jay (Rob's brother) and Tara's for a quick "hi". So I think we've had our fill of Rob's family for a while now!! :)

And so our holidays are done for this year. Although camping is not my thing, we did have a nice time. The girls head off to school on Tuesday (both full-time this year) and Rob has a few days yet before he officially begins next Monday.

Grand Rapids

Well it's been a few years since we've had summer holidays and five years since we made our last trek down to Grand Rapids to visit John (Rob's brother) and Martha and the gang. So off we went for a weekend, this time we took our own beds with (my parents truck and trailer) making the sleeping arrangements a bit easier. The kids had vague memories of our last visit (from photos and video) and were quite excited to get reacquainted with their cousins.

We did good crossing the border each time, only getting held up for 1/2 hour on our way there and sailed through without delay on our way back. The girls were quite interested in this whole concept of going from one country to the next. It's really all above their head, but they did get a chance to see how fortunate we were that we got through so quickly both times as the line heading in the the US when we came back was several km long. Matthew survived the trip, although we were hardly sane by time we got there ;) What a city-slicker that boy is! He's always been a miserable traveller, it's not uncommon for him to cry his way through a trip. He slept only 1/2 hour on the way up and drove us insane the rest of the way. The way back went a bit better (was also a short trip as we didn't go all the way home) as he discovered that sleeping is really the best solution for boredom. But we survived and had a good weekend once Matthew began to understand that he was going to have to sleep in a new spot for a next few days (he only likes his own bed).

The girls had great fun in the pool ... just the right size for them. They attempted to learn how to dive - Rebecca got the hang of it, Marietta's going to need some work in that department. They both passed Swimmer 2 this summer for swimming lessons and for Swimmer 3 they will be in deep water and learning to dive ... no time like the present to learn.

The girls finally leave and give Joe a chance to cool down and relax.
Martha getting her "baby" fix - he's really not all that babish anymore :(

The kids distinctly remember this wagon from their last visit - Marietta went for a ride by Rebecca was too scared (only 1.5 yrs at the time). They couldn't leave without having a ride again ... these poor city-girls where all we have is a push mower.

The first day Marietta, Rebecca and, Tonya were together and playing the entire time. But at supper time Wayne discovered that Rebecca was going to Grade 1 ... just like him. After that Wayne and Rebecca were inseperatable, leaving Tonya and Marietta to develop a wonderful friendship. We'll have to see how our next visit goes since Wayne was quite sure he wants to marry Rebecca ;)

Hanging around the campfire - Martha, Dana, Leanne and John

We had a lovely time and hopefully it won't be five years before our next visit.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sometimes I think I’d just like to forget everything and move on with my life. Other times I feel like I’m forgetting too much and want to refresh my memory. There’s no happy medium, for I know that I really don’t want to forget, I love the memories we have, I just hate the pain that comes with them. There are times when the pain is not there, I can simply feel the joy of the memories and the joy of the peace that James has. But often there is pain and sadness and regret.

It seems I travel in an up and down pattern. For a period of time I go about life with James in the background, always there, but not affecting my forefront emotions. I can look at his pictures, talk about him and enjoy the memories without feeling those deeper emotions. Then there come times where I suddenly feel I’m losing touch with my boy and I begin to wish I could do more and it consumes much of my mind and time. I find there is no point in attempting to ignore these periods, but instead to throw myself into them, for after a period of time I then feel like I need to step back as he’s consuming too much of my life and I must focus on the current life. Sometimes it’s just the business of life that pulls me away again, sometimes I just do it on my own.

It is during these times that I find myself back involved in the support groups related to James. Where I surround myself with different projects that help with James’ memory, whether it be the photo album I just added to the side of the blog, or working on a music video of his pictures, or sending his pictures off for various projects the chILD support group and Foundation work on. It during these times I need to watch homevideos again so that I can hear his voice again and revive his character. How I wish our boy didn’t have to suffer so when he was alive, and how glad I am that he no longer does suffer. Knowing that his suffering is gone makes it all just a bit easier to deal with.

On Sunday we sang Psalm 139 at church for the first time since James passed away. It hit like a ton of bricks and brought back some very strong emotions. What a beautiful song that says so much, but oh how it hits home. I’m guessing the emotions ran stronger also because I’m in one of those times where I’ve been busy with James again.

Some time ago I attempted to put together a “music video” of James’ pictures, but I needed to order some music first to do that. I ordered the music and then moved on and forgot about the project, until the music arrived. At the same time I received an e-mail from a Nursing School asking permission to use photos of James’ to help introduce all the medical assistance he was receiving as well as drive home the need for patients to be treated like people, he also asked to use some of my personal comments about our experiences with nursing. The Prof. will follow up with me to let me know how the class responds to the presentation. A day later I received a call from the Ronald McDonald House asking permission to use what we had written in our thank-you letter for their various publishing materials. The other day I received a copy of the DVD used at the 2008 chILD Conference which shows pictures of the many kids with suffer for ILD, it ended with a Loving Memory page for James and Corrina, another chILD who passed away in 2007. James is also featured on the chILD Foundation page (Family Support) as well as recent links to his story on the Breathing is Living website and Kids with ILD blog.

When all of these things happen at once I start to feel more involved with James again, he feels real again and I miss him more again. But I’m glad that his name is still out there and hopefully in it’s small ways promoting awareness and helping others. As I check the Referrals list on his blog counter I see a small but regular traffic arrives at the blog each day usually searching for medical questions or looking at the picture of after his lung biopsy. Our purpose of setting up the blog was to help and educate others on what to do and expect if confront with a similar situation … and since I am not an energetic, outgoing, public type of person I hope that in some small way we are still doing that.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Summer Fun Soccer

On Tuesday evenings we get together with a group of parents and children to enjoy some informal Kid's Fun Soccer. Thanks Allan & Alice for organizing the idea, coaching and providing the property. The kids have thoroughly enjoyed this time, especially Rebecca.

Getting ready to play, organizing positions, making up a team name and a team cheer.

I think the kids would be just as excited to spend their time playing on the tire or in the tree fort.

Joyce has a weekly chance to get her "Matthew-fix"

Won't be long and our energetic little boy will be kicking the ball around too.

August 16, 2008

Even though Rebecca is part blocked on this picture I really like how the kids are all smiling and we actually got Matthew's face as he was usually trying to figure out how to escape.

We tried to get pictures with Matthew, but this is pretty much what we got to see each time. The boy simply can't sit still for more then two seconds.