Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Hike at the Royal Botanical Gardens

Yesterday the Harsevoort clan gathered to celebrate my Dad's birthday, and also my nephew's which is today. Happy Birthday Zachary!!
We had planned to go bowling, but it was such a beautiful day, we thought it would be a shame to spend it indoors and instead we met at the RBG in Burlington for a hike.
The birds are so tame there they will eat right out of your hand! This was a big thrill for my girls, especially Deanna!
Deanna the birdfeeder!
Notice Grandpa holding her arm steady...she was thrilled that she got a bird to land on her!
Tim was pretty good at attracting the chicks. Chickadees, that is...
Here is Tyson, my youngest nephew (so far!)
Dad looking for birds.
Jonah - just love those curls!
Cool Callum!
Tim and Jeremy climbing a fallen tree.
The little ones...
Poor Natalie came down with the flu the night before, so she stayed home with Art. She didn't even care, which is an indication of how lousy she was feeling. Today she cannot even keep liquids down.
It was a great hike, followed by a yummy pizza supper and good fellowship at Mom and Dad's. For all those times as a child that I wished I was an only child, I am certainly glad now that I was not. It's so great to get together with our whole big noisy group.....
....5 months til camping!!!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

March Break Fun

We had really no plans for the March Break, other than just enjoying some relaxing time, free of alarm clocks and schedules....
It turned out to be a busy week, but not TOO busy. Very enjoyable! The weather was beautiful, which always helps.
Monday was a veg day at home. We rented a couple of new Wii games, so that kept kids busy.
Tuesday was so gorgeous we headed to Springbank Park to feed the geese and enjoy some time outdoors. We picked up Tim's friend Jared (for a sleepover) on the way. The boys both brought their rollerblades and really enjoyed blading through the park.

Wednesday was supposed to be colder and rainy, so a group of us made plans to meet for bowling at a local alley. As it happens, it didn't rain, but that's okay, the kids had a hoot bowling. We had 5 girls on one lane aged 7 and under, they didn't even finish one game (in the hour we had the lanes booked.) Some of the older boys got almost 2 games in. I don't know who had more fun though.

Thursday was busy with eyedoctor appointments, picking kids up from various sleepovers, laundry catchup, etc.
Thursday night was games night at our new school for the young peoples and adults. A very fun evening of volleyball in the gym and card/board games in the hallway. I think this will become a monthly event.
During this week of sleepovers and fun with friends, we were also reminded of the frailty and brevity of earthly life. My sister-in-laws mother passed away suddenly at a young age after suffering a brain aneurysm. While this was totally unexpected and shocking, it serves as a reminder to us all that we could be called Home to our Lord at any time. As the minister reminded us also at the funeral, we must always be ready.
We grieve with Kim and John, but also rejoice with them that she is in a far better place, where we will meet again someday.
And now, back to school and back to routine. Which is also good.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

New Beginnings - at home and school!

Friday night, we headed back to school for the New Beginnings Grand Opening Evening at CCS. It was a great evening! So much work went into making the school look beautiful, from daffodils to balloons to bulletin boards....
So much work also went into the program for the evening, the students sang wonderfully, and the slide show sure brought back memories!The gym was full to capacity, and there were still people standing in the hallway! We estimate that at least 275 people came to help us celebrate our new building. It was wonderful to see so many people there showing their support, and taking an interest in our school. Many former students, and of course present members, but also some (hopefully) new members.
The highlight of the evening was the unveiling of the new sign out front, which clearly proclaims who we are. It's a beautiful sign! My pictures aren't great, but you get the idea....
The student body. Don't they look great?
The cake:
Tim chatting to Uncle Piet in the hallway:
Allison showing Uncles Piet and Stu her classroom:
There were so many things I didn't get pictures of. Such as the huge tree in the gym made entirely of construction paper hands (the students did a lot of tracing and cutting last week...) The amazing bulletin boards by the front door..... the crowds of people..... it was such a great evening! What a wonderful blessing for our society!
On another note, if you read my previous post, you know that Art's car was a write-off after getting flooded....
Well, the insurance offered him a very generous settlement, so this is his new ride:
A 2008 Impala. Black. Pretty cool. And so far, I've driven it more than he has..... (lol!)
I'm sure that will change VERY quickly!
Enjoy your March Break! Looks like it's going to be a beautiful week!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Of Rain and Impala's and Insurance Claims...

Last Saturday, we had some rain. Okay, a lot of rain. In a very short period of time. Torrential downpour would be an accurate description.
When this happens, the catch basins at the end of our driveway have a hard time keeping up. Then all the leftover fall leaves plug the grate, and the water has NOWHERE to go. So the road floods. This happens more often, but we have never seen it this bad! Deanna and I had gone out to spend her birthday gift certificate, and when we got back, we barely made it into the driveway! The lake was more than halfway up our front lawn....
Art's car was parked on the road. At that point, the water was up over the bumper, which means halfway up the door.
Art and Tim and eventually one of the neighbours went out in their hip-waders (they wish!) to unclog the storm sewers. When the water went down, Art went to check out his car. This is what he found:

He bailed it out, and tried to Wet-Vac it, but no luck, it was so full of water you can hear it sloshing around under the carpet. So he called the insurance company and rented a car for Monday morning.
Today the insurance adjuster went to have a look at the car. Guess what.... the car is a write-off! We were SO not expecting that! We figured they would take out the seats, remove the carpet, clean it, put it back together, and off we go....
But apparently not. There is a whole laundry list of problems that could happen. Also, the seat belts are wet and need replacing, there is an air bag module under the seat that will need replacing, the seat bolts/brackets are already rusting and need replacing, speakers, wheel bearings, possibly water in the transmission and other nasty places where water should not be....
OH MAN!!! Art is a little bit sad. He loves (loved?) that car....
Now start the settlement negotiations....

Monday, March 2, 2009

And Another Thing....

This year, Tim was saving up his snow shovelling money to buy a new bike. He had a laundry list of features he wanted, most importantly, trigger shifters. (Whatever that means!) He figured he would have to buy a used bike, as new ones are probably out of his price range. He had arranged with Uncle John to send any info on used bikes he saw for John to comment on.
Well, last week we came accross a great deal at Toys R Us - a brand new bike for a really good price-$100 off regular retail! With a little help from us, he had enough to buy a new bike!
Art and Tim headed off in the van and came home with this beauty:

26" frame, 21 speeds, disc brakes, trigger shifters, front shocks... and a partridge in a pear tree! So he is pretty happy, and waiting rather impatiently for the weather to warm up! He has taken it out a couple of times already, but it is stored in the laundry room for now, so it's a bit difficult to get at.

A Story and a Contest

So I was reading the paper last Saturday, and noticed that there was a Short Story contest for kids under 15. I showed Deanna, who immediately wrote the following story to submit. First prize is $100, and second prize $75. Wouldn't that be great if she won? Also, your story gets published in the paper! And the prizes are awarded at a banquet!
Very exciting!! I sent off her entry this morning. I'll keep you posted if we hear anything....

Goodbye, Chloe
By Deanna Pieterman, age 10

Ten-year-old Heather Sherbert loved to watch birds. Sitting on the porch, fanning her body from the mid-August air, Heather watched a robin fly right into the wall! Heather ran to the bird, picked it up, and took it inside. She was lucky that her mom was a vet. “Mom, can you take a look a look at this robin?” she called.
“Okay, Heather. Where are you?” her mom called back.
“In the kitchen!” Heather replied.
Her mom stepped into the kitchen. “Where is your sweet robin? Oh no, that looks horrid!” she called. Mrs. Sherbert looked like her daughter, with long brown hair and hazel eyes. The robin had only a triangle of red on her stomach. Mrs. Sherbert took the robin, looked it over and said, “It has a broken wing, honey. Let’s put a bandage on it.”
After Mrs. Sherbert and Heather had finished bandaging the robin, Heather had an idea. “Let’s name her Chloe, after our old parrot. We can put her in Chloe-the-first’s old cage and keep her as a pet!” She said.
Mrs. Sherbert agreed and took out the cage.
Heather had kept Chloe for a month now. It was September, which meant school.
One day when Heather got home from school, she screamed! “Mom, Chloe flew away! She’s not here! Help! Mom! Mom!”
Mrs. Sherbert immediately entered the kitchen. “You’re right!” she gasped. “Call Dad and ask him to look for Chloe. Then form a search party. I’ll ask my clients to look for her; a robin with only a triangle of red on its stomach. We’ll find it.”
With tears in her eyes, Heather called her dad and formed a search party. “Guys,” She pleaded “Please help me.” All her friends agreed to help.
A week later, the search party-with four boys and six girls (including Heather)-was walking the streets of London, Ontario. They held a package of sunflower seeds, so they could coax Chloe to come to them if they saw her.
“Look!” one of the girls cried, “it’s Chloe, right there! In that flock of robins! Heather, spill the seeds!”
Heather spilt the seeds but didn’t say “Come here, Chloe.” Instead, Heather Sherbert whispered, “Goodbye, Chloe. Goodbye forever. I love you, Chloe Sherbert. I do.”