Friday, December 31, 2010


Estelle, Natasha, Michele and Hazel

Sisters and two daughters... Lesha's cuties were off running around!

Our Niece Brielle - cutie pie!!

My bros... we BBQd oysters Christmas Eve - yum!!

Natasha and her sweet family

Willem and Lane imagine and explore so well together.
Here they are exploring out at my dad's.

Hazel havin' fun at Grandpa Jim's.

Grandpa Jim and Hazel

Me and Hazey

Merit having fun even though his poor eye was nearly swollen shut!

Our Christmas was really nice. The kids and I drove to Lynden a day before
Vance did. Our first stop was my grandma Alma's. Natasha and her children were there too.
It felt really good to be out of the car and at my Grandma's!
Lane and Willem went on a "hunt" to try to find the hidden elves in her tree! A yearly
tradition. :) Merit had been complaining about his eye hurting for a couple of days and
as we were driving to Lynden, it was starting to look bad. He had a bad cold too.
That night we stayed at my dad's, but during the night was rough. Merit had a fever and his eye looked really bad. I took him to Urgent Care the next morning and he had a bad sinus infection - poor guy!! We got him started on antibiotics and 24 hours later he was much better.
The morning of Christmas Eve, before our Drs visit my dad made the kids and me a big breakfast.
I am thankful that Vance's parents and my dad all make us feel very welcome.
Christmas Eve we had a fun party out at the shop at my dads. I love visiting with my brothers and sisters!
My dad cooked a great dinner, we laughed, acted silly, had fun... the kids tore into presents -- Matt and Phil picked out some very fun niece/nephew gifts! Thanks guys :)
The next morning we had a traditional Christmas morning at my in laws -- Stan and Adie's.
It was really fun. A yummy breakfast followed by opening gifts.
That evening we went to my Grandma Alma's. This is something we have been doing on Christmas evening
my whole life! I love it there.
The next day I enjoyed coffee with my sisters, a visit with my Grandma Dorothy and fun at my dear friend Lissa's  (we have been friends since we were FIVE!!) Our three kids reconnected with their three and
Lissa, Trav, Vance and I had fun conversation.
Time with family was treasured. I am so thankful I got to visit with both of my grandmas while
I was there. Our children had a BLAST with cousins. There was so much cousin fun going on.
I really enjoyed our get togethers.

I was reminded again yesterday how precious life is and how we are not long for this world.
Vance's uncle died suddenly yesterday. He will be missed by so many.
I think of my mother in law Adie, losing yet another sibling and how this must be heartbreaking.
Please pray for their family.

I have lots more Christmas pictures to share. I'll be back. Love, M

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Cousin Lane visited and he brought with him his cool dad, his sweet mom and his adorable new baby sister. Talk about cool! Our boys love it when Lane visits!! And we sure enjoyed some time with their family!

Backyard sledding!!

 Uncle Reese gives Merit and Lane a good push!!

Uncle Reese and Willem making the trek up the hill!
Both Merit and Willem were sick through the weekend, but
soo determined to join in on the sledding fun!! Willem didn't last long but
he went out there for a couple of passes, then came in for a five hour nap.

Merit took this pic of Natasha, me and our girls.

I loved photographing this sweet little one!

Hazel was SO curious about Estelle!! She was very hands on!

Hazel likes bathtime!

Merry Christmas to ALL!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

New Niece, time with friends, celebrating Christmas

Katie and I
It was really fun to get together with a few friends last 
week at Katie's. Our kids played, we ladies talked and laughed.
It was a great afternoon!  
These days have been full with errands, house cleaning, different events
so after sitting around and visiting for the afternoon, I felt refreshed.

Katie, Shelli and Jami

Katie's beautiful little girl Maddie

Decorating graham crackers... Willem is my gingerbread house maker, cookie baker, graham cracker decorator.

Each December our church has a HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS PARTY
Willem attended this party and made some of the cutest gifts there!!

Here is a picture of my friend Aubrey's twins, crafting :)

and Willem right before we left, standing next to the Christmas Tree
He really enjoyed the Happy Birthday Jesus party!

Over the weekend our boys were sick.
I was sick to, but didn't seem to get the bug half as
bad as the boys.
It was bummer timing, because we had
a visit from Natasha, Reese, Lane and Estelle. It was so good
to meet that sweet little Estelle and get some time with their family!
Both boys were so determined to do a little sledding with Lane, even though they
felt really yucky! Both are on the mend now, thankfully.
Makes me so thankful for our health.
More pictures from our weekend to come...
but I had to share our new little niece!!

The adorable Estelle Hope.... what a sweet blessing from God!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Jansen happenings, a photo shoot

serious cuteness

This photo shoot was fun, at least to start with. This family, super cute.
But, I got in big trouble for trespassing - yikes!
The property owner came barreling down the road laying on her
horn. She got out of her vehicle screaming "Get away from there!"
Oh my! And this poor family! I had just met them that morning.
I wasn't harming anything, there were not any no trespassing signs and this
distressed old house really makes for the perfect backdrop.
But it has been made clear to me I may not take pictures there again.

Good bye old house, I will miss you.


I had thirty things to do the other morning and lil' Miss Hazel was
into everything, I gave her a really yummy treat in her highchair...
This doesn't really look like just ONE OREO.

My friend Kristen has a Christmas tradition that
our family has now adopted. I wrapped a Christmas book or winter book
for each day December 1 - 24. Each day we unwrap a book and read it
together. This is a really great way to "count down" to Christmas
and to get some fun Christmas reading in. Merit has read about half of the
books so far and I have read the other half. I love this tradition Kristen! Thanks
for introducing it to me. On Christmas Eve after the last book is read, a baby  will
be placed in the basket to represent baby Jesus.
The books we have already opened and read end up on a little table
and we can read the favorites several times.
I had probably 15 Christmas books,
so to gather books for the other nine days I shopped the thrift stores.
We have some really neat literature here.
Armond and the First Christmas is an Arch book.
I think my siblings and I received these as gifts through
First Christian Reformed Church.
I loved reading this story to the kids a few nights ago. As
I opened the book I saw Matthew Zylstra neatly written in the front
cover. Matt you may take this book with you next time you
visit. Me being the "hoarder" I probably grabbed all books that
interested me last time I was at dads.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Time

Our boys Christmas programs have been highlights of our week.
Listening to Willem sing about Jesus' birth was such a JOY!!

Willem Vance

Merit's program was yesterday.
He did such a nice job.

There he is with the hat. :)

Holiday baking!
I made two different types of bars today. Neither of them fancy, both of them yummy!
One was a recipe from my Aunt Monica... I love typing Aunt Monica. (She is only one
year older than I am!) And the other I got out of Kari Mulder's cookbook. A blogging friend
who sold a cookbook as part of their adoption fundraiser. The recipes are simple, practical
and yummy.

Willem and I made a gingerbread house.

There's our second grader! Man, he is growing.

Card making in my spare time...
the spare time seems to be hard to find lately.
Also, I am trying to make my Christmas cards. I
am off to a great start, but my goal was to have them mailed by
December 10. yikes. Ok, my new goal is to have them
mailed by December 16.

Both yesterday and the day before I had enriching conversations with
dear friends. I am so thankful for these phone conversations and how
I come away from them feeling refreshed and renewed.
I am thankful too that these women know I am crazy and still love me.

Vance has a busy next three days with lots of work committments.
The kids and I will be watching Christmas movies, playing memory, Candy Land and base tag
and I will be TRYING to clean house!
I have a couple of photo shoots today too.

Let's remember the REASON for the SEASON.
I tend to get so busy and begin breaking a sweat, RUSHING around.
I know better than to sweat the small stuff (I just have to remind myself of that) and I know celebrating the gift of Jesus is the reason for the season.