December Family News
Merry Christmas and thank you for your ongoing support in my business. I am blessed to have terrific clients like you, and would not have had the level of success I’ve had over the years without you. You are appreciated!
What a crazy year 2018 has been in real estate! I worked my tail off until the end of July, took holidays in August, and returned to a market that had definitely shifted. I had noticed a change in the detached market towards the end of last year already, but the shift didn’t hit the condo/townhouse market until well into this year. In today’s market, it is extremely important to get good advice, so if you or anyone you know have any questions about how this market affects you as a buyer, seller, or investor, call me at 604-312-8920 and let’s chat!
On the home front, I just turned 50, and really enjoyed all the attention. Only 50 more years until I get the birthday letter from the Queen! Cindy and I celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary on November 27th. Our joke is that when I reflect on 25 years, I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone, but for Cindy, it’s been a looong 25 years. The better you know me, the more this will make sense to you. To celebrate, Cindy and I are taking the kids to Mexico in December. Cindy and I will travel with Mireya, Nicole, and Andy, and at a later time Jude and Morgan, Adrianna, and Jared will join up with us.
Jude and his wife Morgan are into their second year working with the youth group at Princeton Baptist Church. After this summer, Jude will return to Bible School in Salmon Arm to complete his third year of studies. We enjoy the times when Jude and Morgan visit us when they travel to “the coast”, and it’s nice to hear some feedback from my son that when he was younger, at least some of my fatherly advice sunk in. I think I might have been right half of the time, I just don’t know which half…
Adrianna is in her third year at SFU, and is back living in off-campus housing with a group of girls from her track team. I don’t get all of the details of what goes on in that house, so if you hear of anything, zip me a quick text. Adrianna worked part time for me last summer, and has been fighting hard to get her health back as she’s had a few bouts of mono. You may remember that last year I bought Adrianna a sledgehammer/axe combo to allow for fire escape out of her basement window that has security bars. Well this year I found out that those track girls don’t keep a fire extinguisher near the basement kitchen, which is right next to Adrianna’s room. So, back to Home Depot to get her a fire extinguisher. At this pace, I may just have to hire a full time security guard to look after those girls. Overprotective Dad? I think not…
Jared is in his first year of Trinity Western University, taking Math and Sciences. I’m really enjoying telling him my “when I was your age” stories. I know I should be more sensitive, but when Jared tells me about the stress of all the exams, papers, and projects, I remind him that one day he’ll look back and call these days the “good ol’ days”. I also like to tell Jared that back when I was at UBC I had all this same pressure. However, I’m kind of glad that he doesn’t ask to see my first year marks because the kid is kicking my behind. Jared is still enjoying his music, playing piano, guitar, and more recently, bass guitar which he plays in the Church band.
Mireya is looking forward to her 16th birthday and as a January baby, has been informed by her friends that they’re relying on her to provide transportation for all of them. Mireya keeps telling us how she wants a Jeep Wrangler, and I’m afraid that she’ll be disappointed when she ends up with the old Honda Odyssey that Cindy replaced after 12 years of service. I thought mini vans were cool for high school kids… Mireya is enjoying her training with the Langley Mustangs Track and Field club, and looks forward to a good competitive season.
Nicole is 13 and is enjoying her soccer season. She has 2 practices each week and one game, and it’s been good to watch her progress. I think one of Nicole’s favourite parts of soccer is my pre-game chat that I’ve been giving to the previous 4 siblings over 14 years or so. I also think she likes the advice I shout out from the sidelines during the game, even though Cindy tells me to “shush” and let the coach do her job. Can I help it if the coach misses a few pointers?
Andy is 10 and has really settled in well with our family. With his level of energy, we’ve been keeping him busy with soccer, Friday Night Basketball, Awana (a midweek kids program at our Church), and the regular school activities. Being 50 and having an energetic 10 year old, I have to say, keeps me young. Helping with soccer practices, swimming, going on bike rides, playing board games, and of course, our Tim Hortons outings. Lots of fun!
So Dear Reader, thanks again for your continued support in my business. I’m here to help you with any of your real estate questions, so call me at 604-312-8920 if there’s anything you need.
Once again, our family is looking forward to a quiet Christmas time of reflection and reverence for the true Christmas story.
Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Family News June 2018
So, dear Reader, here we are in June. Where did 6 months just go? For our family, June is one of the busiest months with track meets, school activities, and many different “end of season” parties and get-togethers. The stress level runs high in the Klassen household, so I just keep my head down and try to stay out of trouble 😊. Here are a few recent highlights:
1. Working with Adrianna
Adrianna finished her second year at SFU, and this summer is working as both a track coach with the Langley Mustangs, and working for me in my real estate business. It’s great seeing Adi work in an adult environment, and learn some valuable life skills, like how to deal with a demanding boss!
2. Jared Goes Artsy
Jared had had a great grade 12 year, and Grad 2018 is just around the corner. He’s studied hard and has really come along in his piano, guitar, and bass guitar. Sure, his mom and I miss watching him play hockey, but he’s really enjoying his music and will likely even take some music classes at Post Secondary. Jared also volunteered as a stage hand at his school’s production of Beauty and the Beast. This kept him quite busy for the better part of a month!
3. Mireya at Track
This year, the BC High School Provincial Track & Field meet was held at our home track in Langley. Our club, the Langley Mustangs, ran the concession for the meet, and Cindy was in charge of that. Mireya and 3 girls from her school competed in the 4 x 100 relay and brought home the gold medal! It was pretty incredible given that they had only one grade 10 girl, together with one grade 9 girl (Mireya), and two grade 8 girls. Mireya did a great job with her first leg of the relay, but Cindy and I are taking the credit for her success due to long months of getting her to track sessions, gym sessions, physio sessions, and other various races and meets.
4. Soccer with Nicole
Nicole played Spring Soccer this year, and it’s been great for her to get out and play a bit of “footie.” Her team has had its struggles on the score sheet, but Nicole is looking forward to getting back to Fall/Winter soccer and perhaps playing for her previous coach again!
5. Sports Day with Andy
Andy is in grade 4 at the Langley Fundamental Elementary School, which every year hosts sports day. Now when I was a kid, sports day meant that you decorated your bike with that special paper, and maybe even added ribbons and flags, all leading up to the bike parade. But these days, the kids get right into the sports and games. Cindy and I volunteered at one of the concession booths. Andy had a great time at his very first sports day, and especially enjoyed the tug of war contests! Unfortunately, Andy was not pleased with my or Cindy’s results in the parents’ races. I had been sick leading up to the Dad’s race, and my top 5 finish did not impress Andy. Cindy started her race late as she couldn’t properly hear the start horn, and so, despite probably being the fastest, did not place in the top 3. Andy is a very demanding son! What Andy doesn’t appreciate is that being child #6, Cindy and I have been slugging it out at the parents’ races for 15 years; we’re racing against parents that haven’t even broken their first wrinkle yet! Anyways, hopefully for me next year they’ll have a 50+ category…
That’s it for now. Have a great summer and I’ll write again soon!
FAMILY NEWS FEBRUARY 2017
As has become a bit of a tradition for the first newsletter of the year, I thought I’d once again share our “Top 10” Christmas memories from this past Christmas season.
Interestingly enough some of the items on the “Top 10” list are repeats from last year but each with an updated memory.
TOP 10 KLASSEN CHRISTMAS MEMORIES
10.JARED GETS HIS “L”. For me, the Christmas season starts early December, so with Jared’s 16th birthday falling on a Saturday, of course that would be the day to get his driver’s “L!” Jared passed the test with flying colours, and so we now have a third child driving. With these extra drivers in the family, I now have the auto body shop and mechanic on my speed dial. Unfortunately I had to bump my doctor and dentist from the speed dial list to make room, but it all comes down to who do you call more frequently?
9. SNOWPLOW BIG, TOYOTA SMALL. Following up on my thoughts in #10, Adrianna’s car got clipped by a snowplow while parked at the SFU residences during the snow storm in early December. Although there was a witness, dealing with ICBC is a major pain. So we got things fixed up at the auto body shop, and I paid the $500 deductible that I am still trying to recover. Suddenly I look back with fondness of the easy days of dirty diapers and middle of the night screaming; now referred to as the “good ol’ days”!
8. CHURCH YOUTH BANQUET. Once again, Cindy and I volunteered to help with the youth Christmas banquet at our church, Cloverdale Baptist Church. Jared and Mireya attended the event, and it was a good opportunity for Cindy and me to scout the kids our kids are hanging out with. You know, find out who knows their “please’s” and “thank you’s” while Cindy and I serve the food alongside the other parents. It’s important, also, for me to throw the occasional “death stare” at some boy trying to talk with my young daughter. I did keep my composure though, as this season I kept it to a “death stare” and omitted the hand swipe across the throat gesture ☺.
7. RE/MAX CHRISTMAS DINNER. Cindy and I got all gussied up and went out to town for the RE/MAX Christmas dinner at the Washington Avenue Grill in White Rock. It was a fun venue and the company was great. Cindy and I enjoyed getting caught up with some of the other Realtor spouses, as we don’t get to see them very often, just at company events like this. I have to admit that I must be getting old because they put us at the dinner table where people kept talking about all their ailments like gluten intolerances, pulled muscles, and lack of flexibility. Oh wait, that was me talking about those things? Add lack of memory to that list…
6 RED ROBIN. To celebrate Adrianna’s and Jared’s birthdays, the family went to Red Robin once Jude arrived back home from school in Salmon Arm. We have spent a lot of money at this fine establishment over the years, but we love the food and the fact that it’s “noisy family friendly”. The “Rookie Magic” has always been a big hit, but does anyone remember that the “Gooey Cheese Sticks” used to be bigger and there were more of them?
5. RE/MAX TREE DAY. Once again, Jared and his friends volunteered at this Tree Giveaway for our valued clients who have bought or sold a house through RE/MAX. We started organizing the tree compound at around 7am, and the customers began arriving at around 10:30am. By 4pm we had given away most of our trees and the event was declared a success. Once again, it did not rain; what a blessing!
4. SKIING AT CYPRESS. Between Christmas and New Year’s, I took Adrianna and Nicole skiing up to Cypress. Nicole had a free pass because of a rained out ski lesson the previous season. This day was incredible with clear skies and stunning views of the city. I even hit a few jumps at my old age. No spread eagles, daffies, or mule kicks any more, but I did land everything I took! I remember not being as afraid of wiping out when I was 18; probably because I just shook it off and didn’t feel the residual consequences for the next 3 weeks!
3. CHRISTMAS WITH THE PARENTS. The Klassen side of the family celebrated at Rita and Neil’s house on December 24th and the Reimer side celebrated at Cindy’s parents on December 25th. And yes kids, if Christmas falls on a Sunday, we are going to church first! Lots of great food and desserts; I’m ashamed to admit I think I put on about 7 pounds over the holidays. Enter 2017 with Orange Theory, Friday morning hockey, and the best exercise there is called the “Table Push Away”!
2. CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE. We love Christmas Eve at Cloverdale Baptist Church. It’s great to be around those you care about and who care about you. The singing is wonderful, the post service treats are great, but most appreciated is that the pastor’s Christmas message gets us reset on the “Reason for the Season”.
1. CHRISTMAS MORNING. Both Jude and Adrianna were home for the holidays and so the house was energetic. As mentioned, we got up, went out to Sunday service at church, and then came back to open presents and enjoy Christmas. Yes, I did get another La-Z-Boy gift card. So I think this will be the year I get my new lounge chair! I also lucked out in that Cindy really liked her gifts from me. Ever since the girls have been helping me pick out Cindy’s gifts, she’s been a lot happier ☺. The girls wouldn’t let me shop at Home Depot or even set foot in the appliance section of the department stores for their dear mother. Do they still have to bring up the “toaster incident”??
I’d love to hear about your favourite Christmas memory, so please blast me a quick email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy 2017!
~ Steve Klassen
Well, summer is coming to an end, and I thought I (Steve) would write this edition of the “Family News” as Cindy is busy in the “Back To School” shopping and organizing mode. So here are the top 10 summertime memories for the Klassen clan!
10. Girls at Summer Camp
Both Mireya (13) and Nicole (11) were able to attend Sunnybrae Bible Camp in Salmon Arm this year. Although they were in different camps, each was able to bring a cousin along. The added bonus was that both Jude and Jared were working at the camp, so the girls enjoyed having their brothers around. All reports were that Mireya and Nicole did not reveal the boys’ real names as their camp names were “Legolas” and “Gimli”.
With somewhat of a grey month of July, I didn’t feel like I was missing out during the red hot real estate market. July was one of the busiest July’s I’ve had in my 22 years in the business! I did take some time to do some fun things, but what wasn’t fun was getting up early in the morning to “strap it on” while the rest of the household slept for another 2 hours ☺. I suppose I should have been disciplined and gone to bed at a reasonable time.
8. Mountain Biking with Jared
One Friday afternoon, Jared and I, along with his friend Lael and Lael’s dad, packed up the bikes and headed for Sumas Mountain. It was great to get out and shred some of the local trails, although I have to say the dads still are the “Kings of the Climb.” However, I may have “dropped” my bike on the trails a few more times than Jared…
7. Track & Field Club Provincials
For the second year in a row, the Provincial Championship races were held in Nanaimo, but this time Cindy booked a hotel not run by pirates! We enjoyed the view of a small lake, and Cindy and I got out for a few runs too. Adrianna competed well in the 400m, 800m, and 4 x 400m. Please don’t ask Cindy about whether I reserved the ferry for the trip home. What woman doesn’t love the quiet time of a 3 sailing wait?
6. Osoyoos Go-Carts
Once again, the go-carts make the top 10 list. I raced against Jared, and Adrianna and her friend Jaime in the double car. I made short work of the 15 year old, passing him on the first lap. I tell the kids you have to go into the corners hard and be prepared to take someone out once in awhile to send a message for the next race. Sure, I felt bad about scaring the other young kids riding with their parents, but it is a “Go-Cart Race” and not a “Go-Cart Meander in the Park.” I guess I grew up in a generation where only one person got the blue ribbon…
5. Family Camp in Salmon Arm
Apart from running kids camps, Sunnybrae Bible Camp also runs camps for families. Since we weren’t able to do the full week, we booked a hotel in Salmon Arm and drove in to the camp each day as a “day trip.” We got to catch up with some old friends, visit with our boys who were working there, and I even got to do some dirt biking. Mrs. Klassen enjoyed the comforts of a hotel room with air conditioning, no spiders, and real beds.
4. Osoyoos Mini Golf
Dear reader, you must ask yourself why the Klassens mini golf together? Well, the truth is, Cindy and I like to test the strength of our marriage! This year, we golfed with Mireya and Nicole, and as usual, I suggested we not keep score, but just enjoy the night at Rattlesnake Canyon. Well, Mrs. Klassen would have none of that! So, the pencil and score card came out, and Mrs. Klassen grew a bit “chilly” as her front nine score was quite good, for a bowling score perhaps. I was even willing to give her a tip on her grip and stance, but my offer of help was rebuffed in short order. But good golly Miss Molly, did Mrs. Klassen ever heat up in the back nine! A hole in one, a few birdies, and it’s game on. Her game got good just as I lost mine. By the 18th, Mireya and Nicole were reminding us of how much we loved each other, and that our marriage vows did not mention golf scores. Perhaps next year we’ll just stick with lawn bowling or croquet. You, dear reader, can call or text Cindy to find out who won.
3. The Decision
Jared played a lot of hockey last year, and at the end of the year he was in his words, “done.” Now I talked with different people and found out that a lot of kids say that, but after a summer away, they miss hockey. So while most of his peers were doing summer hockey camps, dry land training, extra skate sessions, and goalie training, Jared enjoyed a great summer working at camp, doing some mountain biking, and just focusing on life away from the ice. However, once the time came again for rep tryouts, Jared didn’t have the spark. Cindy and I appreciate the lessons our kids have learned in high level sports and believe in keeping kids occupied and working to a goal. But we also believe the kid has to enjoy it, so when the spark wasn’t there, I requested my registration refund, and that’s that. Hockey has definitely been part of our family culture, so we’ll miss it. Cindy and I love watching Jared compete and make these great saves. We’ll see what happens for next year but for now Jared is excited about more time for snowboarding, mountain biking, and he’s even back into piano lessons.
2. Jude – Off to Bible College Year 2
Jude really enjoyed his first year at Millar College of the Bible out in Salmon Arm. We expected him to be home for the summer, but he ended up working at Sunnybrae Bible Camp all spring and summer, so we didn’t see Jude too much. However, when we did see him, we really noticed how he’s growing up and becoming a fine adult. Jude was home the week before Labour Day, so we had a good visit then. He is also pretty proud that he’s upgraded his car from a 1994 Ford Tempo to a 2010 Mazda 3. His younger sisters enjoyed a few rides with their increasingly cool older brother.
1. Adrianna – Off to SFU
It’s been quite an adventure with Adrianna the last little while. Still only 17, she’s not entirely sure what sort of vocation she’ll end up pursuing, but what she did know is that she wanted to run at the college level. Considering Trinity Western University, UBC, and SFU, Adrianna decided to run at SFU as she really believes in their training program and coaching. Because of the academic and training schedule, we all thought it best for her to live on campus; I am struggling with that a bit as an overprotective Dad ☺. So over the Labour Day weekend Cindy, Mireya, and Nicole helped Adi move in to her dorm, which needed some serious decorating help. I focused more on the typical dad advice like “assess the safety of the elevator before entering,” “wear flip flops in the dorm showers,” and the classic “make sure you always have lots of gas in the car.”
Family News Fall 2015
Well, summer is coming to an end, and I thought I (Steve) would write this edition of the “Family News” as Cindy is busy in the “Back To School” shopping and organizing mode. So here are the top 10 summertime memories for the Klassen clan!
10. Girls Just Want To Have Fun
It was a great summer for our youngest 2 girls, Mireya (12) and Nicole (10). Late night movies with tea and snacks, lots of baking, swimming at Al Anderson Pool, lazing around, sleeping in, and generally being kids. It was great to see the girls enjoy time off from the “busy schedule.”
9. Quiet Mornings
I don’t know about you but in our household, summer means late dinners, and even later bedtimes. So I found myself staying up later as it wasn’t unusual to find our teens up until after midnight and I enjoy hanging out with them. The reality check comes the next morning when I still have to get up at the regular “working man time” while the house sleeps. The good news is there is no line up for the bathroom, and there is still milk left!
8. Movies in the Park
A local real estate condo project sponsored three “Movie in the Park” screenings at the park right at the end of our street. The kids invited their friends, and we all walked over with our lawn chairs to enjoy an outdoor movie. How fun! The screen and sound quality were of high quality, and the weather held out all three times. The family favourite was the movie “Home,” but I loved watching “Back To The Future” as it took me back to life in the ’80s, when we all had the best music, clothes, and haircuts!
7. Track & Field Club Provincials
In the early part of the summer, we travelled to Nanaimo for Adrianna’s Provincial Championship races. Although we enjoyed the time at the track, and Adrianna and her friends’ amazing performance in the 4 x 400, we will never forget our motel. It is amazing how much better the motel looked in the online photos compared to reality! Let’s just say I’ll be booking our accommodation next time (hopefully Cindy is not reading this)… We did enjoy nice restaurant outings with the other athletes and their families.
6. Osoyoos Go-Carts
I’m a little old school on this one, but I believe that if you’re on the go-cart track, your age is of no consequence. It’s a race! So I apologize to the young kids I spun out in turn 3, but Mireya and I, in our double cart, race to win! If you’re at Rattlesnake Canyon for fun, the tilt-a-whirl is just 100 metres away. ☺ I’m also proud of Adrianna, who worked hard to block my passing opportunities. Keep it up kid, and one day you’ll take the checkered flag, but for now, the old man is still King! (Sorry about your whiplash, sweetie!)
5. Visiting Jude in Salmon Arm
Jude worked as a camp counsellor this past summer at Sunnybrae Bible Camp. So for a few days during “Family Camp,” we visited and got a chance to see what he’d been up to. It was great to find out how he was learning as much as he was teaching. The responsibility of looking after younger people while at the same time being mentored by the older. I know Cindy especially enjoyed the visit as she’s not quite ready to let the chicks venture too long from the nest.
4. Osoyoos Mini Golf
Now I like a fun game of mini golf, but I knew I was in trouble when Mrs. Klassen insisted we keep score. There are two things that are not healthy for our marriage relationship. The first is doing wallpaper together. The second is competitive mini golf. I’m telling you, I can feel Cindy’s “negative thoughts” every time I line up for a 4 foot putt. Most wives encourage their husbands after the missed shot, but apparently others smirk or say “Ha, too bad” with a smile and a fist pump. Yes. Mrs. Klassen is a beauty on the golf course. So I’ll let you, dear reader, ask her who won.
3. Jared’s Goalie Camp
While many of you were enjoying the beach, the park, the mountains, and the hammock, I was spending time at the Sportsplex watching parts of Jared’s Goalie Camp. He took part in a 5 day, full day camp where they had an ice session both morning and afternoon, dry land training each day, and a provided lunch. Over the years, Jared has gotten to know the goalies from the different associations and schools, and he liked the social time as much as the workouts. I also enjoyed learning the new “cool” words that goalies use, but Jared informs me that those words are off-limits to old people like me. Ok. I’ll stick with my own words then like “radical,” “gnarly,” and “hoser.”
2. Jude Is Back
After his camp, Jude came back home for a few weeks and worked. He will be attending Millar College of the Bible in September, and he needed to earn some money for school. Cindy and I kind of assumed that we’d have lots of time to visit, but 18 year olds with car keys seem to find more fun things to do! It is amazing, though, that our “baby Jude” will be off to school in Salmon Arm. The days are long, but the years are short.
1. The Firebowl
This summer we bought a propane fuelled firebowl that we use on our back patio. Cindy recently bought some nice patio furniture as well, so we’ve really enjoyed sitting outside by the fire. I also have a special screen that allows us to roast marshmallows too! It just shows that you can turn off the TV, tech toys, and phones, and just enjoy one another’s company. Because in the end, isn’t it all about “relationship?” As crazy as life gets, some of the greatest satisfaction comes from time spent together just “being.” As has been said, we are “human beings,” not “human doings.” My encouragement to all would be to find your firebowl ritual!
~ Steve Klassen
FAMILY NEWS - SUMMER 2015
Well, Cindy is on stress leave after running the concession at the BC High School Provincial Track and Field Meet, so that leaves me to write the next installment of the Family News. So here are the top 10 Spring time memories for the Klassen clan!
10. House Painting
Last year we completed a major house renovation, but ran out of good weather before getting to outside paint. We felt ourselves always explaining that the roof, gutters, and other trim were chosen to match the future color of the house, just so no one thought we were wacko. So, finally this Spring, the house and fence got painted with the exact color I wanted, then Cindy’s color was used as the final coat! Happy wife…
9. Adi goes to NYC
Adrianna had been planning for about 1 ½ years to go on a school trip to New York City. She worked like crazy to earn her trip, and finally in May she and a group of around 20 students and 3 teachers set out to explore Times Square, Central Park, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Broadway, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Museum of Modern Art, and about every hot dog stand in Manhattan. And of course my lovely daughter brought me the “I ♥ NY” smoothie cup I asked for.
8. Vancouver ½ Marathon
Cindy and I had set a goal to run this ½ marathon early in the year. We’ve both run ½’s before, but I haven’t run a ½ marathon since 1999. Knowing that an old UBC buddy who now lives in Scottsdale would be running, I was motivated to at least not embarrass myself. Race day was gorgeous with the race beginning in Queen Elizabeth Park and ending in downtown Vancouver. I ran a PB of 1 hour 36 minutes, but unfortunately Cindy ran into some knee issues and hobbled in at 1:59:00; she likely would have finished in 1:45:00. They say the scenery for this race is beautiful, but I tell the kids that if you notice the scenery, you’re not racing!
7. Nicole Sports Day
Nicole is our only kid at the elementary school, and we’ve always enjoyed Sports Day. Now I know Sports Day is supposed to be about the fun and the kids and all, but for my high octane wife, it’s really about making the podium in the “Mom’s Race” held in the afternoon. Sure Nicole had a good time with her school friends and the hamburgers and hot dogs were nice, but what could be better than watching mom rip it up to a silver medal finish! Oh by the way, the gold medal winner was probably 15 years younger and is under investigation for performance enhancing substances….
6. Mireya Track Day
Mireya had a fun day at the track for her “School Track Day”. She ran well in the 800m and 1500m. In her world, the fun thing is running with your friends from school, and just having a good time. Winning the 1500m is just icing on the cake!
5. Jared Hockey Tryouts
Jared, our budget breaking goalie kid, attended an “Identification Camp” for the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds, a Major Midget Hockey Team playing in the BC Major Midget League. As Jared is entering his first year of Midget it is unlikely he’ll make the team, but he loved the tryout experience. Skating with the “who’s who” of the Fraser Valley, high-caliber goal tenders, and scrimmaging with some of the best skaters around. Jared really adjusted well to the “speed” of the game and knows he can compete at that level. In August Jared will try to make the Langley Midget A1 (AAA) team and see what happens from there.
4. Family Trip to Oregon
Back in April, Jude and Adi competed at the Oregon Relays in Eugene, Oregon. It was a thrill for me to see historic Hayward Field, and to watch my kids run with some amazing competition. Jude ripped it up with awesome results in the 200m and 400m races. We didn’t know it at the time, but this meet was his swan song for the season as injury prevented him from competing in the BC High School Provincials.
3. Adi on the Podium
Adrianna qualified to the BC High School Provincial Track and Field Meet in both the 1500m and 800m. This year the meet was held in Langley, and Cindy was in charge of the entire concession. So while Jude, Jared, Mireya, and Nicole volunteered with the concession, Adi ‘s focus was on the track. In the 800m final she ran the race of her life and ran a PB (personal best) of 2:16:09 minutes to pick up a bronze medal. Adi is re-invigorated and is looking forward to the summer club season.
2. Jude the Graduate
With Jude graduating this June, we’ve had lots of fun with all his grad events, from Graduation Sunday at Church, Cindy’s fashion consultation on Jude’s suit and tie, and the fact that Jude actually asked a girl to grad (not even by text, but face to face!). I can’t believe how time flies, and that my boy is almost turning the page to the next chapter of life. More on this to come…
1. The Simple Things
As much as we love the “big events”, I really love the simple things that happen in everyday life; family dinners, trip to Tim Horton’s or McD’s for a treat, a walk around the neighborhood park, a run with Cindy, bum-o-wars on the trampoline, turning my 80’s music up loud in the MDX and “exposing” the kids to good music, sitting in Church together, street hockey, one armed pushup competitions (Dad-2, Jared – 10+), getting “help” washing the cars, deep discussions with Jude, embarrassing Adi in front of her friends, still being called “Daddy”, getting nice pictures, and listening to audio books while driving. Life is what happens when you are making other plans…
~ Steve Klassen
SPRING 2015 FAMILY NEWS
It has been quite some time since I have written the Family News. I think it was probably in the fall, and now it is already April. I feel like we just celebrated Christmas and now Easter has come and gone. Time is going too quickly. But, I have to say that I am looking forward to the warm weather of summer.
Jude will graduate in June and head off to school away from home in September. He will be going to a Bible School on Thetis Island for his first year out of high school. After that, one possibility is that he will live long term in the Philippines. I am trying to not dwell on that fact. I know it is part of life that kids grow up and potentially move away, but I didn’t really picture it happening so soon. Wasn’t he just playing with trucks in the sandbox and watching Thomas the Tank Engine movies? In the meantime, his track season is well underway. We have been to a couple of meets at the University of Washington in Seattle, and in a couple weeks we will be going down to Eugene, Oregon for another meet. It is fun to take these little trips with the kids for track meets. Lots of special times. We are very thankful that Jude has his driver’s license. It has made a big difference in the amount of driving around that I do. He drives himself and Adrianna to track practices and often brings Mireya and Nicole home from their practices which end at the same time. Jude also drives the kids to youth group on Friday nights. We are thankful to have the car given to us by my Grandma.
Adrianna is doing well in Grade 11. She keeps herself very busy. She is a social butterfly and loves to be doing things with friends often. She has her “L” and is doing well with learning to drive. She is quite brave about driving in busy traffic and parking lots already. Steve took her driving in White Rock a few days ago and had her drive up Oxford hill and she did not like that at all. If you don’t know Oxford hill, it is probably one of the steepest uphill roads around. Adrianna said that she was almost in tears and that it was the scariest thing that she had ever done. I, as a mother, would never have done such a thing to my child, but that is the difference between moms and dads. Adrianna is also very involved in track and field. She will be competing in the 800m and 1500m events this season. She has said a few times that she misses playing soccer, but knows that she cannot do both anymore as each sport has a big time commitment. In addition to her track training, she has taken on a new role and will be the head coach of the Track Rascals program, which is an introduction to track for kids aged 5-7. This will be a good experience for her learning to manage and organize, and she gets paid to do it which is an added bonus.
Jared is all about hockey. He is regularly saying he is bored when he is not on the ice. He would play every day if he could. His regular season is over, but he will be playing in a spring league as a player and not a goalie (his regular position). I think the change will be fun for him. He continues to go to goalie training once or twice a week with his goalie coach Angelo. It is quite likely in the fall that Jared will be changing High schools. They are opening up a hockey academy at LSS in Langley and it is a good possibility that he will join the academy. A few of the players from his last season’s team will also be going to the academy. Still haven’t figured out how we will manage driving to another school every morning. I see a lot of driving in Steve’s future. Jared is eating constantly right now. Girls might be more expensive to raise in every other way, but boys sure cost more when it comes to food. It seems that no matter how much food I make it is never enough. The more I make, the more they eat!! The shopping carts at Superstore aren’t quite big enough for me.
Mireya is doing well. Steve and I speak regularly about how we can’t believe that she is almost a teenager and that that much time has gone by since she joined our family and became our daughter. She is amazing!! I would say that she is one of the most competent, hard-working people that I know. She succeeds at everything she does and has so much energy. Grade 6 has been a little challenging for her. She has had a lot of homework and because of her high expectations for herself it has caused her some stress and anxiety. She puts so much time and effort into every assignment. More than I ever would have. So, we are counting down to the end of Grade 6. I know that Grade 7 will be easier for her, just from past experience with the other kids going through Grade 7. Mireya enjoyed soccer again this year and will most likely play in the fall. Right now she is doing track and field and piano.
Last, but not least, Nicole, our little comedian. She continues to come up with things that make all of us in the family laugh. She is such an easy-going, good-natured child. That is probably a very good thing being the youngest of five. Nicole has been enjoying Grade 4. She has some good friends and seems to do well with her teacher. I think in the future she might need some extra help with math, but time will tell. Her strength would be her creativity. Like Mireya, Nicole also played soccer this year and is now doing track and piano. Nicole is not super keen on track, but we basically told her she needed to do something active, with soccer being over, and that if she didn’t want to compete at the track meets that would be fine, as long as she went to the track practices. She always enjoys the practices once she is there. She signed up for school cross-country, which was surprising to me as she usually complains about the two laps around the track they usually do at the beginning of track practices. I don’t think she really understands what it is, so the first race should be interesting. I haven’t explained to her that it is a 2km race. Sometimes “ignorance is bliss”. Is that mean??
We are just about finished our adoption paperwork. By the time this newsletter gets to you it will hopefully all be on its way to the Philippines. What a task it has been. It is not hard, just very time consuming. Our agency thinks that it will probably be about a year before we receive a proposal. Because we are adopting an older child (between 5-8), it will be quicker than if we were adopting a child below the age of 4. There are way fewer people adopting older children. We are excited to see who the next member of our family will be!
The renovation process on our house is almost complete. The renovation of the inside was complete when we moved in last January, we did the landscaping last summer, and now it is time to paint the exterior. I can’t wait. When we did the inside renovation we changed the front doors and painted them black to match the eventual outside colours and also did the new roof a charcoal colour. So, for over a year we have had a house that looks a little odd from the outside as it is very mismatched, which goes against everything that I am. I don’t do mismatched!! Anyways, hopefully soon, when the weather is consistently warm enough, the house will be painted and then I can sleep in peace once again.
Steve and I will be running the Vancouver Half Marathon in May. We have been doing our long runs together, which has been generally really nice. It is really not enjoyable to do the long run of the week on your own. Steve would say that I complain too much, but will acknowledge that despite my complaining I “get the job done”. Next week we are up to 1 hour and 40 minutes for our long run. I hope and pray for no rain that day.
I think I have rambled on long enough already. But, it has been a long time since I have written, so there was a lot to say.
FEBRUARY FAMILY NEWS
Well, it’s my turn to write the Family News. I thought I would use this opportunity to write about our top 10 Christmas memories from this past Christmas season. It was hard to choose as there were many wonderful moments during the holidays. But, here are the top 10.
TOP 10 KLASSEN CHRISTMAS MEMORIES
10. FUN HOCKEY. Jared and I had a few occasions to play hockey for fun. He normally plays goalie on a rep hockey team, and things are very serious and structured. On one occasion this holiday, we played as opposing goalies on 3 on 3 hockey. And, a few other times, we played ‘stick and puck’ at the local rink. Jared likes to play as a player for fun, so we had to buy him some player gear.
9. THE HOBBIT. One Sunday afternoon I took Jude, Adrianna, Jared, and a few of their friends, as well as Auntie Tracy, to see the latest Hobbit movie. I think that makes 3 Hobbit movies and 3 Lord of the Rings movies. Peter Jackson has taken a lot of our money.
8. CHURCH YOUTH BANQUET. Jude, Adrianna, and Jared attended our Church’s Youth Christmas Banquet. And to their horror, mom and dad were helping on the serving team. So I made sure to embarrass the kids whenever appropriate, and to make sure no boys tried to sit next to my daughter. I’m not sure if Cindy and I will get asked to help again next year.
7. CHRISTMAS TEA. Langley Fundamental Elementary School hosts a Christmas Tea each year, and Cindy and I attended. Wonderful baked goods are available, along with coffee, tea, and apple cider. While the parents and families enjoy snacks, the kids from the school do various performances. An additional bonus is that since Cindy and I sat together it counts towards “Date Night” points! The interesting thing is that Nicole is our only child still at the elementary school, while Jude is in his grad year. How many Christmas Teas have we been to?
6. PIANO RECITAL. Every Christmas season, the kids’ piano teacher, Mrs. D., holds a recital. There are about 25 piano students who play short piano pieces, and then it’s goodies supplied by Mrs. D.! It helps to get into the Christmas spirit when listening to all the Christmas tunes being played. At the end, We Wish You A Merry Christmas is always sung.
5. RE/MAX TREE DAY. My RE/MAX office has a big party and Tree Giveaway for our valued clients who have bought or sold through RE/MAX. Hot dogs with caramelized onions, muffins, donuts, hot chocolate, and candy canes are but some of the treats available for kids big and small. And, dear reader, since you know I am all about quality control, I had to personally sample each available treat. Just one of the demands of this challenging career path.
4. CHRISTMAS MOVIES AT HOME. We have a few movies we like to watch every Christmas break. This year, we watched the two Christmas Shoes movies, and Elf (as well as many others). If you have not seen Elf, you need to watch it. My favourite lines:
“6 inch ribbon curls!”
“Code word ‘Santa has a new bag’.”
“Santa? I know him!”
“Does maple syrup have sugar? Then, yes!”
“He must be a South Pole elf.”
“You’re young, so young…”
“Did you hear that!?”
3. CHRISTMAS WITH THE PARENTS. Every year we celebrate Christmas with a huge dinner both at my parents, together with my sister and her family, and on a separate occasion with Cindy’s family, the Reimers. Safe to say, much food is consumed. Do you ever marvel at how long it takes to prepare the meal, and then how quickly it is eaten? Especially with our teenagers!
2. CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE. We love our Church, Cloverdale Baptist Church, and our pastor and leaders do an awesome job with the Christmas Eve service. Lots of singing and a great message to get our focus back to what Christmas is all about. As we learned years ago in one of the kids Christmas plays, “it’s all about the baby!”
1. CHRISTMAS MORNING. Jude, Adi, Jared, Mireya, and Nicole all get up rather early, and are allowed to open their stockings. This buys enough time for Cindy and I to get a bit of extra sleep, since traditionally we are up LATE the night before wrapping gifts and helping Santa with his cookies. I love watching Cindy and the kids open their gifts and give out hugs all around. And yes, I did get my chocolate orange once again. I love that orange.
I’d love to hear about your favourite Christmas memory, so please blast me a quick email to email@example.com. Happy 2015!
~ Steve Klassen
Well, it is time for the annual Klassen Christmas letter once again. I always marvel at how quickly the Christmas season sneaks up on us once the summer is over. I also ponder how many of these letters I’ve previously written. Just yesterday, Cindy and I were looking at some old pictures of the kids and wondered where the time has gone. The DAYS can be long but the YEARS are short.
As per my usual custom, I’d like to start this letter by giving my sincere thanks to all who have trusted me with their real estate needs, or referred me to someone they care about. I am thankful that I get to serve and work with great people, and that people like you trust my “First Klass” real estate service enough to tell others about me. Remember, I am never too busy for your referrals!
So what’s new in the market, you ask? Well, as I review my Christmas letter of last year, I would say that we are in a similar situation to last year. With key fundamentals in place, a recovering U.S. economy, a steadily improving B.C. economy, rising consumer demand for housing, and all this undergirded by consumer confidence, I would say the market is “perky.” There are, however, variations in price appreciation depending on housing type and associated inventory levels. I have been involved in more multiple offer situations this year than at any time in the last 8 - 10 years. This speaks to the demand in certain “sub-markets.” If you, dear reader, want to grab a quick coffee and talk about your specific real estate situation, let me know. I’ll even pay for the coffee!!
Now for the 2014 update on Klassen Family, Inc. With respect to our house renovation, we completed the renovation of the inside of the house in January and have now completed our landscaping. Currently, we are finishing up a good sized storage shed and in the Spring we will repaint the house. However, given the amount the renovation has cost, I might only have enough money left over to hire our kids with 4 or 5 cans of spray paint. We’ll see how it goes J. We really enjoy Murrayville and find it to be very central to where we have to travel for school, part time kid’s jobs, track, soccer, and hockey. There are even carpooling options that we didn’t have when living on acreage in South Langley. The kids also enjoy Murrayville with its parks, pool, and proximity to shops and stores.
On the home front, the biggest update is that we are in the process of adopting again from the Philippines. As you may remember, our youngest two girls, Mireya and Nicole, were born in the Philippines, and now we are hoping to adopt a boy, likely in the age range of 5 - 8. Our 5 kids are all on board with this too! Cindy and I have a very strong conviction that every kid needs a family and so we open ourselves up for this journey once again. We also joke that our original retirement plan of “Freedom 55” has now been amended to “Freedom 85.” I think I’m going to have to sell some more houses….
Another big event this past year was the church missions trip to the Philippines that I, Jude, Adrianna, and Mireya went on. It was a 2 week trip, with a team of 17 people, that went out to assist a friend of mine and his organization called Hope For The Island. We helped with children’s events, youth events, feeding programs, clean water programs, assistance to widows and orphans, and a host of other activities targeted at helping the people on this remote island have a hope for the future. Jude and Adrianna have been to Hope For The Island before and I know this trip at an older age really affected their “world view.” I really believe it’s important to get our youth out into the world in order to see what is really going on.
Jude is now 17 and has a car to drive. This has been a big help, as he drives himself and 3 of his siblings to school most mornings, and can get himself and other siblings to church youth events, sports practices, etc. Currently in his Grade 12 year, Jude is really thinking about what he wants to do next. University is likely in the future but he may take a year off to work for a bit and then go on a longer church missions trip, possibly even back to the Philippines. He is back to running track this year and with that, school, and church activities keeps quite busy.
Adrianna is almost 16 and can’t wait to start driving. She is still working at the Murrayville McDonald’s and often works the drive through, so make sure to be nice to her! In order to train for track at a more intense level, Adi has hung up her soccer cleats. Back in August, Adrianna competed in the Legion National Youth Track and Field Championships and ran well in the 800m and 1500m. With all her time spent working, doing homework, youth group involvement, and sports, her room tidiness is suffering a bit. She’s also just coming off a successful cross-country season, qualifying and doing well in the Provincial Championships.
Jared is heading towards 14 years old and is doing well in school like his older siblings. He is playing rep hockey for Langley once again at the Bantam level and is showing great improvements. Outside of his regular team practices, he also gets the occasional goalie training session, which he loves. He always wants to get to the rink early to hang out with “the boys” and just loves being part of the group, even in games where it is the other goalie’s turn to play. Some of you hockey parents out there should have warned me about the high cost of being a goalie parent! I might have never let Jared try the position….
Mireya is now 11 and “graduated” last year from elementary school. She enjoys school and Cindy and I are constantly amazed at how creative she is. She makes incredible crafts, computer slide shows and video projects, and she is a good baker. Mireya is back in soccer and will do track again this year. She is still enjoying piano and loves to sing (mostly Taylor Swift). I thought Taylor Swift would have been washed-up by now.
Nicole is 9 and is also playing soccer this year. She is our only child still in elementary school. Nicole always finds something to keep herself busy and loves to do crafts and play piano. She is still the family joker and is always trying to ensure Cindy and I go out on our dates. Nicole, like me, loves Tim Hortons, but she did hurt my feelings a bit when she told Cindy that I don’t really work, I just go to Timmy’s all the time.
So, all in all, we as a family are looking forward to 2015. We know that there will be many changes, many new experiences, and many wonderful “normal” days.
And as for you, dear reader, if a change in your real estate needs is on the horizon, let me know and I’d be happy to help you develop your game plan! I’m here for any of your questions.
Merry Christmas to you and yours. Our family loves Christmas and our routines, customs, and traditions. In all the busyness of life, we slow down and reflect on the meaning of the baby in the manger.
As busy as our family is, we always reflect on the bigger purpose, and what we’re here to do. Christmas is a great time for us to reflect, recalibrate, and recharge.
It’s a good life!
FAMILY NEWS – SUMMER/2014
It has been quite some time since I have written an edition of “Family News," partly because I have been so busy with the family that I haven’t had a lot of time to do much writing. I think Steve took it over because he was worn out from asking me over and over when I was going to get time to write the Family News.
Despite all that, here it goes. I am writing this edition on the evening of September 10. Steve is with Jared at hockey, Jude and Adrianna are at youth group, and Mireya and Nicole have settled in for a movie. It’s now or never!!
What a summer we had. Our summers have definitely changed over the past few years with the kids getting older and more independent. Jude actually stayed home from our annual Osoyoos trip this time, which was hard for me. He did not want to miss track practices and he also had a summer job that he needed to be at. We left home and drove to Hope and I almost started crying when we sat down to have lunch in a restaurant. It wasn’t the same not having Jude with us. Our family didn’t feel complete. I know many of you reading this have already experienced these types of moments and know exactly what I’m talking about. It is the end of the era when everyone in the family is on family holidays. We only went to Osoyoos for five days this year, but it was still hard leaving him behind. I know that it is important for kids to start to be more independent, but it was hard nonetheless. I think Jude probably spent a fair bit of time at my parents’ place while we were away, but he did amazingly well on his own.
From Osoyoos we travelled to a track meet in Kamloops. Jude met us there as he and Adrianna were both competing. It was a very hot weekend in Kamloops. The temperature reached over 40 degrees, which is way too hot for running track events (or doing anything else for that matter). Steve and I did go for a run one morning while there. It was a trail that meandered up the hills and probably the longest uphill I have ever done on a run. It was insane. Even at 9:00 a.m. it already felt too hot for running.
From the middle of July to the middle of August, we stayed around home. My sister and her family came to town for a couple of weeks so we did a lot of visiting during that time. My kids had a great time hanging out with their cousins.
The next couple weeks were spent getting ready for the Legion National Track meet that the Langley Mustangs track club hosted this year and preparing Steve and the kids (Jude, Adrianna, and Mireya) for their trip to the Philippines. I ran the concession for the track meet which was a big undertaking. We sold many, many hot dogs, bottled waters, candy bags, and various other snacks. It was a lot of fun. Steve and the kids left for the Philippines on August 17th. I drove them to the airport that night. They needed to be at the airport around 10:00 p.m. for a flight that was scheduled to leave on August 18th at 1:50 a.m. It was sure hard to say goodbye to over half of my family knowing they were travelling over 6,000 miles away.
The two weeks, with Steve and the kids in the Philippines, went relatively quickly. Jared’s minor hockey evaluations kept the rest of us back at home quite busy. Last year Steve took Jared to all of the try-out sessions. It was a real eye opener for me to be there. What a process these kids have to go through until they are placed on their final team for the season. I think I was more stressed about it than Jared.
It was very interesting being at home with only two kids instead of 5. I definitely noticed a difference in the grocery bill!! I actually read through a whole novel from start to finish! That hasn’t happened in years. I think I am going to try to read more as I thoroughly enjoyed reading a book for enjoyment instead of for education (I am usually reading some health book or adoption book).
Though I missed Steve and the kids every day, it did allow for more special one on one times with Jared and Nicole, which was great. I think they are the two kids that usually get the least of my time, so it was very special for us.
I was very glad when we were driving to pick up the family at YVR. I kept watching the arrival board and waiting anxiously for it to read “LANDED”. A sigh of relief for sure.
With everyone back home, it is back to regular fall routine – minus the school thing of course. Soccer and cross-country have started. Mireya and Nicole had their first piano lessons today. I was very thankful for that first week when school was not in as it allowed Jude, Adrianna, and Mireya to mostly get over their jet-lag from the trip. It would have been very hard (almost impossible) for them to come back and go to school the next day. Another positive about no school is that Jude has been able to continue working at his landscaping job and put some more money in the bank.
Before I end this already very long edition of Family News, I wanted to share the news that Steve and I have started the process to adopt another child from the Philippines. This is old news to some of you reading this (our families and a few others), so you can just skim over this part. But for the others, the cat is now out of the bag. We started our paperwork in May and hope to have it all completed soon. Then we will start the waiting part of the process, which may be up to two years. We are excited to see who the next member of our family will be. There are still many kids out there that are waiting for someone to choose to give them a family. Can you imagine any of your children (if you have them) living in an orphanage? What if it was you in the orphanage? It is not the right place for any child to be - there is my adoption sermon. Didn’t really plan that, it just came out.
Thanks for reading!! Happy Fall.
Family News July 2014
Hi, this is Adrianna Klassen and I will be writing the Family News this month for my dad. He asked me to write about our trip to Osoyoos which we went on at the beginning of this month.
The drive is about 5 hours including a lunch break at a restaurant in Hope that we’ve been to a couple of times before called Rolly’s. Once we got to our hotel (The Coast Osoyoos), we got out of our vehicle and stepped out into the very warm air. A bunch of our relatives were there as well so I was excited to spend some time with them. The days we were there followed a similar pattern. In the morning, my dad took me out for a run to keep up my fitness for a track meet my brother Jude and I were competing in. Then for the rest of the morning up to lunchtime, we tried to soak up as much sun as we could. Once the afternoon came, it was inside to enjoy some cool air conditioning and rest for a bit while it was too hot to go outside. A couple of the days we were there, the temperature reached up to 40°C! After it cooled down, we would head back outside to do as much as we could until we were too tired to do anything else.
We did a lot on our vacation but my 10 favourites were:
- Swimming in the lake.
- Renting kayaks.
- Going for walks on the beach.
- My dad taking me to Tim Hortons (mainly to get his steeped tea).
- Go-karting at Rattlesnake Canyon (a fun park).
- Getting ice cream at D.Q.
- The ladies shopping trip (Dad isn’t going to be happy with his Visa statement).
- Mini golfing.
- Finding new things to do every day.
- Going out for dinner at The Diamond (our favourite restaurant in Osoyoos).
Overall our trip was a lot of fun and I look forward to next year’s trip to Osoyoos.
Family News - May 2014
Well it’s time again to give you a bit of an update as to what’s been happening in the Klassen clan. Our house renovation is done, and now we move to some of the outside work, like landscaping, fence repair, and exterior paint. We’ve taken out the old lawn in preparation for re-turfing and the kids joke we should just leave it this way so that we don’t have any grass to mow. Not a bad idea, but not sure what the neighbours might think. Cindy is getting some quotes from landscapers and my job is to sell houses in order to pay them. We enjoy our neighbourhood in Murrayville and do find it very central to where we need to travel.
Cindy has been doing well with her health and the removal of gluten from her diet has done wonders. She is sleeping well and is running regularly again. I’m even finding her pace on our Sunday long runs quite challenging. I’m encouraging Cindy to enter a 5K race sometime soon as I know she’ll do well!
Jude just competed in the Provincial High School Math Contest. Three students from his school were chosen to compete; Jude and one other student being in grade 11. The contestants from Jude’s school travelled to the University of the Fraser Valley, wrote the test, and participated in some “math games” and other fun stuff. Jude brought a copy of the math contest questions home and I can’t say I would have done that well.
Adrianna is still working part time at McDonald’s, running track, and working hard in school. She’s getting good results on the track this year and has qualified for the BC High School Track & Field Championships. Adi is also excited about taking a school trip to New York next year. She definitely has the travel bug and this will be a good opportunity for her to get started on her “bucket list”.
Jared has recently taken up golf. As a hockey goalie, he has learned that golf is part of hockey culture and thus he’s bought himself a junior membership at the Langley Golf Centre. This par 3 course is a walk or short bike ride from our house, so I’ll go with Jared, or he’ll go with a friend, or even go on his own to play. Because Jared swings left-handed, he has had to “borrow” Grandpa’s clubs. Thanks, Grandpa!
Mireya is very excited about going on a short term missions trip to the Philippines this summer. Mireya and I, along with Jude and Adrianna, will be travelling with a group of 17 people to visit our friends, Derek and Jenn Van Ryckeghem, and their organization, Hope For The Island, in the Philippines. Mireya is very involved in our “fundraising” and is looking forward to helping the disadvantaged people we will be helping on our trip. If you are interested, check out www.hopefortheisland.org.
Finally, Nicole is enjoying school and track. However, I wonder how it is that she can’t seem to get herself going on school days. But on Saturday, she pops right out of bed and to the family room couch for Saturday morning TV. Funny. Nicole is also our resident comedian, always laughing and making us laugh. She is always encouraging Cindy and me to go out on dates, and gives me tips on things I should do for my wife. It’s so helpful to get this advice, kind of like a marriage GPS! Do this, say that, go there...
So that’s it for this edition. Stay tuned for further updates on our family exploits.
The Family News
As you all know, my wife Cindy usually writes the “Family News.” Today, I will be the guest editor as she has been busy with sick kids, a recent move, birthday parties, and a host of other things.
Yes, you just read that. We have finally moved! About five months ago, we purchased a house in Murrayville that we have completely renovated. The renovation took about four months, and lots of aspirin. We are now getting settled and there are still countless little jobs requiring attention. The kids are happy with the fact that they all have their own bedrooms, and Cindy loves her kitchen and family room area. Cindy had some great ideas during the renovation, and a few months ago, she was talking about how we should do this again soon. But then we actually moved, and with all the challenges that arise with a move and the settling in process, she hasn’t been heard to utter these words recently. We are really happy with our house and neighbourhood. If you are thinking about a renovation, come by and see what we have done; we might have some ideas and recommendations that you can use!
There are times when we miss the acreage we were on for twelve years, but our lives are busy now with kid’s sports and activities, and it just seemed right to simplify our lives a bit.
Speaking of simplifying, I read a great book called “The Richest Man in Babylon,” written in the 1920’s. Set in ancient Babylon, this book has countless financial principles that apply in our modern world. My favourite quote from the book is “...our “necessary expenses” will always grow to equal our incomes unless we protest to the contrary.” If you are looking for some advice on your personal finances, get this book! Read it, study it, and then email me your favourite concept or quote.
A big change for us in the last one and a half years has been diet related. Cindy reads and researches a lot on the subject of health and nutrition, and since discovering that both she and Jude are gluten intolerant, she has been cooking gluten free. She’s discovered a ton of gluten free recipes, and last night, made an awesome Thai curried chicken dish. The rest of us still partake in the occasional piece of toast or wheat based breakfast cereal, but what is amazing is the options that do exist for those struggling with gluten intolerance. To read about how many health issues are related to gluten, get the book “Wheat Belly.” It will change your thinking, especially if you have any ongoing health challenges, as both Jude and Cindy had.
My contribution to our new awareness of healthy eating is that I bought a Vitamix blender for the family. I know what you are thinking; that was the old me. I didn’t buy it as an anniversary present for Cindy, or give it to her for Christmas. I learned my lesson after the “iron incident” back in 1996! So, buying the Vitamix as a spontaneous family purchase, I’ve been blending a green smoothie for all of us every morning at 7 a.m. It’s a vegetable based smoothie, full of spinach, kale, carrots, and other vegetables, but mixed with fruit such as berries, mango and strawberries. I also add in yogurt, flax seed, honey and a banana. The kids actually like the smoothie and it gets all of us off to a great nutritious start. Cindy has got me reading some really interesting books by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, who advocates a vegetable based diet.
If your family has made any recent dietary changes, email me or Facebook me. We would be interested in hearing about them.
That is it for now, so be careful out there.
It’s a good life,
FAMILY NEWS – WINTER 2013
Can it really be time for the annual Christmas letter already? My parents just brought some summer pictures by the house, and it seems like summer was just last week. Even so, our family loves Christmas, so here’s to looking ahead!
As per my usual custom, I’d like to start this letter by giving my sincere thanks to all who have trusted me with their real estate needs, or referred me to someone they care about. I am thankful that I get to serve great people, and that people like you trust my “First Klass” real estate service enough to tell others about me. Remember, I am never to busy for your referrals!
So, what’s new in the market, you ask? The key word I would use is “steady”. The key fundamentals are in place. The US housing market is recovering, and our BC economy, according to statistics is improving, all leading to rising consumer demand in our local market. All in all, interest rates are near history lows, selection of housing inventory is good, and prices remain steady. As I say every year, prices, long term, go up in places people are moving to. If you want to grab a quick coffee and talk about the future of real estate, and how it is relevant to your situation, let me know. I’ll even pay!
Now for an update on Klassen Family Inc. You may recall that in the summer 2012, we sold our acreage in South Langley and moved into a rental home in Murrayville while we assessed our next move. Well, a few short months ago we bought a house in Murrayville. It’s a good-sized 2-storey home with enough bedrooms for all 5 kids, and a huge games room. Right now, we are undertaking a major renovation project. New cabinets, new flooring, new plumbing, new roof, new mortgage J. We’re super excited about moving in once the work is all done. The house fits our current needs, is on a quiet cul-de-sac street, and is a short distance to a park with soccer and baseball fields, tennis courts, and room for the kids to do their summer workouts should they choose. Leaving the acreage was tough for sure, but Murrayville is much more central to our lives with sports and extracurricular activities. With 3 girls in soccer, a boy in hockey, and 4 of the 5 kids running track, we are driving a lot, and Murrayville for us certainly cuts out driving time, and opens up carpooling opportunities. The goal is to have the reno done before Christmas, so the big push is on!
On the home front, our family theme for the last 2 years has been “simplicity”, and I would say now it’s still the word that best describes what our goal is. What that means to us is that we prioritized the things most important to us, and simplify as much as possible to enable us to do these things. Cindy and Jude’s health is much better! A chance reading of the book “Wheat Belly” during our Christmas vacation last year led to an experiment of gluten reduction in our family, leading to a huge improvement in Cindy and Jude’s health, fitness, and sleep. Check out the book; Cindy could talk to you for hours about the correlation between food and health. Cindy is back to regular running and singing on our church’s “worship team”. If you get a chance, ask her to sing for you; she’s awesome!
Jude is 16 and is driving. He has his “L” and will be going for his “N” soon. We certainly are looking forward to having another driver (shuttle bus operator) in the family. Jude’s running has vastly improved with his dietary adjustments. Like Cindy, Jude does not do well with gluten. This time last year, he lost all energy, and missed over 2 months of school because he could barely get out of bed in the morning. Jude’s “gold group” track training has begun, and we’re excited to see how he does this year. He does get a bit bored at school, despite bringing home terrific grades. I appreciate Jude’s ability to look after all the yard care and car wash jobs!
Adrianna is almost 15. She has a part time job at McDonald’s which helps her earn some extra spending money. She now has her first cell phone, and pays for it all out of her work proceeds. Adi is playing rep soccer, and did really well in cross country this season. She, too, will be training with the “gold group” during this upcoming track season. Adi also helps a lot around the house, and we appreciate her help, especially with her younger sisters.
Jared is 12 and will be 13 in early December. The big change for him is that he made the Bantam rep hockey team, and our commitment to hockey has definitely increased! As a goalie, I tell him he is in the most expensive position in sports. So, I pay all registration and tournament fees, and Jared has to pay for half of his goalie equipment. Well, Jared is super motivated now. He delivers real estate flyers for me on his rollerblades, cuts grandma’s lawn, and picks up all kinds of odd jobs here and there. So far, he’s bought a new chest protector and goalie pants, and skates are next on the list. He’s also motivated enough to be on the ice at 5:40 a.m. for his 6:00 a.m. practice. Yes, my alarm went off at 4:25 a.m. this morning.
Mireya is 10 and in her last year at the Langley Fundamental Elementary School. She loves school and is very diligent on her projects and homework. Mireya is back in soccer and is scoring some great goals. She matter-of-factly told us she can kick with either her right or left foot; that can come in handy! Mireya did well in cross country, and will run track in the Spring. Mireya loves music, plays piano, and has again sent out invitations to our family for the Christmas talent show she is organizing. I’m already practicing for that as I didn’t win last year.
Nicole is 8 and is in her first year of soccer. Man, she can really go! I love watching young kids play soccer as they swarm around the ball like a bunch of bees. Nicole continues to be the family joker and really keeps us laughing. Nicole still loves hanging out at our family craft table. When I can’t find my home office stapler, tape, or hole punch, I know who to ask! Nicole loves music and continues to enjoy piano. She, like me, also has a love for Tim Hortons!
So all in all, we as a family are looking forward to 2014. With 5 kids, we know change is constant.
And as for you, dear reader, if a change in your real estate needs is on the horizon, let me know and I’d be happy to help you develop your game plan. I’m here for any of your questions.
As busy as our family is, we always reflect on the bigger purpose, and what we’re here to do. Christmas is a great time for us to reflect, recalibrate, and recharge.
Merry Christmas to you and yours. Our family loves Christmas and our routines, customs, and traditions. In all the busyness of life, we slow down and reflect on the meaning of the baby in the manger.
It’s a good life!
FAMILY NEWS – Summer 2013
I am feeling a little sad as I write this edition of the Family News. Another summer is coming to an end. Only one week left to go before everything starts up again - soccer, cross-country, hockey, school, homework, and packing lunches (this one is the worst). Though it will definitely be busy, I do think that the routine that the school year gives is probably beneficial in some ways. The kids probably haven’t gone to bed before 10:00 p.m. for the last month. I do think that they all need some structure at this point. This fall will be particularly busy for us as all five kids will be in sports. Nicole will play soccer this fall. Up until this point we have only had her in piano lessons. We will find out if soccer is something that she will enjoy. I have a feeling that it might not be her thing. I think that she might be more of a dancer type. But, soccer is relatively cheap as sports go, so there you have it.
We did have a good summer. No one can argue that the weather in July was fantastic. I love the sunshine!! A highlight of our summer was our annual Osoyoos trip. Our whole family was there for a week together and then Steve and Jude went home and the rest of us stayed another three nights. Steve had a previously booked trip to San Diego for a real estate conference and Jude took the opportunity to go home early. Jude really does not like to be away from home. He really needs his structure and routine. For these reasons, I don’t think that he gets a lot of enjoyment from holidays that we take. He already told us that it would be his last trip to Osoyoos. Jude has started to drive and actually drove the whole way to Osoyoos and back home again. This was his first experience with highway driving. As a mother I was very nervous and, if it was up to me, it probably wouldn’t have happened. Of course I didn’t think that he was ready for that kind of drive yet. But, Jude did just fine. He can apply to get his license in January.
We had different people join us in Osoyoos at various points in our trip. The first three days we had our friends from Mexico, the Martinez family, stay with us. Then Steve’s parents, his sister Rita, her husband Neil and daughter Kaylie stayed for two nights. After they left our friends Sabina and Ernie Weber and their kids were with us for a few days. They had been to Osoyoos other times with us in the past, but it had already been a number of years since we had been there together. It was really good to spend some time with them.
One of the highlights of our trip was on the second last night when the hotel next door put on a pretty decent fireworks show. It was a beautiful night at the beach. I don’t think that they are actually allowed to do fireworks because of the fire risk, but we did enjoy watching it.
The only negative from our Osoyoos trip was that Mireya developed an ear infection about half way through. The first day or two it was manageable with Advil, but it continued to get a lot worse. There are no clinics in Osoyoos at all, so the only option is to go to the Hospital in Oliver for treatment. Mireya did not want to go to the hospital and said that she would wait to go to the doctor once we got back home. We did some research on the internet about ear infections and treated it the best we could by keeping her out of the water and putting some coconut oil in her infected ear. Anyways, this ear infection made it hard for Mireya (and me) to get full enjoyment from the last few days of the trip. We arrived home on the Sunday of a long weekend and decided that we would go to the doctor first thing Tuesday morning. This was now one week since the beginning of the ear infection. I looked at her ear that morning and behind her ear was really red and swollen. I again did some research as to why it might be red outside her ear. Basically it means that the infection has spread outside the ear and you have a way bigger problem than just the ear infection. We ended up going to the hospital instead. They called the infection cellulitis, which is a fairly serious bacterial skin infection. So, she was put on antibiotics for a week to clear it up. On the antibiotics she had many headaches and stomach problems. So, a supposedly minor ear infection turned into a two week ordeal for Mireya. Not fun!
My sister Pam, her husband Marlo and their kids just left yesterday. We had a really nice visit with them. I am always sad to see them go as it is usually at least 6 months before we see them again. Their son Jacob was here for most of the summer as he was taking some lifeguarding courses that he couldn’t take in Fort Nelson where they live. It was wonderful to have Jacob around. Jared likes to be busy doing something all the time and so does Jacob. So, they kept each other occupied doing lots of fun things. They spent so much time together; I know Jared will really miss having him around.
The big news from our summer is that we bought a house. Right after Steve returned from San Diego a new listing came onto the market in Murrayville. We went and looked at it that night and wrote an offer right after seeing it. The house is a two storey with five bedrooms and a games room upstairs and another room that can be used for a bedroom on the main floor, which will become Jude’s room. The house will need a major renovation before we actually move into it. This is something that we haven’t done before and not sure if we actually have time to take on, but I am quite excited at the prospect of taking something old and then updating and making it look like a completely different house. We have told our kids to try to see the potential. When we took one of the kids (I will keep them anonymous) to look at the house for the first time they said, “That house? Why did you buy that house? It looks so ugly!” Steve and I are very happy with the house. It meets our needs, which were to stay in Murrayville, be on a nice quiet street, have enough bedrooms and have a private backyard. The rest can all be worked on over time. The location of the house is also great as it is basically right in between both schools with about a two minute drive to either one. We will complete on the house on September 9 and then really get to work. I would really like to move in before the end of November.
But, as people that have experience doing renovations know, things probably always take longer than you originally plan. I guess we will soon find out.
Enjoy the beautiful fall season. Happy lunch packing to all of you moms out there!!
Happy Almost Summer!!
The countdown is on. Less than a month left of school. But, first we have to get through June, which is always a crazy month with lots of field trips, class parties, assemblies, and sports day. All good stuff, but it makes for a very busy month. Just knowing that at the end of it all are many sunny, relaxing days makes it easier to get through.
This month I will be running the concession for the Langley Mustangs twice. Once, for the High School Provincial Track and Field Championship and then two weeks later for the Pacific Invitational track meet. I really enjoy being involved with this. It is truly amazing how many burgers, hot dogs and candy bags we sell. I think it was about 800 candy bags!! We will be selling samosas for the first time, so we’ll see how that goes. It’s always good to add a few new menu items. If you’re looking for a good hamburger on Father’s Day weekend, come on down to the track. Steve will be barbequing.
Jude and I are both feeling so much better. We are very thankful for this. It has been a rough year and a half. We are both sleeping fine, which is truly amazing. The insomnia was one of the worst parts. We are both not eating gluten and this seems to be a big part of our healing process. We are hopefully rid of all the parasites in our systems, but my doctor is running one more test for me to make sure as I still have some symptoms that suggest there is still something lurking. We are beginning to wean ourselves off of some of the supplements that we have been taking. This is actually easier said than done. Being so sick, and then taking things that made me well, I feel a little dependent on them in the sense that if I stop taking them I will start to be unwell again. I will have to get over this fear.
The track season is well under way now. We have been fortunate so far as almost every meet has had decent weather. It is so much easier to be at a track meet when it is not raining. Mireya recently told me that she likes track even better than soccer. She seems to be in her element on the track and does very well. Adrianna will be running in the Provincials this weekend in the 800m. It is on Friday and she is just happy that she gets to miss a day of school for the meet. Jude is now able to train regularly, but knows that again this season’s results will not be where he would have wanted them to be because of his health issues. He has had a very mature perspective on this and looks forward to next season. I probably feel more disappointed than him over the two missed track seasons. Jared’s interest in track has really fizzled. It probably started last year, but this year even more so. This will most likely be his last track season. He is really only interested in hockey. One of the only reasons he did track this year is that he has a friend in Mexico that will be coming to Canada in June to do track. So, Jared wants to do track for that reason. Nicole is enjoying Track Rascals. They have some of the teenage athletes in the Langley Mustangs coaching them and they make it really enjoyable.
Piano is wrapping up for the school year. The recital is this month. Both of the girls have made huge progress this year. I have noticed a big difference in the level of their playing. It is nice when you can actually recognize the songs they are playing. I think that they also enjoy it a lot more when they are playing “real” songs.
We are getting closer to the end of our first year renting. Time sure flies. The house has served its purpose for us. It has been a great location and because of that it has helped to simplify our lives this year when we needed simplification more than ever. But, I think we are feeling it is time to move on and buy something. I am on the computer daily checking for new listings in Murrayville. We need a two storey with basement, which is actually not that easy to come by in Murrayville. Many homes in Murrayville do not have basements. There is a home that we have looked at several times that we are very interested in. It is kind of a complicated situation though and we are praying that it might work out for us to buy this house. We will find out within a week or so. It has enough space for us and is in a really good location. We would even have space in the basement for a one bedroom suite to rent out. Hopefully by the next newsletter I can report that we have found a home. The nice thing about our situation is that we do not have any pressure to buy as we can continue to rent for as long as we need.
Steve and I have been running together on Sunday mornings now that my running is getting going again. Sundays are his long runs. He leaves home before me and then I meet him on the way back. It is always a good time for us to be out together doing something active. On our cool down walk it is also a good chatting time. We call it our “date night”. There aren’t many other times in our week when we get time just for the two of us. So, it is a great part of our week.
I think I was rather long-winded in my last newsletter so I am going to wrap this one up. It is after 9:00 p.m. and I still need to get some things ready for the track meet concession happening tomorrow.
Anyways, happy to say that the next time I write it will be summer time and getting closer to our annual Osoyoos trip. Always something to look forward to. Hooray!!
Family News – Spring 2013
Today is half way through Spring Break and it actually looks and feels like Spring. The sun is shining and everything looks wonderful outside. This spring break’s weather has been the nicest that I can remember in a long time. We have been making an effort to go for a walk after dinner as much as possible. Steve and I will walk, and whichever kids want to come will walk, ride a bike or scooter. The fresh air always makes it easier to do the dinner dishes. We have done a lot of relaxing at home during the break, but have also taken the opportunity to get some “spring cleaning” done. I went through the kids’ rooms and took out all the clothes that they have outgrown and put all of their spring/summer clothes in their closets. We have a few more jobs to do before the break is over. I always have in my mind that we will quite likely move in the next year, so I want to keep getting rid of any excess in the house so that we do not have to move it. We have looked at a couple of different houses, but both have not been right for us. I think it will be hard to find something as we still feel quite attached to our old house and property (all the good memories). It is possible that we may end up building a house. Time will tell.
It is hard to believe that when the kids go back to school after the break , there are less than three months left in the school year. I am already looking forward to summer break. I am so glad that the school board did not decide to change the calendar to have the kids go to school through the summer in the coming years. I think if that had happened, I would be home schooling my kids. I think it would be awful to have to send them to school in July. We only have so many months of beautiful sunny weather, and it would be a waste of that beautiful weather to be in school during that time. I’m sure not everyone shares that opinion, but that is how I feel.
Jared is in the middle of the “Langley Cup” for minor hockey. It has been really enjoyable to go to the games. Now that soccer has ended for Mireya and Adrianna, I have more time to be there. There seemed to be a lot of conflicts in game times preventing me from being there. I hate to miss any of the kids’ games. Jared’s team has won their first two games of the tournament. The unfortunate thing with this tournament is that the final game is on Easter Sunday. Steve did make a complaint about this, but for this year at least, it will not change anything. If Jared wasn’t the goalie, we would have the option to not go to the game, but the team kind of needs their goalie. At least the game is in the afternoon and will not interfere with going to church that morning.
Jude is starting to get better, which we are very thankful for. He has been taking his treatments for almost a month now. He will continue for another two months at least. He is not 100% yet, but there has been much improvement. I can tell he is feeling better because he is much more social and has an interest in doing things again (reading etc.). He will start track practices again and hopefully will be able to compete this season, though he has a lot of catching up to do.
Adrianna’s soccer season has ended. It was an interesting season for her. In September we didn’t even think she would have a team to play on. Then she was asked to become part of a team with girls that are a year (some almost two years) older than her. It wasn’t an easy start as she didn’t know most of the girls on the team who had all been playing together before. She felt a little like an outsider at the beginning, but by the end of the season we were sad it was over. They had a good season with everyone improving as players and had seen good relationships develop. Now track and field is in full swing for Adrianna. The first meets will start in May. Adrianna does enjoy track, but she still loves soccer more.
Mireya continues to be our “high energy” child. She has her fingers in everything and always knows what’s going on with everybody. She is a very hard worker and does well with anything she tries. She practices piano almost to excess. I say that because the house we are in does not have a separate room for the piano and it is very loud whenever anyone plays. We have made a mental note that whatever house we move to needs to have a separate room (with a door) for the piano. Mireya’s soccer season is over as well. She played “rep” soccer this year, but we have decided she will not do the try-outs for rep soccer in September. Nicole is going to start soccer in September and we decided it would just be too many commitments with the extra night’s practice that Mireya would have as well as extra tournaments. This will be the first year with all five kids in sports. Could be interesting! Mireya is working on a speech at school. As soon as they are in grade 4, all students are required to write a speech on a topic of their choice for the speech competition. She has chosen to write about adoption. I think it is pretty neat that she wants to share so publicly about that part of her life. I think it is a good sign that she is comfortable with being “different” in that way.
As I said earlier, Nicole will start soccer in September. She is quite excited about this. We are hoping that she will be able to get on a team with her cousin Talina so there can be some carpooling. It will be good for Nicole to play a team sport and get to know some other kids. She is also always watching her siblings at their games/meets and now will have her turn. Nicole also enjoys piano and practices almost as much as Mireya. It is amazing that I don’t even have to ask them to practice. When Jude, Adrianna and Jared took lessons years ago, I had to literally force them to practice. Nicole will do the track rascals program through the Langley Mustangs starting in April. She did it last year as well and liked it. She has two, one hour practices during the week. It really is just an introduction to all the different events in track and field. We just celebrated Nicole’s family day on March 22. She has been part of our family for 3 years now. She was excited to tell anybody we saw that day that it was her family day. It was so good to see her positive and excited about the day that she joined us. Nicole is a very sweet, loving and thoughtful girl and the one that probably makes us laugh the most.
I have started to sleep normally again after 15 months of insomnia. I don’t know what exactly to attribute the turnaround to. I have started to eliminate gluten from my diet and am also taking the same supplements that Jude is taking for the H-Pylori infection. Even though I do not have the results back from the same lab test that Jude did (beginning of April), I am almost positive that I suffer from the same health issues that he does. Our symptoms have been so similar. Whatever has caused the change, I am so happy. I feel like I have my life back again. We are still waiting to find out whether Jude has celiac disease or not. The lab tests were sent to Alberta and should be back in a week or two. I hope that he does not have celiac, but at least it would be another explanation for his poor health. If he does have celiac disease, the rest of us in the family that are biologically related to him will have to be tested for the disease as well. I am determined to get back to running in April. Now that I am sleeping, I feel that I have the energy for it again. The weather being nicer will also help with getting out there. The Langley Mustangs offer a boot camp for parents of athletes. I am also considering doing it. Maybe Steve and I will do it together.
I think I am going to go outside and start pulling all the weeds out of the flower beds. It is that time of year.
Spring is just around the corner! Hooray! We just have to make it through February yet.
Lots has gone on in the Klassen family since I wrote the last Family News. We took our first (much needed) winter vacation as a family to a sunny spot. We booked a trip to Cuba from January 3-10. We had originally had in our heads that we would go to Hawaii or Mexico, as those were the first destinations that came to mind, but the travel agent that we spoke with thought that we would really enjoy Cuba. She was right! We flew from Vancouver to Santa Clara, Cuba, approximately 6 hours. Our hotel was an hour and a half drive from the airport. The unique thing about the drive was that 45 kilometres of it was ocean on both sides of the road. Our hotel was the Iberostar Ensenachos in Cayo Santa Maria. It was a wonderful place; very private, which we really liked. There were no other hotels nearby and we had two beaches that were only used by the guests of our hotel. It was quiet and peaceful. The accommodations were nice and we hardly saw any other guests. There wasn’t one hotel with hallways and a bunch of rooms, but separate two storey bungalows. We were in bungalow 35 and we hardly every saw any other people. It was like we had the place to ourselves, which is good, as we are kind of a noisy bunch. We didn’t feel like we had to constantly keep the kids quiet. There were many special things about the trip, but mostly it was just being together as a family away from home and able to relax and spend time together. Steve took Adrianna and Jared for one special outing which was swimming with the dolphins. There was a small aquarium nearby our hotel and you could sign up for this tour. We have some amazing pictures of the kids swimming in the ocean with the dolphins. We did a lot of walking on our trip as the set-up of the hotel dictated this. The buffet, pool, and beaches were all a short walk from our bungalow. Another wonderful thing about our trip was that there was no internet access while we were there. This forced us to completely get away from everything. How peaceful!!
Though we did thoroughly enjoy our trip, there was a fair bit of drama leading up to it. We booked the trip some time near the end of November and after that time Jude became very sick. He had been struggling for a while with mild fatigue, low iron, and various stomach issues, but he took a turn for the worse. I’m not sure if I mentioned in my last letter that a bunch of us in the family tested positive for parasites, which the doctors believe we picked up almost three years ago when we were in the Philippines. Anyways, the doctor prescribed an antibiotic for Jude for a week to try and get rid of the parasite. He was very sick while taking the medication and was off school for that week. He managed to go back to school for two days and then got a lot worse. He had extreme insomnia, extreme fatigue (but couldn’t sleep), continual headaches, loss of appetite, and could do nothing. He missed all of December from school. He missed over five weeks of school in total. So, as the trip got closer, we felt some anxiety about whether we should be going or not. Jude was continually saying he did not want to go, which was not surprising. The day that we were to leave for the trip was very emotional. Jude was still not doing well at all and did not want to go. I, as his Mom, definitely didn’t want to make things worse for him and felt horrible about the whole situation. In the end, when Steve was on the phone with our travel agent discussing the possibility of cancelling the trip, Jude, with tears in his eyes says to us that he doesn’t want us to cancel the trip because of him. He got himself showered and dressed and we left for Vancouver. Jude did not get any worse on the trip, and definitely improved a fair bit. We can’t explain why, but we were very happy with the outcome.
Jude continues to have many different doctor’s appointments to try and sort out what was going on with him. He is being tested for celiac disease, among other things. We have also taken him to a private clinic in Vancouver called Balance Medical Clinic. My theory is that having the parasites for almost three years was making his health deteriorate and caused him to have anemia and all the stomach issues. I also believe that the parasites really contributed to my health problems. I am a lot better than in the past, but am still struggling with some remaining problems, including ongoing insomnia. One of the things that we are trying is eliminating most of the gluten from our diets. It seems to be helping. I am in the middle of reading the book “Wheat Belly”, which I would highly recommend. It is a very interesting book, which I think has a lot of important things to say.
Anyways, that was a lot of negative news. Generally, life is going well. We have settled into our rental home in Murrayville while we look for our next home, just laying low for a while as we get all of the health issues sorted out. We do really enjoy being closer to all of the different activities that the kids are involved with. We probably spend half the amount of time driving that we used to. Soccer will be wrapping up at the end of February (both Adrianna and Mireya had good seasons) and then we are on to the track and field season, one of my favorite times of the year. I love being at the meets watching the kids compete.
Backtracking a little, we also had a good Christmas as a family. My sister Pam, her husband Marlo, and their four kids came to Langley from Fort Nelson just after Christmas. It was really good to visit with them as we only see them a couple times a year. Our kids always enjoy having them in town. It keeps them busy during the holidays.
Jude turned 16 in January, so we will have our first child starting to drive soon. We are encouraging him to get his learner’s license very quickly as we know it is a long process until he can actually be driving on his own or taking other family members with him. He is growing a lot and getting close to Steve’s height now. Adrianna is now also taller than I am and still growing. She turned 14 in December. It is really great being able to share each other’s clothes. I can wear her tops, but not her pants/skirts etc. She is just a thin beanpole. Her feet are also bigger than mine, which is a real shame.
Mireya turned 10 in January. That is hard to believe. She is still so tiny. She can fit into size 6 clothing. It is amazing to think back to when she became part of our family and was a little three year old. Many things have changed since that point. She is a busy girl, and always likes to be doing something. She is doing well in piano because she is so diligent with practicing. I don’t even need to remind her.
Jared is loving being in minor hockey! I think Steve is surviving it. It is a way busier schedule than in the Fraser Valley Christian League. Lots of early mornings. They played one tournament in Bellevue, Washington, which was a fun experience. Just Steve and Jared went as I needed to hold the fort down at home. They had a great time that weekend. Jared is doing some goalie clinics this year as well, which is good training for him.
Nicole is in a hard spot being the youngest of five. She sometimes gets the short end of the stick in regards to one on one attention. It must have been a huge adjustment for her coming from a situation where she was an only child. What a shocker. But, after almost three years in our family, she seems to be have adjusted very well. She is smart, sweet, helpful, and loves to have fun. She probably makes me laugh more than any of the other kids. She is going to do the track rascals with the Langley Mustangs starting in April. She enjoyed it last Spring. She is already talking about what she wants to do for her birthday, which is near the end of May. It is hard for her to wait when all the other kids celebrate their birthdays in December and January. We will do a school friends party for her as we didn’t do one last year.
I am trying to get back into my running. With my sleep being so bad it has been hard to feel energetic enough to get out there. But, I know it is a very important thing for my health and well being. So, maybe today. Steve has been running quite regularly. He looks at it as one of the ways he can stay connected with Jude. They can go running together. It’s not getting any easier for Steve as he gets older and Jude gets bigger, stronger, and faster. What is an easy run for Jude can end up being a speed workout for Steve.
I need to go find glasses! I got a prescription almost a year ago and have done nothing about it. I honestly have had no time, which is pretty ridiculous. At this point I will just wait for my next eye appointment as my prescription has probably changed, and probably not for the better. I will have to prioritize the glasses thing now. I will probably have a hard time choosing glasses, as there are so many options. I am the type that needs to see all the choices before making a decision. That is probably why I haven’t started looking as I know it will be a long process. I’m crazy that way. If I don’t see everything out there I will always wonder if I missed the “right” pair of glasses for me. I’m going to have to get over that.
I think that is it for now. I will go start making my gluten-free lunch.
~ Cindy Klassen
Well, it’s that time of year already! The summer memories are quickly fading, and now we look forward to the Christmas season, a favorite time of year for many. Canadian Tire had their Christmas decorations out before Halloween this year. Crazy!
Once again, I’d like to start this letter by giving my heartfelt thanks to all who have given me the opportunity to work with them directly to meet their real estate needs or referred someone they know to me. I really appreciate the opportunity I have to serve great people, and that people like you appreciate “First Klass” real estate service to the degree that you tell others about me. I am keeping my last year’s motto which is, “I’m Never Too Busy For Your Referrals”.
So, what’s up with the real estate market? Well, despite the weak, but gradually improving economy, European debt issues, shaky consumer confidence, and overall negativity in the media, there has been no lull in my business. It has still been very brisk. This just reinforces the belief that I have that the “market is in your head”. If I listened to everyone with an opinion, I’d be so discouraged that I wouldn’t bother getting dressed for work. The real news is that this is OPPORTUNITY TIME in our local market. Prices have settled out a bit, selection is fantastic, and rates are at historic lows - all the conditions that didn’t exist when everyone was buying real estate only a few short years ago. Makes you think… Just remember, that we have great fundamentals in our local market. And prices, in the long term, go up in places that people are moving to. If you want to talk more in depth about the future of real estate, and how this affects your situation, call me and let’s go for coffee!
So, what’s new in life? Well, this was the year of “the move”. Our family had been living in South Langley for the last 12 years. We were on a beautiful property about half way between Noel Booth Park and Campbell Valley Park. Our dream house in a dream location. However, sometimes dreams change… As the kids have gotten older, and are involved in more activities, we found we were doing a lot of driving. Driving to games, driving to practice, driving to track etc... We love going to the kids’ games and events, and love them to be involved with sports, but at the same time struggled with the time it was taking to get to these activities, which for the most part were all in places like Willoughby and Walnut Grove. Add in the upkeep and time cost of maintaining the acreage and we were starting to have some difficulties (not enough hours in the day – some of you may also have this condition). After much prayer, discussion, and thought, our family decided that the dream would need to change (at least for the next few years). We’ve now moved off the acreage into Murrayville, which we find very central to our lives. Because everything about our move happened so fast, we decided to rent a house that we knew was coming available. It’s a great custom-built 2 storey with basement home in upper Murrayville, and it will work well as our “transition house”. We can now patiently wait for the right opportunity to come up - whether we buy a lot and build, or buy a resale home. So, if you hear of anything like that, let me know. I have to say, this move has made carpooling for the kids easier, we get a few more family dinners in with the time savings, and, best of all, I’m within walking distance of the new Tim Hortons!
On the home front, Cindy is still president and CEO of Klassen Family Inc. A big family theme for us over the last year has been “simplicity”. Health challenges such as Cindy has had can really force you to look at what matters most, and what will end up in the landfill one day anyway J Cindy’s been getting back into her running, and if everything goes well, will be back to taking voice lessons soon. Look for her on Canadian Idol!
Jude is 15 and will be driving soon. He doesn’t know it yet, but our plan is to make him the Klassen shuttle bus driver of choice. Jude will begin his track training in early November with the Langley Mustangs. Track is his passion, and he’s very disciplined with his training, sleep, diet, and everything else. We were talking about a possible family trip at Christmas, and Jude was more concerned about how that might affect his training schedule. Go figure! Jude is a big help around the house with chores and miscellaneous jobs. He’s great at putting things together. I just tell him that everything is like a puzzle - just follow the directions…
Adrianna will be turning 14 at the beginning of December. She’s playing rep soccer for a team a year up. We are so glad that this opportunity came up for her, as her team from last year disbanded and went a couple different directions. We were really struggling with what to do when, to our surprise, coach Andy contacted us to see if Adrianna would be willing to “play up” this year with a U-16 squad as his team needed some players. She too, will be training with the Langley Mustangs track club starting in November. She’s getting fast! Adrianna is also a good assistant when I need extra help around the office and is getting to be quite a good baker! Brains, beauty, athleticism. People often comment it’s good she got her genes from her mom!
Jared is 11 and is loving Murrayville. He has a group of buddies he goes biking with, both on the empty lot behind our house, and at the development parcel just on the edge of our subdivision. Although Jared has played a few years of hockey, this is his first year with Langley Minor Hockey. I am NOT used to getting up at 4:45 a.m. for the 6:00 a.m. practices! And, my wife likes to remind me, that since hockey was my idea, I can take him to all the morning practices… Huh? Well, actually I don’t mind since I put on my skates and get out there and help run the practices. As Jared is goalie, and there is one other goalie on the team, I’m the self-appointed goalie coach. With the cost of hockey registration, equipment, tournaments, etc., I think I’ll just forward my pay cheques to the hockey association!
Mireya is 9 and has settled nicely into Grade 4. She loves playing soccer, and is getting quite good. She has two practices a week this season and a game on Saturdays. This is the first year that we travel outside Langley for some of her games. Mireya finished 2nd in the district for cross country, and she’s looking forward to her 2nd season of track, which for her will start in March. Her first season was great - she ran well and met lots of friends. Mireya is our music buff. I created a playlist for Mireya and Nicole on my iPhone of all their favourite songs. One of her favourites is the Jackson 5!
Nicole is 7 and is our little joker. She is so funny, especially when she makes her eyes bug out! Bad news for me is that Nicole found out Taylor Swift has a new CD and now I’ll be hearing even more of that. Help! Nicole will be running track this upcoming year, and will do soccer next fall. For now, she likes to ride her bike with Jared, and was recently out in the pouring rain in the spare lot next door building bike ramps. Nicole also enjoys all sorts of crafts. You should see our craft area at home - it’s like a storm came through. Nicole loves having her own room in the rental house with her own colours that she helped pick!
So all in all, I’m looking forward to a great 2013. 2012 was a year of many changes! Onward and upward.
As some of you make decisions this coming year to buy or sell, I hope that I will be able to help you meet your real estate goals.
Merry Christmas to you and yours. Our family loves Christmas and our routines, customs, and traditions. In all the busyness of life, we slow down and reflect on the meaning of the baby in the manger.
It’s a good life!
We are now residents of the lovely Murrayville neighbourhood, and feeling very relieved that the whole moving process is over. Moving a family of 7 is no simple task. Though it was a huge job, it felt very good to go through our house and get rid of a lot of the non-essential stuff that had accumulated over the last 12 years or so without us even noticing or having any time to do anything about it. We continue this thinning out process in the new place in Murrayville in anticipation of another move within the next couple years. I do not want to move anything that we don’t need to.
The kids seem to have adjusted okay to the new place, though there was definitely some sadness leaving our property in South Langley. I can hardly drive down our old street without starting to cry. I occasionally go “spy” on our old house. What contributes to my sadness is that the new owners have not even moved in yet, so our house sits empty (almost two months now). The place with so many memories for us is just sitting there vacant.
Adrianna and Jared have probably had the hardest time with the move. They both have said that they miss all the things that they did in the back yard at the old place. Adrianna also says that she prefers an upstairs bedroom (she is now in the basement). Mireya and Nicole haven’t said a peep about missing the old house, which is quite surprising, but good. I think that they are so happy that they got their rooms in the new place painted the colours that they wanted. Our landlord was very wonderful to let us choose the paint colours for the house before we moved in. Jude is quite happy in the new house, as he has his own private little room in the basement. It is actually meant to be a laundry room, but we have transformed it into a bedroom. Jude can use the laundry tub to brush his teeth in his own room every night. There are two laundry rooms in the house, and I am using the upstairs laundry room (which I would not choose to do if we were to build a house – personal preference). I really prefer to have a laundry room on the main floor.
We are really loving the location of the house. It is much closer to all of the kids’ activities, which is one of the reasons that we moved in the first place. We also have some neighbourhood kids, which is a new experience. Jared has a few boys in the neighbourhood that he spends some time with.
Our cats seem to be loving the new place. They are catching more mice and birds etc. than ever before, to Steve’s dismay (he has to clean them up all the time). We have green space across the street from the new place and there seems to be no shortage of little creatures in there. Cat heaven I think.
So, life goes on in Murrayville. Just as crazy as ever.
The kids seem to have all settled into their new grades in school. I can’t believe I have a child in Grade 10. It really makes Steve and I think about how soon it could be before some of our kids start leaving home. It might be just a couple more years.
Jude’s main focus outside of school continues to be track and field. Both he and Adrianna are running the cross-country races through the school. Their track program will start up in November. Mireya is also running the school cross-country races. She and Adrianna are both playing soccer again this Fall. We held Nicole off for one more year (one less game on the weekends). She will start soccer next school year. Jared has started playing minor hockey for the first time. It is a whole new world. His one regular practice time is 6:00 - 7:00 a.m. on Thursdays. Just crazy in my opinion. At least Jared is our early bird. He should be able to handle the time. Not quite sure about Steve. We will try minor hockey for a year and see how it goes. If Jared doesn’t like it, he will return to the Fraser Valley Christian league next season again. It seems though so far that Jared is really enjoying it. Time will tell.
My health is slowly but steadily improving. I’m hoping that by the one year mark (December 30), I will be almost back to normal health. I have even started running again after not running for almost 7 months. It really feels good and I am thankful that I can do this again. Steve and I enjoy going for Saturday or Sunday morning runs together when we can.
I think that is about all the news for now. I am going to go unpack a few more of the boxes still hanging around waiting to be unpacked (not too many left to go). Or, I may go sit outside in the sunshine that seems to never end. Yeah!!!
~ Cindy Klassen
Well, we’ve almost made it through Juneuary (not a spelling error). Where’s the sun?! I read in the paper this morning that we are headed to possibly the coldest June on record. That’s a little discouraging. Hopefully July makes up for it. Our family is definitely counting down till the end of the school year. It gets to this time of the year and everyone is a little tired of going to school. I know that I for one am looking forward to not driving in the mornings or packing lunches. I really enjoy having the kids home in the summer. It’s just a good relaxing time, which I think will be beneficial in my recovery. Much less activity in the summer time.
I have had some improvement in my health the past couple of months (which I am very thankful for), but sleep is still a major issue. I am lucky if I sleep between 4-5 hours a night. It’s hard to recover from anything when you aren’t sleeping. I really look forward to the day when I can sleep through the night without waking up 3 or 4 times. Sometimes we need to go through something difficult to appreciate the things we normally take for granted. I have been learning many important lessons through this time; things that I hope I never forget once I am better.
We discovered recently that our son Jude is very iron deficient. We noticed for a few months that he was quite lethargic and not really motivated to do much of anything. We reasoned that this was probably just normal teenage behavior and that he might just be going through a grown spurt. But, once his track performance started to deteriorate we knew something was probably going on with his health. He had been training so hard all season. So, we had his blood and it turned out his iron stores were very low. This has an effect on track because with low iron your blood does not deliver enough oxygen to your muscles. Without adequate oxygen to the muscles you will fatigue during exercise. So, he had to take several weeks off of track to build his iron stores back up. He has handled this very well, though I know he is disappointed as this possibly prevented him from making it to the Summer Games and from posting any good times in his races so far this track season. Since he has been taking iron supplements we notice a big change in his behavior. He is a different kid. Much more social and energetic.
Adrianna has been enjoying track this year. Steve and I knew that this would be the make it or break it year for track. If she didn’t enjoy it this year and see some good results we thought it might be the end of track for her. We were really hoping this wouldn’t happen. So far so good. With being in the silver group which trains more often, she has seen lots of improvement in her performance. Her first love is still soccer though. I have been very impressed with her as she heads to the end of the school year. She has been very good about studying for her exams, which I didn’t think would be the case. She is somewhat like me in the fact that I would rather have fun and be around people than study. Glad she has more discipline than me.
Jared has been doing track this season as well, which will probably be the last for him. He really just wants to do hockey. We are signing him up for minor hockey for the first time. It will be a bit of an experiment. Not sure if it will work well for our family. Steve already knows he will be doing any driving to the early morning practices and games. That was one of the conditions to Jared joining minor hockey. I think in the end Jared might miss the atmosphere of the Christian League hockey. Time will tell. One benefit of minor hockey is that he will get a lot more ice time. In the Christian League they were only on the ice once a week. Jared just loves to be active. He is always the one in the back yard or driveway playing some sport.
Mireya is really looking forward to the end of the school year. She has done well in her class, but the environment has been a little stressful for her. I think she feels some negative pressure from her teacher to meet certain expectations and with Mireya having high expectations for herself she finds it hard to deal with. This is something we will have to work on with Mireya over the years. She almost expects perfection from herself and gets very anxious before tests, to the point of having huge meltdowns the day or two before. She has really been enjoying track and field and has done really well, which we thought might be the case. She can use up all of her energy running around the track. Each meet she comes home with several medals. The longer distances seem to be the ones that she excels in. If you go on to the Langley Mustangs website you can see a very cute picture of her on the podium with a gold medal around her neck.
I think Nicole is probably looking forward to summer more than anybody. She does not do well in the mornings at all, and every morning is a bit of a struggle. She just can’t seem to get going. I have to set a timer most mornings for her breakfast or she would sit on the couch with her blanket and do nothing. Even with the timer she chooses to not get up and have breakfast. Once she gets to school she does fine, but it’s the getting her there on time that is the issue. Nicole has done track and field this season as well. She is in a program called the track rascals, which is for 7 and 8 year olds. She did not want to do it, as she is very hesitant in trying new things, but she has loved being part of the group. Sometimes as parents we need to give some gentle nudges. Not sure yet if Mireya and Nicole will do piano again this Fall. They have both improved quite a bit this past school year, but not a lot of practicing goes on. So, maybe the money spent on piano lessons could be better spent somewhere else.
We just received an offer on our house today. Steve and I are still unsure of our decision. It is such a huge one, and we are having a difficult time with it. There are so many things that we love about our property, but there are also lots of reasons to move. It is the only home that our kids have really known. Jude was 3 years old when we moved in, Adrianna was 1 and I was pregnant with Jared. So, a sold sticker may or may not go up on the sign in our yard. I do look forward to having no more showings coming through the house. What a lot of work. Steve likes the showings though as the house is always really clean those days. He jokes that he is going to tell me there’s a showing coming up when there actually isn’t just so the house will be all tidy again. Not that the house is really messy, but it’s definitely spotless when people come through.
So, the next time I write this, hopefully we have had a good sunny July.
Enjoy the summer!!
Here I am back to writing the Family News after a short hiatus. Now that I am officially on the “payroll”, this is now one of my roles again. After being out of the work force for 16 years, I am now a homemaker and part-time real estate assistant. In September I started working two days a week in your home office during school hours. It only took a few weeks to become apparent that two work days each week was more than was manageable, with all of the other duties of keeping a family of 7 running. So, Wednesdays it is. I really enjoy the work, though I have so many things to learn. My computer skills are very outdated. Working alongside Steve in his business has been good for us. We feel like a team, though Steve has a paranoia that I am secretly trying to take over as boss (just kidding!).
Our family has had some struggles in the past couple months as my health has really deteriorated for some reason. After a couple trips by ambulance to the hospital, I’ve now been seen by a cardiologist. There are some abnormal extra beats happening in one part of my heart. I am taking a medication to control this. I will have an ultrasound of my heart on February 11. There are other issues that seem to be playing a part as well. So, one day at a time as we go through the process of finding answers. Some times we go through difficult things because we are being prompted to make changes in our lives.
We believe that this is part of it. One thing being evaluated is each of our kids various activities. They are all good things, but too many good things can become a bad thing. We are beginning to realize that we can’t live like a family with two kids. So, we are working on simplifying our lives and making ourselves less busy, so we have time for the most important things. It’s a question of what we want our life to look like and does it line up with our family values.
Steve had his second knee surgery in December and is healing very well this time. We are thankful for this, and I know Steve is anxious to start running again. Hopefully by the summer.
Jude just recently turned 15. His voice is lower than Steve’s and his feet are definitely bigger. He is full swing into track and field and is training hard. He is Mr. Discipline. I think we eat pretty healthy in our house, but Jude will usually pack his own lunch and will leave the cookie at home that I set out for him (not normal for a teenage boy). We are happy that in the last couple of months he has taken an interest in learning piano again. For his birthday we bought him some new piano books.
Adrianna has now officially entered the teen years. She has LOVED! soccer this year. She played rep soccer for the first time and loves the higher level of competition. Her position is midfield. The team has a great coach and the girls on the team all get along fantastically. Another passion for her is baking. A lot of her Christmas gifts were given with this is mind (lots of cupcake books and baking supplies). I love that she wants to bake, but she is not a neat person in the kitchen. I am a clean as I go person. Not her style. So, I have to learn to keep my mouth closed (not easy). Adrianna is now taller than I am and I think that she has a fair bit of growing yet to do.
Jared is really sick with the flu as I’m writing this. He seems to be the one that catches every bug out there. His hockey season is just entering into their round robin playoffs. I know Jared feels pressure being the goalie, but seems to handle it okay. During the regular season he played forward a few times and enjoyed it, but goalie is the thing for him. He’s another one of the kids who has unexpectedly returned to playing a musical instrument. Guitar is his choice.
Mireya, our ball of continual energy will accomplish great things in her life. My mom always says that she could run a country some day. She is such a go-getter and very self-motivated. I can’t keep up to her pace. It has been a pleasure to see her personality develop now that she has become secure in our family. She is playing soccer, and when that ends, will start track and field for the first time. Steve and I are very excited about this. She is a little Speedy Gonzales with all her energy. We see a lot of ribbons and medals in her future.
Nicole is enjoying Grade 1. Her teacher Mrs. McLay is great, and is amazed how well Nicole is doing in school considering how short of a time she’s been in Canada. I can’t believe that in March it will be 2 years since Nicole became part of our family. Nicole is doing well in piano, but a little less motivated to practice than Mireya. A little more prompting is necessary. The Langley Mustangs track club is adding a track rascals program this season for the first time, so we’ve signed Nicole up for that. She will start in March when Jared and Mireya start. She doesn’t really want to do it, but I think she is scared that it’s going to be all intense and competitive, which it is not. It’s going to be a lot of fun. I will most likely be helping coach this group.
Wow, that was a lot of Family News. I guess I’m making up for lost time. I’m sure looking forward to Spring. How about you? I already find it better now that it stays light past 5:30 p.m. Now we just need some sunshine and warmth.
~ Cindy Klassen