Showing posts with label leontien. Show all posts
Showing posts with label leontien. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Miracles do happen…


When hundreds & hundreds of people who you do not know, still say prayers every morning  & evening and keep having faith & hope when you might have lost it a little bit…

When hundreds & hundreds of people that we do not all, know sent cards, gifts & lovely surprises just to show their support and love…

When you are able to see your husband smiling at you each morning and say “Hello Honey”, and when family & friends come over often to just do, “fun things”… And look at our Alpaca's...

 
In the previous blog post I told you all about being admitted to the hospital and doing my “Poopie Dance”. And I have been dancing ever since, because I wake up in the morning! The doctors gave me about two weeks to two months to live…   Yes..      I know..

It is the eleventh of December now…!!!

For me that is one miracle every day. Not that it this is easy. Because you KNOW you could NOT wake up the next morning. But really that is not even the scariest part. Because I believe that (hopefully) somebody saved me a little spot up there in Heaven… so no reason to be scared about dying itself.

The more scary part is the how…

I am afraid that my family or Bastiaan will have bunches and bunches of trouble with me because I’m gonna go a little crazy on them, like talking like a crazy person, (Yeah I know, I already do that sometimes, haha) . But it worries me, to become somebody I do not know.

Or worse that they have to take care of me 24/7…


I am a very independent lady (yes, stubborn.. hehe), and I want to do things my way. It was sooooo hard to give up “control” of the farm because, for one I love it so much and for two, It was kinda my dream. Having had your dream and then having to give it up again is though… But I know it is in good hands with my family and Bastiaan.

And at least MY DREAM CAME TRUE…
How wonderful is that?!?

Last Year Emily Caldwell from Progressive Dairyman wrote a story about me and my Family. She did a wonderful job of writing it up and won an award! She also managed to get us to the number 1 spot on their most read articles!!! If you click on the link below you can find the updated article and the original article!



I don’t know how many more posts I can write. I would love too, but I just don’t know. My eyesight is not doing so well, and my “thinking cap” seems to be lost some days. But I will promise you, if something happens I will make sure you get an update. Please check Facebook, The Four Leaf Clover Dairy website and of course here at my blog.

Maybe the doctors are “wrong” again and I’m still typing away in a year from now! I love you all.

And miracles do happen, you know…


Friday, October 12, 2012

Doing the "Poopie" Dance


It has been to long…
It has been to hard…
And there had to be too many difficult decisions to be made…

Down the drain and/ or toilet bowl goes the “upbeat attitude” for the fifth time that day because another set of pain killers did not want to do their trick and since going to the bathroom and trying to perform a solid #2 (which yes can actually be a relief for some people, especially after 10 days…) Life just starts slipping away…

And it did.

 
Somewhere on or around the 14th day of this past beautiful September month Bastiaan “stuffed” me in the BMW. I wasn’t really at the point of complaining anymore, I was just ready to head for the biggest besets tree and show everybody that I was NOT afraid of dying but that this pain & suffering and hurtfulness needed to stop. For everybody!  Not just me…

Of course I did not drive, and we arrived safely at the hospital  with Dr Nala, She was fast, no crazy questions, no accusations, only understanding and a,” what are we going to do now attitude?!”  About three weeks before this horrible Thursdays we had started the new drug: Yeroy (Maybe you have seen the pics on my Facebook website as well as the Love For Leontien site, Thank you girls!) and we were feeling good about it.

Yervoy is a biologic therapy so it it’s not a “chemo” and it works differently but the main goal of course is the same:  to “kill” all the little nasty cells and live a long and happy life. But three weeks into the therapy I had was having some pain in my shoulder.  I did not think much of it because, me being me, I just felt the need to mow the ENTIRE yard the day before…  Well… we have a really nice lawnmower and the sun was just about down ,  it was a good day… so I thought why not…? Besides the side effects were not that bad, a little nauseated, tired, constipated, a little of everything but nothing really worth mentioning… I was doing fine…

But I really did feel a little “whipped” after I got off of the lawnmower, but no worries…  No “little” lawn is going to bring me down!

We decided that we could start with round two of the Yervoy, because the pain in the shoulder was pretty annoying but I still thought it was going to be OK and the side effects were doable. The only thing that worried me a bit was that I had all these little “spots” popping up, like, they were everywhere.  But Dr Nala explained that it was a normal side effect and they had seen that happen in different patients before.

And then the pain got worse…

Bastiaan was on the phone every day with the doctor’s office to see if there was something we could use to make sure the pain went away. But it didn’t. And then I stopped eating. Well, I wasn’t going to the bathroom no more, and everything that did go down were pills and crackers while trying not to puke them back up…

The really bad part was when I did not know how to lie down anymore, that’s when you know you’re in trouble. If you don’t know how to sit, lay, stand, hold yourself anymore that’s when your hubby says “enough is enough” and will take you to the hospital.  Even though you still think you can though it out…

That day Dr Nala looked at me for 2 seconds and says you are staying here with us.
By nightfall we had done all kinds MRI’s and CAT scans, and other tests and they had put me on some serious pain medication. And then morning came…

And results…

Seven weeks ago my brain was clean/clear/empty (yes,  I do  remember joking about it being blond and all…) in other words it was fine…

It is not fine anymore. They found little cherry tomato size tumors in my head.  And not just one, no there were five of them, besides multiple little ones. Also the found out why I had so much pain in my shoulder, it was because some other little tumor was  pressing up against a nerve in my spinal column which caused the excruciating pain.  We did decide that day that we were going to do radiation on the head as well as the spinal cord, because the chance of me getting into major problems with one of those brain tumors was just to big. Doing the radiation on the spinal cord was an “easier” decision because it would mean, hopefully, less pain…


We did 10 days of radiation (I even got my Certificate, that I completed the treatment, whoohoo!!!)
We started eating again as soon as Saturday! But only the GOOD stuff, like fresh fruit, whipped cream, fries, chocolate cake, chips, you get the picture…

And yes after 13 days of not being able to go to the bathroom I have to say actually did a little “poopie” dance!!! On the toilet, by myself… didn’t think anybody needed to see that… but I did it anyway!

Bastiaan took me home
It was a good day…

A lot has happened since and I am really trying to get everything on paper, but currently I am on 20 different medicines and I sleep a lot. If I am not sleeping we have been so blessed with family and friends that come on over or take the time to write or call, so our house is never really empty…

And I do look at the Flowers for Leontien Page  & The Love for Leontien Page  (please go and have a look!) a lot and that I haven’t written you does not mean I forgot about you it just means I’m running out of time… Thank you so so much for your support,  I really would have been a little bit lost without all of your prayers and kind words…

Since getting out of the hospital and now a lot has happened yet again... And i am not quite ready yet to put that down on paper so you have to bear with me, yet again... a little bit longer...


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thankful Thursday!


Yep, it sure is a Thankful Thursday

Although we have to go to the hospital today for some new head and body scans, at least I can look forward to the eardrum breaking noise and image for forty minutes that I am at a rave party…


Although we have to make choices every day that an 33 year old and her husband shouldn't have to make, we still wake up together every morning and feel very blessed... 

Although we don’t have any family over at the moment, and the house seems a bit empty, I treasure all the moments from past months when we enjoyed their company…

Although I haven’t posted, commented on stories, seen all your incredible pictures of flowers, texted, Facebooked or Twittered, talked or SEEN you in what looks like ages, I still think of you all EVERY SINGLE DAY!

Although we hadn’t had rain for over 6 weeks (more or less) the sun is shining and my own, very first, vegetable garden is doing AMAZING…

Although our ladies (yes the cows!) are having a hard time with all this heat, they know that we will do whatever it takes too keep them as cool and comfortable as possible…


Although we are still getting bad news every time we go see Dr Nala, at least I’m still here (feeling good physically besides the pain) and can give other people the false hope things are going well…

Fake It untill you Make It! Right?


I hope you have a FANTASTIC Thursday and Thank You for being the best support team anyone could possibly have!!!


...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sometimes I wish


Sometimes I wish
I wish that it was like it used to be, let’s say, 25 years ago…
No worries, playing with grandma what it would be when I was all grown up.

Well, I’m grown up all right, and it is absolutely nothing like I thought it was going to be.

Bastiaan and I went to the hospital last Friday to get the results of the scan we had the previous Monday.


The good news was that nothing really got any bigger, the doc did see some “new” spots but he thought they were already there last time, before we started the IL-2 treatment. They were new to us, so I just hope the doctor is right (and yes I trust him so I shouldn't worry too much…). The not so good news was, of course, that they didn't get any smaller either...

I know this all is actually good news and I know I should be really happy, the news that we got Friday was above all our (mine for sure, which is only proof that I still don’t know my body) expectations, but “happy” doesn’t seem to be on the menu lately.

I think that is why I’m having such a difficult time writing, I do not want to be negative (I always imagined my little stories to be positive and hopefully make people laugh) or write negative stories/blog posts, so I didn’t write at all for (what seems to  me) a incredibly long time…

Sorry it took me so long

Your prayers, gifts, cards and above all love still give me inspiration every day. And if you can hang in there with me a little bit longer I am (almost) sure we are going to be oke and smile like that little girl again…


...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Three times is the charm saga! Anniversary day TODAY!!!

Today is the day! Our One Year Anniversary for our third wedding!!!
Whoohoo....

And because Bastiaan and i went to the Netherlands and i haven't been in full "blogging" mode yet i thought what better way to celebrate our wedding day with the Three times is the Charm Saga!!! Yep, all three stories in one with new pictures! Hope you enjoy, and yes this Thursday were back with new "life experiences"...


Wedding number one;

Some people get married once
Some people get married twice
Some people get married three times to THE SAME guy… and yes this would be me...

How do you get married three times, well, it isn’t because I really wanted too but sometimes life throws you a little curve ball and you just have to go with it…

Bastiaan proposed to me in November of 2007. In a really nice restaurant in Fort Wayne, we had been together for over 6 years and he figured it was time, and so did I, so I said “YES!” (And we got a free dessert from the people sitting next to us in the restaurant which made it extra nice).

We set our date to be on July 5th 2008 so our family and friends would have enough time to come over and book a flight from the Netherlands, Canada or Australia. At that date we would have the party and our church wedding. Of course we just started milking on the 20th of November and everything was still very hectic, exciting and stressful but also an immense adventure and we were loving every moment of it!

Because Bastiaan’s visa was going to expire in February we needed too make sure he would be "safe" and we decided to get married in the Courthouse in Bluffton, just to get the paperwork done. Go to Holland make sure the visa’s were in order and then get “really” married in July. For us this “wedding” was a necessity. We would of preferred to have done it on the same day as our church wedding but if you have so many people coming from abroad you need to give them proper time to make arrangements and plan flights. Telling them in November you are going to get married in February is not enough time, we figured.

We were already flabbergasted when we went to the courthouse to get a marriage license. Question one; ‘Have you been married before?’, ‘ No…’. Question two; ‘Do you have any children?’, ‘No…’ Question three; ‘Do you have mental problems?' ‘HU? NO!!!’. Those questions plus the actual license cost us $9.00 which was shocking (Yes, the price as well as the questions)! They told us now that we had the license we should get our witnesses and we would be ready to go…


On January 18th it was COLD!!! As in we (Dutchies) are not used to this kinda weather! But because I wanted to make sure this was at least a little special, it was our wedding after all, I wore a skirt (never mind the fact that an hour before I was still running around in coveralls on the farm trying to get things in order and Bastiaan was working on fixing a tractor!) and Bastiaan got a nice new shirt and my mom & dad and brother were coming, all dressed up too after running around on the farm all morning. Because of the dairy start up we hadn’t really had the opportunity to meet a lot of new people who could stand in as our witnesses and so my parents were going to be our witnesses.

We agreed with Bastiaan’s parents and my little sister that we would put them on speaker phone when it was time to do the ceremony so they would listen to us say our 'I do’s'. We did not want them to feel left out, but we also didn’t want them to travel two times, after all the June wedding was going to be our “official” wedding, and we rater had them there at that time!

So on this cold day we went to the Bluffton Courthouse and which was another SHOCKER where out of the courthouse and married for the very first time WITHIN 15 (if it lasted that long) MINUTES!
Before Bastiaan and I knew what was going on we were officially married! The only thing I really remember was the major saying those things that we only hear on TV or in the movies, now for real right in front of us which was pretty amazing! And naturally my new husband being very sweet and handsome was amazing too!

After we got out off the courthouse we went to the Mexican restaurant to celebrate and got a great lunch, after that it was pretty much back to business as usual…

Soon after our “Court Wedding” Bastiaan and I picked the venue and the church and met with the priest, picked what we wanted to eat and who we would love to have at our special day and THAT was pretty much the extend of what he wanted and needed to do… (Being a boy and planning weddings apparently doesn’t go together…).


Me and a friend on the other hand decided on getting organized and we got a Marta Steward planning guide (haha, yep) and the next months we were extremely busy getting everything done and ready. In the beginning of April 2008 the first wedding invitations went to our 200 guests all over the world…

On April 15th I got a phone call.
‘Sorry, but you got cancer…’.

Within 5 minutes our whole world as we knew it changed.

Four weeks after getting “the news”, being true several surgeries and debating different types off chemo, we canceled the wedding...

Together we decided to fight this beast first, make sure we were healthy and yes then we would get married, for Real. But at that time we really did not know or realize how bad it was going to be...

Wedding number two;

I had my wedding dress…
It was gorgeous…
It didn’t fit anymore… I was too skinny.

We were done with the first full month of chemo and into our three times a week for 48 weeks "period", and yes, I had survived so far. I also survived the surgeries and yes, I even survived the fact that we cut my hair (all that was left of it) and I found out that I was more vain then I ever thought I was going to be about the whole hair thing.

Apparently losing your hair doesn’t seem too bad until it is gone… And yes, every Sunday Bastiaan would drive me to the farm so I could do the payroll for our boys who so desperately with him, my parents and my brother were trying to run the dairy…

We didn’t even think about the wedding that we were supposed to have in July… We were in FULL SURVIVOR mode.

Our Catholic priest was also in full survivor mode.

On our way to Ohio is a beautiful church. Exactly like we have them in Holland (big, old and tall) and as soon as Bastiaan had asked me to marry him I told him I would love to get married in that particular church. We only had one little problem…. Bastiaan was not raised Catholic…


We met with the priest and explained that we would love to get married in his church and join his parochial. He told us getting married there would be all right if we went to a “marriage session” and he had to ask the bishop. Of course we also would have to go to church every Sunday and raise our “soon to be” kids Catholic… The session is a whole blog post on its own, trust me…

We went to church, went to the session and got to know the priest a bit better. After we got the "news" he came over to our house and we had an ointment for the sick and he told us he would be back and check up on me.

On a particular Tuesday, don’t ask me what Tuesday cause I really don’t know, he told us he would come by and we needed to have my mom and dad present. I had no idea what he was coming to do. I just knew I had to keep my Big Mac down that I had the day before after my nice shot of chemo, and focusing on keeping my body still (from trembling uncontrollably) and try not to fall asleep. That was all I could focus on.

I asked Bastiaan what the priest was coming to do, but he had no idea either. We finally came to the conclusion maybe he wanted to do another ointment of the sick???

But that was not what he came to do…
He arrived with a briefcase, candles, ointment and a booklet. It just didn’t make sense to us.

I was wearing my oldest, and I mean OLDEST, sweater and maybe (I cant be completely sure) I wasn’t even wearing a bra!?! Bastiaan was wearing his favorite (I don’t wanna come out, cow poopie stained) jeans on and mom a dad just arrived from the dairy so they didn’t think about dressing up either. The priest looked a bit confused by our appearances but didn’t say a word.

We all sat down on our couch and he took out all his instruments, lighted the candles and put on his nice “thingy that he wears around his neck” cloak dress. Bastiaan was just looking at my mom and dad and I was just in THE "chemo" zone…


He preformed the ointment for the sick and steamed, and yes I mean STEAMED, like a STEAMBOAT that can’t stop, into: “do you Bastiaan Meeuwis Oostdijck take Leontien Martina Francina Wilhelmina Maria van de Laar to be your wife?”

“WHAT???!!!”
“Oh no no NO…. You can’t marry us in these clothes, on our couch, without anybody knowing, in poopie stained jeans, without family and friends, ON OUR COUCH!!!”

Bastiaan said “I do”. And so did I. My mom and dad signed the papers he had brought.
I puked and went to bed.
Bastiaan let the priest out.

Mom and dad called my brother (it was too late to call my sister and Bastiaan’s parents in The Netherlands) and went to work at the farm.

Bastiaan and I talked about that day a lot. We figured the priest thought I was in such bad shape (and yes he probably was right), I might join the Good Lord soon, so he better marry us while he could so at least we would be joined together in front of God.

But what this priest did not know is that I am stubborn. As in very, very stubborn. And I wanted to marry my love the right way. In a church. In a white dress that I already had for 6 months. In front of our family. In the presence of our friends. And defiantly DEFIANTLY NOT on our own couch! Bastiaan and I decided to kick this whole cancer thing even harder in the butt so we could do it the proper way.

But with another priest.
All we had to do was fix me…


Wedding number three;

Ever heard of a Rose Ceremony? And NO I’m not talking about the Rose Ceremony at The Bachelor… What about a Hand Fastening Ceremony? No??? Me neither, well until I met our new minister that is!

Being sick sometimes means you meet new people… I know sounds a bit strange but let me tell you how that goes.

My mom and dad had to go to Cleveland to renew their passport. At the Dutch Embassy the met a very sweet gentleman named Arnie. My mom and dad started chatting with Arnie about dairy farming, and ended up talking about me. You have to remember this was in 2008 and emotions of me being sick and undergoing chemo were at the tip's of everybody’s tongues.

Arnie told my mom and dad that he had a dear friend, Mr. John Regan and John was a cancer survivor himself and helping others when or wherever needed. He told them, “If I needed somebody to talk to, I should just call his friend John”.

Well, not long after I decided to give this Mr. John a call. And it was great! Not great because the subject (cancer is NOT a funny subject) of our discussions where so good but because I could relate and he was a very VERY positive and good humored man. I had never seen John, never met him or even knew where he lived, but 'it' and the talking to him felt good.

Soon after we got done with all the chemo in 2009 I asked John, who happened to be a minister, if he would mind coming up to Indiana and marry Bastiaan and me for REAL this time in a little church in front of our family and friends. Luckily he said yes.



A couple of months into planning this wedding John asked me what kind of ceremony we wanted. “We didn’t know, just a nice one would be fine with us”… John suggested two things; a rose ceremony or a hand fastening ceremony??? In the mean time our relationship (John’s and mine) evolved from calling on the phone to writing emails and when I read “Rose Ceremony” I did a double take and thought “OH NO! Anything else then whatever it is that reminds me of the SLIMY BACHELOR (and yes i watched EVERY week...) from TV!!!” So we decided to go with the Hand Fastening Ceremony…

My next email to John was: “And what is the hand fastening thing exactly, do I need to bring a piece of rope?” (yes pretty blunt...)

His answer: “This is a slightly different type of wedding ceremony which is called hand fasting and it is of ancient Celtic origin and it is where we in the USA got the expression "Tying the knot" from, to mean someone is getting married. I have a beautiful white and gold-trim piece of rope specifically designed for use in this ceremony. I drape it over the hands of the bride and groom as you make your vows, then TIE THE KNOT. It is loose enough so you slip your hands out after the vows and I hand it to the best man or maid of honor.”

I think he kinda knew that I had this strange idea in my head about hand fastening after reading all those disturbing Stephen King novels…

I talked to Bastiaan about it, and he thought it would be just fine.

Between October 2009 and May 2010 we had sent new invitations, made a new guest list (because all the great new people we had met running in and out hospitals and operating a large dairy), dusted off my wedding gown that had been moved back and forth between our house and my mom’s house for two years in order for Bastiaan not to see it, did major remodeling to make sure all our friends would have a place to sleep…. Well, I just wanted a new bathroom but I had to give Bastiaan a good excuse… and planned the wedding of our dreams.


On May 15th of 2010 Bastiaan and I stood in front of Mr. John (who we met for the very first time in the flesh that day) and he wed us. The ceremony was beyond beautiful. The little church was full of loved ones, flowers and laughter. The Hand Fastening Ceremony was new to almost 95% of all the people that were there, so very interesting and humbling for most of us. There was some crying, some laughing some praying and some "just being happy". You could feel it in the air...

Just like how I got my horse this wedding was a gift from above.
If you ever where a little girl… trust me… this was the wedding you had wished for. After surviving this awful disease, after loving each other was made into a very hard thing to do, moving to a different continent, doing something you have never done before (dairying), we stood in front all our family and friends and felt as one.

Our first time getting married was good, because Bastiaan and I already knew we belonged together.
The second time getting married was tough, because Bastiaan and I were tested to no end in our love, our strength and our determination.
Our third time was perfect, because we overcame and had all the people who we love with us to celebrate.

It was a good day.



...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

It's a post... NO! It's an Interview!!!

Right at this moment i'm sitting in Bastiaan's mom and dads SUNNY garden in THE NETHERLANDS and thus have left my mom and dad & brother at the dairy, probably in the rain... 

Since all this blogging addiction really started two months ago i have met some really great, sweet and inspirational people, on of those is Patrice from Everyday Ruralty and she asked me if she could interview me for her blog Everyday Ruralty and Farm Chicks who Blog.

And of course I felt really honored and said "Yes"!

Below is the link to her blog, I hope you have fun reading, and maybe find out something about me that you didn't know yet... ;-)

Barn Chicks who blog - With Leontien of Four Leaf Clover Dairy


I hope to do a post on Monday like usual, but i can't promise anything! Have to spent some quality time with my little sister, Bastiaans parents and grandma and lot's of friends! Oh, and do some dancing, go looking at things that have changed in the last 5 years, and EAT! EAT LOT'S of DUTCH FOOD!!!

Hope to see you all soon again probably plus 10 pounds...
Leontien

Monday, May 2, 2011

Three times is the Charm... I DO!

Ever heard of a Rose Ceremony? And NO I’m not talking about the Rose Ceremony at The Bachelor… What about a Hand Fastening Ceremony? No??? Me neither, well until I met our new minister that is!

Being sick sometimes means you meet new people… I know sounds a bit strange but let me tell you how that goes.

My mom and dad had to go to Cleveland to renew their passport. At the Dutch Embassy the met a very sweet gentleman named Arnie. My mom and dad started chatting with Arnie about dairy farming, and ended up talking about me. You have to remember this was in 2008 and emotions of me being sick and undergoing chemo were at the tip's of everybody’s tongues.


Arnie told my mom and dad that he had a dear friend, Mr. John Regan and John was a cancer survivor himself and helping others when or wherever needed. He told them, “If I needed somebody to talk to, I should just call his friend John”. Well, not long after I decided to give this Mr. John a call. And it was great! Not great because the subject (cancer is NOT a funny subject) of our discussions where so good but because I could relate and he was a very VERY positive and good humored man. I had never seen John, never met him or even knew where he lived, but 'it' and the talking to him felt good.

Soon after we got done with all the chemo in 2009 I asked John, who happened to be a minister, if he would mind coming up to Indiana and marry Bastiaan and me for REAL this time in a little church in front of our family and friends. Luckily he said yes.

A couple of months into planning this wedding John asked me what kind of ceremony we wanted. “We didn’t know, just a nice one would be fine with us”… John suggested two things; a rose ceremony or a hand fastening ceremony??? In the mean time our relationship (John’s and mine) evolved from calling on the phone to writing emails and when I read “Rose Ceremony” I did a double take and thought “OH NO! Anything else then whatever it is that reminds me of the SLIMY BACHOLOR (and yes i watched EVERY week...) from TV!!!” So we decided to go with the Hand Fastening Ceremony…


My next email to John was: “And what is the hand fastening thing exactly, do I need to bring a piece of rope?” (yes pretty blunt...)
His answer: “This is a slightly different type of wedding ceremony which is called hand fasting and it is of ancient Celtic origin and it is where we in the USA got the expression "Tying the knot" from, to mean someone is getting married. I have a beautiful white and gold-trim piece of rope specifically designed for use in this ceremony. I drape it over the hands of the bride and groom as you make your vows, then TIE THE KNOT. It is loose enough so you slip your hands out after the vows and I hand it to the best man or maid of honor.”

I think he kinda knew that I had this strange idea in my head about hand fastening after reading all those disturbing Stephen King novels…

I talked to Bastiaan about it, and he thought it would be just fine.

Between October 2009 and May 2010 we had sent new invitations, made a new guest list (because all the great new people we had met running in and out hospitals and operating a large dairy), dusted off my wedding gown that had been moved back and forth between our house and my mom’s house for two years in order for Bastiaan not to see it, did major remodeling to make sure all our friends would have a place to sleep…. Well, I just wanted a new bathroom but I had to give Bastiaan a good excuse… and planned the wedding of our dreams.

On May 15th of 2010 Bastiaan and I stood in front of Mr. John (who we met for the very first time in the flesh that day) and he wed us. The ceremony was beyond beautiful. The little church was full of loved ones, flowers and laughter. The Hand Fastening Ceremony was new to almost 95% of all the people that were there, so very interesting and humbling for most of us. There was some crying, some laughing some praying and some "just being happy". You could feel it in the air...


Just like how I got my horse this wedding was a gift from above.

If you ever where a little girl… trust me… this was the wedding you had wished for. After surviving this awful disease, after loving each other was made into a very hard thing to do, moving to a different continent, doing something you have never done before (dairying), we stood in front all our family and friends and felt as one.

Our first time getting married was good, because Bastiaan and I already knew we belonged together.
The second time getting married was tough, because Bastiaan and I were tested to no end in our love, our strength and our determination.
Our third time was perfect, because we overcame and had all the people who we love with us to celebrate.

It was a good day.



And no! This is not the end! The love story continues… I sure hope you'd stick with me!

And I just want to say thank you all for so many lovely, encouraging, humor full, sweet, fantastic, empowering and just absolutely WONDERFUL comments! For everybody who has read my blog in the last two months, if I would see you in person I would give you a huge kiss and hug and say THANK YOU for bringing me so much joy!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Three times is the Charm! Getting Married # 2

I had my wedding dress…
It was gorgeous…
It didn’t fit anymore… I was too skinny.

We were done with the first full month of chemo and into our three times a week for 48 weeks "period", and yes, I had survived so far. I also survived the surgeries and yes, I even survived the fact that we cut my hair (all that was left of it) and I found out that I was more vain then I ever thought I was going to be about the whole hair thing.

Apparently losing your hair doesn’t seem too bad until it is gone… And yes, every Sunday Bastiaan would drive me to the farm so I could do the payroll for our boys who so desperately with him, my parents and my brother were trying to run the dairy…

We didn’t even think about the wedding that we were supposed to have in July…We were in FULL SURVIVOR mode.

Our Catholic priest was also in full survivor mode.


On our way to Ohio is a beautiful church. Exactly like we have them in Holland (big, old and tall) and as soon as Bastiaan had asked me to marry him I told him I would love to get married in that particular church. We only had one little problem…. Bastiaan was not raised Catholic…

We met with the priest and explained that we would love to get married in his church and join his parochial. He told us getting married there would be all right if we went to a “marriage session” and he had to ask the bishop. Of course we also would have to go to church every Sunday and raise our “soon to be” kids Catholic… The session is a whole blog post on its own, trust me…

We went to church, went to the session and got to know the priest a bit better. After we got the "news" he came over to our house and we had an ointment for the sick and he told us he would be back and check up on me.

On a particular Tuesday, don’t ask me what Tuesday cause I really don’t know, he told us he would come by and we needed to have my mom and dad present. I had no idea what he was coming to do. I just knew I had to keep my Big Mac down that I had the day before after my nice shot of chemo, and focussing on keeping my body still (from trembling uncontrollably) and try not to fall asleep. That was all I could focus on. I asked Bastiaan what the priest was coming to do, but he had no idea either. We finally came to the conclusion maybe he wanted to do another ointment of the sick???

But that was not what he came to do…

He arrived with a briefcase, candles, ointment and a booklet. It just didn’t make sense to us.

I was wearing my oldest, and I mean OLDEST, sweater and maybe (I cant be completely sure) I wasn’t even wearing a bra!?! Bastiaan was wearing his favorite (I don’t wanna come out, cow poopie stained) jeans on and mom a dad just arrived from the dairy so they didn’t think about dressing up either. The priest looked a bit confused by our appearances but didn’t say a word.


We all sat down on our couch and he took out all his instruments, lighted the candles and put on his nice “thingy that he wears around his neck” cloak dress. Bastiaan was just looking at my mom and dad and I was just in THE "chemo" zone…

He preformed the ointment for the sick and steamed, and yes I mean STEAMED, like a STEAMBOAT that can’t stop, into: “do you Bastiaan Meewis Oostdijck take Leontien Martina Francina Wilhelmina Maria van de Laar to be your wife?”

“WHAT???!!!”

“Oh no no NO…. You can’t marry us in these clothes, on our couch, without anybody knowing, in poopie stained jeans, without family and friends, ON OUR COUCH!!!”

Bastiaan said “I do”. And so did I. My mom and dad signed the papers he had brought.

I puked and went to bed.
Bastiaan let the priest out.
Mom and dad called my brother (it was too late to call my sister and Bastiaan’s parents in The Netherlands) and went to work at the farm.

Bastiaan and I talked about that day a lot. We figured the priest thought I was in such bad shape (and yes he probably was right), I might join the Good Lord soon, so he better marry us while he could so at least we would be joined together in front of God.


But what this priest did not know is that I am stubborn. As in very, very stubborn. And I wanted to marry my love the right way. In a church. In a white dress that I already had for 6 months. In front of our family. In the presence of our friends. And defiantly DEFINATLY NOT on our own couch!

Bastiaan and I decided to kick this whole cancer thing even harder in the butt so we could do it the proper way.

But with another priest.

All we had to do was fix me…

Next Monday, Yes, THE THIRTH TIME IS THE CHARM!!!


...

Friday, February 11, 2011

Memories of the old days

I love farming!

Love farming 2000 years ago
(at least all the info I have read about that time and farming)
Love farming 200 years ago
(my grandparents, grandparents did a wonderful job)
Love farming 20 years ago
(my dad was, and is, the best)
Did NOT love farming 2 years ago
(2009 was just a shitty year, for all farmers)

And yes, although farming under the circumstances there days
is though, I still love it.

Since I started with the whole blogging, facebook, website (and don't
forget Twitter) thing, I looked up all our old and new pictures to use for
future blogs/posts and I came across some, I think, beautiful pictures
from Bastiaan's family.  And it brings me back  to the time my grandpa
and grandma were still alive and I was very little and loved the way they
farmed. How they operated their machinery, used horses and were
all day every day. And everybody had 2 cows, 2 pigs, chickens and
a horse...

Don't get me wrong I don't want to go back to that time but it is
amazing to me how far we have come and makes me appreciate more
and more about what it takes from those 2% of farmers that is left in
America to feed the world.

And I love the fact that we have beautiful pictures to enjoy and
remember those good old days!

I hope you enjoy!





Thursday, February 3, 2011

Salmon with leeks for Liz

My dear friend Liz from Two Maids a Milking had to
go to Canada to attend a seafood summit but because
she got really sick (you should read her blog post
its really cute: Top 5 things I didn't do or see while in
Vancouver) I decide to post this one for her.
'Cause she missed out on her fish!

So Salmon with leeks and cheese here we go! And i
did it like you sometimes see in other blogs with lots of
pictures!

So what are we using:
- leeks
- carrots
- green bell pepper
- pasta (whatever kind you want)
- Bertolli four cheese Rosa
- Salmon (i used the salmon from Walmart out of the freezer section)
- McCormick Grill Mates Salmon seasoning
- some sea salt if desired, for the pasta














 How we make/bake/ get it to taste good...

Cut your carrots, leeks and bell pepper into parts, you can take
the outside leaves from the leeks and throw them away and don't
cut all the way up, start at the white part and go until the dark green.














  Season your salmon thoroughly with the McCormick Seasoning
and put them in the pan with some olive oil.















Boil some water and put the pasta in and cook like described on
the label, and add some salt if desired. While the pasta is cooking
and the fish is on the fire, you might want to cook your vegetables
in a wok. Make sure you don't over cook them and you might add
some salt to taste.














When the vegetables are cooked to your liking, add the Bertolli
sauce and warm it up with the carrots, leeks and peppers.














Put the pasta on a dish, put the salmon on top of the pasta and dress
the sauce on top of the fish and pasta.














Hope you enjoy!!!
Next time we will do a traditional Dutch dish again



Sunday, June 13, 2010

Dipshits and pressure washers...

This is a older post i posted on my facebook and hyves page in 2009.
Because i got great responces i'm putting it up again on blogger.

Have Fun!


As of November 9th 2009 I’m officially healthy!

The reason being: the didn’t find anything in my head and that I’m a blond, doesn’t have anything to do with it…

This means we do not have to go to the oncologist, dermatologist, gynecologist, ER and eye doctor every week. Now I can get myself together for 3 MONTHS, ahhh, live is good, before I have to go back! This means let’s kick some booty…

So in order to do that, I figured I might get myself useful and start with cleaning things up. You have to set the right example, right? So I got the pressure washer ready and started cleaning. Trying, anyway... We do not have a little pressure washer, it is a big kick ass thing apparently only to use by whom do not just have to do their driveways and cars.

So I turn the thing on and am about to fall in the derbis, of course for the obvious reason, it hasn’t been cleaned yet. I get myself back up straight and started… I’m a very impatient person, so it is nice to see immediate result. Not that it was that dirty but it is like when you paint, you notice the difference.

a clean milking palor


Next thing I know our guys (who were suppose to clean in the first place) are standing there, watching me handle that pressure washer… Yeah, funny thing... little girl, big pressure washer…
I could’ve kicked their booty’s right there, but I figured it is better to do that in a meeting with some proper translation (Spanish, yeah, working on it) and get some actual results instead of just some snickering and more funny jokes.

Next day I’m walking like an 80 year old woman, with walking stick, feeling terrible everywhere, knowing I didn’t kick nobody’s booty but mine. And yes, big pressure washers are for big guys not little girls who are just recovering from chemo…

A girl and her bathtub...

Being a farmer doesn’t mean I’m less of a girl/woman. It is hard to say what I am, being 31 doesn’t qualify me as a woman because I look like a 20 year old (at least that’s what I think, on a good sunny, my hair does exactly what I want day) but am not a girl anymore either, I’m married after all…
Being a girl in a men’s world makes it even harder. It wasn’t easy in college and university, being in a classroom where they are just one or two other girls, out of the 40 guys; it is even harder in the real world.



First off; they (the men) do not believe you… Imagine going into a meeting about management and hoof trimming, they think you are the wife of a farmer, and believe me that is by far, the best category you can fall into. So… you do not qualify as somebody with any kind of knowledge or expertise, so they think they do not have talk about cow stuff with you. And so you sit alone in a meeting until you find a sweet farmers wife OR heaven forbid another girl/woman that IS a farmer herself!

Second; they do not take you seriously.
When they do find out you are the farmer instead of the farmer’s wife, girlfriend, or bunny hugger, maybe they will talk to you and ask you some serious questions. And I have to admit the “older” gentlemen amongst us seem to be much MORE acceptable of a women then the younger generation. Wonder why…
Mostly it starts with talking about calves, maybe every girl or women is supposed to like small animals? And I have to admit, I think they are really cute, especially when I see them at somebody else’s farm!

Third; they are scared.
When you are milking over 2000 cows and you just started, never milked a cow of you own in your whole life before. And you are able to make deals they haven’t been able make with all their manly powers, and you are enjoying yourself immensely, I can understand why some men are a bit afraid of you.

Of course with social media coming up it is much easier for me to get some really good feedback, we pose ourselves on the internet, on twitter ,facebook or any other media and most people assume you are a guy, so they will talk to you and answer your questions and value you opinion. By the time they figure out you are a woman, most do not really care no more because they see you as a person with a reasonable opinion and some (I hope) decent advice.

But luckily for me we are blessed with great guys here in Indiana! They are maybe a bit scared, wary and a bit suspicious at first but that is ok! If you do not know me, or any other girl or woman that shows up at your door step and starts talking about milk quality, conception rates, breeding possibilities and the quality of the crops last year, I would be a bit confused too! But almost all the men I have met since we have moved to this great country have proven to me that there is a way for somebody new no matter if you are a boy or a girl, from China, Africa or the Netherlands, to get accepted here into the dairy industry. And I am most grateful for that.

I really think that if I would have stayed in The Netherlands it would have been different. Most Americans tend to be much more open minded and acceptable to change then they think they are!
Of course everything has to come from two sides but I am really happy with the men I have met in de dairy industry so far.



I didn’t tell you about the advantages yet, and wherever there are disadvantages there are advantages!
I never have to wait in line going to the bathroom when we have a meeting. I usually do not have to work the evening or night shift. And heavy lifting, some sweet guy who sees me struggling will rush over and take over. Also most of the men are really polite and even if you make them really, really mad, they still are nice or at least try to be really nice.
And sometime a little smile and a wink can make life so much easier….

Together you can get things done that at first may seem impossible.

So Wednesday nights I will lay down in my bathtub, get a good scrubbing, put some girly clothes on (not the coveralls rubber boots and a hat), blow-dry my hair and put some make-up on to watch America’s next top model and think about the past week and about all the wonderful men I have in my life, who I work with and who I respect. I have to admit, it is pretty SWEET being a girl in a men’s world!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

What Cancer does to somebody like ME

One year, eleven months and somewhat days ago I got confronted with this awful disease. I can tell you, it wasn't and is not funny...

After several surgeries, lots of pain and fear I got 4 weeks of chemo treatment for 4 hours in a row every day. After that we did 48 weeks of chemo shots, 3 times a week, with one of the most terrible chemical substances that people have invented. Things lasted a bit longer because we had to quit a couple of times (weeks) because my body or mind couldn’t handle it too well...

Cancer does a lot to people... So does the treatment of cancer...


It makes you angry
Angry against the world, because every time you go to the hospital, the people that you meet are in their fifties. Where are all the young people??? Am I the only one? Angry towards the people surrounding you. I doesn’t matter how hard they try, they can’t feel, understand or know what you feel! Even if they are by your side 24/7 in the hospital and at home, keep your hair up when you are puking your guts out in the toilet or when you do NOT want to say ANYTHING because you are to tired to the bone or when they hold you until the shaking has stopped… Angry towards your friends, you thought they were there, but they are not. Angry towards you family, they do not deserve it, but to admit that to yourself only makes things worse. But most of all angry towards yourself. Because you just can’t understand why this had to happen. And if you could have changed it or prevented it! And of course I am MAD because I thought I could change or adapt to anything. I could do everything and I didn’t NEED anybody. Angry because it is not fair. Angry because it shouldn’t have to be this way. Angry because of all the hurt I caused other people...

It makes you scared
Scared that you never get off of the rollercoaster of emotions, your sad, happy, angry and hurt, and all over again. Afraid that with every bump, every little thing that hurts, every little change or little mold, it is coming back... Scared that all the statistics are true. Scared because we have to go back to the hospital every 3 months the coming five years, and you NEVER know what “they” are going to say... Afraid you can never have any little kids, and even if you would, and you would die within two years, Bastiaan would be all alone with that little bundle of love... I can’t do that... Afraid that you can not give the people, who you love the most, what they deserve.


It makes you sad
Because live passed you by for the last two years and you can not get it back. Because you wanted to build friendships but didn’t have the energy to do so. Because you wanted to face the mistakes you made in the past, but that didn’t work out. Because this was supposed to be the new country with the new life and possibilities. Because we are shallow and you do not realize that until you have a hole of 3 by 2,5 inches on you leg and so many other scars on you body you do not even want to count them. Because you are hurting of the scars that mark your hart. Because I, like so many others want to put problems, subject and other things behind us.

You Learn
That if you do not have anything nice to say, it is better to stay quiet. You do not rule the world, even if you think you did. Things happen for a reason, it will not help you if you do not accept them. Sometimes you have to agree that choices other people make are for the best of you. You can not run from whatever it is you are hiding from. It will come and get you eventually.

You feel loved and blessed
Because no matter what happens (your yelling, crying, being silent and everything in between) your family is there for you. Because the boy who wanted to go with you (because you felt the need to milk cows in the USA) has to deal with all of this and STILL loves you. Because people that you hardly know came up to your house and gave you food, money or other things that would comfort you. Because of the friends that did stay are the ones you need to love the most in return! Because ordinary people with ordinary lives felt the need to pray for YOU! And wished you the best and MEANT it... Whenever you are sick, your mom, dad, husband, brother, sister, family, friends and all the other people that care for you are a little bit sick too. And if they can fight for you, you should fight for them.


It makes you happy
For every day that you can complain, yell or blabber to your family. That you can look to your husband and realise how much you really love him. That every morning you can get out of bed, and you do NOT have to stay in that dammed bed! Because you can go to your work (the dairy), because it is a dream come true
Running a large family operated dairy is a gift and blessing, and i am so dammed proud that i can. I can make choices about who what and were. And that every day, one day is that I can enjoy.

For the first time since April 2008 I feel like myself again, although it is a totally different me
After 5 terrible days, because yes, they put you on all the meds, but how do you get off of them again!!?? Without sleep, with lots and lot’s of pain, and feeling like a zombie who just like a drug addict is missing out on his shot, and doesn’t feel quite alive, I got out of the shower.

And I am glad to be here...

Leontien