Life with the Larsens - Christmas 2003 Edition Seasons Greetings Everyone

LIFE WITH KEN & LORI LARSEN - Christmas 2003 Edition

In early March, Ken and Lori celebrated five years of married life. It was then that we announced to most people that we were expecting our first child in early September. What a great anniversary gift!! To celebrate we went to one of our favourite places in BC - Powell River. Boat Reef in Powell River Ken Larsen and Dave Harris "A jaw'n in the wood working studio" There we were able to connect up with family and friends and got to enjoy the beauty of the west coast. It sure is a nice place to be and we would love to move there but right now the economic opportunities in Powell River are not the best.

The powerful waves at Long Beach Looking over a rocky outcrop toward the ocean

We were further able to enjoy the wonders of BC when we went to Long Beach for Easter. It has become an annual tradition, which takes advantage of the relative lack of tourist congestion at Long Beach. Weather is always a gamble there. One year we had sun but it was our lot this year to endure torrential rains. We had to construct ditches and channels to divert the water away from our tents!

Sand ripples Tree silhoutted and ocean view Even in the worst weather, Long Beach is gorgeous and we revelled in it with our fellow "Kinnickinick" ramblers. On the last day the sun came out to wish us a special good-bye. I suppose the weather knows just how to set a teaser so as to bring us back and we have fallen for it!

Our household numbers started to change as early as last year, September 2002, when one of our beloved African pygmy hedgehogs abruptly died. Our Hedgehog Megaera The sisters three We originally had three hedgehog sisters: Megaera, Tisiphone, and Alecto. This past spring and later in August the remaining two succumbed to aggressive mouth tumours. It was surprisingly hard to have our little ones put down. For such small prickly critters they had wormed their way into our hearts. We miss them greatly and plan to replace them in a year or two.

Cazador the cat by the cat condo among the plants

To compensate for our lack of animal companions, a Norwegian Forest Cat was procured in early July to fill the void. Cazador (Spanish for "hunter") with his handsome grey tabby coat has been trilling and squeaking his was into the household. Yes, trilling and squeaking - similar to Maine Coons, Norwegian forest cats don't have a typical cat vocal pattern but have great personalities. We figured he would have plenty of time to acclimatize to the household before our little one came into the world. He only got a month but he did very well in adjusting. He is an easy go-lucky type and delights all who see him. He has even managed to win approval from Lori's parents who are rather reserved regarding cats.

Karen McKenzie walking the aisle Geri Werthner walking the aisle

This year was also the year of weddings. First it was Ken's cousin Karen's wedding in Calgary in late June. (Left Photo: Karen being walked down the aisle by her father) Then our good friends Geri and Rob tied the knot in July (Right Photo - Geri being walked down the aise by her good neighbor). We attempted to attend Lori's cousin Marissa's wedding the first week of August in Lethbridge, AB but were thwarted by the unexpected début of our daughter. We should note that a second cousin of Lori's also tied the knot this summer too. This fall we celebrated the union of our gaming friends, JD & Gretchen. Any more out there?

Anneka Joy Tyra was born on July 27, 2003 by emergency "C" section, six weeks premature due to pregnancy complications. Lori didn't realize how much in danger she was in when she had what she thought was gastritis pain. Ken and Lori decided to go into hospital on the weekend to see if she could get some relief and were looked after by some of the best physicians and staff at the Royal Columbian Hospital who realized that it could not be heartburn. Ken with Anneka in first hour One week old Coming Home with Anneka - 1week old Lori had HELLP syndrome, which is a unique variant of preeclampsia (toxemia). The acronym stands for: H (hemolysis, which is the breaking down of red blood cells), EL (elevated liver enzymes), and LP (low platelet count). Treatment is delivery of the baby - immediately. Later it was made very clear to Lori by her family physician that both she and the baby could have easily died if the hospital staff had not identified the syndrome. In fact, 10-20 years ago, most people with HELLP syndrome were undiagnosed and subsequently died. Wow.

Anneka lives up to both of her middle names Joy and Tyra (which means fighter). Born at 4 lbs, 4 ounces she spent a week in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and then surprised even the doctor by meeting all the discharge requirements early. Luckily Lori's mom Judi came from Calgary to help Ken and Lori through the transition from hospital to home. Ken was delighted to be a dad and had already been chanting, "My daughter won't be wearing that!!" and is now teaching her to say, "Wait till you see my dad!" At four months, Anneka is a healthy 10lbs & 10 ounces and is well on her way to catching up to the normal growth curves that "term" babies follow. The many prayers of many friends and family were greatly appreciated and have been fully answered. God is good.

Ken, Lori, Anneka and Tammy G - GeocachingUpset Anneka with Sunglasses Lori and Ken decided that they were going to dive right into the parenting thing and started going out right away. Their very first trip out was for coffee at Starbucks when Anneka was one week and one day! Then they went geochaching when Anneka was just four weeks old. That outting was more of a walk in the park but we used it to find out how to out of doors with a baby. That is our friend Tammi with the cache in her hand. For more information on what geocaching is click HERE.

Bestefar with Anneka

Ken's mom and dad, Ann and Ole, are smitten with Anneka, as she is their first grandchild. When Anneka was 10 weeks old, we joined with them and Ken's sister Lyn and partner Mike on a camping trip. We celebrated Thanksgiving in the beautiful ranch country just minutes north of Clinton, BC. Yes, we slept in tents and yes, Anneka slept there too! She looked rather cute with three hats on her head. Ken and Ole did some hunting and bagged some grouse while the rest of us did some hiking and relaxing. We were very happy that Ann and Ole brought their small trailer to Rush Lake. All seven of us wedged ourselves inside the rather cozy trailer and spent the evenings playing games.

It turns out that our daughter really likes company and we have been able to allow here to enjoy the group of friends we met on the internet on a regular basis. She is usually passed from person to person or dressed up and photographed mercilessly!

Balloons on Anneka's head Ohh sharp - Anneka with sword

We are still peacefully residing in Surrey in the house that was purchased four years ago and still has the interior design scheme of "college dorm donations". Lori has dreams of doing one room up by participating in the "Trading Spaces" game show, where two neighbours trade houses for two days and redecorate a room in each others house. She has yet to find a sucker, er...neighbours to swap rooms with. Such is the life of a "want to be" interior decorator with more ideas than time and money.

The other less commented upon part of our household is our housemate Shawn Anderson. Shawn has been with us for almost three years now. Shawn is no stranger to Ken as they attended high school together and he used his chef skills to produce our wedding rehearsal dinner. This year he has brought a variety of interests to our house and has included us, involuntarily, in his odyssey of his learning to ride a motorcycle, the purchase of not one but two motorbikes and more recently his inheritance of a telescope. "Look, see that blob over is a XXXX!!!" We wouldn't have it any other way. With Shawn being a geek (what other type of house mate would we have?) it means Ken always has someone to bounce his ideas off of.

Now for the other necessary bits of info that help us track each other:

Spencer - summer 2003 Anneka with Donna at breakfast Anneka with Ebba and Harvey Grey Anneka on Dedication Day Anneka will have to vie with Spencer, her 2 ¾ yr old cousin on Lori's side of the family (far left photo), for the attention of her grandparents in Calgary this Christmas. While there Anneka will be able to spend more time with many other friends and family and especially her Godmother, Donna Unterschultz (photo above with Anneka), who traveled to Vancouver from Calgary for Anneka's baby dedication on November 9th, 2003. It was a wonderful family affair. Anneka is pictured here with her Greataunt Ebba and Greatuncle Harvey Grey (immediately above) and left in her beautiful dress bought for the day.

We wish you the Peace that passes understanding as we celebrate Christ's birth once more.

With love
Ken, Lori, Anneka and Cazador

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