She was the third child in a brood of seven that took the long trip from Holland to Australia to start a new life. It wasn't too many years after they had settled in that baby number eight came along, another little sister (ME!) Annemiek loved that little critter from the start and would do as much of the mothering as she possibly could. Soon after I came along, our family became a travelling music band, and although I hardly knew what was going on, I was most definitely the cutest. (sorry guys, my blog, I can say whatever I want)
This was us performing in Amsterdam over 30 years ago. I was the teeny tiny one there and Annemiek is the one on the far right (as well as two other sisters and my Mum). These were the days when wearing matching clothes was hot, and you scored bonus points if they looked like curtains.
This is Annemiek now. Married to Robert for the last 25 odd years, they're great fun to be around. They've been performing music together as long as I can remember, although always in Australia. They're such great entertainers.
Annemiek and Robert moved to Nelson six months ago when Mum was first diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. And they'll be moving themselves and their music to Blenheim this Summer. *cue little sister happy dance*
Robert is the most amazing guitarist. And, as if that's not enough, he does some fantastic art too. Cartoony kind of stuff, with real personality. He's such a funny guy, the good kind of funny, not the strange kind.
They've called themselves MOODSWINGS, you can check them out at www.moodswings.co.nz. Go on, have a look. I think they're pretty darn awesome! There's more of these photos there too, as well as sound clips.
Their kids have all grown up and left home now, so all they've got left is this little fella.
It's allllll about the guitar.
Oh yes, not to forget Widdles, their dog. They love this dog so much that they actually flew him over from Australia! How's that for true love? I can't really blame them, Widdles is a pretty nice little dog.
So if you're around Blenheim this FRIDAY (29th) and SATURDAY (30th) evenings, Moodswings is performing at The Clubs of Marlborough. Stop on by, it'll be fun! The more the merrier!
We have a really old car. It's really getting past it's used by date. In fact, we feel like we've won the lotto every time it passes a Warrant of Fitness. It's really turned into a bit of a joke now, when we turn up to jobs in it. And yet we can't bare to spend thousands to replace it just yet, especially when a second 5D Mark II would be so much more fun to have. One day it will just stop going, and then our hand will be forced, but in the meantime, I'm turning up to your photo shoot in the dusty old Bluebird...
It got me to thinking though, it's so easy to become dissatisfied with life. Always wanting to 'Keep up with the Joneses' (for the record, those Joneses must be another family!) and get bigger and better things. When the things that are really important are not things at all.
"Count your blessings name them one by one, count your blessings see what God has done. Count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done." (hands up, who remembers that old song?)
So here are just some of my blessings, growing up before my very eyes.
Sophie is about to turn 3.
With her baby sister Charlotte, about 9 months (give or take...) I know it's a little soft focus, but hey, I'm the Mum, so it's perfect to me!
Charlotte has teeth...
She always has that surprised look on her face!
Sam - the only boy.
Is it just me, or are my kids cuter than anybody else's? I'm pretty sure they are. Sorry y'all.
This is Gracie May Dovalaki Van Der Pepper Jones. (yes, that's her real name) She's mostly a blessing.... mostly.
There are still a couple of kids not in this post... older ones that aren't in a big hurry to pose, ha!
So there you have it, a quick update on my quickly growing brood.
There was nothing fun about Wednesday, not that my life HAS to be fun every day, but it helps. In fact, I was feeling like life was rather on top of me, photos needed sorting and editing, emails needed writing, kids needed loving and the housework needed some serious attention before one of us stuck to the floor for good. I figured I'd very much like to resign from something. I'm not even sure what it is I was wanting to resign from, except perhaps the housework, because, well, who lives for that? I didn't know where I would send the resignation letter to, so I just sucked it up and carried on, ignoring the floor that needed scrubbing and promising the kids that we'd do fun stuff some time soon...
At about 1am that morning we awoke to a scream and ran to our son's side to find that he was in the middle of a seizure. Pretty well the most scared I've ever been in my life, I called out "call 111!" After what seemed like about 75 hours he stopped shaking (ok, probably 1 minute?) and was totally unresponsive, but breathing. Suddenly something so simple, like my child breathing, became the most important thing in the world.
The ambulance took us to hospital where he would have another four seizures in the following 12 hours. No one knew what was wrong. He didn't have a temperature and wasn't sick before that. That afternoon we went via ambulance over to Nelson Hospital where he underwent every test known to man, CT Scan, MRI, Lumbar Puncture, you name it. Everything came back clear. Seems that nothing was wrong with him. Far out, sometimes NOTHING is rather terrifying. Although I was rather pleased we weren't looking at a brain tumour!
We stayed in hospital until the following Tuesday, as he slowly started to get back to normal, and then came home. Just like that, came home. No one could say what was wrong with Sam, and apart from being rather tired and missing several bits of his memory from the last year or so, he's all good. So we're none the wiser, but the whole episode sure did remind me about what's really important in life.
Thanks to everyone who has been patient with us the last couple of weeks, we've had to reschedule shoots, and keep people waiting that bit longer for their photos. Thank you all SO so much for your understanding. We're back into it now, trying hard to get caught up again.
And because I have to post SOME kind of photo - this is the ambulance at my house in the middle of the night. Although I only had my cell phone on me, I still took a photo (can't help being a photographer!)
Tomorrow I'll have some happier blog posts to share - so there's more pretty photos coming, promise!
Now back on the ground again! This was when we took a holiday in beautiful Golden Bay last month. This was inside one of the deep dark caves. That's me in holding the baby in the front pack, then my five other kids in front of me and brother and his fiance to the right. I love how we're all looking interested (totally unstaged btw) and it kind of looks like Kimberly is trying to get signal on her cellphone (although she's trying to take a picture too).
I found it really interesting when they turned the lights off, there was absolutely no light. Nothing at all your eyes could adjust to, just absolute darkness. Pretty freaky.
UPDATE: The ballet photos are now online - click on the following link for more info: http://www.jessicajones.co.nz/ballet
Today was the Snow White and the Seven Dwarves ballet production. My girls have been involved in ballet since they were about 4, and it's the highlight of the year for them to perform on stage. This year, like last, we photographed it for all of the parents. Here are just a few highlights for now.
This is my Emily.
Snow White and some rather nasty looking characters. I would stay away from that apple, personally.
This is my oldest, Kimberly.
Three of the seven dwarves, the heros in this story.
My Georgia is the one on the right. She does have a very pretty face too, I just like this one as a legs shot!
So, I've narrowed the photos down to just over a thousand. Silly, isn't it? Paul will be uploading them to a gallery for all you parents to go through. Not sure when exactly, but hopefully soon!
This was when we went to Pupu Springs last month. This just appealed to my sense of humour!
This is Sam, our one and only son. He's a very happy fellow, considering that he is surrounded by 5 sisters. He'll be learning so much patience, he's going to make someone an awesome husband one day!