Friday, November 28, 2008

Thank yous from Declan and Barend


"Barend finished ALL his exams!! All 9 of them!! The grade 8's finished their exams on Wednesday. They were required to come to school on Thursday to sand their desks to get rid of the "beautiful" drawings they did on the desks throughout the year. I wish I had a camera!!! Barend came to school and there he is was sanding his desk for a while...I was so proud of him!"


Thursday, November 27, 2008


Just in case you didnt see it, its under Grants Birthday wish, its shows as yesterday as i have been drafting since then!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Birthday Grant

Dear Grant,
Wishing you a very very Happy Birthday for today and many many more!
May the year ahead be nothing but the best and next time this year , we will be wishing you as a married man!
Thanks for all the support and care and interest in our soldier, for being there for Mark and I to, we really appreciate! If you need any wedding advise you know who to ask!!!!
Have an awesome day, God Bless, love
Mark, Samm , lil D and Logan

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My photo blanket from Con, Meggie and Keaton - to stunning for words
One of Deqlans pages - exquisite..

1 of our wedding pages - love how Mark chose the black and white to go with the red, so striking

Little Samm!


My Deqlan bag from Mom and Dee

My boys

Smiley boy

My tree of blessings

The pictures dont do this justice!

My tree of blessings sas breath taking

Thanks Kevin and Louise for being a part of my 30th celebrations. It was wonderful to have you there,hope you guys also had a great time to.Thanks for making such an effort to drive through in the early hours of the morning, and thank you for spoiling me rotten! We hope all your dreams come true in the land down under

My 30th heart my mom created for me

Thank you Darling Mom and Dee is not enough - the love you conveyed to me in every single thought and detail you put into my celebration is astounding - i dont know how you slept, kept this a secret and managed to still be so creative with all the dreams you turned into a reality. Thank you for all my gifts from the haircut to the dolphin encounter to the magnificent bag with the photo of Deqlan - i shall treasure them all always. Dee, the 30 sign you made for me is in my box of important memories, it is to beautiful and the love and effort and time you put into creating it, blows me away. You are our guardian angels on earth,and i promise you that one day, i will be the one taking care of, spoiling and loving you two. You deserve to be showered with every blessing imaginable, i love you both so very very very much. You are the stuff dreams are born from!

Thanks so much Tyler and Gaynor for an unforgetable weekend, i hope you enjoyed your little taste of the midlands! Thank you to for spoiling me rotten, i am going to choose something extra special to spoil my self with, thank you for everything - thank you Tyler for helping me out with all the computer and camera stuff to! We hope you enjoy your well deserved holiday to Cape Town next week.

Nix, my dear and amazing friend- thank you from the bottom of my heart for being with me to celebrate the big 30! You have been an amazing friend to me, and i treasure all the memories we have mae and are yet to make. You are going to be an amazing mom one day, that i am sure of! Thank you for driving so far and for spoiling me rotten! Its your turn next!

Dear Philip and Nats, I know you guys had a great time and so excited you want to go back to the midlands! Thank you Philip for driving the girls through and for the good chats! Nats, you are glowing and you both are going to be extraordinary parents to Abigail, we cant wait to meet! Thank you for my stunning book voucher , i cant wait to go and find the book that reminds me of you both!

My other guardian angels and best friends - what a phenomenal weekend we had together. Megs, i am so lucky to have you helping mom with all the details for my birthday, my birthday table at la lampara looked stunning! thank you to you both for my stunning gifts, i adore my blanket with all the photos on and will treasure forever and always, its to stunning, thank you for all you continue to do for me, and i am so glad Keaton is feeling better! Love you so very much!

My love and my darling Deqlan, thank you for the most unforgetable weekend ever. The love and thought and detail you put into making sure i was spoilt rotten every minute of the day was unbelievable. Down to the theme colours being red and green, to the most stunning photo book i could have ever imagined, for the months of preparation and thought into ensuring each moment was perfect, thank you, it was perfect. To share the dolphin encounter with you, was magical and unforgetable. My Deqlan, just having you as our son is the biggest treasure and gift i could ever be blessed with. You are my inpsiration, my hero, my reason for everything i do, i love you both more then i could ever put down in words. Your face, your smile, the songs you sing, the ring a roseys we play, absolute treasures in my book of life. You can be sure your 30th Birthday celebrations are going to be magnificent, i have to live up to what your Dada and Nanna and Grandpa and Meggie and Conrad prepared for me!

My stunning cake, we all agreed it was the most delicous cake we had EVER tasted!

A special moment between Deqlan and Conrad..rare to get on film!

Smiley boy!

Philip and Conrad

The decor! The 30 sign Dee made for me!

The engraved champagne glasses

The place cards, a stunning idea i thought!

Eating at my favorite restaurant in the world! la lampara!

Deqlan enjoying the cake

My 30th Birthday candle created by Mom

My birthday breakfast

My Dolphin tribute from Mom

My tribute from Meggie, Con and Keaton

More surprises - i think i have lost count, i am loved beyond words!

The big morning finally arrived, 16 November - i didnt feel 30, still dont! Just felt absolute love and adoration and admiration for my amazing family and friends - not only those that where with me in the midlands , but around the world that called, sent text messages and emailed - thank you to you all, i wish i could have had you all there with us!

I continued to be showered with gifts - my family knows me so well and knows how much photos and memories mean to me- i recieved the most stunning photo book from Mark , Deqlan and Logan - Mark had spent many many hours deciding on the photos, each photo had a place and a reason, he had to size and crop each photo , co odinate colours .. this in itself its a gift to know how much time and love went into creating this treasure - i wish i could put every page onto the blog for you to see, its stunning. From Mom and Dee the dolphin encounter and then something i have always said i woudl love to have, a bag with a photo of Deqlan on! Its stunning - Mom and Dee also spent many hours deciding on which photo - but they went with this one because of the green background, our favorite colour and symbol of healing and hope, and this photo also shows a whisp of Deqlans gorgeous blond hair- it is truly one of my favorites ever. Meggie , Conrad and Keaton gave me something i have never seen before a blanket with photos and words such as hope and strength and faith, framing the beautiful pictures - truly breathtaking.
My Darling Grandpa and Nan - having both my grandparents and Deqlan his great grandparents is the real gift to me, the other is sharing my Birthday with you Nan! Thank you for spoling me and i am going to find something extra special that reminds me of you both - i wish you could have been with us, but you were in spirit and heart!
Sophie and Ivan, we missed you to and hope you are feeling lots better Soph! You to continue to spoil me and us, and i enjoyed my shopping spree thoroughly ! Thank you so so much!
I was spoilt ROTTEN by Nats and Philip with a book voucher i cant wait to go and use and Nix and Darryl also spoilt me rotten , i have already bought the book Mother Warriors by Jenny McCarthy - i have wanted this for ages and was so happy to order it, going to get it in two weeks time, thank you so much guys - the presents not necessary, your friendship is the gift that i treasure!
Thank you so much Uncle Quintin, AuntyRene, Kevin and Louise, Tyler and Gaynor for also spoiling me rotten! One of the things I have decided to do, is to print out all the photos from my 30th and get some beautiful frames and scrap booking stuff! Cant wait!
After a wonderful breakfast, i was taken on a 'walk' - lead to the chapel at Lords of the Manor, where Mom had prepared 'Mass' for us, mo found out exactlt what verses would have been read at mass on my birthday and she had prepared them for us to enjoy in our own private chapel in the midlands - mom also had stunning music playing and made the most beautiful candle to mark my birthday - mom, this was one of the gifts i will treasure for the rest of my life - it was amazing to say the least and i would love to share the verses that marked my special day
PSALM 128 1-5
Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in His ways. You will eat the fruit of your labour; blessings and prosperity will be yours. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your sons you will be like olive shoots around your table. Thus is the man blessed who fears the Lord. May the Lord bless you from Zion all the days of your life;may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem and may you live to see your childrens children. Peace be upon Israel
Proverbs 31 10-13;19-20;30-31
A wife of nobel character who can find? She is worth far more then rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.Charm is deceptive; and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate
Matthew 25 14-30
Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. then he went on his journey. The man who had recieved his five talents went at once and put his moey to work and gained 5 more. So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. But the man who had recieved the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and his his masters money. After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them The man who had recieved the five talents brought the other five.'Master', he said' you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more' His master replied, ' well done, good and faithful servant! Youhave been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your masters happines!'
The man with the two talents also came. ' Master ' he said, 'you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more'. His master replied, 'well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your masters happiness' Then the man who had recieved the one talent came. ' Master', he said, ' i knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you' His master replied,' you wicked lazy servant! so you knew that i harvest where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when i returned i would have recieved it back with interest. Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance.Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth'
After mass, i was told that my mom and megs would be going to the 'pharmacy' and we would be going for a drive to show everyone a bit of the midlands- by now you have to forgive me for saying i knew something was up! So after a few stops here and there we took the turn off to my favorite restaurant in the world, la lampara, the most amazing, authentic, more italian restaurant with the best atmosphere and vibe you can imagine, all this in the middle of the mountains! Mom and Dee and Megs had set the restaurant up so beautifully! The theme red for loved, yes again, i felt very very loved! Engraved champagne glasses, place names attached to lusciois apples, a 30 sign that Derek has hand made and Mom, Nix and Nats decorated with flowers, gold and red table decorations, roses, and the song when we arrived, THATS AMORE - the song we walked into our wedding to! Perfect- absolutely perfect - we had the most delcious food and the most delicous cake ever created by man - we all agreed on that one! It was stunning!
I wanted to share a story with you that i am guessing wont be the last time that this happens. Deqlan is very vocal and when he is not saying the words he can, he looks to sing and make sounds in different pitches. A couple he walked passed, gave Deqlan the dirtiest look i have ever seen and told him to be quiet! This happened on several occasions with several different people who took him for a walk. Eventually i told my sister what was happening and she went up to the table and told this couple not to make comments as they knew nothing about Deqlan - by the way he has been through cancer and is now dealing with Autism. They told Megs that Deqlan was just looking for attention!!!!!!!!!!! I had to hold my breath with all my might and just let it go. The gentlemen later tried to apologise to Mark, Meggie landed up going to the table to talk further with them- once hearing Deqlans story and shedding a few tears , the apologised to Megs. I think Deqlan was the one deserving of an apology - as i said i dont think this will be the last time something like this happens - the world really needs to change, why on earth would someone judge a 2 year old? For heavens sake we are at a restaurant with other children all running around playing and laughing - if thats not your sort of thing, then dont go to restaurants where they cater for children!! I suppose we also have to learn how to handle this situations better to...
Anyway, we got back to the manor and i was certain i was surprised out - but i was wrong again! Mom, had created the most beautiful sight - my tree of blessings - she made blessings out of ribbons and butterflies, and each one hung perfectly on a branch of the tree. Faith. Hope. Love. Health, the list carries on, these were all the blessings my mom wished me - how amazing was that? I have never seen something so beautiful, so creative, so special- thank you Mom for this exquisite idea and i am going to be hanging them on my Christmas tree this year for all to see! We had a lovely cake and tea under the trees and then crept inside as the fog and cold arrived!
As always, the worst part of the holiday is the day you have to go home - and i left wishing we could have spent just a few more days in the mountains - it was magical, unforgetable, breathtaking, amazing - thank you my love, my deqlan,mom & dee, conrad ,megs & keaton, Nix and Darryl ( we missed you Darryl), nats and philip, Kevin and Louise, Tyler and Gaynor for making my 30th birthday unforgetable, it was magic!
Thank you to you all to, for your wishes- the real gifts are having you all in our lives and as a part of Deqlans prayer army- WE ARE LOVED
God Bless, lots and lot of love
Mark, Samm, Deqlan

Message Lunch for Life

Hello! Ready to put on your running shoes? It is that time of year again whenwe all race to challenge everyone to give up a Lunch for Life!Over the years Lunch for Life has helped the Children’s NeuroblastomaCancer Foundation fund some incredible research and neuroblastomainitiatives. It is each and every one of our families and childrenthat makes Lunch for Life such a success every year. We have impactedlives. We are closer to a cure today because of this participation.However, as much as we would like to focus on our successes, we findourselves even more desperate for a cure than ever before. Why? There is incredibly important neuroblastoma research that is sittingout there, unfunded. If we don’t raise the funds needed to supportit, it simply won’t be an option for our children. Bottom-line, overthe next few months it is necessary for us to raise $500,000.00 forneuroblastoma research. While we would love to raise more this isjust the bare minimum of what is necessary. Without this funding wecan guaranty that there will be fewer options for our children and theones that follow in their footsteps. Without this funding, there willbe fewer trials than we have today and there will be fewer kids ontrial. That is the sad reality. It depends on us – you, your friendsand family - to make sure this does not happen.We can make a difference. We can make substantial change. There areover 400 families of children with neuroblastoma that areparticipating and we have a large voice. We need those researchdollars and we need people’s lunches. Please stand up with us againand fight for this very important neuroblastoma research.In these economic times, we appreciate that you, your family andfriends; just like us, are paying very close attention to where everydollar goes. We want you to know that your lunch money has, and willcontinue, to do great things. Over the years we have funded researchwhich we are all incredibly proud of, and you should be too. In fact,we would defy anyone to identify a single research proposal that ismore important or meaningful than what we have funded this year. Thatis what Lunch for Life is all about – funding research that isnecessary and meaningful.This year at the CNCF’s Neuroblastoma Conference for Parents andCaregivers I, on behalf of Lunch for Life and the CNCF, outlined manyof the proposals that we have helped fund. This presentation isonline, and covers much of the reasoning and rationale behind ourfunding. I encourage you to view the video to see an overview of theitems that our lunches have helped to fund. It can be found here:, over the next few weeks we plan to outline some of theincredible research we hope to fund in the coming years. This planwill go into detail as to why this research is so mission critical,and why this research will make a difference. This research is in ourhands, totally dependent upon the funds that we raise today.Our Giving Tree program is alive and well, and will continue againthis year. Each donation made in honor of a child with neuroblastomawill earn that child gifts under their tree. Those gifts will bemailed out at the end of the year to that family. In addition, eachminimum five dollar donation made in a child’s name will earn thatchild’s family a chance to win a Walt Disney Dream Vacation. Thedrawing will be held on December 25, 2008. Please visit the websiteto update your information, pictures and to view your family’s tree.We want to thank you again for your support of Lunch for Life. Remember, the concept is simple and if we all work together we cancontinue to create some amazing changes. It is just lunch, but ittruly does mean lives. We urge you to help us get the word out. Write email, make phone calls, post messages on your CaringBridgepages. Urge everyone you know to donate the cost of one day’s lunchto the Children’s Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation through Lunch forLife, and ask them to help spread the word. The process is simple. Just ask them to donate online at The more the better too, in the past we have had tremendous successby getting our employers and schools to help sponsor a Lunch for Lifeday. It is a great opportunity to help spread the word and mostimportantly get those research dollars.We will fund the cure.If you have any questions please feel free to contact me We have everything you need to help youraise money for research. We will supply you with flyers, posters,information and those coveted Lunch for Life lunch bags. Just let meknow what you need. Please also be sure to visit the website forsample emails, information, and ideas on how to best get the word out.With hope,Mark Dungan

Choc present handover

Hello dear Friends,

I trust and hope that this message finds you are well!

Yesterday Megs and I had the honor of handing over the Choc Christmas Gifts and Lego and T shirts donated by Sam and the Sutherland Students to Choc PTA! Both Yolande's from Choc were extremely grateful and overwhelmed on how much effort you all went to wrap the gifts so beautifully! They told Megs and I how lucky we were to have such wonderful friends in our lives and I could not agree with them more! But its not luck - Its Devine intervention from above that all our paths crossed! Thank you from the bottom of my heart and Meggies heart for the generosity and love shown to our choc project this year!
The Choc party is this Sunday - I promise I will take lots of photos and try and get photos of the children with the gifts you donated...

God bless you all and may I take this opportunity to wish you and your loved ones a blessed and merry Christmas and a wonderful and joyful 2009!

All our love,

Megs and Samm and Deqlan and the Higgins/Du Plessis/Bourne Family

Monday, November 24, 2008

More Birthday Surprises

Nix, Philip and Nats ( and Abigail!)

My little pilot!

I got a hole in one!
Daddy day care

Receiving my tribute from mom

my guardian angels on earth

peek a boo

Conrad and Meggie
Nix and me
Another surprise!

Oh my word! Nat's and Philip and Nix arriving
In the pool throwing NED Stones!


After a good nights rest and dreaming of the fantastic day before, we all woke up to a bright and Sunny Saturday morning. My first question to Mark was,'what time are we leaving, so i can start packing' Mark had the biggest smile across his face and said, 'we are not leaving today, we are leaving tomorrow!' what! you must be joking, surprise number 9! I was so very very happy and thrilled, i definitely wasn't ready to go home yet, we were all having to much fun , not to mention all the surprises that continued coming.....
I met Mom and Dee for breakfast and Mom told me , she had another surprise, we were not going home till Monday! Surprise number 10! I was ecstatic and just started laughing saying i couldn't believe it! I had invited the family around for a small potjie on Sunday - what was going to happen to that? Mom politely informed me that they had to phone and cancel with the people i had invited!
We had a lovely breakfast then took a walk to see the horses at Saddle and Trout, our time share next door! Its so strange to be in the midlands in November when it was so hot and everything so green!We are so used to the coldness and the rain in April! We had a great walk around and Deqlan enjoyed the putting greens and holes as he always does! We didn't realise though that because the air is so unpolluted how quickly you burn - well let me tell you we all burnt from that little half an hour walk! We went back to Lords of the manor and enjoyed a little swim! We tried to get Keaton in the pool to , but poor little thing was fighting his second tooth erupting and a case of baby measles , which we only found out later!
I wanted to tell you a story about Deqlan throwing the NED stones into the pool. When Deqlan and Nanna go on there walks, there is a little pool of water they pass each day. Nanna gives Deqlan three stones to throw into it - N - E - D - every time they walk. When Deqlan got to the pool, there were tiny little stones surroung the pool and he loosened quite a few of them and started throwing them in the pool - with each one we all shouted N - E - D he must have thrown at least a hundred in! I tried to get as many out as i could as i am sure the hotel wouldnt have been to impressed with a pool full of stones, but what a lovely symbol ! NED always please Dear Lord!
We enjoyed lounging on the lush grass and i was still reminiscing about the magic that happened the day before when a car pulled into the Manor - and i thought nothing of it, and continued chasing Deqlan round the hotel - when i came back out the entrance, i saw Meggie holding her camera in her hand with a big smile on her face and the next thing two heads of blonde hair appeared from nowhere! It was Nix and Nats!!!! Surprise number 10! It cant be! Philip had brought two of my closest friends to the Midlands to celebrate my birthday with me! The weekend before Nix and i were discussing we are going to have quite celebrations for our 30th, we didn't want anything big - well my friends, you are very good white liars! i cant believe you kept this such a surprise from me, i never suspected a thing! My nerves where shot from all the amazing surprises, i actually ordered a glass of wine! I had to sit down and realise what was going on - the most amazing surprises had been planned, just for me, all these people from my family and friends had made the most amazing effort to drive 4 hours to surprise me and celebrate my birthday with me - I AM SO LOVED!
We spent the rest of the afternoon meandering in the midlands, showing everyone why we love this little peace of paradise in the mountains so much. The boys ended up at the Bierfassl , watching the rugby and after a lovely lunch we went back to the manor to watch the dvd from our dolphin encounter the day before - i wish i could post it on the blog but its just to big! Ill have to show you when you come and visit us hey! We enjoyed some delicious hot chocolate as they fog descended upon us - the strangest thing about the midlands is that you get to experience 4 seasons in 1 day! From sunburning in the morning to pulling out your winter jackets for the evening!
My darling Mom had prepared the most stunning tribute to me, adorned with dolphins and trinkets of the beach and sea, but more stunning and meaningful then ever was the words written in my tribute from my mom and dee, megs and conrad and keaton, and even from my darling husband and precious son. While i read the words, my guardian angels had put to paper, my mom played 'IN MY DAUGTHERS EYES TO ME' - well you can imagine there was quite a fine waterworks display to be had! Thank you Darling Mom for the enormous amount of effort you put in this tribute and for making each moment of my birthday and of my life extra ordinary - nothing is to much for you , you never leave a single moment out of a moment - even down to the music! What can is say, you are amazing, i love you and appreciate you more then you will ever know.
We had a lovely supper together and all climbed into the most fluffiest, biggest, comfiest beds i have ever slept in , ready for what was waiting on Sunday, my actual Birthday - i still couldn't believe the amount of love gone into making my birthday truly unforgettable...what more surprises could there possibly be??????