Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Giftings :)....

Likely because of the legacy of my parents, some of my favorite gifts to give are hand made items. Growing up, we almost always had some home-crafted presents under wrappings. From doll clothes (that just so happened to match our christmas dress that year) to gorgeous pieces carved from wood, my house is still full of items that bear my parents "signature" in some way (my girls are still playing with doll clothes I used to cherish!) Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy getting and giving bought items too (the creativity is endless!!), but there's something about saying, "I made this just for YOU!" This year, between the fatigues of pregnancy, Sweet K's nighttime upheaval, and all around craziness of life, I wasn't able to do as many homespun gifts as I'd like. HOWEVER, I was able to squeeze in a few crochet moments :).....

This lovely scarf was a gift for my fashionista sister :).
She's always donning a new scarf or great accessories she's acquired somewhere.
Pattern: Mesh Posy Scarf

My second sister loves HATS! When I saw this funky pattern,
I simply could not resist.

Even Little Bro did not escape the crochet frenzy this year :).
Him & I have a long-standing love of classic Nintendo :)
and when he opened his gift this year, he laughed and laughed...

I had a lot of fun putting them together, and have already started more hats :).

Monday, December 21, 2009

How can it be that another year has passed!!

This morning, as I sat in my chair, basking in the silence and the cozy warm glow of the Christmas tree, I pencilled into my journal...
Monday, December 21, 2009 - Mikayla's 4th Birthday!!
"Four years ago today we met Mikayla face-to-face for the first time @ 3:39 a.m. What a great way to start the day!! Today, 4 years later, I smile. It is 7:30 a.m., the house is still quiet (except for Sweet K's occasional  squeak :)...) and here I sit, absorbing the moment. Another great way to start the day!"

In the respite of solitude I found my grounding for the day. Life has been full. Which is fine. It's the wonky nights that throw me for a loop!! And, of course, we've had both at the same time. And I wanted to be able to embrace and enjoy this day. Little M's 4th birthday party. What fun!!

With a shudder, I recalled the chaos of last year!! Once again, I discovered the joy of perspective :). This year, I LEARNED A LESSON. Or two. Or three.
1. Pick an easier "theme" to find "goody bag items" for!!!
2. Head out a little earlier in the day. This prevents sob-filled break-downs in the Dollarama parking lot :). Even shopping with kids in tow is better than not getting in a visit to the bargain bins!!!
3. Make it simple.

It helped that J was home on holidays this morning. He was able to get the girls fed and dressed for the day so that I could enjoy setting the last few things up. It helped that I did things in bits and pieces this week (pregnancy drains whatever energy you haven't used up throughout the day!!). And it helped that I  started my day off right. Quietly :).

We had so much fun!!

Here is the cake I made to help celebrate the day.

Notice the time on the clock when I actually BEGAN this project!!
My friends, that is not a.m., but p.m.

Two round little cakes awaiting icing.
Please take note of the nicely arranged spice cupboard.
It doesn't always look like that :P.

One hour later....

Little Tink, sittin' pretty!!

After a few short hours of sleep, it was time for the Big Day :). With a little "decorating" done the night before, this is what Little M woke up to on her special day :)...

The bargain store had little confetti in the shapes of Tinkerbells
that are actually STICKERS! Bonus :). This year we saved all those
"confettis"to be used on various craft projects :).

The few days before her birthday, Little M assured me in ALL seriousness that you simply
Birthday party
Of course, the one thing I HADN'T bought!!
Good thing we were planning to go shopping one more time :P.

These have to be my favorite finds!! Little Tinkerbell wings and wands!
These were part of the "goody bag" however, we also used them for a game --
The Dance of the Fairies!
Strap on the wings, crank up the worship music and let 'em fly!!!

My two little sweet peas :).

All in all it was a fun day. There were lots of giggles from every one :). What a great way to kick off the holidays!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Most Gracious Soul...

The past few days have been a whirlwind!

On Tuesday night, Sweet K decided NOW was the time to work on that 2-year molar. Sigh. I was up with her, no word of a lie from 12:30am-5:30am. Oh yeah, there was a brief break around 3, however Little M decided that she needed some TLC too, which also ended up disrupting Sweet K's slumber once again. Short night, followed by a looooong day :).

Wednesday included Little M's dance recital, which is a post all it's own! I'll save that precious saga for a different day!

Wednesday night was a bit better, however Thursday had many an adventure of it's own. A preschool christmas party in the morning (unfortunately I forgot to talk tylenol BEFORE, and certainly needed some AFTER!!), a quick lunch stop at home and the OFF to the city, all gals together ;), for some shopping fun? craziness? errands? :). At Dollarama I was convinced that instead of bringing Little M along, I'd grabbed an octopus instead!!! With incredible speed and accuracy, she was loading things I DID NOT WANT!!! into our stroller cart, which was getting all mingled up with things I did want!! AHHHH!! We scored some adorable bargains though (can't WAIT to do the post on Little M's upcoming Tinkerbell birthday party!! I am soooo excited!!) so it was worth it. Next stop, the MALL! A different mall than I'm used to, but the only one that had stores that I could call ahead and put items ON HOLD ;)! Off we trekked - and of course, on the way TO the bathroom, we pass by the PET STORE! We just had to watch these adorable pooches bouncing around for attention. Following the pit stop, the whining chatter was temporarily appeased with a snack. YEAH for snacks :). 2 hours later, after several tears, a few attempted getaways and some great finds :), we were headed for home. For a late supper. Which I had yet to put together.

Have I mentioned yet that the aforementioned tylenol had worn off right about now :)?

We were sharing a family dinner and there was a light knock at the door. I almost missed it, but so glad I didn't! There was a lovely, gracious soul, bearing the gift of HOME MADE COOKIES!! And not just 3 cookies, but THREE CONTAINERS -- BIG CONTAINERS!! -- of home made, delightful, sugary, tasty yummy CHRISTMAS COOKIES!!!!! After reading my last post, this kind person decided that she would bless me with baking! I'm not sure what thrilled me more --- having someone read my blog ;P or the fact that someone wanted to honor my family and I with such a gracious gift. My kids eyes were as round as saucers when I'm showed them!! All Sweet K (who is still teething and not eating her dinner very easily!) could say was "DAT DAT DAT DAT DAT DAT DAAAAAT!!!"and Little M squealed with delight. J looked pretty happy too!

It was so humbling to receive such a gift. I wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry! Either way :), however I choose to relax this evening, it will DEFINITELY include a tasty cookie treat!!!

You know who you are :). Thank you so much!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Yuletide confessions...

I am allll about feeling ... cozy :). Some people gravitate towards beauty, others toward romance, and still others seek out heat and sunshine ----- I am thrilled with a cup of something steamy, twinkling lights, flurries, a soft turtleneck sweater and all things snug and comfy. Really. All this does my soul good.

I love the way fall colors blend into the first snow fall, when I get to reorganize my closet and whip out all my favorite sweaters and the old stand by pair of cords. This fall I had the thrill of unpacking my maternity clothes at the same time, delighting in finding the shirt I wore when Sweet K made her arrival and reveling in a few new-to-me items :). Good times!

However, this season brings with it some angst as well. A few confessions :)....

1. I don't really like christmas baking. Let me rephrase that. I don't like MAKING christmas baking. I really ENJOY eating it (especially when other people have put it together!!!). SO this year, I have abandoned the pressure-filled tradition of cookin' up something tasty and pretty. I might make a few favorite cookies, the kind that go over really well and I'm not tossing out the dried out ones at the end of the week :). But no major baking spree for me this christmas. I have decided to save this tradition for when it is meaningful for the kids as well. Then we can all decorate tasty treats together and craft our memories in fun!!

2. Christmas shopping stresses me out!!
- It is not because I don't enjoy giving people gifts. Because I do.
- It is not because J&I are NOT early shoppers. We shop the 2nd week of December (though we have r.e.a.l.l.y. detailed lists well before that - does that count :P?), and definitely the 3rd week. (I find that other people freak out about my not-finished-christmas-shopping far sooner than I do!!!)
- Full malls do not intimidate me (it's the -40 windchill with kids combo that prompts me to stay home!!). In fact, I ENJOY the craziness (well, maybe not the long trek across the walmart parking lot!). You see the funniest people! (Well, they see me too, so I can say that!!).
- The thing that stresses me out most is the fear of disappointing people! Nothing worse (okay, maybe there are a few things worse!!) than searching your heart and scouring the malls (or your own creativity) for the perfect gift, only to see that it was not meaningful at all to the one you love. And let's face it, some people are just plain impossible to shop for!!!

3. I really really really r.e.a.l.l.y dislike the question, "Are you ready for Christmas?" I know it's just a good conversation starter, like the weather or the things that your kids are doin' that are drivin' you crazy, but it chafes at me like a pair of tight leather pants on a hot summer day (not that I've actually worn such, but just the thought makes me shudder :P).

Why? Why does this bother me so?

- It adds to the perception that life is a race. The first person with their tree up and shopping done, wins. Sigh. I know this is not the intention of the question, but it's the pressure I feel with these kinds of conversations. Silly, but true.
- It triggers that aforementioned issue I have with gift-giving :P. And an ongoing issue I have with procrastination :)!!
- But mostly, because it's such a casual conversation that resonates deep meanings in my heart. This advent season I've been reflecting on material provided through our church conference. At first I was skeptical - would these short devotions be relevant (or understandable!!) for me at this season in my life? But they have spoken deeply to me. In the ambient light of the christmas tree, reflecting over coffee, journal and bible, I am challenged beyond the nativity story. I am called to examine again and celebrate with thanksgiving the freedom I've experienced because of my Savior (which has not been an easy journey). Increasingly, my attention has been drawn to the return of the King and the kingdom of justice, mercy and love He is beginning now and will establish in entirety at some point in history. And I am forced to ask myself questions - am I using the talents and time He has given for His glory? Am I truly surrendered to participating in serving Him, rather than getting lost in the distractions of life? In what ways am I contributing to injustice without even thinking of it? And more. So much more. I love the story of Advent - the liberty that came and the liberty to come! And I am challenged into self-examine, with no guarantee of what I will find and wrestle with.

Am I ready for Christmas? Go ahead - ask. I dare you :). I will smirk because it is a sticky question for me. Yes - I have lights up, garlands in place, I have lists like you wouldn't believe, some presents bought that I am TOTALLY PSYCHED about giving :) (others, I hope, that will do just fine!!) and I am on a christmas-baking strike, so that's one other thing off the list!! But am I ready for Christ's return? Yes and no. I cannot imagine that moment when I get to thank Him face to face for all he has done. Gives me chills just thinking of it. But no - there is much more person for me to become and much more that I hope to do in gratitude before that moment arrives.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The best 10 minutes of my day :)...

Yesterday was a good day, all things considered!
... I spent a significant amount of time in the kitchen, and all culinary concoctions actually turned out! (This is unusual. Typically I require therapy after coming out of the kitchen :P).
... I've been discovering the joy of finding myself "present" in each activity of the day - instead of rushing ahead or mentally working through situations that are not my present circumstance - I try to find the contentment of focusing on the "here and now." This slows me down, enables me to enjoy a moment (or not, if momma needs a b.r.e.a.k.!!), and helps me tackle the issue of the moment as fully as possible. I'm such a newbie at this, but it is freeing and exciting :)
... Little M's enthusiasm for the christmas program practice was contagious! One of the projects I tackled this year was to pull together a christmas program for our church. I love LOVE the creative part, pulling things together, allowing ideas to percolate -- and I get anxious ANXIOUS about the execution of it! However, yesterday I glimpsed that childhood wonder of christmas programs, excitement, anticipation - and it was contagious! I even squealed with delight myself :).

But the best part of my day was at 10:38pm. Little M should've long been asleep, but because of an afternoon nap, she was finding it difficult to settle down. I was getting quite exasperated already, and finally with threats of removing beloved stuffies if she ventured out again, I tucked her in one final time.
"Mommy, will you snuggle with me?"
Argh. Another stall tactic. "No. It's time for bed."
Being more of the "law and order" type, I tend to lean towards boundaries, consequences, etc. But as I sat on the edge of Little M's bed, I also realized that these types of requests will not last forever. So, I snuggled in and discovered the most precious moment of my day. She put her hand on my arm, scooched in beside me, tucking her head under mine. "Love you mommy." "Love you too, baby." In two minutes she was out, settled by the comfort of my warmth and nearness.
And there, when almost all my energy was spent, I discovered the best moment of my day!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Life's Unforgettable Moments :)!!

Every day, I wish that there are things I could remember forever.
If I could, I would gather these sweet moments that teach me or make me laugh right out loud and bottle them to keep forever and ever.
I know that I can never recall them all - or even a fraction of them.

Last week I had one of those moments.

It was the first real snowfall of winter. (We've had snow in October, but that didn't count!!) Little M could NOT wait to get outside and play. After tucking Sweet K in for her nap, I summoned as much energy as I could and out we went. While Little M made tracks in the snow, I swept off loose snow and shoveled off accumulated ice. We giggled as we skidded and slipped around :). We were heading through the garage to the fresh snow of the front yard when Little M slipped in her snowy boots and fell - directly bumping her tender, cold little cheek on the shovel. OUCH! Bleed bleed (any owie oozing red!!) was happening, so in we rushed, tears and all, to clean the gash right away.

Later that night, as we were saying prayers before bed, I asked Little M what she would like to thank Jesus for. Snow. Lights. What would she like to say sorry to Jesus for? "Mommy, tonight you need to say sorry to Jesus" was her reply! Ohhhhh? "What for?" I ask, suspecting she was thinking something specific, but unsure what it might be (after all, ain't I the perfect momma :P?). "For hitting me in the head with a shovel!!"

I laughed. And laughed. I also took her request seriously, explaining that our little mishap was an accident, but mommy could say sorry for not being more careful :P.

Sorry, Jesus, for those times in my day when my carelessness, ignorance or short-sightedness wounds another. Help me to be more care-full.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Our weekend getaway...

Let the detox begin :)....
The anxious twitch - what - or worse, WHOM!! - am I forgetting!?
Feeling slightly restless - is it wrong for me to just sit and veg in front of the tube :)?
The dull headache you've had for a while but just haven't realized it...
Ah yes. The affects of withdrawal from a busy life!

Last weekend J & I had the opportunity to spend a weekend at a cabin in the woods. It was delightful! The smell of pine trees and cedar cabin is truly divine. The quiet rustle of the wind in the trees, the deer right outside our cabin window, and the sugar-powder snowfall that greeted our eyes on Sunday morning - all wonderfully perfect. It was our first full weekend away without kids (the first in 4 years!!!) and it is something we shall do again :P. What, next weekend maybe :P?

It is hard to slow down, though. I had bad dreams about forgetting responsibilities and showing up late for everything. It is a challenge to intentionally slow the rush and resist the tide of "busy" that threatens to drown us all.

But it is so worth it.

When we picked up the girls from my parents, I asked mom if her ears were ringing yet :P. Mine, delightfully, had stopped somewhere along the way! She just laughed. Yes. They were :).

I desired to bring that unhurried pace into our week, but flus, bad nights, feeling downright crappy and trying to get back into routine reminded me that life happens, and the rest that happens in the midst of that can look different. A visit with a dear friend. Setting aside the towering list of chores. Letting the tears come if they will. Breathing.

The coming days will be full of good things, but full nonetheless. Here's to finding rest in the midst of it all!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Simply nesting .... nesting simply....

It has felt like chaos around here.
The month of November has flown by.

Yesterday was a day all it's own.

Preschool drop-off
Development appointment #1 - meet and greet new people who are a part of our development team
Development appointment #2 - goes well, but explore plans to integrate a new method of speech therapy
Preschool pick-up (which, I am happy report, I was actually NOT late for!!)
A trip to local grocer (these are always ... interesting!)
Lunch. Settle the feathers for a few minutes.
Baking. Guilt kicks in because I haven't let the girls "help" me bake in a while. So, everyone grabs a chair, scuttles up to the counter and we begin the dump and pour and mix process.
Nap - which was actually, delightfully uninterrupted.
Get moving again, sans caffeine, since any coffee or regular tea past 10 am makes me ill. This is rough :P.
Vacuum. Clean the house. Again.
Get supper ready. Again.
J staying late at work to meet with other kids' parents. This means a looonnnngg day.
Because we all had such successful naps, the girlies are bouncing around until 9:30pm.
I. Get. Tired.

Thankfully, not all days are like this. But in the midst of this chaos there is a growing desire for simplicity. Of speech. Of commitment. Of heart and soul and life. Fueled (of course) by a book I'm reading and rereading (Freedom of Simplicity - Richard Foster - um, fast becoming a favorite author!) and brief (somewhat traumatizing!!!) flashbacks to this time last year - the Great Birthday Party Mayhem :) - and the Trip to the Strip (sounds racy - really it was family time in VEGAS!!).

This year, I've set out Christmas decorations. Lots of lights (because I am highly addicted to colored mini lights!!), a few greeneries, a nativity scene and a few other pretty things.

But I kept it simple. No Better Homes 'N Gardens pressure for me this year :).

Tonight we get to have a family fun night. Pizza party followed by loud christmas tunes, a dance party, some chocolate treats AND the DECORATING of the CHRISTMAS TREE. Fun. But simple.

It is delightfully freeing to carve out the unnecessaries and embrace the simple, lovely, elegant.
A smile. A kind word.
And linger in the moment.

And speaking of moments, the kids are fighting and biting and a sense a monsoon growing from the tub.
Better run!!!!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Little words every soul needs to hear....


Sweet K climbed up on the stool at the bathroom counter. As she brushed her teeth, I combed her soft sweet hair. I leaned down and whispered in her ear ... "You are beautiful." Her smile lit up the room.

Little M swoops in for a quick snuggle somewhere between playing dolls and puzzles. I squeeze her back, smelling her freshly bathed hair. "You are beautiful."

For now, their definition of beauty is simple, sweet. It is unaffected by the world's warped views, where exterior is the only point of worth. Somehow, they sense, it is inner and outer, character and feature. It is something they feel and it is also in the eye of the beholder.

As they grow older, I hope I can pass along the value of beauty to them. To show them it is different than the world around them screams it should be.

Until then we practice every day...
To me.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Gratitude - Wanderin' through the Word...

This is a post I've been wanting to do for a long time! Expressing thanksgiving (or at least the beginnings of it!!) for the Scriptures that God has used to breathe life into me since I started taking His Word seriously 12 years ago. This post won't be long enough for allll the verses that have become meaningful to me, but it is a starting point....

Psalm 16: 2, 5-8, 11
2 I said to the LORD, "You are my Lord;
       apart from you I have no good thing."

5 LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup;
       you have made my lot secure.

6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
       surely I have a delightful inheritance.

 7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;
       even at night my heart instructs me.

 8 I have set the LORD always before me.
       Because he is at my right hand,
       I will not be shaken.

11 You have made [e] known to me the path of life;
       you will fill me with joy in your presence,
       with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Proverbs 4:23
Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

Matthew 11:29-30 (The Message)
Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

Job 19:25
25 I know that my Redeemer lives,
       and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.

Psalm 46:10
10 "Be still, and know that I am God;
       I will be exalted among the nations,
       I will be exalted in the earth."

Ecclesiastes 5:1, 2
Stand in Awe of God
 1 Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong. 2 Do not be quick with your mouth,
       do not be hasty in your heart
       to utter anything before God.
       God is in heaven
       and you are on earth,
       so let your words be few.

Revelation 21:6-7
6He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.

Psalm 86:11-13

11 Teach me your way, O LORD,
       and I will walk in your truth;
       give me an undivided heart,
       that I may fear your name.

 12 I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart;
       I will glorify your name forever.

 13 For great is your love toward me;
       you have delivered me from the depths of the grave.

Lamentations 3:22-23

22 Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
       for his compassions never fail.

 23 They are new every morning;
       great is your faithfulness.

Psalm 27: 13-14

13 I am still confident of this:
       I will see the goodness of the LORD
       in the land of the living.

 14 Wait for the LORD;
       be strong and take heart
       and wait for the LORD.

What words have brought you life?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A moment worth the wait!!

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of NESCAFE. All opinions are 100% mine.

I am a coffee-a-holic.
My drug of choice :).

However, when I'm pregnant, but some strange force of hormonal nature, I rarely crave that cup of joe. It's weird. I do ... enjoy ... a cup or so in the morning, just to get things started off right ... but it lacks lustre!! But once that baby is out, and I mean almost instantaneously, a cup of steaming coffee is a great reward (not that a beautiful little baby isn't a reward :P....).

So, come the end of May, I suspect my caffeine intake will skyrocket once again (not only will I actually crave coffee :) - but scrambled nights and 3 kids will require it!!!).

Even so.... when I see machines like this, my mouth waters. Imagine, all that coffee yummy-ness with the touch of a button!!

And guess WHAT!! It's WINNABLE!! Visit NESCAFE Dolce Gusto machine for your chance to win a super duper gift like this :).

Complete with a trendy design and all the bells and whistles, you can create instant, yummy coffee-esque beverages tailored to your preference of frothiness, creaminess, heat, and coffee strength. High quality coffee beans are used to brew hot AND cold treats, including an option for HOT CHOCOLATE! Ahhhh.

I am envisioning that perfect quiet moment that settles over the house once all babes are tucked in bed. Brew a favorite treat or try something new :), and head out onto the deck for a moment all to one's self (in my vision there is also no such thing as mosquitos!!!).

Doesn't that sound grand!?

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

A few little rants...

This has been building all week.

Why is it that.....
a) when your "poor sleeper" actually sleeps through the night, the "good sleeper" more than makes up for the nocturnal activity!?!?! I swear, these kids are in kahoots to keep me sleep-deprived and feeling crazy!

b) that the most favorite "play spots" are also the most germ infested - ie. the dirty dishwasher, the washroom, the sink drain. Yuck. YUCK. Y.U.C.K. I can't tell you how many times I say "Get OUTTA the dishwasher"!! TO kids AND dog!!

c) that your best hair days happen when you're at home, with kids, with no plans of dollin' up and headin' out ANYWHERE.

I feel Alanis Morissette's Ironic coming on!!

Okay. My rant is done.
I feel so much better.
Still sleepy, but better. :)
Happy weekend everyone!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Leah vs. The Spider....

My day started off with a hunt.
Not an easter egg hunt. Those cadbury eggs are yummy!
Not a bargain hunt. Lookin' at the calendar, it'll be a while before I am out on my own again :).

It started off with a

And I am NOT a fan of spiders.

This tale of woe (and eventual victory!!) starts off in the bedroom. I went to make the bed. (I have an issue about my bed being made that is really quite nuts, but, I MUST make my bed, even before I leave my house, because if I come home and the bed is NOT MADE, my world completely falls apart!!! This is not a universal quirk, because my kitchen counter can look like a disaster, and I'm really okay! I will even make my bed, if for some uncanny reason it has not yet been done, just BEFORE BED so I can climb into a made bed. It's very weird.) I moved my fluffy pillows off the floor and there. On the baseboard. Was a spider.

Not a daddy long legger.
Not a puffy little eight-legged friend.
This was one mean, lean lookin' arachnid.

Thinking I had time to grab a shoe, I tossed my pillows on the bed.
When I looked down, it. was. GONE!!!
The place where I SLEEP!! MY SANCTUARY! What if it crawled up onto my head while I was dreaming! They say the average person eats 8 spiders in their lifetime. What if this was one of mine!?!? I didn't have my glasses, so everything looked kinda fuzzy. Then I saw motion.

Not only was it ugly, it was a speedy little bugger too.

And it went under the bed.

Sigh. I would never sleep again.

I grabbed the broom, cleared out the one and only thing under my bed, grabbed my specs and started to HUNT. To my credit, there is only a little bit of dust under the bed. Nothing else. But I could NOT locate the spider.

Seeing that I needed to have the girls and myself out the door in just over an hour, I had little time to spare.  I left the broom handy just in case I discovered my little stealthy rival.

As I was drying my hair, Little M lets out a squeal! Apparently, she had just seen a bug with three legs. (THREE? EIGHT? Who's counting, right :P?) And it had skittered into THEIR ROOM! The chase was back on, with me lifting things off the floor, and her hawk-eyes that never miss A THING looking for our bug.

And there it was. Freaky lookin' critter. Cowering by Sweet K's crib. In a moment of bravery, I took off my slipper, gave it a good whack whack WHACK! It put up a valiant effort, but I was bigger.

The look of adoration in Little M's eyes was totally worth it.

A feeling of victory coursed through my veins as we did the "We Killed The Spider" dance.
It was a good way to start the day :).

In the spirit of classic rock.... Weeee are the champions..... WEEEE are the champions.  NO time for loooosers .... cause we are the chammppions! Of the world!! (fun song, terrible unitard!!!)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Gratitude - Celebrate Good Times, C'Mon!!

Hey. I've mentioned Kool And The Gang before :).
It's one funky little tune that always comes to mind when there's a lot of fun activity going on.

Disclaimer :): Just because it's been a couple of weeks since I've posted a "Gratitudes" certainly doesn't mean I'm not thankful!! These are grace-filled days. There is much to celebrate. I just always take the time to note it down :).

These past few weeks have been filled with fun. [Uh - mostly. Some days have been pretty ultra crappy too!!!]

Ten highlights for the Gratitude List are ....... in no particular order  ..... except maybe the way the jumped at me from the calendar :) ......

1. Spending time with my sister-in-laws at the local Olive Garden!! It's the first time we've ever ever ever done this (and I've been in the family for 11 years!!). And it was a lot of fun. Great pasta, good laughs and a different perspective on life. What a great way to spend a Friday night!!

2. Care group. We belong to a church family. And within that family, we have discovered and developed a fabulous care group. One night we got together as couples - sans children!! - and had a blast! It was so good to laugh and talk and connect over great food (if you see a theme running through my entries, it will likely revolve around food :P) and continue exploring and appreciating this gift of friends.

3. Wednesday night prayer meetings. Once a month, a group of us get together to pray for things that are "beyond our four walls." Issues that God is stirring in our hearts. Prayer for a broken world, prayer to be broken for the world, prayer to make a difference in a world that is lost and hurting. Sometimes we pray for the practical things and sometimes we pray beyond that, but through it, God is teaching me what it means to come together with other passionate people to seek and serve Him. Truly amazing.

4. I had the coolest opportunity one day. A really great guy made me lunch!! Okay. That sounds a little odd :). My brother, the youngest of our 4-kid crew, had me and my girlies over for lunch one day. We had to go check out his new apartment (the girls were mightily impressed by the larger-than-life tv :). Ah to be young again!!). He made us soup and sandwiches for lunch. In Little M's words "Uncle Mark makes really good sandwiches Mommy!!" Yes. Yes he does. They're definitely not as "toasted" as mine usually are!!! And we had a fabulous visit. I am blessed with great siblings. I was almost 8 when he was born, and I remember it as clear as a bell. He is funny funny FUNNY. And makes great grilled cheese sandwiches. The BEST part, though, was when he asked if I wanted TEA after lunch :). Of course :)! Who could resist!!!

5. As a kid, I loved trick-or-treating. My mom got right into the whole costume thing, and flipping through old photo albums, you'll always see us dressed up as something fun. These year we decided to dress up the girls and take them girls to a few homes (carefully screened, so that I knew nothing scary would freak them out!!). We had a blast! Okay, getting in and out of the van 5 times in an hour was tedious, but Little M caught onto "trick-or-treat" pretty quick! Sweet K was just happy to be holding a pail. Little M was a butterfly bug and Sweet K cuddly care bear. Squeezable!

6. Some of the biggest highlights happen over the phone, actually. Throughout my week I've had an amazing opportunity to connect with a few gals I love LOVE to spend time with, but life and distance makes that almost impossible!! Sometimes it's a day or two, or even a month or two, and those precious conversations just flow on. I cherish those times of connection that happen even while I'm at home, doing the mundane things of at-home-ness (folding laundry, another round in the kitchen...). With the laughter and story-swapping comes clarity, direction, appreciation, love. I'm far beyond my teen years, but I still enjoy the phone :P.

7. Snuggling in with the family. Whether it's playtime after the dishes are done (and that "interesting" stretch of time before bed in which I am totally exhausted and they are just winnnnnding up!), lingering at the table or a movie at the girls are tucked away, I enjoy times together. Just doing normal "family stuff." No pressures. No agenda. Just being. It is good.

8. HAIR CUTS! I could go for a haircut every. single. week. They are sooooo relaxing :). Even with the girls along. This time, Little M got a trim,  and Sweet K's hair got a little "help." It was her first "official" haircut. Long bangs are adorable, but slightly impractical in our home, for some reason. Maybe some day. I got tired of looking for all the little clips (and secretly freaking out that Sweet K had stuck it in her mouth, which has actually happened a couple of times!) and her hair is ALWAYS a conversation piece! Soooo, she did splendid for her first time in the "hair chair" :) - and suddenly she looks --- older. Waaa!

9. My mom came to visit. I love my mom's visits! We sit and drink coffee (well, not too much coffee for me these days, because it just doesn't sit well) and talk about all the same stuff we've ever talked about, only it's still fun :). Something new always emerges at some point :P. The kids LOVE grandma's visits. And for the occassion I whipped up fresh buns AND fresh banana muffins to go with home made chicken noodle soup. What a fabulous way to spend the day!

10. Back to care group one more time. Us 6 gals went out for supper ALONE! What a BLAST! Wow. First, conversations without kids are always deeper, better. And conversations without kids AND husbands --- I'm still laughing. And shaking my head. And marveling at this fun batch of girls :). I will never tell some of the secrets I've learned - pinkie swear :P - but I can say this. Girl nights are a lot of fun :)!!!

In amongst all this good ness :) I really DID get some work done :). I cooked and cleaned (and cooked and cleaned!!), "trained children" (aka. we're working on sharing. I tell you, this is hard work!!), met with development therapists and tried to work on their recommendations, boiled stinky diapers so that they are lovely, fresh and squeaky clean :P, scrubbed bathrooms, vacuumed, and tended to a dog that had too close a shave with the clipper. We practiced abc's some music lessons and lots of rhyming :). Sweet K is learning new sign language, which has been fun.

Okay. Sing out loud with me now.... Celebrate good times, C'Mon!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Locks & Keys...

I love learning.
I'm not always quick at it, but I love it. :)
I love finding out things about myself (even the tough stuff), about the world around me, definitely about the people in my world, my God - oh the joy of discovery.

But it can be sooooo frustrating, too. One of the biggest struggles I've experienced with Sweet K is the inner pull to focus on the pressure to learn, to teach, to achieve milestones, to obsess about the differences between normal and not. It's a tough balance - and a fine line - between guiding/facilitating and forcing.

In the past few weeks, though, she's been going through her own little learning explosion! So have I, in many ways.  I have discovered what I call little "keys" - insights into her learning patterns that unlock a pocket of discovery. And it's such a delight! Whether it's a gentle, guiding hand that helps her concentrate, firm insistence encouraging her to carry through tasks I know she can do, or using the many varied opportunities throughout the day to teach new little communications (she's starting to catch on to signing, and not just with me, but with others too, which is really a surprise!!) -- the process can be long and arduous, but it's worth it!

And really, it's not so different than my own journey. I can think of many people who've been woven forever into my life - some for a moment, others for the long haul (their patience humbles and astounds me :P) - who've provided the "keys" for my own personal discovery. Some lessons were a complete surprise, other dreams were locked away so tightly I (almost) forgot they existed. Each time a little corner is unlocked, I discover joy, healing, faith, peace, friendship, Love.

Is searching for the "keys" frustrating :)!? YES!! Sometimes, almost unbearably so!!! But the perseverance is worth it. Who knows what discoveries await tomorrow!!!

Monday, November 2, 2009


I've come to the conclusion that very little makes me crankier than the feeling of being overwhelmed.

Sometimes it's the big things. Like the things I'd change about myself if I had a magical wand. Or the things I'd change in the world if I had a magical wand. Or the things I'd fix for those I love.


And sometimes it's the little things. Like trying to get out the door on time (which never happens!!) without blowing a gasket. Or it's been a week since I vacuumed and there's enough hair on the floor to weave a small rug (I thought short hair wasn't supposed to do that!!!). Or you can't even blink without being interrupted!! Or the toys are everywhere, my thoughts are everywhere and it's hard to know where to begin, end and focus!!!

I wish I had an instant solution for this feeling of being overwhelmed.
Because I do not like it at all. 
I've been spinning my wheels all week.
Next week will be slower, I say to myself.
Next week I will pace myself better, I promise.
Sometimes I follow through, other times I don't.

Today was all about making a house a home.
Gentle(r) words :P, tidied corners, slowing down a little.
Accepting that there are some things you can change --- and others that you can't.
I'm starting to breathe easier again.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Oooh la la is all I can SAY!

Okay. It was a dream that began when I worked as a travel agent.

Yes, I worked as a travel agent! It feels like a completely different lifetime, but it wasn't actually - only the mid-90s - and it sure was FUN!!!

But one day, when I was organizing brochures, I came across the info packages for NEW ZEALAND!!!

Until then, I was interested in Europe, perhaps Mexico (only something hot, sunny and relaxing!), but after seeing the gorgeous pics, the varied activities, and the culture life, I was HOOKED!

I can't resist peeking, sometimes! I get notices of seat sales or room sales, and ack! The travel bug in me needs to browse!!

For example, Accor Hotels 3-Day Super Sale Asia Pacific is hosting a massive hotel sale!! Reservations must be made  between Oct 27-29, 2009 but travel can be anywhere from December 09 - April 10! Countries include Thailand, Korea, China, Japan, HK, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Fiji, Indonesia, Taiwan, India, Bali. 


And the hotels look simply glamorous! Can you imagine waking up, donning that fluffy terry cloth bathrobe, sipping a cup of coffee and just --- being!??!? Delightful!!

Okay. So, J&I have made reservations at a local resort for a weekend in November to celebrate our 10-year anniversary (which was technically in July, and we got away for one night then, but we thought we'd sneak in a getaway in fall too!). But, I don't know :).... maybe we should dream a bit bigger and head to New Zealand for a week before the baby is born wink wink!!

He he he.... click here to take a peak at the amazing rates for your dream destination. I'm sure your husband will looooooove you for it!!!!! Where would you head off to could pack your bags and not think twice :)?


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The emails we get to send.....

I've haven't set up a post in a week! Where does the time go!? Ack! I blame naps, even-lower-than-normal energy levels, and a very mushy brain!!! 

Here's why :).... Last week, I got to send out a great-big-fun email to friends I haven't spoken to in a little while....

Hi friends :).
Generally you only get an email out like this when there's...
bad news, 
good news, 
or someone is trying to sell you something :).

Well, it's not the first OR the last option!

We are doing much celebrating of life over here these days....
1. Kezia has decided to start sleeping much better at night. (Hallelujah jubilee!!!) This makes a happier mommy (she's always happy!). Really. You have no idea how thrilled I am about this!!
2. We managed to repaint the entire house this summer (on the inside - quite the ordeal!) and we got a bunch of new windows (okay, so our bank account isn't as happy about that :P...). Feelin' good about that!
3. Jon is totally swamped at work, but is still really enjoying his role at the SRSS as Guidance Counselor. Yeah for good work!!
4. The rest of us enjoy our days at home. There is much activity to be involved in, but there is a good balance between work, life, sleep and the occasional Law & Order episode :). (Well, Jon might argue with that! He's a pretty busy guy!!)
Really, the list of blessings is endless. We are grateful.

HOWEVER, the BEST NEWS of ALL :).....
We've decided to have another baby!!
We're crazy, we know. :P.
We're due at the end of May, so that makes me 9 weeks along now. 
I am feeling great (a daily gift of grace from our Heavenly Father!) and we are at peace with this decision (another gift of grace!).

So, is the third time, "the charmer:)?"
Well, we think both of our girlies are pretty charming (albeit one is pretty sassy!!) and my sister hopes I have a rowdy, rambunctious boy who dangles from the chandelier!!

In case we don't have the chance to see you in the next few weeks (or months, as some of your are quite far away!!), we wanted to share our good news with you.
As you are led, please join us in praying for a healthy, developmentally normal baby (oh yeah, and textbook delivery at Steinbach Hospital in which I can utilize a birth plan that I am COMFORTABLE WITH!!!).
Thanks for celebrating with us!

So, I'm still feeling great - but rather tired. And have a seemingly-insatiable craving for all things salt-related. Which I'm trying not to indulge ... all the time :).

The days fly by fast. On Sunday I got to show Little M a model of a baby at 12 weeks in utero. As she gently cradled the little bitty babe in her palm, I marveled at the little one who is already so much a part of our family. I wonder at who (s)he will be? Likes? Dislikes? A good sleeper :)? (hey, you only have to have ONE who is not, and you are forever hoping that the rest will be!!!).

It has been an "interesting" emotional and spiritual path to arrive at this place; a journey that I definitely did not always want or embrace. However, it is good. So very good.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fun projects!

Ahhh! FINALLY I got a chance to tackle some fun projects I've been wanting to do for a while. Okay, not all of them were a fun PROCESS, mind you, but I'm glad they're done!

First up - a quote I found in a Stampin' Up magazine. After our journey with Sweet K I just knew I needed those words on my wall somewhere. I'm not into spending a lot of money (and I think J would share a few words with me if I spent $50+ on wall words!!!) so I had to get a bit creative in how this was going to come together.

Sigh. This is how the project started out. A 12x16 Dollarama canvas, "homemade" brown paint (because my tube was all dried and crusty!!! and the initial cream base was just not workin' for me!), and printed letters on computer paper transferred to the canvas using carbon paper.

Lessons I learned....
Mistake #1 - Haste makes waste. It really does. I was completely imprecise in transferring the letters onto the canvas and once they were painted it was even worse. Not sure you can tell in these photos, but Round 1 looked like el crappo. I was not happy. Chuck it or fix it? A frantic phone call to my sis who paints gave me the umph to keep trying!!

Mistake #2 - Use a firm surface. Writing on a canvas is tricky. Writing on a canvas with a nice firm book underneath? Much much better!

Mistake #3 - A dull pencil. Oi. Come on Leah! Once I switched to a nice, precise ball-point pen, it was a lot easier going :).

The finished product, displayed in my dining room.

Project #2 - Some wall ... "art?" for the bathroom. Inspired by a link I found on One Pretty Thing, this is what I hung over the bathroom towel bar... that blank spot has been buggin' me for NINE YEARS! It was time to do .... something!

And a few other touches....

We had an old mirror lying around. I bought the frame at MCC for a buck and repainted the mat. The left side candle holder is a $3 treasure from IKEA and the shelf is from my dad, who creates amazing things with wood and then gives them to us as gifts :P. I'm looking for a few flameless candles to stick into these candle holders because they are a bit safer than tea lights and from a distance, no one would know the difference anyway!!

I'm always on the search to make our bedroom a cozy place to be. And now that we are not presently sharing it with any children (and I even moved the playpen OUT for naptimes!!), it feels like it is MINE (well, OURS!!) again :P. I've been working on this for some time, and like how it's turning out....

My sister created this painting for me when I was pregnant with Sweet K. I've been looking for just the right place to hang it and found it! (Check out her online gallery for more gorgeous pics!!) The lovely desk is a christmas gift from my dad when I was but a teen (many many moons ago already!!).

These projects have been a lot of fun.
But now, I think it's time to clean up the carrots and beets that survived the gardening year before tackling the girls room and the living room and the lobby and the repainting touch ups here and there!!!


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