Saturday, December 30, 2006

Little Princess



These pictures aren't of the best qualities, my apologies. The cloudy one down here says that my little baby is 2 feet 8 inches tall. Making her officially half as tall as me. And she's not even 2 yet! I can't believe how big she is already. It feels like just yesterday she was joining our family. We got this height chart for her awhile ago and were waiting until we painted her room to put it up. The room isn't painted, but we decided not to wait. After measuring herself she stepped away and told me quite confidently "I a Princess." Yes Isabella, you're a princess.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Back to the Grind

After Christmas gifts we all had naps and watched tv for a bit. Then Nick headed off to work and I took the girls to the youth pastors house for their family gathering. The majority of the people there were teens so it was a very fun time. We stayed until 1:00am. Belle was awake the whole time. Good good times. We crashed on Boxing Day, hit Costco for some groceries and then had Christmas Dinner as a family with some friends. We put the girls to be and watched The Break Up, which we greatly enjoyed.

But now it's December 27th and it's back to the grind. I think something died in my fridge. I like to take December 27-31 and do a huge cleaning in my house, like everyone else's spring cleaning. So that's on the agenda. We're letting Brooklyn cry it out a bit for naps and sleeping, which is always harder after a week of being held by eager arms. There aren't any huge events on our calender to look forward to. The bills are all there waiting to be paid and all that other every day stuff. Christmas is definitely over here. I just have to finish cleaning up after it. The every day makes me a bit anxious, but we'll just keep doing each day at a time and before we know it Christmas will be here again.

Christmas Day!

Belle saw her picture on the presents right away. She went diving for her kitchen set. We got her a cup of milk and read the Christmas Story then we went into opening gifts. Belle got three main gifts: clothes, a kitchen with plastic food and some pots and pans and musical instruments. But we wrapped each thing individually. Funny us. Never again. Here are some pictures of our morning. We gave Brooklyn an activity thingy, I'll put some pics of her playing in it later. Then there were gifts from family and friends which had all been opened before Christmas morning.

Christmas Eve in Photos



I uploaded the pictures backwards, so here's our Christmas Eve in reverse. This is our Christmas tree waiting for the girls in the morning. Well, technically waiting for Isabella as there is one gift under there for Brooklyn. We wrapped Isabella's three gifts in individual pieces so it looked like a lot of loot. We learned our lesson the next morning when she was bored after three presents.





This is the Alphabet Wall all finished up. We were done at 3:30 am. I was ready for bed, but Nick insisted we hang it on the wall outside her door so it would be there when she woke up. Turned out to be a good idea. Nick and Belle started off Christmas morning with some ABC practice while I fed Brooklyn. The pictures are things from around our house beginning with each letter, as many as we could. So for I it's Isabella and B is Brooklyn and M is mommy and P is poppa. Just to help her relate the ABC's to her life.



This is what I look like at 3:30 am.










We went to church in the morning, then out for lunch as a family. We came home for Isabella's much needed afternoon nap. Nick and I did the photo editing for the Alphabet Wall and sent it off to Walmart to print. So I took Brooklyn out of the house to kill the hour waiting for the photos and Nick and Belle made a gingerbread house together! Ofcourse the batteries in the camera died during the experience. But this is the finished product. Then we had to rush to the Christmas Eve services. They started at 6:00 and we had to stay for both. Well Nick had to stay but I wasn't going to bring the girls home and put them to bed without him on Christmas Eve! The service was very fun. Some carols and selections from our Christmas Variety Show. After the girls were in bed we had appetizers and wrapped gifts while watching National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and X-Men 3. A very fun Christmas Eve.

But for some reason it really didn't feel like Christmas to me. There's still no snow and it just felt like another day with some extra gifts. Totally bizarre. I didn't even get any baking done, (did I mention that in my last post, cuz it's really bugging me). So I am now doing New Years baking.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

One Sided

This year we had a family Christmas with my mom's side of the family. The above picture is my grand-father, (my mom's dad), with Brooklyn resting after dinner. We kids call him Poppy and he is notorious for making babies cry as soon as he holds them. Both of my girls cuddle up in his arms and fall asleep. What a great Christmas gift. Usually my grand parents spend the winter in Arizona, but they didn't go this year. I'm sure the girls made things a little sweeter.
Isabella did a great job at this loud outing. There were so many people talking to her at once, and a bunch of presents under the tree that she didn't even try to touch! After dinner she did get a little whiny, (we missed her afternoon nap), and so I went to cuddle with her while the grown-ups finished up the wine in the dining room. It was some nice quiet time.
Then we started doing the gifts and Isabella wanted to stand in the middle of the room and take it all in. With so many people getting gifts she didn't realize some were for her. Nick tried to get her excited to tear open some boxes. I'll post what she got a bit later. It's loud, and can get annoying, but she loves, loves, loves it.
Then my Aunt Shell requested some baby time after the excitement died down. She hosted the event making a delicious roast beef and all the trimmings. She was quite disappointed as the whole meal didn't turn out. The Yorkshire puddings she had made spilled into the back of the oven. This caused the oven to burst into flames. This caused baking soda to be poured into the oven to squelch the flames. The baking soda went all over the Yorkshires. Then black smoke filled the house. Then the fire alarms went off. The fire alarms are hooked up to the house alarm system which also went off. Then ADT called. Then we spent about half an hour keeping Belle and two dogs calm waiting for the smoke to clear and the alarm to turn off. Brooklyn was whisked up to the top floor and sealed in a bedroom by her quick thinking second cousin so as not to get smoke inhilation. It was a great fiasco. The stuff stories are made of. Not sure when I'll get to try those Yorkshires.

That was the first of our Christmas events!

Friday, December 22, 2006

I heart Ikea

A few days ago we went to Ikea to pick up some stuff for Christmas. We're making an 'Alphabet Wall' for Belle for a gift and needed picture frames. We also thought we'd check out the holiday sale. We went in and found something totally unexpected, great storage solutions for the kitchen set we bought Isabella. We went through the check out and after wards noted that they charged us twice for an item. We headed over to the Customer Service. While the Ikea worker was adjusting our receipt she noted that one of our totes was cracked and sent someone to get us a new one. Isabella ran over to play and was enjoying herself. Brooklyn had a small melt down, (just tiny), and I was gathering my wits again. All of a sudden the Ikea worker said "It might be a few minutes, I'll get you guys something for your wait.". Then a manager comes over and gave us coupons for free drinks and hot dogs! All we were doing was waiting around. I heart Ikea.


However, I un-heart the Ikea crowd. Now, it's just a small demographic of them, which I wont identify. You know the crowd I'm talking about in your neighborhood. There are the fun people, (which I enjoy), they look at our girls and then coo to their men: "They're so adorable!" and then search around for my husband to see what two people could make children this beautiful and if they have a chance at getting the same. (I'm not boasting I'm just saying people like the reassurance that two negatives do in fact make a positive). But then there are the others-the ones who walked past me and spoke another language and then all of a sudden exclaimed "It's alive!". I was holding Brooklyn on my hip so she was facing away from me enjoying the store. This family thought Brooklyn was a doll I was carrying for Isabella. Now if it ended there, cool. Or even when they exclaimed, "I thought she was a doll. My she's beautiful.". End discussion, cool. But when they start mauling her trying to find out that she is in fact a doll and we're just fooling them, I start to get irked. And once one person is mauling my daughters other people feel they can do the same. Then I get very irked and literally push Nick into an elevator and put Brooklyn back in her car seat to spare her further maulings. Why do people treat kids like that? When I see a cute kid, I might talk to them or play peek a boo around store shelves or something, but I would never touch them. I definitely un-heart some Ikea shoppers.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Thanks for the Advice

Thanks for all your suggestions. It has to be a combination of things I'm sure. She doesn't sleep steadily because Isabella cannot be quiet for more than two seconds and Brooklyn is not yet a sound sleeper! It's quite the challenge to get Isabella to stay on the ground floor while I run Brooklyn to her bed, and so Isabella always follows and inevitably screams or something just as I'm putting Brooklyn down.

As for the sling or bjorn, I'm just too clutzy. I fear bonking her head while I'm doing things. .I tried that with Belle, (so I could be a good mom and bond the way the books said), but I felt like she was just going to slip out and Brooklyn is extremely wiggly.

I'm sure it will just take will power to get us all on a schedule. Consistency is the key to a happy household. We have no plans next week, and most people will so most likely I'll be home for about five days straight and we will persevere on a schedule then. Tonight I left Brooklyn to cry it out in her bed after her final feeding of the day. She didn't cry solid, but it took half an hour for her to calm down and sleep. Belle did that the first day when we started "training" her, so we're on the road to goodness.

And the lights did get on the tree, and tomorrow we're going to decorate it as a family.

And Jen, all these plans for Baby #2, just thinking through the itch or not saying something?? (I only post it here cuz you made the comment here and who knows when I'll get around to a real email!)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Update from the Front Lines

Well, things have gotten better already on the breastfeeding battle lines. I finally had a few moments to myself and happened to get an email newsletter in which the main article was breastfeeding challenges. I read through it looking for the "symptoms" of what Brooklyn was doing. Her actions made me think I was trying to feed her too often. She was spitting up everything that went in her, only sucking for a minute and then just started bouncing her face of my boob. But, my logic was totally backward. Apparently she was too hungry and I had been waiting too long to feed her! So I fed her every two hours instead of every three and today was a much better day in that regard. (I know I'm supposed to watch for the signs, but running after Isabella has taken up a lot of my attention and I miss them sometimes.) She ate hard every time, then she burped hard and she didn't spit up even once! I'm quite happy for that. But someone tell me this wont be the way it is for the next six and a half months, it is so hard to stop life every two hours for 20 minutes.

I don't think it would be that hard to do if she let me put her down ever. She can be dead asleep in my arms and I'll just put her down on the couch next to me so I can read/play/cuddle/feed Isabella. It takes about two minutes before she realizes she isn't being held and she begins to cry. Scream in fact. Belle did not get held all the time. She just needed to know we were in the same room to be fine. Brooklyn is quite the clingy little one. I've tried to let her cry it out as we did with Belle, but she just cries and cries. She will not stop on her own. Is this a phase too? Or how can I get her to at least nap in her own bed during the day? I simply cannot hold her 24/7 I have three other people to take care of.

Any advice?

And thanks for all the sweet words. I feel your virtual hugs! I'm so glad everyone enjoyed our Christmas letter. It's great to be candid and let people know the good and the bad things that are shaping our character and have them be met with positivity.

So, it's about 11:00. The girls are finally asleep and I have been working for three days on getting the lights on our Christmas tree. I will finish tonight. I will.

Monday, December 18, 2006

AHA

Even though you can see that I'm basically losing my mind a few posts down, I did have a moment of ingenuity I thought some of you might be able to use.

We were thinking about the presents for the girls under the tree and how they wont have a clue that they're for them until we give them to them. Neither of them can read so their names on boxes mean nothing. So we decided to print wallet sized pictures of their faces and put them on the gifts instead. That way they can see that the gift is for them.

This little tidbit brought to you by the obsessive scrapbook-aholic in me.

Christmas from the Franks


Merry Christmas from the Franks
It’s that time of year, time to reflect on 365 days of living. Usually this letter is about one big event, but this year, (which I think we’ll affectionately call the ‘Year of the Roller Coaster’), there are many events to share.

January found us frozen on the pristine prairies with the Rocky Mountains in plain sight just beyond our backyard. I was working from home for SCM, delivering the Calgary Herald and caring for Isabella each day. Nick was just as busy with classes at AUC, studying for accreditation and working full time at Sport Check selling athletic shoes. We took a refresher trip to Vibank to visit my family then returned to Calgary ready to give all our gusto to finishing the academic preparations of entering into ministry.

Early into February our energy was quickly zapped. My exhaustion was due to carrying our second child and Nick’s busy schedule began to catch up with him in the form of a physical tiredness. We also experienced a spiritual and emotional exhaustion as Nick did not pass through the accreditation process and his classes mounted in their level of difficulty. We found our zeal being replaced with disappointment and our fervor with weariness. For a few days we were knocked down and chose to do nothing but lay on the couch. Thankfully we received many kind words from family and friends and by God’s grace we continued to put one foot in front of the other trusting in His plan for us. It had been decided that Nick must complete an apprenticeship before he could become an Alliance Worker. This apprenticeship would include many academic requirements as well as mentoring by other pastors, preferably in a ministry setting.

In March Isabella turned one!

In April Nick’s parents came to visit and graduation was on the horizon. Nick got really stressed out about his final exams and did not do so well, but he passed. Three days before graduation it looked like Nick would not be receiving this accolade either. After many meetings and phone calls, much consideration and prayer it was decided that Nick could walk the stage with his class and graduate “pending requirements”. This meant that Nick must take a class over, or another class approved in the BTh curriculum, to boost his GPA at least one one hundredth of a grade point. Much confusion and frustration was evident within us. Why were so many hurdles being put in the way of Nick following God’s call on his life? I confess that I still don’t understand it, but I trust in His wisdom and His plan for us.

Somewhere in the next bit Nick approached his home church about the possibility of completing his apprenticeship under the tutelage of the pastors of his youth. From the moment that Nick first expressed this desire to me we both had a peace that we would indeed be returning to the center of the universe for the next leg of our journey. The pastors and elders at Georgetown considered Nick’s request and an invitation was extended to us to come. We eagerly accepted and moved across the country.
In July we did a four day car trip. It was long. Isabella watched Cinderella on the portable DVD player so many times that both Nick and I can quote it. We made this trip a family time with stops at the Mall of America and Comerica Park. Our arrival seemed to refresh us once again and smiles returned to our faces. It was so nice to move but have it be to
a familiar place with familiar faces.

I would describe August and September as harsh. I had forgotten about the Eastern heat and humidity. Moving across the country is not an easy feat for anyone and we had our share of unexpected “surprises”. Our movers ended up costing almost double what they estimated and our belongings arrived late due to a heat wave that cause
the moving truck’s radiator to blow. Nick’s transition into his new employment did not go as seamlessly as anticipated. There was also a miscommunication with my employer that resulted in a delay of us receiving my maternity leave benefits. Many days were spent behind our front door wondering how we would put food on the table or keep our roof over our head- and our family was about to grow again. Confusion consumed me as our bank account dipped into the red. Even though I had complete peace that we were exactly where we were supposed to be I couldn’t understand why it had to be such a hard trek.

We’d like to say a huge thank you to friends who fed us countless meals and fun times during our transition. Somehow we were not consumed by stress, worry or doubt. Each day we left our worries at the cross and enjoyed life: definitely not an accomplishment of our strength, rather a testimony to God’s grace.

In October we welcomed Brooklyn Adia to our family. Nick’s parents were in town and spent the day with Isabella while we were at the hospital. My parents and Deanna were able to visit at the end of October as well.

The dust seemed to settle a bit at the beginning of November and as we put the events of the year into perspective and consider the big picture we’re thankful that we can see up the side of the mountain from the valley. Slowly but surely we continue to take baby steps and understand that our journey is more of a marathon than a sprint.

In the new year Nick’s time will be split in many directions as he works, continues to wade through his apprenticeship requirements and lead our family. I will continue to cook and clean and plan on becoming a consultant for Creative Memories, (scrapbooking), which would allow me to bring in an income at home. Isabella and Brooklyn will keep us on our toes and melt us with their cuteness everyday.

Although this year is coming to an end I am very sure the roller coaster we’re on has only rounded it’s first loop. We’re looking forward to the blessings we’ll experience and trusting in God’s provision during the trials. Who knows what I’ll be writing about at this time next year!

Here's to family, friends, transitions, trials, and blessings.
Cheers and Happy New Year!











Nick, Amanda, Belle and Brooklyn

Refreshments anyone?

This weekend was busy. And hard. It probably wasn't as hard as it feels but for the last week Brooklyn has been on some kind of weird hunger strike and so I listen to crying a lot. I'm trying to stick it out and get back to some breastfeeding goodness, but it sure is a trial. Formula is so tempting. Isabella was a formula baby after three months and she is perfectly healthy and well adjusted, and seeing that it's hard to stick it out. But then there's the price tag of formula so I'm not quite ready to give up. But I have used up all the frozen gold I had from the month I pumped as well, we're definitely in the breastfeeding trenches right now. And that does not make for one happy mommy.

We did so many things this weekend. Date night on which we saw 'The Pursuit of Happyness', (which I would highly recommend), and then we window shopped in Chapters which led to me having a small break down. Then on Saturday we did Santa pictures with Belle, errands, writing the Christmas letter, planning a Sunday School lesson, a 3 hour frantic search for a babysitter, the Christmas Cantata at the church, coffee after said Cantata and then visiting with our baby sitters. Sunday we had church, then more errands, then we finally started putting up and lighting the tree and then it was time for the Survivor Finale. We had invited a bunch of people. We get together every thursday with the Sauves to watch Survivor so we knew they would come, but we invited others. None of the other showed up. If I knew they weren't coming I would have been much less stressed and tried to do much less as well. It was hectic. I was up until 2:00 am, each night just trying to gather my wits.

And Brooklyn cried virtually the whole time. And Belle is defintely in the terrible twos.

My dishes haven't been done in a couple days. My house is a mess. My house is not decorated for Christmas. (and if anyone tells me that doesn't matter, you have to let those things go in order to be a mom, I will shoot them), I haven't had time for more than a spit shine shower all week. I'm also having an incredibly hard time with not getting anything for Christmas. I wouldn't say I'm greedy, but everyone works hard all year long and gets spoiled at least one day every year. It's really crushing me that I have to work as hard as everyone else but I don't get that spoiling. I know, I know, I'm the grown up now, I have to be mature. I'm making the right choice. That extra money we were given for Christmas should go to paying off debts not buying stuff. We're making the right choice I know. But it hurts, and I'm not hypocritical enough to pretend it doesn't.

I probably wont be posting again anytime soon I imagine. This breastfeeding thing is going to bring me to my knees, (and to tears), many times over the next while I'm sure. And on that note I better go pick up my wailing infant so she can refuse to eat even though she's obviously hungry. What's a girl to do?

Here's a picture from our Family Christmas Picture Shoot which took place at the church with a friend of ours taking pictures. We thought Isabella would melt down less if she knew the photographer and a familiar place. Not so much.

Friday, December 15, 2006

!!!!!!!!!

I'm not sure what to title this post. I just realized how busy I have become in the last few months. Today my issue of Today's Parent arrived for January. Nothing out of the ordinary there, except I'm still working on October's! That's busy. I do have a lot of fun things to post, so hopefully I'll get some free time amidst our date night, Christmas shopping, tree decorating, light hanging, gingerbread house making, christmas letter writing, cantata, church and Survivor finale. And that's just the weekend! Hope you are all enjoying the holiday season.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Fourth Trimester: Month Two

It's that time again! I began posting about my post partum journey here and it's time for an update.
I think that Month Two can be coined as the month where sleep deprivation and mommy guilt hit their all time high. About a week ago Brooklyn began sleeping from 9pm to 7am and it has been good. Ofcourse I still haven't convinced myself this is a trend that will be hanging around and so I stay up way too late and don't get enough sleep, but I think that's part of the discipline I am currently lacking. Since I'm not sleeping as much as I can, or should, I don't do the stuff during the day that I want to and that's when the mommy guilt kicks in. Yes, the sad but true news is that Belle watches a heck of a lot more tv than I would like and we don't do anything cool during the days. Thankfully Elizabeth writes about the cool things she and her son do, so I am inspired to try. I'm just not quite sure what Belle is capable of. Anyone know a good site of activities for children under 3? It seems like once they hit 3 all doors open and all activities are made for them, but try and find something for a 2 year old.....well at least I can't find much.

I took Brooklyn in for her two month check up and the disappointing news came about. Now, she's not unhealthy and the doctor is not concerned, but she was right at the 25th percentile for height and weight at month one. She had gained 1.5 lbs in Month One. She has now dropped to just above the 10th percentile putting on a mere 8oz in Month Two. She has stayed at the 25th percentile for height though. Isabella did the same sort of trend, but she continued to decline after Month Two until I put her on formula. I do not want to do formula with Brooklyn, (simply because it's expensive), so I'm hoping we can bring her back up. In Month One I pumped, but it got so complicated with Isabella running around and once she started sitting on my legs and holding the pump adaptor thingys on for me I decided to just give Brooklyn the boob. She eats like a champ most times. She gets lazy at her last feeding of the day so that one is usually a bottle, and we do bottles when we're out as well. But to hear that she stopped gaining so well I wonder if pumping isn't worth all the extra effort. I am torn.

As far as 'taking care of me', I didn't do anything in the weight loss/exercise front this month. I remain at exactly the same weight as last month. I have been eating like crap though. It takes a lot more discipline than I currently have. I also fell of the Coke wagon and had about 3 litres this month, but that is way down from what I used to drink. We got a reverse osmosis water system installed and our water tastes so good I think this month I will finally conquer the Coke. I have, however, been taking time for me. I've been going to Volleyball on Monday nights and taking a time each week to do something. This week I just went and wandered around Chapters. I think I'm going to need to become a regular at Amazon because there are so many books I want!

Well I think I could go on and on and on as this month has been an incredible rollar coaster and a tonne of personal stuff has gone down, but I think I'll cut it off here and hopefully next month there will be some measurable changes and some consistency to toot about.

Twenty Holiday Questions.

Now that the Holiday season is in full swing, everyone take some time to sit down and answer the questions!
If you do this on your blog, can you leave me a comment so I can check it out? Thanks. There are only 20 and I think they're very fun questions!!

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Egg Nog for Christmas you can have Hot Chocolate any time.
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Wraps them or maybe the missus does.
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? Colored on the tree, white on the house.
4. Do you hang mistletoe? I would if I had some
5. When do you put your decorations up? After Nick's birthday, although this year they have yet to go up, YIKES.
6. What is your favourite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? STUFFING
7. Favourite Holiday memory as a child: Driving around looking at the house lights after the Christmas Eve Service.
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I don't remember.
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Not traditionally. However, we are starting the tradition here of buying a board game and opening and playing it on Christmas Eve. In the future we hope to include a family or people from our church who do not have family around to celebrate with.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? This year we will be buying our first big tree, so we'll see.
11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? Snow I enjoy. The cold and wind that accompany it I do not like.
12. Can you ice skate? Yes, I actually figure skated as a kid.
14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? I'm working on that one. I want to say focusing on Advent and doing practical things during the holiday season that express each week's candle theme. I'm not there yet.
15. What is your favourite Holiday Dessert? Chocolate covered cherries and everything my mom bakes.
16. What is your favourite holiday tradition? I love the whole season, all of it!
17. What tops your tree? A cheesy light that we will have to trade for an angel.
18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving? I like them both when done together. I always feel bad when I receive without giving, but I wonder if I make the other person feel bad when I give and don't receive.
19. What is your favourite Christmas Song? Right now 'Rockin Around the Christmas Tree' cuz when I sing it to Belle she breaks into peals of laughter and wants to dance with me.
20. Favourite Christmas Movie? I don't have a favorite right now. Oh wait, The Home Alone's. And I really want to see Polar Express.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

A Rose by Any Other Name


Brooklyn Adia
responsible freedom
Last night I was preparing a gift for a baby shower and as I wrote in the card I was struck once again at what an awesome privilege it is to be a parent. So I thought I would share the meaning of Brooklyn's name.
If you look in any baby name book Brooklyn means 'stream' or some form of water. It doesn't for me. I love New York. To me it's a symbol of freedom. The thousands of immigrants who started fresh and came through Ellis Island. A tonne of people who flock there looking for fame and fortune. I can remember on my honeymoon the sense of dreams coming true in the streets as I walked through. It may take a person years of shining shoes to get where they want to go, but the people of New York continue to plod on until their dreams are fulfilled, and then they are set free. Free from all the 'I wishes' and the 'If onlys'. Now I don't have the courage to name a child New York, or Manhatten, or Bronx, or Harlem, so Brooklyn it is.
Adia is the name of Sarah McLachlan song. A song she wrote after falling in love and marrying her best friend's ex boyfriend. It caused a lot of hurt between her and her gal pal and she very easily could have walked away, I mean she got the guy and that's what counts right? But Sarah took the road less travelled and mended the relationship with her best friend and now all of them are buds, chumming it up on Vancouver Island. This song reminds me of the responsibility we have to make choices and deal with the consequences, whether good or bad.
As a unit the name, responsible freedom, is a challenge to me as a parent to raise my daughter(s) in God's image to give them to tools to make their own chioces and the morals to take responsibility for those choices. It reminds me that for a time I do most of that work, teaching and being the example. But one day I will set them free to do the work on their own and they will be responsible for making choices and being responsible with them.

Answered Prayers

When I found out I was pregnant with Isabella I began to pray for a socially skilled child. The typical pastor's kid, if you know what I mean. Isabella brings a smile to everyone's face, she is jovial and loves meeting new people. She is the most socially adept child I know. When I found out I was pregnant with Brooklyn I feared losing her and so I prayed for health both mental and physical. She is so strong. People who hold her for the first time inevitably exclaim, 'My she's strong!'. Nick likes to say she's enriched, although I think she's probably devolping just like she's supposed to, but she focuses on lots of things and can follow my voice around a room even in a din. And then God did a little more, they are beautiful, and everyone who has met them has fallen in love with them right from the get go. I've already begun praying for the next one, whenever they may come to join our family.It's so awesome to have these daily reminders that God answers prayers!

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Everyday

I think that being a spy would be a hard job. Obviously if someone needs to be spied on they are leading an interesting and exciting life. I think I would get caught up in what other people are doing and forget that I had a life of my own. I would start regalling people at cocktail parties with stories, only to stop mid sentence and remember that that's someone elses' story and not mine to share. Not that my life doesn't have any interesting moments, it's just that 90% of everything I do is the daily grind. And while the majority of my 24 hours of life are filled with laughter and fun and good thoughts, I don't think they're things people would find spy worthy.

The reason I would say that is because I don't have any pictures of these things.

I was doing some scrapbooking, working on Belle's album and planning ahead for Brooklyn's. Only to realize how many events in our recent lives I just haven't taken pictures of. Sometimes I don't have the camera, (how was I to know there would be a surprise shower for Brooklyn?), sometimes the batteries have died, (in the middle of taking a pic of Brooklyn's beautiful smile, or Isabella dressed up adorably in her new pea coat and mittens), or I just don't want to be a dork, (which seems to be everytime I want to take a picture of someone over the age of 5).

I think that on December 31, 2006 I will resolve to take more pictures, even if it does make me a dork. Even if it means resetting a scene I previously missed. And I will do so not only to have scrapbooking fodder but so that when I die and my children are looking at my photo collection they can see we lived a life worthy of spying on.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Have we Converted?

If you look closely at this picture you may be able to guess the subject of this post. However, since I know you are all distracted by Belle's beautifull face I'll point out that her shirt says Dreamy.

Her PJ's come from Old Navy not some fan obsessed web site that one can purchase attire from in order to feed this addictive obsession. It's true, with the exception of the season premiere, I have been watching Grey's. Friends of ours come over on Thursdays where we eat and watch Survivor and then normally Grey's. Then they head home and I continue to feed my tv diet with ER.

I do like Grey's, I'll admit. Not enough to tape it should I be going out for the evening. But it's not tortuous to watch. I would be a much bigger fan if McSteamy and Izzy where the main characters. I just don't find Patrick Dempsey intriquing and I just want to give Meredith a hamburger and some prozac. I'm also a large fan of George. Maybe I just like the underdog.

Not So Much

Last night I was surfing some blogs and it seemed like everyone was posting pictures of their Winter Wonderlands. I think people in the Prairies have been posting such pics since August, and am surprised at how much snow there is in BC. This picture above was taken last night after a full day of snowing. No joke. That's all the snow that was on the ground after 24 straight hours of it falling.


Then this morning here is what we awoke to. Sure not Wonderland. Up and down our block tonnes of people have their decor a flaming, and I have several ideas for our decor, but with no snow on the ground it's easy to say 'I'll get to it tomorrow.' cuz Christmas still feels a zillion light years away. Here's hoping we have a white Christmas, but even if we don't I need to kick my butt in gear to get the Christmas theme happening in our home!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Fun Times

I mentioned the Christmas Fun Day we took Isabella too last weekend. It was thrown by the children's department, but all the staff and their wives helped or showed up to 'press the flesh' as Nick said. Our time at Georgetown has been a bit frustrating/confusing for me thus far but it's hard not to trust that it's for the best when I consider moments like the above. The man in the yellow shirt is GAC's Sr. Pastor. That's right, the man in charge of the whole flock sitting with preschoolers, decorating cookies while wearing a cheesy halo.

I don't know him all that well, but Nick speaks the world of him. I've spent a few evenings with him the most recent being the Staff Christmas Party. We did a gift exchange. He ended up with a cheesy mug full of mints. He then tried to talk everyone into taking it off his hands while eating the mints.

It's moments like those that still the doubts in my heart. The doubts that Nick and I are maybe not really cut out for ministry. But when you see leaders being so human, (for lack of a better word), it makes me feel more confident to keep on trekking through this journey.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Bump and Flop

Tonight I tried to be adventurous and make something from the Take Home Chef show. I tried to make Mushroom Risotto and Deep Fried Eggplant. I didn't realize how long it would take, or how complicated the process would be so I ended up working in a bit of a rush. While I think we may eat Risotto again, (and hopefully I'll get it right), we definitely wont be eating Eggplant. I like the taste, but both Nick and Belle left their entire portions. Belle will eat anything, even if she shakes her head, you can tell she likes it cuz she comes back for more. She did not come back for more eggplant. And Nick flat out told me he doesn't like it. I guess that's one vegetable that will be left in the produce aisle.

I went out for my second week of Volleyball tonight, (go me!). For some reason my serve was totally off, and they kept on sending it back to me for re-serves. I was so embarrased. But I wasn't the only one getting the re-serve. There is just something that smarts about a 12 year old telling you that you can have a re-serve. By the end of the night I hit three good ones in a row and scored the three points! Awesome. I also got smacked right on my right cheek bone, not a good time, but it was by a friend of mine so I know no one went home beating themselves up for hitting the frumpy mommy.

In my books another succesful Monday.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Time Flies



The other day I was realizing that our "year" in Georgetown is already a third of the way over. I thought that this time would fly by but I really had no idea it would be going so fast. Our girls are growing so quickly, both mentally and physically. I am doing alot, but it feels like not much at the same time. Nick is busy, busy, busy.


I haven't taken many pictures of the girls lately, I must remedy that, but here is a shot of Brooklyn this week. She has been holding her head up by herself for extended periods, (like 2-3 mins), since she was about 2 weeks old. It's truly amazing to me. She is coo-ing and smiling and seems to be loving life. Last night she went to bed at midnight, slept until 4:30 and fell back asleep until 9:30. It was the most glorious night we've had in a long time. Today she even slept in her crib!! I think I forgot that the crappiness of the first few months does end, and I sure hope the end is in sight.


Isabella is amazing. On Saturday we went to a church function for kids. She was by far the youngest, but had a good time anyway. This is her with an older friend who arrived later. She was just "enjoying" the sprinkles for decorating cookies. She proceeded to drink them right out of that cup. But we did decorate a huge cookie earlier and she made her first craft! She understands so much. Today at a friends house, Nick and the friend were painting inside their garage. We told Isabella to go knock on the garage door. There are three doors in the hallway and she immediately went to the right one. She can feed herself with a fork or a spoon. Sometimes in the middle of the day she just stops and then shakes her head and says "Poppa at work." When we call her and she's doing something she says "Just a sec.". She is growing such a sensitive spirit and is a great helper. I just love every day with her!
We aren't yet in the full swing of Christmas because we do not yet have any snow. Today was our first dusting and it didn't happen until around 6:00 this afternoon. Maybe it will pour snow tonight and I'll be feeling it. We'll see. On Saturday we're going back for our family photos which will be followed by my favorite Christmas tradition, the yearly Christmas letter!!
And before I know it Isabella will be singing in a school Christmas concert and while I hold the camcorder to my eye I'll stop and try not to blink because it all goes by way too fast.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Headed to Lawn Bowling

I'm not sure if it's the approaching New Year or the recent baby boom, but fitness does seem to be the talk of the town. I have been building myself up one small step, (and I mean small step), at a time. I gave up Coke almost two weeks ago! I have been trying to drink more water and last night I created a month of dinners using vegetables I have never even held before. I'm taking baby steps on the right path.

So now would be a good time to start turning myself towards the fitness part. I actually own a copy of Fitness For Dummies as it was a textbook for a class I took in college. It's nice to draw on that class now. But I do crave human interaction, so I had to find something active to do with others.

I headed to the church for the drop in Volleyball time on Monday night. It's supposed to be for adults, but has been overtaken by the youth. This bothers a lot of adults and as such there are 4 who attend regularly. All of them have a heart for youth. So while they may wish it was a bit more competitive, a bit more organized, a bit more of a workout they continue to come to meet the kids and give them a place to hang out. I have such a heart, which is good considering hubby is a youth pastor, and so I too will continue to go.

Now, I know how to play. I only played on a team in elementary school where there were no cuts. But I faithfully showed up to every intramural game all the way through college. I can't spike or overhand serve, but I do know where to stand and how to position my body to hit the ball right, etc, etc. It seems that in my old age I only know how to do that in theory. I missed a lot of shots, but I was also incredibly intimdated by the Sr. Boys Volleyball team that showed up to play.

I stood there in my HUGE jogging pants and maternity t-shirt. I missed a few things I should have gotten. Then I got to serve, and scored three points!! There is a man who plays, he brings his son and daughter with him. This man is, (and I'm not exaggerating), 7 feet tall and built like a brick wall. He just has to breathe and the ball slams into the ground on the other side of the net, (okay that's an exaggeration). But he sent a ball straight at my head-and I returned it.

Suddenly the boys were encouraging me and we were playing like a team. I think it will take a month for me to be comfortable, and then I don't think I'll be picked last! That was on Monday night. I'm still sore today. And it wasn't even that much of a workout. I spent half the time sitting as we had to rotate teams, and I walk up 30 stairs a zillion times a day, but my butt and thighs are still a burnin.

Maybe lawn bowling is a better choice.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Barenaked Ladies know their stuff.

It’s been one week since you looked at me
Dropped your arms to your sides and said I’m sorry
Five days since I laughed at you and said
You just did just what I thought you were gonna do
Three days since the living room
We realized we’re both to blame, but what could we do?
Yesterday you just smiled at me
Cause it’ll still be two days till we say we’re sorry


It's a love/hate relationship for me. I love Coke. I could drink an entire 12 case every day. Honestly, I think I 've done it. Two litres isn't even a challenge for this gal. I hate that I can't have the body I want if I keep on downing it in epic portions. I love that I can come crawling back to a can when I've had a bad day! And I hate that I made it public knowledge I was giving the stuff up. What was I thinking? It's so much easier to fail and give in to the sweet syrup when no one's watching. I had to settle for No Name Lime Citrus Punch at a social event this weekend while 4 bottles of Coke stared at me daring me to drink them. Augh.

When I do get to sleep I sleep much better. But that must just be a coincidence. How I hate to love it. And the jingles are addictive too. All I can hear in my head is a constant battle of "I think I can, Always Coke-a-Cola, I think I can, Always Coke-A Cola."

Friday, November 24, 2006

Working 1-5.

AM that is. Brooklyn has begun a disturbing trend of waking up to eat at about 1:00 am and she'll fall in an out of sleep for the next two hours when she'll want to eat again at 3:00am. It means getting up out of bed constantly to calm her or at least try and keep her from crying loud enough to wake up Isabella. We have not been successful at that, so we've given up and now cuddle on the couch with her during those two hours. But the real fun starts after she eats at 3:00. She just starts screaming. For no apparent reason. She's eaten her full, given us some good burps. We change her diaper, we hold her close, or we lay her on our lap if that seems to be her preference. She just screams for anywhere from 1-3 hours! We are exhausted. Hence the lack of posting. That and my NEED for organization has kicked in and I'm working on my recipe blog. Now all the recipes are categorized and if you click on the category at the bottom it links you to all the recipes in that category. Very cool!

Hopefully this trend stops soon and we can get some zzzz's. We're going nuts!

Working 1-5.

AM that is. Brooklyn has begun a disturbing trend of waking up to eat at about 1:00 am and she'll fall in an out of sleep for the next two hours when she'll want to eat again at 3:00am. It means getting up out of bed constantly to calm her or at least try and keep her from crying loud enough to wake up Isabella. We have not been successful at that, so we've given up and now cuddle on the couch with her during those two hours. But the real fun starts after she eats at 3:00. She just starts screaming. For no apparent reason. She's eaten her full, given us some good burps. We change her diaper, we hold her close, or we lay her on our lap if that seems to be her preference. She just screams for anywhere from 1-3 hours! We are exhausted. Hence the lack of posting. That and my NEED for organization has kicked in and I'm working on my recipe blog. Now all the recipes are categorized and if you click on the category at the bottom it links you to all the recipes in that category. Very cool!

Hopefully this trend stops soon and we can get some zzzz's. We're going nuts!

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Gong still Ringeth

Yesterday was Grey Cup sunday. We went all out. Sent out the email invite to our peeps, I made a tonne of chili and home made buns and home made apple pie. Nick borrowed the projector from the church so we could watch it on the entire wall. Half the people we invited showed up. And the game was a gong show. But I got to watch Amazing Race on that projector screen. The people were practically life sized!

And we got our reverse osmosis water system installed today. The guy was supposed to come this afternoon. But he called at 7:30 this morning to ask if he could come right away so his day could be done by noon. I had Nick tell him no. I hadn't gotten the kids up, I hadn't seen the shower in three days. There was no way I was accomodating him going home at noon. But he pushed on until I agreed he could come for 11:00. He showed up at 10:00. Luckily my Woman reflex over powered my Mom reflex and I let the kids fuss while I had a 10 second shower this morning.

Then we went to the doctor for Brooklyn's one month weigh in. 25 minutes to get dressed and out the door. 10 minutes in the doctor's office. Fun times. But Brooklyn weighed in at 8 lbs 9 oz!!

I beginning to believe there always is a silver lining.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Cue the Gong.

So yesterday we finally had a few free hours to go and switch over our health coverage from Alberta to Ontario. We had quite the time switching over our licences, (or I should say Nick did as I didn't know I would need my marriage certificate to prove I was the same person when I was born as today), so we weren't particularly looking forward to switching over our health coverage. A friend reminded us to bring snacks. We had to go to another city and would have to come home on a highway so we hoped to be done before rush hour.

We arrived at 2:45. On the internet it lists 3:00 as the down time, so the best time to go. We arrived to a huge line and the computer systems were down. We could wait or go home. We chose to wait. The system was back up in 20 minutes. Sweet.

Now when you arrive you meet a front desk lady. She checks to make sure you have the appropriate documentation. Again I was screwed. Until we realized that our car insurance had my name listed with our current address. (Funny how I just needed to say I was me to get car insurance, which costs money, but I needed all kinds of documents for free services). So we were saved. We were given a number.

The numbers are numerical, but also broken up into categories. So some start with A some with D etc. Once the system was up and running they began taking a pleasant mix of all numbers. We were 8 away. Then all of a sudden everyone was gone. Just two wickets left open. And they were only taking numbers beginning with D. I figured no problem, just lunch half hour max.

A lady came in, waited 10 minutes, and demanded the front lady give her a number beginning with every letter. She was not going to wait for the next 3 hours. She was gone in 10 more minutes. I began to steam.

A baby cried. I began to leak.

Then Isabella got restless. So I took her to an open area and began playing with her. We were playing peek a boo around corners. She was giggling and every now and then squealing. A security guard came over and asked me to keep my toddler silent as it made it hard for the workers to concentrate. And then Nick was watching her and she ran a bit too hard into the fake glass that surrounded an office. The security guard started coming toward us. Then she was crawling under a metal sign, we were watching her head, she was fine. He reminded us that metal and glass are "danger" and we shouldn't let kids play like that. Nick reminded him that he was the parent and was just fine thank you.

We steamed some more.

Then another lady who had been there for 10 minutes got tired of waiting. So when someone's number was called and they didn't go up to the wicket right away she went up and played the I-don't-know-where-my-number-is card. But she also lied to the front desk lady and didn't have the right documents, so she was sent home and had to come back the next morning. Ha. Ha on her. Budgers never win.

So then at 5:00, (1.5 hours) after all the workers left, they finally returned from lunch. It took another ten minutes for them to realize the system wasn't totally working and they weren't calling any numbers beginning with A.

Brooklyn began to stir. But I thought there's 18 wickets and we're only 7 numbers away I'll just wait until we get home to feed her. She dozed in and out, it seemed to be working.

We got to leave at 5:45. But at least we now have health insurance in Ontario.

And we were only stuck in rush hour traffic for about 45 minutes, which is a record in shortness for rush hour.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

100 Things

I got this from Jen and Lindsay , you can check theirs out as well if you want to do it and need ideas.

1. I got a gift for Brooklyn from Elizabeth .
2. I made Elizabeth a thank you card.
3. I realized I forgot the stamp on the envelope after I put the card in the red mailbox.
4. I saw Sarah McLachlan in concert in 2004.
5. At that concert she said she felt brain cells leak out whenever she nursed her daughter.
6. I can relate to that.
7. I love Sarah McLachlan as a musician and a person, from what I know of her in interviews and documentaries.
8. I would definitely see her in concert again.
9. I have also seen Nickelback in concert.
10. As well as Matchbox 20 and Lifehouse.
11. I will never go with Nick to a Metallica concert.
12. He has been to many.
13. I am up today at 3:00am.
14. I was up to nurse Brooklyn.
15. I am waiting for her to fall asleep again.
16. I have a hard time staying awake at 3:00am.
17. When I was in college I rarely went to bed before 3:00am.
18. What was I thinking?
19. There was also a time in college where I had insomnia and I didn't go to bed at all for days at a time.
20. That's how I got to know Erica .
21. I always loved how Erica sounded when she sang.
22. I don't really know how to sing.
23. I can read a little bit of music.
24. I like singing in choirs, but never alone.
25. That's one thing I like about church, it's like being in a big choir.
26. I did sing in the choir in highschool for a bit.
27. I never went on an infamous choir trip though.
28. I heard crazy things happen on those trips.
29. The craziest thing I ever did was go on a blind date with someone I met chatting on the internet.
30. I never told my mom that.
31. She knows now.
32. I have known my mom for 26 years.
33. Coincidently I am 26 years old.
34. I will be 27 in June.
35. For my 27th birthday I would like someone else to cook me a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings.
36. Simply because I love stuffing.
37. I could eat the stuffing from inside the family turkey all by myself.
38. I am not exaggerating.
39. Sometimes I do exaggerate.
40. Like if you ask me how cold it is or how tired I am.
41. Although now a days I'm not exaggerating about how tired I am.
42. I am tired.
43. I have not slept for longer than 5 hours at a time in the last month.
44. But I no longer have to get up in the middle of the night to pee.
45. Instead I now release milk in the middle of the night.
46. I make Brooklyn happy when I do that.
47. That is assuming she's there.
48. Sometimes my boobs just let it flow without asking me first.
49. Waterfalls are something that flow.
50. I live near Niagra Falls.
51. My grandparents live nearer Niagra Falls.
52. I will be taking my girls to see the falls this Christmas.
53. We will be doing that because they light them up for Christmas.
54. Christmas is only 40 days away.
55. (You might want to check that my math is bad).
56. There is only one house on our block with Christmas lights up.
57. I'm sure there will be many more before Christmas comes.
58. I think I even have outdoor Christmas lights.
59. I will check on that.
60. Correction I will have Nick check on that.
61. Then I will hang them.
62. Correction, then I will supervise while Nick hangs them.
63. I like Nick.
64. I like that Nick is tall.
65. Nick reaches a lot of things down for me from high shelves.
66. Every shelf is a high shelf.
67. When he's not home I climb on the counters.
68. That scares my grandma.
69. Both of my grandmas are still alive.
70. I know that makes me lucky.
71. Lucky is the name of a guy on a soap opera I watch.
72. I only watch one soap opera.
73. I only watch it once or twice a week.
74. Everyday I watch George Shrinks, Big Comfy Couch and Lazy Town.
75. I actually enjoy them.
76. I also enjoy watching Belle dance to the theme music.
77. And try to do the clock stretch.
78. I do not stretch nearly enough.
79. I know this because my toenails are long.
80. I only realized this yesterday.
81. I'm sure they didn't grow this long overnight.
82. I can't remember the last time I was somewhere just overnight.
83. Oh I lied, I had a few one nighters during our move out here.
84. I guess that brings me back to leaking brain cells.
85. Isn't it crazy how cyclical life is?
86. I find comfort in how cyclical the seasons are.
87. My favorite season is winter.
88. I used to despise summer.
89. Now that I have kids I have to at least tolerate all seasons.
90. Or else they'd never get any fresh air.
91. And that would be bad for them.
92. I do a lot of things I would rather not do because they're good for my children.
93. Like get up at 3:00am.
94. I hope they appreciate that.
95. I know they'll never say they do.
96. And I don't really expect them to.
97. In reality I don't even want them to.
98. Because that's what being a mom means.
99. And I chose to be a mom.
100. Brooklyn is finally asleep.

The Fourth Trimester:Month One

I think it was Karen who first introduced me to the phrase 'Fourth Trimester' in a comment she left. I've thought of how appropriate it is since I first heard it. We spend so much time preparing for the arrival of our children during trimesters 1, 2 and 3. There are doctor's appointments, books to read, conversations to have, names to pick, all kinds of decisions to make. Then the kid is born and we're back to living life, except life has totally changed. When Belle was born I just took each day one at a time and didn't really do any long term planning. I think that was a fine approach but it ended up with me not doing some things I would have liked to. The big one being that I was 30 lbs heavier than I wanted to be when I got pregnant with Brooklyn. I am determined not to have that happen again, and so I have spent a lot of time planning for the Fourth Trimester. I only started planning since Brooklyn was born, but there is that 6-8 week hiatus when one isn't supposed to work out, or have sex, or do anything overly strenuous and that leaves a lot of free time for thought and planning.

I wrote recently a post about The Uns and how I need to get rid of them. See I've never worked to lose weight before. I've never been all that petite, but I have this little abnormality in that I LOVE to work out. I find nothing more stress releasing than working out. And I have great metabolism as long as I keep the negative stress in my life in check. So, simply by intentionally moving every day I can do my body a lot of good.

The trick is that I have always had a gym membership before, or simply walked everywhere I wanted to go which is suprisingly good exercise. I love hopping on the eliptical and pushing myself to the limit for 45 minutes. I am proud of myself when I drip sweat, not when I glisten. I love it. So I started looking into gym memberships, and they are expensive. Or at least they seem expensive now as my priorities shift. I can't imagine forking out $40-$70 a month to work out.

And thus begins the journey of working out at home, which I think is the definition of torture. And all the discipline it takes to make that happen with two children under the age of two and a social life. I am also looking at going on a diet, (for the purpose of weight loss), for the first time ever, all the while making sure to remember that nursing mothers need 2,200 to 2,900 calories a day to feed the two lives she's supporting.

That's a lot to remember. I don't think I can do it in a half ass way and still see even semi positive results. So I have to get that discipline and motivation and all that jazz. I don't have a work out schedule yet, but I'm going to be doing Winsor Pilates and I'm looking at a stability ball DVD set that I've seen give great results, and intentional walking, (read without pushing a stroller or walking with a toddler), up hills and down hills and who knows maybe it will even turn into jogging!

It's going to be a journey that is new to me and I'll probably talk about it a lot on here. I'm sure no one really cares about my weight loss journey, but there's this tiny bit of me that thinks what if a teenager struggling with her body image is reading this, wouldn't it be great to have a real life example of what women who can't hire personal trainers to come to their home or personal dieticians or personal chefs do in order to maintain their femininity after they've stepped across the threshold that makes 'frumpy housewife' look so tempting!!

Hopefully the pictures will get better and better and you'll be able to see my progress. I'll post my goals after I get the green light from my doctor to get back on the bandwagon, (okay in reality after I make them!) and we'll see how many months this Fourth Trimester lasts. If you're on the same journey, let me know if I can encourage you in any way! I know that whenever I feel my progress has slowed down or even stopped I just have to look at these faces to remember how worth it this journey is to make sure I can see them get married, have babies and do this journey too!


Saturday, November 11, 2006

Concerning Christmas


Since Angella starting posting her Christmas Countdown, I have decided it's not too early to talk about Christmas. I have been thinking a lot about Christmas this year as we're going to be doing it a bit differently. For the first time there will be lots of family around. Usually it's just us and maybe our immediate families if that can be arranged. But this year we'll be near my Grandparents and our Aunts and Uncles and all that jazz. We are also involved in a Church family this year, which means the usual Church Christmas stuff but also get togethers with the people we've grown close to.
Another difference is that we've decided to completely skip the gift part. Usually we scrape some money together, totally stressing the whole time, and stuff each other's stockings. Now last year we had Belle and the temptation to get your kids the "perfect" gift was way too much and in an effort to find the "perfect" gift we spent too much. I can hardly imagine what it would be like trying to find two "perfect" gifts. There are so many people who have poured so much love on us and showered the girls with so many gifts that there is also the temptation to give back to everyone and their dog. So we decided to just skip it. Now if you were thinking of giving me a gift, I can honestly say that the greatest gift would be some time with us doing something other than watching tv or just hanging in the living room, (something to take pictures of), or if you live far away the best gift in the world is an updated family picture to put on our wall! And I will definitely be returning those gifts.
There are a lot of differences in who me and Nick are too this year I think. We're growing and re-setting our priorities and time has actually become a commodity at our house. So Christmas will be quite different. I like the differences. I like that the affect it's having on me is focusing on Christ and my little family and the parts of Christmas I want to be remembered and the traditions that are truly important.
Which leads me to the actual point of my post today. (Man am I getting long winded or what!). I was part of a conversation in September about Christmas that still has me thinking.
One of the ladies said that they leave Santa out of Christmas at their house. Now the crowd was all Christian ladies and this was the first time I met this gal. I didn't know if I was setting up for a lecture on materialism or what, but I was ready to listen. She explained that they decided to skip all the "fakes" of the holidays. Like Santa and the Easter Bunny and even the Tooth Fairy. And she had a very compelling reason for doing so.
Consider for a moment about Santa, The Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. We tell our kids about them and create traditions around them, but they aren't real. Inevitably at some point our children will come to the realization that these characters don't exist, they're just enjoyable folklore.
Then consider that at the same time you're telling your children about Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy you are also telling them about Jesus. Jesus in person they will never see. Inevitably at some point in their lives someone will tell them Jesus isn't real.
If you let them let go of their belief in Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy, how can you expect them to hold onto their belief of Jesus? Easy enough to shrug off. I mean Jesus isn't a silly character that brings us treats on a particular occasion. But you have to conceive that it's not that big a jump either.
I do know that I plan on going to the Santa Claus parade on Sunday and when my kids are old enough I'll have them write letters to him, and I will continue to go through the hassle that is getting pictures with Santa in the local mall. I will wait for my kids to come to the tearful conclusion that he doesn't exist and then challenge them to embrace instead the ideal of what Santa represents.
And I am challenged to make sure that Santa isn't bigger than Christ during our Christmas celebration and that while I talk about Santa for a season I never stop talking about Christ. I'll do my best to make Santa an acquaintance and Jesus a friend. But, I'm not exactly sure what that looks like in action, specifically during the Christmas season.
How do you practically make Jesus the reason for your holiday season?


Switching

I just switched to the new version of Blogger, so let me know if something is off, (like leaving comments or what not), so I can make sure I did it right.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I wanna "Discussion".

I'm looking for opinions from all.

On Costco. Well not on Costco per se. I don't want you to tell me if you like the company themselves, but rather on the big warehouse type shopping. Nick and I are finding that we constantly run out of stuff we can't get in bulk here that we used to get in bulk in Alberta and Saskatchewan. So we're going to go check out Costco, (this is also the reason for our deep freeze hunt).

I want to know what you find the best deals on at warehouse stores? I don't want to go buy a box of 49 of something if buying 7 boxes of 7 at my grocery store would be cheaper, you know?

I want to know what you bought at the warehouse five years ago and still haven't used up. I am thinking I'll get caught in that trap of buying 100 litres of mayonaise.

I want to know if you are a regular shopper or just when you see good deals in a flyer. By the way where do you get a Costco flyer?

And finally I am wondering, from all you bargain hunters, does it really take a bite out of your grocery bill? Or do you just spend the money in two places instead of one? Or do you spend more cuz the temptation of the great deals sucks you in.

I'm not going until the first week of December so feel free to take your time to comment, I know many of you are BUSY, and I'll check back for comments before I go!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Life

While life with a small 'l' continues to be an exercise in perseverance,
Life with a capital 'L' get's better every day.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Friggin' Fievel

Sometimes life sucks. Now I'm talking life with a small 'l'. The little events that if they happen in small doses are easy to shrug off, but when you have days upon days of said events life really starts to suck.

We had just such a weekend. It was a busy one seeing as this was Nick's saturday off and therefore one of the two days a month I have a husband for a full 24 hours that I don't have to share. So I planned it to the full. Family pictures, changing our licences over and going out to purchase a deep freeze. A small to-do list but each event would take time. I told Nick of our plans on Tuesday and then proceeded to plan an afternoon for myself for Sunday, a day I desperately needed.

Now Nick needed a hair cut, and I demanded he get it done before we have our pictures taken. Nick waited until Friday evening to try and find a place to cut his hair. I should have known right then that the weekend would be a bust. And a bust it was. No deep freeze, no family pictures, no time for myself, I couldn't even change over my licence because I apparently needed my marriage certificate to prove that I'm the same person I was when I was born. It all sucked big time. At 5:00 on Sunday I just wanted to go to bed.

But we have a standing date on Sunday nights with our pals to watch Amazing Race and this week they could hang around to also view Click, (which I would highly recommend). At some point in the Amazing Race Nick, Ange and Rory all exchanged a look. This look said "Did I just see what I thought I saw?". I, however, missed seeing it. We went about our evening. We threw in Click to end our weekend on a high note.

That high note was me screaming, because that's when I saw the mouse.

Okay, okay I didn't actually scream, but I hate mice. Rory was charged up by the sight of a mouse and proceeded to call for a flashlight and stick. He then chased said mouse all over our house until he caught it and released it outside. So now the mouse is gone. Problem solved.

Except I'm not that naive. I know that where there is one mouse, there is a mother mouse and a father mouse, and a cute little sister mouse that sings and evil mice too. Friggin Fievel.

I am sufficiently creeped out. And it's not that I am even afraid of mice, it's just that the pop out of nowhere with no warning and then they skitter around. It makes my skin crawl. I wonder if I'll ever feel comfortable in my house again.

Maybe I can contract Rory to come live at my house and chase mice all day.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Rabbit Trail

Okay, I know I said I was going to continue yesterday's post today, but I feel like taking a rabbit trail instead.
There is something completely trivial that has bothered me for a while now. I wish I could understand it but I just can't.
Why is it that when one is done their meal at a restaurant the saying is "Cheque please?!". They don't bring you a cheque when it's time to leave. There isn't a $50 on the little black plate with a mint and a note from your waitress saying, "A little something for choosing us over everyone else who could've made you food tonight." It definitely isn't a cheque on there it's a bill. A bill for food and yet it would be completely odd for someone to say "Bill please?!".
Why?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

I've got The Uns

I've been thinking all day about how best to describe The Uns. And I think I've finally got it. At this current moment it is 12:45am. Everyone is asleep and I am at my computer. In my defense I just finished filling out a gazillion forms for things like Brooklyn's Record of Live Birth and Birth Certificate and SIN and CCTB. But nonetheless I'm still up. And if tomorrow were a regular day I would probably be snuggled in bed with Brooklyn until 11:00 listening to Isabella play in her room with her Duplos. At approximately 10:45 Belle will come to the gate blocking her door and begin to call in a sing song voice "You up?" "Gaiodnagoeanktenaogda a gndianyea fnd a" (I'm sure they're words I just don't know them). Then we'll get up, head downstairs for brunch, which has officially replaced breakfast, watch Lazy Town and then play, pump, feed and soothe two children until about 4:00 when suddenly I will be filled with inexplicable energy that lasts until my 1:00am pumping session and I head to bed. Upon my head hitting the pillow Brooklyn will sense that I am resting and commence crying until about 3:00am. Then she will sleep and I will say I must go pump again but instead find my pillow and turn my alarm from 4:00 to 7:30 and I will sleep until then. Then I will get up and pump and get Brooklyn for an 8:00 feed and we will fall asleep and commence the afforementioned cuddle session until 11:00.

Did that explain The Uns?

Probably not. There are several of them. Un-Disciplined. Un-Kempt. Un-Organized. Un-Scheduled.

But perhaps the biggest Un, is in itself, Un-Defined.

I have become accutely aware that I must give up my free lancing life as a night hawk and become a morning person as the successful mothers are. The ones that have jobs they get to on time. The ones that have children who eat three meals a day and not two large ones. The mothers who read the news before it's already yesterdays.

I have never been a morning person. I'm not sure I can do it. I'm still a little Un-Convinced.

However, tomorrow I have to take Nick to work for 7:00 am which means leaving the house at 6:30am and then I have to get to a hearing test for Brooklyn at noon, which means I'll be out in public and therefore should not be Un-Showered. Then I have to pick up Nick from work and make supper and plan for our incredibly busy Saturday. I'm suddenly feeling Un-Motivated.

But, I must get rid of The Uns. And I'll tell you why tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Constant

I often wondered what I would tell people it's like having more than one child at home. I now know the perfect word-Constant. I am on the go for about 14 hours a day, (it would be longer if I had any discipline, but at the moment I don't). Between four sleeping schedules, three feeding schedules, (well two feeding and one pumping), chores, friends, my time, time with Nick, bathing and other childcare needs, breathing and preparing there is something to do every minute of the day.

I also wondered how Isabella would "regress" after we added Baby #2 to the family. Would she start doing mischevious things? Would she want a soother back? Would she only sleep in my arms? The answer is something I never considered. She has decided to talk. Constantly. In words I cannot understand. From the minute she wakes up and starts talking to her teddy bears to the fiftieth time she calls "G'night see ya later" after we put her to bed. She blabbers, All. Day. Long. But she never says any words. In fact, she notices that Brooklyn gets what she needs by crying and therefore when she needs something, (even just attention), she cries. Constantly.

Constant.

My camera batteries died as I logged on, so go here and click on the images button. Then there is a row of thumbnails on the top and one of them is a baby in a man's hands. That's my baby and my daddy's hands. Check it out. My uncle is the photographer. Hope you like.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Funny Angela

My friend Angela sends me forwards All. The. Time. Now usually that annoys me, (read do NOT send me forwards), but Ange's are always funny. Sometimes they're movies, some stories, some pictures. I save them up in my inbox until I have a longer period of time at the computer and then I sit here and read them all in one shot and laugh until I pee. I really should get one of those rubber mat things that go under office chairs. I read one today and it made me laugh in the 'I've so been there and wanted to do this' kinda way. See if you can relate:

A man came home from work and found his three children outside, still in their pajamas, playing in the mud, with empty food boxes and wrappers strewn all around the front yard. The door of his wife's car was open, as was the front door to the house and there was no sign of the dog. Proceeding into the entry, he found an even bigger mess. A lamp had been knocked over, and the throw rug was wadded against one wall. In the front room the TV was loudly blaring a cartoon channel, and the family room was strewn with toys and various items of clothing. In the kitchen, dishes filled the sink, breakfast food was spilled on the counter, the fridge door was open wide, dog food was spilled on the floor, a broken glass lay under the table, and a small pile of sand was spread by the back door. He quickly headed up the stairs, stepping over toys and more piles of clothes,looking for his wife. He was worried she might be ill, or that something serious had happened. He was met with a small trickle of water as it made its way out the bathroom door. As he peered inside he found wet towels, scummy soap and more toys strewn over the floor. Miles of toilet paper lay in a heap and toothpaste had been smeared over the mirror and walls. As he rushed to the bedroom, he found his wife still curled up in the bed in her pajamas, reading a novel. She looked up at him, smiled, and asked how his day went. He looked at her bewildered and asked, "What happened here today?" She again smiled and answered, "You know every day when you come home from work and you ask me what in the world I do all day?" "Yes," was his incredulous reply. She answered, "Well, today I didn't do it."
I don't write that as a slam on any man or anything, but just as an ode to that 'invisible mommy' feeling that is so succinctly expressed in it's sarcasm, but not worth trading anything for!
Have you hugged a mom today?

Monday, October 23, 2006

Bedlam

Upon reading the title of my post you are probably picturing me in pj's with crazy hair and not having showered in days just a mess of mommyness.

But I'm not. It's simply the name of the Youth Retreat Nick was at this weekend. He left on Friday after work and returned just in time for Amazing Race on Sunday night. The girls and I were all by ourselves for two whole days. And the hardest part, not being able to make a slurpee run at 11:30pm when I REALLY wanted one.

Isabella continues on in a sort of rough way making the transition to big sister. She cried at her gated door for about half an hour, (on and off), and then decided all was all right and climbed into bed. It was quite hard for me to sit in the next room, but I was feeding Brooklyn and couldn't just get up and tend to Belle. I think it worked out for the best. I sure got showered in hugs the next morning.

We made our first outing as 'the-mom-with-two-kids-under-two' which also seems to be known as 'brave', 'crazy', 'ambitious', and whatever people are thinking when they roll their eyes at me. We hit the grocery store and ventured into Brampton, (the city between us and Toronto basically), to find a Michaels to buy baby announcement/thank you supplies. Brooklyn slept through the whole event and Isabella only got kinda cranky around nap time. I am thinking about starting a petition to Michaels. Their carts are not wide enough to fit a car seat in. Has anyone else experienced this? I'm just wondering if I need to send my petition to head office or just my local store.

I had folks over to watch XMen 3 and then visited with my Aunt and Grandparents and then had the same folks over to watch Amazing Race on Sunday. I even made and iced a carrot cake that tasted good!!

We had a good weekend, but it was constant. I'm sure looking forward to when Brooklyn sleeps in her own bed for chunks. That happens around her third birthday right? (I jest I jest).

Thursday, October 19, 2006

One week.

Today was Brooklyn's one week check up at the doctor's. In many ways it feels like this last week has flown by, but in other ways it feels like this is how our life has always been. That Brooklyn has always been here. She is doing splendid. She is weighing in at 3.2 kg and is 34cm long. (We saw the resident at her check-up and I think she missed the part of her training where they tell you mothers know things in pounds and inches, just kidding she's a swell doc). All of her reflexes are doing great and she peed all over the scale. Wonderful. It was such a relief for me to hear that she's back to her birth weight, or at least that's assumed as most babies lose weight first. Weight gain was a huge struggle with Belle and it makes me feel so much relief to know that things are going along swimmingly in that arena. I did tell a little white lie when she asked if Brooklyn was being fed every three hours, I said she was. And it's true that if she's awake every three hours she gets fed. But on Monday night she slept two 5 hour stretches and on Tuesday night she slept for 8 hours straight! Of course then on Wednesday night she woke up every hour, so it all balances out! It's fun and yet strange how I did this journey such a short time ago but it's all brand new again. I don't think I'll ever get to say 'you're exactly like your sister', and I'm totally okay with that because they're unique people and that is my favorite part.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Camel's back.

You know that expression "the hair that broke the camel's back". I think I have the verbiage screwed up, so please comment and let me know what it actually is.

And even though I have it messed up, I know you know what I mean. I had decided a while ago that I wanted to exclusively pump in order to feed Brooklyn, but I had thought I would try breastfeeding the traditional way first and see how it went and then re-evaluate in a couple of weeks or so. But Brooklyn is just like her sister. Wide awake, smiling, laughing even and then you hook her up to the boob and she's asleep quicker than most teenagers. I have never had such rock hard boobs in my life. I started to think pumping was going to be happening a little earlier than planned.

Then at church on Sunday I excused myself from the service to go and feed her in the foyer. As soon as I sat down the dad of a guy we're friends with sat down next to me. Now I'm not exactly fitting into my pre-pregnancy clothes, or the current breastfeeding attire I own, so I knew that as soon as I unzipped my sweater he would get to know me, all of me, a lot better than he wanted. After a few awkward moments he finally got on and moozeyed off. I got Brooklyn latched on and we were just sitting there listening to the sermon doing our thing. Along comes an elderly lady, one who knows me but I do not know her name. She says the usual congratulations and asks how I'm feeling. I assume she is going to move on. Nope, she pulls the blanket that I have covering Brooklyn right off so she can get a good luck at our little bundle. What the heck!

Pumping is definitely for me. I'm transparent, but there are parts of me I don't want anyone to see.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Great Debate

Here is the best close up of Brooklyn that I have so far. I haven't taken that many pictures thus far. (Which I must correct because I don't want to have a zillion pictures of Belle and a handful of the others.) Anyway.

Now that people besides Nick and I have seen her The Great Debate has begun. Does she look like me or Nick? Most everyone has said me, and a few have already commented on the striking resemblance to Isabella.

But here's what I think. She looks like Nala. That little lion cub in The Lion King. Her eyes are just almond enough to touch the bridge of her nose in the right spot and come down to that little crease at the end of her nose between her lips. Very feline features. She does have the same lips at Belle which I also think are a bit cat like. As far as animal resemblances it could be much worse! I think she's a very cute cat.