Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Dog Dayz

I cannot believe that "summer" is almost over! I am extremely excited that it is being that I am a girl who appreciates the colder temps and waking up when it's still dark outside. I tend to catch this bug of anticipation when summer is ending and the school year is starting. It's funny how even though I haven't been in school for five years September still feels like more a 'new year' to me than January.

I was sitting back thinking about how nice it will be when we're busy, (I'm a bit weird that way, I love busyness!). When each person has their own color marker to use on the family calendar in order to keep track of their activities. I signed up the girls for the fall session of swimming lessons and got excited to have an activity. Then I decided to think of how/where I would be volunteering this fall, stuff like that.

That's when I realized that we are already at the point of needing a family calendar! Our weeks are full. The difference is that with smaller kids the majority of the activities happen before supper and not after. I know that having full weeks mean that the days will fly by and that has me excited too. I am not ready to have a baby tomorrow, (fingers crossed Elizabeth!), but I am so excited to add our third addition before we ring in the New Year.

I'm sure not a fan of the dog days of summer, I love the ironic fast pacedness of the holidays, but I'd rather take it without the heat! I hope everyone, (especially my three loyal readers), has a great fall, full of activity and blessings and challenges. Happy New Year!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Old Haunts

This past week we spent a few days up at my Grandparent's trailer on Blackstone Lake in Northern Ontario. It was neat to take my kids up to a place I hung out at as a kid. The place has really changed since I was last up there but a few special places remained. My grandpa took us out on the boat a few times and we got to look at Lawson's Bay which used to be an empty quiet place for fishing. Now it features cottages like this:

With docks for single boats like this:

My grandpa says the rumor is these people are putting in a small gondola to take them from cabin to dock. I could believe it. There's a lot of money on the lake now. So much so in fact they aren't sure how many more years they'll have a trailer up there. They rent in a park and the owner may get a really good offer and sell. I can't say I'd blame her with all the million plus dollar deals going down up north.

The weather was grey and rainy while we were there with a humidex of about one million. So we spent most of the time indoors just trying to breathe, but had a blast nonetheless. Once again not a single shot of Brooklyn and I'm not even sure why Isabella has such a monopoly on our camera.

Here are some of our fun moments.

Driving the boat. She loved doing this but we only let it putter when she's driving so it would last about ten seconds and then she'd jump out and tell grandpa to "Let's Go!" so we could go faster. At this particular moment she is telling me not to take a picture of her driving thank-you-very-much.

Us on the big rocks, which are so much smaller when you're in your 20's.

One of the many hilarious moments provided by Isabella running in and out between the trailer and screened in porch which she overtook with her mega blocks.

Isabella is getting all right at taking pictures herself like these of my grandpa and grandma.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Ebb and Flow

I find that there really is an ebb and flow to life. There are very busy times, and there are times when you wish there were things to do. There are times when you feel on top of the world and there are times when you feel like you're underneath it. I like to pretend that I'm a stable and level headed person but as I've been reflecting these last few days I find that I really am more of a rollar coaster. There are times when I'm completely dependable, times when I'm a bit more fairweater; times when I am full of energy, times when I am completely exhausted; times when I'm batting a thousand and times when I can't remember how to hold a bat. Perhaps it's because I'm a woman. Perhaps it's because I"ve been pregnant for 25 of the last 38 months. Perhaps it's becuase I am striving to live like Christ, and that's a rollar coaster for any human!

I'm not sure the reason but I know I find myself longing for even keeledness. For there to be a real level to my days, events, activities, life change. It's hard to go through mountains and valleys for an elongated period of time. Sometimes though I wonder if I've gotten so used to being on a rollar coaster that I tend to create my own bumps and dips.

We have had an awesome summer, really. There are a lot of things we haven't been able to do that we wanted to, but we did so many other things. We have been running on a rushed pace, but that's just what our life is like right now. It's good, because really the life of a pastor and family does not know a slow season.

We took a family day this week and didn't go to church on Sunday, instead we spent it at the ballpark. It was great, but like so many times it seems the week we missed Church was a week we really needed to be there to hear what God was imparting through our pastor. Friends of ours told us about the sermon and I am really looking forward to downloading it once it's posted online, (our church is awesome like that). According to our sources, (who are very reliable), the sermon was about being fully reliant on the Holy Spirit and what that looks like in the life of a Christian. (And yes, he's still working through the book of Romans).

I have yet to hear the wisdom, but I am sure that it is part of the key to being even keeled. I know I say a lot that I need to rely on the power of God and not my own, I know I pray for strength during tough times, it really isn't lip service for me, I do take it seriously. But, I can't say I've know what it's like to live fully reliant on Him. If I did life wouldn't really be a rollar coaster. Sure it would be full of events, some more exciting and some not so much; but I think you can tell the people who live fully reliant on the Spirit because they have joy all the time. You can just see peace in their eyes and joy in their hearts.

I think this is a key thing for me right now. The more I hang out with younger babies the more I wonder how on earth I am going to be able to be a good mom to three children under the age of three! The more days that go by without work and I begin to stress about bills, I begin to doubt in God's providance for us. The busier our lives get the less time there is to just be, and that wears a body out.

I was looking back on some old posts and experiences and really feeling the cyclicalness of my life. Another major life change on the horizon, another period of not knowing where the money is coming from. Another time of feeling far from my priorities. There must be a lesson there I'm just not getting, but I think that each time the test is put before me I handle it a bit more maturely. I really am growing and that's encouraging.

For the last two days the weather has been grey and overcast, my favorite! We are going up north to spend a night at my grandparent's trailer which is something I enjoyed so much as a kid and now get to share with my kids. Nick and I actually have a date night planned for Sunday evening, (a virtually free date night because of some generous people at our church!), I've been turning the tv off more and even though I haven't had work to keep my busy I've been doing the other stuff in life I should be, (as opposed to eating bon bons and watching 'stories' all day). To me that makes things feel more even keeled, what I really want. Although I could create a dip out of the current situation I don't have any desire to and I hope that when people see me they are noticing the joy in my heart and the journey toward peace and rest in the Spirit.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Say What, Isabella?

Yesterday Isabella got a package from my mom. In it was a new outfit. She took it out of the packaging, gave it a huge hug and said "I love it momma." Then she put it on, almost entirely by herself.

Today I went up to get her from my time out, (she wasn't tired but I needed a few childless minutes so she was gated in her room). She had peed in her Pull Up, (I did not want to end my childless minutes cleaning up anything foul), taken it off, thrown it into the bathroom and proceeded to put on new panties and shorts, by herself.

She no longer says 'no' by itself when she is defiant. Now she says 'no, I don't want'.

Yesterday she told us she loves Taco Bell.

This week she asked me where her conscience is.

Apparently London Bridge is falling down and it's Belle's job to tell the whole world, hence the repetition of the song for the last two weeks whenever there is silence.

Isabella walked into our scrapbooking room last friday and exclaimed; "Oh my gosh, (small hand covering wide open mouth), it's amazing." I guess people do notice when I tidy up.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Very Ferry

For the second part of our family outing we decided to try out Toronto Island. I had heard a few people talking about it over the summer and envisioned a large island with park benches and gardens and picnic spots. Nick took me to the web site before we headed out and there are a billion things to do on the island. We chose one activity section that looked nice, packed a picnic and decided to go with the girls agenda instead of our own. To get across to the island you have to take a ferry, another first for me as well as the girls.
This picture is of Isabella on the way home on the top deck of the ferry with Nick. Alcohol is prohibited on the Island which makes it a great place to take your children without the worry of them witnessing a drunken brawl, or since it is the T dot, something far worse. The ferry was full of children on the way home with us and after a long day out the smell of old diapers and mothers who had been spewed upon was a little much, so Nick and Belle escaped to the top deck.
This is the city Skyline as we headed back across the ferry.
Me and Isabella enjoying our picnic suppers, and running from segulls.
There aren't any pictures of Brooklyn from the day really. She is cutting her two top teeth and spent the majority of the day sleeping and noshing on arrowroots. Here's Isabella trying to provide her some relief.
After our supper we headed towards the Franklin's Childrens Garden. A really lovely garden with bronze statues of all the Franklin tv show characters. Franklin is by far one of Isabella's favorite shows and it was so cute to see her run up to the statutes, give them hugs and carry on conversations with them just like they were her real buddies. I put more pics of it on her blog.
After a couple hours on the Island Belle started to be a little less obedient than we expect of her and so we decided to call it a day. It was a super day out, lots of fun and one that I'm sure we'll be repeating over and over again next summer.

Ice is Nice

Yesterday we had a family outing day. Our original plan had been to take the girls to the London's Childrens Musuem to see a Munsch exhibit. Nick checked out the website and deduced it was more for children who could read. Since Isabella can't and there will be plenty of time when she can we decided to go on a "no reading required" outing.

Our first stop was the Hockey Hall of Fame. When it was first suggested I pictured a day of Nick in his glory oblivious to his children while they screamed and carried on and I was left to my own devices in a public arena which isn't a pleasant vision. It was pretty much the polar opposite. A super day.

The HHF was surprisingly empty considering it was a Saturday afternoon, but we took full advantage of the lack of crowd to let Brooklyn explore at her own pace. She cralwed around for a while, climbed up on the walls and got really up close with some of hockey's legends.
Here we are with Lord Stanley himself. The Cup is upstairs in a smaller room where they hold the inductions to the HHF, (at least that's what Nick said). The room is small enough that you can hear the conversations of people around you. I don't think I'll ever get over how cool it is to hear so many different languages in the same place all saying versions of the same thing:

"What $10 to get a picture with the Cup?" "I know, do you think they'd let us use our own camera and have someone take it?" "I don't know let's just try and sneak it in." "We'll we could always ask that guy who works here, but what if he says we have to pay?".

I swear I heard the same conversation in Kroatian, English, French, German, Pig Latin.

You can take your picture without paying for it, the guy who works there will even snap it for you!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Fields of Love

I love finding outings to take Isabella and Brooklyn on. I am not the kind of mom who lasts long just sitting at the park, especially in the heat of the summer, and so it's much more enjoyable for all if there is an actual event for us to attend. I don't know if I'll be able to do many 'single parent' outings once there are three children with me so I have made the effort to do a few fun things this summer and am hoping to find a few more for the fall.

Last week's outing was to a place called Andrews Scenic Acres. We want to hold Brooklyn's first birthday party there as in October they have a huge pumpkin patch, haunted house and other things for the kids to do. There is a small playground and picnic area, but the majority of the place is acres and acres of fresh fruits and vegetables. You can pay a few dollars and go pick your own fresh blueberries, or raspberries or what not.

Today's Parent was sponsoring a day at Andrews so I talked to a few other parents and we took our kids for a few hours in the morning. Isabella got to hang out with her friend, (and future husband?) Liam. The above picture of them holding hands was not coerced at all. We simply asked them to walk together, thinking the faster at that moment would speed up the slower. They were of course adorable.

There is also a playground, and this is the main slide. Isabella climbed up the whole thing by herself. There weren't actual steps but rather metal bars to walk up. I stood behind her so nervous but the slide is taller than me and I had to let her do it by herself. She didn't even slip, she made sure to have good grip before moving up any steps and she even remembered to only go up onto her knees at the top. Then she slid down all by herself. Definitely not a baby anymore.

The corn stalks sure made her look small though. We decided to also take a hay ride around the lot and while we were waiting for our turn Isabella ran over to the Today's Parents reps just to hang out. They were throwing around a ball and frisbee and she wanted in on the fun. This was probably the most confusing part of the day as all of the Today's Parents reps were teenagers. What they were there to tell us parents I have no idea as they only talked to each other. Isabella sure enjoyed them as she introduced herself, (she now tells people: "hello, bella" while pointing to herself). She is going to be quite the social butterfly.

There wasn't too much to do as the place was quickly filling up with other older children and there was one more child than adult in our party so no extra hands for fancy pictures or anything too memory making, although Angela did teach them how to 'sample' fresh fruit from the bush.

All in all I'd say it was a successful outing. I'm sure Isabella would have continued going up and down the slide a zillion times, but now she'll get the chance when we go back for Brooklyn's birthday and there are more adults for us to socialize with thus extending her happy hour.

This weekend our outing is going to be the Children's Museum in London. I think it's going to be a family outing as everyone else is quite busy, and it's a few hours of driving, but they're doing a Robert Munsch exhibit so I think it will be worth the trek.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

I absolutely cannot believe that an entire week has gone by since I've written a post. I swear that about six of them materialized in my brain and I was sure I wrote them. I spent the last few days sorting through my digital pictures in order to delete the crap and put them all in one organizational system before I started choosing what to order for my next scrapbook project. I guess I got caught up in organizing over 1300 photos, and that's just one year! I put in the order but have yet to look through the pictures to make sure they're all good quality. There may have to be a small re-order as some of the pics were a bit dark and I couldn't decide if that made them look like black squares or artsy.

In organizing my photos I came across a few video gems I had forgotten about. I just spent the last hour trying to upload one through Photobucket but it consistently got cut short! Does anyone else know a good outlet to upload some video to?

In a small update I went for my fourth ultrasound only to be told that the radiologist was new and being extremely picky about the pictures. Nothing wrong, just someone wanting to over achieve. (I did ask the gender but was told it was too early to tell, I guess we'll have to stick with surprises.) I also took Brooklyn to the pediatrician who got her naked, put her on the scale, laughed out loud and sent us home. Yes, she laughed. out. loud. I had thought that Brooklyn felt heavier than the 12 lbs the scale said, but everything feels extremely heavy to me these days. She weighs 18.5 lbs. She is fine.