May 22, 2014

IF: Equip and Acts 5

I know there are a lot of good online scripture reading communities with provoking and encouraging discussion... so I'm not trying to steer anyone away from one they're already enjoying! Better yet -- if you have a face-to-face community for bible study, perfect!

Right now I'm enjoying a community called If-Equip {By providing easy online access to a like-hearted community and relevant resources, we hope IF: Equip will prepare women around the world to know God more deeply and to live out their purposes. source}... After going through the Gospel of John little chunks at a time, we're now going through Acts.

Today was the beginning of Acts 5 with the sobering account of Ananias and Sapphira... a passage that I don't think I've given much thought into until today. I was so challenged to search my heart for the sin of hypocrisy and doing things for "show". We don't know the exact mindset of Ananias and Sapphira which leaves a lot of room for thought on what might have been in their hearts and minds and the different lessons we can learn from this. Were they trying to get the attention and accolades that Joseph/Barnabas may have received by giving all his money from the sale of his land (Acts 4)? Did they act out of fear and lack of faith in their True Provider and Protector (saving a bit of the money in case they were on the run from persecution)?   There are many angles we could look at this... and each speaks to my heart. But mainly I want everything I do to be done sincerely before God, for His attention alone... not for what others might think or not think. I want to be "all in" for Him, even if it makes no sense to the opinions of others. I want to risk it for HIM. And to remember that God is a holy God who knows all my thoughts and heart-motives and requires honesty... He wants all of me -- not just a portion...

I am oh-so-thankful for His grace when I act out of selfishness, in pride and from lack of faith. 

April 24, 2014

Another overdue update

April 24th... well, I've missed documenting a few milestones in our life lately!  So let's do a quick review.

Feb 13-14 -- moved into a little basement apartment for our few "homeless" weeks
Feb 14 -- moved out of our home. A crazy day, as all move days are!
Feb 16 - 17 -- de-junked the cottage and packed up our beloved little place
Feb 17, Family Day -- discovered baby #3 is happening
Feb 18 -- headed away on a little family vacation. To Michigan. yes, not Florida as my last post anticipated! ;) But we had a wonderful few days of down time at Great Wolf Lodge in Michigan!
Mar 8 -- packed our belongings in a U-Haul and drove away from our precious Grand Bend cottage for the last time... with many tears. 
Mar 13 -- got possession of our new home! So exciting to get those keys and get inside again :)
Mar 15 -- move in date... HURRAY!!!
Mar17-21 -- house got freshly painted inside, and I love it! 
Mar 23 -- Mom comes for a visit (Dad did too, but 7 hours doesn't really count, does it??) and stayed for almost 2 weeks. So very thankful for her help in getting settled in.
Mar 25ish -- In the last week of March, MJ started walking at 14 months. Love this toddling stage! 

I think that's about it... April has been settling into a normal routine again and we are loving our new home with lots of space to play - inside and out! 

So did you catch the casual but big announcement in there?? Yes, Little One #3 is due to arrive early October sometime and we are thrilled! A bit scared, of course, but excited and thankful. :) I have been feeling well throughout it all, just the usual tiredness and mild nausea. It was so busy in January and February that I just attributed the extra tiredness to the stress of the moving process... but now I know it was a bit of both. Thankfully both kids still nap in the afternoons (usually), so I take advantage of that many days. I know -- not very productive, but!

Here are a few pictures over the last couple months:
Move-out day from our home... 

AJ had a few moments in the big moving truck :)


Great Wolf Lodge



AJ had a cool little "camp" spot to sleep in while at Great Wolf Lodge


Back at the apartment... maybe a little cabin fever setting in on those frigid cold days??

Papa was in town for meetings so we enjoyed a few brief visits :)


MJ is our climber. If she can reach it, it must be climbed...



Nana visiting in our new home

A rare nice spring day! AJ had his bike out for the first time and we enjoyed a visit from friends.



A boy and his dirt... so content out there.

Won't be long now before MJ is running off with AJ's bike...

Got our deck all ready for the spring/summer season!

One of 2 loads sent to the dump from the cottage...

MJ's favourite place to hang out in the apartment 

Dad & Mom after a little vacation away on their own for the first time in ... forever? ;)

Nana's March visit

AJ learned some new skills since moving in... carpet was ripped up and he popped quite a few staples for us :)

Enjoying some fresh air at the end of our driveway :)

So mild and quiet............

Park fun :)

February 6, 2014

Thankful Thursday

Sitting here surrounded by boxes... feeling a little tired and a little nostalgic (equalling a little emotional).  The kids are still napping, so I thought I'd take a few minutes to focus on what I'm thankful for right now.

  • A comfortable home to have for so many years. 
  • So many good memories here. It's interesting for me to be moving from a place that doesn't really have any bad memories that I try to shut out!
  • Friends who give up their time to help me/us out in different ways
  • A surprise visit with an old friend who lives far away
  • Fresh light clean snow outside. (yes, this winter seems never ending, but this week it is so pretty!)
  • *SLIGHTLY* warmer temps that drew AJ out to play in the snow two days in a row. Fresh air is GOOD!
  • My mom... and the time she gave me to discuss paint colours :)
  • The kids doing well with their house in "moving chaos". Hope this continues!
  • AJ & MJ playing together more and more
  • The new and unexpected adult-sounding phrases that pop out of AJ's mouth lately. Lots of laughs!
  • A phone chat with a good Halifax friend today
  • Long afternoon naps for both kids today! YAYYY
  • 8 days until MOVE OUT day... No matter how crazy next week gets, it will be done on Friday. (Then on to packing up the cottage... aaahhh)
  • Anticipation of a family road trip to a warmer destination... plans are to travel south for a bit while we're between homes... hoping for a little beach time, but we'll see!
  • Getting to see my dad a little next week as he arrives in town for meetings
  • Technology that allows me glimpses into my little nephew's personality as he grows and changes... downside is that the desire to meet him and play with him grows exponentially each time!
  • My brother's 25th birthday! Glad the rest of my family can be with him today :)
I know there's more... but I hear some stirring babies... so I will continue my list in my head to focus on thankfulness today! :)

January 27, 2014

And... She's ONE!

Full of smiles, full of energy and full of life.  That about sums up our little MJ.

That she's already a year old shocks me. Time is definitely going faster with two little ones, but it is worth every crazy day. In many ways she seems younger than AJ was at a year, but I think the fact that he was toddling around at this age made him seem older.

From this:
To This:


While MJ has yet to come close to saying any words, she rarely leaves a doubt in our minds as to what she wants! Full of facial expressions, waving hands, shaking head, persistence, stubbornness, determination and action. Totally knows when she's about to do something you don't want her to - a gleam shines in her eyes, she smirks at you and races off to do that forbidden thing: straight for the toilet when a door is left open, straight for the stairs if a tiny gap exists, over to her brother's juice when he's not looking, hand snatching your glasses at the speed of light... long gone is our passive happy baby. She's still usually happy - just not passive. Her brother doesn't gain much ground with her, as she tackles him on his head if it's anywhere near... he has a love/hate relationship with those tackles... loves that she's engaging him and playing, but hates having his ears touched and head kissed/bitten! ;)  The two can have good battles over toys now... and AJ doesn't always win!

MJ is our dancer... she's always b-bopping to something, whether music she's hearing or... music in her head?? Shoulders alternate scrunching up, head swivels, whole body bounces, hands clapping... she loves music and seems to have some rhythm. AJ loves music too, and sings most of the day... not sure he has the rhythm thing down yet though.

We got her a little trampoline for Christmas, and she loves it. Gets herself up, hangs onto the handles and bounces away.

Water... she loves water! She gets so excited when you take her into the bathroom...  and start the bath water?? Euphoria! So far she loves the water on her head and in her face... huge splashes and crawls all around the bathtub. We'll test her out in the pool/ocean soon hopefully!

While MJ loves food, it is always and only on her terms. I think I get more veggies into her than AJ at this age, but I'm at a loss for what makes her choose to accept or deny them. Some meals she'll gobble up, other times, I get the sealed mouth and swatting hands... if we manage to FORCE it into her mouth, most often she delights us by sending it back out... Meat, fruit, breads... sometimes yes, sometimes no. Yogurt is usually a yes.  Bring something sweet near her?? Mouth opened as wide as you'll ever see, hands waving and body bouncing. She saw Grandma's pie and icecream over christmas... and about launched herself from the highchair to get at each bite. Pleased Grandma to no end! :) I thought AJ liked chocolate... MJ takes it to another level. So.... we'll see how things progress over the coming months. AJ was barely nursing at one and stopped about a month later without any issues. I think MJ senses that I'm ready to be D.O.N.E. with nursing, and has amped up her need/want for it... can't imagine her going down easy on this one. sigh.

MJ loves being with us and will frequently crawl to where we are and put her hands up. But a less cuddly child you would be hard pressed to find... I think we're a stepping stone to the next item she's in search for. She gets up in our arms, then starts reaching for something else.   She'll play with us (our face & hair is usually in danger), but won't relax and cuddle into us. I guess that's one benefit I get from still nursing her -- I get a bit more of a cuddle at bedtime... sometimes she even lays her head against my face before going into her crib!! ;) But while she's not a cuddler  (not a word), she is affectionate... we get lots of wet loving kisses, and accept her painful nose pinching/twisting as loving touches! :D

As much as MJ craves and seeks us out for attention (totally normal), she does frequently go off on her own and play... sometimes into the playroom to play with blocks, her trampoline, even her dolls... recently I've caught her a few times looking intently through a book! So excited about that. I don't think she gets as much quality one-on-one time looking through pages of books that AJ got (and still gets), so I need to be more mindful of that and make the time with her.

Weight at 12 months: 23.8 lbs
Length at 12 months:  73.5 cm
Teeth: 5 1/2 ... teething seems a little more painful for her than I remember with AJ. She has a runny nose a lot too lately, and I think it's to do with teething.

Big Moments in her first year?
-- first plane trip to PEI in May 2013
-- first long road trip to PEI in September 2013
-- first broken bone and cast
-- closed out her year by getting the flu early January and vomiting 3 times. (big deal for me, since AJ went 2.5 years before his first vomiting experience, which was just this week!!)

MJ brings so much sparkle and spunk to our little family, and I hope she channels her persistence for good in her coming years. Our hearts have expanded so much this past year and sometimes I feel overwhelmed with love for MJ and her brother. Yes, there are many days (usually just hours in those days) where I feel I have lost my mind and every last ounce of patience, but it is worth it. These babies of ours are sweet and amazing gifts from our loving God, and I pray I can love them, guide them, teach them, and raise them in ways that please Him.

MJ - I love you so very very much. I am praying for your future -- praying that you will know God's love and mercy in a personal way while you are young... that you will trust Jesus as your Saviour when you are young... that you will grow into a young lady who has courage and spunk, with a tender, loving and obedient heart for God's plans for you... that you will be the friend who acts kindly and generously and attentively, even if it means going against the crowd/pack mentality. Learn from your mistakes sweetheart, and let God use your pain to make you stronger and more useful for His purposes. Life hurts little one, and people hurt... so-called friends will inevitably hurt and betray you at every age... don't let that hurt and pain rule you. Don't close yourself in with protective walls - it's not worth it. Somehow, someway, do your best to learn to hand it over to God, who is your defender... let His love grow and overcome bitterness and pain. It's a life-long challenge... your Mama is still learning it day by day.  I love you little girl. I always will. And as long God gives me breath in my lungs, I will be here for you... no matter what.

Happy 1st Birthday sweet MJ! x0x0x

(Pictures are a combo of her actual birthday with just our little family and a family birthday supper we had when Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Sher and Uncle Norm and cousin L were here over Christmas/New Years. )

Order is out of place... but seems suiting to start with cake?! ;)





Opening presents while on Skype :)







Proof of some family there :) My pictures are sadly lacking these past few months!

December 25, 2013

Playing Catch-up -- the rest of our fall highlights

It's Christmas day… yet, I am going to continue with my update… so back to September we go. (Merry Christmas by the way! )

September:
- only days after my family left for their long drive home, my Grandmother passed away. This deserves a full post on its own…  her death released her from this broken earth and her broken body after many years, and I am so thankful that she is at peace and at HOME praising Jesus, her Saviour. This called for an unexpected trip to PEI, and my cousin was kind enough to join me and the kids on a L-O-N-G road trip… The kids did amazing, and I rather enjoyed our little trip. Funerals bring together many family members and friends that you don't often see, and I'm very thankful I was able to get "home".


Lots to keep him busy...

Happy to be out of her seat. MJ too ;)

Rolling out the kinks after a long day in the car ;)

Day 2 on the road… ALMOST stranded. God was kind to keep us going as we circled back to find the nearest gas station...

On the road about 40 minutes later… Yes.

Couldn't have asked for a better travelling partner… for better or WORSE ;)

Angels in disguise. 

Slightly inappropriately enthused at seeing the digger in action...

Back into Nana's arms after only a few days!

Park time





Had to get a beach day in on one of the only sunny warmish days :)


Clams :)

One last night away from home… a late night stop at a hotel in Quebec.

Finally HOME!! Super happy to see Daddy :)



October:
- Had a week at the cottage over Thanksgiving… it was wonderful.  Amazing weather. Cooked my first turkey. Did some fun fall activities as a family. Relaxed and disconnected from social media for a bit. :)
- AJ helped Daddy carve his first pumpkin… thought it was pretty fun digging out the "goo" 
- My nephew was born!!!!! Early… a wonderful surprise! (Now if I could only get East to meet him…)











craziness



Think I was a little stressed about turkey day? I came prepared. 

And it was good!  :)


My precious nephew. So much love for a little man I haven't yet met.

November:
And the craziness started…
- Bought a house out in the "country" a bit… in a tiny community. So excited. The kids will have a yard!
- Put our house up for sale… eel,l started the process. Lots of activity: Painters, handymen, movers to move stuff within the house, window people, cleaners, lots of packing, decluttering and goodwill runs… lots of time spent on the road, aimlessly driving with the kids to keep us out of the house while people worked in it.
- Put our beloved cottage up for sale :(
- MJ had a fall and broke her leg, so wore a beautiful purple cast for 4 weeks (thankfully only that long!)… didn't slow her down any, but my poor Mama-heart… she's a trooper!
- Did Operation Christmas Shoebox with a bunch of friends at church. Fun way to kick of the Christmas season early! :)
Poor kid's schedule was so messed up with all the chaos… he fell asleep in this position while we signed papers purchasing our new place.

The kids *may* have had a bit more free time to try crazy stunts while I was busy packing...

We'll miss this little place… a lot.

Killing time in Target one day… one shoe on, one shoe off

Visit to Chucky Cheese for the first time… kids needed a reward for practically living in the van :)

Loving the rocket

New place!! It's official! :)

December-ish:
- Christmas parade… it was frigid. But AJ was so into it that he stood there from the very first participant to the last police car closing the parade down… I tried to urge him to go home to the warmth only a couple houses away… but he insisted to "KEEP WATCHING!" :) Fun age.
- a week of crazy house showings and super stressing about keeping everything clean… oh, and lots of driving in circles, killing time.
- SOLD our house!
Christmas Parade… chilled but singing lots of "Jingle Bells" :)

Just a smiley girl in December :)

December 3rd……. the sign went up. Selling his house. Mixed emotions… I came to this home as a bride. I brought 2 babies home to this house. Lots of amazing memories here. So thankful for it, yet looking forward to the next chapter in a new place.

December 12th… house sold FIRM. Amazing. God was so kind to do this so fast for us. I had the honour of putting up the sold sign :)


Once that SOLD sign went up, we were able to relax… the kids could play with their toys (imagine!) and eat cheerios again (haha… always end up on the floor, and always end up crushed on the floor!)… I didn't have to wash the floor on my way out the door… we could plop our coats on the chair beside the door again (Wait… too bad we didn't break that habit!)… but best of all, we could put up some "Christmas" in the house, which made our little man so happy!