Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Secret Code

Now that I've unveiled the Christmas card, do you want to see the rest of the photo shoot? I'll have to give you our secret code... We were so happy with how all the pictures turned out! Melissa did an amazing job inspite of the fact that we were cold and slipping around on the ice and the kids were getting bored, etc.! She managed to make that all disappear in the photos. To see them, go to and click "Enter Site." Then, at the top of the page, click "V.I.P Area." When it asks for a password, type in "CUBA." (Don't ask - it's a joke between her husband and my husband!) Get comfortable because there are 74 pictures! I hope you enjoy them!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Bunches of Pictures!

Since I haven't posted much lately, I wanted to, at least, share some pictures so you could see a little of what we've been doing.

Joshua and I on our 9th anniversary date. After a delicious dinner at The Creperie, we visited the downtown Legislature Grounds to admire the Christmas lights and ice sculptures they have there.

Sara and Sky playing outside for the last time before the deep freeze. The temperatures have been dangerously cold for 2 1/2 weeks now. (More on that later.)

My (sometimes) angel, making a snow angel!

And another snow angel...

Sky helping Mommy mix up some Pumpkin Bread, something we can't have Christmas without!

More help from Sara - she's actually got a pretty strong arm!
There's nothing better than the smell of Pumpkin Bread baking in the oven! We made little loaves for the neighbours and a big one for our Christmas dinner.With the temperatures being so extremely cold, we are not able to take leisurely walks to look at Christmas lights. Edmonton has just the thing for December evenings, such as these! Every year this park puts up huge light displays and it's drive-thru only. The kids were so excited because they got to take their seat belts off and stand up in the car! We let the kids hang out the window and take pictures too. So, we had quite a few blurry ones, but Sky took this one and it turned out great.
I took this one - it was my favourite.

Saturday evening we went to a performance of Handel's Messiah. Joshua's parents were also there (they treated!), along with his sister and former piano teacher. It was beautiful, but the kids were supremely bored. At the intermission, I asked Dad who's idea it was to bring the kids. :-) So, Grandpa took the kids for a walk and bought them ice cream during the intermission. Then, he held Sky on his lap for the second half. Let's just say that standing up for the Hallelujah Chorus was a blessed relief! Here's the only picture I got of the kids with happy faces that evening! Don't you just love Sky's little vest?!

Just a couple of days ago, we made these cute little wreaths. They were a major hit and only lasted a few hours! I'll be posting the recipe on Recipeasy later tonight.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Christmas Party

It's after midnight and I need to be in bed, but I wanted to give an update about the party. I survived! It was beautifully decorated, complete with ice sculptures on the buffet tables. (I forgot the camera again! Joshua took this picture of me after we got home!) The food was excellent. Each table seated 8 people, but our table only had 4. For various reasons, the other people were not able to come at the last minute. So, Joshua and I shared the table with 2 single girls. They were actually easy to talk to and we had fun with them. There was a quiz sheet at each table with Christmas-y questions to answer. We had to answer them all together and submit our sheet to the "judges." It was a lot of fun! Does anyone know the country of origin for the poinsettia? I took a wild guess, and everyone agreed to write it down. It turned out that I was right! I'll tell you what...If you leave a comment with the correct answer, I'll enter you into a draw for a prize. Seriously! I've been wanting to do a giveaway, and this is perfect! Tomorrow I'll let you know what the prize is.

Anyway, back to the party... No one that we talked to tonight was drunk and we left as soon as the dancing and loud music began. The presentations and speeches were a little long-winded and boring, but it could be worse! We didn't win any door prizes, but that's O.K.! Thank you so much to everyone who prayed tonight. My father-in-law, who has worked for the bank for 19 years, was the one who prayed before the meal. He said a little bit before he prayed about remembering true meaning of Christmas. It was nice to hear that.

Oh, and I have to apologize for unintentionally lying about the number of people at the party. Joshua told me 1,000 (he was totally guessing), so I just quoted him. Oops! The official number was actually 552!
Here's one more pic, a self-portrait we took after we got home! The kids did great at home with the babysitter, so all in all, it was a good evening. Have a wonderful weekend everyone! Tomorrow I'm going to post a bunch of pictures from the last week - and I'll post a picture of what I'm going to give away!

Friday, December 19, 2008


There are so many things I want to write about today, but I think most of it will have to wait for another day. Tonight is the bank's Christmas party where there will be about 1,000 people in attendance! I have many mixed feelings about these parties. This will be our third one since Joshua started working for the bank. It's always a beautifully festive atmosphere, with yummy food and lots of prizes being given out. It's just that the "celebration" is never about the real meaning of Christmas, and I always leave with such an empty feeling. After the meal, there is so much drunkenness and music so loud that you have to shout to the person standing right next to you. Joshua always wants to stay to make the rounds to greet some "important" people with the bank (another thing that bugs me, the fact that certain people are considered more important than others, just because of the money they make...). Every girl likes to dress up in a beautiful dress, and fix her hair and make-up just right for special occasions. But, this occasion is hard for me. Am I the only one who feels like this? Anyway, please pray for me tonight - that somehow Jesus' love will fill my heart with joy inspite of the worldliness around me.

Aloha Friday #6

It's time for Aloha Friday again! I ask a simple question and you answer it! If you want to participate, head on over to An Island Life and follow the instructions! It's a great way to make new bloggy friends!

For my regular readers, I apologize for my lack of posting this week... I know, it's really pathetic that I have NOTHING between my last two Aloha Friday posts! I promise I will post something in the next day or two.

My question for this week:

In just two days (December 21st), it will be Winter Solstice (the shortest day of the year). Being so far north in Alberta, Canada, our days have been very short! I'm turning on the outside Christmas lights at 4:30 in the afternoon! So, my question is this: What are the sunrise/sunset times in your part of the world right now? Today, the sun rose at 8:47 a.m. and the sunset will be 4:15 p.m. I am very ready for the days to begin lengthening around here!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Aloha Friday #5

Today's Aloha Friday took me by surprise! I can't believe it's that time of the week already! I'm going to ask a simple question and all you have to do is answer it! Thanks to An Island Life for the original idea. If you want to participate, head on over there and follow the instructions! It's a fun way to make new bloggy friends!

This week's question is multiple choice:

Which holiday beverage is your favourite?

a. Eggnog
b. Hot chocolate
c. Wassail (hot spiced apple cider)
d. Holiday lattes at Starbucks (if so, which one?)
e. Other

I think mine would have to be the Gingerbread Latte at Starbuck's! Grande, de-caf, half-sweet, no whipped cream! (It is now called the Gingersnap Latte - get it without the cookie sprinkles - even the guy at Starbuck's told me they were disgusting!)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

9 Years Ago

December 10th, 1999 was a beautiful day! We were married in Niles, Michigan in a little white chapel. I've been reminiscing all day about the wonderful friends and family who came to celebrate with us on our wedding day. I had to include this picture, because two of my bridesmaids are very much a part of my bloggy world. Jennifer, with the pretty smile on the far left, can be found at Life With The Burk Family. Karen, the cute blond on the far right, is the one who got me into this whole blogging thing! I keep up with her crazy life at Snakes, Snails and Puppydog Tails! Jan, my maid of honour in the middle, keeps up with me on Facebook.

This is one of our engagement pictures, taken just a few weeks before the wedding, on American Thanksgiving, 1999. This picture was taken, 9 years later, on Canadian Thanksgiving, 2008! We're still in love and I still melt when he smiles at me!
So much has happened in the past 9 years. Those stories can wait for another day. It has been a crazy journey, full of ups and downs. I'm not one of those people who would say that I'd do it all over again or even that these 9 years have been the best years of my life. There have been some wonderful moments that I will cherish forever. There have also been some moments that I regret and wish didn't happen. One thing I know - God has been in every moment of our marriage whether we acknowledged Him or not. And God will continue to be there, with His never ending grace. Today we celebrate! May there be many more years of celebration and love.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

"Oh, the Weather Outside is Frightful..."

"...but the fire (or maybe I should say, furnace) is so delightful!" It has been snowing every day now for a week! Finally! Today it was A LOT! I had to go out this afternoon to take Sky to his music class and then to the grocery store for a couple of things. It was snowing like crazy and the roads are definitely frightful right now! I'm so thankful we have a four wheel drive Toyota Highlander! It really makes a huge difference. After coming home, I poked my head out the door one more time to take a few pictures for you.

Here's what it looks like out the back door...... and what it looks like out my front door!

Brrrr! It's cold, but pretty! Joshua took the kids to ski racing lessons tonight, so I'm alone as I type this. Don't get too excited for me - I've been cleaning up and doing laundry - but at least it's quiet!
The weekend was fun, but too busy. The highlight for me was seeing the musical presentation of The Chronicles of Narnia on Saturday night. The church that did the production did an amazing job! It was truly enchanting for me. Sara and Sky absolutely loved it! Their eyes were glued to that stage from the minute the play started, till the closing scene. It was over two hours long, with only a ten minute intermission, but they couldn't get enough of it! We have been reading the book out loud in the evenings, so it was really neat to see it all come to life like that!
On Sunday evening, Sara and Sky performed in their Christmas piano recital. They both did a great job and we were very proud! Grandma and Grandpa and Auntie Shannon came to support the budding musicians as well. Afterwards, we all went out for supper together. There are no pictures because I forgot the camera! And I realized that, about 5 minutes after I realized I had forgotten to prepare a snack to take for after the recital!! (Everyone was supposed to bring a plate of something.) Yes, I have officially lost my mind with all the busyness! One of the other moms in Sky's class took some pictures for me, and she has promised to e-mail them to me. Hopefully I will get those soon and then I will post them!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Aloha Friday #4

It's that time again! I ask a simple question and you answer! The original idea came from An Island Life. If you want to participate, click on the link and follow the instructions!

My question for this week:

Does anyone know what to do with ground turkey? (Not leftover turkey from Thanksgiving- I know what to do with that!) Someone recently gave me a pound of it and I've never used it in that form before! Any good recipe ideas?

If you don't know what to do with the ground turkey, here is your alternate question:

Are you doing anything "Christmas-y" this coming weekend? (ex. decorating, light festivals, visiting Santa, gift shopping, etc.)

We will be very busy, but only one really "Christmas-y" thing! Sunday evening is our kids' Christmas piano recital. Should be fun! I always get more nervous about those than they do! Whatever you happen to be doing, I hope you have a wonderful weekend with your families!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

This Is The Day That The Lord Has Made...

...I will rejoice and be glad in it! It's already Thursday! It hasn't been terribly busy this week, but I've been sick again. I had a sore throat last week for a few days, but it went away quickly. On Sunday, it came back with a vengeance. By Tuesday I had a fever and some other unmentionable symptoms. My throat was so swollen, that I was having panic attacks Monday night, feeling like my airway would close up! I was afraid to go to sleep for fear that I would stop breathing and never wake up! LOL! I'm not a bit dramatic, am I?! Ha! Just ask my mom! Although, I'm not nearly as bad as my sister, Heidi (age 13)! :-) Anyway...I went to see my herbalist and he fixed me up with some good stuff. He made me take some of the pills before I even left the store, and I was already feeling slightly better. A bit more expensive than going to the doctor, but WAY more helpful and without the 2 hour wait! (There are no doctors accepting new patients in our town right now, so I would have had to go to the walk-in clinic.) Today, I'm still feeling yucky, but the sore throat is subsiding.

Yesterday I had the first visit from Monica, our homeschool facilitator. It went O.K. I ended up crying a lot, probably just because I was feeling so yucky, combined with my recent frustrations with school. When we asked Sara to go downstairs, so we could talk privately, she would not obey. After I finally got her downstairs, she screamed her head off the whole time, so much so that Sky started crying from the stress of it all. I was too tired to be very embarrassed, but I'm sure my blood pressure went up a notch or two! We finally got everything discussed and then Sara read a short story for Monica. She did well. After sharing where we are at with Math this year, Monica thought it might be a good idea to get Sara "tested," in order for us to know how to teach her more effectively. I contacted my friend, Sherry, the one who I talked to about mediated learning last month. She's a Christian, homeschooling mom who does mediated learning testing. Basically, this kind of testing doesn't just identify "problems," but it helps with finding out how a child thinks and learns. We're going to talk on Friday about what the next step will be. She's such a wonderful, compassionate person and said she was confident she could help Sara. I'm quite sure she will make this as painless and "fun" as possible. It makes me feel better to know that I've made the first step. After so many years of feeling like a failure and going up and down on a roller coaster with Sara, I'm really praying that this will give me the tools I need to be a better parent and teacher. I love my daughter so much, but I just don't "get" her and I feel guilty about that all the time. I'll keep you posted as we go along with this.

Tomorrow we were supposed to go to the Little Red Riding Hood play, but I've decided to give away the tickets. I'm still feeling tired and yucky and I need my strength for the busy weekend. I posted on a homeschool forum that I'm a member of, that I had 3 free tickets. One mom was interested, but I'm waiting to hear back from her. Even if no one takes them, I'm still not going. The tickets were only $6.50 each, so that's not going to bankrupt me!

So, today and tomorrow are rest days, with only school on the agenda. There might be some laundry to fold, but I guess I can handle that!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Happy December!

It's officially the Christmas month! Today is cold, WINDY and grey - could that possibly mean snow?!

We put up our Christmas tree last week. We had a bit of a tragedy. The kids and I unpacked the tree on Tuesday morning, set it up, and I spent the afternoon putting on lights and beads. We saved the ornaments so we could decorate with Daddy in the evening. Well, as we started hanging the ornaments, the tree started to tip over! Earlier, when I moved the tree back into the corner, a piece on the bottom of the stand (cheap plastic) got caught in a groove in the hardwood floor. I lifted it over the spot, but I guess not before the stand had already cracked in one spot. I didn't realize it at the time, but when we started decorating it, it was quite unstable. We tried a couple of things and continued until we had about 2/3 of the ornaments on the tree. We finally realized things were NOT going to work out. It was not one of our best family nights, to put it mildly! Joshua ended up going out to buy a new tree, while the kids and I were left at home to undecorate the tree. Joshua was not a happy camper at all, so I put the kids to bed, not knowing what to expect. He finally came home with a tree and was upset that the kids were in bed already. So....we got them back out of bed and they helped put the tree together! The next day, we started all over again and we finally met with success! I actually like the new tree better. It's a foot and a half taller, more realistic looking, and comes down lower to the floor. It took longer to fluff and decorate, but next year it won't seem so bad because it won't be my second tree! That bow on top is one of the bows we used in our wedding 9 years ago. The gold beads are from the wedding too! (Our anniversary is December 10th.)

Here are a few pictures of our Christmas tree decorating - take two! I thought the ones of Sara and Sky individually turned out so sweet.

A big Christmas hug before going off to bed! All that hard work finally paid off.

I hope you're enjoying your Christmas season this year. It's such a busy time. Here are a few things already on our calendar for the month of December.

Dec. 3rd - Visit in the morning from homeschool facilitator, Monica.

Dec. 5th - Red Riding Hood play at the Fringe Theatre (it has nothing to do with Christmas, but it was a good deal open to homeschoolers - now I wish I could give my tickets away!)

Dec. 6th - Chronicles of Narnia musical presentation at 7 p.m. after supper at Grandma and Grandpa's house.

Dec. 7th - Winter piano recital, at 5:30 p.m., starring Sara and Sky!

Dec. 10th - Our 9th wedding anniversary. Dinner out has yet to be scheduled...

Dec. 14th - Kid's Christmas Party for all children of bank employees.

Dec 15th - Sleigh ride, tobogganing and bonfire at Pegasus Stables with homeschool group.

Dec. 19th - Big people Christmas party for employees of the bank. :-)

Dec. 20th - Evening performance of Handel's Messiah, by the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. This will include children, grandparents, sister-in-law, and friend. We will be so cultured!

This doesn't include the weekly music lessons and ski racing that I mentioned in the previous post! Whew! If I go missing at any point during this month, you will know why!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

First Day of Ski Racing Lessons!

Finally, the big day arrived! Sara and Sky started ski racing lessons! They've been looking forward to this day for a long time. After arriving home last night at 10:30 p.m. (we went to Calgary for one night), we drug the kids out of bed at 7:30 this morning for 3 hours of ski racing. It was a beautiful, sunny morning, with temperatures above freezing. We still have only had one snowfall this winter, so the local ski hills in Edmonton are very late in opening. In case you're wondering how they got all the snow on the hill, they made all that snow! They have huge snow-making machines that blow a fine mist of water all over the hills. They usually run them all night long when the temperatures are below freezing. It took a long time for them to get a good base of snow. It was a good first lesson. The kids had fun, so that's the most important part! There were some disorganization issues that irritated Joshua and I, but nothing we couldn't deal with. Here are a few pictures of the morning.

Sara, following her class to the ski lift.Sky, giving me a happy little wave as he waits in line at the "magic carpet." (It's a ski lift that you stand on and it takes you up the hill, like a giant conveyor belt.) Sara with her class. She's the one with the pink helmet.I really had to include this video of Sky! We're not sure why they had the kids raising their hands like that - probably something to do with balance - but it was so cute! It was amazing what they had these kids doing on the first day.

Thus begins a winter full of lessons and races. I'm hoping it will be mostly fun! Lessons are every Saturday morning, from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. for both kids. On Tuesday evenings, from 6-8 p.m., Sara has an additional lesson. Joshua will probably take Sky on those nights as well, and just ski alone with him, so he doesn't feel left out. I'm sure there will be lots more posts and pictures, as ski racing will kind of be our lives for the winter!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Birthday, Sky!

My little boy turned 5 on Friday! It was such a busy day that I didn't have time to put together his birthday post. And now, such a busy week that I've been working on this for awhile! Here a few pictures of the last 5 years of Sky's life. I've had a hard time finding pictures of Sky by himself! It seems that all the really good ones are of Sky and Sara. I guess that's the life of the second child!

Sky was born at home, in our bathtub, and it was very much on purpose! He loves to hear me tell the story about how he was my "water baby!"
He got chicken pox when he was only 8 months old!
Already showing his goofy side at age 2! Almost 3 years old

4 years old and 2nd year of skiing!

And here he is, 5 years old already, enjoying some chocolate birthday cake!

I think the thing I love most about Sky is his sense of humour! He loves to tease and tell jokes and do silly things and generally make people laugh. He will do almost anything to get people to laugh at him. Last year, around Christmastime, I bought a bag of fresh cranberries. For a "fancy" dinner one night, I floated a few cranberries in each person's juice glass. Sky ate every single cranberry in his juice (about 5) just because we were all freaking out and laughing at him! If you've never tasted a fresh cranberry, just know that they are SOUR!! He's had such a good vocabulary from a very young age. Once he hears a word, he remembers it. He amazes me everyday with the words he knows. Just last week, he used the word "compost" in the correct context! And even when he's not even trying to be funny, he cracks me up. Just today, Sara was running around the house, screaming for no apparent reason. (She was especially challenging today...) I told her to leave me alone, so she went downstairs to bug Sky. He came up and informed me that Sara was screaming her head off. I replied, "I know." His eyes suddenly brightened up and he said, "I know! I'll take her for a walk around the house until she calms down. That will make her stop!" Too funny! He makes me laugh inspite of myself so many times.

Sky's favourite colours are orange and black, his favourite food is macaroni and cheese and favourite drink is Sprite. (He does eat his veggies - I promise!) He loves Batman, Spiderman, dinosaurs, dragons and anything "scary." He's very good at entertaining himself and is always dreaming up some new "game" or invention. He reminds me a lot of my brother, Scott. I know he's going to be very good at sports. He started walking at 9 months and then taught himself to go up and down stairs by 10 months! He was riding a real bike with training wheels at 2 years old, and before he turned 4, the training wheels were OFF! He started skiing when he was 3 and gets mad because he can't ski like Daddy. In the springtime, we're probably going to put him in baseball, because he can hit a baseball like nobody's business! He is a very smart, witty, and talented kid. I know that will come with it's challenges. Pride will rear it's ugly head. Frustration at less than perfection has already been a problem at times. I pray that Sky will always give God the glory for the accomplishments that he makes. I pray that I will have the wisdom to guide him.

I love you so much, little boy! You are a special joy in all of our lives. Thank you for making me laugh. Thank you for always knowing when I need a hug or a helping hand. God has given you a sensitive heart and I pray that it will stay that way forever.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Aloha Friday #3

It's time for Aloha Friday! I ask a simple question and you answer! If you want to participate, head on over to An Island Life and follow the instructions.

My question for this Friday:

What are the scents of the hand soaps you have in your bathrooms and/or by the kitchen sink?

I realized this morning that we have a very "smelly" house - in a good way, I hope! We have 4 bathrooms and 1 kitchen sink, so the scents in our home are: Sparkling Peach in the main floor half bath, Enchanted Orchid in Sara's bathroom, Warm Vanilla Sugar in the master bathroom, Cherry Blossom in Sky's bathroom, and Melaleuca's Original anti-bacterial scent in the kitchen. (Yes, we shop at Bath and Body Works!)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Before The Day Is Over...

It's almost time for bed, but I wanted to post a couple of things before I head to the warmth and softness of my down comforter. (It is COLD out there!) Thank you to all of you who posted comments on my last post. I have been strengthened and encouraged by your love, support and prayers. I thank God for the wonderful friends that He has brought into my life over the years. Today wasn't the best day of my life or anything, but it helps to know I do not walk alone and that I am loved!

The other thing I wanted to share is something that greatly encouraged me as a homeschool mom. I've shared a couple of times how I've struggled to teach Sara and how she's struggled to grasp what I'm trying to teach. It's hard for me to be transparent about this because there is so much comparison stuff that goes on with moms. Some parents realize they're doing it, but I really believe some don't. It's really painful when I feel like it's my child always "falling short" some how. Last year Sara was not reading at the same level as her peers. It was a daily, uphill battle. Finally, in February of this year, something clicked and Sara began to progress in reading! It has been such a joy to watch her learn new things everyday and actually get excited about reading! But, this year we are struggling with Math. Not just the normal, "we need to brush up because we forgot over the summer" kind of thing. It was like no comprehension whatsoever. What happened to everything we did last year? I actually got to the point where we stopped doing Math at all. I felt paralyzed and helpless. On Monday evening, I was able to get away to attend a monthly meeting with the Christian homeschool group I've joined. I had the chance to talk to a mom, Sherri, who specializes is something called mediated learning. Another mom I talked to awhile ago, told me that she thought Sherri could help me. It was so good to talk to her. She assured me that I was not alone. She understood my feelings of failure. She offered her continued support and monitoring of my situation. And she said a lot of things I needed to hear. As she spoke to me, I just started crying - right there in front of this stranger! It's just that she seemed to know exactly what was in my heart. She recommended a little booklet called "An Easy Start In ARITHMETIC," by Ruth Beechick. I think I remember books by this author hanging around my mom's library when I was being homeschooled! Last night I took some time to read through the book. It was so enlightening. She explained some things about how a child learns math that just blew me away. I've been frustrated that Sara can only do math problems with manipulatives. I've been told, "Well, that's all fine and good, but she really should have her additions facts memorized." Mrs. Beechick explained in the book that a math problem written out, like 2+2=4 is the third and final mode of learning math! Those are abstract symbols and most children don't even fully comprehend what they mean until Grade 3. Manipulatives are NOT a crutch - they are a necessary part of development and learning! I have manipulatives and we use them a lot, but I keep taking Sara away from that and expecting her to fill out a workbook page full of abstract symbols. Today we did Math for the first time in weeks! It wasn't much, but we did it! Sara used blocks to tell me that 2+2=4. God gave me my miracle! And she even said to me today, "We're not going to do a paper, are we?" I replied, "No, no we are not!" And I'm O.K. with that. There were so many ideas in the book about how to use "real-life arithmetic" as you go through each day. And that playing games is an excellent way of learning math. I can do that! Today was a baby step, but we'll take one baby step each day and eventually get somewhere.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Being Real

Today is kind of a weird day. We were supposed to get our annual family picture taken after lunch. I spent the morning preparing everyone, like any good mom does before a family picture! Bathing the kids, getting everyone dressed, plucking my eyebrows...:-) Our friends, Miguel and Melissa, are in town today from Calgary. Joshua went to seminary with Miguel, and I think they did more than their fair share of creating controversy in the classroom! Then, Miguel met and fell in love with Melissa! They asked Joshua to perform the wedding ceremony and he agreed to do it. That was a year ago, in July. Now, they have a little one on the way! The plan today, was to have lunch and then, do a family photo session with Melissa, who is an amazing photographer! (I just discovered her blog today and it is a must-see! The pictures are so beautiful, they just might make you cry!) Anyway, Miguel e-mailed this morning to say that Melissa had spent half the night in the emergency room. They think all is well, but of course, they were exhausted. They still made the trip up here this morning, but felt it was best to re-scheduled the photo session. We had a nice lunch with them, but it was evident they needed a nap! Our family is going to Calgary next week, so we'll be doing the pictures next Friday. I can't wait! Melissa is so very creative!

Tonight we are going to Joshua's parents for supper. I'm happy I don't have to cook! Now I need to go do some housecleaning. There is much to do before our house guests arrive for the weekend. I don't feel like doing anything, though. I've been feeling very tired and lonely lately, in spite of the busyness of life. Lots of things going through my head and heart. Wanting to help Sara understand Math (even 2+2 would be a miracle right now)...feeling disconnected from my husband and praying for a way to break down the wall...missing my old friends...wanting to make a difference somewhere, somehow and feeling like I'm stuck in a hole. I need a day just to think and pray and process life, but that just doesn't happen. Life marches on and I try to keep up. It's been a bit overwhelming lately. I don't mean to put a damper on any one's day, but I've realized lately that I don't spend enough time being "real." Life is not about being happy and upbeat all the time. God created many different emotions for a reason. So, I share my feelings so you can know the real me, so I don't have to walk this life alone. After all, that's the name of my blog, "Sharing Life With Peggy." Maybe I could help myself and others a little bit more if I weren't so darn concerned about image all the time...

Monday, November 17, 2008

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas...

We couldn't help it - it just happened. They were calling our names. So, we put up some Christmas decorations yesterday!! I think it all started with the Christmas craft fair we went to in the early afternoon. It was definitely festive and put us all in the Christmas mood! I bought this beautiful snowman pillow with some of my birthday money. Isn't he cute?! I have a weakness for snowmen...With every new house, there are new decorating challenges that come with Christmas. Where do you put all that stuff?! We've been dragging around this huge, wooden sled for years now. Joshua's parents gave it to the kids, filled with presents one year. I've always wanted to use it to decorate at Christmas, but we've never been able to fit it anywhere. Well, finally, we have the PERFECT spot! There is a large space above the closet in our front entryway. We haven't figured out how to decorate it for the rest of the year, but the sled works great for this season! It was Joshua's idea, actually. So, he brought in the ladder, we all raided the Christmas boxes for stuffed animals, and got to work. I stood on the stairs and played the role of director. Joshua did the arranging. The kids handed/tossed things up to Daddy as he needed them. We are very proud of our creation! What do you think? We went out to buy a little tree to add to the arrangement, and found this threesome of green trees. There's actually an electrical outlet up there in that space, with a light switch down below, just for that outlet! Whoever built this house thought of everything!The kids were excited to find their Santa hats! We finished up our spontaneous decorating spree with the garland around the banister. It looks nice, but I was disappointed that there was no outlet nearby so I could also wrap lights in with the garland. The bows are ones that we used in our wedding 9 years ago! They are still in great shape and I will keep them as long as I can!

I'm not sure when the tree will get put up, but I will post pictures when that happens! Probably next week. We have friends from Calgary coming to spend this weekend with us. They arrive on Sky's birthday (Friday), so we will be busy celebrating and having fun with everyone. I will also be busy this week getting the house ready to hold 4 adults and 5 children!

Edmonton Oilers Hockey Game

Some of you have asked about the hockey game we went to this past Thursday night. We had the greatest seats - Row 4 from the glass! We were right on the curve of the glass, actually, so Joshua complained a bit about the warped view... But, we already knew he was warped to begin with! :-) The game started out great, but began to deteriorate by the middle of the second period. The Oilers totally fell apart and the ended up losing 2-5 against Toronto. There were a ton of Toronto fans there, too! We were surrounded by their fans, but they proved to be a friendly enemy! No fighting, so I was glad. You never know with these games... Especially when my dear hubby does his fair share of taunting and trash-talking! I managed to get some pretty cool pictures. Here are a few, for those of you who might be interested.

Joshua, watching intentlyHorcoff and Pisani

Rexall Place

Friday, November 14, 2008

Snow Pictures!

I never found my camera software, so I went to Plan B. I plugged the camera into the computer to see what would happen and it found a photo program for me! Should've done that to begin with... I like it better than what I had before, too! Here are the pictures of my birthday snow! This is what it looked like before we trampled on it...
This was the view out our front, living room window.
Our little snowman!

Sara, letting everyone know she did not like the snowball Daddy nailed her with! (But, she had no problems returning the favour!)
Sky, being goofy and hiding behind the bush for protection! Those scraggly branches didn't help much!
One more thing, that doesn't have anything to do with snow. I just posted a new recipe on my other blog, Recipeasy, so be sure to check it out! It's a crock pot recipe, for all you crock pot lovers! Click on the button on my sidebar with the pumpkin on it.

Aloha Friday #2

Yay, it's time for Aloha Friday again! To participate, head over to An Island Life, and follow the instructions!

This week's question:

What is something cute or funny a child in your life has said recently?

Just yesterday, my kids were playing "school" together. I was cleaning up the kitchen in preparation for making Rice Krispie treats. Sky noticed I was getting the ingredients out, so he ran to Sara and said, very seriously, "Teacher, I promised my mom I would finish making Rice Krispies with her. I need a day off today." I was cracking up in the kitchen! Guess what the "teacher" said?! "O.K." Can you tell my kids are homeschooled?!!

On a more serious note... I guess I'm thinking about my kids a lot today and am reminded once again how precious every day with them is. I found out today that a dear friend of mine lost her little baby boy about a month ago. His name was Lucas and he was about 18 months old when he went to be with Jesus. He was born with Charge Syndrome (you'll have to Google that) and had many complications, issues and pain throughout his short little life. I hadn't checked MK's blog lately, so I was not aware that Lucas had passed away. I spent some time reading her blog and just cried and cried. I felt guilty for not knowing before now. There was one particular poem she posted that I want everyone to read. It's heart wrenching, but beautiful. It's called "If I Knew." Please read it - you'll be glad you did...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Random Interesting Happenings

Well, hopefully they will be interesting to you, anyway! I realize I haven't been very "informational" in my latest posts, so some people may want to have a few more details.

1. Joshua is just finishing up a cleansing/fat burning program called Isagenix. There is a 30 day program and a 9 day. Joshua did the 30 day one. To date, he's lost 22 pounds and feels great! I'm very proud of him for sticking with it. I don't think I could have done it. Although, I'm entertaining the idea of the 9 day program (don't tell Joshua!) - I could use some more energy! I won't bore you with details - you can read about it on their website if you want more info! Mealtimes have been interesting around here. There are "cleanse days" where Joshua doesn't eat at all, so the kids I have to hurry up and eat supper before Joshua gets home so that the sight and smell of food doesn't drive him crazy! Breakfast and lunch have been really easy, though. I just have to mix up a protein shake for him and it's done!

2. We now have an alarm system in our house. There was already one installed from 15 years ago, but it was inactive. Since it was already there, we looked into getting it activated again. We also found out it would save money on our home insurance! So, we got some of the alarm components updated and added smoke alarms (monitored by the alarm company). So far, there have been no mishaps! If there ever are any, I'm sure it will be great blog material! I've already had a few minor panic attacks when the kids go barging into the house after we've been gone, forgetting that the alarm is set. Fortunately, I'm fast (I have 45 sec.) so I've been able to get it turned off in time!

3. On Tuesday morning (my birthday!), we woke up to a beautiful winter wonderland of snow! It was not forecasted, so we were a bit surprised! Finally, the first snow of the year!! I was so excited when I got up, and was out the door taking pictures within 5 minutes! It was the perfect birthday gift for me! It was one of those fluffy, sticky snowfalls that covered every little branch. After a late breakfast, we all went out to play in the snow. Joshua had the day off because it was Remembrance Day (same as Veteran's Day in the States) and it's a stat holiday. He always gets the day off for my birthday, and I quite like that! We built a little snowman (not enough snow for anything big) and had a snowball fight. The snow made great snowballs! Then we took a walk to admire the neighbourhood before lunch. I took lots of pictures, but you'll have to wait for them. Reason? That brings me to the next thing...

4. We are now the proud owners of a "real" computer! For all of our married lives (almost 9!), we've only had a laptop. It worked great for those years that Joshua needed to tote it back and forth between church and/or seminary classes. After he got the job with the bank, he didn't need to do that anymore. And I finally got to use the computer to my heart's content! That's when I joined Facebook and started my blog. I dare say I got more done before that! Anyway, last week, a new Future Shop opened in our city. Joshua works right by the new store, so he got in line the first morning they opened up. Our new computer was 1 of 25 available that day at an incredible price! Even my brother, the computer geek, said it was a really great deal and a decent computer. (We consulted him first!) So, we have this HUGE monitor now (O.K., it seems huge to me - it's a 20 in.), and I'm seeing lots of little details I've never noticed before! It's been fun, but not without it's hassles. I can't find the software that came with my camera, so I'm a little stuck right now with pictures...

5. Tonight Joshua and I get to go to an NHL hockey game to see our Edmonton Oilers play! Joshua's boss, Jeff, sometimes gets tickets from a lawyer that the bank refers clients to. It's is way of saying "thanks for the business." This time, Jeff offered the tickets to Joshua! So, we got a babysitter and will be heading out tonight! Hopefully they win! Poor Joshua - tonight is one of those nights where he has to drink a shake for supper (because he ate real food for lunch), so he'll have to watch everyone else eat at the game! He can snack on almonds...woohoo! Oh well, it's healthier and saves us money!

That's all I can think of right now that would actually be interesting to you! Hope you enjoyed the update. Now, to go figure out the photo/camera software situation around here....

Oh, I also wanted to make a disclaimer on my excitement about the snow... You WILL hear me complain about snow, winter, cold weather etc., as we go through the season. But, there is something very special about the first snow - even if we eventually get a lot of it! As my friend said the other day, it's the snowfalls between #2 and #100 that we complain about!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Aloha Friday

I'm trying something new today! I'm going to ask you a simple question, and you answer it! It's called Aloha Fridays, and the original idea came from the blog "An Island Life". My good friend, Jennifer, from Florida started participating in Aloha Fridays and I've enjoyed reading all the answers to the questions she has asked. If you want to participate, just click on the link to "An Island Life" and read the instructions!

My question for this Friday is:

Do you have a Saturday (or Sunday) morning breakfast tradition with your family? If so, what is it?

My husband used to make Baked Oatmeal one of the weekend mornings, but lately we've taken to drinking protein shakes for breakfast, so that's kind of on hold for now!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My Birthday Gift

My birthday isn't until next Tuesday (the 11th), but I already got my gift from Joshua and I wanted to show it off! New dishes! Do you like them? My favourite part is the colour. I also really like the simplicity. My old ones had a pretty busy pattern. They had also started to wear out in the middle, so that every time you scraped them with your utensils (which is every time you eat!), it would leave a permanent grey scratch. I've wanted new ones for a long time, so I got to pick these out over the weekend. Guess where we got them? IKEA!! Of course! Thanks, Sweetheart!

Monday, November 3, 2008

When I Grow Up...

O.K., O.K., I know I've been awful about posting lately! It does mean I've spent less time on the computer, which is always a goal for me... I posted the other day, but alas, I lost the whole thing when I went to change the font! I was so not happy! I will try to recreate what I wrote...

Recently, one of my dearest bloggy friends, Nadine, posted about how quickly our children grow up and spread their wings and fly away from us. It was a sweet reminder to cherish those little moments while we can. I must say, that is not my natural tendency. Usually, I'm waiting impatiently for them to grow up. The night before I read Nadine's post, I was reminded of the sweetness of childhood while I was putting Sara to bed. I promised Nadine I would blog about it!
We had had a difficult evening. I was being a selfish Mommy and Sara was just being a little girl. She was playing with her toy mixer and dishes while I was mixing up some meatloaf. I got frustrated with the water she was spilling everywhere and the room she was taking up, and over-reacted. I banned her from the kitchen and I could see the hurt in her eyes. She cried and cried and I knew I'd hurt her spirit. Why do I do that? It took me until the next day to apologize. Even before I'd apologized, I know that she had forgiven me already. That night she snuggled with me while we read our bedtime story. When I tucked her in bed, I kissed her, and stood to leave. She reached her arms out to me and wanted an extra hug.

She squeezed me tightly and said, "You're my little, favourite Mommy!" (My kids always call me their little mommy!)

I said, "Well, that's good, cause you're my favourite little girl."

She continued, "And I'm going to come visit you lots when I grow up!" Then she added, "With my husband!"

I laughed, "O.K., good night!"

It warmed my heart, but also reminded me that someday she will grow up...and move away...and get a husband...and I won't be the one kissing her before she goes to bed each night. She won't always be around to "help" me cook and bake and make messes. Someday I'm going to miss that. And I want to enjoy it while I can.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Busy Day

Today we went to the TELUS World of Science in Edmonton. Once a month they have classes specifically for homeschoolers. I signed Sara up for the Grade 2 class, "Chilling Out." Sky was in the Kindergarten class, "Fabulous Five Senses." I was very impressed with all the teachers and the content of both classes. Sara learned about temperature and the different forms of water - solid, liquid and gas. They did some really neat experiments! Sky, of course learned about our 5 senses. There were different stations around the room to learn about each sense with a hands-on game or craft. Their classrooms were right next to each other, so I hopped back and forth to make sure they were doing O.K. I spent most of the time with Sara. She tends to just want to sit and observe and won't participate sometimes. So, I wanted to make sure she was actually doing things and focusing on the task and not just people-watching. At the end of both classes they had the absolute coolest demonstration! They both had the same thing - Sky's was to experience the sense of touch and Sara's was to watch something go from liquid to solid. They actually made ice cream, in an instant, with liquid nitrogen! I was amazed and the kids thought it was magic! It was very much edible, so we all had a little cup of it! It was actually very yummy. I took a video, but have tried 3 times to upload it and it's not working for me. I'll keep trying, but it will have to be a separate post... One of the best things about all this is that each class cost me a whopping $4.25! Well, I did have to buy a family annual membership, but I'm thinking it will be very worth it. We ate our box lunch in the cafeteria after the classes and then explored the rest of the World of Science for awhile before heading home. There was lots to see and touch and the kids loved it! Playing with the sand in the "Erosion" exhibit.
This one was all about boogers!!

Posing with a giant eyeball!
Sara inspecting giant teeth as she stands on a giant tongue!

Tonight (and till noon tomorrow), Joshua and I went to a parenting seminar. It was good, so far. I'll share my thoughts later... Joshua's parents signed us up and offered to babysit as well, so you can't beat that! They're actually keeping the kids overnight, so that really helps with the early morning tomorrow. When we got home this afternoon, the kids eagerly packed their bags for their sleepover at Grandma and Grandpa's! They were so excited! Oh, and Mom made us supper too - can it get any better?! Now here I go to bed... We have to leave the house at 7:15 a.m. Ugh! For those of you who know me well, I am NOT a morning person...