Wednesday, April 30, 2008

It's Been 1 Year!!

Today is a very special day! It's the one year anniversary of my blog!! I can't believe it's actually only been a year. So much has happened in one year, it makes my head spin to think about it! Here are some of the big ones.... We went on an Alaskan cruise with the whole family in July, we moved to a new house and city in September, I started babysitting for the Merrett family a few weeks later, we started Grade 1 with Sara in October, and Joshua and I went to Mexico in March! Wow! You can read my very first post by clicking here. I was so excited to get those first 5 comments! And now, 80+ posts later, I have a whole new blogging family now and I absolutely love it! I love it that people actually read what I have to say. And I love comments even more! Thank you, everyone, for making my blog so special! You all have been such a wonderful support team as we all share life together. So, I thought of the perfect way to celebrate this momentous occasion. Drum roll please.... I want to get a record number of comments on this 1st anniversary post! If you read my blog, even if it's only occasionally, I want to hear from you. ALL of you! (If you read this from Facebook, click under the title where it says "view original post," and post from my actual blog.) I want to know 3 things about you when you leave your comment.

1. How did you find out about my blog?

2. Where are you from?

3. What is your favourite ice cream? (Or if you're ambitious, tell me what your favourite post was this year!)

So, ready, set, GO! I can't wait to hear from you!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tidbits and Pictures

Other than surviving and griping about the weather around here, I wanted to share a few things that have happened in the last couple of weeks. We've had some beautiful, warm days since Saturday, by the way! We've been soaking up as much sunshine as we can and even wearing sandals!!

1. About two weeks ago, the kids and I actually did something Spring-like, and we planted some bean seeds! It's been fun to see Sara and Sky's excitement every morning as they see the progress their bean plants have made overnight! Those things grow like crazy! They've already outgrown their yogurt containers and need to be transferred to the ice cream bucket! Only the fanciest plant pots are used in this family! :-)

2. This next picture was too funny to keep to myself! Sky does a really great job of entertaining himself when I'm doing school with Sara. Sometimes I can find ways for him to be included in the activities, but other times, Sara and I just have to buckle down and focus. Last week, Sara was reading a story from her reader to me. I invited Sky to sit and listen in, but after a few s-l-o-w-l-y read pages, he decided to find something a little more exciting to do! I thought he was upstairs watching T.V., when Sara stopped reading and started giggling as she looked up at the stairwell. I looked to see what the distraction was. Sky had tied a rope to a Jonah doll that we have and was lowering him over the banister! Sara and I were both laughing by now! Then, Sky said in a squeaky voice, as he wiggled the doll up and down, "Hi Sara! How are you!" It was too funny and I hardly had the heart to tell him to stop distracting us so Sara could finish reading!

3. This is me and Slyvia. She is very tall and I am very short, which you can tell even when we're sitting down! Sylvia is like a second mother to me, as well as a very dear friend. We had the chance to go out for dinner on Wednesday evening with no husbands or kids! We went to my favourite little place in Calgary - the Diner Deluxe. Syl had never been before and she fell in love with everything about it! We had such a great time talking about everything under the sun and enjoying some wonderful food! Sylvia is always such a breath of fresh air for me. She doesn't necessarily give me advice about stuff, but whenever I'm with her, she always says something that changes my perspective on life a little bit. Thanks Syl, for a wonderful evening! I was refreshed and I hope you were too!

4. Our back deck is finished! I'm so proud of Joshua and all the hard work he put into building everything! He did an awesome job and I LOVE the new look! My favourite part are the benches he built right into the railing. The corner bench was a challenge, but it turned out really nice! The benches eliminate the need for a bunch of chairs on the deck and leaves more room for the kids to play or mingling with friends. Now the backyard finally looks finished and we're ready for summer! I can hardly wait till it's time to plant! That's my favourite part. We normally start planting around the middle to end of May, but we've lost things to frost before, so it's always tricky. Some people here refuse to plant anything until June 1st. That's definitely the safe way to go, but it's always so hard to wait! Here are some before, during, and after pictures of the deck railing.

5. On one of our gray, snowy days, the kids convinced me to get out the finger paints. I hate painting because of the mess. I usually only allow it about twice a year! :-) Since this is such a special and rare occasion, I snapped a few pictures. The clean-up was actually very minimal and didn't stress me out at all! I guess that proves the kids are growing up!
Stay tuned tomorrow for a very special post.... :-) I hope you've enjoyed the pictures and update. Sorry it's been so long. I wanted to report that we are actually getting a lot accomplished in school! Thank you all for your prayers and support. Tomorrow I have my final visit from our homeschool facilitator. She will evaluate Sara's work this year and check to see which goals and requirements we have met. I'm having a bad attitude today because I hardly think it's fair to be giving someone a year end assessment when we still have two months of school left. (The schools here go till the end of June.) I can do a lot in two months! So, please pray as I'm preparing everything tonight and tomorrow. I'm stressing - big time. I'm so proud of Sara's work, but will the facilitator be proud too? That's my biggest fear right now and I really need some peace.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Official Canadian Conversion Chart

This morning, as I'm looking at a fresh blanket of snow on the ground, I decided it was a good time to post this little bit of Canadian humour! I found this some time ago and have been saving it for just the right time. You have to be a hockey fan to get the last line. For those of you who aren't from around here, the Calgary Flames just got eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs. Because Joshua is from Edmonton, we cheer for the Edmonton Oilers and against the Flames! There is a fierce rivalry between the two cities. The Oilers didn't even make it to the playoffs, but that didn't stop us from gloating when the Flames were eliminated!

The Official Canadian Temperature Conversion Chart

50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 C)
Californians shiver uncontrollably.
Canadians plant gardens.

35 Fahrenheit (1.6 C)
Italian Cars won't start.
Canadians drive with the windows down.

32 Fahrenheit (0 C)
American water freezes.
Canadian water gets thicker.

0 Fahrenheit (-17.9 C)
New York City landlords finally turn on the heat.
Canadians have the last cookout of the season.

-60 Fahrenheit (-51 C)
Mt. St. Helens freezes.
Canadian Girl Guides sell cookies door-to-door.

-100 Fahrenheit (-73 C)
Santa Claus abandons the North Pole.
Canadians pull down their ear flaps.

-173 Fahrenheit (-114 C)
Ethyl alcohol Freezes.
Canadians get frustrated when they can't thaw the keg.

-460 Fahrenheit (-273 C)
Absolute zero; all atomic motion stops.
Canadians start saying "cold, eh?"

-500 Fahrenheit (-295 C)
Hell freezes over.
The Calgary Flames win the Stanley Cup.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

"Dashing Through the Snow...."

"In a one-horse open sleigh...." Although, I must say, not laughing all the way! We've had Christmas all over again - in April!! What is up with this place I call home??! Last weekend my kids were wearing shorts! This is supposed to be the time of year you put away the snow boots and mitts, the down comforters and flannel sheets. At the same time my friend Karen was posting about her boys playing outside with water and mud, I was trying to keep my children from freezing their fingers off while they played with icicles! On Friday, we were hit hard with a winter storm that brought more snow than any other system all winter! It started snowing at 10 a.m. on Friday and didn't stop until 28 hours later!! It was so miserable over the weekend that I didn't even let the kids out to play. Yesterday brought a little more snow, but I finally let the monkeys out for some fresh air! They had so much fun finding icicles and eating them. (I watched out the window from the warmth of my home!) I had the kids pose for these pictures after they came in, all excited, about a big chunk of ice they found! Isn't this first one just the cutest?!

Joshua spent some considerable time shoveling all the snow off the driveway - twice. He had a great helper, though! Sky really gets into it! These pics were taken on Saturday.

And here is what I've been looking at from my kitchen window for the last 5 days. Pretty depressing, eh?
Last night and this morning we had a bit more snow. Then, this afternoon, the sky cleared and things started to melt a little. So, another thaw begins and I sincerely hope this is the last one. It's time for real Spring! Joshua and I have been longing to be back in Mexico with all this crazy weather! In my next post, you may hear that we've all run away to a new, warmer home!

The Daffodil Principle

My father-in-law passed this e-mail along to me the other day. I just read it this evening and I thought it was really beautiful. I couldn't keep it to myself, and I wanted to share....

The Daffodil Principle

Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, "Mother, you must come to see the daffodils before they are over.''

I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead. "I will come next Tuesday", I promised a little reluctantly on her third call.

Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and reluctantly I drove there. When I finally walked into Carolyn's house, I was welcomed by the joyful sounds of happy children. I delightedly hugged and greeted my grandchildren.

"Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in these clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and these children that I want to see badly enough to drive another inch!"

My daughter smiled calmly and said, " We drive in this all the time, Mother."

"Well, you won't get me back on the road until it clears, and then I'm heading for home!" I assured her.

"But first we're going to see the daffodils. It's just a few blocks," Carolyn said. "I'll drive. I'm used to this."

"Carolyn," I said sternly, "Please turn around." "It's all right, Mother, I promise. You will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience." After about twenty minutes, we turned onto a small gravel road. On the far side of the road, I saw a hand lettered sign with an arrow that read, "Daffodil Garden."

We got out of the car, each took a child's hand, and I followed Carolyn down the path. Then, as we turned a corner, I looked up and gasped. Before me lay the most glorious sight.

It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it over the mountain peak and its surrounding slopes. The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns, great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, creamy white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, saffron and butter yellow. Each different-colored variety was planted in large groups so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue. There were five acres of flowers.

"Who did this?" I asked Carolyn.

"Just one woman," Carolyn answered. "She lives on the property. That's her home." Carolyn pointed to a well-kept A-frame house, small and modestly sitting in the midst of all that glory. We walked up to the house.

On the patio, we saw a poster. "Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking", was the headline.

The first answer was a simple one. "50,000 bulbs," it read.

The second answer was, "One at a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet, and one brain."

The third answer was, "Began in 1958."

For me, that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than forty years before, had begun, one bulb at a time, to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountaintop. Planting one bulb at a time, year after year, this unknown woman had forever changed the world in which she lived.

One day at a time, she had created something of extraordinary magnificence, beauty, and inspiration. The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles of celebration.

That is, learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time, often just one baby-step at a time and learning to love the doing, learning to use the accumulation of time. When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world, eh?

"It makes me sad in a way," I admitted to Carolyn. "What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty five or forty years ago and had worked away at it 'one bulb at a time' through all those years? Just think what I might have been able to achieve!"

My daughter summed up the message of the day in her usual direct way. "Start tomorrow," she said. She was right. It's so pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays. The way to make learning a lesson of celebration instead of a cause for regret is to only ask, "How can I put this to use today?

"Use the Daffodil Principle. Stop waiting.....

Until your car or home is paid off
Until you get a new car or home
Until your kids leave the house
Until you go back to school
Until you finish school
Until you clean the house
Until you organize the garage
Until you clean off your desk
Until you lose 10 lbs.
Until you gain 10 lbs.
Until you get married
Until you get a divorce
Until you have kids
Until the kids go to school
Until you retire
Until summer
Until spring
Until winter
Until fall
Until you die...

There is no better time than right now to be happy. Happiness is a journey, not a destination.

So work like you don't need money. Love like you've never been hurt, and dance like no one's watching. If you want to brighten someone's day, pass this on to someone special. I just did!Wishing you a beautiful, daffodil day!

Don't be afraid that your life will end, be afraid that it will never begin.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Peanut Butter Love Notes

Yesterday morning I opened a new jar of creamy peanut butter. As I was about to dip into the smooth, unmarked surface, I had a flood of childhood memories. My mom LOVES peanut butter and she had toast with peanut butter almost every morning while I was growing up. She would even dip into it during the day and just eat a spoonful of the stuff! We went through quite a few jars of peanut butter! The opening of a new jar was always a source of great excitement and anticipation. You see, at some point in my parent's marriage, my dad started a sweet little tradition. Before a new jar of peanut butter was actually ready to be used, my dad would open it up, tear off the seal, and carefully write a little love note to my mom on the smooth surface! Then he would screw the lid back on and put it on the shelf, just waiting to be discovered! I always thought it was the cutest thing! As my brother, Scott, and I got older, we probably took the fun out of things a little bit. We started trying to intercept the peanut butter and write our own notes of affection to my mom! A sweet thought on our part, but not nearly as romantic! I have no idea if this tradition is still being carried out - I haven't thought to ask lately! Mom, have you had any peanut butter love notes recently?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Beautiful Weekend

Look at my temperature button! It's almost feels like summer outside! We've had a weird week of weather, including 7 in. of snow on Thursday morning! All that snow came down in the space of 3 hours. Joshua left for work that morning at 7:45 a.m. and didn't arrive until 10:45 a.m.!! (He's supposed to be at work by 8:30 p.m.!) It was so bad for some people from the branch, that they just turned around and went home! By the next day, the snow was gone and the chaos was a distant memory! This weekend is a different story. Joshua and the kids have been wearing shorts for the past two days! I'm not nearly as brave! Partly because I still have a low-grade fever from my sinus infection and partly because I need to shave! :-) Calgary has such strange weather - it's enough to drive one insane! I must already be insane because all this weirdness just doesn't seem to phase me anymore. :-)

The sunshine and warmth gave Joshua the inspiration to work on our back deck. We inherited a deck with badly peeling stain, no railing and no stairs going down to the yard. We added makeshift steps late in the fall, so we wouldn't have any injuries, but the other stuff had to wait. As of a half hour ago, the deck has been sanded down to the bare wood, swept clean, and stained a brand new, fresh colour! It took some experimenting to get it just right, but after 4 trips to the store and trying 3 different sanding methods, I think Joshua is happy with the result! It certainly looks better than before! The new rails and posts have been purchased, so that will happen gradually. It will keep Joshua out of trouble in the evenings until that's done! I'll post pictures later.

As you could probably figure out, I've been really sick since Tuesday. I had already had an assortment of symptoms, that turned into a bad cold for the week and a half before that. On Monday, when Sara had her musical, I was feeling pretty good and thought that I was finally getting better. Then Tuesday morning dawned and I was sure my head was going to explode! It was the worst sinus infection I've ever had. I managed to make it to my naturopath doctor on Wednesday morning and he gave me some sympathy and some stuff to support my immune system. I'm tired of ending up on antibiotics, and he agreed. I was laid out for 3 days, doing essentially nothing but taking care of mine and the kids basic needs. Finally, on Friday, I was able to function semi-normally. I'm still running a bit of a fever off and on, but am slowly getting better. I'm still congested, but it's getting better bit by bit. This morning I was so excited because I could smell the baked oatmeal that Joshua was baking! When I went up to tell him, he was in the shower, and I could smell his shampoo! I had 5 days of NO smell and NO taste! It was awful! It totally took the fun out of eating - try that for a diet plan! I was so happy to not only smell the baked oatmeal, but taste it too! It's amazing what we take for granted, eh?

So, that's why I didn't blog this week. You would have just been reading a long list of complaints and woes! Please pray for continued healing - I still have a low-grade fever, so I know my body is still fighting infection. Also, Sky had a fever when he went to bed last night, but was fine this morning. I just hope he's not coming down with something. It's been a discouraging week, but God's grace has been sufficient. Of course, with this sickness, we didn't have any school, so I have nothing to report in that arena. But, I have some plans ready to go, so hopefully this next week will be a great one!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Holy Moses!

Last night (Monday, April 7) was Sara's turn to shine in the performance of the kids' musical, "Holy Moses!" It was a job well done by all the kids in our homeschool group. They had worked hard since the end of January to put this together. One mom directed the whole thing and several others helped out where they were needed. I was costume coordinator, but all I had to do was dig through last year's costumes and find ones to fit the kids for this year! It wasn't too labour intensive! The musical had it's bumps in the road, including a broken projector and a skipping CD, but all in all, the kids did a GREAT job and were super cute! Sara did so well learning the words and actions to all the songs. We could hear her belting it out up there! We were very proud! The choir had to stand on risers through the whole performance, and the kids had their share of wiggles. Here are a few shots of Sara's different stances throughout the evening. (She's the one in the blue t-shirt and khaki pants - they had to wear "hiking" clothes) She was so cute! After 3 hours of practice in the afternoon and back for the performance at 6:30 p.m., we were all ready for bed that night!

Waiting for the musical to start....Getting those muscles warmed up for all those actions!
"Baby Moses was a basket case....."Sara was one of the tambourine girls for one song! Waiting for the next song.
Singing the last song!Mommy and Daddy are so proud of you, Princess! Great job!

(This post was written on Tuesday, but I was too sick to finish and add the pictures. I'm leaving it dated April 8, even though it didn't officially get posted that day!)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


I wanted to let all of you know that I'm a part of a new recipe blog! It's called Recipeasy and I am contributing one recipe per week, along with 3 other blogging friends. I posted the latest one, so check it out! There have already been some really yummy things posted!

Sniffle, Snuffle.... Watch Out For The Snot!

We have two snot factories in the house today (otherwise known as Peggy and Sara) and they are VERY productive! O.K., I'm sure you didn't really want to know that, but I need some sympathy! We've gone through a lot of Kleenexes over the last few days. The snot has been accompanied by fevers, headaches, fatigue, and a dry cough for Sara. I don't know why, but when I'm sick, I just cannot bring myself to eat anything healthy. When I feel great, I'm all about the fruits and veggies. When I feel sick, that's the last thing I want. Which is the first thing I NEED! Instead, I've been eating things like ice cream and brownies, gummi bears, chips, and Oreos. Maybe it's because fruit and veggies have to be washed and cut up and I just don't have the energy when I'm not feeling well. Maybe I just don't have enough self-discipline to do what's right! Ouch! Maybe I'll just stop now! I'm in a weird mood....

Sara and I had a difficult time trying to have school today. I realized that it was partly my fault because I haven't been doing adequate planning. I have so many fun resources that I never take advantage of, simply because I never take the time to look through things and write down a day to use them. I just get stuck in a rut following the basic curriculum, and eventually Sara and I both get bored! Also, I'm feeling some panic because I feel we're behind and we don't have time for "extra" stuff. I try to cram in as much practical work as possible until Sara is overwhelmed and freaking out! So, after the tears and the schoolwork was over for the day, I sat down to do some thinking and planning. After looking through all the school stuff, I realized that all the extra things I felt would take too much time, could actually help me reach the goals I need to accomplish! Imagine that! When the school year started, we were still packing, moving, and then unpacking. We started school in October. I never got to plan or organize very much. I've been flying by the seat of my pants the whole year! It's been a never-ending cycle of emotions for me the whole year. I've realized how unfair everything has been for Sara. The pressure on me has been needless. I wish I had taken the time to plan earlier in the year, even if it meant a week off school. That week would have helped us to be so much more productive and efficient this year! I can't go back and change the past, but I'm determining to finish the year much stronger and organized. Please keep me accountable with this. Ask me if I've used my free time to plan or if I've wasted time on the computer! I need help and I need prayer to make these changes. I want to homeschool my children more than anything in the world. And I don't want to do it half-heartedly. Maybe this all sounds silly, but I needed to share these thoughts. School has not been the most positive thing in our lives this year and I feel sad about that. I want that to change and I know that by God's grace it can! Thanks for listening.