Friday, January 30, 2009

Bits and Pieces

This post was originally posted on Thursday night (Jan. 29), but it got buried under my Aloha Friday post and I didn't want my regular readers to miss it! So, I'm re-posting this again today!

I haven't posted much about daily life around here, so here are a few random snippets of what's been going on lately...

1. Remember my new rule about not turning the T.V. on in the mornings? I really thought it would be an issue, but I heard next to no whining or complaining about it! I've had a couple of requests, but when I say "no" and remind them that we're not doing that anymore, they are quick to go find other amusement - happily! It's almost like they are relieved that they don't have to watch the same old dumb shows on T.V. every morning! Now I have to tear them away from building with Legos or their imaginary play, when it's time for school to begin. I like that so much better!

2. On Saturday morning, Sara and Sky had their second Nation's Cup ski race. It was a brutally cold week, so as the weekend approached and things didn't warm up at all, we kind of assumed that the race would be cancelled. It wasn't. I checked my e-mail every 5 minutes between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. on Saturday, and there was nothing. Joshua had volunteered to help with the race, so he felt like we should be there. It was -36 when we left our house and -34 at the hill when we arrived at 8:45 a.m. I couldn't believe they were going through with it! I mean, really, what was the dude in charge trying to prove?? As I bundled up the kids for warm-up and course inspection, I was so stressed out I was fighting back angry tears. The two runs were an hour apart, so we kept the kids inside until it was absolutely necessary to go out. We had toe warmers in their boots and hand warmers in their mitts. I am definitely thankful for those little inventions! Sara and Sky both did well. There were a lot of missed gates this time, but we could tell they were doing their best - especially under the circumstances. I still don't think I've completely recovered, but we did survive....

3. Joshua lost his wedding ring (again - this is ring number 3) on Monday morning. He keeps it in a basket by the phone. The problem is, the basket is full of coins, old receipts, spare keys, a few screws, paperclips, etc. Joshua's ring is made out of tungsten carbide (same thing they make chainsaw blades with), so it's able to withstand the abuse, but it also blends in because it's a silver gray colour. As Joshua was getting ready to go to work that morning, we both looked through that basket very thoroughly and came up with nothing. He looked several other places and finally had to leave for work. Later, I emptied the basket onto the floor, went through all the change and couldn't find it. I checked the pockets of everything he wore over the weekend. No ring. Joshua came home at lunchtime. He looked under the couch, we checked in both of our vehicles. Nothing. I even checked inside his gloves to see if it had slipped off in there! We looked through that basket a couple more times, hoping it would magically appear. It didn't. That evening, Joshua took Sara for her music/piano lesson at 5:45 p.m. I looked a few more places after he left and then gave up. I decided it would just have to turn up on it's own. After Sara's lesson, Joshua decided to take Sara out on a date. Sara picked Swiss Chalet to eat. When they were done, they went to the mall. Joshua called when they were on their way home. He said he found a ring on sale and went ahead a bought it. It was a final sale, but that was O.K. - other ring was just nowhere to be found. When they got home, Joshua was missing his old ring, so decided to go through "the basket" one more time. He dumped the entire contents on the kitchen counter and there was THE RING!!! What??!! How did we miss that?? The next day Joshua took the ring back to the store and was able to exchange it for something else.

He said it was an early Valentine's Day present! Isn't he sweet?! (It's times like these I decide it's O.K. to keep him! Just kidding - I'm not that shallow!)

4. Today it's raining! What's up with that? Rain? In January?! The roads are a mess with all the melting snow and rain! There is so much water! It's going to be pretty scary out there when it freezes tonight.

5. School has been going well. We are in week 3 of our new schedule and disciplines. The first two weeks were a fight. It was difficult and exhausting for all of us. But, I didn't give up and we got so much done! This week has seemed a lot easier, so I'm hoping we're getting into a rhythm and learning some good habits.

6. In just 4 days, my wonderful friend, Karen and her husband Bryan, are coming to visit for a whole week! For 3 of those nights we will be at the Gingerbread Cabin in Jasper, AB. Sara and Sky are very excited about having an extended sleepover with Grandma and Grandpa! Mommy and Daddy are just as excited about having an extended sleepover away from the kids and the normal routine! I think I can say the same about Bryan and Karen! The weather forecast is beautiful, so it should be a great week!

7. I played Candy Land with the kids before bed tonight. It's always a competition to see who can get the most "candy" cards! They haven't quite grasped the concept that sometimes those cards can knock you backwards on the board and should not always be the most desired!

That's all I can think of for now! Hope you enjoyed the update!

Aloha Friday #10

It's time for Aloha Friday! The day I ask a simple question and you answer! Thanks to Kailani over on An Island Life for the original idea. If you'd like to participate, head on over to her blog, and follow the instructions! It's a great way to make new bloggy friends!

My question for this week:

What is your preferred method for cleaning up those crumbs on the kitchen floor? Broom and dust pan or hand vac?

I could not live without my Dustbuster! It's great because even the kids can use it. Although, now that they are 5 and almost 8, they aren't quite as excited about vacuuming for mom as when they were 2 and 3 years old! Not understanding that other people do not share the same feelings about hand vacs, I bought a Dustbuster for my mother-in-law a few years ago. I was sure I was doing her a favour and had rescued her forever from her broom and dust pan. The Dustbuster now proudly hangs in her (detached) garage!! The broom and dust pan are still just a few steps away in the coat closet! Oh well!

P.S. After receiving a few comments, let me just clarify... My Dustbuster is cordless and it sits in it's charger right next to my dining room table. I do not drag out a vac with a cord everytime I need to clean a mess!

Monday, January 26, 2009

January Winner!

Congratulations to my sweet friend, Emily!! She has won my giveaway for this month! (My helper for the draw today was Sara!) After just reading Emily's latest post, it sounds like she's the most deserving. Let's just say "strep throat" and you will understand... I hope you feel better soon, Emily! Enjoy!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Aloha Friday #9

It's Aloha Friday already! It came fast this week! So, you know the drill by now. I will ask a simple question and you give me your answer. It's kind of my day to take a break from blogging. Thanks to Kailani over on An Island Life for the original idea. If you'd like to link up and participate, head on over to her blog, and follow the instructions!

My question for the week:

Are you an early morning riser or a late night owl?

I have always been a night owl! I get that second wind around 10 p.m. and feel like I could stay up all night. I hardly ever go to bed before 11 p.m., but many nights I'm up even till midnight. I've actually been told that it's a problem with my adrenal glands, so I'm on some herbs from my herbalist to help get me to bed earlier and wake up happier. (Mornings are generally not my best time of the day!) Fortunately, I don't have to deal with children who get up super early. I trained my children from the beginning, to not get up early, so they're usually not up till 8 or 8:30 a.m.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Names In The Sand

I wanted to share something very special with all of you. First a story, and then a gift that I received this weekend.

In addition to our two beautiful children, Sara and Sky, some of you may not know that we have two babies in heaven with Jesus. After Joshua and I had been married for only 2 months, we were overjoyed to find out that I was pregnant with our first child! Our joy turned to great sadness and heartache, when our little one was miscarried during my 10th week of pregnancy. (March 2000) We were never able to see or hold this tiny baby, but we named "him," Jeremiah. Just a few months later, I was pregnant with Sara and obviously, she was born safely and happily in our arms 9 months later! When Sara was almost a year, I became pregnant again. At the time, we were packing to move to Canada, and Sara was learning to walk! I hardly had time to think about this next baby inside of me. We moved and were just trying to get settled when I began spotting and cramping. I was in my 11th week. Our second little angel went to be with Jesus a few days later, right around Easter of 2002. Because of the life upheaval we were already experiencing at the time, I found that I never had the time to grieve this child. We named "him" Michael and went on with life. It wasn't until many months later, that God walked me through a true grieving process for this second child we had lost. It has now been 9 and 7 years since God took our babies to be with Him. I am now able to share and talk about my miscarriages without a flood of tears. The Lord has allowed me to minister to many friends through the years when they've gone through similar heartache and pain. I am grateful for that. Someday, I will meet my babies in heaven, along with three siblings who were also born too soon. For now, I rejoice in the gift of the daughter and son that I have the privilege of holding in my arms!

A few months ago, I found a blog that has really touched my heart. It's called "To Write Their Names In The Sand... A Moment Captured, A Life Honoured" This beautiful woman, Carly, lives halfway around the world in Australia. She is so full of love and compassion, and her blog is an amazing ministry to those who have lost babies and children. Below, is the gift she gave to me.

It was incredibly emotional for me to see my babies names written in the sand in such a beautiful way. I really can't even find the words... I will treasure these pictures forever.

I want you to see the post on Carly's blog, so please click here to go there. It is a beautiful, peaceful place. It brings tears to my eyes every time, but they are tears of healing. If you have ever lost a child, Carly will also write your child's/children's names in the sand. If you scroll all the way to the bottom of the blog, you will find her e-mail address and instructions. Thank you, Carly, for what you did for me and what you have done for so many families. You are a wonderful, beautiful person!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Aloha Friday #8

It's time for Aloha Friday! Simply put - I ask a question and you answer it! Thanks to An Island Life for the original idea. If you want to participate, head on over to Kailani's blog and follow the instructions. It's a great way to meet new bloggy friends and to get your friends more involved in your blog!

This week's question:

Are you particular about what brands of toiletries you buy for yourself and your family? Do you always buy the same things, or do you like to try new things, or do you just get whatever's on sale?

I find myself doing a mixture of of all of those things! I'm definitely particular about my conditioner, but not so much about my shampoo. I just want it to smell nice! I'm always trying new toothbrushes (but usually the ones on sale), but the toothpaste we keep the same. I'm also fickle with my razors - I'm loyal for a season, but my skin seems to freak out after awhile, and I need to go on the hunt for the new perfect one! My new favourite is a men's razor - the Schick Quattro Titanium.

I hope all of you have a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

January Giveaway

This month's giveaway comes from one of my favourite stores in the little town of Canmore, Alberta. Nestled in the Rocky Mountains, Canmore is a wonderful place to escape any time of the year. Until we moved 4 months ago, Canmore was just an hour's drive for us. I miss that. The store "O' Canada Soapworks" specializes in handmade soaps and other bath products. If you win the draw this month, you will receive one package of 'Cold and Flu' Mineral Bath Salt Soak and a bar of their 'Cocoa Butter Cream' soap. With the flu being so prevalent during the winter months, I thought someone could definitely find use for the Cold and Flu bath salts. (Not that I'm wishing a cold or the flu on anyone!) The soap is so wonderful! It's the only thing I'm able to use on my kids to keep them from itching their skin off when they get out of the bath or shower. If you get addicted to it, you can always order on-line!

To be entered into the draw, here's what I need from you. Leave a comment and tell me about the nicest thing anyone ever did for you while you were sick with a cold or flu! It's that easy! So, count your blessings and let me hear from you! I will make the draw on January 25th.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Mom's Have Feelings Too

This morning was one of those times I realized how very vulnerable I am as a mom. I've never been good at pretending to feel one way, when I actually feel another way. I suppose that's a good thing to some extent, but there are times when it just isn't wise to let it all hang out... I'm not one of those moms who always says the right thing or who can always portray the appropriate attitude. I was the one literally screaming when Sara put a small pebble up her nose last year! There was no, "Okay honey, it's going to be O.K. We'll take care of everything, sweetheart, don't you worry." No, it was complete panic and wailing and mayhem in our house!! I was scared and yelling, Joshua was mad and yelling, Sky was hiding and poor Sara was completely traumatized! You get the idea! (BTW, the pebble came out on it's own while she was waiting for the doctor to come in!) O.K., so that was a MAJOR rabbit trail! The story I set out to tell, started last night...

Joshua took the kids to ski racing lessons last night after a hurried supper. I usually, spend that evening doing something for me, like reading a book or blogging or Facebook, etc. But, because of a book I've been reading lately, I decided to forget about me and do something that would benefit the whole family. (Another rabbit trail that I'll save for later.) Things have been quite unorganized and disjointed with school and household chores. To put it bluntly, I've been lazy. Haven't cared about much of anything besides my own feelings of pity and depression. I finally got fed up with myself last night. I cleaned off and organized the school room table (should've taken before and after pics - it was dramatic!), put together a unit project folder for Sara (printing things off, cutting out things), threw tons of paper items in the recycling bin, cleaned up the kitchen, and made up a new morning/school routine. When everyone got home, I gave both kids a shower, got them to bed, cleaned up a few more things, and folded two loads of laundry before crashing into bed at midnight. I was tired, but I was ready for a new day! And I was pretty excited too!

In the morning, as soon as Sara got up, I cuddled with her and explained that things were going to be different. I told her that the T.V. was not going to get turned on, that Mommy was not going to spend half the morning on the computer, and that school was going to start much earlier. I also told both kids that I now expect them to get dressed, and make their beds, and put away jammies before they even come out of their rooms. (I will be doing the same thing - jammies have been my new favourite outfit lately!) She took it well, and happily went up to get dressed and fulfill the other chores. We had breakfast and I was ready to start school at 9 a.m.! But, Sky slept in, so he got up right about then and I had to start over with the schedule explanation and breakfast. O.K., so now it's 9:30 a.m. and we were ready to go. I pulled out Sara's new project folder and we got started. To make a long story a little shorter, after a few little power struggles, things started to go downhill fast. Sky was bored and whiney and wanted to do a magnet experiment. (Granted, I DID promise that we could, but that was one thing I didn't get to last night...) Sara didn't like what we were doing and kept telling me "no" about everything. I was having trouble explaining what a coal mine was, and we ended up in a complete meltdown. I called Daddy, mad as anything and asked him to talk to Sara. Then, I got on the phone and started listing my woes. I was absolutely bawling by the time I was done. Poor Joshua! I said we'd just wasted an entire hour with fighting and whining. He said, it's just an hour, so try again. I didn't see it that way. Why was I so upset? Well, I got my feelings hurt! I had gone to all that effort to make a fresh start and have a great day, and all my kids could do was throw it back in my face. After I got off the phone, I had tears streaming down my face. The kids were looking at me with big eyes. I said, "Do you know that Moms get disappointed about things?" "No," they replied. "And did you know that you can hurt Mommy's feelings?" Again, "No." So, I explained to them how I wanted everything to be all nice and fun. I told them that it really hurt my feelings when all they could do was whine and complain all morning. They just looked at me, but I think they got the point. There wasn't much complaining after that and I think we even managed to have some fun by the end of it all. I even succeeded in explaining a coal mine. I typed "coal mine" into Google search images and got some great pictures! What did Moms do before the days of Google?

So, it was an emotional morning, but I'd have to say it was a good day overall. My biggest challenge in life is being consistent. I know that if I can stick with this new schedule, the kids will get used to it. Actually, it's more me that needs to get used to it! I really like reading blogs and checking Facebook while the kids eat breakfast in front of the T.V. every morning. But, that half hour that I say I need, can turn into 2 hours very quickly. Then we don't have time for every subject we need to cover in school, and the consistency thing comes to haunt me again. Sara desperately needs consistency in order to retain anything. I haven't been the greatest at that for her, but I want that to change. I never want my laziness to be the reason she can't learn to her fullest potential.

One of my favourite quotes is from Anne of Green Gables, "Tomorrow is fresh - with no mistakes in it." I'll take it one day at a time....

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Snow Ice Cream

Saturday afternoon we did something I've never done before. We made ice cream with freshly fallen snow! There's over a foot on the ground now, so there's plenty to go around! I received a homeschool newsletter about a week ago and they had 4 different recipes for snow ice cream. This is the one I tried:

1 gallon of snow (I used a 5 qt. bowl to have space to mix)
1 cup sugar
1 cup cream or milk
1 tsp. vanilla
~Mix thoroughly and eat immediately!

Here we are mixing it up on the front steps! I mixed it outside to keep it from melting too quickly. Sara couldn't resist putting her fingers in for a taste!
Sky got the first official taste! Mmmm!

Sara agreed it was very yummy!
Sky decided to add a few sprinkles to his bowl of snow cream. Sara added some chocolate syrup, but let's just say that that picture didn't look nearly as appetizing!

I left the bowl out on the front porch all day and we were able to enjoy several bowls of our delicious concoction! (And yes, it actually did taste good - Joshua and I both enjoyed it!) Yesterday, it snowed ALL day long, so it's about time to whip up another bowl, I think!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Race Day!

Saturday morning the kids had their first real ski race! It was an "in-house" race and they call it the Nations Cup. Sky is on the Dream Team (the littlest racers), so they were all racing as Team Canada. Sara raced for Team Italy and apparently will race for Italy the rest of the year. (We had to do a quick study on the country of Italy for school last week!) Poor Sara was so nervous. I could tell because she kept saying she didn't want anyone to cheer for her, and her hands were cold while I was dressing her, she was cranky, and she just couldn't think straight at all. Afterwards, she finally admitted to being nervous. Sky was just plain pumped to be in a real race! They each had two runs. Here are a few pictures of the big event.

Sky (in the orange jacket), listening to his coach explain the race.

Sara (#48), doing warm-ups with her class. Notice the pink skis and pink helmet! She would have pink boots if they were available!Team Canada was the first team down the hill. Sky missed a couple of gates on the first run, but made them all on the second run! The little racers were so cute and sometimes just downright funny!All that racing makes a little boy very thirsty! Here comes Sara! She had some confusion with the gates at the top of the hill, but got it worked out. Then, she kind of stopped before the finish line and they had to wave her across the finish line so the clock would stop! By the second run she had it all figured out, with a time improvement of 20 seconds!
All the way! Yay, Sara!

Finally smiling after the first run! She was definitely relieved to have that over with!Sky, showing off his Kinder Surprise chocolate egg! All of Team Canada got a prize for racing. Team France was the winning team for the older kids, so only they got a prize. Sara was pretty disappointed. I was surprised that they didn't have second and third prizes.The weather was absolutely gorgeous on Saturday! We've had 6 or 7 weeks of extremely cold, even dangerously cold, temperatures. But, for one day (and one day only), it warmed up so that we could actually enjoy ourselves! It went up to +3 C (about 37 F) and we were so excited! It felt almost balmy outside. It was wonderful not to worry about little hands and feet getting too cold or the danger of frostbite on cheeks and noses. It was a great morning and we were very proud of our little racers! Next Nations Cup is in 2 weeks - they're gonna be flyin' down that hill!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Giveaway Results!

So, a few weeks ago, I decided (very spontaneously!) to do a little giveaway. Because it was so very spontaneous, I didn't plan very well, and the busyness of Christmas and New Year kind of got in the way of bringing everything to a conclusion. If you didn't have a chance to enter, I apologize for not making a bigger deal about it all. I asked a question, which was buried in my post "Christmas Party."

The question was, "Do you know the country of origin of the poinsettia?" There were 4 ladies who answered the question and they were all correct! The poinsettia came from Mexico! This was one new thing I learned this Christmas! I had never heard that before.

O.K., so a few days ago, I put the names in a bowl, and Sky drew one out for me. The winner is....Markay! Congratulations! (Markay, if you could send me your address through a message on Facebook, that would be great!)

And, this is what Markay won! A mini stocking from BeautiControl (I am a consultant, but I don't do much with it right now). It contains 4 minis from last year's Christmas collection, Naughty and Nice. There is Bodylicious Bathing Creme, Snow Angel Body Sorbet (my personal favourite!), Glitzy Body Shimmer, and Mistletoe Kisses Linen Mist.

This year, one of my blogging goals it to have a contest/giveaway for each month. Maybe that's a little ambitious for a novice like me, so we'll see how it goes! Stay tuned for the January giveaway - I'll post the details later this week!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Happy New Year + Christmas Eve Pics

It's already 3 days into the new year and I need to officially say, "Happy New Year!" I've been doing a lot of reminiscing and contemplating about life and "stuff." I don't necessarily make resolutions or goals, but there are always things that I'd like to do differently or make sure that they stay the same or get rid of altogether! I'm still thinking and writing things down. I'll share them in a few days. For now, here are some pictures from Christmas Eve. Joshua's Uncle Peter and Aunt Derry always host a party/dinner at their house. A few families weren't able to be there there this year, but we still had a fun and memorable time!

Sara and Sky had so much fun with Julia, their second cousin!
Me and Opa (100 years old!) He was entertaining himself and everyone else by balancing his cane by itself!
Sky and Grandpa (Joshua's dad)
Sara and Julia taking a break
Julia, and her mom, Meghan.
Aunt Derry put the guys to work helping with the food preparations. Joshua did a great job with the cheese platter.
Joshua's dad working on the meat platter.
One of the two festive tables
Here are the kids opening a few presents after dinner. The girls were so excited because they got the same things!
This concludes any Christmas pictures I have. I actually managed to forget the camera at Uncle Peter and Aunt Derry's house that night! I have had the worst time keeping track of that camera this Christmas season! I'm just a mess! We were able to get the camera back on Christmas afternoon, but I totally missed out on Christmas morning gift opening. Ah well, I now hold the memories in my heart! Probably everyone appreciated the fact that I didn't have the camera constantly in their face anyway!
This is the only picture I took Christmas day. 4 generations of men in the family! Opa is 100, Dad is 60, Joshua is 30 and Sky is 5!

May your 2009 be filled with many blessings!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Aloha Friday #7

It's time for Aloha Friday! The day where I ask you a question and you answer! Thanks to An Island Life for the original idea. If you want to participate, head on over there and follow the directions. It's a great way to meet new bloggy friends!

My question this week:

What are you looking forward to most about 2009 (that you already have on the calendar!)? What was your favourite thing about 2008?

There are two things that I'm most looking forward to, so I'll say both!

#1. The first week in February, our wonderful friends, Bryan and Karen, are coming to visit! They're coming to celebrate their 30th birthdays with a ski trip, visit with us (of course, the BEST part!), and time away from 3 active, (but wonderful) boys!

#2. At the end of April, we will be flying to El Paso, TX to visit my family (Mom, Dad, and 4 younger sisters still at home)! My brother and his wife and two little boys will also be there! My kids are so excited. They've already been talking about it everyday for a month - I don't know how they will wait! Or if I can remain sane with them talking about it all the time! :-) I'll also get to see another friend, Jen, who happens to have a blog I follow! She may even have a newborn baby to cuddle, if I'm lucky!

And my favourite part about 2008, would have to be Joshua's 30th birthday party. I actually managed to truly surprise my husband, which is next to impossible!! Thanks to all of you who made that possible!