Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Oooh la la is all I can SAY!

Okay. It was a dream that began when I worked as a travel agent.

Yes, I worked as a travel agent! It feels like a completely different lifetime, but it wasn't actually - only the mid-90s - and it sure was FUN!!!

But one day, when I was organizing brochures, I came across the info packages for NEW ZEALAND!!!

Until then, I was interested in Europe, perhaps Mexico (only something hot, sunny and relaxing!), but after seeing the gorgeous pics, the varied activities, and the culture life, I was HOOKED!

I can't resist peeking, sometimes! I get notices of seat sales or room sales, and ack! The travel bug in me needs to browse!!

For example, Accor Hotels 3-Day Super Sale Asia Pacific is hosting a massive hotel sale!! Reservations must be made  between Oct 27-29, 2009 but travel can be anywhere from December 09 - April 10! Countries include Thailand, Korea, China, Japan, HK, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Fiji, Indonesia, Taiwan, India, Bali. 


And the hotels look simply glamorous! Can you imagine waking up, donning that fluffy terry cloth bathrobe, sipping a cup of coffee and just --- being!??!? Delightful!!

Okay. So, J&I have made reservations at a local resort for a weekend in November to celebrate our 10-year anniversary (which was technically in July, and we got away for one night then, but we thought we'd sneak in a getaway in fall too!). But, I don't know :).... maybe we should dream a bit bigger and head to New Zealand for a week before the baby is born wink wink!!

He he he.... click here to take a peak at the amazing rates for your dream destination. I'm sure your husband will looooooove you for it!!!!! Where would you head off to could pack your bags and not think twice :)?


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The emails we get to send.....

I've haven't set up a post in a week! Where does the time go!? Ack! I blame naps, even-lower-than-normal energy levels, and a very mushy brain!!! 

Here's why :).... Last week, I got to send out a great-big-fun email to friends I haven't spoken to in a little while....

Hi friends :).
Generally you only get an email out like this when there's...
bad news, 
good news, 
or someone is trying to sell you something :).

Well, it's not the first OR the last option!

We are doing much celebrating of life over here these days....
1. Kezia has decided to start sleeping much better at night. (Hallelujah jubilee!!!) This makes a happier mommy (she's always happy!). Really. You have no idea how thrilled I am about this!!
2. We managed to repaint the entire house this summer (on the inside - quite the ordeal!) and we got a bunch of new windows (okay, so our bank account isn't as happy about that :P...). Feelin' good about that!
3. Jon is totally swamped at work, but is still really enjoying his role at the SRSS as Guidance Counselor. Yeah for good work!!
4. The rest of us enjoy our days at home. There is much activity to be involved in, but there is a good balance between work, life, sleep and the occasional Law & Order episode :). (Well, Jon might argue with that! He's a pretty busy guy!!)
Really, the list of blessings is endless. We are grateful.

HOWEVER, the BEST NEWS of ALL :).....
We've decided to have another baby!!
We're crazy, we know. :P.
We're due at the end of May, so that makes me 9 weeks along now. 
I am feeling great (a daily gift of grace from our Heavenly Father!) and we are at peace with this decision (another gift of grace!).

So, is the third time, "the charmer:)?"
Well, we think both of our girlies are pretty charming (albeit one is pretty sassy!!) and my sister hopes I have a rowdy, rambunctious boy who dangles from the chandelier!!

In case we don't have the chance to see you in the next few weeks (or months, as some of your are quite far away!!), we wanted to share our good news with you.
As you are led, please join us in praying for a healthy, developmentally normal baby (oh yeah, and textbook delivery at Steinbach Hospital in which I can utilize a birth plan that I am COMFORTABLE WITH!!!).
Thanks for celebrating with us!

So, I'm still feeling great - but rather tired. And have a seemingly-insatiable craving for all things salt-related. Which I'm trying not to indulge ... all the time :).

The days fly by fast. On Sunday I got to show Little M a model of a baby at 12 weeks in utero. As she gently cradled the little bitty babe in her palm, I marveled at the little one who is already so much a part of our family. I wonder at who (s)he will be? Likes? Dislikes? A good sleeper :)? (hey, you only have to have ONE who is not, and you are forever hoping that the rest will be!!!).

It has been an "interesting" emotional and spiritual path to arrive at this place; a journey that I definitely did not always want or embrace. However, it is good. So very good.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fun projects!

Ahhh! FINALLY I got a chance to tackle some fun projects I've been wanting to do for a while. Okay, not all of them were a fun PROCESS, mind you, but I'm glad they're done!

First up - a quote I found in a Stampin' Up magazine. After our journey with Sweet K I just knew I needed those words on my wall somewhere. I'm not into spending a lot of money (and I think J would share a few words with me if I spent $50+ on wall words!!!) so I had to get a bit creative in how this was going to come together.

Sigh. This is how the project started out. A 12x16 Dollarama canvas, "homemade" brown paint (because my tube was all dried and crusty!!! and the initial cream base was just not workin' for me!), and printed letters on computer paper transferred to the canvas using carbon paper.

Lessons I learned....
Mistake #1 - Haste makes waste. It really does. I was completely imprecise in transferring the letters onto the canvas and once they were painted it was even worse. Not sure you can tell in these photos, but Round 1 looked like el crappo. I was not happy. Chuck it or fix it? A frantic phone call to my sis who paints gave me the umph to keep trying!!

Mistake #2 - Use a firm surface. Writing on a canvas is tricky. Writing on a canvas with a nice firm book underneath? Much much better!

Mistake #3 - A dull pencil. Oi. Come on Leah! Once I switched to a nice, precise ball-point pen, it was a lot easier going :).

The finished product, displayed in my dining room.

Project #2 - Some wall ... "art?" for the bathroom. Inspired by a link I found on One Pretty Thing, this is what I hung over the bathroom towel bar... that blank spot has been buggin' me for NINE YEARS! It was time to do .... something!

And a few other touches....

We had an old mirror lying around. I bought the frame at MCC for a buck and repainted the mat. The left side candle holder is a $3 treasure from IKEA and the shelf is from my dad, who creates amazing things with wood and then gives them to us as gifts :P. I'm looking for a few flameless candles to stick into these candle holders because they are a bit safer than tea lights and from a distance, no one would know the difference anyway!!

I'm always on the search to make our bedroom a cozy place to be. And now that we are not presently sharing it with any children (and I even moved the playpen OUT for naptimes!!), it feels like it is MINE (well, OURS!!) again :P. I've been working on this for some time, and like how it's turning out....

My sister created this painting for me when I was pregnant with Sweet K. I've been looking for just the right place to hang it and found it! (Check out her online gallery for more gorgeous pics!!) The lovely desk is a christmas gift from my dad when I was but a teen (many many moons ago already!!).

These projects have been a lot of fun.
But now, I think it's time to clean up the carrots and beets that survived the gardening year before tackling the girls room and the living room and the lobby and the repainting touch ups here and there!!!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Gratitude - The Daily Grind

There's nothing like the crises of life to remind me how much I value the daily grind. The "normal." The wonderfully mundane, ebb and flow, ups and downs; the good and the tough days.

I reminds me to be CONTENT. Here. Now.

This summer (sans paint job!!), that's what life became for me. I feel ... settled. Not always happy, but deeply joy-filled. Not always without worry, but generally calm. (A tad edgy and grumpy too somedays, just to keep it really real :P.) It's a lovely plateau for me and I enjoy it.

This week, I am grateful for those seemingly unremarkable things that make my day delightful.

1. Climbing into bed with freshly laundered jammies (knowing that the rest of the laundry is folded and put away is an added - albeit not exactly necessary!! - bonus :P!!).

2. Taking time to play the piano. This is something I seldom do unless I am preparing to lead music in church. I miss it. To sit and play can be discouraging, because I am no where NEAR as technically "refined" as I used to be when I was taking lessons. But a few hard shakes in life have added depth to the music that cannot be learned. It is that expression that adds dimension.

3. Enjoying my morning cup of coffee, journal and bible in hand, before any one else in the house is up. During the work week, J is now up earlier than I am, and so it's not quite the same. However, on the weekends, it is sheer delight to get up before the sun, before the peeps :), and listen and learn.

4. A bubble bath. Sheer heaven!!

5. A day that actually "unfolds" like I've planned!! I tackle the things on my list, I make time for the girlies and J :P, we fit in some ABCs and developmental learning AND the ever-awaited for afternoon nap. Most days are not like this. And that's okay. But some days are. I like those :).

6. For the first summer in a very very veerrry long time, I wore t-shirts, shorts and bare feet 99.9% of the time! KUDOS goes out to whoever brought Bermuda shorts fashionably back into style!! Bye bye short shorts!! However, now that the cooler days are back (well, in MB they never really left this year, but now our nights are accompanied by frost!!), I enjoy my slippers. On in the morning, off at bedtime; very very cozy.

7. Phone chats. Really, what's a day without any outside social contact!? I love having time in the day to visit with a friend or sister or mom :) while I tackle the mundane chores.

8. Easy reading. AKA surfing my favorite blogs and websites :). Always a nice little "coffee break" :).

9. Disciplining. Not that I ENJOY it :) - but I am GRATEFUL for it. Teaching little ones teaches me. Whether it's practicing sharing, speaking with kind words, correction for wrong-doing, learning our ABCs, or fitting in development exercises, shaping little hearts takes prayer, intentionality, rest :) and more prayer!!! And since this takes up a good chunk of my day these days :).... best to come at it with the most optimistic attitude one can muster :P.

10. People. I am so blessed by the people in my life. Friends, family, J, the girlies, Jesus. They've sustained me through crisis times and graced my life with laughter and love in good times. Love makes the world go 'round, right :)?

I am thankful for the normalcy of these days.
I cherish it as a gift.
You never know when tomorrow might be different.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Buzz buzz buzz buzz

My ears are ringing.
I think all ability to think straight has been (hopefully only temporarily!!) suspended.

Aside from nap time, I don't think Little M stopped talking all. day. long.

Really, it's generally a witty commentary, and the fact that she's requesting "It's A Great Day to Be Alive" - Travis Tritt - during our van rides is slightly hilarious. Poor J. He's not into country music a.t. a.l.l. and is not quite as amused :P.

But somehow, by the end of a day, my ears need no sound.
Simple quiet.
I recall, back in the day, when I'd arrive at home after a lively day at the office and I walk around the house completely quiet. I'd let myself in, actually say out loud (to my lovely self, who was the only one home at that time in the afternoon :P) - "Shhhhh. Everyone quiet." And I'd proceed around the house, prepping for supper, maybe squeezing in a pilates routine or a nap, as silently as possible. It was heaven :). By dinner time I was ready for conversation again.

These days there is very little quiet (unless I am up later than every one else at night. I used to think insomnia was a curse. And it surely can be. But I'm starting to see the beauty in the stillness of the night!), no energy for pilates and fairly constant companionship.

Some days, my ears ache from listening and my mouth hurts from talking so much.
But the times are pure gold and I wouldn't change them for anything.
It's a good life!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Gratitude - 10 Little Phrases...

Wordle: 10 Litte Phrases

Today I am grateful for 10 Little Phrases I love to hear...

*Image created at

Friday, October 9, 2009

A bit controversial: feelings on infant formula...

A little moment of truth here - I never breast-fed my babies.
For the most part, I am okay with that.a
I had to be. I had absolutely no milk to give. (Don't even ASK me how I feel about a breast pump -- shudder -- shudder --).
I'm finding, however, that often it's OTHER people who aren't okay with that! I can't tell you how many glares I got when I had to whip out a bottle. Or how my poor little sister got raked over the coals publicly because of the choice she made to bottle feed too.
There's nothing like parenting, religion and politics to bring out v.e.r.y. strong opinions in people!!
And people assumed that I wallow in guilt over the whole matter.
Guess what - I didn't!!
It was the way it was. And, even with all the post-partum emotional upheaval, I was okay with that.
Sometimes I envied people who could nurse their babes. It seemed so -- maternal (not to mention, waaaay more convenient when there are no possible means of warming up a bottle and that babe is HUNGRY!!). But it never drove me into guilt or shame.

And I didn't even resort to "name-brand formula" only. I was flexible. I had a doctor who reminded me that no-name brands are often just the same as name brands, only waaaaay less expensive! (Check the labels and make sure to compare the same types of formula.) If you're interested in this option, check out store brand formula for more details. 

Is breast best? Absolutely. No doubt about it. However, if this is not an option for whatever reason (low/non-existent supply, personal choice) - I hope that guilt is not a part of the equation.

After all, I was raised on formula too, and I turned out fine. Well, nothing that I can blame on formula, anyway :P.

PS - if you ARE looking for a way to improve your milk supply, give "Blessed Thistle" and Fenugreek" (herbs, found at a health food store) a try. Chase those down with a 1/2 a dark malt beer (think Guinness) JUST AFTER a feeding (any alcohol should be out of the system by the next feeding). It works!!


Warning flags...

I think I'm catching onto these warning flags that pop up in my life.
Takes me while. I'm a slow learner :).
This past week I noticed a high degree of irritability and fatigue. Double-checking the calendar, I realized it's been a long while (too long, apparently!) since I've been out and about for the day without the wee ones. While I do enjoy non-stop chatter, company and a wide variety of opportunities to practice patience :P, I also relish a day out. Alone.

And so, without further delay, I rounded up the childcare troops (both sets of parents are very gracious) and planned a day out.

I'm proud of myself. This time it only took me a couple of days to catch on and do something about it! Usually it takes a month!! Also, I think I secretly hope that someone will help me take care of me, make the arrangements and gift me with time away. :)

So, next week Wednesday, J's parents will come in the afternoon, and I will be out for the r.e.s.t. of the d.a.y. No rushing. Supper to myself (I'm thinking something oriental, yes I usually dream about this a week ahead!!) with a good book and possibly a journal! A day to pick up a few things that I need for this post-painting project task I'm on :P and a day to just breathe.

Because, folks, breathing is very important. If you don't have it scheduled on your calendar, stop whatever you are doing and write it in now!!!

Did I mention that I get to return after bedtime :)!?

It's taken me time and effort to recognize all sorts of warning flags in my life. Things that require attention and intentionality. But, thankfully, I am learning. The effort is worth it.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Ya know what is frustrating?
Getting to the end of a big, fat book, investing time, energy and some degree of imagination,
and wondering...
Was it worth the read!?

I just finished a novel co-written by Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker. Normally, I don't mind Peretti's novels, and I've never read any TD (though they've been recommended). I was expecting something a little - more.

Honestly, the first (and lingering, sad to say) word that came to mind - OVERKILL. (Pardon the pun if you read the book :P.) I kept waiting for them to "get on with it, already." And they finally do. Sort of.

With two young ones, I don't have much time to read (one of my favorite ways to relax :) ESPECIALLY if it includes a good snack!...) and so when I feel like I've wasted time on a book (had to finish though, ya know, to see how it ended!!), it really irks me.

A librarian friend once reminded me - "Pick your books wisely; for every one you read, there are thousands you can't."

If I had $20,000....

I was asked today, "if you had $20,000 to remodel your kitchen, what would you do...."

This, on the heels, of a major re-paint. :)

Ooooh. I'm no Betty Crocker, but there are DEFINITELY a few things I'd love to add to a "dream kitchen..."

 - Attractive track lighting. Right now we just have a standard ceiling fixture. Bor-ring. :)

- An ISLAND! Oooh la la. With nice, covered and padded bar stools, lots of storage, etc. AND a space to organize garbage, recycling, composting, etc.

- If I wasn't into composting, I'd have a garberator.

- When we were in Florida, our kitchen had a small tv with cable. I'd have one of those so I could watch cooking shows and "be inspired." Or just play holiday music with the weather channel :).

- A flat top stove with self-cleaning oven.

- A fridge with an ice dispenser. Just for fun :).

- A fancy coffee maker. With digital do-dads. And a frother.

- A lazy susan in my corner cabinets. It's hard to reach to the back.

- Different flooring. I'm not sure what kind yet, tile maybe. With a nice, small area carpet by the sink. Dark flooring. No more white. Shows alllll the spots :).

- Very organized drawers and cabinets. Like with dividers purchased from IKEA.

- A whole new set of dishes. I like my set, but it's 10+ years old, and I feel like I've morphed in my 20's and have outgrown it in some ways.

- And maybe someone to wash all the dishes!!!

If you're interested in winning a $20,000 Dream Kitchen Contest, check out Dr. Oetker Kitchen Makeover Contest. Simply grab a PIN from any participating Casa di Mama Pizza boxes and you could be the winner :P. Plus, there's a host of secondary prizes like lovely Whirlpool appliances! Hey, while you're at it, sign up to be a Savory Moments Member.  For Canadian Residents Only.

What would you include in your dream kitchen makeover :)?


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Gratitudes - Autumn

I love autumn. It is one of my four favorite seasons of the year ;).

10 reasons why I am thankful for this stretch of time on the calendar...

1. The crunch of fall leaves.

2. I love walking in fall. It gets dark earlier. I love walking in the dark (but not late at night!). It's cooler, no humidity, very few bugs. The cool air is refreshing and the smells are amazing!!

3. I love the colors. Bright oranges, yellows, reds and greens. Everything turns a fiery shade before going dormant. A blaze of glory, if you will.

4. I love all things cozy. Hoodies, slippers, my favorite pair of mittens. Snuggling in with a cup of hot coffee, tea or chocolate (really, I'm not that picky!!).

5. Re-organizing the closet. You can't go into fall and winter with your shorts and tank tops on the most accessible shelf (at least not in Manitoba!!). I LOVE a freshly organized closet. The change of the season gives me extra incentive to tidy up, downsize (or restock :P).

6. Fall has always been a season of revelation for me. For some reason I have learned much about myself and others as life shifts into routine. All of the things my mind and heart grappled with over the busy months of summer (when prayer, journaling, reading and contemplating are less frequent) clarify as I sit and listen and learn.

7. I love the smells. Harvest (thankfully I am not allergic to dust!), gardening, cooking/ canning/ preserving the yumminess of summer in some small way.

8. Far. fewer. bugs. Really, I cannot emphasize this enough!

9. Pumpkin pies. YUMMMM!

10. Getting ready for celebrations. Thanksgiving. Christmas. Birthdays. Planning parties, making gifts. Sifting through my collection of ideas (for practicality and price-reasonableness!!!) and finding just the right thing. I subscribe to Better Homes & Gardens 100 Days of Holidays newsletters, and every day I am sidetracked by creative inspiration and things I'd never do, but would love to :).

I am thankful for the changing seasons. Thankful for the beauty each brings. Thankful for the different aspects of myself that each draws out. God is certainly creative!

A Time for Everything
 1 There is a time for everything, 
       and a season for every activity under heaven:

 2 a time to be born and a time to die, 
       a time to plant and a time to uproot,

 3 a time to kill and a time to heal, 
       a time to tear down and a time to build,

 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, 
       a time to mourn and a time to dance,

 5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, 
       a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

 6 a time to search and a time to give up, 
       a time to keep and a time to throw away,

 7 a time to tear and a time to mend, 
       a time to be silent and a time to speak,

 8 a time to love and a time to hate, 
       a time for war and a time for peace.

9 What does the worker gain from his toil?
10 I have seen the burden God has laid on men.
11 He has made everything beautiful in its time.
He has also set eternity in the hearts of men;
yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
12 I know that there is nothing better for men
than to be happy and do good while they live.
13 That everyone may eat and drink,
and find satisfaction in all his toil
—this is the gift of God.
14 I know that everything God does
will endure forever;
nothing can be added to it
and nothing taken from it.
God does it so that men

Ecclesiastes 3:1-14

Thursday, October 1, 2009

She needs me, she needs me not...

Year 3 of Little M's life has been characterized by a series of cycles - peaceful lull - fierce battle for independence (hers and mine :P). The former is Little M as her generally sweet, chatter-box, affectionate, good natured self. The latter - all this wrapped into spirited expressions of emotion (aka - tantrum!!).

At first I found these exhausting and confusing (I still find them exhausting and confusing!) but the more we both grow, the more I value the emergence of character, personality and independence that the stormy times bring. In her life, but also in mine.

Isn't that the way it goes?
If it weren't for the rain, we wouldn't have rainbows.
If it weren't for trials, we would never have to grow.
If it weren't for our finite and brokeness, we wouldn't need God.

“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars.” Og Mandino


Related Posts with Thumbnails