Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Phonetic Funnies

Over the past 1/2 year, Little M has started to play with words. Before, it was letters. Letters letters everywhere. Lately there has been an explosion of reading, writing and sentence forming. I love watching her explore with her words. It is often quite humorous. Most of the time she prefers to pick out the sounds she hears and spells accordingly. Sometimes she'll come to me if she's stuck. Sometimes we go over the words, correcting spelling and hunting out the sneaky letters (ones that don't necessarily make a sound). Lately, though, I just love her efforts as they are and find them so endearing. Perfecting the spelling will come with time. Now is a time to collect all these little clippings and practice pages.

One Sunday afternoon, during rest time, unbeknownst to me, she decided to make her first "book." It looked like this:

 M made this by herself. 
It has pictures in it.
I made it in rest time.
Poop poop.  ???

 Dear K
You are a messy eater
She's not being rude - it's kinda true ;)
I love you.

 Dear L
I love you.
You are a messy eater too.

 Dear Diggy.
I love you.
You are a vacuum cleaner.

Recently, Little M was concerned about the dwindling selection of gel pens. Because she goes through them so fast, I decided that she could start "buying her own." When she realizes that she would like a new set of gel pens, we put together a chore list that will earn her 3 loonies. Then we head off to Dollarama, where she can buy a great pack of gel pens for $2+tax. It's great! She LOVES it. This is the second chore list that we're working on. The first involves me nearly having an emotional break down (stay tuned, I'll share that story later!!).

This is what she came up with all on her own...
1. Clean up. She is very serious about her clean ups. I kid you not. When she wants to (meaning it has been "her" idea) she will tidy up our entire living space. Happily. When I want her to, it's a bit more persuasion, and sometimes we have to do things we really don't want to do, but it is a responsibility that she's actually very good at. Hence, it made it onto the list :).

2. Make good choices. Always important ;).

3. Do not step in the garden that has sheep poop in it.   !!! Apparently Jon mentioned this while he was working sheep poop into our veggie garden. Good to note!!

4. Do not spill birthday cake on the floor. Sometimes excited little girls become quite exuberant and things go flying!

5. Don't make bad choices. Apparently a small theme running here ;)....
The last time we did this, I had to take Sweet K to a pediatrician appointment. These are not usually a lot of fun for me. Thankfully they are not as anxiety-packed as they used to be - but really, who likes having to take their kid to the doctor, right :)? I packed up all three girls on a very cold and windy winter day, drove an hour to the doctors office, found it downtown (I'd never been to that particular office before), found parking (always an issue) and made it to our appointment EARLY. Did you catch that - we were EARLY!!! Since we were there to discuss SLEEP ISSUES, I was already pretty pooped just from weeks (and weeks and weeks) of issue-ville. We shuffled into an empty waiting room. I was a bit perplexed by this, wondering if we'd have to wait an hour just to see the doctor. The gal sitting behind the desk blinked blinked at me. She wondered why I was there, considering the doctors were all on h.o.l.i.d.a.y.s. NO WAY. Honestly, I started to cry. Right there. In the office. Little M looked at me, and I looked at her. Well, hon, that was a colossal waste of time and energy. The gal behind the desk and I tried to resolve the issue, which happened to be some typo made by some clerk who will never know how much frustration she'd caused. Now I'd have to wait even longer to receive help (or at the very least some guidance and options). But, at the heart of what was hurting me was that this had taken a very precious at-home day for Little M. I treasure those days and try to keep them as relaxed as possible. PLUS I'd had her loonies in my purse, and I had to use them for parking. So, not only was our doctors appointment cancelled, but I had to go find change for these precious gel pens that Little M had worked so hard for. Feeling heavy, we gathered our gear and headed back to the elevator, down through a long hallway (not easy with a car seat, diaper bag, wandering 3 year old who hasn't slept properly EVER and 5 year old) and into a little pharmacy. 

I gently asked the fellow working at the till if he could break a $10 for me - a $5, and a $2 and 3 loonies. I got the scolding of a life time. Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES does he give change for parking, because if he had to do it for ONE he'd have to do it FOR EVERYONE. HOWEVER, just THIS ONE TIME he'd forgo this stipulation and DO AS I ASKED. You'd think I'd held up the store at gun point or come in cussin' like a sailor, demanding my way!!! I stood there and just blinked. Blink blink. I had no words except, thank you, I guess. I hesitantly handed him my $10, which he snatched from my hand and in a dramatic fashion he dumped the requested change into my hand. The tone was clear: DON'T LET IT HAPPEN AGAIN.

Okay. Okay. I'll just back away sllloooowly.

I had set Wee One's car seat on the floor, and as I bent down to pick her up and gather my gear once again, 1/2 the contents of my water bottle (which was tucked into a precariously dangling diaper bag) spilled down my pants and onto the floor. I was perplexed as to why the bottom of my pants were suddenly soaking wet. Until aha. This particular water bottle has a sneaky lid. RIIIGHT. I stood up and spoke out loud to no one in particular "THIS DAY IS JUST GETTING WORSE AND WORSE." And then we shuffled out.

We got the stroller, which I loaded all three kids onto and walked along the down town streets to the nearest Dollarama. We passed all sorts of interesting characters, and I found myself praying for them - those who wandered, looking lost; the fellow who picked the used cig butt out of the snow bank just to finish it off. They looked at us, and I'm sure we were quite the sight - Little M's toque tassels wafting in the wind, Sweet K's sweet face peeking out from her layers of hat and hood. And every so often a squeak from the car seat :). We received many hellos and smiles and laughs. Suddenly the world felt a bit brighter :).

Little M proudly marched into the Dollarama, ready to pick out her gel pens. True to fashion, she had to look at all the options before selecting the just-right package. She paid for her purchase, the gal behind the till chuckling as Little M explained her mission.

We returned to the van. We returned home.  It was a quiet ride and I was thankful.

I found Little M's chore chart hilarious! I am so proud of her for taking responsibility for it, and though I'm not exactly sure how we can check off "don't spill the birthday cake" when she did, TWICE!!, I am hoping our next adventure will be less .... adventurous :).

Saturday, May 28, 2011


Just over a week ago, I celebrated 33 trips around the sun!
And what a grand adventure it has been!!
Some delightful moments.
Some .... less than stellar ;).
All in all, I'm thoroughly enjoying the journey!

I come from a family who loves to give fabulous gifts. In the "love languages," this definitely stands out. I am certainly not complaining ;) --- I have received many thought-filled presents, and have tried to return the favor!

Now, if you've ever waited for me to show up at a coffee shop, or swing past your house to drop something off, or ever had to wait for one of my "just one moment please" or if you've been sitting in your driveway an extra moment or two waiting for me to pick you up.... or if you realized that I collect clocks but ALL of them are really set at different times (not entirely intentionally, some are lacking batteries, some are strategically set 5 minutes ahead!!!). In fact, if you've ever ever had to wait for me at all, you'd realize just how hilarious this precious gift is:

And like all truly great gifts, this one has a (small, but cute) story attached to it. This past winter, while we were in Florida, I was walking through the gift shop of a restaurant chain and saw this clock. I burst out laughing. It's me, through and through. However, true to form, I reasoned that we'd already spent so much money on a holiday, why buy (yet another) clock. Plus I had three kids with me (who were well past bed time) one of which had been howling for about an hour already and fishing the cash out of the diaper bag seemed like a ginormous amount of work! Blah blah blah. So, of course, I left it.

And it's one of those things I thought of obsessively on that loooong drive home!

So, when my parents decided to head south for a few weeks, I mentioned to my mom that SHOULD SHE come across this restaurant chain, and SHOULD SHE happen to find this particular clock in the store window, COULD SHE PLEASE BUY IT FOR ME. I'd pay her back. Promise promise promise :).

She, being sweet and kind and a very good listener, picked it up for me and gave it to me as a birthday gift :).

I was now able to remove a very ugly clock and replace it with this beautiful shiny clock that makes me all happy and smiley every time I see it.

You see, I am working on my punctuality. And yes, I have really really improved over time. However, I suspect it will always be something I have to be intentional about. Some days I'm okay with that. Some days I'm not. And some days - well, sometimes you've just gotta laugh!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Vitamin D therapy!

Ah. Finally. The rainy clouds have passed and the sun is out once again. In the words of Little M, spoken as we were leaving for school this morning, able to enjoy a gorgeous walk in the spring air, "Mom, I just LOVE spring days like this."

Me too, honey. Me too.

We've spent much of the past few days outdoors. Some playing. Some working. My flower beds were a sore sight after some a lot of neglect last summer :). But as I dug out the weeds, and rediscovered the hidden gems beneath, I decluttered heart and soul and mind in the process.

Even as I drifted off to sleep, I saw pictures of discarded weeds dancing behind my eyelids. Ah. Satisfaction!

In between tending to this, that and the other thing for the little ones dashing here and there, slowly clarity comes, in both the garden and heart. Things that can seem so complicated can become quite simple. Not always easy, but simple. It was sheer joy to head outdoors last night after the little ones were squeaky clean and tucked under the covers. Ipod in hand, there was space to dig, pray, yank, sing, think. AND THERE WERE NO BUGS!!!

As I absorbed the last of the sun for the day, I was thankful for the new life starting to grow. To enjoy the blooms already showing and to rejoice over the return of my rose bush and hydrangea. For the chance to dig out the weeds and start again. 

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, 
   for his compassions never fail. 
They are new every morning; 
   great is your faithfulness. 
Lamentations 3:22-23

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Trip down memory lane

Occasionally when I head out to my parent's farm, I drive through the little town that I called "home" for the first 19 years of my life. Barely a blink on the map, really. It's hard to imagine that even in such a little outta-the-way place, so many things can happen. Of course, because LIFE happens, and it's all unique and monumental, no matter how big or small.

As I slowly idle along memory lane, I pass the school that I attended K-8. It still looks pretty much the same, except the paint is peeling a bit more :) and it seems to grow smaller with time.

I point out the church I attended - where I went to youth group, got baptized, sang in the childrens choir and discovered the ups and downs of young friendships.

And always always always, I then drive by my beloved Grandma's place. She died when I was in grade 5. A surprise to us all, really. She was a good friend for me. As grain farmers, my parents were often busy during those harvest weeks, and so we spent those days in the care of Grandma. She was spunky and gentle. She loved WWF wrestling and Young and the Restless. She was a devoted Christian, creator of tea parties and a fabulous gardener. She taught me to play Scrabble and how to crochet. Her house always smelled like freshly baked buns and homemade soup. Of course, I am biased, but I think she was a saint. Hers was my first encounter with death, and it was very difficult for me. Even now, 22 years later, it still makes me sad.

And then, out to the farm. I love bringing the kids out to mom and dad's place. So many adventures and memories and milestones (and not all easy ones, either :P). And I love creating new moments with my family there. I hope my kids feel the same way about their own home someday.

Excessively dwelling on past things is not always healthy. Sometimes, however, remembering is a good thing. It creates appreciation for what once was, what can be and lessons (some very tough lessons!) learned along the way.

What adventures are along your trips down memory lane?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Celebrate life :)

Wow. It's been a while.
Life has been full of good things.

Like the discovery of the swing :). The snow is all gone now, however I did resort to shoveling out the swing set just so we could enjoy some fresh spring fun!

Spring time picnics

Celebrating the gift of parenthood and the responsibility that it is. Here were are at the baby dedication moment. This is more of an "action shot" than anything else. Wee One was NOT about to hold still for more than half a second. If that :).
Grandma's birthday party. That finally happened. Unfortunately the masseuse that was we had arranged to come over and give mom her birthday present could not come on our rescheduled date. Bummer. However, seriously, this photo does not even do justice to the chaos that reigned. At one point, I just stood in the middle of the room laughing until the tears rolled down my cheeks. We're a motley crew, but it sure is FUN!! Next time we're going for something quiet and private, like a fondue. Just don't tell my mom ;).
 Just hanging out. Wee One looks so much like her daddy it just makes me giggle :).

 Sweet K. Sweet as ever.

Happy mothers day. Gifts given, gifts received. It is good to honor those in our lives who have lived and loved into us and helped shaped us into the people that we are. A blessed thing indeed.


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