Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Awkward Moments #2

     Life would not be nearly as funny if Gord and I did not have kids.  Life would also be tidier, cleaner, cheaper, and way way too quiet.  However,  the last two weeks have been full of frustrating moments.  I have been left a little confused as to how to handle it all.  A lot of sour attitudes and short fuses...mine included.  I finally talked to Gord about how to get us back on track.  I obviously should have done that right away when it all started, but I thought I could manage on my own.  Wrong wrong wrong.  Thankfully he's set them all to rights, and me too.  He's got my back in this and I am so grateful.

     In all the crazy, we still had our laughs and smiles.  I don't think we could survive if we couldn't laugh at ourselves...or our kids :)  Oh my.  Somedays I wonder if I am teaching them anything useful at all.  The stuff they say and do kinda makes me wonder.  I then look in the mirror and I see their '24 hour walking example.'

     I sat down the other night, exhausted and mentally drained
                 "I'm just gonna sit here and decompose"
     I meant decompress...but some days I feel my mind decomposing :)

     Wyatt was looking at the movies in the Library
                 "Mom can we get Oh Stupid Me?"   WHAT??!!
      Oh, "Despicable Me?"
             "Yeah, Stupid Me"
      We'll work on that

     The one that takes the cake, as in deserves a medal for shocking his mother, is my oldest Taylor.  He wants to laugh, tell jokes, and pull pranks.  It also good for him to learn to  laugh at his own blunders,  and he's learning.  Again, he has amazing role models for this.  Taylor is my literal thinker.  So, often a joke with a hidden meaning takes him awhile to decipher, no big deal.  His brain works just fine, but sometimes we get wires crossed.   Years ago he and I were driving to town, and he wasn't very chipper.  I asked him "Did you lose your sense of humour?"  To my shock he started looking on the floor and picking up stuff.  He was literally looking for that sense of humour.  Still makes me smile ;)

     Anyway, we drew names for Christmas with our kids and their cousins.  Taylor couldn't remember who he had, so I went to whisper it in his ear.  I leaned in, and he raised his hand AND..... covered the other ear.  Get it??  HE COVERED THE EAR SO NO ONE COULD HEAR!!  Very calmly (I'm laughing hysterically inside) I told him, "You know that it can't pass through.... right??"  He gave me the sweetest, sheepish smile... And I am left  questioning our homeschool material and methods.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Sweet Silence

    I sit in complete silence in my shop right now.  It's late, kids have just fallen into bed, and I have foolishly made myself a pot of coffee...it's a French Press ok?  So I won't be having cup after cup tonight...I think.  We just had an absolutely wonderful evening at our Church and my heart is full to overflowing.  I have just filled up on love, fellowship, laughter, and goodies.  On our drive home Gord mostly sat in silence as I chatted his ear off, recounting all that happened tonight.  There is something so special about a Christmas Program, and tonight did not disappoint.  Now, we don't have a spectacular program with effects and amazing props.  No, we are an 'old-school' Church....and we love it.  Trust me, we aren't old fashioned in a self-righteous way, it's just the manner of a small, rural, country Church.  Our program was simple, but I like simple.  And it seems, so does the rest of our small body.

     A few things happened tonight that make it especially wonderful.  First my own kids were involved.  Wyatt didn't have a part this year, but that's ok.  I'm still laughing over last year when he was in a sheep costume and the girl in the cow outfit took a particular delight in swinging the tail in his face.  We could see him seething from where he sat.  He was only 4, but did a rather remarkable job of trying to stay calm.  Trying...but not succeeding.  We separated them before an actual fight took place.  It worked, until she found straw to poke him in the head with ;)  Anyway, my older three did their parts and made me so very proud.  Nathan,  spoke in PUBLIC!!  Shocking really, but he's come a long way and we were thrilled to see him say his part loud and clear. Chloe sang in a small girl choir, it's not really her thing, but she did it well and with a smile.  Taylor and two of his young friends sang 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen' and that was both a hoot and a hit!

     I am blessed to have the freedom in our little Church to work in the music department.  I have found that kids seem to sing better when they sing to a guitar.  Guitar is not my favourite thing to play, but it works.  Maybe it's because you are closer to them, or it's not as loud as a piano, whatever the reason, the kids in our Church continue to surprise me with their willingness to sing.  And they sing WELL!  I was given a pleasant shock tonight when one of the girls in our group approached me about doing a solo in the song.  I had mentioned this to them previously, but this girl in  particular seemed a little shy about it.  Well, 30 minutes before the program we had a chance to practice  her solo...and this girl can SING!  I mean, really sing.  She's only 11 or so, but the power in her voice is already very evident.    The surprising part is that even her Grandpa, who came tonight, had never heard her sing before.  In fact, he didn't know she could sing, and they're a close family.  She's a shy, quiet girl, but for some reason she came out of her shell tonight...and I don't want her to ever go back in there ;)

     Following the program comes the difficult decision of knowing what to take from the food tables..as there's always an over abundance.  And of course, the fellowship.  Tonight I was talking with the mom of this young girl.  I know the family history, and it's heartbreaking.  They lost their only son about 2 years ago in an accident.  The young girls were very close to their older brother and I can only imagine the pain that they still feel.  But the Mom is precious, and real and open about the pain, but also the revival that can come from loss.  She shared with me how real the concept of God giving His Son, is to her.  She is using loss to draw closer to God...and what an honour it was to speak with her.  I sang a song tonight called 'Could You Give Your Only Son,' and as I sang, I looked at this mother with tears in her eyes.  She has felt the loss of a son.  God understands her pain.  I just can't, and yet I see her living in hope and I rejoice with her that God understands her suffering.  God understands MY suffering, He understands YOURS.

    Christmas is often filled with manger scenes and songs like 'Silent Night.'  How serene and peaceful the Christmas cards look.  The truth is He came to this world to suffer.  He took on the weight of the world.  My sin...my lies, my jealousy, my anger, my greed, my selfish heart.  He came to take my sin, and He suffered for it.  My oldest sister told me this week that she does NOT like to sing 'Silent Night' because it's not true.  Mary was fully human and labour still hurt.  They were in a  city packed to capacity.  I doubt there was anything quiet about that night.  And yet we sing it because it's beautiful and pleasing to our ears.

     We do the same thing with the Cross.  We have pretty necklaces, and adorn our Churches with them, but the Cross itself isn't beautiful.  In fact, the cross that Jesus died on was stained with His blood and flesh.  It was an instrument of shame and torture.  To be hung on a cross was a disgrace, yet Christ allowed Himself to be placed there.  Again, another sign that He came to suffer.  His death was shameful in the eyes of the world.  Now, what Christ DID on the Cross is beautiful.  I find myself having to 're-tune' my thinking so that I stay focused on Him, not the objects that He used to accomplish His mission.

     In a few days most of the world will celebrate Christmas.  The secular world will sing the traditional Carols, without heeding the message in them.  They may even set up a beautiful Nativity scene in their home, and yet the Glory of the Story will be lost to them.  Maybe it's because the world only want's the 'pretty' version.  Goodness, even some of us Christians prefer that version.  Don't talk about suffering it's Christmas, right?   I pray that this Christmas a few more people will look farther than the manger scene, and understand that the birth led to something far more amazing.  The Birth of Christ was only the very beginning, and I am so thankful that the ending has made my Salvation possible.


Thursday, 18 December 2014

Why we Homeschool

     I thought of labelling this "Reasons to Homeschool" but then I would be telling you what to do...and that's not my job.  I can tell you why we chose this path and  I will include a few disclaimers:

  1. We can be friends if we don't agree ;) I have friends and family that have a very different view and I am blessed to have them in my life
  2. My view of 'Education' is not the norm
  3. I do not believe that Homeschooling my children will save their souls, nor do I believe that children in a school system are lost forever
  4. I believe that the responsibility to teach and train children falls solely on the parents...."Teach them diligently in the way they should go...." The Bible says this....but much debate can take place as to how to interpret that statement

     Now that that's out of the way, what is Education?  The normal view is the teaching and receiving of information..some of it is even useful ;)  Seriously, how many of you remember what you were taught in school?  How many have to think for a few minutes when your child asks you for help and you've got to do a quick cram session so you know the answer?  What on earth did we work for all those years if we can't remember most of it?  The things I do remember I use in my daily life.  Math and reading are put to use everyday in our home.

      It is HARD to think beyond what we know.  Example, cursive writing.  It can be beautiful and it's a quick alternative to printing everything.  BUT have you ever seen the cursive writing of a young boy who absolutely hates to do it?  It's not beautiful!  Such was the case with our oldest.  I started to question why he had to learn it... after all, I stopped doing cursive the moment I graduated.  I never liked it, and have happily printed everything for the past 18 years...and I'm ok.  Yes, it was quicker for book reports, notes, etc, but what does everyone use these days for speed?  A computer.   Gone are the days when cursive is a necessity in life, computer skills are much more desired than cursive.  It's a changing world.  Is it worth putting so much time and effort into something that means nothing in the end?  Now my girl loves cursive and does it happily, so I encourage her.  It's not a punishment for her, but I recognize that Taylor has a different bend so I don't require it of him.   I am good with both.  There is danger in forcing all the kids to do exactly the same thing.  God has made them unique so why do I think that I can expect the same results from each child?  When I finally started to ask what the purpose was behind each 'subject,' I realized that my original view of education was just to teach them what I learned in school, useful or not.

     I have heard the argument "It's good for them to learn about something, even if they don't like it."  I agree, but maybe it would be wiser to pick carefully what we 'force' upon them.  I survived school by memorizing everything, but I didn't really grasp the context of what was being taught.  My marks were great...but that still didn't mean that I understood everything I wrote down.   I  did learn how to play the system though, by memorizing.  The school still gave me my diploma, regardless of the fact that what I 'learned' was promptly forgotten the moment I graduated.    That's not what I'm aiming for with my kids.

     I have very few desires for my children, but I will list them anyway ;)

  1. Love the Lord with all their heart, soul, and mind.  Seek Him in all they do, be it in family, work or recreation.  
  2. Learn to serve those around them wherever they are
  3. Learn to love reading and trying new things. (our kids LOVE books, but trying new things?  Um no...it's a process!)
  4. Learn to think and use common sense in WHATEVER they are doing.

     You will notice that I did not mention a desire for them to be academically driven.  Why?  Because not everyone is made that way.  Yes I do want my kids to learn reading, math, spelling etc, but that is not the end goal of education for me.  If one child simply cannot comprehend geomotry the world will still go round.  Yes, my children will have learning gaps, but so do yours ;) It's impossible to know all things, but do we ever explain that to kids?  So much pressure is put on these young people that 'Education' is key, it's 'Everything.'  And sadly, what used to be called an education is now just giving out a passing grade because you can't fail a student.  Education used to mean something, but we have treated it in such a shoddy manner that it isn't what it used to be, at least not in North America.  Our youth don't value what they are being taught in schools because they have always had that luxury and privilege.  It doesn't really give 'Education' a good name, at least not for me.    I am pretty sure that God won't ask me if I succeeded in teaching Math.  He will look at my attitude in my homeschooling journey, but HE does not expect me to know all these things.  I am so relieved!  I will give an account for HOW I taught my children.  Thankfully God doesn't look at grades ;)

     I pray that God gives me the wisdom to know when to push or encourage them in any given area of their life.  More importantly, I want my children to seek Christ in all they do.  How can they go wrong if they go to Him when making crucial decisions about marriage or work?  God's plans for their lives are not really any of my business, but He has given me the daunting task of preparing them for wherever He leads them.  So yes, it's good to have a well-rounded  'Education.'  Reading and writing are essential in the world, but more importantly for reading His Word.  Math is also needed to be a good steward of everything God places in our care.   History?  I'm all for it when God is at the centre of it.....studying the Bible is the best form of History I could imagine,  and it explains why the world is in it's current state.  And let's not forget Science.  Every time a child wanders through the outdoors and explores nature, 'Science' is being learned.  I cringe when I read what is being taught in  schools.  Since when can we decide that we are girls today and boys tomorrow?  Maybe that hasn't hit our local country schools yet, but it's on it's way.

     I am thankful that I have a God who can fill all the learning gaps I have, so it's safe to say He will do the same for my children.  Often, we learn something when we have need of it.  Case in point, I did not cook when I married my husband.  Oh I knew the general idea, I could make a few things, and I could read a cook book.  But having an idea of baking bread and actually doing it are not quite the same, as we all know.  I found myself completely capable, and willing to learn to bake bread in order to impress Gord.  I didn't take a course, I just read and practiced.  Why will it be any different for my children IF the building blocks are put into place?  My view of an 'Education' is not to acquire dormant information, but rather the training of the mind.  Training the mind to think and examine our environment is a skill sadly lacking in our generation.  Knowledge and Wisdom are not equal.  And to be honest, I would rather have a wise child than a walking encyclopaedia in our home.

     Why do we homeschool?  In a nutshell, they are our children and therefor our responsibility.  I know there are far better teachers out there,  but I have come to believe that an 'Education' starts at home.  But trust me, I sure don't feel 'Holier' when I have a challenging day.  With having my kiddos around all the time, I am feeling the strain of being 'refined.'  Some days I am overwhelmed with my failures as a teacher.  I am not a patient person...at all.  And for me to teach Math?  I have cried many times.  Though at the end of a rough day (I am very glad rough days have endings) I am still thankful that we have chosen this path....even if that yellow bus passing by was a little tempting...for a few hours anyway :)




Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Family photos

     I love looking through pictures of my kids, all parents do I suppose.  It's hard not to get teary when I look at how little they once were.  Why did I ever wish that time away?  Yes the chaos was overwhelming at times....short nights, long days, pottytraining, chore training, toys EVERYWHERE,  and that awful diaper bag that had to have everything in it.  Actually, I should do a post entitled 'Evolution of the Diaper Bag' because it seemed to change drastically from baby #1 to baby #4.    I started with a bag specifically made for the transport of all things baby related.  It seemed the only thing it didn't carry was a baby bathtub.  Fast forward 7 years and I stubbornly refused to give up my purse...I just bought a bigger purse and filled it with a few diapers, wipes, a bib, and maybe a change of clothes IF I remembered.

     Pictures....back to the topic of pictures.  I have tried, pitifully, to take pictures of my kids.  Oh I can take a nice one of one or maybe two of them together, but all 4?  HA!!!  I managed to take a few decent ones when we had 3 kids, but the 4th seems to thwart my every move.  And by a nice picture I am not talking of a professional picture that should go on a gallery wall.  I don't know how to edit...and instagram doesn't really count ;) I don't know how to pose them and sometimes I've wondered at my ability to dress them...BUT, I don't care too much as long as I can look back, remember those years, and smile.

And it begins
I tried pretty scenery and props
I tried the studio look
I tried the casual play clothes and 'We just had ribs' look
I tried the dreaded 'Self portrait'
I tried draping a child over a tree
I tried 'posing'
I tried the 'I've got them all in one spot, let's take a picture' look

And finally, we had our first 'Professional' family photo done
I still like it...regardless of the dress code
Aaaaannnnd, we are starting the really awkward family photo phase
I've accepted the fact that every pic taken in the shop will be yellow
Desperately I start taking pictures when they are in their natural state

Or when absolutely ZERO thought was given to their apparel
I hope Chloe forgives me for ever buying these hot pink work pants
I started looking for the weirdest expression...it's become my favourite part of the pictures I take

Yes the background is yellow, and yes I used a filter, but I LOVE this one ;)

     Gord, however, has been after me to get a real family photo done.  The last one was taken when Wyatt was 6 weeks old...and since time does not stand still, we've all changed a bit.  I have had great intentions the past two years, but something always seems to come up.  One day it was just too hot, or we hadn't planned good enough etc.  And maybe I'm being a little picky.  See, I am blessed to know multiple,talented photographers and I would really REALLY love for one of them to do it for us.  One lovely niece/friend has offered multiple times to shoot us...and those really were her words.  Don't over think it!  But she does live  about 5 hours away, so of course, we have only a few times a year when it could potentially work.

     Well we were so blessed to have her and her family come stay with us this past week-end...and wonder of wonders, she had time to take a few pictures my family.  I have tried to warn her numerous times that we might give her rough time but she IS a professional and knows what she's doing.  I haven't seen too many of the pictures yet, but I love what I have seen...and I am anxious to finally, for the first time EVER, give pictures to family and friends.  Yes, we have been married almost 15 years and we have never done this.

It's unedited...but the sad truth is that I wouldn't have even know if she hadn't told me

   I wanted to share at least one, even if it's not final yet.  I don't know how SHE managed to make them all look perfect  (they still show their personalities) but she did...and that's why people call her.  


  If you want to see her capture beautiful moments, check out her blog.  She is self-taught and has a talent for capturing beauty in the simplest moments.  Looking at all her pictures has also made me want a family photo that is...simply beautiful.  Yes, it's not realistic...look at my pictures compared to hers.  Mine show real life and that's good.  But sometimes when my home is perfectly tidy, clean, and the table is set with beauty, I look around and admire that moment of perfection.  We all need bits of perfect every now and then...and when I see what she captured in one photo..I see perfection.  God has loaned me four blessings and He loves with with a perfect love that I can only dream of...but I will continue to dream of that day when perfection is possible.  Until then I am so thankful for the bits of perfect in life :)

Monday, 24 November 2014

Why I love Winter

     I love the winter months, I really do.  As a child I loved seeing the fresh snow fall and not surprising, I still do.  I grimace inwardly when people gripe about the season or the latest snowfall.  I view all that white fluff as a blessing.  And if you are still reading, below is my list of reasons why :)

  1. Snow is fresh and clean.  It also covers the abundant layers of mud that Alberta is know for.  When the snow covers Grande Prairie and the lights are shining, it makes even our oil-field city look beautiful.  I love the coming of spring and seeing the new life everywhere, but I dread what all the melting snow reveals.   I am always reminded how my ugly sins are washed white as snow through the Salvation I have in Christ.
  2. Snow is a blessing in my world because everything slows down.  We live in such a high-energy, always moving, never resting world.  When spring finally arrives we are all anxious and restless to be outside working and prepping our gardens and backyards.  Summer is full of holidays, camping trips, weeding, early mornings and late nights.  The goal is to soak up every ray of sunshine with friends and when the sun goes down, we sit around fires.  Fall brings with it a sense of panic that all the outside work must be done.  Farmers work crazy hours bringing in their crops, leaves are raked, vehicles are prepped, and some women slave away for hours and hours over their canning and cleaning out their gardens.  I've also heard about women that meticulously do Spring AND Fall cleaning...I should attach myself to women like that...it's a dream.  FINALLY, the snow falls, and all the eager/reckless drivers are revealed.  That first skiff of slick snow deflates egos that need a little adjusting.  I'm always very quick to point out to my kids that you will rarely see a small car or mini-van in the ditch.  It's always the jacked-up trucks that are stranded....watch for it, it's true.  With the snow everyone gets the opportunity to adjust their driving speed as well as their 'Life Speed,'  Sometimes we only do it when forced.  Sure the snow needs to be shovelled, but other than that the outside work is limited, except to the people with farm animals.  I do feel for you when I sit by my fire with a cup tea, or for the trucker who drives in awful weather.  But for the majority of people, we slow down.  It's a blessing in disguise for families.
  3. My kids prefer the cooler weather, strange but true.  This last summer was HOT and our kids get a little sluggish.  But their bodies are already a secondary source of heat in our home as all of them are little heaters.
  4. I get to use my wood stove.  I feel sorry for people that don't own one.  Yes I know that not everybody craves it, but you should :)  It never fails that the stove draws people to it when they come in from the cold, even those that would never put one in their home.  Currently I'm trying to talk a few people into installing one...I don't know why I care, but I do.  Plus, it's a great back-up when the power goes out.  (and it's a great daily chore for my little boys)  If I could sell them out of my home I would...but it's a bulky item to stock :)
  5. God made it.....enough said.

     I miss the snow from Terrace though.  It was wet and heavy, but awesome to play in.  We also had days when we could get 4 feet of snow in 24 hours.  We had a large driveway because we lived in a subdivision out of town, but my parents never had a snowblower or a bobcat.  They did have 5 kids though who learned how to wield a shovel.  Trust me Alberta people, the stuff that falls here is fluff and takes little effort to clean up.  I heard a rumour that one fellow blew the snow off his driveway with a leaf blower.  In Terrace the snow is so heavy that we could only take a scoop full and run it down a path we had made.  We had made snow ramps all along our driveway that we had to take speed at just so we could deposit the snow on our front yard.  After a particular heavy snowfall, and shovelling 3 feet off our front deck, the snow on the front yard reached the railing of the deck on the second story.  We had snow and we loved it, even though we did the clean-up.

     The first few winters I lived in La Crete, Gord was always gone during the week.  So if the snow fell I went and cleaned it up, as soon as the snowplow came by.  And after I would be done I would notice all the others had a bobcat come by to clean up the snow ridge the plow had left.  I always wondered how all these people had connections to that bobcat.  It took a few years to realize that the bobcat came by for EVERYONE, but mine was already cleaned up.....the one time that being punctual did not work in my favour.  In Terrace, there was no bobcat...ever.  We could have a 3-4 foot dump of snow, no bobcat.  The plow would come by, and we lived on a corner, so all the snow from the corner would be dumped across our driveway.  Very rarely did the driver lift his blade.  The ridge that he left was often worse than shovelling the entire driveway because there were massive ice chucks involved.  I remember that one time the ridge was about three feet deep, four feet high, and about 15 feet long...I know because I was trying to burn it into my memory.  It was overwhelming, but we got it done....and probably wearing rubber boots because we never had adequate footwear.  My parents weren't being cheap, but often the weather was above 0...and we survived with all our toes.

     One of the only things Gord and I argued about when we were first married was winter clothing....I wasn't really for it.  In Terrace we never plugged our vehicles in, didn't carry blankets, or the right clothing when we travelled...and we were fine.  BUT I was also incredibly ignorant of the brutal temperatures in Alberta.  I remember being disgusted that I was made to go buy $70 boots when I first moved.  AND whenever we took a road trip, ALL the winter clothing came with no matter how much room it took up.  I finally played the good wife and gave up the fight.  Although I still laugh inwardly when my kids run outside without a jacket on when it is -10 because they are only going to feed the dog...Gord is horrified.     I haven't noticed that they've been sick because of it, but I do know that when they do get cold, the jackets and gloves go on without a word of complaining.   Sometimes it's better that way than trying to convince them they need it.

     Winter, it has much to offer, if we are willing to give up what we want.  Hidden blessings are everywhere.  It's a time to slow down, pour over books, have friends over so the kids play in the snow together, go sledding and enjoy the scenery on a frosty morning.  Sure it has it's downside, but in the end God made it...and everyday He makes is good.  The kids have caught me in frustrated moments, and asked "Bad day?"  I have been convicted in my answer, and now I have to honestly reply that the day is good, but my reaction  was awful.  To remember the truth is so important.

snow and all ;)

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Oops..sorry kids

     I am greatly relieved that I am not alone in my bad parenting moments.  I'm not proud of them, especially the one's that grieve my heart.  After a rough day at home and the silence has finally come, I have time to sit and contemplate where I went wrong.  I am thankful for those moments but I am beyond grateful for the merciful God I serve and the forgiving children I am blessed to call my own.  I know from talking with other mom's that my experience is, sadly, normal.  But I am encouraged when my friends share their mistakes and triumphs.  We challenge each other to keep going, and we laugh about things that, in retrospect, are funnier than when they originally happened.  Like my friend whose children wanted to make a river..in the house...on the rug...with multiple water bottles.  Actually, she's the kind of mom that probably laughed right away..cause she's good that way.  I learn from my calm friends, and I want to be able to laugh in the 'not-so-serious' mistakes that my kids make.  I also pray that one day they will laugh about mine.  But let's be clear, not all mistakes are equal.

     Speaking of mistakes and laughter, I thought I would share our 'Parent Fail' from a few years ago.  We went to Calaway Park in Calgary as part of our summer holiday.  It's a great outdoor amusement park with plenty of rides for little kids which was wonderful because we had a 2,5, & 6 year old that didn't take chances and only wanted to ride the baby rides (totally understandable since one of them was still a toddler).  9 year old Taylor was a little more adventurous, or so we thought.  Well, this park also had a number of 'Family Friendly' rides which all of us, including 2 year old Wyatt, could ride.  "Awesome," we thought, and naively got on the first one that we saw.  Wyatt clearly passed the limit line, so we confidently got on the ride.

 Mistake #1, we didn't see this ride in action.
 Mistake #2, 5 year old Nathan sat with 9 year old Taylor
 Mistake #3, I hate rides and went anyway

    Well, a few seconds into the ride I knew that we had made a bad bad decision.  This ride shot up and down while turning around like mad.  There was no safety buckle, just a bar pulled down that you could with all your strength.  I was instantly thankful that Wyatt was with Gord, but terrified that Nathan was with Taylor.  Nathan, my non-risk taking, safety co-ordinator, put your seatbelt on, don't speed, and don't try anything new boy, was sitting in a ride which I NEVER would have gone on had I seen what the thing did!  Rides make me sick, as in run behind the bushes and vomit sick.  Anyway, I had put this sweet child on a ride that would undoubtedly terrify him.  Chloe wasn't doing great either, but she got as close to me as she could and we prayed...with our eyes closed.  And they stayed closed even after we were done praying.   I was just hoping that my boys were holding onto the bar as tightly as I could...I was sure one of them was going to go flying out.  I was also mad that they would say this ride was fit for a toddler...and maybe it was, but we are not THOSE people.  The ride finally came to an end and we staggered off.  Gord and I were horrified at what we had put the kids through.  All 4 of them were deathly pale, crying, and did not feel good at all.  Nathan was a wreck and I tried to comfort him, "Oh Nathan I'm so sorry, but you were so brave!"  To which he truthfully responded,"No I wasn't!!"  Well, we got them settled down, and bought a bag of overpriced popcorn to calm their jittery stomachs.  After a bit they were willing to try another ride, like one for babies...literally.

     While I took the younger 3 on the baby rides, Gord took Taylor on a ride that he thought was fine...it wasn't, and the same thing happened all over again...sheesh.  At least this time it was only with Taylor, and although he was scared, he felt pretty safe with his dad.  He may have even enjoyed it a little (false hope) so I don't think we scarred him for life.

     Nathan is another story.  I wonder if we changed him in those moments.  How many innocent mistakes have we made that affect him for life?  Is this why he was terrified on our first few quadding trips this year?  Maybe not, but I'm sure that feeling of panic that he had on that ride stayed with him far longer than we thought it would.  We do train reactions into our children whether we mean to or not.  But when we sense a fear we have to react with wisdom and patience.  This became apparent on our quadding trips.  "Isn't this too steep? Why are you in high gear, you should be in low. Are you in 4 wheel drive to go through the mud?"  I finally made him go with his dad.  Each time we went out he did better, and we didn't harp on his concerns, just showed him that everything was okay. We are so glad we pushed him beyond what he was comfortable with because by the end of the season he was having so much fun.  It's so rewarding to see a child have victory in an area they have struggled with.  He is still Mister Cautious when it comes to amusement parks though :) Baby steps right?


     I do believe he has long forgiven us and we love this boy so much!  His name means 'Gift of God' and he truly is.  He is sensitive to people's needs and watches out for those around him.  He's the boy that will remember to take his sweater AND all his siblings sweaters out of the vehicle.  He is generous to a fault.  Need money?  He will gladly give you what he has, as well as any treats he has stashed away.  He's like the Pied Piper with little boys; they seem to follow him and fight over who gets to sit beside him.  The best part is that he doesn't seem to notice.  He's not the 'Life of the Party', he won't cause a scene, and he tends to blend into the background which makes it easy for us to overlook him.   Nathan Lee what a gift you are to this family...even on Sunday morning when the fight is on about which Sunday shirt to wear.  Did you know that almost identical shirts feel different because their colours are different??  Try explaining that to a frantic mom on a Sunday morning :)  He's a treasure to be sure, and if he'll have us, we'd like to keep him a good long while yet!

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Bright ideas...

     I have been looking at lights for months already...and I'm just about done.  The problem is that as my thoughts keep evolving my choices are changing.  I am now officially tired of looking for lights and will just have to order so I can be done with it all.  If I can figure out how to load all the pictures up then I would love to have some input from you all.  Such important decisions...HA!!  Not really, but I can use all the input that you have.  And I know that I do have friends with opinions ;)

Savoy House KP-99-9
Dining Room

Hinkley Lighting 3254

Island Pendants

    Our dining room has a lot of windows.  The walls will be white pine boards running horizontally from floor to ceiling.   The floor is a weathered grey/brown vinyl plank.  It will be light enough to hide all our footprints and the breakfast crumbs.  I am NOT a decorator but if I copy what I like on Houzz then I should be ok...right?  I also happen to have a thing for all things shiny, and I love these pendants...I think they are over priced, but it might be one thing that I am willing to spend a few more dollars on.

Trans Globe Lighting 69903
Stairwell light

Progress Lighting P2992

Bathroom vanity 

Eurofase Lighting 12240

Above the tub :)

     We decided to go with 1 bathroom on the main floor...I know I know, terrible for resale.  But maybe I don't plan on moving ;)  Anyway, it's also connected to our bedroom so we technically have an on-suite.  We made the bathroom plenty big, and it's a 4 piece.  We have a large glass shower with 2 shower heads (a splurge that I will greatly enjoy) and a freestanding tub.  The chandelier is going above the tub, which is right under a large window.  The room is supposed to be white and sparkly.  And it will be white.  Two of the walls are white wood...I think I am in denial as to how much work this will all be yet!  And for those of you still in shock that we don't have our very own bathroom here are the very specific reasons as to how we came to this decision.
  1. After living with 1 bathroom for almost 2 years, having 2 will be a luxury
  2. All our kids are moving downstairs and they have their very own lavatory complete with two vanities.  Plus the vanities are separate from where the tub and loo will be, so it will be oh so functional.
  3. Our guests will be able to use the 'good' bathroom and hopefully enjoy the tub or large shower. We are putting in a separate vanity area complete with light and mirror in the spare room so once spiffied up in the washroom they can finish primping in the comfort of the spare room.
  4. Choosing 1 bathroom over 2 gave us more room to work with to make the 1 that we have spacious, and hopefully beautiful.
  5. And the main reason, I am now obligated to keep it tidy since everyone will see it.  Nothing like a little pressure to keep me on top of things!

Progress Lighting P2989

Lights over the kids built-in desks....I LOVE THEM!!

   Really those are all the interesting ones.  I am still at a loss as to what we will put in our bedroom.  I cannot seem to find something I love, but maybe it doesn't really matter.  Who knew there would be so much to choose from?  All I know is once I finally decide, I will be relieved.....and then second guess every single light I bought ;)


Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Back to reality

     We took a trip up north this past weekend; to the place where my husband was born and raised.  5 whole days off....he hasn't had that since last Christmas.  Well, he did take a week off this summer and worked on the house the entire time.  This trip was needed for both of us and for multiple reasons.  I had 5 glorious days off from kitchen duties.  I washed a few dishes and wiped a few tables...that's it!  It was a holiday for me.  I also drank three times as much coffee as I normally do.  I'm not even going to try to calculate how many cups I consumed.  The goal of the trip was simply to visit family, and we accomplished that :)  Late evening visits turned into early morning talks.   I hardly saw our kids as they disappeared to play with cousins.  Memories were made, babies were held (WOW there is a brand new batch of babies to cuddle), foosball was played (I can still take my son) and some burdens became a little lighter.   I wish I had taken a picture of the newest family member, #102.  There are now 4 generations of Knelsen men.  The first great grandson to carry on the Knelsen name was born a few weeks ago and all the men were together on Sunday.  And it was wonderful to see so much family at one time, what a blessing!  We arrived home tired but ready to work.

     We also came home to freezing cold temperatures.  We heard it was almost -30 and that would explain why our house (the one in progress) had water frozen on and dripping off the ceiling poly....sigh.  We did have heat going, as was recommended.  We had the floor heat going, and maybe that's why...we should have turned on the furnace.  So all the condensation is giving us a bit of a headache.  We have drywall in the house ready to be installed, but for now it is sitting on the flooring and leaning against walls.  We are hoping any water damage is minimal.  I tried to get the moisture off the ceiling with a broom and towel...my arms are achy this morning.  But with the furnace turned way up and fans going it seems to be drying out.  I believe by tonight we will have a dehumidifier in the house as well.  Oh joy.  I'm sure all will be fine...but we are hoping we can have everything cleaned up before the boarders come.  THIS part I do not enjoy about building...the unexpected.  Such a small thing to fuss over, but God is patient in letting me learn to trust in even small ways.

     The next few weeks will be busy ones, or at least my version of busy.  I have three of my nephews coming to stay with us for about a week...should be interesting, crazy, and fun.  I am already thinking of what to ask them about their mother :) I have never had these boys stay with me before, but I'm not too worried.  I do hope the weather is kind though...something about sending 7 kids out to play sounds wonderful.

     And on a completely random note, I fell and slipped about two weeks ago and have been paying for it ever since.  I now know what it feels like to pull my groin.  I feel like a hockey player minus the salary.  Goodness that has hurt.  I cannot remember ever feeling such intense pain before.  I've heard that it can take awhile to heal, and I agree.  One wrong move and I yell...my poor kids.  I can get around now pretty normal and stairs are getting easier.  I did have to laugh though.  My Nathan is our safety inspector/coordinator around here.  He is Mister Cautious and we love him for it.  A few days after my fall I needed to go to a friends house and drop something off.  Gord didn't think I should attempt to go out yet, but I assured him that I would be fine.   All went well as I hobbled up to the doorstep, and then my foot slipped on some ice and my leg gave way again.   Ouch!  I also knew that I had to tell Gord myself the first chance I got or Nathan would make an innocent comment about the whole thing.  Sure enough as Gord and I went outside to look at the house Nathan pipes up "Make sure you don't slip again like you did before!"  Every time I flinch or grimace he notices and asks if I'm okay...he's an intuitive boy.  I also realize that he internalizes most feelings and I am becoming more aware of how I talk with him.  For example, he is most likely thinking about the condensation in the house because he heard Gord and I worry about it.  I have to make an extra effort with Nathan to reassure him that all will be well.  It's an excellent way for God to teach me to guard the words that come out of my mouth.

    I am thankful to be home safe and sound.  I am thankful that I have a cozy stove to sit by as I write.  I am thankful for the beautiful sunshine that warms my heart, even if it's freezing outside.  I am thankful that even though my home feels so chaotic and full, God assures me that peace is available.  That's good enough for me today.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014


     I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, and a friend.  Above all, I am a Christian, therefore my foundation is set in Christ.  I build upon Him, the Rock.  I want His ways to be mays...His thoughts to be my thoughts.  It is impossible then to hold to a different worldview other than the one found in Scripture.

     God has given His children biblical guidelines in this life.  They keep me safe from my own selfish wants, and also from the unnecessary evils of the world.  I really don't mind His 'Rules' as they are commonly known.  Lets face it, we all need rules and guidelines.  If we didn't have them none of us would have made it past childhood.  Simple things like "Don't run into the road" were drummed into our heads at an early age to protect us.  We put dangerous chemicals beyond a child's reach JUST IN CASE they get a foolish notion to see what it tastes like.  We all have rules, and we need them.  The difference is how we view the rule.  I tend to view rules as there for my well being but some people see them as a hindrance; keeping them from doing what they would like.  Although not all rules are equal...some really are unnecessary :)   The downside for people like me is that it is extremely easy to lean towards legalism.  Likewise the other side has a tendency to fly off into left field.  Both are dangerous places to be.

     The last few weeks a news story has been on my mind a lot.  A young women with terminal brain cancer made the decision to end her life, her way.  I feel for her family and friends, and also for the young women.  I read all the articles, watched the interviews and as an outsider with limited knowledge on what is really involved, I tried to see her as most of the world did.  In other words, if I put my Christian worldview aside, then I understood her decision better.  From the secular viewpoint, it makes sense really.  Why should she suffer when a painless way out is the other choice?  She was surrounded by her family, they were there when she died.  It makes everything sound peaceful.  'Death With Dignity' is what assisted suicide is called now.  Suicide has such an awful, pathetic history.   'Death With Dignity' sounds courageous and noble.  Honestly, I believe that this was a strong, kind, loving woman.  I believe that SHE  believed that her choice was the best one because  quality of life should be a deciding factor in living...in her worldview.  And as much as I admire her for all the good she did to others, the difference comes down to our world views.

     My worldview leads me to hate abortion because God is the Giver Of Life.  My worldview is responsible for my view on marriage as well...its forever, regardless of the faults committed.  And of course, because my worldview is based on The Bible, I cannot support suicide or 'Death With Dignity.'  I am not heartless as the world would assume.  I would not send hate mail, or be cruel to those who do support those decisions.  I would pray for them because they really believe such a deception.  In all her interviews, I saw a lack of hope.  She never spoke of life after death, or if she believed in it, at least not to my knowledge.  But when I saw how people spoke of her and how she lived it made me so very sad because many kind, good, caring people will reject what God has made available to all.  Ironically,  many "worst of the worst" will see their need for Christ and admit their sins, turning to Him.  Christians are to have a 'narrow' viewpoint because we don't look at all the other options the world offers.  But when it comes to accepting repentant murderers, liars, thieves, abusers, etc, we are to be incredibly 'inclusive'.  No one is beyond help, or redemption.  How amazing is that hope!!

     I know that many people reached out to this young lady in hopes that she would see the truth.  I know she was given opportunity to change her mind.  In the end, it's just sad.  To die believing with all your heart that what you chose was right.   The belief systems in our countries are growing worse everyday.  Life is no longer precious, unless it's on your terms.  We are playing God by aborting babies and ending our lives.  There is but one God, and it's not anyone on this earth.  Yet what can we expect from a society that no longer has God as their foundation?  I need to stop being surprised at what goes on in this world.  Without God we have no hope so we do all that WE can to make things better...and in the end it counts for nothing.  What a waste.

     I wish the story had ended differently for her.  But I am thankful that the media gave it so much attention.  Yes 'Death With Dignity' now has a beautiful young woman as their poster child and many will be swayed.  BUT, I hope that the Christians in this world are more aware than ever that we must stand against the deceptions that the secular world view promotes as beautiful.  I do not expect the world to understand, but I pray that Christians stand united against this movement that seems to be gaining ground.




Tuesday, 28 October 2014


     Oh so slowly the house is coming along.  The basement has been framed and the trades are coming around again, but the most noticeable change is the exterior.  The siding is going on this week and even though the style is not what I wanted, we are happy with the result.  Unfortunately the decks, posts, and front door will have to wait to be finished until next year.  That should give me enough time to find the right stain :) I think very dark...expresso..ish.  Yes, I do teach my children grammar.  And no, I don't teach them words like that.

     Now, while the house is progressing, the shop is regressing.  My living space is becoming the drop zone for everything until the house is ready.  Example, I have two bathroom vanities put together and stacked in my shop because the plumber wanted to see what he would be working with.  Our plumber does great work so of course we want to accommodate...but that leaves me with two assembled vanities in my shop.  Bit by bit my floor space is disappearing.  Yesterday the big load came though.  We knew it was coming, I had time to prepare, but it was still overwhelming when the delivery truck brought me a 42 piece order for my kitchen.  Gord stacked it for me yesterday, but I needed to organize everything.  We will be hauling it out piece by piece eventually, and I need a method to my madness.

so this....

turned into this

Get the idea?  I am overrun with stuff

     I have a feeling the next two months will try my patience.  And that's okay.  Regardless of the chaos happening all around us, my job is still clear.  Meals and laundry still take priority on my list of things to do.  Stories will still be read.  Schoolwork?  Ah, yes.  Taylor's Lego skills will be used constructively.  I am recruiting him to help me put my cupboards together.  Gord has the kids doing lots of odds and ends in the house.  They are learning to work, and that is a quality that will serve them well all their life.  I still struggle with putting 'The Books' away for a bit, yet I honestly cannot handle everything right now.  I am thankful that my two oldest are proficient readers and work well independently so they can still squeeze some work in.  This season will be over in a bit.  There is an end in sight to the messy schedules and unplanned trips to town for house stuff.   In the meantime people are still welcome for coffee if they can handle the mess around them :)  On the bright side, the dust no longer bothers me!

Friday, 24 October 2014

Just a house

     Building a house is exciting and terrifying at the same, for me anyway.  There is so much to choose from that it can be overwhelming.  We do not have an unlimited budget, so that does help narrow the choices down, but there are so many things to consider.  I count myself blessed to have the input of many family members and friends who have gone through this as well.  Not one couple we know has done the same thing.  Everyone has different priorities and ideas so obviously we all put our money in different places.  Our last house had a more complicated roof line and physical footprint.  This time we wanted a very simple plan so as to save on the cost.  We are very happy with what we have come up with, and going simple was a big payoff.

     Our house will not be stunning in it's design or layout.  It will not have the 'WOW' factor.  It will not have marble, granite, or exotic flooring.  It will also be lacking the $14000.00 stove that I dream about.  There were a few things that I really wanted, but had to let the idea go.  Not big things, but little things that would have made me smile.  We had planned a wood storage area beside the living room and the door was to be a sliding bard door.  We ran out of room so that idea was tossed...sniff.  I wanted open shelving on either side of my stove, but I miscalculated the kitchen dimensions.  As a result I lost valuable storage  space.  To make up for it I had to replace the shelves with cupboards.  Another slight sniffle, BUT they do have glass doors...it helps.  I didn't make a fuss about either, after all, it's just a house.  Gord and I are both so determined that this house won't consume our every thought.  Our house doesn't identify us or determine our quality of life.  Goodness, if that was the case we would be in trouble now!

     "It's just a house" is a phrase we use often now.  I admit I've been rather pleased with myself in letting all the little things slide....aaaannnnd, pride goeth before the fall.  For the past 4 years I have liked a particular style of siding.  I would love Hardy siding, but, that was just far more than we wanted to pay.  See I am really practical that way.  The expensive siding will do the same job as the less expensive, so then I usually opt for the better price.  If it is a matter of quality and performance I could be swayed, but it's not the case here.  The only thing I've stood firm on is the style.  We put it on the first house, I loved it.  We put it on the shop, still love it.  So why not make it a hat trick and do it again?  Well, that's what we specified, but that's not what came.  Gord and I walked outside and looked at the label.  It was the right colour, but the wrong style.  And it's the style that I really don't care for.  Now you see it everywhere, but I just don't like it.  I walked back in the house and mulled it over.  I was NOT very impressed because we had been very specific.  But the next morning  I woke with a much different attitude and said again, "It's just a house."  Gord was eyeing me curiously and asked if I was sure about this.  Apparently he doesn't want to hear me complain about it for the next 10 years.  Remember Proverbs?  "A complaining wife is like continual water dripping."

     Yes I am disappointed, but  the colour is right, so the basic look will be the same.  To re-order would take over a month and that means we will most likely have snow.  Working with a bank doesn't really give us the luxury of time either.  And if we didn't take the siding, the Sider would be stuck with it and no house to put it on.  He felt terrible, and we could have forced him to take it, but really, it's just a house.  It also helps that he will give us a price break because of the error.  Hello lovely sofas!  For those of you who wonder why I keep commenting on buying furniture, it's because I have navy leather sofas....enough said.

     I am, however, so excited to see what we can do with our simple house.  Our siding is a very neutral colour, so the plan is to use a dark stain on all the decks and posts.  Most people would clad the posts and never have to worry about maintenance, but I do love the look of stained wood.  Besides, we will have kids at home for a long while yet and they need projects for cultivating their work ethic :)

     The one area that we put more money into this time is the windows.  I am looking forward to the natural light and the view of the trees around us.  More character building will be done with my children when it comes time to clean all those lovely windows.  I will be able to look out 9 windows while washing dishes!  9!!  Presently I can look out my garage door windows if I try hard enough.  The island is positioned in a way that I can view the living room as well as the kitchen.  In the picture above you can see a full glass door on the left, that's the dining area.  The big window on the left of the front is the living room.  And we will have to invest in some window covering, blinds or drapes, for the other large window as it is our guest room.  We put a large window in our room, 7'x5' which looks straight into our little spruce forest behind us, but I missed getting a photo of that.  And finally, my laundry room and bathroom both have large windows as well.  Wherever we could put a window we did, and we are so happy we didn't go with small ones.

 The living room

Dining area..there is a window seat opposite the door

The plan is to put a mini chandelier above the tub
    I wonder if much will change in our home once we move.  Yes some things will for certain, but nothing of importance.  We will have real walls that are straight and don't sit on a sloped shop floor, 2 washrooms, closets (Hallelujah!!!!), a basement, or to sum it all up, space.  More space and privacy, but that's about it.  What we take with us into the house is LOVE, family and noise.  I will still have to dust, the floors will still need vacuuming, and laundry will still be never ending.  In fact I will have all that space, and I don't like the thought of accumulating stuff to fill that space.  I will still be in the kitchen way too much, my children will still squabble, and I have a feeling they will still want to be where I am.  Friends will still be invited over, countless pots of coffee will be served, and laughter will still echo through the house.  Our life will not change and I am glad.  

     Home is so much more than what we own or where we live.  Luke 12:15 says "One's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions" or paraphrased, "I am not the sum of my possessions."  So take heart all you mini-van driving people, you are not what you drive!  It's been a good reminder for me, and I believe God has been working in my heart to bring me to a place of contentment about what we have or don't have.  Our house is just a house, but our home is what I want people to remember.


Monday, 20 October 2014

How to earn the title 'Worst Wife of the Year'

    **disclaimer**  my husband knows about this post :)

     It has been a long time since I laughed as hard as I did driving home tonight.  The kind of laugh that worries your children as well as yourself because you feel like you no longer have control over your body.  Tears were running and my stomach was cramping...and I laughed hysterically.  The odd thing is what we were laughing about.  5plus years ago we were NOT laughing about the situation that we now find so amusing.

     We love our friends.  We are blessed to know them and make memories as our families grow up together.  One of the things I appreciate most is the easy camraderie that we have.  No one takes themselves too seriously, which is a good thing.  Tonight, while visiting with friends, a remark was thrown out into the conversation that comes out at least once a year.  Usually it happens around a fire when everyone is laughing and sharing good, clean humour.   I really ought to just expect it now...especially if I ever try to garner sympathy from the ladies about living in the shop :) I should not have brought up my living conditions because someone (a man) ALWAYS comes back and trumps my statement with, "At least I've never locked my wife in a trailer" or something like that.   And inevitably the story comes out all over again, and I watch grown men and women roar with laughter.

     Rewind 5 years and 3 months.  We had a family reunion at my parents house in BC.  Wyatt was only 6 weeks old and all my siblings would be together for the week-end.  It had been wonderful to see everyone and to finally have a proper family picture taken...and that was also the last picture Gord and I have of us and our children.   I know, it's time to take a new one!  But sadly the week-end didn't go as smoothly as we would have liked and when it was time to go home, I left in tears.  I didn't say much for the first hour, but I cried.  Somewhere during my weepy session Gord started to feel ill.  I just wanted to go home and now he wanted to stop for a restroom.  We had a toddler and a baby...unplanned stops were NOT on my schedule.  But we stopped anyway...sort of a necessity.  We drove on and within 30 minutes had to stop again.  I am ashamed to say I was irritated with the interruptions.  When I get in a vehicle I drive as long as I can without having to stop...it's been the source of much discussion when we go on trips.

     I don't remember at what point I realized that this was getting serious, but I finally snapped out of my self-centred pity party and took a good look at Gord.  He was very very sick.  My thoughts were going in every direction at this point,

     "Should we turn around?"
     "I hope Wyatt stays sleeping.  I can't nurse him while Gord is vomiting"
     "If only we can make it home"
     "This is a nightmare"

     And on and on my thoughts went.   We continued driving, but now Gord was in the passenger seat, Chloe was in the middle, and the three boys were in the back seat.  We were travelling with the truck and an inclosed cargo trailer instead of our van.  How I wished for that van at that moment!  We were hardly making progress because Gord felt so nauseous sitting upright, but the truck seat couldn't recline because of the boys sitting behind him.  We would drive, then stop and repeat.  It's usually a three hour trip, and there is no cell service in that area.  But we were 4 hours into it and had half hour to go IF I could drive non-stop for the rest of it.

     To top it off, Nathan was not handling this well either.  He started to vomit as well and thankfully 7 year old Taylor came to the rescue..he held the bucket for my poor boy while I drove.   I looked at Gord and started to panic.  He looked like he was having a seizure and we wouldn't respond to my voice.  I pulled over as quickly as I could and ran over to his side of the truck.  He started coming around and I realized he had passed out, probably because he couldn't lay down.  But in that moment I panicked and Taylor must have seen the look on my face because he started to cry and was wondering what was going to happen.  I told him we need to take dad to the hospital and we would go to a hotel.  His response?  "Do we even have any money?" And mine, "Taylor I have a credit card!"  Really, that's what I said to a 7 year old with tears running down my cheeks.  I realized that I better pull it together and not let my kids see the panic that I felt.   So I came up with a plan...and this is where I earn my shining badge.

     I knew that if he could just lay down flat he might be okay, after all, I didn't see how much more could be in his system after the excessive vomiting and diarrhoea that had been going on the past few hours.  So, I looked at the cargo trailer.  I knew that I had bags of bedding in the trailer so I thought maybe the best option would be to put my husband in the back and of course close the door..which locked him in.  At this point I don't think he cared where he laid down...and neither did I!  I just knew I had precious moments left before my baby needed to eat and I had to get somewhere quick.  I jumped in the truck and I drove.  I felt so bad for every bump we hit because I knew he was feeling it even more.

     As much as I knew he needed to get to the hospital, I knew I needed to get my kids out of the truck too so I went to a nice, new hotel.  I choose it because I could drive in without having to back the trailer up!  I parked and then left Gord locked in the trailer.  In hindsight I should have at least un-latched the door because it was hot and was rather rank smelling.   But I went inside with the kids and got a room, kids settled, and a bottle of milk ready for Wyatt.  I had made a habit of always having a bottle of breastmilk ready and I was so thankful because he was hungry...and I gave my 6 week old baby to my 7 year old son to feed while I went to collect their father.

     Now, Gord and I have left out details when telling this story  because...well, it's better that way.  But I will say this, it was not a pretty picture when I opened the door and helped Gord out.  The moment he crawled out, he then proceeded to lay down on a small patch of grass.  He looked stoned, drunk, and neglected.  He could have cared less that he was laying on the grass in the middle of the town.  I, however, was very aware of how things looked so I got him into the room as fast as I could.  By then I was feeling confident that I could handle things.  I managed to get a hold of my sister who was an hour ahead of us.  We had left long before them, but somehow we missed each other during one of those 'rest stops' so they passed us.  In their kindness, they turned around and came to the hotel.  My brother-in-law had been very determined that we could make it home yet if they helped us.  Then he saw Gord and changed his mind.  Gord needed a hospital.  Chloe and Nathan went home with my sister and I kept Taylor with me so he could help with Wyatt.

     I drove Gord to the hospital where he was admitted very quickly.  His veins had collapsed and they had a hard time getting in an IV because he was severely dehydrated already.  It had happened so quickly, but the Dr's believe that because he had just been diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis 2 months prior, his system just couldn't handle an extreme flu bug.  If it had been vomiting OR diarrhoea he would have been fine.  The combination was just too much for his body.

     I admit that I was all to glad too see him be admitted.  I talked briefly with the Dr. and then left him in the competent care of the professionals.  I have never been so glad to leave him behind!  I went back to the hotel with my boys and crashed in a king sized bed...it's the only room they had left and I didn't care what I paid for it.

     I did all the laundry...it was needed...and thanked God that we had made it.  It felt like the trip that would not end.  I still remember the panic I felt, the complete lack of control and then the grace of God to help me get through the moments.

     I fell asleep, relieved that Gord was getting proper care.   In the morning I drove up to the hospital and Gord walked out feeling pretty good, all things considering.  They had pumped him full of anti-nausea medication, and plenty of fluids.  The drive home was uneventful but we talked!  I think we were both so stunned at what had happened.  We also agreed that some things just did NOT need to be talked about..ever!

     Of course at some point we shared parts of the story...and people laughed.  Not at the fear, or panic, but that I would lock my husband into a trailer and drive.  It sounds terrible really, but believe me when I say it was very very necessary!  We found that WE started to laugh about it.  It's hard to forget something like that so we may as well see the humour in it.  Of course Gord's friends all think they have it rather good since their wives have never tried this on them :)  And they will never let me forget it either!

     It was so good to laugh without care or worry tonight.  God gives us joy in the most unexpected moments.  I only wish I could find more humour in situations that seem unbearable.  Granted not everything is a comedy, but I know that I often fail to see humour in things.  For example, Taylor accidentally shot an arrow in the shop from one end to the other.  The problem was that I was at the other end and it whizzed right past my shoulder and hit the wall.  I was not smiling then...but I am now :)

     As you begin a new week I hope you are able to smile and laugh about what would normally irritate you.  The faces we wear are so important to the children around us.  I want them to remember their mom as having smiled more than she frowned.   I want them to keep their easy smiles and eagerness to laugh.  The truth is that I have much to learn from my children.  And tonight when I laughed, it was with the freedom of a child.




Monday, 13 October 2014

1st time for everything

     This Thanksgiving weekend was one for the books!  It was a new experience for our family but one I hope to repeat in years to come.  We were asked by friends if we would go camping with them. Now we've gone with these couples a few times before and it's always fun and easy.  However, this trip would be without the comfort and cleanliness of my trailer.  This trip would require sleeping in a big (HA!) tent with a total of 17 people.  "Sure," I said, "I'll try anything once." "Really?" they asked...I think they were unsure of my response.  I understand why.  These ladies are pros at it.  And out of the three of us..well, I am the most squeamish.  I hate dirt under my nails, I really don't like 'natural bathrooms', and I like clean hair when I go to bed.  But, they are a great crowd to be with so I figured at least the company will be good ;)

our fabulous dwelling

beautiful scenery

 again...good scenery :)

       One thing I didn't realize, is that they were really serious about hunting that weekend.  I mean, I knew the guys were talking about it, but uh, I thought men went hunting alone...by themselves.  Imagine my surprise when we all head out Saturday morning.  6 adults and 11 kids...hunting and calling moose.  Kids were having fun driving quads or having rides and every so often the lead driver would stop and call. Obviously these kids knew the drill because they all managed to stay very quiet while the men listened.  At this point I finally clued in that we were actually waiting for a moose and this wasn't just a joy ride.  Who does that?  Who goes hunting with children, and people (me) who know NOTHING about it?  Our friends, that's who.

     We came to a little valley in the bush and just as the lead driver was going up the other side, arms shot up signalling everyone to be quiet.  We were at the back of the pack but knew that they spotted something.  The gun came out and the moose went down.  Then I watched as all 11 kids made a dash for the prize.  By the time Gord and I got there all the kids were inspecting the moose.  Hilarious!  Our four have helped butcher chickens but they've never seen a large kill.  And even though a few things grossed them out, they couldn't help but be fascinated by it.  Honestly, I was too.  Within 25 minutes of the moose being shot, it was loaded up and we were on our way back to camp.  These guys knew what they were doing and I just watched, curious and excited.

   LOVE the expressions on these faces

    I grew up Salmon fishing so I understand patience and the thrill of the catch, but this is on a different level.   I've seen animals skinned and gutted and I knew what was coming...but my kids didn't :) My two older boys were ready to help  while Wyatt watched in horror/disgust and gave us a running commentary.  Questions were asked and answered...some of you know what I am referring to.

     I am so grateful for these men that take the time to train and teach their children.   The amount of patience they showed is commendable and these kids are blessed for it.   I am also aware that these are their formative years of building interests and friendships.  What/whom we chose to surround them with will play a vital part in their childhood.  I may never have hunters, but that will be their own choice not because they were never exposed.  But something tells me a few of my boys will gladly take this up as a hobby ;) More important is the friendships they are building.  I love seeing them interact and I know that this could change as they grow older.  But seeing as how we aren't related...or very very distantly...we will be keeping an eye on them as they mature!  The thought has crossed my mind that one day some of these kids could potentially become..'my kids.'  Stranger things have happened.

    We only stayed the one night because it was Thanksgiving and we were looking forward to having my sister and her family over on Sunday so we headed out Saturday after the moose had been cleaned up.  We asked our kids if they liked the tent, and shockingly, they all said it was better than the trailer.    They haven't however, slept in a tent when it's raining or infested with mosquitos.  Still I am so glad that it was a great experience for everyone.  

     Sunday was another great day for us, in a completely different way.  I was able to spend a day with my sister and that's always a treat and never long enough.  And as an added bonus we got to cuddle the cutest/chubbiest/squishiest baby.  My niece and her husband stayed with us for one night.  The same niece that has come up to help me after a baby was born...I was now able to hold her boy and snuggle him.  How quickly everything changes.  I believe the first time she came she was 13 or so.  Taylor is 12 and it's very hard to imagine him with a baby in 8 years yet seeing my niece and her little family makes me aware of how fast these years go by.

     The day was filled with fellowship, laughter, and food.   Having my sister over is always a hoot...and I usually try to corner her youngest boy at some point and ask him ridiculous questions because he gives the best answers.  Yesterday I asked him how school was going and was he learning anything or did he know it all?  Of course he didn't disappoint me and said "I know it all already."  I would LOVE to be a fly on the wall in his class!

     On a more serious note, thanksgiving is not just about being thankful for blessings, rather it's about an attitude of thankfulness.  How hard it must be for people to hear others praise their blessings when their own lives are void of those certain blessings.  I try to be aware of how I use the word 'blessing.'  It's easy to give an impression to people that because I have children, I am blessed.  Because I am healthy, I am blessed.  Because I have a husband I am blessed.  It's tricky because children, health, etc ARE blessings but our lives are not 'un-blessed' or less important if we do not have those things.  Are Christians in persecuted countries not blessed because they do not have the freedom we do?  Are Christians living in huts less blessed than those of us who have modern homes?  Is a family with health issues no longer blessed?  It is a dangerous attitude for Christians to give off, and yet we do it all the time.  In church we stand and say "I am so thankful for my children....God has blessed me so much" and give no thought to the woman with a barren womb.  What we have just told this woman is "I am more blessed than you."  I realize we don't intend it this way, but I feel compelled to teach my children that these 'blessings' are not the real treasure we should seek out.  Peace with Christ, forgiveness of sin, and real joy are the blessings available to ALL men and women.  Everything else is temporal and will not last.  I will lose loved ones, I may lose my health but I know if I am secure in Christ then I am still blessed regardless of my circumstances.

     If you made it through this long post and need a bit of cheering up, then hopefully this picture of Wyatt and his precious ears will make you smile!  Happy Thanksgiving.