Saturday, November 29, 2008

Christmas Appreciation

Do you ever wonder, "what the heck should I be giving all those teachers for Christmas?"

Maybe you don't bother with this - I understand. There's a part of me that cries out against the senseless guilt-driven tradition of gifting the bus driver, Sunday school teacher, et al. But there's this other part of me - the part that has learned that people do better when encouraged - that tells me I must. Not because I'm obligated, but because I'm called. If I don't take the time to let all these people know how much I value the time and effort they put into building up my children, who will? And truly, there are many who invest much more in my children than what they are paid to! (Have a special needs child - you know what I'm talking about. These people are gifted!)

The difficult thing of giving to a whole bunch of people I really don't know is, well, figuring out what to give! Sometimes, the season gets ahead of me and I'm left on December 15 madly rushing through WalMart to purchase a bunch of chocolates. But when I'm thinking ahead, it's nice to offer something that requires a little more effort (maybe even some kid participation).

This year, our offering will be homemade Saskatoon berry jam, a la Grandma! I'm not really sure the kids helped her at all along the way, but who doesn't love homemade jam?! For next year, though, I just may have found the perfect project - not too difficult for mom AND good for kiddo participation.

Now, you know that crafts hate me. I've grown to accept this aspect of myself. But who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks? (Not that I'm an old dog - I'm still young, and more cat-like, if anything.) But seriously - I think I could do this one. Cool, eh? It's simply cutting and gluing. I'm pretty sure I can cut and glue, as can the kids.

But for this year, we'll rely on Grandma (aka Suzie Homemaker) and her homemade jam. Yummy! At least she's related to the kids...that makes it better than buying chocolates, right?!

P.S. I just want to give a shout out to any of you who are employed or volunteer in a position that impacts the lives of kids. Words simply cannot express how precious your work is. Just in case you don't hear it from anyone else this Christmas - THANK-YOU!!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Apparently Tiger Stripes are Fun to Draw

This is what happens when Mom turns her back for a couple minutes.

Here's a bit of info on the new look:
- this marvelous makeover was given courtesy of Megan, in conjunction with Fine Tip Sharpie;
- apparently it's my fault because "there was no paper;"
- this new look can be described as "tiger baby."

Notice the attention to detail in the tiny little paw prints.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Breathe In, Breathe Out

Wow, did we ever have "a day."

Took a couple girls to the doctor. They were atrocious. I was embarrassed.

Later at home, all kids were hyper. I yelled.

Now, I'm tired and crying.

I'm sure it doesn't help that I have a severe case of PMS and my sweetheart is away all week.

If you see me tomorrow, don't hug me - you'll wreck my mascara. Am I ever looking forward to tomorrow morning...three at school, two in childcare, mommy having coffee with other mommies. Thank-you, Lord, for mornings of respite.

And now, to watch NCIS and House. Because that will make me happy (I hope - it would be mighty embarrassing to be caught crying while watching NCIS...but then, who will know?).

P.S. What do you do when your children sass off and completely disregard what you say? In public? All I could think of (in my frustration and hormones) was to send them to bed for naps.

Monday, November 24, 2008

She Does Dishes, Too

I had the pleasure of being the parent-helper today - this morning with the three-year-olds at playschool, this afternoon with a herd of kindergartners. (I am currently tossing back a couple of Tylenols with a white zinfandel chaser. I kid. Sort-of.)

My bestest friend ever, Christine, has blessed me by watching the little ones while I participate in this sadistic ritual, month after month after month. Nothing is better than knowing your kids are in the hands of someone who will parent them exactly as you wish, and in their own home, even, to keep nap time and such simple.

I was going to run and get some groceries between my helper gigs, but time got away from me...again. But did I mention that Christine is the BEST?! She offered to stick around and feed all of our kids supper (between us we have nine, but one of hers was at work) while I shopped. Naturally, I felt a wee bit guilty about leaving her in the cacophony of after school, so I assured everyone I'd be but an hour.

I went to Superstore (because we all know the diapers there are so much cheaper). The tricky thing about Superstore is that one must navigate through the entire section of women's clothing in order to make it to the diaper aisle. And I found myself in a bit of a predicament. After all, my need for a couple more pieces of clothing is DIRE. I hemmed and hawed for about...oh, one minute. Half an hour later I headed to the diaper aisle, cart laden with clothing. I should probably mention again how great Christine is...

I got home, we ate the supper Christine prepared, they headed home, I bathed my five little monkeys and tucked them in. Being out all day means that my entire evening will be spent doing laundry. Except... My laundry is done! Washed, dried, and folded. So I get to sit back, surf the web, and enjoy my wine. Thank-you, my friend!

Aren't best friends just great?!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Some Christmas Sillies


Send your own ElfYourself eCards


Send your own ElfYourself eCards


Send your own ElfYourself eCards


Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Good Morning

I seem to have hit another dry spell. I sit in front of my blog, begging inspiration to find me, and nothing.

So this is just me stopping in to say "hello."

Here's hoping my brain begins functioning again by tomorrow. :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

More Than Just a Diaper Box With a Bow on it

You know what I love? Christmas shopping! I know, it makes no sense - everyone else hates the stores and the line-ups and the cranky shoppers. But I just love it!

I'm not one of those people who does a lot of shopping in advance. My favourite thing to do is take a Saturday, get a sitter, and spend the entire day at the malls getting everything I need. (Granted, after the one year I went to Toys 'R Us without a list, I am very diligent about bringing a detailed list along these days.)

The past couple years, I have enjoyed doing some of my shopping through sites like freecycle and kijiji. Nothing makes me feel better than finding something my kids will love at a total discount rate! The nice thing with these sites is that their local - so I can pick up the item, and if it's not in the condition I want it in, I'm not stuck with it. (This is the reason ebay scares me.)

I have found some great things for Braeden (10) already, and I'm pretty much done shopping for him. The girls (Abbey - 6, Meg - 5, and Shea - 3) will be easy - they get excited about anything that comes in a pink box. But what do you buy for a baby who has four older siblings? Kai (1) simply doesn't need anything?! In fact, I insisted that someone buy him a bulk box of diapers for his first Christmas AND his first birthday. (Well, that is what he uses the most of!)

I need some help from you. It seems unfair for our youngest to get saddled with nothing but hand-me-down toys, especially at gift-giving times. So what can we make his ONE special gift this Christmas? Any ideas? Have you seen something lately that made you think, "this would be the perfect gift for a one-year-old little boy"?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Accountable for His Flock

Ezekiel 34: 1-10 (emphases mine)

The word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals. My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them."

'Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD : As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, because my flock lacks a shepherd and so has been plundered and has become food for all the wild animals, and because my shepherds did not search for my flock but cared for themselves rather than for my flock, therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the LORD : This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I will remove them from tending the flock so that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths, and it will no longer be food for them.

As I read this passage this morning, I reflected on the "flocks" God has called me to be shepherd to. First, to my children. Next, to other women. I had to ask myself these questions:
- Have I strengthened anyone lately?
- Have I offered words or prayers of healing?
- Will anyone say of me, "I was injured and she bound me up."?
- Do I diligently search for those who have lost their way?

The answer was not "yes" as often as it should have been.

I recall times when my children have acted badly...but instead of encouraging and strengthening I became frustrated and impatient. I think of women who have shared health concerns, and I simply told them, "I'll be praying for you," but didn't pray with them right then.

But then the Father reminds me of the many times my little ones have been sick in the night, where I comforted and cared for them, prayed over them. He brings to mind a couple women I know who have wandered away from His love, and the way that I pray for them and keep connected with them.

He tells me that I'm doing all right in some areas, but lets me know that I can still do better... Ever so gently through His Word, He speaks.

Who are you shepherd to in your life?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

I don't know if you've experienced this, but I've noticed an interesting phenomenon...the more babies I have, the more certain I become about the "right" way of doing things.

Scheduled feedings versus feeding on demand - my philosophy has become "if a boob in the mouth keeps the babe quiet - do it!"

Night waking... Be tough. They can sleep through the night at about six months old if you just make them learn how. Get earplugs and let 'em go hard at it for a couple nights, then welcome to bliss!

Spit up. Use bibs, don't waste time changing clothes. In fact, why bother with actual clothes?! Sleepers are so much easier. The baby doesn't care what he/she is wearing.

Solids, whole milk, etc. - when should we start? Basically, tell the health nurses what you know they want to hear, and do what works for you.

To those who prefer to heat up the bottles under hot running water - use the microwave, people! It's sooooo much easier.

I am (gasp) becoming like my mother! (No offence, Mom - it's really a statement about all mothers in general. *smile*) It is less and less likely that I will keep my opinions to myself - after all, with all this experience I'm most certainly "right." Right?

Last week I buckled down. I had had enough of being bleary-eyed and just plain exhausted. NO MORE NIGHT BOTTLES! Go ahead and scroll up to the top of the post so you can double-check my opinions...Uh-huh, that's right, six months. Yes, yes, now you can scroll through old posts until you're certain - Malakai is, in fact, fourteen months old. And until last week he was waking up (count 'em) AT LEAST three times per night.

Anyway, you can now let out a cheer for me. We have slept through the night for a week! Yay! Well, not totally through the night, I do have to take him a bottle around 5am to get another hour or so out of him... But hey, it's much better than two weeks ago. :)

At Wal Mart last weekend, though, I made an interesting purchase. One that runs completely contrary to my baby-raising philosophy. Do you ever get to the point where the bottle nipples are sticky-ish and icky? Gross, eh? Most of Kai's bottles have achieved this state of loveliness. Fitting with my philosophy of "off the bottle at a year," the plan was to toss each bottle once the nipple had bit the dust.

Yeah, um, so I picked up a new six-pack of bottle nipples. Because we can only conquer so many key issues at a time, and mastery of the whole sleep thing took about as much energy as I could muster up for the next few months.

So, I'm not Super-Mommy after all. Sorry to disappoint. (But I do give totally great advice about how to do things right. Seriously.)

Monday, November 10, 2008

How Do Your Pages Read?

This is a re-post from my long-forgotten bebo page.


Some things I read this morning (thank-you Shannon Ethridge) that struck me...

"So many people will never read a Bible to discover God themselves. Instead, they read the believer. (emphasis mine) If somone were to read your life, what would they learn about God? about the Christian faith? Would they want to become like you? Would they want to get to know God better because of what they see in you? ... How can we show others how much God's love changes a person for the better if others don't see us as the recipients of His lavish love? Does a woman who knows she is deeply loved by God continuously walk around moping, stressed, depressed, and complaining about life? Not if the love of God has entered her heart and penetrated her soul."

So I am asking myself these questions, and I'm disappointed in my pathetic reflection of God. How will anyone know I have the love of Jesus in my heart when they hear me complain about fighting children, or grumble about doing housework? Would other women really look at me and say "wow, I want what she's got" if they walked by my house and heard me hollering at the children about their bad behaviour?

God has called us (me) to do a big thing for Him - to reconcile His children to Him. It doesn't matter where we work or play or attend services, as long as in each of those places we are fulfilling (or at least doing our best) this purpose. He has called us to bring others to know Him - His peace, His joy, His love. This calling is impossible to fulfill unless those qualities are a permeating aspect of my countenance. Is it evident to others that I know Jesus personally? Do I reflect His peace, joy, and love in my own life? Even in tough circumstances?

These are good questions to return to nearly a year later. I will resist the urge to get down on myself for the ways I have failed to change, and am still failing to show other who Christ is through my actions. The mantle of condemnation is not from the Lord, and I will refuse to wear it! Rather, I will try to focus on the improvements I have made since the original writing - and I will praise God for His life-changing work in me. As for those stumbling blocks, once again I'm giving them over. (Maybe I'll come back in a year from now and assess the progress.)

So, if the people around you are reading you to see who Christ is, what kind of story are you telling?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Family Pictures

As you can tell, right from the beginning, Malakai was not very pleased with this situation. (Overall, though, I think this one turned out pretty darn good.)

And he sure as heck wasn't going to be holding anyone's hand.

With many bribes (and threats) we were able to convince Braeden (10) that smiling for his photo was the best idea.

Abbey (6) is a natural.

No matter how I tried, I could not convince Meg (5) that she should trade in her "posed" look for a natural and relaxed smile.

Ditto that for Shea (3). LOL!

This was, literally, the only moment Kai (1) was not crying.

A bit of family monkey-pile fun!

What do you think - colour or black and white? I just can't choose!

These fabulous family pictures were taken by the talented (and patient), Kai Smyth of Click on her blog to see previews from her shoots.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Politics and Religion

Yes, I'm Canadian, and I did not post anything on our recent federal election. I honestly didn't feel there was much to say about it. Sorry.

But how can we not have been impacted by the US presidential election? The fact is that the US is a super-power, and what happens down there influences our lives up here. Rather than reiterate all the great posts I've been reading about it, I will send you to check them out yourself. Both of these posts have captured perfectly what I'm feeling.

Lysa says, "Now is the time for Christians to live the message of Christ. Maybe, more than ever before, we will be invited outside our comfort zones where living what we believe won't be easy. And dare I say, that may be the best thing that has happened to Christians in a very long time." I agree, getting us out of our comfy little places may very well be exactly where God needs us...

Cindy shares the very real joys and sorrows that this momentous election have brought. I wept those same tears, and celebrated those same milestones.

All I can say is pray, pray, pray. Do not forget, not for a moment - not when the state of the economy is getting you down, not when our leaders (in Canada and the US) make decisions that break our hearts - that God is in control. He has already won the battle!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

On Earth, As It Is In Heaven

Do you hear it?

God is speaking...

We're learning our way through the book of Acts on Sunday mornings. Our family has been profoundly blessed in an unexpected way. Everywhere I turn there is a message about "radical obedience."

God is speaking to me...

Oh my, I have been rocked to my core by reading this post and listening to this song.

God is speaking to me, and I'm a little bit scared of what he might be saying...

Monday, November 3, 2008

Where Have all the People Gone?

Two weeks ago - lotsa comments, me so happy.

Last week - not very many comments, me a little bit sad...but trying not to over-analyze, or internalize, or whatever.

Where are you all? I miss you!

Okay, pity party over.


Here is a thought for today, inspired by my deep-thinking (and handsome) husband.

Why does God give us a nature to rebel against Him if He wants to have a relationship with us?

Now that oughtta get some comments....