Friday, December 28, 2012

nesting...and other pregnancy and life updates

I've been nesting lately.  This time around it is more in the form of "let's get rid of some STUFF" rather than "let's make sure everything is CLEAN."  Cleaning just seems so futile these days.  But if you purge some stuff, it's gone and it's not coming back the moment Levi wakes up :)  I can't help but think, too, that being 7-8 months pregnant over Christmas this year is a good thing!  As much as I don't love bundling up for the cold (huffing and puffing just from putting on my boots), the desire to keep clutter to a minimum has proven helpful in keeping the Christmas extras from taking over the house.  Out with the old, in with the new!

In other pregnancy "news"... ... ...this time around has been so different than when I was expecting Levi.  In the first trimester, I started showing earlier this time.  I was WAY more tired this time (likely thanks to not being on bed rest and not being able to have a nap whenever I felt like it).  Morning sickness was less this time, not that it was bad last time either.  In the second trimester this time, I barely felt pregnant.  I didn't notice my growing belly unless I looked in the mirror.  I was perfectly comfortable.  I got some energy back and didn't feel sick in the slightest.  Last time I think I felt decent too, but with a threatened miscarriage, I was taking every precaution and noticing every little feeling that was different from the norm, wondering if it was normal or something I should be worried about.  The third trimester in this pregnancy has been harder than the last.  I have been much more sore (again, probably thanks to not having been on bed rest and not taking it as easy as last time with a 2 year old to chase around).  I think walking on ice also doesn't help as one little slip on the ice has muscles stretched that I didn't even know I had!  I've also been feeling more of the "normal" pregnancy symptoms like heartburn and low blood pressure that I didn't really have to deal with much last time.  Third trimester is definitely my least favourite but I really can't complain.  I hear about people who are sick the full 9 months (or longer) and am just glad that I made it through the first 28-30 weeks in relative comfort!  I also can't complain because I know how much I begged and prayed for children and how much some of my friends are hurting to hold children of their own in their arms and I remember that this is really a small price to pay for the miracle that is motherhood.  It is not something to be taken lightly...each and every child that enters a family is a miracle, no matter how they got there.

Of course, I should probably throw in a little Levi-update!  Levi is growing up SO much!  He knows most of his letters.  He can count almost to 10 (1-2-3-7-8-9), usually in the right order.  We've been diaper-free for 5.5 months now, both daytime and nights (just HAVE to brag about that one!). He is talking more all the time.  He loves to use phrases that he hears Nathan and I using:
- "of course"
- "much better"
- "stay puppy! good dog."
- "no puppy!  bad dog. stay!"
- "oh no!  big mess!"
- "alright."
He has started singing in the last couple weeks which is so cute!  Before he would sing E-I-E-I-O, but now he is starting to sing songs on his own like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, The Clean Up Song (clean up, clean up, everybody, everywhere), Wonder Pets theme song, etc.  He also loves when we sing songs with/to him...they can even replace a bedtime story for him if it's a late night because he loves it so much.  Speaking of stories, he has discovered the fun of made-up stories.  He often asks for "car story" at bedtime, which means that I am supposed to make up and tell him a story about a car.  Sometimes I get him to tell me a story too.  I tell most of the story, asking him to fill in details like colours and activities.  It can get quite interesting to see his little imagination at work!  Levi loves all things animals, especially if they're living and breathing and happen to be puppies (or kitties).  Lennox is finally starting to tolerate Levi's affection...after 2 years of Levi chasing him, it is about time he just accepted that the boy isn't leaving.

Nathan is still enjoying his work after almost 1.5 years at the church.  We really appreciate the way this church gives the pastors time with their families and also time for self-care.  Not all churches do that, often leaning more to the side of overworking their pastors (usually unintentional, I'm sure).  To be at a church where we feel appreciated and cared for is certainly a blessing and answer to prayer!

Not much else is happening.  We're right in the middle of Christmas celebrations, having just spent a couple days with Nathan's family and looking forward to time with my family.  And soon it will be the new year!  The year that we welcome another little person into our family.  It feels so surreal.  How did this happen so easily this time after so many years of waiting and praying last time?  I can't even describe how many times during this pregnancy I actually had to check the mirror to make sure that I wasn't dreaming it all.  But that's a side note.  Hope you all have a good start to the new year!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Picture Post

I don't have much to write so I thought I'd share a few pictures with you...since it's been a month since ANYTHING has happened here...

Levi's first sled

Levi loves his "white playdough" aka "moon sand" (flour and baby oil mixed together)

Levi loves our Christmas tree...and "nice" game aka "dice" game...he'll cook with dice, put them in and out of containers, hide them, find them, etc.  No matter how much I try to get Levi to say "dice" instead of "nice" it just doesn't happen for him.  "D-D-Nice!"  haha

We have our tent set up in our basement right now.  Levi loves it, though I think the novelty might be wearing off...time to take it down so that it's special again when I need a great "new" toy once baby is here!

Levi isn't always a fan of winter wear.  He has gotten MUCH better at being ok with being bundled than he was in fall though!

Sorting pom poms by colour

Lennox is forced to stay on this blanket after he comes in from the snow until he is dry so Levi has taken full advantage of him not being able to run away.  I'm starting to think that Lennox doesn't mind Levi as much as he used to though...he gets many hugs and kisses each day!

Where did Levi go?!

And for those who aren't on facebook, here is the latest belly shot.  7 months down, 2 to go!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Parenting and Screens

Have you ever noticed how many snapshots of kids these days have a parent in the background who is present in body but completely immersed in the world of their smart phone or iPad?  As I've looked at pictures on fb and blogs, especially in the past week, it has struck me just how common this has become.  And it has me thinking: how is this affecting the children??

I think back to my own childhood and the only thing I remember my parents being distracted by (like, mind totally in another world and not able to get their attention easily when I needed/wanted it) were books and conversation.  But more often than not, they were mentally available when I needed them, whether or not they were "busy" with something else.  How would my childhood have been different if one or both of my parents had spend every free moment with their eyes (and minds) glued to the tv, cell phone, computer, or tablet?  I think I may have gotten the impression that parents/adults:
- are hard to get attention from
- are distracted
- don't really want to be with me
- would rather sit and look at a screen than do anything else
- aren't really there for you
- don't think kids are important enough to pay attention to unless the attention is begged for

I'm as guilty as anyone.  I spend time online while Levi is awake, both on my phone and on my computer.  And it strikes me almost daily how I could be doing much more valuable things with my time.  How would my days with Levi (and our attitudes/patience levels with each other) be different if I was truly present in everything I did when we're together? It breaks my heart when I think about what my time online is teaching him. (not that ALL time online or being "distracted" is all bad, but when it becomes a daily part of life, maybe it needs to be examined?)

Does Levi ever feel like I don't really care about him?  Does he ever feel like what I see on my screen is more important than him?  Does he feel like he has to whine for things because asking nicely just simply fails to get my attention?  How would things be different if I moved my computer downstairs permanently and left my phone on the counter during the day, only checking things when he is napping or in bed for the night?

I intend to find out.  I've certainly cut back on internet use in the past (multiple times throughout Levi's life, though it invariably creeps up time and again) because I've always been aware of this danger.  But having seen pictures of it so often this past week, it has been brought to my mind yet again and I am feeling the need to renew my effort in being present with my child (soon to be children). 

How about you?  What are your thoughts on this?  Agree?  Disagree?  Anything to add?  I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Number Two

Before Nathan and I decided to try to have more children, we seriously contemplated stopping at one. I am often tired and people who know me best would probably say that I often seem tired. It's true, mothering does take alot out of me and I do take whatever measures I can to try to conserve energy. But there is more to my story than that.

I've never been a super high energy person. Especially since second year Bible school, I have always been the one weighing the energy cost to potential commitments before I make them. If I get run down, it takes quite a bit of rest to recharge. Obviously, this had to be a consideration when we were talking about adding another child to our home. What would my days look like and could I handle another little person demanding my attention and energy?

While we understood that adding to our numbers would stretch me thin in the energy department, we decided to keep trying and low and behold, #2 is now on their way!  I would be lying if I said that I never worry about how I'm going to keep up. I sometimes lay in bed at night after being up with a crying toddler and imagine adding a sleepless baby to that and I get scared. But what it comes down to for me is that, despite the exhaustion and sleep deprivation and lack of energy, my days are still filled with joy. Being a mother is life-giving for me in a way that nothing else has been. It drains me of energy but fills me with something so pure and wonderful that I can't help but know that this is what I was created for.

When we were in the midst of infertility, I got all the sleep I wanted. I could sleep in on weekends and go to bed early if I was tired. If I got home from work early and needed to, I could nap before going out in the evening. I could spend hours on end alone, just recharging. And yet those years of my life were some of the most draining years of my life. I chalk it up to not having that piece that truly gave me life. I had nothing to pour myself into that replaced the energy spent with sheer joy.

Now, before you go saying that God should be that one life-giving thing in your life, I need to stop you. Yes, God fills his children with joy. Yes, when we pour our energy out for him, we are filled with an unexplainable zeal and drive that only comes from him. But I also believe that God creates each of us to find different things life-giving. How else can you explain the pastor's heart that feels as though it's being suffocated when it can't find a job?  Or a missionary's drive to reach people for Jesus, even putting the things most precious to them at risk?  Each of us has different passions/callings and when we pursue those things that give us life, that's when it becomes most about God and him using us to achieve his purpose.

Does working at camp exhaust you but you can't imagine life without it?  Do you feel the need to care for people, even when your heart absolutely breaks hearing their stories?  What gives you life?  What is it that fills you with an unspeakable joy and fulfillment, perhaps despite personal sacrifice?

For me, in this stage of life, it's being a mother. And whether it's being a mother to two or ten (not likely), if I keep relying on God for what I need every day, I will make it through and thrive. :)

Thursday, November 1, 2012


I've been struggling with sleep lately.  Lately being the past two years.  I remember Levi being 5 weeks old and wondering what in the world I was doing wrong because he wouldn't sleep more than a few hours at a time.  I was reminded by someone that he was only 5 weeks old and that it would come.  At the time I consoled myself with the thought that surely by the time he was 6 months old, he would be sleeping through the night.  Here we are, 2 years later, and he has never slept through the night more than 50% of the time.  In October?  Levi slept through the night 6 times.  That means he was up in the night 25 times.  And when he was up, it was up to 3-4 times a night.  Pee.  Teething.  Wanting a cuddle. You name it, he was up for it. 

Some nights I get downright frustrated.  I climb back into bed with a huff after being up with a crying boy for 30-45 minutes (especially when he's crying for no apparent reason) and struggle to fall asleep again (often to be awakened again just as I'm drifting off to sleep 45 minutes later).  Some nights I feel like I will never sleep through the night again.

Then today I had a reminder about how precious and fragile life is.  A Bible college friend of Nathan's lost his 8 month old boy this morning.  He and his wife woke up to find that their baby boy was with Jesus.  I saw a picture of a healthy, smiling baby dressed up for Halloween and sitting on his daddy's lap taken just last night.  And this morning it was but a dream, a lifetime ago.

When Levi would cry out in the night in the first few weeks/months, my breath would sometimes catch in my throat because I was just so thankful that there was a cry.  That he was alive. That he was breathing and awake and needing me.  Somewhere in the past two years, I have lost that sense of relief when he calls out for me in the night.  I have instead been feeling frustrated, annoyed, like burying my head under my pillow and ignoring him.  And yet how very thankful I should be!  First, that I have a son at all!  I prayed for years for a baby who would wake me up at night. I longed for sleepless nights and my prayers have been answered!  Second, that he has breath in his lungs to be able to cry.  That he's healthy and alive.  That he's in his room at home, just across the hall, and not in the hospital somewhere.  That I CAN go to him and make it all better.

I've been holding my boy a whole lot tighter today and telling him over and over again just how much I love him.  Every day with him is such a gift.  And when he cries for me tonight, I'll go into his room with just a bit more patience and love and tenderness than I have been lately...

Picture Post

Levi's "cheese" smile.  Except he doesn't says's just the smile we get when we ask him to smile.

"Levi, do you want a picture with Lennox?" "YEAH!" (Lennox will never sit any closer than this to Levi so I had to get creative with camera angle)

Levi was a little leery of my camera angle choice, not sure how I would get both him and Lennox in a picture at once.

There, both boys looking at the camera.  We'll save smiles for next time...

Levi LOVES to play guitar with Daddy.  And I don't think Daddy minds sharing...!

More "cheese."

Levi gets this facial expression from his Daddy.  I laugh every time I see it.  It's their "I know I'm being silly but I'm going to pretend that I'm serious and not smiling" face.

And last but not least, here's a picture of how the latest "project" is coming along.  I started this pregnancy being about 6-8 weeks ahead of last pregnancy in terms of how big I was.  I'm happy to report that growth seems to have slowed and I'm within 2-5 weeks of where I was last time with size.  And I'm weighing less than I did last time at this point!  Crazy, no?  I think it must be thanks to all the toddler activity that keeps me busy day and night cause I sure know it's not thanks to me resisting my sugar cravings...  Sleep is getting a bit more difficult these days (bring on the PILLOWS!) but mostly I'm still really comfortable and enjoying this pregnancy.  What an incredible blessing this little one is.  It's absolutely unbelievable to be expecting #2 when 3 years ago we were past the 3 year mark of infertility and wondering if we would ever even have one...THANK YOU, JESUS!  May I never forget the blessing that these little ones are!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Pictures from the Past

My mom sent a package of pictures to me this summer as I was collecting pictures for a slideshow for my brother's wedding.  I always love to see pictures from my childhood, especially ones that didn't make it into my personal childhood album.  Since I scanned them all, I thought I would share a few of me and my siblings.  I'm the middle child, the girl in the pictures who is the same size as her brother who's two years younger. (we were often mistaken for twins in these years)  My sister is only 13.5 months older than me, but there is a much bigger size difference between the two of us!  Now that we've all reached our full heights, my sister and I are closer (my sister still being a few inches taller than me) and my brother is 6'.  Crazy how that works.  I still think it should have been evened out a little more.  Nothing wrong with splitting the height genes and each being 5'6", right?  Or give my brother an extra couple inches and split the difference with my sister?  No?  Oh well.  I guess I"ll take all 4'10" that I have and wear heels when I must.  Anyway, enjoy!  Aren't we CUTE?!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Grocery Shopping - a late night ramble

I've always liked grocery shopping.  Well, mostly.  Reaching the top shelves gave me a bit of anxiety when Nathan and I were first married.  Now I just climb when I need to and everything is well in the world again.  But yeah, there is just something about the grocery shopping process that is soothing.  Making a list. (checking it twice - yeah right!) Looking through the flyer for sales.  Going to the store.  Checking things off the list.  Bringing the grocery items home and putting them all away in the empty spot where their predecessor sat before being used up. There is just something nice about a freshly stocked pantry.

In the years that Nathan and I have been married, we have lived in towns with various grocery shopping options.  The first place we lived was a small town with two competing grocery stores.  We could get everything we needed in town and had a Superstore/Walmart half an hour away where we chose to get certain things at a fraction of the cost. We had our "city" list and our "home" list.

The next place we lived was a city.  Because we had to drive to the nearest grocery store (about a mile away), we picked up groceries less often but it was more of a big deal when we went.  We probably shopped about once a week. It was economical and oh-so-convenient for those "oh no, I need lettuce!" moments.

The last place we lived before our current location was a small town.  (Village maybe even?)  It had one grocery store.  It was not uncommon to find expired food, or nearly expired food, still on the shelves.  Packages of diapers (that I occasionally needed to purchase when our washing machine froze up in winter) required a wipe-down to rid them of years of dust that had accumulated.  Produce was hit or miss and prices were usually twice as much as at the grocery stores in the city.  The local grocery store was great for emergencies and had some good sales, but 90% of our grocery shopping was done in the city, a mere half hour away.

Now, we're back in a small town with two competing grocery stores.  Our grocery shopping looks very much like it did in the first few years of marriage.  I go to my favourite local grocery store every couple days to pick up what I need for supper or to stock up on a sale item (only visiting the other store when there is an exceptional sale).  Day to day groceries are bought in town, the rest (stock up shopping) is done an hour away in the city about once a month.

We've been shopping like this for a year now and lately I've been feeling a pull to do more local shopping.  I appreciate so much that there are grocery stores in town, and the fact that there are two competing stores keeps the prices lower and the selection higher.  So why wouldn't I support these stores for the majority of my shopping?  Why do I run to the city with my full grocery list when I can get everything I need in town? 

Well, those are good questions.  And to answer them, I'm going to do an experiment.  I'm going to take the plunge and do all my shopping locally.  ((Oh boy, I just thought of our Costco we give that up?!))  Would we save money buying groceries in town and not spending that $30+ on gas each month to drive out? Not having a Costco membership would save us $50 a year right there!  And that's not even factoring in how stressed we get when we go into the city for a shopping day with our two year old and feel like we're literally running from one place to the next for 6 hours straight.  It would be much simpler to make a list each week with the local flyers, pack up my (soon to be) two kids and drive the 3 blocks downtown to buy what I need.  It would also solve the problem of stocking up too much when in the city because "who knows when we'll be in the city again?!"  Hmm...the more I think about this, the more I am convinced that this is the way to go!  (I wonder if Nathan will be on board??)  Maybe we could even find a babysitter for an hour each week and make grocery shopping our date night!  That would be a step up from our nonexistent date nights that are currently on our calendar. Now there's something that might convince hubby that this is a good move ;)

What about you?  How do you feel about local shopping?  Do you shop locally or find yourself driving to check off your list? 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Time for another post?

I think the tiredness and sluggishness that comes with third trimester has hit me early this time around.  I just can't seem to catch up with sleep.  I can sleep 9 hours at night and nap for 2 hours in the afternoon and still just feel pooped.  Oh well.  I really can't complain because otherwise I'm feeling excellent and anticipating the arrival of this little one VERY eagerly!  And because I know how hard it is to keep track of someone else's pregnancy (never mind your own after the first!), I'm currently at about 23 weeks.  So 3 more weeks to go before 3rd trimester officially hits.

Aside from being tired, let's see what else has happened in the past week?  OH!  I chose which diaper bag I wanted and bought it.  Nathan gave me a coupon for a new diaper bag for my birthday last month and after doing a bunch of research and looking around, I decided on the Lug Hula Hoop bag in purple:
I also spent my birthday money and bought a sewing machine:
(my, what a purple theme I have going today...purple shirt, purple bag, purple (and white) sewing machine!)

As a result of the new machine, I have been doing a bit of sewing:

And of course, I have been busy crocheting too.  I don't have any pictures of what I'm working on currently, but if you follow my shop on FB, you'll see pictures of the latest soon!  With the chillier weather, people are thinking about Christmas gifts and keeping their kids warm, two things that keep me in business!  And I'm very much enjoying all the creating that I get to do as a result :)

Well, I'm not sure what else is new so I think I'll leave it at that.  Besides, the pizza that's in the oven is READY!  Time for some supper!  Yum.

Monday, October 8, 2012

A crazy week.

This past week has been completely, 100% out of the ordinary.  It has been good, but I always come back from adventures ready to get back into my blessed routine again :)

It all started with a pastor's retreat that started last Sunday evening at a camp near here.  Nathan and I both went and it was our first time leaving Levi overnight.  My mom came out and my grandma with her to stay with Levi for the two nights we were gone.  If this retreat had been even as little as 6 months ago, I don't know how it would have gone to have left Levi overnight.  But he has grown up so much over the summer and much of his shyness is gone, at least with people he knows and remembers from one visit to the next.  He did wonderfully (I had no doubts that he would) and it was such a wonderful break to not wake up to crying through the night and first thing in the morning.  It was equally as nice to only have myself to look after throughout the day.  It's amazing how even just going to the bathroom alone, feeding myself with no interruption, or going to bed without fighting to put someone else to bed first felt like a bit of a luxury while we were away.  It felt lik ea rejuvenating break from motherhood and also felt surprisingly natural.  I didn't even end up having any contact with my mom for a full day while we were gone and had no temptation to call home.  How's that for letting go of control and "retreating"??  It was amazingly good to be alone with just Nathan for that amount of time too.  I'm pretty sure the last time we've had that amount of time alone together was about 2 years ago before Levi joined us.  But as wonderful as this retreat was, I was very ready to see my boy again when we got home!

When we got home from the retreat last Tuesday afternoon, I had about half an hour to unpack and repack before Levi and I got in the car with my mom and grandma to visit for a few days.  It felt a bit like whiplash to change pace so quickly but I'm very glad for the visit I was able to have with my parents at their house.

We had a few adventures while we were visiting:
Levi raked leaves with Grandma

We made playdough and did lots of playing with it

Levi got to see goats and chickens and ducks and a goose and a kitty and two puppies at a farm we visited.  He even got to hold a baby goat that was only a week old!  Too bad none of the pictures of that worked out :(

Lots of quality time with Grandma
Evidence of leaf raking...might have to frame this one!
Birthday cake baking
Birthday cake didn't turn out quite how I was picturing but Levi didn't seem to mind!
Hanging out with Auntie Alicia, having fun with Mommy's iPhone camera
Hanging out with Uncle Andrew and Auntie Pearl (the newlyweds) courtesy of Levi - as you can tell by the tiny foot in the foreground
Playing K'Nex with Grandpa
Having a pastoral coffee break with someone who stopped by the house to see my dad one day
Trying out his birthday present from Grandpa and Grandma, a hand-crafted rocking horse made by my very talented pops

More quality time with Alicia this morning before we all hit the road
It is so much fun to hang out with my family. We are blessed to be a family who enjoys being together and who laughs together. It was so good to be all together for a couple days and to celebrate thanksgiving and Levi's birthday together.  It is definitely something I don't take for granted! 

So that has been my past week.  Crazy.  No two days have been the same.  But it has been great.  And in celebration of Levi's second birthday, which is today (October 8), Nathan and I bought him a play kitchen.  As we susptected, he LOVES it.  It's a bit of an unconventional toy to buy for a boy, but as he was begging to "cook" until well past his bedtime tonight, I knew that it was the right decision!  Here he is filling up his cup with water from the fridge door water dispenser.  Man, play kitchens have changed since the last time I played with one as a kid!  Fridge water dispenser?!  Built in microwave?

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Colouring in the Tub

I like to do fun, unexpected things with Levi.  Sometimes I find ideas on Pinterest, and sometimes I just think of them randomly when I'm laying in bed at night or working on Uniquely Me Design orders during naptime.  I think I get more excited about these things than Levi does at this point, but he seems to have fun with them just the same! 

Today we did tub colouring!  I was going to wait until Levi had a bit of a meltdown (not that he has those...) so that I could pull this out of my bag of tricks and distract him from being grumpy...but I couldn't wait.  He didn't even get dressed before I said, "Levi, would you like to colour in the tub this morning?!"  We took his Crayola washable crayons (brilliant invention, especially when he was learning to keep his crayons on the paper! -, dried out the tub after our morning showers, and went to work!  Levi had a blast.  The first few marks were cautious.  Levi knows very well that he's not supposed to colour anywhere except paper so he would hold a crayon over a part of the tub and look at me with question in his eyes.  I just smiled and said "yup!" and he drew.  Then he moved to another piece of tub and looked up at me again, making sure it was ok.  Before too long, he was just scribbling happily away.  I haven't tested how well it comes off the tub yet...I'm assuming since it comes off everything else with water, that it will just wipe right off...but it might leave some colourful marks for a couple weeks.  I'll let you know. 

Levi's colour of choice this morning was orange, as you can see.  He really seems to like it ever since I told him that orange has yellow in it (yellow is his #1 favourite colour right now...but orange will do in a pinch.  Unless there is green...GREEN GO!)

I'm so thankful that I have a little almost-2 year old to do these things with.  It just wasn't quite the same before we had kids when I had to do them by myself...

*Not even 5 minutes later, the tub is perfectly clean.  I used a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser since I was cleaning the entire tub while I was at it and it wiped off easily, with zero scrubbing and zero colour left behind! I'm sure they would have come off just as easily with a damp cloth.  

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


The bump is definitely growing.  Shall we compare this bump with my Levi-bump at this point?  Sure, just for fun...
Yup, with #2 everything is stretched out already and it just grows and grows and grows some more.  But I'm still really comfortable.  So thankful for that...