Tuesday, August 26, 2014

moved on.

I've moved on.  Find me here:


Friday, July 18, 2014

The night I finally sat down to write...

It felt foreign just now to sit down with the computer and type in the "blogger.com" address into the browser.  What is this place?  It used to be so familiar and lately it's just not been on my radar at all!  Until I had a request for another post.  It's been coming, Jill!  I've been thinking about it!  The problem is, I haven't come up with anything yet.  Haha.  But this has been an evening of straightening the whole house before sitting down, of clearing clutter that has been sitting around for too long, of knocking things off the "to do" list that have been on there forever.  So I figured, why not blog too?

Probably not having anything to say would be a good first reason not to blog right now.  But I said I would so I'll look for something to say.

Blogging used to be a place where I shared my heart.  In that season of life, I felt God nudging me gently toward being open and transparent.  Being honest.  (Not that we ever shouldn't be, of course!)  But I think there are seasons to share and let people in freely.  And then there are seasons to hold things a little more closely.  To choose the inner circle a little more cautiously.  To heal and reflect and learn.  I can't help but think of Mary who "stored up these things and pondered them in her heart."

Being in the latter of those two seasons, I am finding it hard to find things to type here on my blog.  This used to be a place where I would just let my mind flow through my fingers onto the screen, say a prayer, and hit "publish."  But now that I don't feel like that's where I am, what do I say?  I could just skim the surface and talk about my days.  What I do with the kids. How potty training is going and what my 3 year old is up to. But without feeling inspired, I fear it would lack that personality that has been here in the past.  It would feel empty and like just another thing to do every couple days so that people keep reading. 

All that being said, I think this will be the last post on this here ol' blog-ski.  Time to close this chapter.  If this has been a place you come to see how I'm doing and to keep in touch with my life, feel free to email me or find me on fb. I'd love to be in touch with more of you on a regular basis! If you don't know who I am, I would love to meet you...just leave a comment and we'll get in touch!

It's been grand, thanks for reading.  If I find that blogging is something I'm thinking of starting up again, I'll let you know.  But for now... Adios! Adieu! Ciao! Toodle-oo! Farewell!  Good-bye. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

The rest of them :)

Ok, so as with most blog series, I am losing momentum and updates are coming less and less frequently again.  SO...here's the rest of the questions answered in the "getting to know myself" series.  Enjoy!  I'll try not to make them too long but no promises!

15. If you were an animal, what would you be and why?

I think I would be a cat.  They can sit in the sun happily for hours and hours but still have the energy and agility to climb trees and hunt and pounce on each other.  They do whatever they feel like and can be both lazy and active.  In that way, I would say that if I were an animal, I would be a cat :)  Oh, and our one cat can go DAYS without seeing a human and I think that applies too ;)

16. What are your 5 greatest accomplishments? (in no particular order)

- I got married

- I brought my kids into the world

- I completed a seminary-level counseling course with flying colours.  I felt pretty good about it at the time.  I still feel pretty good about it... ;)

- we bought an acreage, something we didn't think we'd accomplish until much later in life.

- I've managed to be a stay-at-home mom for 3.5 years now without ever throwing my hands up and walking away for good.  I've wanted to.  I've been tempted.  But I never have.  At least no further than the driveway...

17. What is the thing you most wish you were great at?

I wish I were great at talking to people.  I wish I were great at mingling and small talk.  I feel like it would be easier to make friends if I felt like I had stuff to talk to people about.  I feel like it would be less awkward to hang around the church foyer every week if I could easily strike up a conversation with absolutely anyone.  I wish I were great at conversation. 

20. Describe 3 significant memories from your childhood.

- I remember once when I was probably 6-7 years old and I was in the middle of a water fight in my yard, probably with my siblings, maybe some friends too.  I was standing on the outside of the 2 foot fence and laughing so hard.  I remember thinking, "This is the best day of my life!  This is a perfect day!  I'm going to remember this for the rest of my life!"  And I remember that moment exactly.  So I would call that a significant memory from my childhood, whether or not it had any meaning or weight to it :)

I remember shucking corn at my grandparents' farm when I was probably 8 years old and loving how soft the corn silk was!  While Mom and Grandma kept talking and working, I went to the treeline and made a little "log cabin" out of branches and twigs and carefully filled it with corn silk.  Then I put 1-2 baby kittens in there and added a roof so they would stay nice and cozy in their new little house.  I went back after supper/right before we were going to leave and the kittens were gone.  I was so worried that they would be lost because they were so little.  As an adult, I remember how close the treeline was to the house and they would never have been lost.  But I was so worried for them.

- I remember that my family used to have family nights where we would spend the evening once a week playing games together.  We would either play board games together or "find the stuffed animal by lantern-light" or whatever we felt like that evening.  One evening, we were playing sardines (basically a version of hide-and-seek where one person hides and everyone looks.  When someone finds you, they hide with you until everyone is there).  I remember climbing carefully behind Dad's guitar case that was propped against the wall beside their dresser.  I was tiny so I could fit into spaces nobody ever even thought to look.  I hid there a LONG time and remember needing to pee so bad but I couldn't leave my PERFECT hiding spot!  Finally I think I made noise - a lot of noise! - and people started finding me but yeah, I always remember that.  I remember it especially much these days as Levi has discovered hiding behind HIS daddy's guitar case and hides there on a daily basis when we play hide-and-seek.

22. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 15 years?

5 years
I see myself hopefully still living here, Nathan working at the church.  I'm still a stay-at-home mom, most likely.  I don't see much being different except our kids would be older...Levi would be 8 and Kayden would be 4.  Crazy.  Perhaps more kids, and perhaps done growing our family.  Who knows.

10 years
I see myself hopefully still living here, Nathan working at the church.  At this point we might start asking ourselves if God is calling us somewhere else or to something else, though I'm hoping we can stay here a long time!  I see us being done growing our family, unless adoption is something we feel God is calling us to.  Levi would be 13 and Kayden would be 11.  Yikes.  I suddenly see myself having lots more time for drinking tea and reading books.  Haha.  I might start working part time at this point because kids would likely all be in school during the day.

15 years
This one is hard!  I've always found 5 years to be hard, never mind 15 years!  Let's see.  Levi would be 18 and graduated. Kayden would be 16 and driving.  Whew.  I would be looking ahead at us being empty nesters.  I might be thinking about what I might want to do once the kids are out of the house.  Might go back to school or start working towards goals that I would hope to have accomplished once the kids are all away from home (perhaps running a small business or something of that nature).  Again, I still hope that we will be here with Nathan working at the church or somewhere else in the area.

23. List your top 5 hobbies and why you love them.

- crocheting - I like it because I can take it out if I don't like it or change my mind and I haven't lost anything but time.  I also like it because it involves just enough concentration to keep me interested but not so much that I can't do other things like watch tv at the same time.  I also like that it can make me money ;)  But that is more of a bonus than a reason why I like it.

- reading - while I was getting up during the night - every night - with the kids, I couldn't read because I had no concentration whatsoever.  Years of interrupted sleep impacts so much more than your typical sleepiness/dragging feeling.  I couldn't concentrate so I couldn't read books.  I thought I had lost my love for reading but now that I'm sleeping so much better, I've been able to read again and I find that I still really enjoy it!  I love that I can escape everything that is going on in my mind and just be somewhere else.  I love that I can travel - both distance and time - just by opening a book.  I love that it's portable and that I can read anywhere.

- playing with finances/numbers.  It's not unusual that I spend an evening working on the "numbers"...bank accounts, excel documents, etc.  I love it because it gives me a sense of satisfaction to see everything line up and balance.  I love it because I can see exactly how long it will take us to reach financial goals.  I like it because I can plan and put things neatly into slots and it's all organized and it's one part of my life that nobody else can touch/mess up!  I'm just kidding about that last one.  Mostly.

- gardening - I always forget this one because it's so new!  As a kid, I hated everything to do with gardening.  I thought it was the most boring thing ever.  But now that I have my own gardens, it's all different. I enjoy planting things and watching them grow.  House plants?  Yes please.  I love to just wander around the house and look at how the different plants I have are growing and changing.  Unless, of course, the change is that they're dying.  Then it bugs me until I can figure out what's wrong and turn it around.  Most of the time I can't...

- cleaning - I love it because it needs to be done so I may as well enjoy it.  Right??  I also like the immediate results that come with a good cleaning.  There's nothing so calming as a freshly cleaned house.  That said, I find it futile as ever to clean with two young kids underfoot, so if you come into my house and it's untidy or a bit dirty...just know that I've let myself be ok with a little clutter and mess for this season of my life.  There will come a day when I'll have everything as clean as I like it again but for now, it's not happening.  I would drive myself nuts.  And hobby #6 is doing whatever I can to keep myself from going nuts. ;)

24. Describe your family dynamic of your childhood vs. your family dynamic now.

I would say it is fairly similar.  Very warm home.  Kids know that parents love them unconditionally.  Lots of laughter.  Lots of play.  We pray together.  We work together.  We eat meals together.  It's a calm home without yelling/violence.  Dad works out of the home (also in a church, no less!) and Mom stays home.  If I had to come up with some differences...I'd say spanking is one.  I was spanked as a kid and we have chosen not to spank.  I am not necessarily against spanking, but with there being so many Christian homes who are "for" spanking, we didn't want others to see that and associate Christians with child-abusers.  At least that's one of my reasons.  We also see how Levi looks at us with fear when we discipline him physically (pinch/flick) and I can only imagine what a spank would do.  But I'm not getting into the whole spanking/not spanking debate.  I think both can be done well and both can be done poorly.  Another difference between my childhood family dynamic vs my family dynamic now...I don't know!  It's probably hardest for a stay-at-home mom to come up with differences unless she is trying to intentionally do things differently than her parents!  I just do what comes naturally as I make this home and a lot of that comes from what I was raised with.  Therefore, I think the family dynamics are fairly similar.

28. What is your love language?

My top love language... ... ... let me just go quickly find online quiz... ... ...


QUALITY TIME!  I probably didn't need a quiz to tell me that.  It came out WAY ahead!  It's always been like that. It was fun to try to explain that one to Nathan when we were dating because it was close to the bottom of his list. 

Me - "Yes, Nathan, if you make eye contact with me from across the Ad, I feel VERY loved!"
Nathan - "But...we're not even touching...?"

Acts of service was a not-so-close second (but still there!).  This one has come up on the list since having kids.  I used to not mind doing things on my own but now that there are kids to take care of in addition to getting things done, I feel VERY loved when Nathan serves me by either taking the kids or getting things around the house done when he can see that I've had a long day. :)

30. List 10 things you would hope to be remembered for.

- that I loved my family
- that I cared for people
- that I fed people well (I'm serious! haha)
- that the home I made was welcoming for everyone who entered
- that I knew how to laugh
- that I was easy-going
- that I was good with kids and loved babies (???) - this is getting hard!
- that I was generous
- that I put others ahead of myself - need to work on this one!
- that I was present with people

Well, that's the last question!  It feels good to be done.  I have tons of stuff floating around in my head these days but I'm just not sure how much of it I want to share here.  Perhaps my days of blogging my deepest, darkest secrets are behind me.  It was freeing and wonderful in its season - and I think God used my willingness to share - but I think now it's time to pull the curtains a little tighter and ponder more than share.  Maybe it will be time to share again one day.  Until then...this blog will be more of a surface update on family and life.  That is, if I ever find the time!  Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Numbers 13-14 - Strengths and Weaknesses

13. Describe 5 weaknesses you have.

1. Knowing what to talk to people about/mingling.  Hate it.  Hate the awkward silences.  Hate the potential for awkward silences.  If there was at least a potential for a GOOD talk in those situations, I might be ok with it, but you're never going to actually have a good, deep conversation in a busy foyer, so let's just skip it, shall we?

2. Group work.  I don't feel like I'm at my strongest when I'm working with a group.  Unless I'm clearly leading the group.  But if it's supposed to be a mutual effort, I fall short. 

3. Decorating cakes. I always have this great vision for a birthday cake and then it ends up falling sadly short.  Sadly, sadly short.  So now I'm practicing.  Everyone gets a birthday cake and a half-birthday cake.  Levi had a sail boat cake this month.  And it actually turned out.  But I won't let one successful attempt fool me.  I need at least 18 months worth of practice to be confident that my cakes won't routinely flop.

4. Understanding politics.  Need I say more?

5. I have a weakness for my family.  If I ever have a chance to hang out with my family (immediate and extended), I'll jump on it.  It's a different kind of weakness, but I think it counts :)

14. Describe 5 strengths you have.

1.  Patience - It's not that I never lose my patience with my kids/other people, but I feel like my patience stretches more than some.  If you come to the end of my patience, you must really be pushing my buttons. :)

2. I can cook/bake.  And I can bless people with my cooking/baking.  I really enjoy being able to put something together and bless someone with a meal or a treat.

3. Crocheting.  I also love to bless people with my ability to make things with my hands.  I don't always have as much time to make things as I would like, but when I can put something together and see the look on their face when I give it to them, it makes me smile.

4. I give people the benefit of the doubt.  If someone makes a silly comment while I'm out, I think, "well, they must not have thought before they said that, it happens to everyone" instead of wondering why they're so dumb.  Or if someone does something ridiculous/rude, I usually think that they were just having a rough day rather than letting it taint my opinion of them.  I give people a fair chance to show me who they are.  I meet people with the assumption that they are good and kind until their actions prove otherwise.

5. Organization and Efficiency.  I work really well in a job that requires being organized and efficient.  I worked in a lumber yard and it was possibly the perfect job for me.  My hours were flexible and completely controlled by moi!  It was up to me to come up with a filing system and keep it organized.  The only problem was that I got my work done too efficiently and was continually running out of work to do. :)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Number 12 - Daily Routine

12. Describe a typical day in your current life.

My days usually start between 6:30-8:30 am and they usually start one of two ways:  I hear soft talking and giggling from the crib in the next room...happy noises.  Perfect way to start the day.  Less perfect if the hour is pre-8am but lovely noises nonetheless.  Second way my day might start: shrieks and screams jolt me awake and I try to run to the next room before the screaming/crying kid (often of the male variety in this house) wakes the other kid.  These are less than ideal mornings and may or may not indicate how the rest of the day will go.

Once it's clear that we're up for the day, we drag ourselves out of bed and get something for Kayden to eat.  That girl starts the day HUNGRY and will rarely wait for breakfast for more than 20 minutes after waking for the day.  Once she's happily snacking on whatever we can find (often a muffin from the freezer - not thawed...she seems to prefer it that way, screaming if we put it in the microwave), we try to convince Levi to eat something too.  He is a grazer.  A VERY light grazer and trying to convince him to eat is like pulling teeth.  I seriously wish I could inject nourishment into him some days because he gets grumpy as ever without food (a trait lovingly passed down from his daddy) yet is quite picky and rarely feels like eating.  Not helpful, buddy.

With the kids eating, I often check a little fb/email before sitting down to eat my own breakfast.  Why check those things first, you ask?  Well, the first few minutes that the kids are hungrily ingesting breakfast are quiet and uninterrupted.  If I can get the morning check out of the way, I can put my phone away for a few hours and just BE.  While we're having breakfast, Nathan is getting ready for work and usually walks out the door while we're still at the table (though not before kissing us each good-bye!).

After breakfast we get dressed and the kids play.  If I have anything to do that day like laundry, baking, etc, now is the time I start that. Sometimes we head outside after breakfast, especially now that it's nice outside. Around 10-10:30, Kayden goes down for her morning nap and Levi and I have about an hour to play together - or else I continue whatever it is that I'm doing that day (laundry, etc).  Once Kayden wakes up, it is almost lunch time so I get some lunch ready while two hungry kids play in the kitchen and beg for snacks.  I put lunch on the table and if I've served anything but noodles and hot dogs, I hear, "Mama, I don't like what you made!"  cue: tears and running to the couch to pout (Levi).  Mama gets frustrated but says very calmly, "Well, Levi, that's what we're having today.  You can either eat it or wait for supper."  He usually ends up eating it :)

After lunch, the kids play for a few more minutes while I clear the table and before long Kayden is ready for her afternoon nap, which is about 2-2.5 hours after she wakes up from her morning nap.  She goes to bed and Levi heads to the living room for quiet time.  I set the timer for 75 minutes on the microwave and usually head to the couch to do some crocheting.  Or painting the last two days.  But most often this is my crocheting time.  These are the only 75 minutes in my day that are MINE.  Though Levi's "regularity" has timed itself to quiet time so I usually hear a plea and end up having to tend to bathroom duties once or twice during this time.  Though Levi has started taking himself to the bathroom so I only need to go to "finish up" in there.  So nice.

When the microwave timer goes, I hear "Mama, can I come out now?" from the living room and I call "Come!" to him.  He runs to me with a big smile on his face (quiet time is good for BOTH of us!) and says, "Mama, I want to watch a cooking show!" and "Mama, I want a snack."  So I get him a snack - afternoon snack is a "treat" snack...this is the time of day when he knows he gets something sugary/salty for a snack.  The rest of the time when he asks for snacks, he gets offered fruit or cheese or whatever else healthy I can think of.  But right after quiet time we throw proper nutrition out the window and he can have a cookie or some candy or melted chocolate with chips to dip.  And he loves cooking shows.  It has to be close to a year now that he has asked to watch cooking shows with me.  I can't complain!

When Kayden wakes up, I give her some snack too and, once snack is finished, we go outside for a bit.  That is, if we have time.  I try to get myself and the kids out at least a bit every day.  It's hard to squeeze it in sometimes between naps and meals and snacks (especially in winter when "going outside" is an hour-long activity with all the snow suits and boots that need to be put on!).  But we try to get out for fresh air at this point.  Around 4-4:30 I start some supper (earlier if it's something that takes longer, obviously).  Nathan gets home usually between 5-5:30 and I try to have supper ready between 5-6.  After supper, I do the dishes and Nathan plays with the kids.  It may seem like work to have to do the dishes after a full day and preparing the meal BUT, it is quite relaxing to know that for those 30 minutes I have no kid responsibility.  All I need to do is get the dishes done, the house tidied, and floor swept.  Aah...

Around 7pm we start bedtime routine.  The kids watch some shows on the computer while they have night snack at the table. Levi's favourite is a Leap Frog Word Whammer show that Nathan found on Youtube. It's a show about learning to read.  Kayden rarely watches as long as Levi so she gets some one-on-one time with either me or Nathan for a bit before bed. Then it's time to brush teeth (Kayden actually has some teeth now so she gets in on this as of 6 weeks ago!), pee, and get into pj's.  Levi chooses two stories and Kayden sits at the bookshelf and "reads" her board books while either Nathan or I reads Levi his stories.  Kayden's favourite is "The Monster at the End of this Book."  She reads it every night and will often hold it out to us so that we will read it to her too.  But if we try to read Kayden more than one story, Levi jumps in and says, "No!  Kayden is only allowed to have one story!"  He is one for rules, that boy.  He is only allowed to have two stories and Kayden is only allowed to have one.  No if's, and's or but's.  That's how it is.  With stories read, it's into bed for the kids. By this time it is often close to 8:30pm.  We pray with them, tuck them in, and turn on their bedtime music.  Sometimes they are asleep before we even leave the room it seems, while other nights (like tonight) they play together until after 9pm before falling asleep.

After the kids are in bed, I tidy the house one last time.  I put away what's left of night snack.  Then, once I'm sure that absolutely every chore that I feel I need to do is finished (I hate the feeling of sitting down and then realizing there's more I need to do), I sit on the couch and pull out my crocheting again.  10-10:30pm rolls around and it's time to head to bed.  The light is usually not out before 11 though.  And goodnight.  The kids mostly sleep through the night, though probably 1 in every 3 nights one of the kids is up for the bathroom or teething or something.  But sleeping through the night 60% of the time is feeling SO good.  It was a long 3 years of being up much, much more than that. :)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Number 18 - Difficult to Forgive, Number 25 - Dinner, Number 27 - Body, Number 29 - Misunderstanding

18. What has been the most difficult thing you have had to forgive?

Without going into detail, I once felt like we were wronged by one of Nathan's workplaces.  That has been hard to forgive.  It was made easier by how well they dealt with some other things...but there were parts of that job/workplace that I still have a hard time forgiving.  But workplaces are just people, right?  And people make mistakes.  Or they're just mean.  haha.  But everyone needs forgiveness so that's what I aim to give.

25. If you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would it be and what would you eat?

I would have dinner with any one of my ancestors who has passed away.  Any of my grandparents or great-grandparents or great-great-grandparents.  I would ask them about their life and how they grew up and what their dreams are for their family and so many things!  What would we eat?  Probably some traditional Mennonite meal.  Some good, old meat and potatoes!

27. What is your favorite part of your body and why?

My eyes.  It's probably because, as a child, I got a lot of comments/compliments on my eyes.  I have big, brown eyes that I quite appreciate having.  It sounds weird to say what you like about your body but that would be one thing that I love about me.  There are other parts of my body that aren't my favourite BUT I can appreciate the fact that I can look at them and know who I got that particular gene from...and that makes them pretty cool, even if I wouldn't choose it :) But really, I don't have too many issues with my body.  Ideal or not, it's what I have and it treats me pretty well so I can't complain!

29. What do you think people misunderstand most about you?

I feel like people misunderstand my quietness.  She's quiet therefore she must not have anything to say.  Not true.  I often don't have anything to say, which is why I'm usually quiet.  But don't assume that I'll never have anything to say. 

She's quiet therefore she's not having fun.  Not true.  Sometimes I am having fun and sometimes I'm not. You won't be able to tell based on my auditory level.

She's quiet therefore she must always be a quiet person, in every situation.  Not true. I talk Nathan's ear off at home. Sometimes I'm quiet and sometimes I'm not.  If you only ever see me in groups, then you probably think I'm always quiet.  But one-on-one, with the right topic, I can talk.

She's quiet therefore she has no sense of humour.  Not true.  I hate it when I make a joke and people think I'm serious just because they didn't expect it.  Nothing like throwing out a joke and having people stare at you awkwardly just because they weren't expecting it and think you're being serious.  Umm...no.  I find that if people get my jokes, I can be real with them much more quickly than if I throw something out and it's incredibly awkward.  If I make a joke or comment and it's not received well, I clam up even tighter and will be less likely to open my mouth the next time. Just so you all know ;)

She's quiet therefore she must not like hosting people in her home.  Not true.  I actually love to host.  It's the potential for awkward silences that keeps me from inviting people into our home more. If you promise to talk, I promise to feed you!

Yup, I feel like my quietness leaves a lot of room for being misunderstood.  Oh well.  The people who really know me, understand me despite my quietness.  Thanks.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Number 9 - Influential People

9. List 10 people who have influenced you and describe how.

1.  Parents - it's obvious how they influenced me, right?  They raised me.  They gave me their genes.  All that fun stuff. 

2. Nathan - he loves me exactly the way I am.  He loves me because of who I am and not despite who I am.  That's influential because I can be exactly who I am and not edit myself at all when I'm with him.  Nathan has encouraged me to treat myself so I've learned how to do that and what things/activities I especially like.  Nathan has taught me how to take other people's opinions into consideration when making decisions and how to compromise - though we usually agree and not much compromise is needed!   

3. My siblings - I don't know how.  I just know that they did.  Maybe the side of me that feels like I need to fight for everything I get?  haha.  I learned how to respect my peers/friends through my siblings.  I learned how to be a mentor (to an extent) and how to take advice.  I learned to laugh at myself and to have patience despite someone (not mentioning any names... *cough*ANDREW*cough*) doing their best to push my buttons.

4. My high school friends - they pushed me to go outside my comfort zone and do things I never would have done on my own...in a good way!  I wouldn't necessarily have done some of the crazy things I did without the friends I had.  Is that why I have the sense of adventure that I have today?  Well, not entirely.  I've always been someone who wants to be spontaneous and do things that other people might not consider...but I imagine the friends I had in high school nurtured that side of me more than if I'd had some other friends :)

I'm so bad at this.  I'm only on #5???

5. My friends Marsha and Teena - they have shown me that I'm worth being friends with and that I don't need to be anyone but myself in order to keep friends.  I can be completely myself when I'm with them and it's good.  I've learned that it's possible to be with people and not have to watch what I say and do. I can let go and people will still like me (and if they don't, maybe it's not my problem after all). 

6. My kids - I've learned to be more selfless from them.  They've influenced me to just do what needs to be done, whether I want to or not.  They've shown me what it means to love unconditionally and without inhibitions. 

I've stalled.  I'm sure there are many more people who have influenced me.  Pastors, teachers, co-workers, campers/co-camp-counselors, friends, customers, etc.  But my brain is just not working tonight.  haha.  Enjoy!

Number 8 - Passions

8. What are 5 passions you have?

For my own sake, I'll just define "passion" so I can refer back :)

Passion - an intense desire or enthusiasm for something

1. Mothering and childhood development - I could talk about being a mom and about kids all day long.  Part of it is just where I am, but truly, I love it.  I always have been drawn to moms and young kids and hearing about motherhood and kids and how they grow up and what stages they are in.

2. Cloth diapering/living simply/being frugal - if I can save a penny by doing a little extra work, I'm often on board.  Especially if it's something "easy" like making something myself or canning something myself or re-washing something instead of using disposable...I could talk about those things all day too.  Just ask me about cloth diapering.  I dare you.

3. Finding out about who people are and what makes them that way - a big part of this is hearing people's stories and their family's history.  It tells a lot about a person and the things they do/decisions they make to hear where they've come from and what they've been through.  I find it easier to be patient if I know why someone is doing what they are doing.  I find it easier to be compassionate if I understand what someone has been through.  I find it easier to feel like I know someone if I have heard a bunch of stories about where they've been and how they grew up.  I wonder, though, if this is less of a passion and more just how my brain works.  I am constantly thinking about why people do what they do.  It's just what my mind does.  I know I've mentioned it before.  But I think it fits into the passion category too.  Come and tell me about who you are and I could listen to you for hours :)

4. Gardening - I grew up saying I would NEVER have my own garden and here I have been, the last few years, dreaming about my own yard and gardens - yes, plural! - in January!  It could partly fit into number 2 above but it's about more than just growing our own food and storing it away for winter (being frugal).  It's about transforming our yard into a beautiful retreat.  It's about being able to walk around and know that, through a partnership with God, I put that plant there and it's thriving (or dying...I'm still learning) and making the yard more complete and breathtaking.  Now, being frugal gets in the way of me just going out and making the yard exactly the way I want it, but over the next few years I hope to transform our yard into something special.  I'm lucky because I'm starting here on the acreage with something special already...we have a yard that will be a beautiful retreat right from the start!

I'm having trouble coming up with #5.  Maybe I'm not very passionate?  Or maybe a good question would be how many things you can be fully passionate about?  Not many things really get me excited without abandon.  Hmm...ok.

5. Road trips with my hubby.  I get so excited about getting in the vehicle with a loose itinerary (as in, we need to be back in two weeks and we want to get HERE while we're gone) and just driving together.  We have so much fun.  We laugh a lot.  We spend a lot of time in silence.  Now that we have kids, road trips are different.  They're not the big adventure that they once were, though I do still get excited for them!  They just need to be a tiny bit more planned and with shorter driving days and more stops.  And gas costs more these days, not to mention our van being a gas guzzler (that sucks the fun out of a 60 hour road trip pretty quick).  BUT...the thought of getting in a vehicle with my honey still gives me "enthusiasm and great desire." :)

Number 7 - Dream Job

7. What is your dream job, and why?

No surprise to anyone who has been reading my blog for any amount of time...my dream job is being a stay-at-home mom.  I'm living the dream.  :)

Why?  Because I can totally run my own schedule (except for the two little people who try to steer the schedule awry).

I can set the vision and carry out the vision without having to follow someone else's vision that I may or may not agree with.

I can be 100% self-motivated (or not motivated at all but at least I don't have anyone on my tail to meet deadlines - ha!).

I am literally pouring myself out every day for my family and not running out.  I think that is a sign that you're working in the right job.  To be able to give and give and give without even thinking about how much it's costing because as you pour out, you are also being filled.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Number 11 - Pet Peeves

11. Describe 10 pet peeves you have.

1. People being extraordinarily cheerful first thing in the morning...and expecting me to talk, be chipper, look alive...

2. Related to #1 yet completely different...people waking me up and then being grumpy in the morning. If you're going to be up early, and wake me up early, at least be happy/neutral so I don't have to deal directly with you until I've fully woken up. You can probably imagine who those people usually are in my life. :P

3.  People not replying to emails quickly.  Now, I understand that some people are not online checking emails/messages more than once or twice a day...so then I don't expect an answer before the next day. I also understand that some people are busy and can't reply right away, even if they see my message (it happens to the best of us). But I know that other people are online every hour or two (thank you, fb) so how is there time to check the news feed but not time to send a little response?  I guess it's just me growing up in the age of everything being instant, but it bugs me when people take their time replying, even though I can see that they saw my message already (6 hours ago!). 

4. Grammar mistakes. Many of us are wholly dedicated to one language, let's see if we can master it, shall we? Or at least make an effort? In particular, the use of lend/borrow gets me EVERY.SINGLE.TIME.  If you're reading this, please take note of the following:

If I am receiving the item, I am borrowing it.
If I am letting someone use something that is mine, I am lending it. 
If someone is taking something that is mine to use for a while, they are borrowing it.
If someone else is letting me use something that is theirs, they are lending it.

end rant.

5. People who chew with their mouth open bug me to no end.  Or rather, their habit of chewing with their mouth open is what bugs me.  The people themselves are often quite nice.

6. When people ask me for recipes.  Most of the time it's ok because I just got the recipe off Pinterest or whatever.  But there are a few things that I've been making for years and every time I serve them, I get compliments.  I'm not sure why it bugs me; why would I care?  I guess I just want to be the person who makes those things. If everyone had the recipe, would it still be special when I made it for them?

7. Whiny kids...mine or anyone else's.  This excludes tired or hungry kids.  I understand that (though it can also be annoying).  I'm talking about kids who whine because they know it will help them get their way.  Also, lippy kids.

8. Rude people.

9. People who complain about how people use their cell phones and then do the exact same thing.

10. When someone rides in my seat in our van and adjusts the seat.  Don't tough the controls, people.  I have them just how I like them. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Number 6: Hardest Thing

6. What is the hardest thing you have ever experienced?

The hardest thing I have ever experienced?  Well, I would have to say, hands down, infertility.  It's the thing that immediately jumps into my head when I read this question.  And yet it's weird because, when I actually think about it, I keep thinking to myself that there must be something harder that I've gone through.  So many people have had to go through incredibly tough things like losing a child or losing a parent or other family member (untimely death) or fighting debilitating illness.  But I think my wondering whether there was something harder is an indication of how it is being on the other side of infertility.  Memories get fuzzy.  You remember that it was hard without actually remembering the tears and anger and raw emotion of it.  But it was...it was tough.  The hardest thing for me.

When you are in the throes of infertility, wondering what the rest of your life will look like, wondering if you will ever see your dreams come true...it's the hardest thing.  It's hard to plan more than a month or two in advance because what if you're dealing with morning sickness right when you're trying to backpack through Europe?  Or what if you have a newborn right when you have a huge deadline?  You can't plan for the future.  What kind of house do you buy?  A cozy little one bedroom that would be perfect for a couple?  Or do you aim big and hope that one day the empty bedrooms will start filling up?  And those are just some of the logistical things.  What about the emotional roller coaster??  Trying to convince yourself that life could be ok with no kids when that's the only way you've ever pictured your life; the only thing you've ever dreamed of.  Spending every Sunday morning choking back tears because you want to be that mom in church with her pew full of snacks and toys...but it's just not happening. 

Our journey through infertility was a hard one for me.  I found that it affected a portion of 9 out of 10 days in one way or another.  It was a constant weight.  Will it happen one day or won't it?  What part of my cycle are we in right now?  What more could we be doing to improve our chances?  Will this be the month?  It's not happening, do I move on and try to find some other dream that might come close to making me feel fulfilled?  What if I start to pursue another career only to get pregnant after spending $40,000 on schooling?  So.many.questions.  So.many.emotions.  Those years that were spent trying to grow our family were tough, tough years.  In day to day life, now busy with two kids, I often forget what it was like.  I am losing my sensitivity to others who may be in that situation (and I hate that I am!).  It was the hardest thing I have had to go through because it felt like a constant ebb and flow of hope and loss.  Hope...then loss.  And hope.  And loss.  Again and again.  I questioned everything in those years.  And then I felt guilty for questioning.  And then I stressed.  And then I tried not to stress because apparently stress can make it harder to conceive.  But that just made me stress more!  There was no winning.

I am so thankful that those years are behind me.  And yet I hope that I will always hold onto what they taught me.  About just how hard it is to stare the loss of the motherhood dream in the face...month after month.  About how I need to be sensitive to others who may be going through infertility. About who God is and how he is the same now and before those years and throughout it all.  His faithfulness didn't waver.  And if we'd never had kids, He would still be good...and righteous.  And there would still have been a plan for my life if I'd never become a mom, even if I couldn't for the life of me understand why I longed for motherhood so badly, only to have it dangled in front of me then yanked back.

Infertility is the hardest thing I've gone through.  And I know it probably doesn't make sense to anyone who hasn't gone through some form of infertility or pregnancy loss.  But it is such a hard road to walk.  So if you know anyone who is on that journey, or who you think might be...please, please go easy on them.  Please walk alongside them and support them.  Allow them to share their doubts.  Allow them to cry or rage or do whatever they need to do.  And please be sensitive.  Err on the side of sensitivity.  And pray.  Pray for their faith.  Pray for their dreams.  Pray for hope and perseverance.  Pray.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Number 5: Happy

5. What are the 5 things that make you most happy right now?

In no particular order:

1. My husband and kids...especially when we're laughing and playing together.

2. Warmer weather.  I have this obsession with shoveling melting snow when the weather warms up a bit.  It's like, "Ok, Snow, you've had the upper hand for the past 6 months...now it's MY turn to dominate.  Get out of my path, snow/ice/slush! Move, move, move!"

3. That my best friend just had an adorable baby boy yesterday after wondering if they ever could/would.  How amazingly amazing is that? I just want to pick up and move to their town so I can see him all the time!  Except that I love where I live and never want to move (see number 19 HERE).

4. A clean, organized house.  Oh wait...that would make me happy. If it were true. Unfortunately I have at least 3 more days of painting ahead of me before our house will be put back together again.  So on that note, I guess the real #4 happy thing would be WHITE TRIM AND DOORS!

5. Gathering eggs.  We have been gathering eggs at a neighbour's place this week while they are out of town.  Donning my rubber boots every day and walking up to the barn while holding Levi's excited little hand and an egg pail in the other...it just feels right.  Stinks like nobody's business...but that's the price you pay for a dozen fresh brown eggs on your counter every afternoon. :)

Number 3: Parents

3. Describe your relationship with your parents.

Tough question.  Now, how do I answer this knowing my parents will read it??? :P Just kidding.  I wouldn't answer the question any differently, even if I knew they wouldn't read it.  Or would I?  Hmm... ;)

I'd say I've always had a lot of respect for my parents.  I've always known that they have my best interests in mind and trust that what they are doing is best.  That, in itself, is a huge thing for a daughter to be able to say (and I sure hope my kids will be able to say the same thing of Nathan and myself!).  Because of this respect, I didn't fight with my parents growing up.  I didn't always agree with some of their decisions but it was never a matter of raising voices or standing up to them (that I remember, correct me if I'm wrong, Mom and Dad!).  I've always felt that Mom and Dad had respect for me, and I, in return, had respect for them.  I always felt that they respected my decisions, which encouraged me to try to make the best decisions possible because I never felt like I needed to prove anything.  I knew that I was making decisions for myself because Mom and Dad would go along with whatever I chose - though at some point if I started being dumb, I'm sure they would certainly have stepped in!  For instance, when I was 19, I was at the supper table with my parents (and siblings, most likely) and randomly said, "Nathan and I are talking about getting married in spring" and they didn't even bat an eye.  If that doesn't prove trust and respect, I don't know what does.  If I felt that my parents would have put up a huge fight when I announced that, I might have been more prone to make a rash decision about getting married so young, just to prove that I could win the fight.  But, knowing that my parents would trust that I knew what I was doing and support me, I made the decision carefully and, frankly, the way you should make the decision to marry someone.  Completely for yourself.  There were many smaller decisions throughout high school that were made the same way (didn't smoke, drink, do drugs).  If I'd felt that my parents would argue about everything I did, I might have acted out a bit more, just to prove that I can do what I want without really thinking about what was good for me.  Does any of this make sense???  I'm not exactly sure how to describe it.

As an adult, I still have huge respect for my parents, but the relationship has shifted.  It's more of a friendship than a parent-child relationship.  I am close enough to my mom and dad that I go to them for advice - like when we were thinking about buying the acreage - and I trust what they say.  I'd say that my parents are easy to be around and we have a casual, loving relationship.  We see each other about every month or two (they are 3.5 hours away) but pick up right where we leave off every time.  

It has been interesting to see my parents in the grandparent role now that we have kids.  I'd say now, more than ever, I have an appreciation for how they parented my brother, sister, and I.  And to see them step back from the parenting role and lean into grandparenting...it's wonderful.  I don't mind leaving my kids with my parents one bit because I know that they will respect the decisions Nathan and I have made about how we want to parent and they'll have fun with the kids without breaking all the rules and "spoiling" the kids too badly while we're away.  They've struck a good balance :)  

Overall, I'd say mutual respect is a theme in our relationship, as well as my never having questioned their love and intentions.  I trust them fully and appreciate everything they have done, and still do, for me.  I love you, Mom and Dad!  I'd say our relationship is a good one!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Number 21: Superpower

21. If you could have one superpower, what would it be and what would you do with it first?

I've never been one for superpowers/super heroes.  But if there was such a superpower as not needing sleep, that would be the one I'd pick.  Though I'd still be able to sleep if I wanted to - I imagine it would eventually get boring to be awake all the time!  What would I do with it first?  Probably something lame like spend all night cleaning and organizing my house while nobody else was awake to undo it as I worked.  Yeah...I wasn't meant to be a super hero. :P 

Number 19: If I could live anywhere...

19. If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?

This one will be short.  If I could live anywhere, I would live right where I'm living.  On an acreage.  Perfect distance to town.  No traffic down our road.  It's pretty near perfect.  Ok...it would be a LITTLE more perfect if it didn't have such hard water.  But we have a reverse osmosis system which means we don't have to haul our excellent-tasting drinking water and we have a great well full of water which means we don't have to haul ANY water. 

Why?  Well, I love living here because we have privacy.  It's not every day that we see vehicles going by.  I love living here because it's beautiful!  We have a treed yard.  We're surrounded by pastures.  We're about a mile (maybe less?) from a gorgeous lake which we drive by every time we go to town.  I love living here because we are remote enough to not see any lights at night within at least half a mile of our yard, yet are only a 13 minute drive from town.  I love living here because we have freedom to do what we want with the yard, without any neighbours watching or talking over the fence.  I loved my neighbours in town, but it's nice to just be able to go out and not think about who might see me feeding the animals in my pajamas every morning.  I love living here because the kids will grow up outside.  They will grow up with siblings and animals as their playmates.  I love living here because we can take a few more steps to being self-sufficient through having a garden, chickens, sheep, etc.  I've always dreamed of living on an acreage and I'm so happy that we were able to buy one that is close to a wonderful small town where we see ourselves long-term. 

If I could live anywhere, I would live right here.

Number 10: Embarrassing Moment

10. Describe your most embarrassing moment.

Ok...embarrassing moment.  Which one to choose?  I'm going to stay away from the ones typically found in Seventeen magazine (though I have one or two of those...what girl doesn't??).  Umm.  Ok.  I've got one.

When I was in high school, I spent a couple years liking this one guy.  Long story short, we eventually dated, I was heartbroken when he dumped me...but we stayed friends.  Mostly.  It was always a little awkward but hey...we were in the same friendship circle so we were still friends. We put the dating behind us and had some truly good times after that.

Fast forward a few years.  I'm married.  He's married.  We're at a mutual friends' wedding.  As I'm leaving the ceremony, I pass him talking with another mutual friend and it is only polite to stop and say hi to the guys.  We chat for a few minutes but as I turn to leave, I totally throw out the wrong name.  THE WRONG NAME!  I liked him for YEARS.  We DATED.  We were really good friends.  And I totally called him the wrong name.  I couldn't get away fast enough.  Ugh.  It doesn't help that I called him his brother's name.  Yikes.  How do these things happen??  Ok, now I'm embarrassed all over again...shoot.  Moving on...

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Number 1: Random Facts

1.  List 20 random facts about yourself.

1. I am 4'10"...short by most people's standards and often the recipient of inappropriate comments regarding my height.  The place I lived where I received the most comments/jokes about my height (besides elementary school)?  Southern Manitoba.  

2. I have one amazing husband and two beautiful and wonderful children.

3. I used to ski or snowboard every winter.

4. I played soccer in high school and Bible college and, while I never felt I was much good at it, I got the impression that I was a bit of a threat to the other team.  If nothing else, at least I was fast and fearless :P

5. My first "real" job was working at a scrapbooking store in my hometown while I was in high school.

6. When it comes to money, I am a saver.

7. It drives me crazy when my house is messy, but with two kids and a husband, I've learned to let go and not let it bother me so much. It drives me equally crazy to feel like I'm cleaning 24/7 with nothing to show for it because it gets undone as fast as I clean. Some days letting go works...other days I feel like I'm going crazy constantly tripping over things and it's only a matter of time before I go on a cleaning rampage and see how much I can get done in the next 30 minutes.  The real test is when people come over.  I desperately want my house to be clean before anyone else enters but I've also been letting go of this one.  What you see is what you get, people.

8. I learned to crochet from my mom when I was in elementary school...probably 5-6 years old.

9. I have an older sister and a younger brother.

10. I lived in the same town from kindergarten to grade 12 (but no longer than that).  I still consider that my hometown.  It's nice to have a place that's so familiar and where I recognize so many faces, even after having been gone for the last 10 years.

11. I love walking, especially when the weather is beautiful and I have some nature to look at along the way.

12. I took piano lessons from grade 4 until grade 12, always with my aunt who was the best teacher ever.  I got my grade 8 and taught some young girls for a few years when we lived in Manitoba.

13. The best job I ever had was at a lumber yard in Altona, MB.  I worked with friends, had a LOT of freedom in my hours and in the work I did, and it was actually work I enjoyed.  I needed to be organized and there was a fair amount of problem solving involved.  It suited me perfectly.  

14. The worst job I ever had was at a book printing company.  I was an accounts payable assistant and receptionist.  It was full of people telling me what to do and how to do my job.  There were constantly people looking over my shoulder (either literally or by monitoring my computer usage or double checking my work).  I had zero say in anything and got all the jobs that nobody else wanted to do.  I felt like a monkey who was paid to just get the job done and not use her mind.  That is not me.

15. I feel stifled when people put me in a box and think they have me all figured out.

16. I love houseplants.  I used to not be able to keep anything alive, even ivies and ferns.  Now I'm doing much better with them, though my Christmas cactus is looking a little sad these days...

17. I spend most of my time wearing socks and slippers (or socks and shoes outside).  I don't love sandals.  Maybe it's because I hate having dirty feet.  Or maybe because I spent a few years as a child in a country where there were these bugs called "peekays" (sp?) that would bury themselves into your feet between your toes if you went barefoot.

18. I like to make things with my hands...but I'm not great at getting things perfect like the corners matched on a quilt top.  That's why crocheting is great for me!  I can take things apart over and over again until they're right and haven't lost anything but time.

19. Sweet or salty?  Sweet.  Though if you mix sweet and salty in things like kettle corn and salted taffy...THAT is amazing!

20. I am NOT a morning person.  I admit, if I am woken earlier than I should be (pre-8am) and have to deal with something like, oh I don't know...grumpy kids? I have zero patience.  Zero.  Nathan can attest to this.  If you want to see mean and grumpy Niki, wake me up early, be super cheerful and expect things from me.  Like smiles and conversation.  Not going to happen.  When people ask me first thing in the morning how I slept, I usually respond with, "I don't know, I'm not awake yet." I've gotten better since having kids but boy...some mornings are TOUGH around here! :)

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Number 4: 16 year old self

4. List 10 things you would tell your 16 year old self, if you could.

1. You're not going to marry him.
2. Don't ever let yourself drop the habit of daily devotions with God...it's WAY harder to recreate a habit once you're an adult.
3. Don't be afraid to like the things you like, even if your friends don't.
4. Don't be afraid to dislike the things you dislike, even if your friends like them.
5. You WILL have a husband and kids...don't rush the time before they happen.
6. Learn Spanish while you have the time/brain power.
7. Play more piano in church before you're in a bigger, more intimidating church.
8. Thank your parents more for everything they do.
9. Spend more time with your grandparents and take more pictures of/with them...they won't be around forever.
10. Be who God created you to be NOW...don't think that it will get easier to be your true self as you get older.  It doesn't.

Number 2: Fears

2. Describe 3 legitimate fears you have and explain how they became fears.

Let's start big...fears.  I'd like to think that I don't have a huge number of fears.  But here goes...

1. Fear of being somewhere new and not having any idea where to go or what's going on.  How did it become a fear?  When I was in grade 4 or 5, I went to school one morning and, as per usual, I must have been a few minutes late getting there.  I walked into my classroom like I did every morning and there was nobody there.  And there was nobody in the next classroom or, really, in the entire school.  It was all empty.  I had no idea what was going on or where everyone was.  I biked home as fast as I could in tears because I was so scared.  My mom made some phone calls and found out that the school (or at the very least the rest of my grade - 3 classes worth of students) had gone to the local plywood mill for a tour.  My mom drove me there, I met the rest of my class and the day continued on.  But I guess that moment of "where is everyone?  what's going on?" really stuck with me because any time I'm going into a situation where I might not know how to find the person I'm looking for or not know where I'm supposed to go, I panic a little inside.  I've gotten a lot better at improvising and not letting it get to me but every once in a while I still have that moment of fear when I'm in a situation and don't know where to go.

2. Losing my family.  I don't know where this fear came from.  Maybe it was my first (and only) boyfriend breakup in high school that came completely out of the blue.  Maybe it's just natural for everyone who has a family to fear losing them.  Maybe it is the incredible struggle we had to ever have kids (not saying that people who don't experience infertility don't fear losing their families...just that it brought up a bunch of theological questions for me and thus, my huge fear of losing my family).  Whatever it was, I am terrified that one day I'll lose my husband or one of my kids.

3. Mice.  Maybe this is more of a *shudder* type reaction than a fear reaction but either way it is STRONG!  I've never liked mice but my real "fear" of mice came when I was 18.  I'd moved out of the house (kinda) and was back at my parents' place for the summer between years of Bible school.  I was in my old bedroom but my bed had been sold because my parents were preparing for a move and knew I likely wouldn't need my twin bed anymore.  Thus, I was on a mattress on the floor.  Fine.  Enter: mouse coming through a hole in the wall 12 inches from my head.  While I'm sleeping on the floor.  I can see it faintly through the soft glow of my clock radio and it's coming closer and closer to my bed ON THE FLOOR.  I didn't know if I should move and try to get away - what if it freaks out and runs toward me instead of back into the wall??  Should I stay still and hope that it doesn't touch me?  I couldn't think of a good solution so I just lay there praying that it wouldn't take a flying leap onto my pillow (they can do that, you know).  Eventually I probably just threw something at it or turned on the light and it went back to it's home.  I remember trying to stuff a sock into the hole but that it managed to push the sock aside and come through one more time.  After that, I really jammed the sock in the hole good and spent the next few hours just laying there, not blinking and watching the hole.  I've hated mice with a passion ever since.  And feared their jump-attacks incredibly.

Getting to know...myself.

I'm always game for any self-insight activities...getting to know myself better.  Why I like what I like or feel the way I feel.  I wonder the same things about other people and my mind is always working to figure people out but since I can't just ask people questions about themselves any old time, I thought I would start with myself :)  I came across a list of questions on a blog and figured I'd steal them and do my own version of the question answering thing.  I'm also running out of things to blog about so if this is a total bust, I may very well just be done with blogging altogether!  We shall see...  Anyway, I plan to go through this list and just write.  About myself.  Some days I might answer one question.  Other days I might write a couple blog posts, depending on how motivated I'm feeling.  I'll then link those posts back to this one so you can easily see my answers to the questions without having to jump around my blog looking for them.  Here goes!

1. List 20 random facts about yourself.
2. Describe 3 legitimate fears you have and explain how they became fears.
3. Describe your relationship with your parents.
4. List 10 things you would tell your 16 year old self, if you could.
5. What are the 5 things that make you most happy right now?
6. What is the hardest thing you have ever experienced?
7. What is your dream job, and why?
8. What are 5 passions you have?
9. List 10 people who have influenced you and describe how.
10. Describe your most embarrassing moment.
11. Describe 10 pet peeves you have.
12. Describe a typical day in your current life.
13. Describe 5 weaknesses you have.
14. Describe 5 strengths you have.
15. If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
16. What are your 5 greatest accomplishments?
17. What is the thing you most wish you were great at?
18. What has been the most difficult thing you have had to forgive?
19. If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?
20. Describe 3 significant memories from your childhood.
21. If you could have one superpower, what would it be and what would you do with it first?
22. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 15 years?
23. List your top 5 hobbies and why you love them.
24. Describe your family dynamic of your childhood vs. your family dynamic now.
25. If you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would it be and what would you eat?
26. What popular notion do you think the world has most wrong?
27. What is your favorite part of your body and why?
28. What is your love language?
29. What do you think people misunderstand most about you?
30. List 10 things you would hope to be remembered for.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

One Year Old

 Wow, that year went by quickly.  And yet it feels like Kayden has been here for a long time already.  I keep feeling like she's still my little baby because she has no teeth, she doesn't crawl/move yet, she still has her crib mattress at the highest setting because she hasn't pulled herself up yet, she's still nursing...but in other ways it just makes so much sense that she's one already!

 Kayden is still small for her age.  She had her 12 month immunizations this morning and she was 16lbs 13.5oz and 27.5" tall.  She is wearing 12 month clothes.  I've noticed this month that her legs have really been stretching out and looking more like toddler legs than baby legs.  She's really thinning out a lot in general. 
 Kayden doesn't have much hair but she had her first haircut this month.  Some hairs were scraggly-looking so I trimmed them all to roughly the same length.  Much better! 

Kayden doesn't have any teeth yet but she's definitely teething now.  Her sleep has been disrupted for the past week or so and we can see that her gums are swollen and the teeth are right there, though there's not even any white peeking through yet.  But they're coming!  Personally, I think her gummy grin is pretty cute.  And she can handle every type of finger food like a pro, despite having no teeth!

Speaking of food, Kayden has left pureed food in the dust and will only eat what we're eating.  Sometimes, if she hasn't eaten much during the day, I'll pull out some puree or baby cereal right before bed and she'll eat a few bites but mostly she just flat out refuses.  But it seems to be working!  She seems to be getting enough nutrition from what she feeds herself so I can't complain.  She is still nursing 3 times a day but we've also managed to get her to drink whole milk out of a sippy cup this month so I think weaning might be in our near future.  Her favourite foods seem to be noodles, frozen peas/corn, popcorn twists (what kid doesn't love those?!), raisins, and peanut butter sandwiches (cut into cubes). She doesn't like...I don't know!  I don't recall anything she flat-out refuses.

 Kayden's play has changed a bit this month.  The other day we were playing a  game where she would shake  her head "no" and then I would "gobble" her neck saying "yes! yes! yes!" and she would laugh and shake her head "no" again and we would do it over and over again.  That kind of play shows me that she's growing up :)  She has also discovered the fun of buttons this month.  If she sees a button, she has to find out what it does!  This newfound game has been a lot of fun for her just now as she's sitting next to me on the couch while I type this, pressing all the buttons on the left hand side of the keyboard.  Makes for tricky typing!  Her favourite "toys" are the pets (cats and dog), her brother, and anything that plays music or makes noise.

Kayden has been sleeping through the night for most of this month.  Just in the last week or so has she been waking up in the night again.  It started out with sickness (fevers, coughing, etc) so I couldn't NOT go in but I think she has gotten used to the midnight snuggles and is now waking in the night expecting them again.  Last night was the first night of being firm with her that night is for sleeping and, once 10:30pm came and went, she was good for the rest of the night.  She has started crying whenever I put her down for her naps which I hate.  It makes me so tense when babies cry themselves to sleep a couple times a day!  But she always falls asleep and never cries for long so I guess she is just old enough now that she wants to be in on the action instead of napping.  But she still needs the naps so I guess she'll have to live with it.  She naps twice a day, at 10am and 1:30pm, each 60-90 minutes.  She goes to bed around 8pm and wakes at about 7:30am.

 Right from the beginning of her life, I've joked that Kayden is such a girl in that she knows how to communicate.  Maybe that's why she's so content?  She doesn't feel unheard/misunderstood all the time?  This month, Kayden has mastered "yes" and "no" in the form of head shakes.  Well, she's mastered "no" for sure.  She will tell us when she doesn't want any more (shakes head) or if she does want more (reaches, opens mouth, etc).  It makes for MUCH easier parenting when our kids get to that stage of understanding that they can tell us what they want or don't want and don't have to cry about everything.  I'm so glad this girl has discovered it young! 

Kayden's greatest joy this month has been dancing and music.  When she sees me reaching for the little tape player that we have in the kitchen, her face lights up and she starts bouncing.  She hears music and her little body just bounces and dances!  It's so fun to watch her take such joy in music!  Yesterday, on her birthday, I would hold her and sing happy birthday to her while dancing with her in my arms.  I did this multiple times through the day.  At the beginning, she would just raise her arms so she wasn't holding on and "dance" with me by kicking her legs and doing little ab crunches/bouncing in my arms.  By the end of the day, it was a full out grin as we danced around the kitchen.  What a joyful one she is!

Kayden isn't moving yet.  She only mastered rolling at 11 month and only realized it could get her places in the last day or two.  Even so, she doesn't always remember that she can use rolling to go places so most often she just lays there.  She doesn't crawl/scoot at all either.  I always joke that it's nice to know where at least one of my kids is at all times...she's always exactly where I leave her!  And I can even leave her on a table/chair and she won't move.  Now, of course I don't leave her unattended in unsafe places, but I'm just saying...if I needed to run to grab something while I'm changing her diaper, chances are pretty good that she'll still be on the change table when I get back 10 seconds later.  :)

And that's our girl at a year!  What a beautiful, wonderful girl she is, inside and out!  It has been a joy to watch her grow this past year, from a tiny, sleeping-all-the-time newborn to a joyful, inquisitive, smiling one year old.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Pictures, anyone?

Levi loves to help vacuum.  I'm not complaining!

Enjoying the dog :)

Love these two and their special connection :)

Bath night! 

I love that just-woke-up look...

Sleeping girl...perfection.

She's learned the wrinkled nose look from the best...her brother.  She pulls it off pretty well and has made it her own too :)

There's the boy's version of the wrinkled nose smile :)


hehe.  This happens so much.

Marble maze made from lego.  Turned out to be more frustrating than fun...but I'll store this idea in my back pocket for another rainy day when Levi's a little older.  With a little more coordination, I think it could be a good time!