Saturday, March 28, 2009

Spring Break

It always begins the same way. Bickering. Lots and lots of bickering. I'm sure the teachers all pick this particular time so that they can get away from the irritable kids who are tired of such a long winter!

We had over 12 inches of snow a few days ago. It all fell within 2 days, and covered up all the promising patches of spring grass that were beginning to show. We had our hopes up that this year we would have a dry, warm Easter to hide eggs outside. As it looks now, those hopes are dashed.

(Doesn't that look awful?)

And in comes the bickering. After almost 5.5 months of winter, no one is happy to see it prolonged--especially when there's a week of holidays to be had!

I do my best not to be brought down by others' negativity, but my energy stores are depleting quickly. I spent this last week watching my niece and nephew, and I'm starting to wonder how I survived when my kids were small! Why does it seem so much harder when it's other's children?

On a positive note (yes, there are a few of those), the chives that the young children and I planted in mini planters are starting to grow just above the surface of dirt! For anyone who knows me in real life, this is a HUGE feat. I have dubbed myself 'the black thumb' because of years of issues with gardening.

I have cried over many flowers, plants and trees that I have unintentionally these little sprouts of hope have my heart leaping for Joy! If you feel the urge to laugh at me now, just wait until you hear about how I sing to these little signs of life. I even talk to them.

Okay, maybe I'm a bit over-zealous about these plants, but they give me a reason to get up (early) each morning. (even I am laughing now!)

I pray that God has some amazing things in store for this coming week. I will be watching 2 nephews and my niece along with my four kids.....7 kids, 2 adults.....I believe in miracles!!!!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Men and Women are Different.

And they will never, ever be the same. It's true. It took me a very long time to really grasp the reality of this thought.

When I first met Arnaud, I was blinded by the fairy tale notion that once you fall in love, everything just works out. Each time he displayed less than romantic or inconsiderate gestures, I would simply tell myself that eventually I'd have him 'fixed' to my specifications....because, after all, I was worth changing for, right?

I tackled each disagreement we had with my own understandings and experience. The 'equality' movement had me convinced that we are equal--in thoughts, feelings and intentions. Thus, I approached Arnaud with the attitude that he knew better, so all of his actions (or lack thereof) were intentional and he was just 'feigning' shock at my reactions.

You can imagine my own surprise when it finally dawned on me that his brain actually works differently than mine! I think this realization came at a very good time in our marriage.....somewhere between the 'sleeping-on-the-couch-is-your-only-option' and 'is-it-considered-abuse-if-you-are-just-smacking-some-sense-back-into-him?' stage.

Here are some observations I have made in the ten years since we said "I do".

Women have great ideas. Awesome ideas. And they're always right (at least in their heads).
Men need to think they have great ideas. Awesome ideas....and they need to be right sometimes.

When it comes to marriage, women would prefer sooner rather than later.
For men, never seems like a good time to tie the knot.

It's not a 'ticking' of the biological clock that women hear (in fact, it never was such a soothing sound)'s more of a Jack Hammer that picks up strength as we watch our friends' families grow.
Men don't have biological clocks...either that or they are using selective hearing.

Women are impatient by nature (when there's a job to do, let's get it done!).
Men's first reaction to impatience is resistance. Strong resistance...unless it has to do with a flat screen t.v. and sports.

There are times to push for what is important, and there are times to convince your husband that it was his idea in the first place. If he gets the credit, you both come out happy in the end...he thinking he got his way, and you knowing you did.

Disclaimer: There are always exceptions to these rules, and all of this was stated in good fun! ;)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Single Handedly

This week I began to watch my niece (2) and nephew (4.5) while their regular childcare provider takes a maternity break for two months.

They are both really well behaved, so I do not have concerns about tantrums erupting too often...but learning to juggle 3 children under 5 again has been a challenge. One is still in diapers (wow, was I ever out of practice!!!), and the other is in his inquisitive stage. I am kept on my toes answering questions about things I've never taken notice of before. For example, "Why does chocolate make milk brown?"

I've just always accepted that it did.

I took the time to prepare for this new routine that includes extra mouths to feed and a couple more minds to keep involved. It was a good thing I did, as I can't imagine having to scramble for ideas to keep these little sponges satisfied!

My husband left early in the morning on Monday for a week long business trip. Perfect timing, isn't it? I did a little laugh when I found out the week prior, and thought there were going to be some real testing times in this first week.

Kalyna did decide (after 2 years of full night sleeps) to wake at 1:30 a.m. the first 2 nights. No fever, no illness, no need to urinate....just wanted company. I don't remember being this tired after having my newborns!! I guess my body just doesn't handle interrupted sleep like it used to.

I was like a new person when she finally slept through last night. I will never complain about having to wake half an hour early again!

I have done well on my own (with God's help)....I have single handedly held down the fort and kept the home fires burning without extra help. I was even able to attend my oldest daughter's concert, hire a babysitter for a meeting, and get grocery shopping done with 6 kids in tow!

I'm ready for my husband to come home now. My super powers are all but used up.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Motherhood: Lessons learned

There were many pieces of advice given to me as I began my journey into motherhood. Some of it was helpful, some not so much.

I learned to smile, nod and thank those who offered their wisdom...then promptly forget about it when they were out of sight. This helped in many instances, but there were times that I wished I had listened a little more carefully and put into practice what these 'seasoned' mothers were offering.

Don't ever say 'my child would never do that' before your child is so far beyond the age where he/she would even attempt it, that it's safe to say it.

I distinctly remember telling my Mother that my children would never have access to scissors before Kindergarten, so there was no way they'd ever have the chance to cut each others' hair (like I had done to my sister).

Less than two weeks later I was in tears as I took my oldest daughter (3 at the time) to get her hair 'fixed' after her big brother had butchered it by cutting off her two pigtails.


Don't stress over the potty training stage, most kids are out of diapers before they graduate High School.

I had myself convinced my oldest son was to be the first child that would never use a toilet.


I introduced him to the white throne when he was 2. I do believe I heard laughter as it dawned on him exactly what I wanted him to do while sitting on this fixture. He teased me for a full year with 'Mommy I have to pee' followed by 'just kidding', all the while wetting his pants.

My mother in law had him trained in less than a week by letting him go buck naked in her garden. I wish I hadn't wasted so much energy stressing.

Bribery is nothing to be ashamed of. Most days it's a choice: Either bribe your children to behave while grocery shopping, or starve.

It was so easy to state that I would never entice good behaviour with promises of goodies or games before I had toddlers. I couldn't tell you how many times I would look down on my friends with toddlers as they begged them to just behave this one time. I would even offer advice about being more strict and authoritative in order to have them behave. It was so easy to take this attitude when I was only dealing with a single innocent newborn.

Yep, I had it all figured out....until my baby reached about 18 months and became a screamer! Oh how I wish my friends had just knocked some sense into me back then! (actually, I'm surprised they didn't smack me for my ignorance)

I know there are more lessons to be learned, but those ones seem to sum up the ones that I learned the hard way.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Update on 'A little Story'

You can read the original story here for the details.

I was just informed on Sunday that our Pastor has decided to issue a Baptismal Certificate for my nephew with Ethan's name as the one who Baptized! Our Pastor has been mulling this decision over for the past year or so, and came to the conclusion that all the elements of a Baptism were present, and to deny this event would be to deny Christ's teachings and Love.

I have yet to mention this to Ethan, and I'm sure he'll be full of Joy over this news. He has always maintained that it was a 'real' baptism, and for anyone who would say otherwise, he'd ask them to justify their stance. They couldn't, so he'd reply with, "Then it is real."

The Priest mentioned one incident a few months ago where Ethan came up to him (with my nephew) and asked if they both could receive communion. Ethan has been receiving for a number of years now, but the Priest hesitated about answering for my nephew. He simply said, "Well, you need to be Baptized first." Ethan was quick to point out that he was, indeed, a Baptized member of the Church. This was one of a few interactions that caused our Pastor to pause and re-examine what to do with this story.

I am so happy for my nephew. To have it be official now has lifted a burden for him that was heavy to carry. This will be a very special story to share for years to come. How many people can say that their younger cousin baptized them?

God is good!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Momma always told me there would be days like this


Have you ever had a day that you wish you weren't the responsible one? Where you wish for just a moment you could have a tantrum, and no one would look at you oddly?

Not only have I wished for these things, but I've actually indulged (shock!) on one or two occasions. It's so strange, I knew it was coming on (I have one or two days of hormonal imbalance each month), and I do my best to manage the outbursts....but every so often I just stop fighting it.

The above picture reminded me of the look my kids give me when the outburst occurs. I'm thankful that they give me this look, as it confirms that they are not 'used' to this behaviour, so it must be a rarity, right? (wink)

For years I tried to justify the outbursts....telling myself there was only so much a human (even a woman!) could endure before they explode. I could sense that Christ was not accepting my excuses, but I continued to make them. I would even get encouragement from fellow 'outburst' sufferers, so I felt I was in good company.

Well, that just wasn't good enough for God. No, He wanted me to work on this area....He wanted me to actually acknowledge that it was a selfish habit of mine. If it was a habit, that would imply that I had control over it....and having control over it meant that I could choose not to indulge in the behaviour.....Obviously God is not a woman. I mean, control? Really?

I now know how my husband feels when we disagree. Since I'm always right, it almost seems futile to even begin a discussion....he may as well just follow my suggestions, grin and bear it.

I've come to know this about God--you may think you are right, but you are not right. Ever. Sometimes I remember this in a timely fashion, but mostly I'm stubborn and suffer longer than necessary.

This was the case with my outbursts. For so long I had myself convinced that the hormonal imbalances (if you haven't figured it out by now, I'm referring to PMS) were not in my control, and therefore, the outbursts were also out of my hands. It figures that just when I felt comfortable in my justification, God comes and tells me it's time for another pruning session.

So, due to this being a recent revelation, I have not yet figured out the entire message aside from the fact that I no longer can justify my reactions nor hide behind my usual excuses. I have begun to ask for forgiveness (mainly from my husband, as he's the easiest target), and apologize for my lack of control.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Random (old) pictures

Here are some of my favorite shots over the last few years. I didn't have a digital camera until my last child was born, so any pictures before that were done the old fashion way!

The pictures are small because they were saved in Photobucket. I hope you can still see enough to enjoy them as I have!

There's no such thing as a 'perfect shot' with four young subjects.

This was a family 'sick' day...slurpees are a cure for all ailments!

Ethan and Alec's first day of Grade 2 and Grade 1.

Annlise's first day of Kindergarten.

This is Kalyna's 'Mickey Mouse' pose. She was 3 days old.

"Pretty in pink"

Yes, that's a cast on her 15 months old. The first and only (so far) broken bone in our family.

Kalyna made the cutest Yoda last year!

The end.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Matthew 11:19 (21st Century King James Version)

The son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, "Behold, a gluttonous man and winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!" But wisdom is justified by her children.

I've always remembered this verse as saying, "But wisdom is proved right by her actions." There were other variations of this verse which were closer to my memory, but this one stood out at me and I decided to use it. Most likely it was because of its reference to children.

The story of King Soloman has always intrigued me. As a 6 year old little girl, I can remember being curled up on the couch with my Mom as she read me the story of the two prostitutes who were fighting over a baby. The first time I heard the story, I was mortified when it came to the part where King Soloman ordered the baby cut in half!!! I thought this guy was supposed to be wise!

After the resolution of the story, and the sparing of the baby's life, I was in awe of this wisdom that I had heard for the first time. I wanted to know what he knew, and I wanted to know the God that he worshiped.

I would petition the Lord each night, asking for this wisdom that only He could bestow....I wanted to serve Him, and Him only....I wanted to please him. Every time I would make this request, I would be plagued with thoughts like, "You are only asking for this because you know Soloman got riches know that's why you are asking for this!!"

I now know that those thoughts were not from God, nor were they from my heart. We all have these moments where we ask for what is upright and pure, but are held down by thoughts and unworthy feelings. Paul talks about this in Romans, a struggle between wanting to do what's right, but being overcome with the thoughts and actions that the sinful body urges us to do.

I continued to pursue my request.

God has blessed me with moments of wisdom. He has spoken to me and guided me through situations that I felt were hopeless. He has opened my eyes to the True gift of wisdom, which is expressed in Love....not grand gestures and loud is in seeing someone's hurt, and holding their hand through it.

I have to be honest, I expected that this gift would be a 'one time' thing that would just show up in the right times and people would recognize it right away in me....what I failed to realize is that it no longer rests with me when I'm looking for outside recognition. (This is called arrogance)

The Lord giveth and He taketh away. This message applies to each gift we are blessed with. If you fail to follow Christ's path, you no longer allow the Spirit to work through you. Without the spirit, your gifts no longer work.

The particular verse I used today (at top) opened my eyes to a new revelation in my life. The wisdom God bestowed on me was to be used to raise my children. He did not intend for me to be some great guru that the world would hear (we have enough of those!), no....His plans were far more important! I was called to raise my children to be servants for Christ, and to do so, I needed His wisdom to handle the unpredictable nature of my children.

The times that I 'try' to sound wise, words get jumbled and mixed. The times that the words I share have profound effects on others, I don't even remember thinking them through....and I'm sure I didn't, I merely let the Spirit flow through my mouth or finger tips.

I need to learn to let the Spirit flow more freely in my life.

Lord, I thank you for your presence in my life. I thank you for the blessings you have trusted me with, and I pray that you continue to reveal the purpose you have for me and my family as we come before you in humility. I pray that you keep showing me the areas of arrogance that I need to work on, and instill in me the love you have for all of your children. Amen.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I'm a wimp

Sometimes it's easier to ignore a problem than to face it head on. At least that's what I'm telling myself so I can continue to ignore the one I have to deal with.

This is going to make me look really bad as a Mom, but I have to honest here....and hopefully writing it out gives me the reality check I need to actually deal with something that needs attention.

Okay, here goes nothing....

I hate taking my kids to the dentist. Scratch that--I hate taking one particular child to the dentist! And wouldn't you know, he's the one that has the most dental issues. You would think that after all he's been through (poor guy has received the worst genes of both sides of the family), he'd get a handle on some of the procedures! Nope, his fear (which presents itself as violent anger) is deep-rooted, and not likely to be abated anytime soon.

Alec. My wonderful, caring, compassionate and sharp little man turns into a terror when there's mention of any extra work needed on his teeth. When he makes up his mind not to open his mouth, there is not one person on this earth that can open his mouth! This has caused me many anxious moments as the hygienist and dentist both look at me as if I have special super powers, and I simply state, "Good luck!"

So, now that you have a little bit of history, let me share the 'problem' that I am avoiding with my dear son, Alec. You see, one of his top teeth has grown in behind a baby tooth (that has finally come out), so it is not in a good position. When we visited the Orthodontist last year, he advised that we come back when the tooth has fully grown in, and that Alec would need an expander put in.

An expander (for those who don't know) is a metal device that hooks onto the back teeth and pushes the jaw outward to give space for more adult teeth. I am familiar with this because my oldest son had one as well. My oldest son, however, is the most docile and co-operative of all my it was a pleasant experience (for me).

As you can guess, I'm not looking forward to addressing this issue....and here comes the part where I look like a bad Mom....I'm so tempted to send my husband to these appointments, just so I don't have to watch the struggles that are sure to ensue!

What kind of mother would abandon her child in a time like this???? The other scenario that has passed through my thoughts involves sedatives and a hospital setting for doing the procedure. I'm not one to advocate for excessively medicating a child, however, I'm also not willing to be the parent of a child that bites off the Orthodontist's fingers and ruins his career!

If you could spare a prayer or two, I'd appreciate God's intervention here. I'm convinced we need a miracle in Alec's life just to get through the procedure!