Saturday, 20 March 2010

What we've been up to

It's spring! Now that we've settled into our new house, and into this city in general, we're trying to get out and explore as much as we can. I can't say I'm a fan of the city yet, but I did love the distinct lack of snow this winter. I've had flowers in my front yard for a good month now! Having grown up in a northern community where -50C wasn't unusual during the winter, I am wholly appreciating the mild weather here - rain and all.

If the boy had been a bit older, we would have taken advantage of all the Olympics had to offer here. Instead...we ran for the hills. We spent two very nice weeks with my in-laws, avoiding the craziness of the city during the events. We did, however, take in a game of sledge hockey at the Paralympics when we got back. I'm only a hockey fan in the sense that hey, I'm Canadian, I have to be (*ahem* GOLD!!! *ahem*), but it was pretty neat to watch anyway.

On Wednesday we met up with some new friends to enjoy the warm weather while visiting the animals at Maplewood Farm. We love this place. Absolutely love it. The boy always heads straight for the goat pens first, where he climbs all over the rock mountains and through the tunnels and runs around the grass and, of course, pets the goats. Lately most of our playdates have been with girls, so it was neat to see four boys running around in endless circles and laughing hysterically over goat poop (yes, we've reached the potty humour stage). There's really no denying that, however much you try to avoid gender stereotypes, boys simply do play differently than girls (generally speaking, of course). We also fed carrots to the rabbits, chased the poor ducks and chickens, and watched a cow milking demonstration (how perfectly appropriate was it that two of us took the opportunity to nurse our own babies while watching the cow be milked!).

We picked his Daddy up after the farm and decided we'd all head to Fatburger (mmmfatburger) since hey, we had a coupon for a free burger and clearly we couldn't let it go to waste, right? (Right?) I managed to enjoy one bite of my burger with two hands (!!!) before the baby started crying and I had to pick him up and attempt to eat the rest of my messy drippy burger with one hand. The outing ended with the baby and Daddy covered in spit up, the boy and I covered in an entire cup of lemonade that he accidently spilled, and me heading home to have a nap.

A wonderful wonderful nap.

On Friday, I did something spectacular. I went out. By myself. For two whole hours.


I put the baby down for a nap, settled the boy into his room for rest time, and fairly ran to the door for my escape before anyone started crying or protesting or asking to come along.

I went to a thrift store and an antique store without worrying that my toddler my knock something down, my baby might start fussing, or my husband might start throwing longing glaces towards the door after only a few short minutes of browsing. I went to Tim Horton's and didn't have to share my fritter. I walked at my own pace.


Then - spoiled woman that I am - my husband took me to Ikea today! I would have gone by myself, but it's a bit of a drive, plus, well, it's Ikea, and chances are very good that I'd get lost in a happy daze of browsing and come back a few hours later to a screaming hungry baby and a displeased husband. So. They all came along instead. I placated the man and the boy with 50 cent hotdogs. What can I say, I'm awesome like that.

Anyway, I came home with lots of fabric with which to make all sorts of wonderful things. I don't know what, yet, exactly, but something will be made. My wonderful mother-in-law is out of the country doing missions work (along with my FIL) for the next seven weeks, and so she lent me her sewing machine for that time! I'm so excited. Seven lovely weeks of sewing. So far I've done an adorable pair of dinosaur pj's for the boy (it's so satisfying to see him wear them), a set of multi-textured bean bags, and a dish drying mat to sit beside the sink. Pictures will come eventually, yes. Now I just have to decide which of my fifty thousand planned projects to tackle next, before MIL returns and I have to surrender the machine!

One day I'll have my own. Ah, what a lovely day that shall be.

One last recent observation to share with you, and then I'll be off to start cutting squares for fabric blocks or some such project. Last night, the husband and I were going to play our favourite game, the Settlers of Catan card game. In our house, you can't play Catan without a plate of freshly baked cookies on the table. It's, like, in the rule book or something. Anyway. We were out of butter (sad), so I Googled vegan chocolate chip cookies, because hey, vegans don't eat butter, right? Success! I found a butter-free chocolate chip cookie recipe, and it had tons of positive reviews from happy vegans below it.

Well. I've decided that vegans must simply be very nice people.

Because those cookies? Were awful.

Now on (my usual go-to recipe site), people are pretty brutal. If your vegan chocolate chip cookies suck, they will let you know. In no uncertain terms. But on happy hippie vegan site, everyone tells you your disgusting cookies are the best thing they've ever tasted! Thus, my conclusion - vegans must be very nice people.

So go hug a vegan...just don't eat their cookies.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

You know you have an older brother when... get covered in cars, stuffed animals, rubber ducks, or blankets every time your mother turns her back for more than a few seconds. could sleep through a bomb falling on the house, you are so used to sleeping through shrieks, laughter, and the sound of feet endlessly running. get swatted at and told to be quiet by a grumpy two year old when your early-morning fussing wakes him up.

...the slightest whimper as you wake up from your nap brings two little feet running your way to snuggle with you until Mom catches up. receive more hugs, kisses, and love than you ever could have imagined possible.

The boy still adores his little brother. He's always the first one there when the baby cries. Half the time he tells me to "pick him up, Mommy, he wants you!", and the other half I get told to go away because the boy will look after him! He's recently starting referring to him as "his" baby. He wanted me to put the baby to bed with him last night. When I told him the baby was still too small, he tried protesting, "but he's MY baby!" I've never had trouble keeping the cats away from a baby, but an older brother?? It's darn near impossible. I sometimes wake up in the morning to find that the boy has snuck into our bed during the night and the two of them are sound asleep snuggled up together. As much as I try to discourage it for safety reasons, I can't deny that I find it absolutely adorable at the same time. This baby's going to grow up to be one tough kid if he manages to survive his older brother's lavish displays of affection!

Sunday, 14 March 2010

I'm an auntie!

My wonderful sister became a mother early this morning (and I became an aunt!). She is the mother to a beautiful little girl named Addisyn.

Addisyn is a precious gift to my sister. Addisyn's birth mother, being unable to raise Addisyn herself, made the difficult decision to give her child up for adoption. It has been an emotional few months for my sister, and an even more emotional past couple of days, with a large amount of uncertainty as to what the final decision would be. But now Addisyn is here, the birth mother has left the child in my sister's arms, and my sister is preparing for a nerve-wracking 30 day waiting period in which the birth mother can change her mind.

My sister is absolutely in love with her new little girl. She had induced milk production so that she could breastfeed the child, and so far that is going beautifully. I am so proud of the amazing person that she is.

And I'm so excited to be an aunt!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010


Last night was another wonderful night of studying the Bible with a small group of friends from our church. As always, the evening was made even better by the presence of our children amidst us. No childcare needed - just a group of people who occasionally glance down to smile at the children playing at our feet. Every time we get there, the boy and his friend start squealing and jumping up and down before grabbing hands and running off to play with her toys or chase each other around the house. As we start our prayer and study, the kids quiet down (as quiet as a couple of toddlers can be, anyway!) and the babies sit on their mama's laps or nurse at their mama's breasts.

We're quite the collection - a few couples of various ages and several single university and seminary students. It's not a "mom's group" or a "couple's group" or a "college group" or a "parents' group", and yet no one frowns at the giggling children or asks the nursing mothers to cover up or leave the room. (How will breastfeeding ever become the norm in our society again if we continue to hide away in bathrooms, spare rooms, or vehicles whenever our babies need to nurse, as though we're performing some "necessary evil" in feeding our children, something shameful, something indecent, something to be covered up? Society needs to see breastfeeding mothers doing just that - breastfeeding!) It is so encouraging as a mother to be openly welcomed into a beautifully mixed group of people, and to have my children welcomed along with me.

This is what we have been searching for - a community that we can be a part of. People bound not by some common age or stage in life, but rather people of all ages and stages bound by love for each other and love for our Saviour. People who can be honest and real with each other, cry in front of each other, share our struggles and joys and triumphs with each other, learn from each other, and pray for each other.

I'm not an outgoing person. I'm an introvert, and painfully shy on top of that. I'm pretty happy to sit at home all day - but I know this is not how we were designed to live. We were designed to live in community. Community, though, is no longer easy to come by. Raised from birth to be "independent", we have become a society of individuals who pride themselves on relying on no one but themselves.

How's that working out for us? Not so well, I'd venture to say. Staggering divorce rates suggest a distinct lack of healthy married role models. Youth seek connection in sexual relationships before they've even reached double digit ages. Mothers are so overwhelmed by raising children without support that they resort to leaving their babies to cry because they just can't handle it anymore. Increasing rates of post-partum depression further decry this isolation. We were not made to do it all on our own!

Where are the older married couples to guide and encourage the younger? Where are the close family relationships that meet a child's need for connection? Where are the sisters, mothers, aunts, grandmothers, and friends to help the overwhelmed mother with the tasks of raising her children and running her household? I want these things for my children. I need these things for myself!

And so, homebody that I am, I seek community. I seek it for myself, I seek it for my marriage, I seek it for my children. And in this jumbled collection of Christ-followers, I have found it - community, in all it's raw and heartfelt beauty.

I have found it elsewhere, too. Online communities, like the wonderful ladies at Gentle Christian Mothers, have helped me through these early years of motherhood. A smaller online community that I have been a part of for the past few years, consisting of beautiful ladies like Melody, Adrian, and Nicole, has provided friendship, accountability, prayer support, challenging discussions, and a deeper study of God's Word. Blogs and message boards have allowed me to keep in touch with friends I've moved away from (like the lovely Trace), form new friendships (like the inspiring Karyn), and delve into a wealth of information (like the infamous Annie of PhD in Parenting).

Finally, far-flung though they may be, we seek community in our extended family. We may no longer have the multi-generational family under one roof, as was (wisely, I think) done in the past, but we can maintain those important connections despite the distance that separates us.

It may not be as easy to find community as it once was, but it is no less important - perhaps moreso, even, in the society we have become. Intentional community requires deliberate action, time, effort, vulnerability, honesty, and grace.

And for some of us, it means putting aside our introvert ways and pushing through our shyness to reach out to others - for the sake of ourselves, our families, our children, and our society.