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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

And the Party Train Rolls On...

My 'Lyza Girl turns two whole years old tomorrow. I can hardly believe it. She arrived 2 1/2 weeks early and hasn't stopped since. She is my Everyday Diva, sporting skirts and pretty bling at every opportunity. She is my Disaster Waiting to Happen, creating chaos out of the most innocuous situations. She is my Tiny Tempest, with the ability to reach vocal heights the world's finest opera singers would be proud of.

She is also a charmer. Men of the world, beware; when this little girl turns those hazel eyes your way, shakes that curly blonde hair, and pouts her bottom lip, there are few mortal men able to resist. She is her brother's confidante and strength, quietly giving him the courage to venture out into unknown places. She is mommy's shadow; cleaning, shopping, cooking, and whatever else fills up our day. She is daddy's princess, running full tilt into his arms when arrives home from any length of absence.

And most of all, she is just Elyza Jane... 1. 2.
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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sew What?

Sew, I've been in the basement again, sewing away in my little corner. This time, I've produced some fabric books; seven Christmas ones and four every day themed ones. These are a relatively simple project, if only I could be convinced to follow the instructions. First, I managed to sew the pages inside out. Then, a couple have been sew upside down. Still others I went 'outside the lines' and had to re-sew them entirely. Good grief, Charlie Brown.

A woman I know often laments that she cannot sew. I laugh at this. She creates some incredibly beautiful wearable works of art, putting to shame my meagre needle and thread offerings. You can see her work at
I would sell my offspring for skills like that. But then, we're always wanting what we don't have, aren't we?

1. 2.
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Monday, February 23, 2009

The futility of cleaning house whilst Toddlers are present

As I sit here, my house looks pretty much respectable. This, of course, is because E1 and E2 are asleep. At any moment, they will awaken from their slumbers and begin, once again, to terrorize and demonize each other, the dog, and anything else in their path. I will bemoan 'my poor house' and 'all my hard work', seemingly wasted in a heartbeat. It's easy enough to do. I worked hard to clean this joint up, and I'd like to see it stay that way, if just for a little bit.

But this weekend, we will all get together, my father's family and we, to celebrate my grandmother's 85th birthday. Gathering with so many at once puts things into a little perspective for me. My grandparents did not have full indoor plumbing until my father was in high school. My grandmother raised her own 5 children, as well as parenting a host of other children, on $20 a week for groceries. She and my grandfather took in boarders to help out financially. Road crews would board at their house while building the new highway in front of their farm. She even climbed out the bedroom window, so the men in her living room would not realize she was in labour and headed to the hospital. Christmas presents were often homemade and always presented in brown paper grocery bags.

So, when I despair about having 'all this house to clean' or 'not needing any more work to do', I need to stop myself. We have been blessed with this home and these children and far more things than my grandmother could ever have imagined having to worry about.

When I am ready to pack it in, ship the kids off to day care, and talk to 'real people' for a change, I'll take a quick look around and notice some emtpy arms. Family from whom God has chosen to withhold children of their own. The cousin whose medical condition prevents she and her husband from having children. The uncle and aunt who have adopted from overseas, but face the constant conversation about wanting to go back and 'find my real mom'. The aunt and uncle who filled their home with five boys, but never dolls and dresses.

Truly, I look at E1 and E2 and wonder what right I have to complain about anything?

When the kids run around, making noise, knocking things over, and generally causing chaos and destruction, I will remember my little cousin Adryan. He was born over 2 months early, and has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Although currently undergoing a number of promising therapies, he cannot walk on his own, labours to feed himself, and communicates in a pretty limited way for a three year old. The only mess in my cousins' house is the mess they leave behind. The pitter-patter of little feet is actually the painfully slow turning of the wheels of Adryan's walker. And, although he laughs and smiles in a truly heart melting way, as of yet, we don't know exactly how much he understands.

So, today, when I am tempted to throw up my hands, pull out my hair, and wallow in a thoroughly deep trench of 'poor me's', I will stop and remember my family. A group of slightly left-of-centre individuals God has placed in my life as a mirror to help me see my own selfishness a little more clearly. 1. 2.
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Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentine's Helper

So, in honour of St. Valentine, I have baked and decorated some sugar cookies. What heart shaped sugar cookies have to do with a guy who married young couples in secret has never really been that clear to me. However, in my family, we will use any excuse to fire up the stove.

The recipe is very straight forward. It should be; I cut it off of a cookie sheet I received years ago.

1 c butter, softened
1 c sugar
2 eggs
1 T vanilla
3 c flour
1 t salt
1/2 t baking soda

Cream together butter and sugar, add eggs and vanilla. Combine flour, salt, and soda, add to wet mixture. Chill at least 2 hours. Roll out into 1/8" thickness, cut into shapes, bake 350 F until edges are barely brown, approximately 5-8 minutes.

I had made up the dough and chilled it the night before. The kids were asleep (hooray!), so the actual cutting and baking went extraordinarily well. Then it came time to ice the little critters. Time for one child to wake up, as is usually the case. So, Elyza helped. Oh, did she help, as evidenced above.

Even with, or despite, her assistance, the little things turned out pretty well. Some for Elliot's Sunday School class, some for daddy's office, some for this Saturday's birthday celebrations. And a little girl who still wants to spend time with mommy. Some day, I will beg for moments like this. Overall, not a bad afternoon's work. 1. 2.
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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Birthday Celebrations

We are in the midst of celebrating and re-celebrating my daughter's second birthday. It hasn't actually come yet, but we've already got one of three celebrations under our belt. Last Saturday, we headed back to Windsor to celebrate with the Delands. We had it all planned: Winston was staying with neighbours across the street, the items we needed to take with us had been assembled and placed by the door, the truck was full of gasoline. We were all in, ready to go, and then it happened: click, click. Attempts to jump the truck using the car failed and resulted in sparks. We now find out it also shorted some fuses, some we knew about that day (our own) and some in the truck (those we found out about later). So, we quickly re-loaded into our wee little Hyundai Elantra and headed out again. We stopped at a London McD's for breakfast and still made it to grandma and grandad's before noon. Once Uncle Todd, Aunt Michelle, and cousin Josh arrived, we ate lunch and opened gifts. Then the real fun began. Elyza had been acting a little off, but we attributed it to her cold. With Josh's playpen set up in grandad's room, Jason attempted to put Pooh down on the spare bed. She proceeded to upchuck everything she had eaten. What a mess. Have you seen those marshmallow candy hearts, the ones covered in red sugar? I have. Twice in the same day. Uncle Todd and Aunt Michelle chose this point to head home and attempt to put Josh to bed in more familiar surroundings. The new clothes Elyza had gotten for her birthday came in might handy that day. Once my girl finally fell asleep in my arms, we transferred her back to a bed. I had originally planned to do a little shopping, but this idea was quickly kiboshed. We shared the Dora cake I had made especially for my Elyza Jane, and she didn't get even one bite.

Uncle Todd and Aunt Michelle go bowling on Saturday nights and grandma and grandad watch Josh, so we needed to leave while she was still sleeping. So, we grudgingly woke her up and packed up. Elliot was asleep before we left the subdivision. Which wouldn't have been too bad, except that we were only going a few kilometres down the road. Again, we grudgingly woke up our eldest and tromped in to meet some old neighbour friends, people who were more like another set of grandparents and parents than just the people across the road. My little girl was ill, again, this time in the sink instead of on a non-wipable surface. Once we got her cleaned up and into more clean clothes, there were more gifts. Replica red Mustang and Corvette cars for Elliot and a little tow truck that makes siren noises and chugs along the floor. A giant floor puzzle for Elyza Jane with a book and then, the piece de resistance - an inflatable Wonder Pets ball house, complete with 50 balls. Oh boy oh boy! However, the inflatable part had to wait until we got home. Even Mr. Pat didn't have enough hot air to blow it up, not even with Momma's help.

We ordered Chinese, put Elyza to bed and chatted with our old friends for quite a while, enjoying the birthday cake that Mrs. Nancy had made, on Elyza's behalf. They are expecting their first grandchild in May. Their daughter and her husband live in Las Vegas, a hotel manager and a soon-to-be chef extraordinaire. We reluctantly packed up and headed out, unfolding ourselves out of the Mighty Hyundai at about 1 am. Elliot was sound asleep and stayed that way. Elyza, on the other hand, came inside and again was violently ill, at least this time, most of it was on the linoleum. Another change of clothing and eventually off to sleep for all, around 2 am.

So, what have we all learned from this experience? A few things, I think. First, start the truck first, before anything else. If it doesn't go, neither do we. I believe God speaks in a lot of ways. Some of them not so mysterious, if we will just pay attention. Secondly, His ways are not my ways. My ways, for the weekend, included some me time, shopping, and pleasant travel. His ways included some very close family time, cleaning up vomit, and tight traveling quarters. There was a reason. Dunno what it is yet, but I trust, that in His time, I'll figure it out. Thirdly, to be sure to continue to make the effort, even when you don't feel like it. Good friends are hard to find and harder to keep. 1. 2.
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