Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Middle of the Week Randoms & Goals


  •  My life has been extremely chaotic for the past year and a half
    • I hope 2015 will be my year to catch up and get it together...or at least improve.
  • Brielle is still up many times a night.
  • Nathanael has also been getting up in the night lately
  • The last time I slept for 4 hours in a row was 10 months ago...and only once or twice. 
  • All I want for Christmas, my birthday, anniversary, holiday....etc. is sleep. Uninterrupted 5 or 6 hours of sleep. This is my dream. I hope dreams really do come true. I'm dog-tired.
Meals for this week include tacos, bbq chicken salad, and Moroccan chicken lentil soup. I need to get back to real-deal menu planning. Most nights are throw-it-together nights. Lots of pancakes. Lots of tacos. Lots of simple meatless pasta dishes. That's okay for now but not forever.

I have several goals for 2015. Some of these include...

Wean Brielle....get this kid sleeping through the night! (within a month)
Potty train Nathanael completely (he is partly trained)....get this kid sleeping through the night! (within 6 weeks)
Lose 25 pounds (by summer)
Get back in shape and exercising again
Take better care of myself in every way...get back to feeling "me" again.
Catch up on pictures
Catch up on baby books
Purge and organize every nook and cranny of this house. Minimalism people, minimalism!
Start piano lesson planning (So I have a solid plan in place for September). This is with the goal of teaching Elianna lessons and also teaching myself how to be a piano teacher...Something I'm considering dabbling in, but I need a plan! 
Get a solid routine in place for the kids & home schooling
Have Elianna reading well by summer
Get a chore system in place for the kids
Consider finding a way to make a little extra income (maybe a part time or casual job, maybe babysitting/child care, blogging for income, piano lessons...these are a few of my ideas)

First priority...no surprise here...sleep! This will likely go hand in hand with weaning Brielle. This process is beginning today and will hopefully be completed by her 1st birthday. 

The likelihood of getting all this accomplished is slim....but I'm hopeful once I get sleeping better and start exercising, my productivity and energy during the day will sky-rocket.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

When Life Is Loud - Family Update

Wow, this blog has been quiet lately! I suppose that is because real life has been rather loud. We have a lot going on these days, and it has been a very busy season of life for us. Here`s just a short update on our life. (More for my memory`s sake than yours!)

Elianna  - LOVES to draw pictures and tell stories to go along with her pictures. Her pictures are just the best and really crack me up. She definitely seems like an artistic, imaginative, free-spirited type of kid. She loves animals. She is very social and outgoing...definitely NOT shy. Her favourite subject right now is math. She is also starting to enjoy reading a bit more, so reading lessons are also a fun time for her rather than a chore. I have been quite laid back about the reading and not pushing her too much, which I think has been a good idea. My goal is to finish our phonics book this year (Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons). I have about a third or so left of the book to go through. Some weeks we do a few lessons, some weeks we skip a lesson. I`ve been pretty unorganized this year, which I hope to change soon. Still, she is learning all the basic Kindergarten-type stuff she needs to learn. She recently learned how to write her first and last name with proper upper-case and lower-case letters. She has workbooks for printing that we are also going through, and she has really improved her printing lately.

Nathanael - He is almost 3 and is quite the character. He loves to build things with blocks...especially towers. He is a bit of a goof-ball and a jokester. He wants rice crispies for breakfast every single day. He can eat 3-4 pieces of pizza already! His age brings its own set of challenges... One of his favourite things to do is play in the bathtub. He loves to surprise me. For example, he will build a tower or draw a picture and then come find me with a twinkle in his eyes...close your eyes, Mom. Close your eyes. SURPRISE! It`s super cute. We are still working on potty training him...oy.

Brielle - Still doesn`t sleep at night. Started taking her first steps at 9 months old. She is walking like a champ at 10 and a half months old and prefers to walk instead of crawl now. She can even stand up on her own from the middle of a room and start walking without any help. Earliest walker....worst sleeper. Favourite word these days is Mum. Trying to get her into her high chair or car seat is like wrestling a wet fish. Her stubbornness and get-er-done attitude is interesting and a bit frightening. Loves to drink out of a straw. Eating mostly table food these days. Favourite baby food is peaches. Loves to clap and play peek-a-boo.

We have struggled with a lot of illness this year. Colds, flus, and stomach bugs have seemed to plague our family ever since I gave birth to Brielle. We were sick over Christmas and then sick again 2 weeks later with a stomach bug. We were also sick with a stomach bug the week after Thanksgiving. (No, it`s not food poisoning! Haha). Now, my kids just got over some other sort of flu that included sore throats and a fever for Brielle. All this sickness has been frustrating, but we try to count our blessings that it is not worse.

It has been a hard year for many people in our circle of friends, church, and family who have gone through tremendous hardships this year. Accidents, loss of infants, heartbreaking diagnoses, tough decisions. It has been a really difficult year for many people we know. It has also been a difficult year for us in many ways. Being an adult changes your perspective, for sure. You realize how much difficulty and heartache there is in life. All this just makes me long even more for my heavenly home and reminds me to try to live my life for the Lord while still here. This is the theme of my life and blog....homemaking pilgrim. Pilgrim...one who journeys in a foreign land. This world is feeling more foreign all the time. We just can`t get too comfortable here. Life can`t be taken for granted. Make each day count for the Lord. This world is not our forever home.

Guide me, O thou great Jehovah,
pilgrim though this barren land;
I am weak, but thou art mighty;
hold me with thy powerful hand;


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

5 Things You Didn't Need to Know About Me


1) I cannot live without hazelnut chocolate in my life.  *Cue country song, "How do I Live" by Trisha Yearwood.* I am obsessed with any kind of chocolate, for that matter. Except chocolate cake. I can live without chocolate cake in my life. Given the choice, 9 times outta 10 I'll choose vanilla or white cake. I still don't understand it.

2) I get crazy ideas in my head that are completely unrealistic. For awhile I was dreaming about getting my master's degree and becoming a speech language pathologist. Then, I was thinking about advancing my piano training and going for my ARCT. Next thing you know I'm thinking about taking up the violin. Or cello. Or tuba. Or becoming a circus clown that plays the tuba. The last one might be feasible....minus the tuba.

3) I absolutely stink at wrapping presents. If you want to know which gift was wrapped by yours truly, just pick the ugly one.

4) Lately I cannot live without horseradish. I've been putting it on and in everything these days. In fact, I just excused myself from this blog post to go to the fridge and eat a spoonful of it. It is just so delicious.

5) No, I'm not pregnant.

Monday, November 10, 2014

When Your Window Explodes...What Do You Do

So....you are sitting in your van with your family late in the evening, minding your own business, when you suddenly hear a very loud BOOM, sounding like a gun shot. You look at your husband and ask, "What was that?!" Then, the rear window of your van smashes into a trillion pieces and falls out.


WHAT DO YOU DO? (AKA..WHAT WE DID)

1) Panic. Assume you are under fire and shout at your husband, "GO! GO! JUST GO! What if someone's shooting at us? GO! Drive! Just get OUT of here!" Husband drives.

2) Shuffle through the freshly-fallen snow, enter your house, put the kids to bed, while ignoring the feeling that the air inside is a little...crisp.

3) Spend the next three hours cleaning up glass while stressing about the fact that you desperately needed the van this week.

4) Google things like, "Can a vehicle window randomly explode?" and "Cost to replace rear van window."

5) Crawl into your bed around midnight, exhausted. Immediately get back out of bed. You are freezing cold, so you put on your absolute warmest pajamas and your fuzziest house coat, warm up a heat pack in the microwave, and crawl back into bed with your heat pack. Exchange some friendly banter with your husband as he crawls into bed and comments on your "stinky wheat" heat pack, which has long been a hilarious bone of contention around here....LOL.

6) Husband comments, "Wow...it's cold in here. I'm going to go turn up the furnace."

7) Quip, "Yep, that's why the "stinky wheat" heat pack is a most-necessary bedtime accessory."

8) Husband suspiciously questions, "Why does our thermostat say it's 68 in here when it's supposed to hold at 70?" Husband proceeds to turn up thermostat and wait for furnace to kick in.

9) The furnace does not kick in.

10) Fiddle around with a few switches, check thermostat batteries. Try again.

11) Furnace still does not kick in.

12) Spend the next 3 hours attempting to get the furnace to turn on, going through manuals, and looking up troubleshooting furnace tips on the internet.

13) Discuss how a randomly exploding window AND a broken furnace all in the same night has contributed to it being a doozy of an evening.

Throw in the fact that
        1) It's the weekend, so businesses are closed.
        2) On Monday husband is working alone and has no lunch break for making phone calls or running errands.
       3) Tuesday is Rememberance Day, so that means businesses are closed.
       4) It's the first snowy, icy, cold week of the year. Thus, a broken furnace and smashed vehicle window are not exactly conducive to a comfortable, wintery week.
       5) Husband has to travel for work this week on roads that will likely be less-than-ideal.
       6) Car doesn't have winter tires on it yet...because
       7) He was planning on driving the van that already has winter tires, but van is now out-of-commission for long travel due to window exploding and cold, snowy weather.

14) Gather electric heaters and throw on a few more blankets.

15) Crawl back into bed sometime after 3 a.m.

16) Get up with toddler and baby several times in four hours.

17) And...it's 7 a.m. Sunday. Good Morning! Needless to say...we didn't make it to church....

18) Be extremely grateful for a kind and generous relative who has experience diagnosing furnaces and will come take a look at it and try to help, so we don't have to pay an exorbitant amount of money to hire someone to do it after normal business hours.

19) Find out the problem is likely that the circuit board is fried and that the 7 year warranty is 2 months expired.

20) Recall the several power surges that occurred in our city on Friday night and figure it likely wrecked our furnace.

21)Scratch your head, bewildered by what seems to be a series of rather unfortunate events.

22) Remind yourself, "In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

Thursday, November 6, 2014

My Potty Training Award


I have just completed 3 days of potty training this mischievous munchkin. I am just tickled pink to announce that I have been awarded the very prestigious potty training award dubbed, "Mother Most Likely to Fail At Potty Training." I have a special place for this award. I'm sure it will look right smart next to my "Mother Most Likely To Give Birth to Babies Who Stink at Sleeping Well" Award.

Cue Applause


This kid...he don't care if he's wet....he don't care if he's dry....he just don't care 'bout nothin' to do with potty training....

I really wish we didn't have so much carpet around here...umm...yucky...


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Blog Announcement

I have recently taken the next step toward a dream I've had for quite some time now....My very own self-hosted Wordpress blog! It's an idea I have been mulling over for almost a year now. On a whim last week, I decided to sign up for a free blogging class that also included a year's worth of hosting (an $84 value!) and my own domain. The blogging class is not normally free (I think it's normally around $25 for the class), but for one or two days, it was totally free. How could my ultra-frugal self pass that up!? So, for the next while, I will be embarking on a steep learning curve as I try to learn how to navigate the Wordpress waters. I'm so excited, though! I've come to realize that blogging really is something that I enjoy doing and miss when I don't do it, so why not dabble a bit more in my interests and branch out a little? I have some ideas for ebooks way back in my mind that maybe, maybe some day I'll end up writing. That's a pretty big maybe, though. And if that day never comes, it never hurts to dream, right!? :-). I plan on keeping the blog very similar to what I'm doing now. I hope to just be a bit more focused and consistent in my writing...and hopefully ensure my writing is "me." It will likely include a lot more tips on frugal living, recipes, homemaking, biblical encouragment, homeschooling, and a healthy dose of my daily, personal life as wife and mom. I can hardly wait! In the meantime, I'll still be here blogging here and there while working on setting up and transferrng content over to my very own .com.

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Stomach Flu






Love these little munchkins so much! 

Thankfully we are all over the stomach flu, which took 9 days to make its way through our whole family. Honestly, I really hate calling it "the stomach flu." I want to rather call it by its technical term gastroenteritis, but then people would just think I'm weird, so I call it the stomach flu. It really bugs me to call it that, though. Like, I cringe just typing "the stomach flu." What's wrong with me? I've got issues, I know. Gastroenteritis The stomach flu meant going through 2 large pots of the most amazing chicken noodle soup. I have finally perfected my chicken noodle soup recipe...Mennonite style. I will share the recipe with you soon. I am thrilled to finally have the spice blend the way I like it. Unfortunately, this *ahem* gastroenteritis seems to have weakened our immune systems enough to allow a respiratory virus to take hold. Sorry, I just couldn't "stomach" the thought of referring to it as "the stomach flu" again....hardee har har. My husband is especially sick and is likely going to need to see the doctor soon if things don't take a turn for the better since it seems he has developed a bacterial respiratory infection. I can feel something brewing in my lungs/throat that I'm not too excited about either. 

As for Brielle's sleeping...no lasting improvement there, I'm afraid.  She is still waking up every 1 to 2 hours. every.single.night. As soon as I'm drifting off, the crying begins. I actually get anxiety over it every night because I just know it's coming the moment I lie my head down. Every night around 11 pm  to midnight, just before I fall asleep my husband hears me whisper, "My night shift is about to begin." It never fails - 5 minutes later, she starts screaming. Every time. How's that for optimism? Sigh. We shall keep trying, although I'm feeling terribly discouraged about it. Obviously. The other evening when she woke up again I let her cry it out for what felt like an eternity. She did, eventually, fall back asleep, but it took a very, very long time, and I felt pretty bad about it. I *think* I could handle it (whatever "it" is) way better if I could get 3-4 hours in a row once a week or so, but that's only happened once or twice in 8 months. Actually, 2 hours of sleep in a row has happened less than 10 times in 8 months...but who's counting. You may think I'm exaggerating the facts. I assure you that I am not. She sleeps worse than a newborn. The sleep situation really is that bad. I feel insanely, horribly irritable all the time....like my skin is crawling. That's honestly how I feel. Believe me, the sleep deprivation is bringing to the surface my ugly sinfulness and reminds me of what I wretched person I really am. Apart from Christ, I am nothing but a mess. Apart from Christ, I have nothing to bring that is of any value. HOW GRATEFUL I am that salvation is not based on anything I do but on  the work of Christ....His grace and faith in Him alone. I have to pray like crazy to not turn into a monster mom & wife and repent like crazy when I fail miserably. When I am tempted to make excuses my attitude and behaviour (which, I confess, I have done), I try to remind myself how tired Jesus must have been, especially the night before He died when He was praying in the garden, and yet He did not sin

I'm starting to sound like a broken record about this whole lack-of-sleep thing. I will try not to say much about it until there's something of great importance I think deserves reporting. I am going to try not to talk/complain so much about it. I will try. In the meantime, please pray for me. 

Moving on....

Our family is beyond thrilled about Prime Minister Stephen Harper's announcement yesterday regarding tax breaks for single income families (in the form of income-splitting) and an increase in the Universal Child Care Benefit. Sure, it's likely a very strategic political move (let's not be naive....how is an extra chunk of cash a few months before the election NOT going to sway some people....But....don't tell me the other parties wouldn't do the same....it is politics, after all.), but we are not complaining about it!
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