Friday, December 31, 2010

On the cusp of 2011

I have no plans to ring in the new year wearing anything other than my pyjamas, although I love all the glitz and gold in this photo.

I think this year is the first year I have stayed awake until midnight in many years. Earlier in the evening our family went to the home of another RCMP family where we ate yummy things, visited and set off some fireworks,much the amusement and terror of the toddlers. I took Amelia home around 10pm and put her to bed and I spent the remainder of the evening editing my December daily album. I am quite satisfied with it although it was a bit time consuming. After having used Adobe Photoshop Elements to create this project, I am much more comfortable with the program. Hopefully in the future, similar projects will take a lot less time.

December 7th

December 14th

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

21 months old and counting.....

Awhile back I started a post about Amelia, but never finished it. She had started using a lot of new words and I thought it would be fun to start of list of them. For about three days I wrote down everything she said, but then realized that I couldn't keep up. Now she is learning a couple new words a day and will "try" and say anything we ask of her. It is wildly entertaining. Once and awhile Amelia will string two words together like "all done", "good girl" or "more milk" and I can't help but beam. Who knew that listening to your child learn how to talk could be so thrilling. She tends to be the most chatty after she wakes up from her nap. She immediately starts pointing to my face and saying "eyes", "nose", "mouth" and so forth. Awhile back we started counting stairs whenever we went into our basement and now she starting to count along with me. For Christmas she received a wooden abacus so we have started counting on that as well. It makes me giggle every time she says "1","2","3"... "9". So funny. The more interactive she becomes the more I love this thing called "motherhood".

A few more things I love about being a mother at this stage of the game....

1) Kisses and bubbles on my belly "for the baby".

2) Watching Amelia mother her animals and baby dolls.

3) The fact that she can ask for a "snack" or "treat" when she is hungry, rather than having a meltdown. She has also learned how to ask for chocolate and cookies in the most adorable way. I can't resist! I will have to video it one of these days.

4)She sleeps until 8am most mornings. Enough said.

5) She can open the clear plastic bins in her room and choose what toys she wants to play with all by herself.

6) She puts things away happily... I know that this will not last forever so I am enjoying it while it does.

7) She will walk up to me and purse her lips for a kiss.

Seriously, I could go and on. As you know I have not always enjoyed mothering or being a mother. It has been, and continues to be, challenging. I may have a bucket load of positive things to say this evening, but only a few short hours ago I cried myself to sleep when I finally got to have a break. (I have been sick for the past week and my hubby has been working around the clock). Even on days when I want to bang my head against the wall in boredom and frustration, I couldn't imagine leaving my daughter to return to work. I couldn't stand to miss out on watching her grow and mature, especially at this stage of development. As much as I may complain inwardly some days, I do consider myself blessed to be able to stay home with my daughter.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A late post from Christmas Eve

Here I sit, on Christmas Eve, pondering the immensity of this day. I am feeling lousy, but trying to remain cheerful. My husband and I had originally planned to have the boss and his wife over for a oil and chocolate fondue to celebrate Christmas Eve when we both became sick. Only 30 minutes ago that same couple kindly dropped off some warm chicken soup, crackers, a plate of Christmas cookies and a gift for Amelia.

I immediately inhaled the soup, reminding myself to save some for my sick hubby. It was incredibly good and I couldn't help but want to cry at their kindness. Now I am waiting for my dear husband to come home so that we can celebrate Christmas Eve together. He had hoped to be home around 4:30, but then received a call about a car accident two hours away. When he called to tell me that he was going to be later than had thought, I was incredibly disappointed. Not only was a I feeling sick, but now it looked as though I would be spending Christmas Eve on my own. I let myself have a big cry on my bed and then I pulled myself together and decided to make the best of it. So I gathered Amelia in my arms and helped her pick a present from under the tree. She tore the wrapping off with such gusto that it made me smile. We took a nice long bubble bath together and then I let her open another Christmas Eve present (new pajamas).

Amelia was sound asleep by 7:15pm, and I spent an hour talking to friends and family on the phone while getting things ready for a fondue (in case there was a remote possibility that Nathaniel came home)

Awhile later........

Fortunately, Nathaniel made it home by 8:30 and we enjoyed a romantic little dinner together. We decided to open our much anticipated envelope, and discovered that we are having a GIRL!!!! We are both thrilled and looking forward to meeting her in a few short months. Hope you all have a delightful Christmas.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Random thoughts on pregnancy at 7 months....

- I don't have to suck my belly in. I can't, it is impossible.

- I'm almost excited about wearing a bikini in Mexico. A nice round, firm belly looks better than a soft, pale, flabby post Christmas tummy.

- If I don't cross my legs when I sneeze and I almost guaranteed to pee my pants. It is a little funny but inconvenient and embarrassing.

- I have a REALLY good excuse when I am moving a lot at night. My constant fidgeting sometimes drives my husband crazy, who is the kind of person that essentially wakes up in the same position he fell asleep in. I think I may have done that once in my life.

- I am much more ambivalent about not eating for two as I have no desire to be the size of two people by the time I reach full term. Oh but speaking of food, don't these doughnuts look delicious? If they were actually in front of my I doubt I would be able to resist them.....

- I am really excited about the doula I interviewed the other day. We instantly clicked and she was able put a lot of my fears to rest about my impending hospital birth. She has even worked with my OB on multiple occasions and said that he is natural birth friendly and even has a few VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) patients. One of the things I was most concerned about was being strapped to a fetal heart monitor throughout my labor. I was relieved to hear that I would only be subjected to constant monitoring if I was induced, which is something I will be avoiding like the plague.
My doctor would have to drive 114km and drag me out of my house before I get induced.

- I am so excited that I get to find out whether I am carrying a boy or a girl. Only three more days!!!!!! The anticipation has me giddy.

- Trying to decide whether or not to bother with the routine gestational diabetes screen. I tried to have one done when I was in town the other day but they wanted me to wait in the lab for an hour afterwards and I didn't have that kind of time to waste. Perhaps I will try again if I can get the screen done at our local red cross clinic, otherwise, I am not going to bother.
- I woke up with a sore throat this morning. *sigh* I really don't want to be sick on Christmas.

-Amelia's fever has passed but she is now congested and coughing throughout the night. This morning I decided to have some caffeinated vanilla earl grey tea instead of my standard decaffeinated peppermint tea to help perk me up.

Happy countdown to Christmas!!!!!!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

My december daily project

I realize it has been a long time since I have blogged. My downtime these days has been consumed with working on my December Daily Project. Basically, it is a way of capturing the fun, excitement and day to day preparations leading up to Christmas. Ali Edwards, an amazing modern day scrapbooker, has created some neat digital templates which I have been using and enjoying. It has taken me a while to understand how photo shop works, which is the program I am using to create my album, but I am slowly getting the hang of it. I like being able to edit my pictures and hopefully in the near future I will learn how to add some neat effects. In any case, I am slowly catching up on my project, it is the 17th today and I have not yet completed pages for the 1st. The pages I have created are far from finished and full of spelling mistakes, but I wanted to share them nevertheless. My plan to have at least four pages for each day December. These are a few from the day I decorated my tree..... which was on the 1st. more to following in the next couple of days...

Now go and make yourself a snow angel.... provided you have snow with which to do so.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thankful for.....

Little toddler toes tucked into my body at 7:30am this morning.

Egg salad sandwich (I made my first one today and it was delicious).

Paper packages tied up with string.

A warm bowl of borscht with a side of toasted rye bread and cheese. Yummmm!

Pulling Amelia in her sled over the crunchy snow while the stars shone brightly overhead.

The giggling coming from the bathtub right now.........

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Remembering our Christmas in Africa

This morning, while Amelia and I were enjoying our breakfast, I pulled out a photo album from our trip to Africa. Amelia has seen these photos many times but as she gets older she is able to recognize more of the animals we saw on the Serengeti. She loves pointing out the elephants, and the giraffes and making snorting sounds when she spots the wart hogs.

When we arrived in Africa, Nathaniel and I had been travelling for nearly three months across central and south America. Before we had left for our trip around the world, we had we had arranged to spend Christmas with our friends who were visiting their missionary parents in Africa. It was such a blessing to experience a Finnish Christmas, surrounded by familiar faces.

Our dear friends Will and Minna.

Our dorm style accommodations. The Bible students were away on their Christmas break so we got to stay in one of the campus rooms.

We opened our gifts on Christmas Eve as is Finnish tradition. My mom had lovingly sent a care package of gifts with our friends and we were thrilled to have some new, fancy clothes to wear.

We attended the local church Christmas morning. There was a great deal of dancing, singing and curious children.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Six months pregnant

Sometimes it is hard to believe that I am already six months pregnant. I am still sleeping on my tummy/side and walking without any difficulty. My bladder only wakes me up once a night, which is normal even when I am not pregnant and I don't really have any cravings. I still need to take a nap once and awhile but for the most part I feel great. When I was pregnant with Amelia Nathaniel and I would often take pictures of my growing tummy but I haven't been as vigilant this time around. I tend to look a bit sloppy these days, as I rarely ever leave the house or see any other adults. However, last night, Nathaniel and I were heading out to his company Christmas party when Nathaniel snapped this photo of me. Let me know is this picture looks TOO BIG. I think it looks a little funny but I am trying to figure out a way to make my pictures larger without loosing the quality.

My regular jackets are starting to get tight and I spilt my favorite pair of jeans when I bent over the other day. Arrggg! I've decided it is time to start wearing some of my maternity pants.

Making Changes

My blog looks a little haphazard at the moment but that is because I am trying to figure out how to make a personalized banner. I can't seem to make it fit and I can't for the life of me get rid of the white outline around it. I am a little bit nervous around html, but I will figure it out. I have been baking so much these days that I haven't spent much time blogging. Hopefully in the next day or so I will have a new post.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Whilst she slept

Christmas preparation are in full swing in this household. Yesterday Amelia and I collected some juniper branches and then she went down for her nap I made a wreath out of them. I love how juniper smells and I plan to fill my house with it. Normally I gather a lot of cedar, but it doesn't grow here in the Chilcotin. I use the same metal frame to construct my wreaths year after year, and I always enjoy using different evergreens and materials. This year I punched out some felt stars using my sissix machine and used some ribbon from my stash.

I have always been baking up a frenzy the past couple of days. As I mentioned before, it is tradition in this household to nibble on goodies while decorating the tree, so I wanted to have a nice selection by December 1st. So far I have made about 60 butter tarts, a couple dozen thumbprint cookies and I am looking forward to making a couple different types of biscotti. This one is a must!

I'm also planning on making from chocolate dipped apricots and some kind of cheesecake brownie. Are you drooling yet? I am just thinking about it. Unfortunately my pregnant body has not been tolerating sugar very well these days. When I eat something as simple as a muffin I feel like rubbish.

I've been making stockings this year. Nathaniel had a horribly awful one that needed to be replaced and Amelia never got one last year. I LOVE stockings and I eagerly look forward to rifling through mine Christmas morning.

I also made some Christmas pillows for my bed from some fabric I picked up while in Abbotsford. The cool thing about this particular fabric is that it is made by one of my favorite scrap booking lines Basic Grey.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Best baby stuff (in my opinion)

I have been on a bit of a de-junking/organizing rampage the past couple of days and it feels really good. With another little one on the way I know that my home is going to be filling up with various baby paraphernalia and I want my space to be as clutter free as possible. When Amelia was born we borrowed a few things from friends but this time around I think we need to buy a few things from Craig's List. I don't like plastic contraptions, but a swing is a must. I suppose our hammock from Ecuador would do the job, but it takes up a great deal of space. When we were travelling overseas I often saw infants and toddlers napping in them. Awhile back I saw the neatest hanging baby bassinet called the kanoe. It was seriously overpriced, but a very neat concept.

This is my top 10 favorite list of baby related items. I used All of them extensively and look forward to using them again with baby #2.

1) Maya sling: This was a great investment and one that I couldn't live without. It also easily fit into my purse and was great for breastfeeding and doing errands. I used this with Amelia until she was nearly two.
2)Beco carrier: This was a great supportive backpack style carrier that I often used when hiking with Amelia. I loved it more than the traditional style metal frame backpacks because I cold easily roll it up and tuck it in my pocket when I was not using it.

3)Baby hawk Loved how easy this was to put on and take off without disrupting baby. I used it extensively when I travelled to Norway to visit my girlfriend. It was a lifesaver in the airport. It is is also SUPER cute! This is a picture of me in Norway after hiking up to a rock called "the alter". The view was STUNNING and well worth the hike.

The really cool thing was that my girlfriend also happened to have the same carrier. In this picture we were off to pick cherries on her property. Hmmm such good memories.

4)Chariot Stroller (the best running/biking stroller hands down)

5) A lovely muslin wrap byAden and Anais

6) Swing

7) Cloth diapers: I couldn't find the link but I love how Amelia is pointing one of her toes in this picture...... so darling and so chunky

8) Padraig booties

10)Moses Basket: Simple, light, easy to move around the house. I plan on buying the stand for it so I keep baby away from Amelia's curious fingers.

11) Ikea highchair: this is so light and easy to disassemble and throw into the back of our vehicle when we were going to a friends house for dinner. I also love how small and simple it is.

12) Nursing pillow. My dear sister made it for me and it has been the BEST. It was also great as a support for Amelia when she was learning how to sit up.

13) This plastic bib from Superstore. Seriously it is the only bib I use and the only one worth buying. It has a great trough on the bottom that catches all the food that misses her mouth.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A great giveaway

In blog world there are often great give aways, and when I spot one that appeals to me I ALWAYS post a comment in hopes that I will win. I have not won anything yet, but I keep trying.

There is a really great giveaway over at a website called the picky palate for a 250$ gift card to best buy. I entered because I would love to purchase an all in one photo printer. Check out this link if you want to enter as well: 250$ best buy card

That is all for now :0)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Something cute

I was feeling a little creative/scrappy today so put this together while Amelia was napping. I am also working on a little butterfly scrapbook with the same paper by crate paper, one of my new favorite lines, but it is not finished yet.

I like how it looks in this frame....

Friday, November 19, 2010

Views on feminism, motherhood and marriage.

I read this interesting article online today today and it really made me think about the negatives aspects of feminism. I have been a self proclaimed feminist for many years, but as I have grown in wisdom and maturity, many of my perspectives on certain issues have changed. I initially became a feminist because of my anger towards my father and men in general. Later, in University I minored in women studies and truly became aware of the plight of women worldwide. My eyes were opened to the many inequalities that still exists on our society and the prevailing view of women as objects. My faith was challenged, tested and assailed over the course of those two years but it also became deeper, more personal and precious to me. During that time I really struggled with my identity as a Christian woman, particularly how God viewed me. I needed to know that I was just as precious and valuable to him as any man and that my gender didn't change that.

Some people may find it strange that I claim to be a Christan as well as a feminist. I am passionate advocating for women's rights and improving their situation, but I do not
embrace all aspects and philosophies of feminism. After having worked in a battered women's shelter for many years, I am all too aware of the gender inequalities that exist even in our own backyard. I am also aware of the fact that feminism have done a great injustice to men by demeaning them and portraying them and useless fools. The movement has many faults, but I also think that it has done a lot of good.

Feminist literature still fascinates me and I am really looking forward to reading a book called "Enlightened Sexism: The Seductive Message that Feminism's Work Is Done" by Susan J. Douglas. I think the title speaks for itself, but I included a link if you want to check it out.

Concerning motherhood, I have spent a great deal of my life viewing it as drudgery and unfulfilling. I grew up with an amazing mother but I often felt she was taken advantage of and not heard. As a young adult I avoided pregnant women and felt sorry for mother's with snotty nosed, wining children in tow. I even considered never having children so that I would be free to do whatever I wanted.

Then, somehow, the Lord began to gently change my heart towards motherhood and started to heal the parts of me that railed against it. I started to work with women and children in various capacities.... as a nanny, a community worker, a social worker and a mother goose facilitator. I began to view it as a precious gift rather than an infirmity and I began to watch mother's more closely. I couldn't help but realize how valuable motherhood is and how it shapes our communities and our nation.

Where marriage and gender are concerned I think this young mother of six had something very poignant to say.

"On the one hand, sometimes I think emotional intimacy and authentic relationship are sacrificed on the altar of complementarianism. Women concede to whatever their husbands decide, all in the name of being obedient to God, instead of committing to the difficult but ultimately worthwhile task of working through conflict, striving for unity, and agreeing not to give up until a mutually beneficial solution is found. How can iron sharpen iron when it's nothing but a one-way street?

On the other hand, I do think God gave women and men somewhat distinct roles within marriage--this seems to be evident from a biological/natural law standpoint alone. So I get that. I'm an at-home mom and we wouldn't have it any other way. It's not oppressive, it's amazing. I'm participating in God's calling for my life and it's nothing short of a miracle. In short, motherhood rocks. :) Does this make me un-egalitarian? I don't know."

I really like what she had to say on that topic. Enough said.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A long post

I am seriously overdue for a post. I have been having too much fun gallivanting around the lower mainland, decorating for Christmas and organizing my cupboards (yes, I really enjoy bringing order to chaos). But now here I sit, reminiscing about all the good memories I have made over this past week. I took a lot of awful pictures and I am a little embarrassed to share them with you. I am still figuring out my husband's little camera. It seems to work well outdoors where there is good lighting, but indoors the pictures look very blurry and pixilated. Any suggestions. Perhaps it is time for me to take a photography course.

After a seven hour drive to Maple Ridge, Amelia and I spent the week catching up with as many people as we could fit into our schedule. In between naps, eating out, swimming and socializing we did a decent amount of shopping.

Amelia particularity enjoyed value village where she happily tried on purses and shoes for the better part of 30 minutes.

We went swimming with Oma...

The weather in the lower mainland wasn't terribly wonderful but I did manage to go for a few walks, a run and take Amelia to my favorite park.

I had a delightful visit with a family I used to work for. Here are a few snapshots...

My mom, sister, Amelia and I went out to one of our favorite cupcake/tea shops in Abotsford and had a lovely lunch together. I am looking forward to making a little scrapbook of that special little outing.

And this would be a picture of my daughter having a meltdown......

Much to my delight, I was great deal of time with my dear friend Cristina. We ate butter chicken, cheesecake, drank excessive amounts of tea, watched the movie "morning glory" in the theatres, scrap booked, and shopped. She also got to accompany me to my ultrasound which was a first for her. She could hardly believe that the baby on the screen was small enough to fit into a toilet paper tube. I will post some pictures from that ultrasound at another time.

I also got to spend time with another dear friend of my mine..... Loretta. We drank peppermint tea, visted her chickens, enjoyed an impromptu mandolin performance from her husband Micheal, ate a lovely meal, and ...... just enjoyed each other's company.
Visiting her home is always such a blessing. Here are a few pictures and a video.

One of these days I am going to have to do an entire post on Loretta. She is amazing!

It was such a blessing to be surrounded by familiar faces and spend time with my family. How I miss close companionship, and the ease with which I could chat away the hours. One of my favorite memories from that week was a three hour marathon conversation at Starbucks with a girlfriend I hadn't seen in over a year.