Monday, November 30, 2009

Book Review: The Unfinished Gift

Ian Collins is an old man without his son. Patrick Collins is a young boy without his father. On his Christmas list are only three items. He wants the army to find his father. He wants to leave his grandfather's house. And he wants the dusty wooden soldier in Grandfather's attic-the one he is forbidden to touch.

Set at Christmastime in 1943, The Unfinished Gift is the engaging story of a family in need of forgiveness. With simple grace, it reminds us of the small things that affect powerful change in our hearts-a young boy's prayers, a shoe box of love letters, and even a half-carved soldier, long forgotten. This nostalgic story of reconciliation will touch your heart.

A few weeks ago I was contacted by a gentleman at Graf-Martin Communications who asked me if I would consider reading a couple of books and reviewing them right here on my blog.

Being that I love to read and to give my opinion, I said yes.

The first one I read was The Unfinished Gift, by Dan Walsh.

I knew I was going to like this book when I read the quote on the cover of this book. "Make sure you have a tissue nearby, because you are going to need it!"

And I did need a tissue. A few of them in fact.

Patrick is a 7 year old boy who has just lost his mother in a car accident. His father is overseas, flying a B-17 in the second world war. With no one to care for him, he is brought to the home of his grandfather - a man he has never met - by Child Services.

Ian Collins is an old man, bitter and broken by the loss of his beloved wife and falling out with his son. He has never met his only grandson Patrick.

I found the author to be quite gifted at getting the reader to not only see the events of this story through Patrick's eyes, but also through the eyes of the hardened grandfather as well. I easily found myself sympathizing with Patrick, yet after reading just a few pages from Collins' perspective, I sympathized with him as well, and loved watching his heart open up.

While it is an easy read with a predictable storyline, I did find it charming, heartwarming, and perfect for the season. I wasn't in love with this book, but I certainly enjoyed it. Who doesn't love a happy ending?

I was surprised that this was Dan Walsh's first novel. I googled him to check him out a bit and was happy to read that he will be releasing a sequel to The Unfinished Gift called The Homecoming which is scheduled for release in June 2010.

I hope I get asked to review that one too. Just sayin'.

Available now at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.


Date Night, A New Love And A Great Find

I know you've been hanging out, anxiously awaiting the details of my hot date with my man this past weekend.

So sorry to have kept you waiting ;-)

I cleaned the house. I showered and washed my hair. I dressed in something other than a t-shirt and stretchy pants. I put on makeup.

I know. I was pretty impressed myself. I even picked up the babysitter.

I intended for us to see 2012 but when we got to the theatre, everyone and their uncle was in line to buy tickets. Seeing all those people just stressed me out and I was ready to go home.

Sure enough, after waiting in line forever we discovered that 2012 was sold out.


We decided to see Paranormal Activity. Sweet. I reminded him of my tendency to scream while watching horror movies and that I display no shame. He was ok with that.

After getting our snacks (movie popcorn...I love you) we chose our seats and watched a lot of parents with their kids come in. I ask you, what kind of parent brings their child to a horror movie?? Lots of teens too. And as luck would have it, they all sat right near us! We were so fortunate to hear their talking and laughing for the entire movie. Ian politely asked them several times to keep it down but they just got worse.

The movie itself was filmed Blair Witch style. It had slow periods but the creepy stuff more than made up for those times. I jumped and hid behind my jacket quite a bit, but I am proud to say I did not scream and embarrass my husband.

Honey, you are welcome.

It really bothered me that with all the jacking around by the kids around us, Ian wasn't really able to focus on the movie. A security guard had come in at one point but didn't do anything. An employee came in and didn't do anything either. On his second trip in, I called him over and asked to speak with a manager. He told me that the movie would be over in 20 minutes so the talking would be over then.


Ian said for me to leave it, but it really bothered me. The poor guy busts his butt at his job, does a two hour magic show that very day, and can't even enjoy his downtime. After the movie, I spoke with the manager who apologized for the noise and gave us two free passes to see another movie.

Oh you know I'm gonna say it.


So now my sweetie can see whatever he wants.

I won't do a movie review, but here is a YouTube trailer of it. Watch if you dare.

Afterwards we went out for a late dinner and were home again by about 10:30. I drove the sitter home by 11:00.

While it was really, really nice to go out with just Ian, it was hard to relax 100% because I kept thinking of the big price tag this date would have by the end of the night. Babysitter, pizza for her and the kids, the movie, snacks, dinner....

In other news...

I have a new love.

Red Tangerine Fanta. OH YUMMEH! I have had a life-long love affair with Hawaiian Punch, but this stuff is like Hawaiian Punch 9.0. And to make me love it even's available in Canada!

That'll teach you for not being available to me here in Canada, Hawaiian Punch! It's all but over between us!

I have been looking everywhere for a mitten shaped cookie cutter. I can find them online but they either don't ship to Canada or the shipping is astronomical. Enter Wendy from Funny Things Are Everywhere! Not only did she find my cookie cutter, she found it at a store that is only about 25 minutes from me!

BONUS! Most excellent.

Wendy is like a whiz with the internet. She's found other stuff for me in nano seconds. Seriously.

That's all I have to report at this time.

Over and out.


Friday, November 27, 2009

5QF - November 27th

It's cold outside. And it's wet. And dark.

But you know what else...?

It's Friday!!!

And that means it's time for Mama M's...

Let's do this thang.

1. Do you do a real or fake Christmas tree?

We're fakers all the way in this house. I would LOVE to have a real one but Ian won't let me. Mean, huh? I agree.

When I was single and still living at home, I convinced my mom to let me get us a real tree. I promised six ways to Sunday that I would keep it watered and would take care of putting it out and vacuuming up the needles after Christmas.

I chose one that I liked and shoved it into my car with the ends hanging out of the windows and drove home. I put it into the stand myself and cut the wrapper off it so the tree could "fall". That thing was HUGE. It was so wide that I had to go out an buy extra decorations just to cover the thing.

When Christmas was over, I was true to my word and removed the tree. I dragged it to the front door but because it was so HUGE I had to cut whole sections off just to get it to fit through the front door. I put it in the garage and vacuumed up all of the needles like nothing was ever there. Just like I promised.

However, I completely forgot about the tree in the garage and missed both pickup days. I ended up leaving the tree in there for a whole year, and put it out that year after Christmas for pickup. Well, to be honest...Ian put it out. He picked it up and all of the remaining brown needles fell off into a pile on the garage floor. So basically he put out a bare tree trunk and I got to clean up needles again. Nice.

Maybe that's why he won't buy me a real one? I don't know.


Moving on.

2. What is your favorite Christmas tradition with your family?

I don't know that this is a great thing to admit...but I'm going to tell you because we're friends, you and I.

Every year on the way to my mom's house we drive through the same red light.

It started several years ago when we were headed to my mom's on Christmas morning to open gifts with our nephew. It was early and I was excited to get there but we had to stop for a red light. It seemed to be a really long light and there wasn't another soul around so Ian drove through it.

The next year was the exact same thing. I suggested we do what we did the last year.

Year three I decided he had to do it because it was now a tradition. I think this was the year we actually waited at a green light for it to turn red so we could do our thing.

Don't tell on me.

Last year we skipped it and the whole day just felt wrong. ;-)

Seriously though, my favourite tradition is the big breakfast at my mom's house. Love it.

3. Do you celebrate Thanksgiving in your neck of the woods? And, if many calories do you think you consumed yesterday?

We do, but since we're Canadian EH we celebrated it in October. I love, love, LOVE Thanksgiving. We don't need to talk about calories because that would be so last month. Besides, I think it's a faux pas to discuss calorie consumption when it comes to Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter or birthdays.

Just sayin.

4. Have you started decorating for Christmas, yet?

Nope, not yet. I'm hoping to hang our lights this weekend though. Not sure about the tree yet either.

I've mentioned before that Ian is a professional magician and Christmas is his busiest time of year, so he's out a lot on the weekends. We'll just wait for a time when he's available and decorate then. None of us want to do it without him.

5. What is your favorite Christmas cookie?

I don't discriminate. I love all cookies equally.

I will let you in on a little secret though...I'm going to rock the sugar cookie thing this year.

Thanks Mama M!


Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Lame Post Where I Keep Saying "BONUS!"

My day started off with quite the thrill. After driving the children to school and Ian to work, I headed to McDonald's to pick up coffee and muffins to take to my mom's for our visit. I ordered two large coffees, one large tea and two fruit and fiber muffins.

You know you wanted to know my order. I am nothing if not detailed, my friends.

The dude in the box said "$2.50. Please drive through."

Me: "TWO FIFTY!?!?" I don't know why I shouted at the box. I wasn't feeling cross or anything.

Dude in the box: "Yes, the coffees and tea are free this week. Please drive through."

Me: "BONUS!!!" (I know, I can't believe I said that either)

Gotta love it when your day starts with free stuff.


Tonight was Girls Club and after reading them a story about Advent we headed upstairs to work on some Christmas crafts. They made invitations for next week's Mother/Daughter Christmas Party and then made some ornaments.

We had worship music playing softly in the background and when Lord I Lift Your Name On High started to play, 20+ voices started singing along and doing the actions. I cannot describe how beautiful it was to be in that room with these precious little girls, working on their crafts and singing to the Lord. Oh my heart... it was awesome.


I am very excited to report that I'm going on a date with my husband this weekend. This is piece of information is blog worthy because we haven't been on a date alone in forever. I asked Ian out earlier this week and said I would take care of everything, right down to the babysitter.

Today Ian asked me who I found to babysit our heathens lovely children and I suddenly realized I'd forgotten to find someone.


"It's a surprise." I say. I didn't say that it was going to be a surprise for me too, because at that point I didn't know who I was going to find on such short notice. I spoke with our regular sitter - and I use that word very loosely because we don't go out that often - and lucky for me, she's free this Saturday.

BONUS!! (oh yeah, I said it again)

It's gonna be great.


Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends! There are no words to express how jealous I am that you all enjoyed a turkey dinner today. Hope you had a slice for me!


Thankful Thursday

Special thanks to....

Tyler from Just Another Day In Our Paradise for awarding me this super cool blog award.

Isn't it pretty? I KNOW!


Heidi at From 3 to 5 for this award.

Cool, huh? I KNOW!

Thanks so much ladies!

Oh, what's that? Rules? Well, yes...they come with rules. But you know how I am. I'm lazy a rule breaker. So, if you want to snag these awesome awards for your blog, then all you have to do is check my blog roll. If your most excellent blog shows up there then you can have them!

Have a great day :-)


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thoughts On Blogging

I’ve been thinking about this blog a lot lately. About how it started, what I write about, who reads it and what purpose, if any, I want it to serve.

I started this blog in 2005 at the urging of a friend. I don’t think it was that she felt I had any special talent, just that she enjoyed doing it and thought I would too. She was right.

When I started out I only had two or three readers, one of which was my husband. I didn’t write about anything terribly important and other than those two or three people who read my words, I was anonymous.

I didn’t notice that my writing started to take on a very negative tone until Ian gently pointed it out to me. It was during a very stressful time at work and I was using this blog as a place to vent. I never mentioned names but it was full of frustration and anger. After a lot of thought, I realized he was right, so I deleted everything and started over.

I kept it light. I tried to be funny. I posted pictures of my beautiful family and encouraging verses or videos. I was just me being me.

Then I started to gain a bit of a following. Still small, but I started to get very excited. And flattered that people who weren’t related to me would be interested in what I had to say. I put a stat counter on my blog to track how many hits I got each day and I was shocked at how many visitors I had. My number of followers started increasing each week.

I think that’s when things started to change.

I started to feel more and more anxious about what to post next. Would it be funny enough to keep people’s interest? Would that topic be too controversial? Would those feelings offend someone? Our families and friends read this blog ... would they take issue with something I said? Would I come across as silly? Would I embarrass myself or my family?

I don’t want to think that way anymore. When you read this blog, I want you to really be reading me. What I think about, worry about, celebrate and wish for. I want to be real here. While you're here, I want you to feel like we're sitting across the table from each other at a coffee shop, just talking.

But I’m afraid.

Some of my opinions aren’t popular. Some of my longings aren’t realistic. Some of my hurts are just too private.

I want to try though. I want to get back to the way I blogged before. No pressure, just me being me, being silly and thoughtful and fun.

I don’t want to worry about how I come across. Not anymore. I want to use this blog for what I intended it to be – an outlet for me and a way to share a bit of myself with anyone who choses to read my ramblings.

At this very moment there are 47 people who openly follow this blog. According to my stat counter, I get between 60 and 100 visitors a day. That’s a far cry from the two or three that I started out with. I am grateful for each and every one of you and I am so flattered that you keep coming back to read what I have to say. Every single comment makes me so happy. I sincerely mean that.

Thank you.

So, that's it. I'm letting go of this self-imposed pressure and I'm just going to be myself. I hope that's ok with you.



Friday, November 20, 2009

5QF - Nov 21

You know what I love? Waking up thinking it's Thursday then having someone tell you it's really Friday.

That's the best.

And Fridays around these parts mean only one thing ~ Mama M's Five Question Friday!

Ready...set...go Kate!

1. Are you a Black Friday shopper?

We don't observe (celebrate?) Black Friday here in Canada. Each year a group of ladies from my church head across the border, book a block of rooms in a hotel and shop 'til they drop. I never (stress never) take part in this yearly event because it incorporates two things I hate doing - 1) getting up early and 2) shopping.

I think our "Black Friday" is on December 26th which we call Boxing Day. I never shop on this day either.

2. What was your favorite childhood toy? (Think Easy Bake Oven, Cabbage Patch Kid, Shrinky Dinks, etc.)

I had a Cabbage Patch Kid named Lillian Paula and I loved her. I remember the craze these dolls created and how hard they were to get. I actually cried when I saw her under the tree waiting for me. I still have her :-)

I also loved my Charlie's Angels barbie dolls. They had super cool wardrobes and a Charlie's Angel van. I spent hours and hours playing with them.

But my total favourite toys ever were the vintage Little People play sets by Fisher Price. We had tons of them, the castle set, farm set, hospital set, tree house and house boat sets, Sesame Street set... oh sweet mercy. I played with them for hours. My mom still has every single piece and it gives me a thrill to see my own children passing the time with these favourites of mine.

3. Favorite Christmas movie?

I like The Bells of Saint Mary, although I don't think it's a Christmas movie. I also love White Christmas.

I prefer the Christmas shows that come on tv. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is my favourite. No one is allowed to speak when the scene with the elf pretending to be a dentist comes on. "Now, this won't hurt a bit". Yep, I say the line right along with the elf guy. Conversation can then resume. I also love Little Bill's Christmas Special.

4. What is the "must have" item on your Christmas list this year?

I have it already, and he is sleeping on my feet, warming my toes.

Other than my Golden, there isn't anything else I want or need. What a great place to be in, where I have everything I could ever dream of having.

Oh wait... I would love new curtains for my front door. Something white and sheer with a nice little detailed hem. (hint hint)

5. Do you go all out with decorations or do you keep it simple and classy?

We go all out. Our tree is covered with ornaments the children have made, or ones that Ian and I made as children. Last Christmas our decorations were all packed up in storage because we were still hoping to be able to move, so we bought all new "grown up" decorations. Our tree was beautiful, but it didn't feel like us. I'll be happy to see our regular old skool tree decorated.

Oh and let's not forget Ian's creepy elf that he puts out every year.

Over and out!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I Don't Think It's Supposed To Take Me 3 Days To Make Sugar Cookies

Lately I've had the urge to bake something and I'm not talking Pillsbury open the package and pop it in the oven stuff here. I'm talking about baking something from scratch.

And it's all Amanda's fault.

Friends, you have got to check her blog out. She bakes and decorates the prettiest sugar cookies ever. She's even won contests for her cookies.

Oh yeah. I want to be an Amanda.

So, after thinking about trying my hand at baking and decorating sugar cookies for the past two weeks, I decided to start them on Sunday.

I used her recipe which was very easy. I've never rolled cookies before but I really got into it and felt like a Bakerista. No, that isn't a real word but it can be if you pretend along with me, can't it??

Here are my cookies.

They taste every bit as good as they look. At this point I didn't know how they were going to make it to the decorating stage of things because they were so good. The children kept eyeing them!

Baking and cooling the cookies were about all I did on Monday. I think I ate too many of them and started to feel sick and kind of bored looking at them, so I decided to go to bed.

On Tuesday I was all refreshed and ready to start the decorating process. Amanda also has a very easy recipe for a version of royal icing and it mixed up really easily. Step One was to outline the cookies with the icing. This is to form an edge so that when the rest of the cookie gets filled in, the icing won't run over.

I pulled out my disposable cake decorating bags and decorating tips and I was on fire to get started. I filled the bag, chose a tip and started to outline my cookies.

Everything seemed to go well until all of a sudden the bag burst. UGH! I didn't think I was squeezing that hard but maybe I don't know my own strength or something.

So, I moved on to a plastic bottle with a squeeze tip. This was really easy and I was gettin' things done when all of a sudden the top popped off and this is what happened...

I know. I couldn't believe it either. Imagine my frustration when this happened a second time.

Poor Katie...

I didn't know what was the best way to fill in the cookies. I really wanted to email Amanda to ask, but I email her enough to be on the fence between being friendly and being a stalker. So...I muddled through on my own. I used my defective squeezy bottle, I used a spoon, I tried to pour the icing directly. I wasn't having fun.

Here are a handful of cookies, filled in and ready for decorating.

At this point I had had enough and called it a day.

Today I planned to decorate my cookies. I looked at ideas on some of the baking websites I like and was pumped up with confidence and rip roaring ready to go. My first batch of icing was too thin and went right through my tip. I tried adding more icing sugar and that thickened it up too much. Frustrated, I started over.

Once I had a consistency that I could work with, I pulled out my food colouring. I am almost ashamed to admit this, but since we're all friends here I'll tell you. I don't know what colours mixed with what colours make new colours. First I googled the colour wheel but I couldn't make sense of it, so I called my children in to the kitchen to tell me.

I know, I know. Love me anyway.

I couldn't get the colours I wanted no matter how hard I tried, and the more food colouring I added in my efforts to produce my colours, the thinner my icing became.

By this time I took what icing I had and decorated a handful of cookies.


I give up! I'm sending the remaining undecorated cookies to the cookie jar for consumption!

I did hold back two cookies for the children's lunches tomorrow...

I get that practice makes perfect, but I don't think that it should take three days to produce pretty cookies!

If anyone has any tips for me on how to make this process easier, bring it on! In the meantime, I'm going to go enjoy a naked cookie ;-)


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Not Quite The Walk I Envisioned

Today is an absolutely perfect Fall day, and I had a wonderful vision of walking along the ravine with my adorable little Willow, our 8 week old Golden Retriever puppy.

In my vision, he would walk properly beside me, stopping only to piddle or to look
up at me adoringly. We would walk briskly and enjoy the fresh air and peaceful quiet. It would be perfect.

Doesn't that sound like a lovely way to spend a Saturday morning?

I thought so too.

Now I'd like to welcome you to my reality.

Not ten feet from the front door, Willow starts jacking around, biting my ankle, pulling on my pant leg or shoelaces and barking. He had to sniff every single hydrant, pole, mailbox or piece of garbage. He criss-crossed constantly, tripping me with his leash and repeatedly having his paw stepped on or accidentally shoved by my foot. I tried to hold the leash firmly to force him to walk on one side but he kept straining against it, and making freaky choking noises.

He had two naps while we were walking. He'd just stop all of a sudden, flop down and go to sleep. He was so tired that I had to carry him the rest of the way home.

We were gone so long that Ian was contemplating sending out a search party.

And to top it off I didn't wear proper shoes and my feet hurt.

Not quite the walk I envisioned.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

In other news, special thanks to Mama M for awarding me the following award:

I have to pick 10 bloggers to forward this award on to, but you know how I am a rule-breaker, so I am going to award it to one blogger today. YEP! Just one...


You know the drill, friends... if you are listed in my blogroll then you deserve this award, because if I didn't think you were great then I wouldn't list you!

Thanks again, Mama M!

Have a great day everyone :-)


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thankful Thursday

I'm due to post a Thankful Thursday because it's been awhile since I've done one.

This week I am thankful for...

1) My new friend "J" that I met on Monday. Tonight Julie delivered a little gift bag of chocolate cake balls, skor squares and chocolate chip cookies that I baked for her on Tuesday. Now I'm hoping she doesn't think I'm a creepy neighbour. Everyone has one you know. Look around your neighbourhood my friends. It might very well be you. Just sayin'.

2) My husband and children who have put up with Katezilla this week and love me still. I'm sure you are sitting there reading this and thinking that its impossible to imagine me as Katezilla. I understand. But its true, I was.

3) My beautiful mother, who sat patiently while I cried, shouted and vented my frustrations to her for the first 40 minutes of our visit this morning. And she bought me breakfast. Moms always make everything feel so much better, don't they? Thanks are the best.

4) My friend Anne stopped by this afternoon to visit and see Willow. You know how you know you miss someone, then when you see them you realize how just how much you missed them? That was how I felt today. I wanted to cry I was so happy to see her. Her son "T" and Julie took Willow for a walk and we were able to catch up for a bit. Well, I was able to catch up with her, but she stalks reads my blog so she already knows what I've been up to. Thanks so much for dropping by, dear friend. I have missed you so much.

5) My sweet friend Marie was rear ended this evening. She was in a serious accident in April so for this to happen to her again was awful. I am very thankful she is ok.

What are YOU thankful for today?


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

No...REALLY? For ME?

A big fat thank you to Keely at Mannland5 and Megan at A Bunch Of Momsense for giving me this Heartfelt Blogger Award! I love that you both enjoy my blog enough to pass this award on to me.

Thank you.

I love getting these awards, and I appreciate each and every one of them. What I don't like is having to choose who to pass it on to. I read so many great blogs and it's hard to narrow them down.

So I'm gonna cheat!

If you are listed on my blog roll then it's because you make me laugh or inspire me or I can relate to you or because...or because...or because you are great!

So scoop your award, my friends. You deserve it!!

Hope everyone is having a great day!

Thanks again, Keely and Megan!


Tuesday, November 10, 2009


This month marks my two year "anniversary" of being a stay at home mom.

Happy anniversary to meee!

I've often written about how much I love being here for the children and caring for them and Ian, cooking and that I don't mind housework.

GASP!! Did I admit that??

Ok, you got me. The housework part was a bit of a white lie.

Anyway, my point is that I'm happy here. But yesterday? Not so much.

Having a puppy is like having a baby. A really demanding, extremely small bladder-ed, whimpering, and chewing baby. We were not surprised by this. We knew that these first few months would stretch us.

For the first week Willow was home with us we let him sleep in our bed because we figured he'd be scared and lonely for his Mama. He was quite happy to sleep right between us and would wake me around 4am by chewing on my hair or my arm.

Do you know how wild your dreams can turn when there is an outside force chewing on you? Oh yeah, they go wild pretty fast. Then when I would be in that half asleep/half awake state I would think something was eating me. I might have even shouted "Something's eating me!" once or twice. Yeah, so we've evicted him from our bed and now crate him at night. But his whimpering and barking wakes the baby, so now we're tag-teaming between baby-duty and puppy-duty.

Dudes...we are tired.

All that to say that yesterday I did not enjoy my stay-at-home life. Yesterday I was resentful about having to pick up after people who leave their things around with the expectation that someone (ME!) would pick them up. I get that it's my job to clean and maintain the house, but Mama ain't nobody's maid. I was tired of hearing the children bickering, the puppy piddling, the baby screeching, laundry procreating constantly, etc...etc...

I had reached my limit.

So, one mischievous puppy, one active toddler + two school aged children bickering = one crabby Mama. I was feeling so cross that I took Willow out and we sat on the porch.

Yep. I put myself in Time-Out. Trust was necessary.

I was sitting there, Willow curled around my feet, my head hanging and tears threatening to fall.

Then she came along.

She being "J". She was just walking around the neighbourhood, not having been up to my end of the street since she'd moved in. She said hello and came up to my porch to pet Willow. We introduced ourselves and I invited her to sit down. We ended up talking for about 40 minutes.

I cannot tell you what this was like for me. I don't do small talk. I don't really engage in conversation with my neighbours all that much. I was out there, trying to cool off before losing it on everyone still inside...and she came along like a gift.

When she was leaving, she said she never does this, she never makes small talk because she just can't do it, but she really felt prompted to stop and talk to me. I told her she was a true blessing for me that night. I almost hugged her, but I figured that I probably talked her ear off because I was so grateful for adult conversation, so I spared her from my creepy grateful affection.

Between that and a trip to Michaels with Julie, yesterday ended pretty well.

Jordan wouldn't stay asleep last night and I had to hold her in order for her to sleep. It was 4am before I was able to leave her in her crib and go to bed.

Still tired, still overwhelmed, and still thankful to be here.

It was like everything aligned today at 12:01pm. Jordan fell asleep, Willow fell asleep, and you guessed it...I fell asleep. Sweet.

I woke up to see Jordan looking at me from her playpen, she grinned at me then dragged her hand across her neck in the you're dead motion, and laughed.

Love her.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to bake something to take over to my new neighbour-friend.


Monday, November 09, 2009

Please Pray For Stellan


Stellan came through the surgery with flying colours and the procedure was a success!

Praise be to God from Whom all blessings flow!!!

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

Prayers for Stellan

He is scheduled to undergo a risky heart operation at some point today.

Please join me in praying for Stellan, that he will be able to hold on until the surgery, for the doctors and nurses that are working on him now and for those that will be in the OR, and for his parents, Jen and Israel, for strength, courage and peace.



Sunday, November 08, 2009

My Weekend Made Me Tired

Seriously. I've been ready for bed since 5:10 this afternoon.

Ian had the day off on Friday but he was out for most of the day running errands. Jordan and I hung out and played with Willow while Sam and Jules were at school.

Friday nights are our Family Nights and we always pick up a pizza and watch a movie together. We've been doing this for years. Our feature for the night was Gremlins.

Aww Gizmo..

I had never seen the whole movie before. I only watched to the first time Stripe was mean to Gizmo then I felt so bad I cried and couldn't watch the rest. So imagine my JOY when that was our movie for the night. (For the record, I watched it this time without shedding a single tear.)

Saturday we went to Square One so we could be robbed blind by the Sony store on the price of a new lamp-bulb-thing for Ian's big screen tv that blew the night before. We had no one to leave Willow with so he came shopping with us. We put him in the basket of Jordan's stroller which he didn't think too much of.

Afterwards I browsed around the Coach store. I saw only one bag I really liked and it was $189.00. Ha. I can't believe people would pay that much for a purse. I didn't like any of the others at all. I do believe my crush on Coach is now officially over.

After the mall, we all headed to my favourite park so we could let Willow run free.

Jordan loves her brother but isn't so hot on Willow at all. Sam was constantly trying to keep him from jumping on her.

Here is Jordan wearing the hair clippie I won from Keely's blog.

So cute.

Between me feeling lousy and Ian being exhausted from getting up with Willow so much during the night, we missed church again today.

Later this morning, I took Willow for a walk and stopped to talk to my neighbours for about 40 minutes. I like that I'm meeting more of them.

Ian, Sam and Jordan headed off to the mall for a bit, leaving Julie and me at home. She ended up playing outside with Willow and her friends so I had the house to myself.

Oh my dear friends, it was heavenly.

Would you like to know what I did with my time?

I fired up my glue gun and tried my hand at bow-making.

Here is the front of my first bow ever...

And the back...

The back looks a bit rough but considering it was my first attempt at using a glue gun ever, I'm pretty impressed with myself. I even lined the alligator clip.

FYI, the glue in a hot glue gun is hot. We don't need to discuss the number of times I got it on myself. Oh no, we certainly don't.

I wondered if the first one might be too big so I tried a smaller one...

So now I have a bow for Jules and one for Jordan.

Julie and I took Willow for a walk along the ravine, then she helped me with the grocery shopping. I love it when she comes because she unloads the cart for me, puts the bags in the cart, then returns it when everything is in the car. Love her. Apparently I love child labour too because I don't try too hard to stop her from helping so much.

When we got to the car I was very annoyed to see that someone had parked their car about four inches from mine, and it was impossible for Julie to open her door to get in. So, I ripped off a piece of paper from something in the car, wrote a very un-Christian-like note and put it on their windshield. Very un-characteristic of me.

Oh I love thee.

So that's it, folks. My uber exciting weekend.

The end.


Friday, November 06, 2009

5QF - Nov 6th

It's Friday!

Can I get a woot woot?


Oh yeah...that's what I'm talkin' about :-)

And y'all know what happens around these parts on Friday don't you?

That's right! Mama M's Five Question Friday!

Here I go :-)

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1. What is your dream job?

I've got it - I'm a Stay At Home Mom. It is definitely the best job I have ever had in my life and I enjoy every minute of it. I mean it. Every minute. My husband supports and encourages me daily, my children love having me here and I am happy.

2. What song could you play over and over?

Boom Boom Pow by The Black Eyed Peas. I canNOT get enough of that song and I sing along and make incredibly lame super cool hand gestures and my butt gets going and I sing into my hairbrush microphone. I imagine that I am a fantastic dancer and there is no room in my dancing fantasy for any reality whatsoever.

3. Do you prefer to talk on the phone or text (or email)?

I really, truly do not enjoy talking on the phone and I feel anxious when I hear it ring. I love email like you wouldn't believe. I love getting it and sending it. I love how fast it is. I lurve it. And I always answer my email.

I also love getting text messages. Usually they are from my extremely talented and beautiful friend Jen. I don't send very many even though I can send 125 each month with my cell phone plan. But as I learned very quickly, it is incredibly easy to reach that and then exceed it and freak out my darling husband when the bill comes in. Therefore I may send about five a week.

4. What is your must have beauty product?

I don't have one. I don't wear make-up and that isn't because I'm this uber mom who is so busy cooking and cleaning and caring for her children. Oh no, friends. It's because I am lazy and I'm not entirely sure I know what I'm doing. With my luck I'd leave my house looking like Katie Fay Baker. Every so often I'd like to wear lipstick but then it would get on my mug or or Jordan's face or wear off or even worse - someone might acknowledge it. "Oh! You're wearing lipstick!" Ugh. No thank you.

I have no skin care regimen or wrinkle combat plan. Just me, some water and a bar of Ivory soap.

5. What is your favorite Michael Jackson song?

Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' and Smooth Criminal. As sad as I am at his passing, it's been really fun hearing his old stuff playing on the radio again. When Smooth Criminal comes on the radio the party starts. If I'm in the van, I'll open the window and crank it. Oh yeah, cruisin' in the mini-van is underrated.

And that's a wrap! Happy Friday, friends!


Thursday, November 05, 2009

Feelin' Blah

Just looking at that picture relaxes me. I wish I was sitting in one of those chairs.

I'm feeling pretty lousy this week, both physically and emotionally. I feel as though I'm coming down with something. My body aches and I feel so tired. I am feeling anxious and fearful. I just want to crawl into bed and wake up next week.

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One of Sam's guinea pigs died early this morning. I had just gotten back into bed after walking Willow at 5am (*choke*) when Sam came in to tell us he thought his guinea pig was dead. Ian went to go and check and the poor little thing was barely hanging on, then died in his hands.

Poor Ian. He always has to deal with pet deaths. I get to cuddle and soothe. He gets the gross part.

Sam is heartbroken and didn't want to go to school today because he was afraid he would cry and his friends would see and make fun of him. Being the softies that we are, we allowed him to stay home from school today. I baked some brownies and we cuddled together watching Spongebob Squarepants.

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Willow came home on Sunday afternoon and he's been fitting in quite well. He piddles hourly! I had these great visions of long walks along the ravine with my new dog. Well forget that. The little dude has itty bitty legs and can't even walk around our block! He turned 7 weeks old yesterday and this week has learned to bark and to climb up the stairs. We've had only a few accidents inside and most of them were on the newspaper. He actually whimpers and/or barks when he wants to go outside. Sweet.

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That's all I feel like talking about at the moment. I'm not feeling particularly fun or witty today.


Monday, November 02, 2009

Ask Me Anything Answers - Part Three!

It's time for the third installment of my Ask Me Anything answers.

Are you ready?

Because I'm ready.

These questions come from Erica from JOYous Jabberings.

1. What is your all time favourite snack?

I love cookies. Soft chocolate chip cookies are my favourites. Hard ones are not as enjoyable in my opinion. I love peanut butter cookies too. Hard or soft, it doesn't matter because I love them with all of my heart. I used to hate them but not now, my friends.

2. What do you like to do to relax?

I enjoy blogging and reading other people's blogs. There are some truly great blogs out there! I like reading and watching tv in bed.

3. What household chore do you despise the most?

I hate, hate, HATE washing floors. In case you missed that, I HATE it.

4. What do you love most about being Canadian? (coming from a fellow Canadian)

Free health care! And the fact that we are loved no matter where we go.

5. What is your favourite movie?

I love Father of the Bride 1 & 2 and I couldn't possibly admit to the number of times I've watched them. I adore Pride and Prejudice and I love Mr. Darcy like you wouldn't believe. It doesn't matter how often I watch this movie, I still get sucked in and cry at the the same parts.

Thanks Erica!

Next up...Jackie from A Step At A Time!

How has the Lord amazed you recently?

Great question, Jackie. I've typed my answer a few times but it just isn't coming out the way I want to express it. I'd love to be eloquent and reverent and what-all, but I'm just still so blown away by Him, so I'll just spit it out.

I spent most of this year feeling resentful that Ian was laid off and I had to go back to work. I'd love to say that I was gracious and selfless but I wasn't. I was angry and I cried a lot. I felt a lot of fear and uncertainty about the future. I doubted that God really cared about me, because if He did, surely He wouldn't let so much stuff happen to us. I almost let go and walked away from Him. Almost. Even in the midst of my feelings, I clung to His promises in the Bible. That He intended good for me.

A few weeks ago He answered one of my prayers. I won't go into detail on it here and I hope you will forgive me for that. For me, this is huge. He has shown me that even though I doubted, even though I raged against Him and stopped praying and all but let go, He showed me that He cares about the deepest desires of my heart and that He wants His best for me. He showed me that there is nowhere I can go where He isn't.

I'm slowly making my way back and He and I are growing closer. I missed Him and I think He missed me too. I feel a lot of shame for doubting Him like I did.

Now we are faced with a new situation, an uncertain future. I am scared, but I am trusting in Him. Whatever happens, He has us.

Thanks Jackie!

Tamara from The(Un)Experienced Mom asked me what got me into blogging. I answered that question for The Pineapple Princess here.

Thanks Tamara!

Amanda from Belli's Place - Living Life With Larsen's asked:

I always hear a lot of animosity from people in other countries towards Americans. What do you think are American's biggest downfalls? What are some stereotypes that people from Canada think about America?

Tough one, Amanda. Can I plead the fifth here? Please??

I am not politically savvy, so I don't think I will answer this very well and will possibly alienate some of my American readers here so I apologize in advance.

I think the biggest downfalls are moral ones: Abortion, same-sex marriage, owning firearms, if it feels good do it, taking God out of the classrooms, the death penalty, euthanasia. Everything is permissible and it's frightening because Canada goes along with whatever the US does.

I don't know what all Canadians think about Americans, I can only say what I think. I think that Bush was a very ill-advised and dangerous man. I think that America bullies other countries. I think the purpose of your troops - and ours - going to Afghanistan and Iraq is long over and they need to pull out.

That (poorly) said, I love your Walmarts. And Target is pretty good too.

Thanks Amanda! (I think!)

And last but not least, Mindi asked:

1. What is your favorite book and why?

I love The First Time, by Joy Fielding. There aren't many books that truly move me, but this one sure did. The first time I read it I was on vacation and I couldn't put it down. I was in the bathroom, sitting on the side of the tub reading it at 3am until it was finished. And I cried like a baby. I even sent an email to the author telling her how much I loved her book and I never write fan letters. The characters were so real and I was pulled right into the storyline and I felt invested in what happened. It's a lovely book and I recommend it highly.

2. What is your favorite thing to cook?

Turkey. There's just something about the effort that goes into cleaning it out, stuffing it, basting it and carving it that I love. I love a nicely browned bird.

And let's face it...I love eating it too.

3. What was your biggest splurge! Ridiculous amount of money for SOMETHING. (Like a Ralph Lauren sweater or something silly like that :)

Back in the day when I was in highschool I desperately wanted something from a store called le Chateau, and I ended up buying a pair of low black heels with uber pointy toes for $80.00 They were really, really pointy and my toes hurt whenever I wore them. But man did I feel stylish.

Thanks Mindi!

Well, that's a wrap! Thank you so much to everyone who asked me questions! I love that you enjoy my blog enough to keep coming back to read!


Sunday, November 01, 2009

This Weekend Pooped Me Out


Halloween was a great success. It was pretty cold but the children wore extra sweaters to keep warm. Ian dressed like Clark Kent from Smallville and I wore my inflatable pumpkin costume as I do each year and felt like an ass like I do each year. But it makes my children happy so I do it. Some dude kept taking my picture. Freak. Those darn paparazzi follow me everywhere.

The girls and I lasted about 45 minutes before returning to my mom's house to wait for Sam and Ian, who rolled in about a half hour later. Those kids cleaned up.

Today we finished the last of our puppy-proofing and went to pick up Willow in the early afternoon. He was snuggled with his two sisters under a bush in the backyard. When we gently pulled him out, the other pups followed and the three of them nuzzled one another and licked each other's faces like they were saying goodbye.

Now you know I cried. You don't have to wonder because you just know I did.

He is a delightful little animal. He has pranced around checking things out and had several naps. He took to his bed immediately and even whimpers when he has to go outside to piddle. He had one little accident but that's because we missed his cues. We took a few pictures of him so I'll try to post them tomorrow.

Ian's best friend *G* came for dinner tonight so we could celebrate his birthday with him. I cooked a roast, mashed potatoes, carrots, corn and gravy, with a chocolate cake for dessert. Very good if I do say so myself.

That's all I have for you today. I am pooped.