Thursday, March 31, 2011

Book Review: The Search

When worlds collide, can the truth set two young women free?

As a child caught up in a crisis, Lainey O'Toole made a split-second decision with far-reaching effects. Fifteen years later, when her car breaks down in Stoney Ridge--the very town in which that decision was made--she is forced to face the past and discover how her decision has impacted so many.

Bess Reihl is less than thrilled to be spending the summer at Rose Hill Farm helping her intimidating grandmother Bertha recover from surgery. It doesn't take long for Bess to realize that her grandmother coaxed her to Stoney Ridge for an entirely different reason. But once Bess meets hired hand Billy Lapp, the summer starts to hold some promise.

Lainey's and Bess's worlds are about to collide and the secrets that come to light will shock them both.

Beautifully written, The Search is a skillfully woven story that takes you through unexpected twists and turns on the long country road toward truth. Immerse yourself in this heartwarming--and surprising--tale of young love, forgiveness, and healing.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~

Beth is an impressionable fifteen year old girl who is being sent to stay with her grandmother for the summer. Bertha, a force to be reckoned with, is a grandmother who had ulterior motives for sending for her granddaughter. Jonah is Beth's father, still grieving the loss of his wife Rebecca 15 years prior, and trying his best to raise Beth on his own. Lainey is the piece that pulls everyone together. Over the course of the summer, these lives will grow closer than any of them could ever have expected.

I loved the gentle and easy way I was drawn into this story. The characters were realistic and likeable, and I found myself lost in the simplicity of the Amish life.

I've been enjoying this series of books by author Suzanne Woods Fisher, however this one was a little different that her usual style. This story had drama and secrets and unexpected turns of events. I wish there had been a bit more build up to the more dramatic parts, but enjoyed them nonetheless.

I really liked the subtle references to characters from other books, as well. I liked having an answer to some of my "where are they now" questions.

The relationship between Jonah and Lainey was sweet and genuine, and I loved watching their love unfold. Beth's crush on Billy was cute, and I like how things turned out for them.

I loved everything about this book, to be honest. I find the Amish life to be refreshing and sweet and good.

If you are looking for a great weekend read and you enjoy reading about Amish life, then I highly recommend this book. You'll want to read the others in the series as well!

~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.



For the most part, I don't mind working.

I like that I'm contributing to the family and that my children - especially my daughter Julie - see that there is more to Mom than the ability to change diapers or cook dinner. You know?

I like that my children are seeing that in this time of employment upheaval, Mom and Dad are a team, and they work together.

I work for a company that provids cleaning services to stores. I am responsible for collections and billing, and whatever other projects they give me.

I miss being at home with the children very much, but I'm trying to enjoy this season for however long I'm in it.

This is my workspace.

See all my post-it notes? I'm terrified that I'll forget something so I stick them everywhere.

The coworker on the other side of my wall has this weird habit of standing up and staring at me. I don't think she's staring at me so much, just that she's staring. No matter. It creeps me out, so I roll close to my desk and duck down so she can't see me.

Every day there is that one conversation that just kills me. Usally it's a collection call and it's all I can do not to laugh.

Take the other day for instance. I called a property management company for payment and our conversation went something like this.

Him: I cannot help you. You have to call Dragen.

Me: Dragon?

Him: Dragen! He is property manager, not fire breathing animal!

Me: Oh. I'm sorry I thought that's what I said. "Dragon".

Him: DragEN. EN!


Last week I called for accounts payable and was told that "Cinderella isn't in today".

Um... yeah.

Then there is the stuff I hear all around me. Such as a subcontractor angry that his payment isn't ready so he's going to put a bomb in our building.


It's amazing to me to see how God works everything out. I knew I'd have to return to work last fall, but I was so worried about who I would find to care for Jordan. She's never been to daycare and I didn't know where to start to find a great place for her. Then, Ian was laid off. I took this temp assignment, able to relax knowing that Ian would be home with her.

So even when I was freaking out about how we were going to manage everything, God had the details all worked out.

That's why I try so hard (and yet often fail) to not get stressed out these days. I know that God has everything worked out for our family, and when it's time for Ian to go back to work, the doors will open.

Ian is anxious to get back to work. He's working so hard to find employment, yet all the doors seem to be closed right now. It's so disheartening.

But God has it all worked out, I just know it. He's preparing the perfect job for Ian and will open that door when the time is right.

In the meantime, I get to do what I do, contribute to my wonderful family, enjoy the feedback I get for my work efforts, and make some new friendships.

For how ever long this season lasts, I am choosing to trust that God is in control.

Thank goodness for that!


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Catching Up

The last few days have been very special in our house - we've been celebrating Julie's 10th birthday and Jordan's 3rd.

It's amazing how quickly the years go by, isn't it?

Julie was so excited to be in the double digits, and Jordan kept telling me she just wanted to stay 2.

I can't blame her. I want her to stay 2 as well.

Julie wanted a pool party, so we rented out a pool and party room and decorated it in a tropical theme and it rocked.

Here is Julie with her closest friends:

Jules was over the moon because her party was the first party her very best friend had ever been to. *K* kept saying how "awesome" and "cool" and "amazing" everything was! So sweet.

Here's Sam hanging in the hot tub with the guys: (sorry about the pic quality)

Not to be ignored, Jordan got in on the swimming action too:

Julie's cake:

Cindy came to help out, as did Ian's best friend Gary. We were so grateful for the extra hands because we were still fighting colds and neither of us were up for swimming. Julie had a wonderful time and we were all exhausted when we got home.

We were supposed to have my family over for dinner on Sunday but with all of us feeling lousy, we had to cancel. We ended up having a slow day, and Ian picked up dinner from Swiss Chalet (one of Julie's favourite restaurants) and we had another cake as Sunday was her actual birthday.

Today is Jordan's 3rd birthday. I brought home McD's for dinner (Jordan's favourite) and we had another cake to celebrate her. I became so teary as she sang Happy Birthday right along with us, and blew out her own candles.

We do have pics of this... but they're on Ian's iPhone. Sorry.

We have three partial cakes in the kitchen right now. You know how I love cake, right? But even I have a limit!

I'm weird when it comes to cakes. I don't think that just because the girls' birthdays are a couple of days apart, they should have to share a cake. Nope. We get each one their own for their own days. This weekend my family will be coming for dinner so we'll have even more cake. I hope Sam bakes one... he makes awesome cakes.

Today was my prenatal appointment. I didn't gain anything, so I'm still sitting at only 2 lbs. My blood pressure was a bit high and that has him concerned, and he wants me to come back in 2 weeks to have it rechecked. He said he'll give me a requisition at that time for a bio-physical profile (I think that's what it's called) to check the placental function. In other words, it's an ultrasound. He's treating me as though this is a high risk pregnancy, and I'm grateful he's staying on top of things. He said that while it's possible I could go into labour on my own, it's more likely that I will be induced, as he doesn't want me going past June 26th. That works for me, because I have someplace to be on the 29th.

Baby's heartbeat is 150 and I passed my glucose tolerance test. No gestational diabetes for me!

That's about all I have the energy to update right now. Ian gave me a refresher on how to upload pics from my camera so now I can go back to showing you pictures of my day to day life. Ha.



Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Oh No They Di-ent!

I have a cold and I am miserable.

It started on Saturday night and I spent the day in bed all day Sunday. I managed to make it to work on Monday, but then was home in bed all day Tuesday.

I cough constantly and my sides now ache. I sneeze so hard I lose my balance. I've gone through tons of Kleenex and juice.

I'm not a "mature" sick person. I get crabby and whiny and I like things the way I like them.

Today I wasn't feeling all that hungry so I tossed a Lunchable in my purse for my lunch.

It's supposed to have 8 crackers, 8 pieces of lunch meat (mine had kielbasa) and 8 pieces of cheese.

Notice I said supposed to have.

Imagine my dismay when I got to the 8th cracker and the 8th piece of lunch meat and....


I was speechless.

I must have checked and re-checked the empty tray three times before the sad truth sunk in.


I like things in even numbers. I appreciate it when things are even. I don't like odd numbered groupings.

So there I was, sick and whiny, having to choke down a cracker and a piece of meat with no cheese to make it perfect.

Oh the horror.

What made it better, you ask?

The little mini Kit Kat bar that comes with it.

That poor little piece of deliciousness didn't even see me comin'.


All better.


Friday, March 18, 2011

5QF ~ March 19

It's Friday! It's Friday!


Shake what your Mama gave you, kitty cat!

What a week! This job sucks all my brain power all week and I've been looking forward to some family time this weekend. I'm in serious need of some cuddle time with the children. I'd also like to go to bingo with my mom on Saturday morning because there's a $10,000 card that I'd kind of like to win. I'd also like to sew... but I've been wanting to do that for weeks now and just never get to it.

We're enjoying Roll Up The Rim To Win season here. Cindy drives me to work almost every morning and we stop at Tim Hortons to get our steeped tea. Gotta start our day off right ya know!

I seldom win on these cups, but I did win a free coffee/tea the other day. I was very excited. I enjoyed my free tea very much today.

And last Thursday or Friday I was on the receiving end of a Random Act of Kindness! When we got to the window to pay for our tea, the lady in the car ahead of us had already paid! SCORE! I was so excited.

Today I broke down and went to buy bigger underwear. My belly is very round and my regular underwear are cutting into me. I love new underwear. I love it like I love cookies and Spring.

It has been forever and a day since I took part in my dear friend Mama M's Five Question Friday!

1. Have you ever testified in court? For what?

I haven't testified in a courtroom, but I did go as far as discovery. I was very angry to be there and didn't bother to hide my feelings. When I was 18 I was sideswiped by a transport truck on a major highway. It sent our car spinning until we stopped facing oncoming traffic. He claimed that I drifted into his lane and caused the accident, and that as a result he suffered a severe back injury. He sued me for a million dollars. Years had passed before we made it to discovery and a lot of details were forgotten. Long story short, he didn't win and ended up having to pay back thousands and thousands of dollars in benefits because it was proven that he lied.

You reap what you sow, my friends.

2. Do you still have your wedding dress?

I do. I tried leaving it at my mother's house and had success for several years, but then she evicted it and now it's hanging in my laundry room. I never had it preserved and it smells rather funky 15 years later. I don't know if it's too late to save the dress at this point. I can't throw it out because I paid $1,500 for it. Talk about STUPID.

3. Is there a special place you like to go when you're happy, sad, stressed, etc.?


Home makes everything feel better, doesn't it? And it's a great place to be happy too.

4. If you have kids, do they sleep with you? If you don't have kids...will you let your kids sleep with you when/if you have them?

Nope, our children don't sleep with us. I had a fleeting moment when Sam was first here when I thought we should try co-sleeping and Ian nixed that ASAP. I'm glad he did because it isn't the safest thing to do. I'm a very heavy sleeper and I'd probably roll over and squish my peeps. Also, it's not a good habit to get into IMO. Parents need privacy and children need to be able to sleep on their own. I know that a lot of people co-sleep and that's their choice. It's just not something I support.

5. Do you watch late night TV?

Nope. I can barely stay awake until 10pm! I'm sure once the baby comes I'll be up all hours of the night and will become very familiar with late night tv!

Great questions, Mama M!

Head on over to Mama M's blog My Little Life to join in on the fun!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

One Hour Glucose Test

Yesterday I went for my one hour glucose test. I didn't know how long it would take between travel time and wait time, so I decided to take the entire afternoon off from work.

I took a number and looked at it I heard the woman at the desk call out "22! Number 22!"

I looked down at my number.... 47.


I decided to play dumb and ask the woman at the desk if I needed to take a number since I was "only there for a glucose test." She gave me my drink and said she'd start the clock as soon as I finished it.

I seem to recall it being a pleasant orange pop type of drink and was actually looking forward to it since I always drink diet pop.

It was so syrupy and sweet and gross, and it was all stuck to the inside of my mouth. I seriously thought I was going to barf. A man across the hall must have seen that tell tale barf look on my face because he said "if you're gonna hurl lady, don't do it in my direction thank you."


I had brought my book and Javier, my iPhone, for entertainment to fill the hour wait. For the most part I was entertained by the other people waiting for their own blood work.

I was texting my friend Cindy and out of the corner of my eye I saw some guy peeking in my purse.


I looked at him and asked if he was looking for something of his in there. He gave me a dirty look and walked away.

I was amazed at one man who used a seat for his wife's purse. People were standing all around but no one must have been as tired and in need of a place to sit as that purse.

But my favourite was the man sitting next to me, reading my text conversation with Ian. I was telling him what time I'd be home and then said "I'd text more but the rude dude next to me is reading everything I'm texting."

To which the guy next to me said "I'm not rude!"

Well apparently you are if you're reading over my shoulder.

I'll get my results at my next appointment on the 29th. Hopefully I passed.

I have 10 days left before I hit my third trimester. I can hardly believe it.

I've been having difficulty getting comfortable and sleeping well. Little Dude doesn't like it when I lay on my right side for some reason and kicks me constantly until I switch sides. I'm up every hour to use the washroom. I have horrible nightmares.

But.... it will all be worth it in just over three months when I get to hold my precious little boy! I can't WAIT!!

I'll let you know about my results at the end of the month because I just know you'll be longing to know ;-)


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Will All The Perfect Mothers Please Stand Up?

I'd like to point out that I am sitting.

I am not a perfect mother.

I am no where near that status.

I make mistakes every single day and I'm so thankful to have children who love me anyway.

I assume that other mothers make mistakes too, and I try not to judge their parenting choices. I'm more successful at that now than I was before I had children.

BK (Before Kids) I thought I knew it all. But let's be honest... nothing knocks you into reality faster than that nurse who hands you your brand new baby and you realize you're on your own!

As moms, we do the best we can for our children. What works for some may not work for others.

But I am amazed at the judgements I have received from other mothers - my friends - for my choices.

When I deliver my children, I choose to have an epidural. Not when I can't take the pain anymore. Right when I arrive. I have been induced with each pregnancy and I have requested my epidural before they start the induction. And my doctor allows it.

I'm going to do it again with this delivery, too.

Does that make me a wimp? Maybe. Does it make me less of a mom because I chose pain medication? Not in my opinion. I've yet to meet a mother who received an award for delivering without any pain relief. I've been judged by "friends" for this choice, and told I am not a "real woman" because I've chosen it this way.

I think my husband might disagree ;-)

You know what else? I formula fed my children. By choice. Am I less of a mother because I chose this method? Nope. My children have always been exceptionally healthy and we are confident that we made the right choice for them. When Jordan came along, our choice to formula feed allowed everyone to participate in her mealtimes, and to bond with her in that way.

Guess what? These same "friends" judged me for this choice too. They said my kids weren't getting the best start in life, and asked me why I didn't feel guilty.

Why on earth would I feel guilty??

If a woman chooses to nurse her child, I say that's wonderful. If she chooses to formula feed her child, I say that's wonderful too.

I could share my opinions regarding vaccinating, the family bed, spanking, homeschooling and eating at McDonald's but I think my point is clear.

As moms, we're all just doing the best we can.

And we shouldn't have to justify our choices to others.

If we can agree on that then why are there so many criticisms and judgements by other mothers?

I have yet to meet a perfect one and something tells me I won't anytime soon.


Tuesday, March 08, 2011


Today was my monthly prenatal appointment. I have blogged before about the various issues I have with my doctor and how frustrated I feel when I leave there.

Last month's appointment had me very upset. I can't remember if I told you about it or not, so bear with me if I'm repeating myself. Brain cells are in short supply these days.

My doctor has a nurse practitioner working with him as part of her residency. She's a lovely woman, I am sure, however I personally don't want to have to see her. Last month she couldn't find the baby's heartbeat and just kept looking and looking, and adding more and more gel on my very gelled up belly. I told her that Dr. L has to push hard to hear it, but she didn't do that. Finally she excused herself to get him and he came in and very quickly (and roughly) located it. She also took my blood pressure but I didn't think she got an accurate reading. My doctor spoke to me for about 34.5 seconds before darting out the door.

I was so cross.

I decided I was going to bring Ian with me to my next appointment so he could tell the doctor that WE (key word) didn't want to have the NP examine me, that we'd wait for him.

I was all bothered about this pending conversation and it turned out that the NP wasn't working with him today! Talk about wasted energy. It was actually a very good appointment and I give credit for that to Ian. He and my doctor get along rather well and I don't think he likes me all that much.

So...on to the unbelievable part...

Guess how much weight I've gained this month?

One pound.

I know, right!?

That makes my total weight gain 2 pounds.

Before you start to worry about the health of my little dude, know that I am on the very "fluffy" side and baby is just taking from me.

His heart rate is 150 and, according to what they could see on the ultrasound, he looks very healthy. My blood pressure is in a good range and all is well. I need to have my 1 hour glucose test in the next few days and then I go back in 3 weeks.

Oh my word... I'm having a baby.

I just love it when this realization just washes over me like that. I am getting more and more excited by the day.

And now I'm going to lay in bed and feel my little boy roll and swish and kick and poke me, and spend some time praising the One who gave him to me.

Good night :-)


Sunday, March 06, 2011

This And That

Let me begin this post by saying thank you to those of you who left me such encouraging comments or emailed me privately regarding my last blog post. I was feeling so low and you just lifted me right up.

I appreciate you all so much, and it means so much that you would encourage me, someone you don't really know.

I don't want to portray that my life is all sunshine and rainbows, but I don't want my blog to become whiny either. I'm trying to find a balance between the two where I can just be real with you.

God has really been providing for our family during this season. Ian has at least one magic booking each weekend and that helps so much. (Did I ever tell you that Ian is a professional magician? Probably... but I love to brag about him!) Last year was pretty slow for bookings, but this year has been quite the opposite. This weekend was one of the only ones in a long while where he didn't have any, then he was offered one at the last minute. God is good.

Yesterday I went to get my hair done. I struggled with the expense of it but had to add it to the budget because my hair was looking like a disaster area and it was really affecting my self-esteem. I'm not one of those women who go to the hair salon every six weeks or everytime there is a special occasion. Oh no... it's been five months since my last appointment and I was looking pretty shaggy. I asked my stylist to make me look hawt again, but not as hawt as last time because look what happened last time.... and I pointed to my belly. We had a good laugh. (But I wasn't kidding, ha!)

I just love my stylist Mary. She is so sweet and does wonderful work. I brought Julie along because she was in dire need of a haircut as well. It was lovely girl time together. We talked about school and life and dreams and boys... it was really sweet. She's such an interesting and fun little girl, my Julie is. She will be 10 this month. Where does the time go??

Yesterday Ian surprised me with Chinese food for dinner. I had opened my fortune cookie to read what it said, then left the cookie part on my belly. A few minutes later the baby kicked me so hard that my cookie moved! His kicks have been getting stronger and stronger, and yesterday my belly was aching when I went to bed.

I see my doctor for my monthly appointment on Tuesday. I'm bringing Ian with me this time because I need him to say a few things that I'm not comfortable saying. Things like how I don't want to see the nurse practitioner anymore, just him. I'm going to also request that when the baby is born that he gets a pulse ox test.

Tomorrow will be a very busy day at work. I have a couple of things I need to do, that for some reason, no matter how many times they're explained to me, I still don't "get". Hopefully I can wrap those up tomorrow and then not worry about them until next month. As busy or frustrating as this job can be, I am deeply grateful for the work.

Jordan seems to be longing for warmer weather. She chose a sundress to wear around the house all day yesterday, and today she's modelled her bikini for me, and is now wearing a sleeveless shirt. I love her little squishy almost three year old body. Yep... three at the end of this month.

I don't think I have any ground breaking news about Sam to share. He's being awesome as usual.

Well, I think I'll wrap up my rambling for now. I'm going to try to blog a little more regularly about what's going on here. I come up with ideas at work but then forget when I get home!

Hope you all are doing well and have a great week!