Monday, December 27, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

100th Post!

It's Christmas Eve, and my 100th post! I suppose it's a good time to reflect on these past few years that I've been blogging. I started up this blog right after Nate was born as a way to post pictures and updates on our new little one, because our internet was too slow to send pictures to far away friends and family via email. I'm thankful for this way of keeping record of major events and general happenings in our lives; I'm not a journaler (is that a word?), nor did I manage to keep any sort of baby book for Nate or Cody, so this is it!

Nathan was a wonderful surprise, as was Cody. But as a person who tries desperately to live a life completely planned, safe and predictable (sounds boring, I know!) both surprises threw at me major curve balls. We can predict and schedule our lives all we want, but in the end all we end up doing is making adjustments to our tidy little plans and going with the flow. We really have no control at all. And as I'm sitting here now, doing a little reflecting, it's hitting me that I needed to learn to let go. And being thrown into parenthood, with very little financial security or long-term plan for the future in terms of working, housing, etc. has taught me first-hand how to trust in God. This blog is way of keeping record of those invaluable life lessons so I can look back and remember how He has loved and cared for my family and I.

We've dealt with stress over money matters, real estate decisions, and job outlooks. I've faced serious anxiety over loving my family so much that the thought of possibly losing them paralyzed me emotionally. We've grieved over several who lost their lives before it seemed like their time here was done, and tried to find justification in that - those losses brought me many questions that still remain unanswered. And even now as we felt we were coming out of a tough time, we're facing different struggles... It just never ends as long as we're here on earth, and I'm thankful for the promise of a perfect life when we're through with this one! It's what I want my boys to learn as they grow; life can be tough and unfair, but we're promised that God will never leave us. Tomorrow as we celebrate Christmas day, we'll remember that day in history. He sent His son so long ago, and it has changed us now, forever.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Art of Leaving the House

I used to pride myself on being a multi-tasker. One of my first jobs was working in the photocopy department at Staples, where I could have seven machines running, answer the phone, take copy orders and ring people through all at once without a second thought. It was so satisfying to be that productive. I'm learning as a stay-at-home mom that productivity is irrelevant, and attempting to be efficient at any task will only cause frustration!

Take leaving the house, for example. I dread it. I remember when Nate was first born, learning to add 15 minutes to my travel time if I had to be punctual, as so many variables could cause delays, even just in the attempt to walk out the front door. Now with two boys, sometimes I wonder how bad would it be to become a hermit? Here's how the average attempt to leave the house goes...

I get Cody's socks on, which he immediately pulls off, so I straddle him to quickly get his shoes on as well, which will hopefully secure his socks long enough to get into the car. Wrestle him down to put on his hoodie and vest - one down, another to go! Nate's much more compliant, and able to put on his slip-on shoes by himself while I get his hoodie and vest on. But by this time, the dog staring at us through the sliding door has figured out we're about to go outside and starts barking and jumping at the door, panicked to be apart of our outing, and Cody is crying at the front door because he's dressed and ready to go, so why aren't we going? And then the phone rings, and I can't find my keys or I've lost the list I made to keep my outing on track. While I'm putting on my own shoes and jacket, I sense a smell coming from the littlest one demanding a visit to the change table that would entail stripping him not only of the outerwear I struggled to get him in, but all his clothes as well. Dirty diaper changed (and I'm now hot & sweaty as I'm dressed for winter weather inside); attempt #2 to wrestle my wiggly worm back into his layers of clothing. Grab my purse, keys and list, run out the door with both boys, get them strapped into their car seats and sit down to take a deep breath. Finally able to stop for a moment I realize I have to visit the little girl's room, but there's no way I'm doing all that over again so I run my errands with a different kind of urgency, and with two boys soon complaining of hunger since it took us a half hour to leave the house! Ahhh! Can you tell I get easily overwhelmed? It's safe to say the idea of adding another child to this household is very happily placed in the "maybe one day - but not now" category.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Most Wonderful Time of Year!

It's here!! December is underway, and the countdown to Christmas has begun! This is by far our family's most favourite time of year. And while we're unusually busy this year, I'm still determined to slow down enough to savour every special moment of the season.

Last weekend kicked off the first of five Christmasy weekends, with a visit to the Christmas Show at the Tradex (not worth paying for, by the way unless you're in the market for a Dr. Ho or a steam-cleaner -- thankfully we wasted no money, as we were given tickets through doing business for the Wired Monk) and our annual Christmas shopping date. Today Nate & I went along with my parents and sister to pick out their Christmas tree, and then decorated the outside of their home with lights. I have never missed the tradition of inspecting every single tree in a Christmas tree lot (or sometimes, three or four lots!) to choose the perfect tree, even since getting married and having kids, and I don't intend to skip out on that tradition any time soon. Then tomorrow, Monte & I will attend Broadway Church's annual Singing Christmas Tree. We look forward to next weekend as well, when we will help out with the Abbotsford Community Services Christmas Party and we will also take the boys to Bright Nights at Stanley Park.

Christmas is such a special time of year, with various traditions holding a special place in my heart. I'm so thankful to have my family close by, so we can continue many of the same activities we began when we were young. And I can't wait for my boys to remember and anticipate the traditions we've incorporated into our own family's Christmas. Most of all, I am grateful for the reason for celebrating Christmas: Christ's birth. Christmas carols, advent and scripture around Jesus' birth often overwhelm me. To think that God sent his son for me... for you. How could it not be the most special time of year? What an incredible gift.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Busy, busy, busy!

Haven't had much time to blog lately... Been SUPER DUPER BUSY!! But we're excited because all the time and hard work we've put into the coffee shop is finally paying off -- The Wired Monk opens tonight! Monte's been putting in 12+ hour days, plus working at his second job, and I've felt very much on my own with the boys while putting in a few hours most days towards getting the Wired Monk up & running. Poor Tim & Sharon have basically been living and breathing everything Wired Monk for the last few months. It will be good to get the bistro going, and get back into a weekly routine. And thankfully Monte only has two weeks left of his second job, and I finish taking care of another kid next week.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Great Outdoors

Most people prefer summer over the other seasons, and get outside to enjoy the weather more than any other time of year. But we love fall, and tend to spend more time outside in the crisp, cool air than we do in the summer. Here are a few photos of our family enjoying the great outdoors during our favourite time of year...

Friday, October 8, 2010

Transition Time

Monte set his alarm for 5am, rolled out of bed (after his usual dozen slaps to the snooze button) and left for Gourmet Chef this morning for the last time. He begins working for the Wired Monk on tuesday, after the Thanksgiving holiday monday, and we're excited to be in the midst of transition! We're not sure what these next few weeks will look like, since there's no workplace to actually go to. I think there will be a good mix of self-motivation for Monte and an endless list of urgent tasks to be done in order to help get the coffee shop up and running in as little time as possible. It will definitely be an adjustment, Monte having never worked from home before, and then adding in the fact that the boys and I are around the house (as well as the little girl I'm looking after). It's really only setting in now, these changes.

I've been doing a few hours of work here and there for the coffee shop, setting up wholesale accounts, researching local companies, and looking into possible merchandise. I've really enjoyed digging into something other than diapers, bottles and toys. Our dining room table, however, has turned into a library of catalogues, post-its and samples. And portions of our basement are soon to be turned into a mini-warehouse, housing gift baskets/containers and their contents (including to-die-for biscotti and amazing, organic dark chocolate... Oh the temptations!).

We drive by the location often, and get updates from Tim & Sharon on the progress of the shop. It's fun to go inside when no one's there and imagine the finished product. We even took the boys there a few weekends ago, and Nate was enthusiastic about it all.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Motherhood: The Venting Sessions

I often resist the urge to use this blog as a sounding board for my motherly woes. I'm not sure why, since I'm pretty sure my few readers are primarily female and every girl knows what a good venting session will do to cure a problem. But it's the reason for no posts in September... All I could come up with over the last few weeks are my frustrations as a mother, and therefore I've stayed away from blogging. With the exception of today.

I've been in a slump. Every little interaction with my kids annoys me, and I just want my own space, my own time. I so identified with Tina Fey in "Date Night" where her fantasy is to be alone in a hotel room with a diet Sprite. I was sitting in that dark theatre, months ago, smiling in agreement - I felt so validated. From the moment I wake up in the morning I'm scheming as to how I can get some alone time. So I put on a somewhat fake smile, muster up all the patience and tolerance I have, and plug away at the day, with their 7:30pm bedtime as the grand prize. I love my boys with all my heart, which is probably why this confusing range of emotions has got me stumped. And as soon as the house is quiet, with the boys in their beds, I sit in my long-awaited peaceful moment and cry with guilt. I'm not sure if it's because I'm female or a mother... or maybe a bit crazy?? But I cannot figure myself out to resolve this so I can go back to loving my role as a mother and do it to the best of my ability. And I so badly want to do that!

Thankfully Monte has been a good listener (and probably resisted the urge to "fix" my problems, as men typically feel compelled to do) to help me sort through my confusion and frustration. But I suppose the worst part about this is that my boys are so great. They aren't acting up or pushing my buttons - no more than usual. They're fairly well-behaved, and any annoyances I find with them are just part of kids being kids. So, I'll chalk it up to a challenging phase in my motherhood, knowing well that this is probably a familiar experience for most moms, and make a point of planning extra nights out with friends, or hiding away in my own little space in our home more often.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Part II

So fast forward to a few months ago. We still had no ideas for a new job for Monte, and he was just sending out his resume to random places hoping for a lead. He was even considering going into a trade just because it seemed to be the only possible option left (and for those of you who don't know, Monte has many talents and natural abilities but working with tools is not one of them!).

Then, out of the blue, we got an email from Monte's cousins Tim & Sharon wondering if we were free to get together for coffee. Turned out they were in the process of securing a Wired Monk franchise, set to open in Abbotsford (about a 5 minute drive from our house) and wanted Monte to come on board to handle the food/menu. We met and talked coffee for hours, excited to hear about their business plans and how Monte could potentially be involved. They left us with a business plan, lots to think about, and the question of "how much would Monte need to earn?" Monte had been really wrestling with the idea of leaving a career in the food industry as it seemed as though God had gifted him with this talent and ability, and provided him with a year of training completely paid for (a $20,000 tuition covered by the government... when does that ever happen?). So to have this opportunity come along, with the ability to state your pay, was unbelievable. And for the first couple months, while all these plans were in limbo waiting for final approval and such, we were sure this was too good to be true. But Tim called at the end of July confirming that the lease had been signed and everything was a go, including Monte's position. And ever since we've been immersed in coffee bistro plans with them; they've been so great to get our opinions and ask our thoughts on so many aspects in the planning process even though this is entirely their business venture.

We're really excited about the future and can't wait to witness the coffee shop's success. It's going to be a lot of hard work and also a lot of fun! We don't know where this opportunity is going to lead us, but we're reminded that God can work outside the box. We often forget that He is bound to no limits. We never would have seen this opportunity coming, and yet it's probably one of the best-suited jobs out there for Monte and his set of skills.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Grab a cup of coffee...

...and get comfy. We've got something to share.

Over two years ago we decided it was time for a job change for Monte. He was miserable at work, not treated very properly, and was paid terribly - a low enough wage that he had to pick up a second job just to cover the bills. We didn't know at first if this change meant simply a new environment, or a complete switch of professions. We didn't even really know where to start. But we knew it was time for a change. So, we started dreaming, trying to tap into the "pre-marriage/pre-kids Monte" to figure out what his true passions were, outside of the pressure of providing for his family. And we landed at the opportunity for him to get into some form of law enforcement. Before applying to culinary school in 2003, he had a real interest in becoming a police officer, but at the time they were only hiring applicants with a degree related to law. And the RCMP were only looking for those who were of ethnic minority.

Looking into law enforcement over five years later, the requirements were totally different and it looked as though should he be accepted into almost any law inforcement program, not only would his training be paid for, but he would be paid a reasonable hourly wage as well while being trained. Seemed like an answer dropped right onto our laps from the heavens! But four months into the intensely in-depth (and quite costly!) application process, the door closed. Monte's application had ended. And our dreams were shattered. We were so sure this was where God wanted us... Now what? Back to square one, but quite shaken and unsure of the future.

Months and months of truly seeking what God's purpose was in that discouraging process (so that we wouldn't experience that kind of disappointment again) and praying for His direction in whatever new pursuit came our way, and we felt stuck. No realistic options; no opportunity that Monte could get excited about. Little did we know that we were being taught priceless lessons and experiencing God in ways we never could have had we not felt so weak and vulnerable. One experience, for instance, was being a part of our church life group. The support, prayer and encouragement was unlike anything we had experienced in our lives and we learned a lot about our own faith, and the importance of letting others carry us through tough times. It was a safe place to ask questions we were too scared to even acknowledge... Not knowing what kind of void the answers could create. Another experience of God's provision and faithfulness was not being able to afford groceries and having grocery store gift cards snuck into my purse or being given a huge bag of food essentials out of the blue, by people who didn't know there was a real need and at just the right time.

But having gone through it all, I would do it again in an instant because of the more intimate relationship it has brought our family with our Saviour. After all, when life is all said and done, what is leftover? What happens when the life we cling to, so desperately at times, is over? These situations and experiences, while instrumental to our faith, are only for a moment. It's the end that we're truly living for. And at that, I'll think I'll leave the rest for another day. To be continued...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Summer Update

The last of July, and into August, was a busy time for us. Too busy to blog much, I guess. We hosted our very first exchange student - a 15 yr old boy from Japan - for just under three weeks. It didn't go as planned, and I think both Monte and I were a bit deflated after that experience. But we had already signed up with a different organization to host another student, starting yesterday, and so we hoped and prayed that this one would work out better. So far, so good!

Much of our family was flying in and out of the country and since Monte loves airports more than anything (that's not sarcasm, he really does) he and Nate chauffeured members of our family to and from the airport several times. Monte's grandma passed away this month, as well. She lived 102 years! She lived out in Winnipeg, so Monte and his family flew out there for five days to attend the funeral and spend time with their relatives. It was really great that he could go back to visit his grandma's home and honour the fond memories he has of her from his childhood. I only met her once - she came to our wedding - but from the stories Monte had for me, she sounded like a wonderful, well-respected woman who loved God and her family with all her heart. The kind of woman I'd love to be someday.

And lastly, but not least, there's been a job change in the works for Monte over the last few months. It's still a bit early to get into all the details, but we're really excited about the future and can't wait to get this new challenge underway. We are truly, truly blessed... The stories God has made out our lives is a genuine testimony of how we have no idea what we're doing or what we want but He makes it right anyways, in His own time and in a way we'd never expect. And sometimes we get angry, bitter and resentful as it seems to take forever to get to that place, and we forget the purpose in it all, but He never seems to hold that against us. Thank goodness.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Cody celebrated his first birthday on the 13th, and I recognized my 30th birthday on the 23rd. The celebrations have been spread out, starting in June and another to come in August... It's always been tricky having a birthday smack dab in the middle of summer! Here are a few pics. And an apology for the recent lack of pictures (I personally enjoy blogs with lots of photos). Our camera's memory card was full and suddenly felt photographically paralyzed. A little trip south of the border to pick up another cheap card solved that problem.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Drama, Drama, Drama

Sundays used to be a great day for Monte & I, pre-kids. We lived out in Surrey and chose to attend church in White Rock, at Peace Portal Alliance. They would offer the same morning service in the evening on Sundays, and so we enjoyed sleeping in and took the day at whatever pace we wanted until 6pm when the service started. We should have enjoyed more the "leisurely-ness" of those weekends... Of those laid-back Sundays that went according to our plan, to our schedule and we did what we felt like whenever we felt like it.

Sundays these days around our house are nothing but drama. Nate's copping an attitude that's difficult to deal with, especially when we're trying so hard to get out the door on time. He suddenly decides he doesn't want to go to church, and completely shuts down. He won't go to church, and therefore he won't go to the bathroom before we go. He fights the kids' church sign-in when we get there, and outright refuses to enter the room where a dozen other preschoolers are playing with toys (how dare us, evil parents, subject our son to such fun and play!). And then occasionally Cody concludes that the nursery is not the ideal place to spend an hour and a half, and so whenever I'm not trying to coerce Nate into kids' church I'm consoling Cody, attempting to calm him down enough to leave him under someone else's care so I can get in just a few minutes of grown-up time in the service. It makes me wonder if Sundays are even worth the effort right now. You know, when you're yelling at your little one to hurry up and get ready to go worship the Lord? Or sitting outside on the church curb with him during an extra long time-out? Sometimes I feel like I'm just relocating my work from home to church; it's frustrating to not get that break that I tend to expect out of Sunday church. However, being a parent has taught me that expectations are cause for disappointment, and my experiences as a mother are much more gratifying when I look for the joy in the circumstances. Now I just need to figure out how to do that... with grace.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My Angry List

I'm the queen of to-do lists. I usually have two or three going at a time. Monte often makes fun of me and my lists. The thing about a to-do list is that during times in my life when I just don't have time to get it all done, the to-do list helps me prioritize. I get overwhelmed by the endless tasks that need to be done and jotting them down on a notepad makes me feel like I've got it under control. Today, however, my to-do list turned into my angry list. I no longer felt satisfied by gathering my weekly tasks with a pen and paper; this time I needed to write down the unfinished tasks that made me feel mad! And it was just as satisfying. From tripping over things in our cluttered garage to the forgotten leftovers rotting at the back of the fridge to the mail/papers that always seem to accumulate on the dining room table. I can't handle it anymore! Let's hope my anger will fuel a desire to see these tasks completed.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Trashed Toe

Canada Day was supposed to be a quiet day at home, just me and Cody, while Monte and Nate took his parents to the airport and spent a good part of the day out together. I was really looking forward to it; there's something so relaxing to me about enjoying my own space in peace and quiet. So I put Cody down for his morning nap, and take Bailey outside before sitting down to enjoy a fresh cup of coffee all by myself. But as Bailey and I come back into the house I can hear Cody playing with his mobile in his crib and I remembered that should he pull the entire mobile apart, a small piece holding it all together could easily find it's way into Cody's mouth and he would choke on it. So I spring into action, running up the two stairs from the living room to Cody's room down the hall. Bailey must've had the same concern, as she also ran up the stairs just under my feet and I bail, landing funny on my left foot. It hurt pretty bad, so I look down at the toe that's pulsing with pain and it's definitely curved out of it's usual shape. But sometimes the little toes get squished up on each other, so I try bending it back and immediately regret touching it at all. I've never broken a bone in my life, but I had a suspicion that that's what had just happened. Since I was home on my own with Cody, I tried to ignore it and went on with my day (after all, there's not a whole lot you can do for a broken toe, right?). Well, by the time Monte got home, the top of my foot had turned purple and the pain was hard to ignore. So I agreed to Monte's persistent advice and sought out medical attention. Mental note: Canada Day is THE day to go to a walk-in clinic or to the hospital. I was the only one at both the walk-in and in the x-ray department at the hospital. They figured it's a fracture, but my doctor won't get the results until next week. So for the next few weeks I'm hobbling around on one and a half feet with a white bandage up to my ankle. Who knew one little toe could be so high-maintenance? The real disappointment in this mishap is that we had to cancel (or at least postpone) our 7th wedding anniversary plans, since we were going to hang out in Seattle for the day and that would include a lot of walking.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Three is Tricky

I'm a few weeks into this whole taking care of another kid every day thing. It's been quite the transition! But it's really made me think about whether or not we'd consider having another baby (jury's still out on that one...). I've always considered Nate to be a very social kid and thought this would be like a really really long playdate for him - what kid wouldn't love having another one over to play every day? However, it's revealed his competitive nature and how possessive he is over his stuff. Cody on the other hand loves having around another person closer to his size. He enjoys getting in there with the kids and playing with 'big kid stuff.'

Since all our family on the Horban side is heading out of the country for summer vacation, we got together to celebrate birthdays: Megan's 28th and Cody's first! I wasn't sure what to expect with Cody tasting his first cupcake (since Nate wanted nothing to do with sugar of any kind until he was 2 years old) but one tiny taste of chocolate icing, and that cupcake was demolished within minutes!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

My Best Friend... Husband, Father, Leader

Monte bought me an under-the-cabinet radio/CD player for the kitchen for Christmas, and so we have Praise 106.5 on pretty much all day. It's nice to have on in the background while I cook and it sometimes reminds me to be a little more patient and show a little more grace to my boys when we're in the middle of baby/preschooler drama! But the other day I heard a song that really resonated with me. Sanctus Real sings a song called "Lead Me" and it's a prayer of a husband/father's heart. After hearing it a few more times (Praise is not exactly known for their vast selection of songs!) and being totally affected by it, I went online to Sanctus Real's myspace page and read through the lyrics. In it I recognized pieces of Monte; I knew intimately the heartache and hope expressed through this song. It brought me to tears as I listened. What an essential and beautiful message not only for men, but for the women they're leading. I really needed a reminder to pray for Monte every day. It's an incredible responsibility and privilege to be a man, created to love and follow God throughout his entire life AND to lead his family in the same way, no matter what. As a wife who wants to follow her husband's leadership, I know the best way I can support Monte is by continually asking God to show him how to lead, and to give him the strength and courage to do what it takes as our leader.

Lead Me by Sanctus Real

Monday, June 7, 2010

Recipe Blog

Every Sunday I sit down with my notepad, recipe box and grocery store flyers to plan my meals for the week and make my grocery list, usually with a cup of coffee and a muffin in the morning before heading off to church. I love preparing my meal plans and digging out "lost" recipes from the back of my recipe box; I find it so satisfying when I can get something organized in our noisy, busy, cluttered home. But every so often I feel totally stumped and can't come up with anything worth making (or eating) for the week. From conversations with friends and reading status updates on facebook, it seems like most of us cooks feel tapped out from time to time. So I decided to start a blog where I can collect and share some of my favourite recipes, and hopefully new recipes will be shared in the comments section. Beware, I am no gourmet cook; I didn't go through in-depth training at a culinary institute like my husband. Some recipes are loved by our family because they're so simple and fun. Some recipes are healthy and low-fat, while others throw all that out the window. And everything I enjoy making can be found at a regular grocery store. If you have a favourite recipe or two, please share it! I could use some fresh ideas.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Bye Bye Baby... Hello Toddler

I was so on top of recording Nate's milestones during his first year; I'm not doing so well with Cody's. Well, he's on the move now and is a very determined little guy. He keeps me busy! He's crawling, pulling himself up, climbing stairs, even cruising around furniture a little. While I'm saddened by the thought of no longer having my little baby to snuggle with, I'm really excited to see Cody walk and interact more with Nate. Cody gets so energized by the people around him and I can tell he just wants to be included. Once he becomes a little more sturdy and mobile, he'll hopefully be less frustrated with having to just be the spectator.

Today's our first complete day on the bottle... Cody's been weaning himself over the last few months and while I tried to fight it at first, I eventually embraced the idea of bottle-feeding and slowly moved to formula. We're both happier now. I never loved nursing but knew it was best for him and my own preferences weren't a good enough reason to bottle-feed. Ten months was a pretty good run.

He's cutting his one-year molars on the bottom, making 10 teeth in total in six months. No wonder we're so sleep-deprived and cranky! He weighs 24 lbs, and is wearing 18 month clothes. He babbles a lot (and VERY loudly) but hasn't said his first word yet. Cody prefers finger foods over pureed baby food; I have to get creative with his meals, since I have a freezer full of homemade baby food. And he loves watching Mickey Mouse on TV - it's fun to watch how excited he gets when Mickey makes his appearance.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Living the Dream

I've always known I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. I struggled through career and personal planning classes in high school because "mom" didn't make the career list and nothing else appealed to me like being a mother did. Of course, when you dream up your life long purpose it's always in the most ideal form... Being a mother definitely has it's ups and downs and it's not always the way I pictured it, but I still feel as though I'm living my dream. I love my boys with all my heart (maybe more!) and I am privileged to be at home with them each day. It's not for every mom, and for those of you mothers who juggle a job outside the home in addition to all of life's other demands I applaud you... It takes a very strong and selfless person to be able to do all that you do in a single day. I worked 20 hrs a week from home after my mat leave with Nate and that was exhausting!

In our day and age, though, it's tricky financially to make it work living off of one income. No matter what your spouse does for a living, it always seems to be tight. I suppose we have our previous "lives" to compare it to, when we were both working full-time and had dispensable income. As of July I'll be done my mat leave with Cody and it was really stressing me out. I shouldn't have been stressed because all my life (especially my adult life, when there seems to be more at stake) God has never failed me and ALWAYS provides what we need. So I did up our budget and figured out exactly what we needed, and started to pray about it. Usually something like "God, we need this and I can't even imagine how we'll get it, but I know you can take care of it." And God, as always, blew me away. A few weeks into this constantly weighing on me, I got a call from Monte's mom. A doctor in her office was looking for part-time childcare for her 2 1/2 year old daughter, starting in June. And it would pay the EXACT amount we needed. So I've started looking after this little girl a few mornings a week to ease into this new schedule, and to get her comfortable with being in our home. I hope that she and Nate will become good friends, and that she will one day drive by our house to show someone she loves where she spent a good portion of her childhood, with fond memories. Sure, it's a lot of work, but I'm at home with our boys where I want to be. And I get to be a part of another kid's childhood. I am truly thankful for the way God answers prayers.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Healthy Choices

Ever since I went from having a job that kept me on my feet 8 hours a day to sitting at a desk 8 hours a day, weight loss has constantly been a goal of mine. But it's not easy, especially as you get older and your metabolism slows down. I've never been a fan of diets, and don't feel they work for long-term success, so over the past couple of years I've been trying to make some permanent healthy changes in my lifestyle. In the last few weeks, I've especially made an effort to eat better: using whole wheat flour instead of white as much as possible, adding in ground flax to baking, and making whole wheat pasta and brown rice at dinner. Last week I made cookies from a recipe I found on a website called Whole Grain Gourmet, which exchanged olive oil for butter and honey for sugar. They turned out pretty good, for a healthy cookie! And earlier this week I made quinoa for the first time, which is high in protein, fibre and calcium (among other things). It was also tasty which is great because I'm always looking for ways to get more protein, and in a grain no less! The down side to making healthier meals and snacks is that the three year old at the table prefers the old stuff, and mealtimes - which were already frustrating - are even more drawn out and dramatic.

I'm also trying to be more intentional about excerising daily. I've always been on my feet since having kids, but it's totally different than getting your heartrate up for a good 20 minutes. Now that we have a dog I really enjoy going for walks, usually by myself once Monte gets home from work. It's amazing how getting some fresh air and exercise puts a new perspective on your day. I love my walks with Bailey; I spend the time thinking and praying and it's just the perfect change of pace for me.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Boys

Ahhh, coffee time. After the usual chaos of the morning - ignoring the fact that both boys are awake (I'm so not a morning person), getting them up, changing & dressing Cody, helping Nate with the potty and teaching him how to get dressed, letting the dog out, feeding everyone, and somehow finding a minute to get some breakfast for myself and squeezing in a shower while keeping Cody content and breaking up potentially dangerous situations between Nate and Bailey (Bailey seems to think Nate's just another puppy, and Nate thinks of Bailey as something he can control) - I relish the quiet time when Cody's napping and Nate settles down for a little TV time and some apple slices. It's the best part of my morning!

Cody's on the verge of crawling; he sort of scooches forward by pushing with his toes. He has finally cut his two front teeth, making it four on the top and four on the bottom. And he's been feeding himself rice puffs and cheerios for a few months now. He is very vocal, especially in expressing his frustration and anger when he's sitting in his highchair with no food. He's seriously a little porker. I checked back on my old posts to see what milestones Nate reached at Cody's age... Wow, what a difference! Nate was waving, clapping, crawling, pulling himself up. Even saying his first word! Crazy. I suppose it's a combination of differences in personality and having a lot more time to just play and interact with a firstborn than with your second. I know Cody will get there at his own pace, and I certainly don't want to compare my boys. It just surprised me to read the differences between Nate & Cody at 9 months.

And Nate... what can I say? What a whirlwind of activity this boy has become! We were all sick last week and even then he was tearing around the house and chatting endlessly. He's still asking a billion questions a day which sometimes drives me crazy! He's learning to count from 10 to 20, and we found an Elmo placemat at Wal-Mart recently which has been helping him learn to recognize numbers. Best dollar we ever spent! We play Memory (the matching game) and he surprises me with how much he remembers. He's doing very well with potty-training, with charts, stickers and rewards to motivate him. We're concentrating now on getting through an entire day in underwear without any accidents. He especially loves running around in just his undies! He's figuring out how to do a lot of things on his own which is exciting for him, but at three years old he's not quite aware of all the dangers that opens up for him. In just one day I discovered that he could unlock and open the front door, turn on the faucet for the bath tub and turn on the hose in the garage. There's nothing like finding your front door wide open with your preschooler wandering outside, or discovering your deep-freeze is sitting in a pool of water in your garage. So I'm facing a new challenge of how to encourage him in exploring his independence while teaching him the dangers that lie within that independence. It's exhausting!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Knee Surgery

I seem to have failed miserably at blogging more often... Two months was a pretty good start, though. I've never been much for change, and March held some big adjustments. I suppose that could be why I didn't feel much like blogging.

Monte's been seeing a doctor and several specialists attempting to fix a knee problem he's had for years. He finally got in to see the best specialist around, and was told his name would be put on the waiting list for surgery; possibly to happen in April or May. At the beginning of March he got a call saying there had been a cancellation and his surgery was bumped up to March 17th. Yikes! Two weeks to prepare for this. So we made a list of all the tasks that needed to be done before he'd be off his knee for who knows how long and plugged away at it until the day of his surgery. He was told he'd be off work for 4 weeks, and that's about all that we knew. Surgery went well, Monte felt great... Dropped him off at the Chilliwack Hospital at 9am and he was home by 4pm (with a stop at Starbucks of course). And then he went back to see the specialist two weeks into his month at home and found out that they did at lot more on his knee than they expected. He was told he'd have to wear his leg-extending brace until the end of April, be off work for 4-5 months, and have no physical activity for 9 months. Not exactly what we signed up for. I mean, we're so grateful to have had this surgery so that Monte can eventually be physically active without feeling knee pain... But come on! As much as I don't like change, I really don't like surprises. This news took a few days for me to process. And now Monte's started back at work as of today, after arranging to do light duty tasks.

With Monte being at home for over four weeks, every day felt like Saturday. We slept in (as much as kids will allow), played outside, went to the States a few times and just spent lots of time together. Sometimes it felt like too much time together, but overall it was a great month as a family.

Sunday, February 28, 2010


On Nate's birthday, after his party, we drove to Aldergrove to pick up our new little addition... Our shepherd-malamute-cross 8 week old puppy we named Bailey. That Saturday was busy and overwhelming, but we were just so excited to bring her home! She has been a great dog so far, learning well and becoming quickly adjusted to her new family and surroundings. Monte spent quite some time researching the best ways to train a dog (you could even call him the new Dog Whisperer, thanks to Cesar Millan's teachings!) and Bailey has picked up on Monte's leading very well. She's still got some house-training to do; we have about an accident a day to clean up. And I will admit, there have been a few moments when I've been on my own with both the boys and Bailey and felt completely overwhelmed. But overall she's a very well-behaved little pup and we're excited to have her grow up with our boys!