Monday, September 10, 2012

Gifts: Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow

Took a break over the summer but feeling the need to come back to this... #170 to #190...

* 3 gifts summer: the beginning of a long weekend with my loves, laundry on the line, and digging up garden produce.

* 3 gifts cut out: cutting ribbon to celebrate birthdays with family, freshly cut sweet peas from my Aunt's garden, and a day cut-away from the to-do lists.

* 3 gifts yellow: a sunflower on the kitchen table, bright yellow fabric on bulletin boards, and leaves changing yellow at the tops of the poplar trees.

* a gift cool, warm, and sun-soaked: early cool mornings, evening walks together while it's still warm out, and a room of children who have enjoyed many sun-soaked days.

* 3 gifts autumn: warmth of a sweater on a cooler, rainy day; taking brand new school supplies out of the package; and seeing the red leaves on our maple tree in our front yard.

* 3 gifts growing: my beautiful girl; a growing friendship between a friend I've known for a long time and E; and a story before bed.

* 3 gifts given: the hand of friendship extended at lunch time from a girl who is teaching me daily about love and grace, snuggles with my boy before bed, and serious goodnight kisses from my girl.



Saturday, September 08, 2012

At 11 months, Joel...

Had time to upload some of my favorite pictures from M's phone tonight.  Sorry for the delayed post...Mom :)!

...weighs 19 lbs 14 oz (about the same as last month) but has grown another half inch in height and measures 29 1/2 inches long.

...loves to eat finger food of his tray.  When we sit down to eat, he'll peer at his bowl and check out what is on the table to make sure he is eating what we are eating.  It is like he says, "No more homemade baby food thanks.  I'm ready for "real" food!"

...has two new top teeth.  It made for challenging sleeping times this last month but we are glad we are through.

...isn't crawling yet but is very efficient at bum scooting.  He lets us know he's coming with the pat-pat of his hands on the carpet.

 ...can throw a ball, or block, or any small toy he discovers and is getting the hang of trapping a ball at his feet too.  His favorite game is throw and then scoot after it!

...has a few nicknames but is affectionately called by his big sister as "Jo-jo" and "Scooter".

....loves to sit and play in the same room as his sister.  At almost 1 and almost 4, they already know how to push each other's buttons and be a bit "bugging" but it is delightful to see them as friends and make each other laugh!

...smiles with a wide, two teeth grin and his eyes disappear.  His smile reminds us of Snoopy.

...and is always ready to play a game of peek-a-boo!

Saturday, September 01, 2012

July in Pictures

Taking time tonight to upload the camera and sort pictures taken over the last few busy months, brought a smile to my face as I looked back on all we did together.

We spent July...

* going for daily bike rides and walks with a girl excited to go outside, whatever the weather.  When we experienced a blustery day in the first week of July and I explained how windy and chilly it was, E went out to tell me she'd wear her toque, mitts, warm coat, and boots.  How can you say, "Please wait..." to that?!?!

* enjoying fresh berries on our cereal in the morning.

* in awe of God's creation: the canola fields near our home or the Rocky Mountains.

* celebrating our 7th anniversary together! 

* relaxing in the mountains.  Mountain air is so refreshing!

* with many splash park and back yard pool dates.

* visiting local farms.

* making pizza with Daddy.

* dressing up as a penguin with Mommy's gloves from under the sink (it still makes me laugh)!

* having tea parties on rainy days.

* visiting with friends we wished lived closer.

* and blowing bubbles off the deck.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

At 10 months, Joel...

...weighs 19 lbs 15 oz and measures 29 inches long.  He is officially in the double-digits of growth and birthdates.  How did we get here so fast!?

...loves raspberries, which warms his Bestemor's heart! communicating by pointing with his pointer finger, waving bye, saying "Mama", and "puh puh" (for puffs).

...has hair that is coming in thicker on top, in the back, and in the right light ;).

...looks a lot like his sister at this age especially with his big brown eyes-nose wrinkle-look! bum scooting, bum turning, pushing himself backwards and around in circles.  Sometimes he gets himself into some pretty tricky spots, like in-between the legs of a chair or backed into a wall.  When sitting, he can fold himself in half to touch his toes.  His flexibility is amazing!  The favorite new places to play are the kitchen cupboards, especially the pot drawer that can be pulled out and pushed back in, and the magnets on the fridge door.

...calms down right away when we spend time outside, go for a walk, or give him time to splash in the water.  Even having his hands under running water is soothing for him.

A short little update this month to describe all that this lil' man of ours is doing, learning, and growing.  You are such a delight!

Sunday, July 01, 2012

June in Pictures

It's hard to believe we turned the calendar today, saying goodbye to June and hello to July!  This past month zipped by.  I didn't think I had taken many pictures this month.  So, it was a pleasant surprise as I downloaded pictures tonight and saw that I was able to catch many of the day-to-day happenings, thanks in part to Instagram.  We spent the beginning days of summer ...

* drawing and painting
* wrapping up swimming lessons on Saturday mornings, just El and I
* going on wheel-barrow rides--a first for both
* enjoying trying new foods at lunch
* reading in a tent
* celebrating a wonderful Daddy-o
* spending "extra" time with Bestemor and Bestefar
* and discovering creepy crawly friends in the backyard

I hope you have been able to enjoy the first weeks of summer!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

At 9 months, Joel...

...weighs 19 lbs 7 oz and measures 28 1/2 inches long.  A few signs he's growing: he is definitely getting heavier to carry in the infant carseat; he stretches from end to end in his cradle bed; and no longer fits in between the arms of the rocking chair so we sit on a diagonal. more aware and searches 'til he finds his Susa (sister).  When she walks into the room or rides past him on her bike, he squeals with delight and smiles wide.

...shows much excitement for food!  New finger foods this month are: rice crackers, whole wheat bread, pasta, cheese, green beans, strawberries, blueberries...just like his big sister.  

...has a couple favorite toys: simple shakers with a knotted string on the end, the fish bowl, his stuffed monkey, and small board books to name a few.  He also likes to play with a whole bucket of Duplo.  He will dump it out, find two blocks, and play by banging them together.  

...beginning to show signs of wanting to crawl but when he gets down to try...boy, it's a lot of work! showing us more of his temperament and who he is.  He is content to play on the floor for good chunks of time or get cozy and still on your lap.  At first, he seems to be a serious lil' man but when he breaks out in a full face smile, your day instantly becomes sunny.  We think he'll be our boy of rhythm and routine as it seems he already has an internal alarm clock, he wants to eat on a regular schedule, and falling asleep at home is best.

...grins from ear to ear when you start singing "Jesus Loves Me" at bed time and will fall in your arms, for love and cuddles.

Happy in-out birthday our beautiful boy!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

At 8 months, Joel...

...weighs 18 lbs 13 oz and measures 27 1/2 inches long.

...has two teeth poking through.

...took a day or two to try each texture of food: from pureed, to ashed, and then small pieces.  At first he wasn't a fan of eating food from a spoon.  He would much rather enjoy chewing on pieces that we put in his mouth.  Now he is okay with being fed with a spoon which we love because it opens so many more possibilities.  However, there is still a part of this little boy that wants to do it by himself.  New and re-tries this month: rice puffs, wheat puffs, kidney beans, peas, avocado, peaches, cottage cheese, and yogurt.

...lets us know he is hungry by opening and closing his fingers as if to say, "More please."  It is usually accompanied by a "...and right NOW..." tone of voice.  

...has started playing like a little boy.  He loves to play alongside his sister with a Duplo car in hand.  He also loves to sit in his highchair banging wooden spoons or whisks on the tray. a content explorer as we putz and putter outside in the garden.  He takes in the grass between his fingers, turns a shovel over and over, and watches the cars and trains drive by.

...likes to strum his fingers on his lips.

...will laugh whole-heartedly when given a tickle fest up his tummy, when bounced on your knee and sung too, or when Ellie smiles and jumps in front of him while he is in the Jumperoo.

...lets us know he is tired and ready for bed by pulling on his ears and rubbing his eyes.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Gifts: Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow #149 to #169...

* hearing the story of how our fellowship was formed 25 years ago, community, and hard spring rain.

* sharing a meal and wine with friends, sharing the load, and warm night air.

* clear Skype chats, tickles and deep laughs in the middle of the afternoon, and grace to start fresh tomorrow. 

* sponge painting, an inaugural soccer game for a group of 3 year olds, and caramel popcorn.

* trails left by little people, evidence of play, and a impromptu visit with a friend.  

* a husband that helps me reach the "finish the line", checking off spring cleaning jobs, the coming weekend.  

* learning alongside a little girl in the pool, blowing bubbles, and a soak in the hot tub. 


Monday, April 30, 2012

Gifts: Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow #128 to #148...

* getting ready for Sunday together, a son snoozing in the sunshine, and first picnic of the season. 

* waking up to the smell of coffee, lunch on the deck, and dirt under small finger nails. 

* celebrating a new baby boy, God's promise of hope, and lemon squares.

* googly eyes at the craft table that bring smiles, E tapping her toe to the songs, and playtime at McDonalds.

* the teachers I work with and call friends, hearing the words "mama", and adoption. 

* comfort macaroni 'n' cheese, seeing J enjoy the water at family swim, and a dish of chocolate ice-cream before bed.

* CBC streaming to listen to Stuart McLean earlier, swimming lessons with Ellie, and rests in the afternoon. 



This lil' fellow got the tour of the yard today, complete with a push on the swings and a trip to the sandbox.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Gifts: Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow #107 to #127...

* a gift in a bag, in a box, in a book: wet wipes, left-over homemade pizza, and Buchanan's quote: "...practice, mostly through thankfulness, the presence of God until you are utterly convinced of His goodness and sovereignty, until He's bigger, and you find your rest in Him alone." (The Rest of God, p. 71).

* three hard eucharisteos or 'thanks ': safe travels home on a bumper-to-bumper highway, a messy supper even late, and tired tears at bed time because it was a good day.

* mornings at home, discovering a wriggly worm in the garden under fresh snow, remembering words from yesterday: "Hello, Mr. Sun".

* sharing an indoor playground with friends, a spontaneous stop to visit at Daddy at work, and pancakes.    

* three gifts square: boxes for errands and stops checked off, blank notebook pages, and eating take-out in.

* a gift stacked, stashed, stilled: laundry baskets lined up, old 'new' toys for a little girl I found in a box, and nap time.

* steel cut oats, empty. laundry. baskets., Saturdays to get jobs done. 


You get my vote.

On a day in Alberta where people and parties are competing for the top spot, here's to my Mom, who I think is the best.

Friday, April 20, 2012


Dear Joel,

When I laid you down to sleep tonight, something just wasn't right.  You looked up at me, closed your eyes tight, and cried.  So, I re-wrapped you in your blankets, lifted you up from the cradle, held you close and started to rock you back and forth.  At first your neck was stiff and you kept looking to the left and then to the right.  But then you settled in, into my chest, with your fingers of one hand resting on my arm.  I was gently breathing on you and you were breathing on me.  I could feel your little heart beating.  You relaxed.  Your little body got heavy and your eyelids soon followed.  It took me back to when we first brought you home from the hospital; you and I would rock, cheek to cheek, you nestled in, until you fell asleep.  Although, my heart was thankful for the little newborn memories, I was also a bit sad.  You are growing and changing so fast.  A part of me wants time to slow down so we can savour things and linger a bit longer. 


A New View

"And just enough time in a day not to feel hounded, pressed, driven, or wild to get it all done.
There is time to grab the jacket off the hook and time to go out to all air and sky and green. And time to read and wonder and laugh with all of them in all this light."

- a blog posting by Ann Voskamp on April 19, 2012 at A Holy Experience -

Monday, April 16, 2012

Gifts: Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow

... gifts #86 to #106...

* three gifts rising up: a new morning, new beginnings, and a full, clean laundry basket after a weekend of little ones feeling sick.

* a gift hiding: I thought I missed celebrating on Sunday but sharing our special Easter meals on Monday was a hidden surprise; a gift held: The Rest of God: such a good read, and a gift heard: "Mommy, let's have a date...with my new bike!"

* three gifts opened up: an email from Bestemor about Pandas for E, genuine "how-are-you-doing?" texts, our fridge.

* three gifts budding or blooming: friendship between two-three year olds who think the other is just the best, plant from Joel's birth in full bloom in the living room, our baby boy who is growing and healthy.

* three gifts worn: ponytails, dress-up clothes, and raincoats.

* three gifts bright: waking up to kisses and "Good morning Mommy!", hearing imaginative play, and a white coat of paint.

* three gifts found looking up: looking at the clock and realizing a Saturday lie-in was just what you needed, arms of children asking to be picked up, and finding a new set of discounted sheets on the top shelf.

Lots of airplanes

On Sunday, Marco and I both looked at each other and realized that we have been home from South Africa for one month.

I thought I would post about the airports, airplanes, and what it was like traveling with two young ones.  We received a lot of helpful advice before we left.  We were also greeted with, "And how did the kids do?" when we got home.  So here are a few of our experiences... 

Packing and Traveling Light: 

Before leaving Canada, we pre-booked a car rental for a Toyota Corolla.  With a small trunk space in mind, we knew we had to pack light.  From other traveling experiences, we have also learned to not pack so much!  A trip can get tiring when you carry extra baggage and gear.  So, we shared suitcases and tried to take only what we needed.  For example, enough diapers and wipes to get us started instead of the whole lot, Joel's infant carseat but decided to rent one for Ellie, and a lightweight, compact Joovy double stroller instead of cumbersome ones we've seen.  We were also fortunate to have easy access to a washing machine at the guesthouses we stayed at but also knew from other trips, that it is relatively easy to find a place to do laundry.  So we packed a week's worth of clothing for the kids, with a couple outfits for each day, and then for Marco and I, enough clothes to fit in half a suitcase.  A friend introduced me to compression bags and I would highly recommend them to anyone trying to pack as much as you can into a suitcase.  It definitely helped condense the bulkier items like children's clothes, socks, and underwear. 

Navigating Airports and through Security:

This was probably the part Marco and I were most anxious about.  We find navigating airports and going through security, customs, and immigration a challenge sans children.  And here we are traveling with 2 children under 3.

I found a Joovy stroller on Kijiji before we left and it was money well spent.  Joel would sit in his infant carseat at the front and then El had the option to sit or stand at the back and take in the airport adventure.  I would usually push the stroller and Marco would push the baggage cart. 

When we reached security, it was helpful to have all the liquids, gels, etc. in the clear bag ready to go.  No need to hunt for the items and get flustered before getting into the line.  When we reached the front, we were pleasantly surprised how friendly and helpful the airport staff were.  I think the big brown eyes and smiles from of Ellie and Joel helped :).

And a traveling tip, if you are ever routed through the Frankfurt Airport, there is a security line designated especially for families.  So refreshing! 

Packs for the kids:

Where would we be without our backpacks from MEC?  Some essential carry-on items included:
* extra large Ziploc bags for messy clothes, accidents, or the possibility of air-sickness
* adequate clothing for the days spent traveling and just in case once you reach your destination
* a blanket for the airport floors.  Then you don't need to worry about your little one wiggly and stretching on a germ covered floor.
* new toys that haven't been seen or played with.
* a set of triangle crayons that won't roll off the airplane tray
* emergency fruit snacks and granola bars
* empty water bottles to fill up on the other side of security
* and comfort items from home to help make the plane rides calm.  For us that meant bringing a special panda bear, pjs, and afghan along too.    

As we got closer to departure day, I was worried about how traveling internationally, on two-10 hour flights would go, with two young ones used to the routine and rhythm of home.  Ellie and Joel were a joy to travel with for which we were grateful.  Yes, we did have our moments when we knew there were many eyes on us, watching to see how we would respond.  But, overall they did incredibly well!

I hope these tips are helpful for you as you plan your next traveling adventure.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

He Is Risen!

At 7 months, Joel...

...weighs 17 lbs 13 oz and measures 27 1/2 inches long.
...has settled back into life at home.  How can one so small, sense when they are home?
...smiles with squinty eyes, squished cheeks and nose, and a top lip that covers his bottom lip.  His facial expressions get us smiling too!
...shows he is happy by clapping his hands.  His face just lights up too!
...starting to say more and more, especially sounds like "mama...ahhhh...dada...baba"
...has TRIED yogurt, bananas, pears, applesauce, sweet potato, butternut squash, and carrots but would much rather stick to milk. battling is first cold.  He is probably the most mellow little man I've seen with sniffles and cough.  He'll wake up, we'll nurse, then change his diaper, and then he'll calmly sit in his bouncy chair or cuddle close until it's time for another nap. 
...has figured out how to take the soother out and put it back in.  So clever! rolling in both directions and it's a daily occurrence.  If he starts on his back, he'll spot a toy just out of reach.  When you look again he's on his tummy.  When he's had enough of tummy time, he'll sing out for help or roll back.  His sister cheers him on, "You did it!  You did it!'
...has begun to sit up on his own, with Mommy, Daddy, and pillows not too far behind.  It's a new view that he is excited about!

Monday, April 02, 2012


At 8:30 in the morning, E comes to me, with a sparkle in her eye.  We get nose to nose and she says, "Mommy, how 'bout we go to my room and have a big tickle?"  I smile and laugh out loud.

After a full day, E calls out from underneath the blankets, "Mommy?  I'm your outside girl.  Mommy? I your park girl too.  Mommy?  Tomorrow we go for a walk?"

Sounds like a wonderful plan.

Gifts: Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow

#65...Palm Sunday and "Hosannas" from children
#66...a little girl excited to bring her own palm branch with friends at church who we haven't seen for awhile

#68...warm spring sunshine
#69...a BBQ shared with friends
#70...a walk after supper made complete by jumping in every puddle along the way

#71...hearing a little girl...
#72...tell her Daddy...
#73...that Jesus died on the cross for us; the soldiers gave Him owies! 

#74...Puffs to wipe runny noses
#75...seeing a little boy laugh with squinty closed eyes
#76...late night Skype conversation with dear friends

#77...hearing the drips of the fresh snow melting already
#78...the way the light casts the purple cross in our window onto the floor
#79...finger prints on the window

#80...El opening the door and with much excitement: "Kunkle Nate, it's YOU!"  Finished with a hug around the knees. 
#81...sibling laughter

#83...going for a run
#84...the love of extended family
#85...peaceful kids on the drive home

Saturday, March 31, 2012

At 6 months, Joel...

(journaled in Johannesburg, South Africa)

...weighs 17 lbs 11 oz and measures 26 7/8 inches long (measured the week we returned home to Canada).

...has his first stamp in his passport from South Africa! He won't remember it but we have the pictures for when he asks and we look forward to taking him back.
...was amazing at traveling, our littlest travel side-kick!  He slept well on the back to back long flights, either in our arms or on the seat next to us. 

...took in the many full days seeing the sights and visiting new places and people, from the Snugli or his bucket seat, with this grin on his face:

...saw the view from Table Mountain "Lion King" style, studied an elephant up close with his Daddy, and went on a 2-hour safari game drive holding his sister's hand. 


...was not a big fan of the ocean.   

  ...tried his first foods (yogurt, banana) but preferred fist fulls of sand.


...didn't make "strange" with all the new faces he met.  He enjoyed the snugs and hugs, especially with the friends we traveled with and his Tia.

Well done Joel!  Month number 6 was a big month for you.  We are looking forward to many more adventures with you!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Settling in

We have been home from South Africa for one week.  Has it been 7 days?  Already?!

When we laid our heads down on our pillows last Thursday, our bed felt incredibly comfortable, sheets so soft, and pillow just right.  Our internal clocks have taken a little longer to adjust to being home but I think for the most part we are doing well!  This week has held loads of laundry, grocery shopping, doctor's appointments, trips to the library, and photo editing with a cup of coffee while the little ones rest.  I have enjoyed listening to CBC Radio (oh Tempo, the Drive, and Stuart McLean we've missed tuning in), family walks after supper in the lingering light, and getting back into the daily rhythm that is comfortable.  We know there are things we want to change, things we need to change based on what we saw and experienced, but for now we are settling in. 


Pictures and stories from our adventure coming soon!

Monday, February 13, 2012

GIfts: Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow

#44...driving home from Church and realizing that you held your baby boy once and your little girl's hand twice as they were loved so much by extended family
#45...a long walk together in the sunshine, exploring new paths
#46...popcorn on the floor

#47...burrowing snuggles in the neck from my son
#48...God's care for friends who seem far away
#49...hearing "Gang-ku Jesus por the bright stars..." at lunch and "Twinkle, twinkle little star..." from the tub at the end of the day

#50...meeting new faces
#51...old friends that are like family
#52...meals shared

#53...our girl who loves art and is delighted when given paper, markers, and glue
#54...our son who is talking, bouncing, laughing, growing
#55...the Hope of Heaven

#56...a husband who says, "Go...the kids and I will be home tonight."
#57...friendships where you can pick up where you left off
#58...quiet roads

#59...the hum of the washer
#61...a last minute coffee with friends

#62...messages, texts, emails, phone calls
#63...Skype favorite: frozen lemon cheesecake

Friday, February 10, 2012

At 5 months, Joel...

...weighs 17 lbs 3 oz and measures 26 1/2 inches long
...had a 'restless' month.  Sleeping seemed out of whack and just not the same level of happy and contentment from months before.  Maybe it's all part of changing and growing into little boy from baby as we seemed to skip the newborn stage :).
...started rolling over from tummy to back the day after his 4th month birthday and has done it a few more times this month.  Showing us his strong tummy muscles, he'll also pull up his legs and toes to roll onto his side.
...will give everyone a smile and grin from ear-to-ear when out and about.  Pretty much like this: to munch on his bottom lip or thumb.
...loves being outside.  He'll usually fall asleep in the stroller when we go for a walk or out sledding. enthralled with the Jumper-oo and the toys all around him.  He can really rock in the bouncy chair too by using the toys like gymnastic rings. quite the little, slippery fish.  Kicking, splashing, smiling, and enjoying bath times without a fuss. 
...gave his Susa the first deep belly laugh.  As the mama, I felt a bit gypped but the relationship that is growing between them is amazing!

Wednesday, February 08, 2012


Death. Grave. Winter.
Life. Hope. Spring is coming.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Gifts: Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow

{We will spend part of February and March away from home, so postings in the next little while may not be so frequent but I will record here when possible.}

#32...being a part of a group of toddlers and moms singing together at the Library; can't help but smile
#33...a spontaneous-just-because-trip for lunch with my sister and beautiful niece
#34...flipping the calendar and realizing the month for traveling adventures is here books from the Library
#36...hearing "You are the most beautiful Queen I've ever seen..." from my sweet daughter when I needed a pick-me-up
#37...sharing tea with friends from school

#38...contagious, deep, belly laughter
#39...a fridge with leftovers
#40...soothing cough drops

#41...a generous husband who cares for us
#42...homemade pizza for supper
#43...quiet in the evening

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Gifts: Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow

for Day 23: 3 gifts found in Christ

I wasn't able to post photos from this past week as I've been feeling under the weather the last few days.  Maybe a few thoughts to share in the next day or two (if I'm brave) but for now here are my gifts of thanks.