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