Wednesday, April 27, 2011

be back soon

don't mind the chaos.
{also in somewhat related news, i hate packing.}

we move {to Toronto} on saturday. 
see ya sometime after that!

Monday, April 25, 2011


i am the best person to throw a surprise party for.
simply because i am always completely clueless and totally blown away.

a week or so ago i got an email from my sweet friend jen, inviting me and a few others to join her today to have a little birthday celebration at her place. myself and several others replied saying that of course we'd be there.

today i had lined up a hair appointment that was conveniently right before the party and as i walked in to jen's house with freshly cut hair {whoo boy i needed it: as in i couldn't remember exactly when i last had my hair cut} i saw that jen had a funny look on her face. within seconds a bunch of people jumped out holding signs with "1/2" and "30" on them and it took me a minute to figure out that this party was not for jen, but for my 1/2 birthday. you see, i turn 30 on october 21st which means i'll be in uganda by then.
my amazing friends jen & suz had organized a surprise 1/2 birthday party {i turned 29 and 1/2 on april 21st} for me in the guise of a birthday party for jen so that i would get to celebrate my 30th with my friends!


there were tears, folks. and then i believe i said that i was thankful i had just gotten my haircut. {oh the vanity.}

and if that weren't amazing enough it was a "1/2 and 1/2" party which means that people gave money in lieu of gifts and half of it i get to give to an orphanage in Uganda when i go! this speaks so deeply to who i am and what i'm passionate about. and my friends know it and are now a part of it.

best 1/2 birthday present EVER.

it was also a really great opportunity to say some good byes and spend some time with people that have been such a part of my life here in guelph and i truly pray and hope that we will stay in contact with each other over the next few years.

i feel very loved and very blessed and am still in shock.
thank you jen and suz. i love you both very much and am trying not to think about how very much i'll miss the both of you. {please write. and call. and skype.}

more tears.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

so much more

i fell off the running bandwagon for a bit.
it was maybe for a few weeks, but it felt like years. {indoor running really bites.}
i'm happy the weather is somewhat decent again.
we went to my parents' friday-saturday and i brought my running gear and actually psyched myself up to go for a run.
my brother convinced me to go on a trail i was pretty familiar with so i mapped out just over 5km and went for it.
it was drizzly. and kinda cool {weather-wise}, but running on a trail? beside a river? with the birds chirping?
so good.

as i ran i sang in my head a few verses of "nothing but the blood" in time with the pounding of my shoes on the path,

what can wash away my sin?
nothing but the blood of Jesus;
what can make me whole again?
nothing but the blood of Jesus.

oh! precious is the flow
that makes me white as snow;
no other fount i know,
nothing but the blood of Jesus.

it was good to run and clear my head; to sing {in my head} and pray and talk with Jesus and think about Him and what He gave for me.
i thought about what amazing grace it was that i could even just breathe in and out as i pushed my body to run a little bit faster.

it was good.
the boys had just had an egg hunt at my parents' and it was fun to watch noah hop along and scoop up some eggs and find the little presents my dad had stashed for them.
we had brunch and later on went on to jamie's side of the family where we were inundated with candy, chocolate and more candy.
i'm still struggling to figure out how to live in this world and yet to teach my boys that there is so much more to easter {and christmas and life!} than chocolate and candy and food and presents. there is so much more to be gained by knowing Jesus.
and yet
there are sweet memories to be gained by redeeming and enjoying some of our culture's traditions and teaching our children that yes, we do fun things like open presents on christmas and search for chocolate eggs at easter. but without Jesus it's all meaningless.

For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.

For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.

In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

ps i'm totally doing an egg hunt for the boys tomorrow morning. and because we brought home at least 10lbs of candy/chocolate yesterday the only thing that will be edible is pocky. {i'm not a meanie, i promise. my kids go ape-shit crazy for it!} i put pennies, nickels and dimes in plastic eggs and little veggietales characters will be their little gift. i think it's going to be a winner, folks.

Friday, April 22, 2011


it's Good Friday.
we went to church this morning {after i told jamie to change his shirt - it was too easter sundayish}.
it was a good service and helped me to further reflect on Jesus and his death.
for me.
as we watched a drama interspersed with video/images a verse popped into my head,

Isaiah 53:5b
and with his stripes, we are healed.

the beatings, the wounds, it was all for us. all because of us. because of me. i am healed through his stripes, his wounds.

after church we came home and the sun was shining and toys were strewn about the backyard so i quickly checked some emails while jamie was outside with the boys. seconds later he raps on the window and i look outside to see jude standing {splashing happily, actually} in 3 inches of water that had pooled in the lid of our sandbox truck. with his jeans and "church shoes".
jamie had looked away for a minute and this happened

so i grabbed my camera {of course} and head outside.
and then i made sure this happened

and it wasn't particularly hot but the sun was shining and jude was happy to tromp around the backyard with no pants on. 

and that's life, i guess. balancing on one hand the solemnity of today and remembering the horrible, excruciating death Jesus died for me; for us. and on the other hand laughing with my family and shedding the "wet jeans and sludgy church shoes" because we have Jesus and the grace he gives us every day.
i don't always understand it, but i'm incredibly thankful for it. for Him.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

share the love

It's been a little while since I shared the love so here we go.

If you are looking for a good flip flop I will always recommend Sanuk. I bought my very first pair of Sanuks in 2006 (I'm still wearing them!) and instantly fell in love. They are comfortable and I could walk for a really long time in them. They run around $30-45 but are so worth it (as I am clearly in my 5th year! that's a long time for a flop!). I figured, though, that wearing flops year round might be too much for my 5 year old Sanuks so I bought a new pair to bring along and spice things up. Oh my gosh, you guys, these are the yoga mat line and that means that the sole of the flop is made from yoga mat material. So.Stinkin.Comfy.
I think if I were sticking around in Canada I might have gone for a different style but these seemed to be the most versatile and I'm glad I had Jen there to give input and help me choose ones that are different enough from the ones I already have.
I bought mine at North by Northwest but you can purchase them directly from Sanuk. You should check out the site anyway. It's well-designed and there's a roll-over link that tells you how to pronounce Sanuk. I like.

I had been looking for a wind-up flashlight for each of the boys to take to Uganda when we go and I found some adorable ones at a cute toy store in Fergus called Jester's. I loved how they seemed able to sustain rough play as well as be stinkin' adorable. We have the Panda bear one and the Duck one. 
The pump just pops out of the side you and just squeeze it to recharge the battery. I'd recommend these flashlights for kids even if you're not going to Africa. If your kids are anything like mine, they play with flashlights and then lose interest and leave them on. This way you don't go through 5 million batteries. You just pump it up (say it like Arnold - go ahead) and you've got light!
This particular brand is called Ecotronics and they were $11 a pop. A bit pricey, but we'll never have to spend money on buying batteries so I think it's a fair trade off.

And of course, the token "yum" piece - Mini Eggs. Dang. I can't get enough of them. I bought one of the BIG bags a couple weeks ago to save for Easter with the boys but wouldn't you know it, I opened it one day and it is slowly dwindling. Oh well. Seriously, who doesn't love Cadbury Mini Eggs? 

As for music, I have been randomly singing out lines from the Mumford & Sons song Blank White Page. It's because the song just circles around and around and around my head. You know a song is good when you don't mind it "stuck in your head". The entire album is solid and while it's not new, it's good. So I'm sharing the love, okay?
Can you kneel before this king and say, "I'm clean, I'm clean" ?
But tell me now where was my fault, in loving you with my whole heart?

As I ponder Good Friday (tomorrow), I'm incredibly grateful that I can kneel before THE King and say that I am clean. All because of Jesus. Taking my sin. Paying the penalty that I should have paid.

Lead me to the truth and I will follow you with my whole life.
Lead me to the truth and I will follow you with my whole life.

He is the truth. And so I follow Him.

first phone call

This past week has been really loosey goosey and kinda go-with-the-flow. Jamie's not on campus (but still working from home) and I'm trying to pack and keep up with the daily things like laundry and cleaning and dishes.
Anyway, so all that to say I'm somewhat distracted. With most things.

So this afternoon, I was scrounging up a pre-dinner snack for me (I was starving for some reason) when Noah decided to pretend to call me on our phone. I heard him press a few buttons but didn't think much of it.
Then we stopped our pretend conversation but a few minutes later I noticed he still had the phone to his ear and was talking differently and it looked like he was listening for a response.
So I asked him if he was really talking on the phone.

Yes. To Auntie Erin. 

I asked him if he was really talking to Auntie Erin.

Yes. .... (to Erin) but we went to the toy store; Jesters. Do you remember?
(referring to a toy store we went to over a month ago.)

So Jamie goes over and listens in and confirms that yes, he is really talking to Erin. We both are laughing really hard right now and eventually Jamie gets the full story that somehow Noah called the place where Erin works and by chance Erin happened to pick up the phone and say, "Hello? Hello?" Noah asked her what her name was and she said, "Noah? Is this you? It's Auntie Erin!"

So random. But really funny and cute.

In between the hairy, chaotic and out of control moments there are moments that make me laugh. Pretty much every single day.
If you can laugh, life is good.

And now I'm going to finish making macaroni and cheese for dinner while Jude "drives" a cup around on the kitchen floor. Because it's been one of those kind of days. You know, the ones that are chaotic and distracted with the funny moments in between?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

books for kids

Books are a huge part of our lives.
I've been a book worm since as long as I can remember. I was reading (I'm pretty certain) by the end of Sr. Kindergarten because my best friend had learned to read and if she was reading, then darn it! So was I! (Competitive, much?)
And every birthday and Christmas until I got into high school and more into clothes I always got a ton of books.
Then I met Jamie.
Another bookworm.
And it seems as though we have two children who both love books as well!
I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before, but one of the biggest things we'll miss when we move to Uganda is our library. Oh we love our library. We are there several times each month taking out huge stacks of books and maybe a movie or two.
I figured it was about time to let you all in on a few books that are standard favourites and a few that we are reading right now.
This is books for kids (stay tuned for books that Jamie and I like).

Some of our standard favourites and ones that we read on a regular basis are the following:
The Jesus Storybook Bible
I love reading this one. I've been known to cry reading almost all of them one or two of the stories. We've made our way once through all the stories and now we're back for round two. The pictures are gorgeous and I have never read a Bible story book like this before. The small caption is "Every story whispers His name" and it's so true. In every story that's in this book, the end always ties it back to our Redeemer and Saviour Jesus and it's so completely beautiful.

Big Truths for Little Kids
We had put this one away for awhile but I recently pulled it out again and as soon as I did Noah said, "Oh I love this book, Mommy. I really love this one." Basically it's a book full of catechisms to read through with your child and then there's a story that follows each set of questions. There aren't very many pictures and I haven't started the "story" part of the book, but I imagine we'll get into that shortly with Noah as he can handle books with almost no pictures these days.

The Story of Easter
I recently purchased this board book and I love it. It tells the true story of Easter with great pictures for kids without getting too graphic or sugar coating it either. I've read this with both Jude and Noah. This is one that will stick around in our kids library.

First 100 Words
We received this one when Noah was a baby and now it's a favourite of Jude's. Most kids love this book for the colourful pictures that they can identify. Jude now points to almost everything in this book and can name it (which all of a sudden helps me realize that he's got over 100 words. that's crazy.). He'll sometimes sit and point at the page with pictures of babies/kids and shout "baby! baby! babeeeeee!"

And here are our current library faves:

Boy of Mine
Oh this one may have to be purchased. I absolutely adore this book and so do both boys. It's a board book and a sweet one to read before bedtime. It's part lullaby, part poem. Noah practically has it memorized and Jude looks at it and says, "boy - mine!" We all love it. (That's it. I'm convinced. I'm buying it.)

Benny the Breakdown Truck
This is an adorable British series and I love that they call a tow-truck a 'breakdown truck'. There's also a 'bonnet' instead of a trunk and 'petrol' instead of gas. I love it. Noah's really into cars and tow-trucks and so this series may be one that becomes more popular in our household. 

Hands are not for hitting
I got proactive about Jude's habit of hitting (and blogged about it here) and looked up some books that I could read to him about proper uses for our hands. This one is simple and corrects bad behaviour in a positive way by showing what hands are for (hugging, saying hello, etc.). 

Little 1
This is a sweet book about numbers. I think I may like it more than Noah does, but it's both beautifully illustrated as well as sweet and educational. Bonus! 

I would love to know books your kids like (and books you like reading to them since they usually want them read over and over and over again) so make sure to leave a comment.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

the eczema battle

For the last few months Noah has had these horrible red patchy rashes all over his body (namely back/stomach/groin/legs) and at first because it was mostly in the diaper area I thought it was some kind of diaper rash - even though he had just been potty trained.
But then it spread. And I thought that maybe it was viral. It wasn't pretty. And still isn't.
But after two visits to the doctor I am convinced it is eczema. I just didn't believe that eczema could look so terrible. But it does. And the poor kid just itches all day long.
So now we've got a strict skincare regimen and we'll see how he's doing in a week or two.
Right now (as of tonight) we're doing the following:
Homemade Oatmeal Bath (10-15 mins long)
Pat dry with towel
Put 1% hydrocortisone cream on the worst affected areas (right now it's belly/back/groin)
Slather on a pharmacy mixed combination of Glaxal Base moisturizer (hypo allergenic cream) and glycerin all over his entire body.

I'm also going to purchase either Vitamin E/Omega 3's to help keep his skin soft and moisturized.
If this continues until and through the first few weeks of considerably warmer weather then I will (reluctantly) look at changing his diet to eliminate possible causes of eczema. (the main two being dairy and wheat.)
Blech. I'm so not into all that diet change stuff, but if it's not changing I will totally do it for my kiddo.
Personally I'm fairly certain it's the weather as it's ridiculously dry and has been since his eczema flared up.
But we'll see.

Oh and here's a quick (and cheap) tutorial on how to make your own Oatmeal bath (great for eczema, chicken pox, poison ivy skin conditions):
You will need:
oats (I just used up what I had left which was large flake quaker oats)
a blender

Put about a cup (if you can fit that in your blenders - some are smaller) of oats into your blender and blend until you have a consistently fine powder.
Add the powder into a warm bath (not too hot as that will dry out skin even more) and mix around to break up any clumps.
Sit in the bath for anywhere from 10-20 minutes and then quickly rinse and pat dry.
Alternatively, you can put the powder in the foot of pantyhose and tie it off. Then let the water run through the  oatmeal sack and let it float in the water when you're done filling the bath. You can even squeeze the oat goop out onto affected areas while in the bath too.

Anyway, so we'll see where we're at in the next few weeks and hopefully he improves.
He's so cute, though when he talks about his rashes.
He says,
Yeah. I have rashes all over me. 
When I see an especially "angry" flare up I say,
Oh Noah. I'm so sorry that you have rashes.
And he usually says something like,
My rashes make you sad? 
And I say,
Yeah. It makes me sad that you have rashes that hurt you and that I can't make them go away.
He was especially cute for the doctor when we saw her yesterday telling her about his rashes and beforehand telling me that he would "try to be brave".
This kid. So cute.

Monday, April 18, 2011

children's love languages

How my kids give and receive love has come up over the last little while and it's something I've thought about now for a couple years.
It's pretty clear to me at the moment that Noah is my kid who loves to be physically loved. The cuddles, the hugs, the kisses, sitting on my lap and just being physically near to me or Jamie has been his choice of receiving love since he was born.
Lately he's been asking for more cuddle time and the last couple nights after I put him to bed I'll lay down with him and we'll chat. I'll ask him if there's anything he wants to talk about or tell me and of course there is! Tonight there were tons of "why" questions;
Why are there leaves on the curtains?
Why are there pieces of paper hanging down on the shelves?
Why are there pictures in the office?
Why is there a picture of you and Daddy kissing?

Why did you sell the computer desk at the garage sale?
Why is there a printer in the office?
And it's never just the "why" question, but:
Um, Mom? Why....
And he always waits for me to say "yes?" or "yes, Noah?"
If I don't, he'll repeat "Mom?" again until I say "yes", even if I'm looking at him and giving him 100% of my attention.
Which leads me to think that words of affirmation are huge for him as well. He loves to be acknowledged (well, who doesn't?), encouraged, and cheered on. Not too much attention and not overboard, but the right amount of sincerity and encouragement works for him.
I've been loving this "pillow talk" time with Noah and just the chance to have time spent exclusively with him.
He says the most amazing and hilarious things and I am loving who he is more and more every day.
It's interesting because I've started becoming more specific and bigger in my prayers for and with him at night. Praying for who he is and who he'll become and I wasn't sure if he was listening or noticing but lately he's been asking that I pray "just for" him. Partly this is understandable as kids' worlds revolve around themselves, but I wonder how it must make him feel to hear his Mom pray for him to grow into a man who would love Jesus and others deeply and change the world.

On another note, Noah got upset today about moving to Africa to tell people about Jesus. He said he doesn't want to go anywhere and that Jesus is dead. I think this must be shocking to those who have never had a three year old - much less a three year old boy (or at least been around 3 year old boys on a regular basis) but I wasn't offended or angry with him. I knew that this was coming from a place of confusion over how to feel about everything changing (especially for a kid who doesn't particularly like big changes). So we talked. I told him about how Jesus already did die for us but that He's alive and He's never going to have to die again. Anyway, it was an interesting conversation and the first one I've had with him where he's voiced a negative response to moving.
So we'll continue to work through this.

But back to love languages - I'm looking forward to continuing to figure out with the boys how they best receive and give love and to communicate love to them in a way that really speaks to them individually.
In the meantime, I'm going to keep giving and receiving lots of cuddles.

to be refreshed

I went away this weekend.
To a girls (can I still call myself a girl? calling us "ladies" conjures up thoughts of doilies and calling us "women" makes me think of something more professional or organized than this weekend actually was. "girls" it is.) cottage getaway.
And refreshing.
It truly was just what I needed.

About a year ago (more?) I started getting together with several young moms from my church for a purely social evening. You see, it's kinda hard to make friends on Sunday mornings. So we all would get together and at first we got together at a restaurant and that was pretty fun, but soon our conversations would last longer and were more intimate than a restaurant setting provided. So we started meeting in each others' homes. Until this past December as we were heading out sometime before midnight I said, "I feel like we could talk all night long! We need some kind of retreat!"
And then Katie said that their family had a cottage.
And the rest is history.
To be honest, I didn't know if it would actually come together but I'm so glad it did.
We pretty much just talked

and ate.

The amazing thing is that we didn't just talk about our kids and our husbands and our lives, but we shared deeply with each other. I shared things I've never told many people (save for my husband and maybe even my sister) before. There was no judgement, no competitiveness or one-upping. It was safe and fun and loving and I think probably one of my favourite parts was sharing our testimonies with one another on Sunday morning. 
Each person was vulnerable in their own way and we were able to pray for each other and come along side each other as we shared how God has redeemed us and changed us and continues to work in our lives. 
It was beautiful and such a perfect example of how the body of Christ is supposed to come together to truly be a family - sisters in Christ.
I loved it.

Part of me just weeps when I think of leaving this group now as I know in my heart that God is doing something and is going to do something really big through this group and these women, but I know that He is sovereign and His timing is perfect. 
But mostly I'm just thankful to have experienced such awesome fellowship and friendship and I hope to continue to experience it - it will just look a little different.

Oh and I ate amazing food (quiche & thai soup and indonesian curry and scones and delicious salads). And laughed. A lot. It was amazing.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

sometimes mistakes are funny

today was gorgeous.
we went for a hike with our staff team.
it was fun, the weather was perfect and we all got some much needed time outdoors together.
i'm going to miss these guys.

*so i pressed the auto timer button before i was ready to run. made for a pretty funny picture in the end.

**tomorrow i'm heading up north with a bunch of pretty amazing women for a girls cottage weekend. i'm pumped. see you on the flip side of the weekend!**

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

these are the moments

Was it only last year that Noah was calling the tulip buds "those guys"?
How time flies.

tonight in bed Noah said to me after we prayed,

soon I'm going to grow up and be a Daddy.
And I'm going to have a beard.
And I'm going to go to work.
And I'm going to drive a car!!!

I love how he longs to be "just like Daddy" already. These are the moments - the moments between the moments when we get to teach him what it means to be a man. And how to someday be a husband. And a father.
These are the moments.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Banana-Coffee Scones with Coffee Glaze

Oh my goodness YUM.
I am still working my way through over 20 bananas (well, we're down to about 7 now) that are ripe and perfect for baking with (don't ask. I went a little overboard buying bananas one day).
After baking 3 batches of banana muffins last week (and eating all of them!) I am quite sick of banana muffins.

So out of it came these glorious banana-coffee scones. I love a good scone. Who doesn't?
The real question is, do you say "skOHne" or "scawn"? I say the former. But I have feeling the real distinguished folk say the latter.
Regardless, YUM.

Here's the recipe:

Banana-Coffee Scones with Coffee Glaze
adapted from

2 cups all purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter (cold)
1/2 cup mashed banana (or 1 medium-large sized banana)
1/3 cup buttermilk or sour milk (I had some sour milk to use up and it worked great)
1/3 cup strong black coffee at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. When you are done this step, stick the whole bowl in the fridge (if you can) as it will keep the butter nice and cold until you're ready to mix in the wet mixture.
In a separate bowl, combine banana, milk, coffee and vanilla; add to the dry mixture, stirring lightly to make a moist dough.
On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough lightly for about 30 seconds. Roll out the dough to 1/2 inch thickness; cut into 3 inch rounds and place on a lightly greased baking sheet (or you can use parchment paper which is what I did - love me some parchment paper). Bake in 425F oven for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes about 10 scones.

Glaze (optional, but delicious!):

Leftover coffee (I ended up using about 1/4 cup but you don't need that much).
Enough icing sugar to make a runny glaze

You can add in some milk, but I just wanted to glaze my scones with a bit more coffee flavour.
Whisk the coffee and icing sugar together until combined.
Place scones on top of a cooling rack with the baking sheet underneath.
With a spoon, pour the glaze over top each scone until each one is mostly covered.

Let harden slightly and enjoy while still warm. With a cup of coffee, preferably.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


today i wore capris and flip flops and no coat and it.was.awesome.

we all took naps this afternoon and when jamie got up (i let him sleep longest as he's in the worst part of the cold we've all been going through) he stepped outside and said,

have you been outside?

i had. just not within the last hour or so and when i did step onto our front porch it was decided.
we all tromped upstairs, the boys got in shorts and tees and we went outside.
we walked to the park and played there for awhile and not even the lure of ice cream could tempt noah away from the park! (can you tell we've missed outdoor play?)
eventually we walked 15 minutes to Licks to get hamburgers and french fries for dinner.
and noah got a free ice cream cone with his meal.
it was awesome.
seriously - awesome. i think it was like 20 degrees or something ridiculously warm.
bring on the heat!

ps. this morning i did decide to take the boys to church but not put them in the nursery (as they both had coughs and runny noses - look at me! being all responsible-like). so we were in the worship part of the service for a bit and then in the foyer on the couches (when the boys started getting too rowdy) and then on the stage as a family while jamie spoke. 
also, i totally bribed noah and told him if he came on the stage and behaved nicely that he'd get a lollipop. well of course i let him "hold" the lollipop going onto the stage and of course he didn't want to just "hold" it on stage so there i was, opening up a lollipop on stage while jamie was giving an update and overview of us moving to Uganda. noah put on a good show and sashayed his way around the stage and made faces at our friend in the front row, but he was cute and so i was happy that i didn't have noah the grump because noah the cutie is so much more enjoyable (and funny). 
also, i totally started tearing up when jamie mentioned how we would be sad to leave the church because of the friends we had made and i had to concentrate on noah's antics so i wouldn't completely lose it. 
we are going to miss our church family here in guelph.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

weekend update

so apparently we're only through half of the weekend, but I feel like my weekend has been so full already and seeing as I how I haven't posted a picture in a few days, here's a 2-in-1 for ya.

today my mom and I went to London for a baby shower for my cousin. we got to meet her brand-new daughter, peyton. she is such a sweetie and yes - my ovaries were totally itching.

here's my mom taking in her great-niece in all her pink cuteness

when we got home my dad (who was watching the boys as jamie was out at a work dinner tonight) said that noah had wanted to sleep on the mattress in the office so that's where he was.
i walked into the office to get a few of my mom's things that she had left in there to the strong stench of poop. ugh.
noah woke up and said,

there were two grandpas out there and now they turned into a mom.

I laughed and said that yes, I was home now. (I have no idea what the "two grandpas" mean!) I asked him if he had pooped in his pull up (what the? he never does this!) and he said that yes, he had. 
so I changed him but of course he was wide awake now and asked if he could read some books. 
so I weighed my options and decided that it wouldn't be the end of the world if I read him a story or two. 
I brought in a few books and said he could pick two for me to read to him and he said that he wanted to read them by himself.
so I said that he could but that when I came back it would be time for bed.
when I peeked in his room a few minutes later this is what I saw

it absolutely melts me to see that my kids have such a love for books - seriously. I love it.
so now my boys are asleep. jamie just got home. my throat still hurts and we're sharing a bit tomorrow at church about our move to Uganda and both boys are sick. I'm not sure how it's all going to work out, but we'll figure it out.

Friday, April 8, 2011

my random life

Overheard this morning:

whimpering and crying from Jude
Noah: sorry Jude! sorry!
more whimpering from Jude
Noah: SORRY!
whimpering stops
Noah: Jude, do you forgive me?
Jude: NO.

(Jude still doesn't say "yes".)

Noah: Mom! Jude doesn't forgive me!
Me: Well, Jude also doesn't know how to say "yes" right now so maybe he does.
Noah: Can I have some yogurt?

Ah the randomness of having kids.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

yes. this.

tonight on twitter someone posted a link to a blog and i decided to check it out.

i am so glad i did.

i read it and at the end of it, i was all - YES.THIS.

it's something that's been on my heart and mind for quite some time now.
and i've blogged about it before. but it's fresh again in my mind.

i'm not sure if it's just that when i first became a mom my life was somehow consumed with all things related to motherhood and if anyone was doing it differently than me that they must be somehow mistaken or that somehow my experiences held the answer to everyone else's sleep/eating/breastfeeding/birthing dilemmas.

and then i'm not sure when it happened, but i stopped caring about everyone else. not in the bad sense that i have no concern or compassion for others, but more along the lines of i stopped caring what people thought of my parenting and i stopped judging others in their parenting styles.

we do what we do because it's best for us and also because it works for us.
i no longer draw the lines so firmly and darkly in how we "parent". i'm not a strict "babywise" or "baby whisperer" or "attachment" mom.  i do this and that and i don't beat myself up for what i do or how i do it. but make no mistake, i am a mom.

and for goodness sakes, i'm a good mom!

so you may cloth diaper or co-sleep or supplement with formula or do extended breast feeding or make your own baby food or do baby-led weaning or do CIO or wear your babies but honestly...
if your child is fed, nurtured, and loved then what business is it of yours (or mine?) to judge anyone for doing it a little differently than you do?

we need support. and we need advice and we need encouragement and we need someone to tell us to "hang in there, because it'll get better" and so we need other women in our lives who can come alongside and help us as we journey on this crazy road called "motherhood".

i love hearing about the differences. and i love sharing my experiences so far. but i'm going to let go of the guilt and judgement and just be.


i originally took this picture because a) i noticed i have a child who avoids crusts and b) this is a very eclectic lunch which includes a granola bar, chicken rice soup, toast with cream cheese and apples.
but then i noticed that it's quite a colourful shot and that made me like it even more!

so here's a little colour for your thursday.

some days a little colour is all it takes to shake me from whatever rut i was in.
other days i need a little more help, but colour - colour always helps.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

spring has sprung

now that's better.

as i pulled out my easter baskets from last year i smiled in pleasure at how much i still like them. that was worth the $4 i spent at zehrs last year.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

submission and toddler hitting

I have one of those children.
The child who hits your child.
It is hard to be that parent. I definitely judged those parents before I became one of them.
But this isn't about me.
It's about Jude.
He hits.
He hits Noah.
He hits other children - children we know, children we don't know.
He throws toys in frustration.
At people's heads.
He hits the tv screen, the computer, the table.
He hits Jamie - but it often becomes a game and so I'm not sure what to do about that.

Now don't get me wrong, he's not some terror-child on the rampage to destroy and hurt others.
But when he's frustrated, look out.

I feel exhausted and weary from this battle.
I feel like this has been going on for a really long time (although it can't be more than a month or two...more maybe?).

So I decided to do what any Mom with internet would do,
Google it.
And I came across a few helpful articles, and a few unhelpful articles and one very anger-inducing article.

I think I need to keep doing what I'm doing (grabbing his hand away from whoever/whatever he is hitting or about to hit and say, "We don't hit, Jude."), increase my consistency (that is, really hone in on this one area of disobedience with Jude) and be more diligent to remove him from the situation in which he is hitting.

One distinct thing I've noticed is that he really does not want to look in my eyes when I'm telling him not to hit. He'll look away, whine, cry, wriggle and scream but he does not want to look in my eyes which really tells me that he's going to continue to challenge me in the area of submission and obedience.
For a child to take the step to look into their parents eyes requires a certain amount of submission.
And Jude does not even seem willing to give me that.
So we'll see where this goes.
In the meantime, I have clarity in how I need to pray for Jude.


It's 8:52am and I am cleaning up breakfast and the boys are upstairs.
All is quiet.
I think,

Just because things are quiet doesn't mean they're getting into trouble. They could be reading books.

How is it that after 3.5 years of having kids I am still delusional at times?

Then I hear,

Jude, can I have a piece?

Uh oh.

I say,

A piece of what?

Noah says,

A piece of toothpaste! Jude's eating toothpaste!

Oh geez.
Reading books...psh!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Garage Sale Tips: Part TWO

Check out part ONE of my garage sale tips here.

It was a great day, hard work and quite tiring, but well worth the effort. Here are the final tips and some praises for my awesome team of helpers.


I found it really helpful to price out almost everything we had (whether it was actual stickers on things with prices or that things were in bins with everything worth the same value, etc.). This made it extremely easy on me on the day of and it also ensured that my friends helping me could make sure they got me a good price (if they were being negotiated with) and could take money from people instead of everything having to come to ME to find out how much things were. It's a bit more of your time, but I would say it's totally worth it. As a buyer and as a seller I would find it somewhat annoying to have to keep asking what the price is for everything. And as a seller who is a Mom and sometimes had to run inside or disappear for a few minutes, it was freeing to know the sale wasn't completely dependent on me.
Also, if I had known where to find out belt pack (aka fanny pack), I would have totally worn it. If you have one, it's probably a good idea to keep the money in one. We just used a little container which was handy to pass around between Shereen, Jen and I, but sometimes felt a bit exposed. I tried to keep bringing in the larger bills so we only had fives, some tens and change outside.

We also had a table set up with music (so people didn't feel awkward talking to each other quietly about prices), coffee and baked goods that people could donate toward Ugandan orphans. We did advertise that a portion of our proceeds would be going to an orphanage in Uganda (we haven't decided which one, yet) and so we were so thrilled with the outcome.

Our grand total of profits made was (drumroll, please):

I couldn't believe it when I counted out the cash and Jamie didn't believe it either when he called later on to find out how things were going.
I am so thankful and completely indebted to my amazing all-star cast of helpers who gave of their time and energies and even paid ME money to buy some of our stuff!

My all-star cast of helpers were as follows: 
the MVH (Most Valueable Helper):
Shereen (my amazing sister)
Shereen (hardworker, childcare - and everything in between!) came over Friday morning and played with my boys, helped me price things when I was completely overwhelmed and had no idea where to start, stayed in the cold garage all day to sort, organize and price things, went out at 10:30pm to poster with Jen for over an hour, stayed up to chat with me, got up super early and helped all day long with me. She was my go-to girl for just about everything and even helped me pack up and unload the van at Bibles for Missions thrift store with our left over stuff. Thank you a million times over, Shereen!

Next are Suzanne (hardworker, organizer) and Jen (networker, hardworker) who both helped before and during the sale at different points.
Suzanne came over with her little (big) 8 month old guy and helped me sort and fold baby clothes as well as price and arrange them all. She was happy to do it and it doesn't hurt that my boys love her and her son Jacob. Suz also came over in the morning to help me set up and I am pretty sure we couldn't have started on time (as early as we did) without her help getting stuff from the garage to the driveway.
Jen came over the night before and helped price and organize the cold, cold garage and then went out with Shereen to poster up our neighbourhood. Her posters (I'm convinced) are what brought such high amounts of traffic to our sale! She was also there to help set up and stayed for quite some time to help with the sale. Her daughter Hannah even watched the boys for a little bit. 
Suz and Jen - you guys are such great friends. Thanks for your help!

My Mom sent at least 5 containers of muffins and scones to sell at the garage sale and they were "even better than Tim's" according to one garage-sailor. Thanks, Mom! 

And of course my husband, Jamie who watched the boys when I thought he wouldn't be able to, brought us all Tim's breakfast sandwiches and was extremely supportive and helpful during the entire process. (You're the best, babe!)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Garage Sale Tips: Part ONE

It's over. It's finally over and now I can breathe and sleep. (I went to bed at 8:59 last night - too bad my kids were up multiple times throughout the night or else I would have gotten 11 hours of sleep - thanks to my wonderful husband who got up this morning with the boys.)

I was probably on my third coffee at this point.

So, you want to have a garage sale and make it worth your while?
I can't guarantee anything, but follow these tips and you'll definitely do better than if you hadn't!

First: HELP

I could NOT have done it without these ladies!

Assemble a team of people who will help you throughout this process. Here are a few key people to have:
a) Organizers - people who thrive at putting systems together and organizing things. These people will help you to organize your things and get past the daunting experience of staring at a garage full of things and not knowing where to start. These people will be helpful both the week before the sale as well as the day of.
b) Networkers - these people will help get the word out about your sale via word of mouth as well as on the internet.
c) Hard workers - :) These are people who will help you do just about anything. They love you and want to help you. These people are KEY. These people can fit into either previous category and can also help you organize, move things, clear things, run errands, POSTER your neighbourhood, etc.
d) Childcare - if you have small children (as I do) it would be really helpful to you to have someone to watch your kids. At first I didn't think Jamie was going to be around, but it turns out he was able to stick around until noon to watch the boys while all the ladies organized and sold stuff outside. It worked out wonderfully. The boys were outside for a bit, but it was too cold for them to be out there the whole time and so they came out, played with the toys for a bit and wandered around and then went back inside. It was definitely nice to have Jamie around to help with this.

Second: WARMTH

Note that I have changed to a winter jacket. It was COLD.

If at all possible, I would not do a garage sale until at least May - especially if you're living in Canada. There were a lot of cold moments - postering, sorting and pricing in a cold garage and then bright and early putting things out on a cold Saturday morning. Granted, it was a gorgeous day for this time of year and I am so so so thankful for that, but if you have a choice, pick a warmer month.
It also helps that people are more into garage-sailing mode in the warmer months and you may get more traffic.


Doing the first round of posters. (This was just a small arrow pointing down our street.)

This is key (as I found out). Here's what I did:
a) I posted an ad on Kijiji for free. I got over 20 email responses and over 300 hits on my two ads. On the recommendation of my friend Jen, I posted an ad in the "garage sale" category, but I also posted an ad in the "baby" category - guess which one got more hits? Yup. The "baby" category.
b) I/we postered. I give full credit to Jen and Shereen on this one. Shereen and I postered 4 main intersections on the main road that we live near and then later on Friday night Jen & Shereen went crazy with the posters in our subdivision which I credit to the huge amounts of traffic we got for an early April garage sale! We did 2 types of posters; one had our address, time and that it was a garage sale with an arrow and the other type were just 2 pieces of paper, one that said "GARAGE" and one that said "SALE" and they filled the entire piece of paper. Jen & Shereen put these up with arrows all around our subdivision and they looked awesome! Simple, but they did the trick (although now I have to go and tear them all down!).
c) As well as Kijiji, I posted on Facebook and emailed people to let them know that we were having our garage sale. We had a whole bunch of friends show up and it was fun to see who came out.

Fourth: HOLD OUT

There is a trick to holding out your price to those seasoned garage sailors that come early and haggle with you without losing the sale. Here's one thing I learned: Don't bring your price down for early birds. If someone is willing to come early to get the good stuff, then they should be willing to pay full price - especially for a good item.
For instance, I decided we would sell our djembe drum. We don't really use it and we'll be in Africa if we do want to purchase another. I put it at $10 which I knew was an excellent price. Well sure enough, a man and his wife showed up and started picking up items and "shopping" through all our stuff at 7:40am while we were still setting up. I decided to let them but when he came up to me with the djembe and said he'd give me $5 for it, I told him he'd have to wait as the sale hadn't actually started yet. Well a few minutes later he came up to me again and said he'd give me $5. I was so distracted with getting things set up and organizing things that I just wanted to get rid of him and so I took the $5.
Only minutes after 8am, our neighbours from across the street came over and asked about the djembe and I told them it had already been sold and that's when I realized my mistake. It was a good item and I could have totally gotten full price for it, had I held fast to my original price.
In the grand scheme of things, $5 doesn't matter too much, but it was the principle that really stuck with me and I definitely learned a lesson of holding fast to your price - especially early in the morning.
In the last hour we started telling people that everything was now 50% off the marked price.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's final tips, some praises for my amazing team of ladies who helped and the final count of how much we made.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


i haven't posted in a couple days.
i've been working hard.
today was our garage sale.
it was a smashing success and now...
i am beyond tired.
more to come on the epic garage sale.
but here's a picture my sister snapped

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...