Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Best Mother's Day Ever!

So it's been over a week since Mother's Day, but I simply have to post because it seriously was the BEST MOTHER'S DAY EVER!!!!

It started with Martin taking the kids shopping.  They picked 4 dozen roses!  I LOVE, LOVE roses!  These roses lasted a really long time and every time I looked at them, I couldn't help but smile!

Then we invited Martin's mom over for supper on Saturday.  It was nice to see her enjoy her time away from the Assisted Living Seniors Home she now lives in.  Dad is in the same nursing home, but it wasn't possible to take him out for the evening.  His health has deteriorated too much. 

The kids and I made chocolate dipped flowers for Grandma.
And a bouquet of coffee filter flowers for Grandma.

Sunday morning the kids (and Martin) made me breakfast.  I had to sneak back into bed so I could officially be served breakfast in bed!  :)  I got my favourites...strawberries, toast, and mocha!  Just the way I like it!

Morgun and Martin made this need pallet wood herb box for me. I love it!!  In fact I've asked Morgun to build me a few more!
Alex went all out and bought me my favourite chips, chocolate bar and a $15 Starbucks card!  I was honestly blown away!  Alex has a job and is saving for a car and college.  To spend such a huge amount on me...well, it melted my heart and made me grin from ear to ear...cause we've worked hard to teach our kids to be generous!  I tried to tell him that he had spent way too much.  His reply..."No Mom, you deserve it!"  and then with a grin on his face, "after all, you gave birth to me!!!"


So, as I said it really was the very best Mother's Day Ever!   Not only because I got some spectacular gifts, but more so because my kids were literally glowing and excited to let me know how much they love and appreciate me!  Now that may sound sort of self centered, but it really isn't, cause my joy came more from how my kids are becoming more and more giving, loving, thoughtful, and generous!  There really is not greater joy than knowing that my kids are walking in HIS truth!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Maple Syrup the Old Fashioned Way

I've been meaning to post this for the last month, but it slipped my mind due to being sick back in April.
Anyhow, the experience of collecting sap from our own maple trees was far too neat to not post.  It is something we will always remember and something we will be doing again next year.
It started when I noticed sap dripping from the trees one day while going for a bike ride.  It didn't take a lot of prompting, for the boys to go out and start drilling holes, putting in spouts and hanging pails.  Each day they went out, (sometimes several times a day cause it really was that much fun!) to collect the sap.  They gathered about 12 gallons!

We should have started collecting sap about 2 weeks earlier and we would have easily collected double that amount.  Hopefully we'll start earlier next year.

The making of maple syrup takes forever.  Lots of slowly cooking off all the water.  The sap is about 98% water!  We cooked the sap outside because it would have increased the humidity in the house too much.

After hours of cooking and using way too much propane, this was the end result!  It is so incredibly yummy and sweet! 

Although this was certainly not a money safer, it was well worth the effort!  The boys loved the serenity of being out in the trees gathering sap first thing in the morning.  It's so incredibly peaceful! The experience itself made the effort well worth it! 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Jackson's 4th Birthday!!

 Jackson turned 4 this past weekend!  I can not believe that my baby is 4!  It really is true that time flies!  I'm hanging on for dear life trying to soak up as much as I can!

Jackson once again wanted a race car cake.  I was happy to oblige!  It was a simple cake.  Well, sort of!  I decided to use my "grass" decorating tip.  It worked well for the first while, until my icing made of whipping cream and a bit of icing sugar, began to melt!  It really didn't matter to Jackson!  He sat and stared at the cake for ages!  Mostly with a grin on his face!
We kept the celebration a simple affair and only invited one other couple to join us.  Jackson does not like being the center of attention and he became rather sad and nervous...

...and started picking at his fingers.  He's always been shy, but not to this point.  I hope it's simply a short phase he's going through!

Jackson wakes up every morning singing.  Usually he's singing, "Bless the Lord oh my soul, Oh, my soul." He is convinced that the song actually belongs to him!
Jackson loves his scooter, bike, cars, jumping, climbing and being outside.  Every day he begs and begs to go outside.  He would spend all day outside if he could! 
He loves watching the boys play racing games. He admires his big brothers greatly.  They are his heros!
Jackson enjoys coloring and has recently begun to show interest in writing letters.  Especially the letter "J".  He knows how to write several letters, although I'm not too sure that he actually knows the name of each.  It's more of copying what Raina does.  So lots of "R"s and "a's.
Jackson loves to cuddle and prefers to be around his family.  He loves to be near me and has recently begun to come to me and lean in, with his huge, dimpled grin.  Melts my heart every single time!! 
Jackson's favourite word is "Mama"! It is repeated, repeated, repeated, repeated, repeated, repeated, and...well you get the picture!  lol!  He loves to talk.  It makes him feel important and part of our conversation.  So, he's known to be a bit of an interrupter!  We're working on that!
Jackson is once again sleeping better at night.  We began doubling up his sleeper, and put a heater into his room, leaving it on for an hour or two to warm up the room seeing as the heat is rarely on now a days so the house can get a bit chilly.  I have no idea what's up with all of this, but I have a feeling that being cold brings back some bad memories.  And having mama come tuck him in at night is perhaps just the reassurance he needs.
I can't help but smile when I think of my sweet little baby!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Birth Mom's Day-2015

It's Birth Mom's Day today and once again I can't help but feel a mixture of tears welling up from the depths of my heart at the pain another woman feels because of her loss, and an incredible joy mixed with unbelief that I have this amazing privilege of parenting not one, but 3 treasures brought into this world by another woman.
This quote from Jody Landers resonates with me.
"A child born to another woman calls me mommy.  The MAGNITUDE of that tragedy and the DEPTH of that privilege are not lost on me."
Although my words of gratitude will never fully encompass my thoughts, feelings and emotions...I will try to express my thankfulness to the 3 woman (and all the other woman out there who chose life and adoption) who so sacrificially and graciously put their child's needs first.
I know you made the most heart wrenching choice. I know that you loved your child so much, that the place you choose to place your child was a place were your child would soon be given all the necessary attention.   I know you continue to grieve that loss.
May God in all His amazing omniscient and omnipresent power, let you know that your child is loved, well cared for, happy, thriving, and doing amazingly well.  May you also know that we speak of you with great honor.  That our kids miss you even though they are well adjusted and happy.  May you know that we pray that some day we will meet you, even if it's not on this side of heaven.  May you know that we look forward to seeing both your face, and the face of our child as you finally see each other again!
So today, my heart is heavy, tears flow as I write this...cause although I know you grieve...I can not even begin to imagine your pain.  But do know this...that I cry with you.  That I pray you will be filled with an amazing peace and joy in knowing that "all things work together for good to those that love God." 
The gift that you have given us is a gift where no "Thank You!" or monetary gift could ever express our gratitude.  So because this is all we can do, we say a great big, heartfelt...
Thank You!!!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

All Because of a Little Gesture!

If you've visited here for any length of time, you've probably clued in that in the past few years I've struggled with depression.  A depression that has gotten worse as the weeks go by.  For someone who hardly ever got down for more than a day, this has been quite the adventure that I never wanted to experience!  It's an experience that I am learning to embrace.  It's an experience that is teaching me things that I didn't know I needed to learn.  Some of the things I've learned are things I knew in my head, and perhaps even in my heart to a point.  But all of it is taking on a new level of importance!
I awoke this morning in a grumpy mood!  I've been sick, and I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired.  I knew my day would be yet another day in trying to catch up on all the appointments that need to be booked, return phone calls, try to get rid of all the dust bunnies that have accumulated after 3+ weeks of little to no housekeeping happening, and the never ending loads of laundry...including washing all the bedding! 
I finally managed to roll out of bed and stumble find my sweet, sweet man building a fire in the woodstove, a smile on his face cause he knew the warmth of the woodstove on a cold and cloudy day would warm my heart!

You see...that's what I'm learning at a deeper level.  The importance of the little gestures that tell those around us that we love them!  I don't know what a gesture like that would do for you, but my hubby's sweet gesture inspired me!  It put a spring in my step and the energy began to flow!  Suddenly my day didn't seem so gloomy!  The laundry pile didn't seem quite so big!  And most importantly...I noticed that the love shown to me was being passed on to my kids!  I really want them to know how much I value them, and it's coming through loud and clear today in my words and actions!
So dear friends...let's keep this good thing going!  Let's pour ourselves into those around us!  Let's step out of our comfort zone and say something nice to someone, smile at a stranger, or do something sweet for never know the impact it will have on the entire world!!
May God richly bless your day!!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Life Around Here...

I had no intent of not blogging for so long.  But life has a way of throwing us it's fair share of unknowns.  We were expecting to have a relaxing Easter break, which didn't happen.  I had planned to do some painting.  The master bedroom and possibly the girl's room.  At the last moment I changed my mind and painted a few small items instead.  I'm so glad I did!
I had oral surgery on the 8th to remove 2 wisdom teeth which had been a major pain for the past 10 years.  The procedure itself went very smoothly and I was back on my feet the next day doing laundry and a few other household chores.  I had some pain and decided to take Oxycocet over and above the ibuprofen 600 that I was already on.  I began to feel dizzy and things went down hill from there.  Long story short...I became very sick, vomiting for most of the night, spent the next 4 days flat out in bed sleeping.  The following 6 days were a bit better...I was able to walk a bit and sleep a little less.  I am finally able to eat small portions, but I still have a headache most of the day.  I tire very easily and love, love to sleep!  My doctor thinks I probably reacted to my meds, which aggravated my ulcer (which I thought was healed!).  So hopefully, I will be 100% within the next week or so!
While I was sick, Malia had another appointment with the plastic surgeon.  The surgeon was impressed with how well the last graft had taken.  Martin came home quite optimistic that perhaps the last FAMM Flap surgery had been more successful than the surgeon had hoped and that perhaps the oral surgeon could proceed with the bone graft.  Malia had appointment with the oral surgeon yesterday and the news was not what we had hoped for!  :( 
As it turns out, the oral surgeon needs soft tissue in order to do the bone graft.  Although the last graft did take, it didn't take well enough.  There simple is not enough soft tissue.  Soooo....that means Malia will need another surgery.  This time she will have tongue flap surgery.  It's what the surgeon originally considered, but then decided to go with the FAMM Flap as it is not as uncomfortable/invasive. The tongue flap apparently has a greater success rate so the hope is that the tongue flap will work!
We have no idea as to when this surgery will happen.  We do know that if the last graft had taken, Malia would have had surgery in May for the bone graft.  Does that mean that she'll have surgery in May?  Or this summer?  We have no idea, although I have requested that they wait till fall for the next surgery.  Malia is DONE with surgeries for now!  She is completely overwhelmed and we all need a break!  We will be planning our summer holidays and if a surgery day is presented to us for this summer....I'm hoping I'll have the guts to say no!  At this point we all need a long, relaxing break!  I'm thinking 3 months in Jamaica may be just what we need?!?  Haha!  Who am I kidding!?!  We'll try to take a few days to go camping and hopefully we get some R&R!
As always....Malia does not know what is happening in regards to her surgeries.  She does know that she will need more surgeries, but we've told her to relax and enjoy this beautiful not mention surgeries when she is around.  We REALLY just want her to enjoy being a little girl, without worrying about her next surgery date.  Thanks!
As you can imagine, these past weeks have been more than a little stressful.  We appreciate your continued prayers! 
We are weak, but not defeated.
We are bruised, but not broken.
We may be weary,
but in His strength we will NOT be moved!
I'll be playing this song by Rend Collective on repeat for the next while!  Because we ARE CONQUERORS!!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Easter 2015

We spent the past week doing some Easter crafts.  One of my favourite crafts is a stained glass cross.  It's so incredibly easy to prep and easy for my little kids and enjoyable for older kids too.  I used cut up tissue paper, waxed paper (2 pieces for each cross), glue, and construction paper for the black part of the cross.

My littles also made these cool cotton ball Easter Egg paintings.  I took clothes pins and clipped them to a cotton ball.  One for each color.  Then the kids painted their picture.  Once it was dry we traced and cut the egg shape.
We also made the simple egg craft pictured on the right.  I used scrapbooking paper I had on hand.  The kids cut the paper into strips and glued them onto construction paper.  Then they took another piece of construction paper, cut out the egg shape and stuck it onto the paper with stripes.  This is such a wonderful craft for kids learning to cut, because it really doesn't matter how straight they cut.  The end result is beautiful regardless of how the stripes look!
The egg crafts now hang on our art line in our basement.

We also decorated boiled eggs.  I loved how Jackson was so intent on coloring the eggs!  Oh to see the world through the eyes of a child!!

We ate the eggs for a light lunch, along with fruit, crackers and salad.

While the little kids painted the craft I mentioned above, Morgun and I blew out some eggs to decorate with stamping.  I LOVE how these eggs turned out!
We colored the eggs using a simple water, vinegar and coloring mixture. 

Then we picked our favourite stamp and stamped, with black ink, on tissue paper.

Once the ink was dry, we used mod podge to glue the tissue paper to the egg, being very careful not to rub the tissue paper.  Once this was dry, we covered the tissue paper with another coat of mod podge.

The end result!  I think this is officially my favourite way to decorate eggs!  I love the touch of elegance they add to our home!


I especially LOVE the blue eggs placed in an antique bowl!  These bowls were used for weddings and funerals in one of our local conservative Mennonite churches.

We had our traditional Easter Hunt, which all of the kids enjoy...cause that's how we roll!  :)  Morgun had trouble finding his basket, because his Dad found the perfect spot...tucked into the inside of an old upright radio!

I've been meaning to mention that Malia recently got glasses.  She was having difficulty seeing things that were far away...something we didn't notice because we don't do any school work where she has to look at a board.  I had noticed her sit on the floor occasionally to watch TV, but never put 2 and 2 together.  Oops!
I think the glasses give her that perfect "smart, nerdy, goofy" look!  This girl warms my heart and her beauty stops me in my tracks!

And last, but not least...I simply have to share our absolute favourite thing about Easter.  Each Easter we tell the kids what Easter is all about using these Resurrection Eggs.  It's a dozen plastic eggs, each containing an item related to the Easter story, beginning with the Passover Supper.  It comes with a little booklet that gives scripture references for each egg and a bit of a reading for each item. We spread the opening of the eggs out over several days.  It's really helped our kids understand what Easter is really all about!

Matthew 27:33-37 -33 They came to a place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull).                                                             
34 There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it.
35 When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots.                                                            
36 And sitting down, they kept watch over him there.
37 Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS.  
Luke 24:6-7 -6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee:                                                            
7 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'
1 Peter 3:18 For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit,