Thursday, June 30, 2011

Common Objections to Adoption

I came across this about a week ago and think it is well worth listening to and passing on.  I've listened to it several times and it has me thinking....

Monday, June 27, 2011

Summer Food

One of our favorite summer foods is rollkuchen and rabooze (watermelon),a traditional Mennonite food.  It is the perfect meal to serve on a sweltering, hot day.  I love making it because it is quick, requires only a few staple ingredients, and I know everyone will LOVE it! 
I only use whole wheat flour, which makes for a heartier, richer flavor...and I feel a little less guilty serving this deep fried dough.

Raina has begun feeding herself and makes a horrible mess.

For the first time in 20 years, I finally have a decent strawberry patch.  Martin picked 2 ice cream pails full on Saturday.  We are enjoying the fresh berries almost every day!  I don't think I will need to pick berries at a U-pick this year; not even for strawberry jam...yeah!!!
Another wonderful Mennonite tradition is to serve fresh strawberries with rich whipping cream and sugar.  We all love it...even Raina.  She ended up having berries everywhere...even in her hair!

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Malia's soccer tournament was on Saturday.  Her first game was at 9 am and the wind was bitterly cold.  I did not enjoy the cold, but it had it's benefits...Raina actually cuddled with me for most of the game!  I treasure every moment of cuddling!  Raina is cuddling less and less as the months pass.  I know it is simply a sign of her growing up and gaining independence, but it makes me sad.

Malia loves playing soccer, even though, for the most part, she has no concept on how to play the game.  She runs, following the play and on occasion will kick the ball.  At the beginning of the year she would not touch the ball at all, until I finally bribed her with 25 cents each time she kicked the cost me $2.00 the first game!  She seems to think kicking the ball out of bounds is a good thing.  I repeatedly showed her where the nets were, but she seemed to not "get" it.  Perhaps it would have been helpful if the nets had been actual nets and not simply 2 flags, that in a kids eyes look similar to the flags outlining the boundary.
I think it is difficult for Malia to understand that in playing soccer it is a good thing to take the ball away from another child.  We have taught her to share and not take toys away from other children and now we expect her to do just that!  She must think we have lost our minds!

The 3 girls ready to play...aren't their expressions priceless?!?

Getting her medal.

Note to coach:  never give kids freezies before taking!

The proud soccer player!

Of coarse, we had to get a picture of her putting the medal to her mouth...just like the Olympians do...however, they do NOT put the ENTIRE medal in their mouth!  :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Old Friends

An old friend (actually she's not THAT old ;), came for a visit last week.  Dolores and I first met when she was in grade 2 and I was in grade 3.  Up until grade 9 we were usually in the same classroom even though we were in different grades.  We spent many hours playing baseball, working on school projects and visiting each others homes.  We even attended the same church.
After grade 9, we attended different High Schools and drifted apart.  We have only seen each other a hand full of times in the past 20+ years.  It was great to have a good chat and reconnect.  I think both of us felt we had lost connection with most of our childhood friends.  Very few of our childhood friends can relate to our life experiences and would simply frown if they knew how real Jesus is to us.  I think they may even freak out if they knew he actually talks to us other than through scripture.
I had a great time listening to Dolores talk about how God is the center of her life.  It was encouraging and inspiring!  Thank you Dolores!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Father's Day

What Makes A Dad

God took the strength of a mountain,
The majesty of a tree,
The warmth of a summer sun,
The calm of a quiet sea,
The generous soul of nature,
The comforting arm of night,
The wisdom of the ages,
The power of the eagle's flight
The joy of a morning in spring,
The faith of a mustard seed,
The patience of eternity,
The depth of a family need,
Then God combined these qualities,
When there was nothing more to add,
He knew His masterpiece was complete,
And so, He called it...DAD!

I was planning on taking some decent pictures of the kids and Martin, but between church, nap and a family gathering, this is all I got...
I love watching the kids' eyes light up as they give Dad their special home made gifts.  It is something I will treasure forever!

Malia didn't have a homemade gift and decided she wanted to buy Dad a chocolate bar...I wonder if she has a hidden motive?  Daddy always shares his chocolate.  :)

I had to post this picture as wild child!  I LOVE the hair this boy wakes up to every morning!

Friday, June 17, 2011

TaeKwon Do

It is official!  We now have our single yellow stripe (Grade 14) in TaeKwon Do!  Martin, Alex, Morgun and I have been taking TaeKwon Do in Osler.  We all love it and it is awesome to be able to do it together.  Martin and the boys have taken 1 1/2 sessions and I have taken 1 session.  Martin missed a lot of this session due to work.  The boys were convinced neither Martin or I would be ready to test, but they were wrong...we all did well, with each of us having an area we excelled in.  Martin has great balance and coordination and excels at learning new moves.  Alex has speed and has a strong kick when his "grrr" is "on".  Morgun has incredible technique, catching on quickly to new moves.  As for myself, my front snap kick is pretty awesome...who knew I could kick that high?!?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Church Picnic

Our church held their annual Picnic this past Sunday.  The service was held at Rosthern Valley Regional Park, followed by lunch and the usual  games.

 Trying to get the Oreo from on the forehead into the mouth is no easy feat.

 Gargling pop...ugh...for one minute!

 Martin and Malia choose to chill in the shade.  Martin was exhausted after working hard for the past month.
 Spitting popcorn seeds into a container...Morgun's team won,due to some creativity!
 They could not put their feet over the line...BUT who says you can't put the entire body over the line without it touching the ground?!?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Just Because...

Even though Martin has been VERY busy lately, his mind focused on work, and working late most days, last night he came home with these flowers...just because....

I love my hubby!  He is more than I ever dreamt of!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Six Months With Our Precious Raina

Today we celebrate Raina's arrival in our family.  It has been 6 months since that emotional and special day...a day where words will never fully be able to describe the joy, tears and pure love!
Raina has grown in leaps and bounds.  She has grown 3 inches and gained 7 pounds.  She now weighs a hefty 26 lbs.  Needless to say, I can hardly wait for her to back is killing me!  :)  Not that I really mind.  Raina is sweet and I treasure every moment with her!  I cherish each little cuddle, hug, and slobbery kiss.
Raina continues to have almost everyone wrapped around her little finger.  Alex and Morgun are always begging to wake her from her nap, and they generally do not fuss if asked to do something that involves Raina.  Malia loves her little sister, but does get irritated when Raina gets into her "stuff", and when Raina gets all the attention.  Malia hits Raina on occasion, but she will soon realize it may not be worth it...Raina is beginning to hit back and is quite capable of hurting Malia...gotta love sibling rivalry...NOT!!  
Raina regularly asks "Papa?" first thing in the morning, and she squeals with delight when he comes home from work.  Martin has had to work hard to gain her approval.  She does not like men with facial hair and prefers her Mama. A few days ago, for the very first time, Raina reached for Martin even though another woman was holding her.  This is a huge step for Raina.  Up until recently, if Martin was holding her, she would gladly go to almost any other female.
Raina continues to have the occasional nightmare and still cries or becomes very sad when someone becomes angry or is disciplined.  When she is told "no" she will often hit the floor, or even herself in frustration.  She no longer hits us in the face (something her foster family allowed her to do), but does like to see what she can get away with.
Raina is very curious and explores every little thing/space she can possibly reach.  I am thankful, that for now, I still have the energy to keep up with her...good thing I'm not 40..yet! :)  (Yes, there is a bit of sarcastic humor in the "40" comment...many people in our community think we are too old or almost too old to have such a young child.  Oh, if only they had the energy I have!!! ;)  Or try to convince myself I have!)
Raina's language is developing on par.  Like any 18 month old, she only talks when she needs to.  She has too many older siblings talking for her!  lol!  She can say...papa, mama, bye-bye, yes, no, hi, out, mieha (more), Alex, milk, bottle, night night, teddy bear, among many other words.  She is beginning to babble in sentences although I have yet to figure out what she is saying, although most often I know what she is talking about because of her pointing.

Raina rarely sits still and this is usually what I am able to capture on camera

Raina can stand on her own for short periods of time...IF she forgets to hold on to something.  She is afraid of falling.  I think it is simply  because of her age...if she were younger that fear may not be as prevalent.  Raina loves it when we help her walk and is adjusting well to wearing her splint.  I have found one pair of beach shoes that sort of stay on her feet.  The splint is smooth and makes for a slippery surface to walk on which also hinders her from learning to walk.

Oh, Oh, I think it is time for lunch and a nap!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My Dad

Five years ago today, on June 7, 2006, my Dad passed away and was welcomed into heaven by his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  I say this because as Dad took his last breath he lifted his arms heaven ward, which was no small feat for his very weakened body. 
I am writing this post, because for the first time in my life I feel I can do it without only spouting bitterness and anger.  My recollections and experiences are not necessarily those of my siblings...each of us had a different relationship with Dad.
I have very few pictures of me with Dad...none of just the two of us.  This picture is precious to me because it is the only picture I have of Dad holding me.  And that makes me feel special. 

 Dad loved little kids and loved horsing around with them. Teenagers on the other hand were a different story. I think Dad did not know what to make of our growing independence and that, along with all the other teenage "stuff" caused him a lot of stress. I'm sure raising 13 kids didn't help either...oh, the stress of parenting 13 kids!
Of all the kids in Dad's life, Helen was his favorite.  My sister was born with Cerebral Palsy.  For 5 years she was the light of Dad's life.  She could always make him smile!  In Helen's presence, Dad's wrinkles softened and there was always a light in his eyes. 
Shortly before Helen passed away she quit breathing...3 times on separate days.  Each time Mom and my older sisters were able to resuscitate her.  The last time they resuscitated her, Helen cried for hours.  In fact she cried until Dad came home, and only then did she settle.  I believe she caught a glimpse of heaven and was sad that she could not go there just yet.  I imagine she must have known that in heaven she would be able run and jump, and sing and talk!

My Dad did not approve of my attending public High School.  I was the first of my siblings to do so.  As a result my relationship with Dad deteriorated and was never what I wished for it to be.  Dad did not attend my graduation, and yet I do think a part of him was proud of my accomplishments.
Of all the choices I made, Dad liked who I choose for a spouse.  Martin and Dad got along well and had many good conversations.  Unfortunately, I never had a really good, one on one chat with my Dad and it still makes me sad. 
I do not have a wedding picture of us posing with Mom and Dad.  Dad was opposed to me getting married in a white gown...and it had NOTHING to do with my sexual purity.  Rather, it was one of Dad's traditional Mennonite beliefs that all brides should wear a darker colored, knee length dress.
After Alex was born Dad began to show that he was proud of me.  He never put it into words, but I could see it in his eyes.  Perhaps it was because after 8 years of marriage he realized that even though I was "educated"or "ouwt yeliet", I chose to become a mother and that pleased him.

This is the last picture I took of Dad.  It was taken April 30, 2006, at Ben & Alison's wedding shower.  At the time we did not know that cancer was invading Dad's body, and that 5 1/2 weeks later we would lose him.
I had just told the story of how, in elementary school, my cousin Julie was bragging about her dad being  VERY tall, and me, not to be out done, bragged that MY Dad was also VERY tall...NOT true!  LOL!!  As you can see Uncle Jim is and was MUCH taller than Dad! :)

Two weeks before Dad passed away, Mom and Dad visited us.  Dad had a little difficulty walking up the flight of stairs...but we didn't think much of it.  Dad was 69, had worked hard all his life and had been "ill" lately.  I say "ill" because Dad often had aches and pains and as usual we assumed this was nothing more than the usual aches and pains.  The next day Dad had a doctors appointment and was told he had liver cancer.  Dad's health deteriorated rapidly.  A week later he was in a hospital bed (at home), completely reliant on others for all his needs.  I think this was a hard pill for Dad to swallow.  He had always been very proud of his independence.  Dad preferred to be at the giving end, rather than having others do something for him.  It seemed that he simply gave up. 
The night before Dad passed away, Martin and I were finally able to spend some alone time with Dad.  Dad could not speak...only moan.  He repeatedly tried to talk, becoming agitated each time.  Each time I took Dad's hand and reassured him that everything was OK.  I knew he was trying to apologize for all the hurts and I knew he would not be able to rest unless he knew I had forgiven him.  I had. 
After Dad died I grieved...not in the way we usually grieve, but rather, I grieved the "could have been, should have been and never will be" of my relationship with Dad.  I have been angry at Dad,  have resented him and even hated him.  However, for the first time in my life, as crazy as it may sound, I know without a doubt, that "all things work together for good to those that love God!"  And that includes my dysfunctional relationship with Dad.  It is because of my lack of being connected and feeling loved that I have such a deep compassion for orphans.  It makes me a better, more thoughtful mother!  And for that I thank God!

Monday, June 6, 2011


This morning the girls and I (I LOVE saying that!) replaced a few shrubs that had not wintered well a few years ago.    It was beautiful.  The sun was shining and we could smell the blooming Saskatoon berry trees on the river bank and my flowering crab.

Malia wanted to she could use her cool new work gloves.  LOL!

Raina sat and played with rocks...and drooled, as always!