Friday, January 31, 2014

Chinese New Year 2014

We've been busy getting ready for Chinese New Year.  The little's have been very excited and have talked about this day for a long time.  We made Chinese lanterns and hung them all over the dining room. 

We made tea eggs.


Best of all...we dressed in our finest silks!  The girls were pumped and couldn't wait to have their hair pulled up in a bun.

Jackson wasn't too sure about dressing in this weird feeling clothing, but soon thought he looked pretty handsome.

We stuffed ourselves on the yummiest Hot Pot ever!  It is one of our favorite meals!  I added the party crackers just for fun.  I found them on clearance after Christmas and thought they would add a bit of fun to our meal.  And they sure did!  Raina does not like the noise at all!  However, she loved the crown and little ring inside! 

We gave each other red envelopes as is the Chinese New Year tradition.  However, we put our own little spin on it.  Instead of giving money, we wrote notes of encouragement/scripture for each family member.  It was neat to see what each child came up with.  lol

Happy Chinese New Years!!!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


This post is about the place I'm in for this season of my life.  It's not something I've ever even thought of writing about, it's not something I've always felt, but I think it may help me gain here goes.
I awake almost every day to a dull, drudgery kinda feeling.  I pray that the day will be a good one...a peaceful one.  I pray for a day where my kids will see Jesus in me, a day where their love for each other will be evident.  I pray that I will be energetic and enthusiastic.  But mostly I pray that I will not be riddled with guilt. 
The past few months have been filled with feelings of guilt.  Feeling bad that we decided to home school our kids.  Feeling guilt because I can't meet all their needs.  Feeling guilt because I don't get to spend as much time with my kids as I would like.  And by that I mean fun times.  I'm always helping each of my kids with their school work so I'm always in close proximity.  Somehow every day seems to be another day of "do this!, do that!, please work!."   And all I want is peace, calm and fun!
Perhaps I feel guilt because I see the disapproval in some peoples' eyes.  The people who don't know the whole story on why we decided to home school.  The people who think I am doing my kids an injustice.  The people who think there is only one way to educate a child.
Perhaps I feel guilt because I was deprived of a public school education and had to fight every step of the way to graduate from high school.  Perhaps it's because I vowed that my kids would have every possible opportunity to be well educated.  Perhaps it's because I think I fail at providing a good education. 
It's rather ironic though.  I have every confidence in teaching any grade level and most any a school setting.  And still...I feel I may be failing my kids. 
So why do I feel so guilty?
I think guilt is the product of several things.  First of all, I believe Satan really wants me to feel like a failure.  He wants me to believe I suck at raising our kids, that they would be better off in school.  Well the fact of the matter remains...we tried that for many years.  Our experience with a FEW key individuals made it VERY clear that continuing to send our kids to our local school was certainly NOT in their best interest.  Now that's not to say that the school is horrid and every child's safety/best interest is at risk.  That's simply not the case.  However, we have seen incredible strides in each of our kids.  Strides that would not have happened at school.  All 3 of our kids are continually gaining in confidence, they are getting along better, and there are a lot less sad emotions related to bullying.  And academically...they are way ahead of the game!  Most importantly though...we have a lot more time to learn about Jesus...hmmm that realization in and of itself is chipping away at all the guilt! 
Secondly, I think being sick for a good 10-12 weeks in the past 4 months has made me feel like a failure.  It's been hard!  I've focused on the basics of household things and school.  However, when I look back at all we've accomplished and how much the kids have learned, I see it is a very silly reason to feel guilty.  And my house is still in a "sort of" clean/tidy state! 
The third reason is that I see what our kids miss out on.  I know they are missing out on the field trips, fun activities that are next to impossible for me to do at home due to the wide age range in our kids/materials needed, extra curricular activities, and the freedom to have more time to be away from parental supervision and have other adults impact their lives in a positive/healthy manner. The fact of the matter is this...there is very little I can do to make up for what they are missing.  And that sucks!
And last of all...there's been a LOT happening around here in the past 6 months.  Jackson arrived home, we started homeschooling all 3 kids, my MIL was/is very ill. my brother-in-law had open heart surgery, and to top it all off...we have some household renos happening.  I keep telling myself that this is our first year.  That if we home school next year it will be easier...I hope?!?
I know I'm not the only mom that struggles with guilt.  So please know that I am praying for all of you as I pray for myself each and every day.  Let's not give up!  Let's fight this battle and come out on the other end more mature, wise and godly than before.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Hebrews 12:1

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Past Few Months

The past months have been filled with the usual busyness, a whole lot of sickness, and way too much tiredness.  I've had these pics downloaded for a very long time.  Haha!  Christmas pics in January!  There is something seriously wrong with that.  But it's my life and seeing as I have them here...well, I can't not post them.  It would mean the time I spent downloading them onto my blog would be a waste of time...and we can't have that!  lol!  So here goes....Be warned...there are lots of pics and the post is very long.   But I know Kathy and her family will enjoy them...and maybe you will too.  :)
The end of November and beginning of December were filled with preparations for Christmas.  As usual the kids simply HAD to put up their trees in their rooms.  I think it is one of the best Christmas traditions we've started.  The kids love seeing all their ornaments and reminiscing. 

I had to share this picture.  Jackson had to take a break from all the decorating.  lol!  And I must say he looks mighty cute chillaxin'! 
The kids LOVE the train I have for my little village and couldn't get enough of it...all 5 of them! 

 We had our own little Christmas gathering with Martin's folks prior to heading to BC.  Martin's mom has been in and out of the hospital and is not doing well at all.  Love that we have this pic!

Saskatchewan has had more than it's fair share of super cold weather.  I usually don't mind.  It means Martin has the day off.  We took advantage of that and did some Christmas baking.  All of us!  Now that's something that doesn't happen very often!
Our taste testers and little helpers.

Funny how barely touching the beater can make this kid grin from ear to ear!

 Alex cooked the ingredients for Peppernuts...

...while Morgun measured the dry ingredients.  They turned out perfectly!

We headed to BC on the 11th, making a big loop towards The Bass Pro Shop near Calgary, and then headed towards Edmonton.  I was very fortunate to be able to meet up with 2 of my online friends...and what a blessing it was!  Thanks Denise and family, and Paige and Silas for taking the time to meet me!  I love you gals and wish we lived closer so we could have "coffee" more often!  It always amazes me how loving God and loving orphans can bring strangers together and how there is an unexplainable instant connection! 

We arrived in Chilliwack in time to attend my nephew Hudson's baby dedication.  We felt incredibly blessed to be there.  It warmed my heart to see Alison's parents up on the stage showing their support for Ben and Alison.  It made me miss my folks, and it made me wish we lived closer so I could offer more "hands on" support.  Love you guys!

We rented a cottage right on the shores of Cultus Lake with the most spectacular view of the mountains!  It was beautiful!
One day we headed to a tree farm and picked out a small "Charlie Brown" type tree.  We strung some lights, some popcorn...

...made paper chains and had the cutest tree ever!

All my kids thought Hudson was pretty special, but Morgun couldn't get enough of his littlest cousin!

We spent the day before the wedding helping Andrew and Lu decorate.  It was neat to see so many of my nieces and nephews helping out...

...even Matt and Austin least for this picture!  lol!

...and some of the boys goofed off in between loads of chairs.  

The best part was the drinks from Tims!  Ahh!  That French Vanilla sure hit the spot!

I may be killed for posting this pic...but it's soooo worth it!!! Who would walk down a hallway with only one shelf that has a very BOLD sign on it saying, "WATCH YOUR HEAD", and still somehow manage to smack her head on the shelf??  Only my sister Eve!   lol!!  ;P

Lu had been praying and dreaming of having a winter white wedding...and God answered!  The snow in Chilliwack is so soft and lovely and as you can see the teens kids loved it!

I must admit that my kids looked incredibly beautiful/handsome for the wedding...


Raina was very shy about throwing petals as she walked down the aisle, but then spent the entire length of the service throwing the petals, picking them up, and throwing them again!  Love!


My brother Andrew waited a very long to time to meet his perfect match and what a perfect match they are!  He was so excited to see his sweetheart walk down the aisle and couldn't help but grin the entire time!

My mom made a quilt for each of us kids when we married.  The quilt had a patch with each of  the couples' siblings and parents' names and birth dates on it.  Thanks to my sisters, Andrew and Lu received a blanket as well!  Each patch is hand embroidered and is simply stunning!  A piece of art to treasure forever.
(PS:  Someone made a baby blanket with the leftover fabric and tossed it over Andrew's head.  lol)

After the wedding we spent time with family, celebrated Christmas and relaxed for a few days.  We decorated Gingerbread houses, played outside, ....

...exchanged gifts...

...played games with cousins and had a blast!

  New pjs for Christmas is a bit of a tradition around here and it's so neat to see the kids appreciate such a simple thing.  On Christmas Eve the kids each received a box filled with pjs, a movie, a book, chips, candy, and flavored hot chocolate.  Everyone loved their gift and it was perfect entertainment for the evening.  I think it may become a family tradition.

Christmas morning the kids each got a gift of Lego.  We left the larger gifts at home, to be opened on our return.

We arrived home in the evening of the 28th to a household without water.  Somehow during our trip the pump burned out.  We spent the better part of 2 days without running water.  Thankfully we were able to pump well water into buckets and flush toilets and heat water for bathes and dishes.
We then spent one night sleeping in the basement and had our "Christmas morning" on the first of January.

Jackson couldn't stop grinning when he saw his gift...and all the other kids were jealous...I think we should have bought 5 plasma cars!

I'm not sure if it was the long, drawn out process of receiving gifts or that we bought the right gifts...but for some reason our kids played harder than ever before and they all absolutely LOVED their gifts!  And that made this mama smile!!

Here's one last pic to make you smile....
As you know the men in this household are huge Duck Dynasty fans.  Martin has been growing his beard since November and it's getting mighty long.   Here's his "Jase" look alike photo!  lol!