Monday, September 8, 2008

New Beginnings

Today was Zac's first day at preschool.

It was fun to see how excited he was to go. He insisted on getting dressed himself (orange and red were NOT my idea!) and didn't even complain when I wanted to brush his hair.

Sam took him this morning for me. I just didn't think I could handle it if he cried when I dropped him off. There were a few tears when they pulled into the parking lot but once they were inside he wiped his eyes and went for it. I'm so proud of him and I know he's going to be very proud of himself when I go and pick him up in another hour and a half.

This is also my first morning with 'free time' in quite a while. I'm not sure I totally know what to do with myself but don't worry about me - I'm sure I'll think of something!

This fall Ana started grade one. She's growing up so fast. She's already gotten on the "I don't like school" kick. I didn't think it would happen quite so soon. It seems some of the older kids she plays with outside are influencing this train of thought so I'm trying to play up the funness of school. She would be so bored if she had to stay home all day! She knows it too.

Did you hear about the mini flood in our basement? Sam was filling up a large rubber maid with water from a hose attached to the sink in the downstairs bathroom. He left it for about 10 minutes and it fell out of the bucket and filled the bathroom with water which then began to seep into the family room and guest bedroom. We sloshed down there for a whole day before I called insurance. Now we're trying to get them to replace the carpet (which they are being resistant to). Our bathroom tile had to be ripped and a number of holes drilled into the drywall so it could all dry adequately. Hopefully this week they'll start putting it all back together again. It's a very good thing that no one regularly uses that bathroom. If you could pray with us that it'll be all settled quickly with full carpet and underlay replacement that would be awesome.

I'll be sure to post pictures of the finished product.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Esthetically Pleasing

I thought it was time I learned how to do some pretty basic blogger type things. I've been frustrated with the width of the window (it seemed so narrow) and unsure how to put a photo in the header. Both of these things were actually very easy to do. Who Knew? (Well probably lots of you but keep it to yourself alright?)

Another thing that random google searches recommends is writing the text of your posts in Word or Open Office. What a fabulous idea! The little window in blogger that is supposed to be where you write the text of your posts is teeny tiny and completely frustrated me.

I'm not totally certain about pictures yet but I think I've wasted spent enough time today on it.

It feels as if Summer is winding down already. It's been so cold this week that the kids are already wearing jackets when they play outside. School starts on Tuesday and Ana is excited to be back. Zachary begins his first week at pre-school on Wednesday. I get to go along for the first day which is awesome. He's also very excited. Especially about his new Lightening McQueen backpack.

Now that I have this blog thing more in hand I may try posting more (don't hold your breath – I said I'd try). I would love to be a bit more regular about it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Ontario and Mexico Bound

This July we headed out to Ontario to visit my family. It was a lot of fun and the kids were kept very busy. Not one minute to be bored!

Grandma and Grandpa got Zachary his very own "Bible Man" suite. If you haven't heard of bible man you are not really missing out! Zac loves it though and wore it every day for the whole first week. Here are him and grandpa battling it out with some pool noodles.

One of the kids favourite things was to swim. My Aunt Pam and Uncle Zeke have a great pool and Ana and Zachary were in there pretty much every day. Usually for hours.

The goggles were a big hit and without water wings we would have been sunk(!)

By the end of the two weeks they were like little fish.

And...while they were having so much fun, Sam and I managed to escape for a week to Mexico where we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary in fine style. We had so much fun reading books and sitting on the beach and snorkling and of course eating. It was such a great vacation.

One of our last days there we finally got to hang out with both Auntie Heather and Uncle Kyle. It was good to see you guys! We miss you!

PS: I had all the photos formatted differently but they don't seem to fit on my blog page - what's that all about! Sometimes I really hate blogger!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

June Tidbits

I actually don't like the word tidbits. Have you ever thought about that word - it just doesn't sound nice. Tidbits. Tidbits. Anyway. That's all I could come up with at the end of a long day. So it's June Tidbits!

Father's Day is in June. The kids brought Sam breakfast in bed and then left him to eat it all alone! It was sort of funny. This was for lunch/brunch which we had after church. Yummy pancakes with peaches and whip cream.

Zachary also learned how to ride a two-wheeler. He didn't really want to once he realized it was sort of hard (it really wasn't that hard - he did it on the first try but he couldn't get the starting/stopping thing down right away) but by the next day he was throwing his training wheels in the garbage (he saved them until daddy came home from work so they could throw them out together). I had to put in the crying picture since that is so typical of our days around here.

And of course, all boys need their first bike injury. I thought it was justice since he was riding where he wasn't supposed to be riding when this happened. He doesn't get that logic!

Sam went with Ana and her class to the Aquarium. The Aquarium had to be a daddy field trip!

Ana lost both her front teeth this month. The first one took forever and she played with it night and day until it finally came out. The second one came out wrestling with Daddy and Zac complete with blood and a bit of crying. (I think it was Sam's shoulder that finally did it in).

School is done for the year. It's hard to believe Ana is already done kindergarten. We have one last day tomorrow - a bowling day with the whole school. Ana and Zac are pretty excited. After that it's summer holidays. Good thing it finally decided to be summer outside. For a while there I thought we'd missed it completely.

In two weeks we get to see the grandma's and grandpa's. We're staying with my parents and Sam's are going to stop by for a visit since they'll be in the area.

Then Sam and I are heading to a fun sun spot to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. Grandma and grandpa are excited to babysit and have lots of fun stuff planned for the kids (who are super pumped by the way).

Also this month I'm looking to pretty much finish up the rough draft of the novel. I don't talk about it much because it's taking me a terribly long time to finish. I never knew it would be so much work! It's going on 5 years this summer since I started and it's a completely different thing then it first was. Don't get too excited though folks - getting the first draft done is great but there's a lot more left to do. After July the next bit of hard work sets in. I get to read the whole thing and see all the glaring gaps in plot (which I know will be numerous), character development, tone, pacing, overall structure, and don't get me started on grammar, and then edit, edit, edit. That should take another 5 years (hopefully that is not the case - I'm already sick of looking at the thing).I'm also looking for readers after that so I can get some good honest feed back - Any takers (you have to be willing to be brutally honest!)

All this and I haven't said a thing about what Sam's up to! He's been working hard as usual (when I started getting up at 5 am to work on writing he decided that would be a good idea so he does it now too ((in fact he does it more regularly than I do)) ). I'm glad he gets to head off to do some Frisbee golfing with a few of the boys this week. It's an annual thing they like to do where basically they frisbee golf from the crack of dawn until sunset with barely a break for food and water before they're back at 'er. I better stock up on the Rub A5-35 stuff (is that even what it's called?!)

I leave you with a pic of my favourite little man in fine form.

PS: Can you tell I'm into parenthesis right now?

Monday, June 2, 2008

Fun Fair Fun

Ana's school had a Spring Fun Fair last weekend. It was so fun for the kids. There were those big hot air slides and a swing ride, cotton candy and popcorn. So very exciting!

We went with Darcie, Lexi and Xander. Zachary was glad to have a friend around. This was the favourite ride. I think they went on at least twice maybe even three times.

Ana found a friend from school and they hung out all night.

Both the kids decided they only wanted to spend their tickets on rides. There were games and a kids silent auction but they refused to do any of that stuff. So rides it was. (And of course popcorn and cotton candy).

In other news:

Sam's been gone for a bit but comes home very soon! We can't wait.

School is almost out for the year and I can't believe Ana will be going for full days in September and Zachary will be going to preschool three mornings a week. I won't know what to do with myself!

In just a month we'll be heading to Ontario to visit grandma and grandpa. We're all pumped about that.

I've started doing some after school care for one of Ana's friends from school. It's fun for her to have someone to play with and the little bit of extra money sure comes in handy.

I think I might be almost done the first draft of my novel-in-progress. Now on to making it actually not stink!!


A couple weeks ago a friend gave us their dining room chairs when they upgraded to really nice new ones!

I painted them (well a few of them- they're not all done yet) and bought new fabric in three different designs for the seats. Here is the first one that I completed.

I think they turned out great! Thanks Darcie and Jason!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Two-Wheeler Fun

Ana learned to ride her new two-wheeler last week. It only took a few days of Daddy running behind her before she got it. Now she rides as much as she can and the fun part is going for real bike rides with Dad to the duck pond

Zachary is still riding with training wheels but after a nasty fall off the curb on the weekend Sam is trying to talk him into taking them off.

Zachary looking on. He was quite excited for her.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Someone is Six!

Ana turns six tomorrow. We had a party yesterday. Just three friends from school but they had a great time. Ana got a few gifts and now realizes she loves the Littlest Pet Shop. Her and Zac have been playing with it all day! Pizza, chips, and Creamsoda. What a blast.

Since I realized (when Ana turned 1) that I'm terrible at decorating cakes, I took the easy way out. White icing with pink letters and my little pony figures on top taken right out of the toy box! Too easy.

Some friends from school. These girls are tight and I really hope they all stay in the same school!

For a craft we coloured wooden figures that I bought at Michaels. They were fairly cheap and doubled as the goody bag. They also did an Easter egg hunt.

I'm not sure why this picture is smaller but ah well. The blowing of the candles.

Tomorrow is Ana's official birthday but we're just going to have a mom and dad party. Probably play some games and then watch the hockey game!


Friday, February 29, 2008

Keeping on...

It's another cloudy day here. I shouldn't complain as we've had sun for almost a week straight. My tulips are coming up and I planted some spring flowers. I must say - after 10 years living here I'm getting soft. If winter lasts much longer than February 1 I think it has been unending. Sorry to you Ontarians who are still getting blasted.

Life for us is moving forward at its usual pace. The kids are doing great and love that they get to play outside without their winter jackets and boots. I've officially packed our winter clothes away for another year.

Ana recently lost her second tooth and is generally getting into more big girl things like barbies and arguing with mom about every little thing! Another thing to note is that she is starting to get over her fear of animals. There are two friends in our complex that have cats and she loves to head over and play with them. One big reason for this is our visits with the Friesens who have a newly acquired very large but docile dog named Baker. We spent the Superbowl there and after about 4 hours in the same house with the beast she managed to become comfortable enough to run wild with the other kids. I'm sure it helped that Baker was so rattled by the racket that he hid in the laundry room for most of the time.

Zachary is his usual self and we get much joy from him. He may be a bit stingy with his smiles but they sure do light up the room when he lets them. He is spending more time with friends outside and loves to make roads in the dirt strip behind our house. I have a pile of muddy boots for just this purpose sitting outside the front door. I'm trying to decide on preschool for him for next year. Today I'm thinking it would be good if he went. It's hard to know how he'll be in seven months from now but I think I would like the break it offers.

We recently celebrated his fourth birthday. It was fun although he thought we were a bit stingy in the present department!

Happy Spring!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sam's Home - Finally

Some of you know that Sam was gone for a while this month. He was in Ethiopia at meetings for the Global Disciples Training Alliance. It's a big mouthful but it's a group of people who run short term discipleship training programs like TREK or Action. Here's a bit about what Sam said in an email he sent out to our prayer supporters.

Who are we again?
The GDT Alliance is a member-governed strategic alliance. The representative Members Council is elected by Alliance Members by region and meets once a year in conjunction with one of the GDT Alliance Annual Meetings. This group carries the responsibility for decisions about GDT Alliance policies and membership we met for a 1.5 days before the main group arrived.

Amazing Growth!
In 1997 the GDT Alliance began with 5 programs who trained and sent out 273 workers. Now, ten years later, in 2007 there are 90 programs and there were 1,750 workers sent out. If this multiplication continues at the same rate till 2012 there will be 6,320 workers trained and sent out. God is doing amazing things!

He was in Ethiopia in 2000 and the meetings were about 25 people total including all the countries that were a part of it. This year there were 125 participants at the meetings and that was just for the participants from Africa!

The meetings started out with these words:

“We are here for only one reason, to exalt Jesus” It is out of relationship with Jesus that good news flows. “The tribes may fight in Kenya, but here we are one body. We are one family. We are blood brothers in Jesus.”
We want this to be a week of refreshment. We want the Holy Spirit to be flowing into your lives like streams of living water. So as we walk around here this week, I expect it to be as common to see you praying with each other as talking to each other. Come and drink deeply of what God has to offer.
This alliance is about relationships. We want this to be a safe place. You may feel like you are in a room of strangers now, but we want that to change by tomorrow morning. And by next week we expect to see a few tears as you say ‘goodbye.’
We live in a changing world. The methods we used in the last decade will not work today. When I was born, there were 3 billion people in the world; today there are 6.? Billion. 29% of these have never had the opportunity to hear the good news of Jesus. Many of these live in difficult places. Some of us and some of those we train will lay down our lives so that they may hear.
Early missionaries to Africa were told to pack their belongings in coffins because the average life
expectancy for new missionaries was less than two years. Yet, look at what God has done in the church in Africa.
It’s time for a new wave in Africa. It’s time for the African church to rise up and send forth
missionaries. And its time for people with white faces like mine to stand behind and cheer and to wash your feet. (by Galen Burkholder - Director of GDT Alliance)

Well needless to say that set the tone. And the rest of our meetings were a sweet time of learning, prayer, repentance and fellowship together.

Here are a few of the people Sam got to see and meet while he was away.
Claude (from Congo) His wife worries that there might not be enough food for her and their five children while he is gone.

Alex (from Uganda) he has seen a lot of suffering. Five of his brothers
died of fighting or malnutrition while living in Congo. Pray for healing for
him. He directs a discipleship-mission training program that goes to the
refugees in western Uganda.

They spent a lot of time worshiping and praying for each other.

Eating and enjoying each other's company around dinner tables

and of course, lots of meetings!

Benson’s story
The following is a testimony from Benson.
Some of you have seen the video "Just a Desert Boy" that was made from the Benson story. Benson is at the meeting in Ethiopia and the following is his testimony of what God is doing, here is a journal
We re-played the Benson video and then he came to share his testimony, a powerful story, almost unbelievable. If I didn’t know his story, I would doubt a lot of what he reported.
• His goal was to plant 100 churches in
10 years as he stated on the DVD. So far he has planted 73 in 6 years.
• This year he planted two churches in Somalia and 30 in Turkana.
• He baptized 3000 people last year and wants to go to Uganda this year.
• In one village he was shot and still has a scar above his heart. He didn’t want to go back to that village and felt that after what they did to him they ‘could
die in their sins.’ But God worked on him and he returned to preach the gospel. 5400 people came to the Lord. (I think this was the same village.)
• As he went to another village, the local witch doctor determined that he would not make it to preach. He slaughtered a goat and put some poisoned meat on a tree where Benson would pass. Benson came after a three day journey and was very hungry when he saw the meat. He took it, gave thanks and ate it…then went to the village to preach. The witch doctor was the first to receive Christ that afternoon.
• Another time he was walking for several days and fainted 17 times. He felt like he was dying and told God, “Just allow me to lead one more soul to you and then I am ready to die.” He reached the village and preached. 300 came to the Lord!

As you can see Sam had a pretty full 12 days. Our days were not quite so busy but we made it through anyway. It's always hard when Sam goes. I have to be consistent with making meals and getting the kids to eat enough fruits and veggies! It's very easy to just make Mac n Cheese every night since I know that's the one thing they won't complain about.

I also managed to stay fairly active this time (usually all exercise goes out the window when Sam goes away!). I would put on an exercise dvd every night after supper and me and the kids would do it together. I only had to turn it off early twice due to excessive complaining! It's very funny to watch the kids do pilates!

One thing I didn't maintain was my 5 am wake up call to write before the day starts. But I'm happy to say I'm back at it this week. On the topic of "the book" - I put all my writing together in one word document to see how much I actually have. After all is said and done I have about 104 thousand words which is about the size of a normal book. I was encouraged by that - that's a huge feat but also discouraged because I can't quite see the end in sight - so this book promises to be a big one! And one that will most definitely need excessive cutting during rewrite number 1.

The kids missed daddy a lot. Zachary spent all day yesterday with Sam. He refused to go outside to play with the neighbour kids, he only wanted to be with daddy. They even made a great supper together.

As for Ana - she is turning into such a big girl - yikes when did this happen. I have to listen to her read every night now. She has beginner books that she is learning. I think she mostly memorizes them and figures out the words by looking at the pictures but I am assured that that is the beginning of reading. I hope she grows to love books as much as her mom!

We have a few birthday's coming up. Zachary is turing four on Friday. Anyone know where I can find Lightening McQueen cake decorations? I'm not trusting my ability to ice a cake to look like Lightening!

This is quite the long post - Hope you made it through!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Happy New Year

So I haven't blogged in a long time. I never said I'd be consistent! I meant to post some of our Christmas pictures a couple weeks ago but I guess it's better late than never! I tried to upload a video but it was taking hours (like 6) so I wasn't even sure it was working. I think it may be my internet speed (we have lite speed) so maybe next time I'll be able to do it.

We actually had a great Christmas this year. Sam took a whole week off and we just relaxed, read books, played games, and went for walks. It was so wonderful.

We usually open our presents on Christmas eve but decided to save it for Christmas Day so the kids would have lots of time to play with their gifts. I made a whole Christmas dinner including a really yummy pie. I realized that I love making pies! It was so fun.

Pre-oven. It's apple cranberry.

...and post oven. Ana absolutely loved this pie (she really loves any sort of dessert!)

We had a bit of snow over Christmas including on Christmas Day so that made it even more special and more exciting for the kids. Here's Ana watching a princess movie with her new princess barbies.

And Zachary and Daddy putting together his playmobile airplane. It took about 2 hours but he loved helping to build it.

And the finished product!

So now Ana is back at school and we're back into our routine. It was very hard for me to get out of vacation mode but I guess that's good because it meant I really relaxed!

More soon about how our weeks without Sam were. Thank goodness he's coming home soon!