Monday, April 27, 2009

Sacred Sunday

O.k., so it's Monday - please ignore that fact.  I had planned on doing this yesterday and then life got in the way (well, actually, we took my mom back to the city and a "dropping in" on friends ended up being dinner and great company so I am not complaining!!!).  As you can see, I am in a rambling frame of mind right now - I apologize.

Anyway, one of the things I really have a hard time with it talking about my faith and God.  I am not sure why because it isn't something I am ashamed of.  I think, to some degree, I am afraid that I will sound weak and somehow do God a disservice - as you can tell, missions work would not be for me (at least not under my own steam).  I am certainly more of a Martha than a Mary and I need to learn to slow down, ponder and share.  I am hoping to use my blog on Sundays to do just that.  I won't be writing a sermon or a really deep reflection on scripture, just to talk a bit about where I am at now and where I hope to go.  I am hoping that as I develop my "voice" here, I will feel more confident in using it in other areas of my life.

My big thing right now, aside from my wonderful Bible study, which I will get to in a minute, is listening to podcasts.  I have an ipod and a player in the car and I download things to listen to on the drive to work (which takes about 25 minutes).  I have been feeling really lost of late, not sure what I should be doing and totally aware that MY plans for my life don't seem to be working so I have been trying to look for other options.  I have prayed a lot about this in the last little while and what I keep coming back to is that I feel that God is telling me that we need to clean up our finances.  We do pretty well but after many years of being double-income-no-kids, the year I was off on mat leave combined with life expenses now has put us in a position where we feel it is really hard to manage.  As so often happens, I find it amazing how God gives me guidance.  I have been listening for a while to Andy Stanley's podcasts from North Point and last week, I downloaded a new series called Lo$t - doesn't it turn out to be about financial management and how to use our finances to further our faith???  It has really opened my eyes.  How can God use us when we are so focused on trying to make ends meet that we have no freedom?  I wouldn't say that Dh and I are people who worship money and we don't live lavishly but we certainly do need to realign our priorities - eliminate debt, use what we have been given to reach out to others and to give generously.  This is also really pressing on me because I want to model to Pk how to live in a financially responsible way (something that neither Dh or I learned growing up).

The online Bible study has been WONDERFUL!!! and it really shocked me today when I realized that it is almost over.  It must be working because when I went to my naturopath (I am going for weekly acupuncture to help with fertility), she immediately noticed something was different and commented on it.  Usually, I end up in tears with her because I don't feel like I can talk about the fertility issues with anyone but this week, I was much calmer and more focused.  Last week, in the study, we were really looking at the lies that we believe that keep us captive.  I got more excited as I did the readings for that day and couldn't wait to get Pk in bed so that I could sit down with my journal and hash some of that through.  The lies I punish myself with have been such an oppressive stronghold for me.  The biggest are my issues around not being pregnant - I must be a failure as a woman, other women will pity me and I can't stand that, somehow this is all about something I am not accomplishing, we are not really a family if we don't have at least two children, God is somehow punishing me for something (don't know where that comes from because I am not a woman with an abortion in my past), Pk will be left totally alone, etc., etc., etc.  It's all about my pride and my need to chase the next dream...  I have never learned how to be happy where I am and that is a legacy that I don't want Pk to inherit.  I am trying to be more aware of these thoughts creeping in, to mark them when they appear and to learn ways to counter them.  Beth Moore suggests scouring scripture for appropriate verses and keeping them with you.  I haven't had time to do that but that is my next step.

Finally, on another track (no wonder I never finish a book!) I am reading two right now that are faith related.  The first is The Shack by William P. Young which I am enjoying and A Shepherd Looks at the 23rd Psalm, which is a nice read and interesting in a slightly quirky way.  The Shack hasn't been what I was expecting, which is a nice change and the Shepherd is, as I said, really interesting (other than that Pk seems fascinated with it and keeps pulling out my bookmark).

We finish the Beth Moore study this week (I think) and are starting a Peter study in our small group at church, so here's hoping that I can keep moving forward.  If you have any suggestions for scripture passages that have brought comfort to you and/or that your would suggest for my collection, I would love to hear them!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Restoring Order 1

Monica and her friend Rebecca, have created a wonderful idea.  It's called Restoring Order and the idea behind it is that we can work together to attack those areas of clutter in our homes.  I have been following and planning to join but up until now, I have forgotten to take the "before and after" pics.  I love the idea and the chance to share what I have accomplished.  Technically, I don't know whether today's efforts count but after a long winter, my garden desperately needed some order.  I don't cut back in the fall since I am always afraid of killing something.  I leave it until spring and since I know my plants fairly well, I now know which ones will tolerate what in the spring.  You will probably notice that our garden is very fussy - lots of little beds all around (and what you see here is only the north and east sides of the house - I have a fairly large herb bed and shade garden on the west side of the house and some roses, lilacs, etc on the south side).  I have been meaning to get out and get to work and today, I finally did.

Before I start, though, I have to include the prerequisite "cute" picture of Pk.  She sat outside and drank tea with grandma while I worked.

This is my rose bed.  This one always worries me in the spring.  I never know which rose will survive the winter.  My favourite is my David Austin Heritage rose - it has lovely, full pink blossoms with a lovely lemony smell.  This year, it looks like 2 of the 3 are o.k., my Abraham Darby looks like it might not have made it.

This is our vegetable bed.  We always grow our own tomatoes, basil, parsley and sometimes peppers, although we haven't the last few years.  It doesn't look all that big but we eat tomatoes non-stop in August and September.  We are hoping to double the size of this bed this year and try to plant beans, radishes and maybe some green onions, carrots and beets.

This bed is always pretty in the spring although you can't really tell in the pictures.  I have crocuses that have already come and gone and several miniature bulbs - grape hyacinths, daffodils and stunning iris.  My little camera didn't do them justice when I tried for close-ups.

This bed is one that I haven't really gotten a handle on - it has lavender, lilies, irises and echanachia.  It tends to look great in August, obviously, terrible in April.

I love my garden and I love the sense of accomplishment and wonder I feel when something blooms, comes back after a long winter or, most of all, when I can cook with things I have grown.  It is a place where I feel a deep sense of God's gifts and the incredibly mystery of life.

I couldn't get the meme to work on the blog (I am missing a step somewhere) so I would love help!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Favourites Friday

I want to try and get something posted on my blog more than once a week.  I follow quite a few blogs through Google Reader and so many people have interesting themes for different days (and often the little icon to go with them).  I don't see myself posting daily (twice weekly is my goal for now) but if I can come up with some theme ideas for different days, I might have a more interesting range of topics.  I feel like I am whining a fair bit these days (which I could do tonight about Pk's 30 minute, floor-kicking, drooling-crying, full-fledged tantrum about not being allowed to eat the cat treats earlier this evening) but I am going to try and focus on something pleasant.  This week, my theme is the Thursday flyers.

Dh and I have been feeling lately like money is running through our hands like water.  Money comes and money goes and we seem no further ahead.  We are really wanting to make debt-reduction a major focus for the next while but to do that, we really need to cut costs.  After some reflection, we have decided that two areas need to be our focus for now - groceries and utilities costs.  We know that the utilities should be fairly easy to fix - we just need to be more aware of what we are using and be conscious of what we are using - turn off lights, turn down the heat a degree or two, turn up the a/c, etc.  That's not so hard.  It's the groceries that are going to be the bigger challenge.

I love to cook and I really enjoy trying new recipes.  The down side of that is that we have a pantry full of condiments and seasonings but when it comes time to get cooking, it always seems like I am having to run to the store.  I do weekly menu plans  but even so, we seem to keep running to the grocery store to buy one thing and come out with $30 worth of stuff (and yet still have nothing to eat).  I also really like to try to eat organically/naturally, which means that what we can choose from the grocery store is limited and while I love our little "Clean Food Connection", they don't exactly specialize in sale prices.

Finally, I get to the point of my post.  I am going to try and be better about taking advantage of sales to stock up and cut our grocery costs down.  Our local paper has a huge wad of flyers every Thursday (I think it is the only reason that people read the paper, there is nothing else in it).  I LOVE browsing through the flyers.  They probably don't save me much money since I see things on sale that I forgot that I needed but they do help a bit.  The area that I really need help on is meat.  I just buy it.  We would love to buy organic or at least free range meat but we have found that the costs is just too much for us.   I have no idea what a good price per pound of anything is - we usually just go to Costco and get what we need.   That has got to stop, I have to learn to be more aware.  I am feeling very proud of myself because I discovered that our favourite grocery chain has beef on sale this week by reading the flyers this morning (and just when my naturopath told me that I need to eat more red meat!) and I went and got a fantastic deal - all of their beef was 50% off!  I now have a freezer with steak and stewing beef and several ideas for interesting meals.  I may go back tomorrow and get some more.   I love finding the really great sales - a major one for me these days are glass bowls with lids since I am trying to eliminate all plastic food storage containers from our home.  I get a big pot of tea, sit in the big chair in the living room and try to scan through for the deals (with the cat wandering all over the paper and the dog trying to get into my lap).  It's a weekly ritual that I love.

Off to read my flyers.  If anyone has any money saving tips for someone trying to shop organic, I would love to hear them!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Mystery Rash

Since Pk started daycare in September, our lives have been a journey in disease.  Nothing too serious, but with a child who doesn't sleep well at the best of times, it makes for some pretty restless nights.  We have done several bouts of stomach flu and more colds than I can count.  Now, we have the mystery rash.

It showed up on Friday.  I noticed one big spot on her arm.  It is big and round and red.  It's probably the size of a mosquito bit but it looks dry, especially in the middle.  I was a bit concerned that it was ringworm, actually.  That idea passed when, arriving in Owen Sound to visit dh's family on Saturday, I discovered a strange rash all over her stomach, a bit like hives - it wasn't red or blistery, just raised and irregular.  I worried that we shouldn't expose people to her but was reassured she was fine.  Saturday night at the inlaws, I did something totally stupid.  I wanted to put lotion on her to ease it a bit.  I am very picky about lotions and don't use anything with parabens, ptalates, petrolium or DEAs.  I doubted that the inlaws would have anything but they did have this big bottle of Aveno.  I decided to give it a dry and put a big blob on Pk's tummy.  Turned out it was body wash.  I got it off as best I could but when she got up on Sunday morning, her tummy was a firey red mess everywhere I had put the wash.  That kind of covered up the other rash, anyway.  We came home, called the sitter and she assured us that as long as Pk didn't have a fever, she could come to daycare.  Now, today, the rash has changed and spread again.  What was a mild soft pink is now very red and has spread to her neck and back.  She doesn't seem itchy although the sleep has been awful the last couple of nights.  The sitter told Dh today that she is sure it is chicken pox and that we might want to keep her home tomorrow.  That was good enough for me so off we went to the walk-in clinic.  It's 45 minutes away and we waited a bit more than that to see a very nice doctor for less than 5 minutes.  She assured us that it probably isn't chicken pox, measles or rubella but she has no idea what it is although she suspects it is viral.  Now, we don't know what to do - daycare or not?  The sitter said she could come but made it very plain that she doesn't believe the doctor that it isn't chicken pox.  I'm sure she caught it there and one of the other little boys has had four spots on his face since last week.  Ugh - what's a poor working mother to do?

You know the worst part?  I am doing what I always do when a child in my class gets lice - I am itchy all over!!!!  Scratch, scratch, scratch.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Our Dirty Secret

Before I had Pk, I had no idea just how strong other people's ideas about childrearing really are.  I will be honest - I hadn't given all that much thought about how we were going to do things.  I had several books on parenting and I thought that we would make things up as we go along.

Then, along came Pk.  She was anything but an easy baby.  She never slept for a long period of time, she cried for about four hours every evening and we had no idea what to do.  Everyone had advice and none of it worked.  Underneath it all, often, there was the unspoken but audible, "If you were only doing things right, she would be fine."  It was awful.  I was exhausted, overwhelmed and felt like a failure.

A mother at one of our mums and tots group really pushed a book on me.  I read it, not at all sure that it was the way to go but at that point, I was desperate.  It was  hard-core "sleep training" guide that was strongly advocating "cry it out" methods.  It didn't sit well but since it was written by the "expert", I felt like we needed to try it.  Fortunately, I mentioned it to Kittenpie, who, in her incredibly compassionate and nonjudgemental way, gently advised me to seriously give it some thought before we jumped in.  In the meantime, I started doing internet searches on infant sleep.  I kept stumbling across Dr. Sears and as I read his advice, it more and more felt right to me.  While he didn't advocate easy solutions, he did advocate compassionate and infant-friendly solutions.  I bought a couple of his books and liked what I read.

The one area of his ideas (he generally puts forward the "big ideas" of attachment parenting) that I really struggled with was what he calls "co-sleeping", which  to me, just seemed dangerous and weird.  Didn't kids who didn't learn to sleep in their own beds develop major sleep issues?  Didn't they become manipulators?  There was no way I was going to do that - if nothing else, my mother-in-law would have a stroke and I would feel like a complete failure.

Fast forward a couple of months.  Pk was about 6 1/2 months old and night feeding like crazy and then impossible to get back to sleep.  I was losing my mind since she didn't take long naps in the day, either.  Finally, one night, when dh heard me crying as I rocked her in her bedroom after trying to get her down for over two hours, he told me to bring her into bed with us.  I hesitated and then decided that I had nothing to lose.  We haven't looked back.

She doesn't sleep with us all the time but she probably spends at least part of the night with us 3 nights out of 7 (and for a while, she was with us most of every night).  Now, if she comes in, it's towards morning and/or when she is sick.  I can't believe I am saying this but I love it.  I am away from her during the day when I am at work and I miss her.  Sometimes, the best part of my day is having her roll over on me, wake up mumbling "mummy" and then doze off again.  With the three of us in bed together, the world feels safe and complete.  I know she agrees.  Sadly, we only have a queen-sized bed and so the dogs and cat have to sleep on dog beds on the floor (which they view as a real hardship).  I still feel a bit like it is a dirty secret but I have discovered that it is one that is shared by many, many other mothers, many of who I totally respect and admire.  It was so great to find Dr. James McKenna's work at Notre Dame that actually shows that in safe conditions (no heavy blankets or pillows, a bed tightly fitted to the wall, parents who do not drink or use narcotics, mothers who breastfeed) it is an optimal sleeping arrangement that promotes infant well--being and secure development.  

So, there's my confession.  I am a bad mother who does what I think is best for my baby.  And guess what?  I sleep so much better at night for it and so does she!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Who, me???

I feel so flattered!  Abbie, whose blog  was one of the first that I really got hooked into and who introduced me to the wonderful Bible study blogging group, is writing a new series.  She calls it Whoo's Day is Tuesday and she introduces a blogging friend to the world.  This week, she has featured me.  I love Abbie's blog and she is such a positive, creative and kind person (at least via computer, I still haven't met her in person).  If you are visiting from her blog, welcome!  As you can see, I haven't been blogging long and am still trying to figure out what form I want this blog to take but I am having lots of fun along the way.  If you stop by, be sure to let me know who you are so that I can visit back.
Thanks, Abbie, for such a warm welcome!
p.s., Thanks, Kittenpie, for the directions on inserting the link.  What would I do without you (for so many reasons????)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Family Easter

Our family ended up having a wonderful Easter weekend this year.  I was really tired and on Thursday morning, I contacted my parents and said that I wasn't up to having them come this year.  They live about an hour away and since they don't have a car, to have them come, we have to go and get them.  They also are night people who sleep in, which means that I stay up late but still have to get up with Pk who is disgusting about getting up early in the morning.  Life has been very hard this winter (I hope this doesn't sound like whining but the fact is, I am just having trouble coping right now) and I just didn't feel like I could face having to "be on" and take care of even more people.  Dh convinced me that Easter is a special time and that I would be disappointed in the end not doing anything special.  I relented and now am so glad that I did.  It was a wonderful visit.  Our family isn't big and my brother isn't a Christian so he won't celebrate Easter with us.  My inlaws are a difficult family and we are taking a bit of a break with them (not severing ties but trying to manage our contacts a bit for our own mental health) so we knew it wouldn't be our usual huge family feast.  We made five a wonderful number.  
****Please excuse the text colour and underlining - I can't seem to turn it off.

Easter morning began with a surprise.  I was making breakfast and Pk was wandering around doing her thing.  I noticed things were quiet and went in the living room to see the photo above.  She has mastered climbing into the window and loves to watch the world go by.
Pk and Grandma.  She adores my parents and they adore her.  She also adores peanut butter, which we introduced her to this week.  As you can see, the dogs love it, too.
We did a little display on our sideboard.  In the pedestal bowl are the little candy bags we did for Pk's friends at church.  The palm leaves are from church last week.
Before dinner on Saturday, we coloured eggs.  I just about gave myself a stroke trying to blow the eggs out and dh managed to break a few blowing them out.  Our tablecloth is a bit the worse for wear but it was worth it.
We always decorated eggs as a family when I was little so it was special to do this with my parents.  Pk really surprised me, she was thrilled to do this and was happily involved for almost an hour and we had to stop the activity, she would have kept going.
Since my parents had to go back today because Dad works tomorrow, we did our main dinner last night (Saturday).  We did a crown of lamb (a first for us) with gravy and mint sauce, roasted root vegetables (yummy!), brussel sprouts and beets.  It was delicious, if I do say so myself!

Last night, dh went up to the church building to use his shopvac to get rid of some of the worst of the plaster dust so that we could have our service there this morning.  As you can guess, the building isn't yet finished, no electricity, no plumbing, the only heat the propane heaters that the builders use and no furniture.  It was still a wonderful idea to do the sunrise service there.  We did our service on the empty property a couple of years ago and that was great, too.
Our sunrise service was held at the site of our new church.  The building is largely done but as you can see, the sanctuary is still needing to be taped, painted, the floors need doing and there is not yet any furniture.  Our ministers (that's our minister and his daughter, his wife was out of the shot) did a wonderful, rustic communion service that had a lot of meaning for all of us.
It was a really meaningful sunrise service.  The cross is the farm fencing cross that someone put up on the site that the church is being built on about three years ago.  It doesn't look like much yet but it is going to be beautiful and we should be in in about a month!  Later, we went back to church (in our normal location).

I hope that everyone had a restful and meaningful Easter celebration. 

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter!

I just wanted to wish everyone a wonderful Easter filled with joy!

Hot Cross Buns

Sorry, before I really got into this post, I had to include the pic of my little chef.  She loves to help me to cook and needs to be in the middle of everything these days.  Notice the boots - they must be a part of everything she does (we had a huge battle the other night because she wanted to wear them in the tub).

O.k., mommy boasting is done, now I can get started.  I thought I would share one of our Easter traditions.  Every year, for Good Friday, I make hot cross buns.  It would be much easier to get them at the grocery store but there is nothing like the smell of them cooking in the oven or the taste of one, still warm and fresh.  The recipe is use is  I've included some pics of the steps in our baking.

This is after the 10 minutes of kneading to start the dough.  I love the feel of warm dough in my hands and kneading it is such a therapeutic activity.

This is the dough, punched down after its first rise (silly me, should have taken the photo BEFORE I punched it down).

Here they are, ready for their second rise.  They got left a bit long because we took the dogs for a run in the forest (it was a gorgeous day) so they took on a bit of a "blob-y" shape but they had risen beautifully.

This is my final result.  They turned out really well this year, if I do say so myself.  I am always amazed when anything that I make with yeast turns out - it's a bit like when I plant seeds and they actually grow - it feels like a little miracle.  This is an annual tradition that I love and I think that my parents who are up visiting love this, too!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

(Please excuse the photos at the top, I am having some technical difficulties)  That's the quilt I am working on (handquilted), the "Names of Jesus" garland I made for Easter and some of my new cooking (blueberry crumb muffins, whole wheat lemon bread, the jar is sourdough starter and I didn't get a decent pic of the butter, applesauce or ketchup I made).

I haven't been blogging very long (obviously) and at first, I really didn't have a sense of what blogging was all about.  Kittenpie had told me about it and I knew that she had made some really good blogging friends online, many who were moms going through similar stages of life to hers and so she was really enjoying that (especially with little ones at home who make socializing challenging at normal hours).  I decided to try it and here I am.

I wasn't sure what kinds of blogs I wanted to read or what role this would play in my life.  I quickly realised that I could find blogs on just about everything and that I would have to make some decisions about what I wanted to see.  I didn't go in with an agenda in mind and it's been really interesting to see what has developed in terms of what I like to read (and how that has changed how I spend my days).

I started out by reading Kittenpie's blog and a few others from her links.  I found some fun stuff there (Kittenpie is such an amazing writer and I am blown away at her ability to come up with interesting things to say a the strangest hours after having taken care of a baby all day).  My interests really started to come to the fore when I found Herstory.  I stumbled into the religion blogs and found a wonderful blog by Abbie (  I enjoyed her blog and noticed the info about the online Bible study.  I contacted her and decided to give it a try.  It has come at such a perfect time in my life (as you have read, things have been pretty hard for the last while).  I have friends from church but nobody really like me - we are all in very different places in our lives and while everyone is a Christian, there are degrees to which people let it influence their lives and for me, especially right now, it is at the top of my priorities.  I have had a hard time finding Christian women to help me "walk the walk" and this Bible study group has been amazing (thanks, everyone!!!).  I had read a great book a couple of years ago that had suggested that we as Christian women always look for mentors to guide us as we try to live out our faith and this group of women has in large part become that for me.   

Somehow, I also ended up finding some fantastic sites with the greatest recipes!  I love to cook but I am very committed to trying to eat organically, avoid preservatives and to form Pk's tastes so that she won't be one of those kids who live on lunchables.  It's easy to find recipes online but not so easy to find recipes that don't involve a can of soup, lots of sugar and/or white flour or ketchup unless they are recipes that involve insanely expensive ingredients (and frugality is the goal these days).  I find cooking exciting, especially when it comes to making things that I would normally buy (a friend at work claims that I am "going pioneer").  I have been totally inspired by some wonderful blogs.  I have started using new ingredients (I am now hooked on coconut oil for baking - and techniques to make food healthier like soaking grains (, making staples from scratch ( and I have even tried making my own butter (with great results).  I plan on trying to make my own buttermilk, sour cream and hamburger buns in the next few days.  It's a lot of work but it feels so good to be doing something so connected to my home and that benefits our family.

Of course, crafting is another love and I have found several blogs that have inspired creativity.  I found one, a quilter's blog (, that I love and it prompted me to get out the baby quilt I had started (for a friend whose baby was thought to be a girl and turned out to be a boy - too much pink in the quilt for him).  I am hoping to get that finished in the next month or so and then go on to starting a twin-sized quilt for Pk for when she moves into a big girl bed.  I haven't had all that much time to check out quilting blogs and she has a link on her blog to a quilting bloggers group that I might just have to check out sometime.  I have also found another SAHM/homeschooler's blog who has some wonderful ideas about living beautifully and I found an idea there for a "Names of Jesus" garland for Easter that I have made and really like ( - sorry, the link is for the Christmas version, I was having trouble finding the Easter one to link but if you look in her "vintage" section and click on crafts, you will find the full details on the Easter one there).

Finally, I keep coming back to blogs written by Christian women.  Having my daughter has really led me to a season of trying to figure out what it means to be a Christian woman.  There is so much variation on what women believe to be there called role and it has been interesting to look at different womens' interpretations.  There certainly are a lot of extremes and I would say that while I don't always agree, even in considering how I feel, I am learning to trust my heart in terms of what I feel is God's call in my life.

More than anything, I am just incredibly impressed at the creativity and generosity of many of the women posting.  I tend towards women's blogs, as much as anything because my explorations have been through Herstory and Babywearing Bloggers.  On the one hand, it is almost enough to make me want to give up right now since I couldn't begin to try to produce some of the wonderful blogs I have found.  On the other, it gives me something to strive for and a wonderful way to try and express my creativity.  If any reads it, even better but I don't expect it to be widely read.

If you have any suggestions for great blogs to check out, please, send me the links.  I am always interested to see what people have created!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Minivan Mom

It's official.  I am now a minivan mom.  I resisted this for a long time, swore up and down I would never do it and now I have.  The scary part is, I LOVE IT!  As I told you, Bertha was on her last legs and we needed something else.  I was sick of banging Pk's head every time I had to put her in the car.  I was especially sick of having muddy dogs walking all over us when we came back from the forest.  I wasn't too impressed by the cost of renting a vehicle to transport the dogs when we went somewhere further from home, either.  After lots of talking about it, we finally decided to test drive a few vans two weeks ago.  It didn't take long to convince us that this three year old Dodge Grand Caravan was the vehicle for us.  It only had 40 000 km on it and it's has the stow-and-go seating on the second and third rows.  It takes a bit more gas and I have some guilt about that but I am sad to say, not anywhere near as much guilt as  I should have!  Even the dogs like it.  And best of all, I don't mind the colour (as you can see, I make my decisions logically and without emotion - I HATE white and silver vehicles and couldn't face another one).  I wanted red but the blue is nice, too.