Monday, August 31, 2009
Tomatoes, tomatoes and more tomatoes. They always start as a trickle at the beginning of August and then, towards the beginning of September, the deluge begins. We have several favourite tomato recipes but this one, grilled pitas with tomatoes, black olives and feta is our absolute favourite (although I do saute the red onion before I add it - I don't like raw onion). I could eat these every night for a week and not get sick of them. Given how much mint we have in our herb bed (I haven't kept up on that this year, sadly, and mint and lemon balm have spread), we should be eating them daily. It's silly but I get such a sense of satisfaction from eating food that we have grown.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
We just got back from dinner with friends. They are such nice people and the best part is that they have just moved into their first home that they own - I'm not a big one for condos but this one is lovely. The view out their solarium window at sunset was breath-taking. They have a son with special needs and have had a hellish last couple of years. It is so nice to see them having something so good happen and to see the family so happy. Pk had a blast running around with their two sons and I love the fact that at her young age, the fact that the one son is "different" is so totally irrelevant to her. It's nice to see good things happen to good people.
I am grateful that Pk's birthday party was so much fun. I tend to get these big ideas about how to make something special and about an hour beforehand, I start to panic and wonder why on earth I made things difficult for myself. Yesterday was no different... an hour before people were due to arrive, I was trying to cut veggies, hang streamers and balloons and I looked like I had crawled out from under a rock. Remarkably, not only was I ready on time but, if I do say so myself, the room looked good. Pk was overjoyed when she got up and saw the VeggieTales posters on the wall (how typical, while she liked the play kitchen that we got her and that cost more than we should have spent, the 99 cent poster was her favourite thing). She was thrilled to have her friends here, the food was a hit and, also really nice for me, I got to spent three hours sitting and talking with two other mothers who I really like and respect and whose children are at the same stage as Pk. It was wonderful. We live in a town that is largely a commuter town; you can divide the town in half - those who are professionals who commute to the bigger places and those who have lived here for generations. When you are new here, especially if you work out of the area, it can be hard to make connections. It is so nice to feel like Pk (and us) have connections. It's also a relief that it's over.
Now, to get ready to go back to work, sigh.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Sorry I haven't been as regular about posting of late. We are getting close to going back to school and I have been trying to get everything fit in before we go back which leaves me pretty busy. As I am learning, blogging can take up a lot of time (especially given how many blogs I have in Reader now).
Today's gratitude is a little one. We are doing Pk's second birthday tomorrow. Not doing anything big, just a few of her little friends and their parents. We have lost the battle against licensed stuff (I had always said that I didn't want a house full of Disney); I totally admit it, I haven't kept to my convictions. As my friend Kittenpie said to me once, "Parenting is the death of a thousand papercuts..." Anyway, at the moment, the obsession in our house is VeggieTales (which I actually don't mind, on the other hand, the Barney DVD we were given never made it out of the wrapper). We decided to try and throw a VeggieTales themed party.
We aren't doing all that much - of course, the food all fits (the main food is pizza "Pizza Angel", the gift bags have hairbrushes as one of the treasures "Where is my hairbrush?"), our colour scheme is green and red and we have cucumbers and tomatoes that we are going to put eyes on for decorating. We could buy VeggieTales party favours but 1. we left it too late and 2. wow, are they ever expensive. The thing that was really stumping me was the loot bags.
As always, help comes when I least expect it. When I went down to visit Kittenpie, she had picked up really cute little veggie seed eggs (hard to explain). We decided to check out the local Christian bookstore, just to see if they had stickers or something. We had no luck but dh did decide to buy Pk a VeggieTales DVD (one based on Indiana Jones - he felt that would be a good daddy/daughter thing to share). We happened to mention to the salewoman about her love for VeggieTales and the party and she directed us to their clearance table - there were a bunch of posters on for 99 cents, regular 6.99. Hooray! I think we are almost there. Cross your fingers for me that the Sandylion outlet has vegetable stickers today.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
I got to hang out with my friend, Kittenpie yesterday. That's right, we managed to be in the same place at the same time and nobody was seriously ill. That is nothing short of a miracle. It was so nice to just spend some relaxed time together. Who knows, maybe we will manage it again within the next 12 months LOL.
I took our little tank to the doctor for her two-year check-up today. Wow, is she ever a big girl! She's in the 86th percentile for height and about the same (or a bit higher) for weight. I keep asking my doctor whether I should be worried about her size but the doctor keeps telling me that it's a good thing when little ones have a bit extra - every time I ask, she keeps telling me that I am lucky - she has some reserve if she gets sick and her good size and growth tells us that there are so many serious conditions that she does not have. She says that as long as weight and height are about the same percentile and keep tracking together, there are no worries. I watched a t.v. show the other day featuring a "failure to thrive" baby and it brought home to me how lucky we are to have such a healthy child (other than all the daycare diseases we got to enjoy last year but she has never had to be on anti-biotics so I guess we are still pretty lucky).
I do hope she slows do a little bit, though. For now, I guess we need to make sure that she realises that she probably doesn't have a future as a jockey or a ballerina.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I am so grateful for my brother and the role he is playing in Pk's life. He and I have really had our moment along the way... we were incredibly close as children and then during adolescence, we couldn't be in the same room together. That went on for years. Our relationship gradually healed over the years and since Pk has come along, we have become really close. Our life choices are different and there are thinks about each of us that drives the other one crazy but that doesn't seem to matter so much anymore. Yesterday, I took Pk down to the city to go to a farm with my mom and then we went back to my parents' house. My brother has hilarious and had Pk eating out of the palm of his hand. I can't remember the last time that I laughed so hard. There was one joke he played on her that, while I can't really describe it, had all of us laughing for at least 20 minutes. It was a laugh-until-my-sides-were-aching kind of thing. I haven't done that in so long.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Sorry I haven't been around for a few days. We have been extremely busy and by the time we got home, I was just too tired to do much of anything (in fact, the other night, when I was getting Pk to bed, I feel asleep myself and didn't wake up until two hours later).
Gratitude today is for the joys of creating. I love various forms of needlework, cooking, scrapbooking, gardening, etc... I find these kinds of things to be like therapy. I love the planning and choosing and it is so wonderful when what have I have planned actually turns out. Yesterday, I finished this sweater for Pk. Of all the crafts I do, I think that knitting is my favourite (probably because it reminds me of my grandmother, who I adored - while she was alive, I had the hugest collection of sweaters, hats, bedsocks, mittens and, at the time, best of all, legwarmers). I haven't done any little people knitting before now (other than a few blankets) and I was surprised at just how quickly this knit up. It's in a new yarn that I haven't used before, Sirdar Snuggly Baby Bamboo and it is a blend of wool and bamboo. I have already bought two more colours for two new cardigans for Pk for the fall. I also love making things for her; I feel like I can somehow surround her in my love when she is wrapped in something I have made. Now, if only I could find the time to start a larger quilt for her - the crib one that I did is getting a bit on the small side.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
I don't know how well you can see the rainbow in this pic but I took it from the front step of my house earlier this evening. It was a nice sign that our crazy weather is finished.
Finding something to be grateful for was EASY today. Pk had her swimming lesson at 5. When we went into the pool (indoor), the weather was nice. Just before her lesson was over, we happened to glance at the window and saw that it was pouring rain and there was quite a bit of lightning. It was a very wet run to the car and we ended up waiting a while to go home since I wanted to let the worst of the storm to pass. When we finally pulled out of the parking lot, it was still pouring but the lightning seemed a bit better.
We drive about 15 minutes east on our way home. We went through several bouts of very heavy rain, although never so heavy that I thought I would have to pull the car off the road. As we got closer to home, however, the sky looked more and more ominous. Mom was in the car and about 7 minutes from home, I remarked that it was a good thing that the sky wasn't green because otherwise I would be worried about tornados. We were looking at shapes in the clouds and there was one up ahead that looked decidedly funnel-like but it was far enough ahead that we couldn't see whether it was moving. The cars in front of us were moving pretty slowly but we didn't think too much of it. We came up to the riding academy, a huge complex of buildings. I was saying to my mother that there must be a horse show this weekend since there were so many horse trailers in the yard when we noticed all the damage. Fences were down, trees were down, several horse trailers were on their sides, the doors of the big barn were smashed in and people were running for buildings as fast as they could go. We realised what we had seen.
When we got home and turned on the news, our suspicions were confirmed - reports of a tornado at the academy. I spoke to someone who had just talked to someone who had gone by there about 15 minutes after we did and saw at least 15 trailers overturned and six or seven ambulances on site. It must have literally just happened before we passed by.
I am grateful for two things. First of all, I am grateful that we weren't hurt. Just as much, however, I am grateful that I didn't know what was happening until after the fact. With Pk in the car, I don't know what I would have done seeing a tornado up ahead, trapped in traffic. I still can't quite believe that it happened. I haven't heard any reports of injuries - I hope all the humans and all the horses are fine.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
I have looked at some blogs that have a bookshelf down one side and I like the idea of sharing what I am reading. I tend to read six or seven things at once so sharing my bookshelf with you would also share how all over the place I really am. It would also share how pathetically slowly I seem to be reading these days.
Anyway, these are two books that I have really been treasuring of late. I LOVE The Gentle Art of Domesticity by Jane Brocket (who also has a very pretty blog). This is the book for me - nothing to do with cleaning or domestic drudgery, all about the fun stuff - the cooking, the crafting and the decorating. This book is a book to be savoured and it will help you to see the world around you through new eyes. My only struggle is that each time I sit down for a bit of a savour, I have to fight the urge to run to the quilt store and buy fabric.
Sanity Secrets for Stressed-Out Women is a book written for me these days. I am about half-way through and have found some really great ideas. One of the strategies that Sue Augustine uses that I found really helpful is to create a mind map of your stressors and then to sit down and come up with two lists - one of things that you can control/strategies to deal with some of your stressors and the other list being things that are beyond your control and that you have to stop worrying about. Making those lists was really helpful to me.
What are you reading these days?
I took Pk for a walk today with the dogs. It was such a gorgeous day. Often, we just go and wander around a field (it's C.N. land and everyone in town with dogs uses it as a place for them to run free). It's nice to take Pk there and she has developed a love for wild flowers (I think I have mentioned that before) so we enjoy it.
Today, I was in the mood for something a bit different. It was hot and after a couple of times around the field, I could see that the dogs were really feeling it. We went to my favourite place to walk them. It's just across from the field. It's a nice park with tennis courts but it leads to what dh and I refer to as the "nature walk" - you go through bush and trees and then hit this little stream with a pretty bridge over it. It's a lovely spot and the dogs love going in the water to cool off. Often I am too lazy to go (in the field, if the dogs are in the brush, we don't have to pick up after them, in the park, on the other hand, I would feel terribly guilty if I left a mess behind). Today, it was perfect. We walked through the trees into a little bit of a wood and the light was the pretty dappled shade that you get in a grove of cedars. The only sound was the crickets (which are so loud right now - the end of summer isn't too far away) and as we approached the little stream, I could feel the temperature drop several degrees. Pk was on my back in the Ergo (the best baby gift I was ever given and something I don't know how I would live without) and life just seemed so right for those few minutes. If only I could capture a glimpse of that feeling every day, I would be so blessed.
Now, if only my legs weren't feeling like I was walking through tar due to the new workout I had just done, it would have been perfect :-).
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
I take the dogs for a walk everyday. I don't follow a clear schedule - some days, I take then in the morning and sometimes I take them in the afternoon. If Pk is at daycare, I take them on my own and listen to my ipod while I walk. If she is here, as often as not, she goes with me and we tend to pick wildflowers for her as we walk.
When I got up this morning, the weather was looking a bit ominous so I decided to take the girls for their walk earlier to avoid bad weather (I had understood that any possible storms were due this afternoon). We walked to the field (Pk, both dogs and I) and things didn't look too bad. The first time around, I looked at the sky and wondered whether I was chancing things. The second time around the field, it started to spit and just was we got to the entrance of the field, it started to rain so I decided that today's walk would be a short one. The closer to home we got, the heavier the rain became. By the time we were a block and a half from home, it was pouring.
This is where my gratitude comes in. A complete stranger pulled up in a station wagon and offered us a ride home, dogs and all. While I didn't take him up on it (I am enough of a big city girl that taking a ride with a stranger is just something I won't do), it was so nice to have someone see our situation and offer to help!
Monday, August 17, 2009
So, the other blog is now private so I can post more pics. I haven't been able to add Miss Huis Herself or Catriona - I need an email address for each of you to do that. I'd love to have you stay on board, just contact me if you want to send your address - email@example.com. I think I will move some stuff over here since I like it to be on a more public place and, who knows, maybe someone else will come for a visit and decide to stay for a while. Thanks to all of you who have been hanging around.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
I have quite a few things that I am feeling grateful for today but nothing that is a big thing - it's hard to narrow it down to just one. One thing that I am grateful for and am finding myself really interested in at the moment is the amount of great information about Christian education in the blog world. Obviously, I am a Christian and I would really like to raise Pk that way. I think that so many families now have this misguided idea that their kids can go to Sunday school for a brief hour each week and that is enough. I don't think that makes much difference, quite frankly, and I have been trying to figure out how to teach Pk the things that I want her to learn. I believe that a big part of it comes from seeing dh and I live out our faith and another huge resource right now is music. I have found such great information on other people's blogs! I have discovered some great music, some wonderful books and more than anything have gotten some encouragement and support. Thanks to all of you out there who have gotten me started.
Here are a few of my favourite ideas and resources:
Seeds Family Worship - I discovered this through Missy at It's Almost Naptime (she has a lot of good ideas) - Seeds puts scripture texts to music in very, very singable (and listen-to-able) songs to start memory work - I have learned quite a few passages myself and while Pk isn't saying them back to me yet, she loves to listen. Their stuff is available through itunes.
The Westminister Shorter Catechism - I had heard of a catechism but while it was something that used to be used fully in the Presbyterian Church in Canada, it has been largely abandoned. I hadn't thought about it until Missy mentioned it in a post and I tracked it down - it's a great idea. It's a series of questions with standard answers that you teach your child. So far, Pk only knows the first one "Who made you?" but she already proudly answers it - "God".
Monica, at The Homespun Heart, is starting a series over the course of the year on the Fruits of the Spirit from Galatians 5. She is going to be posting teaching ideas and I also got some good ideas from her link to Joy's post about Kids and Quiet Times . Someone mentioned two free downloads available on itunes - Faith Comes by Hearing Kidz Audio Bible (a dramatization of the Bible) and the Karen and Kids podcasts (which Pk and I listened to this morning). I like these ideas for teaching children early to spend some devotional time to start the day and I hope to get Pk involved in this.
I have also bought a couple of the books by Susan Hunt that I keep hearing mentioned in all kinds of blogs - My ABC Bible Verses: Hiding God's Word in Little Hearts and Big Truths for Little Kids: Teaching Your Kids to Live for God. Pk is a bit young for these but it's nice to have them ready and waiting.
While I am sharing Christian parenting resources, I also want to plug my favourite parenting book that covers everything a parent needs to know for the first few years - The Complete Book of Christian Parenting and Child Care by William Sears. He covers everything from labour and delivery to toilet training to early Christian education. What I love most is that it is written from an Attachment Parenting perspective as opposed to the punitive approach to parenting that sadly seems to be the way that so many Christian parents feel pressured to follow. There are a few books, which I will not mention here, that seem to be standard texts for Christian parenting that, from what I have read about them, advocate what, in my mind, amounts to child abuse. Dr. Sears proves that we can parent in the way that God intended without mistreating our children or instilling them with a heavy dose of fear (how abuse can be called "Christian Parenting" makes me insane - how can God desire us to mistreat our children????). I have gone back to this book again and again and I love the relationship that it is helping me to build with Pk and the way that it honours the stage of life that she is in as we manage typical childhood issues.
It's nice to feel like I have some direction. If anyone has anything else to share, I would love to hear it!
Saturday, August 15, 2009
In case you don't already know, I have another blog, Simple Gifts. I am planning on making that blog private since I post a lot of pics of Pk and I don't like to have to worry about hiding where we are. If you want to be included in the reader list, let me know a.s.a.p. since I am thinking to trying to set it up on Monday. Thanks.
Today, we had our dog picnic. That's right, a dog picnic. Dh is the vice-president of our breed club and once a year, we host a "fun day". We get to do work with the dogs (since they are hunting dogs, it's birdwork and, this year, swimming since the hosts had a pond). Before we had Pk, we were pretty seriously into the whole "dog thing" - we showed, we did field and I did obedience pretty seriously. Since Pk was born, we haven't had the time or the money. It was nice to get out there today with people we don't see very often and share a nice meal and some companionship. And hey, God wanted us to see some corn (I pasted the address into google maps to get directions and it decided to change the sideroad number and we ended up almost an hour late, driving around in farm country trying to find the property). Thank goodness for a brother who answers his phone and has internet access.
I love those days when you just get on a roll and get a lot done. You know what I mean, when you get into the zone? Yesterday, after an appointment, I went into my classroom for a couple of hours (I have been doing that every Friday since Pk is at daycare and I can get set-up done). It was so great. The last few times I have puttered around, getting to know my space but at the end, I don't feel like I have gotten very much done. Yesterday, I was a machine. I got to do a lot of the kind of planning that I most love to do. Going back to teaching last year after a mat leave, I felt like I spent the entire year just barely keeping on top of things. This year, I want things to be different. It feels so good to feel like I am establishing order.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
I am more grateful than I can say that a day that starts out pretty horribly can end up rather well.
It was not a good morning. Pk has been in bed with us since this whole thing blew up. I don't mind, actually, I like having her close but the downside is that she now senses the moment I start to even think about getting up and she gets up with me. I like to do my Bible study and check out Google Reader before I have to start my day and when I don't get to do that, I feel pretty out of sorts. This morning, as has become the pattern, she got up early (even though we had her up for about an hour last night late with what I think was a bad dream), refused to eat any breakfast and fed it to the dogs. Dh slept in so I was up on my own without a break (again - he has only gotten up with her about 8 times in her life and while I try not to get bitter and resentful, that is the one thing that I really fight with myself about). I was on snack for VBS this morning. Each snack is related to the theme of the day and today's theme had something to do with scrolls. My job was to take 30 flour tortillas, wrap them up, tie them with a piece of licorice string and then have salsa and cheese dip. I did all of this last night and had them arranged in a bit basket with red cloth napkins - it looked great. We got ready to leave in the car to take them up to the church, I grabbed the basket, took one more look and all of the licorice had fallen apart in the night. Why does licorice fall apart???? I thought that it getting stale would be the only thing that might happen. I grabbed more licorice (thank goodness there was more left) and then it was time to get on Pk's shoes. I bought her new slippers yesterday (something I am now hugely regretting). She doesn't want to wear anything else and when I started to take them off, she had a huge tantrum. At the moment, she thinks that hitting and pinching me is a good way to show me her displeasure. I have been pretty good about handling it firmly so far - I personally choose not to spank (in a case like this, I feel pretty strongly that showing her that getting angry and physically lashing out is wrong by spanking in anger would be pretty hypocritical) and I find that speaking firmly and getting up and walking away and leaving her alone usually gets the message across quickly. My fuse was short this morning and I have been feeling pretty invisible around here of late and the hitting and pinching felt really personal. I didn't hit her but I got really angry and I think I scared her a bit. I just lifted her up, turned her around so she was facing me and roared (you know, the mommy/teacher roar - it's not a volume thing, it's a tone of voice thing) and I scared her which made me feel even worse. I drove up to the church in tears. I think, quite frankly, that I am really feeling the fallout of the last few weeks... I am so tired and overwhelmed and at times, just so sad and discouraged. Anyway, I didn't know how I was going to cope.
The rest of the day was just a normal day, cleaning the house, cooking, taking her to swimming lessons but just the bit of having things be normal made me feel so much better. My fuse is short and I get overwhelmed so easily but the feeling passes and the sun can come out again.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Pk and I have this evening ritual. At the end of every bath, I put on my babywrapper towel (a gift from Kittenpie that we have used every night of Pk's life), she climbs out of the tub and into my arms, I wrap her in another towel and we have what we refer to as our "towel cuddle". There's nothing like it. She is so warm and cozy and sweet smelling coming out of the bath and we cling to each other - I wouldn't miss it for anything. I frequently think, "There is going to be a time when she doesn't want to do this anymore" and the idea fills me with dread. It is one of the most precious moments of my day. There is nothing more wonderful than arms full of your child.
Monday, August 10, 2009
I am grateful for our online Bible study. I love getting into scripture but I often don't know where to start. I love the way that Beth Moore draws parallels and makes connections - there is so much wisdom in this book and there is so much that is so subtle, it could so easily be missed. I look forward to this study more than I do a favourite t.v. show - I can't wait to see what is coming. Thanks to Abbie for getting it started and to Gin for helping to run it. Also, thanks to everyone doing the study for your insights.
I missed this last night so I will do it today. I am grateful for summer storms. I don't like to have them often or when I am outside but there is something exciting about being safe inside with the storm raging. We have a big picture window in our living room and I love to sit on the couch with the lights off in a storm and just watch.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
I am grateful that things are going well with my inlaws and that they are here this weekend. Dh is changing medication and it seems to have made him withdraw again. It was really nice not to have to deal with that alone. I am finding myself really battle-scarred. I don't have anger or resentment anymore but I do have times of feeling really defensive. After all of the criticism of the last few months, I am so nervous of doing something wrong. Don't get me wrong, it's not fear exactly - he never hurt me or anything like that but when you have been criticized for everything you do, it's hard not to be expecting the criticism all the time.
Back to the topic, my inlaws have been wonderful and my parents are coming to stay tomorrow and will be here until Friday. It's nice not to be alone.
Friday, August 7, 2009
This is going to be short tonight. Dh's parents are here for the weekend and I think we are really making progress in terms of the family relationships. Say a prayer for me, this would be such a good thing for our family - I just want peace and family is so important to me.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Today we went to pick our own raspberries and beans. I found a place whose produce is all chemical free (important for me, if possible). Up until now, I have bought organic when I could but I also try to buy as much local as I can, especially when I can get it directly from the farmer (why should all the middle-people get the money).
While I was picking, I got thinking about how lucky we are. Picking the berries was fun but I began to realise as the sun got hot and I started to get tired, that really, I am very lucky that I could just skim along, taking what I wanted and wasn't responsible for finding every ripe berry. I don't have to do much work to get the food that I eat and someone else does all that work for me. I am not mindful about where my food comes from or whose labour goes into producing it. I am going to try to think a bit more (and to waste a lot less) about our food and to give Pk lots of chances to get out there and see where our food comes from. Here's hoping she learns the lesson faster than I did.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Today, I decided to sort through the clothing that Pk has outgrown. I had it packed away but I needed to do some more sorting. The first thing that hit me was the fact that just short of two years ago, she was wearing all of those little sleepers and I was trying to figure out which way was up. It was all so exciting and overwhelming and I knew so little about this little person. It is so hard to remember a time when she wasn't at the centre of my world.
I have to admit, the second thought was sadness. I had assumed that we would be well on our way to welcoming another family member by now. I won't lie, that has been such a heartbreak for me. There is nothing to say that it won't happen and given how things have been of late, I can see that yet again, God knew better than me - I can't imagine adding a new baby into the chaos of things here right now. I am trying to look at this as God giving us an opportunity to strengthen our family so that we can better prepare ourselves so that if it does happen again, we will be better prepared and will make a smoother adjustment (and, if and when there is another, pray for me that the child will be a better sleeper than Pk was!). Dh sees the urologist in a couple of weeks so we should know more, although, given what we know now, I am not sure that there will be any immediate answers. We discovered when we saw an ob/gyn at the beginning of July that since I was nursing until January, they wouldn't perform any kind of assistive stuff until next January anyway (that would make it a year), so at least it gives us time to "normalize" and get to the bottom of things so we can make our decisions with a clearer understanding of our issues. Our doctor has done a referral to one of the top specialist in Canada but I suspect it won't be before next summer before we will get in to see him.
On the plus side, however, there was so much to be grateful for when I was looking at those clothes. I feel so blessed to have this little one in my life. I always assumed that I would love my child but I had no idea of the depth of that love or how it would somehow help me to understand the meaning of my life. I feel complete and, while she can drive me crazy, there is not a day that goes by that there aren't moments that take my breath away, whether it is looking at that little face as she sleeps, watching her figure out her world, sharing a joke or a story or witnessing her wonder at the things that I would otherwise have missed. She has enriched my life so much.
The other thing that really struck me was how much kindness and support I have encountered since I had her. It is not that it wasn't there before but there is a new bond that has emerged with other mothers and with friends who have taken her into their hearts as well. There are the lovely dresses (and the pyjamas from Old Navy that helped to improve sleep - who knew that she hated having her feet covered at night???) that kittenpie shared with us from her wonderful stash. There were the many sleepers and the little things that I had no idea that I needed that came from V, a wonderful, kind and generous woman from church who just showed up at my door a month before Pk was born with a huge box and a supportive smile (I had so much fun washing and folding all of those little pieces when they first arrived). There were all of the wonderful things that F, a dear friend in England, sent just to spoil little Pk. (If I won the lottery tomorrow, which won't happen since I don't play but I do dream!, once I had paid off our debts and given lots away to causes important to my heart, I would have to hop on a plane to England to shop for children's clothing - there is nothing here as lovely as the things that F sent and there were the softest little cotton t's from Marks and Spencer that I wish came in adult sizes). There were the wonderful little pink outfits from W, a friend like a sister who has only boys and needed to express that need for pink once in a while (and who also introduced us to "squeaky shoes"). Motherhood has shown me the worst in other women (the critical heart of so many, the competitiveness, the need to beat someone else up when they are down to feel superior) but it has also shown me the best (the compassion, the understanding, the empathy and the love).
I wouldn't trade this stage of my life for anything - although I would still like to see her sleep a bit more and in her own bed!
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
I am grateful for our wonderful doctor. We had appointments today. I had stitches taken out and dh was going for follow-up from his adventures of the last week or so. We couldn't receive more kind or thorough care. Dh will be going on a new medication and our doctor spent a long time talking to him about what he has been going through and how to manage his depression. Since he doesn't have an appointment with his counsellor next week, she has him coming for a monitoring appointment, just to check in and give him a chance to talk about how he is feeling. She took just as much time with me, while I was only supposed to get my stitches out, she spent a LOT of time talking to me about how I was coping, encouraging me about how dh is doing and also patting me on the back for being so willing to work things out. She is a Christian and we talked a lot about how, while these things can be so hard to endure, that sometimes, we can look back afterwards and see that God used the pain to teach us something that makes us better. As she said, "Sometimes we have to be broken so that we can be fixed". She always treats us with such fondness and respect and in terms of dh, she is so supportive of me being part of a team trying to help him. She also responds to emails and while he was in detox, she was in contact with my daily to check how both he and I were doing and giving me advice in terms to things to ask the doctors. I have always loved her and she has, yet again, shown me how lucky we really are.
(My stitches are now out and my finger looks yucky but at least I can get it wet. I always worry that I am being a baby and that she would think that I was silly to have had the stitches put in but when she saw my finger, her response was, "Ugh, you don't do anything half way. I bet that was gushing blood.")
I am not such a big fan of the idea of megachurches but I have to say that I love the sermons from North Point that I get to hear via podcast. If you are someone who is searching, you might be interested in checking them out. They are launching an online church on Aug. 16. I will try and watch.
North Point Online
Monday, August 3, 2009
Today, I am feel grateful for those days when lots of items on my "to do" list get done and I feel like I have the energy for everything. I make zucchini muffins, a huge slow cooker of pasta sauce, cleaned and organized my kitchen, went on a family picnic and did some shopping that needed to get done. Life has felt so out-of-control lately, it felt so good to be able to re-establish some order.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
There are times that I really think that God has a sense of humour. Today was one of those days.
I have to start this by saying that this was not a good day. Dh couldn't get himself out of bed so I went to church alone and when I got back at 12:30, he was still asleep and didn't wake until 1:30. Living with someone with depression is not a nice thing. It is really lonely when there are two adults living in the house but only one is emotionally present. Pk didn't sleep last night and I was feeling discouraged, tired and very, very lonely. It was really hard at church because people are so nice. They kept asking where Dh was and how I was doing...I didn't feel up to getting into it with most people so I felt like a liar. A good friend of mine, the one I said we needed to pray for because she has just left an emotionally abusive marriage, said something that I can really relate to right now. She didn't come to church for almost five years. We all wondered why but I didn't know her well enough at the time to make contact and ask. She told me recently that she frequently tried to come. She went as far as to get in her car and drive to the church but she would get to the parking lot and just couldn't make herself come in. She couldn't face people being nice to her because she knew that as soon as someone was nice, she would dissolve into tears and not be able to stop. That was a bit how I was feeling today but 1. Pk adores church more than anything and 2. we drive an elderly man to church who lives in the nursing home here in town and I know that church is his only chance to get out during the week. I couldn't take that away. Suffice to say that by the time I got home from church, I was not in a good place.
One of our concerns right now is money. My being on mat leave last year really hurt us and we have some debt that we are finding it hard to get out from underneath. I want to deal with that but dh totally shuts down whenever I try to talk to him about finances or working together on a budget to get things in order. I had been thinking of trying to get Pk a "big girl" bed - she is in a toddler bed/daybed thing right now with the uncomfortable crib mattress and I don't blame her for preferring to be in with us. I had been talking about going shopping and seeing what a bed would cost us. Today, I decided that it would just have to wait. When dh and I were driving to get groceries this afternoon, I mentioned to dh that I thought we should wait - that God has a funny way of dropping things in our laps when we most need them.
Fast forward two hours. We had finished at the grocery store in the big town near us and had come back to our little local store to get a few things we couldn't get in the big town. We ran into R (yes, the food neighbour) and after about three sentences, she said, "Hey. Do you guys need a twin bed? We are getting ready to do our basement and we have a twin bed, dresser and bedside table that we don't have room for anymore and we were thinking that you might need them." Dh and I just stood there and gaped at her. Nobody has offered us a bed in all the years we have been together and today, of all days, that offer comes! We went to see the set - it's pretty basic but with some white paint and a pretty quilt, it will be perfect for a little girl's room.
I need to learn to trust more. It's so amazing how our needs are met.
I never know whether to respond to people in the comments section or whether anyone ever reads that so for now, I will respond in posts.
Mmm zucchini! Pioneerwomancooks.com has sme terrific recipes for it on that site as well as on her other one, tastykitchen.com.
Good neighbours are a blessing, most of ours suck and I dislike them. Alas, like kp we are *still* not finished renovating and not ready to move.
Good neighbours are a blessing, most of ours suck and I dislike them. Alas, like kp we are *still* not finished renovating and not ready to move.
I am always looking for sources for recipes so I will check those out.
I have a history with bad neighbours, too and that makes it hard for us now... this house is NOT our dream house but with the wonderful neighbours we have around us, it would be hard to move. The people behind us are really nice and have two dogs that Pk adores (and hey, anything that makes a cranky toddler happy at the end of the day works for me), the people across the street are sweet (we had lived here for a couple of months and one day we came home from work to find cucumbers in our doorway - I didn't know if it was a gift or a sign of some kind of voodoo curse - it turned out that S had a bunch extra in her farm garden and thought we might need them, they also brought Pk back authentic Ukranian nesting dolls when they went on a cruise in Eastern Europe) and of course, you know about T and R.
When we lived in T.O., we were generally pretty lucky, too... other than the crazy downstairs neighbours who, it turned out, were cashing our utilities cheques and not paying the gas company so our gas was turned off. They left in the middle of the night and we had creditors bugging us for months about whether we knew where they had gone (he was a private investigator so they really knew how to disappear). The joys of renting in the city...
By the way, Cat, are you the Cat I think you are??? Do you have a blog? I would love to catch up on what is up with you and your brood. How goes the store? I have wanted to stop by forever but wasn't sure that I had the money for "Beach" prices.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
We have the nicest neighbours and we have a fun kind of food game going with them. I love to cook and I love to feel like I am showing hospitality to others and our next-door neighbours have given me a great chance to do that.
It started last year. T and R, the couple next door, have a big garden (I am so jealous!!!! theirs makes ours look like the postage stamp that it is). One huge crop they have is rhubarb. R is the cook in the family and she hates rhubarb. T, her husband, loves it. We struck up a bargain that she would give us their harvest on the understanding that I would send a piece of everything I make next door for T. Last year, I sent over some jam and several pieces of crisp.
We went to the next level earlier this spring. One Sunday, they were hard at work painting their shed. Dh went over to chat to T and then said that he needed to come back home for supper. T commented that it was too bad that they hadn't thought about a meal. They were so busy working that they would have to get take-out and the choice is pretty limited in our town. Dh came back and told me that they were without a meal. It just happened that I had a big casserole of what we call "white people food" in the oven - ground beef, pasta and sauce, yummy but not exactly sophisticated. I put half of it into another casserole dish and dh delivered it next door.
About a week and a half later, the doorbell rang. It was R with our dish - filled with the most delicious shepherd's pie.
Next, it was my turn. Our harvest of rhubarb was ready and I made a rhubarb custard pie with crumb topping, which was amazing (I found the recipe on someone's blog - I only wish I could remember whose so that I could share it here). I sent over a couple of pieces for T on a dinner plate.
Of course, a week later, the plate came back filled with cookies (if R gives me the recipe for her lemon cookies, I will post it here - they are amazing).
Well, today, my turn came again. They had come to Pk's baptism and had given a gift and brought some food (of course). I wrote a thank you card (and if you haven't gotten one yet for your gift, I am so sorry, they are coming but, as you know, things have been a bit crazy around here). I thought I should send something over so I added two jars of jam (of course, made with their rhubarb - rhubarb/strawberry and rhubarb/gooseberry).
R was quick this time. Probably an hour later, the doorbell rang and it was R with four super large zucchini from her garden. Now, I have to be honest - we are NOT a zucchini loving family. We use it to make relish but that is about it. I was determined to find a way to use this so I found a great recipe for whole wheat and honey zucchini bread. Here is the recipe. It doesn't sound like much but I made two loaves and it is perfect with some butter and a cup of tea. They weren't home when dh went to drop it off so it will have to go in the morning.
I wonder what will come back.
It's funny how, when you start trying to cultivate an attitude of gratitude (cute rhyme), you start to notice how lucky you really are. Today was one of those days and I found myself having trouble deciding which good thing to share here so I am going to share a couple.
Today, we (dh, Pk and I) went to the beach for a picnic along with my parents. Dh is starting to improve although this morning, the depression was bad and I wasn't sure I was going to get him out of the house. He gets really slow and distracted and hard to get moving. We were supposed to leave at 8:30 but when he was only starting to get in the shower at 8:37, I knew I was going to have to do the packing. I desperately tried to include everything I could think of that we might need.
The idea was that we were going to try to do a beach picnic of the kind that we used to do when we were kids. I remembered the food and the blanket and and sandtoys. The only thing that I had thought about last night and totally forgot was the stale bread for feeding the ducks.
We got there, played in the park, had a nice lunch and then we decided to take a walk out the point a bit to see the boats. We had a lot of gear and I decided that we were going to just leave it and go (parking was a nightmare and I was parked about 15 minutes away, it would have been awful to get packed up first). Dad wondered whether we were taking a risk but I couldn't see what we had that would be worth anyone stealing.
We walked out the point and saw a family feeding ducks. That was when I remembered that I hadn't brought anything to feed them. We went closer to watch the family, I thought that Pk would be thrilled just to get that close. Before we had been there a minute, the father of the family came over and offered Pk a bag of stale croissants, politely asking if she might want to feed some to the ducks herself instead of just watching. Of course, she was thrilled and the parents just kept supplying Pk with more to feed (they must have a lot of stale bread in their house!). It wasn't a big thing but it was just so thoughtful. We thanked them and went back to our stuff. Of course, nothing had been touched.
I find it funny, there is this misconception that people in the city are somehow different from people in smaller places. That hasn't been my experience at all. Yes, there are some people who are self-involved and selfish but that is the same everywhere. It was just a little reminder to me to be aware of the people around me. Just a little thing like giving someone some stale bread can really make someone's day!