Saturday, September 29, 2012

Fall-ing in Love Again

There's something about the fall that makes me appreciate our neighborhood even more than usual.  Maybe it's the winding trails that make running or biking tantamount to life changing.
Maybe it's the silhouette of the mountains, hovering over the rooftops.
Maybe it's the large, mature trees draping over the roadways.
Maybe it's the crunch of leaves under my feet.
Maybe it's the sight of steaming coffee mugs, snuggly scarves, or boots that contribute to my happiness.
Maybe it's the school bell and the sound of children playing that I hear from my back patio, or the coming out of fall decorations from my storage space, or the smell of creamy pumpkin handsoap from b&b works...
or maybe it's the fall, dairy free baking that I get to do in my new kitchen (PTL).
Maybe it's our community events that I look forward to every year like the pumpkin patch, the cranberry festival, our women's weekly breakaway or the kidswap.
Whatever it is- I welcome fall.  You know- the sunny, cool air, cozy days kind of fall.  
Thank you Vancouver for making this fall, yet again, one of my favourite times of year.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Rewind a month ago.  There was something terribly wrong in my family.  Silas and I were not getting along at all.  I found myself getting so angry and impatient with him all the time.

I was often disciplining out of anger and felt so easily frustrated.  I was often bitter and mean.

Simultaneously, Silas was not only testing boundaries with me constantly, but it was almost like he disdained me.  He was disrespectful, defiant, and rude.  We were in Ontario visiting family and I found myself often crying about our relationship.  I told Jason that I thought I was losing Silas.  Maybe that sounds extreme, but a real fear was growing inside of me, "What am I doing wrong?  Where will this child end up if this is our relationship?  What foundations is my attitude laying for our future?" I know he's 2 but there was some serious walls that I felt like we had between us.  I even found myself saying to Jason that I had a hard time even liking Silas at all.

It was bad.

Then, Silas started over and over saying "I don't like Mommy."  This broke my heart.  He's 2 but he certainly understands what that means.  I really began crying out to God.  Oh, I had prayed for us but it was more like a "Help God, what do I do?  Give me wisdom!"  sort of prayer.

Then a miracle happened.

One day coming back from a family outing, Silas fell asleep in Oma and Opa's van just before coming home. I decided to carry him into the house but halfway inside Silas seemed really cranky so I just sat in the porch swing with him.  

I was just swinging, and holding him, and cuddling him and was amazed to see that he fell asleep.  And a wave of emotion poured through me.  I began crying over our relationship and all it's fractures.  Welling up inside of me was an overwhelming urge that in this special moment, I needed to pray for him, OVER him, and pray for us.

So I sat there.  I rocked him for over an hour and wept over him, prayed out loud for him, sang to him, and spoke scripture to him.  I felt like I needed to reassure Silas of my love for him and my acceptance of him.  I cried out to God and just asked that He break down whatever spiritual divide or emotional divide was between Silas and I.  I prayed for more patience, for more affection, for more graciousness with Silas.  I prayed that God would restore Silas to me.  And I prayed that God would loose in me an ability to speak of God's love to him.

The time holding Silas was so sweet and precious.  Rarely could I get Silas to let me hug him for more than 5 seconds before this time.

And you know, God answered my prayers.  Immediately, unbelievably, and in such a wonderfully profound way- God answered.  Ever since that time it's like the walls have fallen down.  I find myself understanding Silas better, being more able to reassure and encourage him, and more able to discipline him in a loving way. I find him responding to me, and there is an easy flow of affection between us- more than ever before.  Silas just yesterday was saying "I love you Mommy, you're special," and I am so thankful.  So grateful for this incredible answer to prayer.  

Thank God for his grace in this journey of parenthood.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


We hadn't planned to improving our kitchen anymore than we already had.  We'd painted the walls, torn out the crummy wood panel backsplash and put up some fancy tile. We thought we were done with renos while still in this townhome.  We asked a real estate agent and she said it wouldn't increase the value if we did anything else so we were happy, la fin.

This is what our kitchen looked like when we first bought it:

Oak cabinets, laminate counters, wood backsplash panels, green walls

 And the living space beside the kitchen (our family room)

After we painted the walls and put up the chalkboard paint:
When we thought we were done: new backsplash up:
Then we had a kitchen leak.  
A big one.
Floors came up, cabinets came down, counter came out and we were deciding if we should let insurance just put it all back in the way it came out...or make some improvements.
10 weeks later, approx 2000 dollars down, and after much hard work, sweat and more than enough tears....we have a new kitchen.
Cream paint on the walls, charcoal feature wall, new butcher block countertops-extended to make a little eating bar (installed professionally), cream paint on the cabinets, open shelves instead of one set of cabinets, new chairs from ikea, took down blinds and put up curtains, new flooring (vinyl), and new pictures to go in all the frames on the wall...


And we love it.  I mean, LOVE our new space.
Would I do it again?  Nope.  Okay, maybe.  However, now we are so blessed and so excited to share this space with people.  After being practically anti-social hermits, working late into the night (every night) we are ready to host, welcome, and invite others [YOU] into our home.  Even though it looks new and lovely, I'm kinda ready to scuff up the counters, splatter the walls with pancake batter, and get my mixer a' mixin again.  The dishwasher is humming (such a happy sound around here) and, well, here are some pictures:

Monday, September 10, 2012


For the first time I really feel like I'm beginning to parent brothers instead of just sons.  I spend all day vigilantly separating, correcting, refereeing, debriefing, time-out(ing), and doing damage control with these two little ones.  

Toby, on his own, is quite content to play independently exploring his world and sucking on every little thing.  He is not easily excitable and seems to enjoy quiet, focused solitude where he is left to simply wander and figure things out.  

Silas, on his own, is more demanding wanting Mommy to watch and see and experience everything he does.  However, he can sometimes be counted on to play with his legos alone or is incredibly engaged and fun to do activities with.  

But (cause there is always a but), when these two boys are in the same room [which we have been forced to be due to our kitchen renos], here comes trouble.  Silas is ever in Toby's face grabbing his feet, bonking his head, pushing him over, taking his toys, commanding his attention, and telling him what to do.  This makes Toby cry and whine.  If it's not Silas instigating, then Toby is ever into Silas's toys.  Whenever Silas finally gets into something like making lego towers or the like, Toby is right there beside him eyeing the same toys, crawling on his lego, grabbing things, pushing them over- not to be thwarted or distracted from his main mission: get whatever Silas has.

When did these boys get like this?

I mean it's cute that they like to be together -right?  It's cute that Silas wants Toby to chase after him after he takes his walker- right?  It's cute that Silas likes to pin Toby like a pancake to hug and kiss him-right?  

Okay okay, it's not all bad.  It's cute that when I go to wake up Silas (with Toby in tow) Toby grins hugely and that Silas tries to make Toby laugh. 

But generally speaking,  why can't they just leave each other alone?  I can't really ever leave the two of them alone in a room for even. one. minute.  Peeing in privacy?  Nope.  Washing dishes in the bathroom?  Nope.  Running up the stairs to grab something? Nope.  


Silas wasn't thrilled about this arrangement

Close behind at Silas' heels...

But they are definitely cute together and I pray that they will someday learn to play together. Nicely.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Precious, Sweet Toby

Almost 10 months.  Is it just me or does that seem like it's passed too quickly?  I cannot believe that my blue eyed baby is getting so close to a year old.  We are so blessed to have this content, sweet, kissable, curious,  precious life in our home.  

This stage with him is just so fun [makes me want another baby sooner!]  He is endlessly curious and is the fastest climber, crawler, explorer around.  I literally have to be constantly vigilant.  Not only would he be up the stairs before I could even say "stairs," - well, he'd be splashing his little chubby hand in that toilet bowl too!  

I cannot help but feel already sentimental at the thought that I'll be returning to work in two short months.  I don't want this stage to end!  I am endlessly kissing and hugging this little snuggly boy and he's happiest (or so I say) when he's around Mama.  

It's gotten a bit busy in this household now that Silas and Toby are like little magnets.  One is always in the others' way causing for some serious refereeing.  But I love watching how Toby has started dancing along to music, I love seeing his little "power stance" we call it (when he stands up in the middle of the room unassisted and just stands there, legs bent and wide), and love hearing his little giggle.  

He always has his little tongue pointing out or his lips sucked in while concentrating.  He is constantly grabbing and pulling hair, turning things over and over in his hands, and is the most wiggly little guy!  He is a good little eater and loves avocado and puffs.  He still is gummy mouthed- no teeth to be seen.

He is a sensitive sleeper meaning that he still wakes up sometimes in the night and doesn't transfer well, but he is generally a decent napper (napping twice a day).  

Love this little baby boy.

Here's some photos of his cute-ness:
(power stance!)

Never seen him happier than in mud and water (and clothes-less)

Into the neighbor's yard

"I'm a big kid too, right?  I can climb the playground?"

In my mouth

Loves climbing ALL over Momma

Love. Him.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Renos Continued

9 weeks and counting.  
No, I'm not pregnant.  That's how long it's been since I've had a sink, a dishwasher, cooking supplies, a family room, and a kitchen.  Unexpected kitchen leaks are not my cup of tea (or so I've found out).  

I think the 'idea' of making one's house better is great when you can prepare for it, plan it, do it in bite sized bits, and have some control over it.  However, due to insurance taking forever with their paperwork and other such delays, we are still yet without a kitchen [awaiting counters, plumbing, and we need to paint the lower cabinets].  

I've realized that my environment in chaos is the main part of this whole thing that is stressful.  I don't mind people in and out (it breaks up the day).  

I don't mind the cacophony of noises (what's more noise when I have two boys?)  I don't even mind, in some ways, the uncertainty of when the final end will be.  What I DO mind, and what has caused me the most angst, tears, and internal restlessness is the invasion of all that was in those two rooms into the rest of my home.

What do I mean? 
canning jars in my dresser drawers
toy bins in my fire place
glasses and plates on the landing halfway up my stairs
cookbooks in my bedside table
coffee table in our bedroom
and large intrusive pieces of furniture taking up desperately needed floor space for two active boys

Yuck.  Hurl.  I am a hater of clutter and chaos.

However, today, OH JOY today I said "enough is enough."  The room beside our kitchen that is essentially our family room/play room had become a storage room of uninstalled cabinets, our dishwasher and other such things.  Well, it was largely cleared out last night and so began a domino effect of greater and greater happiness.

I hadn't intended on doing it but as I started putting things back into the kitchen/family room it created such incredible pleasure that I kept going... I assembled ikea lamps, I put up newly hemmed curtains, I uncovered couches, rearranged toys and before I knew it I was purging and organizing and...

Dang.  It felt good.

For the remainder of the day, my finally toy-less living room (which had become our living space these last months) and my almost finished kitchen/family room kept capturing my eye.  I was floating around the house.  "Look how great those curtains look?!  Look how great that new rug looks in our living room!  Look!"

I know, I know.  It's just a room, with things in their intended places.  What's the big deal right?  Well, the joy it brought me just to see some chaos lifted made it pretty clear that my environment affects me.  It almost made me understand why people do renovations for fun.  
Not quite.

Let's just say, I'll be VERY appreciative of the final product. 
(Hopefully in 1 more week, please God, PLEASE)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Cousins = bliss.

Each morning here in Ontario I wake up the sound of Silas' little voice saying "I love Kellon. He's special."  I love watching Silas playing with his little cousins.  He is in love with his 6 year old cousin Kellon who is "super strong," according to Silas "he can even pick me up!"  He plays with baby dolls with Allie (the lone girl cousin on this side in a sea of 6 boy cousins) and loves jumping on the trampoline at Oma and Opa's house with Tayte and 'the guys' as he would say.  

Sun, lots of aunts and uncles to hold and play with him, cousins to run races with, fresh sliced watermelon and Godly examples of loving family.  Bliss.

I'm very grateful for this time away with Jason's family!

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