Wednesday, April 30, 2014


3 facts I've learned after 3 days alone with 3 kids:

1. Silas is a great big brother when he is asked to help and says words like "apparently" to begin his sentences (How did he learn that?)  He is smart and helpful and brilliant.
2. Toby is the most competent 2 year old I've ever known.  He can climb to the top of playgrounds, ride his strider bike down hills with grace and guts, and uses words like "imagine" and "definitely" in completely appropriate sentences.  His spunk, sparkle and sense of humour dazzle me.
3. Fiona's copper hair, blue eyes, and deep cheek dimple just make me want to kiss her. This girl has an opinion and can yell it to the far corners of the complex when necessary but can also rock the sweet-n-sleepy little girl look.  
The days are long, but I'm learning to really see my kids and love them in the mundane moments of life. 

God help me be really present in the life I have and in the season I'm in.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Game Time

Next week is the week I have been most dreading since Fiona was born: the day that I am completely alone with all three children.  For the past 5 weeks I have been asking myself "how in the world am I going to do this?"  I have had the luxury and joy of having a husband who could take off 4 weeks of work and then wonderful in-laws who have been with us for the past two weeks.  

But, next week everything changes.

Time to pull up my boot straps, put my game face on, buck up, and so on.

Instead of panicking, which is what I have done so far, I've decided to make a list. Because, you know, for type-A personality kinds like me, lists solve everything.

So here's what I'm going to do.  I have a 'to-don't' list for myself, or a kind of set of rules-of-engagement to keep myself in check.  I don't want to just moan and groan about how hard this is going to be, cause then it probably will be hard.  I want to believe that this is actually going to be a new challenge for myself.  A new training ground.  And that, by golly, it's going to be a blast.  It's time I gave up on perfection, threw out the rule book, and simply just trusted that God will carry me through this time of readjustment.  But saying that and doing it is another story.  SO, knowing myself, I'm going to keep this list in front of me:

  • Give yourself grace. 
  • Don't make to-do-lists.  One goal a day is enough ex: make dinner, OR go to the park, OR get dressed for the day. (This is ironic, since this whole list is kind of a to-do list).
  • Someone will probably be crying, most of the time.  Expect it. And it's okay if it's me.
  • Look for reasons to be thankful, look for evidence of God's goodness.
  • No cleaning allowed- you will just get stressed out (at least, for a few weeks).
  • You can do this.
  • Go to bed early.
  • The TV is your friend for a little while.  My children will not suffer from a few weeks of more than usual screen time until you figure out how to nurse a baby, clean up a toddler's accident and make dinner at the same time.
  • Yesterday does not define today, this morning does not define this afternoon.  One bad day will not mean all days will be bad.  
  • Take one moment at a time and enjoy each of your children just as they are in this stage.
  • These years, these months, these weeks, these moments might be the best ones of your life.  Don't waste them wishing for the future which may or may not be less difficult!
  • Ask for help, accept help. 
  • This is a season.
  • I repeat, YOU CAN DO THIS.
  • Pray.  Without ceasing.
  • It will get better.  You will figure out how to care for three children.
  • The house WILL be messy, get over it.
  • There will ALWAYS be laundry to do, get over it!
  • Turn off the computer.
  • Turn off the phone.
  • Be present and don't miss your life!
  • Forgive yourself and ask for forgiveness.
  • Don't be grumpy, it doesn't help anybody.
  • Projects can wait.
  • You will sleep again.  One day.
  • One thing at a time.
  • Open a window, step outside, breathe fresh air.
  • Celebrate successes (shower! no one crying!)
  • You are not alone!
  • Don't panic.  If they all need you at once they will either learn how to wait, resolve their own conflicts, or become more independent and figure out how to do it themselves which are ALL GOOD outcomes
  • Don't expect any moments to yourself, at least for a little while.  And if they happen- REST or do something that refreshes you.  Don't. Check. Facebook.
  • Get out with friends, go on dates, and get some exercise.  Whenever you can.

"I can do all things through Him who gives me strength."

Friday, April 18, 2014

Our Family of Five

Thanks to the amazing Amanda Gregor, we have some lovely pictures of newborn Fiona and our boys.  
Couldn't wait any longer to share them:  

probably one of my favourites!!!

 We both have dimples!

Love this one so much!  Her profile is so precious.

Her dad is my hero (him and Jesus)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Fiona's Village

They say it takes a village to raise a child.
It has been 4 weeks since Fiona joined our family and when I think about these past 4 weeks, tears well up in my eyes.   I am overwhelmed and inspired and filled to the brim with JOY because of our village. You. Our people, our family, our Church, our community. 

We have been held up in prayer, supported and encouraged, been fed and showered with gifts by a village of people. How could we possibly have journeyed through these weeks without you?

This culture tells you to do it alone.  It tells you that you are strong, you are capable, and that you can do anything you want to do.  This lie not only expects too much of you, it robs you of the joy of leaning on other people.  We need each other and I know now more than ever how little I could do on my own.

I sit here staring at a blank screen just thinking "there are no words, there are simply no words that I can offer that would be enough to express my thanks to so many people."

I feel like I need to write peoples' names down.  I need to remember how God has used so many people to touch us.  To watch over us.  To help us.  To support us.  To remind me that when I feel alone in this journey of parenting, I am not.  There are others who care, others who are willing to help, others who will love my children and I the extra mile we cannot limp along ourselves.

We are blessed beyond measure and I am so deeply, deeply encouraged.

For caring for the boys, and caring for us while we were in the hospital, and beyond we say thank you
Our family (taking the boys for days, feeding them, putting them to bed, visiting us, bringing us food, transferring things to and from cars, cleaning our home, giving us food- Grandma, Nana, Papa, Oma, are all incredible and we are SO thankful for you)

For the meals, we say thank you
Nana and Papa Hinksman (yummy ham and potatoes)
Grandma Hinksman (yummy roasted chicken and mashed potatoes in the hospital!)
Our amazing lifegroup who helped chop over 16 crockpot freezer meals (Deb Bergman, Tim & Angela Hiebert)
Stacey Kaetler (the best homemade chicken soup ever and gluten free brownies- YUM)
Claudia Peterson ('the night before' meal and many others to follow)
Jennifer Peters (peanut soup!)
Janet Theissen (lentil soup!)
Tanya Friesen (aaaamazing meal with quinoa, stew, salad and brownies AMEN)
Wendy Hodges (fruit salad left on our door, what else does anyone need?)
Laura DeVries (chili, and you made it while very pregnant and working? HOW?!)
Andrea Hendy (I don't know what it was but it was awesome.  We love ethnic)
Courtney Wedemire (incredible vegan enchiladas, such a yummy recipe)
Shawna Goertz (a BOX of food, such a generous and thoughtful meal of marinaded chicken, vegetables, and more brownies...I'm gaining weight over here instead of losing it)
Nikki Middleton (food the week before the baby- sooo helpful when I was 9 months pregnant and miserable)
Breakaway ladies (frozen meals for J and I- like pesto stuffed pasta shells- yum!)
Erin Fay (coffee, we needed it!)
Nikki White (we love Lasagna and were deprived of gluten and dairy so THANK YOU)
Sara & Nate Searle (literally THE BEST pot pie we have EVER had.  I ate it for lunch, dinner, dessert and a bed-time snack.  SO delicious)

[I am already bawling, because I cannot believe how many of you have helped, loved on us and cared for our needs]

For the thoughtful, generous, and sweet packages sent in the mail, we say thank you
Ashlee Thomas (stickers for the boys! coffee shoes for Fiona!  What a lovely surprise)
Gillian Souza (a girl's package filled with chocolate, soaps, and outfits for Fiona FROM FRANCE- you rock!)
Jacob & Tara Topping (a huge box in the mail- a lovely surprise!)
The Sissons Family (your generosity, even while you are facing your own challenges, is beyond inspiring)

For the baby girl clothes, sooo cute, sooo generous, can't wait to get them all on her, we say thank you
My incredible co-workers on T14F- you threw a beautiful shower for us and gave so generously SO many things, I could hardly believe it.  I was stunned.  I am so grateful!
Dad & Sally Hinksman (Nana and Papa...we have the best dressed kids because of you!  Cupcake sleepers?  Pleated skirt/shirts? A coordinated outfit to wear with your brothers?  You are so generous!)
Kerry Hinksman  (what HAVEN'T you bought Fiona?  She is blessed to have such a thoughtful and generous Grandma)
Scott & Courtney Lowes (love the sunday dress, everyone commented on how cute it was!)
Michelle Renault (red, sparkly sweater!  You know how to make a perfect girl's outfit- so cute!)
Tanya Friesen, Stacey Kaetler, Nikki Middleton, Jennifer Peters, Janet Theissen, Claudia Peterson, (you all brought meals AND clothes?  So amazing)
Kristin Oliver (Fiona wears the fuzzy sweater all the time already, and giraffe outfit.  You blessed us abundantly!)
Lisa Lincoln (Stars! Pink! LOVE!)
Cheryl Hazelton (so many cute summer outfits, where do I begin?)
Brittany Brink (we share the same last name!  I LOVE the sweater and jeggings, she will be stylin' like her uncle and aunt in no time!)
Mom Brink (love the pea coat and all the fun summer outfits.  Cottage!)
Elsie Ens (what a sweet baby bonnet!!)

For all the things you let us borrow and use, we say thank you
Selene Lau (a car seat, so awesome)
The Benniks (a VAN.  Ummmmm.  Not sure how we could ever thank you enough for your generosity in GIVING a vehicle to us.  You adopted 3 kids, are raising 5 and moved your family to Ethiopia answering God's call AND you gave us a, we are inspired).
Andrea Hendy, Michelle Renauld, Amy Olson and Shawna Goertz (maternity clothes- you saved my wardrobe!)
Erin Hinksman, Denise Smith, Andrea Hendy (so many cute girl's clothes, SO helpful and SO generous)

For the home-made lovelies for Fiona's wardrobe and use, we say thank you
my Aunt Shirley (a beautiful, hand made blanket for Fiona- it's beautiful)
Grandma Sally (a sewn blanket and cute knitted booties.  Lovely.)
Auntie Erin Hinksman (how in the world did you have time to crochet so many lovely things for Fiona when you have 4 kids at home?!)
Monika Theissen (another lovely quilt for Fiona, we use it all the time!)
Grandma Kerry Hinksman (a thoughtfully planned and beautiful executed quilt for Fiona)
Maria DeVisser (such cuuuuute hats and headbands for Fiona- you'll see them a lot in photos to come!)

For the visits, the prayers, the love, the support, we say thank you, thank you, thank you
All of you!!! And if there is anyone I did not mention here, it is simply because my brain is fried and I'm trying to rock a baby in a seat at the same time.

See?  A village.  It takes a village, and I hope I can find ways to support all of YOU in your own lives as you journey through your own highs and lows.

We are blessed.  We are cared for.  Praise God for this beautiful community and village.

Who can you care for today?  Whose help can you accept?  Lets share the love people!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Work of Resting

We are two weeks into this crazy madness that is otherwise known as life with 3 kids. There is so much to be thankful for at this point:

-my husband at home (because really, what would I DO if he weren't here with me?)
-lots of wonderful friends and family coming to visit (and bringing food, I love food prepared by others)
-a generally sleepy newborn (wake up and EAT Fiona!)
-a turn in the weather towards spring (hello cherry blossom trees, I love seeing you outside the window!)
-getting past the first week (because that first week is h.a.r.d.)

At this point, I should be ready to go.  Ready to go for long walks in the sunshine, run around after my boys outside, cook dinner for my family, keep up with the housework, and find my new 'rhythm' with 3 kids. Right?  RIGHT?

Problem: my mind says yes to the above, my body says no, no, no.  I have repeatedly, and stupidly over-done it.  I am recovering from major surgery.   I should know better.  I'm a nurse for freakin' sake. However, nursing knowledge and patient knowledge is different.  Turns out being a nurse makes me suck as a patient. Every part of my body aches and groans, as it tries to rebound from another giant incision. And by 'over-doing it' I mean, I went up the stairs too many times, bent down to the floor to pick things up too much, went for too long of a walk (to the mailbox) and didn't tie myself to a chair for the duration of the day.

Are you kidding me?  The midwife scolded me and my husband gives me a disapproving stare as I go up the stairs again (when I'm supposed to stay on one floor the whole day).  I am feeling like a bit of a prisoner in my own body.  It's hard to find the right balance of just enough activity but not too much.

Let me be clear, I'm not complaining.  It should be 'the life' holding my sleeping beauty Fiona while the world whirs around me.  She certainly is a ray of joy.  I'm a little bewildered why recovery should take so long, but that's not the real question.  The real question is "why do I not know how to rest?" I don't know how to do nothing.  I don't know how to let others do for me.  I don't know how to just be, allow Jason to run after the boys while I sit down (again) to nurse (again) and let my body recover from surgery.  It takes actual work for me to rest.

It takes work to look at the mountain of laundry and say "you can wait."  It takes work for me to walk slowly across the house instead of the usual "running-like" pace I normally hold. It takes work for me to watch the boys run around outside with Daddy while I am confined to a chair.  

Anyone else know what I mean?  

Maybe not.  Maybe I'm the only one who doesn't know how not to walk fast, be productive, beat down my to-do list and sit on my conquered pile of housework at the end of the day and gloat over my victory.  

I actually suck at resting.  I mean, I'm terrible at it.  And as my back spasms again, and my incision niggles, and my uterus fights back, my body reminds me that this is a season for rest and recovery.  There will be days of doing, of being productive, of walking fast and exploring outdoors with my boys- but not yet.  

So I'm practising new words and phrases: Rest. Take advantage. Allow.  Let go.  Let others.  Be still.  It can wait.  Take your time.  Enjoy. Be in the moment.  Calm down. Slow down.  It's okay. 

[And repeat].

I basically need to learn from Fiona because she has this sleeping and resting thing pretty down pat:

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