Monday, June 30, 2014


So, three months ago I had a baby.  Here we are.  I have to say, I am breathing a little easier.  The third month is sheer bliss compared to the Everest of the first weeks post-partum.  It doesn't matter if it's your first time or your 7th, I dunno, I feel like those first two months are HARD.  The baby arrives, you're relieved to not be pregnant, but you're hurting and limping and at the beginning of a marathon.  Rocking, holding, soothing, nursing, carrying, gah!  

Oh man, I do not miss the raw feeling of a newborn to my chest.  I realized today, that I only really 'wake up' to my baby at three months.  Maybe it's different for some of you.  But for me, I am so caught up in my own physical agony and just trying to get sleeping and nursing figured out that I don't even really see my child.  I mean, I see her, but I don't see her.  

But at 3 months, when I don't feel like I am just inches above the water, fighting not to drown, I am floating along and in a sea of three month old bliss.  Her eyes.  Her smile.  Her sweet coos.  She holds her head up.  I've figured out when she needs to nurse, when she needs to nap, when she needs to be held.  She goes to sleep on her own. And all of a sudden I'm feeling human again.  

Sigh.  I like it here.  Pre-teething, pre-finger feeding, post-nipple-trauma, post-c-section-recovery, pre-mobile, 3 month old baby bliss.  

Of course, there are still moments of insanity, but all of a sudden I see this little life and I am in awe.  I mean, you fit in me, just a few short months ago?  You were once just a wrinkly, noisy, little demanding thing and now you are this beautiful personality coming alive in my arms?  I haven't hurt you yet, I haven't yelled at you yet, I haven't had to say sorry yet, you haven't been are perfect and I wish we could stay floating along for awhile right here. 

So you and me, precious Fiona, we'll sail along together enjoying this lovely little season. I'll chat with you, you'll smile and coo with me, I'll meet your needs, and you'll be satisfied.  Don't change, k?  I'm not ready for the rapids, or the waves, or the fight to stay afloat again.  

Today, we'll just chat and sing together and let tomorrow and all it's changes worry about themselves, k sweet one?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Getting a Divorce from Stuff

I am not sure what is going on.  Is it hormonal?  Seasonal?  Spiritual? A virus?  I'm going to call it "reverse-nesting-syndrome."  I have basically decided I don't want anymore stuff.  Ever.  

[Do you hear me, stuff? Don't you dare come crawling back to me, claiming "you'll do better this time" or that "you've changed."  It's over. You and me are done.  Collect your things and move out.  I want a divorce.  We cannot be friends.  I'm over you].

I literally am physically and emotionally weighed down by the stuff in my home.  Does this happen to anyone?   Maybe it's the addition of another little human and all the boxes of clothes that came with her.  Or maybe it's the baby stuff that made it's way from garage storage to floor space (read: swings, play-mats, chairs, bumbo etc) but our home is full.  So full, in fact that I am throwing away random things because I cannot stand to look at them anymore.  

At any point in the day you may in fact find me: 

  • pacing the floor frenetically searching for more things to throw in the garbage
  • taking pictures of random household things to put on craigslist
  • moving things from upstairs, to downstairs, to cupboards, and then back upstairs again
  • rifling through paperwork
  • hiding toys away from the boys so I can sell them in our garage sale
  • madly going through children's clothing (I had 12, that's right, TWELVE boxes of boys clothes for under the age of 2.  This is not normal.  This is not right).

Everything is game.  Random fridge door items that we will probably never eat?  Garbage.  Un-matched pairs of socks?  Garbage.  Old textbooks, paperwork, and sentimental material?  Recycled.  Books on the shelf we have already read? Selling them. Pants I hope to one day fit again, but are really old anyways?  Thrift store.

This is the longest time we've ever lived anywhere and I can't believe how quickly we have accumulated.  Not that it's all junk, and not that we are pack rats.  We have had a garage sale every year for the past 3 years and I give stuff away all the time.  AND, I use and re-use a lot of things.  Old cotton balls?  Craft.  Old stickerbook?  Quiet time activity. Little bottles of shampoo stolen from hotels?  Used up.  But somehow, we keep getting more.  We're not even buying it!  It just appears: on our doorstep, dropped off from random 'thoughtful' people at preschool, from neighborhood fairs, and so on and so on.  

Thing is, I don't want your junk!  I think I will start politely declining when people offer their old toys, books, and clothes.  It's hard though, because the dutch side of our family has rubbed off and there is always this nagging, "but what if we use that, someday?"  Or there's the "once a year" items that we pull out, literally, once a year.  But you see, this is taking up mental room!  It stresses me out!  Then I forget I have it, miss the tiny window when I might have used it, and then it gets put back in a box for when another child might use it one day. 

Think of all the time we spend managing our stuff.  Does anyone else think this is not right?

I literally sat there drooling over this video the other day.  Tiny home? Imagine.  Everything having it's place. Wow. Nothing extraneous.  One jacket.  One spatula.  One box of pencils. Who are these people?  I like them.  

So.  Stuff beware.  Your time is coming.  I will find you, wherever you are hiding.

Any tips for organizing stuff so that one does NOT spend their ENTIRE life processing it, please let me know.  Anyone have paperless systems they want to share?  Thoughts about what to do with old photo albums?  Do people keep yearbooks?  

How do YOU manage stuff so that it doesn't rule your life?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


My sweet little sprite is almost 3 months old.  Fiona, dear pixie, here is what I know about you so far:

1. Your smile fills your entire face.  It is huge and bold, and lights a room with sunshine.
2. You love to talk.  My chatty little girl already.  As long as Mommy is right up in your face, whale speaking, you are sing-songing and cooing along with me.  
3. You are a tricky little one.  You take some fancy tricks to keep you asleep at nap time, but I'm onto you...
4. You nap for a solid 2-3 hours every afternoon with my persistent efforts. Thank you. Mommy needs that time with her boys.
5. You're an explosive one.  Lovely pink girly accessories?  There is not a single type of clothing you can't erupt out of.  You are one messy girl.
6. You love to be carried, but this Mama's back is suffering. You don't love to sleep in the car seat and you prefer to sleep at home, in a bed, or on someone.  
7. Your brothers are gaga over you.  They fight over where to put you during dinner so they can both see you, they kiss you at random, and sing "Fiona" songs all day.  You are a lucky gal.
8. You are a feisty one.  You kick and fidget and move.  You have discovered the jolly jumper and I can already tell it will be your second home (after your Mom's arms).
9.  You have got the most sparkly blue eyes, and reddish hair.  
10. I cannot help myself, I want to eat your sweet cheeks everyday.
11. You share Toby's dimples and fair skin but I can already tell you've got the social, active Silas character.  Or maybe, you're a bit in-between.  Can't wait to unravel your beautiful personality.

 Look how much you've already grown!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

72 Vancouver Summertime Family-Fun Activities

Taken recently at Whytecliffe Park, West Vancouver.  Awesome place to explore.

Another summer ahead which means lists.  OKAY.  No it doesn't.  But for me, having a bunch of fun ideas up my sleeve is so helpful.  The catch is, we need people to do these things with us because these adventures are always better in community.

So, let's make some plans.

1. Daddy and boys camp out (Brae Island?)  Any other dads with their boys want to join Jason for a night?
2. Go to the Richmond night market. Took pictures with a giant, british duck, witnessed the hilarity of attempted zorbing on water, ate deep fried cheesecake, and street meet.  
3. Evening walk up to Menchies. Great that they have dairy free options for Silas, Toby and I!  
4. Swim in this pool in Stanley Park. Or another outdoor pool. Not sure what we'll do with Fiona...
5. Lynden, Washington's City Park.  The park of a 'million smiles.'
6. Go to the Celebration of Lights. Many a childhood memory was spent waiting on the beach for hours, and playing 'sardine' in the crowds afterwards.  We. Need. A. Date. Night.
7. Upright paddle boarding in False Creek!  Groupon is bought!  Can't wait to do this with Jason.
8. Go to a festival.  Canada day?  International festival? Yay Walnut Grove Family Festival!  Pony rides, bouncy castle and lemonade.
9. Fly our kite.  We bought one years ago in the Oregon coast and have yet to show the kids.  Maybe Vanier Park?  False Creek?
10. Build a sand castle.  Like, a cool one.
11. Go Geocaching.  The boys would love this!
12. Pick berries at Krause, enjoy some corn pizza (amazing) and make jam (like a ton) to stock up for the year.  
13. Camping with our life group!
14. Make water balloons.
15. Ride on a boat with the boys.  Okay, who has a boat?Got to go on their uncle's 'speed boat' and try out tubing!  So fun.
16. Bike around the seawall.  Silas has no training wheels and Toby is rocking the strider.  Any suggestions for Fiona?  She's still a bit too small...
17. VBS for the boys.  Any suggestions? Silas went to Earth Explorers preschool camp.  So fun!  Except now he's afraid of tornadoes?
18. Hike at deep cove or Buntzen Lake.
19  Ice cream from the ice cream truck.
20. Enjoy Frappucinos, slurpees, or smoothies.  
21. Set up a lemonade stand.  Silas would totally go for this.At our Garage Sale Silas was quite the salesman- although he sold more rice krispie squares and cookies than lemonade.
22. Swim in Sasamat lake and hang out at White Pine Beach for the day.
23. Ride a ferry.  
24. Centennial park - check it out (I've heard good things)
25. Host a block party and/or BBQ.
26. No shoes day!  This isn't hard, Toby never wears any.
27. Evening swim at a [free] Surrey outdoor pool.
28. Have a water fight.  On a hot afternoon I decided it was pointless to try and get anything done so the boys and I used squirt bottles, hoses, and little empty shampoo bottles for an awesome waterfight. So. Fun.
29. Side-walk chalk 'bomb' friend's houses [with encouraging messages from the Brinks]
30. Ride the skytrain.
31. Make a fort in the forest.
32. Have floats.  (Rice ice cream, anyone?)
34. Day trip to the Othello tunnels. 
35. Make popsicles
36. Have a garage sale.  Silas is excited about this, and I can't wait to kick more stuff out of our house.
36. Beach day at English Bay or Crescent Beach. 
37. Outdoor movie night.
38. Picnic breakfast!
39. Pick blackberries around our neighborhood.
40. Rock hopping at Golden Ears Provincial Park.
41. Go the zoo.
45. Take the boys to a sporting event of some kind.
46. Picnic at Rocky Point Park
47. Deliver jam or berry pies to our neighbors
48. Sleep in a tent in our backyard.
49. Run through the sprinkler. Even better, they went on a trampoline in the sprinkler!
50. Watch Art in the Park- people set up to paint in Stanley Park.
51. Take the boys Rock-wall climbing
52. Magnifying glass and binocular nature walk.  Boys might enjoy this!
53. Bike obstacle course.
54. Feed ducks.
55. Do a Science experiment.Tornadoes in a bottle!
56. Make S'mores
57. Play board games outside.
58. Make it to Deception Pass in Washington
59. House-sit for someone.
60. Trampoline and sprinkler.
61. Participate in a run, a walk, or a bike ride for a good cause (such as this one).
62. Make a new colour play-doh.
63. Have a popsicle party at our house (or a BBQ).
64. Check out Redwood Park in Surrey.  We've heard it's super fun.
65. Fly to Ontario and stay in a cottage for a week with tons of extended family.
66. Catch frogs, snakes or bugs.  Ewww, but I'm up for it.
67. Leave funny faces on trees in a forest trail for other hikers to discover. We saw one in a trail recently and the boys thought it was awesome.  Now to make one with natural ingredients instead of buying one...
68. Outdoor bedtime stories (get a bunch from the library and read them outside before bed).
69. Make bird feeders.
70. Go on a water slide.  If the boys are too little, I think J and I should go on a date night, or does anyone want to do a couples date night where all of us child-rearing adults can go and have some clean fun and go night sliding?   WOULD BE SO FUN. 
71. Make boats and sail them somewhere.
72. Play baseball in the park.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Hidden Miracles

There have been hidden things that I have been missing.  Treasures, tucked behind everyday things.  

I have been rushing and running, flustered and frantic, harried and worried, frustrated and angry and altogether too preoccupied to really see God's hand in my life.  This has been my 'normal' for too long.  I've missed how God is providing for me, protecting me, helping me, nurturing me, even as I am poured out for my children.  His kindness has been all around me, and it's leading me to repentance.

I'm sorry for overlooking your generosity in my life, Lord.

But I've been paying attention lately.  Maybe it's because I am desperate to see.  I have been asking for joy in the everyday for the last 4 years but this cry has just gotten louder and louder over these past months. "Help me have joy today, God.  Help me be present with my kids today, God.  Help me control my anger and frustration, God.  Be near to me, bring me life, help me not to miss my own life by rushing past it!"

And let me tell you, there have been hidden miracles.  Moments every day where I am seeing the hand of God in my life.  Grace.  Hope.  Truth.  Love.  When I lift my eyes up from the work in my hands, when I pick up my head to look past my self-sufficiency, I see Him:

An empty day ahead and a friend texts "hey, want to come over for a play-date?"
Giving away a meal, only to have a friend surprise me and come by with another one.
Having a disastrous walk home from an ambitious trip to Church and a friend arriving mysteriously to help drive some over-tired kids home.
An activity that keeps the kids more occupied than I expected.
A whispered, breathy secret in my ear from my toddler "I love you all day, Mommy." 
A soft coo from my baby with a wide grin as I chat with her.
A curious question from my preschooler.  
Beauty capturing my heart.
Shared meals, shared home, deeper connections with friends.
Grace for that tantrum, patience for that predicament, peace for an empty day on the calendar and rain outside.

Jesus, you are rescuing me from my own bad attitude.  From my own ungratefulness.  I want abundant life in You and I am finally seeing it spring forth.  Moment, by moment, by moment, by moment.  As I call, you answer.  You bring life to the desert and I am so thankful.  Today, I will choose again to see YOU in all the hidden places of the mundane. Your grace is sufficient.

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