Thursday, December 22, 2011

let the redeemed of the Lord say so

i've been reading through the book of psalms this month.  five chapters a day will get you through the whole book in a month, and you can read psalm 119 alone on its own day if your month has 31 days in it ;).

psalm 106 and 107 recount the Lord's guidance and blessing on His people, how He led them and cared for them, and it made me think about the ways He has blessed me.

so i wrote my own psalm, and while i wrote i was just completely overwhelmed.
because God is good.
all the time.
all the time, God is good.

My Psalm.

You brought me into a large family
And surrounded me with love.
You gave me warriors for siblings;
Shepherds for parents.

Prayer covered my youth,
Your Word guided my childhood.

From want and from violence, You preserved me, O Lord.
I will praise You forever.

You brought me through fear, through love, to Your safe side.
You welcomed me into Your family.

You guided me, led me,
Through the wilderness of adolescence.

You crowned me with dear friends
You comforted me with books
You challenged me with learning.

You inclined my heart toward You,
You called me to follow You;
You took me to Zambia
And showed me glimpses of Your heart.
You brought me safely through the dam, the dangers,
You brought me back in peace.

You filled me with longing
I hope in Your Name.
Yours are my days
My going, my returning, are Yours.

You blessed me with love and family
My nieces, my nephew, my joy
You granted me delight upon delight
And whispered Your path to my heart.

You provide for all our needs
You bless us with abundant love
With each other, with Sam.

You have poured out grace upon us
And our hearts burst with

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Janelle and Patrick
From everlasting to everlasting!

Monday, December 19, 2011


dear sam,

last night you were so irresistibly adorable.

you are always a wonderful baby, but you're not particularly snuggly.  you like to give hugs and kisses, and you love to be tickled, but you don't often just sit still for a cuddle, or cuddle back.  you like to be on the move!

but last night, you woke up when papa and i came to bed.  you held out your arms and when i picked you up you snuggled into me soooo much i almost died.  you wrapped your little arms around me and held tight and nuzzled your face into my neck. 

it was bliss.  i stood by your crib in the chilly dark, just bursting with happiness while you hugged me for a long long time.

then you saw your papa, and smiled like the sunrise, and did the same thing to him.

you are the dearest boy in the world. 

we love you.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


patrick picked me (& sam) up today and we grabbed lunch together.  he said he wanted to do something fun tonight - maybe a movie? - and asked if i could try to find a babysitter.
i told him i would call some teenagers from church once school let out to see if they were free/able to sit with sam.
i did some errands, and popped in to see my friend chrissy at work.
the first thing she said to me was "ohh, i meant to call you this morning.  i think it's time you and patrick had a date."
i hadn't even asked.  or mentioned anything.
she just said it.
so, God gave us a babysitter and we had an awesome night.
thanks, friend!

before they call, I will answer; while they are yet speaking, I will hear.  Isaiah 65:24

Thursday, December 15, 2011

conversation with sam

this morning sam and i had a little chat.

sam: yawn.
me: hey son, are you sleepy?
me: ha. that is what you'd say, isn't it?  guess it's about time for a nap.
sam: yawn.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


my men keep making me laugh.

i had this awesome conversation with patrick last night:
j (surfing online): ohh, i'd love baking rings!
p (confused): what do they do?
j: let you bake anything in flat circles - little cakes of anything, like potato, or mini-meatloaf, you know.
p: *_* (mind is blown)
p: (thinking for a few minutes) what kind of rings again?
... j: baking.
p: ohhhh. i thought you said bacon.
j: (pauses, realizes p thought she meant rings made of bacon. the kind of rings that go on your finger. one ring to rule them all, one ring to bind them, one ring to give you magical kitchen powers ...)
j: *_* (mind is blown.)
:)  don't you wish your conversations were magical like ours? ;)

and this morning, i found sam dressed like this in his crib.  i guess he's planning to be a '70s rockstar ... or at least dress like one.  foxy chest, samjam!
(this sleeper has what patrick calls "hard snaps" ... aka buttons ... apparently sam doesn't find them so hard!)


Friday, December 9, 2011

the waiting


counting down to christmas is kind of special.  in a connected-to-the-past sort of way, and a connected-to-the-future kind of way. 

the hebrew people did - waiting for the Messiah.

mary did, and joseph - waiting for Jesus' birth.

believers have long been waiting on the Lord. 

david did.  over and over, he knew what it was to wait.  and he encourages those waiting:  be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord! -psalm 31:24

but what to do in the waiting?  when weariness overtakes, and the Lord seems far away and we wonder if He will ever come?

what mary did.

praise Him.

so when you're singing your carols all advent long, rejoice!  rejoice!  He is coming.  He is coming.

shout for joy in the Lord. (ps 33:1)

Thursday, December 1, 2011


enjoying the sweet rush of success in a job - well, done!

the goal of nanowrimo isn't so much to write a wonderful novel.  it's more about completing one.

and i totally did.

goals for december?

-sleep.  oh blessed sleep!
-show patrick how grateful i am for all he put up with in november.  (on top of suffering through the crankiness of my 4-hour-sleep-self, he took sam for walks so i could write.  one sam-less hour is easily the equivalent of ten sam-hours.)
-contemplate christmas.  (i've always thought of christmas as a fun time to spend with family, to give gifts of love, to eat bursty little oranges.  but this year, i want to soak up the fact that Jesus came down so far, down so small, came so humbly as a baby.)
-love my family. with gifts.  with words.  with time.  with a clean house.  with snuggles.

i know, patrick is woefully absent.  but we're going to take family pics later this month ;)

how about you?  anything you're striving for this month?


Friday, November 25, 2011

nanowrimo live-r

i have six days of nanowrimo left, and i am so so so pleased with my progress!  i didn't think i would be able to persist ... but here i am, almost done, with a gorgeous word count of 41055!
i took a screen shot of my nano stats.  just had to share:
i know it's kind of little, but if you look at the bar in the top right beside my avatar, it's a visual representation of my progress.  yay!
it's been a fiercely sleepless month, though.  i am really looking forward to early bedtimes in december. :)


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

november 23

what i wish we were doing right now :).  happy birthday, dear friend!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

the way up is down, and other paradoxes

i've been thinking about this life.
this life where i'm a sinner and holy God loves me and paid with Jesus' blood for me.
this life.

it overflows with paradox.

the way up is down.
the way in is out.
the way to joy leads through sorrow.
the path to motherhood goes through an empty womb.
fullness comes by pouring out.

when i find myself struggling with pride - that sneaky beast who insists on her own way, and all too often wins - God reminds me that the way up is down.  He exalts the humble, but abases the proud.  i writhe with the tension of it.  i want to be right - best - first, but the deeper and truer part of me longs to fall back into grace.  in stillness and in silence, i remember, and let go.

the way up is down.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

swallowed up in life

a few weeks ago, my cousin gwen posted about her grandmother's passing.  she quoted 2 corinthians 5:4, and the last phrase jumped out at me "what is mortal may be swallowed up by life."  i can't stop thinking about that.

for a christian, a funeral isn't a sign of life being swallowed up in death.

it's death, being swallowed up by life!

our lives here, compared with heaven?  ghastly spectres.  we are not what we will be.  we will be truly, fully, gorgeously alive.  like a candle: the match scraping, the burst of flame is not the end; it is the rich and true fulfillment. life beginning.

and today, it dawned on me that every time i die to myself (choose God's way and not my own, like when i want to punch that lady in the face for staring with horror at sam's bump and i don't), my sinful self is being swallowed up by life.

i long for the day when the death in which i dwell will be entirely consumed by the blazing sun of life.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

nanowrimo live

so today is the tenth day of nanowrimo.  TENTH!

and i'm still going.

i'm ridiculously pleased.  i struggle with continuing; perseverance isn't my strong point.  but i'm determined that nanowrimo won't defeat me.

actually, i've learned a few things (and other people always say these, but i guess i mean i've learned them for myself).

1. even if you get stuck, if you write through it, it will get better.
2. it's not that hard writing 50000 words in a month.  even with a busy life.
3. sometimes it takes a few sucky chapters before you hit your stride and start writing well.
4. no matter what you've got planned for your characters, sometimes they just take the reins and do what they want.

also, i love to listen to classical music while i write, and i've discovered that my music player has a sense of humor.  at sam's bedtime, it played brahm's lullaby; when he was suffering through a much-hated bowl of peas, it played allegri's miserere mei; and when he finally fell asleep after fighting a nap, it played handel's hallelujah chorus.  :D

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

snakes :( (joey, sniech, don't read)

a couple of weeks ago, patrick and i were running errands with sam.  on the way in to our building, i was carrying bags, and patrick was carrying sam, so i wasn't really looking where i was going, just trying to get upstairs and into our apartment without dropping things or losing circulation in my wrist.

i heard patrick gasp, and he said "just keep going.  keep going."  i could smell gas in the hallway, and i thought maybe he was worried that something was wrong. 

when we got into our apartment, he said "you just killed a snake."

i almost died.

i had apparently crushed its head with my heel.

i hate snakes with a completely irrational loathing.  even when i simply think about them, my insides cringe up with a knotty twisty fear.  when i see them, i shake and cry and struggle not to throw up. (and scream and run and shake some more.)

it kind of makes me mad.  i don't want those slithering little beasts to have any sort of control over me.

anyway, after i knew that snake was there, i avoided that stairwell unless patrick was with me. 

i remembered something people in zambia said - if you see one dead snake, watch out whenever you're in that spot, because another snake will come to mourn its death.

and i was pretty confident that wouldn't happen.  we walk through a long-grassy path on our way to town, and we've never seen a snake.  on all our hikes, we've never seen a snake.  and among our tbay friends, only one has ever seen a snake here.

but on friday last, a friend was on her way in to our apartment, and she saw a snake in the same spot.

i died.

i can barely take a step without looking for one.  i lie down at night worried that one will slither under the door.  i wake up a few times a night and peer out of our bedroom, expecting to see one sliding across the entry floor.  i can't even bear it.  when sam cries unexpectedly in the night, part of me shudders at the possibility that there is a snake on him.

i seriously need help.

i've been praying that God will give me the same peace He gave me when i went to zambia.  (He told me that if i went, He'd worry about the snakes for me - and He did.)

if you'd pray for me too, i'd really appreciate it.  this snake thing is driving me up the wall.

Friday, November 4, 2011


the night before i left halifax, joey gave me this *amazing* book.
one thousand gifts, by ann voskamp.

little did she know, i'd already been reading the author's blog, and am completely in love with it!

anyway, on the plane on the way back to tbay, i started reading it (and weeping like the mccracken i am).  voskamp talks about all the gifts God gives - how everything is gift.
i won't summarize here - i couldn't anyway, it's too lovely to reduce - but one of the things God showed me when i was reading it was that His bringing us to tbay is a gift.

which i should know already, right?  beside the fact that i believe God is good and trust Him to order my steps, sam is the most precious and astonishing gift, and we would never have him if we weren't here.

but sitting on the plane, flying away from my ocean, my sweet home, my incredible loving family, with the discomfort of goodbye still a lump in my throat, God showed me that this isn't a punishment.  or a trial.  (had i really believed that?  ouch.)  it's His gift.

so i kept reading the book and God began opening my eyes to see His gifts.  and they're everywhere.  i started keeping a list.

it's astonishing.
how much God loves me.
He's just pouring out gifts all the time.
and i wasn't even noticing.

so i started noticing.  (i had a lot of time to think, because i forgot my computer cord in halifax and the day after i got home, patrick's computer crashed.  so while i missed keeping in touch with everyone, i loved the stillness and quietness of my mind.)  i started thanking God. for warm boots, translucence of eyelids, late-october birdsong, baby giggles in the morning, a note on the table, french bread, soapy water glistening on a tiny back, rest, being read to, milky sam-kisses, fresh laundry hanging, pumpkin seeds toasting ... 
and on it goes. 
(and goes - He keeps giving.)

then one morning the phone rang, and the postman came up with a parcel.
i was gleeful - i thought it was my missing cord.
then i started opening it, and found a card - an unsigned card - from an incredibly sweet and thoughtful person who knew i was homesick and made me something.

a gift.

it was an utterly beautiful windchime made of seashells.
(my sea!  how i long for you!)

 i love it.

i cupped a shell to my ear and listened to the roar of the ocean, the echo of the surf. 
listened to the echo of the God's heart in this gift, in the heart of my secret sister.
this is the song of love.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


i'm in halifax again! 
sam and i flew in last night, were greeted by a beautiful posse of awesome people, and then went to the ultra-gorgeous Sweet Hereafter for another round of hugs, presents, and general mayhem.

(ps pumpkin maple cheesecake is actually more delicious than it sounds.)

impressions so far:
i have the best, lovingest, most relaxed family in the world.  home is - well, home.
the trees are so so so lovely.  i've missed the radiant reds and oranges of an east coast fall.  
my parents make me feel like a better person.  i love being around them. 
halifax is a good place to run into people you know - lunching, shopping, happy hellos!
samjam will not go hugless while his cousins and aunties are around.
i have the world's prettiest sisters.  hands down.

and there you have it :).  i'll write more (and share pics!) when i get a sec.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


o sakeji, i miss you
your marching path, your river,
the plates, worn smooth by thousands of forks
by generations of forks
by dishes of sunday ice-cream.

i miss your hundred verses, your ricecakes,
your legendary maps and basketball court,
your pool, your river, your dust.

i miss your birthday chairs and mealtime prayers
your tea - your half-term - your dusk
your singing
and laughing
and homesick longing.

o sakeji.  i miss you.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

happy heart

the day before my wedding, my lovely sister in law gave me a little scented tube of lotion: clinique's happy heart.

it was perfectly apt, and a wonderful way to begin a marriage.

well, it's been a while since that day.
and i've long since used up all my lotion.
so sometimes i get down.

lately i've been giving myself permission to wallow in sadness and the blue fog of circumstances.

i want to get out of that funk.  i want to have a happy heart again.

so i'm going to try to put some giving into thanksgiving.  if i can think about others, and die to my own selfishyselfishyself - i hope to find a happy heart.

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.  Prov. 17:22

Saturday, October 1, 2011

buttermilk lime carmel sauce

this is a scrumptious carmel sauce that i adapted from german pancake syrup.  hope you enjoy!

3/4 C. sugar
1/3 C. milk
2 Tbsp lime juice
1/4 C. butter or margarine
1 Tbsp corn syrup (or maple syrup)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. add lime juice to milk, wait ~5 mins.  milk will curdle.
2. in a saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, milk mixture, butter, corn syrup, and baking soda.  stir (almost) constantly.  bring to a boil, and boil for 7 minutes.  (time varies - for a thinner sauce, boil a shorter time; for a thicker sauce, boil longer.  to get a nice, spreadable carmel, i keep stirring until the colour changes from amber to a deeper brown.)
3. remove from heat, stir in vanilla.
4. cool slightly before consuming (it gets really hot).  enjoy!

Friday, September 30, 2011

three wheel announcements

okay, i am seriously excited about today's announcements.  i am sure they matter to no one but me, but hey! it's my blog :)

1. SAM CRAWLED!  he actually did.  he is the most amazing baby ever, and now he can finally get to all the toys he throws out of reach.  yay!

2. today, i am the friday fig!  i was sooo pumped to be interviewed by the amazing and talented Anande Sjoden.  (check out her work.  you won't be disappointed.)

3. i rearranged our living room.  (i know, it seems like a wimpy announcement ... but it's pretty exciting, and definitely adds a taste of freshness and new perspective to my teensy tiny apartment, so i'm really happy about it.)

and there you have it!  friday's announcements, by yours truly.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

sour apples


everyone is blogging and facebooking about their awesome fall activities.  i keep trying to ignore it but it is everywhere.

when i realized i'm actually not opening up my friends' blogs because they have something autumnal in the title, i had to take a minute to assess what was going on with me.

fall has always been my favourite season.  i love the vivid reds and oranges of the leaves with an adoration bordering on the psychotic.  i adore making warm soups (pumpkin!  butternut squash!) and soft breads, fragrant pies and carmel sauce.  i love the smell of woodsmoke and the sight of pretty scarves and warm sweaters.  i love autumn.  

 (see?  i really love autumn.)

so why the sour apples?  what's up with me this year?

i think i'm homesick. :S  i miss the blue sky and sea of nova scotia in october.  i miss popping out to see my sister selling cupcakes at the farmers' market.  i miss my nephew & nieces' excitement about their hallowe'en costumes.  (i even miss my dad making sure we all have something with hunter's orange on us in case we go too close to the woods.)  i miss the long, lovely autumn of the east coast. 

p, in my beautiful nova scotia, nov. 2009

i need someone to kick me in the pants and help me see all of the awesome fall things here in thunder bay, before the snow sets in and i die.  seriously. 

maybe i'll throw an autumn party.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"the pornification of society" and a longing for purity

a friend of mine posted a link to this article, titled fighting a pornified society
after reading it, i couldn't stop thinking about it, and decided to write my response here in my blog.  (if you pop over and check it out, this will make a lot more sense.)

i agree with the author about the hypersexualization of women (and now, unfortunately, children) in our society. 
i think that part of it stems from a deep longing for something good - something pure, even.  (i'm so NOT saying that hypersexualization is good and pure!  read on.) 

i find myself grossed out at the extreme vulgarity and degradation of my generation - and i grew up in it.  for example, people on tv and in movies mention porn as if it's an acceptable pastime, as if it's the norm, for people to fill their eyes and minds with the grossest of garbage.  our society is soaked in filth. 

some friends from school laughed at the idea that patrick and i saved ourselves for each other for marriage, and even implied that patrick must be lying.  as if purity in relationship is impossible.  and while the guys joked and teased, the girls seemed to think it would be really nice to have someone love you that much that they'd wait for you.  underneath the laughter was a deeper longing for something that good, that pure.

and i think that's partly why advertisers and fashion magazines are turning to younger and younger models to sell their products.  children are associated with innocence, and in our creepy society, innocence is as close to purity as we can get.  so when we look at ads with kids, there's a little echo of something good, something unattainable, something unbearably beautiful.  something lost, even.

in sunday school lately, i've been talking with my kids about God's character.  and He is pure.  He is holy.  it's really amazing and comforting to know that the God we worship is not smutty or defiled.  He is perfect, spotless, glorious.

and the amazing thing about Him is that He will transform us into His likeness.
and the purity and the goodness and the loveliness that our society longs for is ours, in Him.  He is altogether lovely.

when i think about everything that's wrong with our society, i get all knotted up and sick to my stomach.  but when i think about Jesus - i am at rest.  He is holy.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

my miracle sam

more things i love about being a mom ...

no matter where he is, sam will search for me with his big brown eyes, and then light up when he sees me.

yesterday he was playing on the floor while i was having some quiet time, and i looked up and saw him staring at me.  i smiled, and suddenly he burst into the biggest snorty laugh, with his two little teeth chopping away at his gums.  ahh.  i died.

i love discovering new things about sam - his personality, his likes & dislikes, etc.

sam loves music.  i have one particular ringtone on my phone that he adores, and sometimes when he's fussy i play it to calm him down.  last night, patrick and i sang to him as we were getting him ready for bed - just a goofy, made-up song - and he snorty-laughed at it the whole time.  then he grabbed patrick's face and gave him a big goobery kiss.

he lights up when he sees patrick.  usually he's sleeping when patrick leaves for work, but sometimes he wakes up early, and then is overjoyed to see papa still home :D. 

he loves kids.  at church on sunday, most of the kids sit behind us.  i let sam stand up on the chair beside me, holding on to the back of it, and he just laughs and grins so hard.  he loves kids.

he loves being outside.  this morning i popped him into a hoodie to take our garbage to the shed across the parking lot.  he was just captivated by the birds, the twittery grey dawn, and the light streaking across the sky.

i love watching him discover the world.

he's going to be an early crawler/walker.  he just has to be on the move.  he gets up on his hands and knees (or hands and feet) and tries SO hard.  sometimes he moves forward a tiny bit, but mostly he moves backwards.  whatever happens, he does not give up.  he tires himself out trying to get going.

he's so amazing.  a true gift from God.

samjam, i love you!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


sam has recently started getting up on his hands and knees.  he can't really crawl yet (well, he can go backwards, shakily, but he gets all upset when he's moving farther & farther away from the toys he's trying to reach), but he gets up on all fours whenever he can.

i was up in the middle of the night, and peeked into his crib.  he wasn't making any noise, but he was up on all fours, just perched there, swaying.  i thought he was awake, and i picked him up to cuddle him back to sleep, but he was already asleep.

yep.  6 months old and he's sleepwalking.  he wants to crawl so bad!

my heart melts when i see him trying so hard to crawl.  he just wants to be on the move, but every day when he tries and tries and tries - he's stuck.

 not going anywhere

this morning, God showed me that i am a lot like my small somnambulist.  (and maybe, like him, it's just something i have to go through to get to the next stage?)

i've been struggling with some medical stuff lately that has me completely stressed out.  like, bawling into my soup stressed out.  it's not something i can change.  i've got an appointment to see a specialist in january, but i can't do anything about it until then.
still, though, i worry about it and think about it and can't let it go.  it's like a loose tooth, and i just keep playing with it even when it hurts.

so maybe, when i'm stuck on all fours and not going anywhere, i just need to appreciate the fact that i'm on my knees already and pray.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


it was -3*C when i woke up yesterday morning.  yup.  minus.

there is a lot about tbay that i love.  it is beautiful, in a wild, big way.  it has really unpretentious people who are easy to love.  we met some of our dearest friends here, and this is where God gave us our incredible son.  i wouldn't trade in our past year for the world.

the weather, though (especially in winter), kills me.  i know: you probably want to say "suck it up, princess, it's canada!"  - but canada is a big hunk of land and i am from a much warmer part of it!

to put it in perspective, let me use ratios.  tbay's winter is twice as cold (-30 avg temp here, instead of -15), and almost twice as long (close to 8 months here, instead of 4 and a half).  for someone who has always hated winter, that adds up to a whole lot of adjusting.  so before you start rolling your eyes at my complaint, let me help you think of it like this.

if you were from tbay, and you made the same kind of move i did, you would be living in a place where the average winter temperature is -60, and it lasts for 15 months of the year.  oh yes.  always.  (and that's how long 8 months of winter feels to me ... eternal.)

so ... i'm not complaining because i think thunder bay sucks, or because i hate it here.  i really and truly don't.  if God wants us to stay here forever, i will not fight Him about it.  in fact, i might tell Him i think it's a pretty nice idea.  but it might take me a couple of years to adjust to the cold.

minus 3 in september. 


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

new project

i'm working on a little project, but i want to keep at it for a week or so before i let anyone in on it.  however, if i manage to get it nicely started, i'll tell you all about it, share updates, and post my project journal. 

woot woot!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

just rambling

it's a chilly 11*C here this morning, which i'm not going to complain about, because (weirdly) sam sleeps longer when the temperature dips. 
it's been almost 2 hours since he plunged into a nap, and he hasn't surfaced yet.

bored? look up cushing's syndrome, a little beauty of an endocrine disorder with a magical element called a Buffalo Hump.  i'm completely not kidding.  what kind of cruel medico came up with that?

i made gingerbread zucchini muffins yesterday - yum!  it's nice to sneak vegetables into our diet, because i'm not such a huge fan and if they're well hidden, i enjoy the nutritional benefits without the tasting-them unbenefits.  um, drawbacks.

sweet hereafter is opening in halifax this week.  so wish i was there.  if you're in the city, pop over this weekend and eat a slice of cheesecake for me :).

going to walk to the post office today!  one of my fave bloggers (danielle over at my small tornado) sent sam an awesome present :D.  looking forward to his reaction.

ah.  my small gem is awake.  over & out.  happy tuesday, y'all.

Monday, September 12, 2011

happy monday

i've got some fun plans on tap today!

a friend is coming to take sam on a date this afternoon, and i'm going to take full advantage of the unexpected freedom!  i hope to:

  • take out the garbage (appreciate the small things, folks!)
  • make zucchini gingerbread (gotta get my veggies in)
  • make a batch of spaghetti sauce
  • make some quesadillas to send home with my friend :)
  • vacuum (since we have a small apartment, this is surprisingly difficult to get done when sam is home and patrick isn't here to cuddle him!  if sam's awake, he's usually on the carpet ... if he's asleep, he's not on the carpet, but i don't want to interrupt him with the vacuum.  so a samless afternoon means a clean carpet for me!)
and i just might squeeze in a little workout.  but in typical janelle fashion, it's lower on the priority list than the food ;).

happy ears: i'm listening to this today :) woot!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

back to school blues

i keep tearing up tonight.  i keep seeing little status updates as my friends send their kids back to school.  some are sending their kids for the last time - hello grade 12 - and some are sending them for the first time - sweet little primary!  i think every single mom feels the twinge.

there's something about the first day of a new school year that marks time passing like nothing else in the world.  more than birthdays, more than milestones, more than notches on the height chart.

there's something sweet but aching in the relentless march of time.  it's that smell of indoor sneakers, markers, and new lunchboxes.  it's that look - the one over the shoulder as they climb on the bus.  it's the excitement of moms set free from the tyranny of summer, and the lump-in-the-throat goodbye for six whole hours.

life is a big funny agony, isn't it?

sometimes i get tired of wearing the big-girl clothes, and want to slip back into my feetie pyjamas and curl up beside the wood stove.  i'd like to be in the perfect moment: dad snoozing on the couch, my mom doing my hair, my brother vroom-vrooming toy cars on the carpet, and my sisters giggling on the phone with their friends.

tomorrow i'm going to snuggle with sam on the floor and adore him every minute.  and i'm going to close my eyes and thank God that the first day of school is still a long, long, long, way away.

oh, don't grow up too fast, l'il samjam!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

small town breakfast

we decided to take advantage of our long weekend before patrick starts his new job.  because of his parents' kindness and the use of their car, we were able to make the seven-hour trip to kap for a visit. 

they knew we were coming - but we let them think we were coming on friday.  instead, we showed up on thursday, just in time for patrick's cousin's baptism (yay!) and spent an awesome day with them yesterday, playing games and hanging out.

this morning, we met up with patrick's aunts & uncles at a little breakfast diner.  it's turning into a tradition - i think this is the fourth breakfast in as many visits.

there's something magic and happy about going out for breakfast in a small town.  first off, everyone knows everyone, and people stop by to say hello and coo at the baby (who was missing his nap and subsequently kinda cranky ... but that's another post).  then, there's the overworked waitress who apparently never has a day off, as she has been our waitress for every. single. breakfast.      ever.

there's a comfortable atmosphere of being at home - moving chairs and tables around to accommodate everyone - patrick's awesome aunt brings her favourite real maple syrup from home (and shares it! - because, after all, what are pancakes without real maple syrup?) - and passing the baby around the table so everyone can get their glasses tugged off and their cheeks drooled on a hug.

random strangers people you see all around town stop to chat, or to discuss the crazy stuff on the news, or to kiss your baby and hold him until you start wondering if you have enough wipes to ungermify him and make him smile.  and after a while you realize that everyone has eaten (yummiest omelets in the world, by the way!), finished their coffee, and one of the family members has sneaked to the cash to pay.  for everyone.  because they love us.

and then it's time to say goodbye, which involves standing in the road and hugging a few times, taking pictures, and making plans to do this again.  this is also a good time to wave down passersby and chat, pass the baby around for more kisses, and pray he doesn't have a meltdown.

and then it's over.
doesn't it sound nice?  it's a happy, loving, yummy way to spend a saturday morning.  patrick comes from such a kind family, in one of the nicest small towns ever.

if you ever visit kap, pop in to tyler's for breakfast.  (it's either that or tim hortons.  and you can get tim's anywhere.)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

classic film: the more the merrier

Yesterday I watched The More the Merrier (1943) starring Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, and Charles Coburn.

It was totally adorable.  I love old movies, and that one just made me laugh.  It felt like an Emilie Loring novel, complete with a dashing hero, a reluctant romance, and wartime Washington DC.  It was funny, with unexpected little one-liners going off all the time without fanfare, and a few slapstick falls on the side, just for kicks.

(The only things I didn't like: the hairstyles (icksville) and Jean Arthur's voice.  It sounded so affected - unnatural and whiny.)

I especially loved the 1940s fashion.  Cute shoes with buttons, a-line skirts, and trim little blouses - mmmm. 

Old movies are just so nice :). 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


i'm sending this first chanson-o-gram to my wonderful husband, patrick :D

honey, you make me feel like this every day. thanks for always looking out for me.

visitors: if you want to dedicate a song to anyone, leave a comment or message me!  i'll post it :D

Monday, August 29, 2011

dear people i've been mean to

dear people i've been mean to:
i'm sorry.

it wasn't you.  it was me.  i was having a bad day/being a jerk/feeling insecure about something/ignoring all the grace that has been extended to me.
and if i don't see you again, i likely won't have a chance to make it up.
and if i do see you again, i'm going to try harder to be nice.
because you, like me, have a bruisable heart.  you, like me, probably feel mean comments much more sharply than nice ones.  and their sting stains through your memories into the present, making you feel bad when you aren't even thinking about it.
i wish i could take it back.  sometimes i remember something mean i did and it takes my breath away with its horribleness.
and it's just stuck there in the past, permanently, like a name carved into a gravestone.

this is my hope for you, dear people i've been mean to.
i hope you meet Jesus, who is always kind and never mean.  i hope you let His grace into your heart, and let Him be king.  i hope you let him take out all the ugly stings i left.  i hope you find His love to be more than equal to any hurt you've suffered - from me, from anyone.  i hope His deep joy washes out the bitterness and leaves forgiveness.  i hope you let Him in.

and this is my hope for me.  i hope that i let Him reign in me, and let Him teach me to love with His love and be kind with His kindness.  i hope He teaches me how to bear hurt without hurting back, and to apologize to all the people i have hurt.  i hope He teaches me to walk softly, to speak carefully, and to love graciously.  i hope He helps me to give kindness instead of pain.  like He does.

dear people i've been mean to:
i'm sorry. 

smoothie love

this is the simplest, most magical smoothie ever.

toss them in your blender and puree.  serves 2 (or 3, if you're being abstemious!)
it's the summeriest taste ever.  :)  happy august, friends!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

celebrate august 25th

guess what day it is?

bet you can find someone who needs an apology, or maybe forgiveness.
i did.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


g'day.  a small announcement:
this year i'm going to do nanowrimo.

National Novel Writing Month
November 1-30.
Write a novel of 50 000 words.

*dies a little at the thought of writing roughly 2000 words per day*

how about you guys?  has anyone here ever done it?  plan to do it?  want to join me on my torturous, awesome month of madness?

while i'm not going to share the secrets of my story just yet, i totally want to share my cover with you.  (because i'm excited, y'all!)



yesterday, i gave sam a bath; and when i was done washing him and started opening up the towel, he leaned back in his tub, gave me a diabolical grin, and fountained-peed right out of the tub!

little monkey.

Friday, August 19, 2011


this afternoon, i took sam for a walk in his stroller.  he was chewing happily away on his bugaloop, and i was impressed with his ability to get it into his mouth and keep it there.  his motor skills are really coming along.

anyway, we were almost home when i decided to give his gums a check (because he's been sporting tooth-bumps for a loooong time, and i was getting impatient).

AND I FOUND A TOOTH!! a tiny, freshly-broken-through tooth.  i was so excited that i had to tell the next people i saw.  two guys were biking toward me, and i called out "my son just got his first tooth!"  and they (very very nicely!) congratulated me and stopped to smile at my one-tooth-wonder.

they looked into his stroller and grinned.  like this:

the irony pretty much made my day. 

rock on, toothless nice guys.  rock on.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

look out, haterz!

last night, i dreamed that rebecca black turned nineteen. 
(i just have to stop and let you know that the only time i ever listened to her song was when my friends were showing me how awful it was.  while i'm sure she's a very nice girl with questionable taste in lyrics, i've never really thought about her since then.)

so, i dreamed it was her birthday.
i gave her a bright orange cashmere sweater.

and i made this sign:

yup.  i spelled haters with a z.  

i think this beats out my dream earlier this month where i failed to save the world because i got 3 questions wrong on a multiple-choice quiz about jack black movies.  :S

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sunday, August 14, 2011


*rant warning*

i know i pay too much attention to spelling.  sometimes i miss the sentiment because i can't get past the poorly spelled writing. 
(it runs in my family, too. my sister sent me a pic of her kids posed by a memorial that read "LESS WE FORGET."  really.)

anyway.  this one seems to be haunting me, and i'm finding it everywhere.  (but mostly in the beginning of books.)

(where have all the editors gone?!?!?!)

so, i get a new book.  i'm blissfully opening the cover.  turn a page or two.  and then it strikes:


really?  really?  forward?  in a book?  not just some random person blogging, but an actual, published book?

the thing about the correct spelling is it actually makes sense.  "fore" meaning first, as in first word. 

and when the first word of your book is spelled wrong, my eyeballs roll so far to the back of my head that i can't even read your lame book.  my tendons are snapped.


i want to send marked-in-red copies of all the FORWARDS back to the publishers. 


Saturday, August 13, 2011

maybe if i'd had some raspberry cordial?

my parents-in-law (awesomely!) lent us their car.  so now, when i want to go to the mall with sam, it's not a three-hour ordeal involving multiple layers of sunscreen, a case of water, a few yells for the crosswalk-ignoring-jerk,s and two diaper bags full of stuff.  (okay, that's a stretch, i refuse to be a stuff-laden mommy.  what doesn't fit in one bag stays home.)  but sometimes when i pack for a walk to the mall, it looks more like a camping trip than a shopping trip.

anyway, the other day i really really enjoyed driving to the mall, lifting the stroller out of the trunk, popping sam in, and strolling through the mall.  i wasn't sweaty, red-faced, windblown, or reeking of sunscreen.  in fact, i was probably smelling pretty good, since i'd even managed to keep sam occupied and had taken a shower in the morning.

i wasn't really in a hurry or anything, just enjoying my stroll, when i saw her.

she was pushing a stroller out of a clothing store.  she, too, looked relaxed and happy to be in the mall.  she just looked like the right sort of person.  tall.  happy.  a newish mom.  she even had freckles.  she smiled, and i smiled back. 

and then she was gone.

i wish i had thought to stop and admire her baby.  we could have bonded over the sweetness of our sleeping angels, the ridiculous price of diapers, and the lusciousness of mallwide air conditioning. 

i really want a mom-friend, a tall one, a happy one, with freckles!  i want someone to hang out with who also smells like spit-up instead of fresh laundry.  someone who gets a little euphoric at being around a whole store full of adults with the potential for grown-up conversation.  someone who is a stay-at-home mom, so we can hang out in between breakfast and supper.  someone who doesn't moan about calories when we go out to eat.  someone who's ready to laugh and tell funny stories about herself.  a kindred spirit.  an anne&diana friend.

next time i see her, i am so going to leap on that stroller and not let go until we're facebook friends.

or until security pulls me away and i'm banned from the mall for life.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

wins & fails

yesterday was not the most spectacular day.
sam and i had 2 (pretty awesome) wins, but they were offset by 2 (pretty sucky) fails. 

sam's been trying SO HARD to crawl.  for a long time, he's been able to get his bum up in the air and squirm forward on his face. he is pretty hardcore for a five month old.
like i said ... hardcore.

yesterday, he figured out how to prop himself way up on his arms while his bum is up in the air.  no more crawling on his face?  winning!

unfortunately, once he got himself all propped up on his hands and knees, the only direction he could go: backward.  he growled angrily at his toys as he tried to get closer to them and they just got farther away.  fail :(.

in the afternoon, patrick texted me that one of his coworkers wanted to pay me to make him a braid.  doing something i love and getting paid?  winning!

this is a braid.
i knew patrick would be super-duper hungry after a long day of digging trenches, so i thoughtfully decided to turn some leftovers into a delicious casserole.
it was so delicious i only had a few bites.  patrick hammered through a serving (he was starving, and didn't want to join me in my plan b.  plan b was popcorn.), but admitted it was pretty bad.  then we both ended up fighting for the bathroom. and canceled our evening plans. 

greeting my hard-working husband with the Grossest Casserole Ever and a side of Rumbles?  fail.

here's hoping today will be a better day.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

family project

i'm not very familiar with a lot of tools.  sure, i can hang my own pictures and curtain rods, put together easy furniture, and glue things.  but that's about it.

so when i put together our gorgeous new table, i was pretty bummed to see that our chairs were too tall for it.  how could i fix this?

i thought about setting the table up on blocks - but i definitely wanted a more permanent and pretty solution.  we thought about getting a hacksaw and shortening the chair legs, but i doubted we could make them all straight and even and smooth.

so my smart mother in law suggested a pipe cutter!  i had never heard of one, but it sounded like just the thing.

we were having company for supper yesterday, and wanted our guests to be able to sit at the table in comfort.  so sam and patrick ventured to home depot while i enjoyed a very luscious and uninterrupted shower :).

i love my family!

when they got home, i was so excited to start operating.  and the pipe cutter was awesome.

while i cut chair legs with all the glee of a kid at christmas, patrick removed the feet from the ends to place on the freshly shortened legs.  (and my 1st chair needed a little bit of extra padding in two of the feet - he manned that too.)

it was totally fun and the pipe cutter is now my favourite tool.  i don't know what i'm ever going to use it for again, but i'll keep my eyes open ;).

the results?  absolutely great :).  much cheaper (and more fun!) than buying new chairs.
c'mon over and visit.  i've got a place for you to sit :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

heart melter

it was time for the samjam's second feeding of the day, so i tiptoed into the bedroom to see if he was ready to wake up.  (the door creaks when opening, so i guess i didn't need to tiptoe:)
he was kicking his feet a little bit, but his eyes were closed and the rest of him was still.  i leaned my head on the rail of the crib and whispered, 'good morning, sweet sam.' 
a smile spread across his face, and then he turned his head and opened his eyes.
when he saw me, he laughed and waved his arms and legs and said, 'goo!'
which is completely what i was - a big pile of goo.

little sweet.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

a small rant

as you can tell in the picture from yesterday's post, samjam has a pretty big hemangioma on his head.  it's also known as a strawberry birthmark, one that will shrink and go away as he gets older.
it's really noticeable, and most people who are curious about it just ask straight up, "what happened to his head?" 
(especially kids!  kids are so cute and they always ask about it, and worry that it hurts him.  i love when kids ask about it.)
sometimes, i notice that people are looking at it, and want to ask, but probably aren't sure how.
usually, i just smile and tell them it's a birthmark, and they're relieved that they didn't have to stumble over awkward words that make it sound like they think he's some sort of freak.

yesterday, however, i ran into someone who was not so concerned about how she asked.  and she made it very clear that she definitely thought he was a freak.

i was walking out of chapters, and a young woman pushed past me.  i pulled the stroller back to let her go ahead, and she glanced down ... then stopped dead and stared at sam with the most disgusted look on her face. 
(i wanted to get by but she was right in front of my stroller, so i couldn't go anywhere.)
she just stared at him like he was some sort of horrendous mistake.
finally, when i realized i wasn't going to get past, i tried the whole smile & explain thing.
me: "it's a birthmark."
she (in disbelief & disgust): "that's the biggest birthmark i've ever seen."
me: "yes, but not to worry, it's supposed to go away before too long."
she (shuddering): "ugh, i should hope so."
me: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

i didn't even have words.  i just pushed my stroller at her until she stepped aside.  last i saw, she was still staring after us with her nose wrinkled up.  i could not believe anyone would be so rude and so horrible about my sweet baby! 

he's the nicest little boy in the world, and someone being mean to him brings out all my mamabear.  grrrrrrr!

Monday, July 25, 2011

one picture, of yourself.

last day! took a lot longer than ten days, but life's been busy and i'm not complaining :).
one picture of myself, coming right up:

i adore my samjam.

that was a fun challenge.  won't you join me and do one too?


it's late and i have no brain cells left.
but before i go to bed i just have to tell you that my husband is amazing.
and watching him put sam to bed at night bursts my heart into a million fireworks.

he takes off the spit-uppy clothes sam has been in for far too long.
and the wild rumpus starts.
adorable giggles.
adorable giggles.
adorable giggles.
and when sam is completely worn out from all the laughing, he will just gaze into patrick's eyes with all the craziest love.  i can't even think about that look without tearing up.

and then we put sam into his pyjamas, cuddle him between the two of us and pray, and put him in bed
 ...where he pulls his stuffed animals on top of his face and falls asleep.
(i am not even kidding!  the kid is 4 months old and already he's amping up this family's quirkometer.)


i adore this family.  i'm so freaking grateful i get to be in it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

two songs

two songs. 
i have two songs that i love.  but i can't tell you what they are because i don't know them.  here's the story:

i love african music.  harmony.  rhythm.  repetition.  there's something deep and - moving? no, i can't think of the word.  it's like how the ocean feels, huge and like it's so much more than you can see on the surface.

when patrick & i were married, i walked down the aisle to two songs from a soundtrack my friend kelly made after our time in zambia.  i don't know what the songs were called, who sang them, where she got them ... i just loved them.  i can even sing some of the lyrics, but i don't know what i'm singing.

i lost the cd.

i prowl around youtube every now and then, to see if i can find them.  i can't ... but i've had a lot of fun listening to some great songs.  here are two links for you to enjoy, since the 2 songs i would love to share are lost.

son of africa (soundtrack: league of extraordinary gentlemen,  ladysmith black mambazo and t. jones, 2003).

yakumbuyo (danny - when i was in zambia, rox & tash & i bought zambian music to bring home, and this was the title track on a cd they bought.  i can catch a few words, but i don't know the gist of the lyrics)


Sunday, July 17, 2011

three films.

 three films that i can (and do!) watch over & over again are:

1. the scarlet pimpernel (the jane seymour, anthony andrews version)
i LOVE this version!  no, it doesn't follow the book's storyline too closely, but anthony andrews is ridiculously charming and heroic, jane seymour is beautiful and brave, and it's fun to see a young gandalf, i mean ian mckellen, play the antagonist.  
:)  also, after watching, i can't help saying "sink me!" in a ridiculous british accent.  for days.

2. life is beautiful.  this is a weeper.  it's amazing and wonderful and happy - and tragic and horrible and gut-wrenching.  i really can't imagine watching it now that i have a son of my own, because watching it before was killer enough.  but the goodness in it is so good that i love it.

3. sherlock holmes (the robert downey, jr. & jude law version).  this movie is such a fast-paced brain rush.  i love the peeks into holmes' brain, the rapport between holmes & watson, and the stellar unraveling of mysterious events.  it is fun and intense and awesome.  i cannot wait for #2 in december!

happy watching :).

Friday, July 15, 2011

four books

i wasn't sure what i wanted to do with this one!  four books i love?  four books i'm currently reading?  four books i want to read? four books that have impacted me most?  four books that i'd love to see made into movies?

all fun.  but i settled on:

four books i use everyday.

there are four books (mmm, maybe five) that i use daily, and they all make my life better/happier/easier/nicer, so i guess they deserve a shout-out or two!

1. my bible.  after i feed sam and settle him into a happy circle of toys, i read a chapter or two.  i've already read it through a few times, but i seem to always be reading something new, and God always points out something for me to remember.  i like starting my day with Him.

2. sam's baby journal.  i keep a list of when & how much he's eaten, and i write down any milestones or especially cute things he's done.  sometimes patrick includes hilarious sketches of us, and those might be my favourite part.  it's mostly just a reference for myself, so i can monitor his eating and growing and things, and make sure he's healthy and thriving.
he is ;).

3. my organizer.  as i've said before, i LOVE checklists.  so i made an organizer with lists of things i do every morning, every evening, and chores that need to be done each day, or through the month.  i put the pages in protectors so i can check them off with a dry-erase marker and then start fresh again the next day.
i realize this solidifies my status as a complete nerd, but it helps me keep the house running smoothly and reasonably clean, without having to scratch my head every day, thinking of what to do next.

4. my recipe binder.  this was a wedding present from dan & kaye kancir in kap, and i LOVE it!  again, it's a binder with page protectors, and the kancirs filled it with a collection of tried&true recipes.  i've also added my own favourites, and recipes that other friends have given me, and refer to it daily.  it's super great.  it's the only recipe book that made it onto our thunder-bay trailer, and i haven't missed my other books at all.

so there are four of the books that i use every day - and i hate being separated from any of them :). 

tell me: what books do you use every day?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

five foods

oh blogland, i've missed you! 
i had a wonderful, busy, happy time in halifax, and then a busy week adjusting to being back, re-stocking on groceries, and changing sam's routine a little bit.  not to mention an ecstatic weekend of spending time with my dear dear dear husband. 
but things are settling in, i'm back on the writing wagon, and i'm going to pick up where i left off!

five foods:

1. spaghetti.  it's weird - i don't even make it that often - but spaghetti is my instant response when people ask me my favourite meal.  my mom used to make it for me every year on my birthday (and days in between too, but especially then!).  i don't think there is a sauce in the world that can compare with my mom's spaghetti sauce.  mmmmm good.

2. cheese.  oh yes.  any cheese, almost.  (i'm not a fan of blue cheese, or of cottage cheese, but really almost anything else.)  homemade cheese.  old cheese.  soft cheese.  hard cheese.  cheese on toast, cheese on crackers, cheese alone, cheese with hot sauce, cheese baked into succulent bread sticks - eeep!  i have to stop or i won't be able to write, i'll just be licking out the cheese drawer!

3. bread.  mmmm.  soft bread.  fresh bread.  melting with butter.  i love everything about bread.  the daunting task of starting a recipe (but then how lovely once you begin!).  the smell of yeast dough, rising.  the golden glory of baked bread, shining with butter.  the contentment that comes with eating a still-warm loaf.  of all work, bread is worth the effort.

4. cilantro.  i wish there was a richer, deeper, more multi-layered word for sparkle than sparkle.  because i want to say that cilantro makes my taste-buds sparkle - but it's not a good enough word.  cilantro makes my taste-buds sing.  hmmm.  cilantro makes my taste-buds roll on the floor in ecstasy.  :/   nope, still not right.  but there's something so fresh, so succulent, so unparalleled about the taste of cilantro.

5. dill pickles.  fresh strawberries.  yogurt.  vinegar.  lemon juice.  lime juice.  salt. tomatoes.  salt & vinegar chips.  crushed ice and fruit juice.  slim.  crispy chicken.  smooth soups.  basil.  i am so sorry, i cannot pick just five foods! 

:)  tell me your favourite foods in the comments. 
(and thanks for still reading, after such huge gappiness!)

Monday, June 20, 2011

six places

1. zambia is the one place i want to be right now more than any other. (haha bet you couldn't see that one coming ;)
i miss the wide open sky.  the rain.  the earth.  the adventures.  sakeji.  my adopted sisters :)  the sweet kids. 

2. our rooftop was one of my favourite places to go as a kid.  after my sisters grew up & moved away, i loved going up there to read and think and write.  the side that sloped toward the back had a nice cozy place to lie and dream, without being seen by the neighbours (well ... except the ones with periscopes).  it was all wind and sky and tree-tops. 

3. mr. mckay's classroom is one of the first places i think of when i remember high school.  he was such a great teacher - always had time for us and inspired us and was proud of us.  i want to be like him.

4. maitland is where we got married.  i think it's one of the loveliest places in nova scotia - the sea, apple trees, and big smacking banks of red mud.  mmm.

5. my kitchen - a place where i spend a lot of time.  i love trying new flavours and old recipes.  i love making food for cozy people, listening to audio books, cleaning, or just hanging out there.

6. halifax.  i'm landing there tomorrow and i absolutely cannot wait.  i can't believe i'm going to be able to introduce my son to my family, hug my nieces and nephew, and see my dear, long-lost friends.

ahhhhh.  can someone please tell me how i'm supposed to sleep tonight?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

seven wants

1. i want to hug my family again.  (tuesday, yes!)

2. i want to go to zambia again.  i miss it oh-so-much.

3. i want to be a wise and godly mom - and a fun and joyful one too.

4. i want to give myself a little pedicure this week.  *happy sigh*

5. i want to have another baby. (someday.)

6. i want to teach, someday!  and i want to be good at it.

7. i want to see patrick's books on the shelf in the bookstore, surrounded by swarms of eager readers!!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

eight fears

8 fears:

1. i fear God.  He is, in narnian terms, not a tame Lion.

2. i fear living a life of bland monotony.  i don't want to just grow up, have kids, and die.  i want my life to do something, mean something.  i don't want to crawl lazily to death and lie down - i want to rush gladly up to it, at the end, and greet it without regret when every inch of my life is filled to the brim.

3. i fear that i am inclined to be bossy - one of the character qualities i dislike most.

4. i fear that i do not stay in touch with my friends when i am not geographically close to them.  :(

5. i fear echo-y, fanless bathrooms where other people can hear me pee.  (maybe fear is too strong a word for it.  but i really really really don't like it.  which is a bummer when you live in a 1 bedroom apartment!)

6. i fear that i am actually a terrible writer, and people only read my stories on figment because i am patrick's wife and they like his stuff.

7. i fear airplanes!  not being in them, but when they fly overhead in groups.  i always suspect we're being invaded.  i am fully aware that this makes absolutely no sense.

8. i fear hope, sometimes.  if i hope too much, my heart will break.

(this is a sad post!  looking forward to tomorrow's!)

Friday, June 17, 2011

nine loves

1. i 'sure love kisses.'  (sorry, quote from patrick before our engagement.  he was so right.)

2. i love hot, fresh bread.  making it, smelling it, eating it ... :)

3. i love the smell of rain on hot pavement (especially in zambia, but it's nice anywhere).

4. i love waking up to sunshine glowing through my curtains. (they're pale yellow, and they do such happy things to sunlight!)

5. i love my incredibly hilarious and wonderful nieces and nephew to distraction.

6. i love my son, and the mind-boggling miracle from God that brought him into our family.  i love his cute birthmark, his funny laughs, and his incredible determination.

7. i love cuddling into a clean, smoothly-spread set of cool cotton sheets.  mmmmm.

8. i love my amazing parents and the way they never stop learning & growing.  they're so interesting to be around!

9. i love my sisters & brother, who are astonishingly beautiful, smart, and nice.

i think i could go on forever.  :) 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

ten secrets

aw.  this one is hard for me.  i'm quite confessional already, so i don't have a lot of secrets.  the ones i keep are either Super Top Secret or belong to someone else.

however.  i will see what i can do.

1. my secret to a joyful sunday morning is: i get up early.  give myself lots of time to read & pray, have breakfast, care for sam, and get dressed.  then i'm not rushed, stressed, or distracted, and i am ready with a happy heart to remember Jesus.

2. my secret to a sparkling tub is: borax and lemon juice.  scrub scrub scrub.  prettiest, shiniest clean i've ever been able to produce.

3. my secret dream date: a picnic with sam and patrick under a tree, with an l.m. montgomery book and a bag of old dutch salt & vinegar chips.  *happy sigh*

4. my secret to a baby who sleeps soundly and wakes happily: the book "on becoming babywise: giving your infant the gift of sleep."  sooooo helpful & empowering. 

5. my secret dream job: teaching a cooking class, and writing a book about it.  (probably not so secret after all.)

6. my secret pet peeve: snobby people.  (again, probably not so secret.)  they make me throw up a little.

7. my secret to getting things done: checklists.  i LOVE checklists.  i like drawing the little boxes beside my to-do items, and checking them off.

8. my secret wish: to be liked - loved, even! - by a certain someone who i know just doesn't like me.  but how? 

9. my secret air freshener: a spray-bottle with vinegar&water inside.  a few spritzes, and when the vinegar dissolves, it takes any bad smells with it.

10. my secret time-waster: checking&rechecking on figment to see if anyone has commented on my stories.  :P  i thrive on feed-back!

ah there.  now you know more about me than you ever wanted to :).  i think tomorrow's post will be a bit easier!

are any of you up for the challenge?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

happy birthday aunt caitlin!

Dear Auntie Caitlin,
Happy Birthday!

Mama is typing this for me since my hands are in my mouth.  I have some birthday wishes for you.

1. May you always be coordinated enough not to punch yourself in the face.
2. May you never have to sit in a soggy diaper for long.
3. May your blankets be soft and your teddy bears snuggly.
4. May no one ever call you Jim-Bob.

and finally,
5. May your friends love you, even when you uncontrollably vomit on their heads.

I love you sooooooooooo much!  Thanks for all the cuddles, snuggles, and love.
The Sam-Jam.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

a Very Bad Day.

on tuesday, i had to go to the blood lab for some tests.  it's about an hour's walk away, which was pretty appealing on a soft summer morning.
so i got up and didn't eat, since i had to fast before the bloodwork was done.  this also included no coffee, which definitely made it harder to get sam ready because that involves some thinking.
i finally had myself dressed, sam fed and dressed, tucked into the stroller with bottles, back-up clothes, diapers, wipes and blankets - all of the things needed to tide him over for the morning :).  feeling proud of myself for getting it all together, i wheeled the stroller out of the apartment door, and bumped it down the stairs (as gently as i could). 
i was just settling my earbuds in when i realized i'd forgotten my requisition.  agh.
so, i wheeled the stroller back to the building, set it in the stairwell (banking on the presumption that anyone who would steal it would still be in bed), grabbed sam, and dashed upstairs.  got my requisition, back downstairs, popped sam into the (still there! yay!) stroller and started out again. 
so far, so good.

the summer morning was quickly melting into a scorcher of a forenoon (i should know by now that theweathernetwork has some seriously faulty predictions for thunder bay), and i was beginning to regret my blouse with elbow-length sleeves.  i should've opted for a t-shirt.  and my hungry stomach was growling as i pushed the stroller up hill ... whew! 
i was looking forward to being done the tests - i had packed some arrowroot cookies so i wouldn't have to do the walk back on an empty stomach as well.  on the way to the lab, i scouted out a cute park to sit in while i fed sam and ate my cookies.  the day was definitely looking up.

i found the lab okay (thank you googlemaps), and pushed the stroller into a really crowded tiny waiting room (like, zambia-crowded) and took a number.  in spite of the cramped quarters and the stroller (which seemed to be growing in size with every person who entered the room), it was actually a nice wait.
oh sure, it was a long time, but sam was so happy and giggly and friendly with everyone.  i got to chat with so many people, and sam smiled and drooled and giggled at them all.

when my number was finally called, the nurse scowled at me and told me i'd needed to be there at 745 for one specific test.  she grudgingly decided that they could do the rest of the tests, but this one i would have to come back for ... in a month.  yaaagh!  i was so not looking forward to another early-morning hunger hike - but at least i'm able to get medical attention, and it's not costing me an arm and a leg.  so, determined to look on the bright side, i wheeled my stroller through the rabbit-warren to a cubicle, and got a lot of blood drawn.  by this time, i had walked a lot and waited so long that all i could think of was having something to eat!

relieved to know i had cookies in my bag, i re-packed sam into his stroller and pushed him through the clinic to the doors.
and we stopped.
it was pouring.  the scorching sun of a few hours before had long disappeared behind a skyful of heavy grey clouds which were unleashing their fury all over the city.

i grabbed a few cookies - i really couldn't wait! - and bundled sam up as cozily as i could.  i could see some dark clouds in the distance, and knew there was no point in trying to wait it out - this was as good as it would get for a long time.

resignedly, i set off.  my walk home was miserable.  i was wearing flipflops, and they continually sprayed muddy puddle water up my back.  the stroller handle was slick and slimy with my melting sunblock, and the blanket i draped over the stroller kept blowing around.  my blouse, which had seemed too heavy on my way there, was now woefully inadequate.  i was drenched, freezing, and feeling like the worst mother in the world as i paraded the stroller down conspicuously empty sidewalks.

one group of people smiled sympathetically at me from a restaurant window.  i know i looked like a windblown drowned rat.

i was about halfway home when the rain let up for a moment.  i was thrilled!  then all of a sudden, lightning forked out of the sky and thunder bay started living up to its name.

i'm not really a fearful person.  when i lived in zambia, i teased my friends for being nervous in the fierce storms.

but when i saw that first lightning fork, my heart leaped up and cried, "Sam!"  i wanted to wrap myself around the stroller and keep him safe.  all i could do was keep walking - and pray!, which i did - all the way home.

i was so miserable and cranky.  it was the worst day, and i'd have to do it again, and my poor little baby was probably suffering from the rain and cold.  that hurt the most.

but when i finally hefted the stroller upstairs and unwrapped sam, i found him asleep - and warm - and dry!  no tears, no red face from crying.  just a happy cooing baby, glad to see his mama.

eventually i realized it wasn't as bad as it could've been.  my way home, although drenching, was at least downhill.  i had a clothespin that had been holding the arrowroot bag closed, which i used to keep the blanket on top of the stroller; so although it blew around, it didn't blow off.  sam was (somehow!) warm and dry, and good as gold through all the thunder and lightning, even though his mealtime was long past.  i was in flipflops, not sneakers, so at least they dried quickly when i got home.
it wasn't a positively awful day, but it definitely was a Very Bad Day.