Friday, September 28, 2012

Currently ...

Copying: Katie's post :D

Reading: gobs of pregnancy blogs.  This one has a neat perspective.

Watching: The Berenstain Bears: The Bears Get a Babysitter  (Well, actually, I'm watching Sam, and he's watching TBB.  My life is awesome.)

Listening: to the soothing sounds of an airplane droning overhead.  (We live in a flight path.  I almost don't hear them anymore.)

Drinking: an amazing combination!  Cranberry gingerale and apple juice over ice, with three sugared cranberries on top just for some sparkly fun.  With a matching straw, to keep things girly.

Dreaming: about Vava's arrival!  Soon, I hope!  Maybe she'll come on Grampie's birthday - Sunday?  Fingers crossed it won't be longer.

Thinking: that I should tie up the loose cardboard in the basement for recycling day next week.  But blogging is more fun, not gonna lie.

Planning: a date night tonight with Patrick!  Thanks Chrissy :).

Feeling: Vava's fierce little toes digging themselves a spot between my ribs.  Dear Darling, you already live in my heart - let's keep it metaphorical, yes?  

Wishing: my sisters were close by, especially as my due date draws closer!  Is there anything more magical than introducing your baby to the people you love most in all the world?

Creating: a gigantic grocery list.  Our romantic date night will probably involve some Samless shopping haha.

Hoping: to see my baby's face in the next few days!  She hid her face ever since week 12 - in spite of all the ridiculous ultrasounds I had, I have no clue what she looks like - and oh, I'm longing to see her!

Smelling: popcorn ... yes, I think a pregnant woman lives in my house.  And she may or may not have had popcorn for lunch.  

Missing: being out & about - Sam has been quarantined for 12 days!  Just 2 more and we're free.

Going: outside to play on the deck with the Jam.  Perhaps it's time for some chalk and basketball.

Discussing: this cool experiment.  What do you think of it?  Should I be scared?

How about you? What are you currently up to?  Paste your blog in the comments so I can read your 'Currently' too!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

sheldon part 2

the first week with sheldon was a little rough - he ignored his curfew (set by the boarding program, not us), and we had a few unpleasant moments.  after the first week, i found myself knocking at God's door, asking Him what was up.

He kindly reminded me that His plan was still His plan, and my job was still to obey Him.

and that really made all the difference, you know?  it took away any thought of giving up.  it took away any worries that i can't do this (i know i can't!  but God can.).  it took away the temptation to do a half-hearted job.  because we're not providing a boarding home for Sheldon.  we're obeying God.  and we will persist in that - keep on and be faithful, regardless, like the sons of zadok.

since that first rough week, things have gotten a lot better.  patrick sat down and had a little talk with him - a nice talk, a gentle one, but he made it clear that we care for sheldon and are responsible for his safety, and need his cooperation in obeying curfew and communicating with us.  after that, sheldon never missed curfew.

and then there was a little incident that i just know God engineered.
sheldon has hockey practice wednesday nights.  at suppertime, he came in the door to eat and then remembered he had left his stick at school.  so patrick hopped up from the table and drove him to school.  his hockey stick was gone.  stolen.

so patrick took him to the store and bought him a new stick.  and after that, he started to open up.  he thanked patrick, and talked with him in the car.  he chatted with me on the way to hockey practice, telling me about his favorite sports and what he'd like to do in the future.  he asked about sam's heritage.

then, last weekend, he brought his girlfriend over and they hung out in our living room.  (she's sweet!)  it's not huge steps, but little by little i know he's getting more comfortable with us.  and that makes me so glad!

his mom was in town for the past few days, and he spent them with her.  he's back with us this evening, and i'm so glad to see him.  honestly, i enjoyed the just-us-ness (and it was nice to laze around in my pjs half the morning instead of getting dressed), but i was surprised to find myself missing him and wondering how he was doing.

welcome home, sheldon :).

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


you know how some mornings you wake up and it's like God is determined to give you a hug?

last night i was feeling sickish.  cold and fevery at the same time - you know, just that yucky feeling that often accompanies the onset of the flu.  i spent most of the evening curled up under a comforter on the couch in my brother's old hoodie, snuggling my feet into the warmest socks i own and surfing pregnancy blogs.

i finally felt warm at bedtime, and crawled into bed for a blissful sleep.  it's getting increasingly difficult to find a comfy position, thanks to this watermelon huge baby who is displacing all my organs and shoving herself simultaneously into my lungs and bladder.

i digress.

patrick's shoulder is a pretty great pillow, and he shares it freely.  so i was able to fall asleep and had a good night.  yay!

i woke up early with patrick and made his lunch, then snuggled back into bed to catch some more zzzs until sam should wake ... and sam slept in til 930!  it felt like the biggest gift in the world - so much sleep, and so much comfortable sleep at this stage in the game is a miracle.

coming downstairs, i found the mail in the hall - and there was a beautiful note from a dear friend.  it made my heart glow.

so, happy and rested, i fed sam his breakfast and then received a text from a friend who was wondering if she could watch sam on friday so patrick & i could have a date!  2 date nights in as many weeks?  yes please!

and then, just when my belly was full and happy with my own breakfast, the doorbell rang.  more good things?  or someone creepy?  i should have known ...

it was the postman, with a box of tea and love from patrick's cousin danielle (who, may i mention, has a hilarious 3 year old and a new baby and still took the time to write a tear-jerker of a letter and send me some incredible tea).

i think God is trying to give me a hug today.  i'll take it :D.

Monday, September 24, 2012

stop and smell the flowers

sam loves to smell flowers.  he always takes a biiiig sniff and then grins and says AAAHHHH with gusto.

today i took him for a walk, and he wasn't interested in smelling flowers at all.  got really cranky every time i stopped to point them out.  i guess it's because he was tired, since he fell asleep before we made it home, and then slept for almost 3 hours.

this afternoon we made playdough.  he pointed to the bowl and asked, 'is it?'

'flour,' i told him, distracted while measuring salt.

he grabbed a huge handful and sniffed joyously.


he did not say ahhh.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Vava: Pourquoi?

Because it's a new-to-your-ears sort of name, a lot of people ask us why we plan to name our daughter Vava.

I'll take you back to our teensy first apartment, where we lived in joyful empty-walletness, completely surrounded by love.  We hadn't been married very long, and already started thinking tentatively about kids.  We were in our 3rd year of university, working part time, and only occasionally making ends meet ... well, mostly just letting them wave at each other now and then.

We knew it wouldn't be a wise time to bring children into our world, and I think that was harder on Patrick's heart than mine.  I was okay with the wait.  The thought of bringing a baby home to our furniture-less place wasn't terribly appealing.  School first, then a baby, we decided.

Then one day I was reading a book, and the main character described what it was like to be a Mom.  I was filled with longing, and I knew I wanted kids - I wanted them as soon as we could have them.  I pounced on a napping Patrick and told him I wanted to start growing our family.  Not just sometime, not just later, but now, even if it meant we lived off pasta and peanut butter the rest of our lives.

Giddy with excitement, we headed downtown to walk and talk and sort out just what we might do.  We held hands and smiled at each other in the brilliant sunshine, and even the homeless people seemed beautiful and right.

We wandered into a bookstore near the neighbourhood where Patrick proposed, and found ourselves in the kids book section.  A gorgeously illustrated book caught our eye.  It was titled 'Je Suis Fou de Vava' (I Am Crazy for Vava).  It was the story of a little boy who was madly in love with a little girl, who wore a yellow dress and yellow ribbons in her hair.  It was so sweet, and we could hardly bear to leave it behind.  We both fell in love with the name, and decided if we ever were blessed with a daughter, we would name her Vava.

So, that's how Vava came to have her name.
And it's quite true ... we're crazy for Vava.

(Her birth certificate will call her Vivian Varvara - Vivian because it's my Grammy's name, and Varvara because together they shorten so deliciously into Vava.  And the 'var's in Varvara rhyme with car, not care.  And yes - after we found out this was a girl - we bought the book.)

Monday, September 17, 2012


feeling so loved this weekend!  in a million little ways, and in some big ways, friends and family have been showing me they love me.  want to take a minute to be grateful.

-last friday, some friends joined me for lunch and a sunday-school-planning-session.  it was happy and productive and when they left, my kitchen was clean and three gorgeous gerbera daisies graced my countertop.  loved.

-friday night, patrick's mom pulled up, walking in with gift bags and homemade pie.  she had driven more than 600kms to watch sam for us on saturday so that we could paint the kids' room in one day without him being underfoot.  so, after a huge drive on friday, she took the entire saturday and ran around after the busiest little monkey known to man.  brought home presents for our kitchen, our bathroom.  then she cleaned the house while patrick and i went out.  loved.

-saturday.  painted the nursery with the nicest man on the planet who did all the cutting so i could just roll.  listened to the radio, to sermons online, to music.  even stole a few kisses now and then.  loved.

-saturday, afternoon.  community unity picnic - free hotdogs & fruit, and balloons and sippy cup for samjam.  loved.

-saturday, supper.  dinner club with happy, kind, laughing, dear friends - and the meal?  oh drool.  chicken cordon bleu, garlic potatoes, creamy caesar salad, steamed veggies, and ice cream coffee cake.  none of which i had to make.  served up with warmth and hospitality.  loved?  so loved.

- saturday, night.  last bible study in an 11-week session with a dozen of the nicest ladies on earth.  they brought treats, hugs, and honesty.  and again, left my kitchen gleaming.  loved.

-sunday.  came home from church with our backseat filled with gifts from friends - things we just thought you might need ... just thought you could use.  loved.

-sunday, afternoon.  patrick did laundry and grabbed groceries i'd forgotten to get.  loved.

-sunday, night.  patrick's cousin joined us for supper and made our home happier with her presence.  loved.

-monday, early.  mama c stayed an extra hour to watch sam so i could go to my midwife appointment. tucked him in for a nap and folded laundry.  loved!

turned out, i had the time wrong and needed a sitter for the afternoon.  (usually i take sam, but he had a fever and i didn't want to infect other new mamas and teeny babies.)  so:

-monday, afternoon.  chrissy's day off.  she came over and watched sam for me so i could make it to my appointment. loved.

-monday, afternoon.  nana called, just to tell me how things are, that she loved me, is praying for me, and to ask about the baby.  loved.

loved, loved, loved. 
i feel like a brand-new baby, wrapped up and swaddled in it.  


Saturday, September 15, 2012

the sons of zadok

the sons of zadok.

before today, if you'd asked me who the sons of zadok were, i'd probably have made a guess that they were an angry german band.

but ... they're not!  and they're awesome.  they showed me something so cool today.

in ezekiel 44, God gives ezekiel a vision of the temple - how it should be.  the israelites had turned away from God and were worshiping idols and false gods.  even the priest-family, the levites, had taken up this practice, and made offerings to the gods of child sacrifice and prostitution and others.

all except the sons of zadok.

so in God's revelation of the temple-to-be, he honoured the sons of zadok with the best priestly role ... they were the only ones allowed close to him. 

and he told ezekiel what their payment would be.  'this shall be their inheritance: I am their inheritance; and you shall give them no possession in israel: I am their possession.' (44:28).

which could seem like a lacklustre reward to someone who doesn't know Him.  (really?  no house?  no gold?  no lands?  no prestige? don't they deserve more?  they were the only faithful ones!)

but ...

they got to be in God's presence.  what's that like?

You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. 
(psalm 16:11)

life.  joy.  pleasure.  none of the ugliness and stress that comes from maintaining land, hoarding gold, living up to a certain level of prestige.  no struggling with the temptation to worship oneself or put me first ...

dwelling in God's presence is as close as we get to eden - where his presence walked with adam and eve.  his presence makes his enemies fall, but graces his followers with strength and joy.  his presence is our delight, our daily hope and most ardent longing.

oh sons of zadok, you blessed servants.  you knew the value of remaining faithful, and the reward that waits!

Friday, September 14, 2012

you never let go

one of my fave bloggers (rebekah, at heart cries) posted on fb tonight about her little guy singing 'you never let go' by david crowder.

popped on for a listen, and it was just what i needed.

because i know it's trite, but it's no less comforting:

God never said it would be easy, but He did say He'd be with me.

and if one of His beauties is that He never lets me go, that's one of the characteristics He wants to develop in me too.  the strength to hold on when the easy way out is letting go?  that's only developed by holding on.  holding tight.  repeatedly.  

and the strength, the peace, i need for tonight?  here.  right on time. 

thanks for praying, friend.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

36 weeks

there are officially four weeks left!  can't wait to snuggle my lively stranger.  

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

one month!

today is exactly one month until vava's due date!

the first part of my third trimester was so tiring.  maybe it was a little bit of the post-july letdown - saying goodbye to my nieces, sister, & dad was really hard.  i just wanted to sit on the couch and keep this big belly out of my way.  whatever it was, i was sucked into a vacuum of boredom and choredom that left me feeling lazy and tired at the same time.

the past 2 weeks, though, have been full and good.  i'm feeling energetic and excited and while i still find myself needing a nap and a second coffee to get to the end of the day, i'm enjoying my days a lot more.  and, i'm sure, so is sam!

today we had a dancing breakfast and walked to the mall and had friends over in the afternoon and even cleaned up and prepared supper.  i feel like playing outside, and the idea of going to the park doesn't feel like the world's biggest sludge-fest - instead, it's a nice way to enjoy the happy autumn weather :).

maybe i'm just getting ridiculously excited to meet miss vava.  she's been entertaining us all with her huge belly-shifting kicks - i love to lie on the couch and balance a cup or bowl on my belly, and watch her make it dance.  and every day takes us one day closer to her arrival.

my sweet neighbour thinks that vava won't make it to october.  she thinks she could come as early as next monday, but might hang on for another week after that.  i've got to say, i wouldn't complain if she came early!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

fat sheep and the laws of abundance

i couldn't help but see my culture in ezekiel 34 this morning.   especially verses 11-24.  when he sees that the shepherds aren't taking good care of the sheep, God blesses his sheep and brings them to prosperous places. but then ...

'is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pasture; and to drink of clear water, that you must muddy the rest of the water with your feet?  and must my sheep eat what you have trodden with your feet, and drink what you have muddied with your feet? ... I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep ... you push with side and shoulder, and thrust at all the weak with your horns ...'

i felt really ashamed when i read this.  that's what we're like in the west, isn't it - it's not enough that we are prosperous and blessed ourselves - we also prevent others from enjoying the resources we've been given, we hold back and shut others out.  it's like we think the blessings are our own (as if sheep can own fields and rivers) and once we've taken our fill, we'd rather muddy the water and trample the grass than let others come and be filled. 

but they're not ours to own or hoard.  they're ours for eating and drinking.  for everyone's eating and drinking.

and then God (he's gentle, isn't he?) opened my eyes more, and helped me to see that it's not just my society that does this, and it doesn't just happen on a global scale.

i do this, on a personal scale.

all the blessings he gives me are for me to enjoy.  rivers to drink, more than enough to eat, pastures to run and grow and live in, and safety at the hands of the very Best Shepherd.  but sometimes i worry that there won't be enough.  especially when the Shepherd brings more sheep and says "share!"

but i might not have enough if i share, i think fearfully, these provisions might run out.

i can hear the Shepherd laughing. 

he does not operate on a capitalist system, and value is not driven by scarcity.  no, his is the law of abundance, gorgeously worded in luke 6:38 - 'give, and it will be given to you. good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. for with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.'

God's rivers flow wider when more mouths come to drink, and the food springs up to fill the mouths opened for it.  instead of heaving others away with my well-filled belly, i need to enjoy what he gives me and rejoice that there is always more than enough to share.

more than enough in God's beautiful jumbled upside down economics.

give, and it will be given to you. good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. for with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.

Monday, September 10, 2012


i want to blog about our student, but not infringe on his privacy.  so i'm going to call him sheldon.  he's a shy guy, and when i googled names of shy people, sheldon came up in the top 25.  (another contender? norbert!  almost picked that one haha.)


things are still new and awkward and we're getting to know each other slowly.  if you know me, i'm sure you can imagine me standing like an eager puppy with my tongue hanging out, wagging my whole self and wanting to jump all over him with a million questions.  um, metaphorically.

but he's shy.  and i don't want to freak him out - just befriend him.  patrick's better at that kind of friendliness than i am, and i'm trying to learn from him - i'm so glad to be married to a chill kind of guy!

sheldon is super quiet.  he doesn't say anything unless it's in response to a question, and he likes to be independent.  he's tall and skinny, sporty, and polite.  he always thanks me for every meal, and twice has even said "it was good" - which i take as a big step, because he's not one to volunteer conversation.  :)

and the cutest thing happened on saturday.  we sat down for lunch, our first meal together, and before we ate we paused to thank God for the food.  i took sam's hand, and he reached out his other hand to sheldon.  sheldon looked at me, and i said 'he wants to hold your hand while we pray.  go ahead if you want to.'  and he did!  and sam was so pleased.

and at lunchtime on sunday, sheldon reached out and held sam's hand - and then put out his hand to hold patrick's! 

my heart glowed.  that little action just meant so much. 


small steps, sheldon.  we'll get there.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

we have a teenager!

a few weeks ago, the radio interviewed a member of the nnec (northern native education council), who was asking for families to host high school students for the school year. they were short on housing for 30 kids.

i was at home listening to the radio, and felt God tapping me on the shoulder. my first response was 'no way! we have a new baby on the way, and only 3 bedrooms! that's crazy.'  i didn't really entertain the idea seriously because - well, seriously!  we've got a baby on the way! but when they played an excerpt later, again i felt like God wanted us to volunteer to host. 

but because i'm stubborn and it's kind of scary, i decided to give God an opportunity to reallllly make it clear (haha aren't i nice?). so i told Him that if He wanted us to do it, patrick would have to bring it up, and i wouldn't worry about it until then.

of course, patrick came home from work for lunch that day (this happens maybe 2x a month?) and so it was probably an hour after i had made my request to (or deal with?) God that patrick goes, 'so, the nnec is looking for host families for students. i wish we were able to host one.'

and i knew we could do it, because God wanted us to. so i told patrick about my conversation with God, and he just grinned at me.  so we applied.  we moved sam to the bigger room so he and vava could share, then cleaned out his old room, and painted, and bought a desk and lamp and bedding ... and now we've got a student living with us for the school year!

whew :).

it's not how we imagined our year to go - but we're pretty confident that it's how God wants it to go.  so we'll get a little experience in substitute parenting a teenager, and hopefully share a little love with a lonely kid who's far from home.

 some questions i had, and some answers from God:

me: we're a family of 4, and only have 3 bedrooms, and you want us to give one up for the year?
God: whose bedrooms are these anyway?  and whose house? 
me: oh.  right.  Yours.  always.  (because anything we have - it's all from His hand, isn't it?  plus, earlier that week i had been reading about the wise men who offered their treasures to the baby King, and i thought about my treasures - my family, my house, my happy life - and offered them to Him.  so they are doubly His.)

me: could we be putting sam & vava in danger, by having a stranger in our house?
God: I am your safety.  they are safer in My Hands than behind locked doors.  and if you say no to Me, you're putting them in danger - the danger of having parents who are afraid of man instead of fearing Me.  trust Me.  and consider this - i want this student in your home for his safety.

me: patrick and i aren't exactly wise or experienced enough to substitute-parent a teenager.
God (laughing): no, but I am.  and this is all on Me.

God has brought us a student, and we are excited for the awkward newness to wear off and the fun to begin.
pray for us?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


a list of sam at 18 months

darling sam, i have front row seats in the you-show, and have been cheering gleefully for you since the beautiful, wide-eyed, heart-popping day of your birth.  you have grown and changed and become so much in that short time.  on that first day, that blissful evening when you came silent into the world with your curious eyes open and looking at everything, you were already planted deep in my heart.  in the past 18 months, your roots have burrowed deeper inside of me, and your limbs and curls have grown and grow daily - hourly.  sometimes i forget, in the up-close-ness of our days together, how astonishing you are and what incredible things you have learned.

  • sleep like a champ.  12+ hours every night, and usually 3 hours of napping during the day (and oh, how you earn every single minute of it!).
  • love to eat oatmeal pureed with strawberries and peanut butter for breakfast.
  • are best friends with a stuffed monkey from your auntie sophie.  you can't sleep without him in your arms.
  • love to pretend that any toy is a truck, and every truck is crashing.  brrrm crash!
  • run ridiculously fast, usually looking back at me over your shoulder and laughing.
  • are utterly terrified of fighter planes.  one flew over you one day when i wasn't close, and you dissolved into a puddle of terror.  it took 20 minutes of cuddles and singing for you to stop shaking.
  • say sorry when you know you have done something wrong.  (usually you say sorry by giving a hug, but sometimes you use words)
  • have the most beautiful autumn-coloured eyes that are always full of light and laughter.
  • love kids.  i adore watching you meet new friends - you run towards them with your arms open, generous with hugs and giggles and drool.
  • are an amazing little athlete!  you can throw and catch, climb and run, and you rarely lose your balance.  you have more skills than i thought possible.
  • rock out whenever you hear music.
  • take off your socks in the crib.  you'll leave them on the rest of the time, but once you're in your crib, off they come.  :)
  • have the world's biggest collection of facial expressions, and you adore playing peekaboo, especially when we make faces.
  • love to stop and smell flowers.  you take a big sniff and say ahhhh!
  • are a big fan of the backyardigans and phineas&ferb.  i think it's all the music ;).
  • say 'let go!' a lot - but i think you mean 'i want to hold this,' because you often say it when you're pointing at something that nobody is holding.
  • are such a little helper!  you love to help me vacuum, put things in the garbage can, and sweep.  
  • adore your papa, and have started calling him pa lately!  watching you two together melts my heart into a big gooey puddle.
that's a little bit of you at 18 months, samjam.   you are precious, hilarious, and wonderful.  i am so grateful that God brought you into this world and into our family. xo