Tuesday, December 31, 2013

681 to 690

681. Vava picking up the crayons Sam spilled and putting them away.
682. Sam banging on the window and calling "come back" when his grandparents left.
683. Sam & Vava, sitting on separate couches, watching George. Sam gets down and asks "can I sit by you, Va?" Then he climbs up and snuggles under her blanket and asks me for toast. Ahh♥.
684. Laughter. Vava trying to climb up my legs ... me: "don't pull my pants down!" Vava: "why not?"
685. Sam in the dark, captivated by stars and more stars.
686. Friends and chocolate and chips and bananagrams.
687. Hugs and well-wishes.
688. Sam waking, scared by the fireworks; "stay, Ma?"
689. Rejoicing in hope!
690. Resting with peace.

Monday, December 30, 2013

671 to 680

671. Good advice.
672. My wise & loving mama.
673. Your strength.
674. Your mercy.
675. Your forgiveness.
676. Crispy spring rolls in hot sauce.
677. Sweet Vava hamming it up for the camera.
678. Sam vacuuming underneath the couch cushions, "oh mess!"
679. Papa Gerry doing somersaults with Sam.
680. Matante's visit.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

661 to 670

661. Vava in her adorable new outfit.
662. Sam wearing size 4 today. Gak. My two-year-old is a giant.
663. Friends greeting us with crayons and a colouring sheet for Sam at church today.
664. Sam and Vava going to the same class in Sunday School together ♥.
665. Soup and friends for supper.
666. Cuddles from bright baby Sophia.
667. My lovely dish-washing mother-in-law.
668. Vava warm on this cold day in her new coat.
669. The Reason for patience.
670. The hope of seeing Your face.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

651 to 660

651. Playing with the kids and their grandparents.
652. Vava trying to sing along with the music.
653. Patrick and Sam playing in the snow.
654. Snagging a nap mid-afternoon.
655. Remembering what exactly my God does with dust.
656. Knowing in whom my hope is found.
657. Letting my Comforter heal hurt.
658. Laughing at Vava's silliness.
659. Opening a gazillion presents ♥ Christmas x2!
670. Sam bringing a snowball inside and chasing me around.

641 to 650

641. Sam being Mr. McHelpington today - dishes and vacuuming, all on his own.
642. Finding an effective natural consequence for toy-grabbing ... hello peaceful afternoon!
643. Remembering that He makes beautiful things out of dust.
644. That fresh clean tidy-house feeling.
645. Sam and Vava waiting eagerly for their grandparents to arrive.
646. House full of friends, plates full of food.
647. Chrissy's birthday :D
648. Patrick rocking the party prep.
649. Finding presents I'd forgotten about for the kids.
650. Playing with my sweet kids, a nice quiet stay-in sort of day.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

631 to 640

631. Waiting - an oasis of solitude and sunshine in the middle of the day.
632. Peppermint mocha.
633. The story of Esther, God's work through her - and in her.
634. Sam making up conversations between his trains.
635. Vava in a striped shirt, adorable elf.
636. Love that puts on its boots and puts the garbage at the curb. ♥
637. Sam's sleepy joke when I tucked him in. "Cold, cold." 'Oh darling, are you cold?' "No (smile); nice warm."
638. Friendly cashier at the pumps.
639. Vava playing Papa-goes-to-work, smothering me in kisses and waving goodbye.
640. Patrick making me laugh with notes on the mirror.

621 to 630

631. The kids adoring Uncle Louis long before breakfast.
632. Sam's breathless "oh wow!" when he saw his new trains and tracks.
633. Precious Vava wearing her new hat all morning ... with the mittens still attached.
634. Sam asking to go to bed during the scary part of the morning (when Patrick blew up his inflatable car).
635. Lunch with (and from) loved ones.
636. Aunt Priscilla hiding under the bed to grab Sam's toes; he squawks "no fair!"
637. Owls and stars on my tree!
638. Vava carrying around the grunty toy pig, squeezing and slapping it with glee.
639. Uncle Louis wearing my pink slippers all day.
640. Having a wonderful Christmas full of family and happiness, laughs and treats, a full table and full hearts.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

611 to 620

611. That You came as a baby.
612. (Oh, of all the wonderful things: a baby!)
613. For our sweet sleepy babies.
614. And everyone, once, a baby.
615. Fresh and new like all this snow.
616. Treasured and honoured, Holy baby.
617. Wrapped and loved and worshiped.
618. Placed under a tree.
619. Shining from shadow.
620. Son of man, Son of God; a baby.

Monday, December 23, 2013

601 to 610

601. Sam greeting me with an enigmatic and adorable "moooooose gone" two mornings in a row.
602. Vava trying to show me she needed the toilet by picking up the potty seat.
603. Sam vacuuming up the sensory tray he spilled, using the wand to get every grain of rice.
604. Finishing my short story.
605. Our neighbours and their gifts and treats.
606. Presents under the tree.
607. Little neighbour asking, suspiciously, "were you guys trick-or-treating?" when she saw us coming home carrying presents.
608. Remembering it's better to give and receive love than be self-sufficient.
609. The gaps in my abilities ... handholds of blessing.
610.  Our stove working again, just in time for Christmas.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

591 to 600

591. Hugs & hellos at church this morning.
592. Vava deciding to be grown up and capable all of a sudden; climbing up the stairs and announcing "pee potty."
593. Sam singing fa la la la la ... "fa wa wa wa wa."
594. Church after dark, golden and full of candlelight.
595. The song that's been playing in my heart all week? Our first hymn this morning.
596. Cozy afternoon nap.
597. Patrick putting the kids to bed while I snagged groceries.
598. More than enough redemption, grace, salvation.
599. Laughs and jalapeno soup.
600. Jesus.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

581 to 590

581. Sam asking for a kiss, then saying, "thank you mama for kiss me." ♥
582. Patrick manning the kids while I sorted two closets.
583. Finding cute earrings I thought I'd lost.
584. Vava rediscovering the puppy she fell in love with during our last visit to Chapters.
585. Bright face in the window, waving gladly.
586. Warmer day: only -10!
587. Patrick assembling our armoire.
588. Freshly cleaned mattress and pillows.
589. Thick soft snow like cotton.
590. Writing to a treasured friend.

Friday, December 20, 2013

571 to 580

571. My kids yelling as the cart bumps over ice&snow and makes their voices sound funny.
572. Understanding friends.
573. Finding the song I've been looking for.
574. The zazzling effects of coffee.
575. A sweet kid who loves to share his favourite gum ♥.
576. Caroling in the snow.
577. Candles aglow in the dark.
578. Decadent chocolate truffles.
579. Vava's awe-filled wow.
580. Snagging a bunch of kisses from Sam with reverse psychology.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

561 to 570

561. Round white moon, caught in the branches of a frost-silvered tree, soft blue sky.
562. Two bare bellies like gold, like milk, laughing and darting from room to room.
563. Steamed milk, nuts&bolts, conversation.
564. 2-year-old energy, beautiful and dizzying.
565. The way my parents are so affirming and sympathetic.
566. Sam asking to paint, careful and glad, so proud of his art.
567. Vava putting her diaper in the garbage without being asked.
568. My awesome brother-in-law saying goodbye to cigarettes.
569. Collaborating on a project with some incredible writers.
570. Chores with my One True Love, white wine, Christmas music.

551 to 560

551. Not having to pay postage for sending five presents back home.
552. Seeing my beautiful nieces and nephew on my fridge :).
553. Having super special company.
554. Being blessed with a babysitter who loves&plays with the kids and does the dishes!
555. Sparkly Christmas mail.
556. Vava falling in love with her new teddy.
557. Yummy dessert, good laughs, nice friends.
558. Reading my daily advent book and adoring Jesus.
559. Running into friends at the grocery store.
560. Late chats about good books.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

541 to 550

541. Goodbye kisses from my one true love.
542. Kids jumping on the bed, laughing and silly.
543. The snow being so light and easy to shovel.
544. Sam being friendly and sharing nicely at the train table in Chapters.
545. Sam earnestly playing his harmonica.
546. Vava hanging out with me while I wrote.
547. Getting the cards all sealed and stamped while the kids played.
548. Parcels and cards arriving!
549. Sam 'fwimming' in the tub.
550. Vava using the potty!

531 to 540

531. Vava's good morning, ringing out like a bell.
532. Kids sleeping late.
533. Huge fluffy snowflakes falling all day (so. much. snow.)
534. Christmas love arriving in the mail.
535. Finding new old friends.
536. Making yummy homemade wraps.
537. Chrissy bringing presents to our excited kids.
538. Sam kissing Chrissy with glee.
539. Vava delighedly trying on her new jams and exclaiming thank you!
540. Hearing 'oh come worship' on the drive home.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

521 to 530

521. Sam and Vava talking to each other in the car.
522. Imaginary snowball fight in the living room.
523. Giving Sam an imaginary balloon to take to bed.
524. Extra snuggliness from my very-sleepy Vava.
525. Shopping with the whole family; kids giggling.
526. Writing down my sister's fun Korean address.
527. Couch-cuddles with Patrick.
528. Seeing my mom's beautiful Christmas tree.
529. The adorable Christmas play at church.
530. Patrick making a cute apple & cheese snack for Sam ... on swords.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

511 to 520

511. Sam and Vava's wake-up chats.
512. Sweet mango for breakfast.
513. Sam's cushion-fort.
514. Chatting with my sister, standing on a chair.
515. Getting my Christmas present from Patrick ♥.
516. Taking the kids to the mall and plunging into the shopping insanity.
517. Thick soft snowflakes.
518. Warm slippers.
519. Eggnog and a Christmas movie.
520. Vava's dear and generous kisses.

501 to 510

501. Gift from God in this morning's read.
502. Vava's laugh.
503. Sam's beautiful hair, gleaming after the bath.
504. Late date and mini-manis with the girls.
506. Tomato coconut soup.
507. Leftover tabouleh.
508. Christmas presents from loving friends.
509. Sam and Patrick singing along with YouTube before bed.
510. A second car for two weeks ... yay!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

491 to 500

491. Sam and Vava singing Celine Dion with me on our early morning drive.
492. Vava politely asking "get banoon pees!"
493. Watching the monitor as Patrick settles our scared boy by climbing his big-papa self into Sam's crib for a snuggle.
494. Going to the gym in the middle of the day.
495. A sweet friend who watched my nuggets for me.
496. Family around our table.
497. Toddlers playing with red balloons; sheer joy.
498. Vava pointing at a picture of Sam and exclaiming "brother!"
499. Jesus coming as a baby, gift of God!
500. Jesus coming as a King, gift of God!

481 to 490

481. Crisp sweet melon.
482. Eggnog pancakes.
483. A lovely reminder that I need to teach S&V to share because sharing reflects God's heart, not so I can check it off the good-mom checklist.
484. Sam calling to Vava while we drove to the store, "wook baby! Christmas twee!"
485. The adorable way Vava curls into sleep the instant she's placed in her crib.
486. Patrick's hugs.
487. Another no-shovel day!
488. A skype-hug right when I needed it.
489. Psalm 4.
490. Real friends.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

471 to 480

471. Sam and Vava helping me decorate the tree ... happily, gently, carefully!
472. Washing my hair while both kids were awake ... and no one got hurt.
473. The sky fading from robin's egg blue to white as snow-clouds moved in.
474. Vava telling me she wanted her nap by resting her head on her hand and fake-snoring.
475. Sam making shadow puppets before bed.
476. Dancing with Sam and Vava during lunch.
477. Sam's "you okay ma?" when I banged my wrist.
478. Vava whistling.
479. Knowing there are only 11 days left 'til the days grow lighter.
480. Our little class clown making Sam laugh during timeout.

461 to 470

461. A happy morning with friends.
462. Lots of food for my two-year-old teenager's appetite.
463. Laughing while cleaning house ... skyping with my heart-sister.
464. Seeing sweet friends for the first time in too long.
465. Sam's glad thank you when I brought him a new toothbrush as a wake-up surprise.
466. Finding Vava's Christmas present on sale!
467. Snuggles on the couch and funny YouTube videos with Chrissy.
468. A relaxing neck rub from Patrick.
469. The bright moon smiling hard in the sparkling cold sky.
470. Organic Greek yogurt on sale ... yum win!

Monday, December 9, 2013

1000 gifts

I'm almost halfway through this series of thankful posts, 1000 gifts.  If you haven't read this book by Ann Voskamp, I highly recommend getting a copy and reading it in the quiet hours.  It's so good.  I read it a few years ago, just after Sam was born.  I started keeping a grateful-list then, but in the busyness of figuring out life as a Mom, I stopped writing.  

I know a lot of you are familiar with the book, so I won't review or recap it, but I want to explain my listy posts for those who might be wondering what they mean.

The big idea in One Thousand Gifts is that God blesses us with gifts, constantly, every day.  Once we start opening our eyes to see them, we discover them all around us.  There are big gifts, like salvation and redemption and the eternal character of God - and small gifts, like the way the light glints against my daughter's fuzzy soft hair.  All of creation - gift.  And so keeping a list of the gifts God gives is a way of doing two things: seeing and thanking.  Every item on my list is prefaced with a grateful "ahh.  I see this gift, Father.  Thank you for blessing me with this moment - experience - thing."  

It's not a braggy "look what I have" - because none of this is anything I do or create.  It's all received, given from the Father of Lights who pours out every good and perfect gift.  This series of posts is a teensy attempt to walk through the whirlwind and mind-clutter of everyday and pause when something catches my attention - pause and take it with two open hands and enjoy it and say Thank You, Father.

I used to do the opposite.  I used to grouch through the day, gloomily counting all the things that went wrong, all the ways I suffered and had to do extra work and had to give and give.  I used to think "AUGH!" at every turn.  I really focused on the bad things and I'm sure I was a real joy to be around ;).

I'm not Pollyanna or anything, but I've been growing in gladness and gratitude since I started noticing the gifts that God showers on me every day.  Some blatant, some hidden - it's a bit of a scavenger hunt for treasures, every day - looking for Him, His touch and blessing.  It sure beats mulling and stewing over the unpleasant parts of the day (and yet even those are His gifts ... and I'm learning to say thank you for those parts too).

I love my family more because of this exercise.  It shouldn't be such a surprise, but one of the things that I didn't expect was finding His gifts so abundantly in my children.  Sam and Vava - their actions, words, presence, challenges - they are my gifts from Him.  And every day they show me more of His generous gladness and goodness.  And my husband's kindnesses and love, the way he takes care of us and serves us and enjoys us - these are gifts straight from the heart of God.  I am blessed with heaps of gifts, piled up and lovely, and His opening my eyes to see them ... well, that's another gift.

I am blessed - blessed - and I will never stop saying thank you.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

451 to 460

451. Our pretty tree with lights a-twinkle.
452. Poinsettia reviving after its disastrous weekend in the chilliest corner.
453. Snuggles from my accident-prone darling.
454. New coat hooks inside ... for when the porch is too cold!
455. Pulled pork & lettuce wraps.
456. A hot shower with a good man.
457. More snow.
458. Knowing my little sister-in-law is happy happy happy with her new husband ♥.
459. Seeing a picture of my astonishingly grown up niece.
460. The sweet scent of Fraser Fir pervading the house.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

441 to 450

441. Sleeping in while Patrick cared for the kids.
442. Brunching with friends.
443. Quiche with goat cheese.
444. Sam telling me to go away, because he wanted to keep having fun with Papa.
445. The creaky grindy sound of frozen winter tires on well-packed snow.
446. Everyone napping through a cold winter afternoon.
447. New plans for Christmas.
448. God pressing on my heart.
449. Finding Vava's lost love, Zebra.
450. Making things sparkly clean with my pretty new Norwex cloths.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

431 to 440

431. Wind rushing through the dark night.
432. A completely uninterrupted full night's delicious sleep. Ahhhhh.
433. No shoveling today ... hooray!
434. Sam being concerned for other kids when they cry.
435. Nacho night.
436. Coffee with the ladies :).
437. Laughing with Patrick.
438. Giggling and wrestling with Sam.
439. Vava's quick sorry-kisses.
440. So many new babies on Facebook this week - congratulations, friends!

421 to 430

421. Getting the garbage out just in time!
422. Fun morning at playgroup.
423. Norwex order arrived!
424. Taking Patrick hot drinks at work.
425. Bowling with Sam; he was the pin.
426. Vava rapping Sam on the head after he took Baby.
427. My niece's gorgeous Christmas poster.
428. Vava being so eager for bedtime, sweet sleepy girl.
429. A speaker-phone chat with two of my favourite people.
430. Patrick going to bed at 7 ... sleep away the flu, love!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

411 to 420

411. An unexpected trip to the library; happy kids.
412. The simple pleasure of a good snack: oranges and raisins and cheese, oh yum!
413. Being stronger than I thought.
414. Reading sappy stories to Vava and shamelessly tearing up.
415. Snow-bright night and a bottle and cuddle.
416. Being silly with S&V ♥.
417. Having grapes for sick Patrick!
418. Neighbours who show Jesus' love in practical&generous kindnesses.
419. Sam's glee at the clap-crush method of putting crackers in soup.
420. The house at rest and wrapped in snow.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

401 to 410

401. My Dee who has always loved me. ♥
402. Rearranging the living room ... ahh feels good.
403. Planning a movie double date.
404. My neighbour telling me I'm a good wife.
405. Sam forgiving me for losing patience with him.
406. Vava loving her Baby like Joanne loved Clotilde.
407. The fun of throwing snowballs, even though I have spectacularly terrible aim.
408. Getting an hour of snuggles from Sam during movie time.
409. Unwinding with Patrick, Christmas lights, and a super cozy blanket.
410. A great hair day.

Monday, December 2, 2013

391 to 400

391. Sam climbing up, wrapping his arms around me, and sighing 'nice warm.'
392. Homemade hot&sour soup.
393. Sam asking me to make him snowballs, then pelting me with them.
394. My kids going outside to "play in the snow" ... a.k.a. eat all the snow.
395. The way the windy squally storm turned to calm in my neighbourhood.
396. Two ladies asking about my book at the gym. (The Book Thief. Yes, it's crazy great.)
397. My good husband who stays in with the kids when I want to go out.
398. Vava completely mastering all the climbing she can find. Patrick's daughter much? :).
399. Insulation in our attic ♥ winter nights were never so warm & cozy!
400. The Scriptures, their light, their hope, their peace.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

381 to 390

381. Sam asking me to laugh ♥.
382. Sleepy Vava waking up from her nap, confused and delicious.
383. Fitting into a favourite old skirt.
384. The gas station attendant waving at our pretty Vava.
385. Delicious leftovers for lunch ... thanks Elizabeth!
386. Making snowcones from real snow.
387. Being dumb and awkward with new friends ... always better than lonely and isolated, right?
388. A cookbook with stories that make me cry on every page.
389. Having wonderful parents to miss.
390. Making a solid editing plan for my book. Yay!