2951. My hard-working friend with dishpan hands.
2952. Banana muffins.
2953. Patrick manning the kids this morning.
2954. Sleeping in til almost 10!
2955. Grocery shopping sans enfants ... ahh bliss!
2956. My generous in-laws.
2957. Prepping some yumtacular freezer meals with my otl.
2958. The smell of donair meat pervading my house ♥.
2959. Finding Sam and Vava asleep in Sam's bed.
2960. Mango smoothies with 2 of my favourite people ♥.
Saturday, August 30, 2014
2951. My hard-working friend with dishpan hands.
2941. Hearing baby's heartbeat today.
2942. Sam's hilarious confession.
2944. Sam riding his trike around the sundial.
2945. Chat with our new neighbours.
2946. Wifi at the doctor's office.
2947. YouTube lullabies.
2948. Tim's coffee.
2949. Kisses from Patrick.
2950. Catching up on my overdue book study notes.
Friday, August 29, 2014
2931. Sam and Vava being so glad to find Jedidah still here.
2932. Having my first-ever massage ♥ ahh happy belly!
2933. Jedidah playing with the kids in the sunshine.
2934. Sam asking for "my Vava" when she was napping.
2935. Vava asking for Sam as soon as she woke.
2936. Meeting new people.
2937. Patrick putting the kids to bed.
2938. Slow-cooker supper.
2939. Patrick bringing me a just-because gift ♥.
2940. Vava being such a little mother to Pink Zebra.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
2921. A productive morning rearranging the kids' room.
2922. Vava caring for Zebra like a baby - cuddles, kisses, even a clean bum!
2923. Sweet bargains at the store.
2924. Sam warning Vava against the danger of drinking coffee: "it is too hot. It will burn you so bad. And you will get a bite from a dinosaur."
2925. Gifts from Zambia!
2926. A letter from one of my Esther-sisters.
2927. Company for supper.
2928. Jedidah arriving!!
2929. Sam and Vava in their new Zambian clothes, announcing they are so pretty.
2930. A special phone call from my mama ♥.
Monday, August 25, 2014
2911. Vava and her friend screaming with happiness to see each other.
2912. The kids washing the chalk wall with sponges - so much easier than rags!
2913. My sister and I dressing in matching outfits - 3800 km apart :).
2914. Sam riding his trike like a pro around Vava and her bare toes.
2915. Sam saying bear food for bare foot ... "I wanna be bear food mama!"
2916. Sam trying to explain why Jesus died on the cross ... "dinosaur bit him?" (... we had a little chat.)
2917. Patrick painting with the kids after supper.
2918. Vava in a diaper and bib, gleefully painting a whole picture blue.
2919. Realizing how close we are to baby K's birth ... ahh soon!
2920. Treats from our sweet neighbours.
Sunday, August 24, 2014
2901. Vava asking for tickles, then collapsing into giggles and squeals.
2902. Manning the toddler room with Patrick, the best kid-entertainer ever.
2903. Sam eating chocolate chips with a pretend friend.
2904. Getting the best text from a (real-life) friend.
2905. Huge lake waves.
2906. Sam and Vava playing together in the sand.
2907. The way kids understand each other best.
2908. Getting the guest room set up for a special visitor!
2909. More pictures of sweet Tyler.
2910. No bedtime trouble at all from two very sleepy kids :).
Saturday, August 23, 2014
2891. Sam's open-armed response to a sad baby: "come here, lay your head on my shoulder."
2892. Vava's independent play at the beach.
2893. Unexpected sunshine at the beach!
2894. When I told Sam that we don't spit our drink back into the cup before drinking again, he argued reasonably, "some people do, I think."
2895. Having three kids playing joyfully together upstairs :).
2896. Sam tiring himself out playing with a neighbour.
2897. A long shower.
2898. Sleepy Sam and Vava snuggling before bed.
2899. Patrick being home all day.
2900. A wonderful belly massage.
2881. Getting ready to go out with the kids, and Sam telling me I looked beautiful.
2882. Walking in the rain at Mission Marsh with Sam & Vava.
2883. Making 2 reasonably pretty toy boxes with contact paper and diaper boxes.
2884. Cheetos on sale :).
2885. Being married to Patrick.
2886. Chrissy coming for supper.
2887. Sam's adorable vocabulary - "you may not" and "quite" sound so funny and sweet coming from him.
2888. Vava always wanting to hug Sam upon waking.
2889. Earl Grey tea.
2890. Seeing a picture of a baby that looks just as I imagine baby K will look ♥. So exciting!!
Thursday, August 21, 2014
2871. Driving from the grey city to the sunny beach.
2872. My friends' kids being so kind to Sam and Vava.
2873. Sitting on the sand in the sunshine.
2874. Feeling relaxed and refreshed.
2875. The energy to putter around and catch up on chores this afternoon.
2876. Washing dishes (and inevitably, dinosaurs) with Sam and Vava :).
2877. Crispy peanut butter cups.
2878. Patrick showering with the kids ... shaving cream beards and everything!
2879. Sam wandering around the house singing hymns.
2880. Vava wearing her headband and declaring she's so pretty. ♥
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
2861. A chance to read my Bible while my kids were awake, and actually pay attention to what I was reading.
2862. A great catch-up chat with one of my Tbay big sisters.
2863. Sam and Vava having so much fun with their friends I pushed lunch and naps back an hour... with no meltdowns!
2864. Supper cooking in my crockpot while I napped.
2865. Checking an errand off my list.
2866. Playing at the park with Sam and Vava and Patrick.
2867. Sam's sweet response. I told him I was so glad God gave him to me, and he hugged me close and lovingly (if ungrammatically) replied "so do I!"
2868. A washer and dryer in my house, cleaning and fluffing our clothes :).
2869. My gorgeous husband kissing me goodnight.
2870. Baby K clearly preparing himself for a career in gymnastics or mountain climbing.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
2851. Quiet ultra-early morning with my one true love.
2852. Hot mocha and a cozy blanket with my Bible.
2853. Patrick, writing.
2854. A restful visit with friends.
2855. Vava, fascinated with Lego.
2856. A gorgeous chat with my North Star sister.
2857. The kids gleeful to play on diggers when we picked up Patrick from work.
2858. Playing with the kids after supper.
2859. A huge laugh from Sam's cousin.
2860. Popcorn and a quiet evening in. ♥
I was reading an article over at theMOBsociety (a friend mentioned the site to me a few weeks ago and ohh I'm so glad she did), and the author mentioned that moment where we look at our kids sleeping and just drink in their perfection.
And that's when I realized what you all probably know already ...
It doesn't wait for the absence of imperfection. It dwells simultaneously, and it's right there for the appreciative heart to notice.
My life is a far far cry from perfect. There are so many things I want to do, wish I'd've done, and don't think I'll ever manage to do. Character qualities I admire in others but so clearly lack. Sins I keep on repeating. People I've hurt. Things that make my heart feel heavy, and full, and sick. Imperfections (largely my own).
My sister told me once that when she gets frustrated and sick with the state of the world, she takes comfort knowing that that discontent is evidence of her soul longing for its true home. Mmhmm. I feel that way a lot. Like so much time is spent in the gap between what our hearts desire and what we actually encounter.
But I also find moments that are simply perfect.
Sam hopping off his bike to exclaim over Vava's sidewalk chalk scribbles, declaring they're too pretty to walk on.
Vava laying her cheek against Patrick's head, sighing, "aww, Papa."
When I drop something heavy on my toe and cry out, and they run clumsily into the kitchen asking, "you okay, mama?"
Patrick laughing with me over something that strikes the same happiness-note in us both.
A dresser full of baby clothes, waiting.
That flash of illumination in the heart when God speaks.
Perfect. Merciful evidence of our true home, sprinkled (lavishly!) in the imperfect.
Monday, August 18, 2014
2841. Sam politely asking me not to turn on the radio, "but thank you, mama!"
2842. Meeting friends at the park.
2843. Sweaters on this chilly day.
2845. Hot tea.
2846. Vava drawing her "poppapus" (octopus) on the sidewalk.
2847. A family walk after supper.
2848. Sam carefully getting off his bike and walking it every time we crossed a road.
2849. Sam telling Vava her pictures are so pretty.
2850. Vava cooking me pretend supper ... her precious soother in a bowl :).
Sunday, August 17, 2014
2831. "Roundie Rosie" ... what Sam calls Ring Around the Rosie.
2832. Vava wearing her "beeping hat" ... baby K's hat that she loves.
2833. Starbucks this morning; a happy little jolt before playing in the toddler room.
2834. Friends and making plans!
2835. Making it to the gas station without running out of fuel.
2836. Hanging out with Patrick in the kitchen and making 16 freezer meals.
2837. The kids' elation at going to the carwash.
2838. Sam mastering his bike.
2839. Vava's little exclamation after a fun day: "so happy so happy mama!"
2840. Hearing about a great sermon.
Saturday, August 16, 2014
2821. Vava sleeping with her stuffed animal on her face, just like Sam used to do.
2822. Sam responding to Patrick asking him where a toy was: "um, it should be some here, some where!"
2823. An unplanned family nap in the kids' room.
2824. Playing at Hillcrest park.
2825. Sam's fingers remaining intact after a frightening incident with the car door.
2826. The kids wearing some of baby K's clothes and being so happy about it.
2827. Finding the maternity band I thought I'd given away.
2829. Cookies from our neighbours.
2830. A girls' night with chats and peach tea.
Friday, August 15, 2014
2811. An amazing friend who kept my kids while I waited for almost 3 hours at the doctor's.
2812. My fave makeup on sale!
2813. Text chats to stave off the waiting room boredom.
2814. Sam telling my friend that "papa says it's good to push out stinky farts."
2815. Vava sleeping in the car and standing on her head in bed.
2816. Iced capps.
2817. Friends on the beach and gourmet pizza.
2818. A tub ring of sand testifying to Sam and Vava's fun evening.
2819. Neighbours popping in with new-baby gifts.
2820. Rain to cool down the sticky city.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
I'm so grateful for Facebook, and for the way we can stay in touch online! But I did learn some things while I was taking a break, and I'm grateful for those lessons too.
In the first three days, I was really surprised by how often I picked up my phone to pop over to Facebook. And weirder still, I started to notice how often I was arranging my thoughts as if I was composing a status update. I was kind of disconcerted by that - it was almost like there was a layer between my brain and the moment, a Facebook layer. Happily, it didn't last long.
I was a little bit bored at first - there were gaps in my day that weren't entirely filled by other people's lives ;). But then I started doing other things - writing again, listening to music, drawing pictures just for the fun of it, reading - and I felt my brain wake up. I was surprised one day, to find myself thinking about current events. I had a logical train of thought and supporting arguments and actually enjoyed the process. I wasn't thinking in order to reply to someone on Facebook, I wasn't forming a blog post or picking sides in a social debate - just thinking, for the sheer pleasure of it, with absolutely no audience in mind. And that was pretty nice. I didn't realize I had been living with the invisible Facebook audience in my head until I backed away.
I was less late. I wasn't actually on time (ha!), but I wasn't as dreadfully late.
I talked on the phone more (sorry, Jo, for stealing so many mornings).
I took pictures to enjoy them, not because I was thinking about how they might look on Facebook.
I watched movies with Patrick and didn't look at my phone a dozen times while they played.
I woke up in the morning and opened my Bible app, not my Facebook app.
I posted pictures on my blog.
I hunted down recipes, and made them.
And what about my kids, my weedy garden, the metaphor that God used to inspire me to take a break?
I found myself enjoying them. A lot. They're kind of awesome. :) Sam can do so many things (especially when I have the patience to let him fail a few times first), and Vava is blowing me away with her interest in reading and writing. She's still ONE!
And this is probably no surprise to everyone but me ... but the weeds I was seeing were mine. Not theirs. I needed to pull up the weeds of distraction to enjoy my family and appreciate the amazing people they are. Okay, yes, they have things we need to work on. Sam has started to bite when he's angry - ugh! - and Vava whines like nobody's business when she's tired. But peeling off the Facebook-layer from my brain gave me the perspective and attention-span to see my kids more completely. I actually had entire days where my frustration level didn't max out. I was aware of their good choices as well as their bad ones - and I was better able to discuss their problems with them, because I was doing a better job of paying attention to things before they escalated into something awful.
And my favourite benefit? I started being more aware of God.
I think we will always struggle, in this life, with the film of the visible blocking our mind to the invisible. I will, anyway. Being aware of Him is a discipline, walking with Him moment by moment isn't as easy as walking with a person I can see and touch and hear. But it's like anything else - the more you do it, the easier it becomes. And the more my mind is in the habit of engaging with invisible things like ideas, thoughts, feelings, the easier it is to engage in prayer, repentance, gratitude - being in His presence.
So I pulled some weeds, and planted some good stuff. I discovered how nourishing it is to be creative, to plunge my mind into deliberate thought, to pursue depth in prayer. I became aware of that ugly Facebook-layer that was filtering my thoughts ... and time away helped me to peel it off. I want to guard that gap, the FB-filterless brain I'm bringing back with me, and keep enjoying my thoughts as they are, without editing them for any audience. And I'm glad to be back, to be in touch with my family and friends. Most of you are far away, and I love your updates and photos and stories. I'm so glad I get to know what you're up to, and I love being able to say hi so easily and frequently.
God bless you, friends!
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
2801. Getting Sam's old dresser cleared and filled up with tiny precious baby boy clothes ♥.
2802. Aunt D coming over and playing with the kids so I could work uninterrupted.
2803. A delicious lunch.
2804. Hot chocolate and a good chat.
2805. The Inn of the Sixth Happiness on Netflix.
2806. Six sweet friends and their fun kids for supper.
2807. Sam & Vava sitting on their new picnic table, having a bedtime snack.
2808. Laughs and helpful kids.
2809. Vava giggling and asking Tracy to tickle her.
2810. Owen putting his arm around Vava and telling her the wasp wouldn't sting her.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
2791. An absolutely perfect morning at the beach.
2792. Sam and Vava playing happily together in the yard.
2793. Getting a chance to help one of our neighbours who is always helping others.
2794. Vava and I waking Sam up with snuggles and kisses.
2795. The kids making up games while Patrick worked outside.
2796. Vava looking for me: "mama, where aww you?" in that sweet soft voice.
2797. Sam rushing over with Zebra when Vava smacked her head.
2798. A phone call from a friend I've missed.
2799. A nice cashier at the checkout.
2800. Having a full, happy day come to a restful close. ♥
Monday, August 11, 2014
2781. Sam's reaction to seeing Patrick & me kissing: "ooh, nice kisses!"
2782. Playing with the kids after supper; laughing at their silliness.
2783. Friends who love me even with a moustache and no eyebrows.
2784. Vava's intense curls.
2785. New pictures of one of my favourite wee girlies.
2786. Patrick working so hard.
2787. Sam and Vava running into the kitchen, proud to show me they were already in their pyjamas.
2788. Sam telling me he would be as quiet as a dinosaur.
2789. The three people I love most cuddling together.
2790. Patrick reading our friend's articulate and thoughtful blog post to me.
Sunday, August 10, 2014
2771. Sam praying for lunch, and thanking God twice for his friend Jackson.
2772. God, the God of radical intervention.
2773. Baby Offsock turning 1!
2774. Yummy cupcakes.
2775. Vava loving her new shoes.
2776. Vava drawing pictures of Patrick while he was out.
2778. Crisp lettuce from our neighbour's garden.
2779. A cold shower after a sticky day.
2780. Sam and Vava's love and hugs for each other.
Saturday, August 9, 2014
I've got my own Esther Sisters - women God brought into my life to teach me by their actions that 'the world needs women who do hard and holy things.' I cried reading that post, because I'm so grateful for their lessons and truth.
2761. First, there's Big Sister, who wouldn't let me finish high school without reading the entire Bible through. (Your friends will ask if you really believe it, she predicted, and if you haven't read every word yourself, you can't really answer them.) She fed me feasts of great books, chronicling challenging lives and sold-out hero(in)es, and insisted I settle for nothing less than living bare and real beneath that Terrible and Beautiful Gaze. No playing church, no settling for an occasional nod at heaven - she prodded me to hunger for and run hard after a deep and true life of knowing God.
2762. Then, there's Fiesty Sister, who loves me even though I take her unrequitable great gifts with all the entitlement and nonchalance of a younger sibling. She taught me to drive. Told me what marriage was like. Took me out and bought me Subway anytime I wanted to chat. She loved me with her front door wide open, her whole family welcoming me (even in their toddler years), letting me learn the rhythm and art of sharing the messiest, most difficult days with grace.
2763. There's Gentle Sister, who loved me in my least-lovable days ... those days from 12-14, when I was a growly, scowly beast who took offence at the slightest hint of kindness and acted like I knew better than everyone. (Ugh ... sounds uncomfortably like pregnant days, actually.) She let me crawl in bed with her when I had bad dreams, talked backwards with me, ordered ice-cream with a hick accent ... she welcomed my craziness and laughed with me.
2764. There's Sister-Mother, who was always in the background, being amazing. I took her for granted every single day. I accepted her selflessness and sacrifices and gold-standard patience as if I deserved them, because of course I was such a gem myself. She gave me that rare treasure - she loved me, not for how I reflected her mothering (shabbily, at best), but just wholly, steadily, unwaveringly no-matter-what loved me. She blesses me with her unpreachy joy, her willing laugh, her determination to love my dad her whole life long.
2765. There's Miss-Sister, who is so soaked with the Word that talking to her feels like flipping through age-soft Bible pages. She made me hunger for the lasting loveliness of a soul knit tight to Jesus, and she put up with my late-night rambles, pointing me always and forever to Him.
2766. There's Soul-Sister, who holds me in her heart and knows me and loves me and makes me laugh.
2767. There's Little-Sister, who thinks the best of me. I choose the hard and holy things because I know she thinks I would.
2768. There's Seeking-Sister, who hunts for God through the whirlwind of everyday living. She challenges me to stretch higher and dig deeper even in these toddler-days of little sleep and less patience.
2769. There's Sister-Friend, who puts her money where her heart is and actually lives out everything she believes. She challenges me to do the same, to say yes, to surrender always to the big and scary amazing adventures.
2770. There's Sister-Aunt, who has held out her hands to me my whole life long. She prays for me and blesses me and drives halfway across the country to ease my lonely heart.
For just such a time as this ... oh, I thank God for my sisters! My Esthers, who reach out their hands and open their hearts and stand brave in the empty spaces to love me and bless me. Sisters who bow low in surrender and love hard right where they are. Sisters who make me want to do the same.
Friday, August 8, 2014
2751. Sam trying to tell me he sneezed on his cereal: "oh oh, I achoo-d on there!"
2752. Sam and Vava running toward the beach, barefoot and laughing.
2753. Sunshine and warm sand and friendship.
2755. A good breeze and good music and a beautiful drive.
2756. Vava waving goodbye to the table on her way upstairs for naptime.
2757. A good long nap.
2758. Supper in the crockpot.
2759. Iced coffee after supper on the deck with my one true love while the kids played.
2760. Vava cuddling on Patrick, pulling his arms tight around her.
Thursday, August 7, 2014
2741. A beautiful sunny day.
2742. Sam laughing and running down the sidewalk.
2743. Early naptime.
2744. Patient Kyla.
2745. Taking Sam and his friend to the fair.
2746. The excitement and bliss on the boys' faces.
2747. Seeing our boys so brave, so little.
2748. The way they waved so gleefully at us every time they whipped past.
2749. Sam's excitement at coming home to Patrick.
2750. Putting my feet up after a full day.
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
2731. Sam being a very good helper when we took our friend's dog for a walk.
2732. Friends at the splashpad.
2733. Vava wearing a huge hairband and looking adorable.
2734. Sam in an itty bitty Speedo.
2735. Finding Vava's water bottle 7 hours after leaving it at the park.
2736. Patrick doing the post-supper cleanup while I lounged.
2737. Vava being overjoyed to play with the new chalk wall.
2739. Kisses and cuddles.
2740. My mama calling to chat.
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
2721. Sam sleeping in.
2722. A fun playdate at Little Giants.
2723. Vava eating lunch like a champ.
2724. Sam's excitement over bringing Vava a favourite toy.
2725. Post-nap hugs and kisses.
2726. Creamy ranch pork chops and potatoes.
2727. Getting a belly band ... ahh baby boy, you are rough on your mama already.
2729. A cool shower.
2730. Rainfall ... after a solid 36 hours for the paint to set on the deck. :)
Monday, August 4, 2014
2711. Hungry, silly Sam & Vava this morning.
2712. Our kind friends watching S&V so we could paint the deck.
2713. Hot fries for lunch.
2714. Finishing the deck completely before the kids woke from naptime ... ahhh.
2715. Patrick's awesome drawings of our family.
2716. Vava drawing a crying dinosaur.
2717. Playing on the sidewalk with the kids & neighbours.
2718. A soothing bath with epsom salts.
2719. More pictures of my precious new nephew ♥.
2720. Puttering in the kitchen and listening to Sam Robson.
Sunday, August 3, 2014
2701. My brand new nephew Tyler, born today!
2702. Church ♥.
2703. Slow-cooker tortilla soup.
2704. Getting the railings painted.
2705. Three dry days in the forecast, to finish our painting project.
2706. Sam and Vava seeing a dog swim for the first time.
2707. People-watching at the splash pad.
2708. Cheesecake from our neighbours.
2710. A soothing footrub from Patrick.
Saturday, August 2, 2014
2691. Early morning solitude.
2692. Making 14 freezer meals this morning.
2693. A quick chat with my Mom.
2694. Vava showing me how pretty she was after Papa dressed her.
2695. Sam asking for a baby ladder so he could be like Papa.
2696. God reminding me what I want to build into my day.
2697. Being spoiled by friends who made us a delicious supper.
2698. S'mores & a fire.
2699. Sam & Vava having a bucket bath. ♥
2700. Sam pulling my head down close for a kiss.
Friday, August 1, 2014
2681. Sam's delight in meeting our neighbours' new baby. "I love him! Want to pat him."
2682. A loungy, happy morning in our friends' backyard.
2683. Vava telling me her dinosaurs are sisters, and making them kiss.
2684. A belly-band for this low baby.
2685. Unashamedly crying at a birth scene in a funny movie.
2686. Sam and Vava greeting me ecstatically when I came back from the washroom at the store.
2687. Finding a 14-day freezer meal plan.
2688. Running into the amazing nurse who cared for Vava & me.
2689. Patrick manning the kids at supper so I could lie on the couch.
2690. Spicy vegetable soup ... ahh just right.
A few months ago, Sam wanted an apple for his bedtime snack. Apples give him a really big burst of energy, so Patrick suggested a banana instead. "No," Sam insisted, "it says in my story - Sam has an apple." Patrick laughed at his smarts, but replied, "I'm changing the story - now it says Sam has a banana." And that was that. They'd both seen enough Super Why to know the drill.
On the way home from driving Patrick to work today, Sam was asking about dinosaurs, and he wanted to go see them. I told him they were all dead and he was so disappointed and kind of angry. I asked if he thought there were any dinosaurs in heaven, and then I had to explain where heaven was, that it was God's home.
I told him that we couldn't go there, because we have sins. He told me this made him sad. Then I told him that God was sad about that too, because He wanted us to go live with Him and know Him, so He took our sins away.
"No!" sam yelled, "MY sins!" (He was mad that God took his sins away.) So then I explained that sins are all the bad things we do, like hitting and pushing and being naughty, that make God sad, even more sad than they make mama. And I said something about all our sins not being allowed in heaven.
"They CAN go in," Sam said, "change the story."
So then i told him how God is the Author, and He DID change the story. Instead of "Sam has to carry his own sins" it was "God carried Sam's sins" so that Sam could go to heaven.
He was happy with that.
"I want to go there NOW," he said.
Me too, kid.
Me too :).