Lifestyle

The Twins are Coming! (tomorrow)

By Katie


I haven’t posted in a while. This twin pregnancy is kicking my butt, and I am not being gracious about it.  I am glad that I am not married to me (don’t laugh, it is actually a thing.  I don’t think I would be a good spouse for me.)   But I do have so much more empathy and respect for people who suffer from chronic pain or disease, especially since they don’t have an end date, and I do.

I can also commiserate with Rebecca:  I feel like a have 2 nations warring in my womb.   When one starts rolling and kicking, inevitably the other starts.   This doesn’t bode well for when they are ex-utereo .

Also, I have no brain cells left, so if the words I write make no sense, I am sorry.

Buuuuut Beatrix and  Louisa are coming tomorrow!  And we couldn’t be more excited!  Every morning, Atticus and Vivien climb into my bed to say good morning to the babies (through my belly button, its the cutest ever!) and we count the days until they come on our fingers.  They both agree that 1 day is not very many!

We did a lot of renovating in the last few months: we redid our upstairs bathroom, re-floored the whole upstairs, re-painted the upstairs and redid some of the trim upstairs.  I was really hoping it would all be done by the time the twins arrived, but last Thursday I told Will all renos were stopping because I couldn’t keep up with the house any more, mostly due to exhaustion and a very sore back (you would have a sore back too if you had 500 lbs hanging off your front!!)  Since then, we slaughtered and butchered 2 chickens, repainted the doors upstairs and changed their handles and hinges, and finished hanging trim.    But other than that, we are done with renoing.   For at least the next week or so 😛  (The only room we didn’t do upstairs is the future nursery.  So Will isn’t going to get too much time off.  Sucker. )

The girls will be sleeping in our room for the first 4-5 months, depending on how it goes.  They will be sharing a crib (I figure they have shared like 1 square foot for 9 months, a crib will seem positively huge!)  It was so fun to be able to set up the area for them.

20171128_145719

20171128_145847

I went shopping with Vicki to buy some newborn clothes.  It was really hard to do because  I have big babies who don’t fit in newborn sizes.  Atticus almost had to go home in a onsie piled high with blankets because the outfit I bought didn’t fit at all.  But they say my twins should be in the 6 lb range.  And the newborn clothes say they fit 6 lbs, so hopefully it will be fine.  These is the coming home sleepers I have for them:

20171128_150228

My mom went shopping with me to get receiving blankets and she bought me a beautiful blanket to cuddle them in.   Atticus picked out the receiving blankets, informing me that polka dots are the way to go.  Trendsetter or follower, I don’t know.

I bought cute little bonnets from Jess Lodder at Two Lil Otters.   They were a steal of a deal at only $8 each!  I bought newborn sizes so I hope the girls don’t come out with gigantic heads (like a certain son of mine…)  I can’t wait to put them on Beatrix and Louisa!  Jess makes a lot of different things for kids.  The quality is great and I got them really quickly.   If you are in the market for cute baby things, I totally recommend her 🙂

20171128_150104

I am not totally ready yet.   But I think I am ready enough for the twins.  They won’t know what is missing, right?

Advertisements
Lifestyle

Its Beginning to Look a Little Like Christmas

by Kara

 

Its November 28. Christmas is less than a month a way.

This is the extent of my Christmas decorations so far:

dav

I bought this tree on Saturday from Michael’s. My husband set it up while I was out getting some groceries. And this is all we have done so far. Which means, I am way behind schedule.

In the past, I have been known to decorate in October. I love Christmas, I love Christmas decorations, and I love Christmas music. This year, the months of October and November have slipped away, and it may be December before I finally decorate (insert shocked face here, then dramatically swoon). Unless I make decorating a priority for today.

The beginning of the Christmas season hasn’t completely escaped my notice. I have been listening to Christmas music for well over a month. I have also bought some of Zoe’s Christmas gifts, the Christmas gifts for Tsjibbe’s family, and some of the gifts for my family.

As this is my first Christmas with my baby girl, I have a strong desire to spoil her. Every toy, teddy, or book I see, I think “I should get that for Zoe! She would love it for Christmas!”. I have this vision of her sitting in a pile of presents, being so excited for every gift she opens. But let’s be honest: She’s 10 months. She’ll be more excited for the wrapping paper than the toys hidden underneath. So Tsjibbe and I made a tough decision (tough for me, obvious for him). We are going to get 4 gifts: Something to wear, something to read, something she wants, and something she needs.

She’s getting two something she wants, because I already bought her two toys. But I’m excited about starting a 4 gift tradition. I hope it will help keep our Christmases simple. It will also let me know when I’m “done” buying Christmas gifts. I find that, since I started buying gifts so early, I have a tendency to keep buying gifts. Since I bought gifts on sale, I have a tendency to think “Well, I’ve only spent…”, and then go and spend well over our Christmas budget. Now I know I’m done buying her toys, and I can get her something to read, something to wear, and something she needs.

In all honesty, she will be getting more than 4 gifts every year. On December 5th we celebrate the Dutch Sinterklaas, and she will get a book and pajamas. Also, I will buy her a Christmas ornament, because it is never too early to start collecting Christmas decorations.

Speaking of Christmas decorations… I have to go decorate my house!

Faith · Faith Life

Broken Things.

By Vicki

Broken Things by Matthew West

This song has been playing on repeat in our house for the last couple of days weeks months. The first time I heard it the words resonated with me so much. I used to think that I was maybe the only one (or one of the few) who felt like they were legitimately broken. But lately I am learning and realizing and understanding that most people (all people?) have felt broken, feel broken or will feel broken in their lives. Its part of our human nature. We were made for perfection, but with the fall into sin, that perfection became unattainable. We know we want perfection, we know we can’t get it, and we feel broken because we know our desire and reality will never meet.

This song speaks to my heart. I know the heart wrenching ache of knowing that I do not deserve to approach Jesus or enter His Kingdom. The ache is real and the knowledge is true. I don’t deserve Jesus or his Salvation. But, just as true, is grace. Broken people are used for His kingdom. He paid our punishment and then welcomes us, the broken things, into his presence. Its definitely true and its exceptionally wonderful. That ache of being broken no longer paralyzes me or makes me terrified for my future. I know that Jesus uses Broken Things: the messy, the imperfect, and the inadequate. Not only does He use us, He welcomes us into His kingdom. He delights in us and prepares a place for us to party and celebrate with Him. He loves us. He has a plan, a purpose, and a place for us. What a King we have! I eagerly await entering the Kingdom through doors that are only open because of grace.

Take a listen to the song, read the lyrics below, and enjoy your Sunday basking in the grace that turns broken things into guests of the King.

“Broken Things”
If grace was a kingdom
I stopped at the gate
Thinking I don’t deserve to pass through after all the mistakes that I’ve made

Oh but I heard a whisper
As Heaven bent down
Said, “Child, don’t you know that the first will be last and the last get a crown”

Now I’m just a beggar in the presence of a King
I wish I could bring so much more
But if it’s true You use broken things
Then here I am Lord, I’m all Yours

The pages of history they tell me it’s true
That it’s never the perfect; it’s always the ones with the scars that You use

It’s the rebels and the prodigals; it’s the humble and the weak
All the misfit heroes You chose
Tell me there’s hope for sinners like me

Now I’m just a beggar in the presence of a King
I wish I could bring so much more
But if it’s true You use broken things
Then here I am Lord, I’m all Yours

Grace is a kingdom
With gates open wide
There’s a seat at the table just waiting for you
So, come on inside

(lyrics taken from https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/matthewwest/brokenthings.html) 

Faith · Faith Life

5:30 Thankfulness

by Kara

 

A while ago, my friend posted a couple vlogs titled “5:30 Thankfulness”. These vlogs were posted on days when her daughter woke her up at 5:30 in the morning, and they were little things to be thankful for, despite the lack of sleep.

I thought this was a great idea, and today was one of those days that Zoe woke up at 5:30 and did not want to go back to sleep. Its now 17 hours later, and I thought I would post some of the things that I’m thankful for today, even though I’m a tad tired. These things are direct results of the 5:30 wake up call!

  1. Since we were already awake, Zoe and I drove Tsjibbe to work, and we had the car for the day! We met a friend for lunch and did some Christmas shopping!
  2. When we got back from dropping Tsjibbe off (we always come back home before we go on our adventure), the fire was roaring and the house was warm. Tsjibbe had made sure to put some logs in the fire before we left, and it was so nice to come home to a warm house!
  3. We got to see my friend Sarah. We hardly ever see Sarah. So it was nice to catch up, enjoy lunch together, and discover my daughter’s fear of elevators together.
  4. We got to spend a lot of extra time with Tsjibbe! Not only did we get the extra hour of driving together, after Tsjibbe was done work, we got to run a few more errands together! Shopping is much easier with a man to carry around the [big] baby!
  5. We got to see both the sunrise and the sunset while driving. Two absolutely beautiful views. Its amazing to see the beauty God put into creation – for no other purpose than for His glory and our enjoyment.

Now that our day of fun is done, I’m ready to curl up in bed. Zoe, on the other hand, is happily crawling around and playing with the TV remote. Maybe she thinks that by not going to bed, she gets to spend a fun day out with mom.

 

Lifestyle

Why We Chose to Homeschool.

by Vicki

We have been homeschooling for two months now. We are all enjoying it…most days. Peyton has grown in leaps and bounds and is starting to read little books, make connections from our school work to our daily lives, and is learning so much about her God and Creator.

IMG_0956

A lot of people have asked us “why?” about our choice to homeschool.  Most of the time they are genuine ‘why?’s from people who are interested in our schooling choices. This is awesome and I love to share what we are learning and experiencing. But sometimes (like from a certain grocery store cashier) I get a “Why would you even do that? Do you really think that’s a good idea?”. Ummmmm, yes. Yes we do. That’s why we are doing it. Obviously.

So, to answer everyone’s spoken and unspoken questions of “why??”, here are some of the top reasons that Mark and I have decided to keep Peyton home for her kindergarten year.

  • Peyton’s Age: Peyton is young! She is 5 now, but would have only been 4 when she started full time Kindergarten. Mark and I both feel that 4 (and early 5s) is just too small to be gone from the house for 7+ hours each day. I dreaded the rushed grumpy mornings and the exhausted irritable evenings. Peyton still enjoys sleeping in in the mornings, having an hour (or more) of quiet time (nap?) in the afternoons, and is typically enjoyable during the evenings. In a year she will be that much more ready and mature to handle longer school hours, more structured routine, and her big emotions; making ‘regular’ school a better possibility for her.  IMG_0982
  • Family Time: Family time is very important to our family (as it is to most families, I’d imagine!). Since I am currently on Maternity Leave I felt strongly about Peyton having this time with me at home. She has spent time in daycares off and on since she was one, so I wanted to give her a year at home to relax and enjoy our family. I also thought it would be good to take this time to pour attention, love, and confidence into our little girl before she starts ‘regular’ school. As well, Mark gets home a little later in the day and, if Peyton was in school, she would have to go to bed pretty soon after he walked in the door (or sometimes even before!). With Peyton being homeschooled we are able to enjoy relaxed evenings with our family. Later bedtimes typically mean later mornings for Peyton, which is okay because we can start school on our own time.
  • Family Values: We believe in a Christian worldview. This worldview affects everything that we do, especially how we learn and process the world around us. Mark and I feel convicted that we want to start Peyton’s school career off in a place that encourages a focus on Christ and an awe of how our Creator has woven this world together. And, although we toured two wonderful Christian private schools, we like having another year to pour into our little lady. We, as parents, try to model Christ-like behaviour, love and values so that our children can know who and whose they are. With one more year at home, God willing Peyton will be that much more secure in her faith and identity so she can stand firm.IMG_0958
  • Flexibility: We are able to teach Peyton what and when we want (even when following a curriculum and ensuring she is staying on par with the Kindergarten standards). We are also able to take a day (or week) off if we need to rejuvenate, if we go visit family in Kingston or Ottawa, if we’re having a bad day, or if we’d rather sit in our pajamas reading books and drinking tea all day.
  • Understanding our Little Girl: Teaching Peyton one-on-one allows me to ensure she is learning in a way that helps her. I can manipulate the curriculum to ensure she is learning to her strengths. If she isn’t getting something I can spend more time on it to ensure it is firmly understood. Or, if she catches on to something very quickly (numbers seem to make a lot of sense to her!), we can spend less time on it. I can also choose subjects and activities that interest Peyton. She is so much easier to teach and so much more interested in learning if its incorporated into something she already has an interest in. When Peyton goes to regular school next year I will have a good understanding of Peyton’s abilities (her strengths and weaknesses), her interests and disinterests, and how she learns best. I will be able to help her navigate the different learning environment and can be an advocate for her during her schooling career. IMG_0948
  • No regrets: Both Mark and myself were homeschooled at some point in our lives. Mark was for the majority of his schooling and I was for a couple of years in elementary. It is something that we talked (in passing) about maybe doing for our kids one day. When the opportunity to do so became an actual possibility one thought kept coming to me: We will never regret trying, but we may regret not trying. Its easier to do it and realize that it doesn’t work for us than to always wonder what could have been.

There are so many more reasons that we have chosen to keep Peyton home, but these are the main ones. We have many friends that have chosen to send their children to private or public schools and we love that. We do not think that homeschooling is the only or even the best way to teach your children. We do believe that you need to know your children and make choices that are right for them and for your family. For us, that means keeping Peyton home (at least for this year) and reevaluating her schooling situation next year.IMG_0952We just finished our first two months of school. And it is hard. But we are enjoying it. Peyton is excited about school each day and finds the weekends kind of long. We have been able to go on a couple of field trips already and have done some cool projects. Peyton and I are both learning a lot about each other. I am so thankful that this is the route we have chosen to take. I am even more thankful for this “extra” time that I get with my ‘peanut’.  I will do more homeschooling posts about some of our day-to-day life in the coming weeks.

If you have any questions about homeschooling or are wondering if this is a choice for your family I am more than happy to share (the little of) what I know. I am by no means an expert but I am happy to help you with this journey!

IMG_0963

 

Lifestyle

Winter Ready (or Not)

by Kara

November 10, 2017: A bright, sunny morning, -5°C. Outside looks cool and crisp, but inside we’re snug and warm.

November 10. We’ve heard rumors of snow. The forecast threatens snow in the areas around us, but our town seems to be in its own odd little climate.. Every year we get snow a little later than other places. But no matter what the forecast says, in Canada, November 10 means winter is well on its way.

The threat of winter arrives around the same time as November. November snuck up on me, but once I realized it was November 4 or 5, I decided I should spend a day getting ready for winter. This is a big chore, and is usually a fun day, as I pull out all our winter clothes and pack away all our summer clothes. So, I headed up stairs to get all our big totes of winter clothes, scarves, hats, mitts, boots, etc. I cleared off the stairs, so I wouldn’t trip while carrying these big, full boxes down. I cleared off the kitchen table to make space for all the sorting I would have to do.

This is what I came down stairs with:

mde

 

Where are all my winter clothes? Where are the big totes that I imagined I had stored up there, filled to the brim with sweaters and pants and blankets and hats and mitts? And more importantly, does the fact that I can find nothing else mean that I get to go shopping?

I did at one point have a tote filled with winter clothes, and I’m sure we had a bucket full of scarves and mitts. But last winter, I was pregnant and wearing maternity clothes. And part of my ‘nesting’ was cleaning out upstairs (an area that we use exclusively for storage), and it is more than possible that cleaning that out meant donating most of my winter clothes. The remainder of my sweaters and jeans spent the summer in my closet and dresser. As for the box of hats and mitts? I must have done the same thing – donated whatever wasn’t being used at the time. Which is fine, since the little bucket I have is exactly what we need for winter.

It was a very anticlimactic day. I did a quick load of laundry so that the hats and scarves hat we did have would be fresh and clean, I found a blanket to put in the car for emergencies, and I packed away my three pairs of shorts. Zoe tried on some winter hats, but since all her clothes are already very warm and wintery, there was nothing else to do for her either.

So, on this cold November morning, I feel totally unprepared. Although I know I do have warm clothes, the fact that it took me less than a single morning to ‘winterize’ makes me think that I must have missed something. But, I suppose, like in any job: it’s the quality of the work, not the quantity. I guess we’ll find out when that snow does finally hit.

Lifestyle

THM October Recap.

by Vicki

First of all, I am sorry it took so long to get this month-end recap. Its been a crazy two weeks here for us. We just returned home after being gone for approximately 2 weeks (first visiting Katie and her family in Kingston and then house sitting for my in-laws). It was a nice two weeks, but it is SOOOOO good to be home. I am definitely a home body. And a bit of an introvert – and I introvert best at home.

Anyways, to my October THM recap:

The month of October went by very quickly. I was worried it would drag on because I was trying something new and difficult, so that was a happy surprise. I was also surprised to find that I actually enjoyed the healthier lifestyle. I felt so good the entire month. I had energy (even though I am sleep deprived), I was in a better mood, and I didn’t struggle with feeling bloated or crampy.

I would say I had approximately 3 cheat days in total all month…which I am counting a win! It was hard to stay on plan away from home. In Katie’s house she follows the THM lifesytle so that wasn’t a big challenge, but at my in-laws I found I felt out of place without my different ingredients. I could have packed them but that also felt kind of overwhelming. I decided to give myself grace and just eat what everyone else was eating (and don’t get me wrong – my mother-in-law’s kitchen was filled with delicious foods, so it wasn’t hard to convince me to go off plan).

What I wasn’t expecting was how truly horrible I felt when I went off plan. My body felt like it was rebelling against my food choices. That surprised me, but it also made me wonder: is that how I always felt and I had just become used to it? Yuck! If nothing else that realization has given me a renewed sense of purpose when it comes to THM. Even if I don’t see a change in my body…I feel one. That’s a good enough reason for me to continue.

So in November I am continuing my THM journey…just delaying my start date to tomorrow (my first full day back home). I am very much looking forward to being on plan again and having my body re-detox (is that a word?) so that I can start to feel healthy again. I am going to continue trying for no cheats – people say that it takes a good 6 months of no cheats to really detox and feel 100% (so that’s my BIG goal). I also want to incorporate some exercise into my weekly routine – a couple of times a week. I am still not sure what that is going to look like. If you have any ideas for some exercises that can be done at home (with a husband that is gone early morning and comes home around supper/bed time I have a hard time getting out of the house to ‘work out’…I mean I could go in the evening…but I would rather spend time with my hubby). Anyways, pass along any of your exercise ideas! This momma wants to get healthy – AND I would love to be able to play soccer again next Summer. Dreaming big here;).

Have a healthy November!