Lifestyle

Dax – 1 Year.

by Vicki

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A couple of weeks ago we celebrated Dax’s first birthday. He’s officially a toddler now and we are loving this stage of life with him. He’s definitely my busiest baby/toddler and he keeps me on my toes, but I wouldn’t have him any other way. Here is a quick look at who he is at one.

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Growing: Dax has been growing like a weed. He is currently in size 12-18 months clothes but I think we might be getting close to having to size up. He hasn’t had his 1 year Doctor’s appointment so I’m not sure how much he weighs or how tall he is. I feel like he’s a pretty sturdy little man and I’m excited to get his measurements. He’s still only has 6 teeth (four up top and 2 on the bottom). It feels like he has been working on 2 more up top since he was 6 months old – I think one of them may have finally cut through this past week!

Eating: Dax eats whatever we eat. I never did fully decide to do baby-led weaning with him, but I was braver with introducing solids to him than I was with Peyton or Chase. He likes finger foods like cheerios or puffs, meat of any kind, the baby puree pouches, yogurt, all fruit, and, well…really, he likes pretty much everything! He eats well and often eats double or triple what his siblings eat. He is still breastfeeding and (gulp) would like to nurse about 5 times a day if I allowed him (which, honestly, I often do because I just don’t like having a crying baby). He doesn’t like bottles and I have only found one sippy cup that he will drink out of (if I hold it for him). I know I need to wean him off of me (at least a bit) and that he should probably start to use a cup of some sort….but parenting is hard, y’all.

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On the Move: Dax is on the move! He started pulling himself up and walking around furniture at around 9 months. At 10 months he started really practicing to walk – he was determined (which resulted in a lot of bumps and bruises). Just before his first birthday he started walking pretty much exclusively – only crawling to get to a wall or furniture to pull himself up if he fell. He worked so hard and practiced constantly. I’m so proud of his determination!

Playtime: Like I said above, Dax is my busiest toddler. He is very curious and gets into everything. He loves my kitchen cupboards and would like to empty them all day long. He also has started putting things in the garbage – toys, remote controls, dishes, really anything he finds on the floor that he decides should be disposed of. Its made for some unhappy moments (for Mark) at the end of the day when we can’t find something and we have to dig through the garbage on a retrieval mission. Dax does play with his toys and keeps himself busy without needing too much attention. I love that I have another independent player. He has started having an interest in Chase’s cars which has resulted in some minor power struggles, but they are learning to work together and I can’t wait for when they become the best of buds.

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Sleeping: Dax is definitely still my worst sleeper. Between 6 and 11 months he actually started waking up more (if that was even possible). He was nursing every 2.5 hours – all night long. Then, all of a sudden, at 11.5 months, he slept through the night! Since then he has been mostly capable of sleeping at least 10 hours, but still regularly gets up at least once. I have tried to just settle him, but if I do not nurse him he screams…and I really don’t want him to wake up his siblings…so (blush) I give in and nurse him (for like 2 minutes). I know, I know, he’ll never learn :).

Personality: Dax is such a happy little dude. He is also my most social kiddo. This Winter, when we went to indoor parks, he would crawl or toddle over to everyone to say hi and observe what they were up to. He had no problem crawling onto the laps of other moms sitting on the ground and would sit and babble at them for a bit before wandering off to another group. While he was busy making friends (of all ages) my other two quietly played on their own off to the side avoiding other human contact ;). Dax has a smile for everyone, loves a good laugh, and shrieks/squeals/babbles/sings all day long. He is also very determined and won’t let his size or age get in his way. As soon as he realized he could stand and take steps he refused to crawl. He would get up and try to walk every chance he got – even though that meant falling…a lot. Eventually it paid off and he is now focusing his attention on learning how to run. He also tries to keep up with his big siblings (especially his big brother) and won’t let their attempts to block him, stop him. He gets in there, stands his ground, and is usually rewarded with a shared toy or involvement in their game. Dax is also very curious and wants to see behind every closed door, inspect how everything works, feel every texture, and just wants to get into everything. He is such a happy, fun, busy addition to our family. We love the spark he brings to our lives.

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Miscellaneous: –

  1. We finished Dax’s nursery just before he turned 1 and just after we purchased a new home (which we move into this Spring). We literally finished his room the day before our realtor took pictures for our house listing. Even though it will only be his nursery for a short time, it is beautiful and I love the soft, comfortable space we created for him.
  2. Dax celebrated his birthday in Ottawa at his grandparents’ home. It was so nice to be able to celebrate him and his first year on this earth with my parents and Danielle’s family (who were also visiting). He had his first taste of sugar on his birthday (in the form of a cupcake) and he inhaled it!
  3. His siblings adore him. They love to shower him with kisses and hugs. They also love wandering into his room in the morning (at the first sound of his rustling) and climbing into his crib with him. They quietly ‘read’ books to him, give him toys to play with, and cuddle him until I come to get him out of bed. They are quick to let me know if he is crying or in danger and I believe that Dax will grow up feeling like he has 4 parents instead of 2.

We love our Dax and thank God daily for choosing us to be his earthly family. Mark and I pray that no matter what life brings to Dax (trails, pain, joy, and success) he will look to God as his rock and salvation.

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That’s Dax at 1 year!

Lifestyle

New Year, Same Me.

by Vicki

Happy New Year! I know its a couple of weeks into January, but I think that saying “happy new year” is okay for the entire month of January…soooo “Happy New Year!” 😉

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Typically people start the new year with a host of resolutions and goals. We see the year ahead as fresh and as a clean slate, with the possibility of being the “best year yet”. I have to say, I love the idea of a new year. I love the hope that I feel the first day of January. A brand new year, an expanse of time ahead of me with unlimited possibilities.

For 2017 I decided to join the ranks of many and chose a simple word for the year as opposed to multiple resolutions. I chose simplicity and I loved it…for the first month and a half. I eagerly decluttered my house, organized cupboards and closets, used a daily planner, and talked Mark’s ear off about making our busy family schedule simpler. Then…Dax was born and I went into survival mode and didn’t really pay attention to anything else, least of all making sure that I was able to call 2017 “my year of simplicity”. I tried to come back to making our lives simple but I mostly focused on trying to get caught up on sleep (my 10 month still won’t sleep through the night, whats up with that?) and making sure my three kids were fed on a regular basis.

I liked the idea of having a word, but when it came down to it, for me, it became another ‘thing’ that I wasn’t accomplishing. I said I wanted to just use one word so that I wasn’t loading myself down with rules or unattainable goals for the year, but I think, in the end, the word was just a cover for all the unmentioned rules and goals that I saw encompassed in it. I felt like it was another thing (things) that I was failing at.

So, that brings us to this New Year. 2018. A ‘clean slate’. But really, just another 365 days to live our lives.

Maybe I will do a ‘word of the year’ again next year but I don’t think I have the brain power to think of one or the ability to separate it from a list of unaccomplishable goals for this year. No worries though, all is not lost for 2018.

Truthfully, I am continually assessing and reassessing who I am and what I want to accomplish. I try to make little tweaks here and there when I see the need for change. I think that’s really what life is about. Continually taking a look at who we are, where we are going, and making adjustments to make sure we are doing okay.

So I don’t really have set 2018 goals or resolutions. And other than ‘sleep’ I don’t have a word for 2018. But, I do have a list of things that I have been working on lately and that I hope to keep working on. So here goes:

  1. Stop striving for perfection. Its not going to happen this side of Heaven. Accept imperfection and find joy in trying my best no matter what the result.
  2. See the excitement and beauty in the “trying” and not just in the result. I have a hard time starting a project if I can’t see the final result being ‘the best’. Example? I struggle cleaning my kitchen if I know I don’t have the full 1.5 uninterrupted hours to get it done to a sparkling/crumb-free/sanitized result. I need to start being happy with a partially-clean-work-in-progress kitchen. I can’t just freeze and get nothing done because I don’t have uninterrupted time…ever.
  3. To spend time creating. Being creative doesn’t come naturally to me, but when I create something its feels so good! I love decorating my home, writing things on my chalkboards, trying my hand at calligraphy, DIYing, etc etc etc :D.
  4. Spend more time with God! My church is reading the entire Bible together this year and I am so excited about it! Its pretty special to know that what I am reading is being read by my church family too.
  5. To be vulnerable and real. I am imperfect. I have been hurt. My marriage has had mountains and valleys. Sometimes I don’t want to be a mom. I don’t always read my Bible. I cook sometimes and order food in sometimes. Sometimes my house is super clean and organized, and sometimes it looks like a tornado came through. Just showing the good sides of life can be nice, but it can also hinder true relationship. I have found that the more “me” I am, the better I have been able to build my tribe of people who I love and who love me.
  6. To keep trying to make healthier choices for me. Eating Trim Healthy Mama, dancing with my kiddos, and sleeping more (please, Dax!).
  7. To live like Jesus. To love like Jesus. To live for and love Jesus.

Nothing too crazy. No new morning routines, or exercise regimes, or scheduled cleaning systems. Just me, continuing to be me, striving to be the best me, and living for the God who created me.

So, here’s to the New year, but same me!

If you have decided to start this year off with some goals or resolutions, or just refocusing on things you’ve been working on already….let us know! We love to hear other people’s ideas for inspiration and encouragement!

Hope all of your 2018 dreams, hopes, desires, resolutions, and goals come true! Happy New Year!

 

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.

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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!

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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:

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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.