Friday, February 27, 2009

A Quarter of a Century!

Tomorrow is the day… I’m actually really excited about turning 25! I feel like it’s such a great time in life… now 30… that might be hard for me, but for now I’m happy about being a ¼ of a century old!
As I look back over my life I am so thankful. Why God chose me, blesses me, and loves me I will never know… but I can see His hand in every area. I’ll spare you the life story… but it seems He has just given me my dreams on a platter.
My family being saved changed the course of all our lives. Maybe it’s just because I can’t remember before then… but the dreams start at that point! An incredible family (even with the quarks!), great lifelong high school friends, Wyoming (the good parts, not necessarily the bad ones!), being able to travel to so many places, marrying an amazing man (though I have to admit… Canada was never part of my plan!), having such a wonderful daughter…
The more I’ve been thinking about it, the more I’m aware that this is where I’ve always wanted to be. As I “dreamed” of being 25 (back in grade school/high school and such) I always wanted to be a wife and a mother. I never cared about a career – although I am getting closer at knowing what I want to be when I grow up! Some people scoff at that… and I feel that I have to defend myself. That gets me right ticked off, and it’s in those times that my husband reminds me of the desires of my heart.
Blessed sums up the last ¼ century of my life. I am in complete awe. The awe that makes me fall on my knees before my Maker. If the last 25 years have been this good (and most those I don’t remember... I’m realizing I have a really bad memory) than the next 25 can only get better, right? That’s what I’m believing.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Take # 2

So last night, around 9:45 pm, Jon mentioned he had a 20 minute presentation due for his “Teaching Variations” class. Not a big deal, right? It needs to arrive in the big city by Wednesday, which means it’s crunch time. So… I whip out the camera, grumbling and cranky I must admit (I had hoped to get to bed early). We arrange the kitchen and I start videoing. We had to start over twice due to phone calls… but it turned out okay. As I was listening about “diesel engine components” I realized that Jon really does love this. He may not even realize it yet… but I think teaching is one of his gifts. He loves engines, he knows so much about them, and he is able to pass that passion on to the next generation while having fun in the process. When all was said and done he could only drag it out for 15 minutes, so tonight we’re doing a retake... making the deadline even tighter. But… I’m looking forward to holding that camera perfectly still for 20 minutes. Why? Because I’m seeing a little more of who my husband is… and I am in more in love with him because of it.

Pizza and Penelope

After M.O.M.'s on Tuesday my best friend Jen invited me over for a birthday lunch! And to my delight she ordered pizza from Pizza Hotline... my new favorite "Canadian" pizza! We shared a HUGE pizza between the two of us and visions of kids napping danced in our heads. Our goal was to watch the movie "Penelope" in peace and quiet. We tried not to make it obvious that we were rushing the kids to sleepy land... and it worked! Quietness for an hour and a half - that's a new record for us!
It was such a great afternoon! Penelope was a fun movie and a lil reminder to be happy with who we are - pig snout and all.
Jen also surprised me with a beautiful necklace and 3 episodes of "Extreme Home Makeover". So... I carried on the festivities and watched 2 of them after Ali went to bed! SO NICE! Over all it was a relaxed day that I look back on and smile!
Thanks again Jen!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Muffin Success

So, I must say, my muffins turned out quite lovely! (see previous post - Muffin Flop to avoid confusion) I even tested two just to be sure. Although, really, it was a sacrifice because only 9 will fit in the container... but there's still one lone one sitting on the cooling rack... life's dilemma's!
Well, my non-stick muffin pans are officially retired from muffin duty. I think my oven and I will have a better relationship now too... maybe not so much name calling and such!
All in all, I'm happy... maybe the touch isn't completely gone after all!

Well with my soul

Yesterday our pastor had a really good message. The main jist of it - we aren’t supposed to put all our energy, resources, and time into the life we’re living now… but to store treasures in heaven. We were challenged to be dead to this life and living for the next. Also to have friends that draw us closer to the Lord and not away from Him. But... the story that really got me was that of Horatio G. Spafford.

Horatio G. Spafford was a lawyer in Chicago that lived during the 19th century. During his life, he experienced many personal tragedies. In 1870, the Spaffords' only son was killed by scarlet fever at the age of four. A year later they were ruined financially by the Great Chicago Fire. Horatio Spafford decided that he and his family needed a break from the events that had happened recently and went to England for a break.
In 1873 when Horatio Spafford's wife and four daughters were leaving from New York to England, the ship that they were travelling on, 'Ville de Havre' struck another ship and sunk, killing his four daughters. His wife, the only survivor, sent him a telegram 9 days after the ship left the harbor of New York, with two words, "Saved alone".
Horatio Spafford, upon hearing the news, left for England to join his wife. As the ship he was on passed the place where his daughters perished, the captain called him to the bridge. "A careful reckoning has been made", he said, "and I believe we are now passing the place where the de Havre was wrecked. The water is three miles deep." That night, in his cabin, Horatio penned the lyrics to one of the most famous hymns of all time.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,

It is well, it is well, with my soul.
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

You know the rest of the song. Our challenge… is it well with your soul? After a week of feeling sorry for myself, wishing we had more family around, feeling cooped up and restless, and generally being just a tad bit cranky, I was very humbled. Wherever I am, whomever I’m with, and whether life is rosy or a little dim, my desire is to be able to say… it is well with my soul.

Flowers and Chatter

On Saturday Jerilynn invited us over for a birthday dinner for me! It was so nice. Gramma and Grampa joined us and we had a lovely spread of food! Ham with pineapple and cherries, scalloped potatoes, homegrown beans, fresh bread, squash with cranberries and carrots, and ice cream cake for dessert. I was so blessed! Her and Joe gave me a beautiful gerbra daisy too… my favorite!
We were there until about 1:30 am and just enjoyed chatting and connecting with them again! Though Jer doesn’t know it… the simple act of having a dinner for me spoke volumns (as I write that it sounds a little self centered… but know that’s not the intention!). I felt disconnected to the “only” family we had here and I needed this evening so much. It was a small act that I'll remember for awhile.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Vista Print

So yesterday I got a package in the mail. Of course I was curious and excited to see what was inside. Vista print sent a whole bunch of stuff with my name on it!! Okay.. it's advertising... I know, but I was still blessed none the less! They sent note cards and envelopes, sticky notes with "sheet music" on them (like how did they know I love music?!?!), a keychain that says "Renee's keys" and the most exciting... a grocery list with little check boxes beside each line!! Jon kyboshed putting the keychain on the Escape keys because he said it was too cheesy, but I think the mail key will have a whole new look! So yeah... the little things that make my day!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Muffin Flop

I am so ready to toss in the apron and be done. For some reason I can no longer make moist, tender, scrumptous, gobble-em-up muffins. Since we’ve been married I have repeatedly been disappointed with the outcome. I’ve blamed it on the oven, on the little paper muffin cup brand, on my mixing ability… but never the pan. I was complaining to my best friend about my woes and she said she had the exact same problem… the muffins were always too dark on the bottom. She found it to be the non-stick pans she was using. I too have used non-stick pans everytime… so today I’m trying my silicone ones. And by golly… this better work!!

Doubting Thomas

Jon has always been a great gift giver… he comes up with funny, creative, and thoughtful gifts. So why did I think my birthday would be any different? I kind of found out where he was getting one of my birthday gifts from and started looking through the flyer. He made a comment of there being limited quantities so he really hoped he could get it. Through the process of elimination I decided it was a new ironing board. Yup. Okay – sure I would like one with a fun cover that makes me smile as I’m ironing away… just not for my birthday! I convinced myself that I would be excited and surprised when he presented it to me. But… the lady from the store phoned and said the label maker we ordered wouldn’t be here for a few weeks and asked if that was okay! A label maker! I was so humbled (for doubting) and proud! My husband knows me so well… I love organization and it will be so fun to label all my Tupperware and Rubbermaid storage containers. So… no more snooping! I'm just going to be surprised in a few days!

She Only Turns One Once

I know... you only turn any age once... but I am SO excited about Alia’s first birthday! I’ve been searching online for ideas, designing the cake, planning the menu, deciding on favors, drawing out different invitation ideas, going over the guest list… I love it! Part of me wants to share everything I’m planning, and the other part wants to keep it a surprise. So… all I’m gonna say for now is it’s a brown and pink polka dot theme. And that I’m really trying to keep it simple... Jon is doing very good at helping me with that!!


It has just been one of those weeks… and it doesn’t help that we’ve been cooped up in the house everyday except Tuesday. I found myself crying off and on most of Wednesday. I just felt (and still feel?) that it’s hopeless. I like living here because of the location, the community, the benefits our government offers, and the wonderful job Jon has, etc.… but having very few family and friends around is taking its toll. I know we can’t move home with the economy the way it is, but I feel we just can’t stay here either. We are depriving Alia of some of the most important family relationships... it’s not fair to her, or to them. It’s an inner struggle that I’ve yet to find peace with.

Thankfully, in times such as these, two wonderful friends are here for encouragement… and to remind me that MB isn’t all that bad! These two women are such a blessing to me!

Swimsuit Madness

ARGH! After spending hours looking online for the “perfect, quality, slimming swimsuit”, re-measuring and re-measuring to get the correct size, and agonizing over spending ridiculous amounts for something so simple… I finally ordered what I thought would be a great suit. And upon trying it on, ended up frustrated and in tears! It was too small. Jon tried to be positive… “No, hunny it looks okay, really.” “I know, but you’ve never had a baby before.” It was no use. I still felt miserable!
I’ve lost all my “baby weight” and am even less than before I got pregnant… but things are just different. So… I re-ordered the next size up and we’re giving it one more go around. If that doesn’t work then we’ll have to head to the city, I guess.

But feeling this… blah… has got me thinking. Jon and Mark (his teaching buddy) are running a relay marathon in early summer. They asked if I wanted to join them and I just laughed! But ya know what… I think it would be really good. I would have a goal and a purpose behind running. And since I hate running so much… a purpose is needed! I think my leg of the race would only be 6 miles. Ha... “only 6 miles”...easier said than done. But I really think this is something I want to do, although I'm quite nervous! So… it looks like I need to dust my runners off. And pray for warm weather, I’m not dedicated enough to run in this brutal ness!

He Loves Me!

Valentine’s day has never been a big deal to me. As a kid my parents would spoil us with sweet cards, heart shaped chocolates, red candies, and delicious sugar cookies… so that’s kind of what Valentine’s day means to me. Whether Jon or I do something special isn’t a big deal, really. This year we planned on seeing “Fireproof” (which is quite good by the way… I recommend it!) and I thought that was the extent of it. But Jon surprised me with Lindt chocolate (my favorite!), flowers, and he even made me a heart shaped pizza! It was just so sweet...

And She's Off

It’s official. Alia has figured out the whole crawling thing. Once she got it down there was no stopping her… by suppertime she was motoring around the house! It’s so cute! But I have to admit… my job has just gotten a little more complex! I actually locked her out of the office the other day… I know, what a bad mom! I just wanted to quickly finish up something without her getting into stuff. The poor girl had her face pressed against the French door making the saddest face she could muster! I can’t help but stick my lip out now as I think about it!

With crawling comes a whole new realm of safety precautions. Before I was pregnant I bought a whole whack load of baby safety stuff on clearance. After a few attempts to stick her fingers in the light socket I figured it was time to take action! When all was said and done… out of 2 big boxes of safety devices… I used 2 things. The light socket plugs (which Jon still thinks is ridiculous!) and this little cupboard lock thing for under the sink. Really now… why would I need to lock the refrigerator and the dishwasher (which we don’t have), shorten all the cords, cover the VCR slot, and bolt every cupboard closed?! Maybe I’m too laid back, but are parents just leaving their children alone for days on end? It’s crazy. So the new plan is to teach Alia what she’s allowed to touch and what she isn’t. Makes sense to me. I’m new at this whole game… so time will tell how my method works!

Excuses, Excuses

Sorry… it’s been a really long time since I’ve blogged. But I have 2 good excuses! 1. Our laptop just randomly shuts down. Blink, and it’s gone. So it’s been a little frustrating lately, but I’m thankful we even have a computer! 2. Nothing really exciting has happened. With that being said… I have decided to blog regardless of excitement level. It’s a way of staying connected and getting out my thoughts. So… yeah.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Pearly Whites

Now that Alia has her first (and second) tooth I realize I have nothing to blame her crankiness on. I mean... it was easy to just smile and say "She's teething..." whenever her behavior wasn't quite like the little darling we know she can be! But... these last two teething weeks have been anything but unpleasant. Hopefully this trend will continue and if not well, we've got the line down pat!

Warmth... at last!

Today was so glorious! The temps were just below freezing, the sun was shining, and the wind was basically non existant. Oh, so nice! Alia and I bundled up, along with a friend and her two kids, and went for a walk. It felt wonderful to get outside again! I'm now realizing why Manitobians spend so much time outside in the summer... they're soaking up as much warmth as they can! The count down until spring is officially on for me...although I really have no idea when that starts up here! I have hope that winter is almost over... and that Florida is just around the corner!

Monday, February 2, 2009

25 Random Things About Me

I've had fun learning new things about people so I figured I would do this as well.

1.I’m afraid of the dark... my mind just starts playing tricks on me.

2.My husband always opens the car door for me. He has since we’ve been dating and I can’t remember a time he hasn’t since we’ve been married!

3.In high school I worked on a corn wagon, at a Victorian tea house and at a frozen custard shop at one time.

4.I enjoy traveling and have been to Turkey, Germany, Austria, Mexico, Lesotho, South Africa, 30 States and 6 Provinces.

5.I have only kissed one man, my husband... and I’m the only one he’s ever kissed!

6.I loved the smell of pipe smoke when I was pregnant and really want to smoke a pipe now!

7.I have lots of dreams; two things are to fly in a hot air balloon and pet a giraffe.

8.I have never liked eating chicken that has bones in it…only chicken breasts.

9.I had a midwife and delivered my daughter in a big pool of water. It was such a wonderful labor experience! I would really like to deliver a baby at home someday.

10.I'm a jack of all trades, master of none - I can work on cars, cook, drywall/mud, make furniture, sew, do stained glass, etc… I just love learning new things!

11.I have pierced my nose twice (once by a professional and once involving a sterilized needle, a leatherman, and a carrot) and would like to pierce it again.

12.I love bonfires (and roasting hotdogs, YUM!) but we don’t have a bonfire pit at our house yet. We can’t decide where to put it!

13.I would really really like to become a real estate agent.

14.My new thing is making pies. It’s just so fun!

15.I’m terribly afraid of mice. I have to pick my feet up just thinking about them! One time I stayed upstairs the whole day (until my husband got home) because I thought there was a mouse downstairs… and our bathroom is on the 1st floor. But I’m really trying to get better because I don’t want to teach my daughter to be so afraid of them!

16.I love playing instruments but only get to play like a ¼ of what I used to. It’s discouraging how much worse I’ve gotten!

17.I like things neat and organized and thankfully my husband does too!

18.I really really really miss my family and friends in Ohio. I cry probably once a week because I miss them so much…. but I’m not sure I would be happy if I moved back…

19.I love Manitoba (except that it’s so bitterly cold!!!) but still don’t feel at home here.

20.I am way more in love with my husband now than on our wedding day. I can not believe God brought us together and that Jon chose me as his bride… it brings tears to my eyes.

21.We have been renovating out house since we got married. We’ve redone everything. Everything! We are almost done with the main house (it takes SO much longer when we can only work on it in the evenings and weekends!) and we’re going to start on the basement in the late spring. Then we’ll probably sell! Go figure!

22.I LOVE being a mom (most days)!! I didn’t think I could possibly love another child more but I’m starting to want another one!

23.I can’t do laundry or wash dishes right now because we ran out of water. We have to haul water but we’ll be getting water hook up in a few months! I’m very glad about that!

24.Cheez-its are one of my favorite things and I’m so sad they don’t have them in Canada!!!

25.I’m going to go play “picnic” with my daughter now!