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Showing posts from 2015

Why The Tree May Be Staying Boxed This Year

In past years, I have consistently made a stink about not setting up the Christmas tree in a timely manner. Hubbs is not into Christmas decorating, so convincing him to assist me in hauling all of the Christmas stuff up from storage has always been a challenge, and more often than not, a bribe is usually involved. I, however, am the person who cranks the Christmas station on the XM dial the moment Remembrance Day is over. I LOVE LOVE LOVE everything about Christmas, from the festive golds and forest greens and cherry reds, to the special merchandise packaging "gift sets," to the bustling malls aglitter with artificial trees and ornaments. For me, the season comes alive with holiday cheer (and holiday grouchiness, which I have an inexplicable ability to block out), and I ride it like a drug-induced high (or at least, what I perceive a high to be. I've never taken drugs).

This year, however, my November has been filled up with book-selling events. Between that and being a…

Hustling and Bustling and Thankful Hearts

Obviously my posting frequency has really dipped these last few weeks, to the point where I would say I'm not even worthy of "mom blogger" status at this point! It isn't intentional, of course, but as with all things, life ebbs and flows through different seasons, and some are simply busier than others.
Right now, we are in "hustle" mode, forcing the blog to take a back seat to juggling new (preschool!) schedules, my Usborne commitments, and keeping our business books up to date. Hubbs has started working onsite at his client offices, so we have also been adjusting to his daytime absence and commuting hours. Add to that a busier day with an active 3.5 year-old, and sometimes the hours just escape me.

In the midst of all this chaos and change, I am so thankful for a God who never changes. I'm grateful that He has continued to show our little family an abundance out of His grace, and while we find ourselves sometimes a bit breathless from the hectic pace …

Two Can Still Be a Lonely Number

I might be steering into sensitive/controversial territory here, so consider yourself warned.

People often give us reasons why we need to have more than one kid, chief among them the following:

- we make cute kids, so therefore we cannot stop at just one
- more kids means that over time, they can entertain each other and let us off the hook (of playing with them)
- when we get old, more kids means more children to care for us, thereby reducing each child's burden
- when we both die, having multiple kids means they still have each other
- in the event we lose a child, we still have another one
- only children are sad and lonely, and having siblings fills their inner needs and reduces loneliness

The last line of thinking is the one I was pondering about the other day. While every one of these reasons may simultaneously have some small merit and yet be completely and utterly ridiculous, it occurred to me the absurdity of the reasoning that one should have children for your children…

Favourite Friday

I'm not usually a big promoter of anything, since I don't get compensated for my opinions and I know that reading reviews is almost always at the bottom of everyone's list, unless of course they're consulting with Professor Google to try to find something they're inkling to purchase.

In light of that, I will try to make this short and sweet. Here are a few of my favourite things:

Method Ginger-Mango 4x Concentrated Laundry Detergent
Okay, so it doesn't smell like ginger or mango. It does however smell magnificent, plus it's less toxic than using Tide (although it does still contain sulfates, phenoxethanol and fragrance). Hubbs has been complaining about his clothes smelling "moldy" even after being laundered with our usual stuff (plus Downy, plus Bounce). I decided to give this scented goodness a go and voila! I haven't even needed the Downy, and the clothes still came out feeling soft. His sat-for-two-days-after-the-gym clothes and his well-wo…

Sleepy Time, or Our Do Nothing Approach to Sleep Training

It's no secret that my kid has never been big on sleep. She was born wide-eyed and alert, opting to keep her big brown eyes open even under the bright lights of the operating room where she was born. She stayed up for several hours (I think I counted 6) before she really fell asleep that first day.

Fast forward 3.5 years, and it's no different. She is not one to be forced into slumber, and to even attempt it would result in her working herself up into such an emotional frenzy that only sheer exhaustion would cause her to relent on the wailing. That's my kid.

And so, we have co-slept and endured her crazy bedtimes and wake-up times, nursing her down at night and taking her on long stroller rides during nap hour. For us, this flexible non-schedule was never an issue because neither Hubbs nor I have had to work outside of our home; as a result, we've never had to contend with set sleep schedules to accommodate daycare or our 9-5's. I read somewhere that kids actually …

Oxford Suites Bellingham - A (Slightly Long-Winded) Review

I've never considered intentionally visiting new hotels just because. We have done the new resort thing once, when Sparkling Hill was merely weeks old, and my in-laws held their wedding there. At the time, however, we didn't really think twice about it being brand spanking new, because that was not why we chose to stay there.

Anyway, this past long weekend, we decided to do a last-minute getaway for just a night. Since we were being spontaneous, we didn't have a hotel booked or a destination selected. I was cruising Google for deals to whichever of Whistler, Bellingham, or Victoria would come up with the best offer first. To be honest, I didn't think Bellingham would have an appealing option, because I've done the online search before in past months and their hotel selections are usually limited to low-mid-range La Quintas and Best Westerns, or else pricey luxe resorts that are usually totally booked up. To my surprise, however, I came across a blog post and a lis…

Church for the Littlest Hearts

My heart is heavy, so I write this in search of wisdom from more seasoned parents who have walked this path.

How do you church your sensitive, attached children in a way that is respectful and responsive, and still balances their spiritual needs with your own?

Let me clarify our struggle to provide some context. We are Jesus-loving people who seek to grow in our faith, and worship in community. We also want Little L to witness and participate in this part of our lives, just as we want her to learn more about Jesus and hopefully, eventually, come to have a personal relationship with Him. Those are big priorities for us, and we recognize the value and importance of going to church as part of being in a worship community and fostering an accountable faith.

However, we struggle hard with church attendance, not because we are unwilling to go or unable to find a good community, but because most churches as we've experienced do not have adequate means to minister to sensitive and attac…

September, or Curriculum Celebrations

September means one thing to a teacher: the beginning of a new academic year. While I may not be returning to the classroom this month, I still get excited (and a little wistful) about the "Back to School" season. Unfortunately, because I don't actually get to set up my classroom, stock up on school supplies and plan out my first week's lessons, there is no natural outlet for my educator's itch. The result is that my urges are manifest in weird ways; I start looking at reading the curriculum for fun, and I end up talking off the ears of my practicing teacher friends. I live vicariously through their accounts of their first days at school, and I hang on their every word about new pedagogical theories and approaches.

That's how I know I must be destined to teach.

Tonight I learned about The Daily 5 (mini-lessons on literacy) and how it can complement the Reading Powers, and I also learned about the Systems of Intellect (SOI) approach to developing intellectua…

Parenting Is Scary - Part 67982, or How We Ended Up at the ER Twice in a Day

Yesterday afternoon, while Little L was playing outside with her nanny, she tripped on the uneven cement path beside our house, fell, and hit her head against one of the cement steps. Suddenly, I heard her piercing wail from inside the house. Then I heard the nanny calling for me, flustered and unsure about what to do next. She quickly blurted, "She fell outside. She's bleeding! What should I do?!" By this time, blood was splattered on my daughter's face and t-shirt, and soaking through the paper towels being held against her forehead. The small, deep crater was pooling with blood every time we removed pressure from her head.

It's a miracle that I didn't lose it right there, but despite my inward fear I was able to maintain my outward calm; I rushed over to console Little L and check on her wound while directing my nanny to call 811 or 911. As she spoke with the operator, I checked my daughter's vitals and examined her wound. Thankfully, by this time it …

A Calendar Fit For a Child

I'm referring to this gem I scored, made by Melissa & Doug, a while ago. Now that Little L is 3.5, she is really getting into helping change our daily magnetic calendar, and anticipating events while she learns about time.

Of all the calendars out there, this one best resembles the "calendar time" I did daily with my Grade 1's. That's not to say that it's too old for 3.5 year olds, however; my kid is able to do most of it with just a bit of verbal promoting and some guided questions.
The calendar's features include:
- separate boxes for year/month/date and season (lots of number practice and learning the months of the year and seasons)
- a section for yesterday/today/tomorrow (to learn the chronological order of the days of the week and identify the words)
- a thermometer with an arrow to indicate temperature, a weather box to identify the weather pattern (sunny, rainy, windy...)
- a blank "activities" section that you can either add magnets…

On Flights #25 and #26

So we recently returned from our short jaunty to E-town, the first time we've been back since our Granny's passing last September. It has also been nine months since Little L last flew, and in kid-time, that is an eternity. A lot of growth happens in nine months (e.g. a baby goes from being a newly conceived embryo of cells to a full-term fetus, etc.), so we were well aware that the little girl that we flew with to Maui last fall was not going to be the same girl we'd be doing the return 1.25h flights with. We weren't quite sure what to expect, despite having flown with her dozens of times before.

Well, let me say that it was a cakewalk. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. A pleasure, even. Here's what worked for us:

- quality kids' headphones with age-appropriate volume limits (we used a Philips brand one)

- a fully charged iPad with preloaded apps, videos, and books that don't need WiFi (we have an Epic books subscription that allows you to mark "favourites&…

A Simple Prayer

Over our dinner of chow mein noodles, my little girl prayed:

Dear Jesus, please come into my heart, because I need to remember God. Amen.

Unscripted, unrehearsed, unprompted, and from her heart.

Praise the Lord. Amen.

Seagull Hostages

We are currently on semi-lockdown, at least as far as our top balconies and garage entryway are concerned. Whenever we step out onto the landing on either side (we have both east- and west-facing balconies), we are met with the raging shrieks of a protective momma gull and her bird buddies. They proceed to dive-bomb at our heads, talons outstretched and beaks open menacingly, swooping within two feet of our precious scalps. They then circle back and repeat their offensives, sometimes defecating a load onto our roof as warnings of impending attack. Only when we retreat back inside does their aerial assaults cease.

I'm cripplingly afraid of aggressive birds, so this is very freaky to me. Worse yet, Little L *loves* playing on the balcony, and to be denied this experience every time she asks has been very frustrating. Unfortunately, I would much prefer a frustrated child than an injured one. Even Hubbs, who initially thought the swooping gulls overhead was a cool thing, has come to c…

Easing Up - Then vs Now

When Little L entered our lives, things got noticeably harder. It became very challenging for us to do many of the activities that we had grown accustomed to, from sleeping in to going out for dinner to traveling anywhere, be it the park or the aquarium or a friend's house. At the time, we climbed that steep learning curve and wondered if things would ever get easier. Fast forward three and a half years, and the answer is a resounding YES!! (Praise the Lord).

Sleeping in short interrupted bursts of time at all hours of the day
Sleeping upwards of 10 consecutive hours with minimal disruption

Hauling a 30+ pound combination of baby and car seat/carrier from place to place
Little L walks (and occasionally asks to be picked up when Hubbs is around)

Going out to dinner meant one of us ate first, while the other entertained/consoled a fussing infant
We all eat our restaurant food together, and there is a period of 10-20 minutes of dining quietude


Konmari De Rigeur

Have you heard of it? A method of tidying up and organizing made famous by a Japanese cleaning consultant named Marie Kondo, this approach to simplifying and decluttering spaces has folks purging their hoarder homes category by category, and keeping only the possessions that "spark joy" in their lives.

I have friends who swear by this method and have read Kondo's book cover to cover. Their own tidying journeys have been inspiring and I am happy that they have found an approach that fits them.  In all honesty, though, I did not read the book. I only skimmed the free excerpt, where she describes her belief that everything must have a designated place, and details her unsettling routine of talking to (or thanking) her belongings and clothes before putting them away, every day, upon her return from work. It was only a brief glimpse into the book, so I can't determine with any certainty if Kondo really is that uncanny valley, or if she is actually just a normal, extra-tid…

Because... and Other Antics

I've never interacted closely with other young children aside from Little L, so everything I know about 3-year-olds comes from my experiences with her. And I have to say, this stage of development is really amusing. 
For instance, I have heard that littles often ask "Why?" much to parents' annoyance. We haven't yet hit that stage (or maybe we already passed it). Instead, we are at the "because..." stage, where Little L likes to provide an unsolicited explanation for nearly everything, applying her own personal brand of reasoning even when it is absolutely nonsensical. She will literally explain herself as she narrates a story. "Percy [the frog] needs to lie down and be covered up with a blanket...because, he bonked his leg on the cliff!" "If we were anteaters, then we would definitely not want to eat funky ants, because then we'd spit up our germs!" "The
sow bug is gonna go home now, because he needs to rest." "We di…

Killer World

So, wildfires the size of gorgeous Vancouver have been burning for nearly two days (some, for much longer). Apparently lightning and freakish climate conditions (lack of rain, heat wave, wind direction blowing smoke to the coast instead of inland) are to blame. Not only is this annihilating our tree population at a scary fast rate (how many trees fill a 200 square kilometre area?!), but it is also taxing our already-low water reserves to try to put it out. The result of the raging flames has been an intolerable smoke cover that has us seeing a blood-orange sun and amber skies for the entirety of yesterday.

Alas, some of my worst fears (I have many) seem to be coming to pass: 1) global warming is turning our beautiful Pacific North Northwest into a drought-induced desert akin to California, and 2) I can't breathe properly. Yes, we have air quality advisories in place for the area right now, because even with all of my windows closed in the middle of summer, it smells like a fire pi…

Rainbows for Everyone

Have you heard the news? The Supreme Court has ruled it unconstitutional to prohibit gay marriage, which means that in all of the United States, in every single state, it is absolutely legal for two gay people to be married.

What excellent news! 

However, as a Jesus-loving Christian, I think I may be in the evangelical minority, and perhaps this blog itself will garner a lot of hate and shade from my own social circles owing to my liberal stance. While I understand and agree with the biblical arguments against homosexuality as a sin and marriage as a covenant relationship between a man and a woman (to mirror the covenant relationship between God and His people), I honestly do not see the outrage that so many of my fellow believers are experiencing.

Because... pluralism is a virtue that not only protects those who don't believe in Jesus, but those who do, as well.

Because... the United States has long ceased to be a Bible-loving, Jesus-following, God-fearing nation, so why should…