29 September 2008

[photos & talk: A Wedding, A Girl's Weekend to Phoenix & Another Dead Fish]

Ooo ooo ooooo. It's been a few days, and I have so much to share - but SO much to do ... but the "doing" will have to wait *grin*. I'm doing THIS right now (while the laundry does another cycle ...).

First things first. My sis-in-law, Silvia, got MARRIED yesterday!!! This IS a MASSIVE deal - she is 37 and has been "holding out" for "perfection" *grin*. Hey, weren't we all?? Yah, yah, whatever. ANYway - God gave her sunshine and the most wonderful day. We are so very happy for her, and welcome her man into our home. My husband, myself and Mattias were all in the wedding - and my parents attended as well, and helped watch Josiah. My only anxiousness came from NOT being able to take pics of Tias coming down the isle. It's scary having to rely on someone else for that (haven't gotten those pics yet) - but I still managed to get 400 pics from before & after the ceremony. *sigh*. More pics to go through - but, you know, ... I love it *smile*. Also - there will be more pics on my Facebook, if you're interested!
Our "Girls Weekend to Phoenix" is in 2 sleeps *grin*!! Myself and 5 girlfriends are staying at my family's condo for a couple of nights for some much needed R&R ... and shopping *grin*. We've been talking about this for SO long, and I can't believe it's so close. I shudder at how many pics I'm going to take ... especially because when the girls go home, my hubby and boys arrive with my parents - and we stay another 12 days. Only downer is the plane ride. I'm TERRIFIED of flying ... and am considering massive amounts of drugs to compensate *grin*. We shall see.

AND ... just to top it off ... Guido died. Tias' FAVOURITE fish. But Tias was so much better this time, and Guido was quickly replaced with a 39cent goldfish. My husband said, " No more of this $5.99 a fish when they die every few weeks." So Tias has his two buddies swimming together again and is starting to realize that fish die. *sigh*.

Ok ... so some pics of the wedding I took - here are a few of my favourites (who am I kidding, a BUNCH) ... my bro-in-law took our "family shot" *kudos to him*!

Silvia & My mom-in-law
the three little princesses

my little man - isn't he handsome??

the cake Charmaine made. Seriously. 3 Kids and she whipped this up.
this is the only way I get a pics of myself, it seems. See. I WAS there.
the happy couple.

the tables were all named.

I love this. How Italian is THIS?? Crazy cousins.

the reception site

Ok ... well - I'm off ... once again - there are more pics on my Facebook. And I wish you ALL a glorious rest of the day. *grin*

24 September 2008

[make: Specialty Cakes - A New Addiction, I Think]

OOOOOOH my oh my. A couple of nights ago, our HH12 group had a BLAST learning how to create specialty cakes with fondant. The cakes were pre-made, as was the fondant (but we were shown how to make our own), and we were placed into teams with a 1 hour timelimit. We had magazines to look through, if we wanted, and quickly came up with a plan.
Can I tell you HOW MUCH FUN it was?? Ohhh ... this was SO up my alley.

Our team created a Ladybug Cake, and we were so proud *grin*. The other teams made a "Fall-Themed" Cake with leaves and the other was a 2 tiered Strawberry Cake. It was sure tough to do it with only an hour allowed, but they were SO fantastic - and the Fall Cake won the presitigous award as "best cake".

Here are some pics ...

Far from professional - but now I'm feeling like the possibilites are endless!! I spent some time checking out some sites and found these pics of AMAZING cakes. They are absolutely incredible - and make our attempts a little lacking *grin*. But hey - for most of us, it was our very first attempt and these cakes are made by teams of great pastry chefs.

The sites I went to were: http://www.pinkcakebox.com/ , http://www.cakesbydarcy.com/ and http://www.carynscakes.com/ . Another great site is http://www.confetticakes.com/ . Check them out - but here were a few of my favourites.

22 September 2008

[talk, digiscrap, invisaline ...: SO Much Going On]

You know - I miss a few days, and then there's SO much to share - some deep thoughts and some silly ones too ... Let's start with the one that's on my mind the most.

Last night, I went to church while my husband watched our kids. We don't usually go on Sunday nights b/c of the wee ones - but a friend from out-of-town was leading so I really wanted to go. Worship was thick and wonderful, and the Word was too. I was struck by this verse: 1Kings 18:21 ... it speaks of either serving God, or not - one or the other. And I'm always fascinated by comments of those who say, "I don't serve any God." because we all do. Either it's Him or it's money, image, education, substances, slander, food etc ... we all have a god in our lives. And if you don't chose Him, you chose something else. It's that simple - and so powerful.

Wow. I think I need to just sit and dwell on that for a while.

Speaking of powerful - I went to an Encounter this weekend for the women of our church. I was there to lead worship to work with the Team there, but left so encouraged and validated - it made my heart sing. I was talking to my sis-in-law about it and said, "I HATE how I am so unconfident ... I need someone to say, 'good job'." Well. No longer. I'm not picking up that lie anymore and will walk through whatever doors He opens for me ... in confidence. That's the plan, anyways *wink*.

On other fronts, I'm done my LAST tray of Invisaline for my bottom teeth. And they are - well - straight. Good thing, huh *grin*. The top ones, I'm only half way. Can't WAIT until they're done too and I don't have to remove the trays to sing *laughing*.
AND ... *drumroll* ... Yin put me on her site!!! MY PAGES are on HER SITE!! Seriously - that is just the most lovely thing for me. Doing something I love and having a "professional" compliment it? So cool. You can check it out here ... you have to scroll down a little bit.

Wanna see some new pages?

Here they are ... click images to enlarge

18 September 2008

[talk & digiscrap: We're All One Prayer Away from Being "Them"]

So many passionate thoughts going through my mind today. Not thoughts of passion *grin* - passionate THOUGHTS.

Last night, I had SUCH a great time at a new event held at my church. "Women's Wednesday" was fantastic - and so well done. Props to you, S&L - thanks for including me ... I was able to lead worship, and be the photographer for the night. Such a privilege - and here are just a couple of the pics I took. I hope they don't mind *blush*.

The woman who shared, spoke of "walking in her shoes" with her life-story and how things didn't quite turned out the way she thought they would. She had done everything "right" - loving the Lord, raising her family, being active with friends and community in the church ... and after 20 years (I'm guessing) of marriage - her husband chose to leave. Her story wasn't about the defeat of that, but of the shoulder she had in her Savior.

After the evening was over, I was speaking to a mentor-friend of mine and she brought up Shalom in regards to knowing about facing hard times. We had been in conversation with another friend, whom I've known for many years, and she didn't know of my story. I spent the next while sharing my experience of Shalom.

My mentor-friend stood by, and shared that she is currently working with a Recovery House in our local area and has asked if I would come and be a part of that. Now, to some, I may seem like an unlikely candidate. I have never been drunk, participated in drugs - I was a "straight-lacer" from birth and haven't wavered very much *grin*. I grew up with a wonderful family, with much support and a church that I love.

But I am someone who was just one prayer away from being like those souls who chose to resort to substances to calm their pain and quiet the noise in their heads. I don't speak of it much, but I remember coming home from the hospital and consciously thinking, "I need a break - just a moment - where it doesn't hurt. Where I can breathe." I seriously thought about drugs - just to ease the pain for a moment. And for me, I had community, support, counselling and JESUS. And I can tell you that having those things saved me. That is the only difference from me to "them". Had I not had those things, I can say that I would have turned to anything. Honestly. And that is a far cry from who I really am - which makes me think the same of others who are so lost in substance abuse, anger and other unhealthy behaviour. And because not many women I know, know what it is like to have to chose to lose a child - God really was all I had. It was a tormenting experience - but I had those things to surround me. Had I not - I would be lost. Simple as that.

SO - I am excited ... I have been wondering, as of late, whether Shalom will have a relevant place in ministry opportunities. And now she just might. The thought of looking at someone who says, "You don't know this kind of hurt, " and being able to say - "Yes. Yes, I do." I dream of that moment.

Phewf. Well - that was a heavy, wasn't it. *smile*. Hopefully it was encouraging - to let you know that the things YOU face can help someone else. If not now, in time. Life without it's experiences isn't life - and it's what we DO with those experiences that make life what it is. And life without Him, isn't a life that I would want.

Ok. Are you ready for something else now? *GRIN*. Ok - soooooo - I've been giving a stab at digital designing. NOT for anyone, but for myself. I just wondered if I could do it ... and thought, "why not". So - I'm NOT an artist ... and I'm not a computer whiz either ... but these are the things I've created lately.

Another outlet - another way for me to celebrate life. These are some water colour papers I created - and a couple of "word arts". Remember - I will not be selling these, these were just things I was trying ... and having some fun with. I'll have to talk to B&K about copywrites on lyrics *big grin* - but I'm sure they don't mind if it's just for my scrapbook ...

Ok. Here they are ... have a good one!!
paper #1
paper #2

paper #3

paper #4word-art #1

word art #2

16 September 2008

[digiscrapping: Some pages, some banter ...]

Wellllll ... it's been a few days - and I have a million "posts" going through my head. Don't you find that??? It's like "ooooh - THAT would be a good thing to blog about." Or no. Wait. "THAT's a good thing to blog about." And it goes on and on. To the point where I don't blog because I can't decide what to say. *laughing*. Such a geek, I know.

So - a few thoughts ...

1. I had a few fantastic couples over for dinner on Sunday night - so much fun, such great people. I LOVE to cook and so I prepared french onion soup for the starter, bacon Alfredo fettuccine for the second course, and grilled chicken with roasted yams & potatoes with stir fried peppers & zucchini in Marsala. For dessert - as requested by my hubby - Lemon Pavlova. So. See? I love to cook ... and one of my lovely guests laughed as she said that she wasn't sure if she could have us over for supper b/c she wouldn't do what I did. Hmmm. I've never thought of that before ... See, I just get into this "zone" of loving the smells and flavours and planning. I love writing out the menu and grocery shopping for yummy ingredients ... I love setting the table and all the small details as well as large. So - I started wondering if that's why we rarely get invited over to anyone's house for dinner?? (ok - that's a little embarrassing to admit too *blush*) Maybe not, but if so - that would break my heart. Seriously. I do what I do because I love to do it - not to make anyone feel ANYTHING but the love I put into it. So - if you've come over, and it's made you feel "whatever" - please don't. I love love love love love to do it. And if I do it for you - it means I love YOU too.

2. Oprah's show yesterday: I don't always watch her - she drives me a tad crazy. But I like the decorating or whatever - I tape them and either discard them or watch them when the hubby's playing hockey late at night. So, I watched the first 60 seconds or so and got so sick to my stomach - I halted the PVR and decided today (after chatting to a friend about it) to delete it. I don't like to be ignorant - but putting images in my head of children being ... ugh. I just can't take it. Lord, protect our children and HEAL the minds of those who dream up these intolerable evils.

3. Big Brother: I'm cheering for Dan. End of story.

4. Lampe Berger: I bought one of these the other day. It burns a scented alcohol rather than an oil - and it DISINFECTS the air ... the one I got cleans 150sq ft in 20 minutes. I was told that this is how hospitals used to sterilize rooms at the turn of the century. Sure, our technology is far better now, but sometimes - the basics is good enough for me. So the lampe has toured our home, first our bedrooms and then the main living space - and the way the AIR FEELS afterwards is really fantastic. I bought a "starter" kit for $40.00 including lamp, wick and fuel. Love it, love it, love it.

3. Digiscrapping: I created my first "word art" and wanted to post it .. haven't figured out how to save the image with a transparent background once it's a jpeg (as apposed to a psd file). When I save the image, there's a white background & it's unusable for digiscrapping. Also - don't know how to set it up on my site so friends can dowload "freebies". SO... anyone know? Anyone?? Help! I'm passionate, still ... and here are a few pages of late.
click image to enlarge

13 September 2008

[talk: My Eulogy. And Some Hockey too.]

You'd think that I was morbid - with all the dying fish around here, has it gotten me to think about things in a "finalized" kind-of way??

BUT tonight I went to the ocean with Josiah. My husband was hosting a stag at our home, and Mattias wanted to stay for the dinner - so being female, I chose to leave and brought my little guy with me. I had no clue as to where I was going to go - actually aimlessly driving south. "Where to go, where to go," I thought. And I ended up at the beach. It was a glorious late-afternoon and Siah and I threw rocks in the ocean, walked along the beach while he pushed his own stroller - it was a quiet, reflective time for me.

Then, I led us to different neighbourhoods - something I love to do - checking out the different homes and the feelings they give off. Some were cozy, some were cold - and some I started dreaming of living in. And THAT's what got me to thinking about my Eulogy.

See - I was looking and dreaming, thinking "oh, if only". And with those thoughts came others; and I wondered how many of us think "if only" and that would make our lives happier. If only we had a basement or a larger backyard. Or a boat. Or a vacation property. Or if we were thinner. Or taller. Or maybe if a relative was still alive, or perhaps if a loved one wasn't sick. And it goes on and on. I think that it's all valid - but it seems to me that we should be easily satisfied - which is a contradiction to the belief I have in hard work and moving forward in life as well. But, that sense of drive is a God given thing - but so is being satisfied, I think.

Which brings me to my eulogy. I wonder what people will say about me when I die - and hopefully I have some time before that'll happen *grin*. Some people don't like me, I know that ... and they probably wouldn't even come *smile*. But the people who do like me and know me for me ... I would want them to think of me as easily satisfied - that I was happy and content. And I think I am for the most part - I don't complain about material things, but I need to be content with the stage of life that I'm at. And that's something I'll be working on.

Ok ... enough of all that *my brain hurts*. How 'bout some hockey??? Oh - you're gonna laugh at this. My husband is OVER the MOON about the new team he's on - and their jerseys were bought at an auction from a movie set (so none of their names are on them *laughing* - they're all the character's names). He got me to pack up the kids and take some pics at last night's game. The boys LOVED it ... and here are some pics.

10 September 2008

[talk: God and the Dead Fish]

I wasn't going to post anything today - not much has happened ... life is trucking along quite nicely. But now, I have something to share.

Last night I noticed that Luigi, Mattias' pet fish, was vertical. Not a good thing for a fish, I think. I mentioned it to Mattias and his eyes welled up and his jaw got firm as he said, "No, Mummy. He's fine." Hmm. This was not going to be easy.

When we came home from preschool today, Luigi was on his side - his gills moving every now and then. Not a good thing for a fish. I warned Mattias, "Luigi is very sick and may die. Sweetheart, I am so sorry." To which the tears flowed and Tias got on his bed and cried as he hugged his favourite stuffed toy.

Oh boy.

Well - Luigi was dead within the hour and when I told Mattias, I was on the phone with my husband. He was actually at the pet store trying to find the perfect replacement for Luigi and had intended on switching them before Mattias realized one of his pets died. Yet again.

But I had mixed feelings about that. See, while Luigi was still alive, we prayed to God that He would make Luigi all better. And I felt that if we switched fishes, Mattias would believe God healed the fish, and I thought that would be wrong of us. God doesn't always heal.

Now, I believe in a God who does heal. How He chooses who and when, that I don't understand. For me, it's like, "Come ON God. Do it for this little boy ... it's just a fish." But He didn't. And you'd think I know all about God and his choosing. He completely restored my husband when he was to have spinal surgery in our first year of marriage (that's a story I'll have to share with you). Completely. And I often forget about that, especially when He chose to not heal our little girl, Shalom.

So. God and the dead fish. He is still God. I just wish that I knew His thought process a little better *smile*. And as for Mattias - I asked him if he wanted to say anything to Luigi before I *cough* flushed him ... and he looked at me with eyes welled and said, "stay here, Mummy." He went upstairs, and after a few minutes, returned downstairs. Big tear stains streaked his face and he said, "I just whispered something softly to him." "What did you say?" I asked. "I said, 'goodbye Luigi'". Seriously. This kid just breaks my heart. And I told him what a beautiful little boy he was, and how proud I am that he loves so much.

And now? Well, I'm actually currently waiting for the clean fish-tank to be ready for Guido. And a new friend ... that's right. My husband came home early from work and brought a smile to Mattias' face with a new little fish. His name? Luigi. Of course.

08 September 2008

[digiscrap: OOOO Where Do I Start??]

SO much to say ... and not sure where to start. So I'll start with this:

Don't you just hate the yo-yo effect of life sometimes? I mean, a few days ago I was - once again - feeling gloomy and lonely, isolated and bullied all at the same time. What's with that??? Then the sun comes out (literally) and my own clouds of gray are lifted. I'm wishing that the weather didn't predict my own mood *grin* for there seems to be a real co-insiding of the two.

I went from these sad emotions to a glorious Sunday. I love my home church and the people in it. There's a real sense of "family" birthing there - and I have the privilege of being involved in the music there. Nothing is greater than people joining together in worship. Nothing. And for me, that says a lot - because I love to do a lot of things *grin*. So I came home in a state of euphoria - a real sense of who I am and why I'm here. Such a contrast to the day before ... such a yo-yo. Such a pain *grin*.

Then - I get this comment from "Yin". Did you read it? OH MY WORD. The woman made my day. Now - to those of you who DON'T know who she is, she is a digi-queen and has a bazillion (well, not quite) hits on her site to prove it. She creates fantabulous pages and gives out freebie templates from time to time. I snatch them up as quickly as she gives them out - and got brave a few days ago to tell her "thanks" for the ideas. I left my blogsite there, inviting her to come and check out my pages - NEVER thinking she would. But she did ... and left kind words to boot!! She actually asked if she could put some of MY pages on HER site. **clonk**. Sorry. That was me, falling over.

SO - now I have to step it up just in case she makes her way over here again *laughing*. And I'll need to start posting "credits" of the products I use too - which will be a huge deal b/c I have so much digi stuff on my computer - it's a little crazy. And if she reads this - she'll probably be horrified that she made my blog topic. But maybe she'll smile, and I'll have validated her the way she validated me *grin*. How nice would that be??

Ok. Tomorrow? Tias' very first Music for Young Children class (you can see him drumming videos here) is in the morning ...then off to see Toopy & Binoo (what on EARTH am I thinking??). Our dinner guests canceled, so it will be a quiet night of "Big Brother" and digiscrapping.

For you? I wish you a glorious day full of sun and no yo-yo-ing. Have a good one *grin*. And here are some of my recent layouts. Enjoy. Or not *grin*.

click images to enlarge

05 September 2008

[talk: And for Today's Post]

Thank you SO much for the stories you shared about your brushes with fame *grin* - I loved reading them and feeling connected to you all ... such a fun thing *grin*!

But on to my REAL life ... the sun came out yesterday and we ventured to the park. I was a "single" mom for the day and night - and that meant planning ahead and coming up with fun things to do. I sure love our boys ... and time spent together is pretty great - even when it's exhausting.

And today? Well - it was the first day of Tias' second year of preschool. More like an orientation, a getting together and reminding all of us moms how things work. A refresher *grin*. And now we're ready for the school year.

And the rest of today? Spent outside, laughing and creating memories. And me trying to save the moments forever with my camera. Being a mom is so bitter-sweet. The guilt I feel when I choose to do something other than being with them. The guilt of dreaming of them being older and less reliant on me and being able to be more selfish with my time - all the while praying that they'll stay this way forever. The way they giggle, and make up silly words. The way their feet look when they refuse to wear their shoes outside. The way their hair smells when they come for a close hug. Oh how I love them.