30 May 2009

[renos: Boys Bedroom Renovations]

Well - THIS is what I thought we were supposed to be doing this summer!! Getting the little one to realized he's going to be the BIG brother ... and kicking him out of his crib *grin*.

For that last few weeks, we've been baiting Josiah with a "red, Cars bed".

To which he would reply, with biiiig eyes, "Oooooooooooo!!!!"

We made a family outing of it, and it was good for Mattias to have to tag along for something about his brother, as Josiah seems to do for Tias every day.

The anchor of the room ...

And I actually felt BAD that we had moved Tias into a double-bed with grown up boy furniture ... but he doesn't want to change it. And Josiah was over the MOON with the thought of this as his bed.

So, we ordered it, and it arrives in 3 weeks. That gives me a bit of time to sort out "Tijuana" (that's was I call the craft room that ends up having everything in it ... just like Tijuana).

Then, off to Sears for the bedding - which was on SALE (whoo hoo!!). We got the Cars comforter and sheets, along with a set of dark blue sheets for an extra set. We also got him a Cars lamp - which has proven to be a problem in that he wants to sleep with it *grin*.

The wall colour? Ohhh - THIS was fun! I choose a yummy, bright "brookside moss" green. And there's a small architectural feature with his window, and that wall is going to be "champion cobalt" blue ... they're actually very sophisticated colours and would work well when he's out of his "Cars" bed. And the colours are pulled from the scene on his comforter ...

Decorating is going to be FUN ...

And as for the nursery that Siah's moving out of? It's perfectly fine the way it is ... the carpet will be changed, as all the bedrooms will be, and baseboards and crown moulding will be added. But that's it. If I knew it was a girl, then MAYBE I'd change it ... but right now it's done in browns, taupes and creams ...

Ok ... are you sick of my renos yet?? And we haven't even started yet!!

[renos: From Where We're Starting ...]

Interested in a "before"? I'd rather show you AFTER it's done *GRIN* ... but I'll give you a bit of an idea of what we're starting to do 'round these here parts.

Choosing paint colours was FUN ... basically I'm keeping the same feel, just using more INTENSE colours than the ones I chose 5 years ago ... "aztec brick" which is a vibrant, fiery orange for the front room (it'll be finished with the lower half as white wainscoting), "olive branch" which is a thick, warm green for the powder room, and "french press", an intense chocolate brown from the BM Pottery Barn Collection for the kitchen.

I'm debating as to whether we should paint the insets again ... we have a lot of them for wall hangings and such ... I'm thinking we'll leave them this time in just the neutral (which I'm leaning towards Bennington Grey).

I LOVE our front room ... but with the new shag being ordered, we'll be taking out the area rug and I thought now's a great opportunity to try a more intense colour for the room .. Hmmm ... should've straightened those tables before taking the pic *grin* ... Here's the "now" ...

Here are a few pics of the current colours vs the updated-to-be colours. The top colour is Aztek Brick for the front room. I am in love with it. Bold. Warm. Sophisticated. This may end up being the only "woman" room in the house if we have another boy *GRIN*!!

And you can't REALLY tell that this wall is GREEN (but it is). It's the powder room on the main floor - but I never liked the hue I chose then. It was very cold, so this time I'm going to be bold and do a true Olive Branch. It's also very warm with massive amounts of pigment and screams "lush" to me.
We installed black granite in the kitchen when we first moved in. The cupboards are white - unfortunately, not wood but melamine - and stainless steel appliances. The brown I chose 5 years ago is nice, but not deep enough. I wanted a stronger contrast between the walls and cupboards. So, I chose "French Press" ... here's what it looks like against the current brown - which kinda looks green - but it isn't. Gotta love inconsistent lighting!!
Finally, we chose Josiah's stuff for his room today ... all about that on the next post.

29 May 2009

[renos: Decision Making]

I must be INSANE to show you what my cream carpet looks like after surviving 12 years in this home (we've only been here for 5). And this just does NOT do the "ick" justice. It's really, really gross. And the stains are everywhere.

And, oh the decisions!!

But I have made most of them ... flooring, carpeting, paint (yes, paint - it seems that when you change the floor colour, you need to change the wall colouring too *grin*). It seems to me that I'm not as "urban" as I thought ... I guess having a family of 5 makes you reevaluate what's hip and what's workable. I love white walls, chocolate floors, sleek lines ... but that'll have to be for another span of life. Right now, I want to have a cozy home. I would say that "modern country" is more my thing ... textures, warm colours, clear glass, greenery, individual furniture pieces. I'm more "Pottery Barn", than I am "Restoration Hardware". Although - love that place too ... just not for where I am.

My FIL is in the building industry, and connected us to a great guy at Town & Country. LOVED the store - and were able to get really, really great prices. We opted to go a bit higher-end because of the deal we were able to get, durability, resale, and the fact we never want to do this again *GRIN*.

We chose "engineered hardwood", as suggested by one of my readers. It just happened that the one we loved, was engineered. It's dark hickory, distressed with nicks and veins ... it's warm, but not cherry - nor is it chocolate. It's perfect.

Then we chose SHAG, as suggested again from one of my readers, for the front room and for the family room. We LOVE it ... and imagine throwing our couches away to lay on the floor. It's that yummy. It has browns, taupes and creams in it. Perfect for our kids, perfect for us grownups. LOVE it.

Finally, we chose a Berber carpet for the stairs and upstairs, including bedrooms. It's a dark neutral with a slight pattern, and a friend said she has something very similar and LOVES it's durability. We've also chosen the best underlay to prolong the life of our carpet.

Today I spent some time and Benjamin Moore, just to get some samples ... and have chosen 3 colours, but can't decide the neutral. Maybe you could help me, oh wise readers!! I love "warm" but don't want "yellow." I know that neutrals either are yellow, green, or red based - which is a pain. Because I see "pink" in some neutrals, and some are too cold and "green". The ones I've chosen all seem to work well with the flooring we've chosen, but when I whittle it down to 2 or 3 choices, I'll be sure to make LARGE samples of them and check them in different lighting around the house. The ones I'm debating between are "wheeling neutral", "sandy brown", "bennington grey" and "bleeker beige". They are too close to tell with a photo ... *sigh*.

Here is what the "before" kitchen laminate beside the family room carpet, and above what it will be changed to "after".

Part 2 of the post next time ... paint colours, and hopefully the beginning of tearing out the old stuff and in with the new!

28 May 2009

[talk: I Ain't No Gardner, But ...]

We love berries. Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, boysenberries ... you name it, we love 'em.
So I got this idea to plant a couple of our own bushes in the backyard, with hopes that we would have a small crop each year - where the boys could see how the plants bloom, how they produce fruit, how God provides for us.

We bought a blueberry bush and a raspberry bush, and I planted them today in the sunniest spot I could find. I have no idea whether I'll get a crop this year, or whether I'll unintentionally kill these little "treat" plants *sigh* ... but I'm giving it a go.

Plus, our winter deSTROYED my rosemary bushes - such a shame, as I had been loving these 2 bushes for a few years now. So today, I also planted another rosemary bush and a thyme plant as well ... love 'em for cooking.

Here's to a handful of raspberries!

27 May 2009

[renovations: Oh Dear. Really??]

This photo is NOT of my home ... if it were - then there would be no need for this post *grin*.

I love my home. I say home, and not "house", because it IS home to me. We've been in the same place for almost 5 years now, and every year we sit down and decide what changes need to be done to keep up our biggest investment (our house *smile).

One year, it was to put in another room in the basement and a bathroom because our cousins were moving in with us for a couple of months.

Another year, we worked on the outside. Our backyard is a swamp, and we decided to halve the yard with gravel so that at least it was USABLE. The boys love to dig in it ...

And some years we haven't done anything ... and that's what I thought THIS year would be - especially with a new baby coming in a few months.

But, alas, that is not the case - and we are now starting the process of redoing the flooring in our home.

Our place was built with CREAM carpet (what sort of MAN decided this? I'll never know ...). With two boys, and half a swamp in the backyard (figuratively speaking, of course) we now have permanent blackness on our carpets. I could get them cleaned, but have been warned to save my money. The stains would most likely return within a few weeks. PLUS - my boys and the swamp won't change either ... and it's not like I'm not on top of them to take their SHOES off ... but when they get their feet dirty too and run to the potty ... ugh. *smile*.

SOOOO ... I'm starting to ask questions ... Right now we have carpet plus laminate. I really don't like the laminate (but it IS 12 years old ...) b/c it just streaks when cleaned and we have large windows that make it ALWAYS look dirty.

Do you have advice for me?? Laminate vs hardwood? I don't want to be a slave to my floors ... and I want to make sure that my boys can be boys and play cars or whatever on the floor. And we're THINKING of doing the stairs and upstairs in carpet (I don't like hardwood/laminate on stairs ...). I'm thinking Berber, with a small fleck in it to hide the small sins?

Then - there's the whole baseboard thing ... we have none upstairs, and downstairs is 2" right now. My hubby wants 12" - but I think that's INSANE. Maybe 6"?? Thoughts??? We do have high ceilings ...

The whole thing is, is that once you start one thing - it leads to another. Headers. Crown. Changing banisters. Redoing the drywall-fireplace with REAL mouldings. And obviously, there is a budget ... so when it's gone, we're done.


26 May 2009

[talk: Change of Plans ...]

I had a couple of different ideas for my post today - but felt that maybe I should share something that has been a reoccurring theme for myself as of late.

Today I had an orthodontist appointment - but I was early and so I thought that I would maybe pick up some groceries beforehand. But as I drove, I felt strongly that I was to go visit a friend who's really been going through it. Her and her new husband have had some difficult times with real estate (purchasing a new property, then the deal for their current property fell through), the swine flu cancelled her honeymoon plans (literally), and she is now facing her father being tested for Parkinson's.

When I was in New Zealand, I had the privilege of being "roomies" with one of my parent's dear friends. Her husband succumbed to a melanoma (skin cancer) in his early sixties - and she has much wisdom on the whole "comparison" topic. A small mole has changed her life.

It's easy to say that someone else's situation is better or worse than our own. Someone who has been through a difficult time may look at another circumstance and say, "I could never walk through that," while the other person walking that particular journey feels the same way about the other person. Or maybe someone feels like they've endured the worst of the worst, and that no one could possibly understand how defeated they feel.

My "roomie" said to me that she's learned to not look at others and compare their story to her own. Her husband passed in his early sixties ... and it would be easy for her to look at someone ill in his 80's and say, " ... at least he had another 20 years." Where as someone could look at her story and say, " ... he lived until his sixties ... my husband was taken from me in his 40's, " or " ... at least she had a husband, I've never found love ...". Her pain and loss is very real, regardless of how fair or unfair it may seem to others.

Each of our stories is worthy of our feelings. We all mourn parts of our journeys and rejoice in others. For some, their hard road appears to last only a moment - while others seem to walk an endless journey of hardship. But not one is more valid than another ... each of our circumstances is different - and how we were brought up, our faith in God, our surrounding support, even our own personalities all play a role in our perspective.

I think the greatest thing that we can do, is support and encourage those we know when they are facing hard times, and not try and weigh their experiences against our own. Validate them, believe in them, stand beside them. For it is the person who has walked the hard road who learns compassion for others ... and will most likely stand beside you when you need it most.

24 May 2009

[talk: Firehall Fieldtrip]

Tias' preschool went to the Firehall for a fieldtrip and it was full of great information, laughter from the kids, and an eye-opener for us parents.
The firemen were so great with the kids. There were games, reenactments, drills and even a chance to sit in the firetrucks.

The eye-opener was the film that was shown to the parents in a separate room, while the kids had their snacks and made crafts. The film was actually an episode of Dateline, showing the importance of fire safety and even more important, the power of having your family prepared.

I found it fascinating that it was SMOKE that kills, not the actual flames. And a story of a family where 2 small children succumbed to smoke inhalation really hit the message home. There was also a segment where 10 year old children, who felt very prepared because of school firedrills, were put to the test. But when faced with a homedrill during the night, none of the children were able to save themselves. One 10 year old simply covered his head with his blankets and whimpered, "I'm scared."

Of course, many of us parents felt the strangulation of panic as we realized that our two story homes had no safe way of evacuation. And when we thought of the ages of our children (mine being 2 & 4, plus a newborn soon enough ...), it became apparent that we were NOT prepared.

I'd like to say that we have a plan now, but we don't quite yet. Today, though, I will be calling the sprinkler service to fix our system as we had a pipe blow a year and a half a go, and we turned the water off. How ignorant of us. It'll cost some money that we hadn't planned for, but I never realized how blessed we were to have a sprinkler system and how it could, potentially, save us all.
And once my hubby's leg is better (2 more weeks, fingers crossed!!) we will be going through the drill ... having a planned meeting location, talking about keeping your door CLOSED (big tip for keeping the smoke out), staying low to the floor, opening your window, yelling for help ... we'll be doing it all.

So let this be your reminder ... do you have a plan? What would you do? Do you know? It's something that I pray you'll never have to put into action - but being prepared is the best life saving plan you can have.

21 May 2009

[talk: Kris Allen IS The American Idol]

Oh the drama.
Did you watch? I sure did ... even watched most of the show, despite having the PVR ability to skip through everything ...
A couple things made us laugh outloud ... like the Bikini Girl (there will be no link to that as she makes my stomach turn *smile*) and her version of "Vision of Love". And the crazy Tatiana - whom we're still debating whether she really did rebel against the bouncers and start randomly singing as she darted across the stage. And LAUGHED at the dude with the alter-ego "Norman" who sang, once again, "You're Gonna Love Me." Not so much at the song, but rather at the speech he delivered prior to ...
But here's the thing ... why I'm posting this is that I'm a wee bit frustrated at all of the comments that are being strewed across the internet by the media. They're calling this the "Idol Upset" and if you read this from CNN it pretty much suggests that Adam is some sort of victim, that Kris didn't even think he, himself, deserved to win, and that conservative Americans voted against Adam due to being "speculation of Adam's sexuality" and for Kris because he apparently went on a missions trip. And of course, would never suggest the opposite - that liberal Americans voted against Kris and for Adam for the exact same reasons.
So - that irritates me (almost as much as me not being able to put spaces between my paragraphs in this post!). Because, I wonder if Kris' fans would cause such a stink with such degrading suggestions that Adam was basically non-deserving and null-in-void of talent - which is pretty much what I've been reading from Adam's fans. Pretty cruel, and I feel bad for Kris - who I felt deserved the win based on a likable voice and his creative talent with instrumentation. And it must be disappointing to think that the public believes you won due to your faith - not your ability.
Now, obviously, these people who write such things are few and far between and are NOT a fair depiction of all Lambert fans (I have many friends who absolutely LOVED Adam). But I can't help but notice that the media, once again, is unable to show an unbias in their reporting - that they have to bring sexuality, faith and beauty (handsome-ness, I guess) as a deterrent as apposed to just saying, "Great show-down, both were deserving, congratulations to Kris."
I guess, though, that would be unrealistic, though *smile*.

20 May 2009

[talk: OH ... American Idol Final]

Ok - sorry - just a quick post that I'm cheering for KRIS ALLEN tonight. Love him. I could, for certain, listen to a full album of him.

Adam ... not so much. I appreciate his talent, his artistic flair, his obvious time spent in being trained and practicing ... but still. If I see his tongue stick out one more time as he belts out that octave-higher-note, I just might ... well. Turn the channel?

Good luck, Kris!!

[talk: "Memories ..." Go On, Sing It Out ...]

".... like the corrrrrners of my miiiiiiind." You can sing it ... go on ...

Piha Beach, New Zealand

Sydney, Australia

It's hard to believe that only a week ago - hey, actually 72 hours ago -I was on the other side of the world ...

Memories are a funny thing, don't you think? I always find it interesting how our minds can fool us into thinking something was better, or worse, than it actually was.

For example, when you think of an ex-boy/girlfriend ... do you roll your eyes and think, "WHAT was I thinking?" ... meaning, there wasn't much good to remember (when maybe there was?). Or thinking, "He/She was PERFECT ... we had the best time ... la la la la ...". When truth is, is that it was the most dysfunctional relationship ever *grin*??

SO funny, our 'rose coloured glasses' that make us see things in a different light.

But I think the memories of my time away are still untainted. Being in Australia was full of time to read, time to see some sights, to meet new people. And my New Zealand leg of the trip was more of spending as much time with family as possible, attending a funeral, a 21st birthday bash and trying to stay out of the rain *laughing*.

But I think the GREATEST thing about memories, is the opportunity to make new ones. I know that one day I'll look back to today, and remember my boys, my pregnancy, my hubby still hopping on one leg *smile*.

And I won't need those 'rose coloured glasses' to know that I have been blessed.

OH - and I'd like to say a massive "THANKS" to all of you who took the time to share your thoughts on mascara and mattresses. Hmm. Somehow that sounds a bit odd ... *smile*.

19 May 2009

[talk: Maybe YOU Know??]

Ahhhh ... the calm of my house.

Surprised to hear that? After all of the craziness of the last 10 weeks (or is it 11? or 12??) ... it seems as though our home might JUST be getting back into the mode of life. Just in time for the summer schedule to change all of that *smile*.

Today we went to the library, paid our over-due books *sigh*. I hate that. Oh well. Then off to do a massive grocery shop - as my hubby didn't seem to think that fresh produce was important while I was gone. I HAVE noticed, however, that candy and chips were a bit of a priority as I snoop through my cupboards *GRIN*.

Siah's now napping, I mended Tias' stuffed monkey - George -, the baked potatoes are set to start baking in an hour and the steak is marinating. (I know that this recipe says it's for chicken - but I've found it's equally great on beef ...)


Oh. Except for this jet-lag. I was WIDE awake at 2am this morning ... then, jolted awake at 7:30am by the boys - feeling like I was, once again, hit by a truck. It hasn't helped that the wee one inside of me thinks it's still in the South Pacific and kicks like mad from 11pm to dawn ... anyone know how to get an unborn child to adapt to Pacific Time??

And I have 2 more questions that I wondered if you would be able to help with ...

1. We're thinking of getting a new mattress as our "pillow top" one cannot be flipped over and now has caverns in it *what a PAIN*. Anyone know how to solve this problem? Or have advice on a new mattress?

2. Mascara. I may have asked this one before - but I'm still lost in the Superstore isle. I like thick, long lashes. Not skinny, long ones. No clumps. Suggestions?

Would love some help .... thanks!!

18 May 2009

[talk: Home Again, Home Again, Jiggidy Jog]

My Nana always used to say "home again, home again, jiggidy jog" whenever we arrived home. And I found myself saying it yesterday - happy to be home, and feeling a little like I never left. Except for the jet lag. Jet lag is evil.

I pretty much had 2 different trips - the one to Australia being with friends and meeting new people. The second, to New Zealand being with family and seeing old friends.

We did a lot of driving around, and I won't lie - I'm pretty beat. It doesn't help that the boys were up at 7:30am, which was 2:30am for me.

Ah well ... give me a couple of days and I'll get back into the swing of things.

So - now my next adventure will be bringing this new wee one into the world. THAT is a crazy thought ... having three kids? I can't imagine a new personality entering the home, and am looking forward to this new stage ... but it's not for a while. September-ish.

The last night I was in NZ, I went to my cousin's 21st bday party. Basically, it was a "wedding for one". A hall was rented, over 150 guests, appies and drinks served, speeches, slide shows ... the whole shebang.

It was a great night of honouring my cousin, and he seemed quite overwhelmed with all that was done. One of the highlights was a video done by his younger brother, and best friend, Jono(than). If you're interested ... it's here. Jono wrote it ... and you'll be humming the chorus if you watch it too long *smile*. Oh - and "woostie" is my cuz's nickname ...

All right ... off to do laundry. Ciao!

12 May 2009

[vacations: Stood Up. Really? Oh Brother.]

Anyone who knows me, knows I'm rather nostalgic.

I love old church choruses - they make me cry. I love driving by my old stomping ground - my old elementary school where the memories come alive as I smell the cedars. I love reading old letters from friends who I knew a lifetime ago. And most of all, I love seeing those friends - people whom I once shared life with, but somehow our paths diverted and now we're living totally different ones.

I love that. Seeing what happened, who they married, where they work, what they named their children ... hearing their tales that brought them to where they are today. New Zealand has many of those people for me ... as I came here many times growing up, and kept up some special friendships throughout the years. I thought that this trip would be a perfect opportunity to connect with some of those people.

Which leads me to last night ... a friend from many, many, moons ago and I got in contact. He and his wife are pastors at the local church. They have 4 children and are all doing very well apparently. I so wanted to have a quick visit - see family photos, hear about their future plans ...

Well - we were in touch by phone. I had thought that maybe we could meet up the next day (today) as my aunt - whom he is very close with - was coming and I thought he would like a visit with her too. But no, he suggested that we meet at the apartments that my parents are staying at, have a cup of tea with the folks and catch up - that night. "Perfect," I thought. He said he'd arrive after his son's soccer (footie) game ... around 8:45pm.

I Skyped my husband, told him of the upcoming reunion, and then my folks, my aunts & uncle and I all went for dinner ... it was a lovely meal and a lovely time. And then we went back to the apartment to wait for my friend, AT.

Well. 8:45pm came.

9pm came.

9:15pm came ... so I went upstairs to phone - to make sure he wasn't wandering out the city. I left a message and went back downstairs to wait.

9:30pm came.

9:45pm came ... are you getting the picture here *laughing*?? Imagine, a preggo waiting in an empty lobby ... wishing I had brought a good book down with with me ...

10pm, 10:15pm ... ok. That's enough ... I was done. Upstairs I went, vented to my folks about common courtesy and a simple phone call. Of course, we all debated about what happened ... maybe his son got hurt on the field. Maybe he ran out of gas. Maybe he left his phone at the church ...

So, I called again - this time, someone picked up and with a muffled shuffle of a few seconds, the call was hung up.


I called back ... the phone had been turned off.


Ok - it's been a while since I've been stood up ... hmm ... if ever? But this was just TOO silly? Two grown, happily married, parents, over 30 years old ... too much drama for me. And of course, my pride was, "I don't care - who does he think he is??" My aunt, who's my roommate, and I had a seriously good laugh over it. And how you can be suddenly thrown into feeling like your 14 all over again.

It's possible that his wife didn't feel as comfortable about our visit, as my husband did. That's completely cool ... although if she saw me in my 6 month preggo state, she definitely would have *laughing*. But I didn't suggest us getting together one-on-one (which, I feel, would've been inappropriate) and he was the one who wanted to meet sooner than later. Plus, I had hoped to visit with her too, and their kids ...

So - whatever the case - he phoned this morning, with a mouthful of apologies and some pretty lame excuses ... and that was that. Disappointing, yes ... very disappointing, no.

My 15 year old rose-coloured glasses see quite clearly now *GRIN*!

09 May 2009

[talk: A Down Under Mother's Day]


OK - that might be early for some - but for me, it's today. And it's been a bit sad without my family, but still a lovely day and I got to Skype them and let them know how much I love and miss them.

I was at Hillsong this morning and the Word was spectacular - I was so challenged and encouraged. So I wanted to share briefly on what impacted me ...

First off - "Desert Song" was sung during worship ... which completely overwhelmed me. If you do not know the story, it was written after a tragic loss of a 24wk pregnancy ... baby Max lived for a few hours and then went into the arms of Jesus. I had the privilege of meeting Max's mother, and I wept and wept during the song - for my own loss in Shalom, for her loss in Max - for all the losses and burnt dreams some feel with the fear of no children at all.

But after worship, the speaker proclaimed that this is NOT to be a sad day - but a day where we look to the future. Her husband brought up the truth in the story of Abraham and how he was NAMED the "father of nations" before he had children. He needed to rise up and act like a father before he was one ... I thought that was beautiful - rising up to the gift that children are, whether your own or not.

Julia spoke on "Legacy Lessons" and what you are leaving behind to the generations following. What will be said of you ... so challenging, so inspiring. She gave a few points (I'm just scanning my notes right now ...). One: Give selflessly ... LISTEN ... James 1 tells us just that, to be quick to listen. And she told of how much she appreciated how her mother listened and validated her, even when she was perhaps a bit off in how she felt. What a testament - to sometimes not use moments to teach, to impart what we think is wisdom - but to just be still, to hold our kids, to listen.

Two, to Express My Christianity. She told how her mother worshipped, and how it affected her. And how her mother was never ashamed of what Jesus did for her. Also - how she was an encourager in the faith - and I was challenged by these words: "Don't wait to be the person who wants to be encouraged - but rather, be the ENCOURAGER." How brilliant.

Finally, to Be There. Be Present. When someone needs you - be there. When your kids need you - be there. Obviously, we can't ALL be there for EVERYone ... and we tend to hide behind that whole mentality that it's all too overwhelming. But no, we CAN be there for our circle, and we NEED to be there for our children and family.

Ok ... can you see how wonderful these words were?

So - for you - the mom of many, the mother of few ... the one who dreams of more, the one who dreams of one ... to the mom of the lost, to the mom of the chosen ... to the mom who weeps, to the mom who rejoices ...

To you all - may this day be a day where you and I rise up to Proverbs 31 ... be clothed in dignity, have our children called us blessed because we have been responsible with the gift HE gave us ...

Happy Mother's Day.

07 May 2009

[vacations: I Think It's Day 4 ...]

This post is for the benefit of my mom *grin*.

Yesterday, my dad, mom and aunt left Sydney for Auckland.  I, however, stayed behind so that I could hook up with friends here for the weekend.

Mom.  I am GOOD.  Alive.  The baby's good.  And no, I haven't lost my passport *GRIN*.

I spent yesterday afternoon wandering the streets of Sydney.  I had thought about bringing my camera but there was so much walking to do, I thought I had better not push it.  Of course, like always, I regret now not having taken it with me.  

It's not often that I have 5 hours to just look at buildings and parks ... to window shop and eat gelato.  It was lovely - except I think that I'm only one of 3 pregnant people in all of Sydney!!  It's soooo funny ... the LOOKS I get.   Like I'm an alien ... people look at me, look down at my belly and look away with looks of ... well, unbelief.  It's pretty funny.

So what did I do all afternoon?  I ended up walking into a salon and said, "GO for it."  It took up a good hour and a half ... loved having my head massaged and all of that.  And yes - a LOT was cut off ... it's cut shorter than chin-length now.  Not REALLY what I wanted, but it's hair.  And being pregnant, my hair grows SO fast that it'll probably be chin length by Sunday *laughing*.

Then my friends picked me up - we went to a pub for some yummy food, then off to a practice at Hills City Church ... there's a special being done on Sunday for Mother's Day that they were practicing for ... 

After that, my friend KF and her friends MF and JM took me to see "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past".  I had a great time!!  The movie?  Ah ... not the worst movie I've seen ... not the best.  But we laughed so much ... MF is SUCH a character!  And the funniest part of the night was when we couldn't get to the car because the mall had everything blocked off ... lots of wandering and frustration ... and hilarious comments.

Ok ... now?  Well - I'm not on my computer, I'm on BF's.  So - no uploading of any pics ... and as I said - no pics were taken yesterday except for at Hills church.  

I'm hoping to keep taking pics - but I'm feeling a bit self conscious ... I don't want people here thinking it's odd that I'm taking photos of gatherings and such ... for me, it's my vacation - it's what I'm doing and what I want to remember ... I basically photo-journal.  So - if I bring my camera tonight for dinner at B&K's friend's house - I hope that I won't look too ridiculous ...

Oh - and why all the initials of people here?  Because my friends back home will know who I'm talking about *wink* ...

Ok - must run ... 

Have a good one!!

06 May 2009

[vacations: Day Two]

Would you believe that we spent almost 5 hours in the upstairs lounge?

That's where we had breakfast, but then my dad watched the hockey game - and my aunt and mom took in the view while having wonderful conversation. I Skyped home ...

But once 1pm rolled around, we decided to get moving and we chose to go and look around the shops. And let me tell you, there is a LOT of shopping to be done in this city. I'm not REALLY a shopper - I like deals and I like to shop when I have a plan ... so yesterday was more like window shopping, and taking in the city. I bought a couple of things for the boys, but haven't found anything for my hubby yet. Oh well. It's only day two!

The most impacting thing that happened, was something totally unplanned. After a wonderful dinner at a cafe recommended by KF, we headed back to the hotel lobby. There, we settled in for some more conversation when a very drunk young lady asked if she could join us.

She was highly entertaining to start with. Extremely blunt - to the point of bringing us into fits of laughter. She told us she used to be a back up singer for Celine Dion - and then broke out into "Near ... Far ... WhereEVER you are...". She talked about "energy" and being drawn to us. She made fun of each of us - not intentionally, but just because her "tact muscle" didn't exist under the influence of alcohol.

But as she stayed, we started asking her questions - and her mood quickly change. She started to cry, saying that she was so lonely, so unhappy. That was when we each took a moment to share about God with her ... to which she said, 'Oh, I'm sorry. I don't believe in God." And then she would cry.

She stayed with us for about a half an hour ... and as soon as she realized we weren't going to drink and party with her, she moved on to the next table. By the end of the night, the police were asked to come in and take her away.

I have no idea what seeds, if any, were planted. I don't know if she'll remember a thing about last night. But it was a reminder to me that the broken and lost are everywhere. And that talking about the redemptive love of God is not something everyone has heard.

She definitely impacted our group ... even as I sit here and type, I hear my family talking about the experience ... we pray that some way, some how, last night mattered.

05 May 2009

[talk: Read This.]

Ok - two posts in one day?

I'm supposed to be getting ready for dinner, but came down to check my emails. Instead, I slipped over to a friend's blog, and wanted to wanted to share this link with you. Many of you already go to this site, but CW shared such a fantastic post that I wanted to share it with you.

Take a moment and be SO encouraged!! I know that I was!!

I'm here!!!

I can hardly believe it - but even as I type this and look over the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge ... I still have to pinch myself.
Our flight was uneventful - a few bumps, but I actually found them relaxing as I slept ... strange, I know. But a real relief that I may have kicked this "fear of flying" thing!

We arrived yesterday at 8:30am Auz time, and met my cousin Lance. We made our way back too the hotel, which is only blocks away from the Harbour, and then walked down to a Cafe for some brunch.

It was important to us that we try and get on Auz time, so we thought we should just keep going - and so we took a 45 minute ferry ride to Manly (great name, eh?) and walked through the little town to the beach.

After, we came back to the hotel and got ready for dinner. Lance suggested a Thai restaurant, so we gladly went. It was MIGHTY spicy for me *grin*, but I still got enough to eat ... and the conversation was lovely.

By the time 8pm rolled around, I could barely keep my eyes open. We chose to walk back to the hotel, said good bye to Lance and then headed for bed. My folks slept in the bedroom and I slept on a cot in the living area ... but it was so comfy, that I fell asleep instantly.
I woke up at 4am ... then rolled over, back to sleep - and arose at 7:30am. It's SO great to be on Auz time already!!
Right now, I'm typing from the breakfast room in the hotel ... Auntie Ruth is taking in the view from the deck, my mom is catching up on her emails, and my dad is trying to figure out how he's going to watch the Canuck game in 2 hours *grin*.

Me? Well - I Skyped my family last night, and today ... Tias is very emotional, but getting better knowing that we'll be able to talk every day. Josiah is Josiah ... he's 2 and just thinks it's cool that Mommy is on the computer.

My hubby says all is well ... sure hope so - it's only been a day or so :-).

The plan today is - nothing :-). I might find a salon and chop off my hair. Or digi scrap in the park just below ... I am feeling relaxed and content. I miss my home and my boys, but with Skype, I feel that I am still connected a little and can keep up to date with what's at home.

Tonight we're heading for dinner tonight at the Sydney Tower ... and I am taking it all in.

This already has been a trip of a lifetime. I am so grateful. Having one on one time with my parents is such a gift ...

And to you all - wherever you are - stop and give your mom a call. Give your dad a hug. Our parents are gifts that we take for granted ... our legacy is what they've given us ...

So to you, today, I wish you all the best of what today can be!!