Friday, December 30, 2011

These are a Few of My Favourite (Christmas) Things

I was spoiled again this Christmas. I admit, this is not unusual.

First off, at the top of my list, I received a plane ticket to Houston to spend a few days sharing some good times with 2 of my best girlfriends from highschool. I would holler out a huge "Woohoo!" right now but the girls are in bed so I'll have to settle for a very exaggerated "Woohoo" whisper, right fist pumping the air as quietly as possible. You catch my drift.

And then, the following:

I love chunky jewelry - this "Bittersweet" bracelet is a great addition to my collection...Thanks Vic!
Mama thought these boots from Le Chateau did the job of proving that a curvy girl can pull off skinny jeans!
I have had an angel tree for years but now I'm branching out (get it....ha! sorry...) and adding all winged things. Love my new owl :)

My first David's Tea - a gift from the hubby - including (in the middle) "Super Chocolate" mmmm!

The hubster said there was "no way" I was getting yet another purse. But he is powerless to stop the forces at work here. I don't know why he even bothers. Bwahahahahaha!

And what's Christmas without getting the stuff to scrapbook what happens all year-round?
What was your favourite gift this year?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Wishing You Joy

The hubster and I were talking about how much we love Christmas. How it's exciting to see Sarah finally at an age where she's anticipating, counting down, losing sleep from the thrill of "Santa" arriving.

We talked about what Christmas meant to us, as children. For me, there was a lot of hussle and bussle. But it was good hussle and bussle.

There was hunting down a real Christmas tree, cutting it down, and dragging it through the snow to your basement, where it had to be left for a day or so to dry off. But it wasn't a nice tree, it always had a crook in the trunk, a few bare spots, or was tilted so far to one side that it had to be tied to the wall.

There was the school program, the "Old Fashioned Christmas Tree" at the recreation hall, and carols sung loudly at church and by carolers outside in the snow. There was the Town parade where we waited - often in the bitter cold - at the side of the road just to get a goodie bag with a package of potato chips, a can of pop, and a candy cane. It was the best gift a kid could ever get.

There were presents hidden in closets and under staircases, found, sometimes unwrapped and quietly wrapped up again. Very. Carefully. And then you showed your younger siblings and friends how to do it successfully.

There were visits from family, from neighbours, and from people you saw at your house only once a year. Visitors didn't call. They just showed up. And if they were dressed as mummers, they didn't take off their snowy boots. And they felt welcome to do so.

There were family dinners - with turkey and all the trimmings - in Nan's house, which was far too tiny to possibly hold everyone.

There were chocolates and candies you'd never see at other times of the year.

There were lights and tinsel and garlands hung from one corner of the ceiling to the other.

To me, it was magical. It was pure joy.

But something has happened. We have fake trees and fake money buying way too many gifts, and are far too busy for our family or anyone else. (and yes, I'm guilty of all that!) Now, we can't help but hear it over and over again.

"I hate Christmas!"
"Nothin' but a grab for money."
"Too crazy..."

I wonder if the people who say these things have happy memories of Christmas? Do they know what Christmas really means? Do they know that Christmas is about giving, whether it's a hot meal, a warm hug, or a gift wrapped in a bow? Do they know about the baby Jesus, Mary & Joseph, the shining star, the angels, and the shepherds?

They must not know. Otherwise, they would know the joy that is Christmas. Wouldn't they?

And so to you, my dear blog readers, I wish you Christmas joy. I wish you the joy the season can bring. I wish you the joy you once knew but have now lost. I wish you joy found for the first time.

Most of all, I wish you joy that lasts the whole year round. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sarah + Justin

Remember earlier this year when Sarah discovered HIM.

The imaginary relationship continued throughout the year although she still has moments when she cannot pronounce his name. She even made him a cake on his birthday. I have no idea when his actual birthday is.

Imagine my surprise, after such a short "courtship", to learn that an elopement was in the works.

She was in the bakery mixing up a cake, from scratch. She's got that all figured out. She mixed and poured it into a pan and baked it. She went in search of a cake topper and found an old school heart-shape with a bride and groom standing inside. She then proceeded to tell me that I was enlisted to decorate hers and Justin's wedding cake, complete with Christmas-coloured sprinkles, and Justin's name written in pink icing.

When Mom asked Sarah why she was marrying Justin, the response was, "he's so cute!" Oh my!

Sarah's creation for Justin
Perhaps I'll tweet the pics to the real Justin. I think he may get a good chuckle out of his little 4-year old fan.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Array the Corridors = ?

I'm in love with word games, puzzles, cryptograms that make my brain scream, "Ouch!"

Last night we had the church ladies (and their husbands) in for their annual Christmas supper at the Chocolate Moose. The Pastor's wife had some fun games to play, and although I was supposed to be behind the scenes in the kitchen, cleaning up after supper, I couldn't help but ask if I could join (and try to win, of course!) this game.

"Can you Name the Christmas Song?"

Example: Array the Corridors = "Deck the Halls"

Awesome, right?

Okay, here goes...

1. The lad is a diminutive percussionist
2. Nocturnal Noiselessness
3. A B C D E F G H I J K M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
4. Arrive time 2400 hours - weather cloudless
5. Delight of the planet
6. Do you perceive the same longitudinal pressure which stimulates my auditory sense organs?
7. Far off in a feeder
8. Leave and broadcast from a pinnacle
9. The dozen festive 24 hour intervals
10. Behold! I envisioned a trio of nautical vessels
11. Listen, the winged heavenly messengers are proclaiming tunefully
12. As the guardians of the little wooly animals protected their charges in the shadows of the earth.
13. Frozen precipitation commence
14. Monarchial triad
15. Righteous darkness
16. Oh small Israel urban center
17. Our fervent hope is that you thoroughly enjoy your holiday season
18. May the deity bestow an absence of fatigue to happy male humans
19. Loyal followers advance
20. Query regarding identity of descendant many did you get? Be honest! In the time limit we had, about 10 minutes, I got 15 out of 20. Not bad, not bad.

#3 Totally stumped me. I'm impressed if you get it, although you'll kick yourself afterwards when you realize how simple it is.

Have fun!

(Answers in cheating!)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sad but True

Came across THIS webpage.

And then came across this...

I particularly like how the dad's got the "hold on a sec, I'm checking my email" finger up.

Funniest, most relevant, Christmas card, like, EV-ER!

Thursday, December 08, 2011


I have a lot of hair. Like, a lot!! It's long and thick and curly. Often, it is big and bushy and fuzzy and out of control.

When I do finally go to the salon to get it cut, it takes about 2 hours. The stylist always comments on how heavy, how an extra sink is needed to wash it, how cutting covers her entire salon floor with blondish clippings and takes 20 minutes to sweep up. Blah blah blah.

What can I say, I can't help genetics. I have terrible skin, not so great teeth, and I've gained 50 lbs since highschool. So, I embrace the hair as awesome! I fear, like Absalom, that my vanity over my locks may be the death of me one day.

Or perhaps the death of the hubster....

We were sitting on the couch, snuggled up, watching tv, as is our evening custom when the kidlets are in bed and we have a few precious moments to ourselves.

I was in my comfy pj's. My hair was twirled up into an unsightly bun/twist thingy.

I have to rewind a smidge. After Charlotte was born, I started to lose my hair. A lot of hair. Did I mention a lot?! It was coming out in clumps, bunches of hair clogging the drain, and making our vacuum cleaner get all tangled (honest to goodness!). After a few months it started to grow back with a vengeance of curly baby hair sticking out all around the perimeter of my face, like my very own mini white girl 'fro.

So, there we were. Couch. Chillin'. The hubster and I, and my hair.

He says, pointing, "Why is your hair doing that? Why doesn't it lay flat?" (attempting to pat it down) "You look like a chia pet!"

I whip my head around and give him the evil glare, brows pulled down, "I can't help it!"

Apparantly my big fuzzy head was getting in the way of the hubster's optimal television viewing. Well, don't I just feel terrible about that!

Cruel, I tell ya, totally cruel!

But it was honestly so funny that he called me a chia pet, all I could do was get up and go post his comment as my facebook status and give everyone a good chuckle.

"Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia"'s been stuck in my head for 2 days now. It's time to pass it on.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Happy Girls

I went to St. John's last week.
I went here.
I got properly fitted (which I highly recommend).
I purchased a $167 bra.
I almost killed the hubster. (he quickly approved when he saw said bra)
The girls are very happy.

The end.

Feel free to comment on how crazy I am to spend $167 on a bra (I failed to mention the $42 on the matching undies).

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Downsizing Tumbleweed style

I often complain about my small house. And really, it's not even that small at just over 1500 sq.ft. But I keep telling myself we need another bedroom, a bigger bathroom, an island in the kitchen, a playroom for all the toys, a walk-in closet...and the list goes on and on.

Then I remind myself that if we weren't so obsessed with things - So many things. Crowding our unorganized space. Clothes and books and toys, toys, toys. Way more than we need. Enough for our family and probably a half dozen more families - then we'd be much better off.

I came across this website the other day called Tumbleweed Tiny houses. I remember seeing this guy, Jay Shafer, on Oprah once, talking about his teeny-tiny 89sq.ft home. Yep, you read that right: Eighty-nine square feet! Less than one hundred. His entire house has less square footage than Charlotte's small bedroom.

Crazy, not possible.

But it is possible. And it works for him. And it works for families too, according to the website. The homeowners are forced to re-evaluate what is most important, as things must be kept to a bare minimum in such a tiny space. Ever little nook and cranny has a purpose. There is no wasted space. Couples and families have no option but to spend time together, there is no place to run and hide. The savings on utilities are phenomenal. The environmental footprint of such a tiny home is baby-sized. Mr. Shafer says living in a tiny house has allowed him a much more "simple, slower lifestyle". That sounds amazing!

The idea intrigues me so much. I think it's awesome! I think I need to shut up about my "small" house and start thinking about what really matters. And then go get rid of some (more) of the clutter!

Do you think you could live in a tiny home?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

And Another One...

Life is busy. Crazy even. Thus the lack of posts. But here's another creation from our Chocolate Moose Bakery.

Check it out at

Thanks for looking,
Happy Birthday to my wonderful brother, Darren!
Enjoy the last year of your 20`s!
xoxo Myrna

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Beach Birthday

Go over to The Chocolate Moose Bakery Blog to check out my latest creation!

Makes me want to flee this cold country and head down south for a few days on the room in your suitcase to DR, Vicki?


Thursday, November 10, 2011


Our store's original owner, Roy Young (thus the name, "Roy Young Ltd.") is a war veteran. He served his country. He fought and lived. He lives still, in his 90's, in his own home. I remember him, as a child, as being one of the most grumpy men I'd ever met. I didn't know his history until I was older, didn't understand. I never will understand. But I do know that I might not smile readily either, had I witnessed the same horror. He fought on the front lines. He saw his friends die. I understand he's never spoken to anyone about the war, not even his children. It is too painful for him. He was willing to sacrifice his life for me. It brings me to tears to think of it. And though the words are never enough, I say, "Thank you" just the same.

Always the most hauntingly beautiful poem...

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Bonfire Night

When I was a kid and into my teens, bonfire night was a huge event. The boys would spend weeks preparing. They would cut trees, gather up old boats, tear down sheds and wharves (sometimes even the ones they weren't supposed to). They would build an enormous pile of junk to burn. It was exciting stuff.

The last bonfire night I remember from my teens was held by the lighthouse in Woody Point. That's where it always was. But, that night, there was a big commotion. The excitement and the testosterone had fueled some pretty hefty competition. And we all know what fuel does to a fire. It never ends well. I have no idea how it started. Quite honestly, I was hanging out in perfect teenage oblivion in my boyfriends truck (haha...can you imagine that?!). But, next thing we knew, one of the guys had fallen - tripped or pushed in the midst of a brawl? - into the fire and got burned pretty badly.

And that ended that. No more lighthouse bonfires.

Then I moved to Ontario. No bonfires there. At least none that I attended.

But now I'm back home and the traditions start all over again with my kids. Last year, we had a bonfire and fireworks at the Rec Center. This year, there was an old house the fire department was burning down. I don't think the teenage guys are much into the pillaging of burnable materials anymore.

And here we are...Granny, Sarah, Charlotte, and I...
And there's what's left of Mr. George Payne's old house in the background.

Looks like Guy Fawkes night was keeping people busy in at least one other part of the here.

Do you celebrate Guy Fawkes/Bonfire night in your neck of the woods?

Thursday, November 03, 2011

The Best Compliment

I love compliments. I mean, don't we all want to hear a "You're beautiful.", "I love your hair!", "Those jeans look great on you.", once in a while?

On Sunday morning I was running around like a mad woman. That's how I am on Sunday mornings. A mad woman. I almost always wake up late. Since it's the only morning the hubster and I get to sleep in, we don't set the alarm, and the girls are usually late sleepers too. But when I realize the time, I rush into a frenzy of getting breakfast for everyone, getting the girls out of bed, fed, and dressed for church in their cute little dresses. Sometimes I even manage to complain enough with Jamie to get his butt in gear to go with us ;)

I had just finished the final touches with the girls - bows in hair, faces clean - and sent them down the hallway to sit and wait with their Dad in the living room. I scurried off to the bedroom to get myself ready, trying to figure out what church attire to wedge myself into, when I heard an exclamation,

"Oh my! What a pretty baby girl!"
which I assume was directed to Charlotte

"And your sister is such a pretty girl too!"
to Sarah

"And Mommy is such a pretty girl too, isn't she?"
and I could visualize the girls nodding their heads up and down...awwww!

And there I was sitting on the edge of an unmade bed, halfway into my industrial undergarments, hair disheveled, and heart-racing because we were already late! Certainly not the perfect picture of "pretty".

But, to hear a compliment for me that wasn't intended for my ears. To know the girls are being taught by their Dad to be appreciated by their future husbands. To know that someone thinks I'm "pretty" even when I'm an absolute mess.

It was the best compliment of all.

Thanks honey!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child is one of my absolute favourite charities to be involved in. Packing a shoebox - a tangible way to help children in need around the world - is something we can all do. It doesn't cost a lot of money (about $20-$25), it's a great family project (even young kids can pack a shoebox), and it gives a child a wonderful gift with school supplies, hygiene products, books & toys, something they may have never received before.

Want to know how to pack a shoebox?

First, you'll need the box.
Any regular size shoe box will do (not the giant work-boot sized boxes) or you can use the shoebox sized plastic totes. You can wrap your shoebox if you want, as long as you wrap the lid separately to accomodate inspection. Customs are very sticky these days.

Boy or Girl?
Determine whether your gift will be for a boy or a girl, and the child’s age category: 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14.
Stick the label on the outside of your shoebox.

Fill That Shoebox!
....with a well-balanced variety of items such as:
•School Supplies - pencils, pens, crayons, note pads, and picture books
•Toys & Other Gifts - stuffed animals, small musical instruments, marbles, ball, slinky, hair clips, toy jewelry, t-shirts, socks, and candy (loose, individually wrapped hard candy in a sealable bag)
•Hygiene Items - toothbrush, comb, brush, soap (in a sealable bag)
•Optional Personal Note - Include a personal note and/or a photo in your shoe box (NOT inside the donation envelope)

•Toothpaste (due to customs regulations)
•Food and any chewy, crumbly, or soft candy: Including gum (due to customs regulations)
•Used items (due to customs regulations)
•Playing cards (card games such as UNO are allowed)
•Liquids or items that could leak, melt, freeze, or break – Shampoo, creams, lip balm, bath gels, mirrors, or glass, etc. (these can damage other items in the shoe box).
-Items that can scare or harm a child – War-related toys, knives, and toy guns, etc.

Make your Donation

A minimum of $7 for each shoe box is needed to cover shipping. Place a cheque or cash donation in an envelope inside the box (separate from the envelope used for your letter/photo) OR, make an online donation and include the donation receipt in the shoe box.

Drop it Off
November 14-21 is Collection Week. Click here to find a location near you.

If you are in my area, the pentecostal church is collecting the shoeboxes.
Our deadline is Sunday, November 20th.

If you don't have time to do it yourself, you can go Pack a Shoebox Online and OCC will do the work for you. This option costs $37 including shipping.

For more info and updates 
Follow them on Facebook
Check out the website at

Now go visit the dollar store (you know you love that place) and get packing! :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Blooper Shot

What's a family photo shoot without a ridiculous blooper? The one with the baby grabbing Daddy by the nose, Mommy talking, and the 4 year old with the "Get me outta here!" look on her face?

However, I have to say I love the red heels, regardless ;)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fall Photos

Back in August, I contacted a photographer in Deer Lake and made arrangements to have our family photos taken during the first week of September. I scrambled to get coordinating outfits for all of us, ordered hair accessories online, got new red shoes (of course!), etc. The first week of September came and went and no sign of the photographer. She did send an email a couple of weeks later saying, "Sorry haven't forgotten you, will be in touch." and then that was it. I checked back with her a couple of weeks ago and didn't receive any reply at all. Wow! Now there's a young photographer who has definitely not yet learned the importance of customer service. And then so many do everything for customer service and struggle to gain clients. Urgh!! The frustration!

So, there I was, duped, and with the cold weather fast approaching. I decided I was going to make the best of it and use the beautiful weather on Sunday to get some family shots anyways. I grabbed my tripod and my parents: my Mom as the "push the shutter as many times as possible in an effort to get at least one good shot" person, and my Dad as the "get the kids attention" person. lol.

After looking through the near 300 photos, I'm quite pleased to say I have a few good ones. I won't be showing you our family of 4 shot - you'll have to wait for your Christmas card for that - but here are a couple miscellaneous shots in the meantime:

Mommy & Sarah
Mommy & Charlotte
Daddy and his girls
Sarah & Charlotte looking at the birds...they were going crazy with the fishing boats out in the water
I must say it all worked out okay. I didn't get all the shots I had hoped, the shots I would have gotten with a professional photographer, but I did save myself some cash. (the hubster liked that part).

Stay tuned....before you know it, the Christmas cards will be going out...

...except mine might arrive a little late, as usual :)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Charlotte learns HOT!

As another installment of me feeling like a terrible mother, Charlotte burned her hand on Thursday night. It was my fault. I was working late. Mom had the girls. It was almost time to leave when Mom dropped the girls off at the bakery. She put Charlotte down, assuming everything was safe. Charlotte was over by the oven, sorta stumbled against it, and then used her hand to push herself away. I was watching the entire thing happen but didn't react because I thought the oven was OFF! But then Charlotte started to scream and I realized I had forgotten. The oven was still ON, and unlike the nice cool-touch oven door at home, the bakery ovens are super HOT!! I felt terrible. I immediately got her hand under the cool water, got out the non-stick gauze in the first aid kit, put on the aloe gel, administered some tylenol, and then had a good cry about it all. Charlotte was inconsolable for a while but calmed down when the meds kicked in, even played for a little while when we got home, and had a decent nights' sleep.

Charlotte's heart-shaped blister :(

And in true girl fashion, Charlotte's injury didn't deter her from calling her friends the next day and telling them all about her terrible ordeal. Oh the drama!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Sarah's Interview

Going through one of my journals and I found an interview I did with Sarah in January. I do these little Q&A's every once in a while - started it with my sisters kids and now with Sarah - mostly because some of the answers can be hilarious. It's also a great way to look back and remember what your kids were like at a particular age. We often forget the small details, or at least I do. When you scribble it all down in a journal or add it to a scrapbook page, there's a guarantee you'll re-read it one day and it will make you smile.

January 31, 2011
Age 3 years, 11 months

The Good stuff....(so girly!)
What is your favourite colour: pink...and purple
Favourite toy? Dollhouse & dolls & princesses
Favourite book? Strawberry shortcake
Favourite movie? Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Jasmine, Ariel, Fashion Fairytale Barbie
Favourite tv shows? Dora, Toopy & Binoo, Diego, "How to Train Your Dragon" (which is actually a movie)
Favourite food? Toast and cereal

What made you happy today? "Playing with my stamp kit"
What made you sad today? "When I didn't want to play"
What did Charlotte do today? "Charlotte didn't do things because she was a baby"

Me: What do you like? (she kept going on and on and on....)
Sarah: "Um, I like...
-Tiaras and hearts
-tea and cereal Interject Me: What does tea taste like? Sarah: "A sweet rainbow" (awesome answer! Don't you agree, Tara?)
-baby Charlotte Interject Me: Do you remember when you were a baby? Sarah: "Yeah, I camped out"
-my bear
-my rock
-sleeping in my bed (just like her mama)
-butterflies and birds
-possums (not sure where this came from)
-reading books
-playing on my computer
-talking chipmunks
-and Yes, I like yes too (lol...the No and Yes are my favourite "likes")
-and candy."

And as an added detail:
Sarah stated, "Kitty has fur because he's not hard, he's soft" (can you tell we were learning about opposites?)

And then she was done, so concluding our interview.

How about giving it a try? Do the same with your kids and blog about your interview...please share if you do. Kids can say the darndest things!

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

There are so many things I am thankful for. I am blessed beyond measure. But above all....our two girls...

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

If Only Running Late Counted as Exercise...

...and I would be a very skinny girl indeed!

Christa sent me a "Check out this pin..." message - and then I had to repin it because it is just sooooo me. My friends know me all too well!

Anyone need a Christmas gift idea for me? haha!

Saturday, October 01, 2011

A Prayer of Tears

I was angry. For the first time in my life, I didn't know how to pray. Prayer had always seemed completely natural. Like an open line. No fancy incantations, just simple thoughts. I didn't always feel I got through. But I always knew what to say.

Now, I didn't even have words. I was wrong and selfish and tormented. How can one pray within that mindset? My life is good. Why do I have to question everything?

A friend reminded me that it was in that mindset when I needed to pray the most, regardless of the words.

So I did it anyways. Prayed. Broken. Tearful. No words.

And a Bible verse came immediately to my mind. So clear, like God knew exactly all the words I could not say. Was it exactly what I wanted to hear? Not necessarily. I guess God doesn't always say what we want to hear. Yet, in this verse, I felt a sense of peace.


Do I still question things? Yes, absolutely. It's in my nature to ponder, dissect, obsess, wonder. I hold onto that verse. Go back to it many times.

I don't know why I'm writing this now but I felt compelled to share. Perhaps you are in a place where you do not know how to pray. Maybe you've never prayed in your life. Maybe you, like I was, are angry, hurt, confused. You want to know "Why?", you want to know "What if?". You feel foolish even considering talking to the Great Almighty about such a thing.

I need you to know that your tears are enough. They will not go unseen. Your cries will not be unheard. You will have your answer. You can have peace.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

81 Years Young

Nan celebrated her 81st Birthday on September 23rd. Last year, the family had planned to have a big shin-dig but, unfortunately, Nan ended up in the hospital. So that didn't go as planned.

Last Saturday night everyone got together at Nan's house for a surprise get-together and some yummy food. Nan's house was super full - it's a tiny house - and it was just like when I was a kid and everyone would go there for supper on Sunday evening. Great Memories.

Nan was extrememly happy to have her "crowd" all around her. With her having so many health problems lately and yet some more bad news I received yesterday, I'm happy to try and spend time with her.

Sarah, Charlotte, and I with Nan White on Saturday night. Glad you had a great birthday, Nan!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Fun Free Fall Printables

If you have a preschooler, like me, who desperately wants to go to school and loves to do "school-work" then you'll love this free printable from Homeschool Creations.

Click here for the Fall inspired worksheets - about 21 pages in total and enough to keep my 4 year old occupied for a couple of hours of quiet time at the dining room table. Hip Hip Hooray for quiet time!

There's also a link for a Kindergarten-aged printable. Some of these activities are great for Sarah too!

Now if only I could find something that would keep Charlotte occupied for that long. She's definitely in the "occupied for 5 minutes max" (approximately the time it takes her to empty her toy box and leave the contents all over the floor) age-range.

Happy Fall!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Angels Among Us

It wasn't until my Grandfather passed away. Up until then, I don't know that I ever really thought about it. Of course, I'd heard the story over and over again of the angels singing of Christ's birth, of the angel that rolled the stone away from Jesus' tomb. But to say that I ever really believed in their true existence in this life? No, I'd have to say I'd never thought of it until that night.

My Grandad was quite ill. He'd had a stroke several years before and now he lay in his bed on a Sunday night, broken and weary and ready to go home. On the days leading up to his death, I would visit and he would, with great frustration, point to the corner of the room and say, "Don't you see it?" and then sigh and close his eyes again in disappointment that he was the only one.

I was fascinated and frightened. But I had no doubt that I was in the presence of an angel that only my grandad's eyes could see the "beauty" of. As they did for Lazarus, I always imagine the spirit of my Grandad being carried away to heaven by angels.

I think of all this now in the wake of another death. Facebook is buzzing with "Thoughts and prayers to the family" and "Our condolences" and such things that people say when a loved one passes away.

But it's the "God needed another angel" or "She's got her angel wings now" that really truly bothers me. I don't know how this could be helpful or encouraging. First of all, God needs nothing. He is God, afterall. And secondly, angels are not people. People are not angels. Nor do we become angels. Angels are a separate creation made by God and for God. They guide us. They protect our children. We are not them. Thirdly, perhaps it's the popular vision of the cute little cherub with a harp that makes us want to tell others of what their loved one is now transformed into. Biblically speaking, this cannot be accurate, as most references indicate people who see angels responding by falling down on their faces in fear. That doesn't sound very cute at all.

I must apologize if you are one of the people who have used this angel reference in the past. I am certainly not targeting anyone in particular. I am just bothered by the inaccuracy of the statement. And I've read it just one too many times lately.

As the song goes, "If I die young," and they "bury me in satin", I would prefer for people to think of me as being in the presence of a loving saviour, walking hand in hand with my Grandad on the streets of Gold, and finally getting to see the angels up close, because that is one thing I want to know the secrets of, but not because I've become one.

What are your thoughts on angels? Or have you thought of it at all?

Friday, September 23, 2011

First Steps

A Mom wants to be the one waiting, with arms outstretched, as baby takes those first staggering steps.

I missed Sarah's first steps. Jamie was heading back to Ontario for work the first year we moved home, and I tagged along for the ride. Mom called to say that Sarah had started walking. She was nearly 13 months old. And I couldn't wait to get back home to see her.

As I headed back to work, I knew Charlotte would soon be walking. She was already standing alone and walking along any piece of furniture she could get her hands on. One evening when Daddy was home for supper and playing with her on the floor, she kept standing up over and over again, and taking just one little step before falling down again. So cute!! (so technically, I didn't miss her very first step...yay!)

One day last week, Marg took this video of Charlotte, arms like ballasts, taking 3 or 4 wobbly steps across the living room.
And then she gets occupied throwing her sweater ...evidently, she gets easily distracted, like her Mamma :)

I'm so glad to have the video to keep and share...Enjoy!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Welcome Baby Jenna!

My dear friend Christa (from Christa Hann photography), hubby Kristen, and big brother Jesse, welcomed a brand new addition yesterday afternoon at 12:11pm.

Christa was actually not due until October 7th but went early with Jesse and expected the same this time around. And it's worked out well because her brother is getting married on October 8th! And that was cutting it close!

Jenna Elizabeth weighed in at 7lbs 6oz and is doing very well. Her Daddy texted this morning that she is a hungry little hippo and has been eating lots.

Miss Jenna - sorry for the fuzzy photo, I copied it from facebook which was the photo Kristen texted me last night. I'm sure you'll see LOTS as soon as Christa is able to wield her camera :)
Christa will be getting out of the hospital today and is looking forward to getting settled away in her own bed in her own house.

Congratulations Christa and Kristen - you have your baby girl and I couldn't be happier for you! I only wish I was there to hold her.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Frilly and Ruffly and Pink...Oh my!

Miss Charlotte got the awesomest (sorry, I know that's not a word) most adorable birthday gift ever!

I've wanted one for months now. And then opened the gift to find this frilly pink tutu from Auntie Vanessa!!
There was a time when pink frills made me cringe but having two daughters has changed my outlook on fru-fru somewhat.

And doesn't Charlotte just look absolutely adorable?! How can you not like pink frills when you see these?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Time, Where Did You Go?

It seems the passage of time, more specifically the swift passage of time,  has been a constant theme of my blogging and facebook statuses lately. This week, in particular, I'm not liking this swift passage of time. Last week, a year had passed since Charlotte's arrival. And that means I have to return to the real world and to my real (paying) job.

If you know me, then you know my year "off" on mat leave hasn't really been a year off. I've kept quite busy. Of course, all Mommies keep busy with two children at home but I've also been quite invested in our family business and spending as many hours as possible (sometimes spending hours that were not possible) in our store and bakery.

When I first went on maternity leave I vowed and declared I was staying at home, I was NOT (I was very adamant) working a single day, I was enjoying my time with my two children, I would not be convinced to spend time involved in things that would take me away from my year off with them.

And after about 10 days, that all went out the window...

Apparantly, I don't know how to do (or not do, in this case) all that. Perhaps I'm just fickle.

Now, here I am. The year is over. I'm completely and utterly devestated. I am filled with guilt. I had always envisioned myself as a stay-at-home Mom. I thought I would succeed at that "job" the same as I have succeeded with the rest of my endeavors. But I have not.

I have not done enough. I have not read enough books. I have not given enough hugs. I have not played enough peek-a-boo. I have not dressed enough barbies (this one is hard to regret, I am much more inclined to Tonka trucks). I have not pushed enough swings. I have not gone for enough walks to the beach. I have not coloured enough pages. I have not. I have not. I just haven't done enough.

On Monday, I will go back to work in an office by myself. I will produce invoices, fill out receipts, write proposals, develop community programs, attend meetings, answer phones and emails. Get paid. And come home to someone else (a more capable someone else, in my opinion) taking care of my children. She seems to do more than enough.

Time is a tough one. There is never enough of it.

Alexander Pope said, "For he lives twice who can at once employ, the present well, and e’en the past enjoy." That's the best I can do.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Happy 1st Birthday Charlotte!

One year ago, I was holding my brand new baby girl in my arms and wondering how I could possibly be so blessed.

Today, I am astounded at home quickly the past year has gone by. I cannot believe how much Charlotte has grown and developed. I still cannot believe that I am a mommy of 2.

Charlotte celebrated her birthday surrounded by our family and a few baby friends. She had a fabulous time. She was super excited at having such a brilliant Mommy who came up with the idea of having a "Very Hungry Caterpillar" party ;)

The menu consisted of all the foods the Hungry Caterpillar ate in the book:
- Fruit Kabobs made with apple, pear, plum, strawberries, oranges, and watermelon
- Cherry tarts (in lieu of pie)
- Chocolate cake and cupcakes
- A "Make Your Own Sandwich" area including salami, sausage, swiss cheese & pickles
- Lollipops for the kddies to take home with a book

Mommy's Cake & Cupcake
Version of the Hungry Caterpillar
Charlotte grabbing onto her slab of Chocolate cake for dear life (That's my girl!)

I made the party favours by re-using baby food bottles and scrap pieces of fabric. Filled the jar with caterpillars (gummy worms). And added a Thank You tag I printed at home with a graphic I found online.

I printed out colouring sheets from the Eric Carle website for the kids to colour

Mommy & the Birthday Girl

Nan White came to the party so we got a 4-generation shot on Mom's side of the family

With Granny Goosney at the party, we also got a 4-generation shot of Dad's side of the family

Nanny & Poppy Hynes came too!
It was a great party and I'm so thankful to everyone who came out to share the day with us.
Baby Charlotte, like your middle name, you bring so much "Joy" into our lives. Here's to many many many more birthday parties in the future. I love who you are already, I can't wait to see who you become.

Love, Mommy xox

Monday, August 29, 2011

First Birthday Party

Charlotte is turning ONE in just a few short days.

And now I am in a frenzy, as per usual, to find some last-minute party ideas.

I'm planning a small party inviting just my family and a few of the babies who are Charlotte's age.

But, what in the world does one do for a first birthday party? What types of games can we play? How do I decorate? What type of cake? What kind of food do I serve? (Hot dogs are not 1-year-old friendly, in my opinion) What about prizes and loot bags?

I googled. I'm the Queen of Google.

I found THIS website with some great game ideas. I really like the Baby Bottle Bowling because the babies can do it. They live for knocking things over!

Personally, I adore "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle. And so I also adore these cakes I found online:
(Will I be able to duplicate them? No probably not....)

Again on the caterpillar theme, I love this banner from Ciaobambino's Etsy Shop. It's sold but I think I may be able to enlist the help of my Cricut and DIY it.
Add some colourful balloons and streamers, plates and cups and napkins on a polka-dotted table...and voila!

 As I'm typing this and googling all things "Hungry Caterpillar" I'm loving the idea more and more

Babies at this age love finger foods. So....
Since the Caterpillar ate
1 Apple, 2 Pears, 3 Plums, 4 Strawberries, 5 Oranges and an assortment of cake, ice cream, pickles, swiss cheese, salami, lollipops, cherry pie, sausage, cupcakes, and watermelon...finished off with a leaf...
Then I could serve all of the above....(like THEY did here)!!
Party Favours
Now what about those famous loot bags that the kids love so much?
THIS website has some nice suggestions, all of which are age appropriate for the wee ones:
•beach balls or large colorful playballs

•blowing bubbles
•animal crackers
•picture book
•finger puppets
•stuffed animals
•bath toy
•sand bucket and shovel

Wouldn't it be great, in keeping with the theme I now have in mind, to give every kid a "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" book to go home with (instead of a bag full of candies and tiny party toys they can put in their mouth)?

Have you planned a party for your one-year-old? Did you have a theme? Did you have a big party? Or just a small home gathering with your close family and friends?

Have any more ideas you'd like to share?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Stop and Stare

I walked in and ordered a hot chocolate because a) I'm a chocoholic, and b) I don't like coffee, although I had entered a coffee house, of sorts.

I walked out back to catch a view of the ocean. It was beautiful, as it always is.

I turned to go back inside and saw him. He was standing long and lean, dark eyes looking out from beneath a tattered baseball hat. His skin was darkened by the sun, screaming out from hours spent outdoors, that gorgeous colour I have always envied. He had a face I could not take my eyes from. A face so well-defined, I found myself imagining I was sitting at an easel, charcoal in hand, sketching the lines.

He began to turn and walk away. I'm not sure how much one can read in a walk. To me, it said he was accustomed to being on his feet, naturally inclined to balance and sport, but with a sense of caution that seemed to keep his confidence from full display.

And then he turned and I saw the other side. The other side of his face, that is. Dark, but not from sun. A map of dark burgundy-brown. A birthmark, a facial nevus, so prominent, it suddenly explained the slight air of guardedness.

I sat down and mingled a little with the girl behind the counter. As he paced back and forth, sipping, chatting with his friends, I couldn't help but allow my eyes to follow him. I was drawn.

He sat with his friends, then, and they brought out a guitar. He strummed along quietly in the corner. Everyone watched as they sang a few lines, hummed a few tunes. Not nearly loud enough to classify as entertainment, I thought, but loud enough that I could watch without suspicion. He seemed to open up then, chatting more, flirting a little with a girl who had stopped to speak to him. In that moment, he was a guy in his element. A guy who didn't have a single fault on display.

Most of us spend our lives, when we walk among strangers, with the ability to hide. We are not on display. We are just walking in and out of peoples lives with no reason for anyone to stop and stare. I wonder if he had the luxury. Was he teased? Did he try to hide? Had he learned to not notice when someone looked at him? Did he assume they looked at him because of his "flaw"?

I was happy, then, that I saw the un-marked side of his face first. I knew, without a doubt, that I had not stopped and stared for the wrong reason. I was the stranger in the crowd who noticed him simply for having one of the most beautiful faces I had ever seen. I wanted so desperately for him to know that.

I hope he has someone to tell him. I hope he believes it.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Difference

Akin to an old post I did HERE, I was thinking the other night about the differences between us. The hubster and I, specifically.

Jamie got home 9:30ish p.m. and I finally got to head for the shower.

My version:
  • Go to the bedroom to get my pj's.
  • Realize I still have a basket of clothes sitting on the bed waiting to be put away
  • Put away the clothes
  • While I'm putting a dish towel in the drawer in the kitchen, I realize the sink is still full of dishes
  • Wash the dishes
  • As I'm washing the dishes, I notice one of charlotte's bottles to wash
  • That reminds that I should get a bottle ready for her for if she wakes in the night
  • I mix the formula and put it in the fridge
  • Yell out, "Jamie we're getting short on milk, can you remember that tomorrow?"
  • Head to the bathroom again
  • Go to the linen closet to get a towel
  • See that Sarah has knocked over the stack of facecloths
  • Straighten and refold the facecloths
  • Straighten up the counter top and give it a quick cleaning off
  • Pull back the shower curtain
  • Pick up the toys in the bottom of the tub left from the girls bath
  • Wring out a facecloth left in the bottom of the tub
  • Go to throw facecloth in the laundry basket, basket is full
  • Bring basket to the laundry room
  • Go back to the shower again
  • Turn on the water...and FINALLY....
  • Shampoo, soap up, shave, in as little a time as possible just in case cause, ya know, the baby might need me in the five minutes I so selfishly took to myself.
Hubsters version:
  • Get up
  • Tunnel vision to the bathroom
  • Grab a towel off the hook
  • Turn on the water
  • Shower
  • Done!
Any other Mommies out there feelin' me??


Friday, August 19, 2011

James Squires Photography

I love photography and I just had to share a photo taken by a friends little boy, James Squires. The church was behind him as he was taking this shot of a bubble and the resulting image just happened to have the reflection of the church captured inside the bubble! Seriously, no photoshopping here! Isn't that amazing and wonderful?!

Keep working on your photography, James, looks like you're headed down the road to awesome!

You can see this image at National Geographic Kids HERE.

Or, check out more of his photos and become a fan on his facebook page HERE.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I DO Clean my House...

Honest, I do.

Apparantly, I "forgot" a few of the high places.

Spider web on the ceiling fan

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

#3. Visit Lanse Aux Meadows

En route to St. Anthony last weekend we decided to stop by and see the Viking site, "Norstead", in Lanse Aux Meadows.

It was on my 101 in 1001 list. I had never been there before.

I've always been incredibly fascinated by the fact that Vikings sailed here and settled for a while. Fascinated as my mind churns up great fantastic stories of mystery and romance, intermingled with a battle with the sea as they crossed the great Atlantic in a boat with oars so large I cannot imagine anyone rowing them!

And so, I was very excited to visit. We showed up almost at the last minute and the girl let us in for FREE!! (She told us not to tell so...shhhh!)

When we walked down to the site and the first building, the "Boat" House, we were greeted by this man.

He approached us with his crazy white beard, sun-bronzed skin, and beautiful blue eyes, spoke to Charlotte and immediately sent her into a fit of hysterics. He thought it was because he was "scary", though in fact it is because Charlotte has severe stranger anxiety and had screamed her head off at cooing soft-spoken old ladies in flowered dresses. He proceeded to explain the long house was where the women were, where everyone slept, ate, and "made love". He said the women (plural) had already tried that day to convince him of love-making but, alas, all he had was his powder horn (pointing to said attachment on his right hip) and even that was a little "soft". Mom looked at me with shock on her face (but laughter in her eyes, I might add), which he noticed, and commented, "Isn't it wonderful when you can talk about such things and the children have no idea?" I very nearly began to argue that point but thought better of it since Mr. Santa-Viking himself did earlier point out how he often got in trouble for talking too much and I was, five minutes into our visit, much inclined to believe him.

We walked on...

Next, we visited the blacksmith shop where we were greeted by just about the prettiest young Viking I could have ever encountered, and said so. He merely gave me a 16-year old smirk and set off into his spiel about the power of the village blacksmith, who had the ability to deny anyone he didn't like weapons and even cookware. And so, he shut the windows and doors of his smoke-filled shop to the outside to keep the secrets of his trade alive only for his son, to whom the knowledge would be passed. But then that great power and secrecy turned into an early death (estimated at 25-35 years) due to smoke inhalation complications. On the up-side, he was apparantly quite popular with the ladies who seemed to like the idea of power and wealth accompanied by a short life span. I had to admit the idea had some merit.

The church was the next stop. They called it a church. I honestly have no idea what type of religion or belief system the Vikings practiced. Since it was Sunday, Mom and Charlotte sat in the pews while Sarah and I stood in the pulpit and spoke briefly about how the present two would probably be the extent of our congregation if we were in charge of "preaching".
The "Church"

Sarah and I standing in the pulpit

I liked the Viking ship hanging from the rafters

From the church we went to the longhouse with the women mentioned earlier. Here, they explained how everyone - up to 25 men and their families - basically slept together on a row of fur-covered beds, with the exception of the King and Queen of the village who had the priveledge of a private bed chamber across the room. Clearly, there was no room for secrets. Literally, no room. The longhouse was also where all of the cooking was done and meals were taken.
The trading post was attached to the longhouse. Sarah refused to trade her mini bubble blower or her lip gloss for a knitted bracelet but her cuteness got her one anyways. She chose the pink one, of course.

Mostly, Sarah and Charlotte were interested in the animals - the chickens, rooster, and a pig. Sarah was quick to point out an error on the town map. The map displayed 4 pigs, where in fact there was only 1 pig. And the chicken coop was not on the map at all. She was not impressed over that error. How was she, afterall, supposed to know about the chickens if they were not on the map?

And thus concludes our trip to Norstead, Lanse Aux Meadows - a little journey back in time where love-making might, in fact, not take place in the 25-man longhouse after all, but rather up behind a tree somewhere, splinters and pine needles be *cursed*.