Monday, April 27, 2009

Mother's Day Memories...

Mother's Day is fast approaching and I was thinking ahead to one of my favorite days of the year. I was thinking how strange it will be to not be near my mom. I hope that we can make her feel loved and celebrated from a distance. I am wracking my brain for good gift ideas that we don't need to take a loan out for shipping!

Then I was thinking about one of my most favorite Mother's Day memories. Brielle was three and had spent the night at my parents the night before. Nana let me have a sleep in as part of my Mother's Day gift. When Brielle walked in she was holding a gift bag and was beyond proud and excited. She hopped onto the bed and said, "Happy Mama's Day, I shopped at Nana's house for you"! It was all she could do to not rip the entire gift apart for me.

One by one I lifted out each item and with each one I oohed and awed and her face beamed with pride. Here is what was in the bag:

a travel size perfume (a sample from avon)
bubble bath
baby powder (travel size)
travel wipes
and a tampon

We sat on the bed chatting with my mom and Erik and she said, "mommy, I need to give this medicine to Daddy cuz he gets headaches at his work" to which I replied, "ok, honey that is so nice of you". Not two minutes later she tells me that baby Taya needs the wipes. "Sure honey, no problem"! She decided that she would keep the bubble bath for herself and give nana back the perfume. Leaving me with? Yup, the tampon!!

The funniest part was when she had realized that she had re-gifted all my gifts she dug in the bag one last time, pulled out the tampon and said, "mama I saved this one for you and it is very special because I don't even know what it is and it is still wrapped"!

My mom and Erik laughed so hard they had tears streaming down their faces and all I could say was how appropriate!

Here we are 10 years later and it is one of my funniest memories. Being their mom has been my greatest honor, my biggest challenge. The moments I am most proud of revolve around parenting them. The things I carry the most remorse and shame for are for "bad days or moments" parenting them. And my best laughs and biggest smiles have always come from my children. I look at Brielle today and think where did the time go? I will savor this time I have left with my girls, even on the days it feels like all I am left with is a tampon!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


That's how old my hubby turned last week. It's hard to believe I have loved him 14 of those years. We may not have been together every one of those days, but I loved him...all 5,110 of them. Erik is not a big "birthday bash" kind of guy. Not at all like me. I love my birthday. I love other people's birthdays. Surprise parties, kids parties. It's the celebration of you, that you matter, that somehow the world is better for having you in it. The new year and all that it will bring. The ways a person changes, grows, matures. The newness and excitement of what lies ahead.

Since it was his birthday we celebrated it low key, the way he likes it. Just a nice family dinner. He picked the menu cuz that's what the birthday kid gets to do!

Later, we checked facebook and he had some really nice messages from friends, his stepmom, his sister in law (Kelly...whom I love), my family. Some were on my page and some on his. He is not a facebook junkie like me (he is barely ever on there) so I thought it was impressive given how few "facebook friends" he has, just how many b-day wishes he got.

If you were to ask, he would say he is not nearly "successful" as he was once upon a time in regards to his career, but he has a decent job and he works hard everyday. One of his best qualities. I look at him laying on the couch with 3 little girls sprawled out all over him and I could just melt...he is a good dad. I see that life (his, ours) has aged him, but I can't help but think how handsome he is.

I watch my children love on and celebrate their dad on his special day. I am proud. Proud to be in this moment, with him, proud of our children for the sweet and caring girls they are. I think to myself, "right now he looks like a success to me".

What a year it has been. I am happy, thankful, amazed for where we are today. But I am tired and I think he is too.

We crawl into bed and I whisper, "happy birthday, love". I hope this year is a good year...a really good year.

An Easter to Remember...

Typically, when our family leaves to go anywhere on vacation I am exhausted before I start the preparations. I have to leave the house spotless, have all the laundry done, pack for 5, have the fridge cleaned out, garbage gone, car detailed, and anything that I deem can't wait 2 days. This requires what my mom and I affectionately refer to as an "all-nighter". That's what crazy women do before travel. My husband is scared when he hears this phrase. While he knows that the house will be glowing, I usually sport a "non vacation attitude the size of Texas" for the first half of the road trip until I decide I should apologize to my family for being a "crabby patty" due to my lack of sleep and the fact that I do all the work...well I do! This time, I was so excited to get away for some alone time and really needing it that I didn't. I just didn't. I tidied the house. there was still a load of laundry in the hamper. I didn't do the fridge. And guess what...I lived. It was a good start!

Erik got off work at his normal time and was home by 5:30 and we were on the road with coffees in hand by 7:00. I glance in the backseat and immediately start praying. The girls are jammed in the back like sardines and the only thing we have going for us is how excited they are to see nana and papa. They had great attitudes and did so well though! Overall, our drive was painless. We arrived to the condo in the Okanagan at about 2:00 am B.C. time (we are an hour ahead in Alberta) and the girls helped daddy unload while I got Demi's playpen set up and her back to sleep.

We had a couple really mellow, movie watching, sand playing, eating, sleeping, reading, gameboy and x-box playing kind of was PERFECT! Then my parents arrived and the only thing that changed was we did all of the above mentioned with them. Nana made a wonderful dinner for Erik's birthday. He chose steak for his birthday dinner...woooo, big shocker there! Mom brought all the supplies and helped us make these adorable little nests that we filled with eggs. There was stiff competition in the creativity department and Erik took this craft time very seriously! I thought they were just adorable. They would be so cute if the nests were little with only 3 or 4 eggs in each. If you would like the recipe just email me.

On Sunday, our extended family joined us and we celebrated with my Grandpa and Grandma, Aunty Penny and Uncle Jim, my cousin Lorelei and her hubby James. We all contributed to a beautiful meal and then came time to hunt for the eggs. If you have never done this with my family you will probably want to get your name on the waiting list for next year (especially now that Ross and I have both moved). Dave and Deb wrap Easter candy in CASH!!!!! Yup, you are searching (taking out relatives...people you claim to love) for $20's on a peanut butter cup! It was so fun!

We had another day of just being with Mom and Dad, the girls soaked up all the attention and snuggles and sing-song time with them. At one point it looked like dad and Erik were going to attempt to fish, but I think it was mostly playing with the rods and gear.

As Christians, Easter is such a special occasion and for me personally I am so thankful for Jesus and the price that He paid on the cross for me and my sins. So, amazed, in awe and grateful knowing He would have done it...even if it was just for me. I hope your Easter was as meaningful and special as ours was.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A little thing I like to call....

A "Redneck Garbage Disposal"! That what I called it the other day and Erik just about wet his pants he was laughing so hard. This refers to the process of one, sweet wife/mother (that would be yours truly) stirring, stirring, and more stirring, still stirring, even as you read I'm probably stirring, while running water to flush the food down the drain.

I think it's amazing that this gorgeous house didn't come with one. Every house we have ever lived in has had one. Then I thought, maybe it's an American thing that houses come standard with. But, after some inquiry (it's not like I suggested they all live in igloos here) it seems as if most Canadian families also have one.

This is one of those things that you don't realize how much you use, until you have to go back to not having one. It took about 3 days of living in a garbage disposal deficient zone before I started complaining. That would have been November 12th, 2008. The situation was quickly rectified when inquiring minds (my mom and dad) asked what we wanted for Christmas and at the top of Erik's list read: GARBAGE DISPOSAL!!!!

Well, wouldn't you know it...he got his wish. A top of the line, no blade, guaranteed to never rust or smell up your house, gorgeous, all chrome disposal. I, of course couldn't have been more happy for him! I was so excited I told him to go ahead and clear his schedule and get that puppy installed. I will take the girls shopping and you can "play with tools".

To make a long story short, it was way to big to fit around the pipes under the sink and since then we just haven't gotten a chance to get the right one.

I rarely nag my husband, it's just not really my personality. I prefer to take the "creative motivational approach" which consisted of me telling my adoring man TONIGHT (as they mocked me and took pictures) that I am not above posting this hardship I am suffering on my blog (complete with pictures to prove) and getting many sympathetic comments and feedback from all our friends and family. You should soon be viewing pics of me by my new disposal!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

And the Winners Are....

Last week I posted a "pay it forward" giveaway/challenge. And the winners are...each and every one of you! This would not have been the case had I had 27 people respond. But, I had committed to paying it forward to 5 and when only 7 took the challenge I realized that I would rather give/do a little something for all of you sometime in the next year than draw names. You are all wonderful people, generous people. Thanks for you sweet sentiments about the blog. I am looking forward to blessing you and watching you be blessed as you give it away too!

Sarah Ortiz
Aunty Linda
Brandy Timmer
Amber Erdmann
Tiffiny Vrieling
Ross and Taya Black
Traci Likkel

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Beautiful Banff

Today was: Gorgeous, Breathtaking, Awesome, was PERFECT!! We loaded up all ten of us (my friend Stefanie and her four children are here for the weekend) and headed to Banff. We were on the road by 11 am. That was the first miracle! Ummm...ok laugh but if you know me you would know that's impressive just to get me and my family out in the world let alone 5 others by that time of day with lunches packed.) The second being we had the most beautiful weather we have had here since we was warm! This was an outing Erik and I have been planning since we moved here. Besides being one of the wonders of the world (at least to us) the Canadian Rocky Mountains are one of God's best wonders! Everything about today was exactly what our family needed. It was wonderful to step away from the city and its fast pace and into a place that literally quietly restores you just by it's beauty. We didn't do all that we would have wanted to do (the next visit is already planned.) Stefanie and her kids went up the gondola. We had some family time and did a picnic while they did that. None of us got to the "Hot Springs", which was fine. Why spoil a perfect day with having to put on a swimsuit! LOL! Actually, that is a "must do" for our next trip back. Besides being a great day weather wise, there was such an amazing feeling about having done the great idea instead of just thinking it. We all give Banff 2 thumbs that really equals 20!

PS. LOTS OF PICS...two whole songs worth!