Wednesday, June 30, 2010


The past week we've been somewhat restricting Noah's video/screen intake, mostly because it was getting out of hand again.
After Jude was born, Noah spent a lot of time watching tv. He was at the point where he would obsess over a movie and then watch it over and over and over again. First it was Madagascar. Then Nemo. Then Monsters Inc. And he would sit and watch an entire full-length movie! I felt guilty, though because I just couldn't give him the attention I wanted to or knew he deserved.
But then the sun came out.
And his appetite for the outdoors increased ten fold and we very, very, very rarely turned the tv on.
And now...perhaps the novelty of the outdoors has waned somewhat (although he really is my little Outdoorsman) and lately he's been all about Curious George (which is great because they're only 15 mins long and I can limit it to one or two) and old Mickey Mouse/Donald Duck videos on YouTube.
So as a follow up to my previous post about kid-friendly YouTube videos, here's some nostalgia for those who enjoy a good Mickey comic. (This is Noah's favourite.)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Thai Cocount Curry with Cauliflower Rice & beans

Okay so I loved this. I will be making this again. I loved the cauliflower rice and the fact that it's supposed to be "low carb" or whatever is just an added bonus. I did use the food processor method and it works quite well. I did an entire head of cauliflower and it feeds Jamie and I for 2 meals - so basically 4 servings. Jude liked it, Noah, not so much {no surprise there}. Thai food is just so amazing. Even this "easy" version of it is so good. I'm not picky, so I totally gobbled it up! Oh and this WAS super fast. From the time I got home just before 5pm, we were eating at 5:45pm! Amazing. And delish. MAKE this one. You won't regret it.

1 lb. skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut in bite-sized pieces (I used 2? I can't remember now)

1/2 medium onion, chopped

1 medium red Bell pepper, chopped

1 can coconut milk

Thai spices (I used both curry paste as well as Thai spices)

Salt or seasoning salt to taste

heat some oil in the pan. the amount depends upon size of pan; you want a thin coating on the bottom.

chop onion, and add.

chop pepper and add. stir. cook until onion is getting soft, if it isn't already.

while that is cooking, chop the chicken.

add the spices (including the salt). the amount will depend upon the spice. for a hot paste, more like 2 tsp (I used 2 tsp of curry paste and a generous sprinkling from my Thai spice shaker). it just depends upon how spicy the blend is and how spicy you like your food. stir until the you start to smell the spices.

add the chicken. stir until almost cooked through.

add the coconut milk. {note: this makes a fairly soupy curry. If you want it thicker, just add maybe 2/3 of the can.} bring it to a boil, and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes.

serving suggestion: serve over cauliflower rice.

Basketball mouth

This is so classic Jude. Funny faces, spunky attitude. I love this kid.

Basketball in your mouth from Vanessa Strickland on Vimeo.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Cathedral (castle)

Today on the way home from a quick visit to my sweet friend Suz who just had her first baby, Noah commented on the huge cathedral that he could see out his window.

It's a BIG castle, Mommy!

I decided we'd make a quick visit to see the "castle".
After driving up the hill we pulled into the parking lot and Noah said,

It's so much bigger than me!

I laughed out loud with such a feeling of joy. The simple observations he makes are seemingly obvious to me, but to him, it's all new. What a delight to be around a child who is experiencing new things, but is also able to verbalize the newness that he is experiencing!

Before we went into the main cathedral and I told Noah we needed to be very quiet because we didn't want to disturb anyone who was praying God.

he added.

Later this evening Noah brought up our trip to the cathedral again.

...and it was so big and we had to be very quiet.

Yes. Yes, we did my sweet, sweet boy.

Friday, June 25, 2010

6 years

Six years ago today I married the best man I know.

Jamie and I met each other when we were about 9 years old at our church. We've grown up together. We were friends first and then high school sweethearts.
When we finally got married it was perfect day.
It was fun and funny.
I was so glad for all the work and stress and details that went into that day (because up until that day I totally wanted to elope).
All our friends were there.
All our family were there.
I wore the dress.

We said "I do".

We kissed.

We ate.
We danced.
It was a beautiful day.

The last 6 years have been really fun, but especially the last few have been hard. Having kids does not make a marriage any easier.
But it does make it fuller.

It has shown me the depth of the man I married. The patience. Forgiveness. Steadfastness.
He is so much more than who I thought he was 6 years ago.
I pray I keep discovering and learning and loving him when we're celebrating our 26th anniversary.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I'm on week 6 of my 10 week training program to run 10km. Now my race isn't until October, but I wanted to start training right now.
On Friday I walked up this crazy steep hill lugging both Noah and Jude in a wagon and a heavy cooler (not a part of my training) and I think I must have strained my calf muscles because my runs on Saturday and Monday were cut short due to my calf muscles cramping up. I was frustrated and disappointed - especially because my Saturday run was supposed to be 50 minutes long and I was really set on completing it.
Today was just an easy 35 min run and I did it at the Y on the treadmill.
*Side note: I realize I dislike running on the treadmill. Running outside is so much more motivating and invigorating for me. When I run on the treadmill I'm lazier and sometimes stop before my run is "over" just because I feel like it.
But today's run was great! I got stuck on a machine that is only in miles and I couldn't figure out how to change it to km's but I felt really good, completed my 35 mins and then came home to figure out how far I had run. Turns out I ran over 6km! I felt like I could have gone longer and both my legs and my lungs felt fine! It was the definition (in my mind) of A Good Run.
On Saturday I'm doing an 8km run and I just really want to finish it! I'll worry about my time later.

But since starting the program I haven't lost weight. I know that it's because my eating habits are so bad and I snack a lot at night and I have a WICKED sweet tooth. It's a bit discouraging, but I've been (re)motivated to stop my nighttime snackings (again) and hopefully that will help the weight come off.

However, I do feel encouraged that I can so "easily" run for 35 mins. The difference in how I feel when I finish is remarkable compared to when I started running.

Who knows? Maybe I'll attempt an half marathon next year!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Kiddie Pool

Jamie's been away since last Thursday (he'll be back tonight!) and in the meantime, we've had to occupy ourselves otherwise.

Yesterday was a lovely day. No humidity. The sun was out. It wasn't too hot, but hot enough to fill up the kiddie pool!

After a lecture (and a splash in the face) I gave to Noah about not splashing his baby brother in the face, both boys laughed and giggled and splish splashed to their hearts content.

It's been so sweet to watch them and their budding relationship. Their ups and downs, the grabbing, pushing and pulling. The laughing, hugging and tickling. The wrestling (or attempts at it) and the playing (oh how adorable it is to see Jude "driving" a car alongside Noah) together.
I pray for them and the men they will grow into. I pray they will sharpen each other and be strong, godly men who love Jesus and love others deeply and passionately.

But in the meantime...we'll all splash in the pool together.

You Capture: Water

the wave

It melts my heart every time.

It's Jude's newest discovery.


Who knew something as simple as waving your hand through the air could melt my heart into a gooey puddle of love for this sweet boy?

He first did it at the airport last week when Jamie was saying goodbye to his boys. Noah (of course) refused to look at him but Jude smiled and then did a really big (long) wave.


And then yesterday when my Mom left after staying with us for a couple days, we stood on the front porch and Jude waved and waved and waved until her car pulled out of sight.

*this is me being a complete gushing fool over the latest development of my 2nd born*

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Think Time...reviewed

Remember this?

Well, I've been moving forward on the creative front.

I've cooked with bulgar wheat, quinoa (the organic kind and the red kind - who knew?), and zucchini (I know. But I never really cooked with zucchini before.). And I absolutely LOVE quinoa. Too bad Noah and Jude don't. But hey...more for me, right?

I've also picked up my camera a lot more lately - and not just to take pictures of my boys (although the majority of my pictures are of my boys). And I'm going to try out this whole You Capture thing (click on the button on the side bar for more info). I think it'll give me some motivation and inspiration to work at being a better photographer.

I've also been running! I'm now on week 4 of a 10 week training program to run 10k. Some days I complete my goals, other days, not so much. But it's a WHOLE lot more than I was doing 2 months ago!

I'd still like to start sewing and become more confident in that aspect, but there's plenty of time for that.

It's good to get that think time, but it's even better to see what comes out of it.

Monday, June 7, 2010


We went to a cottage last weekend with my parents and sister.

It was really nice.

You really can't go wrong with cottage living. We ate piles of food. We talked and laughed. We played games and watched old tv shows.

The view was beautiful and my sister and I even went for a long run along the dirt roads.

Then we jumped into the (really cold) lake to cool off.

I finished reading this book (I really enjoyed it) and started reading this one.

I had an amazing nap and a small sleep in.

Noah was obsessed with the boathouse and loved exploring.

He even got to hold his first sparkler.

The weather was decent; not really hot and sunny, but we did have some sunny patches and the rain was an excuse to build a fire in the wood-burning stove and eat yummy soup.

It was a perfect weekend and if I could, I'd spend every weekend at a cottage.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


When I wear my rain boots I feel invincible.

Or at least impervious to all the creepy crawlies and bird poop (& sometimes cat or rabbit poop) that often hide in our grass.

A glorious rainstorm hit us mid-afternoon and toward the end of it, I threw on my boots and tromped around outside to take some pictures.

It was wonderful.

When I'm holding my camera and my sole purpose is to capture some great shots, all of a sudden the world looks different. I see beauty in everything. Even the creepy crawlies (though most were hiding because of the rain).

I love post-rainstorm pictures. Rain drops glisten like nature's treasure. Tiny little gems perch on every leaf, petal and branch.




Tuesday, June 1, 2010


...or at least Jude's version of crawling

Discovering Mobility from Vanessa Strickland on Vimeo.

Jude's 10 month letter

Dear Jude,

I can't believe you are 10 months old! You are getting so big so fast and while part of me feels like I want to shout out to time "SLOW DOWN!", the other part of me is loving all your latest discoveries and newfound abilities! It's so fun to watch you grow and learn and develop and continue to become even cheekier than you were last month.

You have become mobile this month! You can crawl. It's really more of a hop/crawl as you use one of your legs (in a sitting position) to boost your other leg and body forward. It's quite cute but it does the trick and gets you where you want to be. Which is usually wherever Noah and his toys are (much to Noah's chagrin). You aren't full-on exploring on your own, but you are definitely getting there. I often forget that you can get yourself around and sometimes quickly run to another room to do something but then have to come back because I remember you aren't just going to stay put anymore!

You also said your first word. (Can you guess?) Dada. You've been able to say "dada" for over a month now, but this month you say it whenever you see your Daddy for the first time (whether it's in the morning or after a nap, etc.). It's adorable and melts my heart when you start off just mouthing it, then whispering it and then often you escalate to a loud babble "DADA". Cutie pie.

Jude, my boy, you are a BOTTOMLESS PIT. Last night, for instance, we all went out to a restaurant and you ate an entire chicken breast (meant for your brother) and half of his potatoes. You can eat, and eat, and eat. You often eat more than Noah and while I know that this will likely change once you become a toddler it still seems crazy to me how much you can pack away! Your favourites are sweet potatoes, bananas, yogurt, toast, Mum Mums, and pretty much most fruit.

You are also still breastfeeding. Right now I'm nursing you 3 or 4 times a day plus you get one cup of formula in the afternoon. You also like to bite. Sigh. Not nice, Mister. But you're getting better. I figure around the time you turn 1 year, we'll completely wean you. Once I've finished this container of formula we'll move you straight to milk. Hopefully that takes.

You are still very much attached to me, but still do well with other people and I'm able to drop you off at both the church nursery and the play care center at the YMCA. You sometimes will cry briefly or whimper, but usually recover quite quickly.

You can be quite fussy when you want to, but you are still pretty happy and easy going. I think you just want and need the one-on-one attention and most people are happy to give it to you because of your big smiles and cheeky grins. Your belly laugh is also one of the most wonderful sounds ever - your Daddy is usually responsible for getting you to laugh like this.

You are still in the office - not in the same room as Noah and for now that is where you'll stay. You wake up almost every day at 6:30am so I nurse you and you fall back to sleep for at least another hour, often 2 more hours. I hesitate to put you and Noah in the same room for fear that Noah will wake up at stay up at 6:30 - which would not be good for anyone. But by the time you are one I'm hoping you two will share a bedroom. We'll see how that one goes...

But you are still sleeping through the night - down at 7pm and all the way through 'til 6:30 and then back down 'til usually 8:30am. I've got no complaints and am thankful you are finally consistently sleeping through the night.

You don't mind sitting on the grass, but so far you can't be convinced to crawl on it.
You LOVE the water and having baths in the big bath tub and so far don't mind it when Noah pours water on your head.
I'm looking forward to being outside this summer with you and watching you discover more new and exciting things!

I love you so much my little Jude...

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