Tuesday, September 24, 2013


There are moments where I ask myself,
Did the last two years even happen?
Because everything seems the same. I seem the same. They seem the same. This city and all the familiar places seem ... the same.

And then there are moments that are almost like a slap in the face with clarity and realization that scream in my face, YES. The last two years really did happen and I wasn't here. I was in Uganda. I have changed. So has everyone else. In one way or another.

Isn't it funny that what I missed most while I was in Uganda, is the same thing I miss now that I'm back in Canada?
Being known. Belonging. 

It's like re-learning the lesson of where I truly belong and can call home all over again.
This isn't my home. I'm not meant to feel truly settled on this earth.

I'm struggling to find my routine. To figure out where and how I fit. To figure out what I'm supposed to be doing here. In Guelph. In this life.
The simple answer is giving glory to God in all that I am.

But what does that mean for me, a Mother of three boys, two of which have just started school for the first time? What does that mean for me, a wife, married to my best friend, but trying to find time for our marriage in the middle of chaos and a fast-paced life? What does that look like? What does it mean for me?

And the things that Jesus is teaching me are things He's already taught me before. And the way He continues to reveal the ugliness of my soul can sometimes feel devastating and frustrating.

But there is grace. And sweet gentleness. And unconditional love. And mercy.

Last week I read through the book of Ephesians {hands down, my favourite book in the Bible} and once again was just struck with the depth of my need for a Saviour and how despite my rebellious, ugly nature, Christ died for me. He loved me. Before I ever did a thing to love him or move toward him with any good intentions or repentance.
Before I was repentant
He came for me.

So I don't really know a lot these days. But I do know that I am loved. That He chose me. And I think that if I really internalize and ruminate upon that truth, all my actions will flow from His love for me. 
And that will be enough. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013



My alarm goes off. Either that or one of the boys has already woken me up.

I'm usually up after this.

Stumble downstairs, open the pantry, pull out the coffee cart and either plug in the Keurig or the coffee pot {depends on how I feel. Will this be a multiple cup of coffee day or a single cup?} to get the caffeine started.

I'm over at {our nest in the city} guest blogging for Emily who was {at the time I wrote this} very pregnant and is now experiencing the newborn phase for the third time in three years {mad props}. 

Check out her blog for the rest of my post plus tons of her DIY stuff, recipes and general life and parenting posts. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

git yer bake on! {Cornmeal Waffles}

I have missed fall. It's been two years since I've experienced an Ontario fall. I love it. The cool weather. The changing leaves. The Pumpkin Spice Lattes. The slippers and scarves. I love it all.
And cooler weather means cooking and baking!
And baking and cooking I have been doing. Today {despite another pretty rough drop off for both big boys} it's just me and Blaise so I baked a batch of breakfast cookies and some blueberry muffins. While he was napping this morning.

Now the muffin recipe claims to be the best muffin recipe. EVER.
No joke? It seriously is.

The recipe itself is pretty versatile. There are options for different add-ins that you could choose. I wanted to make blueberry muffins so I just threw in a cup of frozen blueberries.
When they were done, I tried one. SO GOOD. Serious. Make these, people.

We're also kinda obsessed with waffles. I didn't remember if I kept my waffle maker or sold it before we left for Uganda but lo and behold, it was packed away. Hurrah for waffles!
I am in love with cornmeal waffles. So crispy and crunch and light.

recipe from Joy of Cooking cook book

Cornmeal Waffles

1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups buttermilk
5 tbsp butter, melted
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 eggs, separated

Preheat your waffle iron. Then whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt & baking soda together.
In another bowl, whisk buttermilk, butter, maple syrup and egg yolks together.
Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Combine with a few swift strokes of the whisk.
Beat the egg whites until stiff, but not dry {or you can just do it until they are frothy if you're hand mixing} then fold into the batter.
Then scoop onto your waffle iron and cook.
Enjoy with bacon {or you could even crumble in some cooked bacon into the batter and enjoy your waffles and bacon all in one!} or fried chicken or however you like your waffles.
I love some sliced fruit, nuts, some Greek yogurt and a bit of maple syrup on top.

It's also soup weather! What are you favourite soups? I love Butternut Squash soup, Beef Stew, Tomato soup and African Yam & Peanut soup.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

1 year letter

Dear Blaise,

You are ONE year old! Oh how I love you my sweet blondie! {When did that happen? And how?}

You have had my heart from the moment I knew you existed and then tenfold when I laid eyes upon you for the first time. You are full of life and joy and laughter and I wouldn't trade a minute of this sleep-deprived year for anything!

{PS I'm sorry I didn't do a letter for you last month. We were moving and living like gyspies and life was crazy/busy/hard. You're the third child. I'm pretty proud of myself for doing 11 of 12 months of your first year!}

You are walking! You have four teeth! You are doing a bit better in the sleep department but I have yet to sleep through the night. You laugh when others are laughing and wave at anyone and everyone you see. At the grocery store you love smiling and charming the cashiers. I always hope they'll give me free food because of how cute you are. No such luck there, though.

You absolutely adore your brothers and I think you're quite bored during the days they are both in school. Noah and Jude are always greeted with big smiles and laughs when you see them in the morning and after school.

We haven't put you in the room with your brothers yet, but eventually you'll get there. You still wake up lots and so do they so it all works out this way for now anyway.

You LOVE balls. You will throw and catch a ball with anyone who will play with you. You will stand and throw a ball and then totter after it. Or you'll swat a ball and quickly chase after it on all fours. You love pounding anything with a stick.

Your favourites are still "Mamas Milk", blueberries, yogurt, anything the boys are snacking on {you recently snagged a Dorito off of Noah's plate and promptly broke out in a rash before I could get it all away from you} cheese, pasta, peas, avocado, etc. I do find that you're a lot pickier than I remember your brothers being and you'll tolerate certain foods for a bit and then start clearing your tray with large swipes. Or you'll just pick up the food and drop it off your tray.
You will drink cow's milk out of a sippy cup and sometimes water too, but often I'll find the sippy cup on the floor. Leaking.

You love doing things most one years do; opening and shutting cupboard doors, crawling up stairs as fast as you can, being with your family and rough-housing with your Daddy. You love causing destruction as much as you can before I can get to you whether it's opening drawers and pulling everything out, tipping over piles of folded laundry or dumping out the recycling bin.

Ah I love you. Your floppy, blonde hair and your mysterious eyes {although I think they are more brown than anything else} and your squishy body and your toothy smile and your infectious, full-bellied laugh.
I'm so glad you came into our family one year ago. Keep loving life and loving people and I pray for your life to spread passion and joy into everyone you meet and love.

I love you, baby.


Thursday, September 12, 2013


Jude's in Kindergarten! Junior Kindergarten, to be precise.

I did find myself getting a bit emotional when I went to drop him off in the morning.

Such a little-big guy. I thought I was ready, but when it came down to it, I totally wasn't. I didn't blubber, but my heart did that funny achy thing as I watched him walk in line after the other kids into his class.

And then I took off and ran a ton of errands and the day seemed to fly by far too quickly.
When we went to pick up the boys, we first went to Jude's class. He ran out to me and Blaise with a smile on his face, his little backpack bobbing up and down. He said he had a good day, but that he did cry a couple times because he missed me. Aw.

We went around the side of the school to pick up Noah and immediately Jude started singing 5 Little Speckled Frogs. What a cutie.

And he ate a good portion of his lunch so I was quite pleased and impressed.
This morning he was quite disappointed that he wouldn't be going back to school today so I think that's a good sign that he did well and enjoyed it.
I can't wait to get to know their teachers and the other parents as well.

Good job, little buddy!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

wednesday morning prayers

I hear foot steps and my door open ever so slightly.
It's Jude. It's also 6:30am.
"Yes, Jude?"
"Where's Daddy?"
"He's in Halifax."
"Oh. Right."
"Go back to sleep. It's too early."
"But I see a bit of light. It doesn't seem too early to me..."
He wanders back into his room and shortly I after I hear quiet voices and their door shutting. I guess he woke up Noah. They play quietly for a bit.
The play gets louder and wakes up Blaise in the next room. He quiets for a bit and I lay in bed for just a few more minutes.
I check the weather {I have to get back into that habit.} and roll out of bed to go nurse Blaise. {He only woke up ONCE last night!} He's a happy guy and my alarm goes off in my room while I'm in the room with Blaise.
The boys come out of their room and I encourage them to get dressed before going downstairs.
They do.

It's smoothies and toast {and yogurt and cereal for Noah as well} and then the boys brush their teeth.
Jude is bugging to go to school {right.now.} and so I put their lunches in their bags, pack in a rain poncho for this afternoon's forecasted showers and after a bit of playing, they pose on the front steps for a picture for Jude's first day.

How handsome are they?!

We're leaving with plenty of time so I don't feel rushed. Which is nice.
At the school we walk around to Noah's side. We stand there for a minute or two and then give hugs and kisses goodbye so I can drop off Jude at his entrance.
I look back and see Noah standing by himself and it makes my heart hurt a little. I tell myself, he'll be fine.
I'm getting a bit emotional about sending Jude to school today for some reason. He's so little. It's such a long day. How will he do? Will he listen to the teacher and make friends? Will he be able to finish his lunch? {Probably not.}
We walk into the enclosed area and he looks at me with a smile and says, "PLAY?!?" so I nod and he takes off to the slides and climbers and then the bell goes and he comes right over and hops into a line. A helper asks him his name and then directs him to the other line for the other kindergarten teacher. I get a big hug from him and he hugs and kisses Blaise and then chats away to his teacher telling her about his backpack and his Star Wars shirt. Then I look to my side and see Noah standing there with teary eyes.
My heart sinks.

The teacher starts walking in with Jude's class and he happily trots in line behind the other kids. What a trooper.

I turn to walk away with Noah and begin what I've been dreading this entire time leading up to school's start.
We walk into the school all the while with Noah very tearfully and stubbornly telling me he's not going to school and not going to his class and he's staying with me the whole day.
I tell him he is going to school and that he's strong and amazing and he's going to have so much fun and learn new things today. I tell him that Jesus is with him and Noah tearfully says that he can't see Jesus. He can see me and so he wants to be with me. {sob} I try to get to the bottom of why he doesn't want to go but I think it's because I wasn't there to see him into school like I have been since the beginning since I was with Jude. It's also a long day. Every day. And the transition is finally catching up to him.

My heart hurts as I leave him screaming and crying for me with the teacher.
I walk quickly with tears streaming and head back to the car with Blaise {thankful that I chose to put him in the stroller this morning and not carry him like I usually do}.

So it's not even noon and I'm not sure how he's doing. I hope he's doing well. I hope the teacher was able to get a handle on things. I felt bad for her. The little boy in Noah's class who has special needs was also having a rough morning and I didn't see any EA to help her so she was trying to deal with Noah and the other boy.

Jesus please be with Noah and Jude this morning. Send people to love them and protect them. Give them courage and strength and joy today. Remind them of your goodness. Remind me of your goodness. 

**it's 10:57am and I just got a call from his teacher. He settled down within a couple minutes of me leaving. She was so understanding and supportive and I am doing a little happy cry and fist pumping for such an awesome teacher.
Also found out that there is an EA that will be able to help her so that is great for her, for the kids in the class and for that little boy who I hope and pray Noah will get to know and love this year.

Thanks you Jesus!

Friday, September 6, 2013


How cute is he?

So. After my emotionally thick post on the first day of school, I thought I'd follow it up with how our first week went.

So I picked Noah up from school the first day. No tears (from him - I did get a bit misty, though) and got a big smile. He did declare, though, that he wouldn't be going back to school the next day. Not emotionally. Just calmly and matter of factly. We talked about his day and I would bring up highlights as he mentioned them.

Oh! You got to finger paint? That's so fun!

Wow! You got Goldfish crackers from your teacher? Did they taste the same or different from the ones Mommy gave you?

A nature hunt? That must have been a lot of fun! What kinds of things did you find?

And each day since, he's calmly declared that he will definitely not be going to school tomorrow. And each day we talk about what he's done during the day. The fun parts and the hard parts.
I think he's doing well, though. He says he's made some friends but doesn't remember any of their names. Classic.
He's got to play with his friend from our town house complex twice who is in grade two so that seems to be a highlight for him.

It still makes my heart ache a bit when I drop him off and watch him trying to politely get through the door with the swarming mass of kids around him. It's a lot all at once. And he's doing really well.

Funny exerpts from him:

Mom, every morning in the hallway I hear a kid crying.

I looked for my hat but I couldn't find it.  (It was exactly where he had left it with me. On the shelf above his backpack.)

We have to sit "criss-cross applesauce". 

Mom? Why can't we have gum at school?

We went to the library, but not really in it. The lady who stays in there said it would be a long time for us to take books out.

I like recess. Wait, no. I don't like it. Well, yes and no. I like the long recess, but not the short recess.

And in other news, he's been holding the door for me all the time. I think his school is big on instilling respect and consideration of others. I love it! (And Jude and him even fought to hold the door open for each other. "No after you!" "No after YOU!" Hilarious.)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

thoughts from a sentimental Mama

To every parent who cried dropping their baby (because they're still our babies, right?) off at school for the first time:

I get it.

I'm not a super sappy or sentimental person, but I am a wreck. I am crying and reminiscing and trying to keep it together for the sake of my other kiddos.

We dropped Noah off this morning at school. Grade one. All day. Every day. I was doing okay until I watched him find a seat at a small desk in a small chair across from a couple other boys. I smiled and waved at him and he waved back and I walked away and lost it.

He was so excited and brave and when we walked into the school (was I really the only parent to accompany their kid? Or did I just break some unspoken rule?) he was a bit unsure and wanted me to come with him to pick out a hook to hang his backpack on. Only a pair of shoes, a lunch box and a pencil case and that backpack was heavy. He's so little.

How is it that I remember his birth so clearly? How is it that I'm a Mom to a little boy in grade one? How did that happen?

I wish I could be a fly on the wall in his classroom.
What is he learning? Who is he meeting? Is he loving every minute of it? Is he regretting coming in the first place? Will he know how to find the bathroom and lunch room?

Dear Jesus, please be with my boy. Guard him. Lead him to the friends that will encourage and uplift him. Help him make good choices. 

Did I do enough to prepare him? I feel so unprepared myself.

Last night we did a special dinner together. And by "special" I mean we used a table cloth and had cloth napkins and ate tacos.

It was loud and we ate quickly. Jamie prayed for Noah and we talked about standing up for what's right and being true to ourselves. And then it was all over.

This morning we had Timbits and smoothies and pancakes and applesauce (because apparently we have no fruit in the house. Whoops.) and we prayed again for Noah and I read him Joshua 1:9.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; Do not be discouraged. For the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. 

I have been continually praying and releasing my children into God's hands. Surrendering them over and over again. Praying for their teachers and friends.

This parenting gig isn't for the weak of heart.

Mine is getting an overhaul as I type this.

I love you, Noah. I'm so proud of you.
Stay sweet. Have fun. Be a light.
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