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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Why I Almost Sold Our New House

It was 8:30 Friday evening.

I was sitting cross-legged in the middle of the sawdust covered future living floor of our new house. Flood lights were glaring obnoxiously into the room and I was staring dejectedly into the future kitchen of our new house. In the kitchen was a taped outline of a prospective layout. Beside me lay a nearly empty roll of masking tape and a pile of the balled up used tape was near by. I was cold and my brain hurt.

I felt tears ready to spill over.

Trevor and I were trying to determine a workable design for our kitchen. My original idea was long ago tossed out since it didn’t fit with the actual size and shape of the area. At that point I felt like we had tried everything and nothing was working.

How could this be?

This was supposed to be my dream house with my dream kitchen (within financial limitations of course). I had high expectations and I hated the current possibilities. Maybe I wanted too much. I just wanted to go home and think about this a different day. Unfortunately we couldn’t put this aside since we were meeting with our cabinet maker the next day.

What next?

Then our carpenter, John, showed up to retrieve a forgotten hoodie and Trevor, out of desperation, asked John his opinion. John had built many houses and seen many kitchens so Trevor figured maybe he would have the solution. I expected John to shrug and mumble something about doing whatever the plans said, or some sort of typically male response. He actually stopped and thoughtfully gazed at our future kitchen.

“Well,” he said, “my kitchen is like this (proceeded to describe it) so you could do yours similar.”

Hmmmm, that was a thought.

After he left we went back at it, measuring and taping and then stepped back and looked and discussed the arrangement.

This didn’t work either.

To avoid a sure tantrum from me, Trevor quickly suggested we reverse the design. The tape became another shape yet again. We studied the result.

I liked it.

After almost 2/12 hours we had victory.

I wouldn’t have to sell my house.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Me and My Girl!

We had a miserable few days recently complete with a lot of rain and cold temperatures. It had me dreading the inevitable arrival of winter even more. Then today things improved and I'm enjoying the lovely colours of autumn and the warm air.
Sierra and I went for a nice walk along tree-lined streets this morning. We listened to the crunch of dry leaves beneath the stroller wheels and every time the breeze picked up were showered softly with more as they fell. It was really beautiful.
Upon returning home Sierra played in her sandbox with glee. Sand was thrown everywhere - of course!

Align Center

Me and my girl on a fall day!

Today happens to be my 31 birthday and last night I was actually apprehensive as to how I would feel. I really hadn't thought about my birthday at all until yesterday. How times have changed from being a kid! I remember intense excitement in the weeks leading up to my birthday. My family always made a big deal of celebrating special events with birthdays being no exception. It was always a special day.
Now that I'm older and married to a man who's family didn't make birthdays as big a deal things have changed. Not that they are any less special - just different.
Today I feel happy and content and loved. I fell asleep last night planning to make the most of every moment today and enjoy them, so far I am succeeding.
I still get a party- of course! - with my family. It's on Saturday evening when no ones' working or anything silly like that!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Kicking My Own Butt!

I’m into my second week of part-time work and it’s now time to set some goals and formulate a list of what I want to accomplish. I find wasting time far too easy. For example: on Monday I watched useless T.V. for an hour and a half while Sierra napped in the afternoon. Last week I at least had the excuse of suffering through a cold but this week there’s no reason for laziness. At first I thought, “Oh, I’m just getting used being home again.” This is partly true but I’m the type of person who doesn’t feel good about herself when not being productive. I almost always feel guilty when I have a “do nothing” day. (Sundays are the exception.)

Time to get productive people!

What do I want to do…….

1. Daily God time. I’m in a weekly women’s Bible study that has prep. It is not nearly as effective to try and cram it all in the night before!
2. Exercise. Sigh. The never-ending battle. When I’m in the groove I practically need it and do it daily and feel great about it. I’m currently out of the groove and can’t say I really care at this point. Bad Carla, bad! My mom got me into a weekly fitness class that uses a stability ball and our first one was on Monday and it felt really good. But…being one who has avidly been into fitness…. I am ashamed to admit that the class made me realize that I have let myself get out of shape this past summer. It was not a hard hour of exercise and yet my body complained! Guilt ensued. That guilt plus the good feeling that resulted from that exercise has stimulated my desire to do more.
3. Maintain a higher level of neatness in our living quarters than currently exists. Really, it should only take minutes a day to accomplish this and if I can’t handle that I’ve got bigger problems!
4. Sort our piles of photos into the albums I bought over a year ago. Distasteful job that’ll have me grumbling for hours but it sure will be good to have it done.
5. Finish the scrap book for Sierra’s first year that I started a year ago – I’m only at four months!

That’s probably good for now. After all, there’s still grocery shopping, laundry, playing with Sierra, building a house and other regular daily/weekly tasks.
Oh, and I can’t forget blogging. (As you can see, I'm experimenting with templates. I'm still not completely satisfied.)

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Yesterday was a glorious fall day! The air had the crisp edge feel from cooler nights mingled with the smell of fallen leaves and harvest. I spent the morning raking leaves and cleaning up the garden with my mother and Sierra.

I am saying good-bye to summer with quite a bit of hesitance because it has been so short for us this year, with a rather cool May and June. I love so many things about summer: I love the sun’s presence in the sky from5am until 11pm and the warmth of its rays. I love the green and growing all around me. I love outdoor activities such as long walks, going to the lake, and BBQ’s.
I love fall too, it brings with it the lovely colours, delicious produce, excitement of indoor projects and programs (i.e. church choir), and warm cozy evenings. But it also brings more darkness, excessive amounts of wind, cold, and eventually snow. I actually love snow but I’m not ready to give up summer yet. Fortunately it’s a gradual change and I have some time yet.

As I was getting ready for church this morning I was thinking about being sixteen and living in the same bedroom and getting ready in the same bathroom – how things have changed! I was so ‘self’ minded back then. I say this in regards to how easy it is for me now to help my parents with yard work, cooking, cleaning and other regular chores. Back when I was a teenager it was truly a chore done because I had to. Having lived on my own for over ten years and growing up has provided me with a totally new outlook on those things.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

We Have A House

It's come up fast! I finally can see the house that we designed in real size. I like it!

Saturday, September 13, 2008


At a mere fifteen months in age I am amazed at how strong a personality Sierra is exhibiting. It's neat to experience Sierra the person bursting forth more and more but I think that she will be a handful yet!
Example #1:
Sierra was introduced to Oreo cookies recently and thinks they are delicious. She only had a few over a two week period but apparently they were memorable. The other night Sierra was being a crabster. She was hungry but staunchly refusing the food being offered by shoving it away. She was being whiney as a result of her empty little tummy but I was mostly ignoring it, I figured she'd eventually eat something. At one point I went to the pantry cupboard for an item and Sierra came running up to it. She immediately pointed up into the cupboard with an expectant look on her face and gave a little grunt that means she wants something. I looked and deducted that she wanted an Oreo. Now if she had just eaten a proper supper than I likely would have given her one but I was not about to allow my daughter an Oreo cookie for supper. So I said,
"No Sierra, you can't have an Oreo."
The grunting turned into a more inisistant yell, she was no longer asking, instead demanding.
"Sierra, you didn't eat your supper so you can't have a cookie!"
A tantrum ensued complete with a screaming yell and miniature feet stamping as I closed the cupboard doors.
I tried to distract her with toys, then the ever favourite books, and different food but she wanted none of that and continued hollaring.
Not knowing what else to do and not prepared to give in and allow her the Oreo Sierra was taken to her room and plopped in her crib for a time out.
The yelling escalated about a hundred levels.
She eventually lowered her crying to interspersed bursts at non-deafening level so I went and got her not sure she got the point.
She never did get her Oreo that night so I guess I won.

Example #2
This morning after waking up Sierra drank her bottle, per usual, as Trevor prepared her oatmeal, per usual. Once the bottle was empty he sat her in her high chair and she began complaining loudly. Sierra continued to voice her displeasure and vehemently refuse the offered oatmeal. Giving up, Trevor allowed her out of her chair. Sierra then promptly went to her Granny and sat on her lap and
- then ate her oatmeal!


We are really going to have to put our foot down with this one or she' s going to rule us and the house!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

89 Days

...or four months.
Four months of unplanned, unwanted- yet needed of me working full-time.
Guess what....

I'm done!!!!!!!!

Well, not quite but it feels like it because I was off yesterday and it was just Sierra and me again. This week was supposed to be my first official week of part-time but they had some unexpected staffing issues and I offered to fill in since Trevor has only one subbing gig this week so far. Three weeks ago I thought I never would make it. Every morning during the last month I would groan as I rolled out of bed and grumble and grump while getting ready. If Sierra woke up and I saw her before I left I would feel even worse. I nearly called in sick those days. I'd get to work and be okay for a little while, like one minute, and then think to myself.
"I have so had it with working, I'm never going to last!"
Obviously I did.

Our new life will look a bit like this. If Trevor gets called to teach, he will. If no call than his old, very low-paying part time job will allow him to come in. Once subbing needs pick up he will teach as needed from Monday to Thursdays, and Fridays if we can find someone to watch Sierra. Fridays are an 'if' because they are only a part-day for teachers making the pay less. So having Trevor mostly unavailable on Fridays and me working instead earns us more money. In addition to Fridays I will work Tuesdays, and Saturdays when they come up in the rotation.
We mostly have child-care arranged for Sierra for Tuesdays. I've asked a 13 year old girl from our church who loves kids and is home-schooled meaning days times are possible. Well, I asked her mom and they're talking it over. A friend of ours also came forward and offered, she has two kids of her own so Sierra would have playmates. That is huge a relief to me. These are two options I trust and if we don't need either of them due to Trevor not having work than it's not a big deal to cancel last minute.
I had a most enjoyable day yesterday, alone, with Sierra. It felt right. Not only was I happy but so was she. She kept giving me the biggest grin all day. She did not want to let me go this morning and cried heartily as I went out the door to work. She needs me and I need her.
They way this has all come together is a real answer to prayer. It's not what we had in mind but it looks to be a manageable compromise.

Monday, September 8, 2008


Nag: be persistently painful or bothersome.


I admit it, that definition has been me the last two weeks or so. Of course the poor recipient of my nagging has been none other than my extremely tolerant husband.

Why nag? I like being called an old horse! Oh no, wait wrong definition. Well, why is a very good question, one that I can’t answer without explaining what was behind the nagging. Besides, explained helps me justify it, a little.

Teaching jobs in our area of the world are scarce and hard to hard to secure. When one does pop up it seems like the common applicant doesn’t stand a chance because someone who’s someone important knows someone else who wants the job and therefore that someone gets it just because of who they know. Where one does their practicum sessions during university also plays a big part in getting a job because their personality and teaching style become known to the principal and students and give them a leg up if their any good.

Trevor was placed in small schools with no jobs for all three of his practicum sessions. Trevor did not grow up here which provides him with few connections. Trevor is friendly with everyone and not shy of people but not of the aggressive nature it seems is needed to get a foot in the door of the teaching world around here.

My mom and I took things into our own hands. She phoned people she knew. She was on the school board a few years ago and now a good family friend is so you think we’d have a teeny tiny advantage! The two of us also came up with a million suggestions on what Trevor should do to get know the right people and get a job. Two jobs came up last week and we were at him like flies on poop! Do this, do that, phone so and so and say this….etc.

I’m rather surprised he didn’t squash us flat with an enormous fly swatter!

I knew by Friday that he had had enough, even though Trevor never really said so. I actually started feeling quite guilty when I thought about how relentless I’d been.

I meekly apologized and thanked him for enduring me and promised to stay out it, for the most part. I know he wants a job, knows what to do, and will do what it takes to go after a job when one comes up again.

I need to let this go internally as well.

I need to trust God for the right teaching job for Trevor to come along. I need exercise patience. I need to do this everyday!!! I have good moments in this but I lapse so quickly.

I’m sure God is shaking his head and saying, “Didn’t I point him in this direction over four years ago? Didn’t I help him overcome all the obstacles throughout university for him to become a teacher? Haven’t I taken care of your employment situation so far? Haven’t you been financially stable despite all the uncertainties? Haven’t things worked out with selling your house and building your new one? This is just a start of what I’ve done.

See? I’ve been with you all along I won’t leave you now!”

I need to relinquish my perceived control and allow the One who’s really in control to do His job

Nagging helped me feel like I was involved and doing something. Really, I was only being a bothersome pest!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Last week I was trying on glasses at work, as I sometimes do being around glasses all day, and for fun I grabbed this really unique pair by 'X-Ice' called 'Moonstone.' They came out of no where really, it was as if they called my name and begged me to try them on. It was love at first sight. (Ha! "sight", get it?)

They never made it back on the shelf.

I took them home to model for the fam and everyone approved; even my dad liked them! The next day I called our supply lab and who talked to their lens supplier who generously gave me a wicked pair of lenses for.....get! ('Nikon IV' with the 'Ice' coating if you care or understand lenses at all.)
Anyway, in addition to free lenses I got the frames for ridiculously cheap and couldn't dream of letting them get away.


Without further ado....

My new glasses!

Please pardon the end of day hair, disheveled eyebrows and wrinkles emphasized by smudging eye make up.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Calling All Bloggers...

I am in need of some more blogs to read - please feel free to offer suggestions!

Weekend of Renewel.

I’m going to tell you about the delightful get-a-way Trevor, Sierra and I had from Friday night to Sunday morning and all the fun and resoltions that came of it. The idea only came to me last weekend when I was in a disgruntled mood about the state of my life. As I moped around in silence I starting thinking and analyzing my mood, so I asked,

“Self, what is wrong with you?”

“I think I’m peopled out,” Self answered.

“Our living arrangements are great but it’s not just us anymore. I have Mom and Dad, and Trevor and Sierra around any time I’m home. Since Sierra so enjoys her Granny and Grandpa it’s difficult to disappear into the basement for extended periods of family or alone time.”

Self paused thoughtfully.

“I believe I need some down time to myself and with our little family.”

I mused for a moment and then a light bulb lit up in my weary brain.

“Well, what if Trevor, Sierra and I go away next weekend; just the three of us, and spend some time simply with each other?” I suggested to Self.

“That is a fabulous idea!” Self said enthusiastically.

I brought this idea to Trevor who also readily agreed.

After our restaurant adventure on Friday we drove for a little over an hour to a tiny town called Mountain View. Mountain View is in the foothills at the base of the Rocky Mountains and offers spectacular “Mountain Views”. We stayed in a bed-and-breakfast called “Simply the Best” run by a nice Mormon family. (In fact 95% of Mountain View residents are Mormon) From Mountain View we drove the fifteen minutes to Waterton National Park and spent most of Saturday there.

Here’s what we did:

We tried a little hike but Sierra didn't enjoy being in the Snuggli, she wanted to run around on her own! We managed a forty minute walk.

She decided to fill the backpack with rocks.

The deer are so tame they came right up to us.

Just the three of us.

Not only did we have some great family time but Trevor and I had the opportunity to finally just talk.
A big overhanging issue is his lack of getting a job. Here we were at the end of August with the school year beginning on Tuesday and Trevor didn't have a contract position. I know the first couple of weeks of school will reveal actual student numbers and government funding so some positions may appear but...
my faith in Trevor getting a job has all but disappeared.
I truly believed that Trevor would have a job by now. There really was no "if" in my mind. God calls us to have faith so that is what I did. The blatant fact at hand has shaken me deeply. I felt very betrayed and let down and hopeless.
Then I begrudgingly admitted that God's timing is often not our own, it's not as if Trevor would have no work, and God has been good to us thus far so why woudn't He continue?
Trevor shared some similar feelings along with questioning if teaching is really what he is supposed to do. At what point do we go from having faith that we will reach the destination along the chosen path to considering alternate paths?
I personally don't feel we need to change our route just yet as there haven't even been any job opportunities. If there was position after position that Trevor was just not getting hired for than I would be more likely to say perhaps he should consider something else.
It's only been a year, after all.
So for now, he subs and we dig deep down and cling to the faith that God knows best.

As for me and my job - I work full time this week yet and then Trevor and I have agreed that I'll move down to two days a week. I'll work Fridays and Trevor won't. It's only a half day for teachers so Trevor won't be missing as much by being unavailable. I will also work Tuesdays and, when it's my turn in the rotation, Saturday instead. It means that Trevor will have to be quite proactive in getting himself known as a sub to maintain relatively consistent work for a relatively consistent income. The more he works, the more he's known, and the more chance he has at getting a job later. All this means that I only have to find child care for Sierra for one day a week at most. That's the plan for now with keeping an open mind that it may have to change.
That's our life on the job front as we head into September. It is not ideal but we've accepted it and will make the best of it.

"Self, how do feel now?" I ask on this dreary, rainy, holiday Monday afternoon.
"I feel all right, issues are talked out and we're moving forward," Self nodded with a satisfied look.
"How about you?"
"I'm feeling pretty good about life right now too, thanks for being there!"
"No problem!"