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Friday, October 31, 2008


I have officially decided that I am extremely glad that I do not remember being 1. The new found skill of being able to walk may be fun and freeing in itself for a 1 year old but it also appears to be equally painful and frustrating. Although Sierra is quite an accomplished walker/runner (as much as a 1 year old can run) by now it's incredible how many things get in the way of journeying successfully to her destinations.
  • For example: After a lovely fall walk this morning I had parked the stroller in the garage and she was slowly, indirectly of course, making her way to the door in the house. It truly amazes how unique a route a child can take to get somewhere. At one point she was standing on a rug by a side door that leads outside when she turned and started running towards me. Well, wouldn't you know it, a corner of that crazy rug decided to jump up and grab her foot. Her forehead didn't have a chance and connected with the concrete with a solid, awful, "thud."
I dropped the items in my arms, ran to her and gathered her up as her mouth opened,. The first cry came out, trailed to silence with her mouth staying open soundlessly for a very long time before gasping air back in and continuing with loud sad cries.
You can gauge the severity of the injury on the length of silence of the first cry. This was a bad one! After some hugs and "awwwe poor baby's" from mommy the crisis was over and we resumed our day. Sierra seemed to have forgotten it almost as quickly as the injury occurred, too bad I haven't!
  • These things seem to happen regularly and for awhile there her head was constantly a rainbow of blues, yellows, and greens from bruises. Not only does she fall but furniture is at just the right height for running into or standing up under or other head maiming scenarios.
  • Sigh.

Such is the life of a 1 year old and the parents caring for her!

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Within days of us moving in with my parents my mom and I went for a walk. On our walk we passed a garage sale and of course we couldn't help but crane our necks this way and that as we walked by and inspect the merchandise. Our necks took over and we followed them this great find:

This is a solid mahogany wood buffet and hutch purchased by me for only $40. The original reason we bought it was to use it as additional storage in our basement lair. That never really happened for some reason but the more I've looked at the more I like it and want to fit it in with our decorating scheme in our new house.
The colour won't match any of the wood going into our house and it's a tad beaten up so I'd like to refinish it. What do I do?
Do I strip it and stain it with a shade that matches the decor and keep the wood look? Do I paint it white and do something to it like distressing it? Any thoughts?

Saturday, October 25, 2008


In February 2001 Trevor and I signed the papers to build our first house. We were super elated. We had become extremely weary of living in cold, dark basement suites with noisy upstairs neighbours. This was going to be ours!
The decision process was very easy; we knew where we wanted to live and how much money we had which gave us two options for builders. There was one house with each that fit out budget so we picked a favourite and that was that. It was a 900 square foot split level with two bedrooms, one bathroom, kitchen/dining room and living room, no garage. To us it was practically a castle. The builder had allowances for each particular part of the house and since we couldn't afford any extras the selections were minimal and easy. We chose the cabinetry out of three finishes, flooring and paint offered a few more options , and lighting - the only thing we upgraded slightly on. I think the decisions for everything were made with only a few hours of our time. The rest was standard stuff with our package.Trevor and I were rather naive throughout the whole affair but we ended up with a house we absolutely loved. I bawled for weeks after we moved out of it.

  • This past summer we embarked on another house building venture but this experience has almost no similarities to the first one.We are contracting the building ourselves and the decisions we've had to make seem endless! Since we are just over two months from our estimated completion date a mountain of selections have needed and still need to be made. It's fun but the pressure of getting it done is weighing on me because we have so little time! Siding colour, trim colour, roof colour, window sizes and types, door styles, door knobs faucets, bathtubs, sinks, toilets, lights, where to put lights, switches, phone jacks, cable outlets and I could go on. Each item seems to have a million and one variations! To make matters worse our custom cabinet maker friend had to back out on us last weekend due to his wife needing a surgury (she also has MS). He found us someone else do the job but it means we're back to square one with explaining the design and what we all want etceterra. In terms of our timeline we should still be okay but the cost will increase.

Here's where we're at:
  • The exterior is 80% completed. The front siding is not up because the supplier ran out of a major part of the siding in our selected colour and had to be order more. That's why I dont' have any pictures yet because the best part - the front - isn't done!
  • The interior "guts" have been in progress for the past few weeks. By "guts" I mean plumbing, heating and electrical - not much to show for these componants so not worth more pictures. We're being held up by our heating guy currently who keeps coming up with lame excuses as to why he hasn't come yet. That's what sometimes happens when you use a friend of a friend that used to be a friend! The "guts" should be completed this week.
  • Drywall should be commencing in a week or so and then visible progress will be available shortly thereafter.
  • This week our front steps/landing and driveway are being formed and hopefully poured with concrete - weather permitting.
  • We need to decide our cabinet colour, counter top, and backsplash in the kitchen and bathrooms within the next two weeks. Following that we must choose flooring and paint colours because by mid to late November we should be ready to paint. Trevor and I are doing all the painting ourselves. GULP!! It's all good, we actually don't mind painting. Just keep me away from corners and edges, rolling the big blank walls is much safer for me. (I'm a messy painter!)
We are having a great time with this process and get increasingly more excited to live in this house!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pain in the Neck, Yaya, and Jackets.

I'm supposed to be at work right now. But obviously I'm not at work since I'm typing a post. Okay maybe not obviously because I could be secretly typing on a computer when I shouldn't be. No, I'm at home. I successfully strained (is it still considered successful when one hurts oneself?) my upper back something fierce yesterday morning and am having serious challenges with my upper body mobility. How did I accomplish getting myself into this debilitating condition? That is in excellent question to which I don't have a satisfying answer to. I had just finished getting dressed, I bent over slightly for some reason and in a manner I'll never know and wish I did because perhaps I could have avoided my current predicament, and with that minor movement wham! my upper back seized up and I was wracked with pain. That's it, sorry. No grand heroic story of leaping out in front of raging traffic to save an innocent toddler or animal and rolling on the pavement with the almost victim safe in my arms and I in the throes of agony as a result.
I bent over.
I somehow managed to accomplish grocery shopping that morning then spent the afternoon writhing on the couch in pain and unable to get into any type of comfortable position. I went to my chiropractor at my husbands insistence and it took him a half an hour to realign my upper back. Normally it takes him ten minutes for all of me. Although I noticed an improvement my muscles were still screaming at me and did so all evening and every time I moved during the night. Today the screaming has stopped but there is a lot of whining. I'm hoping by tomorrow there'll just be a small whimper here and there. I'm in a remarkably good mood all things considered.

  • On to some tid-bits of Sierra. This is how I often find Sierra in the morning or after her nap (as in the picture). There is a small shelf with her books by her crib and she has learned how to get them and plays by herself for unknown lengths of time.
  • She has figured out a reliable method of going down stairs in the last month. Why is down always so much harder than up? Up was a breeze, one day I was preoccupied with something in our basement hovel here and looked over to see my daughter fearlessly 3/4 of the way up the stairs! But talk about down...woowee, no siree! (Sorry, my second cup of coffee is almost gone, hmmm, maybe that's why I'm in such a decent mood) It actually started with my mom showing her how on the stairs of the deck, there are only three and they are quite wide. Slowly she navigated those and then graduated to the house stairs. Sierra sits down on the edge of the stair with her legs dangling over. Then she wiggles her legs which scoots her bum forward until she slides down onto the next step. Most kids go down backwards I hear, Sierra is not most kids. She's better! She's a genius! Doesn't every parent think that? Well, they should if they don't. As long as it doesn't get to the child's head and they get a high and mighty attitude of being better than everyone else. That can just lead to problems, just ask my husband, the teacher. Anyway, now I'm babbling.
  • Sierra has also decided that crawling is intriguing. She never crawled; she scooted on her bumb and then walked but crawling would've been too easy! She's been around more little kids of late, many of whom crawl, so now she's decided to try it. She only goes a little ways before standing up and continuing on foot. It's almost as if she's thinking, "Okay, not bad, but crawling is for babies - it takes too long!"
  • Sierra actually has a vocabulary and although it's an odd one we're having fun communicating with her. For example: "Yaya" is ice cream, apples, and bananas. I wonder why ice cream is "yaya" since it has no resemblance to the word, apples and bananas I can understand due to the "a" sounds but ice cream? (Carla shakes her head) Maybe my kid is not such a genius afterall. "Baba" is bottle, and grandpa (with a slightly different inflection only understandable to us!) "DUH" is "bang", developed when flies were trying to take over the house and we had wars with a fly swatter which made "bang" sounds. "Payyy" or "papa" is please. I taught her that in attempt to squelch the whiny demanding "uhhh" whenever she wanted something. Somedays I actually wish she had more words because there are many, many instances where Sierra definitely wants something and can't tell me what and gets frustrated when I don't understand. It is truely amazing how much she understands versus what she can say. I tell her to take her soother out of her mouth, and she does. I tell her we're going downstairs and she goes. I tell her to go to her chair at meal times and she goes, grabs her bib, and pushes up her sleeves. Okay, she really is a genius, even if ice cream is "yaya".
One more thing, we recently bought Sierra this little jacket at a second hand store.

It is lined and has a windproof outer part. We have stupid amounts of strong winds around here in winter so the jacket seemed like a good idea. Sierra hates the jacket. She cries and fights every time we put it on her. So my mom bought her this jacket at Old Navy last weekend and now the fight is over. I'll admit, it is wayyy cuter and more stylish. Sierra brought me the new jacket yesterday for her to wear and wore it inside for awhile!

Now this jacket is still out for debate. I bought it last year on clearance for this winter. It is warmer than the above two and is for the really cold temperatures we're sure to get. Sierra's worn it for a couple of walks recently and she complains when I put it on her but nearly like with the first jacket. I think it's because this one is so bulky and she can't move so well in it.

Why all this fussing over freaking jackets??? She is far to little to have such an opinion over clothes - isn't she?
  • I could go on about my wonder-child but I know that these intellectual advances are generally only seen as remarkable to the parent of the child so I'll stop now. Thanks for reading my long post, I actually forgot about my upper back/neck pain for awhile!
  • (I somehow cannot get my posts to post as I type them! With paragraphs and stuff the only way I can get them is with bullets. Any advice?)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

T'is The Season...

  1. ....twelve tall, hulking men.
  2. .....dressed in long baggy shirts, padded knee length shorts, socks that come over their knees and under the shorts so no skin shows, and boots with blades on the bottom. Two of the twelve men also have thick pads strapped to their legs. Those two guard netted cages.
  3. ....heads encased in hard plastic hats. Bulky gloves cover their hands that hold sticks in the shape of a modified "L".
  4. .....these men sliding around a sheet of ice, rimmed with a solid, wood half wall topped with a large slab of clear Plexiglas, using the blades of their boots. They can look quite graceful until one realizes that they are chasing of a frozen piece of black rubber; black rubber shaped into a thick disc.
  5. ...watching these ten huge men chase this defenseless little object with intense ferociousness, batting it around with their funny sticks. They aim to get it into the cages past the ones guarding them.
  6. ....the men to ram each other into the boards in attempt to get the little black disc.
  7. .....these men to get mad at each other, poke at each other and, then like little boys, fight over it. Punishment of sitting in a little box for 2 minutes or more usually follows such antics.
  8. ....enthusiastic fans watching this debacle. They yell and scream and think they know more about this game than those playing it.
  9. home fans religiously recording televised games. Fans also are involved in numerous contests relating to this sport and informing everyone around them of various statistics.
  10. ....HOCKEY!!!
  11. Yes, this is a major component of my life. It is by default thanks to a hockey crazed country and a nearly obsessed husband. This will last until May or June. I actually quite enjoy hockey for the most part most of the time. At least it's not football! (Sorry football fans, it is just not a sport I can get into!)

Monday, October 6, 2008


A few months back I wrote a post about music and my life and where it seemed to be. I had a lot of questions but the main one was "Am I meant to still be involved in music or is God calling me to other areas? At the time my fists were still gripped quite tightly to music and weren't really ready to let go. I prayed and talked through it and a few weeks later that grip loosened. Eventually my palms opened up completely and I was honestly able to say to God,
"Here, use me as you see fit."
My arrival at that mindset came from a meeting I had with our music pastor. I felt that I had to speak about his with, being the music guy, before making any definite decisions. We were able to have a comfortable conversation about what music means to me and my current struggles. I also asked where he was going with the various musical aspects in our church. I knew he was a genuinely nice guy and that none of my struggle was his fault but I believe I had this need to blame someone (or something). Our music pastor happened to be the unlucky recipient of that although I'm fairly certain he was never aware. I am relieved to say that any hard feelings towards him that I once harboured disappeared with our talk.
I left that meeting feeling as if I was good at what I contributed musically but that I didn't need it anymore. Music didn't have to define me. Of course I would be thrilled to continue but if that was not meant to be than something else would be there to bring just as much joy.
Two weeks ago I got an email from my worship pastor. He asked me to be on a regular Sunday morning worship team! Yayyy! Excitement followed. Then the awesome responability of it also set in. I am one of nine singers that get this honour out of about thirty volunteers. All I can say to this is that it is obviously God and this is definitely what I'm supposed to be doing. I'm sure that list of volunteers included better vocalists than I am and yet I get to sing on a team. Wow.
There was a meeting yesterday morning with those of use involved on worship team, singers and musicians and sound techs, and the enormity of this role was made quite clear. We are seen up front and center on a regular basis; we are a very visible representation of the church. Music is a major thing in churchs and we are it. At the same time we are not to be the focus, God is. People will know who we are and we were encouraged to remain spiritually solid so that Sunday morning worship will be about God.
I am far from perfect but after last week I am in a very strong spiritual place right now. I pray that I can continue in this direction. Vocally, I have already sought out taking voice lessons in order to add some strength and confidance and quality to my singing. God is entrusting me with this I need to do the best I can.

Friday, October 3, 2008


As you know, I've struggled mightily with Trevor getting a job and with our financial stability (or lack there-of) I've taken it upon myself to worry and plan and attempt to control the situation. I didn't do this everyday but here and there the panic would creep in and I'd begin to fret again. This past weekend I felt God urging me to fast and pray on Monday in order to gain some perspective and peace on this issue. I did just that and here are some of the thoughts that came to mind:
What is there that I can control?
Can I create jobs?
Can I make Trevor's resume jump out at those reading it?
Can I instill an infectious aura into Trevor that forces someone to feel that they need to hire him?
Can I make other teachers sick or formulate meetings so subs are needed?
Can put Trevor on top of the list so he's called first when subs are needed?
So....why try to? Why concern myself with all that - and more?

Than I thought back on my life and realized a few more things, again. (I've had to go through this before) Has God ever not followed through for us?
Are we starving?
Are we dressed shabbily?
Has our housing ever been inadequate?
Have we ever had a $0 bank account?
Do we still have more than enough?
I could go on. The fact is, we are extremely fortunate. This crazy society puts forth a belief that we always need more. Like the fancy new fridges and stoves that are out (see previous post). Fashion TV shows that imply $300 jeans will make my bum look better than the $40 ones. Cars that drive faster and look flashier are said to somehow better my life. Exotic trips to get away from life and relax. These, and of course the endless list of other 'things', might give me temporary pleasure but they get old and inferior as newer and better things are continually invented or designed, so we constantly want more. It's a vicious never ending cycle that can suck us deep into it's core if we let it, which is extremely easy to do.

I'm not saying that I should drive an old clunker car and live in a ramshackle apartment or dress in frumpy clothes. I'm saying that I needed to sit back and look at my entire life in it's whole. I hate wanting more all the time, I find all these wants insatiable. I desire(d) peace and contentment and to live with the faith and trust that everything will be okay; God will take care of me. I know all this but my heart needs to connect with the logic in my head again.

On Monday and since, a few cool things occurred.
A. I read Scripture in the Bible that strongly encourage faith. Hebrews 11 provides numerous Old Testament examples of people who trusted God and did so without the promise of heaven. I have that promise and yet minuscule faith in comparison. Reading it renewed and increased my believe that everything will turn out.
B. Trevor came home having secured several more subbing jobs for the week where he initially only had one. This is after he had phoned in the middle of the day saying that his low-paying-in-between job probably wouldn't have much work for him this week.
C. My mind worked through Trevor and work:
1. The right position hasn't come along yet.
2. Someone else may have needed a job more than him.
3. A student perhaps needed a different person to be their teacher.
4. A student or teacher may need him to be their sub at a certain time.
5. Maybe I or Sierra need him to only sub for now for unknown reasons.
There's also sorts of outlooks on this but overall I saw that it's not all about me/us; a whole world exists out there.
D. A job was posted yesterday for grade 8 science, and computers in the school in our town.
E. Peace has come, for now. It's so freeing. Unfortunately and sadly, it's so easy to get wrapped up in materialism and such an 'Earthly' life and I will likely succumb again. That's not meant pessimistically, but realistically. Maybe that insight will increase awareness and I can shake my head back into reality a little quicker next time.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I Want

After our kitchen episode on Friday night, we made the trek to Calgary to discuss the details with our personl custom cabinet maker.

"What?" you may be asking. "Personal cabinet maker?"

Doesn't everyone have a personal cabinet maker when they are building a house?
Doesn't that make us sound, like, super rich?

Ha! I wish.

Our personal custom cabinet maker is actually a retired man we became friends with during our five years in Calgary who is also a skilled wood worker. He does amazing work and is being extremely generous and building the cabinets for us for cost. I have no doubt I'll love what he builds.

After our visit with him, we decided to take advantage of our time in a big city with many more stores. We visited appliance stores, lighting stores, furniture stores, and, of course, IKEA. The options are endless and overwhelmed us.

We make a couple of quick decisions with light fixtures:
1. The $20,000 crystal-ball chandelier just wouldn't fit in out front entrance. (darn)
2. The chandelier would also put us a 'bit' over budget.
3. Lighting stores are way over-priced so Totem will suit us just fine!
4. Apparently amber coloured globes on fixtures is coming back??? Not our thing.

Furniture: we're only planning to buy a new leather couch set so that limits this area somewhat. Nothing screamed at us,
"You must buy us now! We're the one!"
Good thing because we're not ready for that yet.

Let me talk to you about appliances. I am seriously in awe of all the possibilities. It is crazy wha tthey have done to a simple fridge or stove these days.
1. Refrigerators: They can be traditional with the freezer on top. They can be side by side. They can have the freezer on the bottom and in the form of a large drawer. The last version is the newest and what I thought I wanted but most of them are designed in such a way that the drawer offers a really poor use of space. I have found a couple of styles where the bottom is a door and shelves slide out, that design I like. Then with the freezer on the bottom style you can also get it with one big door or two french doors. Then there's also the water/ice dispenser option, some with water filters built in. I like that option because we currently use a separate cooler with 5 gallon jugs of purified water. It is rather unsightly and takes a lot of space. I figured out the cost upgrade to a dispenser in the fridge would pay itself off in about 5-7 years. Worthwhile logic? I'm not sure yet.

2. Ranges: I was introduced to the Cadillac of ranges. It is amazing. It slides into place and hangs slightly over the side counter tops. This means no food dripping down the sides in between the counter and range. That area is normally impossible to clean without moving the range. Who does that on a regular basis? Not me, so this option is the perfect solution. It has a large capacity, self-cleaning, convection main oven. In place of the lower drawer it has a second oven that can be set to a different temperature. This range also has a ceramic flat top and has a whole slew of other incredible feathers.
I want it. I love to bake and cook and would take advantage of the features but is ex -pen-sive!
A flat-top, self-cleaning convection version is likley more than good enough and still a major upgrade from what I've had before.

3. Dishwashers: No debate here. We've been using my parents' super nice Bosch for three months and it's the cat's meow! You can barely hear the thing run and it cleans wonderfully! We're getting one of those.

4. Microwave/hood-fan. Cheap and basic is just fine here. It only needs to heat and defrost. End of Story.

If we were to actually get all these fancy kitchen toys we'd by paying......

Drum roll please....

Prepare yourself.....


$7000 loonies!!
(loonies in Canada are $1 coins, they are called such because they have a loon stamped on them. Silly, I know but that's they way it is)

I don't know what to think. Do we control ourselves and visit good ole' Sears and go way more basic? After all they will still do the job. Do we justify it by saying this is our dream house where we plan on living for a very long time? Is it sinful to spend that much money on appliances for food when people are starving in other countries?