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Sunday, November 30, 2008


Today, around 11:30am just after saying the congregational prayer in church, my Uncle Walter had a sudden and massive heart attack with no apparent warning. He was sitting with his wife, two adult daughters, and a son-in-law when he simply made a snore noise and slumped over. Walter was immediately surrounded by doctors and nurses who were members of the congregation who performed CPR. Then he was quickly rushed to hospital in an ambulance. En route they were able to briefly restart his heart. It didn't last and at the ER the doctor tried a pace maker as a last hope but to no avail.

God had called Uncle Walter home.

He just turned 66 years old and leaves a wife, two married daughters, one ten y ear old grand-daughter, many other family members, friends, and a legacy. He lived life with incredible enthusiasm and he lived it for God.

I am completely in shock and numb.
In one isntant his time on Earth is over. There was absolutely nothing else that anyone could have done.
It was his time.
I take solace in the fact that he is in heaven with his Saviour and that one day I"ll see him again.
For now I grieve.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Advent Conspiracy

The other day while at work I had a serious craving for chocolate. (no I'm not pregnant - just being a typical woman) I debated with myself on whether to indulge in this craving or not. The debate didn't last long and I succumbed. It was meant to be I tell you, because when I got to the drug store chocolate bars were on a special 3 for @2. Of course I had to buy three. Remarkably I only ate one - that day, I polished off the other two over the next days!
I've been trying so hard to be healthy lately but the last week has been a battle, and I'm not winning. Food is just too good and sometimes resisting junk food is more than I can handle.

Here's something that's been on my mind lately:
As Christmas is quickly approaching so does the bombardment of all the activities and events associated with it: parties, banquets, decorating, church programs, and gift buying are beginning to occupy my thoughts. I enjoy all aspects of the season but they do make life busy and if I'm not careful - stressful.
Gift giving is often my top stress stimulator as I attempt to find time to seek out the perfect items for my friends and family. As a Christian I believe that the focus of Christmas is celebrating our Saviour's birth. While that is true for us, exchanging gifts has also become very special and important with my family. It's not that we're materialistic, it's just that there is something neat about the process of gift giving and receiving that supersedes the worldly end of it. We enjoy buying for each other, congregating together as a family and with friends, and seeing the excitement as each gift is opened. My parents have always done a great job of giving us awesome gifts without extravagant expense. We consistently provide each other with lists of what we want and generally stick to those lists so as to make shopping easier and not end up with unwanted/unneeded items. We never spend a lot of money since there hasn't been much to spend and when there was/is perhaps a little extra my parents set an example of chosing to save it for things like holidays.

A struggle for me is that Trevor was raised differently in that gifts and somewhat Christmas itself were really "no big deal". His family did exchange gifts but did them all on Christmas Eve so Christmas day was often boring for him. (He's told me of stories such as he and a friend driving around in a rental car and using it to push a dumpster off of a loading dock behind a mall.) Not that his family didn't value Christmas or think it special - I've celebrated some very nice Christmases with them, it was just very low-key. Since meeting me Trevor has took a hold of our enthusiasm and joined in with our boisturous Christmas antics; my family is a little crazy and craziness can be infectious. Comparitively, I find his family still very...oh I don't know what word to use, not uninterested but there's not as much zeal as I'm used to. Last year his entire family travelled to his parents (his sister from New York included) and when discussing gifts beforehand his sister suggested just making donations instead. I don't have a problem with that except that it came across as "can't be bothered to do anything else." Recently I also saw a facebook comment of how she hated shopping in relation to Christmas gifts. Trevor's brother only gave us our 2007 gift this past July! This year his parents have flat out told us they don't want anything. When they send gifts they are very conscious of mailing costs and keep the gifts small and minimal and send mostly money. Money is great, don't get me wrong, but at times it feels somewhat like a cop out. Trevor's mom once told me that she doesn't like lists because she prefers the surprise element. To me that just increases the stress level and risks of useless, unappreciated gifts. Although Trevor doesn't say much I sense that he's a little disappointed with the situation.

For me when I shop for gifts I'm thinking about the people I'm buying for. These are people I love and for me the process is about remembering them and who they are and wanting to give them something nice as an expression of that. By telling me not to buy them something I feel robbed of that experience. That's probably why it bothers me when his family doesn't want to do gifts because it's so personal for me and I think it should be for everyone. I have a dear friend who faithfully sends me a box every Christmas. She fills it with all sorts of neat items like candles, ornaments, lip gloss, funky socks, and pens. No item costs much but I know she has taken the time to find these items and I believe she enjoys doing so. That makes me feel special. I try to respect Trevor's family in this for who they are and I love and appreciate them. Yet I still have a really hard time with the gift issue and don't know what to do about it.

Another perspective: Our church is promoting something called Advent Conspiracy. Please check out this link and watch the video. It really affected me how obsessed with 'things' we've become her in North America when people in other areas of the world are dying due to a simple lack of clean water. I like how it doesn't say not to buy gifts but buy less and donate more.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

More Choosing and Other News

Okay, we are in need of making another fairly major choice regarding our house and it is not going well!!
Arborite for our kitchen and bathroom counters is the decision at hand.
We are shown these tiny one by two inch square samples and then pick what we think we like. Then we are supposed to determine if the pattern and colour will coordinate with the cabinets and other projected colour schemes. Piece of cake - right?
Snort. Gafaw. Pfffft.
One company actually had larger samples of many of their options which was helpful. The look completely changed when we were able to see more of it and that in turn definitely gave us a better idea of the actual appearance. Problem: we cannot take the larger samples of arborite or the cabinet sample home to mull over and look at in different lighting. So we take the minuscule ones and then end up totally second guessing what we might like because it is extremely difficult to imagine the end result, especially without a cabinet to try and match to.
Understand my frustration?
Anyway, here are what we are currently deciding between. Imagine them paired with a maple cabinet stained in english oak colour. (this link is a close to an example as I can find)

Opinions are more than welcome but I imagine you will have about as much success as imagine the over look as I have.

In other news:
1. Trevor and Carla went on a date Friday night - without Sierra or the parents. Gasp!
Were they actually able to be alone together but not in front of the TV?
YES! ..and it was really nice.
"We went to a WHL hockey game in our city where we enjoyed massive bowls of icecream while being entertained by 16-20yr olds chasing a black hunk of rubber around a sheet of ice."
2. Trevor and Carla, her parents, and sister and brother-in-law went to see the play "Much Ado About Nothing" put on at the local university - sans Sierra again! (for those of you who don't know a lick o' French "sans" means "without".) Double gasp!
"We went for appetizers and drinks at a local pub before being amused by a wonderful display of Shakespearean acting."

Two nights out in a row while enjoying a leisure activity without our child! Crazy. It'll be months before this happens again I'm sure. I love my girl more than anything but it was sure nice to do "adult" activities.
Until next time....

Saturday, November 22, 2008

We Have...

... a mostly complete exterior and a dry-walled interior! The missing trim pieces will be put in soon but the rock we won't be able to do until spring. (sorry for the dim lighting, it was nearly sunset when the pictures were taken)

Here are some interior pictures:
This is our front entrance with a closet on the right and the door into the garage on the left. In front of the closet you can just see the opening to the hallway to the bedrooms. Across from the hallway to the left are the stairs to the basement. The front door will be stained a different colour.

This is the view from the front entrance: left is the living room area and right is the dining area...

Looking from the dining area into the kitchen.

The bedrooms are just square rooms with windows and kinda boring in a picture so there are none. This is our future rec room in the basement. Two bedrooms and a bathroom are along the back wall on the left. Directly across from the door and far windows are the laundry, utility, and storage rooms and there will be a bar eventually too.

It actually looks like a house! The next tour I give you will be when the interior is finished in - if all goes well - less than two months.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Superstore Saga

This morning as Sierra was running around Superstore gleefully pulling items off of their racks and I was attempting to shop I had to take a deep breath and thank God for my healthy, energetic, strong-willed daughter.
All I wanted was fifteen, maybe twenty minutes to look for shoes for her and maybe a bargain outfit.
"Now why would that happen?" I ask myself.
Then again, "Why shouldn't that happen?"
Just because most of my shopping attempts lately that are with Sierra and not grocery related end up being futile why would this one?
Today was the day she decided to figure out she could slide down out of her stroller (no, I didn't strap her in because it was never a problem) and once she's out it's impossible to put her back in without scream-fest occurring. Yeah, like that's a pleasant option in the middle of a store. There I am chasing a giggling one year old in between quickly browsing through racks of clothes. Not fun. It is especially aggravating when it seems like every other mom's kids are sitting calmly in their strollers or shopping carts or standing by them.

Honestly, I felt a bit inadequate as a mother. I felt like one of those mom's that I used to scowl at disdainfully (yes, I shamefully admit I did this in my naivety of a non-mother) who's kids were banshees terrorizing a public place. I felt like everyone was giving me a " look". Serves me right for ever scowling now doesn't it? At least I didn't ignore Sierra and leave the childrens' area looking like a tornado had blown through; I picked everything up. I also managed, somehow to my utter amazement, to find Sierra a pair of $2 mittens, an $8 shirt, and myself a pair of much needed PJ's no (see below, I'm actually wearing them right now - it was only to see if they fit and they are com-fy! I might leave them on.) on sale but it's Superstore so not near expensive either.

I am very grateful for the child I have and wouldn't trade her personality or gumption for life for anything but some days a teeny, tiny, bit of mellow would be welcome.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Trevor and I have been in major decision making mode lately regarding our house. Here's what we've come up with:

A few weeks ago Trevor and I purchased this bedding set:

(this is a picture of the picture from the set)

Our bedroom furniture is a medium oak and I already have matching dark brown accessories so it'll work perfectly. We've decided on a light creamy coloured paint for our bedroom walls in order to get a fresh airy feel for the room. The carpet will be a medium shag in a darkish brown with gold fleck.

Sierra's room is going to be a really soft, pretty, subtle pink and green to match this quilt:

How we're doing it we're not sure. Maybe half and half with a chair rail on the wall. Maybe green as the main colour with the pink accenting it somehow. I don't know yet. The carpet in this room will be a medium tan shag. It's not too dark in order to maintain a feminine look but not too light so that every juice stain will show either.

The second bedroom will have the same carpet as Sierra's room and for now will be the office. The walls will be a darker brownie-green colour.

Our great room (living room/dining room/kitchen) is going to have the back wall painted a gorgeous shade of red - not scream in your face red, just a nice warm, pop of colour. The rest of the walls will be a standard beige. The flooring here is going to be oak hardwood, again medium in shade with a really warm, cozy feel - so we hope.

The baseboards are going to be 6 inches high and just a plain straight board; no design. They will be painted slightly off-white.

The kitchen cabinets are going to be a shaker style maple stained English Oak. It's not dark or light, in between and difficult to describe. We're doing a neat tile-look linoleum in browns in this area.

After flipping through countless fliers and reading and researching and glowering at our budget we finally decided on and purchased some kitchen appliances. We found a GE brand side-by-side refrigerator with a water and ice dispenser and some other fancy features for an awesome price. I originally did not want a side-by-side because the freezers are generally very small and useless but this one is very large. Besides what I really wanted was way out of our price range. This fit the budget and gave us mostly what we were looking for. We chose a Bosch dishwasher because that is what my mom has and she thinks it is the best thing around. Having lived with her and using it - I agree. The range is a Kenmore ceramic flat top, convection, and self clean. The microwave hood-fan is very basic and inexpensive and is a GE. Oh, and we went with black for all of them.

Now for counter top. Another enormous headache! Yeesh. To try and pick an appropriate colour and pattern from the world's tiniest chip is next to impossible. Then when you find one you like the sales person says that it actually looks kind of peach-pink in large format. Needless to say we're still on that journey.

It feels good to have these above mentioned items and colours decided on. Drywall is beginning as we speak and my excitement mounts daily.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Veggie Tales

On my never ending quest to live a healthy lifestyle I recently decided to consciously eat a minimum of five servings of vegetables a day. Why? Every diet or eating plan that I've read or heard about can't stress the importance of eating veggies enough. But, like many of us, I've read and heard things until my ears hurt and my eyes were ready to fall out and I still didn't do anything about it. My turning point in motivation came from Sierra. She said, "Mom, you need to eat more vegetables!" No, not really but I've been lamenting the fact that it is a huge challenge to get Sierra to eat vegetables; she mainly survives on carbs. Lately I've noticed that if she sees me munching on a carrot or a sugar snap-pea than she'll too, gnaw on some. I need to lead by example.
  • How hard could it be if I actually tried? As long as options were in the fridge it shouldn't be that hard. I figured I did pretty good already. Here's reality: 1 serving equals 1 cup of raw vegetables or 1/2 cup if cooked. It didn't seem like that much until I took out a measuring cup. Using that scale meant that I averaged 1-2 servings per day.
  • Only 1 or 2!!!
  • Yikes!
  • Really??
  • No way!
  • How can that be?
We eat pretty healthy and always have veggies.
  • Yup, it was true. I needed to seriously boost the rabbit food intake if I wanted to meet the standard recommendations.
Problem: (in a whisper) I don't actually like vegetables all that much. Please don't tell anyone, especially Sierra and Trevor (who I'm also trying to get to eat more veggies)
  • With the serving size reality in check I thought, "is it even possible to consume that many vegetables on a daily basis?" You know what?
It is!
  • You know what else?
I really do feel better and have more energy and it's only been a week and a half.
  • I think I also might actually be developing a bit of taste for the stuff.
Don't tell anyone that either.

Friday, November 7, 2008


No, this is not about Barack Obama or the US election that just occurred.
  • Obama, Obama, Obama - ugh, that is all I hear or see anytime I open a newspaper or turn on the TV...and I live in Canada!!!! That's a totally different country. Nothing against Obama or the US but really, I don't care much about politics at the best of times in my own country and now I'm being inundated with another country's election mania. Yes, I know it affects us greatly too, blah, blah blah.
  • I would not normally be this emphatically anti-politics if we hadn't just endured another election of our own. Canada doesn't have nearly the campaign show that the US does, for starters we have 300 different parties rather than 2 - okay 7ish (if you live in Canada the ish makes sense but it's too hard to explain), and with more parties and less population there isn't near the funding for such galas to sucker in votes. Nevertheless, our campaigns still dominate TV and newspapers, and "Vote For..." signs are tacked everywhere like a bad disease of the land for it's duration and it all drives me crazy!
  • Politicians are all a bunch of liars and lately are be doing this every two years because apparently we have a divided country.
  • On a more serious note: I am thankful for a free country and democracy and wouldn't trade it for any alternative. I make it my business to know enough to make an educated vote no matter how irritating it all is to me.
  • I wasn't going to talk about country politics. Sorry.
  • Now that I've been at my new place of employment for six months all the internalpolitics are showing their ugly faces. No work place is perfect and all have their politics; I'm not naive in having thought this would be the prefect place where everyone is one big happy family but it's always a bit of a blow when reality truly hits. Maybe it's that I don't particularly wish to be at work in the first place; I'd rather be home with Sierra. Maybe it's the circumstances that have put me at work that are to blame.
  • I certainly do not regret changing places of employment as there are enough aspects that I enjoy. But I miss the atmosphere of the place I used to work. My memories of my previous work place are of a more positive and fun environment than I have now. Granted it's been a year and a half since I worked there and bad memories often fade (like child birth thank goodness!) and today was a rather "off" day. But it must be a good sign for a place and it's people if its lasting impressions are mainly positive.
  • Sigh.
  • Yes, I'm greatful for my job, that I have one and all that. It's not ideal nor is the situation but then again life never is!

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Little of This...

Enjoying our unusually gorgeous fall weather last week.

Halloween. Isn't this a wonderful make-do-with-what-I-have costume? (please read that last comment with sarcasm) I wasn't going to spend money on something she really has no clue about so that is why the "elaborate" outfit.
Sierra enjoyed handing candy out and eating Smarties for the first time.

Posing for the camera; man my kid has like a hundred teeth!

Her Vancouver Canucks' hockey mittens - I thought she would pull them right off but instead wore them around the house thinking they were quite neat.

I've had an excellent but busy Monday and this is all I have time for. Have a good week!