Monday, March 31, 2008

Retirement Party

My little sister "retired" yesterday. She has left her job as a teacher to prepare for motherhood. As her big sister, I was so pleased to see how supportive Dave was of her desire to stop working. She is months away from having this baby, but so ready to be at home getting her nest in order. It was Dave who honoured her with this party. Mainly it was a humourous excuse for a get-together among friends but, in a sense, she truly is retiring. She is leaving a life of social immersion, relative independence, money-making and flexibility, to do something that is, in many ways, much harder: To raise a family, tethered more tightly to home, striving towards wisdom, godliness and contentment day after day. So why not celebrate her choice? We were only too happy to show her we understand & happy to show her that we honour her choice too.

{Pictures: Night at the movies (in our living room)--Silhouette photo shoot, ( I was going for a Lion King moment)--M&M's by the fistful--A very poorly written message on a very blue cake--}

Friday, March 28, 2008

New designs

Green days ahead

This time of year, when the snow is lingering but the days seem to be straining themselves to give us warmth, I remember Wales and I long to return to the lush greenness of the place. It dripped with the colour. And in early spring, isn't that what we are all yearning for?

{A few photos from our Honeymoon}

Thursday, March 27, 2008

We feel the same way about...

John Piper's son, Abraham, has started a blog: 22 Words. Only 22 words per post. *Why?*It honours the sad occasion of his infant daughters death, but remains full of humour and life. I happened upon a post that made me grin. Those of you who've heard my family's adventures with demonic squirrels during our stay at 63B Havelock will appreciate why I loved reading *THIS*

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Alpaca from Peru

Aidan's parents came home from Peru bearing little treasures for our four little people. But my heart was won over by Isaiah's wee Alpaca. This thing has so much character. Having had a few close encounters with these animals, (I had a friend who was giving Alpaca-farming some serious consideration awhile back), I am so impressed with how well this handful of well-crafted yarn captures so much detail. It's all lost on my tiny boy, but made for a super cute photo shoot.

Cleaned out

Just sold a box full of my stamps to an enthusiastic buyer. I've been cleaned out! Time to think up new designs...

Monday, March 24, 2008

A few ways to say Thank You

I have way too much fun trying to creatively say thanks. In the hospital, my mom-in-law blessed me with a two-in-one gift of flowers in a glass jar vase. She nestled the silver lid in with the flowers so I knew that the jar was a gift as well. It inspired me to give in a similar way. A good friend lived-in with us for a week after Isaiah was born. She and I took a trip to our local bakery with the kids and she was soooo impressed with the baking there. So, it only seemed fitting to bring some of that baking to her. I managed to stuff four enormous apple fritters into a glass jar and offered it to her when next I saw her. I believe she partook of the offering immediately.

I also made use of my *Lily Quill* & my *Daisy Detail* stamps to say
to everyone who helped and supported us during these baby days.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


The guys have recently begun work in the basement. The last room we NEED to get finish, but the FIRST the boys would love to complete. Why? It will be a bar/media room. A space to watch hockey games and drink beer. To watch movies with our new projector at an unhealthy volume. Kind of a guy space. But one I get to decorate. So, above is my first Style Board. Black & Silver. Whenever I see this palette I think JAZZ. I think wine glasses rather than beer mugs, but we can make room for both.

Friday, March 21, 2008

O Little Child of Salem

O little child of Salem
Why weep ye so today?
I weep the gentle master
Who wiped my tears away.
Last night in Joseph's garden
All cold and white he lay,
And now my heart is breaking
While other children play.

O little maid of Jairus,
Why weep ye so today?
Your dusky lashes trailing
The cheeks of ashen grey.
I weep the mighty master
Who waked me from my sleep,
But now in Joseph's garden,
He slumbers, still and deep.

O Mary, timid Mary,
Why weep ye so today?
I weep the gentle Saviour,
Who took my sins away.
My spices all are gathered
To grace the rocky bed,
For now in Joseph's garden,
My Lord is lying dead,

O child, O maid, O Mary,
Lift up your eyes and see,
The lilies all a-rocking,
In winds of Araby.
The turtle-dove is calling,
The birds are singing gay,
And there in Joseph's garden,
The stone is rolled away.

{Written by my Great-Grandfather via Aunty B.}

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Handmade goodness

I love, love, LOVE receiving handmade gifts.
Here are a few that came my way for Isaiah: A tiny little, chocolate brown, crocheted cap from Irene. It is absolutely adorable. I have taken to calling it Isaiah's "Acorn cap." Sooooo cute.

The thickest, heaviest, coziest blanket sewed by Cindy.

Aunty Karin's beautifully boyish stash of receiving blankets. She supported my argument that Isaiah ought to have just a few new things for himself.

I am determined to work on handmade items for any new babies coming along in future.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Never name a rug after a Dane


These names have a few things in common. First, they all happen to belong to several towns and regions of Denmark. Secondly, and no less important, they have been claimed as names for Ikea's various lines of door mats, rugs and carpets.


These names all belong to towns located in Sweden. They have been assigned to slightly more prestigious Ikea items such as leather couches and armchairs.

Very interesting. But sinister?

The other day Aidan and I heard an absurdly funny interview on the CBC radio program "As it Happens." After perusing the Ikea catalogue far too closely, Danish academic Klaus Kjoeller had his nose out of joint at the seemingly insulting nomenclature:

Mr Kjöller analysed the Ikea catalogue with a colleague at the University of Southern Denmark. He said it "symbolically portrays Denmark as the doormat of Sweden, a country with a larger economy and population . . . The stuff that goes on the floor is about as low as it gets," said Klaus Kjöller, of the University of Copenhagen, who described the phenomenon as "Swedish imperialism".

It's petty. And very very silly. But history has left the Danes a bit resentful. Resentful enough, apparently, to go looking for slights. Journalist Jakob Illeborg writes, with more than a hint of sarcasm:

You can imagine the hurt national pride and the rush of blood that I, as a Dane, felt when reading this. How dare they, those Swedes? Three hundred and fifty years after taking Scania away from the Danish empire, and after having beaten us at football for decades, now this: doormats named after Danish towns!

Aidan and I got such a kick out of the whole thing. So did all of the local papers and radio stations. As is often the case, however, some stories are "too good to be true." Since beginning to write this post, a retraction was sent out for the whole story.

Officials at Ikea's headquarters in the district of Scania - which once belonged to Denmark - rejected the criticism. "It's nonsense to say that we did this on purpose. It was a pure coincidence," said Charlotte Lindgren.

A pretty entertaining misunderstanding, I must say. And one that I actually find I am sympathetic too. See for yourself: IKEA's catalogue is packed with Danish-named doormats and Swedish-names couches. But who's to say there were sinister motives? As for hurt pride, when asked what Ikea could do to assuage negative feelings, Kjoeller replied that a Danish-named chandelier might be nice. Keep an eye on next year's catalogue. Perhaps a LEMVIG pendant lamp may appear.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Tuckered out

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Monday, March 10, 2008

Snow Visitor

Warning: Aidan's behind the keyboard again!

So, I'm lounging in my favourite seat, look up through the kitchen window, and see two eyes starring back at me:

Here he is a bit closer up:

He sat perched here for most of the morning, waiting for the squirrels to scamper across our porch steps. We even saw him dive down on one! He missed that, flew up to his branch again, and actually "hung his head" in shame, as if to apologize to us for missing it.

Some googling led me to believe it was a Barred Owl, common in swampy forest in this region. Barred owl can grow up to 25", with a wingspan of 50". This one looked to be about 18" tall, and when he flew up to his perch again, seemed to have a wingspan of over 3'.

And when I went out to finish a bit of shoveling so I could get the car out to stock up on water for our snowed in weekend, he didn't seem to give two hoots about me. He was still there when I got back.

Marvelous majestic animal! Here's a better quality photo to show you what we were admiring this morning.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Home & Cared for

I think it's safe to say most new mom's are happy to come home from the hospital and spend their first hours alone: quiet and calm. Not me. By 5:30 the house was hopping. Uncle Josh & Aunty Karin preparing us a delicious fajita dinner. Baby Lyss was being passed about and snuggled. She was also introduced to her newest "little brother." Uncle Dave was up tiling the baby nursery with Aidan. Aunty Kate was washing my dishes and chatting with me from my couch-perch the way a sister does. My kids ran about the house as always, accepting change with grace: A temporarily hurting, and somewhat stationary, mom. A tiny, attention-snatching, mewing baby. New things. But ones they seem to have been able to find room in their hearts to accomodate. Each would wander over to me and Isaiah during a pause in their play and give him their spontaneous affections: Caelah; a two-armed snuggle. Elijah; a soft kiss. Gabriel; a cheek-to-cheek embrace. Precious overtures of acceptance. You are one of us and we're ok with that.

I really can't put to words the ways I've been blessed. I can only say that I sat on my couch, babe in arms, and took in all of the efforts. Slowly soaking in the memory of being helped and loved in this way. I fought tears the entire evening. I wanted so much to cry openly, but knew it would be misunderstood. Taken for fatigue or emotional exhaustion when, truly, it would have been simply a display of joy. I'm overwhelmed by the community we have found ourselves a part of. Knowing that our children will be wrapped securely in all of this love.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Friday, March 07, 2008

Here, at the end of my bed.

Thoughts from the hospital: Day 3

He's here at the end of my bed, and I feel like I have been mended. Mended of a missing piece that felt like it had been torn from me. There are only so many ways to describe the sense of separation. A baby born; A baby taken away. If you have ever walked the fields and heard an ewe bleating after a lost lamb, you may gain some insight.

I remember wandering in Wales. Aidan and I found ourselves crossing a stone-littered pasture. A persistent, and heartbreaking, sound assaulted our ears. One sheep, among so many, was bleating piteously after something. Aidan noticed that she stood apart from the other sheep, alone at one end of the field. "She can't find her lamb." Sure enough, the other sheep had offspring, in ones and twos, frolicking about their legs. Quiet familial gatherings. But the mother on her own--no lamb at her feet--she was pronouncing her lostness to the world. Calling and calling and calling for what was missing. We walked slowly across the field, hoping to hear her quiet. Knowing that her silence would indicate a reunion. But the silence never came. She kept calling out her need to find what was lost.

That mother, on that day, suffered more than me. My baby wasn't lost. I knew where to find him, who was caring for him and why. But where he was, was just too far away. The long hallway between us separated us by more than 25 doorways. An unnatural rift in the normalcy of everyday happenings had been established: Eating cereal, looking out the window, climbing into bed... It was as though he and I were connected by an invisible thread that was stretched far too thin--snagging and growing tangled around all of the things we were meant to be doing side-by-side.

I have him now. He is here, at the end of my bed and I feel mended. Where I go, he goes. What he needs, I can now try and give him. I think of that mother calling across the pasture and hope she was quieted, not by despair or weariness, but by the sight of a little white lamb making it's way back to her across the field.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Blog from the hospital

This morning, Jo writes:

A transcription:
Twice! In a row! A very rare thing, apparently. Yet here we are. Another baby in Special Care with tubes and needles all over his little body. As heartbreaking as this process remains, it has been far less emotional the second time around. We are familiar with the hows' and why's. We trust the nurses. We see the end in sight.

Yesterday evening, Aidan and I found him breathing fairly quickly in his incubator. But the nurse assured us that he was "much improved,", and though his breathing was rapid, it has become regular. "We'll see what he does tonight," she said.

And so we made our way to him again this morning, hoping to find him well. And we did. His little belly was moving up and down far more slowly, and with regularity. He looked calm. The forcast looks good. I will hopefully be able to give him his first feeding around lunch, and he will be in my room with me tomorrow morning.

My health report card looked less peachy this morning. I keep wanting to faint. I will be furious with myself it my baby is needing to eat but I can't sit through a feeding! I will be majorly HYDRATING from now 'till noon in hopes of keeping my eyes free of black dots.

It turns out that having breakfast (9:00 is *way* to late for breakfast to be served!) does wonders to a mommy who just had surgery, and nothing to eat the day before. She wrote the above at breakfast. After breakfast, she was in much better shape and even had a shower all by herself. And when I left at noon, Isaiah was off the machines, happily suckling, held closely in Jo's loving embrace.