Thursday, June 28, 2012

happy birthday, dear middle child!

today marks the day my middle baby girl turns 6!
oh gosh!
can she really be that old?
(me, in labour at the hospital... probably close to 9 cm at this point... and i'm STILL laughing and smiling!)

i remember her birth like it was yesterday.
i basically just leisurely spent the day breathing through light contractions, from mid morning to mid afternoon.
anticipating another long haul, i kept waiting for the "real" stuff to kick in.
only to be checked and announced that i was 8 cm dilated!!
you can imagine our surprise!
plus, we were at home (and not planning a home birth)!
(this picture speaks a thousand words! 3 minutes after birth.)

so we shot off to the hospital with our midwife shouting directions at my husband to pull over if i started to involuntarily push!
ha ha ha ha!
i'll never forget that.
i was so calm, cool and collected...
(my sweet little newborn! only hours old.)

big M on the other hand?!
freaking out and speeding through town!!
we got stopped by a red light and i was thinking aloud about baby names.
my honey?
he was white knuckling the steering wheel waiting for the green!
we arrived at the hospital and the nurses laughed and thought there was no way i was already 8!
then all hell broke loose... for about an hour.
crazy, intense, searing white hot pain.
but then it was over!
(1 year old... loving that ice cream has been added to the diet!)

and then there was my new baby girl!!!
she was beautiful.
she was pink, screaming her lungs out.
she was perfect!
(2 years old... i thought she was such a big girl... but look, she's just a baby!)

and i felt like a million bucks!!
i just birthed out a baby with no drugs.
it was amazing... empowering... so overwhelming.
one of the best moments in my life.
what a joy it was to finally meet her.
(3 years old... proper princess in pink!)

and fittingly, we gave her the middle name joy!
and she still is an absolute joy!
she is feisty, and emotional too, don't get me wrong.
she is all kinds of crazy as well.
she's a girl, of course.
but she is also the biggest cuddlebug you'll ever meet... never holds a grudge... and wears her heart on her sleeve.
(4 years old... those big blue eyes get me every time!)

she teaches me so much!
i'm not sure i can imagine my life without her.
yesterday was her last day of kindergarten.
today, she turns 6 years old.
she's growing up right before my eyes!
and i just wanna hold on tight and never let her go!
(5 years old, stylish and sweet!)

thank you little k... for your spirit... your love... your zest for life!
i promise to always be there for you... show you the love of Jesus... and pray with you and for you every day.
i love you, my little honey-pie!!
 (still 5 years old... but taken just a couple of months ago... therefore, closer to 6.)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

one at a time?

ok, instead of feeling overwhelmingly overwhelmed...
i thought i'd just start posting random pics of our trip every so often.
with a little blurb...
so here goes:

this is a random street in florence...
and just a fact, most of the streets looked exactly like this.
exactly what you think they'd look like.
so quaint and cute!
and there were always a TON of scooters and bicycles!
not every road was accessible by car, i think they have a lot of strict rules about cars in certain areas.
but if you saw a car, it was most likely very small in size.
and if it was driving by you... it was going fast.
very fast.
oh, and honking.

bikes were EVERYWHERE.
i know this is just a european thing but i'm serious.
there were hoards of bikes... and they all looked so cute too.
so i just started to snap pictures of them.
this is just one shot of probably a hundred.
i'm hoping to make a little collage of all the bicycle pics i took.
this one was pretty... a nice shade of blue similar to my cruiser bike here at home.
now i just need a little old basket on the front of mine to match!

ooooh... the gelati!
seriously... every block there was a little gelati shop.
you'd always see people walking around with those little cups and eating from a tiny spoon.
and no lie, it tasted just as beautiful as it looked.
my favorite flavors... coconut and lemon!

that's all for now, folks!  :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

for my daddy-o

my childhood was wonderful.
i have a multitude of great memories.
my dad is in a whole lot of them!
we went on amazing family vacations.
we had lots of fun as a family, playing games, watching movies, eating yummy food.
my dad was always the cornerstone of these fabulous family memories.
just a few tidbits from my childhood specific to me growing up:
being the baby of the family (or let's call it what it is... the favorite!) i got to spend lots of one on one time with both my parents.
my dad owned a large greenhouse operation and so i spent my days there while my brother and sister were at school.
my dad used to have to do errands during the day.
i was a regular tagalong on these trips.
i remember fondly going to the bank with him and loved being spoiled by the tellers there because my dad would make sure of it!
i even used to be able to go behind the teller desks, play with their bank "stuff" and visit with those ladies.
i think i was even in their coffee room!
ha ha ha!
could you imagine that happening now?
when i was in high school i played every sport available.
my dad often had to work late nights so he didn't always make my games...
but guaranteed if he was there, he was wearing his awesome ZUBAZ pants!
oh, did that embarrass me!
in hindsight i kill myself laughing at that!
i hope to embarrass my girls like that too one day.
(although daddy-o... you weren't trying to be funny, were you?!?)
another fond memory, my dad being my awesome wedding planner extraordinaire.
honestly, i was young and immature and my dad asked what i wanted and just took the reigns and went with it.
biggest project that he did... he went to the bush and chopped down two fairly big trees and spray painted them all white.
they looked absolutely gorgeous at the front of the church!
my dad, making his little girl's dreams come true!
i have so many other special memories... too numerous to recount here but saved well in my heart and my mind.
my dad...
he's a great man!
a faithful husband, a loving father and a loyal friend.
he's awesome, he's protective over his family, he's madly in love with his wife, he's passionate about Jesus, he works so very hard at his job, he's a people person to the core.
he's also wildly opinionated, fiercely republican, incredibly stubborn and has a bit of a big mouth...
and some of these traits can get him into trouble.
and yes, some of these traits he's passed down to his children.
can you guess which ones?
ha ha ha!
but these are some of the things that i absolutely love about him!
he's not afraid to be real.
with my dad, the old saying is true...
"what you see, is what you get".
i admire this about him.
he's unapologetic about his faith and this helps me in my own faith.
he's taught me from a young age to love Jesus and help others.
was he perfect... definitely not.
did he make mistakes... yes.
but i know he tried hard and kept praying.

i love him dearly and i'm SO thankful that he was my father growing up.
the best earthly father i could have asked for.
happy father's day, daddy-o!!!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

yeah, remember that day...

that i was feeling down?
well, God knew what He was doing.
(like He obviously always does!)
He used some special people in my life to encourage me.
i was in a funk for a couple of days, a few other things were thrown my way to drag me down.
but then, unexpectedly, i saw God's love for me, SO evident in those around me.
came home after dropping kids off at school friday morning and my dear friend came to see me.
she's keenly aware of my mood, almost eerily she knows when something's not right.
she knows me too well!
that... or maybe i just give it away too easily?
ha ha!
anyway, she dropped by... knew i needed a hug and some words.
they were salve to me.
ointment to my bruised soul.
ah yes... those helped.
they helped a lot!
then i get inside my house... go to get ready for the day.
i open up my bathroom cabinet, only to find a lovely and unexpected hand written note from my main squeeze.
so sweet and thoughtful... he didn't even know what i had been dealing with that morning.
he wrote it out before i even woke for the day.
isn't God amazing like that?
i wept and thanked God for those two reminders.
He is good.
you see... i don't show my emotions too often.
i like to bottle them up... put on a chipper face and press forward.
i mean really... do all my problems even equal out to what other's are dealing with?
maybe not in our own minds.
but that's not fair to God.
He cares about everything in our lives.
from the tiniest detail, to the biggest crisis.
He wants to know about us.
He wants to heal our hearts.
He wants to dry our tears... simply said, He wants us to let our tears out!
He cares about each one.
so why do we put Him in a box thinking He doesn't care about the little stuff?
He does... and He wants to show you He does.
and lucky us... He often uses the people around us to show us His never-ending, unconditional love and care.
He comes alongside us and loves us just like we need to be loved.
i feel so incredibly blessed when He does do that.
thank you Jesus!

Thursday, June 7, 2012


i've been thinking lately.
thinking about where God wants me.
i confess i haven't been very good at trying to listen to His direction as of late.
perhaps it's because i've been trying to plan things on my own.
thinking, "i can do this... just gotta keep plugging away... minding my own business... doing my own thing."
not giving Him much thought in my schedule.
a few things have been falling through for me...
giving me a feeling of defeat.
feeling like He doesn't know what my heart desires.
i know it isn't true.
i know that He loves me and directs my paths.
but i can't help feeling frustrated right now.
and wondering why i'm dealing with these unexpected bumps.
i don't have any real answers.
just wanted to say that this is what i'm dealing with right now.
i have hope that some encouragement will be around the corner...
just when and where, i don't know.
but these kinks in my life do one thing well...
point me in the direction i should have been going all along.
sometimes i just need a little help... need a little compass.
(photos taken near Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland)

Monday, June 4, 2012

pathetic excuses... and a race

yeah, i suppose i am pathetic.
blogging... such a love/hate relationship.
honestly, there's probably only a handful of people that actually read here, (99% of them i know in real life) so i feel what's the need to do regular posting.
and since i'm pretty sure only 3 people read my blog, i don't have to feel guilty.
i see my home page on the computer all the time...
and it seems to never change.
that's b/c i just don't have the motivation to do a new post.
ever since our trip i feel like i have to have awesome amazing trip posts.
but alas, i've not been motivated to edit through my hoards of photos to post.
so... i just keep walking by... not posting.
sounds sorta pathetic.
although i am busy.
we got baseball 2 times a week... swimming two times a week... and general 'having fun' as a family busyness.
plus, i sorta have been training for another 1/2 marathon.
so that takes up my time and energy too.
i keep saying, "when that is off my plate i'll get to it..."
but i still have oodles on my plate.
so i'll just have to have a few non-trip related posts for a bit 'til i'm done with picture editing.

i'll start with this one....
on mother's day (less than 48 hours after coming home from europe) i was able to run a 5K race.
not just any 5K race... this one was with my oldest daughter!

yay!  first time ever running a race with her!
it was awesome and amazing!
my middle girl did a little kids run too.
also, her first race.
they both did fantastic.
but my big k... well, she was incredibly and inspiring.
(and... we're OFF!  you see us waving?  mamas behind their girls... that didn't last long.)

motivation for her came in the form of water stations (b/c it was hot)... sprinklers and hoses that people were spraying at participants... and the promise of treats at the end and some fun in the jumpy houses.
ha ha ha!
after a race the last thing i'd want to do is jump in those sweaty hot jumping castles... but that's my girl!
(after about a mile and a bit... just after a water station and feeling refreshed in the heat, the 4 of us trudge on.)

we got to run with one of my closest friends and her daughter (which happens to be big k's bff).
it was interesting to run with the girls since they've never run that far for that long before.
(you'd better believe i hauled out my iphone and took pics during the race!)

they see their mamas running all the time and so they're interested.
and because they could do the race together along with their moms... they were in!
during the race they kept saying, "we wanna be done... when's the end?"
or, "i'm NEVER doing this again!!!"
(after getting doused by water from a hose.  she was already pretty pooped but we only had just under a mile to go.)

they did amazing and our time was a little over 35 minutes.
i was very proud of my girl!
and guess what?
afterward, a few hours later, they both said they wanted to do it again next year.
ha ha!
i can totally and completely relate! ;)
(running into the finish line... so thrilling! little j ran just in ahead of us with a burst of energy at the end!)

i hope this is just the beginning to a great running relationship with one of my daughters.
hopefully all three will be hooked with running races in the future!
(right after the race... feeling hot but happy!)

knowing that they can run a race and accomplish a goal will help give them confidence in themselves.
it works for me... it'll surely work for them!
and nothings better than feeling the "runner's high" after a race!
clearly big K felt it too... for she committed to the race again next year within about 5 minutes (after she had some water and recuperated, of course).
(another shot of us after the race... a little more rested up!) 

here's some more shots of race day...

the kids waiting in line for the jumpy house after the race.
of course!

little k during her race!!!
she booted it for the entire 300 meters!
seriously loving it!

the kids race finish line!

pre race with my running pal!
us mamas were let off the hook a bit running with our 8 year old daughters. LOL

of course pre race... look at how pumped they are!!!
k and j!!

all four of us... embarking on the race!

my girl and i, pre race... love her smile!

neighbours... running partners... best of friends... these girls are life giving to me!
D did the 10K alone... so she didn't run with us... she booted it instead! :)

my regular running buddy... she just finished the 10K and i got to cheer her in!
we're doing the half in a couple of weeks... so you'll see more pics of us in running gear.
just you wait... we have matching shirts this time!!!  LOL

and one more picture of us at the finish line...
check out k's mouth.
just running hard... all the way to the end... her tongue is sticking out!
what a great race... and a fantastic day!
cheers to all runners out there!