Monday, June 24, 2013

A Shared Name and an Ending.

On this date in 1961, Carolyn Atkinson said "I do" to her sweetheart Doug and became Carolyn McCall.

In 1994 the youngest of their four children brought home a girl to meet his parents - Carolyn, meet Carolyn... and a year later that Carolyn took on the same name and became another Carolyn McCall.

A sad turn of events saw that boy gone too soon, and a few years later Carolyn McCall (the second) became Carolyn Ward, after a decade of sharing a wonderful lady's name.

And yesterday.  Yesterday, we said good bye to that Carolyn McCall for the last time.  A few hours short of reaching their 52nd wedding anniversary (although as Carla said, it was already past midnight in Ontario, where they got married).

Goodbye to the name and good bye to a wonderful lady.  We look forward with a certainty to a great hello again one day.

M got to be there and hold her hand...

Thursday, June 20, 2013

When Close Ones Grieve

The little one and I are heading off on a road trip today.  Mom and Dad are on their way from Winnipeg to pick us up and then we head right back again.  Nolan would not last if we drove just the two of us by ourselves.  We looked into the bus and flying, but my parents came up with this crazy plan of driving to get us and take us back again - four trips in three days - so we're jumping on the crazy train.

The reason for the travel?  So we can go to the 'Celebration of Life' for my Uncle.  He's only the second of my aunts and uncles to pass away, and it feels like childhood ending in a way.  The family as we know it, still intact but for the grandparents, has begun another shift.  The saying goodbye to the generation just one up... the generation of our parents.

In these last weeks my sister-in-law in Portugal had to say good-bye to her mom, as well.  Grief is not uncommon, and we all must take a turn saying good-bye to loved ones; the universality of it unfortunately does not lessen its pain.

As one who has gone through a good-bye and knows the pain of grief, I also know that the words that help are hard to come by.  All I can offer are a few words from my own experience: this post on grief was written almost two years after, and maybe, Auntie Joan and my cousins, and Ana, they might give a picture of what's to come?

Praying for you...

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Cheddar Cheese Apple Muffins

I took these to a play date at the park this morning and they were a hit.  They are yummy favorites and I am happy to share!  I can't give credit where credit is due, unfortunately, since I copied the original out of a library book a long time ago.  (It says page 77 and is in the 'wholesome healthy muffins' section if that helps!)  This is my version with just a few tweaks.

Cheddar Cheese Apple Muffins
1 egg
1 ¼ cups milk
¼ cup melted margarine
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup grated unpeeled apple
1 ¼ cups grated old Cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 400, grease muffin tin.
In a small bowl, beat egg lightly with a fork.  Add milk and margarine; stir well.
In a larger bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Add egg mixture; stir just until blended.  Fold in apple and 1 cup of cheese.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins and sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake in preheated oven for about 18 minutes or until golden brown.

* These make great mini muffins (toddler snacks!) - I baked them for 12 minutes and they turned out great.

Monday, June 17, 2013

How being a teenager in the 80's is helping me as a parent

Who remembers the tight rolled jeans fad?  The precursor to the skinny jeans, but cooler because you did it yourself; you couldn't just buy them off the rack.  I remember seeing kids with rolled jeans in junior high, wanting to look cool like that, trying it and not being sure why it didn't quite look right... and then feeling like I had arrived at a degree more cool when I figured out the trick of pulling the pants out and folding over the extra material before I rolled them up.

Yep.  I'm cool like that.  (A little behind the trends if I ever do get on board...)

Now I'm a mom, and junior high is a number of years in the past.  But I've been doing something with my little one that has brought back those memories - you see, for a long time now, it's been easier to diaper Nolan on his feet - wherever I can get him to stand still, that's where he gets cleaned and changed.

And that t-shirt hanging down?  It gets the old tuck and roll to stay out of the way.

Thank you, 80's, for that cool trick to make life a little easier.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Crying Baby Funny

It's funny because it happened almost 40 years ago.  You know the one - it's not the 'ha ha funny' kind of story, but the 'you'll laugh about this later' kind of story?

My mom was letting my brother cry it out in his crib, and she let him cry and cry and cry... Finally she went to check just to make sure he was okay, and found he had climbed up out of his crib onto the top of a small dresser where he had got stranded on his hands and knees - unable to sit, lie down, stand, or get back in his crib.

He was fine, and while she probably felt terrible at the time, we all* agree that it's funny now!

*By all, I am excluding my brother, because I didn't check with him, and he may very well make up a story of how he is scarred for life because of it.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

DIY vs Pay for the Professionals!

Sometimes you can do-it-yourself, if you have some training or experience and you're a handy guy.

Like building a shed:

Or renovating a kitchen:

Different angle, but you can see the changes.

Or basement:

Sometimes you can do-it-yourself, if you have the understanding of how it all works.

Sometimes you need someone else to do it.

Like when the sewer breaks and the tree needs to come down:

Sometimes you need to pay someone else, even if you think that it should be your job.

Like fixing unhealthy ways of thinking.  Sometimes it takes a stranger with the right questions to get at the root of your issues and help you work your way back to healthy thinking.  Maybe that's all I'll say about that: pay for the counseling.

Like fixing bad habits when there are multiple ways to address the issue and you're not on the same page and you just want someone else to tell you what's best for all involved.  (Thank you Baby Sleep Site for getting us to the point where N is now {mostly} sleeping through the night!)

Don't be afraid, parents, to ask for help, to pay for help, if you feel like you're over your head.  Parenting is not something we've trained for or been educated in; even if you're great at most of it, there may still be things beyond you.  Get the help you need.  Don't let the thought that it's your job to fix it get in the way of getting the job done well, in the most healthy way.

It's okay to ask for help.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sunday Afternoon

This past Sunday we went to the Waterfall Park to try a new (for Nolan) playground.  I took my camera...

getting ready to go

he loves slides

and i love seeing daddy slide with him

too old for this... until we ended up racing down the slides

on to the waterfall

hey, there's me!

my big and my little

So happy to have these shots.  I love my family and will treasure this capture of this moment in our lives.  Thanks for looking!

Sunday, June 09, 2013


One of the most fun parts of our last trip to Winnipeg was seeing the two little guys hit it off and play together. The older they get, the less the year and nine months between them will matter; this was the first time, though, that Nolan was old enough to be interested in some of the same things as Zach.

Zach pushing Nolan in the toy stroller.

And switch!


Nolan & Solomon

All the cousins together!

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Scrapbook Sharing Saturday

It's been a while since I've done many traditional layouts, since I did all last year - Nolan's first year - in Project Life style, but I found time to play around a bit...

I had these pictures printed to do for a long time - Zach here is the same age Nolan is now.  So fun to see!  Oh, and I have a new found love for Washi tape.  So great to use

Playing around on New Year's Eve...  And some baker's twine - another favorite product.

And a great shot of my kids playing in the backyard. 

So good to have these done and slipped into my album.  I've got a couple more pages on the go and a bunch of photos to order, so hopefully there will be more to show soon.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Knowing the Consequences

We had a girl come home yesterday with apologies the first thing out of her mouth.  She did something wrong, she knew it, and she was sorry. 

She was afraid of how much trouble she'd get into...

...but yesterday evening ended up being one of the best family nights we've had in a long time.

We discussed the issue over supper, but when it came time for the discipline, we asked, well, what are the consequences for that?  And she knew.  So, well then, that's what you have to live with.  No need to yell, no need to berate you for making a wrong choice, you just need to live with what you knew was coming. 

And then we went off to get ice cream to celebrate being done level 10 swimming.  Because just because you are being disciplined for one thing doesn't mean that we shouldn't celebrate when you do things well.

It struck me this morning that this was a great example of the Old Testament being relevant today; I'm reading through Joshua, and just passed where Joshua re-read all the blessings and curses, all that Moses commanded and wrote, as a reminder to all the people.  What he read would have included all the laws with their corresponding consequences, and what we know as Deuteronomy 28, which is a clear summary of the consequences for obedience and disobedience. 

God wanted his people to know what would happen as a result of certain actions.  He wanted them - he wants us - to be able to choose wisely.  Does it help you make a right choice when you know what the fallout will be for the wrong one?

That's the idea behind our consequence list at home here.  We all know what will happen for {most} infractions, and there's the hope that maybe that might help a better decision be made.  It certainly helps as parents to not have to come up with something appropriate on the spot; it was thought through and decided already when there was no high emotion involved.

This time the wrong choice was made in spite of knowing the consequences... and living with the consequences will help the right choice look better next time.  Hopefully.

Monday, June 03, 2013

What's YOUR issue?

Last week I got a 'begging letter' from the Bible League, wanting funds to place Bibles in schools in the newly formed country of South Sudan.  It's so great that they have been asked to place Bibles for the children to use to learn to read; what a fantastic foundation for the new country, to educate their young from Scriptures.  I have such a love for Scripture and a desire for people to have access to it.

These last few days we've been gathering up stuff to contribute to my in-law's garage sale; they are raising money for a missions trip; a team that my mother in law is on is going to Cambodia to work with those abused by trafficking.  She has a passion for young women at risk and taken advantage of, and is stepping far from her comfort zone to do something about it.

I also heard recently (on a Christian radio station while we were in Winnipeg; wish we had one of those here!) about an African village who just got a well, saving women and children hours of walking to get water, freeing up those hours for a chance for education, opening up the possibilities for their futures.  Water is such a basic need and there are many groups passionate about helping provide that for those without.

I am following along with We Are Blessed, a blog by some friends I met through the Youth For Christ California Spring Break trips.  They have three natural children, one adopted, and are in the process of adopting three siblings from Ethiopia.  Seven kids!  They are passionate about this, and are doing things to change lives.  Amazing.

What is your cause?  What is your issue?  What makes you frustrated, irate, uncomfortable with your comfortable life?

I read a book a couple years ago called Zealous Love
Zealous Love is a response to some of the world’s urgent needs in light of Christ’s great love. Through first-hand accounts and up-to-date facts about eight global issues, Zealous Love uniquely provides readers with the information, inspiration, and involvement they crave to personally make a difference in their world.
I jotted the eight issues down in my journal, took the time to think through which ones make my heart beat faster, and took with me one reassuring thought:  God has wired us all differently.  Each of these issues are important because each one is counter to how God created the world to be, and through love, each would change.  To look at the list is to get overwhelmed, though, if we try to figure out how we can make a difference in so many huge areas spread across the world.  The good news is that we don't have to.  Doing anything is great; trust that as others do their anything, God will make changes in real lives.

I sew stuff that sells.  As income trickles in from that, I choose where to send my tithe, what need to contribute to.  It's a small something, and maybe where it helps most is to get me thinking again of where life is unfair, and praying for change.

Here are the justice issues raised in that book:
Unclean Water
Creation Degradation

I'm pretty sure that was the list in order of how I viewed their importance to me; you would probably switch some around.  I would add to that list these causes that God calls people to be passionate about:
Spreading Scripture
Adopting Orphans or Fostering

What are you passionate about?  May you find time this week to contemplate that and what small thing you can do to make a difference.  "The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed." Psalm 103:6.  May you be blessed as you make yourself available for him to use to work righteousness and justice for the oppressed.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

If you have a teenage girl.

I read a couple of posts this week that I thought were worth passing on; if you've got a teenage girl, be sure to check these out.  They are probably worth the read if your girls are younger or if you have boys, too, just filter accordingly!

Emily at Chatting at the Sky wrote One Thing Your Daughter Doesn't Need You to Say addressing the pressure our kids feel to be a good example - pressure from themselves or from us.  It hit home because I know there have been times I have expected M to be an example to her friends that don't know Jesus.  She offers a great alternative; the freedom to just be themselves.

As a follow up to that, she wrote 12 Things Your Daughter Needs You to Say.  Lots of good stuff in there, too. 

Go read, be encouraged in your role as a parent, and inspired to raise up your children to Godly lives.