Wednesday, 17 June 2015

My Garden

Amongst all that straw is my garden. It has never been very productive, except in the weed department, so I'm covering most of it with straw. I'm hoping it will help in two ways. First, I hope it helps keep the weeds at bay. Second, I hope more organic matter in the soil will help with food production. (I must be married to a farmer.) This garden has already seen its share of abuse this summer so I don't expect much out of it. Living in a wide open yard the wind tears at it, the driving rain pounds it and the little bits of hail we received almost a week ago ripped at it. Not to mention the frost that set it back. One thing the straw has already done is produce memories. These bales have never seen a barn but every time I smell a straw bale I'm taken back to my cousins dairy farms. I have two uncles who have a dairy, one on each side of my family, and this morning as I was spreading this straw I kept going back and forth from one farm to the other. I kept thinking of the hours spent playing in the forts made in the bale stacks. Running through the barn hoping my cousin would spray me with milk from the cow's teat but pretending I didn't want him to. Letting the cute, big-eyed calves suck on my hand. Watching my cousin pull out a stillborn calf from its mama when she was 12 years old. Watching the cows being led into the barn for milking and being amazed at how orderly it was and that each cow claimed her place in line and her own tie-stall. Desperately wanting to be part of the action and at the same time being terrified to take part. Being taught the difference between hay and straw, they are NOT the same! Watching my uncles and cousins work ethic. They were out the door in the morning at a time I didn't even know existed and missed parts of family gatherings later in the day because the cows needed them. I didn't realize how hard they worked until I was almost an adult and how much fun I had as a result of their hard work. Those memories I will cherish my whole life. I have to admit I'm a little sad we won't be able to give our nieces and nephews the same experience being on our grain farm but hopefully they will have some farm memory that will one day be triggered and help them through a tedious task like my memories did for me today.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Year in Review

I didn't realize I'd been so quiet this year! Life goes by and the blog gets left behind! Here is what we've been up to.

The kids were involved in different activities again this year. Dance, music lessons, soccer, swimming, skating club and others that I’m sure I’m forgetting. We camped for a week in a town close by this July with friends while our kids took swimming lessons. This was our first year doing lessons in this town and we plan on going back, it was very convenient camping right beside the pool the kids lessons were at! It also allowed the husbands to work during the day and enjoy the camping life in the evening. All three kids attended Camp this summer, during three different weeks! Nathan and Larissa enjoyed their third summer there and Bethany wants to go for her second summer next year. They camped for a few days with Grandma & Grandpa V and grew a garden with Grandma K and cousins for a fundraising farmer’s market and bake sale where they raised over $3,000!
Bethany is 6 and started grade 1 this fall. She loves going to school and is eager to please her teachers. I love watching the learning that happens at this age, it amazes me even still! She is in dance again this year and started piano lessons after Thanksgiving. She loves music and thankfully it isn’t hard to get her to practise! Bethany learned how to ride a bike without training wheels this summer so we have enjoyed many family bike rides, even if most of them are just down our gravel road!
Larissa will be 9 in January and is in grade 3. Every week she has to write in her school journal and bring it home for us to read and every week she writes about how fun her teacher is! She decided she wanted to return to dance this year and is taking a Jazz class and is constantly dancing around the house! One of her friends started attending a different school this fall so they have spent many hours arranging playdates so they don't lose touch.
Nathan is 11 and in grade 6, the last year at the elementary school! He earned the highest marks in his class last year, the first year this accomplishment is recognized, and has made it his goal to do it again this year. He says he has some stiff competition but he’s determined enough we know he’ll do his best. A youth group started in town this fall and Nathan has really enjoyed attending the bible studies and numerous activities. We had our last regular appointment with the ENT this fall and we also met with an orthodontist in Brandon. Nathan’s teeth aren’t far enough along to correct right now so as far as we know we don’t have any appointments until February 2015!
My parents celebrated their 40th anniversary this summer! We celebrated by doing grandkid centred activities and taking family pictures. We asked Mom & Dad how they wanted to celebrate and they said it didn’t really matter, they just wanted to be with their family.

Ron’s parents bought a boat this summer! This has given us many hours of enjoyment and we hope next summer is warmer so we can be on the lake even more. Living only a few miles from the lake it’s a wonder it’s taken us this long to appreciate it!
I continue to stay at home and am a substitute EA at the local schools. The kids continue to keep me busy and the housework is never quite caught up. I have now finished my volunteer position on the board of the local Arts Festival. I couldn’t remember how many years I had been on the board so I thought it was time I stepped down! I have also experienced some health issues that are still to be determined but I'm trying to not let that get in the way of enjoying life and trying new things. One new thing I have tried this year is quilting! A friend of mine somehow convinced me this would be a good idea so we signed up for a workshop this November. It's still unfinished but I have started another project, a John Deere duvet cover for Nathan. I'm pretty sure I've bitten off more than I can chew!
Ron continues to be the chairperson of our local Foodgrains Bank project. It was a successful growing season, despite the late start and cool July, which means more people in developing countries will have a chance to learn sustainable food growing practises. Ron hopes that with all the kids in school full time this year he and I can spend a few hours on the snowmobiles this winter. That's right, we now have two. He’s determined to make me a sledneck yet!
Ron & I are both involved in our church teaching Sunday School, leading the worship service, occasionally doing music and being leaders of a "small" group that consists of 7 couples and 14 kids!
We took a family trip to San Diego/Anaheim in January. Ron had been invited by a chemical company to do a presentation at their national convention so we extended our time there and turned it into a family holiday. Ron was busy for only 1 ½ days so it was a great time being together as a family. Ron & Nathan took surfing lessons at our hotel, now they’re hooked! We also went to the San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld and drove up to Anaheim to Disneyland for two days. The kids loved playing in the waves of the ocean and can’t wait to visit it again.
We don't have any major travel plans for this coming year but hope to get more camping in this summer, which means we need to coordinate the kids summer camp experiences a little more efficiently!
That is what our little family has been up to. Hopefully you have had a good year as well. We hope that 2014 will be filled with many opportunities to make good memories!


Sunday, 28 April 2013

The Letter Name Game

The other night while the we were doing devotions the topic was the meaning of names. We looked up the meanings of their names on the computer and then they needed to take all the letters of their name and use words that begin with that letter to describe themselves. This is what they came up with.

Nathan: meaning Gift from God

Hard working
(the girls did the first three letters, Nathan did the last two!)

Larissa: meaning Cheerful


Bethany: meaning Place of Figs (Bethany is the town where Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Beth means God is my Oath)

Heart ("loving" is to be in front)
Nice/Noisy (she couldn't decide which one was better. Guess which one I chose?!)
Yappy (hahahahaha!!)

I think they described themselves quite well!

Monday, 15 April 2013

Kids Crazy Talk

My kids are crazy! I can't believe the things they come up with!

1)The other day Ron & I were heading out for a date that was going to take the entire day and late into the night so the kids were going to stay at his parents place. While I was getting ready this was my conversation with Bethany:

"Mom, I'm going on a date with Matthew tonight!"
"Why did you choose Matthew?"
"He was the only one available to me at the boyfriend store."
"The boyfriend store?"
"Yeah." (insert preteen attitude here even though she's only 5)
"Is that where I found Daddy?"
"Is that where Grandma found Grandpa?"
"Yes. It's where all the girls go to get their boyfriends!"
She was dead serious, not a hint of sarcasm in her voice or face!

2)The other night while Nathan was getting ready to have a shower in our ensuite I heard "Thump. Thump. Thump."

"Nathan, what are you doing?"
"I run from the shower to your bedroom door four times and then the water is warm enough to jump into the shower!"
I guess it beats just standing there waiting impatiently for the water to warm up!

3)The other morning I wanted to show the kids a picture on Facebook of a wedding cake that was half John Deere yellow and green and half with white icing and pink gerbera daisies. I was on the iPod so it showed that Facebook was updating its page after I logged in. This is the conversation:

B: "Upping?"
L: "Updating"
B: "Mom! You're online dating?!"
L: "Yeah Bethany, Mom signed up for Lava Life." (She's getting really good at sarcasm!)
I then gave Larissa a funny look. How does she know about online dating sites?
L: "It's advertised on our kids channels!"
Sheesh! Is there no discretion as to what is advertised on those channels!

These are just a few stories from the last couple of days. They have come up with some real doozies lately that I had to share some of them!

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Assignment Update

I have had a few people ask me about my "project: get fit" journey. I know, that's a poor title, I'm not sure what exactly I'm going to call it. Do I need to name it? Maybe I should have you name it. I don't know what kind of prize I should give though. Would the pride of knowing you named my journey be good enough? Doubt it! Oh well, whatever it's called, I'm still doing it. I appreciate everyone asking. It tells me you are behind me, walking along side me, and, as Bethany would say "I'm watching you!", as she does the whole Robert Deniro/Ben Stiller fingers to eyes thing. It keeps me accountable. I need that. I am not a self-motivator. I am a very social creature. I need people to keep me motivated, I need to know that I'm being watched!

I had a goal I needed to reach by the end of February, -4" & -2% body fat. I made it. Barely. The tape was pulled tight. Very tight. My trainer said I did it, she is very happy for me! I don't know if anything changed with how tight that tape was pulled! My contract is up but my trainer has a group of us doing 6 week challenges to keep us going. The first reward was a spa day. This next reward is a shopping trip. I couldn't make the first one, eventhough I met my goal, and I doubt I'll be able to participate in this next one due to seeding, but it's fun to know that I'd be able to go because I reached that goal. The end of April is the end of our next challenge and my goal is the same as the previous challenge.

I had given up sugar for Lent, hoping that would help. I did not weigh or measure myself before Lent started so I have no idea if I made progress physically, but I sure did mentally! It was probably my toughest challenge yet and it really opened my eyes as to how much crap I put into my body. Of course I overindulged at Easter (who can resist paska and icing?!) and paid for it all day yesterday. I finally went for a walk after supper. Having the cool, crisp air on my face and numb my legs helped but I still feel blah. Hopefully it doesn't last much longer but I also hope I remember how I feel now rather than how good that food tastes for just a second while it's in my mouth.

So that is my update. Hopefully it won't take me so long to sit down and write this after the next challenge. It's hard writing things out for the world to read, yet it's what keeps me going. If I didn't tell you then I wouldn't really have to do anything because no one would know. I need to stay focused, the kids really want to go to the waterslides!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Family Trip 2013

Ron was asked to present at a conference in San Diego, CA, in January. We had been toying with the idea of taking the kids to Florida this winter to do the non-Disney version of that state (the Keys, Daytona, Sea World, Busch Gardens, etc.) because we know that when we do go to Disney World there won't be time for the other things that Florida has to offer. But when this opportunity came up we quickly changed our idea and made this conference into a family trip instead! Ron was busy with the conference for just 1 1/2 days so the rest of the week was a great time touring around. We arrived on Saturday and settled into our hotel late in the evening. The conference was at Hotel del Coronado on Coronado just across the bay from San Diego. It was stunning! This is the view from our room.

Just beyond the pool was the ocean. It was a beautiful location and a beautiful hotel.

Sunday we spent at Sea World. The shows there are amazing and it was one of the highlights of the trip. We saw a very funny sea lion show, the beauty of the orcas and an amazing dolphin show. The dolphin show was so captivating, it was a wildlife show and Cirque du Soleil show wrapped into one. The girls decided they wanted to work with the dolphins and Nathan thought he'd like to be one of the people diving off the trampolines from 40ft in the air! The costumes and wet suits were so colourful they almost had us believing they were the macaws they were trying to imitate!

Monday we went to the San Diego Zoo. We have to admit that this was a big disappointment coming from Sea World. At Sea World the animals are constantly moving and there are entertaining shows. At the zoo the animals are rather lethargic in their cages and there is no extra entertainment. Don't get me wrong, compared to our local zoo this zoo is rather impressive, but the animals were rather boring here too. In hindsight I think the Safari Park may have been our better choice, or we should've gone to the zoo first and then to Sea World.

Tuesday and Wednesday was spent at the hotel for Ron's conference. Ron had Tuesday morning off so he & Nathan took surfing lessons from an instructor at the hotel. Nathan caught on instantly, the first time out he was up on the board and surfed to shore. He was stoked! It took Ron a bit longer to catch on but he did and both of them can hardly wait to do it again! The girls had a great time playing on the sand and running away from the waves. We were also wined and dined by representatives from the company that brought us down to the conference. The kids did very well in fancy restaurants and people commented on how well behaved they were. We didn't even have to threaten them before we left the hotel! The restaurants we were at were overlooking the bay so there was a lot of activity going on that the kids could watch and the views, even in the dark all lit up, were unlike anything we see here!

I combined two pictures so it's not great but it gives you an idea at how much they enjoyed surfing!
Running from the waves!

Thursday we spent driving up to Anaheim so we could go to Disneyland for two days. We took our time and found a town that has "the best donuts we've ever had", according to Ron & Larissa. We had been searching for a place for lunch and came across a little restaurant that was also a bakery. We took more of a direct route to Anaheim, rather than a scenic one, just so we could get there and get settled. We found a hotel, drove around to get our bearings, did some shopping, bought our Disney tickets, swam in the pool and just enjoyed our day.

Friday was Disneyland day! Thanks to a friend of ours who gave us a book on how to navigate Disneyland we weren't so overwhelmed walking in. The first character we met was Goofy, everyone in our family loves him so it was a great welcome! We had a great day doing different rides, watching the parade and enjoying the beautiful weather. The girls got to meet Princess Jasmine from the movie Aladdin and we also met Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger and Eeyore. It was quickly discovered that the kids aren't quite at the stage where rollercoasters are what they like so Ron was generous enough to spend over an hour with the kids so I could stand in line and ride Space Mountain by myself. I sure missed the friends I screamed my lungs out with on that coaster in Disney World about 27 years ago! It didn't seem nearly as scary as I remembered it to be! They did other rides while waiting for me and they only "wasted" about 10 minutes in a gift shop. It was agreed that the Toy Story ride in Tomorrowland was the family favourite that day. Who doesn't want to shoot Zurg with lazers?! We watched the fireworks show in the evening and the kids thought there would never, ever be a show like that ever again. "It was really, really, really, good!"

Saturday was Diney's California Adventure Park day! Here we met Donald, Flick (from A Bug's Life) and Mater (from Cars). Again, the favourite ride in this park was the Toy Story Mania ride. It was different from the one in Tomorrowland but the kids thought it was "awesome"! The Little Mermaid ride was also a hit with the girls. We convinced everyone to do a roller coaster, Bethany hadn't been on one yet, but this one looked tame so she thought she'd try it. She hated it. The girl that we thought would love roller coasters hated this one! Larissa, on the other hand, loved it so much she convinced Ron, who is not a roller coaster rider either, to go on it twice! I went on California Screamin' by myself. I loved it! Although, I have discovered that roller coasters are not nearly as much fun if you don't have someone you know screaming right along beside you. We got a fastpass for the World of Color show that night. That is a display of wonder. Colourful water shooting out of the pond is perfectly choreographed to the music and screens made from the water's mist have scenes from Disney movies projected on them. This is a ride for the emotions. Nathan thought nothing could beat the fireworks display from Disneyland but he said he was wrong. This show was amazing. The kids were either happy or scared plus in awe the entire show. They were so tired by the end of our second day that we weren't sure how they would enjoy having to stand and watch a show at the end of the day but it's Disney, they keep you captivated. Larissa was almost crying she enjoyed the show so much! We were all exhausted and sore at the end of our two days but realized that Disney just might be what it claims to be, the happiest place on earth!

Sunday we slowly headed back to San Diego to catch our flight home Monday morning. This time we took the scenic route along the ocean. We stopped at a few beaches along the way and made it back to San Diego in time for supper. Ron "had" to stop at the same bakery we found on the way up to Anaheim but discovered that a lot of those places are closed on Sundays. He was very disappointed. He was seriously thinking about contacting them to see if they'd ship their donuts up here. That guy is donut crazy! The kids were so tired that they didn't even ask to go swimming in the hotel pool that night.

We had a good travel day Monday with a short delay in Denver but we made it home safe and sound late that night.

It has been a couple of weeks since we've been back home and the kids are still talking about the trip. It was +20 to +25C while we were in California which was a stark contrast to the -47C, with the windchill, it had been here at home. It warmed up here when we got back but we've hit a bit of a cold spell again that the kids are wishing we could go back to San Diego just for warmer weather. The morning the kids went back to school Nathan said he felt so bulky putting on his winter gear again. Larissa fell in love with the dolphins at Sea World that she's now thinking she may want to work with them when she grows up. Bethany woke up one morning shortly after we got back and said that she could hardly wait until we went to San Diego. I reminded her that we had already been there and were now back home. She just looked at me and exclaimed, "But we're going back again!"

The trip was the perfect amount of activities and down time. We made so many wonderful memories as a family that this trip just may be hard to beat. However, the point of family trips isn't to try to always outdo the last one but to add to the memories and grow closer together and form a bond that will carry us through whatever lies ahead.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

This is an assignment....

New year, new you. That is the theme that is bombarding my tv these days. The commercials for weight loss products/programs is overwhelming. Eat our food for 5 days then make your own choices for two days! Take these pills to lose weight! Our program is free for 3 months! Drink this and lose weight! I have not done any research on these products or claims but I have decided that those are not the route I want to take. I am seeing a personal trainer/kicker of butt to get myself back on track. I have been a SAHM for 10 1/2 years and it has definitely caught up with me. I'd love to say it's baby weight but my baby is almost 6!! My trainer gives me homework every week and this week's assignment is to blog about my journey. Blech! She knows I'm very reluctant to do this so she said it could sound very clinical, it doesn't have to be emotional at all. How is this journey not emotional? It's emotions that got me here so it's going to be emotions that get me out. I hope. I don't have any major issues that need to be worked through, I have boredom and pure laziness that I need to overcome. Apparently I'm in a healthy range as far as my body fat percentage goes, but I am not happy with where I'm at. This is a very intimidating forum to document in, though. It's admitting failure. To the world. I have failed to keep my body in a healthy state. My percentage may be fine but my body is telling me something else. I also have kids I am responsible for. Thankfully for now they are not overweight but I need to start practising what I teach them. I tell them they can't have certain treats but when they are in bed those rules don't apply to me. I know I'm not the only one who does that but it doesn't make it okay. So here I go. Trying to change my lifestyle again. Yup. Again. I have done this before but there's always some reason why I can't keep it up. The farming busy season has started up again. The kids are home for summer. I'm tired. The list goes on.

My trainer has involved my family to keep me motivated. She says she's being mean, involving them, but it is what will keep me on track so I don't see it as being mean. It's needed. I have a goal and a  date to reach that goal. If I don't reach that goal then my family can't take part in the reward. My family REALLY wants me to reach my goal. They REALLY want to have the reward! If I reach my goal by June 30 we get to go to the waterslides for the day. They love those waterslides. We were there the summer of 2011 and they have not forgotten about that place. Even after being at WEM this past summer they want to go back to these ones. I have a cheering section and a family of critics! It's all good. They want to have fun and they want mom to be healthy. I'm not doing it to be skinny. I'm doing this to be healthy. I'm not focusing too much on weight. I may not reach that goal if I build enough muscle so I'm concentrating on body fat and inches.

Here's my goal I need to reach by June 30:
Down 8% body fat
Down 24" (gross, right? two feet needs to be gone. yuck!!)

Here's my reward:

Wish me luck!!