Friday, November 26, 2010

It's Snow Time

Last week's little hour-long snowfall was just a teaser. We got a full day of snow yesterday and the kids were pretty pumped.

I remember when Micah wore this touque. For some reason, it makes their heads look gi-normous.
Like an orange on a toothpick.

Anyone got a kleenex?

Never mind.

But alas, the snow never seems to last long around here. Erik and the kids headed straight out after breakfast this morning to make the most of the melting slush. At least if we build a snowman, we can make it last a little bit longer!

Micah told me this was an alien head, but all I see is a bunny. Not sure why he doesn't have eyes. And not sure why his carrot nose appears to be coming out the side of his cheek. I chose not to ask too many questions.

I really hope this isn't the last of the snow for this year. We have to get in some more sledding and snowman-building practice if we're going to be in Manitoba next winter!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Birthday Princess

It's birthday season at our house...
Keziah turns 4 today!

Four years ago I was more than a little overdue and more than a little anxious to have that sweet baby outta my tummy! Finally - with a little help from the doctors - this tiny bundle was born...

It's hard to believe how much she's grown!

We celebrated by having a Royal Tea Party in Keziah's honour on Saturday afternoon with some of her friends and their mommies. She was quite set on the princess theme even though half of her friends are boys :)

It was a freezing cold & windy day and our guests were such good sports - what with having to park on the street and walk through the wind tunnel of our townhouse complex until they got to our unit!

And we had a FULL house of kids and mommies... but I think the party was a success. We started with a simple foam sticker craft and then moved to the living room for "hot potato dress-up". This was a favourite at my own birthday parties growing up, and I thought it was time to pass the torch to my own daughter. When the music stops, whoever is holding the "potato" gets to pull something from the dress-up bin. After several rounds, this was the result:

Then it was time for the tea party to begin. I scrounged up some real tea cups for each of the kids to drink their pink lemonade "tea".

No cups were broken in the making of this tea party!

This year I went the easy route with the cupcakes and bought a set of princess papers and crown toothpicks from Michael's. I used my new favourite icing trick (dipping frozen cupcakes into melted icing) and added some sprinkles - I think they turned out pretty cute!

Keziah was pleased - and apparently Silas was as well!

Micah was having fun showing off his goody bag finds:

Happy birthday Princess Keziah! We love you so much!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

An Unexpected Gift

Amazing how BIG the small things can be. During a week filled with worry and discouragement and unknowns, we had an unexpected blessing in our house today. It started this afternoon when I glanced out the window and was surprised to see snow falling. I called the kids quickly because I knew this would be a huge deal for them - the poor souls who, last year, went through an entire winter without snow (other than one brief morning, I think).

As they stared at the big flakes with wide eyes, Micah exclaimed to me that he had been praying for snow. In fact, he said, he had prayed just this morning that it would snow. I told him how much God loved him to give him such a special gift today. I felt a bit choked up at the thought of God loving my little boy so much to answer this prayer.

We immediately headed outside to enjoy the brief snowfall:

After I took this video, Erik was outside with Micah and they were talking more about God's answered prayer. Erik asked Micah if he believed that God loved him and whether he would like Jesus to live in his heart. We've asked Micah about this before (never wanting to co-erce him into the decision) and he never wanted to do it before. This was the first time that he eagerly agreed. He ran in the house and told me that this was what he was going to do! So, we all prayed together right then and there. And then we had hot chocolate -- very important!

I think one of my favourite parts was when he left an unscripted message on Grandma's voice mail this afternoon exclaiming that he had asked Jesus into his heart because God had given him a "wonderful gift"! My prayer is that he will grow to fully understand the even greater gift that God has given him in the life of Jesus.

Thank you God for the unexpected.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Baby Steps

A big decision has been weighing on our hearts and minds for the past several months. A decision that is both exciting and terrifying. A decision that we question and doubt on a daily basis. And for that reason, this post has been written and waiting in my "Edit Posts" page since September. And I'm only getting up the courage now to actually post it.

It started over a year ago (summer 2009) when Erik and I began talking about moving to Manitoba. Contrary to what many people think, the idea started in Erik's head. When he suggested moving to the place where I grew up, I think I laughed at first. It's not really out of character for him to make crazy and completely unrealistic suggestions. But he just kept talking about it. And I fought the idea all the way. The thought of leaving our lives in Abbotsford and moving to the town of Boissevain was just too... weird.

But, the idea grew on me over time. We even made a list of pros and cons when we got back to BC last year. But even though the pros seemed to lean towards MB even then, neither of us felt like it was enough to just pick up and leave. We decided to stay put and wait for more direction from God. The months went on, and pretty soon I had totally given up on the idea and was convinced that God wanted us to stay in BC. It seemed like Erik had several great job opportunities on the horizon... but, ironically, none of them really amounted to anything.

Fast forward to this summer. When we decided to spend our whole summer in Boissevain, I was totally "over" the idea of moving there. Instead, I decided that we were getting the best of both worlds - spending our summer months in Manitoba while still coming back to our life here in BC - perfect! In fact, I warned Erik on the drive out that he shouldn't get any more big ideas in his head about moving.

But in a matter of weeks (maybe even days) Erik was already talking about how much he would love to live there. Again, I fought it.

Just a little background here: In our relationship, Erik is the emotional, "fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants" one. I'm the cautious one. So while he was pushing ahead with his big vision for our future, I was pulling back on the reins. Hard. But Erik had some convincing arguments and slowly I began to see why all of his reasoning made sense.

One of the biggest reasons is the obvious ease of financial pressure - the unpredictability of Erik's business plus having a mortgage (on a tiny townhouse) in this insane BC market has been super-stressful on us. Another big reason was the change in lifestyle for ourselves and our family - moving from the city to a small town where our kids could go to the same school from Kindergarten to Grade 12 (the same school that I went to for 13 years!) and where we can be involved in a smaller church and a smaller community. Also, moving to Manitoba means being closer to my family for the first time (my parents live in Boissevain and my 3 siblings and their families all live within a 3-hour drive).

And no, I haven't forgotten about the prairie winters; though Erik actually considers that to be an advantage.
I'm not quite convinced :)

We've spent a lot of time talking with friends and family about this big decision. And most arrows seem to be pointing to Manitoba. Even after we've come back to Abbotsford and had many, MANY moments of fear and doubt and questioning, our times of prayer and journalling seem to keep bringing us both back to the same conclusion.

So, with fear and trepidation we are slowly taking baby steps towards making this happen. Testing the waters... and feeling a little fearful of diving in all the way. Today we put our house up for sale on Craigslist (click here to view). Not sure if it will amount to anything, but it felt like a significant baby step. Right now, our tentative plan is to move in the spring or summer.

Honestly, I don't feel like I have any unrealistic ideals and dreams about what moving is going to look like. My cautious nature might be at fault, but I'm kind of expecting the worst. Not sure if this is a good thing! But, I guess I'm just well aware that a big change like this doesn't come without some big bumps in the road. In some ways I feel like we're moving to a completely different country. Small-town Manitoba & greater-Vancouver BC are 2 entirely different cultures in a lot of ways. So, I feel like I'm preparing myself for culture shock, for loneliness, and for the feeling of not quite knowing where I belong. At least in the beginning.

So, we slowly step forward and put each decision and fear and dream into God's faithful hands. If you think of us, we'd appreciate your prayers; that we would have clarity in our decision-making and that we would trust God to direct us on this journey...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

High Heels

Silas is at such a great age these days. At 19 and a half months he's starting to say so many new words every day, and showing so much personality. One of his favourite things to do is walk around the house with other people's shoes on...
(please excuse my other children - they have an infatuation with stripping off their outer layers for playtime and I don't care enough to break the habit.)

The other night Silas was being really cute and I thought to myself that I should video him more often at this age so I can remember what he was like. But once I pulled out the camera, the video turned out a little differently than I expected, and instead I have a clip to remind me just how much Silas & Keziah "love" each other at this stage...
(And once again, excuse the lack of clothing!)


Thursday, November 04, 2010

Arts & Crafts

One of Micah & Keziah's new favourite TV shows is Artzooka on Kids CBC - a show with all sorts of craft and other fun art ideas. And if you've got Treehouse, you've probably seen the crafty show, Mister Maker. (We don't get Treehouse - but we recently discovered we can watch any Treehouse shows for free with Shaw on Demand. You know, because we didn't have enough TV & videos to choose from, I guess. And I was really missing Diego & Dora & Bob & Max & Ruby... ;)

Of course, the downfall to these crafty shows is that Micah thinks we can make all of these crafts, like, NOW. At 7 in the morning. On a school day.

There are some good, do-able ideas and we found one the other day. All we needed was water, food colouring and paper towels. (And newspaper and smocks for the inevitable mess). It was a very easy craft with cool results.

I only had red and green food colouring when we did this... Until I combined red and green to make a third colour that started off as an unappealing brown. A few extra drops of red and I had upgraded to a dark burgundy :)

Fold your paper towel in half, and in half again, and then in a triangle, and in another triangle (did you follow that??)

Dip each of the 3 corners in different colours.


... and voila!

The kids had the idea to let them dry and use them for holiday napkins :)

The only downfall to this craft? It's over WAY too fast. Make sure you have lots of paper towel ready to be folded and dyed, and lots of places to lay them to dry!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Fall Days

We're hearing stories of snow days from the prairies, but meanwhile in BC, fall is still in all of its glory.

On Saturday we took advantage of a perfect fall day - the kind of day that is crisp enough to necessitate a warm sweater, but interrupted by bursts of warmth from the sun. After several days of rain and cabin fever we knew we had to get out of the house even if it meant Erik hobbling along after us on his crutches.

So, off we ventured to Willow View Farm for a wonderfully in-expensive outing.

The kids loved spending time in the petting barn - especially feeding the goats - and then we ventured out to the apple field/orchard (?) where I got some great pictures of the kids.

(Fuji apples)

We were reminded that the perfect cure for fighting/whining/cabin-feverish children is being outside on a beautiful day.

Caterpillar discovery among the apple rows.

Yay for fall!

I can just hear him saying, "appo" over and over...

Juicy goodness.

Ahh, apple peel in my teeth!

An extremely rare moment... (look closer in the last picture if you doubt me)

That evening it was off to Grandpa & Grandma for the 4th (ish) annual Toews pumpkin carving party. Gotta love the combination of curious children and adults with extremely sharp knives...

And don't forget the power tools!

Elissa had seen a great idea somewhere to drill lots of tiny holes in the pumpkin. I was game to try it! I will be using the drill again next year. It was simple, pretty and really enjoyable :)

Halloween night was a pizza party with some family and trick-or-treating. Here is Silas getting the candy ready for all the trick-or-treaters.

Keziah decided to go with her hula outfit for trick-or-treating :)

I didn't take any pictures when we were out, but Elissa did, so make sure and check her blog for some good shots of the kids :)