Homesick

Wow, it’s me… I’m back.   It’s been a long while,  almost two months, but I think I”m ready to start again.    I do want to thank everyone who sent me a kind word about continuing to blog back in the spring.   Back when I wasn’t sure I was going to continue, it was encouraging to know that there were those of you who still enjoyed reading what I had to say, even when I felt that nothing in our lives seemed worthy of blogging about.

Lately I’ve been composing blog posts in my head so I knew that it was time to start writing again, for better or for worse. 🙂

Here’s a quick catch-up on what we’ve been up to… let’s see,

End of June and the last day of school.   I love this pic… Sophia is crying because she was going to miss her teachers and Will is just happy…

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June 28 Erik had a birthday and turned 11 on us.  Here he is all excited about power packs that he received that he wanted to use to power his…

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Raspberry Pi.  It’s Erik’s computer that occupies him for hours and hours.  He ordered more parts for it with his birthday money and was thrilled, as we all were of course. 🙂

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He’s such a neat kid even if he is a computer nerd.  I’m now come to grips with the fact my eleven year old son is smarter that me.  But it’s actually turning out to be quite handy, so I don’t mind.

OK – so moving on.  Summer vacation… we’ve spent lots of lazy mornings at the cottage…

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See how Sophia smiled so sweetly for me and Sarah’s like “Whatever mom”?

And the boys spent lots of nights fishing with Jay &  grandpa at the cottage – and actually catching fish this year… woohoo!!!

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I’ve kept the kids busy this summer working as my ‘minions’… here they are painting a new desk for Erik’s room…

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They did a pretty good job actually.  And we’re even raising a few monarchs again this year, courtesy of our butterfly garden we planted years ago.

This beauty emerged just yesterday…

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This in on top of swimming, riding bikes and playing with friends.  There is never a dull moment.

And then last week we celebrated my birthday.  Sophia asked me if I was turning 24 or 93… I only wish and hahahahaha.   But it was strange, for most of the day I just felt homesick…- homesick for Toronto – where we were living last year.

I spent the day missing the nurses & other friends at Sick Kids that made me smile and laugh as well as listened to me when I needed to talk.   I missed the time I had just to sit and pray and drink coffee.  I missed the Ronald MacDonald House and walking through the hot concrete jungle that is Toronto in the summer.  And I missed my precious baby Ava… and I wished I knew then that I only had a few more weeks here with her on this earth.  And the strange thing about my homesickness is that things weren’t all rosy last year at this time.  Ava was definitely struggling and the chickenpox scandal had gripped the Ronald MacDonald House (someone’s child broke out in chicken pox and they locked down the house for weeks and weeks, so no programs for the kids or dinners) so Jason and the kids were spending a lot of  time away from Toronto and I was alone with our sick baby.    And  it was all very tough.  But like I said, this week I missed it all.. the good and the bad because it meant Ava.  We all miss her so very much.

But Jason and I also still know that it’s still all good and Ava is exactly where she should be.  We are honored that we had the privilege of being her parents for as long we did and in two weeks when we mark the day that she died – August 15th – we know it will be tough, very tough.   But once again we can just marvel at God’s amazing grace and how He was so faithful and brought us through our Ava journey with our hearts broken, but in other ways, still fully intact, resting in His peace and love.

As I was writing this I was thinking about how life really is so fleeting… and this verse came to mind….

Psalm 103: 15 – 18

As for man, his days are like grass;
    he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
    and its place knows it no more.
17 But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
    and his righteousness to children’s children,
18 to those who keep his covenant
    and remember to do his commandments.

Ava was our sweet little Birdy, who came and flew away so quickly – but I am so grateful to God for the gift that she was for as long as we had her.

Thank you Lord, and give her a kiss from me.

Amen.

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Neat Notes

I really thought that I would be blogging more again this summer, what with all the time that I have at home just hanging out with the kids.   It turns out that days in the summer just fly by whether you want them too or not and it’s hard to believe there’s only one more week in July!    And here’s proof we are getting close to August,  local sweet corn!  And the kids are all helping shuck it,  and more than the corn itself, kids helping always is my favourite. 🙂

But we’ve been keeping busy and having fun and even today was kinda exciting because we woke up to this…

Our Monarch chrysalis was black!  That mean that today would be the day a butterfly emerged and so I moved it outdoors so it could warm up and not long after that we saw this…

A brand new butterfly!   It just never gets old.  And ever since we made our Butterfly Garden, every year we raise at least a few butterflies, although I’m really started to suspect that I get more joy out of this process than the kids.  Although Sophia is completely enthralled with them this year and calls me over to look at the caterpillars multiple times a day.

It’s just so amazing to watch a tiny little caterpillar like this one (he just hatched yesterday and that’s Sarah’s finger not mine)

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go from that small to this big in a just a few weeks.

Almost 2 inches long and pooping like a champ.

We have quite the caterpillar nursery going here right now with eggs and babies and caterpillars.  Call me crazy but it’s just my summer hobby…  so there !!

And I’m enjoying everything all a little bit more this summer because my house has miraculously been staying tidy.  Even more tidy then when the kids were in school and that is a small miracle in itself.  But I have to say I really think what is helping is my ‘neat notes’.  Let me explain.

I’m a very scattered person.  When I am doing one thing I am thinking about a million others and even some simple multi-tasking like baking and talking and the phone doesn’t work so well for me.   (Anyone for muffins without flour? )

So a typical mess making scenario happens something like this.  I walk into the kitchen to make dinner and I’m thinking of a millon crazy things as well as probably talking with the kids.  So I start to cook without being really focused, and then before I know it, whoops, the kitchen is a disaster zone!    I can be very very messy and it takes ages to clean up after supper.    And I got so tired of it that a few weeks ago in a fit of frustration with myself and my careless ways, I printed off some notes for myself and taped them up all over the house… example…

And believe it or not, they’ve been working!  For this oh-so-scattered-girl, they really work!  I come into the kitchen thinking of those million things things, but then read the note and think, “oh, I can do that” and then I do!  It’s cut down on my kitchen clean-up time after dinner by 60%, it’s wonderful.

And another example…

Again, the notes just tend to bring me in the present, make me focus for a minute and bingo,  I’m not leaving a trail of destruction after me, which is at least a start.    Once I get myself straightened up I can start in on the kids. 🙂

These notes kinda make me laugh at myself and my mom says that they are like I’m nagging myself, but I just know that they force me to focus,  and that it works.  And I’m finding that in my pregnant – and let’s be honest… irritable state –  a neat house is one less stress in my life.

And a less stressed mom is a happier mom who can spend more time watching caterpillars and butterflies and playing with her kids.  Isn’t summer wonderful?

Oats peas beans and barley grow…

They do grow, but not in my garden because frankly there just wouldn’t be room!  Yes, this year because I don’t have enough things to occupy my time,  I’m a proud partner and care-taker of a massive garden.    My uncle and I are doing it together at his house and it’s been a lot of fun.  As a child I remember working in the garden at home and perhaps not loving it, but now that I’m an adult and it’s MY garden, I have to say I really enjoy it.  It’s just tough finding the time to go over to work in it and a little bit tougher convincing the kids that they want to go.   But when they get there, they do just  fine.

Here is a picture of it almost a month ago…

Yes, it does go all the way back to the poles that are for the pole beans and there is also a huge chunk of it over to the left behind the cedar trees.   Massive.   Now as for Sarah in the pictures I would have to say that she is the most interested in the garden and she’s a great helper – she weeds and helps pick beans and says nice things to the pumpkins …

Our pumpkins.  This was one of our babies a month ago, he’s massive now, about 3 times the size and we have about 8 pumpkins in all.   It’s so exciting and the kids just love watching them grow bigger and bigger and bigger!

We also have green and yellow beans in our garden- we ate a ton and I put some in the freezer –  tomatoes, pickles, cucumbers, leeks, onions, an assortment of peppers, pole beans, zucchini and potatoes, beets and carrots.   We’ve already eaten potatoes and beets and cucumbers as well as the beans  nothing beats produce out of your own garden.

And now I have to put a plug in here to thank my uncle John because he’s been so kind to let me do this with him.  I’ve really enjoyed the time spent working with him and the kids now know him much better and he gives them Freezies so they are huge fans… of his… and the Freezies.

So life continues on here.  Yesterday we spend the day with my mom as she’s recovering from a tear in her retina.  And it sure isn’t fun for her to have to be lying on her right side ALL the time, for TWO week, ALL the time.    I wish I could do more for her, but we are praying for her constantly and we know that God is in control and has her in His wonderful capable hands.

Back to produce, the most interesting of subjects…  today I did some peaches up for the winter.  I made 2 batches of freezer jam and froze slices for smoothies and then made filling for 2 pies to freeze.  It’s so cool what you find  on the net because when I was looking for how to do this, somewhere ‘they’ said  to freeze the peach filling in an empty pie shell and once it’s frozen, transfer it to a plastic bag, so when you want to make pie you just make the crust and plop your frozen peaches inside already in the right shape and then bake.  Easy peasy.  Someone was thinking and I’m always happy to benefit from other’s most excellent ideas.

Well soon there will be blueberries to freeze, tomatoes to do something with – maybe salsa?   Potatoes to dig up,  pears to can and pumpkins to turn orange.  But that just seems like fall so I’ll stop right there.

I’m still enjoying my summer with my crazy kids.