Monday, December 20, 2010

Baby Liam

Meet baby Liam. He is adorably cute, with the most squeezable cheeks known to man. He came into this world with a bit of drama, but seems to have gotten it out of his system. His momma says hes a fairly content baby and is pretty quiet most of the time.... other than at 2am perhaps?

My kids love him... Emily especially is taken with him and talks about baby Liam ALL the time. But she also let me know that she's glad that he's Aidan's brother, and not her own brother. Because, she already has ONE brother. And that's enough. (According to Emily :)

A bit of purple or pink might have been a nice change for the VanMaanen colour scheme, but I think that they are doing such a great job raising their boys that God decided to give them one more. One more boy who will grow up to be a strong, godly man. Who will make an excellent husband and father. Congratulations, Stephen and Janet, on the birth of your third son.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The 'J' Team

Jacob and Jackson. Best friends. Double Trouble.

Originally, Jacob was a bit shy of Jackson, as Jackson is a rough and tumble type of guy, whereas Jacob is slightly more sensitive. But they've figured it out and now and have quite the time together.
I love that they get along so well, and sometimes I'm sure that they know what the other one is saying.....

playing with cars

yes, that is Jackson sucking on Jacob's soother, while it is still attached to Jacob.

Jackson : "Hey Jacob, check out this cool car-thing."

Jacob : "What does it do?? Lets investigate"

Both : "A digital display with buttons that beep?? Awesome."

They are such boys!

Monday, November 29, 2010

The news in Fingal

Here's what's been happening around our house this week:

1 - This is nothing new, in fact, I often find Emily sitting in this exact spot multiple times each day, playing on her favourite website, Boowa and Kwala. I don't mind too much. Each game is educational and when I'm busy with Jacob or household chores she usually sneaks onto the computer.

2 - The porch has been poured and the forms are off. It will have some finishing touches in the spring, and we might even get the roof up before the end of the year. For now, the kids LOVE running up and down the smooth concrete, and on a rainy day it's perfect for puddle jumping.
3- Jacob has found a new favourite way to bathe. Why sit up, when you can lay down? Each night he now lays around in the tub, usually humming 'twinkle twinkle', or picking things up with his feet and passing them to his hands.
And this is the result of laying down in bubbles....and being a goof, in general.4 - We found out Jacob LOVES leeks. Gross, right?? But he loves em. He walked around for about 20 minutes one night munching on a leek. Yuck. And his breath that night? Well, I'm glad he sleeps alone.

5- Emily is resourceful. This is how I found her colouring her Sunday school page. When I asked her what she was doing on the table, she said that the cat was attacking her feet (something that can be quite painful, I know!), so she climbed on the table and kept colouring. Smart.
And that's that. We also put our tree up today, but now that almost all the decorations are on the floor instead of on the tree, I'm too frustrated to blog about it. Maybe once I come up with a better plan on how to keep the cat out, and the toddler from touching, I'll post our tree. But don't hold your breath.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

An Emily Update

Sometimes I feel that Jacob gets all the attention - the profile pictures, the small-talk conversation, and the last blog update was all about him. So... here's a little about his big sister.

Emily is now 3.5, but she's our "old soul". She uses phrases like "that's the cat's meow" and "good golly". She would rather drink milk or water over juice or coolaid.

She's very logical, and will obey her parents if she feels it's the right thing to do. Luckily, she is fairly well behaved and we don't have any unusual rules, so that works out okay. However, that leaves "because mom said so" out of our vocabulary, because she just won't accept it. If you reason it out to her why, say, it's not nice to hit your brother, or it's important to clean up the mess you made, then it's all good.

Emily asks ALOT of questions. Although this is very common for this age, Emily asks some pretty tricky ones. Like "why is that river, a river? how did it get there". The whole "because God made the earth and He wanted to put a river there" answer doesn't fly. She knows God created the earth and everything on it, but she wants to know how exactly that river was formed. Was it always there? etc etc etc. She makes me realize just how much I don't know!
She asks questions that we, as adults, know the answers to, but to articulate it to a child is incredibly hard. Like "what is a cloud made out of?" or "why do some eggs stay eggs, but other eggs turn into tiny chicks?"
By the end of each day my mind is exhausted.

Emily also has an incredible memory. Don't think you can tell her something and she'll ever forget you said it. This can be a blessing and a curse. Emily can write almost every letter in the alphabet, she knows all their sounds, and can count to 30. She can spell her name, her best friend's name, and about 5 other words, all from memory. Unfortunately, however, she can also remember the lyrics to a black eyed peas song that's playing in the superstore while we shop. She only has to hear it one time to pick it up.

Emily is the best of both worlds. She loves pink and purple, frilly dresses, and high heeled shoes. She also loves worms, dirt, and dump trucks. As long as she's not wearing her pink, frilly dress and high heeled shoes while playing in the dirt with worms, I'm happy.

Emily loves to cuddle and be affectionate. If I sit down for one minute, she is right beside me plastered to my side. She loves to do things together, even if it's just watching a movie. She loves to have books read to her and she loves to snuggle in bed after daddy goes to work in the morning. She wears her heart on her sleeve and can have her feelings hurt very easily.

Emily is not a good sleeper. Never has been, and probably never will be. She has slept through the night a handful of times since birth. She is still up 2 or 3 times each night, needing to go to the bathroom, wanting to be tucked in, or crying from a nightmare. I'm so very, very blessed that Jacob is a fantastic sleeper and usually sleeps 12 hours straight.

Emily came into our lives with a bang. My pregnancy was uncomfortable, her birth was horrible, her infancy was a nightmare, and her toddlers years a trial. She is still a handful, but is growing up into an intelligent, caring, empathetic young girl. We have 'grown up' conversations all the time, and she is quickly becoming my friend. She is a blessing from God, one that I am truly thankful for, and never take for granted.

Friday, November 12, 2010

little miss mitzi

We were a little hesitant to keep one of the kittens. We had a cat when we were first married, and she only lasted about 6 months before she went to live on my friend's farm. I don't like litter boxes, the smell of cat food, and someone in this house HATES hair on his clothes (and it's not Jacob). So when we found the kittens in our barn and knew Emily would die if we didn't keep one, we were a little stressed.

But, so far, so good. Justin devised a hole-in-the-wall system that lets the cat go in to the basement to use the litterbox, but keeps the kids out of the basement (and the smell out of the rest of the house). She eats only dry food, which is covered by an upside down diaper box with a hole in the side. Jacob hasn't figured out that there is food under the box and all he'd have to do is move it..... good thing he's cute, eh???

And the kids are LOVING the cat. She's their favourite play thing. Although Emily and Mitzi have a love/hate relationship (Mitzi loves Emily until Emily bothers her, and Emily loves Mitzi until she scratches her) but it's mostly love.
I don't mind when she curls up on my lap at night and purrs while I read or watch TV. And I even catch Justin playing with her and petting her sometimes (but don't tell him I told you ;)

Mitzi and Jacob share very similar interests. They both loves balls and things that move.I think she's going to fit in just fine.

How do YOU do this dishes??

Monday, November 01, 2010

crazy kittens

Our playroom seems suddenly smaller now that 6 kittens - yes, SIX kittens - are calling it home. We reluctantly decided to bring in the kittens so that they wouldn't freeze in the barn, and so that they would be a little more people friendly. There are only 5 kittens in this picture, since Mitsy was basking in the sun in the living room :)
They have been TEMPORARILY named: Mopsy, Flopsy, Pumpkin, Whiskers, and Sunshine. I'll let you guess who named them. We will NOT be keeping any of them. We only have three left to find homes for - so HURRY and claim your cat before they're all gone. Yah, right :)

Friday, October 22, 2010


Jacob LOVES to have his picture taken, and quickly picked up on the "cheese!" action. He doesn't say much, but what he does say is pretty funny :)
Hope this makes you smile

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Before and After

Here is the official 'after' of our living room. The wall is gone, and so is the carpet. Some of the wood under the rug was painted, some of it was stained, and some, in the very middle of the room, was still completely natural. Apparently who ever stained to floor, way back when, decided to save some time and stain around their current area rug. So we had a nice 10X10 square in the middle of the room that we had to cover up with a piece of carpet that our dear friends donated to us :)
The difference is amazing, the room is so bright and so much bigger. We're planning on doing some furniture re-arranging as soon as we get a new TV that we can hang on the wall.
Hope you enjoy our pictures!
The "new" old floor in the dining room!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

a sneak peek

Here is a quick "after" shot of our new living room. This was a hard picture to get, because during the day I'm shooting into the light from the windows, and at night it's far too dark. So on this gloomy morning I took a quick pic. Forgive the mess and the children. If you're wondering what they are looking at, the TV is now in the corner.

My husband and brother in law did a great job at taking down this wall. When I came home that evening the house was so clean you could barely tell antyhing occurred that day. Of course, plaster dust likes to linger, so I've been dusting everything everyday since then, but oh well. Eventually the dust will settle. We're thinking of pulling up the carpet sooner than later for the following reasons:

1- I now have a wall shaped bare patch in our carpet. This wouldn't be so bad if my littlest didn't think it was the greatest spot on earth. He likes to spray his apple juice on the wood to bring out any century old dirt and make a nice muddy mess. Yes, he's a boy.

2- My clumsy Emily has tripped on the carpet edge about, oh, a GAZILLION times.

3- We found out the the boards beneath the carpet have been previously stained, so we're hoping for the best :) If they're in super bad shape, we will paint the floor a dark brown until we are ready to dry wall.

And here's a good before/after shot:

Saturday, October 09, 2010

House renovations

Here's what's been happening in our house lately:

I decided to re-paint the dining room. It was previously the same peachy colour as our living room, giving the dining room a very octogenarian feel. I wavered back and forth between sticking to my earth tone loving self and trying something new, like a pale blue-gray. But after the yellow-kitchen experiment I sided with old self and stuck with a rich olive green. It's practically the same colour as our old dining room on Gladstone, which I loved. And who likes change, right? :) Eventually the carpet will be torn out (who carpets a dining room - seriously. Someone without children I guess) and replaced with a walnut colour hard wood. The living room is next on the list for paint, but until the wall is down there's not much point in painting. I took these pictures just after setting the table quickly for thanksgiving dinner. I figured now was last chance to take some pictures before my house becomes a major construction zone on Monday. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Looking from the kitchen towards the living room

Standing in the living room looking towards the kitchenThis is the wall that will only be standing for the next 2 days. Once it's removed we will be able to enjoy the view of our stairs and double front doors. We will also have more room for our furniture and achieve a brighter and more spacious feel.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A look back.

5 years ago today I was standing at the front of a blazing hot church, draped in yards of heavy fabric, holding the hand of an extremely over-heated male. I was also getting married.

June 25, 2005 was a scorcher - 30 degrees plus humidity. I thought I might die while we were standing in the sun taking our wedding photos. You would never guess from our pictures that we were sweating buckets. We must have had a good photographer ;) I waivered back and forth with regret about taking our pictures before the ceremony. I thought about how terrible I would look walking down the aisle - frizzy hair, streaked makeup, rosy (flaming red) cheeks. But then thought about enduring the steaming hot ceremony in church and then taking pictures - with frizzy hair, streaked makeup, and red cheeks. I figured our pictures had to last a life time, so it was better to get them over and done with.

Oh, and have I ever mentioned that when Justin is hot, Justin is GRUMPY?? This seems to be a trait that runs in the Pennings family. Although my sister in law recently told me that her husband has grown out of this behaviour. But I think Justin will always be affected by the heat. I, however, usually love being hot and can withstand high temperatures. But watching our wedding video, the looks on our faces???? Poor Pastor John. We both looked like we wanted his head on a platter. I remember trying to pay complete attention - after all, this was our wedding sermon! But I also remember staring up at Pastor John and realizing I couldn't see his face anymore. There was only a blackness that was creeping in around him. I knew the heat was barring down on me and could only pray to get through the rest of the ceremony without incident. Thank goodness we were seated - I'm sure if we'd been standing I would have ended up on the floor. But we were finally married (even though my wedding band wouldn't fit on my finger since it was so swollen from the heat!) and rushed to our air-conditioned car that would take us to our air-conditioned reception. During the ride to London Justin managed to sweat through his shirt, vest, and suit jacket. When he got out of the car there was a perfect back-shaped sweat stain left on the leather interior. Yuck.

I bet you can imagine what the first activity was when we finally reached our hotel that night.... that's right. Freezing cold showers for each of us. We had both suffered from heat stroke and barely wanted anything to do with the other. What a romantic start to married life! The next day we skipped breakfast due to our lack of appetite and popped ibuprofen every 4 hours.

But even though our married life together started off a little rough, I am SO glad I endured the heat. We have been through the thick and thin of it, hurt each other and helped each other. I respect him, adore him, admire him, and hopelessly love him. I no longer know myself apart from him. We have intertwined each of our self in the other. He is my provider, protector, confidant, advisor, and best friend. He is the un-conditionally loving father of my children. He is all that I could ever ask for.

Happy Anniversary, honey. Thank you taking the heat.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hello, my name is Jacob.....

I like to start each day early. I usually wake up at 5:45am, a time reserved for fishermen, crows, and of course, babies. But I wake up with a smile on my face and jibberish overflowing out of my tiny little mouth. I can only say dadadadada and babababa with the occasional mumumumum thrown into the mix, but I know what I'm saying.

I am extremely clumsy. On a daily basis I often fall over for no reason from the sitting position, laugh so hard that I choke, and dump full cups of water on my face in the bathtub. Hiccups are immanent each day along with multiple belches, and a few toots that can sometime smell so bad it makes my sister cry (but she's a little sensitive, if you ask me!).

I don't know how to crawl. I think it's over-rated. Instead, I am a world champion roller. If I see something I want I form a direct route in my head and start flipping around. My mom has found me wedged into tiny spaces and inside of the tv stand. Yep, I'm amazing.

My favourite places are the jolly jumper, the bathtub, and my mom's left hip. I'm a good eater and often eat two suppers. My favourite foods are bland baby oat cereal, pasta in tomato sauce, and yogurt. I'm not really into formula and will only drink it at night time or before my nap. I would rather have apple juice.

So far I've had 5 haircuts. I just had one yesterday - my mom's first time! Grandma Pennings is usually is my barber, but my mom did an okay job. She took way longer though.

I love my sister, most of the time. She likes to swing me in the jolly jumper, which is very exciting and fun until I bump into the door frame. She loves to tickle my feet, but I think she needs a few tickle lesson. Good thing it's not summer yet and I'm always wearing socks - she's a bit rough. I think she likes me too, but sometimes it's hard to tell. I often hear my mom speak very sternly to her after she takes away my toys, and tears always ensue.

I know my name and will always respond when someone says it. But I also respond to Jake, the Jakester, Jakereno, Jacobson, and Snake. The last one is compliments of my dad. I also always pay attention to the name Emily. Sometimes I might think it's my name, or if it's being called I know my sister will soon appear.

As my mom types out this blog post, I'm sitting on the floor playing with an old keyboard and eating saltine crackers. Each time I get fussy, my mom throws another cracker at me like I'm some type of zoo animals. Oh well, I'm happy.

My name is Jacob, and I am very loved by very many wonderful people. You might even be one of them ;)