Monday, October 07, 2013

Lauren's diy wedding

 On August 31st, Lauren and Tim got married.

It was SUCH A GOOD DAY.  Awesome weather, no worries, everything went so smoothly.  And, an added bonus, by mid afternoon they were husband and wife ;)

I had tonnes of fun planning this day with Lauren.   Oddly enough, I put WAY more time and effort into this wedding than I did my own.  8 years ago, there was no pinterest or wedding gawker.  Any ideas came from bridal magazines or from other weddings I'd been to.  I basically picked my colours and my menu and told the wedding planner to do the rest.  I had never seen my bridesmaids bouquets until the day they arrived.  I didn't really know what the hall was going to look like.  Or the church.  The day before my wedding I did ZERO prep work.  Interesting, eh? 

Anyway, I digress.  Here are some photos of some of the bigger things we did.  All the photos are from This Moment Forever photography. 
The center pieces.  Babysbreath and rented tower vases.  They took a few hours to make. Each vase used approx. $15 of flowers. 

Table set up
Matt designed the menus and printed them at VanPelts.  We youtubed a napkin folding video, and viola.  A fancy touch.  Megan folded all the napkins
Cupcake table.  The cake plates were borrowed from a friend, crates belonged to Julianna, mason jars from the thrift store, cupcakes made by Laura Morden. 

Midnight buffet and drink table

Signing table.  The old typewriter belongs to Julianna

Blurb book used as a guest book

They had a fun sparkler send off

Front entrance

Windows we used as a seating chart

It took a little over 3 hours to write the names on. 

This was NOT diy.  A decorator from Dutton came in and did the "big" stuff.  The ceiling and the backdrop
Bridesmaids bouquets made by Julianna

All the hydrangeas came from Tim's mom's garden.  Didn't we luck out?  We had buckets and buckets of them

Flower girl baskets from the dollar store and spray painted

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Summer update

 I seriously CAN NOT believe the summer is almost over.  This time next week both my kids will be in their classrooms.  Crazy.  I'm not sure if the cool weather was a contributor, or the fact that we have been extremely busy, but it seems like there should be another month left before school, not a mere 7 days.

The first big event of the summer was Lisa and Dave's wedding.  A highlight for Emily, to be sure.  First time as a flower girl.  She loved every minute of it.  The dress, the hair, the throwing of the petals.  Justin and I were the MCs, so between getting Emily ready, ourselves ready, and making sure we didn't forget anything, we did not get a picture of the 4 of us together.  But we'll all be dressed up again this weekend, so maybe we can make it happen when....

 This lovely lady gets married :)

 Tim's mom and I threw a shower for Lauren at the beginning of July.  We wanted to do one big combined shower of both families and friends, so we prayed for a nice evening to have it outside.  The weather was perfect and the evening went very well.  I forgot to take pictures of all the decorations (I really am not great at remembering to take pictures!) but you can see a bit of the decor in these few photos. 

Every Tuesday we headed out to the soccer fields where Jacob played soccer.  He was SO excited for his first practice.  He liked it all year, but by the time the last few practices rolled around we really had to convince him to go.  But he had fun and we're glad we signed him  up.
 Aunt Jill and Toby came out to watch one of the games.

On August 11th Jacob turned 4.  We had two parties.  Of course on the day of his friend's party it poured all morning so the kids were stuck inside.  A little face paint helped take away the disappointment

Family party with my side
Multi-tasking:  eating a homemade cookie from great grandma and opening gifts :)
 Jacob started to love lego this year, so we put in a special request in the gift department.
 A Yoshi cake made my Aunt Jill.  He loved it.

 Emily attended Make Much Music camp at our church lead by Joan.  Joan teaches music lessons, sewing, weaving, and probably anything else you asked her to teach you!!  Emily LOVED it and the parents were very impressed with their week end performance.  Here she is getting her certificate from Joan.
 These two girls became inseparable over the last few months.  They are from the same mold, let me tell you. They find each other hysterical (when no one else does!) and come up with the craziest games and ideas.  It will be so interesting to watch them grow up together.

This weekend we are celebrating Tim and Lauren's wedding.  Emily gets to be a flower girl again, I am an attendant, and Justin is a co-MC.  So hopefully we can all get to where we need to be on time and be presentable.

On July 1st, I threw my back out while bending over to sweep up a pile of dirt.  I couldn't move much the first week or so and once my back began to heal, my leg started to hurt.  Since then I have had terrible sciatica pain caused by either a hemorrhaged disc or just some general back problem in my sacroiliac area.  My family doctor who prescribed some meds, a chiropractor, and a massage therapist did not help.  I made an appointment with an osteopath and after a month long waiting time I finally found some relief.  The pain relief is not 100% and only lasts for a short time, but it is helping.  I'm hoping that after a few more treatments my bones and muscles will start to stay in the correct placement and the relief will be more substantial and last longer.
But compared to the suffering of many others I know, sciatic pain is really nothing. I am still functioning and able to do most daily tasks.  I am grateful that this will go away in time.

So that's our summer so far. Lots of good memories made and still more to come.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

I have a friend.

I have a friend who totally "gets" me.  We often feel the same way about about life events and share the same opinion on many matters.  We like the same things and have the same taste in clothes, decor, etc. She's someone I can send a random text to and I know she won't think I'm weird (or maybe we are just weird in the same way :) ). We spend many hours chatting about important life changing decisions and useless nonsense like shoes and hairstyles.  There really is nothing you could ask of her that she wouldn't try her absolute hardest to give you.  Our lives are woven closely together in life circumstances and I am thankful.

I have a friend who is my sounding board.  When I am faced with a difficulty in life I find myself frantically typing away.  Sentence after sentence, paragraph after paragraph.  Click click click click.  I look at the screen and a little novel has appeared.  I click send and get a response that usually goes something like this.  'Hmm.  That is a tough one. Let me think about it'.  And she does.  And she gives me wise, kind, thoughtful, loving answers.  And she has a smart husband who sometimes adds his two cents (that are really worth a lot more!).  She has a fierce love for the Lord and inspires me.  She is my heart friend.

I have a friend who is my moral compass.  I bet she has no idea.  When I am making important or mundane choices I think of what she would choose.   She makes me laugh without trying to be funny.  She has wild streak in her that sometimes pokes through and it makes me smile.  She is always, constantly striving to grow in Christ.  She inspires my walk and we swap prayer requests.    She encourages me and gives great advice.

I have a friend who requires no work.  I am always 100% myself with  her.  No facade.  Ever.  She tells me how it is, and I do the same.  I am never afraid of voicing my questions or concerns to her.  She would never say something to hurt me or just to prove herself.  She has such an alive faith.  She talks about Jesus so freely and regularly.  She gets my parenting style and understands some of my more rigid policies.  She is generous beyond belief.  We love long car rides :)

I have a friend who I love to plan things with. We never butt heads and usually turn event meetings into long chats over coffee.  She is easy to talk to and there is never an awkward gap in conversation.   Our plans are often foiled by rain.  I wonder what that means??  She is always optimistic and cheerful. She is never gossipy or speaks ill of anyone.  She has tamed her tongue and inspires me to do the same.  She is a great blend of organization and chaos.  We always have fun and work so very well together. 

I have a friend who is like a sister to me.  We share family, and that creates a bond that is unlike many others.  Hours pass by like minutes when we are together.  I know I can count on her when times are tough.  And I know I can laugh with her when times are good.  She is changeless.  I know we will be friends forever.  When we have grey hair and walkers, we will hobble along together.  We can go 1 day or 1 month without seeing each other and it makes no difference.  She is my keeper of secrets and sharer of dreams. 

I have a best friend.  He is my soul mate.  I cannot imagine life without him.  He has challenged me and changed me for better.  He has provided for me and depended on me like no other. And I have depended on him like no other.  I love him more and more each day.  The longer we are together the fiercer the bond.  The harder it would ever be to separate us.  He lead me to the Lord and is now leading our children there.  He and I are one.  I love him with all of my soul.

I have been so richly blessed with earthly friends.  What a sweet day it will be to commune with them in heaven.  There have been times when I have felt alone and discontent.  That is evil whispering in my ear.    But this is my response.

And, I have a family.  But that will be my next  blog post  :) 

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Why I couldn't break up with Facebook

Less than a week ago, I decided to take a facebook break.

When Justin and I were young and foolish we broke up a few times.  Prior to starting this post I was searching my brain trying to recall exactly why we "took a break" to begin with.  I really can't remember.  Maybe some of my university roommates could tell you, as I'm sure they absorbed all the tears and supplied the ice cream.  All I can remember is that I'm fairly certain we used the "well, maybe it's just time we took a break then" line to hurt the other person.  I know that it was the easy way out.

Taking a break and walking away was easier than facing whatever problem was plaguing our relationship at the time.  Sure there were nights of wallowing, days of anger, and a general sadness, but overall, those were easy things to experience.  Easy in the sense that  all I had to do was cry the tears, slam the doors, and be a grump.  Now, Justin was my only serious boyfriend.  So I have never experienced a "true" break up where the differences are irreconcilable and the hurt is deep.  So if you are reading this and thinking that it is easy for me to say that break ups are easy, you're right. They were "easy" for me. I am not trying to offend anyone. 

Facing your problems and working to reach a solution is hard.  Who wants to do that?  We are selfish people by nature and want everything our own way.  By God's grace Justin and I were (obviously) able to work past our problems and we are both thankful that none of those silly breaks ever became permanent.

So why I am blogging about my dating relationship with Justin when I started this post about facebook?

Well, lately Facebook has really been "bugging me".  Status updates, Shares, Pictures posted, etc, have been rubbing me the wrong way.  Without getting into detail, I am trying to work through some stuff in my own mind, and all this facebook stuff was really cluttering it up.  So I took the easy way out and said "well, I guess it's time we took a break then". 

And don't misunderstand.  Facebook is not important.  It does not compare to relationships. 

But after my break started, I realized that by walking away from the problems, I was also walking away from all the great things it has to offer.

Updates about a very special little boy in our congregation.  Pregnancy and birth announcements.  Birthday reminders.  Pictures of my far away nephew.   Information about school functions.   Recipes containing loads of chocolate!!! 

There are too many good things about facebook that make the bad things seem small and unimportant.  And remember that thing I said earlier about facing your problems?  Maybe I need to take my own advice and just fix what is broken instead of  just taking a break.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Kids, Bubbles, and 1 crazy dog

This is my sister's insane dog, Toby. He is very friendly, sweet, and loves the kids. But he is nuts. Tons of energy and not too much common sense. But the kids sure love him and they keep each other busy and wear each other out.
I'm not sure who had more fun with the bubbles....

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The day we found a dog

One day I looked outside to see a dog running around and around and around our house. I went out to investigate and soon realized we had a lost, very scared dog on our hands.
She was so well behaved and comfortable in the house that I knew she belonged to someone who was probably missing her. The dozen or so tricks she knew were also a good indication that someone spent a lot of time training this dog.
So I called the township and they took her to the animal control building. But they took about 2 hours to get here. And in those 2 hours, Jacob and I became very fond of this sweet girl. It has really made me think about taking the plunge into the dog world this summer.
Anyway, for those of you who love a happy ending, you're in luck. The owners picked her up that night and it turns out she belongs to someone on the fire department with Justin. He lives just down the road from us. So if we ever see her again, we'll just drive her home.

A Reno picture

Sarah Luiting, this is for you. I can't post bedroom pictures quite yet. We are so close to the finish line that I don't want to ruin the "ta-da" factor by posting a half way picture :)

So here is the bathroom floor. Justin spent many painstaking hours not only on this floor, but on this room in general. He built it from the ground up... Before it was part of the hallway and two bedroom closets. So there is no before picture, as it never existed!! Soon we can put the toilet back, the vanity in and install a light. Some baseboard, and we're done :).

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A wordy update

I haven't updated my blog in ages.  Partly because I have been crazy busy.  And partly because it doesn't seem like anything blog worthy has happened.  Those two statement kind of contradict each other, but I've been busy with boring-ish stuff that would not make a very exciting blog post ;)

So I'm just going to do a general update.  For those who are interested and also for myself, so I can look back and say "oh yah, that's when we were finally diaper free in this house" :D

Our house is far from finished but well on it's way.  Our bedroom needs to be carpeted and we need to pick some type of ceiling fixture (the fan vs chandelier debate continues).  The bedroom being completed will affect many other rooms in the house.  Jacob can have his room back (his room has all of his furniture, our furniture, storage totes, extra lamps, mirrors, pictures etc), Justin's clothes can be kept in our OWN room, and the play room will look more like a play room and less like a laundry room.
The bathroom floor still needs grout and then we can put it back together. 
Then we will work our way downstairs and box in the big exposed beam, drywall over the gaps in the wall, paint the walls, and refinish the floor.  That seems like a lot of work, but compare to the work that has been done so far, it's really not bad.  The footprint of the living room will stay the same, so that makes life easier. 
We will give the office a face lift. As fond as I am of mint green, it's time for this colour to go.
The kitchen and playroom are last on the list.  The play room addition was poorly built and needs to eventually be torn right off the house.  The cement floor has shifted leaving a corner of the room slightly lower, it's freezing cold in the winter and steaming hot in the summer.  It has wood panelling and a drop ceiling. It really does not have any redeeming qualities.  So we are dreaming of tearing it off and adding a big family room back there.  Lots of windows so that we can see our backyard and maybe a sliding door for easier access to the bbq area. It would be lovely.  But for now is just a dream. 

Justin has settled into his new role at Pro as project manager. He is enjoying being in the office and we are enjoying his more regular-ish hours.  He has much more responsibility, which brings along more stress, but he is coping well and doing a great job.  As I type this he is most likely in the air flying to Philadelphia.  He is there for a trade show until the end of the week.  And in a few more months he will get to go to either Los Angeles or Scottland for a golf trip paid for by suppliers.  So there are some perks for the added responsibilty :)
Justin is still very involved with the Southwold fire department and of course has all the above house renos that keep him busy in the evenings and weekends.  He is looking forward to summer to get some more outside projects done, too.  

Emily is doing well at school.  She is reading and can make her way through a book if you give her enough time :)  Every day I see more progress and she is spelling quite well. 
She is still a daily challenge with lots of questions, dramatic emotions, and quite the stubborn streak.    She is very excited to be a flower girl in two weddings this summer (for her Aunt Lisa and Aunt Lauren), and keeps asking me how many more days of school there are until summer comes.  
Emily has quite a nice group of friends from school, church, and family.  She is only 6, but sometimes the arguments I hear about sound like something a 16 year old girl would be going through.  I am bracing myself for teenaged Emily.  I think Justin may not survive it.  ;)   
Emily is a strange mix of emotion and logic.  She has matured emotionally this year and is now leaning more towards the logical side of life, sometimes getting along with Justin better than she gets along with me.  She told me a joke the other day that I didn't think was too funny.  She told me she would tell it to Justin when he got home because "Dad gets me better than you do, mom".  ;)  And that is sometimes very true. 
She is very artistic and loves to draw and paint.  She is now in grade 1 piano and doing very well.  We never have to bug her to practice as the piano is played for hours and hours  I am not complaining, but am looking forward to her skill increasing a tiny bit!! 
Emily and Jacob get along much better than they did 6 months ago.  There are still many fights in a day but also many hours of playing. And they miss each other when one is gone.  I am so thankful for this development and prayed continually for this to happen.  It is so nice to see them enjoy each other.

Jacob makes me laugh about 100 times a day.  He is almost always happy and loves to be at home.  He has a joyful personality and likes almost everyone.
Our big news with him is that he is finally potty trained.  It took a long time and I think I tired at least 10 different times to get him to this point.  Emily was potty trained in 1 day, so this was hard for me.  I never pushed him for more than a day or two, and then we would take a month or so break when it just wouldn't click.  But now he is fully trained and takes himself to the bathroom without any help from me.  I am so relieved as I was worried that he would not be trained in time for JK in the fall.
Jacob is going to "Ready Set Grow" at STCCS one morning a week for 2 hours.  He LOVES it and we will both be sad to see it end this month.  He is looking forward to starting JK in the fall and I think he will adjust well and really love it.  When Emily went to JK, we had lots of tears and arguments.  Although I can't predict the future, I really can't see this happening this time around.  It will also be interesting to see the change in Jacob.  When Emily went to JK she already knew the year's curriculum.  Her letters, numbers, shapes, etc etc. But Jacob really doesn't know any of this, so it will be neat to watch him learn.  In the three weeks of Ready Set Grow he learned about robins and plants.
In my opinion Jacob's speech is still delayed.  He has trouble with many sounds like L,N,R,F and ANY blends.  I have taken him to a speech therapist and they told me he is fine.  But we haven't had an appointment lately so I think it's time for another visit.  It is frustrating for him to not have the ability to communicate well, and any non-moms usually don't understand a word he says.
Jacob is a true boy and loves dirt, bugs, technology, and trouble.  In fact, I just had to take a break from this post and rescue a toy car from the toilet bowl.  Yep, trouble.
He loves to be outside and will play for hours in the sandbox.  Inside, he LOVES playdoh, and the iPad.  He can navigate our ipad, computer, and laptop with ease and from time to time has shown me how to fix a problem on one of those devices. 
Right now his passions are Mario, Spider Man, and Angry Birds.  He is past his Thomas phase and has moved on to 'big boy' toys.  He is growing like a weed and I have to take several shirts or pants out of his standard wardrobe each week.  I am sad to see him grow.  I would like him to stay my little boy forever.  I dread the day that he no longer wants to sit on my lap or give me kisses.  So I am cherishing each moment :) 

ME :):
Lately, almost every day has something written on the calendar.  The school auction kept me busy at the beginning of the year and then once it was over, the church bridal shower took it's place.  I love being involved in my kid's school and our church.  I have experienced so many blessing from being on committees or involved in a function that when my life seems so busy that  I don't know if I'm coming or going I know that it is all worth it.  I am on one committee at the school and 3 committees at the church.  So there are lots of meetings and time consuming projects, but God has blessed us with Justin being home more in the evening, my kids being of ages where they can come along to meetings and behave (fairly) well, and people in our church who are willing to babysit and help out when needed. 
This is my first year teaching Sunday School and I have loved it.  I have learned many things this year, even though the bible stories we teach are for grade1 and 2 children.  I have also learned much from my co-teacher and consider it a blessing and privileged to teach with her.  I have enjoyed getting to know some of the older children a bit better and form relationships with them.  Each one has a unique personality and I am so glad that I get to be a part of their lives.
Two of my sisters (technically Justin's sisters, but I consider them my own) are getting married this summer and I am involved in both weddings.  Emily is a flower girl in both, and Justin and I are the MC's for Lisa's wedding and I am the matron of honour in Lauren's wedding.  I am so excited for both of these events and have been spending many hours planning and brain storming up ideas for both.  I have had so much fun dress shopping with both theses ladies and they are both going to look stunning on their big day.  I am planning a shower for 70 people with Lauren's to-be mother in law, so pretty soon that will start to take over part of my life.  But I can't wait.
I will be home alone for 3 days a week starting this September.  Many people ask me what I will do with my time, but I have big plans.   I would like to seriously learn how to sew.  I took 2 classes with a lady from our church, but I have never sewn before in my life, so I still don't have much of a clue! I would also like to join a gym and start exercising.  It is hard to exercise when you live in the country. The roads are not safe to run on, and it's a 20 minute drive to the gym, making it really impractical.  So next year I can go to gym right after I drop Jacob off at school.  I am really looking forward to it. 
I also am looking forward to being able to volunteer more at the school as I won't have to find a babysitter for Jacob.  I will also make use of the three days for things like dr's appointments, grocery shopping, etc etc.   And there are an infinite amount of house projects I can take one once I have a full day without a trouble making three year old running around.  So I will be busy, I'm sure!
I, too, am REALLY looking forward to summer.  And the relaxed days that it brings.  I am hoping to convince Justin to put up a swimming pool and build a deck this summer.  We will see :) 

So that was my LONG, and quite possibly boring, update :)  If you're still reading this, thanks for your interest :)
I have had several requests for food, craft supplies, and a few cries for help (when you make the cat angry, she will bite your feet - something my kids seem to not remember well), so I better get going! 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Getting Organized

Seems like I have seen a lot of posts these days about getting organized.   Maybe it's because the craziness of Christmas has faded away.  Or because you notice a "hot to get organized" book on your mother in law's counter and think maybe that book was meant for you ;).  Either way, I decided that this week will be dedicated to finding homes for homeless things and getting rid of the grime under my end tables (among other things).

Today's job was the playroom.  Our playroom has a lot going on.  The dryer is in there making it a kind of laundry room (or at lease the room where washed and dried laundry waits to be folded), our big chest freezer is in there (since we don't have a basement) and all of Justin's clothes are in there since our dresser is in Jacob's room and Justin leaves before he wakes up in the morning.   We have a futon against one wall making this room an emergency guest room.  Oh, and all the kids toys.  And our wireless computer printer thrown in there for good measure.

So after a few hours, lots of unneeded toys going to BFM, a big bag of garbage - how does that happen...?, and ALL the laundry (except Justin's) being folded and PUT AWAY (something that I struggle with doing in a timely fashion) the playroom resembles more a room than a dumping ground. 

One day, the playroom will be more functional.  Eventually our furniture will be in our room, which means there won't be laundry baskets sitting on the counter.  Our freezer will be moved to our sunroom freeing up an entire wall.  When all the pictures and Justin's guitars are no longer in the office (they will go in the hallway upstairs and in our room) we can move the printer back to the office.   So there is hope for that room yet :)

The rest of the week's schedule looks like this:

Tuesday - Clear out the 'laundry room' aka where the washing machine is.  The cupboard above the washer is not being put to good use, and the top of the washer collects various items from spare change, noise reducing ear muffs, flat irons, and clothes that have been hung to dry.

Wednesday - Living Room:  we have 5 drawers in our various occasional tables that I suspect have mostly junk in them.  I am also going to move the tables and get rid of the massive amount of dust that has settled there in the last few weeks.   And much to Emily's dismay I will disassemble her hiding spot in the corner.   

Thursday - Dining Room:  We have one chest of drawers in there that needs organizing.  And one corner where my poor dusty sewing machine sits dormant along with a booster seat.  Both of those things need a new home.

Friday - Kitchen.  Reorganize every cupboard and ruthlessly get rid of anything I haven't used in the last 6 months.

And then on Saturday I will sit in my organized house and breathe a sigh of relief.  Even if it becomes completely messed up by noon on Saturday, I will know that the mess is only surface dirt and that tidying up will be easy and simple because I will be so organized.  Right???