Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Snow Friend

I cheered and the kids boo'd each morning when the landscape remained green over Christmas, but it wasn't until the little one squealed with joy the night the snow came, that I was truly thankful. Ashanti screamed and ran from room to room announcing the arrival of the white present she'd been obviously gifted by God. She finally settled and stared out the front door sidelights and just talked to the falling flakes like she had been waiting for a long-lost friend,
"Are you coming Snow?" 
And then she answered back for her playmate, "Yes, here I am." 
And then her grateful assertion, "You're here, Snow!"
Her playmate didn't stay long, but enough to need a little scooping up by morning. We were pleasantly surprised when Uncle Kevin was the one to come to remove the snow. He's usually behind a desk. I had to photograph him as a memory :) All the kids waved with the event of it all, and I gained a tiny bit more love for the cold stuff Ashanti calls her friend.

Sunday, December 27, 2015


Smidgies are my favourite. Big or little, I love kiddos and my life is full of them. Am I always the patient and ever-lovable momma? Nope. Man, has God got me learning life-altering lessons with small people. But, I do adore them. I've been called a "baby-licker". I think that's a compliment? :)
Here are a few of my smile-inducing photos that didn't quite make it on the blog yet. I don't know how I missed them because they're so very precious.

1977. standing back and watching them care for her
1978. these two and their shenanigans
1979. celebrating Ameen's first birthday!
1980. Parker is not far behind!
1981. my two Shifra girls
1982. swimming with the MacLarens
1983. when they just know what to do when she cries
1984. for how many times I actually get to type that big kids help little kids regularly
1985. jumps of all sorts
1986. that he was a baby just yesterday and is now leaping into a pool with no life-jacket--hardest to imagine with this sweet boy
1987. how she came along after those twin boys and made our world an even better place
1988. how Leanne and I birthed all these babies that look like a crowd of people! Oh yeah, they are!
1989. our built-in life-guard :)
1990. it bears repeating--biggers helping littles
1991. end of the walk exhaustion and the upcoming nap

Friday, December 25, 2015

Homemade Love

It's a bit of a chore peeling apart balls of aluminum foil wads, but we each do it anyway, knowing the gift inside is given with love from Oliver. Patience pays off and a piece of bubble gum, torn off of his larger roll is the reward. My favourite part of Christmas at home? When kids give presents they've created or bought themselves. We're getting more and more "regular" grown-up-ish things, but those homemade ones stuck together with hockey tape or wrapped in an egg carton are reminders that when I feel the kids are so big... well, they're still young. The best part? Watching them get all giddy waiting for their siblings to open the treasures in which they've put great thought. 

Hmmm... could this be what I think it is?
Ashanti's momma got to have her for Christmas Eve, so we opened gifts with her Christmas Night.
How she loves doing "Itsy-Bitsy" with Molly :)

Merry Christmas, friends!
May Jesus fill your homes and hearts with peace.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Baking For Little Bits

Mixing cookie dough with these two "little bits" means a whole lot of mess, a whole lot of taste-testing, but memory-making that lasts :)
the calm, after fighting over who gets which cookie cutters
making silly faces for the camera
meticulous cutting
those chubby hands :)
yeah, that taste-testing...
caught! might as well show off!
turning cookies that flopped into mini muffins? yep, it happens.
 "Offie, you my best friend." -Ashanti 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Backyard Discovery

Molly came breathless, running into the mudroom, door slamming behind her "Mommy! There's a fox in the backyard!" In about four seconds, I'd grabbed my camera and ran barefoot in my pyjamas onto the deck. It was wet and cold and I shoved the camera at Meghan, who had followed her siblings and me. 

"Here! Try and get a photo if I miss him!" I scooted back inside for some boots and a coat. Who knew if I'd be tracking the little guy far from the yard. Oliver, Molly and cousin Sadie were crouched and pointing behind our thirty-foot spruce.

"He's just lying there all curled up!" 
"Aw, Mommy, he's so cute."
"Should we go up to him?" 

I turned my lens to zoom in and took a few steps toward the evergreen. The fox didn't move. In fact, he didn't seem to mind me coming closer and squatting near him at all. That concerned me a little but I really wanted a good photo :) I told the kids to stay back. The fox yawned and scratched himself. He was completely disinterested in us. I shot several more photos. It was as though he was posing, turning his head this way and that. Then he curled up a little tighter. 

The kids chattered behind me and I stood and told them to run and get Sadie's mom, who was working down at the nursery. As we all dispersed, I looked back and the fox was gone. "Nevermind," I called, "he left." I carefully and quickly strode in the only direction he could've gone and I spotted him sitting beside the horse paddock by the fence. He strolled along the pasture, perfect gait, no evident injuries. He didn't seem sick. He just seemed calm and quite used to city-life. Urban-sprawl having much to do with that, no doubt. Our woods across the road had been dwindling for years. 

I was taken with this sweet fox's beauty and am always amazed and grateful when God points out less common parts of His creation to us. He trotted off toward a small shed at our nursery and I headed back to the house. The kids mentioned later that they saw him again. Perhaps he'll hang around for a while. I'm glad my kiddos find just as much joy in wild creatures as I do. But, discovering them in your backyard while playing? Even more exciting!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Baby Jesus Is Missing

It was silly of me to only wear a raincoat with the temperature near freezing, but the laughter between Molly and I kept me warm as we scurried from store to store. We pulled up to our final destination of the evening--a thrift store--and hoped to find a little table for her room in this last place. We giggled about our shopping adventure thus far: how the lady at Michaels placed her tiny Yorkshire terrier on the floor for us to see and he took off on her and we watched her chase him around the store. We laughed at how we kept bumping into people we knew. We counted them up, even the old childhood friend of mine, and they numbered seven--in two hours. We remembered the man in Walmart who scared us at first with all his chatter, but we realized that he was merely bumbling in sharing his Christian faith. And, Molly made fun of the way the photo machine worked every time she touched it, but my fingers tapping the screen paused it every time. However, the thing that left us in stitches was our second-hand store incident centred around a Christmas decoration.

On our way to the furniture section, a lovely nativity set in a basket caught my eye. We own about five sets since I like to make our home decorated in the real reason for the season, plus, I always wanted the kids to play with the scene without worry of them breaking my delicate ones. I called my daughter over to enjoy this amazing find with me--and at the low price of $6.99! I held up each hand painted ceramic figure and admired. It was so unique! The little donkey had a small shepherd hiding behind him and the camels looked real. I loved it. Suddenly, a woman moved in close behind me and exclaimed, "Oh that's beautiful!" in a thick accent. She nearly hung over my shoulder and continued commenting about the treasure, clearly desiring it. I smiled and agreed, then she walked off. 

As I gently moved each piece around, I noticed that Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus were missing. "Aw, too bad. The most important ones aren't here." I mumbled to Molly that I now knew why it was that cheap. I returned the basket to the shelf and the woman stepped up to us again. I told her there were missing pieces, which she didn't seem to mind. She went to lift a wise man and I informed her that the most important person was absent from the group. Just then, she understood. She also replaced it and walked away.

A few minutes later, we heard a man with the same accent calling to his wife that he'd found a nativity set. By now, she was a little ways from him. She tried to tell him she'd already seen it. He called to her again assuring her she'd like it. Molly and I just looked at each other and began to chuckle as they comically yelled back and forth about the illusory gem. Finally, the woman declared across the drapery rack, "The Baby Jesus is missing! That's the most important piece!" 

I had spoken the very same words to her but it was her declaration that struck me: if the Baby Jesus is missing, what's the point? All the fun, fury and fellowship of Christmas is nothing without the connection to the One who made the season real in the first place. No wonder there are stresses, obligations, debt and depression in December. If we could remove all the traditions, all the shopping, all the commercialism, and bring it back to the manger, there would be so much more peace in our hearts. Not that there's anything wrong with celebrating this beautiful holiday, but Jesus can't be removed or we've lost the Origin of all Love. Without Him, we are only play-acting at this holiday thing. I encourage you to "find" the Baby this Christmas. Make Him the centre and see how much clearer the world becomes.

 Some are broken from much kid-use :)
 Some are in stables they did not originate from when I bought them.
 Almost all are gifts or second-hand.
 The kids like to mix and match :)
 I came home to one set on the back of the toilet. Someone wanted to make every room special :)
 I like the ones that actually look like the area of the world they are from.
 He teaches her.
 She finds all the Baby Jesus figures.
 She claps at the fun of it all :)
Learning the story at three years old will always help her to know when Jesus is missing.