Friday, December 16, 2011

a Christmas post.

Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of life (not just of this season), I fall prey to lacking spending that real, honest, I am so feeling this right now quality time with my Man, my children - the times where they get to see the real me. the real Laura - the one who I am when I let go of life's stresses - the one I am at my core, in my heart, the one who loves deeply and cares tenderly, the Laura who can be really funny, the one who makes friends easily, the one who is relaxed and fun and silly and such. Sadly, this Laura doesn't come out to play nearly often enough as she gets wrapped up in sweeping floors and washing diapers and naptimes and laundry piles and unwashed hair. And floors. And all that jazz.

Even my Hubs doesn't get to see her all that often. And this is really a shame.

However, sometimes I am she. I am present, I am relaxed, I am funny, I am me. Fortunately, this little man encourages that me out of her my shell more often than not. That is good. But it's not good enough.

Today started much as any other day - we awoke, Daddy went off to work, I put on a strong pot of coffee (to ward off the sleepiness from the toll the impenetrable cold season is taking on our household), and I began the balancing act of making nine sunny-side up eggies and toast and blueberry applesauce for the four hungry tummies requesting such fare. Yes, between my four children, it is not unusual to go through nine eggs for one simple breakfast. (Hence the reason the sweet Papa provided us with six dozen in the fridge at one time).

Said breakfasts were hungrily consumed before this Mama could even sit down to drink said coffee, so there is no photographic evidence of neither eggies nor toasties. Nor coffee.

Shortly after breakfast, the biggest boy very reluctantly began his final final final work for this term's school work - he has one research report to complete, a process that is badgering, haunting, consuming and eluding him all at the same time. Needless to say, he sat down to commence this treacherous ordeal. And somehow, between his researching Terry Fox and his Marathon of Hope, this mama realized she is just as highly distractible as these fine children God has entrusted in her care.

Somehow, research reports be damned, we ended up in a full-scale knock-off-ichiban-no-name noodle war... noodle packages whizzing through the air to the sound of squeals and laughter and "get her!" and packages pelting flesh (mostly mine) - a war complete with semi-uniformed soldiers, hand-built barricades blocking the kitchen, four children against just me (only three as soldiers, really, as the watchful babe was an innocent spectator... whom I'm proud to say suffered no bystander injuries in this war). Don't ask me how we went from researching at the computer and breakfast dishes and wishful cups of coffee to fully throwing packages of uncooked noodles at each other. But it sure was fun.

There is also no photographic evidence of this war. But amidst the giggles, squeals, running-running-running, more squeals, breathlessness, sliding around corners in stockinged feet, and the ninja-star throwing tactics of the biggest boy, we. had. a. blast.

An absolute blast. My children got to play with me.
And it was good. 

The only evidence left is the sad, crushed-to-bits and wilted packages of noodles, and the swept up remains of millions of broken noodle pieces from the one package that exploded upon impact after several (and I mean several) attempts at it being flung directly at this mama, strewn into the remains of yuck on my kitchen floor (and this is even after I had swept multiple times today, thank you very much).

Then they rested. And that was our morning. Amen.

And Isaac finished his report. *so proud*.

In eight days my biggest boy turns twelve. Twelve. ohmygoodness. I can't actually fathom this, and then again it feels like the most natural transition in the world.

A month to the day before his twelfth birthday, my middlest boy turned three.

Yes, Jacob is three.
We had a simple, lovely little party with only a few people over. Auntie BettyAnn gave Jacob the flying butterfly catching game Elefun. It was a hit. Jacob, the one who is wildly passionate about all things musical, also received a guitar from us and a ukulele from Grandma and Grandpa Rutherford. So far besides this interesting fake 'rocking out' as a lefty on them, his favourite thing to do is tune them himself. Needless to say they don't sound well when anyone else tries to play them. One day, one day.


When the simple birthday decorations came down, bit by bit, the days get shorter and the evenings become drawn out and warm - it is then that some of our favourite decorations began to emerge and adorn our walls again. Our home has become festive. cozy. Filled with the wonderfulness that is this season. And it is good. What a  treat to watch the children's faces as they get all excited and giggly and full of memories as we pull strings from boxes and speak of years gone by. For all of us to be witness to these two small boys be utterly thrilled over something as simple as coloured lights on a string is just such a sweet gift in and of itself. Then again, we all are excited over them - because the lights on a string are sparkly, beautiful, and somehow even a bit magical.

Somehow more than any other season of the year, I simply love bringing beautiful, simple and rustic things indoors. They make my heart happy.

Papa languishing in a delicious midday nap with the littlest pumpkin.

We saw some of these pretty, feathery Christmas-tree decorations in a store for over $20 each. As I have several times before, decided I could do that myself... thinking they would be inexpensive and simple to make. Funny thing is - they were. My girl and I sat one afternoon, glue-guns in hand, music a-playin', and stuck feathers to curled and curved bristol-board taped into cone shapes and voila! Feathery, dreamy, white homemade Christmas trees to adorn our mantle. Not bad for supplies we had on hand at home free!

The sunshine has been a frequent visitor these days, a presence for which I feel extremely blessed. The littlest bubby has been discovering his shadow, and sparkles, and sunbeams. 

This hand rolled book-page paper wreath was both a interest idea and an idea borrowed from my friend Angie's home... hers looks much more fabulous above her mantle than mine does here.

One night's all-of-a-sudden snowfall was an unexpected white Christmas surprise... there were many children's faces peering out blackened windows into the glow of streetlights, hoping the flakes would last until morning.

Last they did, out the children went, small snowmen were made, large snowballs were rolled, and three children got very muddy and very, very wet. This mama forgot to take out the camera. *sigh*

Thank you, Opa and Grandma Luyt! Here are some shots of the kids enjoying part of their birthday presents!

My girl and I have been busy in the kitchen. She is in love with all that is helping and pouring and mixing and creating... and many new treats have come from our oven and our hands this season. Jacob is in love with helping, too. His favourite is measuring flour.

Christmas 2011. 

And now we are sending the biggest boy off to his youth group Christmas party at church, and the rest of our clan are off to see the drive-through living Nativity. 

family. warm. happy. home. fabulous. 

Have a fantastic weekend. May you enjoy decking your halls as much as we do. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

let it roll.

When I began this post back in early November, my computer was not even functioning. I had been trying for several weeks to even sign in here to my blog - and this is a miracle that it worked that day. 

It keeps telling me how the startup disk is too full for applications to open... so I can't transfer photos from my camera to the macbook, I can't open any files or programs the kids need for their homeschooling activities, I can't even delete excess photos to free up space because I get an error message that says something about the hard disk being too full to access the photo program so any changes I attempt to make are lost. Sigh. I guess I was forced to take an even longer hiatus from blogging than I had intended. And now we have a new computer. I am thrilled. So I sign in tonight and find I have had over twenty thousand visits to my blog. Wow. I am more than thrilled - I am honored. 

I find I get a little mixed up about what time of year it is here, with all seasons kind of blending into one at times. In this perpetual autumn we are basking in out here, we have had so many opportunities to soak it up outside.
 No. Big. Deal. He's just elastic boy. 

Here are my much belated Halloween pictures. And here is Amos as a sweet little monkey and his much enjoyed (really?) mad face. 

Isaac was a Secret Agent, Egan was a fairy, Jacob was a pirate, and Amos was the wee monkey that both big brothers have dressed up as at his age, too. Sigh. Feel kinda silly putting these pictures up here while listening to Christmas music and munching on Christmas baking (I participated in my first ever baking exchange! So fun!). But I can't say I haven't been busy in my absence, and I can't say I haven't enjoyed the time I've had being present with my family.
All in all, my extended absence has been fitting for the extended season in our lives. Out here in beautiful British Columbia, we are blessed with this long, luxurious, extended autumn.  
More than once, this stretching and patient changing of one season slowly and carefully into another has reminded me of the extended babyhood we are blessed with in all that is this precious boy.  
Even though he is now past 18 months old, he seems to be this perpetual, slowed down, carefully and tenderly growing flower blossom of a babe similar to a typical child about half his calendar age. I've had more than one mama bless me with her tender exclamation of wonderment and joy at his extended baby-ness, and what a treat that must be. It really is. There was a period of time when he was much younger that I was bothered by the sloooooow motion developmental path, but now? I wouldn't change it for anything. I've said it before and I'll say it again: he was everything I ever wanted and never knew I needed. So blessed.

Blessed. Gifts. Presents. Presence.

I have all these grand ideas.
Especially after becoming enthusiastically inspired by tips on pinterest and stumbleupon... I have a number of files on my computer's burstingattheseams hard drive labelled crafts, decorating, girls' clothes, bedrooms, and all these simple, ecclectic, thrifty, oh-so-cool ideas to enrich our lives, save the dent in our pocketbooks, and outfit our bodies, our home, and our lives with fun, funky and fresh handmade things.

And then I never get to them. Well, sometimes I do. One day I will more. Maybe later today. Or tomorrow. Maybe. Or maybe I'll pull a day where I accomplish a whole pile of things... and then blog and share pictures. Maybe. 

But now?
We are decking our halls, baby. Jingle bells and Nativity scenes commemorating the awaiting for the arrival of our precious Savior. And I adore the simultaneous turning inward and outward that this season musters out of us. I am filled with such gratitude at His presence. His gift.

Somewhat recently Joel facilitated a getaway in celebration of our anniversary, and of my birthday at the end of October. The big three-six. Eep. 
A night away. 
Amos joined us as my beautiful man knew I wouldn't fare well if my littlest sheep was away from me allnight, so he orchestrated a private afternoon & dinner for just us, and had his brother Aaron and my sister in law to be, the lovely Kaiti, bring Amos to us. Delish.
It was such a gift, for Joel and I to be in each others' presence in a way we hadn't been for far too long. My handsome man. Such a gift, when we are truly present with one another. It was also such a blessing to have this beautiful little designer kitten all to ourselves for the evening. What a sweet gift.

Gifts. Presents. Presence.

Also in October we took part in the Surprise 25th Anniversary celebration of Scott and BettyAnn - their five children planned and worked together to give them the gift of this day of recognition. They are Joel's aunt & uncle, yes - but have become such an important and wonderful part of our lives and our family. Family, here. Presence. 
Jacob loves hanging out with Liam. He also loves juiceboxes at Aunt BettyAnn's house.
All of the above Anniversary photos were taken by the lovely and talented Sadie Ball.
Austin, their youngest, recorded a number of people giving video wishes to the couple - and time after time their friends and family would say they are just so relaxed. They are so easy-going. 

When they were asked what the secret was to 25 years of happiness? (Because they really are happy.)

"Just let it roll."

That's what they both said. Just let things roll off your back, forgive and forget. Like the magnet on our fridge says A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers. That kind of love is such a gift. 

They are honest when they say let it be, and let it roll. Good words to live by. It's been such a gift, such a series of gifts getting to know them and their (our) family more.

Gifts. Presents. Presence.

But I digress... after this first term of homeschooling, I am feeling I am in serious need of a vacation. Amos does not even come close to sleeping through the night. Jacob is up several times a night. Joel snores sometimes and other times hogs the covers. With all four children home I no longer am afforded the luxury of a nap when the little ones nap - also because Jacob no longer naps. And if I leave the room for even a washroom break, Isaac and Egan take that to mean it's time to giggle and interact and knock their chairs over and other tomfoolery ... sometimes having one single page of writing take nearly 7 hours... Seriously. I am worn out. A friend of ours had her baby go away with his daddy for an entire weekend... I'm not even sure that that's what I want or what I need - fairly certain I'd just about die leaving my littlest bub... but the break and the rest and the ceasing myheadisspinningduetotoomuchtodo would be ever so lovely.

But either way I just need to let it roll, right? Because this too shall pass. And one day we will all look back on this time of being in each others' presence and feel so blessed, so gifted. 

Gifts. Presents. Presence.

And a very special time of year is upon us.

There is much struggle in my family with this season, who, what and where God is calling us - and I can't get into that for a variety of reasons. We all are learning as we go, as my sister says. We all are.

As for us in our house, our little ones are trembling with excitement to deck our halls and gingerly and tenderly wrap thoughtfully chosen gifts for one another and place them under the tree in anticipation of how their faces will light up when they see what they've blessed one another with.

Gifts. Presents. Presence.

And relax. Christmas post coming soon. Be present with one another. It is such a gift.
I have a finally-home hubby, a warm sofa, and a hot mug of tea and something sweet calling my name. I'm off to have a glorious evening. Have a glorious week.

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