Monday, February 14, 2011

spread the love.

Some time ago we attended a wedding of good friends where they gave their guests small beautifully labeled jars of homemade jam and preserves as a token of their day. Each jar was emblazoned with what it contained (strawberry kiwi jam, apricot orange marmalade), the names of the bride and groom, and on top was the beautifully appointed font, spelling out the clear and clever logo: "spread the love". (Curt and Rae - you know who you are. l.o.v.e.)

And today. Or I guess yesterday, now. (It's late.)
Valentine's Day.

A day of love. Sort of. You know?

There are those of us that want any excuse or any reason to shower and be showered with love and affection and gifts and physical manifestations of your-affection-for-me-and-my-affection-for-you. Time together. A lunch date with my honey. A reason to be put at the top of someone's to-do list. To be important and shown how much you are loved by another human on this earth.

And adversely -

There are those of us that fight it - say its just a marketing ploy by those big box stores and companies to make another fast buck. And those same us that recognize it can induce a whole lot of expectations and guilt over what this one day supposedly holds above all others. My dear friend talks about this here. And I totally agree with her about loving just as much the other 364 days of the year.

My heart and my mind lean somewhere between these two every year. This year was not much different, but then again - it was. I was thinking about love in a whole new way. In a new light, today and every day. The light from how my heart has changed since falling in love - Head Over Heels - with my wee Amos. But it is fun to love with a little more loudness on this special day, regardless.


The past few days have been a little exhausting with Joel having been gone until late Saturday, sick kids again and again and again - the switch to cloth diapering two children full time (until the diarrhea attacks and after the 7th poopy diaper by 11:30 a.m. - 6 of which were from one child... ugh - so I made the wise decision that it was okay to use disposables again... for a bit).

our stash of fuzzibunz diapers... and two sweet fuzzi-bummed boys


I was starting to say how in being a wee bit tired, I get a little bit cranky. And in the kinda gray weather, I get a little bit more cranky. Not cranky cranky, but just have a little less tolerance for long days and long fevered wakeful nights and such. I keep on keeping on, and my skin gets a little more thin,  I get a little lonely, and my heart and mind get a little sensitive with the lack of sleep and sunshine. Maybe a little oversensitive, but I get soft and defensive and overprotective and Liable To Break Down At Any Moment.

With that in mind, I just want to get this off my chest and move on to bigger and better things.

Well meaning people ask about Amos. Frequently. And frankly, and to be honest, I'm getting a little tired of it.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for It Takes A Village and living in community and people loving on my boy and caring for our family - but these two questions that keep popping up in our day to day lives as the parents and family of this little man with a little something extra - and if you are reading this - now you can know to not ask them of anyone, unless they actually have a child who is ill or is in hospital.





1) "How is he doing?" 

(this question if a lovely question - except for when it comes with a look of sympathy for what they are viewing as his   condition ... spoken with some sense of 'awwww, you poor people, with your little one who has *gasp*        Down Syndrome     - without actually taking into consideration he's gazing at you from right here in my arms or up at us from in his carseat or smiling at me from across the room...)

Okay. Here is my answer. He is perfect. He was released from hospital eight months ago. He is just fine. He is my baby. He is our baby. He eats. He sleeps. He cries (but hardly ever). He poops and pees. He smiles and laughs. He plays with his little toys, at his own rate of development. Just like any other baby. He rolls all the way across the floor. He is a delight. He is the easiest baby ever. He is amazingly cute. That's how he's doing. If someone has a baby in the hospital, you'd ask. If someone has had a baby at home for eight months do you still ask? Once they're well and at home, do you keep asking months and months and months later? No. This is not a condition, Amos is not a victim and neither are we. Please don't feel the need to feel sorry for or feel sympathetic towards us.  He is our child. Just like your child is your child. That is all.






2) "Do you know how high-functioning he will be? Can the doctors tell you anything?"

Do you know how high-functioning or how intelligent your child will be? standard set of chromosomes or not? Is the doctor (who sees my child a minutely, microscopically small percentage of the time in comparison to me, as his mother) really going to be the one to tell me this, nevermind when the child is yet an infant? How on earth would any parent of any child answer this question? Should I saunter over to your house and ask "do you know how smart your child will be?" 

People may feel these questions are fair and well-intentioned. I'm taking this time to tell you they are NOT. They are anything but, the exact opposite. Unless you want me to grill you about how unintelligent, whiny, ugly, or boring I think your child looks, please refrain from commenting on mine. 

*end rant*

So the lesson of the day, folks? Make like the Frank's Red Hot Lady and spread the love. Just love. Jam style. Put that sh*t on everything.

And on to better and brighter things.




jacob running, dancing, happy - then he says "now, rest".


now. rest.


And on Valentine's Day? Yup. We do love up fancy style at our house.


heart shaped waffles and eggs for breakfast.




and a cupcake making bee.




photo credits: Isaac


photo credits: Isaac



our finished cupcakes for school class parties. l.o.v.e.




and lastly, just a few photos from around the house of images that make me happy: in no particular order, and including my Valentine, my children, making cupcakes and 'now. rest.'


my color coordinated shelf of books.




jacob peeking out the window to see what's out there.
his tippy-toes.


yes, he is wearing Amos's pants. he chose them. all by himself.


my orchids.






my big kids. growing up.






toilet paper towers.


mysterious holes in rolls of toilet paper.


aaah. life with a two year old. never gets boring when you have a whole world to discover.
and poke holes in.




their faces. I am so blessed every day.
and have I ever mentioned how much I adore us going for breakfast? I do.



and towers built from breakfast table condiments.


and the new lease on life that is inherent with wee ones. owners of little feet.








and with that, I bid you goodnight.


Spread the love. 
Put that sh*t on everything.




Thursday, February 10, 2011

sunshine and soulcafes

My mother in law posted this quote:

There are few things I enjoy more in life than what I call soulcafes: sharing good stories over good coffee. 
Leonard Sweet

Mmm, soulcafes. I know what those are. Those days, those moments - you know the ones. Cup of coffee in hand, spirits connecting and sharing and eyes meeting, hearts talking - there is truth there. There is love there. Sometimes there is pain there, but it is all good. It's like fertilizer for some. For me. I thrive on these soulcafes. Thank you for the term, Mr. Sweet. (and thank you, Gramma Colleen - the other Mrs. Luyt.)

Sunshiney mornings and happiness go hand in hand. Sunshiney mornings and coffee go hand in hand, just like good conversation and coffee go hand in hand.

Sunshine + coffee + conversation + morning = happiness.

that grapefruit right there? my breakfast. that I got to eat while basking in the sun. glorious.




The sunshine in the morning is so good for the soul.

As is coffee. 

I have mentioned my new coffee maker a few times. Our old one broke. It broke in Aaron's hand, my baby bro in law (I lovingly want to call him b.-b.i.l.), full of piping hot freshly brewed coffee, burning him, smashing on the counter, splashing searing hot liquid all over him, and over me whilst I was cooking dinner in our kitchen. (ouch. seriously, ouch.) I still have freshly healed scars from the wee burns on my foot from it.

the little scars on my right foot.

So the old coffee maker was put to rest, and my hubby went out and got me a Tim Hortons coffee making machine

Now - I am a Starbucks fan. I am. I have long since loved the perfection in their deeply roasted, distinct flavors and warmth and deliciousness and reliability. And the vanilla latte - my vanilla latte. The drink at a heavenly 140 degrees that my tall and tanned and young and lovely Jess led me to some years ago - that my sweet, honest and pure friend - the one who stood ankle deep in my amniotic fluid - precious Steph Who's Got My Back shared the love and devotion to this beverage - Katrina - many a day were spent over lattes and heartfelt conversation - I think soulcafe and I see your face in my heart. And women who are becoming my safety net and bucket fillers and support network here - BettyAnn - let me buy you a coffee - what do you want? no seriously - I'm buying you a coffee. Showing up to unpack boxes, snuggle babies and have conversation welcoming me to our new home, all over Starbucks coffee. The friends both named Angela - one who brews the meanest Starbucks in her kitchen, and whips up a dessert in a few moments while sporting the prettiest red curls with blond babies underfoot - and the other Ang - who's ever enchanting and soul-searchingly lovely, who desires and draws the light of Jesus out of me and who also recognizes that this is not all there is - easily the best dresser I know, she who brings me Starbucks for my birthday, and hands me my friend in a cup through the window at Starbucks after telling me how pretty I look today. Sigh. Such sweet and gorgeous women. Such good friends. Such good coffee.

photo credit: Nicole Vardo

I know my sweet, conscious of all things distasteful with her captivating Way Of Seeing Things - my politically minded [potential] sister in law Kristen abhors establishments associated with any chain, and has a strong distaste for Starbucks - so I feel like I am going against her in saying these things. I really don't mean it against her - it's just I love these women and I love good coffee and I associate so much of these things with Starbucks. It's obvious I don't associate just coffee with Starbucks.

The snob in me, or maybe its the romantic who loves each of these special women who I have a connection over Starbucks - and have made a connection over coffee - a soulcafe - would have loved to have had a Starbucks machine. 

However...

the Canadian in me, the Prairie Girl Living Near The Coast who loves coffee at BettyAnn's - BettyAnn, the same one who's brought me Starbucks several times - the aunt of my husband who has loved on and mothered and nurtured and fed and fed and fed and fed my husband and his brothers as they each and all made the trek west all the way from Ontario (all my bils). Who opened her home to us oh so many times - we stayed there for the first week we lived in Abbotsford (all six of us and our truckload full of our household). The same BettyAnn who, full of so much love, swoops into my baby's carseat with oohs and aahs and can barely hold herself back and pulls Amos so close to her body and I recognize that feeling of wanting to put him into your heart so he stays there just as he is - forever. 
  





 And BettyAnn has a Tim Horton's machine. BettyAnn herself adores having a Tim Horton's machine. And Jacob recognizes the logo. He draws oval shapes all the time and calls them Tim Hortons and says Tim Hortons website (he actually says that. ?) everywhere ... I don't even know if Tim Hortons has a website - but every time he sees the store, he calls out "Tim Hortons. Hey-o!" Everytime he sees the logo or anything resembling handwriting, he calls it Tim Hortons. The cushions on our couch that have script handwriting are Tim Hortons. That alone gives me a wee giggle every day, so the machine won me over - even if it just made coffee.

each one of the papers is Tim Hortons.


What I didn't know was how it made such delicious coffee. This machine, I'm now certain, is the machine they use in heaven for coffee.  Okay, not really - it's probably one of those beautiful, handcrafted, copper Italian breathtaking Pieces Of Art For The Kitchen only the Italians know how to create - art that prepares coffee as it makes you a better person simply by standing in its presence... you know the ones? Yah. I bet they make a heavenly cup of welcoming deliciousness. But still, my lil machine makes some damn good coffee.



And any day I can get to this point is a lovely day that I really enjoy. No chasing the cup before it goes cold and no ring after ring after ring left in an abandoned cup of coffee notbychoice. The sun is shining, I had soulcafe with you, and now I must go scoop up my sweet lovies...

and bask.

 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

love and fate.



If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but to your own estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.
Marcus Aurelius




One year ago now, I was not allowed to work. I had been so graciously ushered into what was My Dream Job of working as a labor and delivery nurse - being a witness to the miracle of birth every day, every night, every shift - and it 
never
gets 
old.




My own babies, my miracles. My digital photos only go back to 2004 so I don't have images from when Isaac and Egan were born (yet), but here they are in 2004 - and 2008 Jacob in the middle - and 2010 Amos on the right


It is an everyday occurrance, but to me -  a new baby coming into the world, and being present when that little slippery body takes its first breath - is a miracle every single time. I was (and still am) a complete novice in there as a nurse - but my reverence and respect and love for the mama and baby as a unit leaves me breathless - and I know it made me a nurse people felt blessed by. And I felt blessed by each and every one of them. Oh, that joy! I had tears at every single birth I was present at. Not even kidding. In my months there, I cannot recall how many births I was a part of, but I can tell you without uncertainty that I had tears and knew without a doubt that I was witnessing a miracle
every
single
time.


And so it was not without some reluctance that I had to stay home due to all of the complications I was experiencing in my pregnancy with this wee boy we were brewing; our little Amos Abraham. The only one who had a solidified name before birth. It was chosen when we learned we were having a little boy, and boy-oh-boy, it stuck. It is my favorite of all of my children's names - but I can't quite articulate why that is. Amos Abraham Luyt. Solid.



I also remember shortly after that time - upon learning of his extra chromosome, the need for emergency surgery, the guaranteed long hospital stay - I remember mourning the possible loss of the use of the name if this little one was to not be born living. They told us that, you know? There was a darn big chance he would never draw breath outside of my body. 


And yet he did.


And then he came home.


Seems so silly and trivial and downright cruel and foul to have ever mourned something as insignificant as an extra chromosome after waiting and waiting to have a warm, breathing, squirming, and oh so beautiful baby boy in my arms - then waiting and aching for what felt like forever for this beautiful boy to come home from the hospital - a boy with a solid name. Amos Abraham. (fireworks just went off in my imagination - along with the sound Joel makes when he makes explosion sounds)


It does seem odd to mourn his Down Syndrome, but we did, I did - and of course that passed. The pain passed away, as it does, as it should - and what I was left with was this overarching, all-encompassing sense of joy, of love, of wisdom, an inner voice telling me that I had joined a new club, a semi-private club - but dude, is it posh. There is a secret in there - and you don't get to the the club, its secret, or reap the benefits if you haven't fallen in love with someone or something that is different.


I don't mean different in any way to be disrespectful, but we all know most of us have 23 pairs of chromosomes. Some people are born with that third 21st chromosome - a fact that makes them different than the general Joe Blow, Freddy Sixpack and Sammy Lunchbox kickin' it out there.


Normy Normalton on the left, Amos Abraham on the right (well, truthfully it's not Amos's karyotype, but you get me, right?)




It's just that - somehow - I mean, I know it's called a syndrome because symptoms run together and are displayed with some similarity in our little loves. Okay, so yeah - but there's something else. And I am becoming more and more convinced of it every day. It's about that secret.
Only those of us who have fallen in love with that extra chromosome know the secret.


I've thought it was Jesus peering back at me through the eyes of my baby. I still think that's true.




I've thought that it is an opening of the eyes, a broadening of the heart - when you fall in love with someone special like this - it makes you see that there is something special and yet something so incredibly normal in everyone who is different, and everyone who is the same, and we are all the same. Does that make sense? Before this, I felt sorry for parents of [seemingly] disabled children (as the world refers to them). But as I've said before - this is not a disability. Anything that creates and molds and nurtures this much good in the people around it cannot be a bad thing. It is an ability. A super amazingly beautiful ability.


I've thought how is it possible that that extra genetic information on such a tiny chromosome (21 is pretty darn small) can make someone so... hmm. So... happy? contented? joyful? restful? lovely? focused on what really matters? He is the definition of joyful. Nearly always. Seriously. The child is chill.


I've thought maybe it was that people like me - are given a baby like Amos for a reason. (people like me? not sure what that is. busy? ungrateful? selfish? bossy? perfectionists? prideful? knuckleheads?) But that's not it, either. Because we're all different.



I don't know why people are given a baby like Amos. But I know why I was.
I was given Amos because I needed him. There is an immense purpose to this child's life - and I for one want to hang on to his coattails and be witness to the miracles. I know I was given Amos because I needed him. I needed the gift of him and his ability, his gift.


Because that's what it is. A gift.
Period.


Hot damn that feels good to say. Suck it world, I have a baby with Down Syndrome and if you don't, you're missin' out! Ha! That's a huge part of the secret, I think.


And a year ago I had no idea I'd be this much in love.






Some people ask if we're going to have more children. And my answer is honest. I want to. Maybe. Yes. Only if God wants us to. I still feel like we're missing somebody. But here's another part of the secret. 


When Joel and I got married, I remember thinking (as many of us do) we need to have babies real quick because I was 31, and turned 32 literally three days after our wedding. We needed to get on havin' babies quick-like because the risk for having a baby with Down Syndrome increases significantly after [maternal] age 35. And here we had Amos when I was 34, and here we thought Down Syndrome was something we wished to avoid.


This is the other part of the secret - and the part I want to usher in a world of change with (think world of hurt, only kinder) is two-fold. Well, three-fold, really:


1) Having a baby with Down Syndrome is not a bad thing
2) Having Down Syndrome is not a bad thing
3) Down Syndrome alone does not define anyone, or their family


So what if we got pregnant again? Went for bambino numero five? Bring it, baby. If God wills it. 


And of course, months ago the thought crept in what if that baby had Down Syndrome, too? (the chance of a second baby with DS is less than 1%, justsoyouknow).


And I thought oh, I would just mourn again. And then fall in love again.


The shiniest, most fantastic and gorgeously refreshing part of the secret is this. 
I would choose this again. Actually choose it. Not mourn it, not Get Through It And One Day Maybe be Happy. Many mamas like me do, in fact, choose it again - there are so many families that have one munchkin with DS, and then adopt another. Or more.


(cue fireworks)
 


But you know what? The weird, controlling, mildly OCD parts of me thought if we were blessed with a little DS baby again - then we would have a matched pair.


About the thought of having another baby...

with Down Syndrome?



see the sunbeams cascading down onto him? straight from heaven. straight up.


tears.

happy tears. Bring it, baby.


Egan's post is still cookin'.  Joel is away this week again. I am rearranging furniture and itching to paint everything we own (as I do every late winter/spring)... and we patiently await the sun, and the dry land. 

Who knew Noah and his wife put up their photo inside the ark while they waited for dry land? From one of Jacob's favorite toys. I love this extra detail. Photo taken during a rare day of blissful sunshiney-ness.

The winner of the mittens, courtesy of www.random.org is:
#7 - Aimee, who said...
I have been meaning to send you a message for a while, and a mitten give-away seems to have been the perfect motivator :) I discovered your blog through Kelle Hampton's Enjoying the Small Things, and have been following your posts from afar for a little while now. I was drawn to your blog initially because of your desire to do in Canada, what Kelle has done for the NDSS in the US. I would be so happy to help with any project you take on and hope that you find one that is perfect for you :) Love from a very snowy Ottawa!
Congratulations, Aimee! Send your mailing address to lauraluyt@gmail.com and I will get those mittens out to you pronto, while you can still use them. And thank you for your kind words, and for joining the happy army. (thanks, Randi, for that one!) I'm excited to see what the future has in store for us. We will make a difference. I know we will.

My rearranged [actually only shifted slightly] living room is awaiting company - laundry basket, toys and all. If you feel like coming over, I'll put the coffee on in my amazing and wonderful new coffee maker. But that's a post for another day.


Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart.
Marcus Aurelius


This was the first week I could look at those photos of Amos in the hospital as a new little wee thing full of tubes and needle holes and not cry tears of pain and sorrow and fear. I am happy to say I now felt pangs of joy and sentimentality in looking back and seeing him as the baby who has already grown and changed so much. I found myself missing him as that wee little baby, just like a normal mother. This is a good thing. It was a good week.

Have an good week. An amazing week. Live like you are different. Love the people with whom fate brings you together, and do so with all your heart.






Friday, February 4, 2011

the philosophy of yarn.

Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
Silver white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things
Maria - My Favorite Things


Those really are some of my favorite things. I love wool. I adore knitted things. I love all things knitted - I love nearly anything made of wool. I am always attracted to the texture, the natural colors, its functionality, its simple and raw beauty.



I found an old project of mine in a box downstairs tonight as I was searching for something else, and just like when I bought the wool in this incomplete project nearly nine years ago, it spoke to me from its box. It not only made me realize why I had not thrown it out or given it away in those nine years. It was ugly and tangled and mixed up in many other things inside the box that couldn't have made less sense if it had tried. I felt a little gasp escape my lips as I remembered this wool, remembered my desire to learn to knit so I could use it. It is so soft, so perfectly muted gray, so beautiful and so lovely. It appealed to me in the same way it had so long ago - but it was a mess. A tangled, unusable, horrid, twisted mess. 

With a sigh and a thought of do I really have time for another project? its loveliness won me over. Of course. I scooped it up, hauled it upstairs, and sat. Cross-legged on the floor, I sat untangling this pile of heathered gray yarn, a supple and warped, matted mess that seemed to have no beginning and no ending. Time passes, I put the kettle on for my evening peppermint tea, and I continue gently pulling, gently tugging, persuading, untwisting and coaxing a seemingly unwilling string to come on now, come on now - there, there - it's okay. Come on out now... and then it comes, and for a few satisfying pulls on the string - gratifyingly it goes... and goes... and my mind wanders again into the depths of soft, gray, possibilities. of potential.

My mind started to wander to thoughts of my desire to dig in deep, and how I am not one who enjoys the banter around in superficial small talk. My heart always always always wants to connect, to get real - to heave sighs and have meaningful conversation and be honest and open to the core - and to allow and encourage others to do the same. Pulling this yarn apart made me think of wanting to dig deeper into my own heart, my own spirit, and fix whatever may be in there that could hold me back from being the me that I was created to be.

My, how this digging and pulling of the yarn can be thrusted along with ease, at times - or it can fumble and lurch and stagger along, slowly but  undoubtedly, and then... stop. 

A snag can be encountered where the thread requires me to stop. I have to do this differently now, the yarn insists. I must slow completely down, and carefully turn it in my hand to not lose the spot where I left off. I move it to my other hand, look at it from another angle, and yet another, and treat it a little more gently, a little more softly, and understand it is not the fault of the wool that it became this way. When it gets tangled like this, an unwilling knot unrelenting its hold on the string, if I were to pull it with the same force I was while it was free and unresisting, it  would simply dig its heels in and hold tight. Batten down its hatches for the impending and possibly ugly storm of my pulling and yanking - and as my desire to make it untangle, make it fix itself becomes stronger and more forceful and more aggressive, the more it just gets tighter and tighter wound into a knot that is nearly impenetrable. Then the knot requires me to go further back down the line, further and further back towards the jungle that used to be the ball, and dig in and untangle back there, attempt to figure out what's causing the mess on the forefront, and then once that is somewhat successful, I can go back to the knot and perhaps, with a deep breath and a renewed sense of possibility, coax a little more out of it.

Aren't we like that? Our fragile little selves, a glorious, beautiful and complicated jumble of knots and love and life and pain and joy and threads and strings that all intertwine and lead somewhere... and if someone pulls or pushes too hard when the going gets tough - we just gnarl up. Hmmm. It may be just woolly yarn, but it gave me a small epiphany just now.

My yarn needs me to be soft, my heart is telling me. 
My heart needs me to be soft, my yarn is telling me.

And then something happens. I reach a point where it just won't untangle. The knot is unyielding. My fingers grow weary, my eyes straining to see where the problem could possibly lie - turning and turning and peeking from below, making every possible attempt at figuring this one out - and then I reach a point where I have to realize this one is really stuck. It is immovable.

I am blinded by the heathery in the gray, each little twisted and soft strand indistinguishable from the rest. I wonder if I must back away, give up on this battle. And again I am struck with the similarity between my yarn and my heart. Not that some things are Just Too Difficult and not worth fighting for or healing or the power of a loving and gently coaxing in trust, but that some knots are just not meant to be untangled. I have to stop, and recognize there may be something else in mind here.

I have no choice but to begin a new task - I pull hard, straining with the string wrapped around fingers on both hands, and with less force than anticipated, the yarn breaks.

and when I will use it to make something, I will encounter this knot again, this break again - only it will be as a new knot. As I tie the new and raw end of the yarn to the old, softened, lengthened-from-pulling end of the yarn, this new little purposeful knot has become part of the new, redefined heart. yarn. 

I have to apologize again for the flash photos. Sigh. Spring and sunshine will be here soon, right?

The new, less obtrusive knot connects the ball of straightened string to the rest of its counterpart - and where the original knot was a flaw and an obstacle and an endoftherope so to speak - now it will be the connection to the rest of the ball, the rest of itself, really - so that now, because of the new knot, it can continue to grow and change and become something bigger and better than it was before. All it needed was gentle hands, plenty of attempts to coax out the bad stuff, and for its maker to never never never give up, and to know that it already was something greater on the inside, and just needed a little more from me.

Wringing the last ball of yarn to completion, my fingers feel around with familiarity, tracing the paths of each strand after strand wrapped in and upon and over and under itself - and every now and again, a small bump is there. Ah, I remember that one. And that one. 

Just like my heart.

And the yarn is okay, even with these scars. It is still useful, purposeful, still beautiful, still strong and just as heathery and lovely and softly supple - and full of potential. Just like me. Just like you. Just like all of us.

And you know? Somehow with the story the untangling of the wool drew out of me, it is more beautiful than it was before.

To all of those beautiful people who take time to leave a comment on my posts? Thank you. You have no idea how many of you have said things that make me sparkle inside. 
Thank you, so much.

How about my first giveaway? A random commenter on this post will receive one of my pairs of homemade mittens, made from a wool sweater, born again. See if they make you sparkle inside.

this little guy sparkles inside always. this is his new favorite pastime, chomping on chins.

Egan wants to do a blog post and is working on it, so stay tuned. It may be next.

Have a warm on the inside, lovely and purposeful weekend. Love big.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

just have to share some pain.

Isn't it crazy how in this great, big world - a complete stranger on the internet can reach out through cyberspace and hit your heart? I read a post earlier today about a family losing a child, their 8 year old son in a sledding accident, of all things. Dear mamas including myself everywhere respond, send out typed messages and want to help carry the weight of such a tragedy, such a loss, such a heavy, heavy burden to bear. Only one such mama's post was slightly different and caught my heart. 
She posted how life doesn't ever go back to normal for a family who has lost a child. 
And Oh. My. Goodness. 

Tears. Pain. Oh, dear mamas.



This dear and precious mother had her little boy go to heaven before he was even four. Ah, the pain. You dear precious family. I don't even have words. My heart is just heavy and hurting and my tears are pouring out and my arms want to reach back out to touch your heart in some feeble attempt at helping carry your burden. 
Hug your babies close. Be grateful for every moment. Pray your head off. And love.
Love hard. Love big. Love intensely. And pray damn hard for the mamas who don't get to kiss their little ones goodnight. Oh my stars, that hurts so much.


it's a beautiful day... on the inside

Randomness. Chaos. Joy. Relaxation. Daddy is home.

This is what my house looks like right now. And that's okay. 

The laundry is clean - it's just that someone's lip gloss went through a few of the loads. 
And this too shall pass. Tomorrow is a new day for mountains of laundry and a sink full of dishes. We had company.
And we chose time with them rather than the jobs.




We've been a bit housebound. It rains a lot here. We love the rain. Despite what the forlorn faces of these dripping, soaking wet children may say, they really do love the rain, and have embraced it with a fervor that far outdoes my own. Isaac celebrates the rain.


Isaac was simply standing in the street for nearly fifteen minutes, literally soaking up the rain, and loving every minute of it. Egan stepped into the street to copy him, once she saw me taking a picture.

Just the same, the rain can get to you. Okay, so it can get to me. The cloudy overcast perpetually gray days do not provide ample light for me to do indoor photos without a flash that are the natural style photos that speak to me and are my-way-of-doing-things. Never mind that the gray seems to seep into your very bones...but this too shall pass. When life gives you lemons rain, you make the best of it and invest in an umbrella. (?) Lemonade, umbrella, you get it. 

And sometimes that lemonade gives you an unintentional breathtaking perfect shot.



And we got some bad ass shark rubber boots.

see that cord over there? yup, my camera cord. meet Jacob, shark boot wearer and hider of various important items at various inopportune times.


And when the sun finally makes a delightful, welcome, warm and pleaseohpleasestayjustalittlelonger appearance? You run with it, baby.


this is where we live. beautiful british columbia.
 
Still, one has to make the best of it, or, as I say be where your feet are.
Some may say bloom where you're planted.

I like making stuff. Lots of stuff. Crafts, food, clothing, paintings, furniture, art projects, flower arrangements, wedding cakes, other cakes, cupcakes, sausage, repurposing old items into new useful things, refinishing & recovering furniture, coloring, anything-from-scratch, and a great, great many other things. One of my latest projects involved turning a frumpy notbeingworn pair of flared jeans into a sleek new stylish pair of skinny jeans. Fun.

Photo credit: Saartje
I jumped at the chance when I saw the message on facebook to have the first five commentors on my status update be sent an item of my choice - the only catch was it has to be homemade. I was in to the hilt.
Ladies - hate to break it to you, but I'm fairly certain you're getting my sweaters repurposed into mittens. You all live in a much, much colder climate than I, and I just think this is just such a super cool project.            

One day I will teach myself to knit. I will embrace where I am living, pass the rainy days with layers of woolen slippers on my feet, a handspun blanket around my shoulders as I sit in my handmade-by-myself adirondack chair (another little dream of mine) while I sip steaming, swirling coffee on my front porch and knit lovely gifts to warm hands and hearts the world around. 

Sounds lovely, doesn't it? You just want to come join me. Do it. I've already got the coffee on.


Our Company.
We just had our lovely friends come for a impromptu visit, a planned stopover between their weekend in Vancouver and their flight back home to Alberta, to the snow and wind and chill in Calgary. What a blessing, to have some dear friends, old friends, friends that got married a few short weeks before we did, to have them stop in, get in some comfy clothes, pour a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, scoop up a baby, and pick up the conversation where we left off as if we saw one another just yesterday. 



And a pot of coffee always tastes better with someone else, and eating a meal or two is always a grander occasion with friends. 

At a favorite spot of ours - Mission Springs - the kids always love pulling the steam whistle at the door - the louder, the better.

I tried several times to get a photo of this steam whistle and the delight in everyone's faces in making this loud noise by yanking on the rope, but alas, had not realized the cord in the photo of Jacob-shark-boots-boy was my camera charger and had not charged my battery and so the battery died. Sheesh. My apologies for yet another batch of iPhone photos.

Mission Springs Brewery
 


I love my little boogaloo.



Lani makes eating a burger look beautiful.



Jacob is just the star of the show wherever we go. He makes friends with anyone and everyone, and is just an all-around delightful little boy. After lunch, he was given a floating red balloon which his daddy tied safely to his wrist. Only upon getting outside, this little sweetie decided the balloon needed to go free. And so they set it off, Jacob beaming all the while. It brought a tear to my eye. What a special boy, with such a special spirit. Setting a balloon free. *sniff.




It was a delight to have you here, Dan and Lani.
Thank you for your heartfelt, soul searching and healing conversation. 
Sorry there was so much laundry in the way. I know you don't judge me for my laundry. 
Bless your souls. Come back anytime. Come back often.

Amos is way into this face-touching, soul-grabbing, I want to bite your chin thing right now - and let's just say every little bit of his lovely and golden personality creeping out of his sweet self makes me melt. Makes everyone melt.


oh, this boy. you delight my soul to the core.

Sitting around the table, after dinner conversation between this mama and the beautiful children she's been blessed with. At the ages of the oldest two, the talk of puberty is becoming an increasingly popular subject. Some time ago, Isaac overheard us adults discussing the issue of hormones in milk and the theory of girls hitting puberty at earlier and earlier ages than ever before due to said hormones. Isaac shared he thought it was watermelons that had hormones in them. Whether or not this is true, I don't know. He spoke of his class, the girls who are all beginning to bloom into the beginnings of adulthood (in Grade Five. Yes. Five.) a.k.a. -  they have boobs.
 
him: "Seriously, mom - all of the girls have boobs. I mean - all of them. Seriously."

me: "All of them? Are you sure?" (disbelievingly, as this was not the case in my day)

him: "Mom - (very serious voice) when we moved here, the first day I walked into my classroom - the very first thing I thought was, "boy, they sure must like watermelons here" - seriously, I'm not even joking."

Giggles ensued. It was a good conversation. And I learned my baby boy is growing up. And talking to me. I am grateful. And it is bittersweet. 

portrait of Isaac - by Egan

And my girl. She is beautiful. She is so little on the outside. But she is IMMENSE on the inside. Her persona doesn't fit indoors most days. Fashion consciousness is alive and kicking. Little fiery one.




Happy Groundhog Day. Hang in there for what apparently so-I've-heard is going to be another six weeks of winter. Be where your feet are. Seek out what makes you melt, and maybe if enough of us are melting, maybe things will warm up. 

I'm off to snuggle with my littles.

It might be raining outside, but in here? It's a beautiful day.











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