Thursday, November 26, 2009

It All Pays Off

So, today is American Thanksgiving and even though I am Canadian and celebrated this holiday a month ago, I am grateful today for so many reasons!

~ For the support of family and friends when Jared and I decided to move back to Winnipeg for Jared to finish school, instead of staying in Edmonton, even though he would have been done a year sooner.
~ For the Canadian government who has given us all the money in student loans. We wouldn't have been able to pay the bills without it, even if we did have to fight you tooth and nail for most of it.
~ For the National Child Tax Benefit and the National Child Care Benefit, who give us free money each month just for making cute babies. :)
~ For my inlaws for graciously offering for us to live with them for 8 months so that we could save up a down payment for a place of our own.
~ For the wonderful professors at Booth, who continually pushed Jared to reach his potential and actually finish his degree.
~ For all the support from family and friends when we decided to have kids while Jared was still in school.
~ For all the monetary gifts from family and friends over the years. We have never ceased being amazed at the unexpected ways in which God has provided for us over the years!
~ For all the meals, and clothes and other gifts of love that have been given to us.
~ For my husband. For persevering through SO many obstacles and actually finishing your degree! For putting up with me when I'm pregnant and miserable to be around! For letting me work at home for peanuts so that I can be with our kids each day. For being my best friend and continuing to love me, even when we drive each other crazy!

But mostly today, I am thankful for West Region CFS, the agency that has taken a chance on Jared and offered him a job!!!!! Words can't describe how incredibly excited I am for this opportunity - I know he's going to be great at it !!! All of the hard work and sacrifices have definitely paid off and I can't wait to start this new chapter in our lives!

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Love Affair Like No Other

Unfortunately, this is not a love affair that I enjoy. Rather, it is painful and annoying. It pops up at the most inconvenient times. And quite frankly, I would much rather live without it!

What is this affair I speak of?

It's between me and my box of Zantac.

{image found here}

Yes, you read that correctly. I, unfortunately, am plagued by heartburn while I am pregnant. And after four bottles of Maalox I had to switch to Zantac with my daughter because the Maalox just wasn't cutting it anymore. This time, I have decided to go straight for the hard stuff. No chalky pink tablets in my mouth this time around! Thankfully, the Zantac does the trick - although I wouldn't mind if it didn't take half an hour to kick in. Oh, the joys of pregnancy!

Speaking of which - I have another love affair to share about - the one with my baby. I had my ultrasound today and got to see our latest little bambino dancing around on the screen. Apparently this baby is pretty active - the tech even said it's the most active baby she's seen in a long time! I had to chuckle at that. The other two were quite busy as well, but I think this one has definitely wiggled the most during the ultrasound. Seeing him/her on that screen makes everything so much more REAL! I've had no doubt I'm pregnant - the growing belly, the heartburn and other symptoms, and the little kicks to the bladder each day have assured me of that. But to actually get to SEE this tiny, living little being inside of me. Words can't describe how incredibly cool that is! I love it! Now we just have to wait 20 more weeks and we'll get to meet him/her!

Unfortunately, I don't have any ultrasound pics to share today. You have to order a CD of them from our hospital and it costs $50, plus tax. We decided to forgo them this time around because we plan on making a trip to Baby Moon Ultrasound and we'll be getting pictures from there. We went with Shaela because we wanted to find out her gender and they won't tell you at St. B's. We haven't decided for sure yet if we'll find out this time around or not, but the quality of pics you get from Baby Moon is way better than the ones you get from the hospital - mainly because at Baby Moon, they are just showing you all the things you want to see - the face, the hands and feet, the arms and legs. Not the heart, and the lungs, and the kidneys like at the hospital ultrasound. When you get the CD back from there you can tell what you're looking at in about 4 of the 30 or so pictures. Not very fun to show your kid when they're older! Plus at Baby Moon they give you a DVD of the entire session and print off a bunch of pics for you, in addition to a CD of all the pictures. A MUCH better deal for your money!

So, today, instead I have 20 week pictures to share! I got a new dress and some super cute boots the other day that I was dying to show off. :) Enjoy!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Second Cup How I Have Missed Thee

{image found here}

This evening my husband and I were feeling the need to get out of the house and do something. Since he still hasn't found a permanent job (he just finished school at the end of July) we don't have the funds to do anything fancy. So, we opted for the free entertainment provided by the Playland at St. Vital Mall. We figured an hour or so of running around would be sufficient enough to tire out the kids - unfortunately, that sort of backfired, and they are both still awake - but they had fun and it was nice to get out of the house for a few hours.

My favorite part of the evening? Jared and I treated ourselves to a delicious latte at Second Cup. I'm not a huge coffee fan, so my usual staple is the hot chocolate, but tonight I decided to be adventurous and tried the Mint Chocolate Latte. I was pleasantly surprised. Jared had the Vanilla Bean Latte and after trying a sip of his I decided that one wasn't so bad either.

When I was going to school in Edmonton, a couple girlfriends and I would go to Second Cup every single week. Part of one of our classes required us to have a sort of accountability group, and we spent our time at Second Cup each week. It was a wonderful time of companionship and great drinks, and I miss it dearly! So, it was a nice treat to be able to enjoy a hot drink tonight from my favorite coffee shop. Now if only my girls still lived remotely close to me!!!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Comfort Food and Stress Relief

So the other day I wasn't feeling well and decided that a great bowl of soup was just the thing to help perk me up. My husband had taken the kids for their H1N1 shots and I figured they'd be ready for comfort food when they got home as well. My new favorite recipe in this scenario???

French Onion Soup.

I have found a great recipe for it here and although I have tweaked it a little to suit our tastes (main change being Swiss cheese instead of Gruyere), it is simply to die for! My only beef is that I don't have any onion soup bowls. They are, however, on my Christmas list, so hopefully I can actually bake it in bowls soon, instead of my Pampered Chef skillet. Either way, it is delish!

The next day I was feeling much better, but the kids were driving me a little crazy, so when Jared got home I decided some stress relief was in order! My favorite thing to do to get things off my chest?? Whip up a delicious batch of cookies! Normally the kids like to help me, but sometimes I just need to spend the time alone in my kitchen with my mixing bowls creating delicious little circles of dough. I enjoy it even more now that I have a cookie scoop (also from Pampered Chef - I sell it in my spare time, so most of my kitchen is PC products!)

My recipe choices for the afternoon? Pumpkin cookies, Ginger cookies, and Cinnamon Buns.

The Pumpkin Cookies:

The making of the Ginger Cookies:

The finished product:

Unfortunately, my camera battery died before I could snap a pic of the cinnamon buns - but they are already gone! :) My hubby and the kids like eating my baking almost as much as I enjoy making it!

Monday, November 16, 2009

5 Years

My husband and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary this past weekend. It's hard to believe it's been five years already! I don't feel old enough to have been married for that long. A quick recap and a few highlights of the last five years:
It was +6 with no snow the day of our wedding. For anyone who knows Manitoba weather, they know what a rarity this is!
Our very first home was in the residence at the university where we met. The Rez was an old hotel that had been converted into dorm rooms. We had an apartment, but couldn't get in until the 1st of December. So for two weeks, we basically lived in a hotel room. It was CHAOS! But oh so fun!
After we moved into our apartment we learned that drug dealers used to live there. We had people knocking on our windows in the middle of the night for the first month we lived there. We just ignored them and eventually they got the hint.
We moved back to Manitoba in September of 2005. If you're ever moving across country, it IS possible to fit an entire one room apartment into a 10 foot Uhaul.
We found out we were pregnant with Xavier at the beginning of October 2005. We kept it our little secret until Christmas.
After living in our downtown Winnipeg apartment for a year, we decided to move in with Jared's parents to save up for a house. I love my inlaws, but living with them for 8 months with a baby ranks up there with one of the hardest things I've ever done!
We bought our house in March of 2007. Got possession May 1st and spent the next four days painting almost every single room in the house. Moved in May 5th and 6th.
Got my positive pregnancy test with Shaela on Wednesday, June 20th, 2007, one day before Xavier's first birthday. Spilled the beans to family at his birthday party that Saturday.
Took three weeks off of doing the daycare after Shaela was born. Jared was still in school, so I had to keep working.
Jared FINALLY finished his social work degree this past July. We got his diploma a few weeks ago, so he is officially a social worker!
Found out I was pregnant with #3 at the beginning of August. Due in April 2010. When #3 arrives, Xavier won't have turned four yet, so we'll have three kids age 3 and under...and we'll both still be 25!

In some ways it feels like it's been way more than five years because we've had so much going on. And even though we've had our up and downs, I love Jared with all of my heart. I can't imagine being with anyone but him. Even after five years of marriage he can still make me laugh and he still knows how to melt my heart. One thing we are looking forward to now that he is done school is to take a vacation together. We didn't get a honeymoon because I had to return to school right after our wedding, and with him being in school from the end of that year on, we haven't been able to afford to go anywhere for our anniversary since. The plan is do to something special for ten years. Where are we planning on going???
Well, to celebrate this year we went out for supper and then to the movies to watch "Couples Retreat". After watching that movie, we have a strong desire to go to the St. Regis Bora Bora Resort.

Doesn't it look BEAUTIFUL???? I'm in love. The only problem: It costs $900 a night! Yep - a NIGHT!!! It would be one expensive vacation....but a girl can always dream right?!?!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Daredevils in Diapers

So I realize that only one of my children is still is diapers, but that's besides the point. Today I would like to introduce you to my two wonderful monkeys:

Xavier is three. He is a typical boy. He loves trucks and cars and airplanes and anything construction related. He even dressed up as a construction worker for Halloween. He is also an INCREDIBLY active toddler and VERY strong! I knew he was going to be a busy boy before he was born. When I was pregnant with him I often wondered if he was having soccer matches against himself in my belly. It was lots of fun - unless he was practicing his kicking skills against my ribcage. Or my bladder. Suffice it to say, he has been a busy boy since he was a baby. He's very inquisitive and curious and gets into anything and everything possible. Childproofing has proven very difficult with him - just when we think he can't reach any higher, he finds a way to do so! Apparently I was also a monkey as a child, so I'm not horribly surprised that he has inherited this trait of mine - but since he is a boy, and let's face it, they are, for the most part, physically stronger, he's even MORE of a monkey than I was as a kid. Most days it's lots of fun to watch him. Other days I think he's going to give me a heart attack before I'm 30.

Then there is Shaela. She is a lover of the written word and if she had her way I would do nothing but sit and read her stories all day. When she finally gets bored of that (which isn't often!) she loves to play with her babies, and has a growing collection that she has to sleep with every night. As for her being busy, well....we had high hopes that she would be a quieter, more laid back child. Not so much. She SCREAMS when she doesn't get her way, her voice is enough to wake the dead some days, and she can stomp as loud as an elephant when she wants to! And, at 20 and a half months, she is very quickly following in her monkey brother's footsteps with the climbing and jumping and running. It started this summer when she started trying to scale the chain link fence that separates our yard from our neighbors. (Xavier does this frequently, and has recently learned how to swing himself over the fence and INTO their yard!) She climbs up and jumps off the furniture frequently and can also now climb into and out of the playpens that I use for the daycare kids. She can also climb the ladder of her and Xavier's bunk beds like nobody's business, and just the other day we saw her starting to pick up her brother's latest climbing habit - scaling the banister!

Words however, cannot describe their feats adequately enough, though. You really need to see it to believe it, and I was lucky enough to get a few pictures of them the other day. One thing I know for certain - at this point in life, neither of my kids has any fear!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Most people would assume that since today is Remembrance Day that this post would be about a war veteran that I know/knew. However, that is not the case. Although I am very thankful for all of those that have fought for this country, today I remember my father in law. Last September he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and nine short months later, he passed away. We went to his grave site today to see the headstone that had finally been put into place. I forgot to take the camera along, which was unfortunate, since I really wanted to get a picture of it - so instead, words will have to suffice. Dad was a simple man in so many ways, and so is his headstone. A black slab of granite, etched with his name and birth date with the words "Husband - Father - Grandfather" etched along the bottom. Very simple, but so Dad. At the funeral, we read out Dad's 50 Proudest and Happiest Moments - he had written them on Father's Day in response to the 50 reasons he was the best dad ever that we had come up with on his 50th birthday. Today, I would like to share a few of my favorite memories of him:

1. Meeting him for the first time when Jared and I were dating and at university. Meeting the parents of the guy you want to spend the rest of your life with is always intimidating, but Dad made me feel so at ease. He took us to this hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant in Edmonton and the food was AMAZING! The conversation was great, and by the end of the evening, I felt like I had known Dad for years.

2. Going to my very first Celebr8 concert (it was the octet that he sang in). I was blown away by how talented they were, and very impressed with Dad's stage presence.

3. The speech that Mom and Dad gave at our wedding when they welcomed me into the family.

4. Hearing all the different songs and genres of music that Dad would listen to. It opened my eyes to a whole new world of music and I love him for it!

5. The corny jokes that he would tell. The rest of the family had been hearing them for so long that none of them found them amusing anymore, but they would still crack me up!

6. Seeing him with Xavier and Shaela when they were first born.

7. The smiles that he would give Shaela even when he was sick and wouldn't smile for much else. She was definitely Grandpa's girl.

8. Seeing the passion he had for his art work and the people that he painted.

9. The "hold your breath under the water while swimming" contest that we had at his hotel in Edmonton on one of his many visits to King's.

10. Our many, many trips to Bird's Hill over the years, whether it was just a day trip to the beach or camping together for the weekend.

Things are definitely not the same without Dad around. We miss you like crazy!!!

(to read more of Dad's journey, you can visit the blog owe created while he was sick)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I have been thinking about starting up a blog for quite some time, but haven't quite known what to write about or what to call it. I finally decided to take the plunge after reading my sister-in-law's blog and realizing how much I would enjoy having my own little piece of the internet.So, here we are!

First, a bit about myself: I am married to the most amazing man in the entire world. Some days he drives me absolutely crazy, but I couldn't imagine spending the rest of my life with anyone else. I am also the mother of two incredibly beautiful children, with #3 due in April. After high school I did two years of university and then decided that ultimately I really just wanted to be a stay at home mom, so finishing my teaching degree wasn't worth the enormous amount of student loans I would have accumulated. I then did one year of Bible College and had a few odd jobs, but after my maternity leave was up with my son two and a half years ago, I decided to start my own home daycare so that I could spend my days at home with him! More adventures from the daycare later on.

I love baking and cooking and Jared has been trying to convince me to write my own cookbook. I've been watching a lot of cooking shows lately and I can't decide if they have inspired me to actually do it, or completely intimidated me! Time will tell I guess. I also love reading, scrapbooking, and in the summers, going to the beach and wakeboarding whenever I get the chance. Unfortunately, it's not often enough!

The title of my blog speaks volumes about my life as a young, work at home mom. When I think about how my life could have turned out if I had stayed in school, it would be so incredibly different than it is now! I would have been one of the 'normal' people who finish their degrees, then get married, and then start having children. But, being married at 20 while still in school, and having two kids by the age of 25 definitely does not make for what society calls an 'ordinary' life. And, while being a stay at home mom may not be the most glamourous job in the world, and you certainly don't need a university degree to do it, it is by far the hardest job I have ever had. However, it's also the most rewarding and I wouldn't trade it for a hundred university degrees.

So, without further ado, welcome to my anything but ordinary life! I hope you enjoy reading along as I share my joys and frustrations with being a wife and a mother, all the while trying to maintain a sense of who I am while caring for those around me.

Until next time!