• Archive for December 2009

    Grand 2009!

    Thursday, December 31, 2009

    The year is sweeping to an end. For many you are preparing to make these last moments grand. As I look back over 2009 grand is the only word to sum it up. I hardly can put to words the thankfulness I have for the abundance of beautiful moments that have made this year grand for my family and I. It has truly been a special year. I have been thinking all day about the things we have lived that made this year special.

    We have had another thrilling year on the continent of Africa. Even after nearly two years in Nigeria we feel as though every day we experience something foreign and bazaar (to us). The culture differences are wide and often confusing. Both Roger and I have been taught so many things about this country and continent, nothing other then experience could be the teacher. We both shake our heads at our utter ignorance of this nation upon our arrival. There are moments of hardship, of course, and things I most likely will never get use to. There are things I wish I could change with the snap of my fingers, but life is not like that and patience is always a worthy virtue, here more then anywhere!

    Living here has so many upsides that it makes the set backs worth it. Roger’s office is on the same property as our home and so we get to see him much more often then when we lived in Canada. He can join us for breakfast and lunch, and is almost always home by five-thirty. The extra time this allows for our little girls to be with their Daddy is worth so much to us. Our girls adore Roger and have found him to be a wonderful companion in play and learning. Roger loves all this extra time to enjoy things with us he would never be able to if we lived in any other place. Roger loves and thrives in his job. He says every mechanical engineer only dreams of having a job like this. Often, as he explains the job he is working on, sparks of excitement dance through his eyes and I wonder if he will ever be able to leave the excitement of this place behind. Seeing as Roger is my ticket out of here I wonder if I will ever get to leave. I keep leaving MLS listing numbers of country homes for sale around Calgary near his computer with a note saying “please return your wife to this house in Canada!”

    The truth is living in Africa has been very good for me. Learning to turn the set backs into opportunities is a life lesson I have been glad to learn. I rarely leave the compound. There has been some concerning safety threats towards expatriates this last year so we have chosen to lean on the side of safety. The girls and I do not go out unless Roger is their with us. I feel much safer with him around and I am less hassled by locals with a guy at my side. Because of never getting out, I have ample amount of time to focus on my family and home. I have come to appreciate this time investing in the girls and not ‘running around’ like so many young moms have to. I see how good this is for the girls and I marvel that God is teaching me ‘there is no place like home’ while my children and I are young.

    Roger continues to be my delight and I love that we have every evening and weekend uninterrupted, a pure luxury! This spring when I was in Canada I invested in a few ‘gifts’ that would keep me occupied while time is my friend. I purchased a very spiffy camera and am painfully trying to learn the challenging art of photography! I also have a goal to learn to sew. So that after I leave the shopping of Europe and have to return to the bleak landscape of Canadian children shops, I can create as I wish. With this goal I now have a lovely sewing machine, in which I must use or else Roger will make me return it! It has been a nice season in my life, happily at home loving my family.

    Marion is growing, of course. Sadly and grateful, us parents watch in amazement. She is mature and so capable. Marion continues to be bright and an eager learner. She is much like Roger and his very factual mind. She loves numbers and science. I am learning things every day as I read to her from books she is interested in, that I had avoided while growing up! She has a few great friends here on the compound and keeps active in her swimming and dancing lessons, which both take place right in our 'back yard'. She loves to travel. And studies the map and geography books, wondering where we are off to next. I fear we have infected her with a travel bug that will never settle down! Every few weeks she wants to know where we are going, and will actively help in all the travel plans. She thinks everything through and rarely needs reprimanding.

    Which is nice because her little sister has had a year of constant reprimanding! Davina is still a thrill and adventure and brightens our life everyday. Davina is very spunky and has a true mind of her own. She believes she could fly a plane, bake bread, and wash her hair without any assistance! Her second year was a challenge as she thinks she is capable to do everything one her own...she is settling down and we are seeing a very lovely little girl emerge. Though she is very independent she loves to cuddle and is very warm hearted. I think she will 'beat to her own drum' and Roger and I love learning her rhythm! She makes us laugh everyday and is far developed linguistically, making us laugh all the more at her ability to communicate what she is thinking! Davina and Marion are very close and play so nice together. Davina is very sharp and does not miss anything that is going on around her. She is such a fun little girl! Both the girls are beaming with becoming big sisters again. Davina asks everyday if my baby is coming out today.

    We have continued to have the enormous treasure of travel this last year, the new places we have been and seen amaze me. I constantly wonder how a ‘little country girl’ has come to have first class view of this beautiful world. It is a thrill and a gift. We continue to relish in the sweet memories we made while in Canada. Our dear friends and family make living abroad very difficult, simply because they are so wonderful it is hard living day to day life without them!

    For us the word to sum of 2009 would be GRAND!

    As the fresh New Year emerges with hope, I welcome it excitedly. We have much to look forward to in the coming days. The word I wish to christen my heart and life this year would be Joy. I pray my home will be filled moment by moment with joy. I pray I will be a joy to my husband. I desire to be a joy to my friends and family and wish my heart to be joyful in all things. I also see that I will have to find and make joy in times of challenge, as the girls and I prepare to be away from Roger for long months while I finish my pregnancy. I can see how Roger will have to keep ‘joyful’ all alone in Nigeria. I pray that at the end of this coming year we can say joy has been our companion in the simple things of life and in such miraculous moments as new life.

    And that the Joy of the Lord will be my strength! (Nehemiah 8:10)

    Happy New Year Friends.

    Ten years of love.

    Tuesday, December 29, 2009

    Ten Years ago yesterday, a handsome young man dressed in a suite and a blue shirt and tie that made his eyes look outstanding, took me out too a fancy dinner and asked me to be the love of his life. I gladly excepted!

    He says it is the best question he every asked.

    I say that yes was the wisest answer I ever gave.

    Last night the same person, just a decade older, gave me the most beautiful love letter.

    And after a long hunt in a few different import shops I was able to give him a kiwi, which is sentimental of the time we were falling in love.

    As we look back we see that love is the memory that stands out the strongest amongst all the advents of the decade we have shared! For that we are grateful to God for crossing our paths and to each other for being willing to grow and love, for the benefit of our relationship.


    Sunday, December 27, 2009

    It came and went soft and sweet and all to quickly, a perfect Christmas. I cannot believe tomorrow life goes on, void of anticipation, no more holiday! Really, how do you go back to life after such a lovely time spent celebrating? Everything was perfect. We had a wonderful Christmas; the girls loved everything they were given. Roger and the girls were overjoyed with the food; during Marion’s prayer she thanked God for all her new things and thanked God for all “the wonderful junk Mommy fed us", I am sure God took that prayer in stride! We had many fun family times and many memories were made. It was a very sweet Christmas. Only 363 days till next Christmas!

    Davina got a ‘retro red radio flyer’ tricycle. She just loves it.

    New tent and sleeping bags.

    Enough Gifts?

    Marion 'web camming' with Grandma on Christmas Eve. I Love technology!
    When I woke early Christmas morning to make Roger his fresh cinnamon buns (compliment tradition of his childhood) for breakfast I was shocked to have a lizard caught in my bowl. I have tried catching this little nasty for a few months as I have known he has made home in my kitchen for some time. Anyway I was glad he got himself caught, Roger was not as thrilled to have to get rid of him early Christmas morning.

    If a caught lizard was not enough to remind me I was celebrating Christmas in the tropics, the shorts and smelting hot weather were!

    And that sums it up my firends. I hope you each have made a few more sweet memories.

    Finishing Touches

    Wednesday, December 23, 2009

    The final days are here my friends, the real excitement begins!
    For me the final details have been placed around the home, the last baking is done, the gifts are wrapped, Marion and Davina's cards are made and now we must wait... Tomorrow evening we open gifts by candle light and eat a feast of snacks. My childhood tradition was to open gifts on Christmas Eve, it is so cosy how could we not do the same this year.

    I wish you all a sweet and Merry Christmas.

    A Dress for the Holiday

    Monday, December 21, 2009

    Today I offer you some some-what problematic photo's of my sweet girls in their new Christmas dresses. I say problematic because somehow I cropped each photo and now they are all different sizes; Davina would not hold still for a single second. I think she was in dancing mode with her twirly new skirt. I have hit the stage in my pregnancy where I am nothing but klutzy! So holding a camera still and trying to keep focused on a twirling two year old...these pictures were the best we could come up with!

    I do love how the dresses turned out, almost the way I pictured them in my head. In Europe there is a wonderful store called Monsoon. Every single thing that is in that store I would wear or dress my lovelies in. The down side to this perfect store is that Roger thinks for every bag I bring out of that shop his life has shortened by a year! Somehow that store seems to weaken his heart (for the worst)!!! This last time I was Europe they had the most wonderful little girl holiday dresses. I could have bought them all, but I managed to leave without one. I told myself I would take inspiration and desire home to my sewing machine...voila...the outcome. Not quite as perfect but close enough to save Roger from heart problems!

    I hope the only problem he has with his heart is that of falling more in love with his two holiday girls and his one leading lady willing to help him save some mulla...

    I hope your day is filled with beauty and maybe just a tad less klutz then mine!

    Candy Cane

    Saturday, December 19, 2009

    Candy Canes were the theme of yesterday. The girls and I are trying to do one fun Christmas thing a day. Yesterday it was all about the cane. We made tasty cookies (not quite as good as yours Meg! But I am trying to keep your bro up on all of his 'needs' this Christmas!) In the evening we ate the cookies and read one of our new holiday books.
    The Legend of the Candy Cane. (Kyla; when your book suggestion came I had already ordered this story. So to all of you out there The Legend of the Candy Cane comes highly recommended by two previously home-schooled gals, plus we are both the oldest sisters of a small army of children, in which I am sure we have both spent the majority of our younger years reading to our little siblings! Needless to say we know a good children's story!)

    Of course the evening would not have been complete without the girls having their very first taste of a candy cane. They are hooked for life I fear! It was a fun night heralding the coming weekend.


    Friday, December 18, 2009

    Good Friday to you! Fridays are always a good day around here, full of anticipation for the weekend (otherwise known around here as Daddy Day)! My day has been filled with the making of candy cane cookies and sewing the finishing touches on the girls Christmas dresses. I am now off to put the last details together for our 'candy cane' evening of festive...

    Simple Pleasures

    Thursday, December 17, 2009

    Today has been a day of enjoying the simple things of my life, things I have been unable to do for the last while. Like make bread! I love making bread. I love the way warm bread makes my house smell and I love the comforting taste of warm bread. Today I realized what I have missed most about making bread is watching my girls 'make there own bread'. They always come up with some creative way to make Daddy a special treat out of their dough. It's a simple joy...one I am so thankful I was able to again enjoy with my little darlings!

    And now I must go to bed as it is far past my bed time!


    Wednesday, December 16, 2009

    Holiday fever is setting in quick and hard a specially as Christmas packages are coming from lands afar sent by loved ones who have thought about us all the way in Africa. Yesterday we received two packages. The girls were very bothered that they have to wait to open these tempting boxes. This morning when I came down stairs I noticed a little hole in one of the packages. I asked my little girls what and who had torn the paper…they both gave me a look of bewilderment. They had absolutely no idea what could have caused this mysterious hole! I told them it must be two little mice who live in our walls, instantly the girls face lit up with a perfectly good scapegoat option and they quickly exclaimed that yes these mice must have been the cause…

    I wonder if those two little mice would rather nibble on these then a box.

    Pictures from the Caribou

    Tuesday, December 15, 2009

    This morning these pictures greeted me in my inbox. As always pictures excite me, especially when they are of the sweetest of my darling's...except for Kristopher...who can no longer be called 'sweetest' but rather 'studliest'! The little girls shirts and Josephine's dress along with Caleb's outfit were found while I was in France, I could not resist sending these frocks to them. I just knew that they would make the clothing look even cuter then they were!My Mom made the girls the skirts to perfect the outfits. Great job Mom, I'll order two please.

    Wish I could hug each of you...your so beautiful and handsome!

    Luv your big sis

    My Mom sent these three lumberjacks out one afternoon to cut her a Christmas tree...they came back with a thirteen foot giant tree! Kids can you send one of those my way? And please find me the nicest smelling tree!

    Another Tradition

    Monday, December 14, 2009

    My love for books is an essential part of who I am and what we love as a family. A few months back while I was sick and miserable my Mom gave me some wonderful suggestion’s to perk up my life. One of her ideas was to browse the Internet for nice Christmas books and to order a few of the ones I thought my family would love. Then as Christmas nears, bring out a new book in the evening and have a cosy reading time, by the twinkle of the lights. Not only was I excited about spending my hours of bed rest searching for books, the anticipation of a new book and package in the mail was good medicine…for my mind at least. Some have arrived and I am eagerly awaiting more. Here are a few of the ones that have come so far.

    A Small Miracle: My Mom told me about how this wordless book was impacting her young children and highly recommended it to me. It is a very moving book and brings you in contact with many of the delicate issues of life and living. After Marion studied this story a few times, she told me she was not sure how to feel when she read it. She said it makes her feel sad, happy, worried, grateful, tearful and amazed. Strong emotions from just a picture book...a must have for any family!

    My dear Brambly Hedge, perfected with the enchantment of Christmas time! A Poem from the pages of this story:
    " When the snows are lying deep,
    When the field has gone to sleep,
    When the blackthorn turns to white,
    And frosty stars bejewel the night,
    When summer streams are turned to ice,
    A Snow Ball warms the heart of mice.

    This simple story of a snowman seems to work magic on any child. I remember it's charm from my own childhood and it seems to be the same for my children. I have read this book everyday since we got it, the girls simply love it.

    I am sure I will post more as the rest of the books come in the mail.

    If you have a 'holiday' book that has meant something to you, please share with me! I am eager to fill this holiday with the things my family loves!

    I wish you a simple and sweet start to your week!