Kaylia Turns Four

We were pursuing blossoms yesterday. My mom called to inform us that the apple trees were at their best right now, so we dropped everything, and went to see the blossoms.

June 2013 027

It worked out perfectly, because Kaylia turned four last week, and I’ve been wanting to do a little photo shoot with her, so she did some poses for me.




I take pictures of my family all the time, but this is the first time when I’ve taken one of the girls with me on a photo spree, with a specific purpose in mind. It was so much fun, and she cooperated really well, but after a good amount of pictures, she suddenly announced, “I’m done taking pictures now, Mommy.”


Because Kaylia had a birthday, it’s her turn to share a list of favorites! (You can see last year’s list here.)

Favorite Breakfast: Pancakes

Favorite Lunch: Sandwiches

Favorite Supper: Shepherd’s Pie

Favorite Snack: Raisins

Favorite Clothes: Dresses. Any kind.

Favorite Books: Strawberry Shortcake and the Winter That Would Not End, Brambly Hedge, and Little House on the Prairie books

Favorite Toys: Polly Pockets, and anything Anika is playing with

Favorite Thing to Do: Color, pick dandelions

Oh, how we all love this sweet girl! Anika and Kaylia love each other as hard as they fight with each other, and the hugs, screams, and snuggles all flow freely between them.

She’s a feisty one, and fills our days with strong opinions, independence, hilarious comments, and sweet smiles. She skips everywhere, talks constantly, and is always dragging up a stool to help me in the kitchen.

Can’t believe she’s four already, but I wouldn’t wish her any other age!


Around Here Right Now…

My goodness, what a full, wonderful week!

I’ve found my fourth “pro” to coming home – my friend Nikki said, “It’s me, it’s me!!” And she was right – all these wonderful people in my life are definitely worth coming home to! We were only gone one week, but it is good to get back into routine, and to spend time with everyone we get to share life with.

Instead of sitting around, trying to write deep, thought-provoking blog posts, I chose to spend my week socializing, unpacking, and settling into routine, so I will end the week with a quick list of some things I’m enjoying right now:

1) Picnics in Heaven.

Kaylia has been playing with her Aqua Doodle mat a lot this week – she loves to get her Polly Pockets out and make up stories with them, using the colorful scenes around the edge of the mat. She kept talking about going to Heaven for picnics, which really confused me, until I went to get a closer look. Then I could see exactly what she meant:

Aqua Doodle

City and trees, sky, followed by more trees and grass, above the sky. Heaven makes sense! I love it that she thinks we go there for picnics!

Major problem with her new theology – we come back down when the picnic is over.

2) My new cleaning schedule.

I’ve never used a pre-made cleaning schedule before. I didn’t think I’d like it.

But while we were away on vacation, I stumbled across this schedule, which I bought at a hugely discounted price in a package with a bunch of other books I’d really wanted, and as I looked over it, I thought it would be kind of fun to try.

I’ve only been using it this week, but I can see how this could totally work for me! For some reason, I’m able to get a lot more done when I feel like someone else is “telling” me to do it! It’s also showing me how easy it is to break up big, time-consuming jobs into quick little jobs, done here and there throughout the day. I may not have time to clean out the whole fridge, but I can clean the top shelf.

I don’t like the idea of paying for a cleaning schedule, though, so here’s a link for a free one, if you feel like having someone else tell you how to clean your house!

3) Cream of Rice with Cinnamon Apples for Breakfast.

Cinnamon Apples

Oh, yum. I’ve eaten it every day this week. Gluten-free, and super cheap.

Just grind up rice in a coffee grinder, and cook it like you would regular rice (except it cooks a little faster, so it needs lots of stirring).

To make Cinnamon Apples, you melt butter in a frying pan, throw in an apple cut up in little chunks, and sprinkle cinnamon on top. Cook it until the apple is soft, and put it on top of the cream of rice. So delicious.

And now I feel really hungry for breakfast!

What have you been up to this week?

Kaylia’s Photo Shoot

As I’ve mentioned before, we love to call up Morgan Braun for all of our family photography needs! I wanted to have Kaylia’s pictures taken for her third birthday, and Morgan came through for us, once again!

I thought you might enjoy seeing a little bit of their afternoon together…

And one of Anika, too!

Oh, I love these girls, and I love these pictures! Everybody needs a Morgan in their life.

How We’re Dealing With Transition (Since Everyone Is Asking)

It is 24 days until our new adventure begins.

I feel at peace about everything.

Funny, because generally I have not faced change with peace. I always feel excited about change, but every other time, I’ve also been filled to the brim with stress.

While I was packing today, I came across a little notebook I used five years ago when we were preparing to move to camp. In it, I recorded everything that stressed me out each day, so that I could pray over everything and try to surrender it to God.

My word, am I ever thankful it’s not five years ago.

(I actually laughed at some of the things I had written down.)

One issue I was apparently stressed about at the time was the amount of stuff we had, and what in the world we were going to do with it all.

Today, I sat there reading this, surrounded by mounds of stuff to pack….and it didn’t bother me in the least.

See, change is possible. God can still do miracles today!!

I was in a very different place in my life five years ago. I had recently had a miscarriage, I was dealing with the very worst of my health issues, and emotionally unstable might be the best words to describe that time of my life.

Oh, God is so good. These last five years have been years of gaining back health, being blessed with that long-desired baby, and learning a ton about myself and how I deal with emotions and stress.

It’s not like everything is perfect at our house these days. Moving is still a big transition. Anika has a lot of nightmares as she tries to find her own way through this all, and as far as Kaylia is concerned, I’ve decided there will be a much better time and place for potty training her.

Like when she’s seven.

And I’ve decided not to worry about it. (See? Look at how good I’m getting at not worrying about stuff.)

Instead, I try to keep up with the day-to-day stuff, and I pack a little, and we play and read books a little.

I do yoga daily, and try to eat the best I can. (I will not eat chips. I WILL NOT EAT CHIPS! Things go much better with my body when I do not eat chips, but…all I want are chips!)

So whether my attempts at handling things well are working, or there are tons of people praying for the sanity of our family, or God has just chosen to be extra gracious to us, we are doing fairly well with this whole transition thing. (Now that I said that, just watch me completely crash tomorrow…)

I feel like there are many thoughts and memories and goals for the future swirling around that somehow need to be expressed, and yet that takes time. And some of it is still marinating in my mind. We’ll see when it’s ready to come out.

But for now, the sun is shining, the pile of boxes packed is slowly growing, and life must still go on and be enjoyed, even if we’re moving…

Weekend Favorites

This weekend was spent without Ben or my camera!

Despite these unfortunate circumstances, we were still able to have a very nice weekend, with only a few completely crazy moments thrown in.

(We ran out of rice milk for Kaylia. At bedtime, she sat and cried uncontrollably for almost an hour because there was no milk. Miraculously, I was able to find a carton in the camp fridge, otherwise it would have been a loooooong night. Oh, sweet Niverville, here we come! The land flowing with milk and honey, or at least filled with stores where we can buy it without driving two hours!)

Anyway. The favorite moments of my weekend:

-Following every little stream we could find around camp, down to the lake. (We were doing science, and Anika didn’t even know it!)

-Painting magnets (and observing Kaylia’s fascinating techniques for mixing paint to create new colors)

-Making orange juice (which was part of my effort to get Kaylia to drink something, seeing as there was no milk in the house)

-Listening to “Pete Stories” on the phone. Every night, Ben tells each of the girls a “Pete Story” – Anika’s stories are quite a bit more elaborate than Kaylia’s, which is why they need individualized performances. In an effort to get the milkless Kaylia settled down for night, we called Daddy for a “Pete Story”. The best part: When I asked Ben if he was ready to start, he said, “I was born ready.”

He really was. Someday he will be a famous author. But for now, I get to watch him (or listen to him) be the most amazing dad, always ready to make life more fun, enjoyable, and full of adventures for his girls.

Today Ben comes home, and he’s bringing our camera, and life will feel a little more normal!

I hope your week is fun, enjoyable, and full of adventure!

Weekend Favorites

We spent the weekend in the city.

Whenever we come into Winnipeg, Ben’s parents welcome us into their home to feed us, babysit for us, and borrow an extra vehicle to us so that Ben and I can run off in opposite directions and get twice as many errands done as we divide and conquer.

We are so, so thankful for all that they do to help out. I keep waiting for the day they get tired of us, but it doesn’t seem to happen.

So we move in and make ourselves at home.

During this time of preparing to move, and dealing with transition, it’s been very helpful to have this place to retreat to.

Our weekend was a mixture of relaxing, and running around like crazy, crossing off a long list of errands.

We even got in a last-minute date night! Can’t remember the last time that happened.

It’s hard to tell which was more enjoyable – the 3-D movie, or the glasses….

Hope you had a great weekend, too!

Slow Down For Spring

Happy First Day of Spring!

I’m kinda glad it’s “official”, aren’t you?! Anika sincerely believes that the weather (and life in general, really) will be dramatically different, now that the calendar says it’s spring.

We’re celebrating.

We went for the first stroller ride of the season.

We played on the play structure, and Kaylia ran through a snow drift in her flip flops.

And we ended up at the lake.

We decided to truly celebrate spring by practicing the fine art of jumping pictures.

And I’ve been thinking about soaking it all in. Oh, that smell in the air. It smells like spring, and evergreen trees. The sun is so warm, and Kaylia’s toes are so bare. These days, it’s good just to be alive.

I am so, so thankful that my “job” involves teaching my girlies to love spring. We play in the sun, and I try to teach them to notice. To slow down, and notice the little things, like the smell and the way something feels, and all the little things that are so easy to take for granted.

I loved this post about learning to slow down to notice, and to fully live:

“The frogs have returned, the frogs and their song.

 Why does the trilling in the throat of a frog do this wondrous thing inside of me?….

That sound. 

A symphony of sound, trilling low and deep, fills the spaces between the trees, lifts us too.

It is like the water, a looking glass of trunks and limbs, like the water itself croons.

With the everyday eyes, I can’t see the singers at all. It takes time for eyes to adjust to stillness, and only the slow really see….”

I want to have eyes that adjust to stillness. I want to truly see spring with all of its wonder and beauty.

It’s time to go slow, and leave behind “everyday eyes”!