Father’s Day Fail

When Ben and I got married, someone gave us the book “The Five Love Languages”. I dutifully read it and took the test. When it told me that I best understand expressions of love like quality time, words of affirmation, and acts of service, this made sense. Gifts and physical touch, not so much. I like practical stuff, and I’m not a huggy person.

Ben never could figure out what his love languages were for sure. He didn’t take any test, but he thought physical touch was most important for him, and based on seventeen years of living with him,  I guessed acts of service were high up there as well. But I was pretty sure words of affirmation weren’t a big priority. Every year on his birthday, I used to write meaningful notes in birthday cards. I still write loving blog posts about him every year, and I always wait anxiously for him to read them. And his reaction is the same – he says, “Thank you. That’s very nice.” And that’s all. Since it never seems to blow him away, I just assumed words of affirmation were more my thing.

Here’s where my giant failure comes in: This year for Father’s Day, we were super sneaky about getting a gift that would surprise him, and we talked about what would be fun to do together as a family, but when the idea of a card crossed my mind, my thoughts were “A card? Hmm….nah, he’s not really into cards and words of affirmation”, and I totally ditched the idea.


So we were sitting in a restaurant waiting for our food on Father’s Day, and the topic of love languages came up. I was ready to get some answers out of this easy-going husband of mine, so I found a test on my phone, and made him take it right then and there. The results? WORDS OF AFFIRMATION!!! What in the world?! Also, physical touch and acts of service, just like we’d guessed. But I totally did not see that first one coming. And I skipped the card! And didn’t get our kids to make a card!!


Never again. I won’t let his easy-going reaction fool me anymore, and he will receive the most beautifully worded cards from now on.

Words of advice for everyone reading this: Take the test! And make your loved ones take it too! And never skip the card!! Sheesh.

But we had a fun day, and it was great to celebrate Ben.

I really, really love Ben. He’s the most wonderful person to be around. He is always in a good mood, he changes the atmosphere of any room he walks into, he draws people to him and laughter out of them, and he brings all the fun into our home, along with large doses of wisdom and level-headedness. And fortunately, he’s so easy-going that I’m sure he’ll be totally fine with my late attempt to honour him with words of affirmation! But I’ll do better next year.;)

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Mother’s Day Favorites

I heard a beautiful quote yesterday: “I haven’t done many great things in my life, but I have greatly loved my children.” (Suzanne Stabile)

I needed to hear that right now. Mother’s Day is a lovely idea, but sometimes I struggle with the idea of being celebrated, because I’m too aware of the ways in which I fall short. I can think of many ways in which I would love to improve my mothering skills, but if there’s one thing I do greatly, it’s love my children.

I wonder if I would enjoy Mother’s Day more if there wasn’t so much of an emphasis on being pampered and feeling special, but rather it could be a celebration of the opportunity to be a mother. A day to celebrate the chance to deeply love these sweet children of mine, a day to thank God for the answers to all my prayers during the years of infertility and miscarriages. I need the reminder that it’s not about getting it right every single time – it’s about all of us being sanctified and beautified as we become more like Jesus.

There are hundreds of ways I’ve messed up as a mom over the years, but I’d like a day to remember that love covers over a multitude of wrongs, and some time to remind myself that if great love = a great mom, then I was made for this. I was given everything I need to do this well. They are my greatest work.

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Waiting For Pretty

It’s that ugly but exciting time of spring – when everything is brown, but we’re just so happy because the snow is gone, and we know the green growing things are coming soon. I was looking out the window the other day, thinking about how there is so often an ugly aspect to growth and change – the discomfort of shedding the old and reaching toward the new. But it’s the hope, anticipation, and excitement of something fresh and different which carries us through the discomfort, and keeps us going.

So we watch spring creeping in, and we squeeze out every bit of joy from the ordinary little moments. Lately, we’re enjoying:

Early morning snuggles.

Saturday morning pancakes.

Smooth, bare skin.

The eager anticipation of good food.

Creating.

The best seat in the house.

More creating.

More anticipation.

Learning to share and play together.

And I realize once again that when I take the time to grab my camera, there is so much worth capturing, even if we’re still waiting for things to pretty up a bit outside.

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Weekend Favorites: Start of Vacation

Every August since we moved away from camp, Ben takes a week off for a family vacation. We’ve usually gone to my parents’ cabin, but this year, we decided to try a “stay-cation”. Everett is easiest to take care of at home, which makes it the more relaxing option! Plus, there are so many fun things around here which we just don’t take enough time for, so we made a long list of things we want to do, and we’re all pretty excited about this week!

We decided to kick off our first day of vacation with a fire, sparklers, and banana boats. It was the most beautiful evening.

banana boatsSince we don’t eat much sugar at our house, the girls thought this treat was pretty exciting. Ben and I have fond memories of making banana boats at camp, so it was fun to introduce our kids to this little fireside tradition.

Everett

EverettWhenever I take a picture of Everett, he starts shrieking, “SEE! SEE!” because he wants to look at the screen of my camera.

EvNow most of my pictures look like this, because he’s saying “See” in all of them….

EvWe also had to do some apple sampling, to see if our little apples are ready for picking.

Ev and KayliaAfter we were done snacking, Ben played soccer with the kids, while I did yoga.

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socceryoga

sparklerWhat did you do with your beautiful weekend?

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Wild and Free

So it took me almost a month to convince Kaylia to let me take some pictures of her for her seventh birthday!

KayliaThis is one strong, determined, unique, feisty girl! Everything has to be her idea, or there is absolutely no way it’s happening. My sneaky parenting skills have greatly increased in the last seven years!

She is creative, sweet, imaginative, carefree, goofy, lovable, and independent. She makes us laugh all the time, but she doesn’t try to be funny just to get attention – she has this quiet way of slipping in these smart, funny little comments.

KayliaShe loves to play outside and help me in the garden. She doesn’t need a lot of people to make her happy – she is fiercely devoted to her three friends, and loves to spend time with Anika and Everett. We are learning the power of alone time for her!

KayliaIt’s so much fun to watch her being a big sister. She’s been the littlest for most of her life, but now she is becoming amazing at finding silly ways to keep Everett happy.

She likes things neat and tidy. She has very specific ideas about how she wants things, much like her big sister, but she doesn’t get emotional about it – she is very matter-of-fact about the way things are going to be.

Being heard and treated with respect are very important to her. Words can deeply wound her, but that’s about it – she is a tough cookie! She’s not a complainer, and she’s a hard little worker.

Kaylia

I tried to keep up the birthday tradition of writing down her favorite things right now, but after the first question, she informed me she was not in the mood, so I filled in her favorites myself.

Food: “I have MILLIONS of favorite foods! You’d have to do a very long list!”

Clothes: Up until now, she has always wanted to wear dresses. But about a month ago, she came to me and said very seriously, “I think I need to get used to wearing pants or shorts.”

Books: Anika has managed to pass on her great love for “Cat Warrior” books to Kaylia. Sometimes she reads them to Kaylia, sometimes Ben or I do, or sometimes Kaylia “pretends” to read them herself.:) The girls play cat warriors, wrestle like cat warriors, draw pictures of cat warriors, etc.

Toys: She is very into Lego Elves, when she’s not playing cat warriors!

KayliaI came across a quote the other day which made me think of her:

WildGod knew I needed her to loosen me up, and teach me a few things about being wild and free!

Kaylia

Weekend Favorites, and Thoughts on Creativity

For awhile now, I’ve found it really hard to make time for blogging, or even just for snapping a few pictures. I think there are a number of things which affect my creative energy – just lack of energy, in general, but also state of mind. When I was blogging regularly, my mom said she always knew how well I was doing by how regularly I posted on my blog! There’s some truth to that – this last year, I’ve found that recovering from postpartum anxiety has made it really hard to create.

I’ve also found creativity to have a snowball effect – the more I do, the more I want to do. When I’m not making time for it, I do less and less.

The good news is that over the last few months, I’ve felt more creative energy returning – I’m writing blog posts in my head again.:) Now I just find myself back in the place of needing to make time for creating.

I’ve been reading The Gifts of Imperfection lately, and last week, I came across this:

“Unused creativity doesn’t just disappear. It lives within us until it’s expressed, neglected to death, or suffocated by resentment and fear.” (Brene Brown)

That rings true with me. I’ve felt “clogged up” lately – everything in my life is better when I’m writing regularly, and searching for beauty in my everyday life. I’ve been neglecting something life-giving to me.

The issue of time in my life still remains, but I’m seeing how necessary it is to make the time, not because my blog is that outrageously important to the world, but because it’s one of my favorite ways to create.

Brene Brown also writes,

“There’s no such thing as creative people and non-creative people. There are only people who use their creativity and people who don’t.”

I asked Ben what he does to create, and I liked his answer. He’s not into art, and right now he’s not taking much time for music or writing, although he’s gifted in those areas, but lately, he says he creates by coming up with ideas. I hadn’t thought about ideas being his creative outlet, but it’s so true! Ben comes up with ideas just for the sake of having an idea. Sometimes the ideas have to do with his job and are very useful, but other times, they are completely random – commercials he’ll never make, or plots for books I really hope he writes someday! I love the idea of creating being whatever you want it to be, whatever keeps things fun, new, fresh, and exciting.

So in the effort to keep things fresh and exciting, our family went on a little adventure last night, and I brought my camera. We created.:)

AnikatreesEverettflowersBen and EverettriverKayliaWhat do you do to bring creativity into your life?

 

Weekend Favorites: Mother’s Day

Every year for Mother’s Day, we pick up food from Taco del Mar, and go to Assiniboine Park for a picnic, and a visit to the conservatory.

conservatoryOh, I love it there so much, and I love that we have pictures to compare from every year we’ve gone! This year was very different from other years – a lot more active! We made an attempt to take the usual picture of me with my sweet children, but this did not impress Everett:

Kendra & kidsAnika says, “Don’t put that picture in, it looks terrible!” But Ben always says, “It is what it is.” Everett didn’t hold still for a single moment, except when he was watching the fish, which he absolutely loved.:) He kept trying to say “fish” so cutely!

fishfish pondHe ran all over the place, and had a great time!

Ben & EverettKidsFortunately, the girls already know how this goes – find your favorite flowers, and pose sweetly while Mommy takes a million pictures!!

KayliaAnikaAnd by some miracle, I managed to get this one of Everett – right before he ran back to the fish pond!!

EverettTraditions are the best! What did you do for Mother’s Day?