Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Overwhelmed week

This has been the longest amount of time in between blogs, I think.  It just has been one of those weeks.  No, not hectic.  It's been one of those overwhelmed with the over extending of life weeks.  You know those weeks when you come to the end of yourself and think, "Something has got to change. This just isn't working."  I just hear warning bells going off.  It may partly because my best friend and husband is over in a small African country with minimal ways of communicating.  I truly am trusting The Lord for the care of Ryan and have not given much into worry.  We just were so spoiled on his other trips; FaceTiming almost twice a day...and now nothing.  Just hard not to have my partner in crime around.  Anyway, I have taken a break from Facebook, which feels so freeing and I am making the most of my parents being here.  I am so grateful for them!  I have a lot to pray about in regards to how my days need to look, my friendships, my spare time and my parenting.  I am bombarded with guilt and need to get to a place again where I am living under God's grace and not anyone's opinion of me or what the "experts" say I should or should not be doing.  I need to really look honestly at what being a mom of 3 little ones looks like.  Just one of those weeks to reflect.
On a lighter note, I made an awesomeness banana cake with Nutella icing for a friend's birthday.  There is a whole lotta great Nutella recipes out there. yummy!

And maybe you, like me, are in need of a good belly laugh.
Funny Music Ecard: When someone yells 'STOP', I never know if its in the name of love, it's Hammertime, or I should collaborate and listen...

Please share what makes you belly laugh.;I would love to share the joy on this blog. Please keep it family friendly.  
My next post was a special request...potty training! Just to let you know now, I don't have the magic trick...but I have some funny stories! 
Have a great day.


Saturday, 23 February 2013

pull up your pants, Moms!

I have to share this photo I had Munch take.  I was bending down getting some mittens out for the baby and Bubblegum attempted to climb up my back....using my gaping jeans as a step! Eek! I am just not a fan of the butt crack.  When I worked at Starbucks as a supervisor, I had to strongly reprimand butt crack showings by our staff.  It was so hard because you cannot find a lot of trendy pants without the low waist.  I am not a fan of high waist clothes, as I don't think they do anything for my body-type but I may hate it less than people seeing my bum peeking out from my pants. It's cute when it belongs to my little boys (they are blessed to have flat bums like me!) but not on a Momma

Today, I am tired of the battle of the technology craze of my little ones.  My husband and I were fed up after fighting off 2 iPads, 2 iPods an iPhone and tvs while over at a family members house.  It was exhausting trying to keep the kids interested in something else for the day and on our ride home, we declared war.  We are still gathering our arsenal and planning our attack.  The first plan is to change our own behavior.  I will keep my tech focus to a dull minimum around my boys, showing them that they are more important than a peice of metal.  It may be harder work and require more planning but it will be worth it. I cannot believe that my kids are only 2 and 4 and we are already battling the video games!  It started out very harmless and our oldest was very good at limiting his time and attention.  With our 2 year old, we are recognizing an issue with self-control so are seeing an issue arise due to our carelessness.  The 19 year old in me who never wanted to own a t.v. Or a microwave is baffled by this predicament.
My biggest plan of attack is turning our backyard into the funnest and coolest play area for miles.  It will have to be somewhere the boys will long to be yet on a budget.  I am up for the challenge! This, of course, is the Spring time plan. Until then, we will continue our daily jonts around the neighbourhood and visits to the indoor play structures.
We recently visited an indoor play structure...the boys ran for an hour and a half straight.  God bless the indoor play place people!

Here is a decent article I found with ideas on how to unplug your family.!/entry/technology-and-kids-7-ways-to-unplug,500779047af68a84dc1bcb93

Do you have great ways to keep your kids from your technology?  Please share. Please be nice.
Have a great day!

Monday, 18 February 2013

2 more days!

It has been 8 days since I have seen Ryan but it feels like months. I miss him a lot. We are grateful for today's technology that allows us to chat a couple of times a day, but as those of you who have been far away from your special someone knows, it is just not the same. I am usually competing with 3 loud kids and a bad Internet connection...not a real quality conversation. Nevertheless, I have been so blessed to be able to see Ryan's smile most days while he has been away.  Our two year old still asks every day where Daddy is. He thinks he is still on a plane. Whenever we have talked to Ryan, he has been at his hotel which is on the beach so our oldest says, "Daddy isn't on the plane, he's on a beach." I can assure you, he has been doing much more than sitting on a beach. He has met some terrific people and has gathered amazing stories. I can't wait to go through the video footage with him. I am getting so excited for this documentary!
I must take his homecoming in stride as we only have him home for three days (jet lagged and preparing) and then he heads off to Western Africa for another 9 days. I am doubtful that I will get the pleasure of FaceTiming with him every day there. I really can only just take one day at a time, resting in The Lord's care and strength, and I know it will all be alright. It is so totally worth it.

Ryan filming sunset in Thailand.

My girlfriend pinned the greatest cardboard box ideas. I just had to share it. I can't post any photos so you will have to go to the website. Fun fun fun.

How are you doing on the physical activity? I have been horrible this week. My excuse is staying at someone else's house and off our routine. I have gotten outside to play with the boys though; we played hide-n-seek amongst the trees in the cold today. I did my best and that's okay; tomorrow is a new day.
Have a great few days. I get to pick my best friend and husband up at the airport for my birthday. Happy happy me! bye for now!

Friday, 15 February 2013

Enjoying my Children

It has been 5 days since Ryan left for Thailand.  The boys and I did 3 1/2 days at home and then headed over to Grandpa and Grandma's.  I didn't sleep well at home.  It's not that I am scared; I just am on heightened alert mode. I am bad even when Ryan is home, wondering "what was that thump?" So when it's just me, I hear every click and shift in the house.  Wouldn't you know it, the one night where I finally fell asleep there was a huge crash. I shot out of bed and across the room so fast, it took me another hour to get back to sleep.  Again, I wasn't afraid someone was in the house; I was confident something fell somewhere randomly.  My adrenalin was just pumping from it waking me up. Sure enough, a bag of cd-roms fell in one of the closets (funny that it had to fall at that time of the night). That being said, I am glad to be sleeping somewhere else.  Now I am not sleeping because my mother-in-law and I are gabbing into the night.
We took the boys to a park today.  Now that Ryan's mom is with me, I don't know how I did it without anyone.  I so appreciate having her with us.  The boys love their grandma...but what boy doesn't?
Baby Goo

Munch collecting pine cones for his preschool  

I have been convicted several times throughout these last four years about my selfishness and outlook on children.  You will think I am being too hard on myself, and maybe I am. I think I would rather err on the side of caution with this topic though.  I am susceptible to annoyance by my kids when I am wrapped up in my own thoughts or activities.  Somedays go by where I cannot remember having a meaningful moment with any of my boys.  I especially struggle with this when their are other people around.  If there is a a lot of company I can quickly brush my kids aside without thinking.  I am not talking creating self-centered little beings by giving them constant attention.  I am just talking about paying them some respect while they ask for help with something or want to even be close to me.  I find I get very overwhelmed by all that is going on in social situations with kids and I take my stress out on the kids.
Today I am working on being present with the boys.  When they speak to me I want to look them in the eye and not be peeking over my iPad with minimal attention.  I want to practice patience and grace when they unknowingly slow down the progress of an unimportant task.  I want to touch them more, in a way that reassures them that I am really with them.
Both Munch and Bubblegum are having a hard time settling down at bedtime this week. I have taken the time to lay with each of them until they are asleep.  It may be a bad habit that I am creating but right now I feel it's important for them while their Dad is away.  I can't believe how challenging it is to me though.  It feels like such a sacrifice.  I really have to fight getting mad at them when they won't just close their eyes.  It has taken a couple of nights for me to just rest and enjoy watching them, take the time to honestly talk to Jesus about them and just revel in the very sound of their breathing.  It has been good for me.  I can see it brings them such comfort.
These two posts came to me this week and really reinforced the conviction I was feeling. I am sure that this will be a challenge for me all throughout our years together. I am glad that I am seeing it so early though. I already look back on when I had just Munch and I wonder why I didn't just get down and play with him more, like get down their joyfully without being frustrated that their were other things to do. I thought life was so busy then...that was before 2 other kids, Pinterest and a bigger house! I want my kids to know I want them around and that I enjoy them...not just tolerate them. I want to get rid of the sigh I make when someone asks me for my assistance. I want them to one day treat me with the same respect that they experienced from me. That is my prayer this week.

This post I found on John Piper's "Desiring God" blog. There are some other really great posts on there.

I am so enjoying this well spoken mother of 7 write about her journey to joy. She has such a way with words and the heart. I am encouraged weekly by her posts.

Have a great weekend. Please let me know how I can pray for you. I would love to talk to God about you.
Blessings, Angela


Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Love and Strawberries

It has been a week since I committed to a minimum of 15 minutes of activity a day.  One nice thing about this commitment is that it causes me to think about being active. Some days, it may be at 10 pm but I still think of it.  Those are the days Ryan comes to bed and there I am Pilate-ing it up!  Since it has been warm, I have been out for more walks as well.  It always feels great afterward! 

Remember those yogurt covered strawberries I recommended?
 Nailed it!

Yes, I have become a Pinterest Fail contributor.  My girlfriend helped me see the upside...just take off the stems, pop them in the blender and voila, instant smoothie! 
I don't even know how they made the strawberries look like they did...leave it to a fashion magazine to make something look impossibly better than it really is. 
For Valentines, I want to share the greatest love I know, the love of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  He has died for me. He has never left me or forsaken me.  He is most patient with me and has shown grace in my ugly and neglectful times.  He wrote the most beautiful love letter to me, the Holy Bible, and the one part that transformed my life 13 years ago....
 It is this great love that compels me to do what I do. It my response of gratitude for what God did for me through Jesus Christ. 
We love because he first loved us. -John 4:19 
Have a great day. Happy Valentine's Day! 

Monday, 11 February 2013

Pinterest Best Activity of the Week

I have to apologize.  Ryan took the laptop to Thailand with him so I am frustratingly writing my posts on an iPad.  iPads are nice for many things, but blogging is not one of them.  Grrr. 
Also, I am a little behind on my Pinterest Best Activity of the week. It has been hectic around here preparing for Ryan's trip and for being a single parent home for 9 days.  I am grateful for friends and family that are helping out but there is still some planning and organization.  
Yesterday, I went to the store and bought some felt sheets to cut out for our pretend pizza parlour. 

We played restaurant one day and had a blast.  This time we will make pretend pizzas for each other with our own topping combinations.

Here is another great mess-free idea.   It's like a sensory activity and artistic work all-in-one.  Enjoy!
Let me know how it works for you.

Diastasis Recti - the mom pooch

As promised, here is some good info on that pooch you have been trying to get rid of after having a baby.  I didn't even know this existed until I met my dear friend and FitMom Coach, Courtney.  Please read and pass the information on to a friend. It is so important that women are aware of this; it's not just about having a flat tummy, it's for your future health.

Abdominal Separation- Diastasis Recti

Hey Momas! I am Angela’s friend, Courtney, and I teach fitness classes for moms and babies. I learned a lot about Diastasis Recti (abdominal separation) through my pre/post natal certification as well as my training under FITMOM. It was completely new to me as I had no idea that this even happened to women before I took these courses. There was no mention of it throughout my pregnancy and nothing was said at my 6 week check-up either so, there is not a ton of awareness out there on this matter.

  1. Abdominal Separation describes the partial or complete separation of rectus 
  2. abdominis (the two parallel muscles that run up and down the front of the body) during pregnancy. The two muscles are not attached and can literally start to separate to accommodate the growing belly. Ab Sep is most common during the 3rd trimester and immediately following pregnancy. Its cause is attributed to maternal hormones, mechanical stress, and weak abdominal muscles. In FITMOM, we check for Diastasis Recti by laying our client on the floor with her knees bent, then she comes up into the crunch position and we walk our fingers from the belly button up towards the sternum pushing gently to see if we can get o-4 fingers in between the two muscles of rectus abdominis. We will then go back down to the belly button and walk the fingers down about 2 inches below the belly button. If you do have separation, it is really important to be cautious of your body movements, for instance, never crossing the sagittal plane (the twisting motion in which the arms come across the mid line of the body). Sit ups also torque the muscles so you are safer doing abdominal work through planks, side planks, low crunches etc. The goal is to work the ‘framework” of rectus abdominus through tightening the obliques and transverse abdominals to bring everything back together. If you have 3-4 fingers in between your muscles, it is important that you seek a professional opinion to get some specific exercises that are safe for you. When doing abdominal work, you can also use a towel to assist in bringing the muscles back together- just fold up a towel and place it under your back, then bring the towel up around the sides of your body, cross it once and hold the ends as you do your work out. Crunches are not the best exercise for separation of 3 or 4 fingers, please check with a professional before doing any ab work if that is the case.
Thanks for reading, I hope this was helpful!

Thank you Courtney. If you live in the Chestermere area, join her FitMom group or look for one in your area on the website below. It was the best thing for my body and social life after I had my second baby.

Here are a couple more blogs that I found with more information on Abdominal Separation.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Sleep Baby Sleep: some expert advice

I was so excited to hear a friend of mine was advertising as a baby sleep consultant. What a great topic to be an expert in. Isn't it the one thing we moms always talk about, ask about, stress about and brag about? Even people who don't have kids ask how the baby is sleeping.
Just to test her expertise, I used my two year old as an example.  There came a point where Bubblegum would be up until 10 pm if he had a nap but he clearly still needed to nap (trying to beat everyone in our household up at 2 pm).  After looking over our answers of her brief questionnaire, Michelle  determined that we were putting him to bed too late and that he was actually not settling because he was overtired.  She recommended that we put him to bed earlier.  It was hard to change our habits but....I am happy to say we have a two year old who naps again and is asleep by 8 pm (only 4 days later).  Thank you Michelle.
I hope this answers some of your questions and helps you out too. If is does, please let me know!

How early should my baby be able to sleep through the night?
Every child is a bit differentSome children can sleep 12 hours a night by 3 or 4 months but that is rare. By 6 months mosthealthy babies are able to go around 11 eleven hours at night without a feeding.
What can I do to help my baby sleep through the night?
A few key factors are (by 4 months) having regular eating, napping and bedtime schedules, 20-30 minute soothing pre-bed routines, and (right from newborn) being very careful not to let your child have too lengthy awake times.

Is rocking him to sleep really going to hurt me in the long run?
It’s fine when they are just a few months old. But the ability to fall asleep independently is a skill that children need to learn.Always rocking a child to sleep means they aren’t given that opportunityThe longer you keep doing it, the harder it will befor him to learn in the end. The best way to put children down is when they are drowsy but still awake. On the drowsiness scale, if ‘0’ is wide awake and ‘10’ is fast asleep, put them down when they are at about a ‘7’.

How do I get baby back on track after an illness?
When your child is sick you will want to give them lots of love and attention, and attend to their needs right away. But try not to fall back into any old sleep habits that have taken effort to break. If you’ve finally gotten him to sleep in his own bed, try notto resort back to bringing him into your bed – even if it means you need to sleep on a mattress in his room for 2-3 nights. As soon as he is feeling better be gentle but firm about getting back to regular nap and bedtime routines. If you’d rather take a gradual approach you could try sitting on a chair in their room, and every subsequent night move it closer to the door until you’re out in the hallway.
What about teething?

The same applies for teething. Although, teething affectschildren’s sleep far less than parents think. If your child is hernormal happy self during the day but fussy and difficult at night, it’s not likely that teething is the issue. But if your child is suddenly miserable around the clock then it may well be a painful tooth. Follow your doctor’s recommendations and do the best you can to not deviate too far from your regular routines.

My child stays up late but gets up late, is this okay?
  • Most children thrive on an early bedtime, between 7 and 8pm, or even earlier. However, if a late bedtime, and subsequent late morning wake-ups work for your family, then it is okayBy ‘works’ I mean your child is getting the right amount of total nighttime and daytime sleep, and that you and your partner are fine with it. One reason I encourage early bedtimes for children is that it is healthy for parents to have a few evening hours to recharge their batteries. Parents need to take care of themselves too.

What happens when napping in the day keeps them up until after 9 but they are horribly cranky without a nap? 
Two year olds, and most 3 year olds, still need a nap.Additionally, children under 3 usually need bedtime to be no more than 4-4.5 hours after waking from their last nap.
Any longer and they will most likely become over-tired and will actually get a ‘second wind’ which makes it very difficult to fall asleep, even though they are exhausted.  It is crucial to watch your child’s tired cues. If you see your child yawning or ‘staring into space’ in the evening, it’s time for bed. If they are already at the point of being cranky – they are over-tiredTry for a longer nap and/or earlier bedtime the next day.

Why is sleep so important?
In the same way that good nutrition is important for the development of a child’s body, sleep is crucial for the development of his brain. (Caring For Your Baby and Young Child, American Academy of Pediatrics)
Sleep expert, Dr. Marc Weissbluth, says, “Sleep is the power source that keeps your mind alert and calm … Sleeping well increases your attention span and allows you to be physically relaxed and mentally alert at the same time.”

Healthy sleep allows your child to be at his or her best!

Michelle Todd is a Child Sleep Consultant and mother of two, based in Alberta. Her passion is to empower parents with effective solutions for their children’s sleep issues and to help the whole family get the sleep they need! Find her on Facebook at or visit her website:

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Thailand...that brings up something I have been meaning to share....

My mind is far from blogging today. Ryan is preparing for his trip to Thailand in a few days.  He is meeting up with some missionaries who have incredible stories of God's power.  I can't wait to hear them.  I am thankful for the help that I will have while he is gone but there still is a lot of planning to do.  I am so used to Ryan being home all the time that him being gone seems to throw me off.  I even have to remind myself of Joshua's preschool days on the calendar!  
So may friends have been to Thailand and marvel at its beauty.  Almost everyone says the same things, "Go for a massage, eat from the street vendors, go scuba diving..."  The other thing that people who have been there mention is the unavoidable.  Prostitution.  
In my circle of friends, the topic of human trafficking is brought up often.  I had the privilege of joining some women organize a fundraiser to support a rescue shelter for Cambodian women who were formally in the sex trade.  Through this, I learned about the horrible reality of human trafficking abroad and at our backdoor.  There are some great women and men who are doing their small part to end this travesty.  It can be so overwhelming and I have found myself wondering where to even start, what to share and how to share.  
I hope that this information enlightens you, not to discourage you but to move you...move you to ask what your part can be in helping free the slaves of human trafficking.  I pray that as you learn of the darkness in our world, you will come to the revelation that there is a God who is bigger than all of this and who is moving through His people to show His love.   

Although there are some alarming statistics that should sicken and disturb you, please DO NOT miss the hope that is in these videos.  These videos are being made to open eyes and make change. What would be more disturbing is if this was all happening and we did not know a single thing about it.  So, now that I have tugged at your heart, here is a list of some of the organizations that are making great change in human trafficking.  Where can you help?

The littlest acts can be done to help.  My friend Jenn holds concerts in her house and charges admission.  She also has donated the proceeds from her home business to her favourite organization Ratanak.  Other friends are holding silent auctions to raise money and awareness and volunteering for such organizations.  Did you know that you can even have jewellery parties through groups like Global Wonders?  This provides work for men and women who are at risk for or who have left sexual slavery; OR you can do what I just did, spread the word; tell others about what you have learned.  
I am leaving this post wondering what I have missed or if I have shared too much...
I look over the table at my two boys who I love dearly and would fiercely protect with all that I have.  I will leave this post instead being grateful for our freedom but not allowing myself to be apathetic to the millions who don't share the same freedoms I do.  My prayer is that God would not allow my heart to grow cold to the need of others around me.  My prayer is that even this post has made a dent in the world of human trafficking.  God bless you. 

Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? -Isaiah 58:6 

Monday, 4 February 2013

Let's Get Physical

It's a beautiful day today and my boys begged to go outside and play.  They are making the New Year's Resolution a lot easier for me by asking to go out everyday.  They even wanted to go out one evening when it was -25C.  We went out and shovelled all of our neighbours' driveways...only to have it snow 20 minutes later... it was great exercise for our hearts and our bodies.

 I am enjoying a Chai Latte from our Keurig machine while watching "the boys be boys."

They took some cheap golf teas, and hammered them into various boxes and styrofoam.  That was fun for 10 minutes.  Then they found the puddles!!  I resolved when Munch was little that I would let my kids play in puddles and get as wet as they want.  What does it hurt?

Something that I am bothered by is that I am sending the boys outside to play while I "sit" and watch.  I have lost all desire to be active.  I am sure its due to the lack of sleep. I am just so exhausted most days. However,  I feel like if I don't do something now, I may never want to get off my butt again.  After I had Bubblegum, I joined a mom's fitness group.  It was great to be active with other mom's and have our kids in tow (although some days there was more activity from chasing our kids around the place).  This time around, I have too many kids and not enough money so I am having to get active on my own.
So, here's my plan.  If you are feeling the same way, join me in starting small.   I would like to commit to 15 minutes of activity a day.  This may look like a walk around the block, 15 minutes of a fitness video (I have been doing the same pilates video for 7 years!) or just running up and down your stairs after the kids go to sleep.  It is always easier when you have someone to be accountable to.  I am accountable to you.  Each week, I will document what I did each day.  Yikes, now I have to do it. (see, it works!).  Send me updates and pictures of how you are doing.  
This is really about becoming more disciplined.  Another discipline that I have been working on is memorizing scripture.  I really have no excuse as I know memorizing is not an issue for me.  I have memorized many lines for plays with no problem at all.  I am actually going to go big and memorize the book of Ephesians!  Did you know that there people out there who have memorized the New Testament....several translations of it??!!! Surely, one 6 chapter book will be fine.  I found a technique for memorizing online and am going to try it.  The guys says it can be memorized in 3 months.
Somthing that helps with getting more active is eating better.  This easy snack idea just might get my nose out of the leftover Christmas chocolates! 
Yogurt covered strawberries. Dip halved strawberries in Greek yogurt and freeze. 
I think I'll take a walk to the mailbox now.  You?

Friday, 1 February 2013

On the Lighter Side-Smashing Cinnamon Buns

It has been a good week.  I love people and I love food.  This week is full of getting together with some great people for meals and great conversation.  I am very grateful for the variety of friends and acquaintances (friends-to-be) that I have.  I appreciate that God encourages us to break bread together and enjoy fellowship.  There is just something so comforting to me about sitting around a table with a group of people. 
Speaking of comfort and food, I have the most amazing cinnamon bun recipe.  I am no expert baker but I can sure fool people with these yummers.  They are so easy to make too. Enjoy!  

Cinnamon Rolls rising

I know you were just dying to know how to make those smashable cotton balls I mentioned in My Highlight Reel post.  Super duper easy.  I made them the Pinterest Best Activity of the Week.  Just keep them away from small children and animals because once they come out of the oven, they look and smell like food. Just ask Stewart (our dog).

If you are blog-crazy like myself, check out some of the ones I follow.

Today, was one of those lock the bathroom door kind of days. Mom, you know what I am talking about. If that door does not get locked, it gets opened...every....time!  

Have a great weekend.