Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Wordless Wednesday-a look back

 It has been rainy, rainy, rainy here.  It even hailed yesterday.  We are going to try to go to the zoo anyway today.  I have been in a bit of a grump slump the last couple of days so looking back at photos has been a comfort and a joy.  Thought I would share them with you.  Check out other Wordless Wednesday blog posts at The Jenny Evolution.

Munch braving the storm and Bubblegum preparing for the thunder. 

My Mother's Day surprise; breakfast in bed and a thoughtful gift.
Pizza Parlour fun. Remember how I said there is a difference between boys and girls?  This pizza was done the quickest. 

The chef and the server. 

At this restaurant, the chef sits on your lap and eats with you. 

This server deserves a big tip! 

Bubblegum eats peppers like apples. 

Stampede season is coming. That means pancake breakfasts and horse rides.  The boys have their cowboy boots ready and are stoked!

I hope this post brought you some smiles as it did me.  Feel free to email me a photo that makes you smile and I will add it to a Wordless Wednesday post in the future.  Have great day!
(and stay warm Calgary moms! )

Friday, 24 May 2013

My Kids Got Worms

Summer with boys is a fun one.  With the two days of non-stop rain, our yard has been filled with wiggly worms and the boys are smitten.  We went to a friend's house for a visit and the boys just wanted to get home "for the worms".  So, the ladybugs from the warm days have been abandoned and the worms are the new friends.  I had to set the boundary...they are on the outside porch.  

Now that playground weather is here, I am excited to venture out and see what's out in the Calgary area.  I was thinking about doing a best playgrounds review but in keeping with my simplifying life promise, it just didn't seem wise.  So, I am sharing someone else's hard work with you Calgarian Moms.  Check out Dana from Calgary Playground Review for ideas on indoor and outdoor playgrounds.  I am excited to try them out throughout the summer.  

This week Munch watched a movie where someone was flying with a jetpack.  Well, he got it into his head that he needed to have jetpack.  Instead of the usual "no, you cannot have a jetpack." We decided to go with it.  We had to go the mall to pick up a present for Ryan's dad so we told Munch that we would check out a couple of stores for a jetpack.  We tried three different stores.  One store clerk commented, "Ahh, we don't sorry. I wish we did."  The next suggested Toys R Us and another store clerk LIED and said they were out.  I get what they were doing...but now Munch thinks they we can go back to get one when they are in stock! Here's hoping this is just a passing interest.  I told Munch We will have to check out the Internet to see where a person could buy one.  Low and behold, you can buy one..for $200,000.  Being four, he will think two weeks of chores should do it.  In the meantime, we are going to check out this week's Pinterest Best Activity of the week and make our own jetpack.  Doodle craft   has a great diy jetpack. One fabulous thing we all got out of letting Munch shop for this item was seeing him walk up to strangers bravely and speak with confidence and purpose.  He was so proud of himself for doing it by himself.  Why not? Why not let our kids go somewhere with an idea?  I learned this from our Growing Kids God's Way study, where they challenged parents to not be so quick to say no.  I am so glad to have learn that lesson.  Our whole family has benefited from letting our kids dream. 
Have a great weekend.  Hope this finds you enjoying Spring, rain or shine! 

Sunday, 19 May 2013

While we were in Vancouver, I was able to experience what it was like to be around girls for an extended period of time.  What I mean is parenting girls.  Many of my friends have girls and I have seen the good and the ugly that comes with raising daughters but this was my first time witnessing it for an extended period of time.  I think it was a little unfair because the baby girl of this particular household was one of those exceptionally easy babies.  She sat quietly when we chatted, she ate her food gently and then made a sweet cough sound when she wanted to be nursed.  I can only think that she is saving some misbehaviour for when she can walk and talk but really, she was a dream.  Over the years I have seen some of the differences between parenting girls and boys and well, this week, I am feeling the envy of girl-moms out there.  I know, I know...there is good and bad to both, but can I just have my moment here?  I also know that there are exceptions to the male-female deal.  I know a few girls who have outmatched many a boy in busyness and zeal.  However, I think most people would agree that there are some differences that cannot be ignored.
I love my boys.  I actually love being a mom of all boys.  I grew up with only brothers so it was natural for me to be in a household of males.  I often joke that I would not even know what to do with a girl and would fear her attitude as a teenager (mean girls scare me).   I enjoy the casualness of boys, their love of potty humour and their desire to be gun-wielding super heros.  I would not trade my masculine threesome for anything...I just...wish I had some...estrogen here too.
Growing up, I resisted pink and all that was frilly (don't get me wrong, I liked dresses, just never wanted to overdo it).  Now, the frillier the better.  Walking through Gap Kids the other day, I oohed and aahed over the coral sundress with matching bloomers and cherry-covered bathing suit with red sunglasses.  I want to buy it all.
A month ago, we stayed at a friends with two girls and a boy.  Their 2 year old was playing with her sister's little dress up dolls (not even sure what they were, like Polly Pockets with rubbery designer clothes?) I just had to join her in the fun.  We put a cute mini skirt with a great pair of knee high boots and a tank with coordinating cardigan.  I have to admit,  I don't get that excited playing Hot Wheels or dinosaurs.  Yes, I could buy the boys a Barbie, but I can guarantee you she would be naked with one leg missing and disheveled hair from all the drops down the balcony and being smashed up by 4X4s.

All of my boys have had a blast in the exersaucer that was handed down from their cousin.  They never stayed in it too long; chewed a little, pushed a button then....banged up and down until I couldn't handle the noise any longer.  This week, I watched in awe as this little girl, enjoyed each play compartment for minutes on end; examining, holding, bending and tasting, all while she twisted gracefully in her seat.  Then when she was bored of that, she rocked from one foot to the other while smiling proudly (and quietly) at her mom.  I had never seen that before.  She stayed in their for over 15 MINUTES!!!! HAPPILY!!!  Unfortunately for her parents, she saw what was possible from Baby Goo and began bouncing around in it loudly too.  Oops!  It was a sight to see as we sat these two great babies together and watched the differences in how they took in the world.

I thought that Baby Goo was going to be the baby like me.  Bubblegum was so busy and Munch was really high maintenance so I figured, this one will be the "easy one". Ryan jokes about the pictures he has seen of me as a baby.  I was a happy baby and really laid bak.  Most pictures of me are slumped over like a happy sack of potatoes...even in the jolly jumper.  Baby Goo seemed so much like me as an infant, with his sunny disposition and all but now that he is becoming mobile, I am finding that he is just as busy as the other boys, if not busier.  He is already trying to wrestle.  He already has a great love for sticks, pulling my hair, laughing at his body sounds and playing with his penis.  AHHHHH!!!
After I cleaned the bathrooms the other day, I had a pity party about stinky boy pee and began dreading the day I would have to beg them to clean up their stinky rooms (I still remember the smell of my brother's rooms as teens).   "I just want one person on my team, just one!" I lamented to Ryan.  I want a girl who will eventually roll her eyes with me when they boys make fart sounds with their arm pits and who I won't have to worry about head butting me when when I go in for a kiss. I want to go dress shopping for grad and weddings and stay up late chatting about, I don't know, girl stuff.  I want a crafting partner and a cooking partner.  Don't get me boys do those things and it is fun but... it is different.  I don't even know how to explain it.  I guess one example is, when I am trying to make my snowflake the most unique and beautiful, Munch will be just trying to make his bigger than Bubblegum's.  It could be the ugliest un-snowflake ever but if its bigger...and he made it faster, it is the best snow-thing ever.  See what I mean?  One afternoon after doing crafts with the boys, I called my girlfriend and asked if I could borrow her daughters one day to do crafts with me.
When people see me with three boys, I almost always get the same comment.  It's either, "Oh, I am so sorry." (to which I reply, "I'm not."), or they shake their head and say "so busy" or they say, "It gets easier".  I am encouraged to know that most moms of boys find that although it is crazy in the first few years, boys tend to be a delight to parent after the age of seven.  I admit, I didn't even like myself as a teenage girl so I don't know how I would handle one as a parent.  I hang on to the fact that these may be my hardest working years right now and that one day I will see the fruit of my tears and sweat (sweat from chasing them through the mall as they run into each store yelling "aaah-haaa!").

So, what do I do with this pining for a girl in our home?  Have another baby?  An acquaintance of mine just had her fourth boy.  Adopt? Maybe.  Reach out to more girls in our neighbourhood? Perhaps. Or maybe I will just enjoy the swords and ramps and dead bug collection on my window sills.  Maybe I will just remind my girl-moms what a delight their daughters are and laugh at crazy stories they share about being in a girlie world.  I will definitely pray about whether being the mom of a girl is something God has for me.  Until then I will love my testosterone infused home (did I mention that I have a male dog and a male tenant in our basement as well?).  I will put on my lip gloss as my boys watch in awe and enjoy their obsession with my pretty toe nails (begging to have just one toe with paint on it, much to their dad's dismay) and revel in the fact I am the only one that is not allowed to be tackled in this house.  Those frilly dresses and Barbies will make great gifts.  I can always hope for future daughter's in-law.  And, end rant.  

Thursday, 16 May 2013

InstaFriday-quick trip to Vancouver

It has been busy here in Vancouver.  Ryan has been busy filming for the last three days.
I am joining Life Rearranged in Instafriday so that I could share some of our trip through photos.
Enjoy a view of our time in Beautiful British Columbia (note: our view from a home in time we will see the sites!)  

We had the priviledge of staying with the wonderful Kwun family (Ryan interviewing Willie and Brenda). These two have the gift of hospitality and live out the book of Acts everyday!
Ryan spent hours filming Jack minister to many people throughout the last two days.  He has the gift of healing and is a very funny and wise man. 

Brenda is a true foodie and has even created a guide to eating in Vancouver (photo below). These were some Chinese pastry that Willie brought home for everyone to enjoy. In our four days we ate Japanese, Vietnamese,  Taiwanese and New Zealand style. (burp)

My little friend Alysha's rock collection.  She would like you to note the Berenstain book in the background and the non-rocks in the collection. So cute. 

A great idea Brenda had a few years ago.  It is a deck of cards that share the great restaurants that the "locals" enjoy.  If you love food, Vancouver is the destination for you.

I sent this photo to my boys through Messenger today. Big kiss! 
My girlfriend sent a photo of when she went to pick up the boys from Grandma and Grandpa's for a sleepover.  What a brave woman.  Miss my munchkins.

 Check me out on Instagram at thenaturalmom. 

Have a terrific day! 

Saturday, 11 May 2013


It has been a hectic day.  Life is happening all around us and sometimes it can be overwhelming.   Broken bones, planning for parties, new business ventures, crashed computers and disappointment with another negative pregnancy test were just some of the conversations in my day.  I have to admit that,  in response to some of the day's events, this was a day where my kids had more interaction with a screen than me.  However,  it's days like today where I am glad I limit their screen time because the tv did the trick and I don't feel guilty. 
I just can't believe the week is already over.  We have a birthday party, Mother's Day (and no, no I didn't get the card out in time) and packing for a trip to film in B.C in these two days. Not sure how it will all pan out but it always does. It's a good thing I don't need a lot of sleep.

The boys have been asking me what I want for breakfast on Mother's Day.  Of course I want to say an extra hour of sleep but I think I will go with yogurt and granola.  I love seeing those proud faces bringing in a tray of breakfast along with a nervous daddy (waiting for the big spill).  It's this day, even if I hear it twenty times a day in many different octaves, that I cant believe I am someone's mom.
It's this day, too, that makes me dislike being so far away from my own mom.  They are a 13 hour drive and a way too expensive plane ride away.  I don't even remember the last Mothers Day we have actually had together.  My mom is one of the coolest people I know.  I always knew I had a great mom but as I have gotten older I am realizing what a great friend she is too.  She is just one of those people you can't help but like; so kind, an amazing listener (to her detriment at times, she has complete strangers spill their life's secrets to her at random times), easy going and compassionate.  I could go on and on but really, let me just say that I am truly blessed to have this woman in my life.
It's also at this time my heart breaks those for who have lost their moms (my mom being one of those women this year) and for those who have desperately wanted to be a mom but for whatever reason, have not experienced that.   Please know that I am praying for you; that the One who made you will heal your broken heart and give you rest.

I would love to hear from you. Tell me what your Mother's Day traditions are or what was the strangest Mother's Day you have had.
Before I get on with this weekend,  I wanted to share The Family Fun Spot's recipe for homemade bouncy balls.  Maybe if you are having a more relaxed weekend, this can be a part of your fun.  I am not sure if we need more bouncy balls but I was thinking it could be a great birthday party activity/take home gift.  Have I mentioned how much I love Pinterest? Next week, I will share some of the other Pinterest tips and tricks that I have tried and their outcomes.
Until then, bless ya, friend.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Cloth Diapering and Grocery Shopping

I was very grateful to my in-laws for taking the boys for a few hours while I ran some errands today. One of those errands was finally picking up some supplies for the cloth diapers. That little DIY diaper recipe that I mentioned I was going to try in my post Adventures was a bust.  The diapers got so stinky I just threw them in a drawer (after I cleaned them!) and left them until I could talk to someone.  I remembered going to one of those Mom trade shows and chatting with some very knowledgeable women from a store named Babes in Arms.  They have all the best information on baby carrying, cloth diapers and all things natural.  I have been waiting to get there for months and finally, today...I got there!
As expected, the staff was extremely helpful and friendly and I walked out ready to put the disposables aside again.  If you live in the Calgary area and are looking for help with baby carriers or cloth diapering, please go visit these ladies.  You can even rent their carriers so that you can find the best fit for you.  They offer classes on diapering and baby "wearing".  They are all moms who are passionate about being good worth the visit! That being said, the advice was to give my inserts a heavy rinse as there was most likely a detergent build-up.  I bought a new detergent, superficially for cloth diapers and will see how it goes.  Here's hoping!
That was a few days ago.  I rinsed the heck out of those inserts and....ta da!!!... As good as new. Thank you Babes in Arms!  My boy is clothing it again.  We are also now using the disposable liners and loving them.
Can I just brag a bit?  Since we are living on God-directed donations, I have had to learn to be wiser with our money (which we all should just be anyway).  It has been a struggle when it comes to groceries because our town of over 15,000 only has one grocery store and it is the most expensive of all the chains and because it is in a "wealthy" town, the prices are even more inflated.  I do try to get into the more economical stores in the city but most times, that is just not possible.  Tonight, I went to 10% Tuesday and killed it!  I saved so much money that they needed a manager to override my final total.  So exciting.  Before I went in the store I prayed and asked God to come grocery shopping with me.  I told Him that I wanted this grocery trip to glorify Him.  I had the craziest insight on this trip.  I learned that the organic apples were cheaper than the regular apples.  I found a double pack of cheese strings that were way cheaper than the regular pack that were marked on sale and I used more coupons than I ever have in all my shopping trips together.  Who knew grocery shopping could be such a blast.? I am really growing up. All glory to God!
p.s.  It really does pay to just take time to read the little price cards though.  There are little secrets everywhere in the stores and if you pay attention, you can save a tonne.  That being said, I found a great Albertan blogger who is gifted in saving.  Sign up for her updates and receive information on sales and coupons for stores in Alberta.  Edmonton Frugal Mama.

Just so you know, I did memorize Ephesians chapter one.  I know that I said I would vlog me sharing it but I have been procrastinating.  I tried taping one day but my kids kept walking in on me...the other times, I hate to say, I just didn't feel camera-worthy.  So, I am debating whether or not still to do it as really, the point was just to get me to memorize it and I accomplished that.  I don't know.  Not today, anyway.  One point on the memorizing, is that the method I mentioned in Let's Get Physical just wasn't cutting it.  I ended up doing what I do when I memorize lines.  Look away and try to say it without reading. When you can do it, move on to the next line and when you get to the end of the paragraph, recite the paragraph without looking and so on. Way easier.  I also did a lot of underlining and circling to make connections to themes and points.  What I loved about memorizing this scripture was that God allowed it to be used in that time through different conversations and situations.  The words just became a part of my thought process.  And, isn't that what it is supposed to do?  
Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:2 

Friday, 3 May 2013

Fort Friday

Bubblegum and I are enjoying our time together while big brother is at preschool. It doesn't matter how much I try to keep the "nice" couches neat and tidy, at some point in the day the cushions become a fort or boat or trampoline. This day we took Bubblegum's toddler bed cushions and made a special one-boy fort just for him.
Today is Fort Friday over at All for the Boys and we wanted to join in the fun. Join us in making cubbies and castles and houses. With the change in weather for the better, you could even do one outside! Yay Spring!

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Snack Necklaces for Movie Night

The boys and I had a great time building snack necklaces for Thursday movie night with our dear friends from Oohlala Photography

 Munch did more eating than threading but we managed to get one put together. 

 Me and Miss Izzy showing off the creations.

 These four kids have been friends since the beginning. I love watching them interact as they grow up together.  There is usually something to belly laugh about with them; especially the two accident prone two year olds.

My hubby is not going to be impressed with how much junk food is on them...especially since the movie doesn't start until 8 pm (it's during the parents' bible study).  It's a special treat night. 

Thank you Karina for capturing this fun moment better than I ever could. 

Have a great day!