Thursday, 27 June 2013

Yes, July in Calgary.  June always seems to be a write-off, especially this year, but July, good 'ol hot July is here (a couple days early I might add).  Time for trampolines, water parks, playground hopping, sprinklers, lemonade stands (although todays' kids seem more privy to iced tea), bike riding and popsicles.  

If you are like me, I like to spoil all the fun and only let my kids have half of a popsicle.  I bought one of those make your own popsicle kits last year but it was just too much ice cold goodness for my boys. Really, at this age, they get bored and waste half of it anyway.  While stuck in traffic today I came up with the perfect homemade cube tray popsicles. Genius, right?!  What I am quickly learning through Pinterest is that my brand new idea was somebody else's idea last year.  I thought I would share the others' great ideas, complete with snazzy photos.  

This creative Mom from Biting the Hand came up with the best party treat, Ring Pop ice treats. 

These little popsicle treats from Kitchen Daily  just look so yummy and cute. 

Now the boys and their friends can have the joy of having a popsicle in a size that is more suitable for them.  I am so excited about that. 

Summer is also a great time for camping.  We don't camp as Ryan dreads the idea of having our typical sleepless nights in "the wilderness"(the man loves his sleep and hates the wilderness).  I am hoping to convince him of at least a backyard campout.  That way if it gets too wild and crazy, he can escape to his own bed.  
Do you think we should let Baby Goo sleep in this little teepee?  He seems to like it. 

Check out other great fort ideas at All for the Boys

Enjoy the rest of the week! 

Monday, 24 June 2013

How to Help

 The devastation from the flooding in Southern Alberta is still unbelievable to many and yet the waters have not even receded in many parts.  It has been amazing to see so many people rally together to help those who have lost so much. The authorities are having to remind people that the hard work is still yet to come.  In prayerfully considering how I am to help in all of this, I did a little research online as to where help is needed.  If you are like me and are overwhelmed with the amount of information on social media and don't even know where to start, then the following websites may be helpful to you.  Rather than creating my own, I am sharing the efforts of other blog sites that are listing the needs of different organizations.

The town of High River, Alberta

East Side of Calgary, Alberta
Where to find information on how to help:

Samaritan's Purse

Volunteer Calgary

Calgary Clean Facebook page

Now, if you are also like me, you need something to lighten the mood.  In times like these, we need to be able to release and laughter is the best way.  Ryan and I found the greatest clips from old game shows and were roaring at some of the things that people have said in the nervousness of being on a t.v. game show.
Oh wait before that....can I tell you a funny story.  I went to the farmer's market for the first time in years last week.  Half way there I remembered that they boys had swimming lessons that day and that we actually had to be home in an hour to eat supper and get ready (the Calgary Farmer's Market is quite far from our community).  I gathered up the boys and we hustled around the market, grabbing fresh fruit and vegetables and looking for a supper time meal.  After my third stop, I realized that I had been stealing!!! I was in grocery store mode and went from vendor to vendor taking different produce not paying them.  1. I can't believe no one caught me. 2. I am glad I remembered where I visited.  Once what I was doing kicked in, I returned to each vendor and apologized and paid.  Each vendor thanked me for my honesty and for returning with their product.  That mistake took up a lot of time so we barely made it home to eat and get on our way for swimming lessons.  Sometimes I can only laugh at myself!
Enjoy the clips:

If you have a funny story to share, I would love to hear it.  Please send your stories in the comments area.  Thanks!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Flooding Calgary

Our home has been a frenzy of updates on the flooding in Calgary and Southwest Alberta. I love social media and the photos and videos amaze me but it is also so hard on the heart. I am watching these people's homes get wiped away from the rushing water and I ache for the loss of these families. We have been praying for friends who are stranded in Canmore, surrounded by roads that are no longer, for friends who are hoping the "higher ground" they evacuated to doesn't become a pool of water as well and acquaintances whose livelihood is in danger. There are more than 100,000 people possibly bunking with friends, family or strangers wondering what they will return to in 72 hours. I just can't imagine what that feels like. I am sure that anyone from Calgary who is reading this right now knows someone who is affected by this rain.  What is beautiful is the amount of support that is being offered through Facebook and phone calls and texts.  Sometimes we become the most beautiful in suffering, don't we? 

I am going to take the time I would have given to blogging to pray for those who are not in the comfort of their own home tonight. I leave you with a verse that comes to mind; reminding God's children that we do not need to be consumed by our troubles, as we can trust our compassionate and loving God. He is our refuge.
Stay safe Alberta friends. -Ange 

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.
Isaiah 43:2 

Sunday, 16 June 2013

My Dads

See that man riding with Munch on the sea-doo....that's my dad.  I am so proud to be his daughter.  This picture is fitting because it shows him doing something he loves: being on the lake and bringing joy to his grandkids.  
I grew up knowing that I was very blessed.  Dad was very involved in our lives; whether it was attending our sports games, driving me to the orthodontist, attending my grade 8 home-ec luncheon with all the moms or teaching me how to change a flat tire.  He is very sensitive and kind...and a people person through and through.  He has been known to go for walks on vacations all over the world and coming back with a story of meeting someone who knows someone he knows.  He is goofy, which is why the kids love him so much and encouraging.  Over his sixty-some rounds of chemo (you read right, over 60 rounds. He is a walking miracle), he has touched many people fighting Cancer with humour, love and encouragement.  In his sickest of moments, he still is thinking of other people and how to make them feel good.  His Cancer returned just when I was pregnant with my first and he has fought through nausea, tiredness, pain and sadness to provide a fun and involved grandpa to his grand kids.  I know that am blessed to have this man for a dad.  He is one-of-a-kind.  I love him so much.  

Maybe you don't have a dad to celebrate with today.  I am praying that you would be comforted at this time.  I hope you don't think it trite for me to say that there is a Father who loves you more than any man ever could.  God, our Heavenly Father, your Maker, looks at you with awe and pleasure.  God showed His love by becoming a human being, in the person of Jesus Christ and reaching out to His lost and broken children.  He then was willingly beaten, murdered and later died so that the necessary punishment of our sin would not be held against us.  He is patiently waiting for His children who have not yet accepted this, to turn their faces to Him and believe what He says is true.  I pray that today would be the day those who have not known the Father's love, would know it.  My dad is amazing. My heavenly Father is glorious! 

Happy Father's Day to any dads who are reading this Mommy blog.  Have a great day friends! 

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Where is the time going?  Once the weather gets warmer, life seems to speed up.  Now that the boys are in swimming lessons twice a week, each day is just flying by.  They are so excited to jump into their grandparents lake this Summer.  
I am planning on spoiling Ryan this Father's Day.  He is a fantastic dad and now that he is working from home, he does way more "duties" then he would normally, without complaint (well, mostly).  There is nothing I love more than watching him get down on the floor with those boys and rough-house or when he has them snuggle in with him while he edits on his computer.  He is better at so many more things than me in the parenting game-he can get those kids cleaning, brushing their teeth, getting ready for bed and eating a supper they don't enjoy like magic.  I am so grateful for him as husband and father to my children.  He loves getting gifts so we are giving him lots of little things that he has been mentioning over the last while.  Some gifts we have already given him because he was in desperate need, like the new office chair (his other one was broken and tilted something horrible).  On top of the practical gifts, we will put together some homemade gifts.  I found this great idea from All for the Boys.  I can't wait to see what the boys come up with for this; should be funny. 

I also saw a great photo of little feet with "We love Daddy" or something on them but I can't seem to find it (forgot to "Pin It").  In my searching, I found a few other cute ideas.  
This one from 517 Creations is a tear-jerker.  

This one, from Sisters Stuff, is cute and easy to make as well.

Here are some other ideas that I was looking up.  This was with my husband in mind but maybe yours will appreciate it too.   

I eat all of Ryan's snacks....mainly because it takes him years to eat them. I am not exaggerating.  He rarely eats snack foods or chocolate...drives. me. crazy.  I would make it the "hands off" basket, just for him, complete with beef jerky (he does love beef jerky).  

How cool is this chain?  I have a girlfriend who has one and I love it...I didn't know they made them manly too! 

This is what Ryan really wants (in case you can't see, it's an iPhone case that looks like a Bible)
  Even though we have already picked up a few things, I think I will get it as well.  I said we were spoiling him so....

Other than that, we will be making breakfast in bed and lavishing him with love and affirmation.  It still won't do enough for how much we adore him around here.  Let's hope this isn't the post he decides to check in on.  If so, Ryan, just act surprised, okay?  Like with the chair.  

Enjoy your the rest of your week! 

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Glow in the Dark Fun

I slept through the night!  Wow...I. feel. horrible.  Why is that?  Is because our bodies don't know what to do with that amount of sleep anymore?  Anyway,  I am super excited that Baby Goo slept so well and that I could actually get up before everyone and get stuff done.
Today is Baby Goo's first day as a guinea pig.  The boys are signed up with the University of Calgary Child Development study program.  Being a grad of the Psychology program, I have a special interest in this area and love to help out.  The boys have a great time "playing games" and then come home with a little toy and a t-shirt that says -I am a child scientist-(we are getting quite a collection).  Now, Baby Goo is finally of age to be in a study and the boys and I are all going for a fun outing.  The two older love playing with the "big kids" in the playroom.
My Pinterest Best Activity for the Week is more of a collection of ideas.  I can't wait to try these out when we go camping with the grandparents this Summer.  Right now I am just trying to get these kids to bed before the sun goes down!

Glow-in-the-Dark Fun.

Rugged Life shared this great ring toss idea.

Here's an outdoor take on glow bowling.

This next one is for the older kids.  I am still not too sure about it but it looks cool.  

Now I am off to get breakfast ready before the troops wake up.  I am going to try these Apple Pancakes  this morning.  Super Yum! 

Have a great weekend! 

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Bringing out the Best in your Shy Child

I am by no means an expert on this.  I was not shy.  No one in my family was shy.  I had my moments  but the desire to socialize was so strong that it drove me to push through any timidity as a kid.  I am not sure I could label Munch as shy. It may be more of a stubborn fearfulness.   We called it shyness when he was a toddler.  His dad was extremely shy as a child so we thought it was in the genes.  I have to admit, I was highly annoyed by my clingy little boy.  I couldn't understand why he wouldn't want to go play with the other kids.  This was something I had to learn about from Ryan.  I would ask questions about what would Munch be thinking about in social situations so that I could empathize with him.  There were many times Ryan was better able to handle situations with Munch because he would know what to say to help.  Situations like haircuts and first day of preschool were some of Ryan's highlight reel as a dad.  I have since learned ways to help Munch cope in seemingly scary scenarios as well.
One valuable lesson that I learned from the Growing Kids God's Way study is to allow for shyness but not let it be an excuse to be rude or disrespectful.  I am so glad I learned that early with Munch.  He would NOT say hi to anyone or even look at them.  When that happened I would apologize to the person and let them know this was something we were working on.  Then, at a later time I would talk with Munch about the importance of showing people they are important by addressing them kindly.  There were days I thought I was wasting my time but now Munch is so good at addressing people that he says hi to everyone that passes by.  He still has his moments but I see him remembering the importance of showing love over his fear.
This Christmas,  Munch's preschool class were to perform a couple of songs at his school's Christmas concert and this became a great source of anxiety for him.  I volunteered one rehearsal day and he would not even stand on the stage to practice.  Me being me, couldn't bare the fact that Munch might not get up on that stage (how does anyone not want to perform on a stage?!)   What is the big deal, he performs at home all the time!  Again,  with much prayer and talking it over with Ryan, I came to accept that he might not get on that stage and that would be okay.  Again, we stressed the importance of showing love to people.  This time it was in the form of singing songs about Jesus to family and friends who may not know him.  Munch  is very logical and this really spoke to he is a true evangelist.  We took a walk through the gym the day of the performance and talked about where he would walk and who would be there.  I explained what the great big lights and speakers were for and why we needed to have the gym lights off.  Then I told him that if he was brave and got up to sing for all those people, we would come back home and have a celebration.  The rest of the day he went back and forth about whether he was going to do it or not.  I had to continually give up my expectations and love him through it all.  Ryan went in his classroom with him before the performance and made sure he could see him when he got on the stage.  That boy sang.  He sang quietly and humbly but he sang.  The best part was when he was finished.  The pride weld up in that little boy's heart and he soared for the rest of the night. We had a big celebration.  It was a very big deal!
Tomorrow Munch is singing for some seniors at a special care home.  He has not wanted to go to school all week because of this event.  I have forewarned his teacher of his anxiety and again spoke to Munch of the great joy he will bring these people by sharing his singing with them.  We stopped by the building where they will sing and met a friendly lady named Cathy who shared with Munch that she picked out special snacks for him and his classmates.  He has said he is still to too sure but I am thinking the snacks might keep him on track.
It is a phenomenon to me this shyness deal.  I have learned a great deal about those who struggle with social settings from these two men in my life.  I have learned to be more empathetic too.  I would like to think that my extroverted side has helped Munch and Ryan though.  I have been able to show them that there really isn't a lot to be scared of in those situations and that the joy of making a new friend or doing something fun is worth fighting through the fear for.  I love when Munch looks people in the eye to thank them when they compliment his jacket or when he he tells our neighbour about his swimming lessons.  More importantly, I love watching how proud he feels when he moves out of his comfort zone and experiences new things.  He is a real adventurer at heart.  It would be a shame for that to have not been discovered.
Do you see me hiding behind my little lion on the left? The lengths I go through, sometimes! Ha ha

There are still days where he doesn't want the lady from church to babysit him or when he won't ask where the bathroom is on his own. And no matter how hard our pastor tries, he WILL not do the actions to the kids' songs at our church meetings (we don't push that one because we aren't fans either).  Its totally okay.  One thing that I can't seem to get over is him not wanting to be in group pictures.  That, I believe, is pure stubbornness; a choice he will regret when he's older and wonders where he was at all the family events and parties (or not).  I am grateful for this sensitive little guy, shyness and all.
Do you have any tips for helping your child with shyness?  I would love to hear them.
Bless you!

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Mary Mary...

We finally planted our garden!! The weather had not been cooperating and it was starting to look like we were out of luck for the year but we did it, we found ourselves free on a rain-free day! Yay!

I was so grateful for Phyllis for sparing some her land for our garden and for her help with seeding. I tried to hoe my own row and she immediately stopped me in her sweet but firm Italian accent, "It's too crooked."  She made me give the hoe back.  The boys enjoyed running around Phyllis' acreage and Malachi was as happy as can be, once he got his snacks.  Ryan...enjoyed his coffee and teased me about being a "hippy girl".  (he's going to appreciate this so called "hippy girl" when our grocery bill is less money).  I was a little disappointed to hear that we may not get the watermelon we hoped for.  However, my friend Lyndon, the horticultural genius and funniest person ever, says it is not totally impossible.  (I am praying)  Who wouldn't love a watermelon grown in their own garden?  
I can't wait to enjoy the sweetness of those carrots!  

Munch's preschool class gave their Momma's potted sunflower seeds for Mother's Day.  We have been enjoying our little seed grow up.  Now I want to see what else we can grow.  I found this great blog where a couple try growing several different vegetables and fruit from their seeds.  Mary and Tim at 17 Apart do a great job of explaining how to regrow veggies like celery and avocados and share their own attempts at regrowing.  Lots of fun!  This can be a great activity for teaching kids the appreciation of where our food comes from.  "No sweetie, they dont just come from a grocery store." (You would be surprised how many kids don't know more than that). 
Also, if you don't have enough yard or know someone else who does, you could look in your community for a community garden.  I just found out we have one here in Chestermere! Also, you could do what Mary and Tim do and plant their vegetables in pots or boxes in your yard or patio.  I found another website with some ideas. This is another way to "go organic" inexpensively.  Vegetable Garden Guide.  
The rain has returned.  I praise God for our one gardening morning.  Now, time to see the worms and puddle splashes again.  
Have a great day!