Friday, May 23, 2014

My grandma

My mom's mom, Grandma Sonia, passed away this spring and I read the following at her funeral. It's been sad the last few months not having her around. I keep wanting to phone her to ask her advice on this plant or that recipe...  I've finally started to water my plants in honour of her. I hope she would be proud of me :)

When I was a little kid I wanted to marry my grandma. 

She was exactly what you would imagine a grandma to be from fairy tales and really good stories....  You can picture it can't you ? The slightly plump grey haired smiling woman with the aroma of Cinnamon wafting from the house, beautiful flowers adorning her welcoming house, a nourishing vegetable garden in the back and a bag of sewing or knitting beside the fireplace.  My grandma was all these things and more, and in turn she was able to be a slower older version of that to my own children.  She Brought me homemade chicken soup when I was sick, enveloped me in great big hugs whenever I came and again when I left, slipped me spending money just for fun, and even let me win at all the silly games she would play with me.

As I got older I realized that if I couldn't marry her then I would want to grow up to be just like her ( except for maybe the swearing, slightly grumpy and impatient part... But I think if you asked my husband he'd say I was well on the way in that dept too :) we all have our quirks don't we?

As a grown woman, I still enjoyed visiting her, playing cards, hearing countless old stories of her life...  And enjoyed her chiding when I would inadvertently lose my keys just as I was trying to leave.  'Oh Melanie! ' she would say, and then promptly search the house with me trying to find them. ( the last time I lost them I actually had to borrow her flashlight and hunt on the dark driveway under a layer of snow... ) Sorry if I stressed you out grandma,.... I thought it was very fitting that the last words she spoke to me the day before she died were 'don't lose your keys!' As  I was leaving the hospital .

I also loved her discrete way of letting me know that I was in danger of killing the plants she would give me because I would forget to water them....  I would always run through the house trying to water plants if I knew she was coming, or hang my head in shame if I forgot and she mentioned that something looked like it needed water.  How did she manage to keep up with all that gardening, crafting, sewing and cooking?  

What Joy it is to carry in my heart the image of her playing cards with my own children (and letting them win too) and pretending to eat a feast of styrofoam toast and plastic tarts with them.  

Since I got married 15 years ago, grandma was the one who I would try to emulate in most things to do with being a home maker.  I would call her regularly asking for advice on how to cook, garden, sew and many other subjects.  She taught me how to make apple pie, how to can peaches, crabapple jelly, sew a hem, and bake cinnamon rolls.  

She was a wealth of information and I only wish she had left behind a book filled with everything she knew or better yet a phone number... Because google just doesn't come close to the great advice from my grandma....  And it can't help me find my keys either :)

in the words of my very sweet four year old, 'i loved going to her house to play!  And I wish that no one ever had to get sick and die.'

Pray for me grandma Sonia, that I may learn to really love my vocation as a wife and mother, that I will have as much fun doing it as you did. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

New beginnings


A new year... A new baby... A new freshness to life, and I have remembered my long forgotten blog and decided to dust off the pages and write a bit more here.  I like to return to these pages to remember the wonderful events of my crazy life...   

Sarah Joy was born to us on Christmas Day 2013 and has been keeping us all smiling ever since.  She is my eighth child, and adorable just like the rest of them.  We are all smitten with her and kids can be found all over the house holding her, talking to her, changing her, and smothering her with love.  While we haven't done as much school as I would have liked, we have certainly learned many more important things.  
Here's the story of her entrance into the world...
She was due on December 28th... So close to Christmas that we weren't sure how to plan for everything.  All of my other kids except Sammy had been born before their due date, and I was a little worried she might come on Xmas day.... But really wanted to have the baby long enough before Xmas so we could still celebrate with everyone, or the day after.  
Well, the day I wanted her to be born came and left and so I started to pray that god would allow me to celebrate Xmas with the kids and keep the baby inside for a few more days.  I had been having false labor every night... And the kids were scared that I wouldn't be there when they woke up in the morning, as this baby had to be born in the hospital.  
Of course Xmas eve arrived and all the false labor went away so I thought I was safe.  We had a nice day of decorating, being with the kids and reading the Xmas story together by the light of the advent wreath and the Xmas lights.  Everyone prayed that mommy would still be here in the morning for Xmas day.  I went to bed knowing that God would take care of things and hoping that he would do it my way LOL...  
I woke up at 5 am Xmas day, however, with contractions.  I have quick labours, once they get going, but I have a good sense of where I'm at, having done it so many times.  I knew I wasn't in imminent danger of having a baby in the next little while, so I ignored them, and prayed earnestly that I could get through the morning present opening that was so important to the kids..., and so fun for me as well.  I managed through it, but the contractions got progressively uncomfortable as the morning wore on and was very glad to see my in-laws show up so I could go upstairs and pull my husband aside to let him know what was going on.  We were all planning to go to mass in the morning together and then head over to my mom's house for presents and dinner.  

  Being the crazy catholic convert that I am, I reasoned that I could either head to the hospital and walk around the halls to speed up labor, or head to mass and walk in the narthex... how could I miss Christmas morning mass?  Especially on my baby's birthday!!  So we went to church and managed to make it all the way until communion, at which point we left the kids in the capable hands of the grandparents and zipped to the hospital to open our special Christmas gift. 

I was only there for a a little over an our before she was born... healthy as could be, with a sweet and calm disposition that hasn't left her yet.  Our little piece of Joy... Sarah Joy.  

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mom,  while everyone was sleeping, I counted to a billion and twelve!


-I wonder why he stopped at such an odd number?

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Math fun

This has been the first week since summer started that we haven't had any activities going on for the week (VBS, summer camp, VBS, camping etc...).  The kids are already bored :-)  I find this amusing, since I know there are only 2 1/2 weeks left until we start the new school year.  (did I say that correctly?? I can't even BELIEVE the summer is going by so quickly!!).

Anyways, I pulled out some of my fun non-schooly books off the shelf and the kids came running to the table to see what I was up to.

We spent yesterday painting animal pictures and talking about color.  I drew the parrot (and Sammy helped), and Z and H did some sort of weasle. E did the Eagle, Peter did another Parrot and JP drew an apple with drums around it (LOL... he's always the one who's a bit different).

This morning I pulled out the book "Math Wizardry for Kids"  and we started with the first chapter on triangles and making a magic cat out of triangles.  Then we practiced measuring the angles with a protractor and finding out the secret of triangle angles.  We learned about hypotenuse, scalene, right angle, and isocolese (sp???) triangles.    I love this book. It's solid math, but the kids loved it and wanted to do more!!

 We also had an enormously fun time playing with a box of cornstarch and a whole lot of water.  What a mess, but my, it was fun.  I highly recommend it.  I have no idea why it behaves the way it does (guess we'll have to look into that for a chem lesson tomorrow), but the kids had a blast.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Crazy sweet little girl

She's on the move and growing faster every day.  She turned 4 months old last week, and is definitely mobile now.  It was cute last week, but now it's a little out of control.  First, I couldn't stop her from flinging herself over the side of her bouncy chair, and now she's pushing herself around the floor....  yesterday I found her eating a mermaid picture, today she was checking out the (broken) fireplace.    She went from squirming along on her belly, to actually getting up on her knees in half a day.

There must be something in the air around here, because all the kids are super mobile all of a sudden. Sammy was found on top of the new bunk beds (memories of my little snapdragon toddler a few years ago), and my eldest is on a sleepover and walking to the slurpee store all by herself. Stop the madness! They are growing up too fast!

baby... stop that! you are not supposed to do that yet!!!  Let's try acting like a normal four month old and lay on the floor and coo at your mobile.  

From the drafts folder: And he's off!!

This is timely... I was looking in my neglected 'drafts' folder and found this little gem.  I guess I can't be so slow in getting these memories down in this family... we're already onto the next baby crawling!! LOL  (also note that this was written on may 9, 2010... which means he was 7 months old.. not the crazy 4 that my new baby is)

Samuel learned how to crawl yesterday. He's been up on his hands and knees for weeks rocking back and forth but yesterday he finally figured out that if he moves his hands forward, he could start moving.

Now the sweet happy baby honeymoon is coming to a quick close... Out come the gates, the vacuum and the broom. Next, he will quickly move to conquering stairs, pulling things out of cupboards and off shelves. Next thing i know he'll be playing hockey in my kitchen with the other boys and hammering holes in my walls (don't ask). Oh sweet little baby, why are you growing so fast?

Monday, August 01, 2011

That was easy!

Last fall we bought the twins some run bikes for their birthday.  You might have seen them... they are little tiny bikes with no pedals.  The idea is that they can push themselves along with their feet, and glide forward.  This is supposed to help with developing the sense of balance needed to ride a two wheel bike without training wheels.

All year they could be seen riding up and down the sidewalks on our street, riding as fast as their little legs could push them.  They were quite the pair to be seen.  Being short for their age (4), they looked like two little toddlers zipping along...  in fact, just yesterday they scared a little old lady half to death as they zoomed by her on the way home from church.  She leapt out of their way with her hands in the air, muttering about 'hellions' and how worried she was about their safety.  (she obviously never raised twin boys).

Anyways,  yesterday they were hunting around in the shed and pulled out heather's old little bike (with pedals), and with a short 30 second lesson from their six year old sister Peter was off, riding a pedal bike!!

John Paul followed suit the next morning with a little push from Daddy and now they are tearing around the neighbourhood on big bikes looking very pleased with the increased speed.  Watch out!!

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Didn't I just leave you on your mat?

Now when I only had one child, everyone told me how fast she would grow... but I didn't really get it.  Until number seven, that is.   I swear, wasn't it just yesterday I had a baby before lunch and then napped and enjoyed the peaceful afternoon off with my hubby??

Now she's already on the move. She just turned four months old last week.  (maybe the toddler is giving her crawling lessons at night? they do share a room right now...).