November Comes

 

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Here we are. November. While some will celebrate Thanksgiving this month, we have already done that and what remains, for me, is the death of so many good things. Perhaps that is why I shudder every time this month approaches. My favorite season of the year is nearly over, the leaves have all fallen, the beauty of the season is fading, the light is fading and what is left is darkness.

I worry that I don’t have the courage to face that darkness…the darkness of the winter months that lie ahead and the darkness inside of me. God calls me to courage for these days, for strength to let my light burn brightly in the dark places and know he is there holding my hand. Now is the time to gather the ones I love and hold them tighter. Now is the time to always have the kettle on, to linger over meals, to sit snuggled together with our books and favorite movies, to light candles, to write letters, to give thanks for all that has been given and all that we hope to be.

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This month will mark five years since my fathers death. I often go into complete hermit mode, shutting out all friends and good fun. I know that my father would not want this and so this year I have purposely booked up our calendar with things to look forward to. Things that will make me leave the house and stop navel gazing. No matter the sadness, God is still good and there is joy to be had. I am focusing on giving thanks daily for the little gifts each day brings by either writing them down or snapping a quick photo on my phone. This life is busy, this life is full, this life is the one He gave me. I am overwhelmed by the abundance of all of it.

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“November comes
And November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.

With night coming early,
And dawn coming late,
And ice in the bucket
And frost by the gate.

The fires burn
And the kettles sing,
And earth sinks to rest
Until next spring.”

-Clyde Watson

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Baby Days

The early days with Oliver started out very early since we came home only a few hours after he was born. We woke up in the morning all under the same roof and the girls came very excitedly into our room to meet the little brother they had been waiting months for.

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My mother and Ben were total rock stars taking care of the house and the girls so that I could rest and get to know our new little guy. It’s funny looking back through these pictures because they were only taken a few months ago but it feels like a lifetime away. Oliver will soon be 3 months old and I frankly have no idea where all of this time has gone! I do my best to be in the moment but honestly sometimes it is a fog for that first little bit. I know we spent a lot of time at home together and it worked out well that way since it was Winter anyway.

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Lots of snuggles. Lots of silly play. Lots of being in their underwear and playing dress up. You do what you’ve got to do to get through it!! Here’s a little look into our days..
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Lenten Things

We had a very blessed Lent and I wanted to post some pictures of our time so that I can look back and remember that it was not all struggle. Lent is difficult for me. I suspect that it’s mostly because it is always at the tail end of Winter, which I already loathe. I assumed last year that I was struggling through Winter because Abigail was finishing nursing and I felt like an emotional wreck. I’m now seeing that I probably have some seasonal depression that I need to speak to my doctor about. It’s a dreadful feeling when you feel low and exhausted and like the sun might never shine again and you just wish you could shake it but you just can’t.  No amount of just trying to be happier seems to work for me and I expect that I may need to actually exercise to help fight the winter blahs next year.

Ben worked quite a lot throughout Lent and so the girls and I took to having our own adventures and had great fun. I would say their favorite thing we did together was when we baked Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday. We used The Pioneer Woman recipe and had great success. On Holy Saturday we spent a good chunk of the morning coloring black and white Stations of the Cross and hanging them up in our little Easter tree.

I was reminded this Lent how small I am, and how important it is that I remain that way. God is good!

Yarn Along

I decided to start 2012 by conquering a knitting fear. I taught myself how to knit socks. I’ve been knitting for nearly a year now but had somehow convinced myself that knitting socks was for the really good knitters, the patient ones, the oh-so-wise ones. I used a really simple pattern (link in my previous post) called ‘Baby Shower Socks’. I’ll have to post a picture of them once they have been worn by niece who is due to be here any day now.

Next up I decided to knit myself some socks and see how it went. I’m getting there, stitch by stitch, during naps and evenings. I have to be honest and say I haven’t done any reading recently. I think that is partly because I am so determined to get these socks knit, but also, because I think I may need glasses and I get headaches when I spend too much time reading. I’m hoping to have an eye exam soon and straighten it all out so I can get my nose back into a good book. 

Head over to Ginny’s to see more lovely knitting.. 

This Week

We got ourselves a nice beef roast from Ben’s new workplace.

I made a batch of cretons. My inner french girl was very, very satisfied.

We made Pear, Oat, Cinnamon and Ginger smoothies from the newest Martha Stewart Living magazine to have with our breakfast which the girls loved.

I knit my first ever pair of socks (the baby shower ones). They turned out so easily and beautifully and of course, I don’t have a picture to show for it since they are already at my mom’s waiting to be given to my sister when her baby comes.

I ignored most of the laundry that needed folding and instead moved nearly every piece of furniture in my living room to create a little play nook for the girls.

I discovered Amanda Shires. She sounds like dolly parton..but cooler.

I made hot chocolate for myself and the girls several times..and added Bailey’s to mine..at three in the afternoon.

Made Are So Happy cookies and ate far too many of them…and am still eating them now..just try and stop me.

It has been one of those weeks where things went mostly really well but then come completely undone by the end of it. I think the girls are on the verge of getting sick as they have both been grizzly all day and didn’t nap well. God let 4:30pm come soon!! How was your week?

Letting Go and Letting God

Lent is late coming this year. Each year as we go through Lent, I become aware that Spring is coming, Easter is coming, Christ will rise and I am given new hope. Winter has been difficult for me this year. Being in our apartment, which is dark most of the day and weaning Abigail from the breast put me on an emotional rollercoaster. March is here and I am so very very ready for Lent to come. To count the days. For new hope to fill my heart that Spring will come, the flowers will bloom, everything will be okay, winter is not forever. All of that being said, I have something very exciting to share.
Ben and I have been approved for a mortgage and we are about to begin the search for our family home. We have waited and prayed long and hard for this time to come and we are so very humbled and grateful that God has deemed this Spring the time for us. We have dreams of a vegetable garden, of a backyard big enough for our children to run around and play in, of a home where we can grow as a family and add to our family. We have so many dreams for our family home and yet there is this anxiety that I feel over the entire thing. I honestly feel like throwing up. I am so grateful but so anxious and filled with worry, “will we find what we need? is there something out there in our price range? if we find the perfect house will we buy in time before someone else puts in an offer?  how will we afford to move our furniture?” and on and on it goes.
In searching online for a home, we looked at several semi-detached homes thinking that those were all we could realistically afford until we came upon a house that stopped us dead in our tracks. It is detached. The backyard is fenced in. The backyard is quite big with a patio and room for a little garden. There are 4 bedrooms. There are 2 bathrooms. There is a breakfast nook AND a dining room. There is a little side room between the kitchen and living room that could serve as a little play room. It is 2600 square feet. It. Is. Adorable. We made an appointment to go and look at it Wednesday (tomorrow) morning at 10 am. Then last night while looking at the pictures (we just can’t stop!) I asked my husband if he would google to see how far away we would be from a Catholic church. He did. The address of the house 1697…the address of the church is 1714..of the SAME STREET! Jesus in the Eucharist, in the tabernacle, in daily mass would be about 150 feet from my front door. We could see the church from our house. I burst into tears. God, are you kidding me?
God will never be outdone in generosity. The more we give, the more He gives. The more we bless, the more He blesses. And I feel so unworthy of the weight of the blessings He gives. I struggle with this hugely. To let God not only love me, but spoil me like the daughter that I am to Him. Why does it surprise me when he does these things? I really shouldn’t be so shocked, I really shouldn’t doubt His goodness so much. Instead of saying, “why? why me God?” I should just stop pointing at myself and turn it all back to Him with, “You! You are good, You are faithful, You provide. It’s all about You!”
Despite how good it all looks on paper and in my mind, we still haven’t seen this house yet. We don’t know if the pictures are an acurate depiction of the house and what we would be getting. Enter the anxiety again. Learning to let go and let God is just so hard sometimes. I can’t help it, my hopes are up! I am excited to see this house. After finding out how close we were to the church and that they have daily mass three times in the week, I said to my husband, “This house is going to have to reeeeeeeeeeeeeally suck for us not to buy it” and I was totally serious. I have a feeling that this Lent is going to give me lots of opportunities to let go of control and anxiety and put my trust and hope in a good God who wants to give our family the gift of a new home, wherever that might be. If you could please pray for us and with us in these weeks to come, and especially tomorrow morning, I would be so grateful.
***As I was just about to publish this post I received a phone call from our realtor. After the crazy storm last night, we have to cancel our viewing of ‘the’ house tomorrow because for the first time since they’ve lived there the roof leaked! They are going to fix it and get back to us about when we can go see the house. Funnily this is not putting me off in the least yet. I still want to see it. We will hopefully be seeing another house during that time tomorrow. Let go and let God seems to be the theme right now!! Please pray for us.****
Joining Elizabeth in taking small steps
We’re back from our little trip to visit with my sister and her family. It was a short trip, but a very good one. We arrived just in time for supper on Friday night and enjoyed some adult conversation that evening with a few glasses of wine. The following day we went to mass together, all sitting in the very front row with three busy little ones. At one point someone dropped a host during communion and the Eucharistic minister was looking for it. He leaned towards us and looked around on the floor and didn’t see it so he tried to keep going. My sister thought he was looking at all of the cheerios her son had spilled on the floor and was super embarrassed, ha ha. I looked down and sure enough among the cheerios was the host! I quickly let the man know and he looked quite relieved.
Later that day we tried to go for a walk, but that lasted all of five minutes since it was just too blooming cold to endure it. I am a wimpy girl and my face was cold. I couldn’t let my girls little faces be exposed to that wind. Lucky Jude has this super cool weather shield that attaches to his sled so he was all set.
We made homemade pizzas for supper. A Toner classic for sure.
And then once the kiddos were off to bed, the four of us set out for our double date while my mum babysat for us. We went to a place called the Pumphouse. We had their sample tray of beers, each beer about 2 oz and served in little shot glasses. It was such a cool way to try all of their different beers, one being a blueberry beer! Afterwards we went to the movies and we went to see *ahem* Never Say Never…the Justin Bieber movie. I know you’re thinking, Lammmmmmmmme..but in my defense, it was our husbands idea!! I was actually very surprised to learn that Justin is not just a singer but an awesome musician, and comes from a very difficult background and small town. I will now give myself permission to listen to his music without shame.
The next morning was St. Valentine’s day. Knowing that it would fall on a day when we were visiting, I brought red napkins and some really cute heart shaped curly straws for our drinks. We made pancakes and topped them with fruit, hot fudge sauce, whipped cream and all of that goodness. It was fun celebrating the day together and we gave the girls some new books (all in french) since it is much easier to find them in Moncton than here in Halifax.
The girls had so much fun with their cousin, Jude, and it was such a treat to spend time with my sister. I’m so very thankful that they don’t live so far away anymore! I haven’t been around here this week because we’ve been trying to get back on top of things. Amazing, isn’t it how even just a few days away from the home can completely throw off any routine of meal prep, cleaning, naps? When we got home we didn’t get a chance to get groceries and so we’ve had some very interesting meals these last few nights! Thank goodness for our freezer food. I did groceries last night finally and it is such a good feeling having food in the house again! I don’t know about your little ones, but my girls are snack fiends. Always in the kitchen trolling for something to munch on. I try to keep our morning snacks to fresh or dried fruit and a little handful of goldfish crackers or cheerios. Having so much nice fruit in the house makes me look forward to Spring and Summer produce all the more. I’m looking forward to sinking my teeth into my first fresh strawberry of the Summer….so sweet!  
I hope you all have a lovely weekend of fun, rest and time with those you love dearly! We won’t start our weekend until Sunday as per usual, but we will be keeping it low key since last weekend was adventure packed. I’m looking forward to lingering at the breakfast table over hot coffee with my hubby, a hot bath, and maybe a walk out in the woods if we get some sunny weather. Now if you’ll excuse me I have three giant loads of laundry to fold that I’ve been avoiding since we got back!