Tuesday, July 31, 2012

40 Photos of Natasha - Part 2

As was explained in yesterday's post, this is the second in a series of posts all about Natasha, as a long-delayed 40th birthday celebration. Each post in the series focuses on a different aspect of Natasha, through a total of 40 pictures.

The theme of today's post is "Natasha the Krahn". Aside from the vaguely Scottish gathering-of-the-clans feel to it, I chose the title to sum up Natasha's deep commitment to her extended family. On both the Krahn and Ewert sides of her family, she is very connected to her grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews. She has also forged connections with my extended family, as well, over the course of our married life.

I feel like this is a subject better expressed in pictures than in words, but suffice it to say that Natasha's family is a huge part of her life, and she is an amazing daughter, niece, granddaughter, and aunt to many, many people.
With Natasha's immediate family: back row (left to right) Rob, Ellen, Sam, me, Jay (brother), front row, Liam, Erin (sister-in-law) and Ainsley (March, 2010).
With Sam (in the hat :), Kaelin (niece) and Rob (July, 2009).
Dancing with Lily (niece) at our wedding (June, 2008)
With Ellen, Sam and Grandma Ewert (December, 2010)
With Grandma Krahn, Rachel and Rob (October, 2011)
With Sam, Rob, me, Rachel, Parker, Jake and Craig (cousin)
(June, 2011)
With Katherine, Tanya and Lisa (cousins) (June, 2008)
With Andrea (mother-in-law) (April, 2009)
With lots of Krahns (December, 2010)
With Denise (cousin), Randy (uncle), Lorna (aunt) and Grandma Ewert (June, 2010)

Stay tuned tomorrow for part 3 in the series: Natasha the Mom...

Monday, July 30, 2012

40 Photos of Natasha - Part 1

This is a not-so-hostile takeover of the blog by Dave, who is a frequent subject of, but very occasional poster to, the blog. Before getting to the post itself, I need to offer a brief explanation of the takeover.

As you may remember from way back in May, our celebration of Natasha's 40th birthday was a bit haphazard, as we were in the midst of moving to K/W. However, we are now (almost three months later...) finally getting around to throwing a belated 40th birthday/housewarming party, and I am using the event as an excuse to follow through on some of the birthday celebrations that were missed around Natasha's actual birthday.

One of these celebrations was writing a series of Natasha-themed blog posts -- for my birthday, Natasha wrote a list of 30 things about me (based on this blog), and I had intended to return the favour. Now, with the belated birthday party looming, I am seizing the opportunity -- and control of this blog -- to write the posts.

So, without further ado, on to the blog post itself! As you may have guessed from the title, I am not actually writing 40 things about Natasha, per se, but am instead posting 40 photos, grouped around four themes.

The first theme is "Natasha the Waterloo North-ian". For those who may not know, Natasha has been a member of Waterloo North Mennonite Church for the past 15 years or so, and it has been a major part of her life -- she has been very involved in Sunday School, worship planning, small group, going to church league softball games, etc., etc. We also got married there, have had both of our kids dedicated there, and are once again becoming involved in various ways at the church.

However, I see this involvement as a broader indication of Natasha's commitment to her communities. Whether they are centred around faith (either church or synagogue), families (the New Mom's group in Edmonton, various "adopted families" in K/W) or other interests (Folk Festival in Edmonton), she dedicates amazing amounts of time, energy, and spirit to these communities, and everyone involved is much richer for her involvement.

Here are some pictures from the last few years that highlight this side of Natasha.

Getting married under a chuppah at church (June, 2008).

Sam with the other kids in our small group (October, 2010).

With Willem and Tessa, close family friends (December, 2008).

This was a picture on Natasha with a close friend from church (June, 2009). However, her friend asked that we not post pictures of her on the internet so we have removed this picture to respect her privacy. Thank you for understanding.

Sam with Vanessa, who Natasha mentored for many years (June, 2009).

Natasha and Sam (back row, middle) with other New Mom's families,
gathered for a collective first birthday party (July, 2010).

Several moms from the New Mom's group were
pregnant at the same time with the "next generation" (June, 2011)

With Marcia and Gavin (September, 2011)

Volunteering at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival (August, 2009)

Running with Sam at the Turkey Trot, a fundraiser
my department participated in at the U of A (October, 2011).

Stay tuned tomorrow for the next post in the series: Natasha the Krahn!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Our CSA: Fertile Ground

A few years ago my friend, Angie, started a CSA -- Community Shared Agriculture. I knew that I wanted to be a part of it but living in Edmonton it just wasn't feasible. So as soon as we knew we were moving back this spring I e-mailed Ang and said, "We want a share!" And starting in mid-June we've been going out to her farm once a week to pick up our food.
We sure get a variety of vegetables. Some are quite familiar to me like potatoes, onions and peas and others I'd never heard of or knew existed like hakurei turnips, braising greens and purple skinned carrots.

Our meals have been greatly enhanced this summer by a wide variety of greens and we've enjoyed them all immensely.

The best part is that Sam and Rachel know where our food is actually coming from. It's not just nicely packaged at the grocery store along with everything else.

Going out to the farm to pick up, as opposed to being a part of the city pick up has its disadvantages -- mainly the long drive instead of a short walk. But it also has many advantages, like getting to pick your own herbs and seeing where our food is actually coming from.

And my favourite part is that we also get to pick our own flowers. Sweetness! And Sam can pick his own grass to take home as a souvenir. To each their own :)

And best of all, we are eating so healthy these days. We get so many good vegetables are we enjoy them raw, grilled and steamed. Yum yum yum! All the goodness of a garden without the intensity of the work. We LOVE our CSA and the awesome vegetables we get because of it.

Saturday, July 28, 2012


We had a very productive day today. And I didn't take pictures of any of it :( Oh wait! Yes I (and Dave!) did. Since Dave doesn't have to work on his thesis all the time (he has only about five hours of minor editing to do before it is done! Done! DONE!!!), we had a chance to get a lot of other stuff done today.

Dave vacuumed the basement stairs, I swept and washed Sam's floors and our floors and dusted, Dave finished trimming the hedge (which totally needed it because our friend's almost four year old son commented on it!), Sam cleaned up the hedge trimmings...

... I cut off all the dead daylily stems, Rachel had a four hour nap, Dave cut down the huge thistle we had been cultivating...
... Sam dug some big holes in the flower bed, I read a bunch of back issues of our local paper, Rachel ate lunch outside...
... Dave did a bunch of dishes, I picked tomatoes with Sam (and yes, I know my skirt is caught on the hedge -- I had to do some extra trimming to reach the back of the tomatoes -- who knew those things would grow to be so big???)...
... Rachel took a step or two (!!!), Dave and I made supper for our care group, we realized we can provide a meal for 17 people with our CSA share (17 is the number of people in our awesome care group), Dave and I did more dishes, Dave set up the train track for Sam, and now we are going to bed because tomorrow is another busy day!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Show Us Your Life -- Displaying Pictures

So Kelly is asking how we display pictures today. I don't think I have any hot secrets. I just know what I like. I like to print pictures and have them in frames around our house. One of my favourite photo walls in our house is in our kitchen. We have this group of pictures about us and food.
In our hallway we just have a big frame with pictures from different places we have been together.
And on our landing we have pictures of our kids. These are Sam's photos at 3 and 6 months, and one and two years old. (I think there are two pictures from when he was one for some reason!) And then Rachel's are mostly photographer's choice ones from her 6 month session.
After looking at all the SUYL -- Master Bedrooms I am inspired to print some of our wedding photos in a large size and frame them for our bedroom. I have to get on that one! Thanks for stopping by and I'm looking forward to getting some ideas. Just so you know, these SUYL topics are what finally convinced me to join Pinterest! I needed a way to remember all the great ideas I was finding :)

Monday, July 23, 2012

More Memes

It is too hot to write anything profound today or to upload pictures so here's another meme. And yes, this came from Erika again. I think I missed the boat on a lot of blogging memes so I'm throwing one in now and again because they are easy to do and I don't have to think about what else to write about :) Plus, don't you have oh-so-much fun getting to know me?!!?
A is for age 40: 29
B is for breakfast today:a strawberry yogurt and a glass of iced tea and lemonade mixed. Usually I also have a cinnamon raisin bagel toasted with margarine but I didn't have time today.
C is for currently craving: chocolate and Coke
D is for dinner tonight a veggie burger, BBQd yellow squash, and steamed swiss chard and baby pak choy and steamed peas. Lots of yummy CSA food!, veggie
E is for favorite type of exercise to be determined since I just joined a gymbe
F is for an irrational fear creepy crawly things
G is for gross food: cilantro
H is for hometown: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
I is for something important: my family
J is for current favorite jam: strawberry freezer jam
K is for kids: Sam is three and Rachel is one
L is for current location underneath the fan in our living room
M is for the most recent way you spent money: I joined a gym tonight (see “E” above). Although I don’t have to start paying fees until mid-August so I guess at the grocery store tonight buying lots of dairy products.
N is for something you need: a thunderstorm so our house will cool down.
O is for occupation stay-at-home mom
P is for pet peeve people who don’t commit.

Q is for a quote “I call lots of birds flying a ‘bird jam’ Mommy!” – my son Sam. This one still has me laughing! R is for random fact about you I have visited 37 countries in the world. It used to match with my age but I got older and haven’t travelled as much lately. Note to self: Change that. Go somewhere new!
S is for favorite healthy snack salad that is just lettuce and feta cheese.: raw veggies in hummus
T is for favorite treat: a Coke. And cheese and crackers.
U is for something that makes you unique I got my nose slammed in the trunk of a car when I was three years old! So I have a cute scar on my nose.
V is for favorite vegetable Tomatoes, avocadoes, lettuce.
W is for today’s workout: Running up and down stairs with five loads of laundry and to do about seventy billion diaper changes.
X is for X-rays you’ve had: teeth, lungs, knee.
Y is for yesterday’s highlight Visiting with good friends and going out for supper.
Z is for your time zone Eastern

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Celebrating Dr. Dave

These are pictures of us tonight before we went out for dinner to celebrate Dave's successful PhD defense. Yay! Sadly we couldn't get a picture of all four of us but maybe next time! And we had an awesome dinner at East Side Mario's. Gotta love that place.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Dear Dave: While You Are Away Day 3

This is going to be a quick blog post because Donny and Marika are here and it's rude not to talk to them. Today I can blog about a few things we've done since Dave left that I haven't been able to talk about previously because they were surprises for Dave. But he will see the surprises before he sees this post!
So Thursday night we started working on a welcome back banner for Dave. I didn't add the "Dr" in until this morning because I didn't want to jinx anything. Rachel was mostly tired and so got frustrated by trying to paint so Sam and I finished it this morning while Rachel had a four hour nap. She had a four hour nap because she and Sam both woke up at 7:30. I plunked them down in front of Mighty Machines with Cheerios and dozed on the couch because 7:30am on a Saturday morning is way too early for me! Sam was very pleased with the final results.

The finished sign hanging and waiting in the hallway.

Before Rachel woke up, Sam worked on a separate project for Dave. He was actually happier about it than he appears in this picture! Getting him to smile for pictures these days is a chore.
After Rachel woke up...
...and while Sam was having quiet time (he was supposed to be sleeping!), Rachel worked on her part of the project for Dave. She was quite the mess afterwards.

And just because it was pretty funny, I took a video!

After Sam had quiet time, I ordered pizza, because it was just that kind of a day, and plunked the kids down in front of Mighty Machines so I could get dressed before the pizza arrived. (Did I mention it was that kind of a day?!)
The pizza was just what the doctor ordered.

After supper I played piano, Skyped with Twiebe and got both kids off to bed with much screaming and gnashing of teeth. And then I came down to this...
I cleaned it up, went outside and browsed the interwebs until Donny and Marika arrived. Then Rachel woke up. So now Rachel is lying on the couch with Marika and I am done this blog post. Dave's plane is currently ten minutes late so we will expect his arrival around 1:30 or 2am. Maybe I should go drink another Coke!

Oh, and that painting project Sam and Rachel were working on. This is it. Hopefully Dave likes it!

(ps. I'm now going to go and get some white paint to try and paint over the failed ampersand in the bottom left hand corner of Rachel's painting. Ooops.)