Monday, March 31, 2014

'Twas The Day Of Sam's Birthday

'Twas the day of Sam's birthday and all through the house
All the creatures were stirring, including my spouse!
The streamers were hung from the ceiling with care
In hopes that the party guests soon would be there.
And I in my apron, assembling the cake,
Was wondering how long, to ice it, would take.
Taped to the wall, in the shape of a '5'
Were pictures highlighting Sam's fifth year alive.
While Sam in the playroom, was thrilled with his present,
Building with Lego, and finding it pleasant.
 When out on our door step, arose such a clatter
We sprang from our chairs to see what was the matter.
When what to our wondering eyes did appear
But so many guests all full of good cheer!
Now Tessa! Now Willem! Now Ella and Ben!
Now Aaron! Now Lily! And some other good friends.
The guests were invited to make Lego place mats,
 An idea from Pinterest, are you surprised at that?
 After pizza and fruit and veggies galore
Sam blew out his candle and then there was more!
And we heard the guests call, as they drove out of sight
"Happy Birthday to Sam! And to all a good night!"

*with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore for using his lovely poem for my own purposes :)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

To Sam, On His Fifth Birthday

Dear Sam,

Today you are five! Mommy can't even believe that is possible. You are such a funny, stubborn, curious, smart, focused, silly kid. You are not perfect, but we love you so very much just the way you are.

Sam, the biggest change for you this year is that you started school in September. You LOVE school. You are usually happy to go, and you like to learn new things. Mommy's heart melts when you bring things home and say, "I made this for you!" You have learned to read, print, make new friends, eat lunch all on your own, and so many other things we don't even know about.
You like to play on the iPad, play with cars, work in your workbooks, read books, play games, play with Lego, and so many other things. You play so well on your own and, although you have started to behave a little more mischievously this year, you are a pretty responsible kid. You do like to draw on the floors, the walls, and other things you probably shouldn't though :)
Sam, you are an amazing big brother. You love Rachel so much and it shows. You are her best friend and I hope that continues. You two play together so well and I never get tired of listening to the two of you play. (Although I do admit, the "we're barking puppies" game isn't my favourite!) I also love it when Daddy and I put you to bed and you and Rachel call to each other through your heating grates. It just makes me laugh so much!
Sam, you are a good friend. People like to play with you, be with you, and you are generally kind and loving. You like to do things as a family, whether it's going to check out neat things happening around us, going to the library and KidSplash, or making crafts together at home.
I don't want to make this sound like you are the perfect kid though. You don't go to bed easily, you don't always listen to Mommy and Daddy, and you can be sooooo stubborn. But this is all a part of being a kid so we all do the best we can in these situations.
Sam-Sam-Sam, five years ago today you made me a mommy, and I love you so very much. I hope you have the happiest of birthdays and an amazing fifth year of life! I can't wait to see what it holds for you.


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Project 364: Days 82 Through 87

Note: I am posting this a day early because I have a very special post planned for tomorrow :) So you only get six days this week.

March 23, 2014 -- Tim and Janice brought flowers for Dave, and I took a stress-relief break to photograph them.
March 24, 2014 -- After a few days of just "surviving" due to Dave's injury, we finally had some fun time together. The kids and I made this forest, as suggested by Sam's favourite magazine, Chirp.
 March 25, 2014 -- I don't know what got into me this morning, but suddenly I was craving a bowl of Fruit Loops. And we only have them on hand because we did a craft with them last week!
March 26, 2014 -- As a part of our de-cluttering process, we found the amaryllis bulb Dave's parents gave us for Channukah. We may not have planted it as soon as we should have, but this thing still had the will to grow. I could learn from that!
March 27, 2014 -- It seems like this money might come in handy next week!
March 28, 2014 -- Sam wanted pink spikes all over his head for Crazy Hair Day at school. Visions of teenage-hood are making me sweat!

Friday, March 28, 2014

"Frazzled Like A... Frazzeld Thing"

Yesterday, Rachel wanted me to read "Happy Hippo, Angry Duck" by Sandra Boynton to her. It is a book about moods and the entire book is asking how you're feeling. I got to the page about, "Or you're frazzled like Frazzled Thing (I'm not sure what it is)" and I thought, "ME! I'm a Frazzled Thing! Right now I am the epitome of a Frazzled Thing." 
(image from here)

There is a lot going on right now and I'm just going to write it all out on the blog and then maybe I can stop thinking about it and do something about it.
Dave's arm is doing quite well. It has stopped hurting and he is getting a new cast/splint on Monday. The stitches will come out on Tuesday. He might even walk to work today instead of me driving him back and forth like I've been doing all week. Maybe. On Wednesday he stayed home but other than that he's gone to work everyday. I still need to tie his shoes, and help him shower-bath, but other than that he is getting pretty self-sufficient.

Our church has brought us meals every night since Dave got hurt. I haven't cooked in over a week unless you count heating up food or making tuna melts as cooking. I'm so grateful. Unfortunately, we haven't magically acquired a dishwasher in the past week so I'm still washing dishes every day. Although it is a lot easier to do dishes when I'm not scrubbing out pots and pans.

On Wednesday night Dave was able to rock Rachel and put her into bed, one handed. That was a huge step. He hasn't perfected the one-handed diaper change though. Nor the one-handed tying up of the diaper garbage.
Sam on his second day of life

Sam is turning five on Sunday. I can't believe it. I go back and forth between enjoying my almost-five-year-old and wondering what happened to my baby? We're having a party with friends and I'm excited about it, but there's a lot to do between now and Sunday.
Oma and Opa with Sam on his birthday
Sam is about twelve hours old! 

Thankfully my parents are arriving on Saturday! They are coming for Sam's birthday and to watch our kids while we're in New Zealand. I've already warned them that the house is a disaster (I can't remember the last time I cleaned, it's that scary), and that Sam and Rachel have plans which include "Oma will bake buns, Rachel will wear underwear (because I absolutely could not handle further toilet training this week), and Opa will tell the story of Rumpelstiltskin."

And then there's this little trip we're taking. People keep asking if I've packed. Ha! Between Dave's injury, Sam's birthday, and my parents coming, I haven't even thought about packing except in passing, "Oh yeah, I should probably find time to do that at some point." People also ask if we're excited. I know I will be excited, but right now, honestly, it's just another thing on the List Of Things To Do. And that makes me so sad.

In the midst of all this though there is hope. Tonight I'm going to see Divergent (!!!) with Janice and Tessa!!! Tim and Willem kindly offered to come hang out with Dave and the kids while I get a Girls' Night Out! And my parents are coming. There will be two extra able-bodied adults. One thing I've learned this week is never underestimate the power of a two-handed adult! (Also, never underestimate the power of cooking a meal for someone who is having a hard time. I cannot say enough how incredibly thankful I have been for all the food people have brought. I get teary-eyed every time I think about it.) And starting in just six short days, I will BE ON VACATION!!!

I know this is probably the most incoherent blog post ever. I also know that on Wednesday evening I will get on the plane and all of this will be unimportant. But right now, if you want an accurate picture of what a Frazzled Thing looks like, just check me out. I am a prime example.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I Wouldn't Have Considered Myself A Hoarder

Nothing grabs me like a good blog post title, so when I was glancing at one of my friend's blog roll, and I saw the title "40 Bags In 40 Days {Lent 2014}," I thought I'd check it out. I was intrigued. And then I read that this was about de-cluttering and I basically didn't have to go any further. "I'm doing this," I announced to Dave, after I'd already gone through my clothes and the kids' clothes, and had collected five bags and two boxes to pass on to other people or to take to the thrift store.
And then I went through the kids' rooms looking at their books and toys, and also the stuff on the top of our closet. The basement storage area was not immune to my discerning eye.
And then I convinced Dave that we didn't need to be keeping all the empty boxes below.
Nor did we need to be keeping three fans, Play-Doh toys we hadn't used in a year, and some random electronics.
I like to think of ourselves as living lightly in this world. I don't feel like we have a lot of stuff. And then I look at all these pictures and I realize we have way more than we need. Although we haven't gotten to forty (we're at about 31 thus far, although we won't be able to go through our garage until after we get back from  New Zealand), we have passed on five bags of clothes to other families, donated sixteen boxes to the thrift store, recycled about seven bags of stuff (boxes, papers, etc), and thrown out three pairs of old boots (all with holes in them) and one potty with a really ripped up seat. We even donated an entire bag of empty egg cartons to Sam's class for craft supplies. Please tell me why we thought we needed eight empty egg cartons sitting on top of our fridge. I know, I can't explain it either.
My question is WHY ON EARTH did we have this stuff sitting around in the first place?!?!?! I mean, didn't we just move seven months ago?

It has been really good for both Dave and I to take a look at everything we own and to ask ourselves, "How much of this is really necessary?" And it's been good to realize we have so much, that we don't need it all, and then to share it with other people, whether through passing it on or by donating it to our local thrift store. I do find it a little scary how incredibly happy it makes me to walk through formerly cluttered places and smile about how much empty space we now have. And all our boxes are finally unpacked from both of our moves. Yay!
I've already talked with one friend about helping her de-clutter her house and I can't even explain how happy and excited this makes me. I might have a slight problem :) However, if any of you ever need any de-cluttering help, you now know who to call!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Combining Two Of My Favourite Things

Pinterest is both amazing and annoying. I love browsing and finding cool things to pin, parties I want to plan, crafts I want to attempt, and recipes I want to make. You can find a lot of neat stuff on Pinterest and that is the amazing part. I have also pinned 333 of those recipes, crafts and birthday party ideas. Am I really going to do all 333 things? I highly doubt it and my "Pin-ished"  board (I know, so original!) only has 47 items on it. This is why Pinterest is both amazing and annoying.

Anyways... that is not what I was going to write about. I wanted to show you something I pinned and actually finished. Not only did I do all of that but I had a ton of fun with it, used my glue gun (Yay!), and now want to open an Etsy shop so I can spend all my time making and selling these items!

On a board I call "Fun For Me!!!" I pinned the following tea wreath. I love tea. I love wreaths. How could I go wrong?

Then, as these things tend to go, I forgot about having pinned this "amazing idea" and went about my life. However the day before Janice's birthday, I was browsing Pinterest and saw this wreath again and I thought, "I could make this for Janice for her birthday. It's perfect!" So I got the kids dressed, ran some quick errands (mainly to buy some scrapbook paper and clothespins), and started working.
It was at this point that two things happened. 1) It was time to go out for supper to celebrate Tessa's birthday and 2) I remembered that Janice doesn't really drink tea out of bags. After checking with Janice at supper, but without telling her why (and leaving her intrigued or confused -- I'm not sure which), I picked up some Irish and English Breakfast Teas and continued on my merry way.
 I just couldn't wait to finish adding all the clothespins before I started adding some tea!
I was quite pleased with my finished product and thankfully, Janice liked it. Or at least she pretended to like it :) This was a fun, rather quick, project and if you have a tea lover in your life, I would highly recommend making one for them. And if you don't know anyone to make it for, you could make it for me!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Lending A Hand

In case you haven't heard, Dave cut his hand quite badly on Thursday night. (Read this post for more details.) Therefore this weekend turned out a little differently than we had planned. Thankfully Dave's parents took the kids for night on Friday and Dave and I caught up on our sleep. After a two hour night on Thursday, Friday's nine and a half hour sleep was a huge improvement.
Saturday morning we ate breakfast and then Dave really wanted to play the folk song, "Two Good Arms" on the piano. (If you go to the You Tube link, skip ahead to 1:00 to hear the song). Then we undertook a sit-down shower for Dave. Thankfully the whole bathing process went a lot more smoothly and quickly than we had anticipated.
Dave spent a lot of time on the couch to recuperate from his "jam packed morning" of breakfast and sit-down shower. I was trying to get things done around the house like taking out the garbage and putting laundry away, and I asked Dave how he was doing. He commented that he got to watch squirrels "frolicking" on the windowsill. Okay, that's what we'll call it then :)
I took a picture of the squirrels during one of their "frolicking" breaks and they nicely posed for me!

Dave's dad brought the kids home around 1:30 or so and they ate some lunch and then watched some Franklin videos. I did the piles of dishes which had accumulated and Dave napped.

Tim, Janice, Tessa, and Willem showed up at 5 and I felt like the cavalry had arrived! Tim and Janice made supper and dried dishes. Tessa read to Rachel and Willem entertained Sam. I unpacked the kids' overnight bags, got their rooms ready for putting them to bed, and took all the dirty laundry downstairs. We had a great supper and afterwards, Tessa helped put Rachel to bed while Tim and Janice cleaned up. Then we had lime sherbert floats for dessert. Yum!
Yes, we still had the St Patrick's Day tablecloth on the table. And we used the festive cups as well. I finally got all that holiday stuff packed up yesterday afternoon.

Yesterday we went to church and we felt so surrounded by a loving, caring, church community. You all know how much I love my church, and while I am the first to admit that it isn't perfect, the way the community has rallied around us in this situation just brings me to tears. My friend, Margaret, wrote, "I hope I never see Dave turn those colours again [she was with us in the ER when Dave was close to passing out from the pain], but if he does, I pray that someone will always be there with you along the way. I would want to know that someone from [church] would be there for me if I was in your shoes. This is what faith community should be. Thanks for letting us care for you." To me this is a beautiful description of what we have experienced and we are so grateful.

In the afternoon my friend Carla had Sam and Rachel for a play date at her house and Dave rested, and watched Seinfeld, while I did dishes, made Sam's lunch (probably the earliest I've ever made it!), did some laundry, showered and generally tried to get on top of things for the week ahead.
Our friends, Margaret and Nolan, brought us an amazing supper of carrot-lentil soup and bread. The picture above also shows a loaf of bread another church member dropped off for us this past weekend.

Both kids were melting down a ton yesterday, so after supper I gave them both showers (neither child was particularly pleased about that), and then Dave read some stories. Rachel had the epic meltdown of epic meltdowns and cried for forty-five minutes about the fact that I wouldn't let her play an iPad game. Then she fell asleep in my arms. Dave read to Sam that entire time, and then Sam fell asleep too. You can tell Rachel was losing it even in this picture. (And this was before the epic meltdown.)
Once both kids were asleep, Dave needed to eat to take some of his medication and I needed to eat to take some of mine (being on prescription drugs this past week has completely messed with my "not eating after supper for Lent plan" as I have to take two medications with food but I can't take them at the same time.) Anyways, Margaret had also brought some black bean cupcakes. Their family is gluten free and so they make some alternative recipes. I so want the recipe for these cupcakes because they were a little bit of heaven in my mouth. Oh. Yum. 
So that was our weekend. It wasn't at all what we were anticipating, but thanks to all of the support from our church community and Dave's parents, we made it through. And we have a new appreciation for those people who lend a hand when needed.