Thursday, October 31, 2013

Introducing Spooky-Wooky-Looky-Pooky

Last night we carved our pumpkin. Last year this was a two hour affair and we all really enjoyed the process. This year both Rachel and I were feeling under the weather and we had a time crunch to get Sam to bed in time so we worked really quickly. However, I think the kids still had fun.

Sam chose the design based on the jack-o-lantern from Oliver and Amanda's Hallowe'en by Jean Van Leeuwen. I made the first cut and Sam helped me scoop out the insides.
Sam's idea of a good time was to scoop out the insides one seed at a time! I quickly demonstrated the proper (faster) way to do it, and he was convinced it was an excellent okay idea.
Then Rachel rolled up her sleeves and got in on the action.
It actually took her almost until the end to decide that sticking her hand in the pumpkin was fun and not something to be scared of.
Then we got to work on carving the face. I did the nose and eyes because they were easy. Dave got to do the mouth because I had no patience for it he was better at it!
Then it was time to light name our pumpkin. Sam offered up the name "Sam" but we thought that might be a little confusing. He informed us that no one at school wanted to name their class pumpkin "Sam" either. Ha ha ha!!! So Sam then came up with "Spooky-Wooky-Looky-Pooky." All those names rhyme, by the way. We concurred that it was an excellent jack-o-lantern name.
Of course we had to light Spooky (as we call it for short). Rachel was very intrigued by the whole thing.

And that was our pumpkin carving experience this year. Have a Happy Hallowe'en!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

We Almost Missed It

So, as almost every other family in North America has done this past month, yesterday we finally made it to our local pumpkin patch/corn maze. I actually wasn't sure it was going to happen this year because the weather has been pretty awful on the weekends, and when it has been nice, we've been really busy. But yesterday the sun was shining, we picked Dave up from work a little early, and we headed out.

Sam's class had a field trip to this particular place last Thursday but I didn't take any pictures. I was too busy chaperoning my group of two (busy!) kids, one of whom was Sam. Since he had been here so recently, Sam felt like he needed to guide us around. Here he is heading off into the corn maze which, ironically, his class did not visit. Ha ha ha!
It was a very sunny day so a lot of the pictures are a lit weirdly. Oh well, it's better than all the rain we've had this Fall.
I got a little artistic in the corn maze!
Where did my family go again?!? Oh yes, I see them coming.
Sam did not want to cooperate for a picture so I pretended to bite his nose to get him to laugh. Whatever works...
The farm had a lot of pumpkins, nicely set out by the doors, but Sam wanted to march out to the pumpkin patch to choose one. Just like he did last week. So off we went.
Again, Sam was quite confident in leading us to our destination. We walked the whole length of the patch, but unfortunately, a lot of the pumpkins which were left, were out there for a reason -- soggy sides, caved in tops, smashed bottoms.
We did eventually find one we were happy with and took it home, after we paid for it of course! And Sam and Rachel are holding corn they picked up in the maze.
Last year, Sam and Rachel were not particularly happy to pose in the farm picture and this year they were directing Dave and I where to stand. Thankfully I got to be the farmer and not the pig :)
I'm so glad we took the opportunity to get out there this year, even if was a short visit. Since this place closes after Thursday this was really about our last chance to go. It really was a fun visit.

Monday, October 28, 2013

On Marriage, Caring, Conflict and Connectedness

So this past weekend Dave and I attended a Marriage Care Weekend at church. Twenty couples, at different stages in their marriage, came together to be led in a whole weekend to work on keeping their marriages healthy. One of the organizers, who is a counselor, said, "I wanted a weekend to focus on promoting marital health before it hits a crisis point." Our facilitators, a couple who have been married for 49 1/2 years, shared four different sessions on Caring Communication, Creative Conflict, Satisfying Sex and Family of Origin. This couple was amazing in sharing from their own marriage as well as other resources.

Dave and I were excited to have a weekend, without our kids, to talk about different things in our marriage. We had a couple of really good breakthroughs and I am looking forward to seeing the results of those play out over the next weeks and months. One of the things we discovered is that a frustration we have been having lately (trying to go home from church events in a timely fashion) was actually the result of something which attracted Dave to me in the first place (how connected I was with people). It's hard to be connected with a lot of people at church and try to exit quickly! Especially when I love to talk :) We came up with a strategy to help Dave (the introvert) deal with this issue and I will fill you in in a few weeks if it has helped at all.

This connectedness with people really hit me yesterday when I had four different conversations with various friends about struggles they are facing. Big struggles when it comes to parenting, marriage, health and work. You know, just some of the major things in life.

I was telling Dave about some of these conversations, in general, after church and he asked if having these conversations, and knowing that friends are struggling, was stressful to me. And I told him, "You know what? I feel honoured that friends invite me into their struggles with them. I feel helpless because they are dealing with big things, and I don't know what I can do, but I feel privileged that they have shared that with me."

And today this verse has been sitting with me. Galatians 6:2 "Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." This verse doesn't say to "solve each other's burdens" or "take away each other's burdens," it simply asks us to "bear" them for each other. So I will help those people I talked with yesterday by bearing their burdens, by being a listening ear, and by supporting them as best I can.

And I will give thanks for my connectedness with people. Even if Dave and I might need to have a few more strategizing sessions about leaving church.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

On The Other Hand And Why I Love My Church, Part 2,372

When I posted all the pictures of Sam, Dave and I playing in the leaves earlier this week, a few of you commented on it was great that we got to experience all four seasons where we live. Most of the time I love that. But then today, we woke up to this:
And as I type this, it's snowing again. It won't stick around, and we'll probably get another bout of warm weather before winter hits, but this morning was a stark, icy, cold reminder that we better enjoy the pleasant outdoors while we can.

And I know I talk a lot on here about how much I love my church but I'm going to do so again. While this service is not happening at our church, a former pastor at our church is leading it. I am planning on attending to remember Ghengis, but I will also be thinking of all of you I know who are walking (or have walked) this journey as well, whatever it looks like for you.

Remembering Our Babies: To mark Infant & Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month and with an eye to All Saints Day, Pastor Renee and Alicia will lead a service to acknowledge and remember our babies who have died due to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, still birth, neonatal death, SIDS, and all other infant deaths. Space will also be made available to mark the grief of infertility. All who have been touched by the loss of a child or the loss of hope for a child are welcome to this candle-lighting service in the Sanctuary.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Caught Between Two Opposing Sides

This is the story of a battle between the side of me which really likes being able to see out of my windows and the side of me which would really prefer to have her feet on the ground.
So I like light and brightness. Growing up in Saskatchewan, we got a lot of sunlight every day. I find Ontario very grey so I'm always turning on lights or keeping curtains open, etc. The ivy growing on our house, which you can see in this post, is kind of a wildcard and doesn't really have a lot of respect for "This is a window so I shouldn't grow over it." I also felt really closed in by not being able to see outside. As you can see from the pictures above, our window, and the window in Sam's room, were mostly ivy-covered. However, these windows are second story windows. Enter: a ladder. (Ladders, by the way, are a major, somewhat necessary, non-exciting, new homeowner purchase. Boo.) And then enter the debate of "Who is more comfortable with heights and wants to climb up to our second story and pull ivy off of the windows?" Let's just say I won (or lost, depending on your point of view) that one.
In the picture on the left, you can barely make out our bedroom window underneath all the crazy ivy. In the picture on the right we won't talk about how high up I am. I used to be a bigger fan of heights than I am now. Let's just say that Dave is almost 6 feet tall and leave it at that. Also, when we were looking at these pictures a few nights ago, my mom pointed out that it looked like I have no legs. Let me reassure you by saying, yes I still have my legs :)
This is the picture where both Dave and I are acknowledging "Holy Cow! She's/I'm really far up in the air." Yerghks.
My dad took a picture of me trimming the ivy around the dining room window, which is on our first story. I think I look like my mom in this picture. Or I'm just doing a worse job than she does of sporting her hairstyle!
While we were trimming the ivy, Mom and Dad made all the peppers in our fridge into a soup. They broiled them, took the skins off, added some other stuff, pureed it and Voila! Delicious soup. This is a picture of the soup before it was pureed. I thought it looked really pretty.

There are no pictures of the scariness which was climbing up the ladder, which was precariously (at least it felt that way to me) leaning against the house, to try and trim the ivy around Sam's window. I asked Dave about every thirty seconds "Are you still holding the ladder?" which was probably annoying but I needed reassurance. After I climbed down I announced, "Next time we are hiring someone to trim that window."

See, Sam's window (the one on the top) is very far away from the ground. Even further away from the ground when you are up on a ladder trying to reach it. And I'm pretty sure that's a scientific fact.
And here are our bedroom window and Sam's bedroom window, post-ivy trim. It was hard to get a good picture because there was so much light coming in to the rooms. Dad noticed that every room in the house looked brighter. Yay! I'm so glad there were immediate results to me braving out being on the ladder.

But like I said, next year I think we might hire someone to do this. Or find a really brave, non-scared of heights friend. Any volunteers???

And for those of you who might have noticed, yes, my blog post title from yesterday changed no less than three times before I found one I was happy with. Sometimes a good title presents itself right away and sometimes it takes a little more wrestling. Yesterday was a wrestling day :)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Fun On A Fall Afternoon

On Sunday we did some outside work on the house and then I raked some leaves. Sam wanted me to make a big pile so he could jump in them. Then he wanted me to jump with him, and then it was Dave's turn. And then we started throwing leaves. It was a lot of fun and the stereotypical Fall thing to do. Miss Rachel was napping and missed the whole thing. Looking at these pictures I was reminded of this post from a day like this with Sam almost exactly four years ago. I can't believe he was ever that small :)

Also, we took 179 leaf pictures and I am only sharing this many of them. You're welcome! And be sure to check out my new favourite picture of me and Sam about halfway down, the one where we're lying in the leaves together.