Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Greetings! I haven't emptied all of Tim's camera, so we're stuck with just these few pics of the last couple of weeks. I will update next week with more photos. We had a Saturday at a funny little adventure park in Harrison Hot Springs that could have gone terribly wrong except for the fact that our kids are so well behaved! First the mini "choo-choo train" we were supposed to ride (and paid for) derailed WHILE WE WERE ON IT! and they proceeded to usher us out of the haunted house where it skipped tracks. We were grateful, however, that it did not jump track over the many trestles slamming into the people below! Ha aha ha! Promise totally thought it was part of the ride and didn't complain that her train trip was only 1 minute and 20 seconds long. Good girl.

So that was the first hiccup. Then there was "gold-panning" for mysterious gold that we, *ahem*, found as tiny specks on a few rocks. Promise LOVED looking for treasure....and getting wet. :) Gotta love her "glass-half-full" mentality.

Then we headed to the mini-golf...Promise's first time! High on the ice cream we had after lunch, Promise bobbed from green to green whacking her ball with grace and style even getting a hole in one! I was so impressed. Toby was a keen observer to all the goings on and had a gas! We had a great time together as a family....and then we finished it off by picking up mass quantities of fresh blueberries and raspberries from a local farm...eating most of them in the car on the ride home. What a blessing. It's hard to believe that was at the BEGINNING of August and here we are at the very end!

We've had quite the events around here. The 18-20th, we headed down for a freak visit to the Oregon Coast meeting up with my parents, grandparents and my brother's family. We arrived at the little beach house my parents borrowed at 1:30 am with a very excited and AWAKE Promise and a crabby, tired Toby. One by one, each family member got up to pee about the same time greeting us sleepily and pouring more adrenaline into our sleepless bodies. :) We had a great weekend, though tired. We flew kites, celebrated birthdays and went for lots of walks in the two short days. It was such a pleasure to be with my family. Pictures to come!

Then we had Promise's birthday the 24th and Tim's on the 25th! Promise and I had a lovely tea party and had some time with my dear friend, Rebecca, and her daughter, Annalyn. Then we headed to a local farm for berries and ice cream for Promise's birthday dessert. Daddy picked up a tiny cake and we had the evening with mac 'n cheese, berries, cake and ice cream...every toddler's treat.....Promise is 3! I can hardly believe my precious girl is so big. Toby enjoyed the festivities, too, making sure we gave him ample attention and plenty of blueberries.

Then, poor Tim had to work on his birthday, so I did what any responsible wife would do....I called his co-workers and told them to embarrass the heck out of him.....I also made him a fresh berry pie and filled his lunch at work with treats. :) Then I abandoned him with the kids when he got home for the evening so that I could go to worship practice at church! Ha ha! But I made it home in time for pie and fellowship with him and his parents. :) He's been such a champ and an encouragement.

We had a busy weekend, as I had the privilege of singing on one of the worship teams at our church requiring me to be gone much of Saturday and Sunday. Tim was so great with the kids and the kids thoroughly enjoyed having Daddy time without mommy. To be honest, it was a great blessing for me, too, as it has been AGES since I have done anything musical let alone done it with a group of passionate people for the Lord. I was truly humbled and blessed by the experience and so grateful....

This week started off with the kiddos getting run down and getting fevers. Tomorrow is our anniversary....I guess I can tell you the surprise now that I mentioned in last post...I made him a wedding album. :) Don't tell him, though, because he won't receive it until tomorrow!
You see, we've always wanted a wedding album, but couldn't afford one. Through the awesomeness of apple and the pics we have on file, I was able to finally put together a book of our wedding....this anniversary is paramount for us for a number of reasons, so I am thrilled to be able to present to Tim something that speaks to our journey together. We have a counseling appointment tomorrow night for our anniversary! HA HA HA! But then on Friday, we get to get into a hot air balloon!!!!! YAHOOO!

Saving up for such lavishness and couponing paid off. However, starting this month, we go into financial shutdown mode...our budget has been nutso since arriving home from the Phils and learning how to buy, when to buy and what to buy has been a challenge as food prices skyrocket and the cost of running two cars is overwhelming. No doubt everyone is feeling the squeeze and we are definitely looking into the possibility of me looking for a second income, too....though we know that God has called me to stay home with the kids while they are young. We have saved some money on diapers by potty-training Promise and buying local....we're still searching for other avenues. September will be a teaching month for me.....thankfully there are few birthdays in September, which broke the bank this month. We'll see how we do. God has been so faithful to provide even the simplest things....like yesterday, I went to the grocery store that listed yogurt on sale (Toby goes through a litre of yogurt every 2 days!) so the sale price was decent, but still a bit expensive...as I am comparing labels, the yogurt food rep comes up to me commenting on how cute my kiddos are and we get to talking.....one thing leads to another and she hands me a stack of fabulous coupons on the sale priced yogurt good until 2013 as well as a few tips on how to make my yogurt go further! WAHOOO! I was so grateful!

I used to make my own when in the Phils, but in order to get the greatest amount of milkfat in it for Toby, I have to buy it....so I was so thankful for this angel of yogurt. God provides....

Okay...enough...writing...that's the update. I will share more next post post ballooning.
Be blessed.

Friday, August 5, 2011


Greetings~ Summer is finally here in Abbotsford.....after a "summer" full of rain, we are getting 3-4 days of sun in a row! Time to pull out the camera and take some outside shots of the kids...
And some indoor shots, too! Toby is growing faster these days....loves to climb in and out of things, open all cupboards and empty contents on to the floor....I love this stage. He cracks me up. Almost walking, he is in constant motion....even when sleeping.
He is addicted to blueberries and I think he may be turning a pale shade of purple as a result....oh well, there are worse things to be addicted to. :)
Promise is POTTY-TRAINED! Yeah! We are accident-free for 5 days now! We started over Canada's long weekend and Tim and I were as consistent as possible rewarding Promise with a sticker and a chocolate chip with each pee or poo in the potty. She strutted her bare-bottom for 4 whole days until VOILA! She stopped fighting the potty and has now graduated to Dora undies (as seen above)....her reward for a diaper-free existence. Now we are trying to figure out how to get her out of Pull-ups during the night and nap time. I am sure that will take some time. WAY TO GO, my big girl, Promise!
We got a bit of time with the Stewart side of the family the last few weeks heading to the nearest park and playing with all the cousins.
Toby loves the park....and Grandmastina (Grandma Christina), too.
We had the kids dedicated at our church, Northview, on Father's Day and was really blessed by the richness of the ceremony and the commitment to strong accountability in our parenting in the ways of Christ. I love our church.
So these are my typical days, as of late....we bathe in the sink for fun and make messes all over the house. I love my two monkeys.

I have been processing a lot these days. I finally went to the doctor last week because my brain and body were so overloaded I was feeling as though I was losing my mind. I couldn't get a sentence out right, was forgetting the simplest instructions, got lost while driving to normal locations, could barely get myself out of bed, had trouble engaging in any conversation and just generally felt an enormous pressure in my head....almost like I had overdosed on nighttime cold meds. I was due for a physical anyways, so I thought I would just get checked out.

She asked if I was under any stress....I think that would be the understatement of the decade! HA HA HA! She quickly took my blood pressure....I am generally healthy....though overweight (what else is new!) and she prescribed a massive dose of fish oil and vitamin D. Yeah, I could've told you that! So we'll try it. I hear that it has some positive effects....lots of my friends are currently on it, too. I take my vitamins, but have never had to OD on these two helpful supplements before. We'll see.

Despite my giant brain farts and inability to communicate (sorry if I am all over the map!), God has been sharing His heart for me. I was reading John 20 this week and was touched by John 20:24-29. Remembering the sacrifice of Jesus and His resurrection, I was amazed at Jesus' continued compassion on His people. Remember doubting Thomas? He's the disciple that said to his buddies, "I won't believe that Jesus has been raised unless I feel the nail scars on his hands and the scar on his side." Even though the other disciples saw Jesus, Thomas was just not convinced.

So, a WEEK LATER, Jesus appears to the disciples out of nowhere and the first things out of his mouth are "Peace be with you!" and the second? Directly to Thomas...not in rebuke, but in compassion and love, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe!"

Thomas does so and says, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus had every right to disregard Thomas, as he was just being a doubter. But God HEARD Thomas' request even though Jesus was not even present in the room when Thomas made that request to touch Jesus' scars! God HEARD him and not only proved to Thomas that He loved him enough to take his request to heart, but to appear to him in full humanity again making His first conversation in front of the disciples about proving to Thomas that He was indeed, the Lord. Whew. That hit me hard this week. Blessed are we who believe when we do not see! That's what this chapter ends with, and yet, God still shows His 'face' when we need to see Him...His humanity and His sovereignty all at the same time. How much care and grace our Heavenly Father has on us to show Himself when we are doubting. I am humbled. "Oh Lord, I need to SEE You."

This month, Tim and I celebrate our 9th Wedding Anniversary. I am taking him on a hot-air balloon ride over the lower mainland. :) The Lord provided that in a miraculous way. We have always wanted to do something like this, but it's WAY above our pay-grade and yet, God provided a half-off coupon and provided the funds....miraculously. This anniversary is unlike any other for us for a myriad of reasons...I have another gift planned, too....I can't tell you what it is, yet. :) I thank the Lord everyday for His faithfulness and redemption in even the hardest of circumstances. So, in gratefulness to God, I share with you two photos from 9 years ago this August 31st. Be blessed.

PS. I will share "balloon" pics in early September. :)