Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Grandma Joan

"They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel."
If you knew my Grandma Joan, then you know that this quote spoke volumes about her. Nobody left her presence feeling guilty, judged, or put off. 
No, when you were with Grandma Joan, it was like settling into a cozy warm blanket of love with a a cup of your favourite tea.
I am not normally so poetic in my descriptions, but I can not think of any other way to describe her.  

When I was very young, she moved from Waldeim Saskatchewan to Tumbler Ridge, where we lived. We spent almost as much time at her house as we did at our own! I will always remember how excited we got when she brought out her stack of flattened brown paper bags to spread on the table. It meant she was making cookies, usually gingersnaps! When it was time to relax, she would grab a towel and her bottle of baby powder, and use it to rub our feet. She loved reflexology, and when we were having a rough day, it was her go-to therapy for us. In fact, she used touch lots. In church she would sit beside me and rub my hands. To help us sleep when we slept at her house, she would rub our earlobes. Here she is rubbing Danica's feet :)

As I grew up, we became close friends. We used to joke about how alike we were in many things. We liked our coffee the same, we both loved the same types of food, and we had similar opinions on many things.

As a new mom, I often became overwhelmed. When I get overwhelmed I tend to just shut down because I can't think about what to do next. Daniel is really good at seeing when I get to that point, and often over the years, when I have had a particularly hard night or day, he would say, "why don't you leave everything you have to do, pack up the girls, and go bring lunch to your grandma's house?" 
She lived an hour away from me, and between the drive, and visiting my Grandma for the afternoon, it was usually just what I needed to refresh my spirits and feel much better.
We would sit at her kitchen table and drink our coffee while thumbing through the latest Watkins or Regal catalogues, while the girls played with her box of toys that I had enjoyed as a child. Then she would send me home with a batch of fresh buns or cookies, and tell me to make sure I came back soon. Sometimes, she would even make the drive to my house to spend the afternoon. I will always, always cherish those days. There was never a time when I wasn't at peace around her.

She knew how to look for the good in people, and she could always find it. If she was with you, and had a positive thought about you, she didn't refrain from letting you know.
"You're such a good mom Jade"
"You know Jade, you are so beautiful!"
To my girls: "you are such a sweetheart!"
Compliments like this would often come up right in the middle of unrelated conversations. 
I don't know where I saw it, but somewhere I read that we are not called to be like other Christians; we are called to be like Christ. That was her. She loved God with all her heart, and that loved poured out onto everyone around her.

As gentle as she was, she was also feisty. When she did get mad, you could tell she was mad, but there was still a gentleness and a refrain to her demeanour. 
She had the most hilariously inappropriate sense of humour too. When I would go and visit her, she almost always had a joke or story of some sort to share...one that she heard from her friends while at aquafit, or by email usually. In fact, just today I went back into my email to look at the things she had sent me. There has got to be over 60 joke filled emails that she sent to me after she learned how to use her iPad. I remember lots of days when she would call me laughing, "did you get the email I just sent you?"

All week I have had a tug of war going on inside me. You know, the "if I had known the last time was THE last time" struggle. 
She used to make a wife saver breakfast casserole every Christmas morning. Over the past few years, due to circumstance, she either hasn't made it or I haven't been there for it. I can't remember the last time I had it, but I remember it being one of my favourite parts of Christmas!
This is the last photo I took of her. She was living at the manor in Dawson Creek, which was great because she was closer to me, and I could visit her more often. I still never felt like I was there enough though. I think I knew deep down that our time with her was growing shorter, but honestly, I thought "shorter" meant another 10 years or so. 

So the last time I visited was on her birthday, August 16. The girls and I brought her a cake, complete with candles for her to blow out. They were so excited to do that for her, and I love that my girls could get to know her as well as they did. We left like we always did...each of us giving her a kiss on her cheek, and walking away while saying "see you soon Grandma!" 
As I think of it now, I imagine running back for one long, final hug and saying, "Have the best time with Jesus Grandma, I'll see you soon."

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Sadie's Post

Remember way back when I used to give regular updates on what all the girls were up to? Well I do, and I miss it. Facebook, IG and Snapchat are all awesome, and I use them all of the time, but they have really taken away from my blogging. And I dislike that :(

Sadie has been in the crazy stage lately. A stage that I wish I could videotape 24 hours a day and save forever, because I know it won't last long. It's been the same with all of the girls, but with her there seems to be a twinge of sadness that this is the last time we will experience the adorable toddler stage.
There is so many jokes on the internet about the terrible two's, and how toddlers are crazy and super frustrating...and sometimes, sometimes I totally agree. There are moments that I just want to pry her little fingers off of me and run and hide under my blankets.
She is just so flipping adorable lately that it overshadows the hard moments. Like I said, I wish I could videotape her entire life. She is talking now, and her comprehension is large and adorable. She comes up with the cutest things!!

If she had her way she would always be naked, and she is almost always barefoot. I can NOT keep track of where that girl takes off her shoes! My friend called her Mowgli one day, and that nickname stuck in my head because it describes her so accurately. She's fearless, and will try anything, especially if she sees the girls doing it.

She exclaims "wow!" Often, and I love that because it draws my attention to things that had become too normal for me. She really loves mountains. Not only does she point them out whenever we drive, but whenever she builds something with Lego, it's a "mountain".

She repeats everything the girls say, and usually as a question, like she's trying to confirm what they said.
She also responds to us with things that we commonly say. For instance, when I'm asking her to do something that she doesn't want to do, she will hold out her hand in a "stop" position and say, "just a moment" or "wait a moment". She also does that hand gesture when she says, "no, stop!"

She doesn't like when any of us are siting down. She will grab are hands and pull us up while she says, "Mon! Mon with me!"

If I ask her to do something, such as get her shoes on, she's super good at arguing back. "No, I won't!" She says. I usually get really stern then and say, "Sadie, you listen to me. I said get your shoes on. Now." To which she will sigh deeply, shrug her shoulders and drop her head and say, "fiiiine".

"Mom, I watch a movie, please?"

"I have it" as she holds out her hand to try and take whatever you have

"I have a bite?" Anytime I'm eating anything at all

"Toffee? I have a sip"? When I'm drinking coffee. It's so weird that she loves black coffee lol. When she touches the mug she always says, "ow, super hot!"

The other night she came walking into the house at bedtime and said, "mom I hundy".
"You're hungry?"
"Yeah, super hundy"

She is also one of the most affectionate toddlers I have ever seen. When you pick her up for a hug, she wraps both arms and legs around you tight and buries her face right in your neck...usually followed by a happy sigh.
She grabs our faces and kisses us often, usually saying, "love you" along with it, which makes us melt every time :)
She loves all of her sisters, but has a special soft spot for Addison and Tegan, and when they pick her up she hugs them super tight.

I will never ever forget the other day. I was changing her pull up, and as I pulled the new one on, she hugged me tight and said. "mom I love you tazy".
I had to ask her to repeat a couple of times and finally realized she was saying "I love you like crazy"

I just can't get enough of her snuggles :)

When Daniel is around, snuggling him is her number one priority. It is adorable when he asks her to put him to bed. She leads him into the bedroom, tells him to lay down (ay lown), and covers him up. She runs his back while saying "shhh", then comes out of the bedroom and tells us all to "shhh, daddy leeping".

There is so much more I could write, but that's just a snapshot of a few of the things i need to record so I will never forget :) I can't wait to see how much she changes and grows this year. I love watching all of the girls develop over the years!

Sadie baby, you are awesome and I'm so glad you are a part of our family :)

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The First Quarter

So it looks like my blog has gone from a place to write weekly updates on our family, to a place where I update much less often. Soon I'll be able to title it "the Christmas letter blog" where I post one annual update on the Steckly crew.

2016 has been eventful so far. If you follow me on Facebook, you probably have a pretty good idea of the goings-on around here :)
January stayed busy with things like school events, Little Lily sewing, and continuing our home improvements. Thanks to a super mild winter, we have been able to do building projects that we had assumed would have to wait until spring!
On the last day of January we decided to take a family day and go to the Jump Yard in Grande Prairie. It was super fun for everyone....except Sadie. The poor girl spent February in a cast and takes the title of "first broken bone" in the family. It was definitely an adjustment, but she adapted really well. In her lifetime she has now had to learn how to walk three different times...and she rocked them all. Now you can barely tell she ever had a broken leg!
Right before she broke her leg I was at one of my best friend's houses for coffee. She casually mentioned that they were thinking of selling their house, and if it sold, were moving to the island. Well, things happened at whirlwind speed unexpectedly, and by the last week of February, we were loading up their trailer and saying goodbye. We have grown so close in the four years we've known each other, it was really hard to see them go. I still have a hard time believing that she's not just on a holiday!
Addison and Tegan have had a busy couple of months. They both joined basketball this season. Tegan was unable to play in the games because she is still in grade 4, but she still went to all the games and the practices...and she gave it her all in practice. I was so proud to see how much they both improved over the season. One really cool thing is that they were the only team in the league to go undefeated all season! The only game they lost was the championship game of the tournament. I remember Addison coming up to me after one of the practices and saying, "mom. I think I've found my game". She has also been enjoying judo, which the entire school has been doing for gym class since January. She comes home and practices almost every day.
Tegan and myka have been doing judo too. It's really neat to see them come home from school and work hard at perfecting the moves they learned :)
Addison and Tegan both submitted projects for the science fair this year. Addison was part of a three girl team, and Tegan did hers on her own. Out of all the groups in the school, their two projects were chosen to go to Regionals, so they will be participating in that at the beginning of April. They are both so excited for that!

Danica has become very inquisitive over the last few months. She turned 5 in January, and is
always asking questions and trying to figure out how to do things. She loves coloring. And spends a good chunk of the time the girls are at school doing just that. A few weeks ago she asked me to draw her a seahorse outline so she could decorate it. That one seahorse led to another, and another and another...then it was regular horses, then dolphins and whales, then owls. I have now started printing coloring pages off for her to save a bit of drawing time...although I must say, I was pretty much reaching realistic wildlife drawing status with my art :p

Myka has been really enjoying coloring lately too. So much so, that she asks to stay home from school so she can color with Danica all day. She says, "mom, two things make me happy: coloring and singing. Sometimes I like to sing when I color and it helps me feel better". :)
She has really taken off with her reading too. It seems to have clicked for her lately and she is reading everything she sees. One day she was watching Tegan read and said. " Tegan. You're not even sounding the words out, you're just looking at them and you know what they say!  I wish I could do that." I had to remind her that she's getting closer to that every day :) her teacher recently started sending home reading with her every day, and she takes it very seriously.

Sadie has been a sponge lately. She always watches her sisters with a hawk eye and copies everything she can. The judo that i was mentioning before? She gets right in there with the girls and does whatever she can!
Just tonight, while i was making dinner, Danica brought her hands to her face and said, "that looks delicious!" Immediately, Sadie did the same and said, "lishee!"
She is getting better at talking every day. Like everything else in her life, She pretty much repeats everything she can. And it's either getting easier to understand her, or I'm getting better at interpreting her toddler talk. Either way it's adorable...especially when she tries to say an entire sentence :)

I did a lot of bragging about my girls in this post...and I should, because they are aweosme and they deserve it! The thing about the internet though, is that everyone sees the side we want them to see. The busy-ness and craziness of our life is a balance of moments like the pictures I've attached go the post; happy, proud, silly moments...and the other side of it. Having five completely different personalities in five girls can get a bit tension filled. We live in a one floor home where no one has much personal space, and tempers can run pretty hot around here. Addison and Tegan are getting older and would rather be hanging out with friends than playing with their sisters much of the time. Myka thrives on having quiet alone time, and when she hasn't had that time to decompress, she falls apart easily (much like me!). And then Sadie...she just runs around like a tornado and keeps everything and everyone moving aaaallll the time. With all the chatter, emotions, and general noise, I feel helpless sometimes in keeping it all together.

I want a home where everyone treats each other with love. I tell the girls that their sisters are the best people to practice things like empathy and patience with. Unfortunately, a suggestion from mom does not simply make it so.
I've been struggling with feelings of disappointment lately, where I feel like I'm letting my family down...not in a way that THEY feel I'm letting them down, but where I feel like I'm missing the mark with teaching them those things....does that make sense?
That being said, I know those feelings aren't truth, and I do my best not to accept them. I've been playing worship music in the house again lately. I hadn't for a long time because I neglected to put music on my new phone. I didn't realize how much it helped bring a peace to the home. And a peace to me, until I hadn't played it in awhile. It is a small thing that really does help though :) Daniel and I are so blessed to be able to watch our girls grow. I've been blown away at the things they have learned and accomplished lately. In encompassing everything I've written here, the bottom line is that we have so much fun with them!
Wow, that really rabbit trailed off the "family update", lol.
Night, everyone!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

When the Toddler Breaks a Leg

Sadie has given me many heart attacks over the past year. She is sure that she can do everything the older girls can. As a result, she hasn't used a highchair since she was 15 months old because she wants to sit on the barstools with them. She also learned to climb to the top bunk a few months ago, and she plays with real Lego instead of normal toddler toys. I'm always so scared that she's going to injure herself in some way, but she does a pretty good job of knowing her boundaries and adjusting accordingly.
Last week came as a surprise then. We took the girls to the Jump Yard in grande prairie for a fun day. It's really great there...wall to wall trampolines, even on the walls! There's foam pits, jungle ropes, and a balance beam. There's also lots of safety measures in place, and staff everywhere to enforce the rules and minimize possible injuries.
At one point, Addison was jumping hard on a trampoline to launch herself into the foam pit. In a split second, Sadie broke away from holding Daniel's hand and stepped onto the trampoline. Immediately she collapsed crying.
Usually she has her cry, then gets distracted and runs off playing again. Not this time though. We were pretty sure something was wrong right away because she fell asleep in my arms, and would randomly whimper, hold her leg and say "ow" in her sleep.
Fast forward to the next morning when we got in for x-rays...and got her first cast. In fact, it's the first broken bone of any of our girls!
She needs to wear it for four weeks, so it will be the beginning of March when it comes off. After that first day I felt like time was going to crawl by this month. It has come with it's struggles for sure, but I'm surprised at how quickly she has adapted. I suppose it's the general toddler mindset...they don't like obstacles holding them back, so they come up with their own solutions for things.
Within three days, she had mastered a butt scoot, and a crawl while dragging the casted leg behind her. The girls were so happy that it hasn't slowed her down from chasing them all over the house!
On the Sunday after she got the cast, she was a bit whiney. She was bummed that she couldn't play outside with the girls, and she kept asking for a bath. I was so hesitant, but decided to try sealing it up well enough that she could take a quick bath. There was obvious flaws in my plan though, and the cast got soaked, so we got to watch the halftime show for the super bowl at the er while we got it replaced!
She's definitely been spoiled this past week. She's gotten presents, popsicles, and tons of extra snuggles! When we put her to bed, she entertains herself by rubbing her cast back and forth on the bars of her crib.
I've benefited too. I get so much extra exercise from carrying my toddler who's weight has almost doubled from the weight of the cast (not really, but it sure feels like it!). She loves playing outside, but since she can't play in the snow, I've been bundling her up and taking her for walks in her sled. She loves it, and my fitbit is almost at the highest it's ever been. Given how crazy this week has been, I really have to look at the silver linings in the situation!
I suppose, when you're the fifth child, there's not a lot of things left for you to experience "first". Hopefully this is the most creative Sadie gets with that line of thinking!

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Thankful Thursday!!

Well, it has been an eventful week around the Steckly household, that's for sure! And it's getting late (procrastination wins again!), so I'll jump right in.
This week I am thankful:

1. For neighbors who organize and invite us to awesome sledding parties! Daniel was gone last weekend, but our neighbor invited us over. We hadn't been to their house before, and we had such a great time. Sledding, hot chocolate, hot dogs, and great company until much later than we had planned on staying.

2. For days spent together as a family. We had a lot of fun on Monday, despite Sadie's trampoline incident :(

3. For a doctor who was willing to see us at 7:30 at night when Sadie got hurt on Monday. She couldn't be x-rayed until the next morning, but it was reassuring to have him look at her leg and give us things to watch for.

4. For my friend Jacqueline who came to my house today to watch the girls while I went to my appointments in town. I felt bad leaving Sadie with such a fresh injury, and I felt bad for Jaquelin leaving her with a toddler in a cast, but it all turned out ok, and I could rest easy knowing the girls were super well taken care of :)

5. For my customers. My humble little business wouldn't exist without them. This past month I decided to expand my business a little bit more to include selling fabric. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, and I am once again humbled by the support. And by support, I mean supporting my own fabric addiction, lol. I'm glad my customers and I are all in the same boat :)

6. For Addison and Tegan. I'm thankful for many things about them, but this week it's specifically the help they have been. I won't say it has come without attitude. I won't even say it has come without bribery or threats of taking iPods away....but the point is, they have been helpful. I appreciate the fact that they can do so much. Tegan cleaned the kitchen so well last night, it was wonderful. And Addison has helped with laundry, watching Sadie, and she also makes the best
chocolate chip cookies on the planet....which is very important :)

7. For Sadie's kisses. I may have mentioned this one before, but seriously, it's the sweetest. She grabs my head to turn me towards her and kisses me all over my face. And she gives the tightest hugs too. It's perfect.

8. For Myka's attitude this week. Since she started school, we have had a bit of a fight on our hands every morning. She never wants to go....bit we have realized that the reason is that she would rather just stay home and play with Danica. Which is understandable, but frustrating at 7am when we are trying to get her out the door. This week has been different. I don't even know what changed, but she has gotten ready quickly every day, with minimal complaining, and no tears. I am grateful for each day that she goes to school like that...and j hope that it just gets easier next year when Danica can go with her :)

9. For kickboxing. It is the only exercise I actually really love doing, and I do it because I truly enjoy it. But, life gets in the way, and I hadn't gone to class since August. I've done workouts at home, but it's not the same. They all feel like work, lol. Tonight I worked it out and went to class again. It felt so good to be back there :)

10. For long chats with good friends. It is so refreshing to talk about life with someone who is so encouraging :)

And now with half an hour to spare, I'll post thankful Thursday and go to sleep. The mornings come too early around here!
Have a great week everyone :)

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Thankful Thursday, When I Don't Really Want To.

It was one of those days today. You know, the kind I talked about last week, where I really just need to reset and start fresh. Nothing terribly bad happened, but we woke up late, and the day just kind of stayed at a high frustration level from there. I got home at 5pm and felt like it had been a super unproductive day. Oh, and while I was driving home I remembered it was Thursday and I needed to write this tonight. Hopefully by the time I'm done I'll realize why I NEEDED to write it :)
This week I am thankful for:

1. Sadie snuggles. She can be a handful, but when she snuggles me, she wraps her hands around the back of my neck and pulls me close as she buries her face right in the dip between my collarbone and neck. She usually softly hums while she does it too. It is the sweetest thing, and it never fails to make me slow down for a second and breathe it all in.

2. Myka's sense of focus. This one has been a bit of a struggle for me this week. The thing about myka is that she can be polar opposite with focus, depending on the day. Many times she is in her own Little world and doesn't even hear what I say, let alone obey. I'll send her to clean her room and she goofs around for an hour instead. BUT....sometimes she goes into Super Myka mode and is the most helpful, sweet kid there is. This week during one of those times, she filled the entire woodbox herself, and another, she cleaned her room almost better than I would, complete with mopping the floor. I'm learning how to bring a bit of balance to how we do things, and I know she is too. I love seeing how proud she looks when she does something completely and does it well :)

3. Watching Danica turn 5. It never gets easier to watch your children grow up, but at the same time, it's really exciting. She has such a fun personality and says the most adorable things. We had a really fun party for her birthday, and almost all of her friends came to help her celebrate!

4. Salted caramel biscotti and coffee. There's some days where I can't even fight it, lol. I mean, why would I?

5. My customers. We all know that the oilpatch is going through a slow time right now. I expected my sales for LLB to follow accordingly, but to my surprise, January was busier than I expected. I'm especially humbled by the amount of local business I'm still getting. I know my products aren't cheap, and it blows me away when local families still support my business in that way. I'm so honored by it all!

6. The girls' school phys ed program. We are blessed to have the girls go to a pretty great little school. One thing I've really come to appreciate is the principle. He is very active and outdoorsy, and he teaches most of the gym classes. He doesn't do boring stuff either. This month the girls have learned some judo, and cross country skiing.
Today Addison woke up really sore from skiing this week, so I wrote her a note to excuse her from gym, and she didn't even use it. That's how awesome their gym class is :) I'm very thankful for that! I think it's super important for kids to get lots of physical activity mixed in with the academic side of school.

7. My mom's new job! She got a great new job last week, and I am so proud of her. I was proud of her before too. I don't want to get into her personal life on here, but I will say that she deserves any recognition she is getting now. Love you mom :)

8. The chance to get my hair cut today. It was so nice to get to go kid free and visit with my friend/hairdresser for as long as I did :)

9. God's grace when I feel overwhelmed. I feel that way more than I would like to admit. When things pile up in my life, I tend to get very anxious and completely lose focus. God says, "come to me, all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest." But to be honest, most days I don't feel worthy of that. I feel like I need to just suck it up and push on....but when I do that without going to God first, things suffer. My family suffers because I get unbearable, I'm sure. When I try and push through everything that is overwhelming me by my own power, I end up screaming at people and ugly crying.
Ok, that's really personal, and I'm embarrassed by it, but it's true. It is a constant discipline to learn to take it to God, but when I do, I'm left with peace, a bit more patience, and focus (probably my biggest weakness). Why I don't automatically default to that is a mystery. But it's a promise i definitely need to grab hold of and use more often!!

10. Sweet, sweet sleep. Did I say that last week? I don't remember, but lately our days have been so full of tasks, noise, and general hulabaloo, that by the time bedtime comes I am more than happy to enjoy the peace and quiet of the night.

Speaking of which, That's where I'm heading now. Have a great night and a great week!!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Thankful Thursday, Rebooted.

My time hop app has been doing a good job of reminding me about thankful Thursday. I don't even really remember when I quit posting it, but I know that I miss it. Writing what I was thankful for each week helped me. It was a quiet change, but now that I look back, I think it changed my outlook on things. A grateful heart is a good thing to refresh once a week, I think :)
It reminds me of that one wonderful year where we hired a house cleaner. It was the first year of Sadie's life, and Daniel hired our  tenant (a housekeeper by trade) to clean our house once a week to help me out. It was so weird at first, having another woman come into my home to clean. And by "at first", I mean until the second I walked in my door after she had been there for the first time. After seeing my spotless, clean smelling house, all the weirdness left, and I just fell in love. (Ok, maybe not ALL the weirdness left :p).
Anyways, my point of that is this: I looked forward to that moment every week, where I would walk through my door, and my entire house was reset back to zero. Garbages were out, the floors were clean, the kitchen was clean, and I could just start from there. It also motivated me to set short term goals for my own cleanliness. "If I can keep it tidy for two more days, then she is able to do more deep cleaning and less tidying, so it's more worth it!"
A week was a good amount of time. I think the same goes for gratefulness and a happy heart. Today, for example, I'm finding myself feeling overwhelmed by the problems of the week. I can pray about it here and there, but unless I take the time to sit down and write stuff out, that's where it ends; the odd prayer of thanks, a whispered plea for peace, or strength, or patience. Before I know it, months have gone by, and I realize that there has been no real depth to my relationship with God. No growth. It's like he's become a gumball machine of attributes I would like at the time.

This week I am thankful for:

1. Having a day to spend alone with Daniel today. Sure we were cutting firewood, but we had a good time, got lots done, and had a nice lunch afterwards, so I call it a win :) it's nice to take a break from being parents sometimes, and just be with each other.

2. Our funny day yesterday. I don't know what was in the air yesterday, but a few things happened with the kids that still make me laugh when I think of them. A couple are kind of embarrassing to post, but at the end of the night last night, after the girls had been bathed and I was braiding mykas hair, Sadie came over and laid in mykas lap. "Mmm, Sadie, you smell like a rice bag!" Mykas said, followed with, "and you are hot like one too!"

3. Tea with friends. It's just good for the spirit :)

4. Almost every morning, I struggle getting myka out the door for school. She's always super happy once she is there, but she is NOT a morning person, and often complains right up until the bus comes. This morning she didn't. Not even a peep. She happily got ready for school, ate her breakfast in just a few minutes, and ran out the door yelling "bye!". I'm so thankful for stress free, fight free mornings :)

5. Our wood stove. There's nothing like a cozy fire when it's cold outside!

6. On Sunday our friends invited us over for a dugout skating party and a hotdog roast. We had so much fun. The dugout was huge and the girls loved skating all over :)

7. My bed. We got a new duvet for Christmas, and it makes our bed so cozy. There's nothing better than snuggling up in it after a long day. I've learned to never under appreciate sleep...or time without a toddler crawling on me! Lol.

8. Speaking of toddlers, Sadie is learning new words every day, and for that I'm thankful. She still whines, but now she will make an effort to stop whining and try to tell me what she wants. It's super cute most of the time too :) three days ago, as she left my bedroom, she waved and said, " bye bye, La loo!"

9. I have also found myself being very thankful for the friends Addison and Tegan have. They are both coming into a new stage of life, where they want to spend more time with friends and less time with mom. There are lots of great kids that live out in this area, and for that I am so thankful!

10. The weather. I know it's winter, and I'm not normally a winter person, but this year I feel like we live in Narnia. It has been absolutely gorgeous here. The skies are often blue, the snow isn't too deep, and the sunsets are stunning pink. The trees have been continuously covered in a thick layer of whoar frost, and it has been almost magical :)

What are you thankful for this week?

Monday, December 14, 2015

An Unexpected Gift

Have you ever met someone that changed you. Or taught you something without even realizing it? I met a woman like that recently. Just by being herself, she gave me a gift I would not soon forget, and made a hard situation a little bit easier to handle.

Two weeks ago our 18 month old got sick. At suppertime Sunday night her voice was getting hoarse, and by 3pm the next day she had a high fever and I had a hard time keeping her awake. I figured I should take her in to emerg to quickly get checked. I knew it wouldn't end up being "quick", but in the end we ended up staying there overnight.
Anyways, when we first got there, the nurses took her vitals and decided almost right away that they wanted to take blood and possibly start an IV.
I don't know if you've ever had to be there when an 18 month old is getting blood taken, but it's so hard, both emotionally and physically. Three of us had to hold her down while the tech tried to take the sample, and my heart was breaking as she cried "mommy" over and over. I don't know how long it lasted; it felt like an hour, and they never did get a sample or start an IV.
In the aftermath of that slightly traumatic experience, we were sitting and snuggling on the ER bed as best we could. A few minutes later a woman poked her head through our curtain. She was not a nurse...I assumed she was a relative of a patient in the ER. She smiled kindly and handed a box to Sadie. It was a brand new set of mini Disney princess figurines. "That sounded really hard on her. I thought she might enjoy these" she said. I teared up a bit at her kindness and said ,"thank you".
She was right, Sadie did enjoy them! She immediately started methodically putting them into and taking them out of the bedpan that was beside her bed, and it kept her busy while we waited to hear from the Doctor.
As it ended up, we were in the ER all night for observation. After the medicine kicked in, Sadie was in much better spirits and tried to run everywhere...and she didn't stop until 1 in the morning.
During that time I started visiting with the woman who had given her the gift. I had been grateful when she gave it to us, but when I heard a bit about why she was there, I was truly humbled. It touched my heart so much to meet someone like her. Someone who had experienced tragedy and ongoing struggles like she had, and chose to respond with complete kindness and selflessness towards others. Someone who played peekaboo with my energetic toddler at midnight because neither of them could sleep.
We got discharged the next morning, exhausted, but with Sadie on the mend thankfully. The woman, who had been there for days, was still there. I'll never forget her. Or how she helped us that night.
I will admit, I struggled with bitterness a bit through that experience. It was hard to see my baby get poked, it was hard to try and keep her contained to a tiny bed all night, when I thought she seemed well enough to go home. It was hard to get no sleep. I felt so foolish as we left though. Here I was, relieved to be through a very inconvenient night, when it was nothing compared to what some people experience.
In the days since then, I've thought about it a lot. We see generosity and selflessness more at this time of year for sure. However, I know that the woman I met at the hospital would have demonstrated the same level of generosity to anyone, at any time of year. It was both humbling and refreshing to meet her.
Not only that, it has become an excellent reminder to me. There are times when my circumstances are less than ideal, but it is still completely, 100% possible to love others. In fact, I believe that being nice to others when we really don't feel like it can be healing. And no matter what, it doesn't hurt!
Merry Christmas!


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