Having unpacked the last of the boxes last week, we are now “officially” moved in to our new home. And home it is. I had my doubts at first (at least, I’m pretty sure “sobbing in misery upon seeing the place” would be considered as having some doubts), but putting together the furniture and unpacking 30 or so boxes really does wonders for the homeyness of a place. Hanging our family photos and setting out some sentimental decoration has completed this transformation from house to home.
This past month has been filled with all the details of moving, and the month to come promises more of the same. License transfers, moving expenses, missing items, baby preparations in a new city, a new transit system, new routines, a lack of community – some days it’s all I can do not to break down into fresh tears.
With the many worries that have been crowding in lately, it has been good to pause and remember all that I have to be thankful for. This weekend was a wonderful restful celebration of those things with my husband’s family. There was much laughter, good food, and a deep sense of thankfulness, all wrapped in a soothing continuous conversation. We said our goodbye’s early this afternoon and already miss their presence.
So here’s to all those blessings in my life – a husband who has never given me cause to doubt his love for me, a beautiful little boy who fills my days with laughter and wonder, a growing child within me, a home that truly is perfect for us, the love of our families, and food to fill our cupboards and fridge. We want for nothing, and tomorrow’s worries are just that – tomorrow’s.
Last night we had a delicious grilled chicken salad made with lettuce from our own garden, mixed with mandarin orange slices, almonds, and sliced grilled chicken. It was delicious, and all the more so because the lettuce was home grown.
We’ve been munching on little carrots as I thin them out, marvelling over the height of the radishes, waiting expectantly for our tomatoes to ripen, and checking on our growing zucchinis every day. Our cucumber plants are flowering and our peas are coming along nicely as well. Of everything we planted, only the spinach never came up.
If only our spring hadn’t been so cold! We didn’t plant anything until early June, so some things will only just be ready to harvest by the time we move out. I told my parents to expect a great deal of vegetables when I go! We’re looking forward to the much longer growing season in Vancouver. Unfortunately we won’t have the beautiful large garden that we dug up this summer, but we’ll plant what we can in the vegetable boxes around the back of our new place.
Definitely carrots. Mmm, garden-fresh carrots. I have fond memories of eating them straight from my childhood friend’s parents’ garden. Actually, that seems disgusting in hindsight – but ah well, a little dirt’s good for the immune system, right?
This has been such a great undertaking for us this year. From the hard work of digging the plot, to the gratitude of having someone offer to till it for us with their tractor (and the boy’s excitement of getting to watch it happen), to planting the seeds, watering them, watching those first sprouts grow, pulling out weeds, all the way up to now, finally eating the fruits (well, vegetables) of our labour. It has been so neat to see it through the eyes of our son, all that excitement and learning. I’m looking forward to seeing what next year brings.
Rain, blessed rain. I never thought the day would come when I would say such a thing.
As I’ve said, we dug a garden from scratch this year (with the permission of our landlords, of course – they had room to spare on the four acres of land). We weeded, had a very nice man till it for us, and planted it full of all sorts of vegetables – carrots, peas, radishes, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, lettuce, spinach, and a few jalapeno pepper plants just for fun.
Then it came time to water it.
For the life of us, we could not find a faucet on the outside of the house to connect the hose to. So, while we waited for our landlords to tell us where it was, we hauled watering cans of water from the house to the garden – 9 trips each evening.
Well, they got back to us. No faucet. Beautiful house…but no faucet.
We’ve had a rainy few days and so far have a few more rainy ones forecasted. For the first time ever, my sore arms and pregnant belly are grateful for the rain, as every shower saves me nine trips of lugging a heavy watering can to the garden.
Ah, but how sweet the rewards will be – homegrown vegetables…and nicely toned arms.
I married my childhood sweetheart.
I’m so grateful to have him in my life. He is patient, kind, supportive, honest, goofy, and intelligent. We balance each other out perfectly, in so many ways, and my life is all the richer and better with him in it.
When I was a kid, I swore up and down that I was never getting married, I was simply going to adopt a child and live happily ever after, just the two of us. I have to say, I’m glad I changed my mind. I’d have missed out on one amazing husband – and my child would have gone without an incredible father.
We had a lovely dinner out yesterday, then came home and spent the evening snuggled in bed watching Fireproof. It wasn’t without its cheesy moments, but it was quite good overall. (We were both pleasantly surprised.)
Shortly after it ended, our son woke up, staggered sleepily into our room, climbed into bed and the three of us snuggled down together for the night. I am so blessed to have both those guys in my life.
Here’s to another happy year together, and the promise of more to come – “until death do us part”. Cheers!
Today has been a crazy day.
I work from home, but this morning I had to go in to a client’s to help them with their accounting system. I guesstimated one hour, two tops. Four hours later, I was finally done and on my way.
Sadly, I wasn’t heading home, but to the mechanics, as our heater hasn’t been working for a couple weeks now and it was time to admit that it needed some help (plus, the burning smell…couldn’t mean anything good). I drop my car off, but now it’s pouring and I’ve got a good half hour’s walk ahead of me since the mechanic had no courtesy cars left. Meanwhile I’m imagining my poor boy at home, nearly five hours since I left and now his naptime. I just hoped the neighbours didn’t complain about the wailing that was sure to be happening.
And then this lady, another customer, offers to give me a ride home! I gratefully accept and ten minutes later I’m unlocking the door to our home, after thanking the lady profusely and being told to pass it on if I can (I absolutely will!). I don’t hear any screaming yet. This is good. I open the door and find, not my son crying, but my husband moaning. He’s been sick ever since I left, he tells me, but the little guy has been an absolute angel for him (phew!).
After a few minutes of rushing around changing a diaper and getting a load of wash going, I get both my men settled into our bed for a nap. Shhhh, they’re sleeping.
So after that crazy morning, I need to pull out the bits I’m especially thankful for:
* Having a sweet little boy who will sit on the couch at his sick daddy’s feet, reading books quietly to himself.
* Having a wonderful husband who, despite spending five hours watching said boy by himself while shaking and throwing up and feeling generally miserable, doesn’t grumble in the least when I finally get back home.
* Having a kind stranger offer to drive me home so that I don’t have to walk through the rain.
* Having heat in my car again, and a repair bill that isn’t too frightening.
* Having a job that usually allows me to work from home.
Now to continue knitting a tiny little hat for Mama to Mama’s Caps to Cap-Haitien Project, and wait for my boys to wake up from their nap.
We spent the morning at the Remembrance Day ceremonies. We were way in the back and couldn’t see much, but like my husband said to me, it was just the act of being there that mattered, spending an hour in the cold in thanks and honour for those who fought and even died for our freedom.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders Fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.
- John McCrae
“To you from failing hands we throw the torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die…” May we continue to fight for freedom every day.
I have decided that this year will be the year that I learn to love fall.
I’ve never been terribly fond of it before. It’s cold and wet and chilly. The fresh berries are gone. The trees lose their leaves. Winter starts looming.
(Oh, how I detest winter.)
But no. This year I will enjoy fall. And so far I have. It was helped along by my growing interest in food and sustainability. What grows in what season? What should I look for? What are the local farmers selling now? What new in-season foods can I add to our menu? What new recipes can I try?
Last week it was apple butter and apple sauce. Nothing fancy, but I’ve never made either before so it was exciting enough for me. Tonight it was roasted butternut squash. That stuff is delicious!
I’ve also been enjoying apple cider this month. This intrigues me, as I’ve always hated apple juice. To be perfectly honest, it looks and smells like pee. Which makes me think it tastes like pee. But apple cider? YUM.
Fall also means the return of the pumpkin hat! Oh pumpkin hat, how I adore thee. (Though not nearly as much as I adore the little boy whose head you sit upon.)
Fall means carpets of leaves to wade through in the wooded area behind our house.
Why have I never properly appreciated this place before? It’s beautiful. Our own secret land to explore…
…or just to admire as we sit and contemplate.
So I’ve decided – fall isn’t so bad after all.
Perhaps next year I can work on appreciating winter too.
Peel and quarter 10 apples and place in large pot.
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/4 cups apple juice
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
Admire your spice rack for the umpteenth time.
Heat all ingredients to boiling, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Mash apples. Simmer uncovered for 1 hour more, stirring occasionally.
Cool for 2 hours and store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks (alternatively, freeze or can it). Serve with the most amazing biscuits ever. Make a mental note to thank your MIL for that Betty Crocker cookbook.
Peel and quarter 4 apples and place in crock pot.
You’ll notice mine are unpeeled. Big mistake. I’d read that they were easier to peel after they had been cooked. Again – big mistake. It didn’t even give my applesauce the nice “rosy glow” I had been promised. Next time, I peel my apples before cooking them.
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
Cover and cook on High for 2 hours or until apples are tender. Stir/mash/puree to desired consistency.
Store in fridge (or can it).
I’m beginning to love fall.
Next up – making pumpkin bread with that cute little pie pumpkin. Assuming I don’t change my mind and decide to make pumpkin butter instead. Or pumpkin pie. Or pumpkin cookies.
Oh, the decisions.
Ten things I’m grateful for today…
1. My husband. Happy birthday, sweetheart. Thank you for showing me what unconditional love looks like. Thank you for allowing me the privilege of watching our son dissolve into a fit of giggles as his Daddy plays with him. And, most of all, thank you for not running far far away when I told you, perhaps prematurely, that God told me I’d marry you someday. I hate to say it, honey…but I told you so.
2. My son. There aren’t words for the joy that you have brought me. I now understand what they mean when they say that to be a mom is to forever have your heart go walking around outside your body. I love your smile, your giggles, your cheeky grin as you run out of my reach, your eager desire to be involved in everything I do, your warm body snuggled against me each night, your oh-so-serious face and expectant eyes as you politely sign “milk” when you want to nurse – oh, darling, I just love everything about you.
3. My Saviour. Sometimes it hits me – what You’ve done for me, the grace You’ve shown to a miserable wretch, the love beyond knowledge. Other times…oh, Lord, You’ve been so merciful to me even while I’ve so often gone about my day without giving You a second of my thought or time. Fill me anew with that longing to know You deeply, to spend time in Your Word, to seek You in prayer. Create in me a clean heart, oh Lord, and renew a right spirit within me.
4. Chocolate. It’s only fitting that chocolate be on the list, considering how often it has got me through a stressful day.
5. Whiteboards. Oh, the unspeakable joy of wiping away yet another completed task from a long whiteboard to-do list.
6. Kindred spirits. In a society that values convenience over knowledge, it is such a blessing to have those who understand why you choose to do things differently.
7. My sister. I was so mean to you when we were kids. Mom always told me to be nice to your siblings, as they’d be the only ones to stick around when you were older. I get it now. Sometimes it feels like you’re the only person who has remained a constant in my life. No matter how long we go without getting a chance to talk, I always know that as soon as I pick up the phone or write an email, you’ll be right there, same as always, ready to chat as though we’ve done so every day of our lives. No matter what I’ve done, you’ve never treated me any different. You’re the only person who has ever been like that to me. I don’t tell you this enough, but I love you and I deeply treasure your friendship.
8. The sun. Blue skies, green grass, red flowers. Long rambling walks with my son, stopping to inspect every ant and leaf that catches his eye. Slowing down.
9. Green smoothies. Sliced apples. Watermelon. Farmers’ markets.
10. That increasingly rare gem – a truly good book.