New Liturgical Year

And we’re off to a new start! Happy Advent!

Busy as bees here, but having a great time! More updates soon.

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A Canadian in the Rough

Is better than an American in their system.

Or at least that’s my stance on this. And I would have said this either way that the election had turned out.

And while I feel that we are doing moderately better in Canada, I am not so smug to believe that our country doesn’t have it’s own problems.

You scoff at the racism rampant in the States? It is well alive here too – against indigenous peoples. Every government that Canada has elected has backed out of promises to first nations peoples.

Scoff at the sexism? Also alive and well in Canada. Not so different. Maybe not so obvious since Trump came into the spotlight, but still just as fervent.

But we do have medical care. I believe that providing the basic necessities for every person is extremely valuable to respecting the dignity of every person.

We do have poutine, which I don’t think I could so easily give up if I had to. OK, pretty much any Canadian cuisine is gonna keep me here, I’ll be honest. Oh, and lumberjacks are pretty wicked too.

I am sad that the democratic process in the States couldn’t have produced better candidates. I would have been cheering Bernie Sanders on from the sidelines in another country.

Andy can tell anyone that I was chanting to myself last night as I was trying to go to sleep, ‘Not my circus, not my monkeys.’

It’s just awkward when someone else’s circus monkeys interfere with other circuses and their governing bodies. This unfortunately will not be limited to the States.

And while Canada is not scott-free in the values department (oh, and we can legally help kill our elderly now too, don’t you know), I feel supremely thankful that I live in Canada. At least right now. If they ever take my poutine away, I may have to reconsider.

 

 

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Kids and Safety

I’ve been trying to figure out a good way to talk with the kids about safety broadly. It’s not that we haven’t talked about it, but I’ve never felt that it’s been adequate for possible experiences.

The Library

While at the library not long ago, a DVD cover popped out and caught my eye. 2016-11-08-11-37-18-editIt seemed like it might be a good jumping off place for safety. I was right.

Language and Experiences

This DVD focuses on the internal ‘uh-oh’ feeling that we get when things aren’t right or safe. It explores different situations where that feeling can happen. For example, if we go up to a big diving board and suddenly feel queasy with the ‘uh-oh’ feeling because we’ve realised it’s too high. Or when a stranger offers us candy. Or when we get lost. All these different situations have an ‘uh-oh’ feeling to them, which is language I know my kids understand (well, maybe not Felicity quite yet). The show also reinforced that we are the ‘boss of our bodies’, which is language I much prefer to ‘my body, my choice’ which has such specific and, in my opinion, negative associations in our culture. I’m super glad they steered away from that language.

This show has different storytelling components and a craft included as well. This series appeals to my kids and I’m glad I saw this on the shelf at the library and picked it up. It helps give language that I can reinforce with my kids. Also, it illustrates skills we can use in situations that were shown (eg. remembering the full name and phone number of a parent). It also points out people who are likely a safe adult (cashier at a store, mom with kids). I found it’s a helpful resource in the ongoing work of helping keep our kids safe.

Recommendable?

This is a great show to help with the conversation at home. If you’re looking for something that’s a good option for younger kids, I absolutely recommend it.

If anyone has any resources that positively reinforce listening to our instincts for young children, I’m all ears. I’ve had a hard time finding things that are appropriate and at their level. What do you use at home to help in the safety conversation?

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Monday’s Meandering Mind

The meandering mind contains much to be considered, and what better day than Monday to give voice to these thoughts over the past week.

I live in Canada.

I am not be expected to take part in the vote south of our great land, and I am thrilled with this. My head hurts just thinking of the outcomes of either candidate for that country – and for other countries who will have to force the smiles.

Given the situation, prayer is my only form of response to that situation. I pray the God will work miracles even through the haggard and ugliness of the situation. I’m reminded of some of the ‘texts of terror’ in the bible, where women are abused or very mal-treated; but even through dire circumstances, God’s will is done. Though it perhaps could have been done better and more in line with God’s vision if the people involved thought less of themselves more often.

Kids’ Sports

Spencer started karate today and he is more than thrilled to be back at it. He did 10 push ups and 20 jumping jacks before I took the girls out for a walk. I won’t speak to the quality of them, but he did them. I’m very much looking forward to his continued work in this field of study.

Love library trips.

Love library trips.

Birthday

Andy’s birthday is one week from today. He’ll be 39-and-holding from that point onwards. We are planning ham (his favourite) and chocolate cake. Perhaps this Baked Potato Volcano. I suppose vegtables of some type are in order. We’ve been loving Crack Broccoli (the girls chomp it down like crazy). I’m a little stumped on gifts – he’s become more and more indecisive over the years apart from generalities (yes, I do like liquor!) and it’s not as easy as it once was.

Travel

Countdown 3 days until I leave for Calgary for the weekend. Without kids. I’m considering it a great, great blessing to head off with a friend for a conference. Maybe I’ll catch up on my podcasts on the way there – who knows! Anything is possible – the Cubs won at that sportsball, I learned, and it’s +10C in November north of the 49th, so who knows!

Living it up here in Saskatoon.

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Adulting As A Parent

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Spud getting his baby teeth pulled to make room for his first big adult tooth.

Andy and I have hit a new level of adulting – busy with kids’ activities level. Last year felt comfortably busy – nothing too stressful or demanding. This year? We leveled up. Unavoidably. This is a first for the level of busy-ness for our family, though I know others experience this a lot more than us.2016-11-03-14-58-22-edit

2016-11-03-14-59-51-edit2016-11-03-15-00-01-editWhen Andy and I play StarCraft (computer game) with our friend Fr. Darryl, the game checks our ability to play and based on how many wins we have, it levels us up against a harder challenge in the next game. The bonus of this is that we gain new skills when we play a harder opponent. Then, when we fail the game a couple of times, it levels us down again. It is a constant dance between playing (usually) too hard of an opponent and playing comfortably knowing that we’ll win when we’re at a lower level. 2016-11-03-15-09-47-edit

In real life, we don’t have to fail, necessarily, to level down. We can make a conscious choice to do so before it escalates to (completely) failing. However, the benefit to upping a level is that we can grow immensely from the experience, even though it might not look perfect. And there are seasons where upping the level might be unavoidable as well.

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Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program

This season is one of them – it is unavoidable. I started a children’s program that is two hours long, twice a week, Cassia started soccer and swim lessons, Spencer has Beavers and started Confirmation and First Communion preparation (a hybrid of sorts between two parishes), and Andy has his crazy schedule like always. Oh, and we are starting karate for Spencer twice a week next week. In and amidst all this is homeschool as well, which I’ve also started with Cassia this year. Though her little sister lost one of her workbooks a week ago and I haven’t yet found it.

There is a thrill to it – exciting endeavors and experimenting, opportunities for growth and lots of fun. But it is also tiring. Quite tiring. And we haven’t yet figured out how to recoup completely at this level of activity. This is where adulting gets a bad reputation. It’s hard to blame people. Though I’d still take this adulting over elementary or high school again.

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All saints day party – Michael the Archangel, St. Queen Elizabeth of Portugal, and (mostly hidden) Mary, the New Eve (she had a snake and apple with her costume).

And here’s hoping that it’s a season. Here’s hoping that we figure something out that makes it feel more rhythm than chaos. I’m not always sure that it will turn into rhythm, and if it doesn’t then we’ll have to take a good look at everything and see what might need adjusting so that we can achieve that normalcy we crave.

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Dig dig digging. And, yes, that is an air conditioner still in our window. Testing our luck, perhaps.

2016-11-03-15-07-40-editEveryone is busy. Few have the time to call or get together outside of regularly scheduled family activities. Busy is also lonesome business. Busy also means that the majority of my time is spent around my children and other too-busy moms. No one has it together, but no one wants to share the journey either. Too much to do. Too much to stress about. I don’t want to share your stressful journey either, thank-you-very-much. It is all too understandable. I understand. And I understand the lonely bit too.

Adulting – leveling up. It’s hard, it’s tiring, and at the same time I am looking forward to our adventures: who knows what great things may happen? Who knows what fun we might have or new things we might learn?  The lower level offers comfort and less stress; familiarity. It is definitely an inviting offer to level down, but I’m not there yet. I just wish it wasn’t so lonesome and easier to share the journey with others, and I’d be honoured to share in their journey too.

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At Spencer’s Confirmation & First Eucharist preparation.

I am unsure what this phase of our life will bring, but we will keep trucking. It’s vulnerable and uncomfortable often, but it’s where we are being called currently. Called to be vulnerable. I am called to be exposed to the elements a little. It’s not always pretty, but it is what it is, and there’s beauty in that. And beyond any of it, God is with us. Especially in our vulnerability.

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Birthday Interview: 4-Year-Old Session

birthday-interviewWithout further adieu, here is my birthday interview with the four-year-old Cassia.

(At the dinner table)

What is your favourite colour?

Red!

What is your favourite toy?

Green.

(long pause)

Greeeen toy. That – that crocodile-dragon toy is my favourite.

But you don’t play with it (it is on an unreachable shelf)

Yes! I! Do!

What is your favourite food?

(Glances down at plate) Maybe….some….nachos!

What kind of food do you not like?

Maybe some of these beans (points to refried beans from nachos)

What do you want to do when you grow up?

Maybe watch TV.

(explains idea of jobs)

Maybe be an animal doctor.

What do you like to do with Daddy?

Go to work with him!

What do you like to do with Mommy?

Umm…go to church

What does Daddy do?

He works at church and works here

What does Mommy do?

She works at church and here

What does Felicity do?

She just crawls…when she was one. And now she’s learning to walk

(Andy and I are stifling laughter…Felicity’s been walking for over a year…)

What does Spencer do?

He turns on the TV

What does Cassia do?

I can jump over lines and jump over ropes.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell me about being four?

I like to pick up Felicity. I can put some books away.

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7 Quick Takes Friday #7QT

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1.

I’ve given in and have hired a company to help clean my house.

And truly, I am so thrilled beyond belief that I will have a clean house. But not a whole house – our budget can just barely afford getting the kitchen and bathrooms clean. BUT if you’ve visited our house, you’ll know just how much work it will be to thoroughly clean these areas. As in at this point in my life it really is completely beyond me.

I’ve ordered a complete clean, so they will be taking out all the dishes and cleaning all the cupboards, moving the freezer, stove, fridge, and also cleaning the fridge (inside!) as well. I am so blown away at how casual she was as she was asking me about what I’d need. Oh, and if they have time, they’ll organise and clean the landing when you walk into the house (even though we have summer and winter everythings out because of the crazy early snow). She said with absolute certainty, “My girls are really good at their job. It won’t be a problem.” Talk about melting my heart with words.

2.

Cassia is officially four.

And she is sure to tell everyone who asks exactly how old she is and that it was just her birthday; she is still quite excited. 2016-10-04-07-51-43-edit-websiteCassia received a few My Little Ponies (MLP) which she absolutely adores. While visitng grandparents, she also received little Care Bears toys (with accompanying book) and a MLP soft throw and bag. This newly minted four-year-old love love loves everything and when I asked her what type of cake she would like for her birthday, she excitedly announced, “PINK!” which totally makes my life easy. She clarified later that it was a chocolate cake with pink icing that she would really like so I just said, ‘You bet’ like a pro cause I’ve totally lucked out.

3.

Felicity was not pleased.

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Watching her older sister receive her birthday dues.

While Cassia was having a super day her younger troublemaker-in-arms was definitely not pleased that it was her birthday. She was most upset when Cassia received gifts and she did not. She was quite grumpy when Cassia got to do things she did not. And while she did sing Happy Birthday, when Cassia later exclaimed how happy she was that it was her birthday, Felicity, while menacingly gripping her high chair and leaning dangerously towards Cassia, yelled in her most angry tone and voice, “IT’S NOT YOUR BIRTHDAY, IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!!!”

She had had enough.

4.

The Birthday Interview

Will get its own post, maybe even later today. It definitely shines her sunny personality 🙂

5.

Ze Turkeyyy Dinnnnnnrrrr

We then trucked ourselves down to Regina for Thanksgiving, which was super duper tasty.

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Cassia in a too-tired grump.

Everyone had a great day, which included spending a great amount of time at the park close by. The older two and myself spent some good time running around trying to catch falling leaves in the gusty wind. We definitely gave ourselves a great workout.

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And we managed to snap this photo, which might be an all-time best for smiles and looking at the camera. Though ze boyyyzz have some horrible shag hair going…which soon after was rectified.

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Week-Ending

Andy is switching le fin-de-semaine as of tomorrow, which means he is home Friday-Saturday until this batch of sacramental preparation classes are done. I have a love-hate relationship with this: the Friday off means we can do many, many things together with less people around (total win), but it means we don’t get Sunday together, which is a big loss too. We’ve switched to doing Mass permanently on Saturday evenings (unless other opportunities arise) which helps with the stability, but let me tell you – no evening Mass is at a good time for young kids :(. They are either hungry or tired. There truly is no in-between, just variations on intensity.

6.

Day Off

Due to regularly scheduled days off that Andy and I give each other once a month, I get mine today! I am planning on visiting with a friend, hanging out with my laptop at a pub, and going to a Naturopathy doctor to help me look into this pork intolerance things I seem to have.

7.

Pork Intolerance

Within the last year, I have developed an intolerance to pork. My body just doesn’t like it and my intestines make sure to tell me just how much they despise it shortly after eating it. It is quite unpleasant (though the occasional bacon or sausage is worth the unpleasantness. At least at this point) and I don’t know if there’s anything that can be done about it. It’s probable that it’s genetic (my dad has this too), but I figured that a Naturopathy doctor would be the the choice to pursue if I want to explore alternate options than possible medication (which I don’t even know if it is an option). At any rate, my consult is tomorrow. Hoping that it helps at least shed some more light on this undesirable quandary.

Pray tell, what has your week been like?

Linking up with Kelly.

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