Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thankful Thursday

Thankful for:

1.  Our new trailer hitch.  Our van didn't come with one so Gary and his dad ordered one and installed it themselves.  This is for our bike rack that we will need this summer.  So thankful they could do it themselves and save $!

2. Exploring nature with the kiddos.  It's my happy place.  Seriously.  Walking along a path in the forest is one of my favourite places to be.  Other places include tropical beach and mountain top (but not with scary heights).

3. Bubbles.  What kid does not love bubbles?  Must get another bubble machine.

4.  Book club.  I'm part of a book club with some women from church and it's been good for me.  I love to read. Love it. I miss it.  On Saturday I was feeling overwhelmed with so many social things throughout the week and just no break from the kids.  I went to my room for one hour with a book and a coffee and it felt amazing.  By the way, I was totally crying in the last chapter of this book.  It's a good one.

5. Siblings.  I may have said this before but I love how these guys know eachother so well.  This means that they can push each other's buttons but they can also help each with love and support.  Koen still hasn't figured out how to smile on command :)

6. Hair clips in Nya's hair.  She let me!  She wore it for an hour!  How is it that my baby girl took the longest to grow out her hair?

7.  Almost 9 years of marriage.  Next month is our anniversary.  We'll have to go big for the 1-0 next year :)  We were planning a bike trip but the place we want to stay at is booked until mid July so I think we will go later, maybe in the fall.  It's looking like a nice dinner out will be our celebration.

8. A bike seat!  A friend from church lent it to us and we've used it several times already.  There is something so sweet about hearing Nya behind me singing and saying `Weeeeee!'.

9.  A great teacher for Kai.  We had student led conferences yesterday and it was great to see what he has been doing and learning.  He has an amazing teacher and I respect and appreciate her very much.  I should probably get a picture of Kai with her before the year is up!
{Kai showing off his skipping skills. Nya chose her outfit}
{Kai teaching Koen about composting.  So cool that they have this outdoor area upstairs outside their classroom.}

10. Easter dinners with family.  It is always very busy for each holiday as we have every single family member (31.5 Dekens and Chapmans not including us) living nearby.  This is a blessing and I am thankful (most of the time!).  It's fun to have big cousins on Gary's side and lotsa little ones on my side.  I can learn from my sister in laws and I can empathize with my sisters.  

11.  Bonus one: Gary running alongside Koen while he learned how to bike without training wheels.  Gary had just finished a 5km run and then I suggested the bike ride.  Koen can bike but can't start on his own so Gary had to run alongside.  Go Gary go!  

I really hope that you can find some things to be thankful for.  I feel like when I go about my life with the mindset of looking for things to be thankful for, it really helps to keep those negative thoughts away.  Just saying :)

Have a great weekend!  We're almost there!

Love, Louise

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

23 Months

Oh my.  One more month til my baby is TWO.  I love looking back to see where the boys were at this age.  Here's Kai and Koen. They are all very similar with their vocabulary but Nya is definitely the tiniest of the three!  I haven't weighed her but I'm assuming she's just 25 lbs or so.  She frequently says three words together like `Mommy thankyou dinner!' or `Koey did it'.   A difference is that the boys would throw themselves down and say `No' when they were upset where she will have a high pitched scream if the boys are bugging her.

She still loves singing Happy Birthday and Jesus Loves Me (she loves the `This I Know!' part).  She also tends to sing a song that I made up that goes `I love Nya, I love Nya, Yes I do! Yes I do!' to the tune of `Are you sleeping?'.   I love listening to her singing each night through the monitor.

She has started being interested in Dora which I'm happy about.  Not that I like Dora but if she isn't napping, I would like for her to sit and watch Dora for 10 minutes.  My days of being able to edit photos during the day for an hour or two are pretty much over. She mostly loves to play `Tea Party' and run around outside.

 She is a good eater in that she eats most things but definitely not as much as the boys did.  She is only napping every other day now.  I don't bother fighting it and I just don't put her down if she's had a nap the day before.  She is also getting up by 6 am most days.  She was going to bed with a bottle each night (I know, naughty me) and has somehow been able to phase it out on her own this past week. Phew!

She is very loud and vocal in our home but tends to be a bit more quiet and snuggly when we are out with others.  If I can predict her personality in a few years from now, I see her to be an amazing blend of Kai and Koen with an extra dose of goofiness.  She is a very happy girl.  She just spent the last half hour giggling away saying `Hi Wawouise' (Louise).

She loves Koen and calls him `Doey' (because we call him Koey).  When we leave him at preschool she cries for him for a loooong time.  `Doey preschool, Doey preschool...'.

I love this age.  I am happy to be through the newborn stage and the whole not sleeping phase.  Usually I get baby fever when the youngest is one and I'm so not there.

Hope you have a lovely week.  I'm looking forward to hopefully doing Nya's 2 year pictures this weekend before the craziness of May begins.  Does anyone know where I can find  a cherry blossom tree in bloom that has branches lower to the ground? With gas being 149.9, I am not driving around looking for it :)

Love, Louise

Saturday, April 19, 2014


Do you remember my New Years resolution? It was to make Gary a greater priority than our kids.  More than that,  it was to work on our marriage.  It has been going well and I just wanted to share one major thing that I learned this past week.

I'm part of women's group at church and the study I'm doing now is on marriage.  We just did the first week and hopefully I'll have more to share over the weeks to come.  

What I'm going to share probably sounds really basic and many of you will probably think `Duh, who doesn't know that?'.  But, for those that say, `That's a good point!', this is for you.  

I was/am a very independent strong young woman.  I know how I like to do things.  I like to be efficient.  I feel like I can pretty much do anything I put my mind to. I love to ask questions to figure out the best way to do something.  Over time, I have become less independent and I like that Gary is there for me to help in so many areas.  However, I still have many strong opinions.  I also organize most of what happens in the home so I have even more thoughts on how everything should run.  I guess my sisters are right when they say I'm a bit bossy (but so are they!! ha).

{The day after we got engaged up at Green Lake}

There are certain areas where Gary doesn't like my questioning/help which I won't share here.  He is so laid back so when I first witnessed his anger, I was totally shocked and I will never forget it.  You can probably think of `the area' where the man in your life is more sensitive.  This week I learned the following, which helps to explain it:

Women want love, first and foremost.  When they feel unloved, they may cry.

Men want RESPECT, first and foremost.  When they feel disrespected, they may get angry.

*this obviously doesn't apply to all men and women, some are going to be different.*

Ephesians 5:33 `To sum up, each one of you is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband.'

When I say `Do you know where you are going?' `Why are you building the garden bed like that?' `Why are you parking here?', he hears `She doesn't trust me or believe that I can do it.'.  I'm just thinking `Is this the best way to do it?'.  Does it matter if we get a bit lost and are a few minutes late? No. Does it matter if he takes an extra minute to park?  No. Does it matter that the garden bed looks different than I thought it would?  No. 

Just as Gary has chosen to love me, I need to choose to respect his decisions/thoughts/work. I need to hold my tongue when I really want to say something that I know will come across as disrespectful or show that I don't trust his decision making.  I have witnessed relationships with great respect in them and I do want to be more like that.

This doesn't mean that I don't provide any feedback or gentle reminders, but I know the areas where he is most sensitive and I need to keep my mouth shut.  

So, maybe you already knew that respect is of upmost importance to the man/men in your life (could be your sons, dad, husband, boyfriend).  But, if you didn't, there you go.  Wish I was told this 9 years ago even though I feel like I should've known it.  So instead of saying `I love you', throw in some `I appreciate how hard working you are' or `Great work on fixing the sink!' or `I knew you could do it!'. Or, in many cases, just keep your mouth shut.  That's the big one for me.

If you choose to focus on the negative things, it's a cycle that makes things worse.  Dwell on the good and the feelings will follow.   Philippians 4:8 says, ` Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.'.

Love, Louise aka the wife who will keep her mouth shut just a little more. Hopefully.

PS Several people have asked if Gary is cool with me posting these things and yes, he is, or I wouldn't do it :)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thankful Thursday

Thankful for...
1. Our trampoline.  I had to buy it new because it's very hard to find one this small (7 feet across) :)  This is the third year we've had it and we only put it up for spring and summer.  It's the perfect height and size for Nya.  The boys still use it too although it pretty much turns into a wrestling arena for them.

2.  Plants and flowers that we can grow.  Koen was sooo excited to see how much his bean plant had grown over the past week.  Wow!  Gary will be planting his vegetable garden this weekend and I've already planted bulbs so we'll see what happens!  It's so great to live in a climate where things grow so easily.

3.  Our Easter Tree.  I'm not into crafts.  A group crafty activity?  Not something that jumps out at me.  However, our Women's Group at church was doing it and I thought I might as well try it out.  It was much better than I thought...sitting around a table together talking and crafting.  I could even do it again.  Every day, the kids pick an egg (numbered 1-12) and inside is a picture (donkey, prayer, crown, coins etc) that we hang on the the tree.  Then we read the part of the Easter story that corresponds.  They love it and it's a great way to go through it leading up to Easter weekend.  The picture was taken before we started and we're on day 8 already.

4. Bottle donations.  We've been gifted several large donations of bottles and I'm so thankful!  We don't actually have much recycling of our own (maybe just one wine bottle every 2 weeks?!) as we don't drink bottled water or juice or pop or beer.  So ya, we have to definitely walk a lot to collect them or we get donations from others.  Our disneyland fund is up to $60 :)

5.  Our mixer.  I remember when we got married I was against it.  I wanted a hand held one like my mom had.  However, I quickly found out that this thing is soooooo useful. LOVE it. It's 9 years old and going strong. Wow.

6.  A short wait at the passport office.  Koen's was expiring so I finally got it all filled out and pictures taken.  We went to the passport office at 8 am when it opened and were done in 15 minutes! So great! 

7.  Funny things kids say.  Nya was complaining that her popsicle was too cold.  Koen said `What do you expect? They are called popsicolds for a reason'.   Another funny thing?  Kai just got home from school and was running towards the bathroom saying `I learned how to draw a grasshopper today!' and Koen said, `With your pee?!!!'.

8.  So many parks around our house.  We have about 5 within walking distance.  It's fun when I babysit Georgie and Kenzie because we go to a different one each week.  They are also building a very fancy park a couple of blocks from our house which includes tennis courts, gardens, water park etc.

9.  Neighbourhood friends.  The next door neighbours have two boys who are a year older and younger than Kai.  They love to play sports.  They play hockey for about an hour a day when it's nice out.  Growing up on an acerage, I missed out on having neighbourhood friends and I'm glad to see that my kids get to have it!

10. 24 hours away.  I wouldn't say it was super relaxing the whole time but it was just nice to worry about myself for the most part.

11. Bonus one:)  Vij's at Home cookbook for $2!!!  I've wanted this one for a while and when it came up on Bidding Wars (facebook site) I can't believe I got a $40 book for $2.  Perfect condition.  We already made a vegetarian meal (potato and pea a samosa on toast!).

I hope you are having a good week.  Mine has been about a 7/10  which is pretty normal :)

Love, Louise

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Day In The Life...

I've been working less and therefore have more time to take photos throughout the day.  I love to photograph my own family more than anything.  I am so thankful that we have some snazzy equipment and the know how to use it. I wish that my creativity also extended into fashion, design, sewing, decorating etc :)

 I get grumpy when Nya does not nap (at least 50% of the time) as there is no down time for me to work in the day.   I can do all my housework with her awake (although when vacuuming she insists that I hold her) but if I sit at the computer for a minute to work, she will not have it.  Yes, I can have her in quiet time in her room but that lasts less than an hour.  Taking cute pictures of them helps to remind me of their awesomeness.

 Koey always sleeps in the longest (7:30am)  and he loves when Nya joins him for a morning cuddle in the bunk bed.  Yes, he still has a safety rail on his bed as he falls out every time without it.
Trampoline + fine hair = great lesson in static electricity
The whole `close your eyes and relax' method didn't work.  Bird didn't get any seeds.
It was the perfect morning to walk at Campbell Valley Park (north entrance...must do it again soon)
Nya's first time playing `Hungry Hippos'.  She's a fan.  Koen did not go easy on her.
Rule #27 in photographing people: always have the eyes in focus.  This one did not follow that rule but she's too cute.
In the bath, Kai and Nya play `mean auntie Jackie' and Koen gives Nya vaccinations :) {Jackie gave the kids their hep A shots and boosters}
Tea party with bear and baby
You don't wear a helmet when walking to the park?  You must not have an Elmo one.
Sibling fun.
Perfect end to a great day?  Peach and Strawberry (and mango) Crumble.  This was the recipe I used...I replaced arrowroot flour with cornstarch. So easy.
Although it can be boring be with the kids day in and out, I am so glad that right now it works for us.  I get to enjoy all these moments with them.  I know soon enough they'll all be in school, and suddenly, running around with an Elmo helmet will not be very cool.

Have a wonderful day.
Love, Louise

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sister's Getaway

I don't get away often without Gary (maybe every 3 years?!) and this weekend my sisters and I all went away together.  We went to Harrison Hotsprings which is relatively close and suits our personalities; outdoorsy and relaxing.  It's hard to get away because all of us work (three full time) and I work almost every single weekend.  Throw into the mix toddlers, newborns, pregnancy, breastfeeding, working husbands and ya, it gets a bit tricky!
{Below is a picture of me setting up the timer for the shot above. My sisters love making fun of me for taking pictures so often but I think they appreciate it.}
We did a hike, hung out in the adult only pool, went out to eat, walked and enjoyed some beer and wine.
It's easy to be together in that we all get each other and we can say what we think to each other.  We're all in the same place (married, young kids, live in the lower mainland, working etc) which makes for many things to talk about candidly.
We are all  quite close in age as all 5 of us were born in 8 years!  I'd say one of the biggest differences is just in our intro/extrovertedness.  We've got the extremes and I'm in the middle.  
{Youngest to oldest.  Jackie is 7 months pregnant.}
My dad came by Saturday night to join us for dinner and talk about his big upcoming trip.  I won't share too much about it, but you can ask me in person.  However, I will say that he has done some specialized training in a capsule in the pool learning what to do if his plane crashes in the water.  Who knew you could do that? 

Thanks for dinner, dad!  It is pretty interesting when people find out that we are his 5 daughters.  It seems like a lot when you see us together.
I know that some people do not have siblings.  Some have lost siblings.  Some people have difficult relationships with their siblings.  Some people live far away from their siblings.  I am thankful that I have these girls/young women/ladies in my life (even if Jan turns on the light at 7 am and wakes us all up).
{From Jackie's camera; I win! I jumped the highest.}
 It was always very important to my mom that we did not hold grudges and that we had a positive relationships with one another by being full of grace and working through things.  She had 5 brothers and no sisters so I think she was a little envious that we had so many sisters :)  I think she'd be happy to see that we choose to hang out together.  Sometimes.

Our next time away will probably be my 40th (oh my) in 4.5 years.   

Hope you had a great weekend.  It's incredibly beautiful out there.

 I need a nap.  

Love, Louise