"Spring will come and so will happiness. Hold on. Life will get warmer." - Anita Kizzan
My history as a photographer, and some experimental shots.
Last weekend, the clocks sprung forward an hour for Daylight Savings Time. Ever since, "springing" out of bed has been out of the question for me. I've felt tired all day, every day, and am really hoping that this weekend will help me make the final transition into the new schedule. The spring time change is always the worst for me, but seems worse than usual this year, not sure why. (Anyone else wish that the almighty "THEY" would pick one and stick to it, for-crying-out-loud?!)
Maybe the tiredness is accentuated because the weather simultaneously went from "warm and sunny" to "freeze-your-knackers-off and gloomy", which doesn't help at all.
Despite that, the week has plugged on at it's normal, relentless pace. The boys are in another round of swimming lessons for three days a week until the end of March. Unfortunately, it is in the morning this time around, which really messes up our school schedule on those days. By the time we get home, not only are we past their brains' peak operating times, but they are also tired from the swimming. Some days, my pokey middle child hasn't finished his "morning" subjects until 5 p.m.... or later. The other two are sometimes not far ahead of him. It can make for kind of a long day, not to mention that we are falling further and further behind in our "afternoon" subjects of history and science. Thank goodness we are not Alberta-government-aligned in those ones!
Last fall, I joined a ladies Bible study group to do a study on James by Beth Moore. We just finished it up this week (crammed an 8-week course into four months :-D), and I am so thankful for what I learned through it. It has helped me to become much more proactive in my faith, in the sense of not only seeing the need that surrounds me, but looking for ways that I can actually do something about it. It can still be frustrating to see so much wrong in the world and feel so inadequate for the task of making a difference--but I can still make a small difference. And the small things that I can do might just make a big difference in the life of somebody. We never know what long-term impact our small actions can make on the world, whether for good or for bad. The study also inspired my assignment for Week 2 of the songwriting course I am taking from Berklee professor Pat Pattison, which you can read about here.
Last weekend, I cajoled Jason into doing a renovation project that has been on the back-burner since moving into our current trailer. When we moved in, the linoleum throughout the house needed to be replaced. The addition was done before we even moved anything into it (by yours truly, I am proud to say), and at the same time as we purchase lino for that project we also bought laminate for the larger boys' bedroom to cover the disintegrating 35-year-old linoleum that was there. We got a great deal on the flooring through Spirit River Flooring (it really does cost less, there!), partly because we weren't being very picky about colour, partly because they had a sale on laminate at the time, and partly because the saleslady was very sympathetic to our situation of having to replace our home because of the mould issue, and did the best she could for us on the price.
Fortunately, when we purchased the first trailer, the previous owners had just put laminate into the smaller bedroom in that trailer, and they had three leftover boxes that they gave us. That bedroom is almost identical in size to the room Jude currently occupies, so we figured we would have more than enough laminate to do the floor in there without purchasing anymore, even if it meant lifting some out of the old trailer.
However, despite getting Noah's and Jabin's room done last spring, and having the best of intentions to get to Jude's "fairly soon," it didn't happen until this Sunday past. However, once we got started on the project, it only took a few hours to empty the room (including taking apart the bunk beds), lay the flooring, and move everything back in. Jude got to bed a little late, but since it was the first day of the time change, he probably wouldn't have fallen asleep earlier, anyway--night owl that he is. The three boxes of laminate were the perfect amount to cover the floor, so we didn't even have to lift the "used" stuff. :-)
It's nice to have that project out of the way. It seems that stuff like that doesn't happen in the summer, because it is way too hot indoors. Maybe we should look at getting a window-mounted air conditioner this summer, because frankly, I am kind of amazed we got through last July without my guitar cracking and without all of us turning into little pools of water and minerals in our beds.
At any rate, while Jason was cutting floorboards outside last Sunday, he let our Alaskan Malamute (who is now a 17-month-old "teenager," with all the grace of Goofy in a China shop, and the self-discipline of a two-year-old), Thunder, run free. During the warmer weather we were having last week, we had been tying him up to prevent untimely chicken deaths as we let the chickens out of the coop to enjoy the sun. The snow, at about three feet, is high enough that these excellent flyers don't feel that the run fence is a particular hindrance right now.
Jason was keeping an eye on him, but it doesn't take long for this speedy dog to be on top of any little thing that he thinks might entertain him, which was the case with one unfortunate hen who strayed outside the run. Jason interfered before she died, but since Thunder had been tossing her around like a football, she lost all but one scraggly little tail feather, nearly all the feathers on her back, and several square inches of hide, as well.
So, needless to say, "Rosie" (as we have now dubbed her) has been spending the last several days in the house in a large plastic storage tub that doubles as a brooder for small batches of chicks. She is past the critical stage--she didn't go into shock and die, and after several bouts with hydrogen peroxide and colloidal silver, the wounds have closed up and appear uninfected--and yesterday, she even started walking around in her little tub, eating stuff, and clucking gently at us when we checked on her. If it weren't for the missing flesh at a most inopportune location as far as roosterly "affection" is concerned, I'd actually send her back out today. As it is, I'm wondering, How long will it take for a chicken's hide to grow back?! I guess we'll see. The poor thing will have to be in "solitary" for another day or two, at least.
Well, you're pretty much caught up, and that's enough rambling for one post. Happy Thursday, friends!
Yesterday, we had a good ol'-fashioned, snow-up-to-the-rafters snowstorm.
Not only was visibility bad, we got snowed in.
Yesterday around 2 p.m.
Snowed in like we haven't been since we moved here.
Coop In a Blanket--The Aftermath.
Even today. Jason can get in and out with his 4x4, but my l'il ol' mini-van was completely out of its league.
This baby ain't goin' NOWHERE!
Thank goodness we have friends that have toys that push snow around, and not enough excuses to use them! (We should no longer be snow-locked by tomorrow afternoon. I hope. At least, I think I hope. Sometimes it's nice to have an excuse to not have to go anywhere.)
Jude and Koda in a drift--notice the snow up to Jude's knees?
Last year, I filed my taxes in September. I also registered with a GST* number for my business, which means that in addition to taxes this year, I also got to file a GST return.
This year, I managed to get my taxes filed sometime in early June, I think--a huge improvement over last year. And although my GST return was due on April 30, I dropped it in the mailbox across the street ten minutes ago, after receiving a verbal warning from the government from the self-same mailbox this afternoon. (Really, it was on my things to do last night already, but my husband, erm, distracted me. Like I was going to file a GST return after that!) I was tempted to see what would happen if I just let it sit, but they were using four-letter words like "fine," and I figured it wasn't worth paying more money to the government to find out. I'm such a wuss sometimes.
Anyway, in other news, our house grew by four more feet on the weekend. On Friday, as I pulled the van into the driveway from our homeward sojourn, Jason was filling up the water dish for Suri and friend, whom he had found wandering around downtown. After putting up a few "Found" posters over the weekend, and calling him in to the radio, his owner called us this afternoon--and said we could keep him! The voice on the other end of the line said that she had actually been trying to find him a new home for a while now, and if we wanted, we could have him.
We had already been joking about that very thing, since he is more laid-back and has less bad habits than Suri. Also, Suri is a lot less work with him around, since they play well together and he helps to keep her entertained. So, other than the additional cost of feeding another dog, there were very few drawbacks. We were planning on getting another dog when we move out to the acreage anyway, so this just saves us looking and training an "unknown."
Welcome to the family, Brutus.
*Government Sales Tax, applicable on practically everything, except I pay more than I collect in the course of my business, so I registered for it so I could actually get some of my money back from the government.
I am sitting here in my blogging shirt, wanting to pour out some of the random thoughts that have flitted across my brain over the last few days, but I have not had time to record.
First off, Jabin. Jabin has started climbing. He is climbing stairs, and he loves the little landing in front of our master bedroom (only four stairs off the floor from the family room.) He will sit there babbling happily for up to half an hour, proud as punch that he got up there himself. He also likes to climb onto the hearth (of the fireplace we never use, thankfully) and sit there with a very self-satisfied grin on his face. He is so funny.
Last Monday, at breakfast, when I uttered my traditional "Let's pray," he completely floored me by smacking his little hands together and holding them there until we were done the prayer. He has also started adding his own version of "Amen" at the end of the prayer (which sounds a lot like "ba." You might wonder how I can relate those two, but it is so purposefully said, and he says it every time we pray.) He has also started trying to mimic other words we say. One day I was cheering for him for doing something, and he clapped his little hands and tried to imitate my "Yay, Jabin!" It's so strange, because Noah was such a late talker, to think that Jabin is actually trying to communicate verbally. He has also caught on to a few Baby signs: "down," "dog," and he has also tried "more" and "all done," although is not using them with any consistency, yet.
Suri's getting spayed today. You might be wondering why I have barely mentioned our dog since my initial post about her. The reason is, most days I barely tolerate her. The rest of the time, I harbour a secret wish that she would wander off and get eaten by coyotes. This seems harsh and extreme, and all the good feelings you got about me for being so nice to the lady at the hardware store have just fluttered out the window. But truthfully, this was not a good time in my life to get a puppy, and we maybe should have: a) waited another 6 months to a year, as per our original plan, and b) gone with a Golden Retriever, as per our original plan. She has destroyed more stuff with higher value (both sentimentally and fiscally) than she will ever be worth to me, and has gotten us in trouble with our neighbours and the SPCA by escaping three times in the same week (by different means) and being a little too frisky and nippy with the neighbourhood kids. I can't believe we are spending $250 on this operation today. I thought about just giving her away, but then I took a deep breath, set my teeth, and decided to keep waiting it out. Eventually, she'll be done teething. Eventually, she will no longer be a puppy. Eventually, she will calm down (hopefully), and not always be knocking the kids over and going ga-ga over any stranger that comes to our door and not listening to simple commands.
Or, I'll give her away. (Or maybe wait until the coyotes are howling at the moon one night and open the gate to the backyard...)
Lastly (for today), the Lord has been dealing with me on an issue that has been uncovered in my spirit over the last week. Complacency. Ugh. How did I ever end up here? Since first becoming a Christian at the age of 15, I have abhorred Complacency. I have prayed fervently against it. I have wanted to always have the passionate fire for God, and helping people, and loving others, and sharing truth with them that I had then.
The thing about Complacency is you never see it coming. You just wake up one morning and it suddenly hits you that you have become Comfortable. And in that comfort, you no longer carry the burning torch that once lit your path. Each day seems to be mapped out through the familiarity of routine. Who needs a Lamp? Why doesn't it bother you that you haven't opened your Bible for a week? Or more?
Or wait. Maybe it does. And in the very thinking of it, you realize that the parched, empty feeling you have been ignoring has originated in the lack of the Living Water in your life. A lack that you allowed, and for which you have no one to blame but yourself.
I find I want to guzzle it, now that I remember how vital it is to my health and well-being. I want to stand in it's flow and just let it wash over me, right under the waterfall, like one of those commercials for Irish Spring or something. I have had to look at my daily schedule, my routine, and revamp, re-prioritize. Now that I have remembered where my true refreshment lies, I do not want to let old habits and life's "busy-ness" quench this life-giving flow.
Thank you, Lord, for always staying constant and being there for me, even though I am fickle and forgetful.
As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food
day and night,
while men say to me all day long,
"Where is your God?"
These things I remember
as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go with the multitude,
leading the procession to the house of God,
with shouts of joy and thanksgiving
among the festive throng.
Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Saviour and my God.
My soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.
By day the LORD directs his love,
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life.
I say to God my Rock,
"Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?"
My bones suffer mortal agony
as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
"Where is your God?"
Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Saviour and my God.
No, I am not talking about the newest addition to the Cruise family.
Last night, sort of "out of the blue," we got a puppy.
I saw the listing on the local country music station's free "classified" service on their website: "Tradio", it's called. Jokingly, I yelled out at Jason that there were some six-and-a-half-week-old husky/black lab cross puppies for sale for $20.
That was Sunday.
On Monday (last night), we brought home a baby dog.
Running through a few names on the 1+-hour-long drive home last night, we finally hit on "Suri", and it fits her perfectly.
Never mind that I have a nine-month-old in diapers and a two-and-a-half-year-old that is not quite getting the grasp of potty training, yet. Now I have to house-train a dog, too!
But she is SO cute. And pretty smart. She and her siblings were already boundary-trained to stay off the driveway of the farm where we picked her up from. And other than having an accident in the house after breakfast (mostly because I was not paying attention, I'm sure), she has managed to "do her business" outside for the rest of the day--mostly in the spot we are encouraging her to use as her toilet.
She's been pretty tolerant of the kids. They've been pretty good around her, too. Noah's been a little hyper, but she's still small enough that she has found a few good hiding spots! In a month, she'll be able to hold her own a little better around him. Jabin wasn't thrilled at all of the places she chose to kiss him--nor was he entirely pleased when she started going after his bottle!
For her part, she's a pretty laid-back puppy so far--hopefully her personality will be more of the lab type, although we chose her from the pack because she looks more husky-ish.
All in all, though, a pretty good first day. (I mean, other than the twenty-minutes scare where I thought she must have wandered out of our not-completely-fenced-in back yard. Turns out she was hiding under a cupboard in the shed all along. But I was totally freaked out.
Other than that, though, it was pretty good.) She is already bonding well to all members of our family (well, except maybe Jabin, but that will come), and Jude is just totally excited to have her. This is good, because he has gone from having an irrational fear of dogs (even small ones) when he was around two to being only a little nervous of big or jumpy dogs. Jason and I are hoping that growing up with the puppy--or, should I say, the puppy growing up around him--will overcome the last vestiges of nervousness he has around larger dogs. (We don't believe in lapdogs. Too much redneck in our blood, I guess.)
And here she is, the new princess of the house. You can click on any photo to view it larger:
I can hear her complaining about being locked in the shed for the night as I type, so hopefully our neighbours don't get too upset at us during this initial phase of "breaking in."
Now, Jason wants to go back and get her 4-year-old husky daddy that is "friendly, but needs someone to work with him."
Sorry, honey, I think I have to draw the line somewhere. One is enough! :-)