... And a Partridge In A Pear Tree

If last weekend was beyond crazy, schedule-wise, this weekend was a refreshing opposite--staying at home all weekend, being productive, spending a little time on the phone with loved ones, and "centering myself."

In fact, I'm so darn proud of what I've accomplished in only one weekend, I need to record it for posterity:
  • made 12 cards (thank-yous and birthdays)
  • made one camouflage-print flannel pajama set for Jude, including shorts, pants, and a button-down shirt. He likes it so much, he's been wearing the shirt all day.
  • scrapbooked two layouts (see below--one of the layouts is from several weeks ago.)
  • watched "School of Rock" again. Still a great movie.
  • talked to all four member of my immediate family. (Okay, I know I live with my mom, so that one was a no-brainer. But hey--I actually talked to the other two that I don't live with, too! I can't remember that last time that happened all in one weekend!)
  • planned my year-end photo-gift/address change/update newsletter project. As you can tell, I like to make my projects multi-task!
Jason took our Wii to the office to use the high-speed internet and download an update. The Mario Kart game we got for Jude for his birthday didn't like our old technology, or something, so after Jason fixed it on Saturday, the kids (including the biggest one--Jason!) had a blast playing it all afternoon Sunday.

Jabin hasn't been feeling well the last couple of days--hasn't eaten much, and has a bit of a fever. I gotta say, he is the happiest sick kid I know. Even when he's sick, he's still smiling and congenial, singing songs to himself and being sweet. What a little sunshine he is!

Here are the layouts:

These photos were all taken when Jude was about 15 months old--just before Noah was born. Reiteration from last Monday's post: WHERE DID THAT BABY GO?!!!!

Scanned In

36 degrees Celsius.

That's how hot it was downtown today. I was going to create a digital layout and post it here tonight of all the fun we had at the splash park today, but I got busy scanning in old layouts instead. So in lieu of the layout I haven't got made yet, I am posting another layout that epitomizes today: Jude whining. Sigh. He got to skip supper tonight because he was whining about it. I just hope he doesn't puke in the morning before we can put something in his stomach.

When will the boy ever learn?

Edit: Okay, I got 'er done. Enjoy!

Saturday Tidbits

It's been a good week. I can hardly believe it is over already.

It was Vacation Bible School week, for which I was a volunteer on the worship team. The theme was VeggieTales' The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything. So! I got to dress like a pirate all week long! YIPPEE!

That was really fun. I'll try to get a photo up later.

I also read not only the book I started last weekend, but the one after it, since I didn't know going in that it was actually one story in two parts. That meant a lot of short nights, since I was reading all evening and getting up early to get the kids and I down to the church by 8:15 every morning. I finished the second book at 3 a.m. Friday morning (!), and have decided to take a little break before starting another one, so I can do other things with my life... like sleep.

From an article on Dr. Mercola's website that I read today:
"With that said, coffee is clearly not the healthiest liquid to drink – your best choice is pure water -- but coffee is still far less dangerous than fruit juice or soda."
Yesterday's "Quote of the Day:"

"When I go to bed with ink on my hands, I know it's been a good day." - Talena Winters

Needles and pins, needles and pins, when a man marries his trouble begins

I tried to blog this week. Honest I did. Except somehow, it ended up being Friday before I knew it, and I still hadn't typed a word on here since Monday. (Okay, that might not be true. I think I responded to a few comments.)

It's been a mopey week for me. I've been wandering around, not really sure what to do with myself most days. I've been working away at the final vestige of my taxes, which are about 30 minutes from completion. (Notice how I am spending this 30 minutes typing a blog post, instead of taxes? No comments about that, please.) I've been scrapbooking a little, but not really feeling like I'm accomplishing much. I've been trying to tell myself that it's okay to go outside and enjoy the summer weather with my kids, now--the house is clean and listed, and if the remaining renovations wait another day, that's okay. I've been drained by the constant bickering between my older two children. Yet, ironically, I have also been experiencing baby blues after typing out Jabin's birth story for a layout last Sunday night. Not to mention, the communication errors that are somewhat inevitable in any relationship that seemed to be rather predominant this week.

I have a hard time blogging when I've got that much "downer" stuff going on in my life. However, there were some good things that came out of this week, too:

Jude had two firsts on Tuesday:
  • His first solo shower (I know it seems insignificant, but it just seems like a very "grown-up" thing to do)
  • His first scrapbook page.
He's been bugging me that he wants to learn to scrapbook, and I have no problem with that! :-) It actually all began one winter day when I was experimenting with painting my own watercolour background paper. Jude thought that was a good idea, and created his own "scrapbook pages." I bought him a cheap album and an acid-free glue stick, and on Tuesday we printed off some photos of his 5th birthday and I set him loose with some stickers and patterned paper. The choice of photos was actually inspired by the safari animal stickers he spotted in my stash, which he immediately decided he wanted to use. Bonus for him: he got to make a page with one of his favourite themes while using his creative muscles. Bonus for me: I got to use up some really old paper and stickers from my stash, and enjoy the product of my son's creativity.

He made the second layout the next day. The only trick was trying to convince him that he didn't need to use every tool and stamp and sticker on the very first page! :-)

I finally gave myself permission to read a fiction book this week. I have finished the first chapter of A Voice In The Wind, by Francine Rivers. It's not the type of book I would normally pick off the shelf, but Amanda recommended it so strongly, then leant it to me, that I said I would read it. However, I haven't had time for fiction since I finished off Harry Potter 7 at Christmas. It's been a little weird to think that I could be diving into a wonderful fictional world this weekend. Yippee! As soon as those thirty minutes of taxes are done, I'll really be letting loose! :-)

Yesterday, while I was out getting groceries, I bought a couple of Sonic comic books for the kids on a whim. They loved them so much, that a miracle happened: they managed to sit on the same chair for half an hour without fighting with each other!

Tonight we will be over at the Magnusson's. Jason is going over to watch UFC. I will be scrapbooking, and our children will be playing. Sounds like good times!

I guess I can say about this week: All's well that ends well. Right?

It takes a long time to grow an old friend.

Like most first graders, I was both excited and nervous about school. Maybe more nervous than some, since I had not attended kindergarten, so did not really know what to expect, and had no friends in my class.

I'm sure my parents weren't the least bit worried about either situation. They knew I was more than ready academically for grade one, and although I had very little confidence in my ability to make friends, my parents must have seen the gregariousness of my nature and knew I wouldn't be friendless for long.

On the first day of class, the desks were arranged in groups of six, with three desks tight beside each other facing three other desks in the same arrangement, all touching like we were around an oddly-slanted dividable table. I don't remember if I sat in the middle of a side, or on the end--something is telling me I was sandwiched in between two other kids.

That was the first time I met Amanda. She sat directly across from me, her brown hair cut short in a boy-type crop, and her blue eyes sparkling with all the friendliness evident in her smile. Unlike me, she had attended kindergarten the previous year, knew most of the kids in the class, and realized right away that I was new. That, and her natural boldness, is why I am sure she must have introduced herself to me first, not the other way around.

It wasn't long before we were buddies who did everything together. She was fascinated by my long blond hair which I often kept in side braids. For this reason, when we were "pretending" horsies, I always got to be the horse, because those braids made the best darn reins ever. (Amanda enjoyed this arrangement much more than I did.)

After grade one, we were not in the same class again until high school, but we maintained our friendship at recess--we loved to "pretend" Ella Mae, and describe all the animals we had as our friends, especially the pet monkeys that were always clinging to our necks. She grew about a foot taller than most of our peers between second and third grade, and I remember being startled when she came back to school that year with--*gasp*--BOOBS! Now that I have the perspective of being on "the other side" of puberty, I know that it wasn't quite the blessing I had dreamed it would be at the time, but of course it made her wildly popular--with the boys, at least. Shortly after that, she went to Tanzania with her parents for a missions trip that lasted most of the school year. Between that and the separation of being in different classes, our friendship kind of ebbed for a few years.

I spent grades six, seven and nine in a private school, and although Amanda and I hung out a bit when I was back in public for grade eight, it wasn't until the tenth grade, when I returned to public school for good, that we finally renewed and built upon the friendship we had started. This was helped along by my switch to attending the church she and her family were attending at the time, and both of us being heavily involved in the youth group there.

As we have aged and seasoned, so has our friendship. It survived the boyfriends that came and went. It survived the moves far from each other, then close to each other again. Our husbands became friends after we were married. (Heck, Amanda almost dated my husband when they were teenagers!) Our children are close in age and are all friends. (For more information on that little love triangle, see here! Oo, did I mention that Emily has now decided that she wants to marry Jabin?) The memories we have built are entwined in the tapestries of both our lives like beautiful accents of gold.

Amanda is the friend who is not afraid to ask you the hard questions. Her boldness can border on rudeness, coming across as lacking in tact, but anyone who knows her knows that she is not trying to tear anyone down by her candidness--she loves people, and because she cares, she just feels she has to say something. It may not always be the right thing to do, but the heart behind it is pure. It's awfully hard to get away with anything with a friend like that. She just won't let you deceive yourself, darnit!

She is competitive, which used to annoy the heck out of me. Either she has mellowed with age in this regard, or we are just in fewer situations where the competitiveness is apparent. However, it is her desire to do everything to the best of her ability that is one of the things I admire.

In high school, we would practice our French and study for Biology together; now we compare first words and nurse each other's plants and pets when the other is away. We have gone from comparing crushes to encouraging each other in our relationships with our husbands. We learn from each other as we discipline our children, clean our houses, and plant our gardens. The similarity of our personalities has driven us both crazy at times, but helped us to understand each other and ourselves better, too.

Amanda has helped me appreciate the value of having a friend that you can just be with. When we were new here, though she lived an hour away at the time, our brief visits were wonderful respite from the loneliness of being surrounded by people whom I neither knew nor was known by. When your friendship has this kind of longevity, it's kind of like being an old married couple--you are comfortable enough around each other that the silence you share has as much value as the words. You know you are loved, and don't feel the need to keep checking on the fact.

Whoever you may be, reading this, I wish this for you: that you, too, may have at least one friend like this, and hopefully several. If you know you already do, take the time to let them know over the next few days--by word or action, just remind them how much you appreciate their presence in your life. (I just did.)

Because even though friends like this may not need to hear it--it's still nice to know.

Scrapbook Wednesday?

Scrapbook Sunday seems to have gone by the wayside lately. Not that I haven't been scrapbooking on Sundays, just that I haven't taken the time to scan in layouts, stitch them together, and post them. However, today I snuck in a little digital scrapbooking, which makes posting a whole heckuva lot easier. So here the layouts are:

I know you are all just dying of curiosity about how our trip went, but I'm not going to post about it just yet. All I will do is tell you it was awesome, and give you a teaser:

How has your week been, friends?

And she scrapbooked, too...

In case you can't actually read the journaling, this was Jude with my grandfather Emil Hilman and his second wife Grandma Virginia at Easter of 2003. Grandpa died just before Jabin was born in 2005, and although Virginia reads this blog, and I occasionally hear from her via e-mail, we haven't had the privilege of seeing her since he died, as she moved back to live with her family in the States. So scrapbooking these photos tonight was somewhat bittersweet.

Not to mention--WHERE DID THAT BABY GO?!!!


On any given day, when I open Microsoft Outlook, I have six or seven reminders pop up with a loud chime, telling me what I ought to be doing. My typical response is to wince, clap my hands over my ears, and turn down my computer speakers. Then I click "snooze to be reminded in 5 minutes" on the cascade of "to-do" items, quickly try to check my e-mail before they start bugging me again, and close Outlook as quickly as possible.

Okay, seriously, I do take note of what I reminded myself to do--but quite often, right that second is not the best time to do something about it. "Write to _____." That would be great, but I have five milliseconds to clear the urgent items out my Inbox before my kids need my attention again. "Plan Noah's Birthday Party." Wonderful. I'll get right on that as my porridge boils over. "Buy envelopes." Oh, yeah. It would have been good had I checked my Task list before I went shopping then, eh?

I have been trying this new system of alarmed reminders since around the beginning of January. (This actually has nothing to do with a New Year's resolution--it just coincided with the timing of finding the recharging cord for my Palm, which I sync with Outlook, so the darn thing could be useful. I had misplaced it sometime around August.) With the busy-ness of my life, it seemed I was always forgetting about some appointment or birthday or other. I figured the alarmed reminders would help negate that. (Some people might point out that setting myself reminders is only useful if I actually read them--and perhaps, even act on them! Those people can feel free to keep their opinions to themselves. You know who you are.) However, it seems I have forgotten to remind myself of the more important things in life--like my blog-aversary. Blithely it passed me by last Thursday without me giving it so much as a nod of the head. In fact, I just realized that I even had the date wrong--I thought it was on the 10th, not the 7th!

At least my blog won't be offended and not speak to me for a month.

And at least I remembered my mother's and friend's birthdays, which both fall on that day as well. Whew!


A few days ago, Jude announced, "I want to be a cowboy when I grow up!" Jason and I exchanged glances, hiding our grins. "Papa will be thrilled to hear that," I said. (Jude is so proud of the fact that his Papa is "a real cowboy." Or at least, he was once.)

"What do you want to be, Noah?"

"A lion."

He's been a lion pretty much every day since. I figure he's too young to burst his bubble. A boy's gotta have a dream!


Saturday night was Scrapbooking night at the church. Despite teaching a young girl from our church to knit, I still managed to complete four layouts.

Earlier in the day, I had been reading an article in a scrapbooking magazine that was a checklist to knowing if you are addicted to scrapbooking. Included were such things as "When planning a trip, your scrapbook bag is what you pack first," and "You carry a camera in your purse so you always have one with you." As I read down the list, I was chuckling to myself and nodding. One that I had not yet stooped to was "You change your child's outfit to match the paper you want to use on your layout of the event." Nope, haven't done that one!


That night, as I was scrapbooking photos I had taken during the afternoon, I realized I could add "You acquiesce to your child's cute request, just so you can scrapbook about the way they asked it."

Is there a support group for people like me?


Jabin Right Now:

Favourite Phrase: "I do it!"
Favourite Food: Anything with lots of vegetables and no meat. (I don't know who he gets it from. Must be some recessive gene.)
Favourite Person: Still mostly Mommy, but he is beginning to have his "Daddy moments," too.
Favourite Activity: Colouring. On anything. Not always a good thing.
Favourite Songs: Jesus Loves Me, The Alphabet Song, We Will Rock You
Napping?: Most days. Supper time is pretty grouchy in our house if he doesn't nap.
Diapers?: Only at night, and sometimes when we go out for the day--he doesn't like using a big toilet, and often refuses to go on it until he literally can't hold it anymore. I can't wait until summer--then we can teach him to just go in the bushes!
Something that Mommmy can't get enough of: When he leans against me and tries to wrap his little arms around me (which means his hands are holding tightly to my biceps) and says, "I lowoo, Mommy."

What's been tickling your funny bone, lately?

I Need To Get Me A Round Tuit

I've occasionally seen a magical device known as a Round Tuit.


That's how much I got written when I started this entry a week and a half ago! I still haven't gotten the Ultimate Round Tuit, but a few little ones keep popping up from under the furniture and the back of the fridge. One just poked it's head up from behind my computer monitor and said perhaps it's time to get a Round Tublogging.

I have two major deadlines this Friday:

1. the registration forms for my students entering the Spring Music Festival are due, meaning I have to have them in the mail by tomorrow, meaning I have been busy doing last-minute finalization of details and forms tonight. That's done--I've licked the stamp, licked the envelope, and gargled with peppermint oil to get rid of the taste! :-)

2. I have to replace around a hundred of my eBay listings, as there is a major price increase going into effect on my saddle pads on Friday. The Canadian dollar has been good for Talena the Consumer, not so good for Talena the Business Owner with an American-Based Supplier. And, it follows, not so good for the customers of said business. Oh, well. C'est la vie.

Besides these two "small" projects, I have been nearly consumed lately doing research on who the "sons of God" mentioned in Genesis 6 and a few places in the New Testament are. It's been a fascinating study, and it's kind of shaken up my established notions of a few things. But it's been good. Anyone curious for a peek at what I mean can visit Michael Heiser's website and click on "The Divine Council."

The temperatures this week have been hovering around -40°. That's the one temperature I don't have to clarify between "F" and "C"! It just means FREAKING COLD no matter how you measure it! Yesterday, in some places close to here, it was -47°C in the morning, and colder than -55°C with the wind chill. Thanks to this little bit of old-fashioned winter weather, our van has decided not to start. Period. It won't even turn over. We boosted it yesterday, and it begrudgingly woke up from hibernation to do its job, but today the lazybones was back to Neverland. Jason thinks it might just be the battery. He's going to replace it, but that presents two challenges: 1) how to get to Canadian Tire to buy a new battery when our only working vehicle is dead in the snowbank, and 2) how to change a battery out in Arctic-like temperatures in mittens, or without going into hypothermia.

Needless to say, we've had a semi-cozy week indoors. I say "semi", because although we have a full load of wood (Praise the Lord!), the only way we could keep our whole drafty house warm in weather like this would be to set it on fire--and while that would make things extra-toasty in here for a while, the life-expectancy of the heat would be a little less than the life-expectancy of the snow and cold. Not to mention, we would then be shelterless. (I guess we'll just keep layering up in our sweaters and turtlenecks.)

Despite my current heavy workload, I have been managing to take little "sanity breaks" and do a little scrapbooking here and there. While my full gallery (which really only has a fraction of my actual layouts in it, due to the work required to scan in my volumes of paper layouts) usually has a pretty current inventory for those who would like to see what I'm up to, I thought I would leave you with this one. I scrapped it yesterday--while the photos are over two years old, the journaling I wrote yesterday was representative of both then and now. (Jude's been fighting a cold this week, and it has made for some long days.)

Oh, that Tuit's back. He brought his friend, Round Tuworking. Guess that means it's time to go.

Miss you, friends! I'd love to hear how you're staying warm in this! Hugs!

And It's Not Even Sunday...

Today I shirked (almost) all my household responsibilities so I could visit with my friend Amanda, look after kids, and digitally scrapbook two pages.

The laundry will still be there tomorrow, right?

(I'm only posting one page, as the other one has someone else's kid as the subject matter, for which I have not asked permission to post on the internet.)

Also! I am nearly finished boot #2 of my still-evolving slipper pattern--"Cabled Slipper Boots." At first glance, they beg the question, "Okay, but why?"

Because I can, that's why. (Mostly, I wanted to see if it could be done. And it could!)

I have no photos yet--I will post them of the finished product soon.

Happy Tuesday, friends!

Scrapbook Sunday #3

Scrapbook Sunday is coming! The layout is mostly finished, but partway through I decided to go watch a movie with my honey, and now if I don't get this up here quick, my NaBloPoMo will be NaBlownPoMo.

Check back later for the art!


Okay, here we go. These photos are of my brother when we were having dinner before the Josh Groban concert in August. Incidentally, this restaurant we were eating at is actually where the bull lives, just down on the opposite corner from the patio we were sitting on.