Tag Archive | Cousin David

Stretching Limits

If there is one think life has taught me it is that I really do NOT know my own limits… and surprisingly, this is in a GOOD way! Now don’t get me wrong, using hammers – not my thing, lifting heavy items – nope, reaching things off the top shelf – you must be joking, I have stools and a tall husband for a reason. BUT on the other side of that, did I ever think… all those years back… that this diminutive Canadian woman who weighs 114lbs soaking wet could be all that I am, NOPE, NO WAY! And that is AMAZING!

My newest challenge, on a long list of challenges yet to come, is for my children. One of those things I kind of wish I had gotten to try as a child was to learn the piano. Well, the boys are 12 and Zander is in love with singing and hearing his voice… I remember taking recorder in school around the age most of my kids are now and we have this house to ourselves. Add in an amazing deal on a keyboard and amp from my beloved and gorgeous friend Shandai and the time is nigh. This 37 year old mother of 5 is going to learn how to play the piano! Now I am sure I am not going for concert pianist… but… I have faith in myself, in my friends and family online as mentors and my insatiable need to figure things out. I am going to give this a go!

Two years ago I never thought I could learn how to play with yarn. Cross stitch, yes, but that is a grid and X’s… but the wild world of hooks and yarn… could I do it? Well, it turns out all I needed was a lefty in my life again. Here comes Shandai AGAIN! Such a helpful and supportive friend she is… and BAM I am a yarn addict. May I even slightly suggest the student proceeded to surpass the master??? (she is so much a knitting first girl… ooh knitting… that is on my to learn list to!).

I remember, back in the old days when I was merely a mom of THREE. (I know insane) And there was a fire of some sort in our apartment building. I managed, with the help of my next door neighbour, to bundle up THREE kids, grab my prepacked diaper bag (see organization is key), accept a ride and get to my mother’s house. To top it off I was able to call the landlord to remind him that the downstairs neighbour’s mother was often home and an older lady. This was all with Ken on his way into the city with out cell phone. I didn’t think I could do it. I wasn’t sure I could survive Ken being an hour + away for work each day. That moment, that situation showed me that I hadn’t even STARTED to stretch my wings.

Heck, at the beginning of summer I looked at the schedule at the YMCA and saw an amazing opportunity in ClubY. The kids and I did the math and checked Google Maps, we gasped at the 2 mile walk ONE WAY, we realized we had to find a way to not walk the highway the whole way (what is it with this state and its hatred of sidewalks in the suburbs???) and we pushed Daddy out the door to walk that first walk with us. It was grueling and frustrating (the boys managed to forget their bag of swim gear, Emanuel and Trinity were distracted by every shiny thing they could find) but we did it… and almost 2 months later they are chomping at the bit to walk that walk and get to their events. We hadn’t realized we could make that 30+ min walk into a family event, that we could prove to ourselves and the world that we didn’t NEED the luxury that is a car to get us going each morning and get us into the world. And with that stretching of lazy legs we doubled and tripled our work out each day. We’ve proven to ourselves that those two miles are a journey into adventure and excitement.

I think this unknown strength we have locked up inside is key to our family and its ongoing growth. Homeschool has been one big adventure of trying to stretch ourselves. There have been tears, and laughter, anger and frustration, but most of all there has been realization… we are only as far as we are willing to go, we are only as strong as we are willing to try and we are only as smart as we push ourselves to learn. The limits we see… the too hards, the impossibles, they are all just false limits. They are the points we refuse to look past. Maybe the stepping stones need to be tiny, maybe we need to take extra time (and as everyone knows who knows us, we make time for the foundations always) but we are capable of those events and so much more.

Parenting is scary that way too, only I don’t have the choice. We are now facing puberty and the teenage years. I have already had to cope with the hormones running wild with the twins (not cool, Zander goes angry and Gavin whiny/weepy). The future looks straight on uphill with the teenage years looming. But then again… so very long ago, that is how potty training TWO babies at once felt. And we managed. It may not have been graceful and I think we ALL learned things at time but we managed. I don’t know how far I can go, how many limits I will come across, and I won’t know until I get there or until I try. Who knows, we may be even more successful at it than we think we will.

So what am I truly capable of? I guess the answer is… I don’t know. But you know what? I sure can’t wait to find out! The day I started crocheting the projects I pick up now looked impossible. There are some on my to do list that are daunting even now, but I know I have yet to reach my limit.

The future is full of challenges and unknowns, and we have choices. We can sit back and fear them, we can halfheartedly try to defeat them, we can simply accept defeat and move on to something else. I think I am going to make it my mission in life to try and head out there and meet at least SOME of these challenges face on! I am going to sit down at the keyboard and give it a go, do more than give it a go I am going to PRACTICE and QUESTION and LEARN. I am going to dust off the old record skills and I am going to make MUSIC. I am going to pick up those knitting needles in the fall and figure out this fancy knit and pearl thing (and probably suck up HUGELY to Shandai on that one). I am even, one day, going to face my fear of driving head on (don’t get excited I did say ONE DAY not tomorrow). I am going to walk into the gym and face those fancy machines and (with Ken’s guidance) learn something new next month. I am going to make sure that I show my children that my limits are always changing, that my skills are always growing and that if they can make and effort and try something new, well Mom is right there with them!

Now I am sure I can tie this all back in on my depression series. I know Ken has worked hard to stretch his own limits. But you know what? I think we all need to drop our limits and stretch out wings, regardless of our situation, of our fears and of our illnesses. So maybe… just maybe… you can draw your own parallels and see what I mean without my leading you through it? And when you chose to make some leaps, think of me and my family. We are leaping with you! And if you really want a buddy on something – hey you never know, I have tried sushi, gone all the way to the top of a glass elevator, done a maid of honour speech in front of nearly all strangers, met new people way out of my comfort zone and even faced down the bad behaviour of my own kids with strength and honesty and in public no less! Perhaps not the most amazing accomplishments to everyone else… but to me! Well here I am stretching my wings, bursting through my limits and making life even more amazing!

(thanks to my “baby” cousin David on the awesome conversation which inspired this post, and piano assist… love you and thanks for the virtual pep talk! Good luck with the PhD – you got this!)IMG_20160625_203409

This entry was posted on 30/07/2016, in Uncategorized. 7 Comments

Working to Begin the Week Right

October 15-16

Monday was a GOOD day, education wise. We had a teacher helper today – Ken cleared his schedule up to help out and watch how we do things. It was nice to have another adult to field questions. That is one thing I struggle with with the boys – the idea of needing to wait for your turn, the rule of putting their hands up and waiting their turn is a  tough one. 

Emanuel with his supervisor


We had lots to accomplish though… Emanuel had his dinosaur as usual… Trinity her workbooks… And then we went onto the fun stuff. After a Sunday of learning we HAD TO get going on the journals, the process of the apple cider making AND the best thing of the day. Of course we had to sit down and work on those Zombies for Cousin David. Gavin and Zander are becoming pros with the terrific instructions Art for Kids has up on their site. Definitely bookmark them!!

Cousin David’s Zombies

The 3 boys got to recite their newest fall poem for you all to enjoy! A Little Elf which can be found HERE with a whole list of fall poems! 

We had TWO crafts for the day. Our first was a repeat of Sunday’s leaf rubbing. The boys went out into the yard and grabbed leaves from our yard. These pictures are going to be mailed back up north to friends and family. 

On its way to Aunty Xinny

Note Aunty Karyn in the scene

The other craft is from Activity Village… spidery fingerprints. You can find the instructions HERE. A definite repeat for our family. I managed to get the ink pad from Jo-Ann’s with a terrific coupon AND it is washable off the fingers. We used baby wipes and had zero problems and great results on the paper.  

Dirty fingers!

Completed bugs

Tuesday was a bit of a lax day as yours truly was unaccountably wiped out. BUT we rallied after a brief period of Lego/iPad fun while Mommy napped. Echo has FINALLY figured out the sit and spin. 

Spin baby spin

We have decided to get a move on on the Halloween decorations… so today was a garland made out of pumpkins and bats. The twins traced and cut out the template shapes and everyone pitched in on the feature creating. I opted to snip the feet off our bat template to make the cutting out a little easier. You can find templates etc. HEREon the UK site.

Twins stapling while the littles sort out the pattern

So proud!

Our corner

I had the kids help me on a book review that was posted HERE on our site. It was our first kids’ book and it was seasonal! We really enjoyed Into the Pumpkin by Linda Franklin. It was fun to ask them what they thought and then simply write it out to share! I have a few more books  to do this for, all advanced copies so I am sure there will be more posts to share. 

We read more of Judy Moody, the book is one huge giggle for the kids and they are constantly brain storming for their me collages that they are working on.We have taken the angle of the joy of listening to a story and reading with the family over a lapbook intensive unit with this one. Next week we will take a break in our Judy Moody story to listen to our HALLOWEEN themed book! 

Add in a finish by Gavin of his review reading book (so much progress!).

All done!

And we are feeling like things are progressing! 

Looking forward!

Birthday Party Weekend

It honestly feels like we have been go go go pretty much non-stop since Friday! But in a GOOD way. So, back to Friday… Our morning was a bit hectic as we had to get everyone settled earlier than usual. My Uncle Wayne needed a ride to his eye doctor (who happened to not be overly far from the office where we ordered Zander’s glasses). Since he needed his eyes dilated he was not supposed to drive anywhere immediately after his appointment. So Ken and Zander left with Uncle Wayne to pick up Zander’s glasses while Uncle Wayne did his appointment. Unless there is a cancellation sooner, he will be back in the city in August for cataract surgery. If there is a cancellation before we move out of town we will get to have Uncle Wayne for 3 days! The kids would be over the moon.

Glasses and all

While those 3 were out doing the glasses thing a friend of mine from college – Kathy got in for a visit. She lives a little over 3 hours away in the same city as my brother. Her schedule wouldn’t allow her to come for the birthday party so instead she came by for a half day visit on Friday. It was nice to get a chance to catch up, and once the men returned she and I went to The Mall for New York Fries Poutine. Kid free we had a lovely hour or two of time to catch up and just generally hang out. She hung around until almost 5pm before having to head back home. OH and added treat – part of the Christmas present she gave me was back ordered and had finally come in. Another volume of Teresa Wentzler‘s cross stitch patterns! I have to admit a fondness to her designs (from what I understand she has retired) though they are VERY time consuming and often the entire piece is stitched with now empty spaces. I have a couple in this new book I am dying to do… once I have the time to properly kit them up.

All full of nice patterns

Since Uncle Wayne was on his way home Friday night and not planning on coming back into the city for the boys’ birthday he gave the kids their gifts on Friday. Trinity got a new kitty – one of those Fureal Friends I think they are called. This one is a tiny kitty that you can get track for that moves around when you push its back or just makes silly noses if  you push its nose. She was over the moon! Echo got a sweet stuffed panda that she played with a little. Emanuel got a remote control car – the same colour and I think number (though not the brand) as his favourite car – Lightning McQueen. He spent the rest of the day driving us all crazy driving it around. The twins each got a little set that you could use to build a vehicle (one bike the other dump truck) and then take back apart and make other things or combine to do the same. They were impressed by the little tools and the nuts and bolts and had Uncle Wayne down on the floor playing with them for hours.

Uncle Wayne with Gavin and Emanuel

From Uncle Wayne’s 3 weeks in China and Thailand he brought us back a few goodies! Key chains from Thailand, a little change purse for me and the big excitement – CARTOONS for the kids! Pleasant Goat and the Big Big Wolf. Apparently VERY popular in China. Ken managed to convince his computer to play them for us so we all got to enjoy them. (no translation on the disks sadly)

Our new videos

Karyn got in later that night after both my uncle and Kathy had left for home. So she and I went out for Harvey’s burgers and a visit (talk about spoiled, I got to go out TWICE Friday for some girl time!). Ken picked up Ted and Sean (whose car is currently not running) and we spent a fun evening putting up streamers, visiting and doing the last of the cleaning.

Saturday morning Karyn and I did the last run for things we needed for the party… with a stop over at Winners so Karyn could pick Echo up a new outfit. (I have to go back there, there were some sweet outfits that would look amazing on Trinity) We came home to Mom, Mike and Phoebe already being here and the kids all over the place with the gifts she has brought them (they weren’t wrapped so it was easier to just hand them over and let the kids go).

Playing games with Grandma (Gavin left)

With a loaf of banana bread baking and all our treats out for the party we added the cake mom and Mike had put together and our punch and we were ready to party! The cake was VERY impressive, they found an example online and ran with it. There was chocolate and carrot cake (the side cakes were the error ones, but worked perfectly). I think the kids were just excited about all the toys we had to take OFF of the cake so we could cut into it to eat!

The cake!

After cake which we had early so mom and Mike could head home in time for a meeting we had presents which of course meant CHAOS. Alan and Xinny and their 2 kids and Nathan and Ada with Anna were a little late so we were able to hold off cake until they got here. Chris and Chris got held up and managed to make it before presents… Esther… well she came LATE and spent time with us after the fact. Add to that my “baby” cousin David and we had a full and happy house.

My god-daughter Anna

The kids got some amazing presents – everything from a Thomas the train set (Emanuel) to a piano and 2 guitars (shared gifts)! We were able to get the twins their bikes at a super clearance price but are not going to have them in hand until next week. So they have to be patient on that one. Emanuel’s present from us was a great find – something called Hex Bugs.

Gavin and Isabella playing

After the bulk of the party went home we spent the rest of the evening relaxing and playing with the new toys (Cousin David was nice enough to tune our new guitars as best he could). Karyn, Esther and I made a slurpee run where we had to take a crate to transport them in. We got a couple of silly comments coming in with our large refill containers but we managed. Although Ken sent us with 8 containers and there was only 7 people and we of course filled them ALL. Oh well.

This is our last Sunday for Sunday School for the month so Ken and the boys left the rest of us here to hang out. Ok, Sean, Trinity and I hung out while Echo napped and Karyn slept in the basement. We had Esther on the couch and Ted on the floor. Amazingly enough they slept through the whirlwind that is Trinity on a Sunday morning! She spent the majority of her time bugging, I mean SITTING with Sean… with him on his laptop.

Whirlwind Trinity in her headband from Aunty Holly

The twins had an actual little Valentine’s party where they learned how to make flowers out of coffee filters so they are going to teach ME how to make them and for Valentines Day we will make a bunch up. Emanuel made a card and apparently had a lot of fun too… Ken had a nap (not a huge surprise).

Echo and Emanuel checking out the Hex Bugs

Today Echo is officially 6 months old! I am determined this week to get her photos done with her little “I was born at” t-shirt. In fact I have to do those and then the twins’ yearly photos and of course my own with Ken. You have one last chance to weigh in on Emanuel’s pictures – which one of THESE should we put up on the wall? Tomorrow I am going to announce the “winning” picture. Then it is time to post the twins’ pictures for opinion!

6 months today!

In a crafty side note – mom took off the tutu to the lady who requested it. I am VERY proud of it. I did a more patchwork patternless colour set up with a lovely bright pink ribbon and heart shaped gem embellishments. I am hoping the little girl it is for likes it as much as I do! It makes me wish I could get a steady supply of the variety of colours I like to make them for more people. Thankfully Michaels has expanded its selection of tulle colours! And Ken is able to get the coloured ribbon I need for the waist and the elastic for a great price at Walmart.

Finished tutu

For the gifts for the kids at the party Ken and I made up crayons out of our old broken crayons. We used our IKEA ice cube trays and used this recipe. Our kids love them! The books I got at Dollarama for 1.00 a piece – we lucked out there was Dora, Diego, and Kai Lan. A very affordable gift for all of the kids and a wonderful way to ensure we don’t waste all those broken crayons.

Zander and the crayons and colouring book

Karyn brought her Cricut for the weekend and I got my first opportunity to make some Hello Kitty die cut shapes. They are a bit labour intensive but the final result looks WONDERFUL. My plan is to borrow Karyn’s Cricut sometime after Family Day and spend a week or so just making kitties. I want to use them for scrapbooking and for decorations for Trinity’s 3rd birthday (she is a Hello Kitty fiend). I just need to pick up some more pastel paper and I am set.

Hello Kitty

This afternoon was filled with girl time – shopping at The Mall with Esther and Karyn. We wandered the clothing stores, stopped into Sephora and I treated myself with a strawberry bubble tea. (nummers) We got home in time for Karyn to head off home and the kids to get in some play time with Aunty Esther before she too had to head home. Ken took the guys home and now here we are, in a slightly chaotic house just the 7 of us. I have some definite cleaning to do, there is a couple of bags of garbage to go out, dishes to do and I have a strong urge to get a page or two done scrapbooking. Ken picked up my latest order of photos while out collecting the guys for the weekend. So hopefully tomorrow I will have at least one page to share.

Esther and Karyn

I have 4 very excited kids to deal with and a Valentine’s Day to consider. I am not sure how much we will do as this weekend was one big party for these guys. I do have some of those candies with the words on them to give them and some mini workbooks I picked up at Michaels with Esther and Karyn. I got Trinity the cutest little oven mitt and pot holder on the same shopping trip to go with the kitchen set. (Trinity got spoiled – Aunty Karyn got her Hello Kitty stickers AND two clearance shirts from Superstore!) I have to go back to Michaels this week, I found some sticker books at 1.50 a piece I KNOW the kids will LOVE.

I am sure there are things I missed in our busy busy weekend but I have to say THANK YOU to everyone who came by, celebrated and visited with us. It was a wonderful weekend and we really appreciate everyone who wanted to be a part of it!

Echo and God-daddy Nathan