Thursday, April 17, 2014

church "shopping"

It sounds strange to say we are church "shopping" but I am not sure what else to call it. We finally tried a church in person this past weekend and it went "ok". Unfortunately Jack didn't do well with the Sunday morning service and he had a blow-out diaper 5 minutes into the service. We have been going to Saturday or Sunday evening services for over 6 years so Sunday mornings will be an adjustment.

We can already tell this might prove to be a harder and longer process than we had originally hoped. After some more internet research we found more options for the docket. We are looking forward to visiting other churches to have something to compare with. I can't wait to find a church that we can get plugged into so we can make a friend or two. One thing my Minnesota trip taught me is that I DO need friends and I can't be a loner up here for forever. Praying the Lord will give us discernment and unity in choosing a church sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

spring is on it's way

It's warming up here in Edmonton and I like it! It's so great that we can be outside now daily! We have been trying different parks within walking distance of our house. Jack is now acquainted with the stroller. Can't wait for green grass and shedding our jackets. I hear it usually takes a little longer for warm temperatures to consistently come around here verses Minnesota. However, I recently learned that Edmonton doesn't have june bugs or wood ticks…so I am very happy about that!! Looking forward to discovering some hiking trails in the area and running outside. Happy Spring!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Minnesota trip: Annie's Wedding


I recently returned to "the states" for 4 days for my good friend Annie's wedding to Emerson! It was a fun and very full trip! I had many errands to run, Chipotle to eat, friends and family to see in between all the wedding festivities. Jack tagged along for the bachelorette party and all! He couldn't have been a better baby for the trip! Minnesota even treated me with a good ol' April snow storm. So glad my parent's jeep had 4 wheel drive! It was super fun to catch up with old MN and Canadian friends who flew in for the wedding! Needless to say I had a lot of sleep to catch up on upon my return to Edmonton. It was an emotional trip as I was reminded how much I miss family and friends. But I am thankful I was able to make it to the wedding and say "hi" to so many while I was down there.

Friday, March 28, 2014

weekly update in pictures

Addie is reading more and more which is so fun. I have been reading consistently with the kids everyday and Addie often wants to a read a book to me too. We recently went through Randy Alcorn's Heaven book for kids which was great. It initiated good conversations with the kids and encouraged my heart gaining excitement to go be with Jesus some day.

Slowly getting some more decorations on the wall. I was glad to get these cute, vintage-looking alphabet cards on the wall in the toy room. Maybe it will help Spencer and Violet with letter recognition. I dug out their pre-school curriculum this week and have started it with them just a bit…this will be interesting.

Addie insists she is not tired, but I often catch her sleeping during quiet reading time on my bed in the afternoons! ; ) It's nice for me to get a break in the afternoons. I think quite reading time with be part of our day for as long as we homeschool. 

We have been home all week in our jammies. I have been battling what seems to have been impetigo on my face. It's been horrible. Thankfully I got some oral and topical antibiotics and it is cleaning up…just in time for Annie's wedding! : ) 

I worked on my chalk board wall this week. Not sure how often I will change it…maybe once a month? 

Made carrot cake from scratch for the first time with Violet this week. It is Clint's favorite dessert, well along with donuts, ice cream and hostess fruit pies of course! I even let the kids eat it for lunch one day. They thought that was pretty cool. I figured it had carrots, nuts and raisins in it…that is fairly nutritious for lunch, right?

Addie and Spencer are obsessed with the little Lego City sets lately. A trip was made to the Lego Store to purchase a Lego Motorhome with some American change we cashed in at the bank. Legos were a big part of Clint's childhood with his brothers, so he is glad the kids are enjoying them as much as he did (does).

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Here is a photo chronicle of Jack this past week or so! We are just smitten with baby Jack! The joy of having a baby has not worn off. Clint and I adore him and the kids still want to play with him and hold him all day long! We truly feel so blessed by this little miracle baby of ours!

He is now sleeping through the night consistently which is such a blessing for me! He is really starting to play with his toys now. He can intentionally grab things and put them in his mouth. He loves to play with his pacifier (or  known as a "soother" here in Canada), putting in and taking it out. He is drooling like crazy still but no teeth yet. He giggles and can roll from his tummy to his back. He can move himself in his johnny-jumper but not quite jump yet. He sits well in his bumbo seat. He loves to kick like crazy in his bouncy seat to rock himself and he thinks it's so funny!

We have lost all hope that his eyes will be blue like Clint's. It's obvious that they are turning "pond-water" greenish-brown. The same color that Addie and I have.

Pictured below: I changed Jack's diaper then left the room to check on Spencer (and kind of forgot about Jack).  When I came back, he was asleep with his bib over his face. He is obsessed with the peg-board above his dresser…he stares and talks to it whenever we change his diaper.

Friday, March 21, 2014

bike shopping

The main event of our weekend was bike shopping as a family. Addie and Violet needed bikes. We learned quickly that Craigslist (and Kijiji the other Canadian Craigslist) will not be of use to us as it was in Minnesota. People just don't sell used stuff here the way people do in MN. Not sure why that is. So we knew we were going to buy new, which meant we needed to find a bike that can be passed down for more than one child's use. I tell you, searching for a gender neutral bike is a hard find. It seemed like there were less reasonably priced options here than we would have found in the US but I was grateful for internet on our phones because we saved ourselves much time and gas by checking out bike shop websites. We finally did find a bike for Addie. Thankfully she was a good sport about it being green…though she wanted a pink one of course. We still want a Strider bike for Violet, but we might just have to order that online.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

homeschooling in Canada

Homeschooling has been going well these days. Addie is reading more and more which is so fun for all of us! I intend to start some preschool stuff with Spencer and Violet soon too. I am so thankful for the freedom to homeschool (in the US & Canada). I like being able to monitor their education first hand in these early years of learning. Having four kids at home can be tough at times making homeschool challenging to complete each day. And some days I'm just so pooped out from having constant kid interaction all day long. However, most days I appreciate having Addie home with us. God is teaching me to soak in these moments, even way days are hard, because they truly do grow up so fast! Every so often we consider other schooling options and weigh out the pros and cons but Clint and I often end the conversation remembering why homeschool is such a great fit for our family right now.

It seems less common to homeschool here in Edmonton. Back in Minneapolis I had so many friends who home schooled. So even though we were not part of a co-op, it seemed like we were surrounded by many families who were "like us".  It was great to have home school friends for "play-dates" because Addie often still had friends her age to play with. I feel a little bit like an island all of sudden, as I realize we might not have the home school support up here that we did in Minnesota. For now I will have to be thankful for my supportive husband and pray that the Lord will give us a friend here who home schools like us.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

impromptu photo shoot


Jack's room has simple gray walls and great mid-day sunshine making it perfect for natural light photography. Impressed by my iPhone camera quality…technology is so amazing! Spencer and Violet used to be super photogenic but lately it's been hard to capture genuine smiles from them. In this "shoot" I made up some silly questions to ask them and it got them to naturally smile.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

motherhood revamp

I am revamping my mothering... as of the past week or so. I have been off-kilter for way too long. After a move, a pregnancy, Jack's arrival and then another move it's time to get a grip on parenting four children by myself all day. 

I have felt conviction in many areas of my mothering: how I talk to my children, discipline, laziness, not spending quality time with the kids because I'm busy doing housework or distracted on my phone, lacking consistency with homeschool, not being intentional with reading to the kids or Bible teaching and memorizing and the list goes on. Basically we have been in survival mode for way too long….like since Spencer and Violet came home in August of 2011! My childrens' toddler/preschool/childhood is passing by so quickly; I don't want to it to be spent constantly trying to catch our breath. 

This is one reason I hope we don't move for a very long time! Moving 5 times in less than 4 years is just not ideal when you have kids. I guess one might say we have gotten "good" at moving, but we have also gotten "good" at survival mode, which is not an achievement. I have given myself plenty of slack, but now it's time to cut the excuses, dethrone my idol of sleep and laziness and seek the Lord to put off sin and put on righteousness. I am not sure if I will love living here but I do crave to be here for a while just to have some consistency. I need a few "boring" years of consistency so I can hone in on Biblical character development in myself and my children.

Clint went back to work last week and it has been a breath of fresh air for us all. Don't get me wrong, we have enjoyed our season of having him home (5 months). It was so timely with Jack's arrival and our move. Special memories have been made this winter. However, men are created to work and women are designed to run the house! So we were both happy to be back doing what feels natural for us to do! 

So far my days with the kids have been going better than expected. God has been gracious to me! I have been diligent with homeschool and reading to the kids every day, which I actually enjoy. We share in the work around the house even if it takes longer to let the kids help. Addie is so eager to help with every meal lately. There is still change in order and refining taking place but we are off to a good start. It feels good to establish routine and structure; to not be hurried, to be at home, training my children in life skills and having meaningful conversations. 

Some of the verses that have been my encouragement are: 

Deuteronomy 6: 5-9 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Titus 2:5 To be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Colossians 3:21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

Proverbs 17:27 Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.

Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Proverbs 31:26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

 I am looking forward to the coming months of establishing my household, training my children for HIS glory and serving Him by serving my family WITH JOY.  I am turning to God all day long through the scriptures, worship music and prayer. Praying for his strength to help me fight sin and help me to be the Godly mother (& wife) he calls me to be. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

O Canada!

Oh my, it's been a long time since I have blogged. I am pretty sure no one even checks-in anymore. But I did promise many people I would start blogging again now that we have moved, to keep people updated on our lives and to show-off pictures of the grandkids! So here I am.

We have been in Edmonton almost two weeks already! Time flies when you have much to do, not to mention four kiddos to care for! Clint has been super busy with logistics such as setting up our insurances, visas, importing our vehicle, getting driver's licenses, cell phones, internet, bank accounts, etc. I've been at home mainly getting our boxes unpacked and the house organized. We have been painting at our new place…which you all know is my favorite thing to do…and Clint's! : ) ha!

We really like our new home! (I will post more pictures once I have it a bit decorated). Our house is in a packed-together suburbia neighborhood; so a bit different than our place in North Minneapolis. However, our fenced yard is similar in size. It was built 5 years ago and has an open floor plan. It has 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms…or shall I say "washroom" as the Canadians do. We are using one of the bedrooms as a toy/office/school room, the big three share a room, Jack has his own room and there is a master bedroom. The kids are really liking the carpet at the house. I guess that was the reasoning behind the note Addie wrote to Clint the other day (see below).

We have shopped the local Target near our home. It isn't a Super, but it does have Starbucks. We have been getting our groceries from Superstore so far as we need Provincial ID before we can shop at Costco. Canada is so similar yet so different. It really has been interesting moving to a new place where we know nothing and no one. Just going to run an errand seems over-whelming to me, so I stay home as much as I can. We did find a workout facility and got a membership there for Clint and I. It has an indoor track. It feels great to start running again! I hear there is an awesome library near by, which I plan to check out some time.

The kids are doing well and adapting to life up here as good as can be expected. I am finally making effort to get Jack on a schedule in hopes that he might sleep through the night soon. Clint started work this week and is excited about what lies ahead. It looks like he will be doing a lot of fencing this year. This is my first time being alone with the four kids all day and so far it's going well. We are getting back into routine which is so refreshing to my soul!

We would appreciate your prayers as we start looking for a new church soon. I am a little skeptical about that as I'm still grieving Bethlehem. But God is faithful.  Moving far away has already revealed some of my idols of being comfortable. This will certainly be a refining process. I know he has great things in store for us here, even though I do miss "home".

Well, that's all of the random hodge-podge information I have for now.
Hugs to you from Alberta!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

introducing Jack Oliver McAlpine

October 20, 2013
1:03 am
8 pounds - 12 ounces
21 inches long

Well, I figured it is about time I blog! God DID IT!!! Our miracle baby boy has arrived and has been a great source of JOY in our family the past 3 weeks! I was 10 days overdue and had on/off contractions for 2 weeks before real labor began. We choose to try for a VBAC, as Addie was a scheduled c-section since she was breech. It was a long labor that was challenging since he was "sunny side up". He was stuck in my pelvis for quite some time before I was able to push him out. Recovery has been slow since  labor was difficult. I am still having troubles with my tailbone but slowly seeing some progress. Otherwise everything is going really well! He is healthy and feeding well. The kids are smitten and adapting better than we anticipated. Clint is playing "Mr. Mom"- taking care of almost everything the past 3 weeks while I rest and feed Jack. So thankful for Clint's extended time off with work during this season- we are enjoying lots of family time! Thank you for all the prayers and meals! It's been such a blessing! We are overwhelmed with thanksgiving and joy in this season! We do not take this for granted; we soak in every moment with him and are singing praises to the Lord often throughout our days for all our blessings! What a journey the past 6 years have been! God is faithful! More updated pictures coming soon! ; ) 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thursday, October 3, 2013

before and after thomas house pictures- part 1

We have been in our current home for over 10 months already. We are finally feeling settled; just in time to move...AGAIN (more on that soon). This has been our favorite house to live in thus far. Having two bathrooms, a sizable kitchen and main floor laundry has been such a blessing. I've been planning to post before and after pictures for quite some time but my pregnancy and 3 kiddos have distracted me from decorating and blogging much of this year. I'm finally getting around to it now that the house is "show ready" now that it's on the market for sale.

The "Thomas House", as we call it, was the biggest over-haul yet for Clint. It took over 5 months of work to completely remodel. The floors were refinished, much of the house has new trim or re-finished trim, new windows, all new doors, bathrooms fully re-done, old kitchen turned into a new mud room, new kitchen in new location of the house, new back yard, all new light fixtures, fresh paint everywhere,  garage got finished, etc.

We will start with the downstairs dining room-



Unfortunately these pictures are not from the same angle, but you get the idea. I have many ideas brewing for a linen/burlap table runner and centerpiece for the dining table along with other ideas for elsewhere in the house. Like I said, decorating has been on the back burner this year but I'm just starting to get into it again as I've been "nesting" in preparation for baby to come. Clint finds it funny that I'm just now "going-to-town" with organizing/decorating, just in time to move. Oh well, if it looks great for only 2 more months, so be it. It makes me feel better for some reason. And, my home is always an evolving process. I love being able to switch things up seasonally and add new finds as I find them. I just need more time to do the crafty little things I often pin on pinterest that add more character to each room and make it feel more homey.

More before and afters to come (and some much needed family updates and pictures too)!