Saturday, August 23, 2014

camping in the mountains

(can you see Jack sleeping in the ergo?) ; )

I am finally posting! The summer is almost gone and I have hardly posted on the blog….I guess I have been busy with being a mom while Clint has been working 6 days a week this summer. We broke away for 3 days to go camping in the mountains. We were just East of Calgary, near Banff, about 4 hours from home.

The view was amazing! We enjoyed some awesome hikes! The beautiful mountains and aqua blue water was steller. Despite some scary bear warnings, we came out alive!

Though the scenery was breathtaking, camping as a whole was a bit of a bummer. We had some sick kiddos, a baby who didn't sleep well (ahem…Jack) which means none of us really got quality sleep. I actually "slept" with Jack in the van while Clint and big 3 were in the tent. The nights were a bit chilly but by afternoon it was warm in the sun. We had a few "squatting" incidents... we think the drinking water made our tummies icky, enough said. Needless to say, tenting with 4 kids including a baby was a lot of work. Maybe we'll opt for a cabin next year till all our kids are a bit bigger?

Clint and I are looking forward to visiting the mountains again in September for our anniversary sans kiddos (well Jack will be in tow actually). This time we'll be sleeping hotel style!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Canada Day/Fourth of July

We spent Canada day with the Dreberts. We went to a local parade then to a war reenactment which was really neat. After we went to Dreberts to enjoy the weather…water guns, lemonade, croquet. It was a great day!

A few days later we had our own mini-celebration of the Fourth of July! I put a few American flag decorations up, the kids had their festive outfits on and we even made the traditional red and blue fruit pizza.

As we read in our Kisses from Katie book (about a modern-day missionary girl in Uganda) the morning of July 4th, we were deeply reminded of how much we have to be thankful for with the freedoms we have in the United States and Canada. We are very blessed and sheltered from many calamities people of the world find normal.

We reminisced about Galena, Illinois….where we usually celebrate for the Fourth of July. We have fond memories of that quant, little town. But we are creating new memories, enjoying the new culture in which we live.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

baby food

Jack started eating real food recently. I am making it homemade as it is probably a bit more nutritional and cheaper. He did not care for bananas the first two times he tried it but he is coming around. He has tried avocado, raspberry and squash as well. He is figuring out how to drink from a sippy cut but he prefers the cup without a cap on it.

Monday, July 7, 2014

book worms

We have been reading quite a bit this summer. The kids latest is to lay outside in the grass and "read" their chapter books. It's pretty sweet. I have been reading several books, a couple at a time…some slow and some I devour in a week. I scored a few good ones at the library.  And I have been trying to get through some in our personal library that I haven't cracked open yet, even though they have been on our shelves of years! Clint recently got some audio books to listen to.  He finished up Little House in the Big Woods with the kids and is moving on to the second book in the Little House series. I am reading Kisses from Katie (a story of a modern-day missionary girl in Uganda) and Betsy-Tacy to the kids during the day.

Reading is the doorway to learning, inspiration and imagination. I want my kids to have memories of me reading for enjoyment and I am hoping they cultivate a love for reading and learning at a young age. And ultimately I want them to love reading God's Word and to witness Clint and I making the Bible a priority in our lives.

I have been reading most every morning before I lift my feet out of bed. I am in 2 Thessalonians. It has been good for my soul to have a well of water to drink from throughout my day. On days that I skip my morning devotions, I notice my attitude is so off and I am more likely to get annoyed with mothering. Getting into Go'd Word daily helps me to draw a line between my faith and my daily living. It turns my thoughts towards heavenly things and bring more intentionality to my daily duties of mothering and being a housewife.

We have been homeschooling slightly still throughout the summer. It is hit or miss but we do what we can depending on the weather. I try to get the kids outside as much as possible when it is hot. Many days are perfect: sunny, no humidity, about 75 degrees. We have had a few hotter days in the mid/upper 80s. It makes for a hot house with no air conditioning but it is bearable. We try not to whine on the sweaty days because we know what is to come soon enough, boot season will be here before we know it.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014





Tuesday, June 24, 2014

father's day and our new church

Father's Day was as full day but packed with fun. First thing the kids showered Clint with his cards and presents. Our morning was filled with Sunday school and church. Then back home for lunch and a quick nap as the kids were exhausted from our mountain excursion the day before. Then we headed to a church picnic which last the rest of the our evening. It was a beautiful day filled with family and new friends.

As for a church update: I am happy to report that we have found a new home church! It's a growing Baptist church of about 350 and counting.  It is one of the few churches up here with expository preaching. Our pastor, in his mid-30s, graduated from Master's Seminary in California (John MacArthur). The church has ethnic-diversity and many young homeschooling & adoptive families! We hesitantly attended the church picnic on Father's day and to our surprise we were befriended by many new families and were one of the last families to leave!

We are looking forward to connecting deeper with families, pressuring membership and starting a small group in the coming months. We are excited to be apart of what God is doing through this "beacon of light" in Edmonton! God is so faithful!

Monday, June 23, 2014

we visited the mountains

We visited the mountains the weekend before last. 
We drove four hours to Jasper National Park. 
We saw crystal clear-blue lakes. 
We saw mountain goats, coyotes, elk and deer. 
We hiked for hours in the silent, hilly woods. 
We breathed the mountain air filled with the after-rain aroma. 
We worshiped God, in awe of the mountainous grandeur. 
We wished Edmonton was a wee-bit closer to the mountains.

Oh, and we realized Violet didn't know what this was. 
The only phone our kids know is a cell phone.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Canadian Air

I took this picture on our walk the other week. Trees have bloomed and the grass is green! Such a beautiful time of the year. But the best part is the aroma in the Canadian air up here! It is AH-mazing!! It's not just from the blooming trees, it's a natural, wilderness-type fragrance. I have never smelled such a wonderful outdoor scent. Clint said he has smelled this fresh scent before when he has visited Alaska. I don't think many of the locals even realize the value of this scent. It's hard to describe- it's sweet, pine, pure air, outdoorsy type smell. I love opening the windows each day and letting it come into the house. I assume it is a natural smell from being in the-middle-of-nowhere. Supposedly the mountains, which are just 3 hours away, have a similar but even stronger aroma! Looking forward to our camping trip to the mountains in August!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

chicken pox and other thoughts

Well, we are finally over the worst of it with the chicken pox. Violet had it two weeks ago but with her dark skin we didn't realize what she had. It wasn't till Addie got it that I figured out it wasn't a rash, it was chicken pox! Later that day Jack had spots too! I think Spencer is immune since he had it in Ethiopia.

Violet's was very low-key with about 50 spots. Addie and Jack got it pretty bad. Addie had well over 400 spots accompanied with high fevers, headaches and loss of appetite. Jack did really well with it, mild fevers and he slept extra hours during the day but his demeanor remained pretty content.

Now we are in the non-contageous scab phase. Hopefully they heal up quickly because it's so sad to see so many owies on their faces and bodies. I guess we can check this off our list! All-in-all it wasn't too bad; just 2-3 horrible days of laying around the house watching movies trying to avoid the itch.

We also got water in our basement this week! Quite a surprise for a newly built home. We quickly found the culprit was that our sump pump plug was partially out of the socket, therefore not working. We plugged it in and it started to work but we had quite a mess to clean up. Thankfully, most our belongings are in bins so very few things were damaged.

Clint started working Saturdays to keep up with his mounting work load. We haven't minded too much as it gives us an extra day to work on school, clean or go to garage sales. Sunday are precious and do go too quickly. Clint's body doesn't get much time to recover from the physical labor but otherwise he is still enjoying his work.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Addie's 7th Birthday- May 17th

Addie's birthday celebration began the night before with a double- mom/daughter date night with Adrianne and Avery. We started the night with Starbucks. Then the girls got their ears pierced! Addie has been talking about getting her's done for quite some time so it was fun to see her follow through! 

Then the four of us got our nails done! This was Addie's first time. We also got some ice cream afterwards.

 Instead of traditional birthday cake she opted for birthday cake pancakes (we all had tummy aches after breakfast) and birthday cake popcorn snack. Pinterest has such fun ideas! She still loves her crown Auntie Jessica! 

Opening gifts from us the morning of her birthday. 

Trying on her new dress from Grandpa and Grandma Jackson.

She bought a guitar at a garage sale with Birthday money.

Trying on her cape she got in the mail from Grandma Jane.


Addie's actually birthday was on Saturday and it was a super low-key family day.  We had fun foods that she requested like tator-tot hotdish and fruit kabobs. She played with her birthday gifts and we watch a movie we rented from the library. 


Thanks to everyone who sent cards and gifts in the mail! It was really exciting for Addie as this was her first birthday celebration away from friends and family. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

library love

We are loving our local library! It is in a nice, new building just 2 miles from our home. The kid section is large and they have story time multiple times a day! We typically go Fridays. To my surprise, we can check out up to 150 items at one time! I have yet to max it out but I do appreciate not having to be stingy in my selections.  I have been requesting books like crazy for the kids from my Charlotte Mason book lists that I have found online or got at homeschool seminars.

The kids are loving their library books and are constantly asking us to read to them. I typically read about an hour a day with them. This used to feel like a chore but now that I am aware of the difference between good and bad children's literature it has made all the difference. Quality literature is enjoyable to read (and listen to).  I actually look forward to snuggling on the couch and devouring books with the kids each day.

Clint reads to them before bed. He is currently going through the Little House on the Prairie series with them. We rented the Little House on the Prairie DVDs of season 1 from the library and have been watching some episodes with the kids. They like it as much as we do! Brings back memories from my childhood.

I also have found a few titles for myself as well. I recently finished Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne. I would recommend it! And now I am in the middle of the book above which was recommended by Carole Joy Seid. It has proved to be very interesting!

Friday, May 16, 2014

homeschool update

As you can see Jack found his toes this week! But in other news…I am excited to report good news on the homeschool front! Though we haven't connected with other homeschool families quite yet I did become aware of some awesome homeschool information here in Alberta!

As I was shopping for Addie's birthday gifts on Tuesday, I passed a sign for a homeschool organization. My curiosity was piqued and I immediately looked them up online when I got home.  After an hour of reading their site I realized it was a Christian School who facilities homeschooling. In Alberta, homeschool families must be affiliated with a school to be accountable to progress in the child's education. We must have two home-visitsa year with an assigned facilitator who will mentor our family through the homeschool journey.

The best part about this particular school, is that is a Christian school with a philosophy that matches what we are currently teaching our kids. They allow the parents to choose the curriculum that suits the needs of their family. So I can keep on with My Father's World, which has been going really well for us so far. And to top it all off, Alberta government actually gives us a stipened for homeschooling! Both Addie and Spencer are eligible this fall. We can use the money for curriculum, books, instruments, lessons, sports, other school or art supplies!

I am on cloud nine; I am so excited about the whole thing! It was just the homeschool encouragement that I needed since our move. I am looking forward to being assigned to our facilitator as well. Most of the facilitators are "retired" moms who previously worked in public education and home schooled their children who are now graduated.  And getting money to help pay for homeschool is just the icing on the cake!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Mother's Day

We had a great Mother's Day on Sunday! The morning started off with breakfast in bed (fried eggs, pancakes and orange juice).  Then Clint and the kids nestled up on our bed and showered me with homemade cards and gifts. Then off to church we went.

We came back home for lunch and skyped with Grandma Jane, Uncle Marty, Aunt Jessica and kids in Seattle. It was fun but rather crazy having a family of 6 trying to talk with a family of 6 on the other side! Afterwards we headed to the mall to exchange some of my gifts. On the way home we grabbed a bite to eat at Edo- a Japanese restaurant. YUM! Then we went for a quick neighborhood hike (there are dirt trails in a wetland area in our neighborhood) before heading to bed.

Though Mother's Day can be a sad day, remembering our babies in heaven, it was particularly sweet this year holding a precious, living baby in my arms! Such JOY! I have so much to be thankful for: a great husband and four awesome kiddos! My heart is truly overflowing in this season.

(Violet has had a hard time posing for cameras these days…she wasn't even upset prior to the picture being taken. Not sure what to make of it. Usually I try for the "action" shot where she doesn't feel forced to smile. I am sure we will one day look back on it and have a good laugh).

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Clint's new work

Clint is now running the new fencing division of Seasonal Impact. Seasonal does snow removal, lawn maintenance and landscaping. The last couple of weeks Clint has been busy pre-painting fence material for his first job.  He built a deck last week as well. Next week he will begin stick building roughly 5,000 feet of fencing for a new housing development!

Some days he works by himself but most days he has a crew working with him. Clint has not minded working alone the past two years however, it has been good for Clint to learn the ropes of being a good leader over a team of men. He is enjoying his work and excited about all of the jobs they have lined up for the rest of the year! He is thankful for this opportunity and glad we moved up here to be part of this growing business.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Jack's baby nursery

Jack's room came together much easier their the big kids'. I had a few key pieces and built everything else around them. Most of his room was put together at our Thomas house in Minnesota just before he was born. I knew it wouldn't stay decorated long since we were moving less than two months after his arrival but at least it was cute for a short while. Then we just recreated his room again here at our new home in Edmonton. His room is small but just perfect for a nursery. It has the best afternoon sunlight in the house. I love to escape to his room for feedings in the rocking chair. I enjoy the peace and quite snuggle time with him before he grows up.

Crib- Craigslist in MN, repainted by Clint
Crib sheet- Pottery Barn kids
Crib skirt and bumper- made by my friend Annie's mom- Pam
Quilt on Crib- made by friend Kara
Quilt on rocker- Pottery Barn Kids hand-me-down from Rachel
Deer antlers- from a deer that Clint's dad shoot long ago. Clint mounted them and painted them white.
Paper/twig mobile- made for a MOMS tea at church years ago
Rocker- Craigslist in MN, recovered by Pam
Rocker pillow- Pottery Barn garage sale find
Owl, backpack and knit toy bag on floor- made by my friend Deb
Verse painting- made by my friend Andie
Dresser- Craigslist in MN
Baskets, suitcases and tool caddy- garage sale finds
Peg Board- Home Depot, painted by Clint
White J initial- Pottery Barn Kids
Brown wicker basket- Target
Initial Hook- Anthropologie
Wall paint- Owl gray 50% lightened by Benjamin Moore