Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Letter 2012

Christmas time is a special time for many, it certainly is for us. The kids are growing and beginning more and more to develop a sense of what Christmas means to them. With that in mind we spent some time reflecting this year about how we want to celebrate as a family.

Interestingly enough with all the thought we have put in to how we want to celebrate not a lot of celebrating has been done, so far. Because of the buisiness of December we decided to host a small get together in honor of Jonathan's 30th Birthday a few weeks early, in November. We had a lovely Wine & Cheese Party which went really well but that was the end of the celebrating. Soon after we all became ill with bad colds and for me a terrible sinus infection. So as soon as December showed up the Cancelations began! December 1 we had to cancel cookie baking. December 2 we cancelled going to the Canuck Place Winter Party. December 3rd we had only left overs from the Neufeld Family Christmas. Homeschooling was put on hold. Swimming lessons were missed. Rehersals and Christmas Pageants and Church Services too. I have not had time to make the Christmas Cards I designed earlier this year (so you'll have to settle for this online Christmas letter instead, sorry!) or to finish my Christmas Shopping. As I was grumbling about this (to myself) the familiar lines from "the Grinch Who Stole Christmas" rehersed in my head... "It came without ribbons... it came without tags... it came without packages, boxes or bags... somehow rather it came JUST THE SAME." When I find myself overwhelmed with the housework that needs catching up on and the "to do" list that has only gotten longer in the last few weeks I remember that Christmas came "just the same." In the business of a census, with travelers all around and no room in the Inn Jesus was born. Born in a stable!

2012 has been a great year for us. I started the year a little bit pregnant and a lot nausious but things smoothed out as we headed into our second trimester. We were very excited to be welcoming another daughter into the family in August. Once Rebekah arrived Jonathan started his first ever parental leave, taking almost 9 weeks off work. It was so nice to have him home as we all adjusted balancing a baby with our many other responsibilities. We concluded his parental leave with a trip to the new family cabin near 100 mile house (this is where the above family picture was taken in September).
There is lots to look forward to in 2013. A trip for myself. More babies (not for us). More trips to the cabin and a visit from Lauren, Brent and our new baby niece... Freya! We look forward to visits from Family on the Island and to visiting there as well.

We wish all our loved ones the same JOY we celebrate at Christmas. A JOY not dependant on turkey dinners, presents, or tinsil. The JOY that was born to us some 2000 years ago. Emmanuel; God with us. The Savior of the world. Happy Birthday Jesus! Merry Christmas.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Oh Canada

Today is David's last day of Community Class until January and they are going ice skating. This term they learned many different things about Canada. David continues to enjoy going to school on Fridays. I find Friday mornings frantic trying to pack a lunch and get everyone out of the house by 9am for a 20+ minute drive there and then back. It seems that we just get home and it is time to pick him up again. But he loves it so much and I do think it is good for him to have experience in a classroom setting. It will be nice for me one I can drop all the kids off on Fridays. Angeline can't wait! They all miss their big brother on Fridays.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Term 1 - Science

 David learned all about "Life Systems" this term. He just completed the Review Test for this Unit and scored 89/100. He never likes to get a wrong answer but I was really proud because he had to remember all of what he has been learning since September. He learned about living things, non-living things and how to differentiate, as well as the needs of living things. He learned about plants and animals, different types and what they need. 
 David learned about the human body. Names and functions of different body parts and our senses.

 This is a picture of David participating in a science experiment about how our sense of smell and sense of taste are related.

Friday, November 2, 2012

3 months

Rebekah is 3 months old today! I took these pictures last night and each time I put her on her stomach to take a picture she rolled onto her back before I could snap one. This was a new discovery. I did manage to get a few of her on her tummy, as you can see she is holding herself up quite well. Besides rolling over from tummy to back she has also started laughing. Caught a glimpse of that on video yesterday as well. She is continuing to sleep well at night and soaks up all the attention she can get. We adore our little Rebekah. Happy 3 month Birthday Love!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Our Growing Pumpkin Patch

 The littlest pumpkin

 Lion, Spider Man, and Ms. Dragon

This October 31st was in a lot of ways the most low key Halloween so far. We were not even sure if we were going to let the kids trick or treat for a couple different reasons. We didn't visit the pumpkin patch this year or carve any pumpkins. They really wanted to go so I decided to take Spider Man and Ms. Dragon just to a few houses on our street. Before we left it was raining cats and dogs! In the end Samara came too. She was at the door with her boots and really made it clear to us she was coming. We put on her rain suit and a Lion hat. I was going to put her in the umbrella stroller but since we were just doing a few houses on our street we all walked. A few houses turned into about 16 and we walked for just over an hour. The rain slowed down but we were definitely wet by the time we made it back to our house. We made one last stop at our neighbours so that they could see the kids all dressed up. He asked us "Are you done?" And I said "yes, we are all pretty wet" and he said "No, are you done having kids?"! I was quite surprised by this and not quite sure what to say.
Anyway we crossed the lawn to our house and sorted our candy. The kids were allowed one each which or course turned into 3 or 4.
I must say Samara did well for not being quite 2. She walked almost the entire way.  We got one "ti ti" out of her which I am sure was "trick or treat." She doesn't say "thank you" yet but she said "Bye-bye" and waved to everyone once they gave her candy. I picked her up for the last 3 houses only because she no longer wanted to hold my hand. David was the first one to ask when we were going home (found out when he took his costume off that he was only wearing underwear underneath... good thing he had his warm jacket).
We got our usual 30 trick or treaters, despite the rain.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Christian Foundations - Term 1

 We are beginning to wrap up term one of grade 1 for David and so I am beginning to blog some summaries and examples of the work David has completed this term. For Christian Foundations I have been working with 2 curriculum books both new to us this year. The first book is "1st Grade Enjoying God's Gifts" by Cherie Noel. There are 35 lessons in this book which makes it a good length for the school year. We will be completing the first 12 lessons for term 1, covering most of the first 3 units.
Unit 1 - God's Gift: The World - The Story of Creation
Unit 2 God's Gift: Special Promises - The Stories of Noah, Abraham, Jacob, And Joseph
Unit 3 God's Gift: Worship - The Stories of Josiah and Joash
Each lessons is different. Some involve filling in blanks, dot to dot pictures, colouring by number, match the number to the correct picture and even a poem.
The lessons are short and fun so they work well in between heavier subjects. They also supplement Language Arts and over lap with Science (learning about plants and animals) and Social Studies  (learning about family and rules). I  often remind David of the poem he completed during school time.

I do my work
With all my might;
God is pleased
When I do it right.

In all i do,
I do my best;
After I work,
Then I can rest.

 We also use "a reason for Handwriting"by Carol Ann Retzer and Eva Hoshino. This curriculum is designed to help improve writing, memorize scripture and share God's word with others. Rather then learn two memory verses each week we have coupled this curriculum with David's Sunday School programs memory verse. By the end of term 1 he will have memorized 10 verses.

 Along with his school activities and Sunday School David also attends an evening program weekly at our church which these last two pictures are from. We also have family bible time and just this week they have added a reading schedule to his Sunday School class so he is responsible for completing 2 bible readings each week. It is my prayer that all these things will help David build good character, that he will be known for his kindness and like King David that he might be remembered as a man after God's heart.

Monday, October 15, 2012

In the beginning...

Dating 4 Months, February 2005 - Mill Lake, Abbotsford

 Shuswap Lake July, 2005
(3 months Engaged)

Biking along the Adams River
 August 28, 2005
Costume Party, October 30, 2005 (married 2 weeks)

Today is our 7 year wedding anniversary (tomorrow will be our 8 year dating anniversary) and it has been just over a decade since Jonathan and I met. I thought it would be fun to look back at a few photo's from our beginning and share then with you as well!
I could go into details about what we have been up to since we started our blissful union seven years ago but if you read our blog you know all about our lovely children and they are certainly the highlights!
I can't say that every minute of the last seven years has been blissful (though I doubt any one else, single or married could either) BUT I can say I have been incredibly blessed having Jonathan beside me through the good times and the bad.
Early this week David was listening when Jonathan and I exchanged "I love you's" on the couch and he said "Oh, I didn't know that Mommies and Daddies love each other too!" I've always thought that we are fairly openly affectionate but after that remark we may have to work a little bit harder to make it more noticeable to our children that we are in love.
Thank you to my Husband for putting up with my "bad times" and always helping me to see the good in our circumstances when life overwhelms. Thank you for putting 110% into everything you do. You are an amazing provider, father and friend... and more ;)
Looking forward to our celebrations tonight. With 4 kids we celebrate a little differently. We will be putting them to bed early and ordering Greek. I'm sure it won't go according to plans... little does anymore but we will celebrate together.
Happy Anniversary Jonathan... I love you more each year!

Monday, October 8, 2012

22 months

Samara is now 22 months and to me she is still my "baby", along with her little sister. She likes to play with her older brother and sister but also plays well independently. She loves being a big sister to Rebekah and can even sometimes be seen sharing "her" blanket.
She is going on 2 and has been for a while now.
Her list of words is slowly expanding but I would consider to be "behind" her peers in her vocalizing. She "talks" non-stop but it is all with the sound "ein" in varying tones. 
Because she can say words using many different sounds and her comprehension is good I am not concerned that it is related to her hearing. It seems that she just needs to connect words and their meaning to conversation. (She will say "mouth, teeth, ears, eyes, nose" and point to where they all are).  It is nothing to worry about at the moment but just something we are keeping an eye on.
At the moment we are struggling with her at nap and bed time but that is a mix between typical difficult two year old, too much change, and lack of routine. 
Samara likes to make us laugh and she "entertains" us with dancing and singing. She loves her Mama and Dada very much and if she is with one of us she will as for the other. She LOVES bath time and wishes this could take place 3 times daily. We love watching her continue to grow into a little girl and are anxious to hear what she has to say. I think once she starts talking she isn't going to stop.

2 months old

October 2nd marked Rebekah's 2 month birthday and Jonathan's first day back to work. Having him home for 8+ weeks made a world of difference in all of our adjustments to life as a family of 6. I can't look back and wish we would have taken parental leave sooner but I can certainly say we would do it again if the opportunity presented itself ;)
I can't count how many people commented to me during her first 2 months "you don't look exhausted!?" That's because I wasn't. Now that Jonathan is back to work that is a different story. 
We are both tired. One night this week Jonathan fell asleep reading stories to David and Angeline, while I fell asleep cuddling with Samara. The other challenge is getting to and from different activities and also finding time to homeshcool. Instead of working downstairs we have been doing school at the kitchen table which allows me a few more options for where to put Rebekah and also lets me get some housework done when David is working independantly. I am sure we will soon adjust and develop the current craziness into a regular routine. 
As for an update on Rebekah herself she now weighs 11 lbs (on her 9 week birthday), 22 inches long. She smiles, coo's and even squeals with excitement. Nana says she got a giggle out of her too the other day. She does spit up a bit more then my other babies but she is probably the best sleeper so far. She stole all our hearts on day one and we are continue to enjoy our newest addition.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Tad Lake September 2012 (3 post series)

 Just after midnight we returned home from our first trip to Tad Lake. We spent 7 days at our family cabin in the woods, had lots of fun, great weather and lots of memories made. I was a bit worried about the long drive with 4 young kids but it went really well. 
I've heard "a picture is worth a thousand words" but pictures just don't capture the magic of this place. It is a wilderness paradise.
I don't have time to write a thousand words but I hope you can see some of the fun we had in these moments we have digitally captured.
Lots of outdoor fun and bike ridding.
 Jonathan's first grouse (yummy)!
 Collecting food from the garden.
 Dreaming he's 16!

 Fun on the Tire Swing.

 Oma & Opa

 David has his first loose tooth.
 Rebekah is now 8 weeks old.