Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sunshine and Heat

I LOVE finally having sunshine! It makes such a difference in brightening my days... however, the heat, I'm not such a big fan of. I know that's terrible, since I've been complaining endlessly of the cold, but what can I say? I enjoy moderate temperatures! I usually start the day outside with Layni, playing in the backyard or splashing in our itty-bitty wading pool, then I'll come in during the hottest part of the day and hang out with Lysa in the basement. She is NOT a fan of the heat either. Gets very lethargic and doesn't want to eat. Thank God for her G-Tube so we can keep her hydrated and give her nutrition by pumping Pediasure into her. So we cuddle and listen to music or watch her favourite DVDs or read books... it's not that tough having fun with Lysa :) And when it's cooler, we go for nice long walks.

Jolie is at her big jewellery sale downtown, Portobello. I'm praying she is wildly successful and sells tons of pieces. She works so hard and is so talented; she deserves all the best!

So that means I stayed home from church today to be with the kids. It's "Family Sunday" there, which means the kids stay in the service instead of going to Kidzone, so neither Layni nor Mattias wanted to go, and Marty, who gets home from work at 4:00 AM did not feel up to dealing with three crazy kids by himself. I really miss going to church the occasional Sundays I don't get there and I really miss Thursday morning Bible study during the summer. I feel so disconnected; going every week and having that fellowship grounds me for the rest of the week. Okay, I'll stop whining now!

Well, I should go make sure the little hooligans aren't making too much mischief in the backyard (thank You God for a big backyard!) and that Lysa is happy listening to the new CD we got from the library. Send good wishes Jolie's way today!

Monday, June 23, 2008

2 1/2 Days...

... until school is over for the summer. On the one hand, I look forward to a more relaxed schedule and being able to do fun things with the kids, but in another way I dread it. I think partly it is because I'm not going to visit my family in NB until the fall so the summer seems to stretch longer than usual, though I've no doubt it will fly by. But the hardest part is juggling a special needs child with a (or when Mattias is here, two) high energy kids.

In many ways, Lysa is the least high-maintenance of all the kids. She enjoys the simple things in life, she is amazingly patient, and pretty much always joyful and laid-back. However, because of her disabilities, she's a completely hands-on child, especially when we go out anywhere. Mattias is more manageable now that he's older; more likely to do what he's told and is pretty good when we go out, unless Layni is along, causing mischief and mayhem. However, I still like to have my feet free to chase and hands free to grab, just in case - he is still, after all, an energetic and often mischievous kid. So really, it is impossible for me to take all three kids out anywhere by myself.

The challenge is not leaving Lysa out all the time. It can be very easy to just leave her at home, listening to music and kicking along, because she does love it, and she rarely complains. She is more unpredictable when taken new places... although she is infinitely more adaptable than she used to be, we're still unsure of how long it may take her to adapt to a different environment... she can become overstimulated by crowds or loud noises, though she has come so far since beginning school and acclimatizing to school assemblies, for example. Two of her favourite activities are going for walks and going swimming at the pool, which I'm sure will be a regular part of our routine this summer.

I'm sure that we will have a wonderful summer, but the idea of one hands-on and two high-maintenance kids home all day, every day, for two months straight... seems a bit overwhelming!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I'm Thankful For...

... my cozy warm fleece St. Andrews-by-the-Sea sweater that my aunt gave me two Christmases ago, that has been my faithful friend during this ridiculously cold spring.

... my bed and pile of blankets to snuggle into every night, and a roof over my head, as I know lots of people don't have that privilege.

... the sunshine when it actually comes out to brighten our days and our spirits!

... friends who are always there to encourage and uplift, to have fun with and inspire me just by being themselves.

... the Bible, which I'm learning more every day is full of God's wisdom and love.

... all books, which are the joy of my life!

... kids, who make me laugh and teach me new things every day.

... my family - I appreciate them more with every passing year.

... Jesus, who loves me no matter what, but who is also constantly working to make me more into His beautiful likeness and is infinitely patient with me in the meantime.

... the privilege of freely going to church and Bible study every week.

... things and people who make me laugh - like my brother sending me jokes via email or Lysa's infectious giggle.

... yummy food, and the people who make it (cause you know I hate to!)

... music that inspires or is just plain fun to listen to!

... mail - I always have and always will love getting mail.

... a good night's sleep.

... a remarkably healthy body which enables me to do all the things I do.

... TV on DVD - I love sitting down and being able to watch whenever I want.

... Jake - he has to live forever because I love our fat cat!

... a job that I love - that pays the bills but also allows me to serve and enjoy each day (well, most days!)

Monday, June 09, 2008

Miscellaneous Thoughts

Watched Anne of Green Gables tonight with Layni. I LOVE that movie... and I miss the East Coast. September seems too far away. I finished "Before Green Gables" by Budge Wilson and was very pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed it immensely - despite the sacrilege of not being written by L.M. Montgomery herself ;)

I can't believe it's June... where is the sun? Where is the warmth? It's depressing - literally.

I've been feeling disconnected. I've been helping out with childcare lately at Thursday morning Bible study and due to working in nursery, kidzone, being away or being at home with the kids, it's been a month and a half since I've gotten to attend an entire church service.

Well, it will probably help me to get to bed and get a good night's sleep. I'm hoping and praying for some sunshine this week to brighten the days and my spirit.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Everyday Miracles

I think when you're with children, experiencing the world through their eyes, you see miracles every day. I remember the moment when Layni first learned to put sounds together to read a Dick and Jane book - that miraculous moment of a whole new world opening up to her. I remember the afternoon she learned to ride a two-wheeler without training wheels - that exhilarating moment when she got it and she was flying along by herself. I remember the moment when Elysa got her first walker and was upright and moved along the floor by kicking her feet all by herself and the utter joy and wonder on her face.

There are those "normal" first moments of excitement that anyone experiences with a child - first step, first word, first day of school... Then with a child like Lysa, every tiny (to other people) milestone is a huge celebration. But for me, it also has planted in me an utter wonder and appreciation and thrill for the normal milestones of childhood development.

Everyone is delighted when their child learns to crawl, but I watch it with joy and amazement, because I know the strength and coordination and intricate movements it involves. I was watching one of our beautiful babies in Bible study today, scurrying across the floor, and it's truly a wonderful sight. Lysa can (and loves to) roll on her belly, she can even pull her legs up under her, but isn't able to get her arms going to crawl because she doesn't have the strength or coordination... and she may not (probably won't) ever be able to do that. And that's okay, because we adore her just as she is, and celebrate whatever she accomplishes. But it does give you a different perspective on the every day miracles of life.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Tigh-Na-Mara

Jolie, the girls and I had an excellent three day get-away to Tigh-Na-Mara in Parksville on the island. To celebrate seven years together, Jolie cashed in airmiles so we could have a two night stay at this beautiful seaside resort. After a ridiculously expensive ferry ride ($80 each way), we checked into our lovely room, which had a full kitchen, big screen TV, and ocean front view... wow! Sunday afternoon, Lysa and I enjoyed a walk on the beach, splashing in the warm ocean waters as the tide came in, and then a refreshing nap, while Jolie and Layni ventured out for a trail ride, much to Layni's delight! We took another walk on the beach in front of our room after supper, with Layni and me splashing in the ocean and collecting seashells.

The next day, we went to Coombs to see the famous Old Country Market, where we admired the goats munching away on the roof, and bought cookies to munch on and wooden toys for the kids, before heading to the Parrot Refuge. As Jolie had visited a couple years ago with Marty, she and Lysa enjoyed a snack outside, while Layni and I enjoyed meeting the hundreds of rescued parrots from all over the world. Such beautiful and entertaining creatures, some of them in heart-breaking condition from being abused or neglected, but blessed enough to find a loving home in this refuge. That evening, we watched Veggie Tales: The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything - which I think Jolie and I enjoyed more than the girls (as usual). My favourite line was something to the effect of: "Nothing seems impossible after swimming 96 nautical miles without hands or feet!"

Tuesday morning, I went for a soak in the grotto spa after breakfast. It was a luxurious experience. They provided a fluffy robe, towel, and sandals to lounge in poolside before enjoying the mineral-infused waters, hot tub and cooling waterfalls. Afterwards, they provided orange-grapefruit-ylang body wash, shampoo and conditioner for your steaming shower and then hairdryers, curling irons, hair spray, lotions... anything you could think of to need. Once again, wow! I can see how people could get used to living in the lap of luxury :)

When I returned, we went for one last walk on the beach - this time the tide was out, so we walked and walked until finally meeting the ocean waves again. We delighted in the sea life... sand dollars, crabs, fish, and sea snails playing in the surf as well as the birds preying on them. The wonders of God's creation delight me every day! We headed home on the Coastal Renaissance, and it was a roomy, comfortable ride (though wildly windy outside).

We had sunshine and lukewarm weather for our trip and the rain held off until we headed home, so I can't complain. The only downside - and is this because I'm getting old? Because it's never been a problem for me in my life! - was that the beds in the hotel killed my back. I was stiff and sore on Monday, but pretty much any movement was difficult and painful on Tuesday, and I was beginning to panic that something was seriously wrong. (What if I can't move normally? How will I handle Lysa? What if I lose my job? How will I live with this horrible pain every day? Yes, I tend to panic/worry/imagine the worst!) Thankfully, I woke up Wednesday able to move freely and with only a twinge left over, and today I'm fine - thank You, God! I have so much more empathy for anyone who's experienced back pain now... and I pray (selfishly?) that I never experience it again!

It was lovely and refreshing to get away for a few days, to enjoy different experiences, savour the beauty of God's creation, and delight in peace and quiet for awhile. We had a wonderful time, and I'm so grateful for the getaway... thanks, Jolie!

Evil Streak

I don't like massages, but I love to have my back scratched. While Layni was in the tub tonight, I was telling her about my imaginary future when I become rich, I'm going to hire someone to scratch my back whenever I ring my little bell. So she came up with a business proposition - I pay her five dollars a year, and she will scratch my back whenever I ask. I gave her $5 and when Marty heard about this arrangement, he shook his head and told Layni, "You really need a business manager to negotiate your contracts." So tonight, she scratched my back half a dozen times when I asked.

When I told Jolie that I'd actually taken the $5 from Layni's wallet, she said, "That's so rude!" Marty's reply was, "You're evil, Janis!"

Maybe I am, but I thought it was funny...

and I did confess to Layni later in the evening. She gave me a funny look and then laughed. Good thing she's got a sense of humour... of course, I've probably emotionally maimed her for life with my wicked ways... hee hee!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Girl Vacation!

Jolie, the girls and I are heading to the island for three days of rest and relaxation... without boys... yay!!! No offense, Marty ;) Okay, gotta go get the monsters ready... we're leaving in an hour!