Where is God?

Ivy and I were in the car yesterday, when she asked me, “Mom, where is God?”

I told her, “God is everywhere Ivy.”

“I want to see Him!”

“Well, you have to use your imagination.”

“But, those kids in my Bible get to see God, and THAT’S NOT FAIR!”

She was really ripped off, and I was really amused.


You gotta love how kids’ brains work.

Today is the first real snow of the year, and it came in all its fury. Ivy came into my room, opened the blind, and said, “It’s Christmas!”

Ben and Seth had to be convinced that snow pants were necessary again, but I’m sure once they stepped two feet out onto the driveway and felt the wind, they were happy to have them on.

Oliver and I dropped Ivy off at preschool and then proceeded to Tim Hortons for our bi-weekly date. We walked across the parking lot as the wind whipped at our faces, Oliver yelling, “Help me! Help me!” all the way. I felt like yelling the same thing. Being cold is not my favorite.

But still, the snow is so pretty, and with that first snow, I all of a sudden  to clean the house and put out some Christmas-y stuff. Not too Christmas-y, because it’s only November 19, but I think some penguins and snowflakes are definitely in order. The fireplace of course needs to be turned on, and the Christmas quilt I’m working on needs some serious, focused attention so that I can maybe finish it before December.

It should be a good day, I think. I’m excited. Welcome, Winter.

A weekend at Elkhorn.

On Friday we drove out to Riding Mountain National Park to stay at Elkhorn resort. We went with our besties the Downies, to play in the newly opened pool. Neil and I haven’t been out there since before we had babies, and I was excited.

A pit stop in Gladstone for a selfie with the Happy Rock was not optional, although not everyone was happy about it.


The kids were so excited to be at a hotel, and I just love that. We got there before the Downies and Ivy said, “Ohhhhh! Gage and Cadence are going to LOVE it here!” We hit the pool and the kids had the best time. There is a waterslide, and then a super fun floating path kind of thing that the big kids really liked. Oliver went straight for the waterslide and after a couple slides with me or Neil, was riding solo. He must have done the slide a hundred times over the weekend. There’s a nice big hot tub too, one inside, and one out. We all really enjoyed it, me especially once all the kids were independent enough for me to sit on a chair and read a good book.



We ate at the hotel restaurant, and omg it was sooooo good. The menu had so many delicious sounding options, and I really had a hard time picking. The best part of the meal were the bread pudding donuts we shared for dessert. They were so good we ordered them as room service the next night. I’d probably drive the 3 1/2 hours there just for that dessert.

On Saturday we went into the very deserted town and picked sea shells of the beach and even chatted with Santa. Ivy’s currently asking for a snowboard. I’m currently encouraging her to pick something else.




Too bad for Seth, the stomach flu got him Saturday afternoon. I was really hoping we would all be healthy for the weekend, but I was also really nervous. For the last week, the flu has just made it’s way through each child in our family, hitting kids with varying degrees of stomach upset and varying degrees of puke. Poor Seth got it pretty bad. I’m so glad he’d had a good 24 hours of playing before he got sick. I’m also so glad that he was done puking by bedtime, although Oliver got us with a very unexpected surprise puke at 2:30 am, so it wasn’t an entirely restful night.

Still, we all had fun hanging out together, playing and relaxing. Sometimes lip-synching.


By check-out today Seth was feeling okay enough that we went for a drive into the park to the bison enclosure. It was pretty long drive, but it was super neat once we got there. Baby bison, having a nap on the road! Bisons, right outside our windows! It was fun.



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We had a really great weekend, and Ben asked why we don’t come to Elkhorn more often. I really don’t know Ben! We’ll for sure be back this winter- Ben would like to go for his birthday, and the sled run and outdoor rink looks like it would be a lot of fun.

The drive home was long, but I had fun sitting in the back seat with the boys watching Jurassic Park.


Until next time, Elkhorn.

Ben gets stitches.

On Sunday we were at the U of W recplex for Seth’s soccer game. Seth’s game hadn’t even actually started yet when Ben’s friend found me and told me Ben was bleeding. He was followed by Ben, who was in fact bleeding, profusely, from his chin. We ran to the bathroom and grabbed some paper towel. After drying it, I could tell right away he was going to need stitches. Ben was very calm and brave; besides the odd little chin quiver, you would never know he had a gash on his face.

Thankfully Seth’s friend plays on his soccer team, and his dad agreed to take Seth home after the game so the rest of us could go to the hospital.

Neil dropped Ben and I off and took the rest of the kids for supper. We registered, and Ben was quite pleased to be given a blurple popsicle. (You really couldn’t tell if it was blue or purple. Super weird color.)

We had to wait awhile, but the Jets game was on, and we kept busy with the Boomerang app, plus a little Minecraft.

When we finally got called into the treatment room, we still had to wait another 40 minutes or so. Ben didn’t seem to mind though. We just chilled out in there.

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Ben was actually cracking me up going through the motions of the “how to hand rub” poster that was hanging in the room. I think he was enjoying the one-on-one time that comes with acute injuries.


Finally the doctor came and got Ben ready for his stitches. He draped him up and cleaned out the gash, and then gave him the local. Ben literally didn’t even flinch. After the doctor asked him how it was, he said, “Horrible!” He was so tough though! I was pretty proud.


Two stitches later, he was good to go. He told me that at school yesterday EVERYONE was asking him what happened. He was trying to sound exasperated, but I bet he didn’t really mind.

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Love that brave kid, his quirky sense of humor, and his lovely sense of adventure.

And Seth won the soccer game 6-3. So all’s well that ends well.

Conversations with Ivy.

This is an actual conversation I had with my three year old daughter yesterday morning:

Ivy, you need to sleep in your own bed. You are coming to my bed every night and waking me up.

Well, it’s an accident that I came in your bed.

No. Getting out of your bed and walking to my room and then getting in my bed is not an accident.

Don’t be a jerk.

I mean, I have no words.

Like none.

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And this morning she brought me the heat pack and asked me to “put the hotness back in it.”

Oh darling, don’t you ever grow up.

But quit calling me a jerk.

A new niece.

On Saturday my wonderful sister-in-law gave birth to my newest niece. Her name is Brielle Amaya Renee and we had to wait all the way till Wednesday to meet her! Which really isn’t that long, since when her sister was born we had to wait over two months, but it seemed like forever!

So yesterday I pulled the kids out of school a little bit early and we drove out to meet our new family member.

Oh geez, babies are precious.

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And then when your babies hold babies, gah, heart melting!

The kids were all very excited to meet Brielle, but especially Oliver and Ivy. Oliver really surprised me, actually. He made Brielle the funniest card- I wish I’d taken a picture of it. When we got to Josh and Jaclyn’s, and Oliver could finally see the new baby, he said, “This is the cutest baby I’ve ever seen!” in the sweetest, most excited voice. Man I wish I had thought to record it, because it was adorable.


When he was holding her he said, “I’m so happy! I love it so much!”


He was just loving cuddling that new baby. I was really surprised, since he never liked Ivy, and didn’t really care for Talasi when she was a baby either. But I guess when Ivy was born Oliver was still a baby himself, and he never got to meet Tali when she was very tiny like this, so maybe that’s the difference. I think Brielle is the first baby he’s met in a long while.

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Ivy was, not surprisingly, absolutely thrilled to hold the baby. She shared, but not willingly, and would have held her all day. She told me she wished that baby had been in my tummy instead. I had to agree with her a teeny bit.


She just loved her, and nearly died of happiness when she helped me change Brielle’s diaper. Little girls with babies really are the sweetest, and I’m so glad Ivy has some baby cousins to love on.


Benji was happy to hold Brielle too, although a little less enthusiastic than Oliver and Ivy.


Seth wasn’t interested in holding her at all, which is completely fair for a nine year old boy, I think. I made him do it anyway, and he didn’t mind at all. Brielle seemed to like him, anyway!


Oh Brielle, welcome to the family! We’re all so glad you’re here!


I lie a lot. Plus, a surefire way to get your child to fall asleep.

I’m tired, people.

Last night was a familiar story around here. We’re starting to get ready for bed, and Ivy needs her gigi for sleeping, and so we start looking for it, and we can’t find it. Even though we have implemented a “gigi goes on this shelf right here way up high where you can’t reach it as soon as you wake up and doesn’t come down until bedtime” rule, it still gets lost. Rules aren’t followed as closely as they should be, and then it’s bedtime, and there’s no gigi, and mild panic sets in.


Which gives way to bigger panic. And, if you’re Neil, profanity. We search the whole house. WHOLE house. Then Ivy remembers she had it outside. (WHY!) It’s already dark, and next thing you know you’re texting your neighbor to search her trampoline for a tiny grey blanket. Her search is fruitless. Neil takes round two of the outside, where he steps on a giant frog, who pees on him whilst scaring the bejeebers out of him.

Then it gets to be all, well, this was going to happen one day. We might as well just bite the bullet and do it. The gigi needed to go, and now it’s gone, and now we’re committing.

That’s what happened last night anyway. So Ivy went to bed without gigi. And she stayed pretty calm. (Disclaimer: we tried this about a month ago. HUGE fail. MUCH screaming.) She got a little restless/sad/exhausted around 8:30, and so I laid down with her, lied to her about how we were looking very hard for her gigi, and surely it would turn up any minute, and then sang to her for approximately 20 seconds, and she was sleeping.

Five minutes later, we found gigi on the paper towel shelf of the linen closet. I may or may not have been responsible for this, as I vaguely remember, in a haze of over-mothering busy-ness, picking gigi up and putting it “away”. I must have just put it away on the wrong shelf. In the wrong closet. But no matter. Too bad. We committed. Gigi is stuffed in the back of a drawer and may as well not exist anymore. We’re doing this thing.

She slept until midnight. When she was crying. And crying. And mad. And all “I’m going to wake up now. I’m not sleeping anymore. Give me water.” And I lied to her some more. I told her she needed to stop crying, because Sara (Neil’s cousin Sara moved in with us a few weeks ago to go to school) was in the bedroom right below Ivy, and she needed it to be very quiet while she looked for Ivy’s gigi. Sara was looking so hard, everywhere, and she needed Ivy to be very quiet.

And then Ivy went back to sleep. Until 3. She called out, and when I went to check on her, the first thing she asked me was if Sara had found her gigi. I lied and told her Sara was still looking, but now she was looking in the whole basement, and the basement is so big. I suggested she be extra quiet so she could hear if Sara found it. So she was quiet.

Until 3:45. I don’t remember what I said at that point because exhaustion, but I do know I lied some more. She must have been exhausted too because she didn’t put up much of a fight, and went back to sleep again, all the way until 7:45 am THANK GOODNESS.

So now we’re on to night two. She acted so tough all day, didn’t seem phased at all by last night. I bought her a $5 cheapie blanket at Superstore and she acted like it was the best thing all day.

Until bedtime, when she’s all where’s my gigi get it for me right now i want it. So more lying. I left her in bed, fidgeting and tossing and turning. She eventually started crying, and by that point she’d been in bed for well over an hour. I had to pull out the big guns.

And that’s when I remembered it. The surefire way to get your kid to fall asleep. And I’ve probably blogged about this before, but not for about 7 years. Oh never mind I didn’t blog 7 years ago. Anyway, I used to use this trick on Seth (aka worst sleeper ever) all the time. It’s so simple, anyone can do it, and I really believe in the results.

All you have to do is sing “He’s got the whole world in his hands.” You know that song? Of course you do. Everyone does. You just keep singing it, over and over and over again, and you just change one part, every time. Kids lay so very quietly, just waiting to hear what’s coming next. They’re so quiet and so still that they FALL ASLEEP. I hardly had to do any verses with Ivy tonight. I remember with Seth I’d have to do whole themes, just to keep track of what things I’d sang. So first I’d do our family, “He’s got baby Ben, in his hands, he’s got baby Ben, in his hands….” Then I’d move on to every single farm animal, “He’s got hor-ses in his hands, he’s got hor-ses in his hands”, and from there I’d go to different continents and sing every single animal I could think of. Sometimes it took forever, but it always worked. I actually hadn’t sang it in so long that I don’t think Ivy had ever heard it, so it was especially magical tonight. I’m praying so extremely hard that that sleeping magic lasts all night.

As for the gigi, in case you’re wondering why we’re being such hard-asses about a tiny little scrap of blanket, here’s why. It’s ONLY because as soon as that gigi goes into Ivy’s hand, her fingers from her other hand go straight to her mouth. And then she sucks on them, a lot, off and on, all night long. She ONLY sucks on her fingers when she has her gigi. She actually cannot do it without the blanket. It’s weird. So that’s why the gigi had to go. She needs to stop sucking on those fingers because I like straight teeth, and the only way to do it is to ditch the gigi. I really feel terrible about it, and so sad for her, since she’s been sleeping with it since she was only a couple months old. I know this is very hard for her and that’s she lonely and extremely out of sorts without it. I’m trying to be as patient and compassionate as I can, and, besides the lying, I think I’ve done well so far. After another night or two we should be in the clear, right? RIGHT?


Saturday morning update: She was up at 11:45 pm, crying a bit, but not for too long. Then she slept till 8!

Ivy draws.

Like her brothers that have gone before her, Ivy has turned into an avid little drawer.

Lately the kids have been obsessed with Art for Kids Hub on Youtube. (If you haven’t checked this out, please do. I highly recommend.) Drawing drawing drawing one million pictures a day. Using at least one old growth forest’s worth of paper every week.

Ivy’s favorite video is how to draw Peppa Pig. It’s 12 minutes long, and she’s watched it many many times.

If you’re wondering, this is what Peppa Pig actually looks like:


And this is Ivy’s version:


I might be completely biased, but I think it’s pretty darn good for a 3 1/2 year old. I also particularly love her self-portrait:


We’ve been having lovely girls days together while all the boys are at school, although she always complains that she misses them. She chooses naps over screen time, which is a clear indicator that she is her mother’s daughter.

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She keeps herself busy playing in a box while I do chores, or paints and colors while I prep supper. It’s a beautifully quiet and simple day with just a single kid around. Downright dreamy.

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Today she kept interrupting what I was doing, asking for a snack, and I was getting frustrated, and I guess my tone of voice made it clear. While I told her to wait a minute, she said, “Geez Louise Mom!” All I could do was laugh. She’s also been busy reminding me to say “pardon me” instead of “what” which is pretty amusing, especially since she’s the queen of asking “WHAT?” when she doesn’t hear something clearly.


Anyway, my Ivy, she sure knows how to have fun, and I love her so much. We watched home videos of her today, of when she turned just one year old. I’m upset I have no more babies after watching all that cuteness. I have to buy Ivy size 4 clothes now, and that’s a real heartbreaker if you ask me. My time in the toddler clothing section is very limited, and I’m sad. Thank goodness my sister-in-law is having a baby any day now. Preferably tomorrow, please. I need more babies in my life, stat.