29 April 2010

Last Chance to Enter!!!

My giveaway ends tomorrow night: if you haven't entered yet, do it!  I even added a new hat, and I'm working on another, so if I finish it tonight I will put it up in the morning.  The new hat is so cute:

If you haven't entered the giveaway yet, go here, read the rules, and enter!

Fire Fighter Auntie

Eli "se-weusly" loves his Auntie Adrienne.  He will go to the farm with me if I assure him Auntie Adrienne is there.  He will get on a horse if he can ride with her.  He is convinced that she will give him presents every time he sees her (because she usually does.)

But, yesterday Eli discovered the most wonderful thing of all about his Auntie Adrienne: she is a fire fighter!!! Not only that, but yesterday she was working at the hall just down the street from my parents' house, so we got to go visit her.  Coolest day of Eli's life!

First, we met all the fire fighters at the hall (yes, I sound ultra PC, but when you have a best friend who is a fire-WOMAN, it only makes sense.)  Then we got to explore the trucks.  Eli made sure Adrienne explained what every truck was, and what every element of each truck was used for.

Then he got to get in and drive.

Then he explored the truck and went through all the equipment.

His favourite thing of all was definitely the "lightsaber."
Eli is lucky to have such an Auntie.  Now all I have to do is find a way to keep him away from the fire hall.  Who needs the science centre or the zoo when I've got Adrienne?!

24 April 2010

Edythe Allegra Jackson

Today I went my Grandma Jackson's funeral.  I really loved her, and while it was sad to say goodbye, it was incredible to spend a day honouring her.  She was incredible!  In 1982 she wrote her own history and left it with her will.  I couldn’t honour her any better than her own words, so here it is:

Edythe Allegra Jackson

I was born the 7th daughter and 11th child of Isabelle Elizabeth Gibb and John Booth Merrill at Hill Spring, Alberta.

I received my early education at Hill Spring, went to grade 12 in Cardston, one year at University of Alberta and graduated with a BSc from BYU.

I taught four years of High School in Raymond and was Principal for 4 years at Hill Spring, 12 grades.

I married Elwood Jackson. We have lived in 5 provinces and travelled extensively in every province in Canada except Newfoundland. I love Canada and am a devoted Canadian.

I was Secretary Treasurer of the Protestant Sunday School, President of the Protestant Ladies Guild and taught school in the Catholic school system. I was responsible for the rule in the Department of National Defence, that Mormons can hold their meetings in any Protestant Chapel or school building.

I have worked in the Stake Primary, Mutual and Relief Society. I have been choir leader and music director in every organization and sang in the Relief Society Chorus that went to Salt Lake to sing in the Tabernacle.

I have three beautiful daughters, three wonderful sons in law and 9 plus grandchildren.

I have enjoyed travelling; visited Joseph Smith's birthplace in Sharon County, New York, enjoyed the marvellous production at the Hill Cumorah and the spiritual experience of the Sacred Grove.

I have toured restored Nauvoo and visited Carthage and Liberty Jails.

I "walked where Jesus walked" in Israel, boated on the Sea of Galilee, swam in the Dead Sea, climbed the Pyramids in Egypt, explored Petra in Jordon, rode on a camel and Arabian pony, swam in the Mediterranean, viewed the Parthenon in Greece and boated on the Nile.

I have seen the Changing of the Guards, the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London, viewed the beauty of Edinburgh and attended conference in Prince Albert Hall when the Stakes were divided in England. 

I have been to Hawaii twice and toured the Caribbean Islands.

I have been to the Ancient ruins in Mexico, Yucatan and Guatemala and to the jungle of Tiki.
We retired in Cardston and I love gardening, quilting, hand work, ceramics and filling my storage shelves.

Since then she had 4 more grandchildren and 29 great-grandchildren. She also walked the Great Wall of China, explored Australia, and did so much more.  She was an inspiration! I hope I can be like her when I grow up.

Gramma, I love you!

21 April 2010

One Reason for Living

While other girls were exploring make-up, movies and boys, as a 10-year-old girl, I was meeting weekly with two friends to talk about the ponies that none of us had.  We dreamed about the day when our parents would buy us the horses we'd been asking for for years, and in the meantime we collected all the tack, brushes and paraphernalia we could, in preparation.

I don't think I was unique in my horse craziness: most little girls go through a similar stage. My "stage" however has not ended yet.  I'm as horse crazy now as I was when I was ten.  My daddy never bought me a pony, but I managed to buy my own when I graduated from college. Then I bought another, and another, and even bred one of my mares so I got another (don't worry, I've sold two, out of necessity).  My life has changed such that I can no longer go off riding for hours and days at a time, but of all the loves of my life, horses are certainly still one of them.

So, it is natural that I try to pass the love onto my children.  Silas is a little small yet, but Eli is ready to cowboy it up.  Today my horsing partner in crime, Adrienne, took him for his first trail ride, and he proved a perfect little protege.  His only worry was that the horse would "buck off his boots", the new firefighter gum boots that he loves dearly, but he managed to go the whole ride without loosing either boot! He did insist that he ride with Adrienne and not me.  I guess I know who is cooler. 

After the ride he even insisted on bringing Adrienne's horse, Stone, back to the field, and carried the halter back to the barn to put it away.  Check out his tongue!

For the almost three years I've been gone from Calgary the thing I've missed most besides my family is my horses.  Being able to just go out and ride whenever I want is a luxury I am glad I can take for granted once again.  I love that I can share it with my sweet Eli, too.  And, while I know that one day Eli will have his own interests and passions, I'm glad that for now he loves this one with me!

19 April 2010

Giving it all Away!!! - NEW ITEM

Here it is, what you've all been waiting for: the Hands Full of Happiness blog giveaway!!!

There are few addictions that benefit others so much as knitting.  Because, let's be honest, there are only so many knit items one woman can wear, so she must give some of the stuff she knits away. Today you get a chance to benefit from my problem.
There is only one requirement to enter my giveaway: you must become a follower of my blog (unless you live in the last century and only have a Hotmail account, and in that case you need to pledge your undying love to me and I will let you enter anyway.)  Absolutely anyone may enter, you just have to click that little button to the right that says "FOLLOW."  Come on... just click it.

Now that you've got that over with, check out the pictures, pick which one you would love to own should you win this fabulous giveaway, and leave a comment telling me your favourite.  It's really that easy!

On April 30th I am going to write all the names of people who have entered on little pieces of paper, crumple them up and throw them in a hat, and pick a winner!  I'll contact the winner, if I don't have it you will send me your address, and voila, you will be the new owner of one of my humble little creations!

Little Pumpkin - Organic Cotton - Size 0-12 months

Flapper Hat - 100% Superwash Wool - Size 4-5 years

Hermione Hat - Wool blend - Size Small (Woman's)

King Eli - 100% Organic Cotton (so wonderfully thick and soft!) - Size 5-10 years (it fits me)

Boy's Helmet - 100% Wool - 0-6 months

Vine Lace - !00% Acrylic - Premie or Doll fit

Brother Bear - 100% Cotton - Newborn

Baby Meathead - 100% Cotton - 0-6 months (Imagine this with a big wood button sewed on... so cute!)

Marigold's Butterfly - 100% Cotton - 0-6 months

Flower Scarf - 100% Cotton

Girl's Helmet - 100% Acrylic - 0-6 months

Mini Hermione - 85% Merino, 15% Cashmere - 6-12 Months

Flower Girl - 100% cotton - 0-6 months

Lizzie Lou - 100% Acrylic - 0-6 months

Simple Brown - 100% Organic Cotton - 8 years and up

Stripy Leg Warmers - 100% Superwash Wool - Up to 4T

Earth's Birthday!!!

Outside the green is peaking through the brown, the days are getting longer and longer, and it seems perfect that this week we get to celebrate Earth Day. It's a chance, once a year, to reevaluate how we live and what more we can do for our home, Earth.  When I asked Eli what we were going to do for Earth Day he said, "Give Earth a present!"  I think we are going to try just that!

One of my favourite blogs posted this story about a garbage patch discovered in the Atlantic Ocean. Disgusting, gross, despicable!  What amazed me was that the blog author, when hearing of another garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean several years ago, made a decision to stop adding to the problem. She then stopped using plastic.  STOPPED USING PLASTIC!  Okay, so I never use plastic bags when I shop, I always bring my cloth bags.  And, I recycle whatever I can.  But to stop using plastics all together?!  She even canceled her garbage service, so her output must be pretty low!  I could definitely purchase less prepackaged food.  We go through two boxes of cereal a week, not to mention all the snack food I buy for outings.  Sure it's all organic and good for us, but the packaging sure isn't good for the earth!

Here's the list of what I'd like to do to be more eco-conscious.  I know it's a journey and it's not all going to happen tomorrow, but these are the things I think about often, and I just need to get doing:

Grow as much produce as I can and can it for the winter
Never use a disposable bag AGAIN
No prepackaged food - make my own cereal, bread, yogurt, fruit leather, tomato sauces, etc. 
Shop NEW less, and USED more
Don't buy Made in China
Make my own, natural, laundry soap, dish soap and cleaners

Okay, the list could go on and on, but let's be honest, just doing one or two of those would be a major change.  I  can't grow produce without a garden, make package free yogurt without a cow or goat.  One day I will have a farm and be a little more self-sufficient.  But for now I am going to do what I can.

On Thursday, Earthday, the boys and I are going to have a party for Earth.  The plans are still in the works, but we are going to do recycled crafts and all sorts of Earthday activities.  Maybe this year I can make a difference!

PS I found this great Earthday Giveaway, check it out!

17 April 2010

Show Me the Way to Go Home

My family went to Disney Land when I was two and left me behind. I'm sure I didn't mind, as I got to stay with my Grandma and Grandpa Jackson!  Although I can't remember it, I bet my Grandpa spent a lot of time taking pictures while my Grandma entertained.  Probably one of the first times I was left alone without my parents, I have no doubt that I had a great time, because later I always loved visiting Grandma, especially all on my own. 

When I was five my mom got pregnant with my little sister Holly.  My Grandma told me that I wouldn't be her baby anymore when the new baby arrived.  The horror!  I distinctly remember the pain I felt at losing her love.  But, I also remember her then sitting on her blue velvet couch, holding me in her arms, and explaining how much she loved me and how she always would, even if I wasn't the baby.  

I couldn't have been more than eight, which means Grandma was about seventy-six, and she and I hiked to Bertha Lake in Waterton, singing "The Quarter Master's Store" and "The Happy Wanderer" the whole way.  Grandma told me that she was getting too old to hike and I remember thinking that she would never be too old to hike!

I was twelve and took the Greyhound all the way from Calgary to Fort MacLeod where Grandma picked me up and drove me to Cardston.  We stopped at the bookstore where Grandma let me buy whatever book I wanted.  Then we went to the movie store where I picked out a movie.  Out of the hundreds of books and movies I have experienced in my life, I still remember which book and which movie I chose on that occasion when it was just me and Grandma doing the picking.

Right before Grandma moved out of her house I went down to visit her and take pictures.  We spent an entire night talking about her life and experiences.  She told me the story of her and my grandpa, driving to Nevada to get married.  Hilarious!

At the cabin, every time Grandma came, I would get to sleep with her instead of with all the kids.  Inevitably, every single night I slept with her, she would fall asleep with her freezing cold feet against my legs.  

The memories go on and on and on.  As the years have passed, despite my eight year old predictions, Grandma has gotten too old to hike, and then too old to live on her own, to travel, to read, and eventually even too old to remember who her grandchildren are. But, never too old to sing: she always had a song.  My favourite: "Show Me the Way to Go Home." Over and over and over she sang it.

Tonight she finally found her way home.  At ninety-seven years old she has passed away.  The reunion that must be going on right now is surely spectacular.

Grandma was really one of the most amazing women I have ever known.  She was strong, independent, opinionated, and knew how to curse; but, she was also loving, kind and gentle.  She was a feminist before feminism. She "eloped" to Nevada to get married in the 40's. She was a world traveler, an avid reader, a nature lover.   She was an inspiration and a major reason that I am the woman I am today.   As much as I know this is a blessing, that it was time, that she needed to go, I am going to miss her so much.  I'm not sure exactly why she hung on for so long, but I'm grateful for each moment that I have had with her.  I hope she knows how wonderful I think she is, and how I am blessed for knowing her.

15 April 2010

Goodbye, Hello!

I'm rereading the Harry Potter Series right now.  I've rushed through books 1-6 and thoroughly enjoyed each one.  However, I find myself stalling even starting the seventh.  Why?  Because I know how it ends, but maybe by not reading it I can avoid it.  Because I don't want it to be over again. Because saying goodbye to good characters in a book is like saying goodbye to good friends, and I hate saying goodbye. 

Today marks a major turning point in the life of the Wiebes.  Today we finish a chapter that I'm not sure I am ready to finish.  Today we say goodbye to a lot of things that we will never see again in the same way.  But, today also begins a new chapter, a new hello. 

5 years, 7 months and 25 days of being married to a student
Too much in student loans to count
Five different houses
Frequent flying
Long drives
Holiday adventures with the Sniebes
Visits with Auntie Chloe
The Mitten
Dear friends from The Mitten - the Paxtons, Governs, Jamisons and so many more
Warm spring, hot summer and beautiful fall Michigan days
Downtown Rochester
The Great Lakes
The sales!
Whole Foods around the corner
Detroit Zoo
A simple life where things never seemed to get too busy
My AP/LLL support group of Mommas
So, so, so much more.

Living with mom and dad again
Grandmas and Grandpas
Aunties and Uncles
The Farm, the farmers, the horses, the rides
Crazy family dinners
Family birthdays
Making money (hopefully someday soon)
Paying off loans
Winter like no Michigander knows it

Okay, so my list of Goodbyes could have gone on forever, and my list of Hellos seems rather short. But I guess that's because I've never read this book before: I don't know how it ends. But, after all the goodbyes are said and done, I guess I can't wait to see what the next chapter holds and where it takes us. Hello new life!

Well, I've got to go, I've got to finish Harry Potter!

10 April 2010

Confessions of a Birth Junkie

I'll be the first to admit that I am a birth junkie.  I read birth books regardless if I'm pregnant or not.  I stalk blogs and message boards, reading birth stories and gazing at pictures.  I routinely host Birth Movie nights, featuring films such as: The Business of Being Born, Birth Day, Birth As We Know It, and, always a crowd pleaser, Orgasmic Birth (if you have any other suggestions, send them my way - I've watched these ones to the point of memorization!)  My most recent Amazon order included the following books: The Doula Book: How a Trained Labor Companion Can Help You Have a Shorter, Easier and Healthier Birth, Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn: The Complete Guide, and The Birth Partner. I quite honestly dream of having a normal, natural childbirth.

Yet, I've had two VERY medicalized births.  The first, a cesarean birth, and the second, a forceps delivery. Both births, I admit, were relatively pain free, as I was frozen quite thoroughly. For years, before the prospect of having children was actually upon me, before I knew anything about anything, I used to joke that I wanted to be frozen from the neck down from the first contraction on.  Well, I got that, and I hated it!  I'll be honest, the worst part was, I couldn't hold my babies after they were born.  My arms were tied down.  For the birth of both my sons THAT is the memory that prevails: me, laughing through my tears, just looking at my boys because I couldn't reach out and touch them.  The very moment that is supposed to transcend all, and that's what I remember: me, strapped to a table.  I am woman; hear me whimper.

 Staring at Eli for the first time.

I want to have more babies: many more, if God sees fit.  But somehow I just can't accept the idea that all that matters is that I have healthy babies.  Obviously that isn't all that matters, or I wouldn't think of it daily almost three years after the birth of my first son.  With my cesarean birth I know that it was necessary.  Four and a half days after my water broke, surgical birth really was the only answer.  The forceps delivery, however, I am filled with guilt and disappointment every time I think about it.  Guilt that I didn't prepare enough, didn't know enough, didn't insist enough. 

In retrospect, I think the midwife I used for Silas's birth had a perception of me that I was very independent and strong, and therefore wouldn't need much guidance in labour.  But, I had never gone through labour before.  I had never reached transition.  I had never felt like I was either going to be torn apart, or blown to pieces.  So, when I said I wanted to go to the hospital and get some pain killer, she said okay.  And off we went.  I'll tell you something: I. DO. NOT. LIKE. HOSPITALS.  It was not the place for me.  Intervention after intervention lead me to the operating room once again, prepped and ready for a cesarean, with a OBGYN who merely condescended to trying the forceps because I absolutely insisted.

 The first picture I have of us after the birth - no camera in the Operating Room this time. 

Despite all odds against me, I had my VBAC.  I should have been celebrating.  I should have been rejoicing.  But, I was in more pain than I had been with Eli's birth and I still couldn't hold my baby.  They wouldn't let me bathe him.  They changed all his diapers.  And I felt even more disappointed than I had with the cesarean.

So, where do I go from here?  How do I prepare more than I have prepared?  Where do I find the empowerment I know exists in birth, but has thus far eluded me?  All the movies, all the books, all the meditation, the preparation and the prayers have brought me two wonderful, healthy babies that I love more than life itself, but have left me with a distrust in my body and my person.

Onward I go.  I will not be dissuaded.  I will read more.  I will prepare more.  I am taking a class from Birthing From Within called Birth Stories.  I am going to do Brain Gym.  I am going to do everything I can, because I know it matters, because I know that having the birth I want to have will somehow heal the pain from the births I've actually had.   Because, after all, this is the thing that God has given women, and I want to experience it as it is meant to be experienced!

09 April 2010

I wish I was a Witch!

So, maybe you don't look at knit wear when watching your favourite movies, but I do.  Recently we watched Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince for the first time, and this hat called to me:
 First of all, did you notice that there are no lenses in Harry's glasses?  That made me laugh.  Secondly, check out Hermione's hat. Beautiful, eh?

So, I just had to make it.  I'm certainly not talented enough to make it sans pattern, so after a pretty easy search I found this pattern, and voila!
This one actually was just a sample, made out of yarn from my stash.  I have some other yarn I am going to make another from, now that I've figured out sizing.  This one (and the other one I made) will be added to the giveaway pile!

Now I just have to find a pattern for Hermione's scarf!

05 April 2010

Easter Fun

Well, this week we went to my parents cabin in Sandpoint to enjoy the Easter holiday, sans internet.  My sister Phoebe, her friend Heidi, Alice and the boys and my folks were all there.  It was a blast.  Eli, for better or for worse, learns so much from his cousins.  I just love watching him observe them, and then trying to imitate them.  We did lots of fun stuff, but here's just a sampling:

Phoebe and Grandma read lots of books to Eli. 

Oscar and Winston put away past differences... well, mostly.

We had a Family Home Evening lesson on knowing the Shepherd's voice, and made some hand print sheep. (Have I mentioned that I LOVE hand print crafts!?)

Silas and Mari became aquainted.

Andy taught Eli how to wrestle.

My mom and dad ate like Macrobiotic fiends!

Easter egg decorating.

Silas modeled all the hats I made (blog giveaway, here I come!)

The Easter Bunny came.

Oh, and the HOT tub. 

Living in Spokane has really blessed us with being so close to family.  Eli has learned to fit right in with all his cousins.  He declared MANY times this week that he "just loves the cabin" or Grandpa, or Grandma, or even the stairs.  I love it so much.  However, this Easter we also really missed our home in Michigan.  The past two General Conference weekends we have spent at our friends the Paxton's. We missed them a lot knowing that we will probably not do that ever again. 

And, because it was Easter weekend, let me declare my testimony of the atonement of Jesus Christ.  As I spent the week with my family I was reminded how grateful I am to have a Saviour who loved me enough to atone for my sins so that I can return to my Father in Heaven, with my Eternal Family.  I am so blessed to know of the gospel of Jesus Christ here on the earth and testify that it is true.

Happy Easter!
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