30 May 2010

Guest Blogging!!!

If you wanted to check it out, I guest blogged on my friend Cheryl's blog, SNELLDOGS. She's hosting a giveaway on there with the rest of my knit goods.

Here's a peek of her sweet boy modeling one of the girly hats. 

28 May 2010

The Knights of the Realm

...and their fair lady. 

Last night we met up with half my family in Toronto, and the Snells, and went to Medieval Times.  

So. Much. Fun!

Sadly, our knight, the "Red-Ye-Low" (as the Quebecois kids behind us called him), lost.  But, the yellow knight, whom I was secretly cheering for, did win.  YEAH!!!  

But most importantly, our little party was the very last to leave, saved all the ladies and killed all the bad guys.  Eli learned some great new moves from the knights, and I'm really hoping his sword fighting goes far.  Bad guys of the world, beware!


Fair thee well dear friends.  Peace be with you, wherever in the realm you might be.

26 May 2010

They say...

Who the heck are THEY and why does everyone feel the intense need to listen to THEM?  I'm mean seriously, the least THEY could do is actually introduce themselves so I could put a name to a face and actually decide if THEY are worth listening to for more than two seconds.

Let's be honest though, I'm the kind of person that if THEY say anything, I will probably do the exact opposite until I feel THEY have proven themselves to me.  Oppositional defiant?  No, just frightfully independent. And I feel it's a good thing.  I feel I live a more authentic life because of it.

Peggy O'Mara, editor of my favourite magazine in the world,  Mothering, has said:

We are accustomed in our society to giving up our authority to experts, to assuming that powerful individuals know more than we do. We live in a culture in which we expect that authoritative knowledge lies outside ourselves, instead of believing that authority rests within ourselves, and that knowledge is everywhere.

By being completely unable to take THEIR word for it, at the least I spend a ridiculous amount of time deliberating over most decisions I make, and often spend an even greater amount of time researching, comparing and studying before I do anything. But, most of the time I can then go out knowing that I have made the very best decision for me and my family, the most important people in the world to me, and people that THEY don't know a thing about.  There are few people who I will take their word for it, and THEY certainly aren't on my short list.

When Eli was a baby I wasn't quite as good at this as I feel I am now.  For example, when he turned six-months old, I became stressed out about starting him on solid foods.  I mean THEY say you should start feeding solids at six months, right?  Well, I tried, and for well over eight months I struggled. Eli gagged on and puked up almost everything I fed him until he was fifteen-months old. At that point he began eating a little, but it wasn't until he was twenty months that he really was getting most of his nourishment from food.  (It's a good thing I didn't listen to THEM when they said you only need to nurse for one year!) I have since learned that babies who are caught up in the cord in utero often have a very strong gag reflex because with their cord wrapped around their necks for so long, they are in a constant flight or fight response and when food goes down their throats it puts them back into that response.  When I was struggling with it I was informed that by not feeding him he would not be a good eater when he was older because all he would want was breastmilk.... forever???  Well, he still isn't adverse to breastmilk, but he happens to eat better than most almost three-year olds I know, and I don't think the daily ration of sweet potatoes when he was a baby had anything to do with that.

Anyway, when Silas was six months, I decided I would not care what THEY say, and I would feed him solids just as soon as I felt he was ready.  He is eight and a half months, and I have felt so much less stress than I did with Eli.  The past few weeks, however, I have been unable to ignore the signs:  he's got teeth, he's got the pincer down, he drinks water from a cup... and he follows our food from plate to mouth and mimics chewing and cries when we don't let him grab our food.  Really, the signs could not be ignored any longer.

We're staying at the Snells, so today we went through their fridge and found some applesauce that we figured he would not be able to get enough of.  He thought something else:

Oh, he's so stinking cute!  And no gagging!  The adventure begins.  And hey, if he eats like a champ from this day out, great, but if not, THEY can stick it and I will not worry if he never wants anything but breastmilk... forever!

22 May 2010

The Fireworks Begin Today!

In the summer of 2003 I wrote in my journal something to the effect of:

"Tonight I hung out at David Lancaster's.  His roommate is Jared Wiebe, a boy from the youth dances.  
He wants to be a lawyer.  I think I will marry him."

Well, it's been 7 years, but he's there!!!  Today, my darling husband, graduated from Thomas M. Cooley Law School with a Juris Doctorate.  That's right folks, I married my lawyer!

13 May 2010

The Sweet Suite: Or, The Project that Never Ends

The kitchen is installed, the doors are hung, the tenants are moved in and the suite is finished.  Well... Jared did break a light fixture on the last day, and so it needs to be replaced, and I never did get around to touching up all the paint I wanted to, and most of the electrical plugs are painted over because we thought we were going to have the time to replace them.  But, besides all that, the suite is finished!!!

I totally realize that I am way too excited about my crumby basement suite, but Jared and I have literally put our blood and sweat, if not tears, into it over the last two weeks (I'll be honest, Jared has put a lot more sweat into it than I, but I'm just better at baby feeding, that's all.)   I no longer am going to call it our "crumby little basement suite" but our "really awesome, totally cool, pretty sweet suite!"  Sounds better, doesn't it? 

In two short weeks we tore out EVERYTHING, and re-did it all.  And much of it we did with Silas on our backs!
He's a trooper, that kid!

We did learn a few important lessons in this, our first major home renovation:

1. Two short weeks are really too short to completely renovate an entire home.  Seriously.  A month would have been sufficient, two weeks was just about suicide.
2. When a caulking disaster strikes, and online it says that there is no solvent or method of removing waylaid caulk, tell the "experts" to stick it, and grab your good friend Mr. Clean and his Magic Eraser. Apply a little elbow grease, and before you know it, the great caulk spill of 2010 will be ancient history.  No magic dome to contain the mess, no caustic chemicals to clean it up, just magic little "micro scrubbers" washing it away.  For some reason I envision little microscopic alien robots with mops scrubbing away at our brand new counter top covered in caulk.  Keep up the good work little buddies!
3. A few accessories can do wonders in a small, white kitchen.

Um, I'm sure there were more lessons learned (like don't ever let Jared touch a paint roller ever again) but I can't think of them right now.

I did promise to send out a mad Blog Props to my brother-in-law Aaron, his crazy plumbing skills, and his family, without whom, we would NEVER have been able to finish it in time!  We love the Russells!

Here's the finished product.  Note the broken light.  Oops.
Even with the antique stove (we like to call him 'The Admiral') it looks fabulous.  Hopefully such a fanciful abode means we will never be a month without renters ever again!!! (By the way, it's available in September...)

08 May 2010

The house that JENNY built!!!

Today I tackled the world... or at least a very boring white kitchen, which is now still very white, but totally awesome!!!  Sometimes my vision doesn't necessarily come true, but today, with a few tiles, accessories I transformed this:

into this:

Now to grout, clean up, and add a few accessories, and this place is ready to go!!!

05 May 2010

The House that Jared Built

So, while we live in my parent's basement, we actually own two houses in town.  One very nice, very new condo, and another outdated but well loved house.  We lived in the house before our Michigan Adventures and rented out the basement to help pay the bills.  Since our departure from Alberta we have rented all three units and managed to stay in the black.  Yeah!

We happen to be between renters in the basement suite right now, and since Jared doesn't have a job (the reason why we're living in my parent's basement) we figured this is a good time to give the suite a much needed face lift, or a face replacement, really.

Let me just stop here to say that my dear Mr. Wiebe is incredible.  He has spent the last week an a half working from sun up to well past sun down tearing down and building up our modest little basement!  While I consider myself a pretty self sufficient woman, there is no way I could pull off what he has managed this week.

This is what we started with:

 Please take careful note of the carpeted kitchen.  Yum!

He tore out EVERYTHING.  With the help of my sister Alice, her husband Aaron, my nephew Benny and our friend Heidi we managed white wash the whole place on Saturday.  On Monday while we had the new flooring installed we spent WAY too many hours at IKEA picking up a new kitchen and several beautiful accessories. And today, with the Russell contingent helping again, we put things back together and began installing the kitchen.  As far as dark little basement suites go, I think this one is going to be pretty awesome.  Seriously!

Here's some pics of the current state of the basement:

 And Silas, for the first time in his life hung out in a play pen.  I was worried about the off-gassing of the new carpet, so when I wasn't wearing him I stuck him in the cage!  Well equipped with plenty of stuff to suck on, he didn't seem to mind.

New tenants move in on Monday, so this place HAS to be finished this weekend.  Final product pictures to follow, I promise!

02 May 2010

Lady Bug, Lady Bug, Fly Away Home!

At our church the kids 18 months to 3 years meet in Nursery every week. In my ward I am responsible for the Nursery program.  We are supposed to provide a healthy snack each week, and until now it has consisted of stale, sugar-full animal crackers and hard, really old raisins.  Not so awesome.

I got this brilliant idea from my friend Heidi.  Best Nursery snack EVER!!!  It was such a hit, and I didn't feel guilty serving it to the little ones.  The problem is, how do I now beat it?  Impossible!

My Kid Went to Blackfalds, and all I got was this Lousy T-Shirt

 I missed the Marathon, but I came out if it with a painted basement, and this rad T-Shirt.  Can't complain.

Everyone had fun (except those of us stuck at home painting.)  Apparently Eli ran 3 km, and slept in the stroller the other 7 km.  All the kids loved the medals, and my dad obliged me and took some pictures.  I'm still sad I missed it, but there's always Blackfalds Fun Run 2011!

01 May 2010

I ALMOST Ran a Marathon

Okay, so it wasn't a Marathon, it was a race.  Alright, it wasn't a race, it was a "Fun Run."  And I wasn't actually going to run, but walk.  But, Fun Run kind of rhymes with Marathon, and since I didn't actually end up doing it, I can call it whatever I want!

Today my family is running in the Blackfalds, Alberta Fun Run.  Until last night, I was set to participate. However, we are renovating our home, and are down to the wire, so I need to stay home and paint while everyone else wins the race.  I did send Eli with my folks (with his Lightning McQueen underpants on, for good luck) and think he's going to shine! 

Despite my absence from the race, I did manage to send off some medals for the racers.  Yesterday Eli and I whipped up these little gems:

They were fun to make and super easy.  Eli helped, with a little trampoline jumping break.  I may not be there to see them win it, but my 9 nieces and nephews and Eli are going to be big winners this morning!

Making the cookies.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip, with Skor pieces.

Break time. (This medal making is hard work!)

Wrap 'em in tin foil, with a hot glue gun glue on a ribbon, and there you have it!  I even sent the rest of the cookies along for the adult marathon runners.  I hope they are enjoyed!

And the winner is...

Some suggested that this would not be a fair contest, but let me assure you, that while I was waiting for Si to wake up this morning, I couldn't have been more fair.  To prove it, here is the evidence.  

First I wrote out all your names:

Then I crumpled them up:

In the hat they go:

And the winner is...

And since I'm feeling generous, I pulled another:

Yeah Callie and Cassie!!!  You win the first ever Hands Full of Happiness Giveaway!  Congratulations!  Send me your addresses, and I will mail off your hats.  If you have changed your mind about which one you want, let me know that as well.  YEAH!!!

And for the rest of you, don't worry, I've still got tons of yarn I need to get through, and no shortage of time to use it (humf!)

Thanks all for participating, it was fun!
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