Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Snow adventures and faith building

Finally,  we have our snow!  We have been below our normal for so many months now with the lack of snow fall that I was beginning to wonder if we were every going to experience our "normal" winter.

One of my favorite things about the snow is, waking up in the morning to find a whole new world blanketed in the powdery white.  It's breathtaking.  When it's still dark and everything is covered with snow, it's easy to feel romantic about it.  Everything takes on a glow and the world is quiet.  The buses that go by our house are even quiet.  All you can hear are the muffled crunch of tires on the road.  When daylight comes so does the reality of what more you have to do to get your day going.  Shovel the sidewalk, wipe my dogs paws off, make sure that the little dog makes it off of the patio to do his business instead of stepping just outside of my reach and taking care of it on the patio, oh and because we have no garage, you can add sweeping the snow of the cars too.  The thing is, even though these are inconveniences, they are small when you consider the gift that this white stuff can be.  Like listening to my kids laughter as they come sledding down the hill, or the cold rosy cheeks of my kids as they sit around the table cupping their hot chocolate, or building snowman or snowforts.  Oh, I know many people that curse at it and grumble about it, but really, there are few magical moments in this world and I consider a good snowfall to being one of them.

I have to also clarify that I have an amazing husband that does all of the snow clearing for me so I can sit inside with my cup of coffee watching him.  I have spent my time clearing sidewalks and cursing the snow,  but for now, I have a husband that does it for me so I don't have too.

This is Baby T's second winter but really her first experience with the snow.  Last year I put her on a sled so I could get a picture of my 3 kids, which she then fell head first into the cold stuff and ended her wonderful experience.  This year, when she sees my older two get their snow pants, she runs to the bathroom to grab hers.  She points to her head and says, "hat Mama", and her feet and says, "Boots".  She knows what is required to go out into this cold and wintery world.  I love her enthusiasm.  Her excitement to go out and eat the snow.  She saw her older sibs playing and making snow forts today.  She wanted to be a part of it, until I set her in the 12" snow.  Then she looked at me and cried.  She felt stuck.  "Uppee, Mama!"  Sure, I'll pick you up.  It has to be so comforting to know that no matter what someone is always there for you.
This past winter I have been wondering what our plans are going to be.  Questioning everything.  Wondering where are the jobs that we were led to believe would be waiting for us when Jeremy graduated.  I mean, a PhD should get you something, right?  I think of my kids and then think of God.  Our kids rely on us to carry them when they can't walk or crawl.  Our kids rely on us to be their guide when they can't make sense of a situation.  God wants us to do the same with Him.
Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Ok.  I get it.  Instead of asking questions about why is it not working out the way we had envisioned, I should be relying on God.    Well, here goes. " Uppee God!"

Being goofy with my Peanut!
Baby T showing off her smile

Helping Daddy shovel snow.  Maybe just supervising!

It's too deep! "Uppee Mama!"

Showing me the snowflakes on her eyelashes

Friday, January 6, 2012

Happy New Year!!!!

Welcome to the future! When I think about this number I feel like I should have a robot maid and a computer that makes my food.  Then I think, I'm the maid and do I really want a computer making my food?  I think that 2012 has been this number that for the longest time seemed so far away, and now it's here.  Why this year and not last or next?
2012.  20 years ago we graduated high school.  20 years.    A lot happens in 20 years.  As an 18 year old in 1992 20 years seemed like forever.  I remember the Dr. telling me to take it easier on my knees or I may have a difficult time walking when I am 40!  As a 17 year old hearing that, well, I think my comment ran along the lines of, "40!  I'll be old and won't care how my knees are doing!"  Oh naive, silly girl!  I also remember when I was in 5th grade and having a conversation with a friend about the song by Prince, 1999.  I remember trying to figure out how old I would be in that New Year.  Every year we get older, unless you happened to be vacationing on your birthday which was Dec. 30 on the island of Samoa this past year.  (They skipped Dec. 30) It is going to happen, we get old.

Every year, as I look back and have more years to compare and look back on, I can't help but feel nostalgic and optimistic.  I have been feeling lately like I am racing against a clock.  One that I don't know when it will stop but knowing it eventually will.  Maybe, it's because of the many family members and friends that have battled with cancer this past year.  Maybe it's because I am realizing now that my kids will outlive me.  If they follow the natural order of things.  Which I have told them that they must!  Whatever it is, it is making me take stock in how I live my life, how I love my family and what to be grateful for.

Need I say more?  So grateful, so Blessed.  Looking forward to see what God has in store for our 2012!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Save the Neck For Me, Clark!

I am terrible about finishing my posts.  I'm not a great writer like others in my family and I have 3 kids that tend to distract, not to mention an attention span of a gnat so I am going to post a couple of posts today because I feel like they are still good posts.  A little belated but still worth reading.

 Dec. 19
It's so strange how you can experience highs and lows so frequently in such a short time.  I guess that is what is meant to happen.  In Ecclesiates it reminds us that there is a time for everything.  A constant juxtaposition.  There cannot be one with out the other.  Life and Death, Joy and Sorrow, a time to speak and a time to be silent, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to weep and a time to laugh.  They are the constant.  Nothing would hold it's value without the other.  If there were only rich and no poor, then there would be nothing to strive for.  If there were only Life and no death, the celebration of Life would not hold as much value.  I feel like my family has experienced a few of these this past month.  So when the highs hit, we are celebrating, and when the lows come, we mourn.

Backing up to Thanksgiving. 
Jeremy's family was able to join us for Thanksgiving.  Hooray!  Celebration!  His sister, met her youngest niece for the first time. His mom, now cancer free, was actually able to enjoy more food and beer than she has been able to since her surgery last September.  More celebration!  Jeremy turned his dissertation in on Wed. before Thanksgiving which meant he was stress free for the time that his family was visiting! 
All of these were great celebrations!
Now in December...
Jeremy's mom came back up to watch him present his PhD. dissertation and stay for graduation.  During that time my mum and I planned a graduation party to celebrate this HUGE accomplishment.  Did I mention, HUGE!  I mean, I wouldn't be able to do it.  He managed a 3.9 through all of it and still finished his program on time, with a wife and 3 kids.  I know he didn't do it all on his own, but still.  HUGE accomplishment!  We had a great time with Jeremy's mom, my mum and dad, my brother Bobby and his wife Jenny and my niece Jordan, who all came to help us celebrate Jeremy and his PhD.
After graduation we had a party/open house.  It was so great to celebrate!  So many people that came that I was able to thank personally for all of their prayers and support these past 5 years.  Thank you, thank you!
We were feeling optimistic, joyful and full of thankfulness the week after, looking forward to Christmas and celebrating (again).  On Dec. 17, my mum sent me a text.  It was a fairly normal Saturday morning.  Lazy and full of chaos in our house.  The text basically said, "Your cousin was killed last night in a car accident."  The happy sounds of chaos in my house became a white noise and my phone became a foreign object in my hand. How do I process this?  I called my mum. The other kicker was, Saturday, Dec. 17 was his wife's birthday.  My heart broke.  I wanted to cry for his wife and 2 kids.  I wanted to cry for all that were left behind.  I wanted to cry for my cousin, Cameron. I wanted to cry for my aunt and uncle who were on a cruise and still had not heard the news.  I just wanted to cry.
The question most asked is, "Was I close to him?"  Honestly, the answer is sort of muddled and hard to give a simple yes or no to.  No, he was 8 years older and he was a boy.  In my house growing up, we were divided by our gender. My cousin, Michelle and I were paired up and all the boys were together.  My mum's family was the closet geographically to us.  My dad's family was all over the U.S.  My mum has one sibling, a sister and growing up we spent our Christmas and our Canadian Thanksgivings going up to Vancouver to spend it with my aunt, uncle, cousins and my Poppop and Nana.
Cameron was older than my oldest brother and was always doing older guy things.  I have my memories of him though.  Cameron was a funny guy.  He always wanted to be the life of the party.  The guy with the punch lines and practical jokes.  At least this is how I remember him.  The last time I saw Cam was at my younger brother's wedding in 2009.  He came down from Kamloops to come to the wedding, bringing his wife and 2 kids.  That's not a short trip.  So when you ask if we were close, the point I'm trying to make is that no, I couldn't tell you his favorite color or his favorite food.  BUT, my family is fiercely loyal.  You can call on any of us and we will be there.  He came for my wedding, he came for Bobby's wedding in Vegas and he came for my little brother's wedding, why?  Because that's what we do.  We are loyal and close in that way.  He was 45 years old with a wife and 8 year old daughter and a 3 year old son who are going to miss him so much.  His funeral is Friday Jan 6 in Kamloops

During Christmas, we often pull out our favorite holiday movies.  Jeremy's favorite movie is National Lampoons Christmas Vacation.  I'm sure you are wondering how this is segueing from the bit about Cameron.  Well, if you've never seen it, you should.  The family dynamics I think everyone can relate to on some level! Cameron was nothing like cousin Eddie,  my family may be wondering where I am going with this.  Cousin Eddie was the comical family member and the one that said the most unexpected comments like Cam would. When I watched the movie I laughed.  It is so healing and good to laugh. I've spent so many holiday dinners with our family gathered around and the comedy that is our family and it's dynamics and inputs from people at the table.  The dinner of the Griswolds on the movie feels normal to me.
So to quote a line from Cousin Eddie, "Save the neck for me Clark." You will be missed Cam.