desperate style {small style}

ever wondered what to wear at 5:30 pm with a newborn, three hyper toddlers & an hour until bedtime?

the answer: one pull-up, one diaper, a pair of pink spandex pants... and shaving cream!

since recovering from a c-section, i have been dying to spend time with the kids. fun time. the problem is i am not allowed to pick them up or bend or move really.  and so, this is what we came up with on short notice.

{forgive the sound effects & pausing on the video below... steve was playing with a setting on the camera}
whoops! i can't seem to upload this video unfortunately so i'll post it on facebook instead...

apparently you can add food colouring & then this becomes a fun lesson in colours... be careful though because it can change the colour of tile grout.  this activity really is better suited to the bathtub in retrospect... this is the trail of shaving cream to the bathtub!  thank goodness for daddy & nana who cleaned up both the babies & everything they touched all the way up the stairs.  

good memories of our first week as a family of six!


naval gazing

i feel a bit odd posting this as i am currently postpartum, but i had written this previously while i was still pregnant & never got to posting it {i think i have more saved attempts at writing posts than are actually posted... so sad}.  but then, i was recently inspired by the marvelous maryann over at the daily parable and so here it is!

it is the end of my pregnancy and i am big & swollen with belly.  i naval gaze... literally, as i cannot see much past my belly. all that is in view is that poor knob of a belly button, certainly living up to it's name.  i no longer hold the luxury of seeing my own feet or much else in my perspective.

the revelation came with a sting one sunday morning. a more hectic sunday morning than usual, if that is possible.  it was the end of the meeting, the kids were sweaty with exhaustion & quickly unraveling, not unlike their mama.  i passed the last few crackers from a now empty diaper bag which held few options of pacifying their overtired cries.  i had spent the whole morning hushing & containing them to a few squared space, organizing & administrating croissants, coffee & beverages for the guests, and most importantly, maintaining that sunday morning smile without wrinkle as my morning crumbled beneath me.

i could feel her behind me. wanting to introduce herself.  wanting to connect to someone.  and i just couldn't. so tired. so pregnant.  i couldn't meet someone new right now.  and so i turned my back to her to squash any attempt at conversation & my turned my front to my children offering them my last shred of self-control.  she persisted.
"do you need some help?" i hate that question. i so badly wanted to cry but instead mustered up my bravest "oh, me, i am fine.  thank-you though..."
long pause.
"um, i am not sure i've met you before..."
she was so soft & genuinely interested in me & the kids.  it was wonderful. just at the end of the conversation, i began to find out more about her.  much to my surprise this lovely woman had just immigrated to canada from beijing the week before with her three children.  they had nothing.  they were scared & desperately thankful for the menial fellowship that i had so begrudgingly bestowed.

i was embarrassingly convicted.  she had been so warm. so concerned about me having my fourth child.  and i had been so cold & wrapped up in my own trivial circumstance to see the vast need in front of me. and when i say need, i don't mean needy.  she wasn't needy.  i was the needy one - thinking what i was going through was the trump card to anyone else's.

she was a lifeline. a way out of being consumed by my own selfish. my own narrow pregnant perspective.  being pregnant, especially at the end, has a way of insulating one's mind into becoming egocentric & one tracked.  but there is nothing more liberating than taking your eyes off your own perceived need & looking out into the world.  it is freedom from loneliness, depression, hopelessness, self indulgent entitlement & selfishness.  this is the sting of conviction for me.

and so i take my hands off my belly & extend them out to embrace.  and i feel so much better.  so much more fulfilled.  so much less pregnant & so much happier seeing & relating to the world God constructed rather than focusing my eyes on that overdue belly. and so much prettier than that overextended naval.          


victorious, conquering peace

she's here! little livi verona arrived with perfect timing wednesday night, october 12 {just one day shy of sharing the 13 with her brothers & sisters}.

we are in love with her & she is perfect.  even though i am a bit bruised & battered around the edges, it was totally worth it. to hold her in my arms... finally!

as you may have read in previous posts {declare my word, hold onto peace, thank-you LORD} we have had our challenges this pregnancy. as a testimony of God goodness throughout this process, we decided upon the name livi verona for this baby girl which mean "victorious, conquering peace". i know i have blogged about names before {a name is a name}, but this name has an extra special meaning for us.  to go from total uncertainty to experience, tangibly holding our little victorious peace in our arms... an incredible feeling.  to hold that promise, to see that truth in flesh... i cannot even begin to express how overwhelming.  no amount of tears, sighs or words could adequately convey what it is like to hold that victory in our hands.  thanks be to God Almighty, who's goodness surpasses any height of expectation.
so here she is world... our little 'victorious, conquering peace'.


for the joy set before me

lessons in the losses #5: fear is a just a doorway

davith is a two-year old.  and as most two-year olds, he is going through a fear stage.  i had long prepared myself for the discussion on monsters, goblins & ghosts.  however, davith has no interest in any of those seemingly classic, respectable childhood fears.  i realized this whilst almost breaking my leg flying down the stairs after hearing davith scream like he was being burnt alive... only to find out that he found a ball of fluff on the stair which he apparently found terrifying.  we had that long talk about situations deemed scream worthy. be assured finding fluff on the stairs was not one of them.  this was followed by subsequent conversations about the threat feathers, ants, toe lint & cute, fluffy little yellow chicks pose.  

i had an embarassingly simple revelation on the tail of those conversations as i found myself jumping from the doorframe of our bedroom to our bed to avoid being snatched by ET.  and i thought to myself, who is being the irrational one?  at least dust bunnies & lint actually exist in reality.  can't say the same for pruney, bony fingered, sack of skin ET.  i have just always been afraid of him.  it doesn't matter what i tell myself, still afraid, how i try to rationalize it... fear still surfaces.

i now find myself in a dimly lit hospital room, facing much more realistic or shall i say appropriate fears as the stark realization dawns on me that this child will need to make it's way into the world somehow.  after all of the uncertainty of this pregnancy, will i ever get to hold her? when will i get to hear that blessed cry? will i die?  will i rip in two? will i make it to the other side? "...but i'm not ready!"  i scream inside.   as i walk the corridors, the halls are filled with noise.  and i come to the conclusion that there isn't a more terrifying place on earth than being in the labour & delivery ward not yet in labour but about to be.  babies crying, women screaming, nurses chattering, meal carts clammer, sneakers squeak.  but only one question echos - must I drink this cup?

death & resurrection... the hope of joy set before Him.
just when you think you can endure no more, just when you've bolstered your last ounce of will, pushed with everything you've got, breathed your last, resurrection comes. new life. hope.  the kind that cannot be taken away by trouble, circumstances, not even death. for nothing is lost in Him. in Him i live & move & have my being. with Him i entrust my life.  fear cannot defeat me, will not consume me.

fear is nothing to be afraid of - it's just the door we push through to get to the other side.
and we never have to be ready - only willing.
and on the other side of that door?
one waits who knows what it's like to face a cross.  He took the worst of it for us.  And only He can speak to our hearts the only words we really need to hear...
that's what makes it all worth it. the fear.  the offering up of ourselves.
and i believe He says those well done words to each of us made brave in Jesus.
- ann voskamp, the holy experience

 we are all afraid of something, whether it be dust bunnies or ET, sickness or strife, irrational or legitimate.  open the door anyway & face fear head on... hand in hand with the Saviour, as He walks us to the other side called the resurrection life.

Jesus make me brave in you. help me drink deep of this cup & bravely endure so that i too might hold the joy on the other side.


pinafores & overalls {small style}

on the long bucket list of activities to keep me busy while going way overdue, was the experimental farm here in ottawa.  it was a gorgeous fall day & a perfect midweek activity for the kids. i didn't get any pictures of the latest fall fashions the animals were sporting this trip, mainly due to being pretty focused on corralling my own little herd, but there were definitely some awesome cow licks going on. here are some pics of our day at the farm...

 {kai}: overalls {oshgosh}, onsie {winner's - no label},  slippers {joe}
 {evie}: pinafore & leggings {the bay}, onesie {carter's}, slipper's {joe}

 {davith}: shirt {joe}, jeans {gymboree - these have a sweatband waistband & i love them... very potty friendly... i need a pair of these!}, shoes {shoes got ditched as his feet apparently spontaneously grew while we were at the farm}


is your food alive?

a recent change in the past year for our family has been the switch to sprouted grain bread instead of the traditional multigrain.

sprouted grain breads are made with grains & legumes that have sprouted before being ground into flour.  because the seed is first sprouted, making it alive & active in it's growth process, sprouted grains have increased nutrient & vitamin content. the bread is moist & made without yeast, with low or no salt, higher in protein, low fat content, high fibre, low glycemic index & typically uses only organic ingredients.

sprouted grain breads use ingredients in the most unrefined stage possible, which is why sprouted grain bread is often referred to as live food. when the nutrients have not been stripped from the grain & then added back into the product later on, without the highly processed flours, sprouted grains are a super healthy option.  we decided this was a good choice for us & worth the switch.  we were tickled pink when we found stonemill sprouted grain bread at our local loblaws {so much nicer than ezekiel bread}.  although not always sold in the refrigerated section, sprouted grain breads should be refrigerated or frozen until use.  since they are made without preservatives or pesticides/herbicides, they don't have a long shelf life... which didn't really affect our decision as bread never stays around long at our house.  also, because it has lower fat content, when toasting, toast on a lower setting to avoid burning... i thought something was wrong with our toaster for the longest time!

we eat toast almost ever morning so this was a critical decision for us & it has worked out super well.  i have recently been looking for some different toast topping options as peanut butter is getting a little old... the twins have started to riot at breakfast.
so far a few new ideas have been...

  • peanut butter & banana or strawberries
  • soy cream cheese & whole fruit jam {soy cream cheese generally tastes pretty bland unless mixed with something else}
  • soy cream cheese blended with broccoli or cucumber
  • fruit faces {making faces with fruit}
  • applesauce or apple butter
  • almond butter or honey with granola
  • toast dippers {toast with a side of hummus or whatever your kids like}
  • bruschetta {not their fav yet but i'm still trying}
  • nacho toast {salsa, green onions & cheese}
  • one eyed monsters or eggs any way on toast
  • french toast dipped in cinnamon or pumpkin or whatever is lying around

... what are some of your favourite toast toppings?  i need more ideas!


my 'goodlife' story

i was revising my submission to the 'GoodLife' success story contest & i began to reflect on just how much the decision to get healthy, get fit has truly changed my life.  now one day overdue with my fourth child, i look back at how long & hard the quest for healthiness has been but also how worthy the cause.  this pregnancy has truly been a testimony of what a few seemingly small yet consistent changes can do for a person & one's family.  because of one small step, just committing to the gym 3 times a week, it led to so many other small steps which have changed everything.  contrasting my first pregnancy & my last has been a truly fulfilling experience.  thank the Lord i am still able to workout three times a week, feel great & still trying to make healthy diet choices {most of the time :)}.  i know there are many ways of arriving at healthiness, and i am not necessarily promoting 'GoodLife' or vainly giving myself a pat on the back.  i certainly haven't arrived yet.  i am just not where i used to be. and so i just share this story as an encouragement.  it's never too late to change.  there will always be excuses, legitimate reasons but one's commitment & dedication to change is what makes the difference.  i included my success story below if you're interested in the details.  i hope to submit it this week... fingers crossed!  
During my first pregnancy, I gained over 60lbs, which is outside the healthy weight gain during pregnancy.  I had never really taken care of myself before getting pregnant, and I thought it was definitely too late to take care of myself when I was pregnant.  Friends and family had always encouraged me to eat what I wanted and as much as I liked as I was “eating for two” which was a myth that I easily bought into.  It was not unusual for me to eat a whole cake in one sitting. As a result, I was quite lethargic and battled with the general discomforts of pregnancy like back pain and mobility. I found it difficult to stand for long periods, I stayed inside in front of the t.v. a great deal of the time and struggled with insomnia, depression & self-image.  I hated the way I looked.  Every pound I gained just made me feel worse about myself and my pregnancy which led me to feel more depressed which led me to eat more. It was cyclical. I just kept telling myself I would work hard after to loose the pounds.  But inside, I was very afraid of becoming just like others, who after having kids never lost the weight and continued gain unhealthily as a coping mechanism.  I had definitely inherited some unhealthy thinking & unhealthy habits from my past.  I had always been a slimmer person before pregnancy but definitely not a healthy person and I knew having a baby would end the slimmer stage of my life if I didn’t make some changes. 
Four months after my son was born, I joined an outdoor bootcamp which helped me work off some of the post-baby weight.  It was perfect.  It ran from 6-7am in a nearby park.  I could get my workout & be home before my son woke up.  While still enrolled in bootcamp, I found out I was pregnant with twins.  I was excited, but a bit disappointed to lose all of my progress.  I was referred to a wonderful personal trainer at GoodLife.  I was surprised to find out that I could not only exercise, but also get in shape safely with my trainer’s guidance.  I only gained 55lbs, which is less than my first pregnancy, & I was pregnant with twins!  I soon found out that my initial goal of just keep the weight gain at a minimum was soon transformed into a whole new world of possibility.  Now it wasn’t just about how I looked but as my trainer began to not just train but educate me on my health, I realized it was a lot more about my overall health and about the example I set for my kids.  I had always gone above & beyond to make sure my son ate healthy but he was getting to the age where “do as I say and not as I do” just wasn’t going to work.  I felt like such a hypocrite.   I would never allow him to eat cake or chips & watch t.v. but here I was doing just that. I knew I had to make some drastic changes to my eating habits & activity level.  I also knew the physical demand once the twins were born was going to be overwhelming especially since my first wasn’t even 1 ½ yet.  I needed to be better, better for them.  It wasn’t just about me anymore. 
So we got down to business. My personal trainer taught me specific stretches and exercises that increased my stamina and prepared me for labour & beyond.  I had more energy than with my first pregnancy, felt less lethargic, and felt better overall, both mentally and physically.  Any back pain or discomfort we worked out through stretches and strengthening exercises.  My posture improved while my belly grew.  My trainer gave me advice and accountability regarding my eating patterns and prevented me from returning to bad habits of the past.  The emotional support I received from the general community of the gym was amazing and boosted my self confidence.  I worked out three times a week right up until two days before my scheduled c-section at 39 weeks.
After giving birth to two beautifully healthy babies, weighing 6.6lbs & 7.6lbs, I was back to the gym six weeks after my c-section.  Getting back into a routine definitely helped both emotionally and physically with the challenges of raising three young children.  I quickly recovered and began losing weight, which I can only attribute to having exercised during my pregnancy.  My doctor had told me to expect to lose half a pound a week.  Instead, I began to lose two to three pounds a week.  Going to the gym not only helped me to get much needed time for myself, but has helped me be a better mother.  Not only am I modeling better behaviour for my kids by eating right and exercising, but I am refreshed and renewed by having and accomplishing my own goals.  I could not have done it without my trainer and the rest of the staff and clients at GoodLife. The support has been outstanding.  I never dreamed I could feel or look this good.  I feel like a new person both inside & out!  Thank-you GoodLife & Christina, for helping me give my kids the irreplaceable gift of a healthy future & a healthy mom.  You have changed our lives forever!
UPDATE:  I found out in December (2010) that I am expecting our fourth child!  With only 32 months between our first & our fourth child, I have never felt more empowered or equipped to tackle the challenge with confidence & vigorous dedication to the “GoodLife”. 
my first pregnancy {40 weeks}
second pregnancy: with twins...
& still smaller than my first
{39 weeks}
third pregnancy {39 weeks}
i'll have to take a better picture
now that i am officially 40 weeks
* note to anyone interested in joining GoodLife... your membership is free if you volunteer in the child minding