Monday, October 9, 2017

A long time coming

Tonight I made Turkey Noodle Soup for the first time in years and it wasn't tasting exactly how I had hoped so I was searching my blog archives to find the amazing Turkey Noodle Soup I had made in 2013. I eventually found it but along the way I saw that I'd written 100-200 posts most years, until kids came along. Through pregnancy with Avie I was steady but then baby came and bam, it cuts way down. Heck this year alone I've written 3 times. It's October. That's pretty terrible. Ironically, I still think about blog posts, still write them in my mind, but between babies and working and having a life I can't seem to sit down and write. I miss it so much though. I miss rereading what has gone on in my life, I miss working through my thoughts and feelings online, I just miss all of it. So here I am. Turkey soup on the stove, a turkey sandwich in my belly and some blog thoughts swirling in my brain. I should be heading to bed, but I feel delighted to carve out a moment to write, to think, for myself. 

- I most recently blogged about Avelynn's closet bed and I'd like to happily report that it's working out super well. We had B in there for a while but now we have moved Avie over and it's perfect. I can easily open the baby gate and let her crawl in and I can also lay next to her easily - this was not so true in the crib :) Also B prefers the crib - she is sleeping better. It's been a win win. 

- I am falling more and more in love with my home with each passing day. Considering I so begrudged our having to move at all, let alone while I was pregnant, with a toddler, and working full time, into a home that cost almost double what we were paying. But I am now officially in love and can see how this house has suited us better in almost every way. It is such a blessing in so many ways and I am so thankful for it. Our bathtub fits our whole family, which makes for fun bath times. The family room and kitchen are attached so the girls can play and I can cook without worrying about them. Doors close strategically so that toddlers can't escape. The kitchen is big and beautiful and functional. The yard is great for kids. Over and over again I am thankful for this space. It fits my big, loud extended family, it separates out living spaces so privacy is possible even in groups. It's beautiful. 

- I am working 17 hours a week at my church and loving it. It's my dream job. I think that's the only reason I'm ok with blogging less - I know that my job is the thing that takes me away the most and I so love it. I never knew I could find a job so fulfilling. People talked about jobs in a certain way but it always alluded me, until now. I'm so thankful for it. I feel capable there, and like I make a difference. That's a pretty great combo. 

- I have been reading the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon once a year since I was 16, long before it was fashionable (or possibly appropriate for me to be reading). When I heard it was being made into a TV series I was excited and a bit nervous. Glad it wasn't a movie, a TV show made the most sense. Then it came out and the first season/book is a bit dark so it's taken me a while to watch it. Thankfully Paul ended up loving it, so we've been watching it together. Normally we binge any Netflix show but we've taken our time and it's been really enjoyable. We're finally into the second season now. But in real time, the third season/book has been coming out and it's one of my favorites. Plus one of my closest friends has been watching it now and I keep wanting to talk with her about it. So I have been watching season 2 with Paul, and also watching season 3 on the sly (with permission). It's been fun, to do both. And I'll say, most of the casting and story telling is spot on for the book, despite the fact that it couldn't be identical, nor should it. I love holding that in tension - that books and movies/tv can't be the same. It wouldn't work. Books, especially Outlander books, are huge. You can't capture it all - but you can capture the spirit of it. They have done that beautifully. 

And now I should go to bed. I work tomorrow and normally have Paul to help me get the kids off to my sisters for the day, but he's got a shift of work that starts early. I need to be on my A game to a toddler and 10 month old fed and out the door by 8:20am. Here's praying that they sleep all night - dear Lord!
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Friday, June 30, 2017

DIY Closet Bed

The world of blogging is full picture perfect DIY's and best laid plans. I had this dream of a closet bed for Avie - I even blogged about it. Then I did it and it exceeded my expectations. I picked fabrics and made pillows. I was so proud - sewing them at 9 months (and 3 days) pregnant. I loved them. I loved it. LOVED IT. Look, it's so pretty! And picture worthy. 

Pigtails and face pillows

Turns out Avie liked it too - so much that she pulled the faces off of both the pillows. Now it's a creepy white circle and a strange gray swirly pillow with lips. Plus she wouldn't sleep in it. It was too short. She's tall like Paul. So basically, the toddler ripped the faces off the cute pillows and wouldn't sleep in it. So yeah #pinterestfail. BUT the bed itself is great, and we added a safety gate to the front so it's a nice small crib with a sweet netting and garland on top.

Then the more we were thinking about it we realized that Avie is already sleeping funny and it didn't make sense to transition her from her crib bed  - she's not escaping from it and it's good to have her contained. Bailey needed to move into Avie's room, so we decided to move Bailey into the closet bed. It's been amazing. They are in the same room (and NO ONE BUT US IS IN OUR ROOM) and it's going well - they are in the same room but not on top of each other. It's slightly darker for B and Avie, the picky sleeper, gets to keep her regular bed. It was a stroke of genius. So so happy. 

Also they've been sharing a room now for 5 nights. It's been touch and go at times but mostly they've slept through the night #praisethelord. The only night they didn't was the night it was 31 degrees, the electricity turned off so the fans didn't work, and then the electricity turned back on and scared the girls. Rough night. We're good now though. Plus it's less hot. So that helps. 

And...on the plus side of all of this. I used the many many pillows that I'd made for the bed (and obviously weren't safe for a baby bed) and created a cozy sitting space in the bedroom for reading stories with Avie. 
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Monday, June 5, 2017

B's Birth Story

Last time it took me a month to write out my birth story - this time little B baby is just a day old and I'm already keen to get it written out, which goes to show you how different the two labours were (and how different it is to have a second baby)! My first labour was 4 days of labour, my second was 2 days. 20 minutes of pushing the first time, 8 minutes this time. The first time the pain felt it would last forever, as the days continued. This time, it all felt manageable and ordered somehow. From start to finish, this labour was proof that the second birth is often easier. Let me tell you about it.

Edited to add: Ironically, I am only now finishing this a month after little B made her way into our lives. Started out so strong, haha. 

Edited to add again: even worse, I finished the post but then took 4.5 months to get the photos uploaded to post #lifewithtwokids #momlife

My due date was Sunday, December 11th. Not much happened in the days following my due date. My Auntie Sandy came on Thursday the 8th. She was amazing. She cooked our dinners and took care of Avie in the day so I could work and rest. It was amazing. I felt so loved and cared for. During this time I had steady Braxton Hicks but no real contractions. Then on Friday the 16th I woke up with contractions about 10 minutes apart. Throughout the day they continued this way. Sandy left by 2pm, and I was scheduled to pick up Paul's mom at 3pm at the airport. Only an hour without additional help. Thankfully around 2:30pm Paul's sister Katie appeared to help, which I was most thankful for with the contractions continuing. We drove to the airport to pick Nancy up. Then we picked up Paul. We headed out for hearty German food for Paul's bday. We enjoyed schnitzel and spaetzle, beer and wine (non-alcoholic beer for me), through contractions, still 10 minutes apart. Eventually, we headed home and I was able to sleep all night. Contractions were 10 minutes apart through the night but not so painful that I couldn't sleep through them. It was only when I would wake up to pee that I would notice the contractions.

Out at dinner - last pregnancy selfie!

Cuddles after dinner with my first born

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Bailey's Newborn Photoshoot

I have a really talented friend, and a really cute baby. When these two things collide it makes for a great photoshoot and some fabulous pictures. These were taken when Bailey was just 10 days old. 

Avie and Bailey

The girls

Bailey and Dad - also Bailey looks like an old man here

Sweet sweet Bailey

Those hands!

Our new little family - two blondes, a beard and pigtails. 

So much love

Also! I blogged a while back about how to transition the room. So here we go - Avie's new floor bed in the closet. All the heart eyes. 

Avie in her big girl closet bed

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Saturday, December 31, 2016

The second Baby Morgan has arrived!

Here we are again - announcing another new baby. Bailey Lee Anne is here! She's sweet and cute and basically everything a baby should be. Avie arrived on the 17th of the month, and Bailey arrived on the 18th - the symmetry makes me happy. Plus her initials spell BLAM which is just fun.

She beat her big sister - labour was only 2 days start to finish, rather than 4 and the pushing time was also cut in half - woot. She arrived early Sunday morning, December 18th, at 6:30am. Paul got to deliver her, as he did with Avie, and that always adds to a very special moment.

She is named Bailey, because we like it. It seems to mean an outer or inner wall in a castle or court. Very deep meaning, this one. Her first middle name is Lee - for my Grandma Lee (short for Lena), my sister (Jenna Lee) and my Aunt (Sandra Lee). Turns out Lee also has a very spiritual meaning; it means "the sheltered side; the side away from the wind; shelter from wind or weather." Her second middle name is Anne (for my Aunt, Lesley Anne) and it turns out a few of my or Paul's cousins have Anne in their names as well. The Anne has an E because of Anne of Green Gables - how could I not? This meaning is a bit deeper at least, "Favour or grace. God has favoured me."

This whole second kid thing is both better and easier, but also harder. Thankfully we have had much family around to help. We had my Aunt here the week up until her birth to help me with Avie and to cook for us - and then we had Paul's mom here from my first day of labour until the 26th. She cleaned my closets and cupboards, got up with Avie each morning and cared for her so we could sleep when Bailey slept and eat when Bailey ate. The first day without help was the 26th - we realized with a shock to our system that we would have to be with Bailey in the night AND Avie in the morning. What? Actual, full, parenting? Ok. Thankfully Avie is doing this new thing where she sleeps until 5am or 6am one morning, and 8:30am the next morning. So the early mornings Paul gets up with her (since I'm up with Bailey in the night), and the mornings she sleeps in, we all sleep. So that's good. Lots of love and cuddles and hugs in general, and lots of crying and diaper changes and kid wrangling. 

And lastly, a sneak peak of our newborn / family photo shoot with Paraphrase Photos. I snapped this while Laura worked - she is, as always, a fabulous photographer. She makes us all comfortable and captures beautiful moments.

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Thursday, December 15, 2016

When grief continues

Fall 2013

Often I've written about my family's journey with Alzheimer's. My mom has had this disease since roughly 2003; though it's really been affecting us in real ways since about 2009. You can read more about my mom and this journey hereherehereherehere, here and here. I've been the writer in the family, but I got that ability from somewhere and as I read a recent email from my Dad, I realized he was who I got that gift from! He'd written an email about another level of grief that he was working through this week, and with his permission, I'd like to share what he had to say. 

Christmas 2015

Well, today was one for the books. It caught me off guard. About 1.5 years ago, I cleaned out all of Robin's clothes...ones that didn't hold any particular memories for us. I thought I had rounded the corner on this grief contraire.  Yesterday I decided that today was going to be a Sally-Ann day and recycle Robin's remaining clothes. 

I opened her closet and immediately saw the dress that her step-Mom bought her just before Jenna was married. Robin wore that to countless choir performances...I choked up with sadness. I couldn't do it.  So I went to the drawers with all her remaining tops. More sadness! There were 'achievement' tops like the 900th exercise  session T-shirt at Curves and the T-shirts from when she put on Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat . Countless tops representing so many memorable trips together. There were celebration tops, many special holiday tops, special event tops and tops that just looked so great on Robin...never again to be worn. More sadness. But I kept going. Then the underwear drawer with the 'special' ones - ones that Robin chose especially for us. More sadness. 

I finally worked up the courage to go back to the closet. The mother-of-the-bride dress, one of the first two Yofi creation dresses I bought Robin in Victoria before we were married, the two "quintessentially Robin" purple & dark red overcoats that she always wore in the winter and the white Christmas overly-decorated vest. Too many memories of our precious marriage were heading off for someone else to enjoy but with none of the heart associations. 

But I did what I needed to do...they will now belong to someone else. I couldn't keep them for fear I'd have to go through what I'm feeling now, again. I don't want to go through this again. I hope it was right to take them away. 

After I dropped them off I came home to have a snooze in my recliner but all I could do was lay back, remember and weep. So I decided that I'd walk to Granville Island...a happy place for me. That's where I am now, writing this difficult message and the tears continue to flow. When will it ever end? 

But these aren't wasted tears...Jesus is remembering all of them; and weeps with me. Grief lessons flood before me giving me solace, hope, gratitude to Daddy for being with me always and continually reminding of what He's doing in and through me because of the grief...and I continue to Praise Him. I'm reminded over & over again that he's chosen me to walk this road with Jesus to bring honour, & glory to Him and I'm honoured to do so. So please pray for me/us. I can't tell you what to pray because I don't know...but the Holy Spirit does. 

I am so thankful for a Dad that can share his emotions - that isn't afraid to tell his daughters where his heart is hurting, and wants to share that, to draw us all closer as a family. Pray for us - Saturday is my Mom's 63rd birthday - we didn't think she'd be alive for that number and in many ways, it feels like she isn't truly alive for it. This tension of grief and waiting is so hard to process. 
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Monday, November 28, 2016

When the government returns your husband

Written November 30th

My husband is home! After 13 days away he returned to us - amid shouts of "Daddy" from Avie as the taxi pulled up. After a long afternoon of Braxton Hicks and back pain, I was feeling tired and anxious. I asked Jamie (one of the girls who lives with us) to watch Avie so I could shower; fully prepared to get clean and have a good cry. As I headed upstairs my phone buzzed with a text from Paul; "Baby, I'm coming home!!" Never have I been so happy to get a text from Paul. I stuck with my plan of a shower and a good cry, but this way, it was tears of relief. Being Paul, he let all the other jurors get in taxi's first but he was home within an hour of that first text. 

Waiting for the taxi to arrive

The biggest question Paul and I keep getting asked, "would you do it again?" The answer is a resounding, "probably." For Paul, he values civic responsibility greatly. While it wouldn't be something he entered lightly, and he would weigh the cost on our family, he would most likely do it again. He grew in many ways and learned so much, especially about himself. He would also encourage others to go through this. This is part of the system that keeps us safe, that stands for justice. 

For me, I would say that while the timing sucked in many ways, this was also a time of growth for me, as well as for Paul. This time showed me yet again how my community will rise up to support and encourage me. I learned that I am far more capable than I give myself credit for. I got to watch the students in our home love and support me and Avie - emotionally and practically. I got to see God meet my emotional and practical needs. It made for a sweet time of reconnection with my husband. 

Lunch downtown with Paul the next day

It also was a time that made for some fun stories between us. Of passing clothes back and forth (what a treat to collect dirty laundry from a Sheriff), of the messages we could send back and forth between each others and the Sheriff's. On top of that, Paul had figured out early on that if he spent money at dinner (by buying a beer) it would alert my phone so I could see where he was and feel connected - I loved hearing that he was buying beer mostly just so I would see that. It was fun to hear about the meals they ate and how tired he was of eating out (he made me feel so loved by saying how much he missed my cooking). Of course, Paul can't talk about the deliberations at all. In Canada the jurors can only talk about that which is public record. Basically, the things they learned during the course of the trial that are public, he can discuss (like what the case was, etc) but nothing more. Paul is most definitely a rule follower, so he sticks to that religiously.

Avie and Paul reunited and so at peace together - my heart was so full in this moment.

One of the biggest things that happened during this time was the growth I got to see in my husband. There were some things about him that I have been praying for him for the last while - that he would understand certain things about himself. There are many things I love and respect about him that I was praying he'd be able to grasp about himself. During this time he learned many of these things about himself. I watched him thrive under the weight of the responsibility of the justice system, and the expectations there. He came back sobered and stretched, knowing himself and his strengths better. It has been a gift to see in him. I am so thankful for that. 

This was simultaneously one of the hardest experiences of my life, and one of the biggest blessings. We learned so much about ourselves individually and got to see our community support us both in different ways. I am glad we had this experience - I am proud of my husband for his service to the justice system here - and I am so so so happy to have him home.


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