WELCOME!!

this blog is a place for me to empty my brain in a diary sort of way, but also to share various family news, house building progress and whatever happens to pop into my mind! a place to ventilate! since I live in a country where I haven't grasped the language all that well yet, and I happen to be a person who really likes to socialize, I guess here I can get the "yakking" out of me! if you happen to have a good time "listening" - I take that as an added bonus! have a good day - it will only be as good as you want it to be!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Pray more, worry less....

So here we are.  It's December.  I am 100% positive that somehow we skipped a month this fall.  Because, truly, how else do you explain that it's already December 9th???
See.  I told you.

Outside my window we have a beautiful winter day.  Sun is shining and we have lots of snow and it's only around freezing, so not terribly cold.  I like.

Another week and a half left of school before Christmas break.  Our kids will have one semester under the belt in their new schools, and over all, it's gone quite well.  It's easy to get caught remembering the lost books, the forgotten homework, the missed opportunities to study, moments of frustration oven papers misplaces etc, but when I look at the big picture, I realize those are minor bumps.  If I have time to worry about those things, my life must be pretty easy, and normal!
Our kids that are in elementary school are all doing fine.  The younger girls are not gonna win any spelling bee any time soon, but they seem to be making friends, having fun and are keeping up OK. Our Kindergarten boy is doing so awesome!  I went for an observation visit in his classroom and talked with his teachers, and they only had good things to say about our little guy.  I am so thankful.  The night before he started school my hubby and I hardly slept, but prayed a lot on his behalf... We were both so worried about sending him away.  Would he listen?  Would he behave?  Would he be happy?  Would he enjoy himself? Fortunately we can say yes to all of the above.

Our 13 year old is preparing for high school next fall and she's getting excited about being a "big kid"!  She's reading all the information they are getting and wondering what courses to pick.  I am SO happy to see her excited about high school, especially since she for a long time was resisting anything that applied to "growing up".  She didn't want to become a stupid teenager.  High school seemed scary.  Well, she turned 13 and somehow she's managing just fine  ;)

Our 11 year old is plugging along as usual.  She's spunky and fun and our most reliable kid.  She does well in school and does what she needs to do without being reminded very often.  1 out of 8 like that! Not bad!! He, he.

Our teens.... Well.  Our 16 year old is off to la-la-land.  Also known as "boyfriend land".  Yup.  Our oldest is dating.  We had 17 years old for age limit, but since she's always been pretty advanced, she started dating 4 months early, so she's right on track according to "her" normal.
It is weird.  Really weird.  And I wasn't prepared for it at all.  She has always maintained that she wasn't going to start dating before she was well past 20.  Like, 25, or so.
Silly me.  I believed it!!  And I think she did too!  Until this tall, charming boy made her head turn into a balloon on a string!  Fortunately for her (and him!!) we approve of Prince Charming.  He really is a very nice guy.

Our 15 year old has had a pretty rough 6 months.  We moved away from where she loves to live. She had to start a new school and get to know new "everything" (she's doing well with friends etc, so that's nice). Then her pesky older sister, who has been her best friend since babyhood, starts working = gone a lot.  To top it off, this same sister goes and finds a boyfriend!  Without permission from her.  NOT easy.
It's like all the things she relies on, keeps getting ripped away from her.  She does like to go to school though, and that I am very grateful for.  However, her grades are dropping fast and hard.  She does what she needs to do in class, and she does it very well, but she does NOT hand in assignments, does not study for tests, does not do her homework. (we are working on these things and she's making progress)  This girl has always had a great big temper.  She has always been very sweet and sensitive as well.  There has been a lot of many things.
We are now finally figuring out what most likely has been her challenge for many years, and are waiting for a diagnosis of ADHD.  She's very open and positive about this, and can't wait to feel better.  She also struggles with OCD and anxiety, so there's a lot on her plate.
The ball is now rolling though, and she's starting therapy and might need to go on some medication.  It's hard not to worry.  It's hard not to feel guilty.  It's hard not to feel pain and sadness.
I hope and pray this will be a turning point for her.  She has so much potential.  In her construction class she has the highest percentage.  She's so good at so many things.  My heart goes out to her and wish she could see herself in my eyes.  That she could see how awesome she is, how smart and beautiful she is.  She has the most generous, thoughtful nature, but sometimes a switch goes off in her head, and all those wonderful things get overshadowed by some real struggles.

I need to remember this great, awesome saying that a good friend of mine sent me

"If you have time to worry, you have time to pray"

I need to remember to pray more and worry less.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Life is full of changes.

I am actually writing another blog entry again!  Only a few weeks since last, wow!!  But a lot has happened, so I figured I share it with you.

First off, yesterday I started my 5th journal!!  OK, what does that mean?  Well, four years ago, when we'd lived in Finland for about 4 months, I found myself looking back, wondering what in the world had just happened, and realized that I remembered very little of what had taken place in the months that had past.
SO, I decided to start writing a journal.  I purchased a simple journal containing a page for each day of the year, and I more or less filled each page with that day's events and happenings, little things that the kids would say or do etc.
This has now become a habit!!  (and I am NOT one of those who easily stick to anything that resembles a habit, so be impressed, please!)  So, yeah, since the first day of writing in my first journal happened to be Nov 3rd, 2010, that has now become my informal "Family New Year".
So yesterday I started my 5th book!  It's actually sort of exciting to think about when I in the future have these books to read. I will be able to look back and smile, cry, laugh etc at what our life was like "in the past".  I don't think my life is any more interesting or unique than the next person's, but it is MY family's and MY life, so to ME it is interesting!  And trust me, the things I write aren't earth shaking by any means, it's the ho-hum of our daily lives, but even the smallest events are fun to read about later on.

OK, enough about my secret diary.

Two weeks ago I spent 5 days on the US west coast, visiting my sister and brother and their families.  It was kind of a sudden trip, my sister had enough points for me to get a really, really cheap ticket for me to fly out there, so YAY!! I went!  I brought baby along, of course. It was a nice break away from the day to day chores and so nice to see my siblings again!  I hadn't seen either of them for several years.  It was also awesome to come back home.  Being away from my family and my everyday life reminded me of why I love my life so much!  I have it good.

As of Monday a week ago, my hubby is now his own boss!  Very exciting and I can't say how happy I am for him.  He signed a contract with some local guys and he'll be doing business modelling for them.  He also works on an hourly basis doing aircraft financing/analyzing for buying and leasing airplanes for his old boss (that he worked for before we moved to Finland).  These kind of challenges are the ones he loves to do.  This is when his business degree comes in handy, and he truly enjoys what he does.  So, yeah, exciting and fun!

It feels like our life is taking a turn for the better in many ways and knowing that our future is an untold story, I try to remember to embrace the good that we are experiencing at the moment and thank God for the way he is taking care of us.

We have a few trips planned by the way, so maybe I'll write about them "next time"!  Until then, take care.

Friday, October 17, 2014

......hello?

I feel like I've been totally forgetting about this blog lately.  Blame life.  You know, that thing that takes place somewhere between diaper changes, running errands, house chores, filling up gas, making dinner, talking with my kids and hubby....
It's been a steady stream of life going on.
It has also included me running a long and stubborn cold, ending with me needing antibiotics and a puffer!! Never used one of those before, but the cold went down in my lungs and I was wheezing. Yukk. I am finally feeling better. The kids and Hubby have had the same thing to different degrees.

So, what's been going on?
In September our 2nd oldest daughter turned 15.  She didn't know what to do for her birthday, but was very lonesome for her friends in our old locality.  So, I was able to arrange for her to meet up with them, about half way between our cities, and we had such a fun day with her friends and a few of the moms. We enjoyed a yummy lunch and then went shopping at the outlet mall.  Our family spend the weekend at a hotel right by the outlet, we had some free nights to redeem from points we'd collected when hubby worked out of town last winter. Nice!!  It was so nice and fun to just chill for a few days. Kids swam in the pool and we ate pizza in the hotel room.  Such a typical family get away!

The fall up here was spectacular. The colours of the trees have been simply stunning!  I have never seen it like that before, way awesome!  I really like that.
Now I am bracing myself for a long and cold winter with lots of snow.  I have to admit, even though I love every season and do like snow, I am not really a winter person.  So, a challenge it will be!

The kids are all doing well.  We have 7 in school now and so far, so good.  Our little guy in Kindergarten turns 5 next week, and he LOVES school this year.  I am SO happy and thankful for that. He is starting to read small words and his favourite "subject" is gym.
Our 2nd grader is a typical school girl.  She loves to do "quiet" things.  I think she alone has used up more tape and glue than the rest of our kids combined!  She seems to keep up OK with the things they are learning as well, so no big worries there.
Girl #5 is in grade 3 and she has made many friends and is enjoying her days.  If she could she's be on the monkey bars all day, she is quite athletic and loves to move around.

Then we have #4 in grade 6.  She is an easy kid that is very chill and laid back.  She's also very goofy and giggly.  She has a few really good friends already and school comes pretty easy for her.
Our 3rd oldest is going to be a teen this month!!  She has suddenly started to grow so much faster, and is not a little girl any more.  She has always been tiny, and I can tell she's quite excited about FINALLY starting to catch up in size with her friends.  She really likes her new school, friends and teacher.  SO good to see!  Her grades are coming up as well, I feel so happy for her. This is her last year of school before high school, so it's good if she starts to pay attention to her education a bit more!

Our 2 oldest are in grade 10 and 11.  At times I want to put the break down hard.  My eyes actually mist up when I think about it. Kids. Grow. Up. Fast.
It is NOT cliche. They really do.
I've been looking at some old pictures this last week that the kids dug up from somewhere, and there was one of them going to the first day of school in JR and SR Kindergarten.  11 years ago. Sigh.
I bet the next 11 years will bring way too many changes along with them. Our oldest is now 16....in 11 years she'll be 27!!  She got her first job this fall, at HM, (the clothing store), that they just opened at the local mall. She's pumped!!  She also got her driver's permit.... Yeah. Scary.
I know my kids are not perfect, and I don't expect them to be (then I'd have to live up to the same standard myself, and that would be impossible!!), but I do think they are pretty awesome kids.  For being teen girls, I really couldn't ask for much better.
They have some really decent friends around here, so that's a big help. I have much reason to be thankful.

Our youngest girl is already 5 months old. She's our daily dose of sunshine.  She's my remedy when I look at the big kids growing up too fast.  She keeps my days busy, and I LOVE to snuggle and hang out with her. Yeah, she's pretty fantastic.
She is starting to scoot and has almost mastered sitting.  I am introducing some baby food to her (mashed up bananas and avocados), and she has had some interesting experiences trying to eat them.  I swear the food inflates when you put it in their little mouths!! The amount she spits out is like 4 times more than I TRIED to put in!!
All the kids love her to pieces, even our little guy that had to give up his spot as the youngest, he's so protective of her, I love it!!
And yes, hubby is VERY smitten by his youngest girl. ;)

Talking about him, he's been plenty busy with work, both physical and mental.  He has been doing construction but also a lot of work from home (accounting related).  He likes that he's busy with both!
I am busy at home and over all I enjoy our new city.  I have to admit I've been a bit homesick though... Fortunately we are planning a trip down there in a month, to attend a wedding, so that'll be awesome!

That's it for now!  I hope you all have a wonderful fall!



Friday, September 5, 2014

Hello, September!

It is quiet in here.
Baby is taking a nap, hopefully long enough for me to get a few things done.  All the other kids are in school, and hubby's at work.
Weird.
This summer sure went by fast, and I'm not sure if I'm ready for fall, but, ready or not! Here it comes!

Our little guy started Kindergarten.  So far he likes it.  His teachers are nice and fun and the kids all seem like a good bunch.  It wasn't easy sending him off, both hubby and I were nervous and a bit worried, and I don't think either of us slept very well the night before school started.  We did pray for all our kids though, starting new schools, again...
Sometimes I wonder how they'll be effected by all of our moves and constant changes in their lives.  But I have to trust that they'll be OK and that God is with them.  As a parent though, I find that I question my actions, and I often feel that I might be doing the wrong thing.  I guess knowing I am TRYING to do my best, is some comfort.

My parents were here for 9 days, and we enjoyed their visit.  My older brother and his family came for a few days as well, as did my in-laws.  While they were all here, we held our baby's baptism.  We had such a nice and fun last weekend of summer!

Tomorrow we are planning to hike up in Hiawatha National Park (only a short drive from here).  It's been raining a fair amount lately, so hopefully tomorrow will lend us some sunshine when we head out!  I love exploring this new city, especially the nature around here!  So beautiful.

Well, I need to get some stuff done, while I have a chance!  Have a good weekend and happy new school year to all of you who have kids in school :)


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

1 year Anniversary!

One year ago, today, we woke up early and headed for the International airport in Helsinki, Finland.  To say we were excited about the trip, would be an understatement.  We were going back home!!  Home to big maple trees (and maple syrup...), familiar stores, family and cousins and many dear friends!  Home to our old stomping grounds.  Yes.  We were excited.

Looking back, seeing what this year brought us, I almost need to sit down and catch my breath!  Whew! What a ride!  From when our plane first touched ground in Halifax, us only catching our plane to Toronto because they held it for us!  Finding a house to rent, buying cars, signing kids up in school, waiting for our overseas shipping container to arrive...  Also seeing everyone again, after 3 long years away! The two youngest hearing everybody speaking English, being able to understand everything being said!! (they had no memories of that from when we lived here before).
Then, me finding out we were expecting another baby.  Excited and nervous.
Then Hubby working out of town, for 7 long months....
I often felt like our life was on hold during that time.

Early May we greeted a perfect, beautiful, baby girl into our lives.  She has been such a blessing, and we can not imagine our lives without our newest little princess.
Hubby was able to take two weeks off after her birth, and then he got laid off, so his paternity leave got unexpectedly extended.  Something had to be done, and despite us feeling quite wiped in many ways, another move was in God's plan.  Now we have lived in our new home for almost 2 months!!  Crazy.  We really like our new place, as well as the city, surroundings, friends and work.  God has been good to us and lead us during this last year, as he has in the past.
I can't say it was always a smooth ride, but life seldom is.

Looking forward to see what this next year has in store for us!!

And yes, we certainly miss Finland at times.  I have found myself crying, more than once, while thinking about our many dear friends over there.  And of course, the candy, saunas, beautiful nature, coffee and chocolate ;)

I do have to add one thing... I LOVE the fact that I again can understand and speak and write the language that is used where I live!!!  I have often caught myself being so thankful for this!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

We are still alive!

Well, well!  I am attempting to write a brief post, letting you know that we are still alive and well.

We have now lived in our new house for 4 weeks, and time has not stood still, not even for a moment!
So, what has happened?
We moved, and the move went as well as a move can go.  You know, messy, stressful, hair pulling, little sleep... and somehow it took place.  The day before we had to leave our previous rental, I felt tired and spent.  In many ways.  It's always emotional to move from one place to another, not really knowing what lays ahead.  It's also tiring and stressful.  No matter how much you prepare and organize and prepare in advance, the night before is always crazy.
It was the kids' last day of school.  Newborn baby to look after. One of our vehicles broke down... And you know, the daily stuff you need to do, like eat and stuff.
A few times I felt a few tears burning in my eyes, and I kind of felt like hiding in a closet and pretend that this wasn't our life.
But then you keep on going and make it happen.

The drive up to our new city, went well.  I drove the mini van (that Hubby had time to repair in the midst of the moving madness!, only a new starter motor required) and Hubby drove the Suburban with a trailer in tow.  I only had to stop 3 times to feed baby, so not bad!!  We made it up here early evening and unloaded the trailer and whatever stuff we had in the cars.
Then the 6 youngest kids and I spent Fri-Sun at friends house, while Hubby, friend's hubby and oldest daughter returned down to pack up the house in a moving truck.
Of course the big truck we had ordered wasn't available, so we got a smaller one, that didn't fit quite all of our stuff... So the following weekend Hubby had to drive down one more time to get the last of our stuff in a trailer.

In the mean time I spent the weekend at our friends' house, and several of our kids got stomach flu.  Gotta keep it interesting!!
Monday night we spent in our new home, and it felt nice and exciting.

Now my baby woke up and I need to feed her, but here is bit of what has been going on as of late!  Will write more later, but will sign off saying that life is going really well for us right now :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A chapter ending...

I am grabbing a moment to write a few lines.
Baby is sleeping and the rest of the gang is gone (it's strangely quiet in here!!) to watch the annual fireworks over the river between USA and Canada.
I didn't feel like bringing such a small baby along, the crowds are huge down there and it gets quite loud too.

Four more nights in this temporary home, then off to new adventures.
When we found this rental we signed a six months lease, and after that it's been on a month to month basis. We knew we weren't planning on staying in this house for long, but we didn't know that our next home would be in a different city!
We had planned to find a house in this area, and settle here for the time being.  But God had other plans.
It's with mixed feelings we leave this area behind.
I wasn't born in Canada to start off with, but this is the only city I have lived in, in this country, and the longest time I have lived in ANY city, in my life!  My hubby moved here with his parents and siblings when he was 5-6 years old (he moved to Canada when he was 4 1/2, and spent the first few years in Toronto), and has lived here more or less since then, besides some years spent in Finland as single and married.
So, this city has become our "base".
It's not a strikingly pretty city by any means.
It's rather polluted and boring, actually.
The summers can get nasty hot and humid, and the lakes are too polluted to swim in.
Doesn't sound so appealing, does it?
But home is where you create memories, where you birth and raise your children, where the good and the bad days take place.
Regardless of what the surroundings are like, the comfort of the familiar, the convenience of the known, become a security and a safe place to be.  It becomes HOME.

When we moved overseas four years ago, almost to the date!, it was such a big move in so many ways, and in my gut my only wish was to one day be able to return to Canada...
There were so many changes about to take place, it was hard to even sort out all the feelings and first impressions.
I remember being overwhelmed, and like in a daze, for a full four months after arriving to Finland.
Even if I enjoyed many parts of being there, the first while was quite intense.

Now we are moving to another city in Canada.
It's exciting and A LOT easier in so many ways.
But in some ways it's harder.  I know I'll be comparing the new city to this one.  I will miss some stores (the shopping here is a lot better and more varied), but I will enjoy the beautiful nature up there.  The winters might feel long, compared to here, but on the other hand, I will enjoy the cooler summers.
We will have four very distinct seasons, something I love!  The fall up there is spectacular with all the maple, birch, oak and other trees.  It's really like a mix of Canada and Finland.
There are lots of beautiful, clean, beaches to visit.
Berries to pick and the national park to hike in.
But it's different to what we are used to.

Again I feel myself taking a deep breath before taking another plunge.
Not knowing what the water will actually feel like.
I send a sigh above, praying that our Heavenly Father watches over us, as he has promised to do.
I need patience and strength in many ways.
I have 8 kids' needs to attend to.  Some of them will be homesick and miss living here, others are more neutral, while some are excited about the new.
Hubby can hardly wait to go fishing in the awesome rapids, where salmon and steelhead need to watch out!
I wish for a slower, more predictable, every day life.  Something I've craved for several years now. I pray that God grants my wish...

I will update when we have settled down a bit, until then, remember us in your prayers.