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!

Friday, March 27, 2015

We had a great time!

Time to play catch up.
This month sure went fast, and I can not believe Easter is only a week away!  We still have LOTS of snow around here and the nightly temperature goes well below freezing.
But the spring sun is showing its face on a regular basis now days and the evenings are getting longer, so somehow it does after all feel like SPRING!  And it smells springy.

We had a wonderful, amazing, fun, intense and busy trip to Florida.
We left our town on Sunday the 8th of March.  I started the morning with a trip to urgent care, since I in a very untimely manner managed to catch mastitis (breast infection).  I was running a fever and felt like a truck had hit me and then run me over.  So by the time I had gotten antibiotic for my infection, it was 1 pm before we hit the road.  I rested during the drive and the kids were thankfully great travelers.  We made it down to Windsor around 8.30 pm and visited my husband's brother and his family.  I was pretty wiped, but it's always nice to see those familiar faces.

We were fortunate to spend two nights at my in-laws, and my husband worked from their house while I recovered and thankfully felt better by the time we left on Tuesday.
I appreciate the fact that my husband can work from anywhere these days, it makes our life very flexible. Such a blessing for us.

We came to Detroit airport around 12.30 pm and checked in and ate lunch and hung out, watching planes take off and land.  Our flight was a bit delayed, but after a 2 hrs 50 min flight, we landed safely in Fort Myers, Florida, at around 6.30-7.00 pm.
When we walked out of the airport our 7 year old daughter finally got to see a REAL life "pom" tree (she thought until recently that's what they are called), and she ran up and hugged it :)
We picked up our rental van and drove the 35 min to our rental house.
It felt so amazing to actually be there!  The house we rented was really nice, nothing fancy, but perfect for a family with lots of kids.  We picked up pizza and some groceries and made beds etc, and then crashed for the night, quite tired after a long day.

The following week was filled with fun!  My hubby was able to get some hours of work done during the days, but otherwise we visited many beaches (they are SO beautiful!), went to a nice little zoo, spent a very fun day at a water park and did some mall strolling and a bit of shopping.
Leading up to our trip the kids had earned "Florida Bucks", a few cents here and there for helping out, so now they got to spend those money on little things.
One evening we went to the pier in Naples and watched the sunset.  A gorgeous evening!

We had a few visits to the Dr's while there, and our baby was sick with a cold, that led to a burst ear drum, but fortunately she was well by the time we headed home.
We had to get up at 4 am on Wednesday March 18th (our oldest daughter's 17th birthday!!) in order to catch our flight back home. We spent the last night in a hotel close to the airport, so it wasn't a far drive. We landed in Detroit at 9 am and I drove most of the way home, after sleeping for all of 2 hours!  It was not super awesome to return to lots of snow and cold, but hey!, I'm not going to complain after being able to go on a trip like that!!

Seeing our kids by the ocean, feeding a giraffe, riding on a camel and many, many other neat moments, I feel so fortunate and grateful.  This was my 40th birthday wish, and I can't believe it actually came true!  So I will try to handle a few more weeks....or maybe even a month?? of snow.

Happy spring everyone!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Live and bloom!

I am very fortunate, in many ways.  One of the ways is the fact that I have good friends, like, really awesome friends who love and like me, are there for me, no matter how pathetic, whiny, down, sad, happy, weird, corny I am.
My number one friend is obviously my Hubby, but besides him, I have many others.
Some of them are my siblings and my "spare sister", she's a really good friend of our family, and as close to a sister you can be, without actually being one.
She laughs at us (us being my siblings and I) when we act weird or typical for our family.
She's also a very funny, sarcastic and honest friend, and she will tell you how it is, the good and the bad, and remind us to cheer up when we are down, but at the same time shows empathy and understanding for our sometimes pessimistic moments.

Anyway, this last month was rough for me, due to the cold and snow.  I already blogged about it, so I won't lament on how much it dragged on.  However, my good friend reminded me to "Live and bloom where you are planted!"
It hit home.
Such simple words, but also so true.
I know that God guided us to be where we are for a reason.  We were meant to move here, and in many ways it's a really good place for us to live at.  But I felt like I was wilting lately.  I forgot to water and nourish myself.  I allowed myself to look at the negative and dwell over things I have no control over and can't change.  What a waste of time!  Or maybe not.  Because it also gave me time to vent and reflect over many things, and that is important, I think.
Reminding myself to "Live and bloom", put my mind in a good place.
It made me think "What can I do to improve my situation?" (Because no one else will do it for me)
"What can I do for others, to help improve their lives...?"
Well, that list is endless.  There's always something you can do for others.  And when I find myself spending too much time dwelling on things that drag me down, I try to do something for someone else, and it pretty much always make me feel better.

Don't start thinking I am this great person who do all sorts of great stuff for others, because I'm not.
It might be small things, like reading a book for one of the kids, asking one of my teens about their day, taking time to really listen, and before I know it, my focus has shifted and I feel uplifted.

Talking about feeling uplifted.  Last night I had a great chat with our 15 year old.  Our daughter that had a really hard time last fall.
It's been about 3-4 months now since she was at her lowest.  Back then I felt so much inner turmoil, so many questions unanswered.  What was the best thing to do?  Will people judge?  Will people think we picked the "easy route" if we put her on medication?  (which in NO WAY is an easy route, trust me!).
There are so many kids now days that are diagnosed with "something".  If our daughter got a diagnosis, would she be a number in the statistics of families hopping on the bandwagon of some new "trend"?

Well, I can not answer for anyone else but ourselves.  And it IS startling how many kids are diagnosed with something and given medication these days.
BUT!  That doesn't mean our daughter shouldn't get the help she needed.  Maybe she's a number in some book.  But she's also our child.  She also needs to be able to feel happy and be able to succeed in school.
So, together with several professionals, we decided to give her a low dose of antidepressant for her anxiety and give that some time before doing anything else.  We could all see a change for the better, and she felt better, happier and less anxious, however, her ability to concentrate in school was still very poor.
Our daughter was recognized as a "gifted child" at age 8-9 after going through several hours of testing in grade 3.  So we know that learning comes easy to her, in pretty much all areas.  But her lack of ability to focus, put many of her strengths to shame.
So after trying several other changes, including removing wheat and sugar from her diet (which did help her to some extend), making sure she got enough sleep, ate well, moved around a lot etc, we decided to put her on medication for her ADHD.

I had tears in my eyes when I walked back to the car, carrying her prescription in a bag.  What was this stuff that I was going to give my child?  Had we really tired it all?  This stuff is a narcotic.  It just sounds so BAD! No, it wasn't easy.  And the Dr did not prescribe it without a thorough evaluation and many visits and counseling.  And maybe way too many kids are given medication... but there and then, I prayed that we were doing the right thing for OUR child.
We are very fortunate that she has a positive nature and an optimistic outlook on life.  We are blessed with her having many promising talents and gifts.  She's blessed with a strong, healthy, beautiful body, face and personality.
She's a great, funny, sarcastic girl, and I truly enjoy being her mom.
I have also spent many hours, especially in the last year, crying on her behalf.  Seeing that she was struggling. Her schooling was suffering.  She was not happy.

Two weeks have gone by and she's taken her meds on school days.  She's not drugged up or out of it. She's eating and sleeping well.  She's smiling and is way calmer and a lot more focused and collected.  Last night we had a good chat.  I felt such great happiness for her sake.  Her beaming face, telling me how math is now "SO EASY!!!".  She can finally stay focused enough to get through each class, ahead of all the other students (not like that really matters, but just to show what an improvement it has been for her!).
She said she gets upset when lunch hour rolls around "Because then I can't do anything academic!".

So today I am happy.  And I shall do my best to bloom and live, for my sake and for my family's sake.  And I am thankful for modern medicine.  When used properly, for its intended purpose, it's a wonderful blessing in a young girl's life.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Stupid feelings....

Ugh.  Feelings can be so frustrating.  I sometimes wish I could switch to robot mode.  Just "function" and chug along and not question anything.
But that wouldn't be living, would it?

First off, I like living where we live.  Minus 5 months of snow.  5 months is a big part of the year btw, so it does get kind of long.  I didn't grow up with long winters, and although I truly enjoy all the seasons of the year, and would not exactly want to live where there's summer all year long, these winters get to me.  I am not dying to hit the slopes or skating rink.  I prefer taking walks without slipping on ice and freezing my nose off.
But, I can live with it.  It's OK, life goes on.
I love how close everything is here.  Within 10-15 minutes I can get to most places.
People are very friendly, in the stores, at the schools and at the various Dr's offices I've been to.
Life is at a slower pace in general.
I like all those things.
There's enough shopping, and if I need to cross over to the US, it's a quick drive and hardly ever any long lines at customs.  I can easily tank up the car, do some shopping and run errands and be back in Canada in just over an hour.
We have lots of great friends and the kids like their school etc.
We hope to buy or build a house and are looking in to different options.  My husband likes his job and the people he works with and for.

Yup.  That's all really good and dandy!

So why do I get homesick for Windsor?
I find myself daydreaming of living there again.  It's hard.
It would not "make sense" for us to move back there, although we would be totally fine living there too, but we'd give up a lot of conveniences if we did.

Well, this is just a vent.  I need to get it off my chest.  I guess it's good to be open minded in life, knowing that we are able to live in many areas and be happy.  And over all I AM happy here. I am.  I'm just homesick for home....
Fortunately we are heading down there soon, so hopefully that'll give me my "fix" and I'll be good to go for a while!!

Anyway.  Time will tell what's meant to be, but today I will be homesick for home.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Happy 40!

I really need to write.  Seems like my head is full and I need to let my thoughts find their way out through my fingers, through the keyboard, in to the computer.
First of all, I turned 40!
Just like that.
It just snuck up on me, without a warning or gentle nudge.
I just woke up on Sunday morning, and there I was, a decade older...

I really can't say I've had any kind of crisis, or stressed about it, but because age IS a topic of discussion, it's hard not to ponder, even a little bit.
I had hopes of being "Fab at 40".  And although my hubby thinks I am (thanks!), I had hoped to feel "more" fabulous.  And it has bothered me a bit that I'm not.  I'm not even sure of what I picture it to be, but I guess in better shape, better looking, better.... just, better.
But then my brain got thinking.  And remembering.
And I felt fabulous, as in "fabulously dumb".
I look back at my lab work that I had done just before Christmas, following a physical.  ALL my levels were perfect.  My Dr told me "You are healthy as a horse!".
My weight is, well, considering I've carried 8 babies to term, within reason.  I have hair on my head and a smile on my face (I'm aiming for laugh wrinkles as I age, rather than the frowny ones).
I eat well and I enjoy food.  I am able to nurse my baby and keep her nourished.
I do not suffer daily pains or aches.  Most mornings I get out of bed without problems (unless you consider "sleep deprived due to nursing baby 3-5 times a night" a problem).


Yes.  I had to shout that out like that.  Because it is often so easy to take this good health for granted.  And I shouldn't.  I should start each morning with a grateful sigh, thanking God he's kept me healthy.  Healthy for myself and my family.  Because that's a huge blessing.

I suffered from depression and severe anxiety some 10-13 years ago.  I wasn't able to go grocery shopping. I'd have anxiety attacks just reading my shopping list.  Even if I went without kids and had all the time in the world to end the task.  I just couldn't.  Thankfully my hubby could.
I stressed easily and would get splitting headaches from it.
I had days when I sat on the couch.  I'd feed the kids, make sure they were safe and fine, but I wasn't happy.  I didn't enjoy many things in life.  When I was around people I was pretty good at keeping up a brave face.  But I wasn't happy.  I was depressed.
I was, however, thinner and younger, and maybe even better looking than now.
But I wasn't happy.

God has been with me and my family through those times, and I know, I really do know, how very blessed I am to have strong mental health these days.
I laugh a lot.  From my heart.  Big, real, belly laughs, that reaches every crow's foot by the corners of my eyes.
I am way more relaxed.  I am more patient.  I judge less.  I love life.  I am older and heavier and well, not so great looking any more.  But I feel fabulous, and that's a fabulous feeling!

Wishing all of us a healthy, happy year.
And if you feel the way I used to feel, please take care of yourself.  There's no shame.  You deserve it, your family deserves it.  Life is short, don't forget to live it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Hello, 2015!

I turned around, and next thing I know, it's a new year!
Happy New Year, all of you.

We celebrated a very nice Christmas with my husbands parents and some of his siblings.  Fun as usual!  Our oldest daughter LOVED her trip to Sweden, I'm so glad she was able to go.
After celebrating Christmas, we spent two relaxing days at a hotel.  The kids swam and we all just chilled, went to a huge mall and had some well needed family time.

We spent New years eve at home with some friends, ate pizza and goodies and visited.  Our oldest daughter came back from Sweden the same night, so it was so much fun catching up with her, and getting some Swedish candy!

Since last time I wrote, our 2nd oldest daughter has been doing so much better. She is more relaxed and happy, something we are all very thankful for.  She still has a lot to learn, but she's an eager student, so she is already trying out various ways of how to deal with her challenges.
I'm glad she's blessed with a positive nature, that makes any challenge easier to handle.

Our baby is now 8 months old and is getting busier, getting around and making lots of noises. She can also stand, on her own!, for brief moments at the time!  Crazy how fast they grow up.

This past weekend I did something I've wanted to do for many, many years.  I booked a trip for our whole family to go to Florida in March!  We are all so very excited and I can't believe we are actually able to do this! We'll be flying down and stay at a house we rented, close to a beautiful beach.
It seems like a dream and the kids are thrilled!

This last week several of the kids have had the flu, and a few are still running fevers and coughing, so a trip to the south sounds heavenly!

Well, that's pretty much it for now!
I am excited to see what this new year brings, our last few have not been boring!
Oh, I have to add, living here in the Soo is going so well, I really like it :) and last time I checked, my family members agreed!

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.