"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God,
to them who are the called according to His purpose"

Romans 8:28

November 30, 2008

At the Well ~ Keeping "Christ" in Christmas

Dear Diary,
I am "At the Well" today with hostess, Tracy of Thirsty for Him discussing the very timely topic of Keeping Christ in Christmas.
I grew up in a Christian home where we had a Christmas tree, decorations, turkey and visits to Santa at the mall. We also exchanged gifts with the immediate family but never on Christmas Day, usually the Saturday before Christmas Day. I don't recall any traditions but we always went to church on Christmas morning and as kids we knew why Christmas was celebrated.
In my young family to date we have two tradition:
~ new pyjamas, which was started by my husbands family when he was growing up; and
~ a family photo by the tree.
Between my husband and I we discussed how we want our daughter to celebrate Christmas as she gets older. Unlike some Christians, we will celebrate Christmas. If I understand correctly, some Christians do not celebrate because many traditions e.g. tree and Santa, are rooted in pagan beliefs and there is no biblical proof that Christ was even born on December 25th. This is true and I can sort of understand where they are coming from but we believe that we should celebrate the birth of Christ, just not in such a worldly way.
We will have a gift for each other, I will set up our tree this week, put lights on the balcony, send out cards and we will eat turkey. In all honesty, we don't NEED the tree or lights but I like them and we do them tastefully and in moderation so as to not distract from the Christmas celebration.
Our daughter is only 9 months old and doesn't know the difference between December 25 and December 26 so what we do this year, is only for ourselves. We have one gift and a few stocking stuffers for her but that is all. When she is older and has a better understanding of Christmas, first and foremost she will know that we celebrate the miracle of His birth and to give thanks to God for sending His only Son into this world for us. She will learn the "Christmas Story" from the Bible. She won't be visiting Santa Clause (or "Satan Clause") who will only bring her gifts if she is good but will receive a gift and give gifts just as the wise men brought gifts to the baby. It's obvious how commercialized and materialistic Christmas has become and I pray that she is not brought in to all of that. We donate gifts to charity and hope she will do the same for people who are truly in need.
My husband used to go out caroling with his church before we moved this year. He probably won't do that this year but will be singing Christmas hymns in church on Christmas morning, not songs about reindeer, snow or trees.
When I was thinking about this weeks topic, I perused the Focus on the Family website. I knew they would have some great advice on how to make this a christian Christmas and sure enough they have a list of stores that were recommended for Christmas shopping. This is the link on their site and also please take the time to sign their petition requesting retailers to stop taking advantage of Christmas.
The focus of Christmas must remain on Christ. I pray that my family, and others, do not get wrapped up in the secularization that seems to becoming more prominent each year and that we don't lose sight of the goal, to meet Him in eternal glory!
Merry Christmas!

November 28, 2008

The past couple of weeks....

Dear Diary,

Yesterday we had a really nice Thanksgiving lunch with Merlin and Janet Moore. We (Colin) cooked and they brought a delicious pumpkin pie for dessert. I could eat pumpkin pie all year long! This was Colin's first Thanksgiving ever since it is not celebrated in the UK and I think he enjoyed himself, even if it just meant getting a couple days off work.

Nothing exciting has happened lately but we did finally get the van registered in Colorado. Out with the Ontario license plates and in with the Colorado plates. We went a few weeks ago to the DMV to get it done but we didn't get the right forms completed by Border Control when we crossed over in October. We had to go to a Border Services office near Denver airport for a VIN check and complete the importing forms. No hassle, no fee, no fuss ~ just the way I like it. Anyways, back to the DMV on Friday morning at 7:45 and we were out of there by 8 a.m.

Now we have to work on our drivers licenses. I'm dreading this but it has to be done. I have to make a few phone calls to see what they need from us and I think we have to make a trip to the Social Security office as well because we don't qualify for a number and we need proof. Colin is off Wednesday to Friday next week so that is added to the list of things to do.

Isla is doing well. Happy as ever and getting into mischief. The latest thing is closing her eyes and smiling at the same time. She's a little ham!
She loves the cats although she has been encroaching on Pearl's space. This morning, Pearl was sitting on her scratching post and Isla came to close to her and cornered her a bit. Anyways, the furry princess didn't like it and gave Isla a swipe on the side of her head and now Isla is sporing a scratch. If Isla gets too close to Dixie, she just takes off but Pearl sticks around. Oh well, they are both going to have to learn to get along. Normally Isla is very good with the cats and she loves them. She giggles and laughs when she sees them and wants to pat them but I think we're going to have to enforce some boundaries. It's best for all three of them!

Pearl and Isla in happier times!!
Isla loves to wave. She waves at everything and everybody, even the cats! It's so cute to watch her look at her hand as she waves. She's also started to pull her self up mostly just on the sofa and she's trying to do it in her bed but no joy yet.

She crawls everywhere and is into everything. I long for the days when I could just lay her down on her playmat and she would just lie there!!!
We've decided to finally move her from her infant car seat to a regular car seat in the rear-facing position. Her infant car seat is a Graco Safe-Seat so she could stay in it up to 30 lbs. and at least 32 inches but we've noticed that with the cooler weather coming and with bulkier clothing the straps are a bit tight even if they are loosened and her head is nearing the top of the seat. We bought her a Britax Roundabout car seat on and it's going in the van this afternoon. She should be rear facing until 20 lbs or one year old (minumum requirements) and I anticipate she'll stay rear-facing until April or so since she is a little peanut. I'm not sure how much she weighs but I'd say about 19 lbs or so.

I did a lot of research into safe car seats and Britax always came up on top. They are a bit more expensive but for a car seat I think it's worth spending a few extra $$. We bought her new seat at a really good price on Amazon since the fabric was being discontinued and no shipping fees. Woohoo! Now she'll have more room to wiggle about.
'Til next time,

November 21, 2008

My husband Rocks because...

Dear Diary,

... he leaves comments like this on our blog:


Heather dear,
I just wanted to let you know that I have thoroughly enjoyed your posts about us over the last few weeks.
As you know I love you more today than yesterday but not as much as tomorrow..
And I also want to say 'Hi' to all the wives out there that are giving Heather the ideas to blog even better..
Colin.. (Heather's other half)


It's comforting to know that he'll always stand by me...

Thank you Colin (but you made me cry when I read it!!!)

November 19, 2008

Thankful Thursday - Random

Dear Diary,

It's that time of the week again, Thankful Thursday hosted by Iris of "Grace Alone" (I know it's Wednesday but Thursday in some parts of the world!).

As I mentioned in my previous post, next week is Thanksgiving and so I (and maybe others) tend to think a little bit more why we are thankful at this time of year.

This week there is no particular theme to TT which is good because it's time to be thankful for the everyday aspects of life. In particular, I'm thankful ....

1. ..... we have a warm, cozy home. The winter cold is coming and I take it for granted that we have a roof over our heads but there are others in the world who live in mud shacks, cardboard boxes or nothing at all. Or in the alternative, what about the thoughts of wanting a bigger house, a bigger garage, etc.? Am I truly being thankful for what has been given to me?

2. ..... that we are able to prepare a Thanksgiving dinner next Thursday. What about those people living in countries ravaged by famine, lack of water or have governments that block the delivery of food?

3. ..... for our good health. Isn't it true once we get sick, whether it's the common cold or something more serious like heart disease or diabetes, we think twice about how fortunate we are to be healthy and happy to be alive?

Don't we just take it for granted when everything in life seems to be going so well?
Do we even think about being thankful?
Do we think smugly to ourselves that we've done a good job, we've worked hard and we deserve it because it's our reward for being so outstanding?
Well no, we don't deserve it anymore than the next person but by the grace of God we were given these precious gifts every day. So, (I wonder out loud), why is it that we (or I) still sometimes forget to thank God for the "small" everyday things in life?
I can come up with a thousand excuses why not; I'm too busy, it's not important, I'm just too dense to realize what has been given, etc. the list goes on. Doesn't Satan want us to believe it's because of our own ability?
But not this year.
I thank God for his compassion shown to us, for loving his children so much that he gave us His Son. The gift of eternal life, what greater gift is there to be thankful for especially at Thanksgiving and with Christmas so near?
Tonight I will pray for forgiveness for all those times that I didn't truly show thankfulness and I pray that I many never take His daily gifts as my entitlement. Pray also for those who are not as fortunate as you and I and may they also know about the awesome gift of grace.

Turkey Bacon to Skinny Cows...

Dear Diary,

Today I'm in a rambling sort of mood. Things just come to mind and I think to myself that maybe I should blog about it. Bare with me, this is a long post of stuff floating through my brain.
First an update, we didn't sell our house Larne. This is not the economy to make a lot of money, if any, from the sale of a house but what she offered us was a negative equity offer. We are going to have it listed again today or tomorrow and we pray that we have an offer well under way before January 5 when the tenants move out. There are "if's" right now running through our head ~ if we sold last year at this time our profit margin would've been MUCH more than we're lucky to get now ~ but selling and moving wasn't part of the plan last year so there is no sense beating ourselves up. Right now, we'll be happy just to get it sold and pay off our mortgage in order to move on. We'll have to start all over again but that's OK, we can do it, we're not worried because we're not alone.
Right now I'm sitting here in the living room all by myself, I have peace. Isla is in bed. She's a roadrunner on all fours! There is no stopping that child, she's quick and determined to go where she wants so it's been a busy time for me.
Colin said to me the other night at dinner how peaceful and calm she was. WHAT? Yes, perhaps she is just before her bottle and goes to bed. It's obvious he has no idea how much I run after her during the day. I think I'll leave the two of them alone on the weekend and I somehow doubt he'll say she's calm and peaceful. I'm sure I'll find the pack'n' play in the middle of the floor too.
I don't put her in a play pen (yet) but I'm thinking about it because it's hard to get anything done when she is awake. I have to put her in the Jumperoo! to give myself 20 minutes to do something. Sometimes she doesn't mind being in there but she prefers to be out and about.
I've also noticed that her schedule has changed again during the last week. Before she'd be up between 7:00 - 7:30 and down again for a nap between 9:00 - 9:30 and maybe an hour nap in the afternoon. Now, however, she is in bed about 8:30 for an hour and a half or so which gives me time to eat breakfast, a shower and to blog! She also has another 2 and sometimes 3 more naps throughout the day albeit short naps. It must be the crawling phase, she gets tired.
Her eating habits have also increased. When we came back to Denver she would eat but not nearly as much as before. Of course in hindsight the reason she may not have been eating as much because she was teething. She now has 7 teeth, 5 of which were cut once we left Ontario.
Last night I went out and bought her another bumper pad set for her crib. She's been sticking her legs through the spindles of her crib and gets them wedged. Yesterday she woke up twice screaming from a nap because she was stuck, one time right up to her upper thigh and I could hardly free her. I was afraid she'll break her leg. The bumper pad set we had we bought before she was born. It is fine for a newborn who doesn't move because the pad only goes around one end of the crib but for a baby her age who is wiggly and rolls over it's not safe.
I have two or even three of just about every baby item! Some of it is here and other bits and pieces are still at mom and dad's. Let me know or let my mom know if you need any baby stuff, I probably have it and we could work something out!
My maternity pay stopped a few weeks ago ~ so sad ~ since I was 14, my first time without getting a pay cheque. We're OK but I've been looking for ways to save a bit of money.
Mom, listen to this, you'll be so proud of me, I've discovered COUPONS!! I think I was traumatized by the whole experience of using grocery coupons. I remember as a kid shopping with mom through the Waterdown IGA and we'd stop in the middle of the aisles about 18 times per trip while mom sorts through her coupon wallet looking for the right one only to get to the check out and find out it's expired!!!! It's true, it happened all the time and I was so embarrassed. BUT I am more organized than my dear mother and I only buy what is on my list and sort through the coupons at home!! Anyways, in the last couple of weeks I have managed to save about $90.00 between coupons and King Sooper specials. It's become a challenge for me each week to save more than I did the week before.
On my Friday night shopping trips I go out on my own just to get some peace and adult time. I usually buy a coffee and go about at my pace. It's great and sadly I look forward to doing the groceries. On one of my trips I have discovered two items I wish I had ages ago. One is turkey bacon. We rarely eat bacon but if we do, hands down we'll eat the turkey version because it not only has much more flavour it's also much healthier.
Another item I have discovered is Skinny Cow. Love it! I don't mind ice cream but I don't eat it much because it's fattening and I have sensitive teeth when it comes to cold. Try them if you can.
As a good Canadian, I talk about the weather so here is my weather report. It's summer in Colorado! No really, it is. Last Friday we had snow which melted by lunch because it was up to 65 degrees (four seasons in one day, literally). Saturday until yesterday it was in mid to high 70's and of course sun all day. Can it get any better in November? Today is a bit cooler and tomorrow is suppose to be a bit wet (first time I've seen rain since we arrived in October) and way down to 36 degrees but going back up to about 60 degrees on Friday again. Crazy, eh?
My brain is just about empty right now so I guess that's me for today.
Tomorrow is Thankful Thursday and since Thanksgiving is coming up next week (again - in Canada, Thanksgiving is the beginning of October) I've been reflecting internally for what I am thankful. Let me know what you're thankful for!
'Til next time,
Heather, Colin & Isla

November 17, 2008

9 months old!

Dear Diary,
Our beautiful girl is 9 months old!
It's been exciting and so much fun watching her grow and learn new things. Just yesterday in the church nursery she started to pull herself up on furniture AND she went from the crawling position to the sitting position. The look on her face said it all. So cute, I just wish I had a photo to capture the moment!
For now though, these will have to do.

Her hair is really starting to fill out and it is a lovely shade of brown. I wonder if it is similar to my natural hair colour?

A very typical pose these days, smiling!

These two photos are taken in her bedroom. Her nightlight was the inspiration for her room colour scheme. We can't paint the walls but we tried to use the purple, yellow, pink and green as much as possible. It's also nice that her name is four-letters, one letter per colour!

She is a joy in our lives and God has been good to us, she is our greatest blessing!

'Til next time,

Heather, Colin & Isla

At the Well - The Honourable Marriage

Dear Diary,

Today is At the Well Monday, a meme hosted by Chelsey of Joyfully Living for His Glory. The topic today is Marriage.

Colin and I have been married about 2.5 years (August 28, 2006) so we don't have a ton of experience but both of us have examples of good marriages in our families. However even though we are newly married (not newlyweds, that's only the first year) we have had our share of trying times and many happy times as well. We have learned what it means to be a husband and wife to each other. We are not perfect, nobody is, but we are doing best to be each others (2nd) best friend by following the biblical teachings of marriage.

The topic questions this week that I will be addressing from my perspective are as follows:

What does commitment in marriage mean?
What kind of wife are we called to be to our husbands?
What are ways that we can Biblically stand for our marriage?

I read somewhere that Christian marriages tend to be "better", that is, they result in fewer divorces. Is it because faith in God makes it easy and the husband and wife have the manual to a perfect marriage given to them? There is no perfect marriage but there is the Bible and everything we need to know about how to have a good, strong marriage is in the Bible. I have learned that marriage is hard work whether you're a Christian or not, but knowing what God expects of our marriage makes it easier.

At our wedding, Colin and I made vows to each other. Our marriage vows were not just another part of the ceremony for our family and friends who attended or a tradition but were made from the heart because they were made to each other and more importantly to God. The commitment we made to each other requires integrity, trust and love. It doesn't come with stipulations or conditions it was made to death do us part, in goodness and health. We are commited to each other forever.

For those who don't know us, before we were married, Colin and I were living long distance, like really long distance. I was in Canada and Colin in Northern Ireland. We trusted each other and were commited to each other. If we couldn't trust each other then, I believe our marriage would've been impossible but never for a moment did I ever doubt him because I knew his believes were biblically grounded. For reasons such as a longing to be together in the same place at the same time etc., our pre-relationship was already hard work and our situation gave us good bones for a good marriage. We took the skills we learned into our marriage. (I know it sounds a bit like a job interview!).

Our vows are promises made before God. To honour God includes honouring our vows despite how difficult it can be. We deal with each others weaknesses and sinful nature everyday. I know Colin gets fed with me sometimes (I tend to be inpatients but I'm working on it) and I get fed up with him being so messy and never putting anything away!!! BUT this is not a good enough reason to throw in the towel. Marriage is for life and our lack of self control must be reigned in and controlled through prayer or if the need be in worse situations, counselling. What God has joined together, let no man put asunder!

I made the vow to OBEY and be submissive to my husband - not common today but a direct command of God. My commitment to obey includes to respect Colin's position as head of the family and to be loyal to him. This is not a joke, I believe it.

Eph. 5:22, 23, 24
Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of his body, the church; he gave his life to be her Savior. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives must submit to your husbands in everything.

1 Peter 3:1
In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands, even those who refuse to accept the Good News. Your godly lives will speak to them better than any words. They will be won over by watching your pure, godly behavior.

We each have our own God given roles and the husband is responsible for loving his wife and being a leader within the family. This is a role not to be abused, it is not honourable to God to abuse this command. The command to be submissive is taken out of context in this day and age. Women are not second class citizens. Husband and wives have different yet compliamentary roles in the family and are equal in the kingdom of heaven.

So how can wives biblically stand up for their marriages?

1. By making the effort. Marriages don't just happen by chance.

2. By staying away from temptation and acquaintances that may rise to temptation. Don't put yourself in a potentially bad situation.

3. If a marriage is tainted by the lack of self-control or abuse (or any other reason) acknowledge the situation. Professional help by christian counsellors may be necessary. There is no shame in that but more importantly, pray for healing and perseverence. God can change dishonourable and sinful behaviours staining the marriage into what is right.

4. Take time together to communicate, discuss and pray together. You can't have a discussion by yourself, both parties must converse together by listening and talking.

This post has been a great opportunity to think about my own vows and what it means to be part of a Christian marriage.

Thank you Chelsey for encouraging me to pray and meditate on the important task as mother and wife. I certainly pray that my marriage will be an example to my daughter if she were to marry one day.

November 15, 2008

Have you ever....

Dear Diary,

Just a bit of Saturday night fun... I've highlighted and italized all events that I've completed in my 34 years....

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France

20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb

26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community

36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Gotten flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby

95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

November 14, 2008

First Snow Day!

Dear Diary,

Look at the view from our balcony this morning. Isn't it pretty? Sadly, most of it was gone by lunch.

Oh well, maybe next time it will stay a bit longer.

November 13, 2008

Thankful Thursday - Life

Dear Diary,
I joined the group of ladies who give thanks every Thursday because I don't want to wait until Thanksgiving each year to give thanks. This weeks theme is life.
In my life give thanks everyday for:
1. Colin and Isla and the joy and love they bring everyday into our family life.

2. for knowing that I am heard each time I pray and never being alone in both my earthly and spiritual life.

What's going on?

Dear Diary,

We've had an exciting few days. OK, maybe not extraordinarily exciting but more exciting than usual.
First off, a bit of bad news. On Saturday we learned that our tenants in our house in Larne are leaving in 60 days. That is a big concern because as of January we will be responsible for rent here in Colorado and our mortgage on the house. That is alot of financial responsibility and we are quite anxious to either rent it out again or preferrably sell it.
Which leads me to the second bit of news. On Tuesday morning we received an email from our agent in Larne that one of the tenants wants to buy the house but the offer was VERY low. We know the housing market is less than stellar at the moment but honestly, the offer was almost insulting. We counter offered back but at this moment we have yet to hear back. I'm assuming it's not good news but I am trying to remain optimistic and patient. Please pray for me, patience does not come easily! The plan at the moment is give them another day to come back to us with either a Yes, we accept your counter offer, or No we don't accept. We're hoping there is still room for negotiation if the answer is no otherwise we're making arrangements to list it again.
The third bit of news is that we are in the process of finally becoming members of Park Hill Presbyterian. Pastor Matthew came over for dinner on Monday evening to discuss this with us and last night we had a membership interview with the Session. We knew that it would go well but still in the pit of my stomach, I worry about things. We will be accepted as members as soon as the paperwork from Gardenmore is received and then during a service we will make our membership vows in front of the congregation. It's exciting for us. Although we have always felt like members at Park Hill, now it will be official.
Finding a church like Park Hill is an answer to our prayers and we believe that God has a plan to use us here. We are also very grateful for the members at Park Hill. They have embraced us into their fellowship right from day one. It's funny how on Sundays I don't seem to see much of Isla either! She is usually being passed around from one person to another but she doesn't seem to mind.
So there you have it. I'm sitting on edge because we want the house sold but thankful the membership interview went so well. It's frustrating that it's been over 2 days and still no word on the offer but there is a 7 hour time difference so I am trying to be patient (Colin just goes with the flow). Please pray that the house is sold and we will have the financial burden lifted by January.
I've already had three cups of coffee and that is not helping my anxiety level either. Maybe I should switch to decaf, Colin has been talking to me about switching anyways!
'Til next time,
Heather, Colin & Isla

Happy Birthday George!

Dear Diary,

Happy Birthday George!
We wish you God's continued blessings throughout
the next year and in years to come.
Love from us, Heather, Colin & Isla

George is my oldest, much older, bro. I'm not such a good little sister 'cause last night all of a sudden it came to me, it's his birthday tomorrow! Sorry, no time to put a card in the mail but maybe I'll give you a call tonight and hope you're not on the road (he's away from home alot and has a very patient and loving wife, Loretta, for putting up with it!!).

November 12, 2008

Automatic Email Updates

Dear Diary,

Just a gentle reminder that if you have submitted your email address to receive updates to our blog, you have to activate your request before receiving the notice. If I understand the process correctly, an email should've been sent to your email address with a link. Click on the link and take it from there.
Chances are you don't have the email anymore in your inbox, right? Well, no problem, just enter your email address in the box to the right and start the process over again.
Also, feel free to leave us comments by clicking on the "comments" section at the bottom of each post. Don't feel obligated to leave something for every post, but if you feel the notion to do so, don't be shy, we love to read them.
Isn't technology exciting?

November 11, 2008

Lest we forget

Dear Diary,

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing,fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
The Canadian War Monument, Vimy Ridge, France
I had the honour to visit this piece of Canada in France in 1999 and it was a truly moving and humbling experience. We live so many years after the Great War that it tends to just become history, something that happened in the past. However, once you see the row upon row of graves, names, ages of those who died, it becomes real. Those who say freedom is free are wrong.
Lest we forget. Please respect the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour with a moment of silence for those who died in all the past wars and currently at war.

November 9, 2008

At home with the girls

Dear Diary,

Two posts in one day, go figure but yet here I am.

This morning after church we had the monthly fellowship meal followed by the second service before arriving home mid-afternoon. We fed Isla and hoped she would go back to sleep but no success until 25 minutes ago so here I am, dinner eaten, baby sleeping and I have free time to blog.
First an update on our furry girls. When we drove back to Denver, we took them with us. Pearl was good but Dixie, well, let's just say she is not a travelling type of cat. At mom and dad's they were able to go outside most of the day if they wanted too but here they can't and they're both getting bored. My poor girls sit on the door mat leading outside and just look at me to let them out. As a consolation we let them on the balcony now again throughout the day and while we can trust Pearl not to jump we can't with Dixie, she is a bit more daring. Being on the third floor doesn't mean she won't try to jump and I certainly don't put it past her to try.

While I was unpacking the boxes Pearl made herself at home in one of them. It's so cute, she sleeps in it all night (when she isn't on our bed) and I have a feeling it may become part of the living room furniture. I've seen Dixie try to jump in once but Pearl was quick to chase her out.
Dixie loves the sun that comes into our bedroom in the morning and will stay there until lunch or so but usually she just wanders around and does her own thing. I think boredom might be catching up with her though as the last few days she has been getting a bit rowdy with Pearl and it's not uncommon to see her chase Pearl around the house, swat her over the head or start a fight. Last night Colin was in our walk-in closet where we have a box of clothes yet to be unpacked. Typically he puts his dirty clothes on it so I'm not sure how he saw her but Dixie must have wiggled her way in the box and was having a snooze!
She's in there if you can see her...
One thing they both love to do is walk on the upper kitchen cabinets. I've been thinking of attaching a duster to their tails so they can make themselves useful for once!
They are good and just like kids when they get bored they get into things and look for things to do. When our lease on the apartment is up in June 2009 we plan on renting a house so they can have a patch of grass to look for bugs and do whatever else cats like to do. Having them with us is nice, it makes the apartment feel like home. I'm sure they miss bossing poor Ziggy around but I don't think they miss getting chased and growled at by Tasha!
Isla loves them too and she watches them run around the apartment but it gets annoying when feeding her as she has to turn around to watch them!
Now to our beautiful cheeky girl. This is how we found her yesterday in her bed. She wiggles all over the place and for some reason she gets under the bumper pad. We usually move her when we find her like this just in case she can't breathe but despite looking really uncomfortable, she sleeps quite soundly.
This next photo is for my mom. This is the coat you bought her. It's a bit snug as it's a size 3 to 6 months but we managed to get it on her although getting her in her car seat with it on is another story. I'm not sure how much longer she is going to be able to wear it...
Colin and I have learned that Isla is always learning something new. It's exciting for us and judging by her smiles, it's exciting for her too. The last few weeks of me waving at her like a mad woman has paid off, she started to wave on her own. Here she is sitting in her room waving at the cars driving past her window.
I think it is safe to say all our girls are happy as we are. Colin was home from work on Thursday and Friday and is taking tomorrow off as well. It's been well over a year since our last holiday together (unless you count the time he took time off after Isla's birth) so we've enjoyed finally being together relaxing and just doing whatever we feel like. However tomorrow we have to take care of the van. In order to register the van in Colorado the van has to pass an emissions test and we have to finalize transferring my State Farm car insurance from Canada to here. We have to complete the registration process within thirty days of arriving in the state but we have 3 months to take care of our drivers' licenses. I've been told from a reliable Canadian source that this process may not be as easy and straightforward. Before we are allowed to exchange our drivers' licences we first have to visit the Social Security office to obtain proof that we are not entitled to a social security number. At least my Canadian drivers' licence will be exchanged, I think Colin will have to do a driving test but he assures that it's not a problem, he's a good driver. Whatever, we'll see. Just to deflate that ego of his I hope he fails his first test! :-)
To answer a few questions concerning the election, no we didn't vote, we're not Americans. I did vote when I was in Canada during the last federal election in October. I wonder how many Americans knew there was an election but I don't think a conservative Prime Minister and a Liberal President are going to do much in terms of cross-border relations... Oh well, I don't really follow politics so I'll leave that analysis for those that do...
'Til next time,
Heather, Colin & Isla (Pearl and Dixie)

Daddy's Girl

Dear Diary,

After my last post wherein I was "bragging" how Isla doesn't wake up once we put her down, she's been doing exactly that for the last two nights. Thankfully, not during the night, just the evening before she gets into a deep sleep.
A funny little story about this...
The other night Colin went to bed at about 10 p.m. as he was tired. I stayed up until 11ish and then as usual before I went to bed I checked on Isla. She had her head wiggled right in the corner of her crib but I didn't want to move her as she wasn't in danger of suffocating herself and she would only wake up if I did move her. I started to walk away from her crib and then I hear a wail. She was inconsolable! I tried rubbing her tummy, picking her up and even singing the "Isla, Isla" song. Nothing was working.
Of course all this noise woke up Colin as our room is right across the hall. He comes in her room and does nothing, not even speaking. Isla saw him, smiled and stopped crying in a second!!
Can you believe it? She is such a daddy's girl!

November 7, 2008

Snow Trip!

Dear Diary,
The ski resorts in Vail, Aspen, Copper Mountain and others opened today for the new ski season but we didn't go skiing, instead we spent the day driving through the mountains looking at the snow from the comfort and heat of the van. The first snow storm of the season came earlier this week so there was still some nice white stuff further into the mountains. Denver, unfortunately, is snow free albeit the temperature is noticeably falling. The drive along I-70 is lovely and relaxing. It travels right through the valleys and the ruins of old silver and gold mines dot the mountain sides in the little towns of Idaho Springs and Georgetown.
Georgetown was our first stop, again. We made a previous visit on July 4th when it was about 100 degrees warmer! Today the lake was frozen over although I don't think the ice was very thick so no ice skating or games of shinny.
After a break we travelled through the Eisenhower Tunnel where it was like another world from Denver ~ it was snowy and icy! Brrrrr..... Colin got some good winter weather driving practice and quite frankly I enjoyed sitting back and letting him navigate through it.
Before heading back home we stopped at Silverthorn and Dillon Lake. Both locations are stunningly beautiful and these photos don't do either place justice.
Dillon Lake:
Silverthorn (there is a snowstorm at the top of the mountain):
Little one needed to get home, she was hungry and I was running out of cereal and fruit not to mention a "potty" break was required. Colin took care of the dirty diaper by jumping in the back seat and giving her a bottle. Check out the photo below, she has the craziest hair - it's sticks up straight (another trait she inherited from Colin)!
Isla will be ready for a steak dinner anyday now. I noticed TWO more upper teeth have cut their way through. She now has SEVEN teeth and she's been soooo good about it but they are sharp, just ask Colin. My baby is getting so big, so many teeth, crawling and next week she'll be 9 months old! She is loads of fun and has a great sense of humour. Colin gave her a bath yesterday and each time he took the wash cloth and gently dragged it over her forehead, she would giggle and kick her arms and legs like crazy!!
I wish more family and friends could see her and get to know her better. Yeah, I'm getting a bit homesick and after spending 3 months at home, I miss having the opportunity to "show her off", not literally, but you know what I mean. Isla loved and craved the attention she got because she is such a social child and loves family from both sides of the Atlantic. I joke with Colin that if she developes a Larne accent, she'll get beat up on the playground and I dare not think of her marrying a Larne boy (haha, just a joke, I married a nice Larne boy!). It is not our intention to stay in the USA permanently, maybe another 2-3 years and then hopefully move to Canada (D.V.) but in the meantime we hope to be able to host many of you. Drop us a line and let us know when you're coming to visit, our door is always open!
We got a bit of bad news today, our tenants have given us their 60 days notice. Anybody want to buy a house in Larne?
With christian greetings,
Heather, Colin and Isla

November 1, 2008

A bit of this and a bit of that....

Dear Diary,

We've been back in Colorado now for nearly two weeks and we're slowly getting settled and back into a regular routine. The boxes are nearly all unpacked (just waiting to buy a bit more furniture) and I'm working on decorating Isla's room. Since we rent we can't paint the walls so I'm adding bits of colour through wall hangings and her bedding. It's coming along and I'll take a photo maybe next week if I get it done.
No snow yet in our area in fact just the opposite, the weather has been amazingly beautiful for this time of year. Today is November 1 and it was 75 degrees! We've trying to make the most of it by spending time outside when we can because I'm sure it'll be a long winter in the apartment.

Last Saturday we visited Andersons's Farm and Corn Maze in Erie, Colorado with our church family from Park Hill OPC. The corn maze is huge ~ check out the link! We strolled through the maze and made it to about 6 of the 13 check points scattered throughout.

In addition to the corn maze there are animals (goats, ducks, rabbits, etc.), lots of food and a cute little "train" ride.

Unfortunately, the three of us didn't make it to the dinner out afterwards but it was a great afternoon out with good company.

But the real highlight of the past week is the fact that Isla can crawl! YAY Isla!

She did it for the first time on Sunday afternoon and everyday she would do it a little bit more. Today I noticed she doesn't even roll anymore and she's gaining speed. Her favourite spots to visit are the cable box located on the floor because of the lights and the laptop cables. Time to baby proof the apartment!

A couple of months ago I bought her the garden butterfly toy (see photo above). It is suppose to encourage crawling by moving ahead of the baby and then it stops. As soon as the baby touches the toy again it will move forward all the while playing nursery rythmes. It's very cute and it really works with Isla, she loves it.

This afternoon we became Denver tourists and went to 16th Street Mall, a pedestrian walk mall with lots of shops and restaurants, in the downtown core. We didn't buy much but had a nice walk in the afternoon sun.

Along the street there are lots of decorated cows - it would be Denver without cows and bulls - and I had to get a photo with Isla.

It's been a busy couple of weeks and the time has flown by! I've noticed since we've arrived that I miss not having family and close friends around. After being home for almost three months with Isla at Mom and Dad's, I was really used to having them around. I'm not homesick yet but if ANYONE ever wants to come and visit, please do but there is one catch, you'll be required to do one night of babysitting! She's a lovely girl and when she eventually falls asleep, she's asleep until 7 the next morning so she's an easy baby to sit.

That's about it for now. We're all well and happy. Colin is working hard and I think enjoying it as much as he can enjoy his work. We're enjoying our time together and one of the perks of renting is that we don't spend Saturday's doing DIY and chores but rather spend time together.

As soon as we arrived back in Colorado, Colin has taken over baby duty when he gets home from work. His new role includes getting Isla ready for bed, gives her the bottle and puts her in her crib. Despite being apart for nearly three months, Isla hasn't forgotten her daddy and I'm glad he didn't miss the milestone of her crawling. I'm so glad we were able to experience it together.

May God grant you a blessed Sunday and times of worship wherever you are.

Heather, Colin and Isla

PS - Don't forget to put your clocks back tonight!