"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

December 31, 2008

So how was 2008 for you?

Dear Diary,

How was 2008 for us?

Well, as you can imagine, it was a mixed bag of emotion and throw in a load of stress too. I think it is safe to say that with the exception of Isla's impending birth, just about everything that happened in 2008 was not in our plans. I said to Colin last week that it would be nice to turn the page on the calendar and everything would be as we want it and forget 2008. If only it would be that easy but we believe God doesn't give us more than we can handle.

The year started with me going to a OB appointment only to find that my BP was through the roof. The dr. that saw me was ready to check me in the hospital and deliver Isla but thankfully the senior dr. didn't think that was the right course of action and decided it would be better to send me home and have the midwives monitor my BP at home. This worked well for about 5 weeks until my BP went so high the midwife had to call the hospital and send me in. That was Valentines Day. Three days earlier than my due date, we were blessed with Isla Jennifer on February 17, 2008...

My mom came to visit and meet Isla a week later which was great because Colin ended going away for a week once he went back to work.

All during this time, Colin's mum wasn't feeling well at all and eventually was hospitalized. She was able to hold Isla 3 times before she was called Home on April 11, 2008. We miss her and we are also comforted knowing that she knew of the hope we have in Jesus and is free from all pain and suffering. On Isla's bedroom wall we have a picture of Nanny Black holding her in the hospital. We look at the photo together and tell her about her Nanny Black and how much she loved her. It's the year of firsts without her. It hasn't been easy for Colin.

Shortly after his Mum's funeral, Colin left for a few weeks to go to Colorado to get things going. During this time I stayed at home in Larne to pack up the house as much as I could.

We left N. Ireland in May and flew to Canada to my parents house. Colin soon left us again for Colorado and I stayed in Canada for about a month before he came back and we all went back to Colorado together for two months. It was basically alot of going back and forth and living apart for the summer. We finally came to Colorado together in October and hope to be able to stay as long as possible. We are still working on a permanent visa and pray that in 2009 this issue can be resolved once and for all.

Our visa situation is still a concern for us and we just want it to be over with but in reality it could be October until we're done with American bureaucracy. We may not stay in the US if we don't get the visa (only 62,000 are issued annually) and may move to Canada. It's frustrating and stressful. We feel like we can't make plans for anything. We don't even have our personal effects, they are still in Waterdown at Mom and Dad's house so it doesn't feel like home yet either.

But we solider on and live day by day. We know that we don't have control over anything. God has been watching over us and has brought us this far. He alone knows what holds for us in 2009.

On that note here are some last 2008 photos to share.

Don't these clouds look like UFO's?

'Til next time,

For the "Olibollen baby"

Dear Diary,

Happy Birthday Christina,

Wishing you many more happy years with family and friends.

God bless.

'Til next time,

December 29, 2008

My exercise plan this week

Dear Diary,

In my head I have devised my exercise routine for this week. Here it goes:

Monday - done what I had planned but since it's such a beautiful day, Isla is going for a walk with us this afternoon.

Tuesday - Pool-ates at 9:30 at Parker Rec. Centre. and weight training at the Coyote gym.

Wednesday - Cardio ~ 20 mins. on crossramp thingy and 20 mins. on treadmill as a minimum. I tend to just keep going until I can't walk or get totally bored. It works for me!

Thursday - Happy 2009! I have to start the new year in the Coyote gym so I will do weight training before heading out to a New Years Day party in the afternoon.

Friday - Aquarobics at Parker Rec. Centre. and possibly 10 pin bowling in the afternoon for some fun with friends.

Saturday - Cardio, same as Wednesday before heading out to take my Guppie to her first swim lesson at 11:30! Colin and I can't wait to see her little face when she gets in the water, it must be like diving in the ocean head first!

Today I couldn't resist the scales and it told me I was a bad girl over the Christmas break ~ up a pound but I'm not really worried. This is a lifestyle change and not a diet and if I can't eat a chocolate or two or three or four at Christmas then life is no fun.

Besides I'm feeling good about this week and it's nice having Colin home so I can go to the gym in the morning rather than the evenings.

Have a good week but I'm sure you'll see posting away on here before the end of the week.

'Til next time,

December 27, 2008

Isla's First Christmas Photos

Dear Diary,
Isla's first ever Christmas present - from Bob and Nancy, thanks!

She loves wrapping paper!

This is what was in the box - first set of wheels ~from her mom and dad

'Til next time,

December 26, 2008

I am SO down...

Dear Diary,

... by 1.8 lbs!!!

YAY Heather!!!
I have to cheer myself on these days. I told Colin I lost the weight and then the Arsenal scored (currently Arsenal 1-0 Aston Villa) so the cheer really wasn't for me, it was for the Arsenal....
As I continue to pat myself on the back, the lose was due to watching my caloric intake and not much exercise this week other than stretching.

I have just come back from the gym and all 3 treadmills were out of order so I did 35 mins. on the eliptical machine. Boring but I got through it...
I'm back tomorrow morning and I should do some weights as well...

'Til next time,

December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas 2008!

Dear Diary,

Luke 1:14 ~
"And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth"

Merry Christmas to our friends and family around the world!

With much love,

Colin, Heather & Isla

December 22, 2008

Here I go...

Dear Diary,

OK, it's high time I did this so here it goes:
I need to lose weight. To be exact my goal is to lose 37 lbs. by May 22, 2009. That's only 5 months away averaging 2 lbs. a week. Can I do it? I sure hope so. There will be good weeks and bad weeks but I'm hoping it will even out in the end.
The main reason being my blood pressure. Since my pregnancy with Isla it hasn't come down to my pre-pregnancy bp which was always 110/70. To be honest I haven't had it checked in a few months but I'm assuming it's still high. My dr. told me it may never go back to the way it was and may eventually go on medication. I definately don't want that so I am trying and if it doesn't go down then at least I know I did give it shot. I'll go to the pharmacy this week and confirm it but even if it is back down to 110/70 my BMI is still telling me to lose the extra pounds.
I feel yuck because my clothes don't fit like they should. I was at my target weight a mere 3.5 years ago and I like shoppping but now I hate it since the size tag started getting higher and higher.
Well, I need help but I don't believe paying huge amounts of money is the answer either. I plan on using diet and exercise and I'm tracking it all on a website called SparkPeople.
I need all the help I can get because I haven't been blessed with tons of motivation and determination. That's why I'm posting this on our blog ~ so everyone can read about it. Also, I have included a tracker on the right side of this blog near the bottom. If you don't see that tracker getting closer to my goal weight, drop me a comment or an email to kick me in the pants. I need it, don't be afraid too, I'm not going to hurt you if you do.
I actually started doing this in earnest about a month ago (lost 2 lbs) but I have fallen off the wagon about 1.5 weeks ago. Isla doesn't like going to the gym with me so I was going mainly at the weekends. Last weekend I wasn't feeling that great and didn't go at all and last week was a write off for various reasons. I didn't go back to the gym this past weekend either so that is a good 8 days without setting foot of the treadmill. Good thing I don't pay for a membership. The FREE gym is a mere five minute walk from our door. I'm going tonight and it helps Colin is home starting Wednesday until after New Years so I can during the day, after that, it's back to evenings and weekends.
I'll post now and again about my progress and give ample opportunity for our readers to kick me in the pants!
'Til next time,

December 19, 2008

What is better than one Isla?

Dear Diary,

Two Isla's!!!!

'Til next time,

December 17, 2008


Dear Diary,

Our sweet girl is 10 months old today!

BUSTED, playing with cat food

She was pretty excited this morning as I wished her a happy birthday ~ she hit me in the face and laughed!!! Yeah, that's the latest thing to do and at times it hurts because she has sharp nails but we are working on trying to teach her it is not OK to hit faces, not our faces and not the cats faces.

She normally understands "NO" and listens well. She'll stop, look at us and then crawl toward us. What a good girl!

According to the experts this is what she should be doing this month. I've taken this list off the internet and added my comment in bold beside the statement.

Most babies should be able to . . .
· Stand holding on to someone or something ~ done
· Walk holding onto furniture
· Pull up to standing position from sitting
· Wave goodbye ~ done but only when she wants too
· Crawl well ~ too well done
· Use thumb and finger pincer grasp to pick things up ~ done

Some babies will probably be able to . . .
· Say mama and dada to the right parents
· Understand the word no but doesn’t always obey it ~ done
· Respond to own name ~ done
· Indicate what he or she wants with gestures other than crying
· Stand alone momentarily

Some babies could possibly be able to . . .
· Drink from a cup independently ~ done
· Stand alone well
· Play ball and patty cake ~ haven’t tried but will this month
· Walk for a step or two
· Say one word other than mama or dada
· Put toys or object into a container

· 10 months the average child should weigh 22 lb. height 29 in. ~ Probably between 19 and 20 lbs. and she is close to if not 29 inches in length. I haven't weighed her since the beginning of October.

· 24 – 32 oz. / day formula ~ done
· 6-8 Tbsp / day cereal ~ done
· 18 – 24 Tbsp / day fruits, breads, vegetables, meats, finger foods ~ done

· 10-12 months upper lateral incisors (2) ~ 8 teeth to date (the 8th tooth just came yesterday) but no molars yet

I think if she's going to learn one new thing this month, I think she'll be walking holding onto furniture, maybe even stand on her own. I would love it if she would FINALLY say "mama" rather than "dada" all day long. She doesn't say it directly to Colin but it's coming, she will, she's a smart cookie!

She loves Cheerios

The next month should be another exciting one. Isla will celebrate her first Christmas and we also hope to get outside a bit more between Christmas and New Years when Colin is home. It's been sooooo cold here, much like the rest of N. America, so we haven't been going out much for walks, etc.
We thank God every day for our little blessing!
'Til next time,

December 16, 2008

30 observations of a 1st time Mom

Dear Diary,

My baby will be 10 months old tomorrow (photos will be posted) and I've learned heaps about babies and parenthood during that time... I wrote down observations because I didn't want to forget them and thought I would share them on the blog because I'm sure our readers can relate to many of them (a bit of a long read, sorry).
1. You can never completely prepare, plan or know what to expect during childbirth.
2. A c-section is not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.
3. After birth, hair falls out by the clumps and it’s even worse after a c-section under general anaesthetic. I wish someone told me to expect it.
4. Pooping takes a lot of energy and concentration.
5. Babies are early morning people.
6. You can never cuddle a newborn enough.
7. No matter how much stain remover you use carrot stains do not come out of clothes.
8. Little girls really are daddy’s girls.
9. You can never have enough bibs.
10. Cheerios are buoyant in the washing machine.
11. The baby has more clothes than my husband and I combined.
12. There are no baby clothes sizing guidelines ~ one day Isla wore 12 mos. pants with a 3-6 mos. old shirt. Go figure….
13. Babies LOVE other babies (and kids).
14. Baby puke easily comes off carpet with a scrub brush and vinegar water.
15. Memories of childbirth do not disappear as soon as you hold your new bundle of joy.
16. Babies love routine, even though the routine may change every 3.5 weeks!
17. It takes longer than 9 months to lose the baby weight.
18. Baby gear is expensive.
19. A lot of the baby gear you bought before the baby was born is either deemed completely useless and never used or you can’t live without it. There is no in-between.
20. Babies make loads of laundry everyday.
21. Babies love going outside for walks.
22. Babies get lots of attention at grocery stores especially when they smile at people.
23. Babies do not like to wear socks.
24. Baby sleeping bags are a necessity at night because babies will ALWAYS kick their blankets off.
25. Babies love cats, cats do not love babies.
26. Babies chew on everything and put everything in their mouths!
27. Baby teeth are sharp.
28. Babies get a lot of bumps and bruises on their heads but they heal VERY quickly.
29. Sweeping, mopping and vacuuming floors everyday is a fact of life, especially when babies start to crawl.
30. I did not realize how much unconditional love you can have for a little person as soon as they are born!
Did I miss anything?
What did you learn as a parent?
Is there anything I should know after she turns a year old in February?

'Til next time,

December 15, 2008

It is quite possible...

Dear Diary,

It is quite possible that Isla is the world's sweetest and cutest baby!!

Scroll all the way down to the bottom of this main page to see why.

I was playing around in Picasa and came across the collage feature, I couldn't resist and I have great ideas for her first birthday in February.
On another note, I've been hinting at Colin (I don't think he noticed) that I wouldn't mind getting Photoshop or something like that. I'm not a professional photographer and don't pretend to be either but I want to use some the features available.
If you have Photoshop let me know what you think of it or if you use another photo software program let me know about that also.

'Til next time,

Happy Birthday Kris!

Dear Diary,

Today is the 20th birthday of our niece, Kristen...

Happy Birthday Kris,

We pray you continue to have another blessed and healthy year!

'Til next time,

How did that happen?

Dear Diary,

Did I do it again?

My creative juices were running and I once again got carried away. I prefer this layout as I can control the colours and it's also less pink.

I changed it for my husband who doesn't like pink, except on Isla.....

'Til next time,

December 13, 2008

New Do, Finally

Dear Diary,

I finally got my haircut and a colour this morning! Woohoo! (but no photos)
It's been way too long and I was starting to suffer from stay-at-home-mom syndrome. You know, bad hair, too many sweat pants and puke on my shoulder...
AND, we're going out for dinner with friends without Isla... I love her but it's nice to go out without stuffing your face and getting out of there in 30 mins. because little one is bored and whiney....
What a nice Saturday!

'Til next time,

December 11, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Dear Diary,

Today is Thankful Thursday again, hosted by Iris of Grace Alone. Feel free to pay her a visit.

When Colin and I left the UK we left behind a lot of good friends and family and came to a part of the world where we knew almost nobody (we knew 2 people). Everything was new, we didn't know where anything was and we were missing the familiarity that we took for granted.
1. I am thankful that God directed us to our new church where every Sunday the Word is preached purely and we are able to attend without any interference or opposition.

2. I am thankful for all the new developing friendships we have with our new church family. They have welcomed us into their fellowship with open arms and without hesitation.
3. I am thankful that last night I was able to attend the Titus II Women's Study Group cookie exchange. The cookies are all so yummy and we were able to enjoy learning about each others Christmas traditions and memories. It was a lovely evening of good laughs and conversation.

4. It may seem silly but I am thankful for our TomTom in the car. Without it who knows where we would've ended up! Although we don't use it as much as we did the first few weeks of living here, it is still being regularly used.
'Til next time,

December 10, 2008

December 9, 2008

YAY Isla!

Dear Diary,
The bottles are put away!
We had a sippy cup for her but it was a beginner cup and it seemed like nothing came out of it so we bought a couple more and she loves them. She has one for her juice/water and another for her milk. I lay her in Pack'n'Play and she enjoys it.

With her being in the Pack'n'Play I spend less time cleaning the carpet. She's been spitting up alot so everyday I've going around with my scrub brush bucket of vinegar water cleaning up little spills. I still do it but there isn't as much to clean up! YAY Isla!

We had a bit of snow today and we went for a walk in it this afternoon. I didn't bring my camera with me so I took a photo of her on the balcony when we got home.
I think this is the closest I'm going to get to a dog ~ Isla's hat!!

'Til next time,

December 8, 2008

I got carried away...

Dear Diary,

OK, so I didn't get around to vacuuming the house today or folding my laundry until just before dinner tonight because I was mucking around with the blog, again.
Colin thinks it's very pink but what does he know?
Many of the same features but now you can also be "Our Follower". Just look to the left of this post and you'll see the link.
Be the first one, don't be shy!
Hope you like my new 3 column blog. It was a bit of work to get the extra column in but I like it and hope you do too!
'Til next time,

A busy day today...

Dear Diary,

Happy Birthday Loretta!
Have a great day and we wish you many continued blessings!

Happy 3rd Engagement Anniversary to my Groom!

Happy 2nd Wedding anniversary to our friends
Jeffrey and Jenny Dempsey!
Jeffrey and Jenny are unique because they had the most unusual wedding in Larne. I won't go into details but if you were at the ceremony, you know what I'm talking about...

I told you it was a busy day!

December 6, 2008

Just because....

Dear Diary,

... we think she's so cute!

... and her Oma and Opa love to see lotsa photos of her....

'Til next time,

December 3, 2008

Wee Norn Iron Bab

Dear Diary,

Just a few photos to share...
Colin wanted to make sure Isla doesn't forget where she was born!

Wee Norn Iron girl in her Jumperoo

Daddy's girl
This is the box from her new car seat and between her and the cats, it's usually occupied by someone. It's become part of the dining room furniture!
Pearl climbed through the clothes rack to get to the top....