It is already a new year but alas I've have yet to catch up on the end of last year. That's that the story of my life though, always have some catching up to do. Everyday things like laundry and dishes, procrastinating on projects with deadlines and then trying to make up on lost time. Thinking about finishing projects I've set aside but never seeming to get to them. Let's not even go there. The good thing is though most of those things don't disappear( although I wouldn't mind if the dishes did) and there isn't some New Year's deadline that erases the months before.
So let's go back a bit to November. You know that month where the cold and the hustle and bustle of Christmas start to set in. I don't always like November that much. I think it's because going from October, a very meaningful and thankful month for me, leaves me with not knowing quite where to start with Christmas just around the corner. Well this November a plan was all in place! The first week we welcomed baby Kade into our home while his Mommy would be working in the office next door for a few afternoons a week. Kade is only just over a week younger than Peter so both babies are pretty much at the same stage, it's a taste of having twins! They have taken to each other so well and I'm pretty sure they'll become good buddies. Jake and Hanna just love Kade too and keep the little boys entertained. Peter gives Kade his big toothy grin at first sight and makes a beeline for Kades soother. It's been a bit more challenging to get nap time to coordinate but there have even been some days where I get a little snooze in before they wake up for snack time. They can hardly stand to watch each other eat, it's almost as if I should put the spoons in both mouths at the same time. The other good thing about babysitting is it makes me stay home more and plan my week out a little more efficiently!
We fit in some special days in November; A morning helping my friend Dora pack up her basement for an upcoming move, a whole Saturday spent scrapbooking at a school fundraiser (without kids, without interruptions, I was giddy!), birthday parties for Hanna's friends Mikayla and Chase. I was also busy with plans for our upcoming Church Christmas Dinner. At the end of November we left everything behind, except the kids and clothes, and headed to the city for two nights at a hotel. Hanna and Jake were so excited and counted down the sleeps the week of. So Thursday evening I finally gave into Hanna's begging to pack up. Well the picture below shows everything she lined up along the porch wall. Both suitcases full of clothes and two purses with doll clothes, stuffed dog and accessories and other miscellaneous items that she would have so much time to play with right? Oh yeah and a tractor for Jake, can't forget that! After they were in bed I purged several items and narrowed down to one suitcase and one purse!
We stayed at the VicInn with the Dino Splashpark. The kiddos loved every hour of being in the water while I felt sorry for myself every hour spent awake at night with a baby who was a little out of his comfort zone in a playpen next to his siblings. It was definitely tiring for me and Wayne but so worth to see the joy of adventure for our children. My family came for the weekend too, so the kids loved running to Grandma's room or aunties room and using the elevator was the biggest thrill. We didn't go out shopping much but Saturday evening I took my nieces to the mall. It was fun connecting with them and just being a little silly. It was a good two hours of being reminded what it's like being a young teen.
The kids even caught sight of Santa Clause at the Hotel and we chased him down for a photo!
Dressed for School! It's been a couple months since school started and so far Hanna very eagerly gets dressed to go to school. I hope it keeps up because that's one of the school morning routines that I dreaded the most. For the most part she gets her winter gear on herself when I say it's time to get ready; mom does the finishing touches and out she goes. The cats follow her to the lane and keep her company till the bus arrives. Lately before she leaves she will ask me if I've remembered her stuff and she'll list off each particular thing like Did you put milk in my lunch? Is my home reading bag in there? Is my sweater in there? Several years down the road and it will be me asking her if she's remembered all her stuff and pushing her out the door to make it to the bus on time. For now she has it covered with her child like eagerness.
Mornings where Jake wakes up after Hanna has left don't go so well because he missed his ritual of leaning over the rocker recliner and watching out the window till the bus has come and gone. Children are definitely creatures of habit and they let you know when something is out of turn.
Here's a familiar scene. Peter gets his space invaded quite frequently. I can just imagine how shocking it must be for him to be lying there and then all of a sudden two big kids come lumbering over the side of the crib. Those wide eyes probably get a little wider. Of course I should probably be keeping them out of the crib (not sure what the weight limit is) but they sit there and crank the volume on the aquarium and usually start singing to Peter boy. Sometimes it's not so appreciated when he's supposed to be falling asleep and they get him all excited again. Or there's the times Jake is determined to go kiss Peter after he's already asleep and I'm chasing him down the hall to keep him from bursting into babies' room!
Some of the kids' Lego creations. I love that Lego is so entertaining and encourages kids to be creative. Hanna keeps busy with her house and Lego girl while Jake gets me to make him a truck while he tries to figure out how to make a trailer with many random pieces that is supposed to hitch to the truck. This results in many angry outbursts if it doesn't hitch just so. He doesn't give up so it's quite a fiasco till it's all hitched and the wheels are all turning!
Welcome to the play-do bakery. What would you like to order?
Jake has the stockings filled already while Peter attempts to strip the tree of it's finery!
The Austin Christmas Celebration was a much anticipated day for the kids. Hanna had been practicing for several weeks for her part in the concert at school. So the morning of, with songs of Jingle Bells and Away in a Manger in her head, she excitedly went off to school in her party dress and curls. Meanwhile we made caramel popcorn and got dressed to go out to the parade in town. We made our way to the side of the street when we saw the parade coming. I was just going to hold Peter on my hip, and then the window rolled down in the vehicle next to us and there was my Aunt. She insisted I give her Peter to sit on her lap so that I didn't need to hold him. And so, he never even made shy and contentedly sat with his great Aunty watching the parade or more than likely playing with her steering wheel. I'm sure moments like those can only happen in a small town. Jake was thrilled with all the 'Mighty Machines' and seeing Santa Claus. The candy was a big hit too, even for mom! After the parade we rushed home for lunch and back to the school for the concert. Peter was definitely tired by this time but he was a trooper through all the festivities. It was so special to see Hanna's first school performance but silly me, I didn't get a great picture and I should've recorded the songs with my phone. She came home later that day so thrilled with all the Christmas events and candy!
Outdoor skating party at Aunty Trudy's'. It was COLD but that didn't stop anyone from enjoying some old fashioned fun on a homemade skating rink. Jake enjoyed being slid around the ice on a chair but I had forgot my skates so it didn't take long for Jake and I to head back where it was warm.
Wayne promised Hanna that he would sleep with them in a tent one Saturday night and Hanna did not let Daddy forget that. So here they are, with their makeshift tent in the dining room and glow sticks to wave around in the dark. I preferred the comfort of my bed rather than interrupting the cozy nest when Peter would be up in the night so I sprawled out in my bed as much as I wanted. Great night for all!!
And let the Christmas festivities begin. We started with Christmas at Grandma and Grandpa's where we enjoyed a very warm and comforting brunch of waffles, cinnamon buns, bacon, fruit and family around the table. Wayne and Sonya provided the entertainment as they played instruments together for the first time ever. Children playing and eagerly awaiting the presents.
Typical poser for the camera, bringing out some new style while playing Christmas songs.
Some gag laughs for the siblings. I've never been very good with buying gag gifts or really taken part in that kind of thing but it turned out to be fun and funny. Wayne came home with a musical toothbrush and a dishcloth eensy weensy teeny bikini for moi!
The kids so happy with their special gifts from Grandma and Grandpa. Lego creativity for Hanna, Jon Deere style for Jake and Peter happy with his barking puppy and even more excited about all the wrapping paper.
Next was one of those two gatherings in one day kind of a day plus a Sunday school concert in the morning. I had a hard time gearing up for the day because nap times are thrown way off and a go-go-go kind of day is so tiring. However, it turned out to go pretty smoothly after all and the kids (and mom) did alright and we enjoyed our time with the extended families. I was happy to get in some photos with the great Grandmas.
Christmas morning at the Doerksens. Hanna and Jake weren't even up very early, although I had an interrupted night with Peter-boy. Sleeping in like the rest would've been so good but some hot coffee washed away the sleepy eyes and gave me some quiet time before the excitement began. It wasn't long before the living room floor had paper tossed about, the kiddos wearing their new housecoats and busy setting up their new toys to play with.
Here's me excited to have received a Christmas card from my Honey. He's not the card buying type so I was very pleasantly surprised with such a special card.
We enjoyed being able to have Christmas Day to spend all day at home. Brunch and a rest, Christmas movie and supper preparations; Mom and Dad and Brian joined us for supper. It was a cold, cold Christmas season and we were happy to spend more time at home where it was warm and restful.
Boxing day was Christmas at my mom's. I was looking so forward to one of the best meals she makes; deep fried chicken with lemon sauce and shrimp. That was such a favorite of Dad's and we certainly love it too, although I still can't get Wayne to touch the shrimp and lemon sauce. We had such a fun time playing games with my nieces and nephews, feasting on Christmas goodies and thankful to have day together with mom.
Christmas went by so fast as it always does every year and then dawns a New Year. Now I'm much more an idealist than a rational thinker and so my ideal beginning to a new year would, well, seem new; somehow different from the last day of the old year. New attitude, New motivation, Newer fresh faced person looking back at me in the mirror. New resolution for the new me. Better this, better that, better mom, better friend, better wife, better me. However, faced with reality, the first week of January really didn't look any different in our household than the week before. I felt a little bit let down. The only thing that's new is that I'm little bit older. So January still holds interrupted nights, the need for coffee to perk me up, dishes to be done and floors to be swept continuously, days where I've scolded louder than I care to admit and grumbled not so silently under my breath, still the same me feeling like I too often make the same mistakes again. Last Sunday a line from a song really caught my attention: Turn all my strivings into works of grace and my humanness cries out why? Why would God bother with transforming toil, purging the pride that drives me to getting everything right? Seems like a tough question but the answer is so simple...because of Love. This passage from a devotional by Max Lucado had me flipping back to it several times during the Christmas season: He humbled himself. He went from commanding angels to sleeping in straw. From holding stars to clutching Mary's finger. The palm that held the universe took the nail of a soldier. Why? Because that's what love does. It puts the beloved before itself. When I feel like I've failed or come up short, God doesn't push me aside because I've missed a mark of divine expectation. Instead He graciously encourages me to keep going despite my shortcomings, straightening my crooked paths with his hand. I learned two words recently that really encourage me in the path of being the woman God calls me to be by learning to Fail Forward. Maybe that's what will be new about this year. Letting God show me that I'm a work in progress and that though I may stumble daily in my walk as a wife, mom and daughter of Christ I will not fall in defeat but fail forward in mercy. Thankful for last years trials and triumphs and take delight in today and tomorrows story of life.
Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet - Anne of Green Gables
Psalm 37:23-24 The Lord makes firm the steps
of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall,
for the Lord upholds him with his hand.
of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall,
for the Lord upholds him with his hand.