Wednesday, March 31, 2010

CT Scan

Tomorrow Lilah has a CT scan. The surgeons want to see exactly what the bone structure looks like in her face so that they can form a plan for surgery.

We will be at the hospital for about five hours, as they have to put her under general anesthestia so that she will remain still.

Lilah hates hospitals and any sterile enviornment. She becomes very cautious and clingy and if anyone approaches her she starts to scream. I am hoping it will be pretty laid back until they put her to sleep, but not really counting on it. I have to put Emla cream on her hands for the IV's.... doesn't sound like it will be too laid back and I should prepare myself...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunday Snapshot: {Abigail}

Ni Hao Y'all

On Friday, Abby went to a friends house and was invited to go to the Sikh Temple with their family.

She had to wear a sari with a head covering.

She was the only white girl there and did get some looks. Not unfriendly.

They ate rice, curry and rice pudding after. Sitting on a mat on the floor.

As Christians, I love that my daughter can experience something like this. It teaches her to accept and love the differences in all people.

She loves Jesus, and she isn't shy about telling people that she does. It is who she is. It is her life. But she loves her girlfriends and they all except each other for who they are and where they come from.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Tutu...

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I got this tutu from Jocelyn at Fenny and Lolo. Jocelyn and I were supposed to travel to China in the same travel group, but they were delayed another month. But we became online friends...

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Jocelyn makes these gorgeous tutu's! I don't think you would EVER wear them anywhere, but they are great for pictures!

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They are great for playing dress up, and I may even have Lilah wear one on her birthday.

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She wasn't too sure about it, it is so big and fluffy! But these things weren't around when I had Abby.... I am loving having another little girl to dress up...

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Paska and Glums


Today we made Paska and Glums. These are recipes from my Mennonite heritage and something we look forward to every year at Easter! I only make it for the two weeks leading up to the Easter weekend. We go through two loaves a day in our house and an ice cream bucket full of Glums. It is really one of the rare times our family ever eats white bread, especially white bread loaded with sugar and topped with icing! I call this Heaven on a plate...

What is Paska or Glums??? Paska is a sweet, citricy white bread, traditionally baked in a rounded shape. Glums is the spread you put on each slice, made up of cream cheese, cream, sugar and dry cottage cheese.


I have altered the Paska recipe from the original recipe from my Oma. I don't like to spend all day in the kitchen and end up with ten loaves of bread at a time. I use my bread machine and here is the recipe...


1 cup water
1 large egg
3 1/4 cup bread flour
4 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. Powdered Milk
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast

1 Tbsp. each grated lemon and orange rind

I make mine on the dough setting, remove it from the machine and place in two greased round pans. Let rise for another 30 minutes. Bake in oven at 350 for 20 minutes.

Cool and top with a runny white icing. I add more grated lemon and orange rind to this, as well as some lemon juice.


Glums: (sometimes this can be an acquired taste!)

Scald 1/2 cup heavy cream, add 1/2 cup butter. Pour over 2 egg yolks beaten with 2 cups of white sugar. Cook until thick. Mash 6 cups of dry cottage cheese with 8 oz. of cream cheese. Mix all ingredients together. Add vanilla.


My kids yum this right up and then beg for more!



Lilah had already had her piece... I turned around and she had moved on to Josiah's plate, left on the counter, and this is what I saw! I think she likes it! I think she will enjoy Easter at our house!


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Getting into High School


In Edmonton, getting into the high school you want, can be a huge pain and just a little stressful! Everybody has a designated high school they can go to (ours is not a good school and my children will not be going there). Or you can apply to go to another high school that offers more of what you might be interested in (sports, science, etc.). Some schools accept students based on marks and skills, some do a random draw of the applications.


Abby is very strong academically, especially in math and science. She is choosing between two high schools. One with an AP program and one with partial AP and a science first program. One she could likely get into easily (based on her marks) and the other is a draw. Guess which one she wants? The draw.


This stresses me out. I want her to go to this school as well, but if she doesn't get in, then what do we do? You can only apply to one school, if you don't get in, you have to go to your designated school. That won't be happening. It is a huge risk. I guess we will see what happens and go from there.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Monday, March 15, 2010

Mennonite in a little black dress

I am only recommending this book if you can take a bit of crude content... it is by no means a "religious" book. It is the story of one woman's journey back home to her mennonite heritage. Due to a failed marriage and lack of funds, Rhoda decides to take a break and move home with her traditional (not old-world) mennonite parents. She was always embarrassed by her heritage and all that it brought with it, but now as a 42 year old woman, she is realizing how big a part of her it is, and that it really is a great thing!

I smiled and laughed out loud reading this memoir.

You may not truly be able to understand the sarcasm if you weren't raised mennonite, but here are a few of my favorite excerpts...

Talking about her dad (who is a pastor -- as mine was!) No matter who you are, you do not snooze through this man's sermons. Even if you are an atheist, you find yourself nodding and thinking, Preach it mister!
Well, not nodding. Maybe you imagine your nodding. But in this scenario you are in a Mennonite church, which means you sit very still and worship Jesus with all your heart, mind and soul, only as if a snake has bitten you, and you are now in the last stages of paralysis.

Her mother trying to find her a new man... "If there aren't any single men to date where you are, I know of someone for you." "Who?" "Your cousin Walemar. Waldemar is a professor in Nova Scotia," she said earnestly, "And he has a beach house." I took a measured breath. "Wally is my first cousin," I said. "That's both incestuous and illegal." My mother considered this thoughfully. "Well," she said, "I think it should be fine since you can't have kids anyway."

Listing the various embarrassing foods put into her lunch kit as a child. Borscht is the Mennonite catnip. It makes our eyes roll back in our head a little. If you meet someone who has a Mennonite name, let's say the new librarian at your college, the encounter might go like this:

YOU. So you're a Wiebe! May I ask if your mennonite?
MR. WIEBE. Yes, on my father's side. We're the Wiebe's in Manitoba. I knew some Mennonite Janztens when I went to school in Minnesota. Are those your folks?
YOU. No, mine come from Ukraine via Ontario. I'll have to have you and your wife over for Borscht sometime.
MR. WIEBE. (trembling) Borscht! Really?!
YOU. (modestly) Oh, I can get the ole kettle boiling!
MR. WIEBE. (salivating now, with a wild look in his eye) Do you make the kind with beets in it?

Talking about Mennonite history. Mennonites marry their cousins and second cousins. Mennonites all know each other instantly, on sight and by smell. Our last names are the same. We practically have a secret handshake. If you are a Mennonite, I think I can safely guarantee that you married my mother's second cousin. We're all eerily related, and thus the gene pool is shallow. Come in a splash if you must, but you won't get a tan. We are ruddy Teutonic giants who wear plus sized swimsuits. Gotcha! We don't wear swimsuits! If we wore swimsuits, that would mean we would have to get naked! We've got better things to do. Such as sitting attentively in church, and praying that God will not call us to become a missionary on the Chaco!

Perhaps you have been wondering, how can I join this attractive religious group?

Rhoda goes on to list some of the taboo subjects for Mennonites and some of the positive as well...

We endorse - public prayer, out loud, with bowed heads, especially in restaurants and at airports.
- Potlucks (A-J bring a main dish) (K-Z bring pie)
- Pluma Moos, a hot fruit soup starring our friend the prune.
- The scrupulous consumption, on principle, of any and every moldy leftover in the fridge.

If you have paid close attention to the preceding pages, you are ready to meet Mennonites in real life. When you do, speak slowly and smile. If you play your cards right, I'm pretty sure they'll offer you some cabbage.

The author came to realize how much she loves her family and her religion. I love being Mennonite and so, even though this book is very sarcastic, I know it was written out of pride and love. And of course, truth!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Spring Fever

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Spring fever has hit me. This week has been a week of organizing, purging and cleaning at my house. I came back from vacation ready to get things done and the beautiful spring weather gives me the energy to do it!

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I have had a very busy week. We got home Sunday at 11am and at midnight, Tim left for Boston for a week long conference.

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The kids have been great, but they do ask... how many more days until Daddy is home? Tomorrow!!!

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I have missed my camera in all the craziness and finally gave in today. I had put my spring/summer bedding on and it was the perfect match to the little dress that I just got for Lilah from the Etsy shop "Lilah and Noah".

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Lilah has been wearing her patch so far, with little complaint. She asks if she can take it off, but when I say "not yet", she accepts that willingly.

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I have a few friends waiting to be matched on the shared list for China and also a few friends deciding when and if to adopt again. I am very excited to see what happens in the coming months as more families grow!

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Meanwhile, I plan to keep organizing my house and finally getting all the little jobs that have been hanging over my head DONE. I just need the sun to keep on shining!

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Thursday, March 11, 2010



So, today we went back to the eye doctor and he has now recommended patching Lilah's good eye. So far she doesn't seem to mind and does seem to be able to see and do things as usual. She needs to wear a patch ALL DAY except for ONE HOUR! He performed a little test (saying that this doesn't usually work for children under 4 years), where he held up a letter chart and gave Lilah a letter chart. He pointed to a letter and asked her to point to the same letter on her chart. With her good eye she got every match correct! With her bad eye, she only got one right. But he was definitely impressed by how smart she is!

Six weeks of patching to go... then we will see what comes next or if it even helped.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Big Families...

I read this on another blog and it is so true...

Why big families are easier:

Patience. I never have to teach patience. My children know that I can’t drop everything for them if I have a baby in my arms.

Work Ethic. My children have learned to work because there are always chores to do in a small house packed with little messy lunatics. And they all learn quickly that sometimes they have to clean up a mess even though they didn’t make it.

Humility. My children have learned it’s not always their turn. They’ve accepted they can’t always get their way because other people have to get their way sometimes. They’ve learned that some children are better at certain things than they are.

Foreign language skills. You can learn a lot of Spanish by watching ten years of Dora the Explorer that you just can’t pick up in two. And now with the Diego spin off I’m practically fluent.

Laughter. The children have learned to laugh at the insane non sequiturs of younger siblings. They’ve learned that laughing just feels better when seven people are doing it along with you.

Competition. Do I really need to go into this? Everything is a competition in big families. The children compete over who reads faster, who drinks their milk faster, who gets to the bathroom first…etc. Everything is a competition and they’re all keeping score.

Balance. The floor of the front room of my home is a minefield of toys and childhood paraphernalia. Just walking through the room requires great skill and balance. I’m absolutely convinced my two year old will be a favorite for Gold on the balance beam in the 2016 Olympics. (She might have to lay off the cookies a little but I’ll deal with that later.)

Life isn’t fair. Sometimes you just give it to the baby because you want a little quiet. Not all the time. But sometimes.Just say “No.” Being able to say “no” may be the most undervalued skill in this world. The need to be liked is pervasive. The need to be cool even more so. Having brothers and sisters teaches children to say “no” about 143 times a day. It’s a good skill.

Praying. They learn that nothing beats praying together as a family.Nature/Nurture. Having many children has taught me that nature has a lot more to do with who my kids are than nurture. This is helpful, especially when your children misbehave you don’t have to feel bad about it. Just say “Stupid nature!!!” and blame your spouse’s genes.

Namecalling. You can occasionally call your child by the wrong name and still not be considered a terrible parent. They know who you mean just from your tone. Sometimes if you need something done you can call the wrong name and someone will still show up. That helps.

Spying. My children have learned that they can’t get away with anything. I have spies who look a lot like them who are willing to drop the dime on them for anything. Even at school I’ve got a child in just about every grade. If they do something I’ll hear. That keeps them nervous. And I like keeping my kids a little nervous.

Friendship. The children have many friends. They’ve got girly friends, crying friends, fun loving friends, consoling friends, and crazy friends. And they all have the same last name. And they’ll be there forever for each other. No matter what.

Love. I think my children have learned to love because there are others around them to love and who love them. I honestly can think of no better way to teach children to love than siblings.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


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Every two years we take a tropical vacation with my family. We all get along wonderfully and the cousins love being together.

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It is really hard to get a good family photo with this many kids.... one of them is always doing something or looking in a different direction!

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My parents, are simply, amazing parents. They love their family and they love their grandchildren. They know when to step in and they know when to step back. They know when to be a parent and when to be a friend.

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I haven't taken many close-ups of my kids. Other than Lilah, they were all badly sun burnt on the first day. Never have I seen sun burns like they had. They were red for days, their eyes swelled, wrist, legs and ears swelled. Then they lost most of their skin and looked really pitiful. It was not fun. But they are slowly getting back to normal.

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My sister and her family...

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Then there is Tim. Still hot. Still wonderful. After 18 years! Are we really that old? Does it count that we got married very young? (age 19)...

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The fern Grotto, where romance happens....

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