Friday, March 29, 2013

One more set of company coming

With Grandma and Lydia on the road for Lethbridge as of 8:45 Monday morning, it was just me and the kids...for a few days. :o)
A sweet moment.
I'm just starting to put Philip in the Bumbo. He really likes being with his sisters and seeing them at their play.
Siblings are such natural entertainment for each other. God has a beautiful design!
I think I had changed a diaper, and then the girls got a hold of a wipe each and wanted to "clean" for me. Music to my ears!!! :o) As Hope pointed out - "Oh Mommy - your cupboards have so many spots on them." Yes, thank you, Hope. :o) Thankfully, they had a few less spots when she was done.
Joy thought her Winnie the Pooh house needed washing.
I caught them taking care of their dollies in the recliner one morning. First they fed them bottles...
...then they "nursed" them. Ah yes. The great times we have here. :o)
Philip pops a big grin whenever he sees Hope coming close to him and he's starting to get that way with Joy too, as Joy starts to learn how to interact with him. She has always loved him, but as to how to show that love... we're just getting there. :o) She mostly let Hope dote on him before, but now that she realizes he is a little person with personality and not "just a baby" I think she's more inclined towards him. :o)
He follows them with his eyes, and head.
We had another special blessing that weekend - my Mum and Chloe came up just to see the kids.
It was an extra blessing that weekend, as Josh had worked every evening of the week and was working Saturday too.
It relieved me to have someone else help entertain and care for the children.
Look at that - they match... on top. :o)

A little set of the little man:

Oh yes - texting Reid - Auntie Chloe was kind enough to "share" with Joy. :o)
Love how she uses her bear as a pillow sometimes. :o) She's my little hot-house when it comes to sleeping, and if she has any blanket on at all she pretty much wakes up damp. :o)
Drumming on the baby chub....
....and the baby enjoying the sound. :o)
In some ways, she is such a "big girl" already, like her speaking ability, and then in other ways she is such a baby still - her long afternoon naps, and diapers, and desire to be held. :o)
That boy loves his blue blanket. He calms almost instantly when he feels it round his hands and arms. Poor lad had a bout of colic that weekend... it happens when I don't watch my chocolate intake. I'm also finding he gets bubble trouble from me eating bacon. Ah well. It's good for me not to have too much of those foods anyways. :o)
Josh wasn't the only one working extra... Matthew had a last minute work trip up here too, and of course we couldn't pass up the chance to have him stay with us. :o) Hope and Joy enjoyed the videos he had of his kids on his recently acquired iPhone. :o)
Happy times.
Not sure what she was doing...
...but I just love that shirt on her. I don't think of wine purple and sage green for little kids, but she wears it well.
Just love her head of curls. :o) When she's fresh out of the tub, it ringlets even better in the back, and her piggy tails always have natural curl to them. :o) Her hair is very coarse - easy to brush. :o)

And thus we came to an end of that season of company. 18 people spending 33 nights in our home in the 57 days between January 24-March 17. That's guests with us over 50% of the time. WAHOO! We love it! We thank the Lord for this home He has entrusted to us, and for the strength and provision to open its doors and have our families visit us. We love having other guests too - so if you're reading this and you're not family, don't let that keep you from coming!!!

It was such a blessing to be able to have so many in our home on so many different weeks/weekends - helped pass the long winter days for the kids and I. The girls' most common question became, "Mom - who's our next company going to be?" :o) And I was always happy to tell them. It felt weird when Hope asked me that question the other day and I had to answer, "I don't know!" But God does. And we'll find out soon.

And in the meantime, I'm blogging, cleaning, cooking, and doing activities with the kids... and keeping up on laundry (13 loads in one week was my record with switching guest linens, finding time to do our sheets, plus regular laundry) and kids' baths and shovelling snow or ice, and all those other Mommy kinds of things. :o) Oh yeah - I got the flu too, the last one of us to get it, so I had to take time to recover from that. :o) While resting in the recliner one day, I noticed I was accumulating a large pile of teddy bears on top of me, courtesy of the girls. :o) They said they wanted me to have something to cuddle with to help me feel better. :o) God takes care of us - He does. :o)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A very special week in our lives

It just so happened that Lydia had plans to visit us the weekend after Mom and Dad were here, and that  presented and opportunity that seemed too convenient to pass up - a chance to have Great-Grandma stay for a whole week as she had a ride both ways! :o) 
Now that we have a second guest room set up in our upstairs sewing room/office, she can stay with us as she doesn't have to navigate the stairs down to where the main guest room is located. 
It was incredibly special to have her here with us. She is one of my heroes, and I'm so glad for the time she was able to spend here with us. I hope my children grow up to have a loving and giving spirit, like she does.
Who better to help Hope "farm" one morning, than Great-Grandma, a farmer's wife from the days before GPS navigation systems were invented and before air conditioned cabs, or tractor cabs at all. :o) 
The girls spent many hours with her at the kitchen table doing various activities.
Joy's so funny - she possesses the ability to colour inside the lines, but it only lasts about five seconds before a spurt of energy and willpower sends her marker making huge circles around her page. :o) It's great! I've heard that that  is better artist preparation anyways - to have children make large motions with their pencils/pens.
 One of many story times with Great-Grandma.
And another.
Can't remember what I needed to do - something in the kitchen, so Hope held Philip for me and when I came to pick him up from the safety of her side I found him fast asleep.
Gulp. So sweet!
Hope told Great-Grandma exactly how she wanted this particular thing coloured... it was cute.
And little Philip loved her. He would crank out a big grin anytime he heard her voice. Such a blessing too, because her arms aren't strong enough to hold him for very long anymore, and it meant a lot to her that he interacted with her by his facial expressions. :o)
I feel like I learned a lot about dignity that week. 

My Grandma is a woman of great dignity, but also great humility. I have never known another person as gracious, generous, or as grateful as her. 
She still lives in her own house, though the cleaning is done by a lady from town, the yardwork by her sons families, and she cooks very simply. A wheelchair ramp was added to the front access to her house a few years back, and that is where she walks, as there is a handrail. She says when she can't drive anymore her son will buy her a motorized scooter. Look out Foremost the day she learns how to drive that thing!!!
She verbalized a lot of things while here, about how it was hard for her to feel the strength slipping away from her hands and shoulders, and tightness stealing into her hips, making it even harder to walk. She still does what she can, and doesn't attempt what she knows she shouldn't. 
She is wise. She doesn't complain. She enjoys all the good gifts around her. 
It is hard for me too, to see one so strong face the change that comes with age, and yet she is doing it with such beauty and poise. 

I had to post this picture because there's a story behind it.
Hope wanted to set up a tea party picnic for all of us one day. I gave her some cups and instruction and off she went. You see, the big chair is for Great-Grandma, because she can't sit on the floor, and the pillows are for Mommy and Hope, and Joy doesn't need anything to sit on because she doesn't sit still anyways. :o) Actually, knowing Joy, the little pink box was probably where she would have picked to sit (in it) if given the option, but I think she got bored with the picnic idea right off the bat and didn't really "do it" with us anyways.
Bedtime snuggles with Great-Grandma.
Hope gets her love of singing from both sides of the family. My Grandma was quite the songbird herself when she was little. As they often do, Hope and Joy sang while waking up in their beds in the morning while Grandma was here, and she told me that really touched her, because her Mother and Grandmother told her she used to do that exact thing when she was little. :o) She was trying to teach them an old song "Good Morning Merry Sunshine," while she was here. It was sweet to hear them singing together.
One of our front-yard part-time residents.
And his sidekick.
We usually one see one hare at a time in our yard, but this particular day we had two. :o)
Doing Play Dough, and Grandma was dishing back to Hope some of the detailed set of preferences she was communicating. Hope... ahem!
Busy baker-girl. :o)
I simply had to make lunch one day, and Philip was being all fussy, so I stuck him in his carseat and Great-Grandma rocked him to sleep using her cane. It worked perfectly!
Check out that odd strawberry!
The girls really enjoyed Great-Grandma, and once they learned to return her cane to her after they played with it (a frequent occurrence) things went more smoothly. :o)
Three of my four dish-doers that night. We had my cousin Justin come over and join us for dinner, and he washed all the dinner dishes without being asked! SCORE! That works for me.
It was decided that Hope should show him her violin.
Need I say more?
Friday morning sunlight....she was looking at Auntie Lydia who was lying on the floor being "tickled" by Hope.
Lydia got up at 4 AM that Friday to travel up here to join me for a ladies' retreat with our church while Josh and Grandma took care of things at home. "Auntie Lyddie" got here in time to paint with the girls and do some music with them before their lunchtime... and, I discovered that the piano bench is actually a really good place for Hopey when I need to French Braid her hair. :o) The idea was that those braids would last her the weekend, but I think someone missed the memo and they came out rather too soon. Oh well.
"Reading" the music. Soon enough. :o) We've just started lessons.
Lydia and I took off around 12:30, and went to a draw of the Brier together before driving out to the ladies retreat.
iPhone picture. :o)
We even had free Tim Hortons coffee at the curling. Lydia went to get some for us, but when she went to pay she only had her "plastic" and the concession guy said they could only take cash, so he just gave us the coffees for free! :o) Wasn't that kind? We enjoyed them extra too, as it was a wee bit cold and drafty in the rink.
 Philip kicking around in his quarters in our room up at Camp Nakamun, where the ladies retreat was.
It was so fun to just soak up some sister time with my very busy little sista. :o) I love her so much. :o) And yes - we stayed up way too late playing Scrabble after sessions, but hey - it's what memories are made of.
We got back from the retreat mid-afternoon on Sunday, and after feeding Philip and seeing my Josh after his much deserved nap, the Lord gave me strength to whisk the house into order and set out snacks for one more set of cousins who were stopping by with Grandma in the area. :o) God is good. Lydia brought Hope a birthday gift, which is what she is opening in the picture above.
My dear Grandma got the dreaded flu that night, but she braved it out and was able to ride home with Lydia the next day, despite feeling unwell.

It was a very special week in my life. One I will not soon forget, and one I hope I have the privilege of repeating while Grandma can still travel. :o)