Link Love

What a week!

Topher and Ellie both started school – Topher in grade one, Ellie in preschool.

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Topher was a little bit nervous about being gone all day after only doing half-day kindergarten, but he was super excited to get the teacher he wanted and have most of his friends in his class!  When I picked him up the first words he said to me were “I wish school was as long as Daddy’s work, because I love, love, LOVE it!”

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And Ellie was thrilled to be starting school just like her big brother.  When her teacher bent down to introduce herself, Ellie jumped right into her arms for a big hug!

Clearly we need to watch her with strangers …

I’m most likely going to be spending a good chunk of my weekend lost in a corn maze, so here are a few posts from some of my favourite writers to keep you entertained!  Enjoy!

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I love everything Hannah Brencher writes, but Men in Blue Jumpsuits is one of my absolute favourite posts.

“I think we– as the eager, self-sufficient perfectionists that we are– ignore red flags and the nudging to slow down as long as we possibly can. We drink more coffee. We worship the hustle. We grow tired of waiting on a God who sometimes seems to be slower than dial-up internet. We say hasty things like, “You aren’t handling this mess fast enough so I am going to take it into my own two hands.”

More mess comes.

And still, God is not afraid to assume the role of custodian.”

In her post, A Creative, Suzy Krause asks “Who has time to be a Creative when one is a Mom?”

Colleen Pastoor shared some Thoughts on Kindness – a reminder to be friendly on the internet.  I don’t know why it’s so hard for some people to remember that they’re talking to real people when they leave nasty comments!

And I loved The Fleece by Ashlee Gadd.  Nothing good ever comes easy – not even if it’s your calling.

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Happy long weekend!  

Link Love

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I can’t believe summer is already halfway over!  Topher spent the first two weeks of his vacation going back and forth to the doctor’s office with an awful bout of bronchitis.  He had an allergic reaction to the antibiotic he was on so the doctor decided it would be best for Topher to fight the infection on his own.  After ten days with a high fever, the poor little guy finally beat it – this mama’s heart wouldn’t have been able to take it much longer!  Since he’s recovered we’ve been spending as much time as possible outside, playing at spray parks and playgrounds, having picnics, and visiting with friends.

This week we’re preparing for our first family camping trip since Topher was a baby.  The kitchen table is littered with lists:  Groceries to buy, items to pack, camping equipment to organize.  I know we’ll have a great time so it will all be worth it, but I forgot how much work camping is!

I won’t be around for a few days, since I’m so busy stocking up on insect repellant and bear spray – so here are a few posts from some of my favourite writers.  Enjoy!

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I’ve loved every book Shauna Niequist has ever written, so I was super excited to see this excerpt of her latest book, Present over Perfect (which releases August 9th!), pop up in my reader.

Jenn’s post, Permission to Be, was a reminder that I need all too often in this season of life:  “Don’t rush.  Stop complaining.  Let it be.  All in the name of being here.”

Another great reminder?   A Mama Fesses Up by Katie Blackburn.  “It seems to me that there is a whole lot to be terrified about these days. But verbal abuse and judgement from other parents should not be one of them. Maybe the best thing we can do is get really honest with ourselves and admit that our parenting is marked with just as many failures as victories …”

I’ve never been one to write about current events.  I’m afraid to say the wrong thing, so I say nothing.  Annie F. Downs put into words what I couldn’t in her post, It’s My Problem.

I loved Jenn’s post, In Praise of the Small and Ordinary.  “What are we doing, bringing kids into this crazy, messed-up world?” she writes.  “We’re hoping they’ll make it a better place.

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Do you camp?  What should I bring for food?

Love & Gratitude // 2

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I woke up last Monday to a chill in the air.  Even though I’m holding out for at least a few more days of warm weather, I’m beginning to come to terms with the fact that fall is just around the corner.  I wore jeans five days this week and took the dog for a walk wearing a winter jacket and toque.  IN AUGUST.  

Ugh.

I usually love fall but this year – much like last! – I’m trying to hold on to summer as tightly as I can.   This year, fall means kindergarten.   Topher is looking forward to it:  He has two friends in his class, and his teacher was Nathan’s kindergarten teacher – which is “the coolest thing ever!!” when you’re five.  I’m not looking forward to it nearly as much!  Change is not my friend.  

I’m still trying to focus on the good – so here is my love & gratitude for this week:

LOVE

We always document the firsts but never remember the lasts.  A mom asks a simple question:  When Did I Last Wash Her Hair?

This post was especially meaningful to me this week:  Why Its So Important to Do What You Love.  There’s more to life than money.  When you do what you love, everything else falls into place.  

As hard as I’ve been trying to freeze time and keep him little forever, Topher starts kindergarten in just over two weeks.  I’m positive that I will be an emotional mess!  I loved this post:  To My Fellow Moms, on the First Day of Kindergarten.

Maybe it’s just my economics background, but I love reading about financial planning.  In the past four years Nathan and I have paid off all of our debt apart from our mortgage, purchased a new (to us) car with cash, and saved $30 000.  How?  Check out these  8 Countercultural Decisions to Find Financial Freedom.

I know most of my readers aren’t horse nuts like I am, but I really enjoyed reading about How a 10-Year-Old Trains Her Just Broke Horses.  Probably because my start in the saddle was very similar!

I’m a big fan of Emily P. Freeman, and I can’t wait to read her latest book, “Simply Tuesday”.  (Hurry up, Amazon!  Your shipping is SO slow!)  I loved her post, Let’s Keep Tuesday Simple: More Heart, Less Hurry.

& GRATITUDE 

Kind and patient teachers.  Topher just finished two weeks of swimming lessons – and he earned his badge!  The last time he was enrolled in a class he refused to get in the water at all, so the fact that he passed is a HUGE deal.  Nathan and I were ecstatic that he got in the pool – the badge is just the icing on the cake!

Wheels.  Nathan and I bought a new-to-us vehicle this week – a 2009 Toyota Matrix.  We’ve been a one car family for the past five years so it’s a huge change!   The kids and I don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn if we need the car during the day –  and our days feel two hours longer as a result, since we don’t need to drop Nathan off or pick him up!    I know we could have made one vehicle work but since Topher’s school is in a different neighbourhood (an hour away by bus, 8 minutes by car) – we decided to make the investment.  Having a second vehicle means we can broaden our search for a house as well, since we’re no longer bound to the neighbourhood the elementary school is in.  Most of all, though, to me, it means FREEDOM!!

Hot chocolate.  Fall is approaching, and with the drop in temperatures in Edmonton this week I’ve been very appreciative of our comfy couch, warm blankets, and a cup of hot chocolate.  Both Topher and Ellie are big fans of hot chocolate as well – they typically swarm me as soon as they see me holding a mug!  “Can I have some, Mommy?  Can I?  Please?”

What were you grateful for this week? 

Love & Gratitude

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This week started with a high (Nathan and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary!) and ended with a low (the flu.  Need I say more?)

Weeks like this, it’s easy to get tired.  It’s easy to feel frustrated and grumpy and overwhelmed.     It’s easy to dismiss the entire week as a write-off:  Everyone was sick, I didn’t get anything done, my house is a mess –

But I’m choosing to focus on the good instead.

LOVE

Taking an unplanned month away from blogging means I haven’t shared any links in awhile.  Here are some of my recent favourites:

The Words That Matter Most by Suzy Krause.

Why I Read More than One Book at a Time by Emily P. Freeman.

Motherhood is More by Jenn Batchelor.

Why It’s Worth It to Fight for Rest by the Nester.

Take Me To Church  by Hannah Brencher.

10 Lessons Learned from the Home Buying Process by Brittany at The Nested Nomad.

& GRATITUDE

Nathan.  I’m always grateful for my husband, but never more so than when there is vomit to clean up!  I’m all for snuggling sick kids, but if they’re going to be sick they better do it in a bowl and not on me.  I’ll lie on the couch with a sick Ellie on top of me and her bowl on top of her with layers of blankets in between us.  Nathan, on the other hand, will tuck Ellie into the crook of his arm – or wherever she feels most comfortable – and if she’s sick, she’s sick.  He’ll try to catch it (in his hands, if that’s all that he has available) – but if he misses, whatever.  He’ll just clean it up later (while I’m retching over the toilet because other people puking makes me puke.)

Work.  My medical transcriptionist position was supposed to end at the beginning of July because the company I type for implemented a voice recognition system.  The switch to the new program didn’t go very well, though, so half of the doctors are currently dictating on the old system and half on the new – meaning I still have lots of work, and will have work for the foreseeable future. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with my job these days – I was actually relieved when the end was in sight! – but at the same time, I’m grateful to be able to stay at home with the kids.  Even if it is hard, and even if I am exhausted, it’s worth it!

Laughter.  The kids are huge fans of Maru, and this week I introduced them to my favourite YouTube video of all time:  The dog that fights off his own paw.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen Topher laugh so hard!

What were you grateful for this week?  

Picnic Party Invitations

I’ve always been a bit of a stationery nerd.  My family owned a printing business so I spent hours poring over paper catalogues when I was growing up.

True story:  When Nathan and I got engaged, I had absolutely no idea what kind of wedding dress I wanted to buy but I had our invitations planned out in my head long before he popped the question!

The same is true of Topher’s 5th birthday party:  I picked out the invitations before I decided who we were going to invite and what activities we were going to do!

I knew we were going to have the party in the park – and these invitations from Anastasia at Pink Texas Print were perfect!
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I purchased the item from her Etsy shop on a Sunday and received the personalized digital file on Wednesday.  I sent it to be developed at Costco and had the invitations in my hands later that day.

They turned out beautifully, don’t you think?

I highly recommend Pink Texas Print for invitations designs:  Excellent customer service, quick turnaround, and high quality work!

* Stay tuned for my follow-up post later this week:  When Things Don’t Go As Planned (or, “When Your Son Breaks Out in a Rash That Could Be Chicken Pox the Day of His Birthday Party and It Starts Pouring Rain Two Hours Before the Outdoor Party Begins and You Have Absolutely Nothing Planned as Backup”).