It'll Do You Good...

Our poor cat has gone through quite a bit of stress in the past few months.  She moved to a new location with her previous owners, then transferred to our place within a month of that and has had to adjust to new owners and lifestyle.  So I would not fault her for a little bit of hissing and standoffish-ness {which she is completely over now}.  But the spraying on our carpet? The urination on our bed? So not cool.  I have been doing a bit of research and the latest bit is that, after cleaning up and completely eliminating the smell of her urine in various places in your house, you have to make her litter box irresistible.  You have to clean out the poop daily, change over the litter weekly, and make sure it's in a private location so she feels comfortable.  It's all mind games {including putting aluminum foil over top of freshly washed areas that she previously sprayed on-apparently cats don't like the sound or feel, so they avoid it!}  
I'm curious to see how it works {including that over-priced organic "Cat Uriinate No-More!" spray we bought from the pet store}.  In the meantime, she is still proving to be useful and boastfully brought out a dead mouse she had caught the other day.  She is also quite affectionate at certain times of the day, and plops herself down into our laps no matter how inconvenient the timing. 

I guess we can keep you, Pepper...



A Reading Biography...

Reflections on questions from The Reading Tutor's Handbook

How did I learn to read and write?
-My mother always told me that I taught myself how to read, but I can't even remember learning how to write.  It seems like I've always done it.  I vaguely remember drawing out countless letters as I practiced, but I'm pretty sure my mom worked with me at home even before I went to pre-school.

When did I learn to read and write?
-Some time between the ages of 3 and 4 years old

Who was most helpful in teaching me to read and write?
-My mom and I'm sure lots of teachers at school helped as well

What are my first memories of stories and books?
-These have captivated my attention for as long as I can remember.  My mom used to buy books for my sister and I, she even ordered them over the phone.  We used to die of anticipation before they were delivered to the house.  I don't remember much before "Mandie" books and "The Christian Heritage" series.  I remember loving my "Precious Moments" Bible, and I know that my parents read us books before bedtime.  

Was learning to read and write easy or difficult for me?
-As far as I know, it came easy to me.

How have reading and writing helped me over the years?
-My parents homeschooled my siblings and I over the span of five years.  My mom used to set aside time after breakfast for us to write a paragraph about something.  I can't remember if she picked the topic or if she left it up to us, but the practice of writing a little bit every day was strongly encouraged.  I was at least 7 or 8 years old, and my sister even younger than that. When I was eleven years old, my sister Melissa got a "diary" for her birthday. I loved the idea of having a place to write my secrets, something I could keep under lock and key, so I got a 'diary', too.  These earliest writings were extremely childish, angry, and detailed (down to what we ate for lunch).  I still keep a journal now, but my entries are much more focused on my devotional times with God and for personal/spiritual change in my life rather than teenage angst and petty drama.  I have kept a blog since 2006, and my blogging persona versus my journal writing persona are different, which I find rather interesting.  Writing has helped me to organize my thoughts, to explore my creativity (I wrote poems as a child and well into my early twenties), and it's challenged me to become a better person.

Reading, though, is one of those passions that has never seemed to go away, even though some days (especially lately) it looks more like learning how to make butternut squash soup from a pinterest article.  I have always enjoyed reading, the more fiction the better, and I have learned new words and explored a thousand worlds.  Reading the Bible has changed me as a person, to be more like Christ, and reading other books has taken me into the minds of countless authors, exposed me to thoughts, ideas, and stories I never could have dreamed.  Some books I wish I could forget, and some I wish I had time to read a thousand times over.  I can't imagine a world without reading, and I'm so thankful that my parents encouraged this in myself and my siblings.  

Why do I want to help someone learn to read and write?
- I want other people, especially children, to have the same exploration that I did as a child, to feel the freedom of a thousand words at their fingertips, to choose from whichever book they want at the library, to have a spate of words to pluck from their minds as they describe their day, to express themselves with ease.  Reading and writing give me opportunities to share my thoughts and opinions, and now in this technological age to share with countless readers.  I want to nurture this in someone.

Image Source

On My Mind Tonight...

In no particular order:

1. Searching for ways to get my cat to stop peeing everywhere (Including my bed)
2. Grieving with those who have lost children this week, both born and unborn.  May God bring them comfort in their time of pain and grief. 
3. Wondering how to be a mother who both challenges and nurtures her child, without stressing
4. Waiting for replies to my Kijiji ad to teach ESL
5. Thankful I finally got to see my brother play a high school football game, especially since it was the last game of the season (and they WON! Go Park Trojans!)
6. Happy to be home tonight, even if my house does smell like cat urine



A Thanksgiving to Remember...

A year ago today we got to bring Adrian home from the hospital two weeks after he was born. Then we immediately drove two hours north to a Thanksgiving gathering, surprising everyone with our new little addition. As we were driving there yesterday, I couldn't help but reminisce on the feelings and emotions that I felt last year... It was the first time that Jake and I were truly alone with our baby, no nurses hovering , no feeding tubes, no machines monitoring his breathing. Just us parents, whom God entrusted to look after such a tiny, fragile miracle. What a year of learning, of growth, seeing Adrian go from hour and a half long nursing sessions to less than ten minutes; from sitting with him in the back seat to make sure his head wouldn't flop forward to giving him Mum-mum's to eat while I'm driving. All this and more fills my heart with so much gratitude.



He Turns One...

October is a busy and exciting month for us, with Thanksgiving, my birthday, and our anniversary.

Adrian and I celebrating his cousins 3rd birthday, a couple of weeks before his own
To kick things off, we begin with a celebration of our little guy's birth. This day last year I became a mother, and boy, has it been a crazy roller coaster of a year adjusting to this new role!  We're still working out the kinks of parenthood, and I can see that there will be many more learning curves ahead.  But oh! ...

When I hear Adrian giggle and chortle as his daddy tickles him mercilessly...
When I see him splash and roll from front to back over and over in the bath tub, unable to contain his glee...
When I see his face light up when he sees me after I've been out doing some errands...
When I feed him his favourite food and see him get excited for more...
When my sighs cut through the night as I rise yet again to comfort him in the middle of the night...
When I open the front door and his legs start kicking excitedly because he loves being outdoors...
When I'm driving and he stays awake because he has a sense of adventure like that...
When I'm nursing him and he reaches up to pat my face or play with my hair...
When we're walking along and he looks up at me and stares into my eyes...
When he pulls my hair at the back of my neck and yes-it-hurts-like-heck but I know he draws comfort from it...
When I see him suck in his lower lip and I know that means he's feeling curious...

I'm reminded of all the reasons I love him, and why I wouldn't trade motherhood for anything in the world!

Mama and Daddy love you, Adrian.  Happy First Birthday!

African Lion Safari August 2014