Friday, December 4, 2015

What would have been my answer?

I was eating lunch at Subway with my three year-old, Addisyn, and 4-month old, Josette, when I overheard a conversation between two grown men on lunch break awaiting the final preparation of their subs. I thought them to be co-workers, until the conversation ended abruptly upon payment and they went their separate ways.

This is not an anti-Santa piece. Nor is it a criticism of a believer in Jesus not standing for his faith. It is a reflection of how I would have answered the “Santa” man’s question. It was the cry of my heart to have my own answer to the question the believer did not answer (or chose not to answer because he was in a Subway line).

“Big man in red is comin’ soon. The kids love Santa Claus.”

“We do more of the Jesus-thing in our family.”

“But what has Jesus done for you? Santa’s the one that brings the presents.”


Santa may bring the presents, but so does Jesus. The gifts Jesus brings are free, they cost me nothing. The tradition of Santa, that brought me joy as a child, costs me money as an adult. The joy of Christ lasts an eternity.

But, what has Jesus done for me?

Later that week I was praying and the words and picture of an anchor kept coming to my mind. “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” -Hebrews 6:19-20

He has been my anchor. He is always there to lean on. I can be prone to worry. I give my worries to Him in prayer.

I am prone to a guilty conscious. Guilt is heavy and drags me down. Jesus forgives my sins.

He is one with the Creator. I gave birth to my third daugther this year, I had a nephew born prior to my daughter’s birth and have a niece on the way. Gifts.

What has Jesus done for me?

He has filled my heart more overflowing than “Santa” could ever fill my stocking.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

I Read My Own Blog...Clothing Amasses

It seems, at least twice a year the volcano of clothing erupts and at least once a week the laundry bins look like the leaning tower of Pisa. I have developed organizational systems to attempt to stay on top of it all. After the fall/winter purge, purchases and preparations this year, I thought I owed myself a well-done-pat-on-the-back through a blog post.

Recently, I have been searching my own blog for advice on newborns and babies. Despite Josette being my third child, I have many of the same concerns I did with my first. The difference? With my first, I knew, I know nothing. So I have turned to myself for advice. Not. Joking.

The rest I share in hopes that it may inspire someone...perhaps even my future self.

Laundry Routine

This is a week's worth of laundry sorted and ready to put away on our bed. Currently, we (usually me right now) do at least one laundry cycle a day: wash one load, dry one load, fold one load. I do this first thing when we get up and/or last thing before bed. I fold and sort concurrently. Then, regardless of whose pile it is, the folded laundry goes in one basket. When all of the the baskets are folded, full and toppling (we have 5), I then sort and put away the laundry. This way, I am not travelling to and from the hall to put away one outfit per person. Addisyn already likes to sort and roll socks as well as put away her own clothes.

Seasonal Wear Routine

From left to right:

Small Blue Bins #1 and #2 - clothes Josette has grown out of ALREADY! One is for throwing outfits into as they no longer fit. The other is for folded and sorted clothing ready for a new home. These are now beside Josette's dresser. The other girls have laundry bag hanging in their closet for this purpose. When the bag is full or after a Fall/Winter or Spring/Summer purge I sort into a) throw away b) donate c) give to my niece (from Addisyn) d) give to Addisyn (from Rylyn).

Large Blue Bins #3,4,5 - One bin for each girl to house next size, next season clothing. These are kept in the basement. My seasonal purges usually follow this sequence: empty drawers of clothing that doesn't fit and sort using system described above, fill drawers with next size, next season clothing, repeat for all littles in the house.

Shoebox Clear Bins - One bin for each girl to house special outfits from their childhood to give them when they are adults. So far each one has a gender neutral sleeper, girly onesie and dress. These are also kept in the basement. I plan to have a bin for me as well. It will be larger as I will store all my wraps in it too.

A seasonal sort usually takes a full month of time because I work on one step a few nights a week until it is complete. Chris and I usually purge our closets at this time too...thankfully we are not growing so it is not as daunting of a task.

Prepare your work outside;
    get everything ready for yourself in the field,
    and after that build your house.

-Proverbs 24:27

I am reminded that preparations of my heart are even more important. Have I thrown away my sin, stored His Word and teachings and shared His Love?

Friday, August 28, 2015

Kindergarten Reflections

Last year I blogged, "Rylyn started kindergarten this week. To be honest, while an exciting milestone, not an emotional one for me."

I also later wrote, "Things got emotional about three weeks in, after I found out my 3 year-old wasn't adjusting as I thought."

Here is what I would say to myself a year ago as my first-born entered junior kindergarten:

-The first day of school doesn't have to be emotional, but be prepared for emotion as a result of your child attending school.
-Your child may have accidents...all year.
-Your child is three, one of the youngest in the class, and may at times act as such. This includes embarrassing tantrums.
-Your child is not perfect, teach her, but also lay-off and love her first.
-You don't have to send her to school every day, but send her. Your child's teachers are on the same team as you (and they are wonderful). If you send her, you will see growth.
-Teaching a couple periods of kindergarten a week will give you insight that makes you a better parent, more than it will make you a better teacher.

Below is a video from our garden this year. The peonies are my favourite to watch bloom. We hacked our mulberry back so much in the fall, we swore it would not survive. Wrong. I am telling the present me, "It is okay to be wrong." I am telling my children too. They will bloom. They will grow.

"Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard of good things in the sight of all men." Romans 12:15-17

Lord, may I rejoice with my children when they rejoice. May I weep with my children when they weep. May I encourage them when they fail. Set our eyes on Your goals and grant us the wisdom needed to see them through. Thank you for Rylyn's excitement to be a "Senior" this year. May she guide the "Juniors" with humility. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Josette's Birth Story

Let me begin by writing a disclaimer. Giving birth is personal, innate and to be celebrated. The personal and innate characteristics are cause for the disclaimer. Birthing is not pretty. It is natural and a part of being human. As such, birth is also beautiful and cause for celebration. I chose to celebrate giving birth by documenting our children's birth stories. I write for me and so that as time passes the details of the memory do not. That being said, I write as I remember the experience. The details of events may not be exactly how it happened. I share to celebrate a history of births and to empower others. So, if you don't want to read about birth, now is the time to click close.

The birth of my third daughter took more mental preparation than my first two labours and deliveries.  I had two natural births behind me (one at home). I was afraid that anything different would feel like failure. Knowing what was before me seemed daunting at times. I came to terms with the fear of failure by seeing the fear through. A book I read called "Birthing from Within" emphasized being present at your birth whether it was a natural or a Cesarean birth. Knowing that I would birth our child and be evolved by the process (by whatever means) made me confident.

Sunday July 26 Evening
-I feel something different within my body. Soon.

Monday July 27 Day
-I am experiencing false labour; weak contractions in lower back. They tarry on and off throughout the day.
-Chris stays home to be my chauffeur and in case labour progresses.
-I go to my chiropractor's appointment.
-My contractions die out after dinner.

Tuesday July 28

4:00 am
-I awake to stronger contractions than the ones that ceased the evening before.
-I plan to wait an hour to see if they progress.
-While sitting in the living room, Addisyn wakes and visits me. We share whispers, prayers and snuggles before heading back to bed.

4:30 am
-Rylyn gets up to use the washroom.
-It's 4 in the morning. Everyone is up. This is a sign. Baby is coming today.

5:00 am
-I call my mom (who was already awake?!?) to pick up the girls..."How is 7:00 am?" she asks. How about now? "6:00?" I reply. We agree.
-Time to text my sister, Laura (my untrained doula), who had been partying up the Mexican Train and slept over at a friends in Dundas, "Come when you can..."

5:30 am
-There are signs of losing my mucous plug and bloody show.
-I continue, with Chris' help, to get girls ready to leave.

6:00 am
-How do people have their children present at the birth of a sibling? I feel like mine are flies and am looking for a swatter...I am happy Grandma Lynn has arrived to take them for the day.

6:30 am
-I text "doula" Laura to pick up bottled water, a veggie tray, creamer and milk on her way.

7:00 am
-My contractions are 5 min apart and have gotten strong enough to stall me.
-I decide to lie down on the couch, rest and talk with Chris until our "doula" arrives.

8:00 am
-Laura arrives; my contractions have slowed and faded.
-We chit chat.

9:00 am
-I decide Laura and I should weed the garden to get things moving again.
-Chris leaves to get a coffee.

9:30 am
-I call the midwife office to see if I should keep my 10:30 appointment.
-"I have an awkward question. I am in early labour, but contractions have subsided and I don't need to page the on call midwife yet. Do I keep my appointment?"
-I was told in that line of work, it was not an awkward question and if I felt up to it, to keep my appointment.

9:45 am
-I am not sitting around and waiting. Might as well go to the appointment. Where is my husband?
-I text Chris to tell him to get home because we are leaving for my 10:30 appointment.

10:30 am
-I arrive at my appointment with Laura and Chris.
-My labour progress is checked and I am 2-3 cm dilated.
-I am offered help to progress the labour (stretch and sweep of the cervix, which in future instances I will refer to as "help to progress the labour").
-As I was told the more babies you have, the more your early labour will start and stop before becoming active, I take the help and ask for Chris' hand.
-I leave my appointment and have to stop for a solid contraction on the stairs.
-Laura calls out, "It's working."
-The secretary comments that I am smiling as I leave. Baby will come today.

11:00 am
-I ask Chris to drive down Yonge Street (which is torn up with pot holes).
-He accepts the challenge to torture me and make sure the tire on my side hits every pot hole.
-I have another solid contraction in the car.
-We all agree to head home and send Chris out for lunch.

Time starts to stall and blur.

11:30 am
-Chris leaves with the lunch order.
-Laura and I chat, laugh and eat the veggies she brought earlier.
-The laughter is bringing on more contractions.
-By the time Chris returns and I have lost my appetite. My chicken wrap will now be my after labour treat.

12:30 pm
-I decide to page the on-call midwife.
-She asks if I have done the "bath test" (where I sit in the bath for 20 minutes to see if labour strengthens). I tell her I didn't do it with my other labours so I did not with this one and I didn't feel like I could sit in the bath.
-We agree to reassess over the phone in 20 minutes because at this point for my past labours, I had 2-3 hours left before pushing.
-I decide to try the bath test.
-I last three contractions and complain through each of them that sitting in the bath is worst place to have contractions.
-Laura is in the room adjacent to the bathroom and pages the midwife with my message, "Bath contractions suck." The page operator apparently has less of a sense of humour than a woman in labour.
-Laura and the midwife agree that it is time for her to come. I tell Laura to send the last update to family and friends via text message before having the baby...things are rolling.

Some time after 1:00 pm. I have lost track of time.
-The midwife arrives
-I labour hovering over the bed.
-Laura and Chris provide pressure to my lower back at the onset of contractions until I say OK.
-I am 4 cm. 1 measly cm since my morning appointment! Help to progress the labour.
-I am fitted for antibiotics for Group B strep.
-I labour kneeling on the bed and hugging my exercise ball. The contractions feel long. As they taper out, the pain is rooted in my back and I open and close my hand to release it. I imagine I am jumping from a water fall at the peak of each contraction.
-I ask for music at some point in time. I hear the words, "You make me brave..." I remember that God created me with the ability to do this. I am brave. He will never leave me nor forsake me.

-When we next check, I am 5 cm.
-I am congratulated on being half way. Why is it taking so long?! After those contractions I should be 8 cm!
-Time has stalled. I am more present and aware than my past two labours. The minutes feel like hours. I am encouraged that although my active labour may seem longer I am progressing well and my transition period (7-10 cm) will be fast as it is my third child.
-I am offered to have my membranes ruptured.
-I want to have a few more contractions in the bathroom first. Laura and Chris encourage me. Once my waters are broken, I am committed.

-In the bathroom, I lean over the vanity. I remember a labour story I read. A woman who laboured over her buffet. It was the perfect height.
-This vanity is my buffet. It is the perfect height. I feel reenergized. Ready to commit.
-I travel back to the bedroom, "Let's move this rodeo." My membranes are ruptured and I learn that there are two membranes surrounding the baby. I am amazed at this fact and that despite my state I am learning something new.
-Back to the bathroom. My happy place. I know my voice shudders through the waves. They now quake through my entire body. My legs feel weak.
-Time is getting close. The second midwife has been called.
-Soon after, I am told she is waiting outside the home. "Invite her in!"

-It is agreed that Laura will catch the baby with the help of the midwife.
-We return to the bedroom to have the baby.
-I hug Chris through one last contraction before sitting on a birthing stool. He sits on the bed and holds me from behind and Laura waits with the midwife.
-Laura reads a "thinking-of-you" text message from a friend who has no idea I am in labour, between contractions.
-The midwife asks if I feel inebriated. I reply, "Yes."
-Laura asks for clarification. I tell her, "She is asking if I feel drunk."
-I can feel Laura and Chris' eyes on me, almost laughing, although my eyes are closed.
-I tell the midwife, "I haven't had a drink in my life." I pause. "Actually, I had one glass of champagne when I was 10."

-I am 8 cm. Help to progress the labour. 10 cm.
-I feel like the baby has a long journey still to make.
-I hear the anthem of this current season of my life in the background. I know it is time and the music couldn't be more fitting...Through it all, through it all my eyes are on You, through it all, through it all, it is well with me....
-2 more contractions with pushing and Laura and the midwife place the baby in my arms.

4:01 pm
-A girl. Our third girl. I hear crying.
-Chris cuts the cord.

-Once afterbirth is finished we move to sit on the bed.
-Chris names our daughter, "Josette Margaret." Her name means "God shall add" and "Pearl."
-I am enamoured with the new little life who has since quieted. Josette nurses and I hear the midwifes retreat to the kitchen to afford us some privacy while bonding. Their murmurs in the kitchen are soothing. Laura and Chris are with us in the bedroom and update family and friends.

-The midwives assess Josette: 6 lbs, 11oz, 20" 3/4, while I have a shower.
-The second midwife echoes a goodbye while I am in the shower.
-The first assists me getting out. She helps dries me off. A kindness I humbly accept. She helps me back to the bedroom.
-I know there are two more births in progress and another woman is close to meeting her kin. As the first midwife turns to exit I say, "I send whatever strength is left in me to the next."

"A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world." -John 16:21

Addisyn's birth story

Rylyn's birth story

Monday, June 22, 2015

We Have Problems

"We have problems..." titles a bulletin board in one of my colleagues room for a math-themed bulletin board. It makes me smile each time I enter her room.

I am not a huge fan of the phrase "How are you?" unless I have time to actually listen or answer. I courteously respond with "well" or "not bad," but prefer to use "good morning" or "nice to see you" as phrases in passing because...we have problems.

A year ago we moved into our country home and it wasn't quite what I remembered when falling in love with the property. I remember the hanging cobwebs, because I joked about them. I didn't remember filth and the smell of wet dog. I refused to take pictures because I did not want to remember the disappointment and struggle to find the love I initially had for the home.

I wish I had taken pictures. I wish I could look at those pictures and see how far we have come. My garden is no longer a jungle of weeds. There are weeds, but there are no longer unidentified creatures living there because the weeds are not big enough to hide one!

I have been challenged of late to allow my joy to come from God and not from my circumstance. When life isn't as I anticipate, I often want to shut my door and not come out until the problem is fixed. I am not talking about praying through my circumstance. I am talking about only wanting show my face when all my ducks-are-in-a-row and this includes showing it to God. It is a challenge to continue with disciplines I know are good for me when I feel like I have lost perspective.

I have asked a few "How are yous?" of late and really listened. We all have problems. We don't need to solve the problems of others, but we can provide love and support. There are people with problems worse than ours and people with problems more benign. Either way, we are in this together. I am learning not to compare as comparing encourages lost perspective.

Today I took some pictures of chaos in my life. I reminded myself that my joy is not found in my circumstance and that these pictures will provide future perspective of how far we have come. We. Lived. Through. This.

Our Father's Day weekend started with Rylyn being taken to urgent care. She was treated for a chest infection that if left would turn to pneumonia. We were then treated to the surprise of a clogged drain. This stubborn clog was a pipe problem that required much hard work by Chris and monetary resources for which we have no budget.

Here are the pictures of our current chaos. Rylyn is on her way to a full recovery and Chris completed the pipework as rain started to fall. We have problems. They can rob me of joy if I permit. If cling to God and His Goodness, I believe, I will be able to say, "look how far we have come," even sooner.

Chris hard at work
Thankful it is summer!
My favourite tool to make salad dressing.
A plastic plate I broke minutes after the salad dressing jar.
Little circumstances can be just as frustrating.
The verse and song below don't really mention joy, but they have helped me move my eyes from the problems to Jesus so that my joy is preserved and my strength to live in imperfection is renewed.

"He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary. And the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint." -Isaiah 40:29-31

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Gluten-Free Lunch Ideas for Pre-schoolers

I am gearing up to my reflections on our personal full-day Kindergarten experience. I may wait until the end of the year, so I don't put the cart ahead of the horse, as I did in September. Lunches. Gluten-free in a room of 27, gluten-consuming 4 and 5-year olds!

Rylyn eats her lunch at a little table on her own to avoid crumb contamination with other students. Her table is still near enough to other students so that she is not by herself. We received back results from her annual January IgA test indicating her Celiac disease remains inactive!

Find below some lunches I have packed. Please keep in mind these are the best. The best for us is a full fridge with lunches prepared the night before in reusable containers. We have been guilty of the the last minute scramble too. Baggies help with that (although I wrestle with this strange fear of Rylyn sucking on the bags and suffocating, so I prefer the reusable containers). Forget taking a picture of those lunches, as we are shoving the lunch into the backpack as the bus is pulling up. If I ever have the time to do a photo, I will tribute a worst gluten-free lunch post too.

Water, squeezable apple sauce, homemade GF banana muffin, carrots, homemade dill dip, cheese and GF crackers

Water, squeezable apple sauce, GF turkey sandwich, pickles, cheese and GF oreo

Water, lettuce wraps with turkey and mustard, cheese, yogurt, Snapeas, GF M&M cookie

Water, grapes and all-fruit gummies, Snapeas, green peppers, homemade GF pizza
Unless designated "homemade" the item is either naturally gluten free, purchased from a local gluten free bakery or processed. I have noted GF where an item would normally contain gluten. The banana muffins I made and froze and the pizza was dinner leftovers. My children are not picky eaters, so these lunches would come home finished. I bake a couple times a month on Saturdays.

Snapea Crisps - We make label reading our business and Chris recently caught an anomaly on a bag of Snapea Crisps: a gluten free claim (which drew us to the product initially) and a "may contain wheat" claim on the same bag. We had not seen this on other bags. I, of course, wrote the company and was content with their reply. Mainly because the product is yummy and I didn't want to have to give it up on principle.

"Hello Kara Dalgleish,

Thank you for your interest in our products. Harvest Snaps are not made with any gluten ingredients – and they have never contained gluten ingredients. In the past we produced a wheat based product in our factory therefore we complied with FDA standards to make the claim “May contain Wheat or Produced in a factory with wheat”. Since December of 2014 – we discontinued production of any wheat based products in our factory. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused. Thanks for your support of the Harvest Snaps brand.


Calbee North America Support

Had the company attempted to maintain both claims it would have been goodbye Snapea Crisps. Since they have done away with gluten altogether on their production lines, we are happy to keep snacking.

By the way, packing lunches is a drag. I do an inner happy dance every night I get a "bye."