Tuesday, December 30, 2008

So much to write so little time...

I meant to write a Christmas post about how much I love it, the magic the presents the kids and laughter and food and fun and snow and music....

We had a wonderful busy Christmas full of love and laughter. We spent Christmas Eve with my hubby's fam and Christmas day with mine. It was perfect most because of this....
Here's how we spent our afternoon before going to Christmas Eve dinner:

We got snow. Mounds and mounds and mounds of snow. In a place where we don't get much snow and it really doesn't last for long. It was wonderful and magical!

Friday, December 19, 2008

December Renovations

What do most people do in the month of December? Loads of baking? Shopping for presents? Visiting with friends? Bundling the kids up to go out to play in the snow?

We've been so blessed to do all these things. It's been busy and amazing and the crowning treat? THE SNOW! We live on the west coast so there isn't much snow here usually, so when we get it....YAY! We are thrilled in a way that only people who know it will barely last a couple of weeks can be.

So for those of you following along, we have one dog, two kittens, four kids and snow. What more could we possibly do? Well this....

Yes, more renovations! I admit it does seem kind of crazy because, well it's Christmas and we have company coming and it's snowing but in our defence it looked like this when the guys started:
....not exactly the middle of a heat wave but you will notice the lack of snow.
It's really been an unexpected gift because my brother-in-law offered his guys who are currently between jobs and this was the week they were available. Can you imagine how long this would have taken Kev?!
The guys have been out there for a week in the freezing cold and the outside is pretty much finished. This addition is to replace a deck that used to come off the girls room and was beyond repair. I'm pretty excited because it means that both kid's rooms both up and down will increase in size, AND the new bathroom for the girls is even framed in. The biggest concern was getting the roof up and tied into the old roof while a wind/rain storm went on around us and then...the snow. Kev worked outside until his thumbs were purple because he kept hammering them in the dark and got it done, just in time!
Here's a shot of what the side of the house looked like before the addition (look behind the girl in the loader. It was the only shot I could find)

But most of all I'm thankful to be living here despite the ongoing house and yard renovations. How can I put into words how I feel about my kids growing up with their cousins? This was/is my dream for them. When my mom and dad get here on Monday the picture will be complete. We'll all be together for the holidays. God is so good! I'm reminded every day in small ways that His blessings are all around us!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Just trying this out...

I made a calendar for Christmas and the website said i could post a preview here. Let's see if this works.....

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

First week of Advent

I'm behind as usual and December seems to have sprung on me while I wasn't paying attention soooooo....we're already 3 days into it and haven't started our Advent study yet. Never fear! I'm a great believer in better late than never (seriously I'd never get anything done otherwise!).

I'm using this and it looks amazing. She is graciously allowing people to download it and print it for free - wow! I'll let you know how it goes.

Try to take time this holiday season to remember (this is for me too cuz I'm terrible about it!) that no one will care if you forgot to bring a gift or plate of goodies they just want to spend some time with you.

I hope as we get ready to celebrate our Lord's birth I can stay focused on what is important. We've already decided that this year is going to be a "less is more" Christmas. We've never gone overly crazy at Christmas but still it seems to creep in on me. I so love giving gifts that I tend to go overboard. We're trying to give to other people who actually have needs rather than adding to our excesses.

Wednesdays are long dance days so I'm trying to get things ready for the rest of the week. There's nothing like watching my three dancers go for it. The all love it so much!

Friday, November 28, 2008

wow. Kind of in shock!

I know someone left me a note and said they were nominating me for this but....wow!
I'm actually not worthy of even being in the Canadian Blog awards. I'm a terrible inconsistent whiney blogger BUT thank you so much!

Having said that, please vote for my friend Kris. She is a fantastic writer, blogger, friend, mom and so many other things. She's also know as Mighty Morphin' Mama and you'll find her here.

Have a look and vote. vote. vote.

Oh and we have someone new at our house! Well two someone news actually. This was the only thing on my kid's Christmas list....

meet Columbus and Zeni:

and yes, we are a tiny bit crazy. Thanks for asking:)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

another random thought or two....

I know I promised you a post on my homeschooling but...well you're just going to have to wait because today is NOT the day. I never know exactly what I'm going to write about but I generally have a feeling. I'm not getting the homeschooling feeling today. I mean it is Saturday and I have been on facebook so perhaps I can be forgiven for this lack of motivation.

I should also explain that after all the whining about my birthday and and all the "moan...sob...it's going to suck so much etc etc..."
I haven't even had my birthday yet. All my pissiness (is this a word?) comes about before the day. It's all about the anticipation of the suckitude for me. Don't I sound like a good time?! Yup. I am. Party in a bag. Anywho, the offical day is Monday and it's looking good actually. On Thursday, I got roses from my bible study ladies AND a cake. A cake and presents and I'm totally happy. Very easily bought am I. I'm always awed by the fact that hubby has yet to figure this out but I digress....
I'm going out for lunch on Sunday with my sil and mil which may or may not also include a walk or shopping but will most certainly include eating - yum! AND I get to go out for dinner with hubby on THE DAY. I do love him despite to serious lack of flowers and I love spending time with him. He's still my best friend which is crazy to think after 14 plus years of marriage. There will be no Mexico or diamonds but I am reminded every day of how loved I am. See how I'm growing up?! ha

Oh and I'm happy to be training again! We run half marathon number two on February 15th. I'm a teeny bit freaked out about it actually. This one is supposed to be hillier ... yikes. I just finished week one of training and it's been pretty good. I'm only running three days a week right now but I'm also going to bootcamp 3 days a week so hopefully it's enough to get me to the goal feeling strong. It's much more fun to run these things if your all trained up and ready to go. This whole running/training thing has been an improtant life lesson for me actually. I'm sure God is using it to show me that it's not actually about the race, it's about the process getting to the goal. I'm such a procrastinator in so many areas of my life but somehow I'm usually able to pull it out and get it done. I'm a mess and I don't enjoy whatever I've been asked to do but I get it done.
There's no way to shortcut the training for a run process. I just can't do it if I don't do the prep work. So many applications to my regular life.....

And the kid's bedroom addition is finally taking shape. I'll get out there and take some pictures if the giant tarp is down. The giant green tarp is such a classy addition to our home;-)
Can't wait to see it finished. Closets - yay! and a girl's bathroom, double yay!
Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I should be remembering....

as today is Rememberance day here in Canada. We honour all those who bravely gave their lives so we can enjoy our freedom. I am always brought to tears by these ceremonies. I can't help being keenly aware that each on of those gleaming white crosses or headstones represents a lifetime of grief and loss.

I wrote this post before I watched the ceremony however so beware...total babyish whining coming up:

Birthdays suck as an adult. don't get me wrong, I love my birthday. It was always so special when I was a kid. A whole day (or at least a few hours) filled with friends and fun and cake (love me some cake!). We used to joke that I had a "birthday month" rather than just a day.

But as an adult...stupid thing sucks hard.

I've had some wonderful ones over the years so I shouldn't be such a whiner. Hubby took me to Sechelt for a couple of nights where we stayed on the side of a cliff in a Yurt (sp?!) which is essentially an upscale tent. There was a storm. Amazing. Oh, and one year I got diamond earrings! YAY! Presents...love me some presents!
I've had birthdays where I had to make my own cake and birthdays where everyone I knew brought a cake over and one with no cake at all...won't go there.

I get so pissy around the time up to my birthday. Like my husband says, I do have expectations. I don't even know what there are, but I do know they aren't being met. See...stupid and juvenile!

Mostly I like people. I'd love a day filled with different people and doing interesting things....but it's ceased being about me long long ago, which is what you find out when you're the mom. My hubby had the helpful suggestion that I should plan my own event.

"If you want a party, Shay. You plan it!"

Cool right?! ...Can you feel the sarcasm?

... but he might just be onto something. I might just do that

...next year. (Maybe I want to be in Mexico on my birthday?! Becareful what you encourage me to do!)

This year, I think the hubs and I will go out for dinner and maybe a movie, which I also love. And my sil and mil are taking me for lunch on Sunday and it may even involve some shopping! It's all good.

Here's to my birthday! I obviously need to stop being such a huge baby about the whole thing and just get overmyself already.

And I will.

On Tuesday, which is the day after my birthday.

Until then I will have to pray for an attitude adjustment I guess. The whole thing usually turns out great. I'm always struck by how much everyone loves me and how good God has been to me.

So.....maybe I am growing up! Birthday months are over rated anyway!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

halloween musings...

As a Christian I've struggled over what to do with this holiday based in traditions which quite honestly celebrats many of the things that my faith deems to be evil or not to be worshiped
...but many of our contemporary holidays are based on some crazy pagan rituals and traditions. The early church tried to redeem many of these days by placing holy celebrations on the former pagan celebration days. They just never got to Halloween I guess.

I've never been a big celebrator of Halloween as a day or a holiday. As a child we would dress up and find ourselves braving the freezing cold to go to a few neighbors for treats. My mom always made candy popcorn balls because this was back in the days when we knew all our neighbors and people could still eat baking tossed into treat bags. I think I was a gypsy which meant make up, a shawl and big earrings clipped to my head rag. Oh Joy!

But we only did this until I was 7ish because my mom began to feel we should not be celebrating this pagan godless holiday and, much to my great sugar deprived regret, we stopped. My husband grew up in a family where they did not partake at all. I think they were hiding in their basement watching tv with the lights off? Not sure.

I've never really cared either way. When the boys were little, Levi was terrified of the dark AND people in costumes so it was hardly a noble decision not to take him out into the dark night filled with people in costumes. How crazy would that have been?! We always handed candy out though cuz I'm just crazy that way I guess.

I got an email the other day with this note in it and it got me thinking:

"With this in mind, I offer you the five “scariest” things you can do this Halloween:

The scariest thing you can do this Halloween is to not make light of evil. Halloween was conceived in evil and has remained a celebration that uses children to promote a fascination with darkness and superstitious fear. Simultaneously, it makes light of things that the Bible describes as evil. Stand against such things, and the world will find you very scary indeed. The fear of the Lord makes men turn from evil (Proverbs 16:6)."

Have I allowed my culture to dictate my faith? Is this something to get all crazy about? Or does it just make us look silly and weird to those who don't share our faith? If you're a Christian how do you handle the Halloween thing?

Being someone who tends to compromise AND obviously doesn't take things nearly seriously enough, I think we'll continue to allow our kids to wear cute costumes and beg for candy. While I agree there is nothing very redeeming in this practice, I also don't agree it teaches my children to live in fear or celebrate death and evil. How to know what the right thing to do is......

Here they
are with their cousins off to beg candy from strangers, really what a strange tradition!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Run run as fast as you can. You can't catch me I'm.....

...well turns out I'm not the gingerbread man AND you can catch me if you need too. BUT....

WE DID IT! Our very first half marathon is officially under our belts. We came. we ran. we did it!

Moranda, Angela and I headed over to Victoria on the ferry last Saturday morning. We got there nice and early thinking we'd have at least a 2 ferry wait. (any of you who follows the BC news knows we have some serious trouble with our ferry s. They're expensive and break down a lot.) But we, surprisingly got on the 9:00. HURRAY!

Yikes. How pasty white am I?!
This was our girls weekend with a twist. The twist? It involved running 21 km with 5000 other crazy people. We'd run 20km the weekend before so I knew we could do the distance. It was just the actual race and the time that were in question. Would I make it in the 2 hours we hoped? Would I hit a wall? What if we had to pee? Or worse? (seriously, for a runner this is a big deal. All the bathroom related issues. And were were NOT stopping to go potty!)

After picking up our run packages and hitting the line up for free Gatorade I was hit with realization, "Crap! We're really doing this thing!"

Here we are checking into the hotel with our good friend the hotel bear. What? Weird!

We spent a wonderful day, wandering the crowded streets of Victoria crammed with thousands of other racers and their families. It was pretty cool to think that all these people of different races, shapes and sizes were here to declare their love of the long run, or to prove to themselves they could do it, or to support someone who just loves to torture themselves in this particular approved method of self flagellation :) We shopped and ate and talked for hours. The only thing missing was a glass of wine at dinner as we gazed out at the harbor and tried to eat our pre-race carbs.

So here's where I stop and rant a bit about my running bff, Angela. She hardly trains. I mean the girl runs but not regularly like Moranda and I do. At dinner before the race, she had two beers and meat loaf. Seriously, MEAT LOAF! I'm not kidding you. The morning of, she had a coffee and maybe some water? Took one bottle of juice with her AND beat the pants off me! SO ANNOYING! Really though we are proud. I mean, how could we not be?

Look at her, putting on her iPod, not even pretending she going to run with us!

Moranda, tiny little thing that she is...sets a mean pace...

....and me. I'm the cheer leader. I get the troupes out, sign them up and brow beat them into running with me in bad weather and then....well they all beat my time! What?! Actually I'm pretty proud of them all! Woot woot!
Here I am, having my pre-race pbj. YUM!

We crowed into the street a block from our hotel and waited for the race to start. My thoughts at the time? "Oh no, I have to pee. There's no way I'm going to stop to pee. We're really doing this. YIKES!"

And we were off.

The course wound it's way through the harbor area of Victoria and then out towards the ocean. It's all kind of hazy for me but we seemed to run up hills and down hills loop around and then up more gradual hills, into neighbourhoods and up more hills. I kept expecting to loop back and run back along the ocean but we kept turning corners and running up hills. The first 15 kms went really well. I actually found the first 12 pretty easy. We had a fast (for us) pace going on but we seemed to be okay. Moranda and I ran together for most of it and she was just on a mission.
I ran into trouble running back along the ocean at about 16 km. I had to walk to take a gel pack and Moranda couldn't stop. I tried to catch her the rest of 5 km and I could even see her but couldn't quite make my time up again.
Those last 5km were so tough! I had no idea what a mental game the whole thing would be. I was giving myself serious mental slaps upside the head. Everything in me wanted to stop or just to walk. It was so crazy! When we got nearer the end people standing on the side cheering would say, "you're almost there. Only one km!" And then you'd run for a km and someone would say, "only one km!" They were playing some seriously mean mind games! Those last 2.5 k were the longest I've ever run! When I first finished I was pretty disappointed in my time but looking back....not bad at all!

Angela : 1:57:42
Moranda : 2:02:50
Shalagh : 2:04:42

Look how proud weird hotel bear is of us!

We were pretty elated and quite emotional. While were were running all of us were wondering, "why are we doing this exactly?"

After, we still couldn't tell you why, but there's something about training, running, struggling and finishing....

So we signed up for another one. In February. Anyone want to join us?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Remembering ....

I feel as I start to write this that I have many thoughts swirling around in my brain. As I run in the morning one will twist around and come to the surface. "I need to write that down", and when I get home, something else has swirled to the surface.

A beautifully written post by my dear friend, Kristen, brought this one up. She lost her much loved daughter before she was born, 5 years ago. Kalila would be six now. I never said this to Kris, but I'm sure she felt it, as our kids played on the beach together this summer, I felt someone missing. There should have been two girls almost 6 and almost 7 playing in the sand, rather than just the one. I don't understand why God allows these things to happen but I do know His heart breaks with ours, that it was not in His original plan to have children die. It wasn't in His plan to have any of us die or experience pain, actually, but He did give us that darn free choice...and we used it...sigh.

My dear friend Heather phoned two days ago. It's been 9 years she said. "Nine years?!" I was instantly back to that day. The day that she kissed Sadie for the last time, left her heart with a complete stranger and trudged off to work. It was her first week and she wouldn't have to do it for long. The company was heading for consolidation and she would get a buy out. Sadie had a cold and she didn't like her bottle much...but what else could she do.
She told me she knew something was wrong when her desk phone rang. She thought maybe Kain had broken his arm at school. How could she know her world would stop in that moment?

I still remember where I was standing nine years and two days ago today when my phone rang. When Heather's aunt blurted out, "Heather's baby died!" My brain couldn't process the words but I started to sob instantly. It couldn't be true, not Sadie.
We miss her still, her mother and I. We remember her beautiful smile and the fact that she'd just started to sit. Her laugh bubbled up like a brook when you tickled her chin with her toes. I think she'd be too tall and too thin for her age, like her mom and her big bro. With red highlights in her hair. I bet she'd have skinned knees and be able to run like the wind, much like her crazy mom.

Here she is in one of the last photos taken of her and that's her mom at the age Sadie would be up in the corner....

God has blessed us all with more children but there are some that we can only carry in our hearts. I am waiting for that day when I will be able to see my two dearest friends reunited with their daughters.

Until then....

I remember.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

September is crazier than Christmas and other thoughts....

I've discovered something about myself. I love being busy, having lots to do and tons of people to see BUT there's a fine line. When I cross this unseen line I move into the land where I can barely cope. Out come the "crazy eyes" and out goes any peace in my mind. I loose sight of the big picture and just go into "one foot in front of the other" mode. It's not pretty.

The goal this year is to figure out how to get all the kids to their events and to homeschool without entering "crazy-eye" land. Oh and I'm back, in case you're wondering. Hubby took me on a 5 day trip (no kids) to San Fransisco.

It was the perfect cure for what ailed me. Now I'm back all rested and refreshed and ready to run the roads again.

...some new and exciting changes have been happening at the Speilman house. Well they're new and exciting to us anyway. Son number one went to school for the first time. Is he five you ask? Nope. Thirteen. He and his cousins biked off to their first day

and so far.... he's loving it! I think what he likes most is the independence. I've suddenly had to allow him to take on a lot more responsibility. He has to get himself to school and home and get himself organized for school and sport without me around. He's rising to the challenge quite nicely and I'm more than pleasantly surprised!

The girls are back at dance and Isaac (son #2) has joined them. He went to the year end show last year and thought he might like to try a class. We let him attend his cousin's classes for the first week, just to try it out. She's doing 2 ballet, 1 technique and one jazz out AND he LOVES it! It's crazy and kind of wonderful. It took my hubby a minute(okay a few weeks actually but who's counting) to get his head around the fact that his little boy was going to take ballet but I think it's all good now. The main thing is...he LOVES it! And he's quite good.

And of course there's soccer for both boys and the homeschooling.
I'm going to write another post about the homeschooling so stay tuned! I've been praying for passion, for inspiration, for some love of teaching/learning to come back. AND God answered. I'm pretty excited about this year.
God is so good! I have so much to be thankful for.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Seven is a perfect number....

My third born child, the one that brought some pink and frilly into our lego filled lives, my first daughter, turned seven on the 4th. Seven! WOW!

She has brought us so much joy! She's friendly, outgoing, fun, intense and loving. It's wonderful to watch her grow and change over the years. She definitely is her own girl!

Here we are welcoming her into our lives...(yup I know, I look pretty horrendous but hey...I just had an 8lb 4oz baby)

Here she is at almost one....

Almost two....

Third birthday....

Four and a half....

Fifth birthday.....

Sixth birthday...

And here she is now, celebrating being seven!

We Love you very much Madeline Elizabeth. You bring much joy to us all!

Monday, September 1, 2008

new gadget that I love...

Hubs came home the other day with an anniversary prezzie for me.

Let me just take this opportunity to say just how much I love presents! Really I do! It's crazy. Awhile ago Kev and I read this Book "The Five Love Languages"
So it really is official. The number two for me was, yup gifts! And Kev? Not gifts at all. There has been some learning curve to this marriage thing:)

See how I get off track?!

This nifty new gadget keeps track of the distance and time I run and allows me to upload it all to the computer and track my runs. So cool!

Here's a pic of my fav new toy: Nike+ Sportband

I LOVE it!! We found out the distance we thought was 10K was actually 8...opps! So now we're running 10. It's helping me so much with my motivation and training for the half marathon in October. I really love that it allows me to track and look at all my runs with distances and pace.

Can you tell I love this thing?! AND my hubby thought of it all on his own. He loves gadgets and I love gifts - perfect! AND this is one I can actually use!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Happy Anniversary to us!

Fourteen years ago today we stood before God and our families and committed to love, honour and cherish each other forever. How could we even know the depth of the promise we were making that day? I was 21 and he was 22, what a crazy thing to decide at such a young age and yet, how wonderful! Oh what joy I would have missed if we hadn't taken the leap into this journey that is us.

Fourteen years down the road, we have moved provinces...twice, welcomed 4 new lives into this world, owned 3 houses and had countless other crazy, happy, heartbreaking, frustrating, wonderful and not so great things happen in our lives. Through it all we're still best friends. I'm so honoured to call Kevin my husband and partner, to see his love and tenderness as a father and to walk beside him through all the madness that is our life. I'm thankful (almost) everyday that the Lord brought us together.

I love you now and always babe!
Happy Anniversary....

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Levi's trip to Mexico and some talk about homeschooling...

I need to post these but I'm kind of low on pithy things to say. I always get like this by the end of summer. I feel a bit wrung out. It's been a wonderful fun filled summer full of visiting and eating (and running so I can keep eating) but I'm just...tired and ready for the season to change.

This year will bring some new beginnings for our family. Levi (our oldest) is heading to school for the first time. No he's not 5...he's 13. I know but we are homeschoolers so this is a big step at our house. It's a small private school in our neighbourhood so it will be a gentle transition for him (and me). He's nervous and excited.

The smaller peeps and I are staying here to explore the world. I've been reading about the Charlotte Mason Method of teaching/learning/facilitating exploration of our world and I'm wondering..."why did I wait so long to read these books?!" It's speaking to my heart! WOW!

This is the book I'm reading right now and here's a quote from the Chapter "What is Eduction?"

"We, as persons, are not enlightened by means of multiple-choice tests or grades, but rather by the other people in our lives that we come to know, admire and love. We are educated by our friendships and by our intimacies. For instance, think how the actions of someone you admire influence your behaviour. Similarly, think also of how a boy's interest is sparked by a hobby he loves, and to which he devotes all his time and trouble. Whether it be gardening, keeping house, or governing a state, love of work - like love of people- teaches things that no school, no system, can. " Karen Andreola Charlotte Mason Companion

This could explain my own love of this whole blogging thing too and is obviously not exclusive to homeschooling. I'm feeling my passion for this whole journey returning. Let me be honest, the last two years have been a challenge. Let's just say, we're all pretty excited to start again...again:)

Here's the biggest event in son #1's life this summer:

Levi and Kevin went to Mexico with a team from our church. They built a home for a couple of single mom's and their kids. It was an amazing learning opportunity for Levi and I've seen a bit of a leap in his willingness to help around our home AND his thankfullness. He commented on how little these people have and yet how thankful and happy they are. Pretty cool AND a bit of a reminder to us all.

Starting the build...

Levi and his little shadow. this kid LOVED him!

Working on the house....

Ladies washing and chatting with their new home in the background....

The whole team....

Celebrating their new home!

Working on crafts with the village kids...

goofing off...

Hanging at the campsite...

One day off at the beach...

Flying home...

Well look at that, I did have quite a bit to say after all. Like I wouldn't?! hee hee.