Thursday, October 30, 2008

The First Snow

October 29th marks Ottawa's first snow for the "winter". We didn't get as much as they were predicting (15-30 cm) but it was still a good cover. Currently, the snow is still on the ground but the weather tomorrow is suppose to be higher than average for the year. Isn't Canadian weather odd?
The backyard and shed. I forgot to put my bike away a while ago. Now it has snow all over it.

The bush I see from my kitchen window. Interesting to see the leaves with no snow and the bushes covered.

Matty didn't seem to notice the snow. He is, after all, only 7 weeks old. He did, however, notice the wind. The poor boy. Every time I took him out of the car, he would gasp for air. I tried to turn him away from the wind but it was going every which way, I tried covering his seat with a blanket but the wind just blew it off and he hates it when I cover his face. I think I will do the face covering anyways though. Better he breathes than is happy, right? I have a winter bunting bag for his car seat that my sister leant me. Hopefully that will work well enough to keep him happy and breathing.

Matthew has been fighting a cold on and off since he turned one week old. I feel terrible for him and I am feeling terrible. He passed the cold on to me and now we are both stuffed up and sick. The thing about him though, is he can't just blow his nose. Last night he woke up several times chocking on his mucus. So, both mommy and baby are tired but netiher one of us can really nap either. He just keeps coughing and sneezing and I can't sleep while he makes all of his coldy noises. I'm sure once I get tired enough that will change. Until then, I'm slighly Mummy like.

The first Boys and Girls Club meeting is tonight. I hope it goes well with the whole two kids who are coming. I'll update you on how that goes.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Jan and Sophie

Today was a fantastic day. I didn't really do anything productive but some fnu things happened and I thought I would fill you in on it.

In the morning, Vanessa and I along with our boys in their strollers went for a walk into the Glebe. It was for the exercise but also for a sale. La Cache, a store full of beautiful items designed by April Cornell is going out of business and EVERYTHING in the store is currently 50% off. I had to get there3 in the hope to find a table cloth. I was fortunate and actually left with two. Different sizes and designs. I thought I might buy a cute girls dress if one jumped out at me just because she makes beautiful girls clothes and doesn't make any boys clothes, but I didn't. Matty started getting fussy so I got out quickly. I might have to go back and have a better look around.

Next we hit Starbucks for hot chocolate and then on to the pharmacy. I had to purchase Bio Oil. It's suppose to help rid me of my very bad stretch marks. We shall see.

The next fun thing I did was go to the church to help Jane (a lady from church) decorate the youth bulletin board. I had fun picking out the colours I wanted and I have to say, no one will be able to miss the board. I hope to snap a picture tomorrow and post in later.

While I was there, Jan, a missionary to West Africa who used to be my Sunday School teacher, handed me a gift that she had bought Matty. She said she had bought one for her neice and apparently she loves it.

Before I tell you about this toy, let me tell you a little bit about Jan. Mostly, I know her from church. When I was younger she was my teacher, as I mentioned, but she was the woman who first made me think about the world and I think my desire to visit Africa came from her. She taught us about praying for other nations and she gave each of her students a book about other countries. I still have the book. Needless to say, this toy I opened already meant a lot to me.

Meet Sophie:

Here is a description of it that I found online after learning that this is a VERY popular toy that i knew nothing about.

Born in 1961, her success is legendary in France. Made in the French Alps with natural rubber and non-toxic paint, Sophie has been safely cuddled and chewed for over 40 years! The famous giraffe 'Sophie', in natural rubber (phtalate-free) is soft, light, and easy to grasp and fits perfectly into little hands. Sophie is loveable and amusing. She even makes a happy sound when squeezed. Babies especially love her bumpy head to soothe their teething gums.

Over 600,000 Sophies are sold EACH YEAR in France!

Sophie is 7 inches tall!

Designed to stimulate the senses and soothe the teething gums, Mothers recognize right away the benefits of this little giraffe for their child.

Sophie the Giraffe is one of Vulli's most popular characters. Her success is legendary with more than 10 million units sold in Europe since her creation.
In today's fast paced world it is unusual to see a high production toy still made by hand: Sophie requires 14 manual manufacturing steps.

Slender, Flexible, and Soft, Baby can squeeze and chew her in complete safety. Lovable and amusing, She laughs when her body is squeezed.

0-12 months +

Anyways, when I got home I decided to introduce Sophie to Matty. I took her out of the box, gave her a squeeze right near Matty's face and... he smilled the biggest smile. He got super excited and it looked like he was going to giggle. He loved it. afte about 5 minutes straight of happy smiles and stories, I put the giraffe and Matty down to quickly get the camera and when i returned Matty was done with being happy. Why does that ALWAYS happen?

This evening, Dave and Cory went to a hockey game together so Vanessa and I spent the evening together watching movies. First we watched Martian child which I really enjoyed. Then we watched Penelope. I think this movie is really cute.

Now, Im in bed typing and waiting for the most recent episode of the Office to buffer so Dave and I can enjoy it. That is one of the greatest shows ever.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Changes... so many

All of a sudden, life is becoming busy. Obviously, a baby keeps me pretty busy. But September in general brings forth new activities and my life is also continuing to change.

First, all of a sudden I am a part of three bible studies, leading one study and organizing a group or two at church. This is NOT a complaint. I am enjoying it so far, although it has only just begun. Youth group and Boys and Girls club will potentially bring challenges and disappointments but I am prepared for that. As for the studies, I am so happy to have several groups to be learning with and meeting with.

Next change: Dave and I are trying to entertain at our home with people we do not know very well. This past Sunday I got all into playing hostess and I:

decorated the table. I also had it set and ready to go the night before. (This picture was taken after the entertaining was over hence it being a little messy.)

I cooked a soup from scratch (same soup as the baptism which people really liked.)

and I made this amazing caramel brownie tart. The greatest complement was from my sister, who after eating said, "Looks like I now have some competition". Everyone knows she is an excellent cook so that pleased me greatly.

I really enjoyed being a hostess and serving yummy food. This is a very new thing for me. Being in the kitchen used to make me kind of grumpy. Im now learning to see the fun and satisfaction in cooking and having clean dishes and a clean counter area. I still hate putting dishes away though.

My next change has to do with my laundry situation. I am very fortunate to have a washer and dryer in my apartment (unlike Ness upstairs) but I have tried very hard to conserve energy and keep the bills lower by not using the dryer. Dave made me a wooden drying rack a while back and it has been my laundry companion for a long while. This week, it died. I didn't mourn it's loss right away... I was angry at it instead. Thankfully it is just an object and wont be hurt at my fickle feelings. This is what my laundry room looked like after the second load of wash. I literally had no where to put the clothes to dry since the dryer was being used for all the towels and sheets.


Thankfully, Vanessa has a dryingrack and she let me borrow it so I was able to put the next load of wash all on that rack. I should really do laundry more than once a week. It would likely make things much easier.

Finally, Matty. What is changing in him? EVERYTHING!

Here is Matty at 6 weeks and one day. I don't know if you can tell but he is getting so big.

These are all of the clothes he has already outgrown. It happens so fast. I took some close ups of some of them because I think they are just so cute.

Booties knit by Great Oma

The teddy on Matty's first pair of overalls from Tante Vanessa. He wore these on his very first trip to church.

An adorable sleeper from Aunty Jo's collection of clothes that I was so blessed to use. It always reminds me of Africa.

Matty's 'coming home from the hospital' sleeper from Grammie. I just love the blue with the helicopters.

Oh, I just thought of another change: Sleep! Matty has begun to sleep for 4 hour stretches and sometimes even longer. Just a few nights ago he actually slept through the entire night. I admit I was in pain when he finally woke up BUT I was very well rested.

Other news: I had my 6 week appointment and have a good report. All is healed REALLY WELL and I have yet to find out about my thyroid. If I hear nothing, I continue to stay on my hormones. If I hear something I either stop taking them or I will have to increase it. We shall see.

Matthew is talking now. Not actual words, of course, but he will look at you, smile and say things like "goo, a goo..." I don't really know how to spell out any of the other sounds he makes but it is so cute. Today he spoke to his Uncle Aidan and his Tante Katrina, to me and to Dave(all seperate occassions). I tried desperately to get him on tape and only have a very little snippet. Unfortunately, I still can't get the videos to upload. Perhaps one day I can share them. I guess I should get a lesson on how to do it. Until then, take my word for it, it's ADORABLE!!!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fall Harvest Feast (soup)

This is the soup recipe I used to make the soup for Matty's baptism. By the time I got to eat, there was none left and people were asking me for the recipe.

I also meant to take a picture but it was all gone very quickly. Sorry!

Here it is!

4 bacon slices, chopped

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasthalves, chopped

1 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. chopped celery
1/2 c. chopped carrot
1/4 c. chicken (or vegetable) broth

6 c. chicken (or vegetable) stock
14 oz. can of pure pumpkin (no spices)
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/8 tsp. ground sage

Cook bacon in large saucepan on medium until crisp. Tranfer with slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Set aside.

Heat 1 tbsp. drippings in same saucepan on medium-high. Add chicken. Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring often, until browned.

Add next 4 ingredients. Heat and stir for about 5-10 minutes, scraping any brown bits from bottom of pan, until vegetables are softened.

Add remaining 4 ingredients. Stir. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium low. Simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender. Add bacon. Stir.

Makes about 81/2 cups (2.1L.).
Serves 4

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Some days things are impossible to get done (these end up being chinese take out nights or restaurants), Other days, I feel like I could do everything I used to in the house. The house gets clean and there is a nice meal on the table.

The past two nights, I have managed to prepare nice enough dinners while maintaining a fairly presentable home (a bi messy but clean mostly).

Last night I prepared a ham dinner with baked potatoes and squash. I was most excited about the squash. It worked out pretty well but the squash was a bit over done. I was a little disappointed but it still tasted quite nice. I also managed to get a fruit salad made for my pre-natal reunion.

The reunion was actually quite nice. There were 5 babies there which is more than I was expecting. All so cute and in such different stages. I had never been to the house before. I went on to google maps and got directions and followed them perfectly. Unfortunately, the final destination was NOT where it was suppose to be. I drove around and around and couldn't find it. I then decided that it couldn't be too far away from where it was in my directions. One by one, I chose the side streets and wove in and out of confusing little areas until I happened upon the street I was looking for. In perfect timing too, because I was just about to give up and head home. Onceat the home, I was slightly confused by the wheel chair ramp but I recognized the woman who answered the door and the afternoon went well from there.

Tonight I prepared a stew that I knew Dave liked. I made it once before for a campng trip he went on and he came home and told me, almost right away, that it was the best stew he'd ever tasted. So, I thought it would be a special treat for him tonight. Unfortunately, he failed to mention he wasn't going to be home for dinner tonight, so he gets to eat it cold since our microwave is broken (eww!). I really enjoyed the stew and so did Vanessa. I figured I had enough to go around so I was very please to share it with Ness and Cory.

Here's the stew brewing (sorry the picture sucks, it fogged up the camera).

Here are the carrots and the potatoes that needed to be added after the first part of the stew had simmered for 1 1/2 hours.

These are pictures of the disaster I call my kitchen. I can't keep it clean while cooking. It always looks terrible while I'm on the go.

Finally, here is the finished product. Looking much less like a soup and more like stew.

So, that is the result of my productive days. Matty cooperated so well by being happy and having good sleeps during the day. I'm so proud of my little man.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Saturday, Sunday and Monday

Here are some pictures from our crazy weekend. I didn't get as many as I would have liked because my battery died :( I need to remember to bring backups.


We went to Dave's family's house and visited with Melissa, Chris and Eleanor (family from out of town). Eleanor is meeting her new cousin for the first time.

Uncle Dave holding Eleanor.


Matty "sitting up" for his 5 week picture in his baptism clothes.

Daddy and Matty waiting to be called up to the front.

Taking the baptism vows.

Rich getting ready to baptize Matty.

Matthew Aidan van der Meer is baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and Rich is now praying for him. Matty didn't cry at all. We were impressed
Two proud grandpas/pakes admiring their grandson after the service.

A family of three on a special day.

We started our Thanksgiving Monday by going to the Third World Bazaar. It happens for a few weekends in October and it has so many neat things. Today, however, it was so crazy that we barely got to look at anything since so many peopole were crowded in there. Matthew was not happy because he was getting overheated and I just didn't like being unable to move. So, it was a pretty quick visit, unfortunately.
A beautiful red tree in the park near my parents. We took the kids here to play and we played a game of catching falling leaves for a while (the wind stopped which ruined the game).

Proud cousin Caelah holding her little cousin. She is so good at holding babies.

Caelah, me, Matty and Gabriel. Believe it or not, Elijah took this picture. My face looks funny because he took it while I was explaining to him how to take a picture. Obviously he didn't need my help.

It was a wonderful weekend. Now all I want to do is sleep for days. It wont be possible, of course, but it is how I feel.

Tomorrow is voting day. Then I am visiting with some people from my prenatal class and then in the evening I have a bible study which I am very excited about. Wednesday will have to be my relaxation day. Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and has a good week.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Crazy Happenings

This weekend is going to be CRAZY!

Last night, Dave and I wanted to visit my parents. We packed up the babe and drove over there just to hang out.

Matty didn't sleep well last night. He wasn't up screaming, thank goodness, but he was fussy and I could tell it was gas. I think he was up every hour for the first part of the morning and then he gave me a two hour sleep in the later morning.

Today, I woke up for the last time and made a apsta salad for dinner tonight, then I packed the diaper bag to go to Dave's families house. Dave and all the men have gone golfing (Dave was not looking forward to it since he was to be there for 10 to 8:00am) so Vanessa and I will be driving out there together to hang out with all the women folk. Dave's sister, Melissa, her husband, Chris and their daughter, Eleanor, are up for the weekend so it will be nice to see them all.

After spending the morning at the van der Meers, Dave and I will be heading to a friends place (Colin Van Dyk) for a thanksgiving lunch/dinner at around 2 or 3. My whole family will be there are well as Colins family.

Tomorrow we have the baptism which will be busy. I already have a whole bunch of stuff in the car and sitting in the fridge ready to be taken out. All of Dave's mom's side of the fmaily will be there and then my family and hopefully a few friends who can make it.

Finally, Monday my family has their Thanksgiving dinner and my mom and I, and Jo if she can, want to get to a fair. Its called the Third World Bazaar and they sell items from around the world. Always fun. Maybe Christmas presents will be found.

Anyways, I should go. The baby's crying.

Friday, October 10, 2008

My Christmas Wishlist

Thanksgiving hasn't even come. Nor has halloween. You may be wondering, "Why is she posting about it so soon?" Well,this year our family is trying a new method for gift giving to make it all a little easier on our wallets. So, I have been requested to write mine and Daves wishlist so whoever has my name will have some ideas of what to get. This is my list and Daves will follow once I've had a chance to talk to him and compile his list.

Some ideas are:

*The Inkheart, Inkspell and Inkdeath books
*Makeup (coverup, lip gloss, mascara)
*A pretty tablecloth (I only have a Christmas one but would love an all year round one)
*Beautiful childrens books
*Pasta bowls
*A serving platter
*Tree ornaments
*Long undershirts that aren't lownecked (similar to the Old Navy tank tops I have- I need white especially)
*Knitting stuff ( yarn, needles of various sizes- just not 5 or 6 US, yarn, book with easy projects...)
*A glass water pitcher
*Magazine subscription to a home magazine (pretty pictures and decorating ideas)
*Scrapbook things or cardstock...
*Classic Christmas movies on DVD (Miracle on 34th st., A Wonderful Life...)
*Classical music CD's (Handles Mssiah, Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, many other options)

I know Christmas is not about gifts and things. It's just a fun tradition. I found a poem that I thought I should share, even if it is a little early for Christmas. Enjoy!

Heaven's Gift
by: Sandra Popp

Heaven's gift has come to man.
Mortal fate rests
within tiny hallowed hands.
Shephards singing, a shining star,
angels proclaiming,
kings bearing gifts from afar.
A scene of serene glory,
the weight of a holy hush,
the meaning of heaven's story,
t'was God first CHRISTmas gift to us.

Who would recall the power of that day,
at the time when he was led away,
bearing a crown, a robe and fateful wounds?
Was He not the gift of heaven's womb?

Shall we turn from that holy day
and walk away unchanged?
Will we allow it to envelope our souls
only to let it slowly slip away?

Through plastic, tinsel, parties and gifts,
shopping, planning and Christmas lights lit,
can the simple gift be heard of seen,
or does it quietly fade behind holiday sheen?

Let us not forget that He loved us so.
He loves us too much to let us go.
He sent a plan with His sacrifice
to forgive and cleanse and give us life.

Embrace the greatest gift of all;
don't let your sense of the manger wane.
The gift of heaven is yours to receive.
It was the true reason He came.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Already One Month

Two days ago marked Matty's first month of life. I can't believe that it has already been that long. I truely understand the expression, "time flies". All of a sudden he seems so big. He moves his hands and arms more and focuses. Soon he'll be walking and talking and schooling... so crazy.

Before all that, though, we have his baptism. This Sunday, Canada's thanksgiving day, Matty will receive the sign and symbol of being a covenant child. When I asked my pastor if this Sunday would work, he said, " Thanksgiving is great, because Matthew is a gift for which we can be thankful." We met with our pastor and we talked for an hour and a half (mostly about mine and Dave's marriage) and had a nice visit. I went out yesterday and bought an outfit for Matty to wear for the occasion. It is the cutest thing. I will have to get lots of pictures so you can see how adorable he is (my bias perhaps). Until then, however, you will have to settle for some news from his doctors appointment yesterday and a few pictures from recently.

Matty was weighed and measured and he is now in the 80th percentile for both his height and his weight. The doctor was very happy with what he saw. I made sure I asked all of the questions I had and was much happier with the overall appointment compared to our first one.

Othere then that, I've been working hard at getting my house clean. It appears that it will take me all week to get it clean just to start again next week. It's really hard to get much done. I wouldn't change it for the world. I just have to adjust and adapt. Today I succeeded in cleaning the whole front of the house, I moved some furniture and switched some books from one shelf to another, I tidied the bedroom and made the beds and I have made some dough for pizza (yeah breadmaker). I still hope to vacuum the bedroom, sweep the kitchen and do some dishes but I don't know. I'm currently able to type this entry with onee hand as I hold a sleeping Matty in the other arm. The moment I put him down, he wakes up screaming and writhing with gas pains. I'm so thankful that this isn't ALL the time.
Here are the pictures for you:

Here is Matty and I at Mill of Kintail in Almonte.

Here is Matty sitting in his aquarium bouncy seat. I'd never seen him enjoy it as much as he did today.

I tried to include a video as well but it wont upload. It's too bad because it's so cute.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Birthday Bash

I am now 25 years old. Does that not seem really old? I guess to many people reading this, that isn't old. But I guess when I think of the fact that I am a quarter of a century old it seems a little scary.

My birthday began with a church meeting. Not the best way to begin a birthday but it did ensure that Dave was home for the day instead of working. The meetingwas to begin at 9 but it started late as was expected. It also lasted until noon... maybe even longer than that.

After the meeting, Dave, Matty and I went to get my my birthday present (it is this tiny lap top that I am using right now to write this post) from Best Buy. After that, we went to Montanas for lunch. Dave had them sing their birthday song to me and I had to wear a horned hat which seemed really dirty. It was still kind of special though, and I got free ice cream. YUM!

Matty was starting to get fussy so we headed home where we met up with Jo and Aidan and the kids. I fed Matty and thn Jo and I, along with Matty, headed out on another expedition; one that made Matty very unhappy. First we went to a strip mall where I got to pick out a nice sweatshirt that my mom would buy for me as a gift. I chose a beautiful plum zip up from Jacob, with some help from my sister. Next, it was back into the car to go to the grocery store. Once that task was complete, it was into the car once more to go to St. Laurent Shopping center which is miserable on Saturdays. I had to go though, since I was picking up my birthday cake (Baskin Robins Mocha Almond Fudge ice cream cake). I nwas thankful when that task was finished and then it was back to my house to feed Matty and pick up all the kids to go to my parents house. Matty was really tired of the ins and outs of the car seat and was screaming at me. I deserved it.

Once at my parents, Matty settled down and I was able to relax. We had just family over for dinner and then at 7 pm everyone else came for hors d'oeuvres and cake.

My mom and Anne bringing in the cakes. One was made by my mom and the other one is the cake I bought because of my craving for ice cream cake.

One cake blown out, one to go. You can see my new sweatshirt in this picture.

Here's Cory, Jon (Ness's brother who I get along well with) and Aidan.

Pake (Dave's dad) holding Matty.

A lot of other guest. I don't think you really want me to tell you all of the peoples names.

And more people. It was a very busy house.

Other than the sweatshirt and my laptop, I got a number of other great gifts. My parents got me a cookbook, Daniel bought me a bouquet of beautiful flowers, my dad wrote me a beautiful poem, Vanessa bought me two note pads, Dave's parents bought me some parenting books and a Christmas tree ornament and my sister and family along with Karin and family got me a bracelet, some earings and a fantastic mobile that they had custom made for me so there would be beavers on it.
Here are my gifts (except the shirt). See how small the laptop is (it's in the middle)? I love it.

Here's the mobile. It came all the way from Germany.

A close up of one of the beavers. So cute!

Here are the flowers from my brother. He bought a bouquet for Jo too because when it was her birthday he didn't have any money.

I had a fantastic birthday. I had my husband with me, surrounded by my whole family and I also had a baby this year. What a change from my birthday last year. It was still a wonderful birthday. This years was just so different. I'm a mom, I'm 25 and I've been married for a year. Pretty awsome!

Friday, October 3, 2008

A Long-Overdue Visit

*Two very strange girls sitting on the bus each holding a latex glove. What are they discussing? How they can use these gloves to make a movie, the stars being the gloves which would be inflated. The script was in it's beginnings when they had to descend from the bus.*

*The same two girls, sitting in a bedroom. One is holding a bunch of bobby pins. One pin is holding another ten. These pins are lined up so that when you strum them, they will make a "wind chime" noise. Together they have invented a very morbid song from one they heard on television earlier. Both of them perform it for family and get a mix of laughter and "eww!"'s

"Way up North when you are sleeping
There are wolves that eat your flesh.
Once you were all nice and living
Now you're just a hunk of mesh.

Mesh is like a chocolate pudding.
It is wet and creamy too.
If it were dried up and put in a box,
Jello would be it's cousin, Ooze."*

These two girls were childhood friends who did so many things together. Me and Lexy. We sang together in a choir, we went out together, we had movie nights where we ate ourselves sick with junk food (Joe-Louies and pizza), had sleep overs, dressed up, sewed and never finished our projects...

Then, we just didn't see each other much. We still lived close by but we seemed to have gone our separate ways.

Who should I get together with just the other day? ALEXIS. She came over to meet Matty. It was so nice. The amazing thing with her and I is that though we can go over a year without talking, our friendship goes so far back that when we see each other again, we try and pick up where we left off. Like it had only been a week.

She brought flowers for me and we sat and chatted about the past two years and all too quickly the evening was over. It was so nice to see her again. I hope it doesn't take the birth of another baby to see each other again.