Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Emily the Train

If you're familiar with Thomas the Tank Engine, you know who I'm talking about.

I've already talked about Joshua's love: the train table and all the adorns it, including Lego tunnels and farm props for scenery.

Clearly, it consumes at least some of Joshua's thoughts as he goes about his day.  One day, while on our way home from shopping, he randomly informed us that he wanted "Annie and Clarabel," Thomas's coaches.

It's hard to not hand Joshua everything he wants, whenever he wants it-- but in the end, that is not the most loving thing to do, so we told him they cost money and he would have to wait for them.  He was okay with this.

The older he gets, the more he understands.  Makes things so much easier.

So when we got home, John unloaded the van and Joshua apparently had a mission of his own.  He took all the magnets off the fridge. "Here's some money for Annie and Clarabel, Daddy," he said, piling them in John's lap.

Still resisting the urge to humor him by taking him to the store, I got a mason jar from the kitchen and let him put the magnets in the jar along with a $1 bill.  This seemed like a good compromise that he could understand, and that taught him the importance of saving.  Over the next three months, John would give Joshua some loose change here, a dollar bill there, and Joshua kept talking about how excited he was to get Annie and Clarabel when he saved up enough money.

Then yesterday, he decided he wanted "Emily."  John found a coupon code online and when we helped Joshua count the money, we found there was just enough money to buy either Emily or Annie and Clarabel.  It was late- 7pm.  But we got in the van and took Joshua to A.C Moore to buy his train.  He was too excited to sleep, at this point.

We explained that he could only have one of the trains, and if he chose Emily, he'd have to save up money for A&C all over again.  He still want Emily.  In fact, he was practically hyperventilating in the back seat, grinning from ear to ear.

When we were parked in front of the store, Joshua said in his highest-pitched scream, "I GET TO BUY EMILY!!"

At the store, he held my hand and at each aisle, he would glance down and say, "Nooooooooo...not this one!"  And then there they were.  At this point, he had given a lot of shoppers a reason to smile.

We've bought a few other trains for Joshua over the last year.  He goes in with one train in mind and always leaves with a different one, finding it hard to choose from all the dozens of options.  This time, he was very focused, skimming the rows of trains for Emily.

There she was.  He held on to her with all his might, and we raced back to the checkout where he plopped her on the counter with a victorious, "It's EMILY!!"  It's a good thing that he was so cute, or we may have had some angry fellow-customers when we pulled out a jar of change to be sorted and counted.

Ten minutes later.....

We exited the store with Emily in Joshua's hand.  He has never been happier to own a toy.

Sometimes love is doing what doesn't seem the "nicest."  I wanted to give Joshua what he wanted, but by having him wait and save, the enjoyment multiplied a thousand times.  Love is preparing Joshua for the future, where there are consequences for poor choices, whining doesn't accomplish anything and toys aren't handed to him on a whim.  And the reward is great.

(Pardon his pizza face...Emily was a little more important than a clean face at the time ^-^ )

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

It's American Thanksgiving.  Once again, John is working the holiday.  We kind of skipped over Canadian Thanksgiving too, with the exception of pumpkin soup made in its honor.

So-- turkey and stuffing are out of style around here, but thankfulness never will be.


1.  a GOD who loves me so much that He sent His son to die for me.

2.  freedom: to worship; to work; to play

3.  a home to call our own: a roof over our heads, a furnace to keep us warm.

4.  food: not only to fill our bellies and keep us nourished, but that GOD gave us hundreds of flavors to cook  
     with and enjoy.

5.  creative license.

6.  the four seasons: the promise of spring, the fun-filled summer, the beauty and inspiration of autumn and
     nostalgia of winter.

7.  people: young and old.

8.  for the people that I call FRIEND.  I have some amazing friendships.

9.  my family: a loving, caring husband who has stuck with me through thick and thin- and my baby that I love
     more than life.

10.  modern conveniences that simplify life and make room for more of everything else.

11.  good health: not at its best, but not at its worst, either.

12.  the internet: I've become a research nut, and the internet is an amazing resource.

13.  my more extended family: great in-laws, loving parents, and a hilarious brother who I can call a friend.

14.  my little brother's memory: knowing Mark is with Jesus.

15.  laughter.

16.  fresh drinking water: I don't have to drink from a mud puddle.

17.  church family: no matter how far one travels, there are brothers and sisters on every corner of the earth.

18.  trains, planes and automobiles: no more impossible covered-wagon rides.  friends and family are always      

19.  the input of a Heavenly Father for every big and small life decision.

20.  nostalgia.

21.  the ability to drink in the beauty of the world around me- to see; to hear; to smell.  life is beautiful if one
       will only look and see.

22.  my childhood: every day spent in the city makes me so glad that I was raised in a friendly community
       where play was a way of life and friendships were the most precious thing to be had.

23.  puppies.

24.  the body's amazing ability to heal itself.

25.  thankfulness.  being thankful nearly swells a person up with gratitude and gives yet another reason to
       smile.  =))


Thursday, November 18, 2010

What We Do

Sometimes we go out just because we need to get out.  Looking for a change of scenery...and free entertainment.  Sometimes free entertainment comes in the form of beautiful scenery, driving away from the city and seeking solace in the gorgeous countryside; sometimes we buy Starbucks (okay- not so free) and Joshua finishes the whipped cream from my frap;  sometimes we go browsing after we've finished our mandatory shopping-one of our favourite spots for browsing is the kitchen department of nearly any well-stocked store;  sometimes we go to the bookstore, find ourselves some reading material, and sit while we flip through the pages and chat, whilst Joshua plays with the train table.

Other times, like today,we go to the pet store.  There are several that we visit every few months.  Maybe it's not even that often.  There is PetSmart, with dozens of fish tanks, cats, turtles, iguanas, guinea pigs, hamsters and birds.  Joshua really likes that.  He had the store memorized by the time he was a year old, leading us from one section to the next and screaming at the top of his lungs when it was time to go.

But my personal favourite is a little pet store nearby, right next to the grocery store...and I think Joshua and John would share my sentiments if they were asked.  Why?  Because they have puppies.  Sweet, adorable, furry little puppies.  We love to go in there, let them lick (and sometimes nip) our fingers, rub their silky fur and fall in love.

Today was a little different then our other visits.  I was shocked to see pigs.  There were four micro pigs and one potbelly pig.  I was familiar with the potbelly pig (though I had never seen one in real life), because when Derek was 14, after he finished his "I want an iguana" phase, he wanted one of those potbelly pigs.  I never got the hype.  Now, twelve years later...I get it.  I can't believe I'm saying that.  But they were REALLY cute.  

I fell in love with the potbelly pig, a five month old female who, when at face level with her, was absolutely adorable.  I named her Lucy.  I hope she tells the person who buys her. ;-)

I've almost convinced John that we should own a pet pig.  But then I stop and think and maybe it's not such a good idea.  After all, they DO grow up to be 60+ lbs and...well, they lose a lot of their cuteness.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I have to admit, I've been a little distracted this week, resulting in the severe neglect of this blog.  I started a second blog where I am recording any information I find on living life without a gallbladder, liver health, etc. and sort of compiling everything in one place.  There's just so much to learn- I could write all day and still have more to say.

I want to be a doctor.  I wish I could just snap my fingers and find myself fully certified.  The likelihood of my ever becoming a doctor is very slim, if not impossible.  Being a mother is my number one joy and priority in life, and is all-consuming right now.  Not to mention my current physical inability to do so.  So I'm content with my researching and trying to figure out all the puzzle pieces of my own health, along with John and Joshua.  I read books about interesting medical discoveries (within my brain capacity, that is), and am currently delving into the world of herbal medicine, which is particularly interesting to me.

I've got a liver tincture "tincture-izing" in the cupboard and dandelion in the kitchen to treat water retention.  I haven't used it yet.  I'm first re-correcting my diet- it's so easy to get off of the gluten/dairy-free eating, especially when I'm in a particular amount of pain and cooking isn't so do-able.  But I can't wait to see how it works.

So yea.  I want to be a doctor.  A doctor, and a dozen other things, too....because the world is full of things to learn and things to do, and it's all so fascinating.  But most of all, I want to be a Mom- and I am.  It's the very best thing of all.

Monday, November 15, 2010


Have I ever said how glad I am to be married to John?  He's a great guy.  And one of the little perks to our life together is his Armenian heritage which brings with it much of the delicious food.  It's similar to the Mediterranean cuisine, I think.  

Yesterday, John and his siblings, Chuck and Jen, got together and made lahmejoun.  Lahmejoun is lovely bit of yeast dough, rolled thin as can be, placed on a baking sheet and smeared with a thin and tasty layer of ground meat (beef or lamb), green and red pepper, garlic, spices (including allspice and pepper), etc.  It's then placed in the oven at 500F and baked for 10 minutes.  It's kind of like...pizza without the sauce and 
cheese, and much more addicting.

We had the leftover meat mixture cooked up on toast, and I think I can come up with a gluten-free version of this for the future.  

Kneading the dough:

It was a long day: Six hours to make 9 dozen lahmejouns.  So very worth it, though, and lots of fun in between.  It was great hanging out with John's family.

John with his brother and sister:

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010

Marky Boy

I've been thinking about Mark a lot today and the ache of missing him got a little worse than it's been in a while.  I always know he's not here anymore, but sometimes it just kind of--hits me.  Like a ton of bricks.  And I realize that I'm not going to see him again, as long as I'm living here on earth.  Mark will never make it past 19.  He'll never play with Joshua or get a chance to be the amazing uncle I know he would have been.  He won't come and visit like he said he would.  I can't just phone him up when I want to talk.  I can't set all my little projects aside for him to fix for me.

I was trying to untwist a slinky today- I didn't know those things could actually get knotted up.  And I found myself thinking, as I yanked at it in frustration, "Mark could have fixed this."  I'm sure there are a lot of people who could fix it.  But Mark loved projects like that, where he had to figure things out and find solutions.  If it took an hour, he would see it through. 

Loved.  I hate using past tenses when I speak about him.  It wasn't supposed to be this way.  We used to talk about growing up and having families and visiting each other--

Derek, Mark and I once pooled our money together to buy another "Adventures in Odyssey" CD for our collection, and I remember Mark asking, "Who gets it when we're not living at home anymore?"  The question never got answered; it just wasn't important.  Today, I don't even know where it is.  Maybe Derek ended up taking it, or maybe my mom has it packed away.  When Joshua's older, I may ask where I can find it.  Maybe Derek will beat me to it, but we can always share.  We did before.  But I wish we were still sharing with Mark.

I found Mark's Christmas present.  Why do I always find his first?  It's not like I can give it to him.  (No, I don't buy it).  I hate when that happens, as though to remind me that with all the Christmas shopping that I'll do, I won't be able to get something for Mark.

I can't write anymore, right now.  It hurts too much.  What a gift it is, to know that Mark is in Heaven.  With Jesus.  So eventually, when the ache dulls again, I can wipe my tears away and smile for him.