Friday, December 4, 2015

Putting the Crib Away for the First (Last?) Time

This was written last month. Sorry I'm slow getting things posted!


It's been a week of picking my jaw up off the floor as I am continually amazeat the growth in my children. All week they have been surprising me with new skills they have learned while I wasn't watching (or so it feels).

Jackson read words for the very first time a few nights ago and it blew my mind. thought it was probably years off because I haven't even attempted to teach him to read, but that night he just started sounding out letters and putting words together from "Hop on Pop" by Dr. Seuss. By the next day he was saying words out loud to himself, figuring out how to spell them, and then writing them down! Also, after months of being very hesitant to try to learn any French, he also started trying to piece together entire sentences in French with me today. (It may be because I have let him watch an exorbitant amount of Paw Patrol en franรงais in the past few weeks telling myself it's okay because it's "educational," but shhh about that.) My momma heart is soaring and amazed. It's also a bit of a wake up call. So they don't stay little and dependent forever? 

This week alone Addie has shown me she knows how to count to 10 and use scissors. She's been potty training herself - and not in a potty on the floor or on a potty seat - she has been insistent about sitting right on the toilet all by herself, with just a stool for help get up and down. She started dressing herself and talking in ways that left me feeling like I've missed some in-between steps with her somehow. How did she get here already?! This week has me realizing in a very real way that the baby days have left our home. And it has me wondering if they're gone for good.

This past weekend Addie had her last night in the crib. That bedtime was poignant for me as I rocked her and sang with her, and lay her down in the crib - the same crib that I've lain both my babies in over the past five years. The crib we had searched for and chosen with so much delight and anticipation when I was pregnant with Jackson. The crib I had so looked forward to laying our third baby in. The next day we took the crib apart piece by piece and for the first time since we bought it almost five years ago, it went to storage. My heart cried out quietly to God, "Is this the end? Are our baby days over?"

I've been surprised lately how my feelings have changed and how deeply a part of me increasingly longs to maybe try for another baby. And yet it's also accompanied by immediate fears too - what if I lose another? I feel like I couldn't bear it again. Any pregnancy from now on will be different. And there are also other more selfish considerations: pregnancy is hard on me and then there are months, if not years, of exhaustion that come with each babyCan I really do that again? It's just starting to get easier with my oldest two as they gain more independence.

As we moved the crib out of the kids' room, I felt something like a whisper in my heart that it isn't over. I had a deep sense that it would be so much like my Father's character to graciously bless us with another child, another gift. He is so sweet like that. And yet, I don't know. I don't know what His plan is for us. He is just as loving and good if that was the last night I will lay my own child down to sleep in a crib. He knows what is best for us and many times that 'best' has looked far different than what I would have deemed bestI have learned many times that the best thing for me is not often the easiest thing. Many times it has been the hardest road I could have imagined and felt like it might snap me in two. But Scripture has been proven true over and over in my life when it says, "He works ALL things together for the good of those who love Him." The way He leads me I often do not understand and I often still resist, but I have lived through enough to trust it will be proven to be so rich and so good because He's taught me He is enough. He is what my soul longs formost deeply. It's in Him I find my joy and rest. And He will bring about good for me - a truer good than I aspire to for myself.

He has also just been so generous with me. Every day I get to be mom to the two little walking miracles He knit together in my womb and gave to me. I get to see them discover the world and grow every day. I get to learn from and with them about what love really is in the deepest way I've ever known. And I also got to carry another miracle inside me for seven beautiful weeks, and when it went to live with the One it was made by and for, my God lovingly answered my weeping prayers to be able to see my baby and hold it to say goodbye. In holding my seven week old baby I was changed forever. It is now so deeply real to me that I have had a third child. If there are any other children to come, they will be my fourth, fifth, etc. I have been blessed with three beautiful children created in the image of God and given to me to love. Two of them I am blessed to have here with me and the other one I will be with someday when I see Jesus face to face. So many people far more deserving than I long and weep for these blessings that I have received by the grace of God. It is all grace - wonderful, merciful, grace. It is who God is. He is so good and I have much to be thankful for.

So this week we put our crib away for the first time since starting our parenting journey. It may never be used again in our family. And I can embrace what has passed and whatever is before us with a joyful heart - even in the midst of pain at times - because I know Him who heals the brokenhearted and promises far far better is to come. One day when I die I will live in the presence of the One who has made me, chosen me, saved me, kept me, and walked with me every day of this broken life. My children, while great joy-givers, cannot ultimately satisfy me or fulfill me. The only One who satisfies the voids and longings in my heart with Himself is God because He is perfect in love. One day He will make me and all who trust in Him finally whole. And that changes everything about how I live today.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Life After Miscarriage and What to Say to the Hurting

I took an impromptu hiatus from blogging the past month. I've been soul-searching and sifting and life prioritizing. I've been trying to figure out if a blog can/should have a place in this busy season of my life with two little ones at home; and if so, what it should be about and how much of my time I should be devoting to it. I'd love to hear your feedback. Ultimately I have to prayerfully decide what the purpose of this blog will be, but it would be helpful to hear your thoughts on it. What do you get out of what I write? Is it worth continuing? What would you want to see more of/less of? You have all been such wonderful readers. I would love any feedback you'd like to give. I'm not fully sure what it will look like, but I figure for now I will at least put up a couple posts that I had already written over the past few weeks. 


A glimpse into little life moments and thoughts as I carry on life after a miscarriage:

Thoughts of the baby come to my mind while playing UNO with my four year-old son. Immediately I feel the twinge of sadness, and right then, without knowing how much I need it, my boy lays down his cards and comes over to me saying, "Mommy, I want to give you a hug." Tears come in my sweet little boy's arms and I tell him how much he comforted me right when I needed it.

At our grandparents 85th birthday party we were talking about how there are exactly 50 in the family right now but it just keeps growing as so many are having babies each year. My heart sinks a little as I realize my sweet baby was supposed to be next to make it 51 in February, but no longer will.

I keep trying to do everything I usually do for life to run smoothly and happily, but cannot seem to light a spark of motivation. I don't feel myself. I am trying, but I feel so weighed down by an underlying sadness that is tinting life right now and making even simple tasks more difficult.

Walking through a store, I see the baby section. I feel numb, but also aware there's nothing numb about it at all. I'm just too tired to let myself tap into all the sadness inside. The question hangs in the back of my mind: Will I ever need this section of a store again? Do I ever even want to risk losing again?

A dear aunt asks me how I'm really doing and I can't help but cry again. She then tells me of the two babies she lost that I never knew about. It's life giving to hear someone else has been here and gives me permission to still be crying about it. 

When I take photos of my two living kids, it looks like someone is always missing to me now. 

I look back at the pictures from the short time I was pregnant with our sweet baby and both amazement and longing washes over me. "There the baby was with us!" Yet never again.

I'm making supper at the cottage on our vacation with my husband's family and it hits me that it was this weekend I was supposed to be going into my second trimester and would have reached the "safe zone" to blast the news far and wide that I was expecting. I still can't believe I found out just how right they are about those delicate first few months.

Sometimes before I fall asleep I lay on my back with my hand on my empty belly and remember how just a few weeks ago it seemed every day to be growing larger and rounder (your belly grows crazy fast when it's your third). I wonder if it ever will again ... and if I even want it to.

Seeing our friends' pregnancy and birth announcements are no longer only joyful. I'm SO happy for each one of them but they are also reminders of my own loss now too. And I hate that. I miss being able to give a completely joy-filled congratulations. And yet perhaps my joy is deeper for them now. I am more thankful to God with them than I could have been before because I know the life and health of our babies is not guaranteed. My congratulations may hurt a little to give now, but I mean them more than ever.

I'm playing with a puzzle with my son and he says he is thinking about the baby again. "Mommy, I'm sad. I really wanted to give it kisses and snuggle our baby. Why did it have to die?" Oh, my dear boy, I wish I knew the answer to that.

I can't seem to stop getting hit with moments of grief out of nowhere. I fear sometimes even my extremely caring and supportive husband will soon grow tired of hearing that I'm thinking about the baby again. I start to feel like I should maybe start to keep it all to myself more. That's also partly why I haven't been blogging recently. 

Holding my friends' babies is delightfully healing and yet achy all at once. How I longed for this with my baby. I wonder if I'll ever hold one of my own again. But yet I've never treasured these little lives more than I do now, no matter who they belong to. I breath in their warmth, feeling the tickle of their soft hair and thank God for life.

Somehow, though for a long time I didn't think it could, it seems time has helped and I seem to be coming out of the thick cloud of grief. I feel a bit more like myself again. I do still tear up and feel the loss often, but it's with a deep joy and a heart at peace now. I have a beautiful silver bracelet I wear that my dearest girlfriend bought for me on what we didn't know would end up being my very last day with my baby. It's made from a Victorian Rose silver spoon and I wear it to remind me of my little rosebud that never got to bloom. I can be found from time to time staring at it with happiness in my heart now, remembering my little one, knowing she's in the arms of my Jesus and I will meet her someday.

I wanted to share these snippets with you to help someone who hasn't been through a miscarriage understand a little of what it feels like, and to encourage those who have or are going through a miscarriage that someone else feels a bit of what you do. However, I don't dare pretend that everyone who goes through a miscarriage feels the same. We are all unique and will grieve and process accordingly. 

In many ways I have felt about as spoiled as I could be going through this. And I want to thank you, dear reader, for that. I have felt many things since the night I lost my baby, but I have not once felt alone in this. I am humbled, encouraged, and strengthened by the outpouring of love from so many during this time. I have received so many messages - each one so precious to me - from those who say they don't know what to say except that they care to those who have or are walking this road too. You have all been so sweet and encouraging as I open up and let strangers as well as friends into this painful loss in my family's life. 

For years before this happened to me I wondered how to best support and love someone through a miscarriage. I wondered what I would or should say or do if a friend were to go through it. I would read articles and tips for being sensitive to them. Then a friend of mine did go through it just about a week before I did. That week before I joined her, I floundered, not knowing what to say or not to say. I loved her and just wanted her to feel I was there for her, but I didn't know the best way to do that (and thankfully she was very gracious with me as I learned). 

Now having gone through both sides of it, I've realized that the most encouraging thing you can do for someone who is going through a miscarriage (and any form of grief really) is to 1) acknowledge that you know it happened and 2) that you care and are so sorry. You don't have to know what to say beyond that. Sometimes when we push ourselves to say something beyond that when we don't know what it feels like to go through it, we end up unintentionally saying things that can hurt that person a little. Mourn with those who mourn - it really is that simple. All the good purposes God has for suffering in our lives will be revealed to them naturally later. For now, just be there to listen, pray and support. I am so grateful to so many who have done just that for me.

Images from

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Summer Recipes I've Been Loving

One of my goals for August was two-fold: 1) to meal plan so I only shop for what I need and 2) to try new recipes to infuse some variety into our diet. I was also especially looking for meals that I don't have to use the oven for because it's hot and we don't have air conditioning. 

I do not always enjoy cooking. For some reason I don't mind making breakfasts and lunches, but dinner can feel like the bane of my existence some days. It's just an awful time of day to have to make a meal. In the summer, especially when it's hot and muggy, we all feel a bit sluggish around dinnertime. And there also tends to be something about that 4 o'clock hour that causes little kids to lose their dang minds and all ability to cooperate, remain uninjured, or maintain emotional control. So I'm often cooking with either crying in the background or little ones wrapped around my leg. It's hardly peaceful, but it needs to be done. Those kids (and I) need delicious food shoved in our mouths as soon as possible.

The past few years since becoming a stay-at-home mom I've been slowly learning how to cook. I've always loved to bake and found that came easy because if you just follow a recipe exactly it will usually turn out. I generally like structure and sticking to the "rules". Cooking always scared me because it seemed to involve a bit more finesse and require the ability to flavour, taste, and cook to your preference. This comes naturally to my husband -  he's a great cook (but he's also at work when dinner needs to get started so it's usually up to me during the week). That finessing has been a skill I have to keep learning gradually through the only way you can learn: trying. I have learned a lot and it's nice to be at the point where I feel I can tweak recipes to suit me (especially since we found out my daughter has a dairy allergy and I need to adjust and substitute in almost every recipe), but I still regularly get stumped for inspiration and ideas. I tend to accumulate a few favourite, quick, easy meals each season and repeat them over and over until we are practically begging for anything else. That is where we were as we finished July, and that is what prompted my goal this month to get meal planning and try some new recipes that give our poor taste buds some excitement in their life again.

We are about half way through the month and I've been really enjoying trying new recipes. I thought I'd share with you guys some of my favourite meals so far this month.

Chicken Taco Salad 
by The Pioneer Woman

We had this amazing salad on Saturday night. You put it all together on a big platter and enjoy. I won't type it out, just follow her recipe because she's the Pioneer Woman and everything she makes is fantastic. The only thing I did different was that I used corn chips (unhealthy, but so delish). We loved it! It's delicious and filling. It makes a lot so invite some friends over and enjoy out on the deck. Next time for our family of two adults and two littles I would cut the recipe in half.

Cauliflower Chowder 
by Damn Delicious 

I tweaked this recipe a little to make it dairy free because my daughter has a dairy allergy. I'll share my tweaked version below, but if you don't need yours to be dairy free just follow the original recipe here. All I'd suggest is to add some thyme (especially if you don't have a bay leaf like I didn't) and some crisp sweet corn. I served it with some warm homemade dairy-free biscuits that the kids helped cut into star and gingerbread man shapes, because obviously that's just way more fun. To be honest, many dairy-free recipes do not turn out nearly as delicious, but this one I wouldn't have any other way. It was perfect for the few cool, rainy August days we had this week.



  • 4 slices bacon, diced
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup almond milk (or dairy-free milk of your choice)
  • 1 head cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf (or substitute a few teaspoons of thyme)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

  • Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside. (Or make your bacon on a plate in the microwave placed between paper towels. For crispy bacon, 4 minutes for 4 slices, but it will depend on the power of your microwave so check before the 4 minute mark to make sure you don't burn it!)
  • Melt coconut oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in cauliflower and bay leaf (or thyme). Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in chicken broth and almond milk, and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until cauliflower are tender, about 12-15 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste. If the chowder is too thick, add more milk as needed until desired consistency is reached. If not thick enough, whisk some a bit of cold water into a tablespoon of cornstarch and then add.
  • Serve immediately, garnished with bacon and parsley.

Cous Cous Feta Almond Summer Veggie Salad 
by Recettes du Quebec

My sister-in-law brought this to one of our family birthday parties this summer and with my first bite I was hooked and had to have the recipe. It's easy, delicious, filling and doesn't use any heat - it meets every summer recipe requirement for me! The original recipe for this salad is in French and uses quinoa. So I'll share my slightly tweaked English version below. If French is your first language - perfect! You can use the original recipe here. I served it with grilled honey garlic sausage on the side, but you could definitely have this by itself too.  


  • 1 cup cous cous
  • 1 cup chicken broth, low sodium
  • 3/4 cup feta, cubed or crumbled (or as much as you desire)
  • 1/2 cup almonds, sliced (or chopped) and toasted (if desired)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (you could roast them first if you wish)
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 2 green onions, dice
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 lime juice (or lemon)
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh chives, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  • Put the cup of chicken broth in a large bowl and put it in the microwave a few minutes until it is boiling. Add one cup of cous cous and cover for 5 minutes. 
  • While the cous cous is sitting, mix the vinaigrette (I like to use a mason jar, add everything, and shake it up). When the 5 minutes is up, fluff the cous cous with a fork and add the vinaigrette to it.
  • Toast the almonds a few minutes on a pan over medium heat, shaking regularly so it doesn't burn (or however you wish - I just find this way is quickest for me)
  • Chop the cherry tomatoes, red pepper, zucchini, green onions and feta. Sprinkle with salt and pepper as you like.
  • Add the tomatoes, red pepper, zucchini, green onions, and almonds to the cous cous. If you have someone with a dairy allergy in your family like we do, take their portion out now. 
  • Finally, add the feta to the rest of the cous cous and veggie mix. 
  • You can either serve it right away when it's a little warm or after it has been chilled in the fridge. 

Coconut Oil Honey Almond Granola 
by Lovely Little Kitchen


I had never made granola before. This was a nice simple, dairy-free version that the kids loved to help me make and have been asking for repeatedly since we made it. They love it! You can eat it as a cereal by itself, just adding some milk and strawberries or enjoy it over some yogurt. It's delicious, fast, and easy!


So those are a few of my favourite recipes we have been enjoying so far in August. Do you have any recipes you love that I should try? So far this month there haven't been any recipe "duds" but I still have half a month to go! We've had a bit cooler weather this past week so between that and all the buzz about back to school season, the fact that fall isn't too far around the corner is starting to set in. That brings mixed emotions except when it comes to cooking. I think Fall cooking and baking is my absolute favourite. I cannot wait to share some amazing recipes with you then! 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

One Month In

One month ago today we lost our third child when I miscarried at 7 weeks. The past few days I have found myself back in the thick of grief over our baby lost. Seeing newborn babies and pregnancy announcements have begun to sting a little. Thankfully it's not in the least of resentment, but of pain, longing, and an almost unbearable panic that I cannot undo what has happened - a reminder of what was going to be but now will not be. I cannot bring back my baby, the growing belly, the hopes and dreams held in that littlest baby lost all too soon. Some days this month I would almost make it through without thinking about the baby. But then it would flood back. A month ago my womb and my future held a third sweet baby I loved and anticipated cradling in my arms. That dream, when recalled, agonizingly slips through my fingers like sand to the earth. My heart is broken.

My first midwife appointment was scheduled for this Friday at 9 am. I was going to hear that sound of a heartbeat that is not mine yet is sheltered within my body. There is nothing like the first time you hear the sound of the heartbeat of your baby. It's always made me laugh and weep at the same time. So much joy! And now it rips through my chest that this baby's heart started and stopped with no one but its Maker to hear it. And though I'm not supposed to, I wonder quietly sometimes, "What if I did something to cause it to stop?" The baby was the size it should have been at 7 weeks so the slip on the deck stairs two days before I miscarried haunts me. I can't fault myself with what was an accident, but it grieves me to think that my have been the cause. What if I just hadn't walked out there that dewy morning? ... This thinking gets me no where but it's there all the same. What if? ...

Images of that night come to my mind out of nowhere sometimes. I had no idea how long a miscarriage could last. I bled three weeks, had a few days relief, and now it has started up again. Every sight of it is like a slap in the face, pulling me back to the freshness of the reality that I essentially gave birth but the baby is gone. All of it leaves me with a hollow aching, a pain new to my heart. How do you move forward from here? Sometimes people hint toward us trying for more children. How on earth do I either have more children or end childbearing on this note? Neither seems bearable to me right now. The empty spot in our family no further children could fill or make us forget. Nothing can replace that baby or fix this ache. Only heaven. There alone lies the Balm to this wound in my heart. 


Oh Father, giver of life and breath. You number all of our days and You care for our sweet child now in Your presence. I know it is better where You are, but my momma heart is still aching, breaking. How do I move forward when in some ways my heart feels buried with my baby in that little grave? Life isn't what I thought it would be. It's somehow both better than I could have imagined and yet also full of more pain and loss than I ever fathomed could coexist with such joy. Thank you for Your comfort offered to the grieving, Your steadfast love that does not change, the peace You freely give in Christ, and the joy You have bestowed that abides deeper and more surely than mere circumstantial happiness. Please draw near to me and any others whose hearts are aching like mine today.

But now, this is what the Lord says --
He who created you, Jacob,
He who formed you, Israel:
'Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.
Isaiah 43:1-3a

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Goals for August

Yesterday I shared how I did on my goals for July. Today I am going to take you through my goals for August! 


1. Take the ugly runner off our stairs.

Before we moved to this house in March we painted every wall and baseboard, took down ugly vertical blinds, and anything else we found offensive to our eyes, except this stair runner. Here is a photo of the progress made so far. Basically, we have just painted the walls. Only the stair runner remains but its days are now numbered!

Granted, it is providing a cushy feeling for our tootsies and helping keep the little ones from slipping, but it's time to rip it out and find a better solution. I have had a plan for this stairwell since before we moved in and it is time to get it started. We do also hope to eventually install some board and batten similar to this image down these stairs and throughout the main areas in the basement.

But for the stairs themselves there are two options I am considering for replacing the runner - either painting them exactly like the image on the left (with a special compound you add to the paint that makes it grittier and non-slippery) or replacing it with a pretty new runner like the image on the right. I welcome your input on which one you like better or if you have an entirely new suggestion! Let me know in the comments below. I'll keep you posted as our plans come together and we start making some progress.


But the first step is getting rid of the old! So that's on the to-do list this month!

2. Go on a spending freeze.

Phil and I have done this a few times and we find it's a good practice a few months out of the year. For that month we cut any extra spending - eating out or grabbing a coffee, any home decor items (even if I find a great deal), Netflix, clothing, etc. Anything outside of our regular necessary bills, committed giving, food, and gas is cut out for one month. It's great for the bank account and it's both revealing and good for our hearts. It's so easy to fall into finding pleasure in accumulating or buying the next new thing. But there is great satisfaction to be found in contentment, being grateful for all that I have and remembering I am not meant to love things, experiences, or status. I'm to love relationship, with God and people. As a Christian my treasure and status will be found in heaven, in eternity - not here. So my life and attitude should reflect that. I was really convicted reading through 1 John the past few days.

1 John 2:15-17 (NLT)

"Do not love the world nor the things if offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever."

What an accurate description of our culture today - pride in our achievements and possessions. And a craving for everything we see (hello, that's me on Pinterest!). I too easily follow right along with it and contribute to the problem of comparison instead of love. It's not easy to tame our impulses and wants for a month, but we have always found it beneficial.

Some of you may be thinking this perhaps contrasts with my first goal. It's a valid point and I feel the tension of it. It's something I've been praying through a lot as I've relatively newly discovered a deep passion for decorating my home the past few years, while also wrestling with the excess it can tempt you towards. I think it comes down not so much to whether you decorate your home intentionally or not, but your heart and purposes in doing it. But I could be fooling myself. It's likely something I will blog about in the near future. If you have any thoughts or insight on this, I'd love to hear what you think. 

3. Meal plan every week. Infuse some variety into our diet!

We don't have air conditioning in our house (all the more reason we are grateful for our pool), so during these boiling hot months the last thing I want to be doing is turning on my oven. This means I need meals that are either quick on the stove top, can be grilled on the BBQ, or don't require any cooking at all. The problem is, I am the least creative person when it comes to cooking. I feel like we have been eating very repetitively and expensively because I haven't been planning our meals out. So I'm hoping to see my grocery bills go down as I plan seven days worth of meals and snacks each week and can then shop only for what we need.

If you have a great, simple summer dinner that doesn't involve using the oven, please share in the comments below! I'm desperate for inspiration! 

4. Read 2 more books.

My goal is to read 20 books this year. At this point I have read 11 so far and am right on track to reach my goal as long as I keep up with 2 books a month. Last month's two book selections were not well thought out - I just grabbed what was accessible. They were okay, but definitely not favourites. I'd love any book suggestions you may have for me! What are your favourite reads lately? Leave a comment below. 

5. Have a weekend away at the cottage with family.

I was supposed to have this booked and planned a month ago, so I am going to need to act quickly! We are looking forward to getting away with Phil's family for some quality time together in the sun and water. We haven't done this together since the summer of 2011 so we are really looking forward to it. (And if you have a cottage available for rent near the end of the month, let me know!)

6. Make a blogging schedule.

So far I am a fairly sporadic blogger. I would like to figure out a schedule that works for me and post on the same day(s) every week so you can know when to expect a new post. I am sure I won't always stick to it, but at least a bit of structure could be helpful.

7. Start Jen Wilkin's Bible study of 123 John.

My sister-in-law started this study in July and since I just finished Judges, I thought I would give 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John a try too. Feel free to join us as all of Jen's studies are available here for free (workbook and audio)!


So what about you? What are your goals for August? I'd love to hear in the comments below.

Monday, August 3, 2015

How I did on my goals for July

I know I'm posting this a bit late. I've had a busy but wonderful week! Before I get to my goals for August, here is a look back at how I did on the goals I had set for July.

As I mentioned when I first started blogging my monthly goals on here, it's so important to give yourself grace as you work toward these things. This was a month I needed a lot of grace for myself as the unexpected and tragic happened with my miscarriage 11 days into the month. Some days in the midst of grief these goals I had made felt like slaps in the face of failure as I just could not find it in myself to buck up and get them done. But after some time, they actually provided a little bit of a lifeline as I am trying to pick myself up off the floor so to speak and keep on.

1. Drink at least 8 glasses of water every day.

I started and ended the month well on this one, but in the middle dealing with our miscarriage meant I just wasn't thinking about how much water I was drinking. Yet having set this as a goal kept it in my mind enough that I definitely did better than usual in this area this month. I've noticed a change in my skin from drinking water more faithfully.

2. Be in bed before 11 and be up before the kids in the morning.

I actually did better in this area in June than July. Many of the goals I set and wasn't able to keep this month don't really matter all that much to me in the grand scheme of things, but this is one I really missed and wish I could have maintained better. It is just so beneficial for me to have adequate sleep and to be awake before the kids.  I am trying to work my way back into discipline in this area. I have been very tired this month. There are a lot of reasons - staying up late crying to/with my husband about the baby, you're naturally more exhausted while grieving, and I wasn't getting good quality sleep at night with so much swirling through my mind. However, I have hope as I head into August that I will be able to get back on track in this.

3. Go camping.

Well, we visited my dad at a camp site, went to the beach there, fished, and roasted marshmallows over a campfire while singing some songs. Does that count?! ... I still want to officially camp in August. My sister-in-law has kindly offered us all the equipment we would need.

4. Spend some time each day playing with the kids.

This went okay. Really, I didn't think too much about it. All I know is we had a lot of great times together this month. I just didn't keep track of it.

5. Get the kids in the pool every day we can.

This has been one of the great joys of this month. In just one month's time both of my kids have gone from tentative and afraid to go in the pool to begging me multiple times a day to get in there. They have discovered the joy of swimming and both of them light up when they are in there. I'm surprised at how much both of them have learned. I am thrilled with their progress and it has been a lot of fun spending so much time together enjoying our pool. 

6. Run 3 times a week using the Couch-to-5k program.

This is the one I struggle the most with feeling like a failure. From the start I wasn't excited about it, but I started the first week and a bit. After the miscarriage happened, it was left behind. The doctor advised to take it easy for a while. In the last week or so as I've started to feel better I have been making exercise a priority again, but have only ran once.

7. Read 2 books.

Phew! I can redeem myself here. Done-zo. This month I read:

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

My mother-in-law had talked to me about this book years ago. When she passed away a few years ago, it got passed along to me. I finally picked it up this month.

The book is about a year-long quest the author went on to become more happy through making resolutions each month she had to live by and it shares what she discovered along the way. It definitely had some interesting points and was a great catalyst at helping me evaluate some things in my life. I liked that she emphasized the need to be you and find what you actually find fun and enjoyable. I took some good things away from it.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

I had seen this on the best sellers lists but didn't know anything about it. I had been hankering for an easy read and one day as I came out of the grocery store loaded down with grocery bags and kiddos, I saw this book on top of the stack at a little donation library there. Perfect. No ordering online or having to traipse two kids into the library - win! It was a thriller and a page-turner so that was great, but a definitely a bit dark and depressing.  

8. Date my husband.

As expected, this was a favourite part of this month. We started the month off with dinner and tickets to see James Vincent McMorrow at the Montreal Jazz Festival. It was lovely. A little over a week later, we miscarried our 3rd sweet baby. There weren't many other official dates this month, but because of the miscarriage we were able to spend a lot of extra time together just the two us (even if it was just at the hospital). This month of dates wasn't how I had envisioned it or would have chosen, but the heart of the goal was to be drawn closer together with the amazing man I'm married to, and that certainly happened. We have been through a lot over the years that we've been together and I've never been more grateful than now for the loving husband God gave me.

9. Finish the Judges Bible study.

This was an easy one to complete because I enjoy these studies so much. Oh Judges, what a book! I'm deeply grateful for Jen Wilkin and her studies like this. I learned SO much. I can't wait to start a new study in August. 

Finally, here are the items we checked off our Summer Bucket List in July:

* Sidewalk chalk our driveway
* Swim at the beach
* Attend VBS at church
* Build a sand castle

And we also repeated a few of the activities we had already done in June. We went back to the zoo two more times this month and played some more games with water balloons.

So that is how July played out for me. It's not quite what I had hoped to be able to accomplish and as I end the month I am still feeling quite sad and struggling to be motivated. However, I am pressing forward and finding that doing some of these things even when I don't feel like it at least helps life move a bit more smoothly and they can help me feel a bit better. How did your month go? What are some goals you have for August? Stay tuned for my August goals soon!