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Faith, Family, Life

A new journey – 11

Bright and early I woke up and snuck into the bathroom. Broke into the wrapper on one of those fancy 4 day early pregnancy tests (it was only 2 days early) and amid many butterflies awaited the results. But I sort of already knew… negative.


After our first try week I was pretty excited and totally obsessed with the idea that I was expecting. 3 times (1 miscarriage and 2 healthy babies) I was pregnant on the first chance. I know logically that those results are not to be counted on, but apparently my heart didn’t get the message and I was sure sure SURE that it was going to happen just as it always had. The 2 week wait before you can test is kind of torturous, and I kept feeling “symptoms”, One day I fell asleep 3 times and had insomnia and had to wake frequently to use the washroom and had terrible headaches. Whoa. What else could it be?! (turns out that was the same week I gave up caffeine… withdrawal much.)

2 dollar store tests taken much too early and then that fancier test taken 2 days early gave me the news I was both dreading and shocked to hear. All the sudden new possibilities entered my brain… what if we couldn’t? I mean, there are no promises with Jon’s surgery and it’s been 5 years for me, who knows what has changed… again… I do know logically that our first negative does not mean that we won’t be able to have another baby. It’s just one month. I KNOW. But the fears still creep in a little anyway.   Because really, we don’t know what God has in store for our family.  We feel He led us in this direction, but that doesn’t mean we are guaranteed another baby.  That morning I sat through a funeral (wonderful reminder of who controls life and death), and then in the afternoon I got to cuddle some cute new babies (wonderful therapy).

I went to bed that night still disappointed but thankful for the peace that settled throughout the course of the day.

One surprising discovery for me was that somehow the fact that I had always gotten pregnant on the first try had become a little piece of my identity. (I find the complexities of our woman hearts and identities quite hard to fathom.)  I never would have known that until I didn’t- and then suddenly I realized that perhaps I had even been proud of our fertility. Which strikes me as weird and pretty rotten and ridiculous actually, and I don’t like admitting it to be honest. I’m always moaning about parents who have easy going kids taking it for granted that they have something to do with their easy kids, but apparently somewhere in my heart I had kind of done the same with my easy to come by pregnancies. Just another lesson that ALL IS GRACE.

Family, Life

A new journey – 10

So we are about (exactly!) 9 days away from the start of the TRYING phase.  Weirdy-weird.  (both that I’m telling everyone that and that it’s actually 9 days away.)  And I’m thinking about babies again like a married for 2 years, but no baby yet, woman.  I read baby name blogs (swistle, I love you!), pin pregnancy announcement ideas to my secret pinterest board, and google things like “what not to eat while pregnant”.  I just clued in that I’m gonna have to switch to decaf for coffee (at least for cups 2, 3, 4 of the day), and then had a little giggle remembering my very first pregnancy when my dear husband wouldn’t even let me eat chocolate chip cookies because of the caffeine content in chocolate…  lol.  Slight difference between that and me learning to love coffee during Juno’s pregnancy and pounding back Big Macs to the horror of my co-workers.  But I am quite determined to have a healthier pregnancy this time around, this whole baby thing seems like a bit of a novelty that I’m indulging in- so why not go all first-time-around-fussy?!  🙂


I’m dreaming of a nursery.  Mmmm new things to decorate.  (commence more secret pinning)


Wishing I could convince my husband that naming a child Milo is not the same as naming him Ovaltine.


Wishing I had lost 20 pounds pre-pregnancy as per the plan.  Perhaps it will be a girl and I’ll lose those extra pounds during pregnancy.  BARF.  for reals.



Faith, Family, Life

A new journey – 9

So…  8 days ago Jon had his vasectomy reversal!  (and lived to tell the tale)


We dropped the kids off at my moms the night before and then set our alarms for bright and early!  Actually, not really very bright, just early.  It was 4:30am when we left the house, and very very dark.  (we found a more reasonably priced urologist in Stratford, highly recommend him and the hospital was lovely as well.)

We were both really nervous, probably Jon more so, because he had to face the needles and drug induced sleeping and the cuts!  Yikes!  I had that kind of nervous dread I get when I’m around airports.  Butterflies because something good is happening, but dread because it comes with something scary or sad too.  Heading into a surgery you are inflicting on yourself seems like asking for trouble almost, you know?

Jon got all prepped, made lots of jokes with the nurses (you have to make jokes or die of embarrassment, those nurses see ALL!), we chatted with the doctor and others involved with the surgery and then away he went!

And then I waited… and waited… and waited… and waited…

They wheeled him away at 7:50am.  The doctor finally came out to update me at 11:00am.  Said the surgery went well (lots of promising things seen), and that Jon was in recovery sleeping.

And then I waited… and waited… and waited… and waited…

Finally at 1:30pm I asked the registration people if there was any word.  They checked on him and said he was STILL SLEEPING.  She said he briefly woke up and told them he hadn’t slept much the night before (NBA finals game 6), and then fell back asleep, so they let him.  🙂

I ran downstairs to eat a quick lunch (had been expecting to see him “any minute” for about 2 hours, so I hadn’t budged from the waiting room), and then finally around 2pm they brought me back to see him.  He surprised me by seeming quite well, though sleepy.  We quickly got packed up and with some prescriptions in hand, away we went!  First stop was KFC to fill his stomach- long day of no food!

The next few days were a bit of a drug haze for him, just laying around and lots of sleep.  Sadly, his throat has been crazy sore (and cut) from the breathing tube they inserted during surgery.  Though his other “parts” have been in pain too, I think the throat thing has been the most difficult and annoying to heal.  Makes us very sad for our little Junie and her tonsils/adenoids surgery last summer.  What horrible pain!  🙁

There has been lots of teasing for my dear husband, and I think he is actually quite a man to take it all in stride.  He’s so honest and unapologetic about it all.  And you know what?  If I’m being honest, sometimes the teasing gets under my (admittedly thin) skin.  I get annoyed that we get teased about being “crazy” and seeing all the raised eyebrows like we are making a colossal mistake.  I think my insecurities are pretty huge and when I was sitting in the waiting room I started wishing that we had never told a soul about our plans.  Why are we so open and out there?!  It certainly does invite both encouragement and discouragement sometimes.

But then, in all that quiet waiting I think the Lord spoke to my heart.

We are not the same people we were 5 years ago when we decided our family was complete.  I don’t regret the decision we made back then because this is our life’s journey.  How could we have known the way God would change our hearts? (and also, thank you God for changing our hearts!)

Yes, to some the thought of reversing such a huge decision and starting again so late seems nutty, but they haven’t walked in our shoes these last 5 years.  We’ve grown, our circumstances have changed, perspectives have changed, and you know what?  WE WANT ANOTHER BABY.  Nothing shameful in that?  Nothing crazy about that!  So why is it so easy for me to let others make me feel foolish about it?

(at this point I need to shout out to the friends and family that have been so incredibly supportive and excited for us- there are many and we so appreciate you!  It’s truly something special to pour out your stark honest hopes, dreams and fears to a sister (or brother, for Jon) and have them speak truth and joy back into you.)

(I also need to add that sooooooo much of the teasing is light hearted and well-meaning!  I’m not ALL prickles about a good joke, I promise!  It just adds up at times, you know?)

So, here we are… in another little season of waiting.  🙂  We need to give things some time to heal before we start the ttc stage, but that’s ok.  Progress has been one steady step at a time, and we are trusting Him with the steps to come.



Family, Life

A new journey – 8

Wow!  It’s been quite awhile.  Though I guess not for you if you are reading this now!  🙂


I want to update Jon’s medical stuff first… his test came back confirming his liver enzymes are elevated.  They then tested him for all the Hepatitis types and gave him an ultrasound, etc.  All turned up clear, but still those elevated liver enzymes.  Mystery!   So he is off to his regular doctor in about 10 days and they will discuss how to further pursue an answer.  They will also be doing his pre-op appointment because oh my goodness- the 19th and his surgery are coming fast!!!

(another update as of Sept 2013: Jon has had numerous tests and it is still unclear why his liver enzymes are elevated.  At his most recent appointment with the skin cancer people they suggested our family doctor dropped the ball (surprise, surprise!) with some additional testing she was supposed to order, so we are going to pursue that.  He seems normally healthy, just maybe has a little fatty liver disease happening?  We’d still like to get to the bottom of all of this, obviously.  But for now we are still quite relieved it doesn’t seem to be connected to melanoma.)


Lately I’ve been feeling a little unsettled about the surgery.  I can’t pinpoint why exactly, but I keep thinking about how much work is coming our way if we do have another baby.  Perhaps it has something to do with a cold/flu bug I haven’t been able to totally shake for about 3 weeks now.  I just feel SOOOOOO tired all the time right now.  I debated whether or not to share these fears/thoughts with Jon, just in case I plant doubts in his mind, but then wake up the next day feeling only happy thoughts!  But I did anyway, because I can’t stand the thought of embarking on this without total honesty between us.  What if he was having the same thoughts and it was some kind of sign?!  lol


His response was that he has his days where he wonders what we are thinking too, but that he is confident in moving forward.  That settled me a bit.  And then a convo with a dear friend helped me calm down further.  She reminded me of the years we have been experiencing this desire and also that fears are not the basis to make decisions on.  I needed to be reminded of that.  She also reminded me that it is God who gives, so IF we were to be blessed with another child it would indeed be a gift.  Ahhhh.  My prideful, controlling, worry warting heart also needed to hear that.  Here I am worrying about the work of another baby like it is a determined fact I will even have one.  May I be so blessed.


So all that to say… 20 days to surgery.  An uncertain heart, but a hopeful one.  🙂

And then I went and reread this post. Oh my heart.  “and we didn’t even mind.”  How did I forget?



Faith, Family, Life

A new journey – 5 & 6

Combining 2 entries because one is short…



March 2013

Well, the date of Jon’s first meeting with the specialist is creeping up.  2 and a bit weeks and we will have a clearer picture of our options and time frames.  These days I’m more excited than scared!  The other night we even had a hilarious baby names conversation with some good friends.  Jon is very decisive when it comes to baby names and I fear he has settled on a girls name already… one that I’m not sure about.  lol  It’s full form is classic and lovely, it’s short form may become really popular though because of a celebrity reference.  I’m not afraid of our children’s names having odd pop culture references (obviously, my daughter’s name is Juno!), but I don’t want any of their names appearing in the top 100 baby names list in the 5 years surrounding their birth.  Yup, I’m snobbish like that.  🙂 But I also know my husband… and when he settles on a thing, he is very settled.  🙂  So we shall see…. I think a boy’s name would be easier, but somehow I can only picture number 3 being a girl…


March 27, 2013

Oh what a week, what a week.

I’m not entirely sure this post in particular will ever see the light of day, but I want to write it down anyway for our memories sake.

So a long, long, LONG time ago 🙂 (haha, never miss an opportunity to harass your husband about his age (marriage tip number 1)), back when he was 19, Jon had malignant melanoma. It’s the not good kind of skin cancer for the record. They caught it just in time by fluke God’s grace.

Since then he goes for regular check ups because he has lots of the kind of moles that can easily go bad (dysplastic nevus syndrome). Recently he got a new doctor, and she sent him for blood work and a chest x-ray (which is fairly routine). Well on monday his blood work came back showing elevated liver enzymes. Jon tried to get info from the receptionist about what that means and she wasn’t super forthcoming (I know she isn’t allowed to be). She suggested it could mean cancer, or perhaps some other form of liver failure. Ummmm? Yuck. They sent Jon to repeat the blood work so they could confirm the results were correct. There are a number of other reasons his liver enzymes could be elevated, but if it’s connected to a melanoma then from what we understand that means it’s metastasized (spread)? Double yuck. Bad news.

I know that cancer happens to lots of people. Young people. Husbands. Dad’s with little kids. But at this point in time I honestly am numb and disbelieving to the idea that this could be our reality. No way. (please God?) Jon has received the bad cancer news before, so for him it’s a very real possibility to be told he has deadly cancer out of the blue. He was launched right back to 19 and all emotions he experienced.

Tomorrow is the long awaited specialist appointment to discuss our desire to reverse his vasectomy. So…. ???

Obviously we know nothing for certain at the moment.

I do know that hearing the news has made it very clear, very fast that wow- I love my husband. The thought of what this could (worst case scenario) mean leaves this queasiness, this deep deep dread in the pit of my stomach.  My life is pretty stinking amazing actually, now that I notice. I don’t really want a single thing to change. It’s not perfect, but it’s soooo good. I’ve really been thinking over that song that says, “It will be my joy to say, Your will, Your way”. I’m thinking that perhaps in this period of the unknown I need to answer whether I can really say that. Can I surrender to whatever God has for us? His will, His way? I know I certainly have no power to change it, but can I decide for real to trust it?

And then today I read this.

While the part about bringing glory to my husband makes my eyebrows raise (I’ll stick to glorifying God and loving the pants off my husband- quite literally he hopes! lol  I only say these things to make my mom uncomfortable btw), there were some parts that stuck out to me…

“Your life is constantly recalculating the paths that you take. Things rarely to never turn out exactly the way that we planned because it’s impossible to see past today. All we are given is this moment, tomorrow belongs to the Lord. Are you flexible enough to let Him lead the way?
Recalculating only becomes a problem when we stop trusting God with our future. We have a choice–we can either enjoy the twists and the turns in the road, or we can complain that life isn’t all that we hoped for.”

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” ~ James 4:13-15, NIV

I’m not quite ready to jump on the “enjoy” the twists and turns band wagon, but I am working on the trust part. Have mercy Lord.

Family, Life

strawberries 2013



Juno was an amazing strawberry picker this year, despite TERRIBLE berry bushes and teeny berries she managed to pick this whole basket herself.  And out of all the berries she picked there were only 3 I threw away because they were underripe/rotten.





And…the outtake.


Apparently Justus has a new picture face- found these selfies on my phone the other day…



Family, Life

guess who looks like an angry potato

Meet “Baby Ninja Number 2”. Isn’t she the sweetest?!



My darling Ninja (number 1) disappeared sadly last week. (I suspect the dogs next door, but try not to think about it.) Her sister Blackie was super lonely, and spent 3 days crying until we caved and asked the Vans for another kitty to keep her company.



This little doll is from a different litter and is a bit younger than Blackie, but they seem to be warming up to each other. Baby Ninja Number 2 (why? why? why? that name was not my choice!), is quite an adventurous and joyful little kitty, so I think she will be good company and hopefully a good mouser when the times comes.

But that face! Oh she is cute!


Spent my 31st birthday with my best friend buttermilk. MMMMMM. No substitute will do!!




Wasn’t the most thrilling birthday I’ve ever had, but Jon gave me my birthday present earlier in May:




He surprised me by taking me to Lewiston New York to see the Avett Brothers at ArtPark. Was AMAZING. I like lots of music, but they have been my favorite for years and quite frankly are the only band I cared about seeing live. I’m such a fan and it was a wonderful night! Here are a couple of oldies that seem to be higher on my playlist lately…




Today we had Juno’s doctor appointment for the ADHD thing. Last night I wrote 2 pages front and back of all the quirks and behaviours and tendencies we notice in our little June Bug, just in case my mind went blank (as it often does!) when my doctor looked at me. Sure enough, 2 minutes in I was pulling out my notes. The doctor offered to just read them because I was hesitant to say everything in front of Juno. She did a lot of nodding and some laughing, then looked up at me and said she thinks I’m right. We chatted a bit more about it all, she asked me if I think Jon has ADHD too (Ummmmmm YEAH.), asked me if I think there might be a touch of something else (I said OCD and she nodded affirmatively), and then she referred us to a paediatrician that specializes in these assessments.

Whew. All in all I can’t believe I waited for so long for such an easy and affirming appointment. And also, praise God for such an easy and affirming appointment! Now we wait to find out when our next appointment is and the real diagnosing begins.



And then of course, the potato.

Christa: “Who made this picture?” (holds it up)

Juno: “Me”
Christa: “It looks like an angry potato.”
Juno: “Mom, it’s… you.”

Family, Life

hiding presents and cleaning teeth

For part of Jon’s Father’s Day gift this year the kids and I made pillows for his office couch out of t-shirts. Slightly cheesy, but super comfy- for all those afternoon naps he is going to take this summer. (If my mother were leaning over my shoulder right now she would probably insist that I delete that statement. My guess is it made her almost as uncomfortable as the time Jon told everyone at Party with the Pastors that we take all their tithes to the casino to try and win enough for a building. Instead of deleting it I will add a disclaimer: it was a joke.)


Anyway… the kids were pretty thrilled about these pillows. I prefer the grey one- name the show it represents for imaginary high fives, but the kids LOVE the Goonies pillow. Not because they have seen the Goonies, but because anything pirate=y looks cool in their books. If you happen to be in my husband’s office at any point, please do not look at them closely. My sewing skills are not amazing, and my sewing machine’s skills are even worse.

Swear words.


Also, have discovered the best gift hiding spot from husbands… right under their noses, but they will never ever ever ever ever ever look.

This week we all had dentist appointments. This was Juno’s 4th time at the dentist, but the first time she has allowed them to do ANYTHING without freaking out. Even looking at her teeth with the little mirror sent her sky high 9 months ago. This time she loved every minute in the chair, letting them clean and poke to their hearts content. Even had her fluoride treatment with the giant mouthguard type thing shoved in. I was so amazed and quite frankly, so encouraged. Sometimes growth and maturing and change come so gradual and quiet that it’s hard to recognize they have happened at all. Now I have proof!


In other not as fun news… my 2 rascals are the best of friends, in that best and worst of friends sibling sort of way. Being homeschooled means they are just about everything to each other in terms of playmates. They fight, sure, but mostly they play and play and play and play.




Yet today when I asked them to each name 1 thing about the other they liked (she was overflowing immediately with a long list of her brother’s wonderfulness), he said there wasn’t anything he liked about her. Insert heartbreak here. We finally dragged out one thing, but I’m left feeling so disappointed. Anyone have any advice for helping siblings appreciate each other? I know it’s a lot to ask a 6 year old boy to love everything about his little sis, but I want to raise kids who love each other fiercely, and have a strong sense of family identity and unity. Would love suggestions!

Family, Life


My baby sister and I at a recent women’s event.  I treasure every photo we get together!


Another day, more plans cancelled. Another opportunity to make the most of a clean house and an empty day!

This time we raced through school, packed a bag and headed to Longwoods Conservation Area and Ska-Nah-Doht.


We wandered around the long houses, but not before Juno snagged a wasp out of the sky in her bare hand. She said very excited, “mom I caught a bug!” and just before I could yell at her to let it go… she screamed. It had stung her on the finger. After that first scream of shock she didn’t shed a single tear. This child is so tough. I handed her a baby wipe to hold against it for a few minutes, and other than some comments about “what a mean bug”, that was the end of it. I cry and fuss like a big baby when I get stung. Ahem. The other weekend Justus accidentally hit her in the head with a golf club (giant purple goose egg hard), and her biggest upset was that she thought he meant to do it. Her feelings are tender, the rest- HARDCORE.



We went exploring around one of the trails, and other than the BUGS the BUGS the BUGS, it was really nice.  The kids kept saying what a nice day it was and what a nice park it was and what a nice walk it was.  🙂


Picnic lunch to celebrate the end of our little hike!




Strawberries fresh from OUR garden…



And of course… a child who puts underwear (clean) on her head and wanders around the upstairs crashing into things until she nearly breaks her nose on a doorframe and still walks away laughing. 🙂


Also, love this article. What a great way to improve all relationships!

Family, Life

look away flylady

There is one way I have not yet become my mom (though probably the only hold out), I seem to have an aversion to doing the dishes in the evening, when it would cheapest to run the dishwasher. And.. possibly all weekend too.


No flylady shined sink for me this morning. 🙁

(I did clean it eventually btw, all my spoons were in there and the sugar doesn’t scoop itself into my coffee!)

The view from the other side of the kitchen was quite a bit easier on the eyes.


We did project 2 from our art program today! I needed to offer a bit of help to Juno, and the marker she used to outline her work bled a bit, but overall I’d say they did great! We were working on layering the watermelon slices and then painting with real watercolours for the first time!



Juno’s soccer was cancelled tonight, which was wonderful because we were having such a nice dinner we forgot we had to leave and would have missed half of it. And Jon’s slo-pitch was cancelled, which was great because he had already decided to skip tonight to hang out with us! 🙂 So we had a fun family night, boys played lego, girls played board games!



And one other little occurrence happened today as well. I finally got up the courage to call my doctor for an appointment to start on getting an ADHD evaluation for my Juno. I don’t even really know what exactly is involved, but we have an appointment.

I’ve been up and down and all over the place on whether we need to get an official diagnosis. I don’t want to give my girlie meds, and she’s home with me all the time, so I’m able to find ways to teach her that don’t involve massive amounts of time sitting still. We manage.

Her personality and creativity and imagination and tender heart shine so bright; I never want to make a choice that might dim any part of her.

But I won’t lie and say it’s easy either. Oddly (or maybe totally ordinarily- I really don’t know), the worst of the difficulty comes from my own insecurities and my perception of others judgement, on me… on her… and it doesn’t seem to be going away.

So at the very least, maybe I can have a doctor affirm what we see and perhaps even offer some support or new ideas. We want to start her on chiropractic care, and see if there are other treatment alternatives.

Anyway, I’ve had this on my to do list every day for months, but I’ve never been able to bring myself to actually follow through. I’m nervous as to what comes next and what the doctor might say or think (she has a tendency of making one feel like a hypochondriac, and also of making me cry from nerves for some reason), but my darling girl is worth facing my fears to find some help.