Monday, December 30, 2013

Our Christmas Blessing

I didn't disappear, December held much adventure for the Gingras family. There was many trials and many blessings, but I thought I'd share our Christmas blessing with you... 

Introducing, Hannah Noëlle 
born December 25, 2013 at 11:21 PM
8lbs. 14 oz. 23 "

I will fill you in on the rest of the details as soon as possible.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Crafting Continues In the Rush of Life

I've made some choices in order to maintain sanity in our house. Mostly right now that means I lay down on the couch for 1-1.5 hours a day to rest during family quiet time and that means that my poor neglected blog has been left alone for some time. I am 7 weeks away from baby number 4 and I am tired. This doesn't mean that I have been idle in all areas of my life. David and I have begun and even finished some of our Christmas crafting, and I've been crocheting up a storm (well, for me anyway). My David has had a nice long weekend and been so generous with our family time, so today, I got a morning nap and get to spend quiet time here with you. Here's a little update on what we've been busy making. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you may have seen a few sneak peeks.

It started with some painting. Abby will be getting a thrifted jewelry box, painted and filled with handmade jewelry. I used this jewelry box for a while, but most of my necklaces are too long for it to work all that well. It will be a great size for Abby. I should mention that my David did most of the painting. I've had so much fun crafting with my husband!

Then we painted dowels for the all three littles' dance ribbon wands. They love dancing and our church has some nice ribbon wands, but we thought custom ones would be nice for our littles. We made two identical ones for each little, one for home and one for church. I will make drawstring bags for storage and transport. We used this tutorial here.

I also whipped up two scarves. My David and I love iconic Canadiana things, but the budget doesn't always allow that kind of indulgences. For example I love the Hudson's Bay Co. signature five point blanket stripes. The blankets themselves are super expensive, but to our dismay and surprise so were their scarves. We're talking $55 for a scarf!!!! Well, after a long visit at Michael's Arts & Crafts in their yarn department, we found the colours we were happy with and I got to work. David's scarf needed to be warm and functional, not just fashionable. He's not really an accessory kind of guy, so I settled on a tighter crochet stitch (HDC) with a small hook. This meant it took quite awhile and the middle section was quite long and boring. In the end, it turned out nice and cozy. Blocking made all the difference to the final project and just in case you were on the other side of the you-can't-block-acrylic-yarn fence, I am here to tell you that you can and it makes a huge difference. I looked it up on YouTube and I'm super happy with the results. I then made a quick (read loose stitch with large hook) infinity scarf for myself. I have plenty of warm scarves and was interested in another accessory more than a-keep-me-warm-on-the-coldest-days kind of scarf. It turns out to be quite warm anyway and it's cute.

I've also picked up my afghan that I started last fall and have made some progress. No promises as to when I'll finish, but I'm enjoying where it's going and I have hope that it will finish nicer than I expected due to my new found blocking knowledge.

I am now working on Malachi's birthday present which will be a super hero doll inspired by these, but re-worked with my own pattern. He will also get a matching cape, mask and wrist cuffs. His favourite thing to do these days is to dress up as Superman. He doesn't even really know who Superman is, but it's so cute! If you want to see him in action, here's a link to a cute video.

I have other handmade Christmas presents in mind. We'll visit those another day. In the meantime, it's been nice to stop in and say "hello". I've missed this space.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Crafty Check In - Baby Dolls

I haven't been completely lost, but I have been busy and look what cute-ness came out:

(Claire, Ava, Alysha and Tessa)

 More baby girls born to my girlfriends, mean more baby dolls being made. Once again, this pattern is from Emily Martin, The Black Apple. I printed this one at 200% and shortened the legs a bit. I love this little dolly and I had fun putting together some new ones. You can see my other dolls here.

Abby also had some craft time and made this scarecrow that came in her Clubhouse Jr. Magazine. I love seeing her creativity coming out!

With baby being due somewhere around Christmas, I've had Christmas presents on my mind a lot lately. David and I have a list of handmade things we want to do, so that will likely be my crafting focus for now. I don't want to get caught unfinished in case baby is early. I still want to re-cover my couch, but we'll see if that happens this year or not. My "new-baby-new-bag" wish may not happen this time, but I have plenty of bags to use and not so much time or money to spend on the fabric wish list to go with it. Again, it might happen in the new year. If only the house would take care of itself. *sigh*

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Checking In

There is so much to catch up on that it feels a bit overwhelming. Today, is my official back to "real" life start. My David went back to work after a wonderful summer off and we all miss him already. Thankfully it's going well so far and the adjustment isn't as harsh as previous first days back at work. Of course, it is only noon, but I'm going to stay optimistic. Let's get to it:

  • David and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary last month. August 14th has become my favourite day as David and I have been celebrating annually with a HOT date! We don't do big dates often, but we always try to celebrate in a memorable way. This year we went for dinner to Carnaval. It was sooooo good. If you've never been to a brazilian barbecue style restaurant and you like meat, then I highly recommend it. After dinner we went to Rainbow Stage to see Mary Poppins. We both loved it! It is more true to the books than the movie and there are some new scenes that were a lot of fun. It was so good to see tap dance live. It seems to be less popular, but as fans of the "oldies" like Fred Astaire, it was a treat.

  • We made really good progress on our summer list this year. We've included some new items like the Planetarium and the Museum plus the farmer's market. It was a great summer!

  • Because we "spend the wad" on our date, David and I don't typically buy each other anniversary gifts. We do try to make something for each other. This year I made him a leather cuff bracelet and he wrote me some more of a story that he's been writing for me since our first year of marriage. I love the simplicity and thought put into these kinds of gifts.

  • We didn't make a whole lot of time for crafting, partly because my office is a disaster and partly because there a whole lot of other things to do in the summer. I did, however, give our cube freezer a $4 makeover (just like our old dishwasher). I looks so much nicer.

  • David did some building with Abby, too. A bird feeder has been keeping us quite entertained this summer. Not many birds actually eat at it, but there are squirrels and rabbits who quite enjoy the treasures they've found. This drove David crazy and he'd look out the window mumbling "stinkin' squirrels". Well, one day Malachi calls out to me "Stinky Girls!". I asked him who told him that girls were stinky and he said "No, Mama. Look." I didn't at the time. I assumed he saw some of the neighbour girls out on the front sidewalk. It wasn't until later that I realized that he meant "stinkin' squirrels". We had a good laugh over that one. Since then, we bought a bird feeder that's squirrel proof and it hangs in the back yard and David fills the front one just for my entertainment. He's sweet that way.

  • My parents came for a 5 day visit. It went by so quickly. There was so much we could've done and so little time, but it was good to see them. They are planning to retire in Manitoba and after a visit to Morden are hoping that they've found their future home. It's only a couple of years away and then we'll be closer. It will be nice to have some family near by.

Grandpa sporting his new hat from the Haberdashery with the littles in their hats

  • So much crafting I want to get to, so I need to clean my office. I hope to be back at my sewing machine this week. I do have a baby shower to attend soon. I also desperately need to re-cover my couch. It's been patched several times and now the arm is just shredding to bits. It's a big project, but I'm hoping my nesting instinct will return to help me through it.

  • I can hardly wait for Mom's Group to begin again. I think it's going to be a great year and I miss the girls like crazy!

  • Abby starts pre-school this year. I wasn't going to put her into pre-school until The King's School announced that they were adding the program this year. The convenience of David being able to take her with him to work and bring her home, won me over. In her pre-school interview, she was asked if she was looking forward to going to school. Her response was "It's pretty crazy, but it will be great!"

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Checking In

It's been almost a month since I said "hello" on this little ole blog. I've missed blogging, but we've been too busy enjoying our summer to spend much time in front of the computer. Here's a bit of what's been going on.

Just after attending a wedding
  • We are in Cinderella almost daily. What fun we've had adventuring in our new treasure. We marvel at this great gift all the time. We have picnicked in our van twice already - works great when you can't find a shady spot. I don't think van adventuring is going to get "old" anytime soon.
picnic in Cinderella - blanket for shade

  • David and Abigail went on a date mini golfing. This was a first for Abby and she had so much fun. She has her own real putter that's "just her age" (she means size whenever she tells the story).

  • Boonstra's Farm yielded 7 lbs. of raspberries and plenty of full diapers the next day ;)

  • We've sold Lady Blue, she was a good car and we'll miss her. We did sell her to a nice old gentleman who bought her to fix up and give away. Nice.
  • We are working through a summer list again this year. I didn't make a wall chart to check off this summer, I made a pocket "passport" instead. I'll have to bring it in from the van and take a picture to show you. We're well on our way to finishing this year. Some items we've crossed off include: 
      1. 2 weddings
      2. 2 of 3 family visits from out of town family
      3. Assiniboine Park Zoo
      4. Boonstra's
      5. Splash park
      6. Swimming
      7. Mini Golf
      8. Day trip - Gimli
      9. Fireworks (Canada Day and a post Goldeyes game)
      10. Build castle bed (covered the bunk bed with cardboard castle sides)
visiting the wolves on Chief Peguis Trail

Saturday, July 13, 2013

We're Officially a Mini-van Family ~ a Picture Update

Here's a few pictures... we're still loving our Cinderella and everyday we feel so blessed. In case you missed the story of how we became a mini-van family you can read that story here.

Our van driving up

We must have made quite a spectacle!

"it's the van we've been praying for!"

In amazed shock!
With a big red bow on top

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

We are Officially a Mini-Van Family ~ the Story PART ONE

David has the pics with the red bow on top on his phone and we are trying to get some pictures from our "paparazzi"  - I will post more pics soon

I have an amazing story to tell you. I'm a little bit nervous that I'll miss telling you details, but I'll do my best to relay the story as we know it. It's my hope that over time everyone involved will know how grateful we are and that this story will be a blessing to many people. It's funny, I'm not even sure where to begin... well, I guess I have an idea. It began over a year ago. We began praying that God would provide for us a van. You need to understand that with debt and low income, we knew that we were in no position to purchase one. We were even offered great deals, but the only deal we could afford was free. We know that God has always been faithful to provide for us and that it wasn't too big to ask. A year ago, I had a picture of an old, run-down van that would do. I didn't have much faith beyond that at the time. I knew God could provide a sweet ride, but I wasn't ready to ask for that. We continued to pray for a van and wait on the Lord.

In January, during my reading and studying of the Bible, I came across a Luke chapter 11, where Jesus tells a parable to teach about prayer. I'd read it before, but something caught my attention in a new way. In verse 8.

"...yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need."
I felt like this was a personal invitation, from God, to pray audacious prayers.  I upped the ante on what I was praying for in a van. I didn't initially tell many people. I kinda felt embarrassed by the boldness of what I was asking God for. I began to pray for a sweet ride. I did eventually share with my dear friends at Ladies Morning Out and the ladies of our housegroup Bible study. I invited them to pray with me.

Our financial journey took a turn for the worse, when David and I realized that our credit card had gotten out of hand. We were so embarrassed and I felt, especially, that I needed to confess to the dear ladies praying with me about what we had done. I have always been very vocal about how God is our provider and yet we had turned to our credit card to provide. I wanted to be upfront and honest about everything. I didn't want shame to steal from anyone. I asked the ladies to meet me and I shared with them the truth. I was so blown away by their love and grace. Instead of condemnation, I was faced with their love and prayers. Such beautiful friendship! I am in tears in remembrance.

Fast forward. It's June 5th and I'm receiving incredible news. A lady in our church first sent me a message and then I made her call me, so I could hear it in person. She told me that God put it on her heart that they needed to do something about our van, beyond praying. Her husband suggested that they pray for a month and see what God would do. That was at the beginning of May, and since the month was up, things were set in motion. K, (I'm refraining from using names, only because I haven't asked permission to share) then began to email people she knew at church and share what was on her heart. Low and behold, K wasn't the only one with the same desire.

This is where the details are thin on our end. We've been told "Cole's Notes" versions of the story from different people, but I will attempt to tell all we know. In the meantime, another dear lady, S, had already been approaching our Ladies Morning Out group with the idea of giving us a van. From what I understand they were praying together about giving towards a van and about the full provision of that van. One friend told me that it was a faith stretching time for everyone and it was very exciting to be a part of it. Another friend said to me that it was so neat to "see" both sides of prayer. The prayer for the provision and the prayers of giving.

This was still not everyone who felt the urge to help. I understand that there were many people who "couldn't resist helping".

Back to June 5, what we were told was that there would be a fundraiser party that we would be invited to attend and that those efforts would be used towards our van. Of course, we were so blown away and blessed. I am a professed "in-the-loop-junkie" and so being out of the loop as far as the details were concerned was "killing me". I kept dreaming about our van and was just so excited. The reason we were told at this point was so that we wouldn't feel like people were talking about us in whispers and perhaps be wondering what was going on. K, was especially concerned about this and we are honoured to know that people were concerned for our feelings. Aside from this, we were kept completely in the dark. My David tried to get details. Boy, did he try. We knew that a lot of people were involved and we were told many times just how loved we are.

Our Lady Blue began stalling out on us. We knew the van was coming, we just didn't know when. David asked a friend, we knew who knew details, if we should get our car into the mechanic and taken care of, or if she would last long enough. He assured us that she would last. It was really nice to know that we didn't need to invest money in our dear, sweet, but old car. Making plans began to be a bit tricky. We didn't drive her very far, but she lasted. In case you didn't hear her story you can read about that here.

Yesterday was Canada Day. Yesterday we were given our beautiful van. There's a story to tell about that, too. My girlfriend, had called about a week ago asking if we wanted to get together for Canada Day and would we be willing to host a little backyard BBQ. We have a great yard, that backs onto a park, perfect for families with littles. We were happy to have a party. J said that she'd send out the invitation (at that point I thought it was just a few of our close friends and their families) and that we wouldn't need to do anything special just host. I love a good party, so that was just great. Canada Day, by the way, is one of my favourite holidays. I especially miss my family at this time of year, so a party was just the right thing for us to do to celebrate. Now, I knew that J had talked to people and not everyone had responded via the invitation, but as it was a potluck type of party, I wasn't too concerned about knowing how many to expect. I also wasn't too surprised when certain people showed up that I didn't know were coming. Great cover story. I kept thinking, the more the merrier.

This is where it gets crazy. J gets up and has a "little" presentation to make. She reveals that the party was a ruse in order to give us a token of what was yet to come. We were then presented with a huge cheque. "A faith deposit" so to speak. Did I mention how hot it was outside yesterday? Well, I was beginning to really feel the heat.

I need to tell you some of the details about the van I was praying for. The three important requests were:

  1. air conditioning
  2. cruise control
  3. tinted windows
These were pretty important to us. Then there was my embarrassingly audacious requests:
  1. stow 'n' go seats
  2. DVD player
  3. pretty blue or red colour
  4. with a big red bow on top
Back to the party, I'm busy with Malachi and I hear "...van with a big red bow on top!" I didn't hear anything about what was going on, but that phrase caught my attention, immediately. I snap my head my head up and look at David, who is becoming increasingly redder in the face. I am then beginning to notice that there are cameras and phones pointed at us like our yard is full of paparazzi. Seriously! Someone is saying "David, what did you see?" I grabbed my closest little (not even sure if it was Micah or Malachi), I can hear someone saying something about gathering my other littles as we all head out to the street in front of our house. There we saw more people we know and love. It seemed to me that a whole line of people kept coming out the van (I'm not even sure who drove it and who arrived in it, but in the chaos, it seemed full of people). Yes, there was a big red bow on top. Yes, it has all the things we were praying for and more! The cheque we were given earlier was for the insurance for a year and in a card was also gift cards for gasoline. A lot of gasoline. 

I should make note here, that the fundraiser was not needed. Basically we were told that, people were just so excited to give this van to us that they the couple collecting for the van were just handed money left and right and the there was no need to do a fundraiser. They raised enough just from people giving. J & S, the couple who did the "leg work". Found the perfect van, had it safetied, and the paperwork etc taken care of, including temporary insurance so we could drive her that day. We also decided that we would name the van, Cinderella. This made perfect sense to us as the temporary insurance was to expire at midnight and her colour is about the same as the cartoon Cinderella's dress.

My Malachi did not want to get out of the van. He sat on a back seat for a very long time. His hunger was the only motivation for him to come out, eventually. My David told me later, that it was so hard for him to not ignore everyone and sit in the van with Malachi. I was a HOT MESS! I was really wishing for a shower and some fresh deodorant at this point and hoping that everyone knew just how blessed we were feeling. I am not the most demonstrative person. There was no screaming and jumping up and down, but I assure you I am soooooo blessed and thankful. I am sorry for anyone who hugged me and got a nose full, so to speak. With three littles, I had plenty to keep me focused on for the remainder of the party. Not my best hosting job, I can say for sure. 

There is so much more to say and many adventures to take. I will continue posting more as the children nap or whatever time we are not adventuring in the van. David is on his way home from autopac and we'll be off again, soon. 

Thank you to everyone who contributed, who prayed with us and who so generously love us. 


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Is the Fog Lifting?

Well, this week I will be hitting my second trimester and yesterday was as bad as any day I've had during this pregnancy so far. Still, I am clinging to the hope that the fog is, in fact, lifting. There is so much I want to tell you and yet much I am not ready to say. For now, I can say that I've been really enjoying my littles lately. Despite the fact that it's been very quiet and slow days, their little personalities are beginning to show through so clearly and I like them. I really like them.

During this fog, we celebrated (quietly) our Micah's first birthday. I can hardly believe he's one already. I know all the mom's say that, but it's true even so. In case you're wondering, I think Micah might just be our strongest willed little yet. While this is a bit tiresome, it makes me laugh, too.

I received my birthday present in the mail. David's family sent me some birthday money and I ordered my fourth ring in my family ring stack. I chose this style of ring so that I could add as I needed to and sure enough, I'll need another by the new year. Michelle, from Olive Bungalow, has always done a nice job and I am really happy with how they all "fit" together.

I found out a whole bunch of people have been keeping a wonderful secret. When I have details to share, I'll fill you in with a nice, long, wonderful story. I am so blessed! I'll give you a little hint: We'll be able to get our entire family out and about by the time our newest little joins the family.

We have our first appointment with our midwife today. There is a shortage of midwives in Manitoba, so I am so thankful that Gisele agreed to take us again. I don't know if baby is old enough for us to hear their heartbeat yet, but that's my favourite part... I'm hoping we get a little listen today.

I've been especially enjoying the "little" things. The way the sun sets and the cool breeze hits our front steps, makes it a lovely place to sit in the evening. I hope to do so more often.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mama Bird Necklace

Have you seen these cute nest necklaces that have been on Pinterest for awhile? Well, I knew I had to make one and my friends birthday became the perfect "excuse". The idea is to use beads that would represent each child. My friend's littles are born in August, May and July. These are the closest beads I found to represent their birthstones. It was a fun project to make and I'm sure I'll be making more. Tutorial here.

PS I am the sickest I have even been pregnant and just making it through each day - one at a time. It may be sparse around here for a few weeks.