The Bad and the Good

Let’s start with the bad, shall we? And then end on a note that’s a little lighter. πŸ™‚

I’ve been telling Jeremy lately that I am 90% convinced that this child is going to be a girl, as I distinctly remember being just as teary and emotional in my pregnancies with June and Alice. He is not taking me seriously and thinks this baby is a boy. (Tears! Just kidding!) But seriously, every little hiccup in life is taking a toll on my emotions these days. For example, the other day I went to the lab to have some routine blood-work done and the lab tech told me she couldn’t do the lab draw because of some little technical issue. I brushed away tears as I drove away grumbling, “How impossibly inconvenient!!!”

There are a number of things at play, I think. One, the weather. I don’t like winter. I don’t like being cold. I don’t like being stuck in the house all the time. And I really don’t like having the kids stuck in the house all the time! Two, my restless legs are acting up again (as they do every pregnancy) and I spend most nights tossing around for two hours before finally falling asleep at midnight. I don’t know about you, but a lack of sleep rarely bestows on me a sunny disposition. πŸ™‚ Β PS – tips for combatting restless legs, aside from calcium-magnesium supplements and epsom salt baths are most welcome!

And three, I’m feeling homesick. It started with my mom’s birthday in mid-December; all the kids and grandkids were invited to come over for dinner that day, and I really, really wanted to be part of the celebration. But we have one vehicle, and Jeremy needs it to get to and from school, so driving three hours away to enjoy some family company didn’t make sense unless I wanted to strand him at work. In a fit of desperation I looked into the cost of taxi fares for Jeremy, or bus fares for the kids and me. In the end, I resigned myself to not being able to go, and then spent the day moping and crying. Seeing Tanya’s sweet video of Everly taking her first steps at the party only made the tears flow harder.

Well, my parents were planning to come out for a brief visit the week after my mom’s birthday, so I started focusing on that instead. The kids counted down the days and made big plans for snowball fights and other activities with grandpa and grandma. And then Kelowna got hit by a snowstorm, the Coquihalla highway closed down because of multiple accidents and treacherous conditions and my parents wisely decided to cancel their trip. More tears! It’s been a month of tears! Thankfully we’re planning to spend a lovely week during Christmastide in the Fraser Valley so hopefully that is a wonderful antidote to this season of pining.

Moving on to some (cell-phone) photos and other less dismal tidings…

Here’s a photo from the beginning of the month in which I’m 6 months pregnant and trying out a new hairstyle. I find I look rather serious/solemn/stern with this hairstyle and am quite often surprising myself when I look in the mirror. “Is everything alright, serious woman?” I think to myself when I catch a glimpse of my reflection.


One wonderful part of being Catholic is celebrating feast days! December 6th is Saint Nicholas day, so the children left their shoes by the door and were delighted when he showered them with Smarties, socks, undies and some new pajamas.


We also celebrated St. Lucia day on December 13th. It’s a tradition to have cinnamon buns that day, so we made some for breakfast.


We also assembled and decorated a gingerbread house sometime this Advent; the kids loved every moment of it. Much candy snooping ensued.


We’ve also been trying out a Jesse Tree during Advent. This involves a daily reading from Scripture, along with an ornament with a symbol that corresponds to the reading. The Jesse Tree represents Jesus’s family tree, so the readings begin with creation and end with the birth of Christ.

We made our ornaments using the templates from this website. I spent a really long time looking around for ornaments that would be both lovely to behold and something the children could be involved in making. These have beautiful works of classical art on one side and a scripture reference on the back, as well as a note saying when you are to read the particular passage. Advent ranges anywhere from 22 – 28 days in length, so this date reference is quite handy!

This first ornament is of Noah and the animals boarding the ark:



We’ve also been listening to Handel’s Messiah during dinner time. Just before Advent began, I won a free copy of “Awaiting the Messiah,” an e-book written by a fellow homeschooling mom. It divides up the Messiah into sections, and gives you YouTube links for the day’s selection. It has been so handy for us (and it’s been the first time we’ve consistently done music study this year)! Hearing the kids ask for their favourite piece afterwards (Every Valley Shall be Exalted for James, andΒ But Who May Abide the Day of His Coming for June), or look at us excitedly during Mass because they recognize the Scripture reading as part of the text from the Messiah is pretty wonderful. πŸ™‚

awaiting the messiah

Jeremy taught James how to play Risk and it is now a Sunday tradition to play a round on Sunday afternoons. James won his first game and was utterly delighted. Sunday’s now his favourite day of the week!


This spacious Tupperware cupboard is a favourite with the girls. πŸ™‚


June loves to beautify herself and the world around her. Dress + skirt + anklets = happy girl.


All ready for some winter fun!


June colouring a picture of a bird as we read the Burgess Bird Book.


James and June have begun making small books. James signs his name as “J.E. de Haan” because he wants to be a writer like C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. πŸ™‚ This story involved a knight on a unicorn and a war between Germany and Britain…


Jeremy and his fellow teachers celebrated the beginning of Christmas break with a staff party. Several of the teachers had been wanting to organize an outdoor scavenger hunt in downtown Kelowna for years and this year it finally came to fruition. We were divided into teams of 4-6 people and were given ten envelopes with various tasks. Easy tasks were worth 1 point, while very difficult tasks were worth 5 points. If you opened an envelope but did not complete the task, the point value was subtracted from your total. And with each task, you had to take a picture of your group doing the task and send that picture to the organizer.

We ended up getting photos on a city bus (4 points), from a really high vantage point (3 points), on a mythical creature – i.e., a statue of the ogopogo (2 points), in front of large fruit statues (1 point), and… most dramatically… a group photo of us up to our knees in Okanagan Lake (5 points). Yep, it was -5 degrees outside, there was snow all over the beach, and we had to chase away a crowd of ducks, but we got a photo in the lake! And our group won because of it! Such fun! πŸ™‚


I’ve been getting a little bit of reading here and there. This comes from The Cloud of Witness, a book of poetry. I love this line:

Life is only bright when it proceedeth
Towards a truer, deeper life above.


Wishing you a marvellous Christmas celebrating the Nativity of our Lord!


6 thoughts on “The Bad and the Good

  1. jrdeleeuw says:

    Haha!! I must admit I laughed out loud at your internal dialogue πŸ™‚ I’m sure the longer you have your bangs the more comfortable you’ll feel with them.
    I love that picture of June all decked out. Such a cutie!
    Sounds like great fun on Jeremy’s Christmas Party with his co-workers. I imagine it would be a nice laid-back environment to get to know some of them better πŸ™‚
    We’re looking forward to seeing all you lovely people this week :D:D:D


  2. ambervanderpol2015 says:

    I enjoyed your photos! I thought I would chime in and mention that I had trouble with restless legs in two pregnancies. With my third, it was toward the end of the pregnancy and my midwives suggested eating a banana every day. That actually worked, and I only had problems with it again if I forgot for a day or two in a row. With my most recent pregnancy, I had trouble with it at the beginning, and the banana thing didn’t work. I ended up having a lot of success with Hyland’s Restless Leg remedy. I took that for a few nights when I would start having symptoms then after that I only needed it every few days. After a couple weeks I didn’t need to take it at all. It really is miserable and I hope you can find something that helps!


    • arenda says:

      Thanks John! Yes, I take magnesium supplements daily and that helps for the first half of my pregnancies, but doesn’t quite cut it towards the end for some reason!


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