Thursday, October 20, 2011

Another October 19th

I still feel badly that Peyton's birthday is shared with the anniversary of Autumn's death. But there really is no getting around it. It wasn't planned - it just is. And the Lord knew what He was doing.

I had a good cry on the night of the 18th. Mourning the little girl who never became part of our family - gone before I knew her. I let myself remember not only her death - but life before she died. Both bring tears.

... and yet - my life is full of contentment. My girls bring me such joy.

Peyton is the walking, talking, jumping, rhyming, running definition of life.
Tenley is mischievous, glowing, affectionate and clever.

I wonder what our family would be like if they really were our second and third child.
I wonder what Autumn would look like now. What she would sound like. So many unknowns. Sometimes, when Peyton is particularly amusing (you know, when your child does something you just shake your head in wonderment at and think, "How did you become like this?") I find myself pausing and thinking about the little life which just vanished from mine. Those moments are still challenging.

I wish we didn't have to plan a graveyard visit and balloon release tomorrow. But I wouldn't trade it. Sharing that experience with Peyton and Tenley is our family's way of marking Autumn's life. She is the reason for so many things.

A journey to the graveyard on October 21st is our life. For better or worse, this is the family we've been given. The history we've lived and the future we have hope for. We are who we are by the grace and purpose of God. That's really good to cling to when my heart threatens to break again.

I miss Autumn. But I have peace.

I love you forever.
I'll like you for always.
As long as I'm living -
these three girls
my babies will be.

Monday, September 19, 2011

So - we kinda had a baby...

Back in November of last year.

- Really? C'mon.
I know I've been sporadic - but it hasn't been that long.

But anyway, google has updated a bunch of options to keep blogs fresh and interesting!
Since I was adding a pair of legs (above), I thought, "Why not?" :)

As for current events: Harvest, again. Funny how that happens every year about this time. The girls and I have managed to visit a few of Kurt's (so far) 11 in a row. They're working hard to get all 28 quarters off. We've been so thankful for the good weather... the longer it holds, the faster the crops come off.

I cannot believe our baby is 10-and-a-half months old. That means only one-and-a-half more months of maternity leave. :( Trying to get all that quality mommy one-on-two time in while there are no other demands.

Okay - it is suppertime - and the kids are both howling. Talk to you soon!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Daddy Tells the BEST Stories

... a warm and sunny afternoon in our sun porch after a trip to the library made for the perfect opportunity to tell the riveting tale of 'Piggy Pie'...
I'm not sure whose expressions I enjoy more: the girl's or Kurt's! :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

About Fear

It's funny how things come up.

I'm surfing facebook - linking, linking, linking... and all of a sudden I find a link of a family whose baby boy died last month.

He was 10-and-a-half months old. One and a half months beyond where Tenley is.

It's like a literal fist in the stomach. The way the emotion hits, I mean.
The worst of it is that reading about and feeling that family's pain isn't so foreign. The horror of a life-changing discovery... and the same emotions of "This cannot be happening." run though me as I picture the moment she found her dead child.

I can even imagine what it would be like to call the police... family... friends. How to share the unthinkable...

And so - initially - I just cry. For that mom who writes, "I checked 10 times each night. And that night he just looked like he was sleeping peacefully - but he was gone." For the little boy who is so bright and beautiful in the pictures. For his big brother who is now an only child again.

But in the middle of that grief comes a new one emotion.
One I fight with all my being 'cause it's a bad one.

The fear can be overwhelming.
Ahhhh... why sugar coat it?
It is overwhelming. If it wasn't normal to be this way, Jesus wouldn't have had to tell his children how to fight it.

I had to make a hard choice.
Close facebook. Breathe. Be still. Do not run to their room. Pray.

My children are the Lord's gift to me. I have no guarantees. I know His plans for me are good. All the days of my life are leading me to the moment I will fall at His feet with tears and cry "It was all worth it!" I know this will happen. So I must fight to believe it in this fearful moment.

I ask His protection of my little ones as they sleep. To keep their heart's beating - lungs breathing... and all the while I know it could happen to me. My sweet baby girl could die of SIDS.

But my purpose is not to prepare myself for the worst.

It's to prepare myself for whatever He has for me.
I've lived one "worst-case-scenario".
There was no preparing - no planning in the world that could have lessened the sting of that heartbreak.

But Jesus held me. And I know that He still is. And still will. And will never let me go.

After reminding myself of these things, I did - of course! - go check on her.

She startled and gave an annoyed cry at my prodding.
I opened a window to cool it down. I made sure she wasn't over-bundled - and that the fan was blowing on her every once in a while.
I watched her chest rise and fall.
I loved those little baby lip movements and hand twitches.
Her soft spiky hair after her bath... her perfect round little belly stuck up in the air as she stretched her legs out.
I thought about the way her smile lights up the room. How quick she is to giggle, to give affection and be playful...
I cherish everything about that child. I love her so much my heart breaks.

Perhaps - I won't be so grumpy when that same little baby wants to eat 3 times tonight.
Or when she gets angry that I would dare put her back in her own bed.
Or when she wakes up her sister who bellows, "TENLEY!! YOU'RE TOO LOUD FOR MEEEE!" and chaos and confusion reign in our house between the hours of 2 and 5 am...


I'm thinking that maybe the heartache and fear of tonight have accomplished something that needed to be done.
I am reminded of where I've been. I am reminded of the grace that has been shown to me. And I'm reminded of how much I love being a mommy - with all it's ups and downs and sleep deprivation. I remember what it took me to get here: to get them.

I remember how I longed for my arms to be full after Autumn was gone... and how God has given each of my arms a daughter to cuddle.

I have confidence for the future because of my past. Because of what He's already done.

Thank you, Lord.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


The last three weeks have been a blur:
- camping with Kurt's folks at Struthers Lake
- both girls getting sick on the SAME night at the lake.
- the recovery process... which included both Kurt and I dealing with being sick, too.
- Kurt's cousin's wedding July16th.
- Our power going off late the evening of July 18th - and staying off until July 20th around 8 pm! (seriously!)
- several days in the city leading up to my little brother's wedding and Peyton's first flower-girl experience! :)
- at the end of the day, she was thrilled to sing "You are my Sunshine" in front of 200 people to her very newest Auntie... Ashley Podhordeski! Congratulations and well wishes to the happy couple as they are honeymooning in the Dominican as I type. :)
Anyway - as the week starts we're in recovery mode.
We've also got a few other things on our plate are taking time and attention. But that's life, right? :)

More updates soon! :)

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Superstore Incident

AND a VERY happy Canada Day to you! :)


So Peyton's power of speech continues to grow by leaps and bounds. She rarely has trouble expressing exactly what she wants us to know. And I've gotten quite used to knowing what she's saying in pretty much every situation.

We were in line at Superstore on Thursday. She was in the first cart (Kurt's) and I was behind with the second and Tenley. She was kinda being "punchy" (our family word for bratty - but not as harsh-sounding, right?) a few minutes before - but seemed momentarily content. She was transfixed on the cashier - a middle-aged woman who was calmly pushing the items over the scanner and toward Kurt who was packing like a madman at the end of the conveyer belt.

I was distracted from my bored perusal of the Soap Opera magazines by Peyton's voice announcing, "She's fat. Fat, fat, fat! Wow! She's so fat!"

To say I was shocked would be an understatement.

"Peyton!" I said sternly, "WHO are you talking about?" (note to other mom's out there who may be potentially embarrassed by their child's total lack of guile - for pity's sake! if the clarification is going to be brutal - don't ask publicly!)

"That lady, mommy." she said.
POINTING at the cashier.
"She's fat!"

The cashier glanced up at me in time to see my horrified expression. As I looked back at her with a mortified apology written all over my face, she simply shrugged and looked down.

"I'm SO sorry. I don't know what she's talking about! You are not fat!" I gasped.

Then, looking at Peyton, I said in my MOST stern voice, "Peyton Grace Elaine. That is not something you say about or to people. It is unkind. Do you understand?"

She was first puzzled, and then sullen and irritated looking as she replied, "Okay, Mommy. I understand."

I probably apologized at least 3 more times - and also reassured the cashier that I would be discussing some things with my daughter later. She - to her immense credit - was very easy-going and said to me, "You know what? Don't worry about it. Really. I just roll with the punches."

Augh! My daughter punched someone with her MOUTH!

And seriously? (My pride reared it's ugly head.) If my TWO year old is saying that kind of stuff in public, WHERE are people going to think she got it from? From her mother, that's who! I'm going to be thought of as one of those moms who bad-mouths other people in front of my kids. No! No! No! NOOOOO!

-- Now, it is important to note that the cashier really wasn't fat - I wasn't just being politically correct and horrified at the child saying something I myself was secretly thinking. Not that she would be allowed to say such a thing even if the person were heavy!

It's also important to note that we don't use that word in our house at all unless we're talking about something on the edge of a piece of bacon. If you ask Peyton why mommy goes on the treadmill or works out, she'll reply, "To be healthy!"

I've never said a word in front of my girls about wanting to lose weight, or being/feeling 'fat', and we don't even own a scale. It helps that I don't think that way about myself. Besides, they'll figure out the world's standard of thin = beauty soon enough - poor things. But I don't want their insecurities to ever be justified by something they see their own mother pursuing/thinking/obsessing about.

Maybe I'll post on this someday - because I've put a lot of thought into it especially having daughters. But not today! :) )

Kurt, meanwhile, was so busy packing he was totally oblivious to the entire interaction.
When we rolled up beside each other outside before we headed to the truck, I asked him to stop so we could talk.

"Ask our daughter what she just said to the cashier." I said with a frown.

He looked at me, and then down at Peyton's innocent face staring back at him.
"What did you say, Peyton?" he asked.

"Nothing." she replied simply.

"That's not true, Peyton!" said an indignant mommy. To Kurt, I blurted, "She told the cashier she was fat!"

"What???" said Kurt.
I was glad to see his horror justifying my own.
"Peyton! Why would you say she was fat?"

"I didn't say that!" she replied with a frown.

Taking a big, dramatic breath, she pronounced with great gusto, "Fats. She was really fats."

We stared at her for a series of heartbeats before I replied, "Fast? You were saying she was fast?"

"Yeah!" she replied with a huge grin and her hands passing sideways mimicking a cashier's slide down the conveyer belt. "She was so fatsT!"

Her tongue literally poked from between her teeth to click out the previously missing - and all-important - 'T'.

Oh, the sweet, sweet clarification of an extra consonant.

You better believe I turned my cart around - Tenley and all - and walked right back into that store. Hey, I'm a woman too - and if some little kid looked at me and announced authoritatively that I was fat, it wouldn't matter HOW good I felt about myself. There would be some damage.

When she looked up and noticed me I said, "Just so you know: when we asked our daughter why she said that she clarified that she thought you were very fast at moving the groceries. Not fat."

She paused while looking at me, and then literally laughed out loud. With a big grin, she told me, "Well, that made my day. You're so sweet to come back and tell me!"

I'm not really sure there is a lesson to be learned here. Perhaps something about listening to your kid before you judge them. Perhaps about not letting pride take over...
I dunno. Regardless. We've had a good laugh over it. :) Thought you might as well...

But blogger is having some trouble - so I'd better post this fats!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Family Pictures (by Julie Cortens)

I know I've been woefully negligent in the blogosphere lately.
Life is just happening at such a quick pace I can barely keep up myself - let alone sit down and type it out. :)

But just to let you know that we're here and still well - some pictures taken last Sunday by our talented friend, Julie Cortens of Julie Cortens Photography - tell the story. Be sure to look at it in slideshow format if you can - the music is perfect! :)

If you're looking for someone creative and fun to take some shots of you or your family, I encourage you to check out her website.

Pretty much anyone who reads this blog knows what Nana's name is - but if you don't (or can't remember) just leave a comment with your email and I'll send it your way. :)

Please let me know what you think - 'cause I have to pick a few favorites! At least the new header for the blog is already taken care of. (lol!)

You can see the slideshow here.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Just Dance!

I just got a huge smile on my face watching this.

Maybe because the guy (by his willingness to just have fun) is bringing a smile to other people's faces...
Maybe it's refreshing to see someone not caring how other people perceive him...
Maybe it's just 'cause I love the song. :)

Maybe it will make you smile today, too.

"Dance like nobody's watching. Or in this case - like you don't care everyone is watching!" ;)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

May Update

So I became terribly convicted that I've not posted for almost an entire month - and a picture of the kiddos - no matter how adorable - doesn't really count.

Kurt and I are finally (and do I mean finally) getting a honeymoon. It came about something like this:

I got a Travelzoo 'top 20' which I perused halfheartedly.
I noticed a massive discount at the Niagara Falls Hilton.
I casually clicked it.
I got excited. And then talked myself out of it. And then I kinda got excited again in a "Hmmm... what if...?" kind of way.

I checked airline prices. I cried. (no not really. that's just for dramatic effect)

I called RBC to find out how many air miles we had fully prepared to find out we were about 25,000 short.
Omigosh. We had exactly enough (like, with 34 to spare)

I called my mom in Arizona with a "what would you do??" request for advice.
She offered on the spot to take the kids.

Our friend Riannon said she could do chores.

Oh man. It's even exciting to re-type!!! :)

I put the whole deal together in a little love-note package that promised to submit to whatever Kurt decided and gave it to him one evening. Lets face it - we're not exactly rolling in the dough these days with me being on mat-leave and he... farming. So I wanted to be really sure my heart wasn't going to be angry and bitter if he said we couldn't swing it. He does the books, after all.

My only request was that he take a few minutes and think and pray - and if I knew he was going to do that, I could handle anything.

He totally went for it! :)

So, June 13th, at 0605 we're flying to the big TO, renting a car and driving to Niagara Falls - staying in luxury room at the Fallsview Hilton for two nights, eating steak, touring vineyards, and yes - even riding the Maid of the Mist (how could we not???) - and landing back in Saskatoon on the 15th at 8:15 pm. The perfect little getaway. Far enough we need to fly there, close enough we don't need to get shots before leaving.

The most amazing concept is thinking about flying there. Holding hands. Drinking hot coffee. No Treehouse TV on the screens in front of us. No one getting pooped on. I swear: that's half the holiday for me. (lol!)

I hope no one misunderstands this excitement. I love being Peyton and Tenley's mommy. We're so blessed to have them - and even this small and needy phase is a gift. It's our life right now, and I'm not complaining. But it is hectic. And it is darn-near impossible to get a date in more often than once every couple of months.

The fact of the matter is that nothing is better for kids than to have two parents crazy-in-love with each other. And I kinda have the feeling this getaway will be good for them to that effect. ;)

So to wrap this up, I'll try to be calm and subtle.


In other news (hard to top that one, right?) we've got our garden patch rota-tilled and planned. One of these evenings we'll get it done.
Also got my pots done. Of course - those pots were on SUPER-sale at Costco and I didn't "do" anything other than hand over my Amex card. But they're on my deck. Lookin' good.

I put this on facebook: but when we visited Autumn's grave a few weeks ago, we noticed that someone had left flowers there. We're not sure who - but if you're reading this - thank you. It touched my heart so deeply.

Peyton is also starting to talk about Autumn a lot more. She'll say, "Do you know what?" and when someone says, "What?" she'll get a very sad look on her face and say, "Autumn died." I've felt bad for a couple of people who haven't known what to say.
There really isn't anything to say.

Peyton is also asking a lot of questions.
"Did you put Autumn in the mud?" ("No. She was in a cozy box with a little bed and warm blankets, Peyton."

"Why does she have to stay there?" ("Because this is where people who have died stay.")

"Will Jesus raise Autumn up from the grave?" ("Someday, Peyton, Jesus will come back and everyone will see Him.")

My heart and mind are full and busy these days - but these moments give me pause. I've been able to talk to my second daughter about some of those things that I've wanted to since the day Autumn died. How God sustains me. How His love has held me. How sin is horrible - and why death is in this world. How when Autumn died I prayed and prayed and asked God to give me a little baby - and He gave me Peyton.

I've watched her eyes tear up as she says, "Mommy. I wish my big-sister Autumn didn't die."
("Me too, sweetie. Mommy wishes that very much, too.")

What a place to be in. I'm daily asking God for wisdom and discernment in how to handle both her questions and grief as well as my own. Anyone who would like to ask Him for that for me would be most appreciated. :)


Kurt and I are both heading in different directions this weekend. He's off to bachelor party with Cody and the boys to an unknown location. (He actually does know - but Cody doesn't, so it's on the down-low...)

I am taking both girls, the stroller, my pots which don't yet have flowers in them and a couple of suitcases and heading to Melfort for a few days with Kurt's parents. We're looking forward to our respective times away - should be a lot of fun on both ends. He'll freeze alone in a tent, and I'll be pampered and spoiled. (lol!)

Okay - so maybe that's a little extreme. But in my case, having an extra couple of sets of hands to help with the girls will be lovely. Not to mention I'll eat well! :)

Peyton is going to have Grandpa at the park morning, noon and evening. :)

Thanks for reading, everyone! :)


This picture just melts my heart. :)

Hello - and almost goodbye! - May. :)

Friday, April 29, 2011

A Royal Tea Party

Peyton has been looking forward to today since yesterday.

What can I say? A two-year-old's world is small. :)

Anyway - we arranged to have our satellite reconnected at midnight so that we could get up and watch the wedding at 3:30 this morning. For all the cynics: it's history. The Royals are history - which has always fascinated Kurt and I - so it was worth it. :)

Last night, I made the Devonshire cream, and Kurt made the scones. Smoked up the whole house and had a little adventure trying to keep the smoke detector from waking up our kids - but that's another story. :)

The scones with Devonshire cream and raspberry jam! I was texting Jessica in Ontario who checked to see if I really got up as planned. :)

This morning, Kurt was the first one to get up - and had a little MI when the satellite wasn't connected yet - but the advantage of it being 3:30 am was that it was super-easy to get through to Shaw - and he had it hooked up by 3:45.

He and I watched Kate arrive, marveled at her super-classy dress (okay, more me than him - but he did say, "Yeah. That's a pretty nice dress, I guess.") and watched her walk down the aisle before Tenley made noise. She joined us for the actual service. :)

Playing with Daddy's face because she was bored waiting for the balcony kiss.

My Royal wedding watchers! :)

Anyway, Peyton woke up just after the kiss - but there were enough replays going around that she got to eat her scone and drink her tea (special for this morning) and watch the "pincess" get married.

Picnic: complete with tea and scones!

It obviously impacted her, too. 'Cause later she was crowning Tenley with a teething ring and announcing, "Oh Pincess Tenley - you look bee-u-tiful!"

I - for one- enjoyed the reading of scripture and the music (thought of you, Julie C.!!!) and seeing a young couple not greeted with overwhelming cynicism was a treat. They both exuded class and elegance - so different from Hollywood. To quote Kurt, "Kate Middleton is no Paris Hilton." Understatement, anyone? (lol)

It really is important to me to take joy the happiness of others. "Rejoicing with those who rejoice" is something scripture commands us to do. Heaven knows there's plenty to weep about on a regular basis. Especially lately. But having experienced people willing to do both - weep and rejoice - for our family - it feels good to wish a new family all the best. :)

So there you go! Fun times in the Manz house - even it was ridiculously early! :)

Friday, April 22, 2011

She Bakes!

Some kind of strange phenomenon has taken over our house. It's one of those "wha...???" kind of things - where no such occurrence has ever happened.

I've started to bake.

Toffee. Cookies. Popcorn variations. Cakes. Muffins.

And - here's the truly strange part - they've been turning out. Ridiculously good stuff.

other then the batch of one dozen chocolate chip banana muffins that may
*cough*.... (waving hands dismissively)...

... have been made with salt instead of sugar ...

What was that? My conscience demanding truthful transparency?

Moving on!

Previously, if Kurt wanted something of a baked-nature, he kinda had to pull out the ingredients and go for it. I watched cautiously from the sidelines - lest by my simply entry to the kitchen I should cause something to burn.

I think the door opener was the toffee. For those of you who check my links at the side, I've been liberated by the "Girl Who Ate Everything" blog. When I saw the title "saltine cracker toffee" I thought to myself, "I love toffee. What the heck. I'll go look at the recipe."

And when I looked at it, I thought, "Wow. That looks easy. Foolproof, even. What the heck. I'll see if I have all the ingredients."

With all the ingredients located, the children appropriately distracted or napping, and Kurt on the phone in the other room so as not to discourage my crazy thinking with a "YOU'RE going to bake???" comment, I found I was - indeed - baking. And you know what, folks? It was freakin' delicious toffee.

What the heck???

Last night, I was waiting for Kurt to get home and was almost falling asleep on the couch. To show how truly radical this shift has been, I'll illustrate my thought process while my eyes were closing:

"Geez. I'm sleepy. I should make some cookies to stay awake."

Augh! The insanity!
It's even infringing on my subconscious!

When Kurt came in, he said something along the lines of "total silence" which was - as it appears - a big dramatic nothing.
I didn't even know he was in the kitchen until I turned around and saw him standing there with his jaw slack.

(Okay, okay. That was an exaggeration, I guess. :)
But he was shocked enough to say, "What are you doing?" even though I think it should have been somewhat obvious what with the bowl, hand-mixer and the evidence of chocolate chip cookie dough around my lips...)

To his credit, he didn't say a whole lot more after that. Even though it would not have shocked me to hear to hear:
"Where was this woman the first 8 years of marriage??"
"I like my new wife!"
(gently and with concern) "Do you think you could be having hormone issues, honey?"

I think he should just sit back and enjoy this phase. Yes. Phase. Cause I really can't see myself keeping this up. Baking is expensive and time consuming. Oh - and not to mention it completely flies in the face of that whole treadmill thing I'm trying to maintain.

And it's stressful, people! Fold this, beat that, cream slowly for an exact amount of time... use baking soda not powder, poke things with toothpicks, let it sit, take it out right away! Yada, yada, yada. Baking is so bossy and exact.

It's crazy. And I'm crazy to attempt it!
(taking a deep breath, and a mental step back from pre-bake-master Kendall's angst...)

All that being said, though: seeing Kurt's eyes close in satisfaction as he slowly chews one of my chocolate chip cookies - and hearing him say, "Wow. These are the best cookies I've ever had." is pretty gratifying.

So I guess - for now - I'll just go with it. :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Kids Are Napping...

We're slowly recovering from my bout with a true flu these past 2 weeks. It started with aches and pains, and progressed through the entire respiratory tract. Kurt and the girls all got sick to - but I'd like to think I cleared the path through the rough stuff 'cause none of them got as sick as me.
Kurt and I have a new nephew as of this morning: welcome to Kempton Gordon! :)
I cannot believe it's been a month since we came home from Arizona. At least the 6-foot drifts are gone...
We ditched all television in favor of Netflicks. So far, so good. And who can doubt the total value of unlimited movies and various documentaries and tv shows for only $7.99 a month? Really. Who??
Did I mention that Peyton is going to be a flower-girl for Cody and Ashley in July? Picked up the pattern (just before I got the flu) and have arranged for a lady in town to make it. Hope it all works out - all of a sudden we only have a few months left!
C'mon summer - we're ready for you!!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Sound of Silence

My mom sent me a text me this morning with the news that the music player on my blog was no longer working due to licensing restrictions in Canada

When I checked it out - I was even more sad than I thought I would be to see the player refuse to load up.

I added that play list very shortly after Autumn died. The songs I chose to put on there reflected my heart - my grief and struggles to believe that my God was sovereign and loving in the midst of tragedy. In fact, the initial songs were the ones we played at Autumn's funeral before and after the service. Each song has always been purposefully added - each has meaning to my life as the last 3-and-a-half years have gone by.

I've often - over the years - simply tuned to my own blog site and let the music play while I go on other websites, walk on the treadmill, scrapbook or talk on the phone. And the funny thing is that I'm not the only one who has done that. Many of you have let me know what a blessing you've found it to be in the seasons of your life. While I'm well-aware that many people will pause the music player to read - enough of you have let me know how God has spoken to your heart to encourage me to keep it up.

It really has been the reflection of my heart: and I'm genuinely sad to see it 'gone'. If you read this blog from the States, you'll have to let me know if the music still plays. If not, I'll take down the player until I find another Canadian-available option to add to the blog.

Thanks Lord, for the time it was there.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

You Know Spring Has Arrived When...

Evening walks resume (even while I have a horrible cold! :-P)

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Little Miss Muffet

A few years back I got bit by a spider - and it caused a serious-enough reaction that I could not move my left arm. The doctor gave me a mega-strong antibiotic to counteract any possible infection - and that was that.

(I remember thinking out loud to my South African doctor at the time, "Geez. Isn't the supposed lack of poisonous spiders one of the reasons why I live in Canada?")

Anyway, life after that was kinda paranoid about spiders for a while. Every little tickle I'd feel, every little brush of my own hair on my neck or cheek.... blech. I'd throw back the covers on my bed each night to just make sure there wasn't anything lurking there to feast on my flesh.

Eventually I got over it.

The other night - about 1:30 am to be precise - I felt a tickle on my face/neck area. Enough that it woke me up. My thought process went something like this:

"That feels like a spider crawling."

"Naw... you always think that and it never is."

"It's probably just my own hair."

"Yep... that's all it is. Relax and go back to sleep."

And - feat of amazing feats - I did just that.

The next morning when I made the bed I noticed a black rolled up ball of something by my pillow. Upon closer examination I made a horrified gasp.

I threw back the covers and sure enough - evidence of a spider. Pieces of it were strewn through the whole length of the bed.

I immediately got itchy. Then I examined myself from head-to-toe for bite marks. But - in this case, anyway - it looks like this spider was simply jaywalking in the wrong place at the wrong time. As in - that stupid sucker was crawling across my face and neck when I brushed "my hair" out of the way.

My one consolation is that he looks to have died a horribly violent death.


Monday, March 28, 2011

2009 & 2011 (2nd attempt!)

Same pose.
Same stroller.
Same Mommy.
(although perhaps slightly slimmer-faced in the lower one? :))
Different baby!
(I'm sorry for these somewhat repetitive posts on how similar the girls look - but I'm always surprised by it myself and love to share all that I think about. ;-D)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Yeah. So...

In case I forgot to mention: we went to Arizona - had a blast - and now we're home. Sigh.
A glimpse of a couple family members in warmer times... :)
(doesn't Peyton look so grown-up???)
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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Best Political Add EVER!

*pause the music player*

A little more to the American-style campaigning than Canadian - but nevertheless...

I love that it's approved by summer and paid for by spring and fall... :)

(Thanks 22words)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Thousand-Word Picture

Tenley met Great Grandma Manz (Grandpa Gord's mom) for the very first time. They really enjoyed one another - and I love how this shot captures the mutual delight. :)

Friday, March 4, 2011

We Don't Have the Blues...

But maybe the purples?

This honestly wasn't planned - but just before supper last night we noticed that all three of us Manz-girls were wearing various shades of purples, mauve and violet.
Kurt snapped the picture to capture the moment. :)
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Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Which one is my baby, again? ;)

post script: Today at lunch she laughed out loud - belly laughed! - for the first time. Apparently my method of eating a salmon sandwich is hilarious. :)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Where Did February Go? (it got buried under all that snow, I guess...)


Tenley is napping and Peyton is enjoying her daily dose of the Mickey Mouse Club - so I've literally got about 8 minutes to give a quick update.

We got through the family's second round of colds last week. Not as scary as the first: no hospitalizations now that Tenley can actually turn her head to cough. It made for some grumpy days with Peyton - who one day told Kurt, "I feel crummy, Daddy." Truer words were never spoken. She used up almost a whole bottle of childrens Advil - but the drippy nose has finally stopped. So glad that's over... and praying spring will quickly arrive! (Hard to imagine with the 6-foot snow pile by the driveway - but a girl can hope, right?)

Speaking of snow: I won't say this often because I am severely lacking storage space: but I am very thankful we don't have a basement this year. When all that snow starts to melt, I don't have to worry about getting a sump pump in gear. That said: we might just up and float away in this-here trailer... but that's another trial for another day. ;)

These days find me working on being a good mom. And I don't mean that lightly. I ordered the book "Don't Make Me Count to Three" a few weeks ago. The first 3 chapters have already just reinforced to me what a major responsibility it is to be these girl's mommy. Needless to say, feeling that has caused me to seek out God more: making a daily time to read and pray for me (ahem!) them. ;)

I've cut waaay back on facebook and (duh.) blogging time. We've been baking and doing laundry and singing and dancing the days away. We're currently working on perfecting Usher's amazing leg-jives from the video "DJ's got us falling in love." (I did not claim that everything were were doing was profitable.)

We're not going stir crazy yet - but when we get close I enforce the non-optional nap time. It's good to be the boss. (Baa-ha-ha.)

And... (3 minutes left)... it's cold. Super-cold. Even by middle-Saskatchewan standards. -36 this morning. (-32.8 F) before windchill.

That's crazy cold.

Kurt has to haul pigs today - so I'm praying he and they all stay safe and warm as they travel. I'm also thanking the Lord for a furnace that is running consistently (albeit often!) - and a vent right by my feet as I type.

I have to admit that I'm counting down the days until we leave this vast and barren land for the hot version of it down south. Arizona, here we come! :) T-minus 17 days until departure...

Okay - must run - but a picture before I depart!Baba (my dad's mom) made Tenley's toque and mittens - and Peyton wanted to be part of the picture, too. It's winter, people - look at my kids! :)

Ack! Tenley is crying in the other room: short and sweet. Talk to you sometime within the next month or so soon!


Monday, February 7, 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Gift

I bought a lotion today at Superstore - it was kinda random - I needed a brand to deal with winter skin and this one fit the bill.
I didn't remember if I'd ever tried it before - and it wasn't an issue as Kurt and the girls were waiting for me to cash out and I just needed to choose one and go.

When I got home I had a quick bath and broke out the new lotion to get ready for bed.

The scent was familiar at first - and I vaguely registered I had used it before.
But like a sudden flash of lightning the memory became crisp and clear - bringing tears.
I pressed my eyes shut and sat on the edge of the bed and let my mind go back in time.

I had bought that lotion before Autumn was born - to take to the hospital in my bag for use after delivery.
The day she was born, I used that lotion after I showered. When I held her, I smelled it. Her blankets I brought home smelled like it. In the weeks after her death I would go into her room and hold that yellow blanket and weep... clinging to something physical - trying to create and maintain connections with the child I never had a chance to know.

Eventually, the blanket lost it's scent. The lotion ran out and I never bought the same kind.

Life moved on - and I have felt for a long time all I had was the pictures. On October 21st, 2007, I was in physical pain, as well as shock. I've not even been sure I have any real memories of that day. It's kind of like looking at pictures of your childhood: you might think you remember something... but it's really only just a vague impression that has been reinforced by the snapshots you see in photo albums. I'll be honest: this has grieved me deeply. It's like the most momentous event in my history: and I don't even feel like I was fully present.

That's the incredible impact of today.
I had no idea, but my aching, inexperienced, brand-new-mommy heart did take measure - even in the shock and grief - it latched on to something to remember.

Like a perfume, or a particular brand of laundry detergent often characterizes people to us... this lotion is the smell of Autumn. It's in my heart. And my heart is remembering more clearly than it has in a very long time the feel of her tiny body - her little fingers and toes... and her scent.

3 years and 3 months after the most horrible day of my life, I'm faced with the bittersweet discovery that I do have more of her than mere pictures. My heart has stored a memory of her as clear as those of her sister's baby-fresh scents.

It's like finding a long-lost treasure I didn't even know was missing.
It hurts, though. Enough to bring tears.
But it's something 'new' of her that I can have for me for the rest of my life.

I love you forever, Autumn. Tonight more than ever... because with every breath, it's like you are in my arms again.
I miss you so terribly, baby girl... but I'm grateful.

Thank you, Jesus.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Why I Haven't Been Blogging...

I'm reading stories, doing puzzles, changing diapers, and organizing stuffed animals by the categorization of "farm" or "wild". :)
Not to mention the seemingly sudden entry of our oldest into the 'terrible-twos'. This current and ongoing development of her character is making each day a constant effort to give her all the love and adoration my heart is full of - while consistently continuing to parent her. She's a lot of fun - but a lot of work lately.

Exhausting? Ha! Just look at me in the picture below for your answer!

But I don't care. This is a phase. A short one. I am shocked at how quickly Peyton became a "big" girl... I'm cherishing this time with my daughters.
Daughters. Plural.

Thank you, Jesus, that they are both with us...
Someday - maybe not too far away, actually - I'll get back to it. I'll all of a sudden have a few spare minutes a day when I'm not thinking about making lunch, taking a nap, doing laundry or getting on that pesky treadmill.
Those are all things which make me feel better in the end - but boy! Are they ever a lot to deal with some days! (lol!)

There have been lots of things running through my head in the moments when I'm not "mommy-ing". I'm trying to hide them in my heart to share later. I trust that the important things will not completely vanish into the fog...

But for now - I'm really loving this special time with my two little girls. :)

For those of you who still check: thank you. We're well. Keep checking - 'cause you just never know when I'll pop back in... ;)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Two Months

Our smiley little girl... :)
Peyton said, "Take my picture too, Mommy!" :)
26 months and already a poser... lol!
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