31 March, 2009

It's Tuesday.

Despite having just had my glucose-tolerance test yesterday (and having a bad feeling about it, I might add), I am writing this while blissfully inhaling the smell of fresh oatmeal raisin cookies. I had me a hankerin' and wow are they good! It smells like Christmas in here.

Incidentally, it also looks a lot like Christmas outside. This past weekend the weather was gorgeous! On Saturday, LJ stayed home with the LG and I got to go do the grocery shopping all by myself! (With no child! And no diaper bag!) It would've been the perfect day for a road trip except that we're not quite ready to be on the road yet. On Sunday, I wore summer dress shoes and no socks - it was that nice out.

Halfway through church though, I looked out the window and it was snowing. These were snowflakes so big you could see them through the stained glass windows too. Basically, when all was said and done (sometime yesterday) we ended up with about six inches of fresh wet snow.

Thankfully, it was above zero (or above 32 for my American friends) today so everything was already starting to melt. It wasn't particularly sunny outside, but just the water pooling at the end of the driveway and dripping off the roof is enough to make me feel like Spring.

And speaking of water pooling, the LG had her third day in 'big girl' training pants but her first day with NO ACCIDENTS! It was a bit of an annoying day otherwise because she fluctuated between being ridiculously giddy and aggravatingly cranky but making it through clean and dry was worth it.

26 March, 2009

More Exciting News Will Not Likely Be Posted On this Blog*

So several weeks back I think I mentioned that we had this unspoken prayer request and I had this big news to share with you that I just couldn't share yet. Then I threw you another bone a couple weeks ago saying I would spill the beans soon. Well this week I've been putting it off pending the notification of some of our close friends and family and then came the potty training so it's been a busy week.

Potty training is exhausting, yes, but not nearly as irksome as trying to figure out IMMIGRATION. Yup, it's true. Seven years ago, I endured most of the brunt of the horrid chaos that is U.S. Immigration, but this time, my friends, the tables are turned! The story goes a little something like this:

In late November/early December, we got an email from my Uncle. The email contained a note and an attachment advertising an opening for a job in LJ's field in my home province (*squee!*). Friends and family who live around there have been keeping their eyes peeled for some time but most of the jobs around there are split up - so you do one job half the time and another job the other half of the time, the second job being one that LJ isn't qualified for. Well anyway, completely on a whim, we prayed about it and the next night fancied up LJ's resume and off went the email. The NEXT DAY, he heard back from the clinic administrator who wanted to be in touch with him as soon as possible.

Not two weeks later, there had been enough communication between the administrator and LJ to solidify their interest in hiring him. However, one very major thing needed to happen first: The clinic had to check with the Canadian government to prove that they couldn't find a 'local' to do the job and that they needed to hire a foreigner. Getting the Labour Market Opinion took only about two weeks and it came back positive.

To make a long story slightly shorter, while we were excited at the prospect of this job, we didn't say anything to very many people because it still seemed like such a long shot. Then the week before Christmas when my Mom was diagnosed with cancer, we started to let our hopes get a little higher. That God would give us this opportunity at just this time seemed almost a little unreal.

We have gone through several immigration hoops already and we have the forms filled out and ready for LJ's work permit application which can't be done until his medical results clear somebody's desk in Ottawa. Once those results clear, we can take the application down to a Port-of-Entry (where you go through a border crossing into Canada) and apply for the permit. Once he has the stamp of approval, we are ready to go (well, technically, the LG and I could go anytime....but we're already Canadian). Hopefully the medical results will clear quickly, because we need to be in my hometown before May 19th since that's the day LJ writes his Canadian Certification Exam so he can legally practice in Canada. Then we'll be settling in to our NEW hometown to commence work and life!

I'm vastly oversimplyfying here because the whole story could take a long time to write but I'll tell you a few really great things about this move:
1) The town is only 2 1/2 hours from where my parents live (and I don't think I have to tell you how excited I am about the prospect of being so close to them and my best friend Chandra after being so far away for seven years)!
2) The town is only about ten minutes away from the illustrious Erin K. & Co. (which means the LG can actually have a little toddler friend at her birthday 'party' this year)!
3) The town just so happens to be chock-full of college friends and more importantly - my relatives! YIPPEE! Actual people our age! Actual friends who are already friends! Actual family nearby!
4) The new job means a pay-raise (despite the currency conversion). It also comes with more responsibility and the possibility of LJ becoming a supervisor of a department as well as the opportunity to train in a completely new field, courtesy of the clinic.
5) The town is like Mennonite-central, people! Perogies, Farmer's Sausage, rollkuchen, watermelon and all the other Menno delights that we've missed for so long, plus the town and the one next door both have a major summer festival, one of which entails a giant barbecue cook-off which the LJ can hardly wait for! (The man loves his barbecue!)
6) This has been an incredible opportunity for God to stretch our faith and cause growth in us (see the next list below) as well as an opportunity to share with our friends how God's grace and sovereignty have been so particularly active in our lives as of late.

Now the downside:
1) The climate is pretty much exactly the same as here so we will, sadly, have to bring our shovels with us.
2) Our house here remains unsold and as you can imagine, paying a mortgage and rent at the same time isn't feasible. We are trusting God with the sale of the house because it belongs to Him and He will sell it in His time. We are also extremely grateful to have a place to stay, if temporarily, with my Uncle R. & Aunt E. (THANK YOU! A thousand times - THANK YOU!) when we get there. Please pray with us for the quick sale of our house. We know the market is poor right now but again, it's not truly our house to sell.
3) We are playing the waiting game with immigration at the moment. We need LJ's medical results to pass quickly so we can be underway and on the road on or around my birthday (4 May). If it comes any later, we may be stuck here until July after Sibling XX gets here.
4) Nearly everything in Canada is more expensive than here (eg. the giant box of honey nut cheerios that costs $4.12 here, costs about $7.69 there), and we are bracing for things like car insurance, rent, gasoline, and just paying to get there, while rejoicing in the prospect of free healthcare (no matter how much most Americans diss it, I would trade long lines for free almost any day, plus the chance to deliver Sibling XX without getting a medical bill back from the hospital), and monthly checks from the government to help with the costs of raising kids...and all the other good things I already listed above.

A friend of ours who is in the same line of work as LJ but in a different Manitoba city, told me that every person in their field in Manitoba would've seen this job ad, yet of all those people (and we don't know how many applied) the clinic chose to pursue LJ! That gives us even more confidence in this being part of God's plan for us even as we are daily praying and trusting for Him to finalize all the details that need to be in place before we move. We are sitting at about 90% sure that this move will happen and praying that if for some reason, God chooses to close the door, He will do so in the most gentle way possible. Please pray with us for grace and guidance as we wait for whatever is next, and know that we are (to the best of our ability) giving God glory for how He has blessed us in this process so far!

NOW, you are in the know! FINALLY!

*Unless of course we ever actually get pregnant with a boy child, in which case, I will NOT be able to contain my excitement for anywhere NEAR this long.....

PT Update

Well yesterday was a resounding potty training success with only one major and one minor accident and the culmination of a hard day's work with a 'plop' in the toilet! The reward for that? TWO loopy fruits. (One for 1, two for 2, right?)

The Little Goat must have a bladder of steel or something because this morning she didn't go once until right when she was finishing her lunch and she decided that the spot under her little table in the kitchen hadn't been disinfected quite enough times yet; at least she finished up in the bathroom. AND, she was quite upset by her accident which I understand is a good sign.

This has been a rewarding venture although it's made this week feel like the longest week ever and I am exhausted! Seasoned parents will laugh when I say this but I never imagined potty training to be so tiring. Stressful, yes, but not nearly so tiring!

Now we're trying to figure out what comes next and how to get her used to public toilets and what to do during church (so as to avoid a wet pew). Anybody have any suggestions?

Also, come back in a half hour because, that's right, the time is now and you know what's coming....

23 March, 2009


Well, it's almost 5pm and we've had success twice since LJ got home (Hmph! Figures!). The first time she must've sat there for almost 10 minutes but we gave her some books. Little piddles kept coming every couple minutes so we just let her stay. She seemed pretty happy about it. I think she might be figuring out that peeing = loops 'o' fruit. Hmmm...

Now, if we can just get her to tell us when she needs to go....

Oh, and Also

we started potty training today. Hrrrgh. It is going TERRIBLY, thank you very much.

Does it Get Any More Exciting Than This?

We make our own yogurt and when that happens, it's usually on Friday nights because then we have it for pancakes or scones or granola on Saturday morning...and because we're just really exciting like that.

I also do this thing called Nielsen Homescan (and yes, we've been a Nielsen TV family three times now - nice!) which means when we buy groceries, I scan the UPC codes and enter prices. I'm helping with national consumer research and mostly I do it because I get points that add up and then I can 'cash them in' for prizes. I have been working towards a jogging stroller for the last 2 1/2 years. Until Friday, when I noticed they changed the catalogue and the jogging stroller that was 77,000 points has been replaced with a fancier model that's 209,000 points. I'm kind of done with doing the Homescan thing because with another baby coming, it seems like just one more thing to take up my time and there's no way I'm going to earn over 100,000 points in 13 weeks (yes, that's 1-3 folks). So, it's time to cash in the points.

ANYWAY, last Friday night (which was decidely less eventful than Erin K.'s) we put the milk in a pot on the stove and turned it on to heat up to make yogurt. In the meantime, I was trying to convince LJ that it was time to close the Mozilla window on some scholarly paper he was reading because it was Friday night and while we may be boring enough to make yogurt on a Friday night, I'm finished with college and there's no way I'm going to spend my Friday night reading scholarly articles. So he closed the window and we started looking through the points catalogue.

So caught up were we that after checking and stirring the milk one or two times, we forgot about it. I walked into the kitchen and it was seconds from boiling over and the temperature was up over 220 (it's only supposed to get to 185). So we now had a half gallon of very scalded milk.

"Wanna make hot chocolate," I asked?.

"Uh, okay."

Except then we had a problem because my recipe for homemade hot chocolate only makes two servings and we obviously had enough hot milk for a LOT more than that. So hilarity ensued as we were standing there for the better part of 20 minutes trying to figure out fractions and measurements and *gasp* be almost scholarly.

Now, we have a 1/2 gallon of 'hot' chocolate in the fridge waiting to be reheated, which I guess is good except that we hardly ever drink hot chocolate at home.

On the bright side, we're reasonably sure what we're going to get with our Homescan points.

And that is all for today.

20 March, 2009

Happy Vernal Equinox!

Hooray for the first day of Spring! It's not especially warm here although it's been above zero Celsius on every other day this week, but the sky is a cloudless, Spring blue and the sun is shining!

Mr. J. (hereafter known as LJ....because I feel like it) and I have decided that regardless of the LG's present choice not to speak using actual words (so she'll have to come up with some other sort of sign), Sibling XX is on the way and it's time for potty training. We were already figuring this won't be an easy task but I got an email from my good friend Kara yesterday outlining the basics of the Azrin-Foxx Method (as they used it) and now we're feeling decidedly daunted!

At any rate, I'll keep you posted on how it goes. I think we'll start on Monday morning.

Oh yes, and make sure you stop by next week because that big prayer request I've been talking about for,uh, a while will be big news around here - things are about 90% 'sure' so we're finally ready to spill the beans! Yay!

13 March, 2009

Happy Weekend!

So today we're getting back into our normal activities. Yesterday was devoted to laundry and resting a little. Today will be about bills and meal planning and sorting mail and oh, did I mention PRAISING GOD?!

My parents went into Surgery City yesterday for a post-op with Mom's surgeon who said as far as he's concerned, they got everything and there is no more cancer! She's going to have three radiation treatments anyway because it brings the chance of something popping up down to 1% from 20%, but 30 total minutes of discomfort for those odds is pretty doable. Please continue to pray for Mom & Dad as they travel for the treatments. Also pray that the side-effects will be minimal. And hey, while you're at it - praise God for this awesome display of His sovereignty and power.

12 March, 2009

Testing a Mom's Mettle

We finally got back last night just before dinner. Three weeks was just about the right amount of time to be Home in Manitoba but the Little Goat and me being sick for a week and a half in the middle of the trip seemed to make it stretch on even longer.

The first few days were fine but the LG must've picked up some sort of virus from the airplane (or maybe we were just never quite over whatever it was we had before we left) and after nearly a week of being sick, ended up in the hospital for two nights on the 27th/28th. My Mom and I took her to a walk-in clinic on that Friday and the doctor couldn't come up with any diagnosis so she referred us to the pediatrician on-call in the ER. It didn't take him very long to determine that she was quite dehydrated and needed an IV.

It took the doctor, a resident, and four nurses to take blood samples and get the IV started. It was awful. In the meantime, my Mom went home and got together some stuff for us and my best friend, Chandra (she told me I should write about her because she wants her 15 minutes of fame and somehow she's crazy enough to think my blog is going to get that for her - hah! Such a supportive friend.....), stopped by and picked up everything to bring it to the hospital.

They finally took us up to the LG's room at almost 9pm.
There have been plenty of updates to the hospital recently, but evidently, none in the pediatric ward in the last 25 years. Pepto-bismal-pink walls with really old-school Sesame Street Baby wallpaper border, the oldest bed in the ward (I checked; the nurse the first night could barely get the siderail up!), and an all-metal crib that looked like something you'd find in a Cold War bunker. The nightshift nurses were great for the most part but the day shift nurses? Wow. Cranky to the nth degree...until I told them we were paying for every dollar of our stay and then things did a 180. Hmmm....

The pediatrician was great! I was completely impressed with his bedside manner and interaction with the LG. I also felt like he *gasp* valued my opinion! It turned out though, that while we were on the same page as far as what we were hoping for, he wasn't quite as in a hurry as I was to get the LG discharged. I was really hoping we wouldn't have to stay in a second night ($$) but eventually caved and to bed we went.

All this time, we were concerned but not overly about the hospital bill we knew was coming. (And here's where this post turns from simply a woeful tale into a cautionary tale.) We bought travel insurance which included medical coverage before we left Maine, but alas, I screwed it up. You know how when you're filling out forms online and you miss something on the first page so you go back, fix it, and then continue but for some reason not all the information took? Yeah, well I did that. For whatever reason, I checked and re-checked the information I had entered but never noticed that the trip dates were entered wrong. Nobody from the insurance company caught it either, so I didn't know until I called in to start a medical claim that according to the policy we purchased, we traveled from Maine to Manitoba AND BACK on the same day. (Physically impossible, I know.) So, we are now on the hook for the entire $3500 hospital bill. Oh yay us.

So there you have it. The 10 days after the hospital visit were good. We got to see all my cousins and Erin K. & Co., I got to spend lots of time with Chandra, and lots of evenings playing cards with my Mom, lots of time watching curling with my Dad, Anja brought a lot of joy to Grama & Grampa's house when joy was needed most....and now we are in more debt than we ever thought we could possibly need at the worst possible time we can imagine.

The moral of the story? Uh, I don't really know how to encapsulate it in one sentence, but for the love of all things good - quadruple-check the dates when you enter information online!