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Bronwyn to Gregory: “Now lie down so  I can check you. Hmm….there’s nothing to be seen in your blood…”

Later that day, at lunch (whining): “No, I can’t eat my lunch, because my blood pressure is up.”


 Bronwyn: “Mom, does Dennis have a wife?”

Me: “No.”

B: “Why not?”

Me: “I don’t know.”

B: “But he NEEDS a wife!”

Me: “Why?”

B: “So he can sleep with her . . . and eat with her.”


In case the last post made anyone feel sorry for us, you should know that the children and I are at my parents’ place in SC for a few weeks. We’re having a wonderful summer. I DO feel sorry for Gabriel who has to be far away from his family and spend every day for a month in a place he’d rather not see again.


Yesterday someone asked Bronwyn where her dad is. “He fwew away to Dubwin . . . but we don’t mind.” (She did NOT hear that from me.)


She’s been learning about thunderstorms since we’re here, since Ireland doesn’t have them and SC has had a storm every day for the last week. She also first heard about hurricanes on a story CD since we’re here. Yesterday we were watching the storm when she worriedly asked, “Mom, do you think it’s a hurry-up-cane?”


My mom was helping her go potty. When Bronwyn was done, she said, “Grandma, I am not shy. I don’t mind if you wipe me.”

Hi! I haven’t let you know what’s happening in our lives for a long time, so here’s a post to fill you in.

We went to Ontario for part of the winter. Gabriel had a big chunk of time off rotations at school which he was supposed to use for externships (following vets around and learning from them), so he did those in Canada. He was able to land a job starting in July in his hometown with the local vet clinic. That is a HUGE blessing. He’ll be a large animal vet, spending most of his time on farms. It’s pretty much his dream job in every way. Now the last hurdle is to pass all of his exams so he can qualify for that veterinary license. (It feels surreal that we’re even talking about these things.)

He finished rotations last week and is now studying for exams. They end in the middle of May, and after that we’ll spend about a month around here packing, tying up loose ends, selling off our things, etc. I admit to a great deal of reluctance about all of that. I’m going to miss our house, our neighborhood, and our church very much.

I joined a writer’s group this winter. It’s good fun, but it’s highlighting  my procrastinating habits. I’ve also done quite a bit of manuscript editing since the first of the year.

Bronwyn is almost three (how? did that happen?). Her imagination is off the charts most days. Give her a pair of fancy shoes, a stick, and a snack, and she’ll spend a happy half hour in the back garden, humming to herself and talking to her friend Baza (who is also turning three on May 18, or sometimes May 16, and is usually her friend but sometimes her sister or her daughter).

Gregory, at one and a half years old, is a joy. He loves his daddy and will take him over me anytime. He’s starting to repeat words a lot. He has four upper teeth and three lower teeth, and the other day I noticed that two upper molars are starting to come in. His favorite activity is turning light switches on and off and breaking my glasses.

Speaking of glasses, Gabriel and I both had laser eye surgery done in the last month or two. Due to snagging price discounts, we decided to do it now instead of waiting until he was out of school like we had planned.  Neither of us are seeing totally clearly yet; we’re told that it can take a few months to clear up. Even so, we can hardly believe that we don’t need glasses or contacts to drive or do everyday tasks.

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This was diaper cream and toilet paper, and yes, the oldest one undoubtedly knew better.

Speaking of messes, a few days later Greg shattered a glass bottle of maple syrup onto the floor.

A day or two later, Gabriel wondered why Gregory “smells like a young man.” Earlier, I had heard Bronwyn upstairs saying, “There, now you’re all clean.” When I came upstairs, the smell hit me like a wall. She’d found a bottle of Axe shower gel and was “cleaning” her brother by loading his hair with it. (Maybe it helped get the diaper cream out of his hair.)

DSC_0002Gregory crushed his thumb about two weeks ago. A little kid at Bible study playfully picked up a rock about the size of a football and dropped it on Greg’s hand. He cried and cried–it was pitiful. The nail dropped off today, but the thumb is still swollen and misshapen. I’m a little worried that it’ll never look normal. I guess worse things have happened to toddlers.



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Bronwyn has discovered the joy of hanging up laundry. She can also fold washcloths and handkerchiefs, and she does a decent job too.


Up on Ticknock Hill one evening at sunset. You can see all across the city on a clear day, and at dusk the white tailed deer come out.


One year ago she looked like this.

Now she looks like this:

Excuse me while I find a box of tissues.

*** *** ***

Bronwyn turned two in May, and suddenly she’s not a baby anymore. Some big girl stuff she’s doing:

-We’ve been talking about colors and shapes for a few months and it seems like something just clicked in her brain because a few weeks ago she caught on. It’s so fun asking her the colors of balloons or the shape of certain objects. She usually gets it right.

-“I pee in toy-et.” She’s excited about the IDEA of potty-training, but she doesn’t really get the logistics of it. Yet.

-She loves when someone reads books to her. This week I heard her “reading” to her baby doll, and she was repeating the main parts of the story I had read to her earlier.

-Yesterday I was feeding Gregory and noticed that he’d spit up on the floor earlier. I asked Bronwyn to get a cloth and wipe it up–and she did it.

-When she wants to get around someone or something in her way, she says, “Coom-SEE.” (“excuse me”) It’s sweet and hilarious.

Bronwyn’s hip dysplasia story isn’t ended yet, as we found out this spring. Her right hip is much better, back in socket and doing its job, but the socket isn’t as deep as it should be. The surgeon is recommending a surgery called a pelvic osteotomy to correct that. She’ll have to be in a brace for about six weeks after that. The surgery is scheduled for August. This was disappointing news for us, but we know it could be so much worse than it is. We feel confident that our surgeon knows what he’s talking about, and that our God has good reasons for allowing all of this to happen.

She has a sweet personality, a strong will, and a feisty temper sometimes. She’s made us pray for wisdom more than we ever did before becoming her parents.

We can’t image life without her.

Happy birthday, little girl.

Last two photos by the lovely and talented Marylou.

Last Monday was one of those days when I was looking forward to bedtime before I even got up in the morning. We were all tired from the weekend. The children didn’t sleep as long as they should have. Gabriel had to be gone in the afternoon and evening. Crankiness ensued on all sides.

Finally, after supper, we went on a walk to lift the spirits. They stayed aloft until we came back in the door, and bedtime dismally greeted the progeny of the family. They refused to settle down, although they normally are happy to go to bed. Finally I got Gregory up and rocked him until Bronwyn came and wanted to be in my lap too. I pulled her up, along with her spotty blanket without which her soul would shrivel up and die. I rocked my two babies, and I thought, I am so rich.

I am so rich.

We’ve been having normal life lately. It’s so nice.

Gregory takes daily swing rides. When our neighbors noticed Bronwyn vigorously “helping” her brother swing, I mentioned something about the first child being made of china, but the second child is made of plastic. “It looks more like he needs to be made of rubber,” our neighbor replied dryly.

Bronwyn remains fascinated with horses. “Ho’se? Ho’se?” And one of us has to go get Gregory to put on her back for a horsey ride.

A friend loaned us her Bumbo seat. Gregory likes to sit in it and think Deep Thoughts About Life. (Notice the spoon in his lap? He’s still looking for it in his hand.)

And this happened the other day when I combed Bronwyn’s hair into braided pigtails for the first time.

I laughed so hard.

There’s a peek into our daily lives. I’d love a peek into yours!

-A Grateful Mama


on a wash line full of cloth diapers

and a little girl with messy hair and rubber wellies


(Yes, we have daffodils in full bloom in February.)

First, I came down to the kitchen to find the sweetest Willow Tree angel from my husband. (My gift for him hasn’t arrived yet, but he’s going to like it.)

Then I took the children out for a walk in our new (used) double stroller. It’s a three-wheeler, and I wasn’t sure how I was going to like it, but it’s a winner so far. At least I have a way to go on walks with both kids now. No more excuses not to get exercise!

Supper was steak, Greek roasted vegetables, and chocolate mousse. Gabriel came home with sparkling elderflower fizz, soft goat cheese, and smoked gouda with three kinds of crackers for a late-night treat. That man has good taste!

In summary, V-day 2012: small gifts, exercise, good food, and thanksgiving that we still love each other.

These two still love each other, too.

What was YOUR favorite part of February 14?

Apparently I’ve been rendered incapable of producing a cohesive piece of writing, so here are some scattered observations on New Year’s Eve.

I’m listening to Bronwyn sing to herself as she plays with Duplo, her Christmas present from us. I didn’t know they’d be such a hit, but she’s been playing steadily with them ever since we gave them to her yesterday. We won’t tell her that the set was a thrift store find. She’s perfectly happy with it, and so are we.

We’re planning to sleep the New Year in. Doesn’t that sound exciting? Hopefully the neighbors have similar plans or else are invited far away for their parties.

Gabriel and I have spent a lot of time rocking, walking, bouncing, or jiggling Gregory to sleep–only to discover that often he goes to sleep perfectly well by himself, in his cot. Now for a way to get him to bed earlier than 10:30pm. No matter how I try, it seems he just can’t settle before then. But then he sleeps until 6:00 or 7:00, so I shouldn’t complain.

We celebrated four years of married life by going to Newgrange with Gabriel’s parents and sister, who were visiting us from Ukraine at the time. Newgrange is a burial mound/religious site that is older than Stonehenge, purportedly built a few hundred years after the Great Flood. (This is a must-see if you tour Ireland.) Each year at sunrise on winter solstice (the day that is also our anniversary), the sun shines into the entrance to the mound all the way to the back of the chamber. You can enter a drawing to be one of the few hundred allowed in to see it at sunrise over the few days this happens. We put our names in for next year. As it was, the day was cloudy, but we still got to enter Newgrange on winter solstice, on our anniversary.

Our Ford Galaxy van, which we love so much and which has made our weekly trips to church and back so much easier, has had the clutch go out and needs extensive repairs. At least it didn’t totally go out until exams were over. As it was, the first time it happened was to me on an early morning trip to the airport, the day of Gabriel’s last two exams. I couldn’t get it into gear, so Gabriel got a taxi to the airport (5:00am is too early for city buses) and drove it to the mechanic in second or third gear. Sometimes it would let him shift, but other times he’d have to turn it off, put it into second, turn it back on and immediately GO.

I mentioned airport trips. Living close to a major airport in a city with no other Mennonites means we get a decent number of overnight visitors heading to or from the airport. We enjoy it. One of Gabriel’s friends thinks we should have our own parking bay at the airport — not a bad idea considering how often we go there.

This story made me laugh out loud.

Our baby girl is 18 months old now. So hard to believe.

Some things I want to remember about her at this stage:

  • She is saying more and more words, but I would still say that speech is slow in coming. She says “bee” for airplane and blanket. Other words she says are: book, ball, Mommy, Daddy, baby, Grandpa, no, bath, drink, please, down, out, shoes, dog, duck, baa, and bus.
  • She is walking better as the weeks go by, and without a limp this time around! Let me pause for a Hallelujah right here. It’s so GOOD to see. Her latest x-ray about two weeks ago showed that her hip socket is developing well. The doctor didn’t think she’d definitely need surgery in the spring after all. He wants to give the socket as much time as possible to develop on its own before intervening with surgery. Our next checkup is in four months when they’ll do another x-ray and see how the hip is looking then.
  • Bronwyn has had a rough time this last month with adjusting to a new baby in the house and with teething. She is a slow, hard teether and has only two teeth on the bottom and four on the top. A few weeks ago I finally found two upper molars coming through, so at least we know all the grumpies have been for a good cause.
  • She weighs 22 pounds. I don’t know how tall she is, but when she started standing a few weeks ago, we realized how much she’d grown over the summer.
  • She loves taking a bath, riding her car outside, going to bed with her “bee” (blanket), wearing new clothes, her baby brother,  phones, colouring, and looking at books. Her favourite song is “Building Up The Temple.”

We love this girl to bits!

Happy Thanksgiving, you Americans. 🙂



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