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We traveled across the ocean and back since I last wrote on this blog. Our main goals were to see family  and friends and for Gabriel to get in some hands-on experience following vets around. We did lots of other fun things, too.

Like tractor rides. Bronwyn got her first ride on a Massey Ferguson (of course) that Gabriel was using to cut hay for his brother. I got to ride along, too. It brought back nice memories; some of our best talks have taken place in the tractor.

We got to go to a wedding! Gabriel’s brother got married to his true love in Ohio. It was a lovely wedding and had some of the prettiest colors and decorations I’ve seen lately. Also, Gabriel sang a solo in the ceremony and was emcee at the reception. He did a fantastic job in both roles. Also, my mom and dad were at the wedding and gladly took care of Bronwyn during the ceremony; that was such a blessing since we were seated all the way in the front pew. Also, I got to see a very dear friend for the first time in ages and we had a great time catching up with each other.

Happy and in love.

While we were in Ohio, we spent some time with my sisters, their families, and our parents. Bronwyn’s older cousins did such a great job playing with and entertaining her. She had a blast. A couple times at night I woke up to hear her talking, saying things like “ball”, but she was sound asleep. I guess her little mind got a lot of stimulation being around all those children!

I have a fat face, white hair, and a cute niece.

This, by the way, is where Bronwyn gets her blue eyes. And she spent a lot of time nakey this summer. At least as nakey as she could get, which wasn’t very.

Bronwyn cried because I wouldn’t let her scribble in a book, so Uncle Keith took her upstairs to the easel, and boy-howdy did she have fun.

After about six days in Ohio, we spent the rest of our time in Ontario. We stayed with Gabriel’s parents. Bronwyn learned to say “Grandpa” while we were there, which was pretty special especially considering that she still doesn’t say “mama.”

We went to a lodge for a few days with Gabriel’s family. It was five hours north of Kitchener-Waterloo, close to Alquonquin Park. The lodge was right on the lake and had kayaks to take out. I had never been kayaking, but I fell in love with it. Gabriel and I had some truly magical rides on that lake. One morning while on shore we saw a family of loons diving and calling to each other–another first for me, and somehow surreal to witness.

Bronwyn even got a few tiny rides around the dock in a kayak. (Don’t ask me what we would have done if her cast had gotten dunked.)

The five grandchildren of Bruce and Ruthann Jantzi. Wouldn’t you love to have that red hair in the family? I’ve always kind of wished for a red-haired child but I don’t think there’s much chance of that ever happening!

These guys played a Very Serious game of Construction one afternoon.

Kayaking at sunset in the fall on a lake in northern Ontario: something about that whole experience was so good for my heart.

And now we’re back home in Dublin. Yes, I said “home” and it really felt like it when we came back this time. We’re grateful for that.

-Jennifer

 

 

 

 

Thing One:

Bronwyn gets her cast changed tomorrow for the first time. Six weeks of wearing the cast is behind us, folks! That’s big around here.

Four weeks ago.

Today. Amazing how fast a baby grows in a short amount of time.

Thing Two:

We fly to Canada the day after tomorrow! :Cue the sound of angels singing:

in Canada, you see, is directly after the harvest for which one is thanking God.  That would be… TODAY!

The lectures had a mournful tinge; had this been in Canada, I would not have had school today.  Rather, I would have had at least one Thanksgiving meal.  (And kudos to my family!  Those Thanksgiving dinners is eaten by a child of my parents are, well, it reminds one of the phrase, “which things the angels desire to look into.”  Gabriel’s reaction also reminds one of the steps of phagocytosis: recognition, attachment, and engulfment.)

Then I got home from school to my two favourite ladies in the world, and found that the one HAD MADE A THANKSGIVING DINNER IN HONOUR OF HER CANADIAN HUSBAND!  (The other was squawking around like she often does when I get home.)

I suppose the kind of love Jenn gives me is also one of those “things the angels desire to look into.” 🙂

Today we went to church. A friend took this picture of us afterwards so we can put it in our church calendar at Fairhaven (our church in Ontario).

I still can’t get over how little time it takes us to get to church with a car. We leave the house at 8:15am and get to church at 10:10am. I love it!

Today I took along a hank of yarn, a pair of needles, and instructions on learning how to knit. By the time we pulled into the church yard, I had completed one whole row of stitches! And now, due to messing up somewhere, I’m back where I started. That’s okay. It’s a learning process, and at least I’m doing something constructive on the way to church (back seat driving doesn’t count).

What’s your drive to church like?

In Canada, they use the word “holiday” like Americans use the word “vacation.” They’ll say, “We’re going on holidays,” or, “Enjoy your holidays!”

Anyway. Today is “Civic Holiday” because somebody decided we need a holiday in August. Bless them.

Gabriel is mowing lawn, Bronwyn is sleeping off the Monday blues (she gets them every week; she’s not used to socializing all day on Sundays yet), and I’m catching up on housework. You know it’s bad when the toothbrush holder in the bathroom smells like smutty rotting vegetation.

Last week in church, Bronwyn spit up all down my back. It went down past my waist and made puddles on the pew. This week she filled her pants so loudly that (I’m told) it was heard all the way on the other side of the church. Surely there’s a limit to the number of embarrassing bodily functions she can perform in public.

A dear lady in church gave me a bunch of D. E. Stevenson books to read while I feed Bronwyn. They’re all the same—light, fluffy, predictable romances, but they make me think about something else besides the work that needs to be done while I sit and feed my baby. Bless her for remembering what it was like when she had babies and for introducing me to Stevenson’s books.

Americans, wait it out—Labor Day is coming. Canadians, have a nice holiday.

Normally my Google Reader inbox is sort of quiet, but today there were several good reads that I’d like to share with you.

  1. A list of good picture books here. I’m always looking for more recommendations on children’s books; I’ll never outgrow my love for them (I hope not anyway).
  2. Carolyn wrote about going green. It made me realize how much more aware I’ve become of my tiny social responsibility since I moved out of USA. My dear fellow Americans–we’re way behind the bandwagon on this one.
  3. Jewel wrote about the youth fellowship meetings and the dilemma we Americans face as Anabaptists living in a world-powerful country. I don’t even know Jewel, but I love reading her posts. It’s nice to know we have youth who are thoughtful and observant and who care about Anabaptism as well as following the Lord.
  4. I’ve loved reading Dorcas Smucker’s series of recent posts about her Epic trip with her daughter. (You can see the links under Previous Posts on the right hand side of the page.) I laughed out loud at her account of sharing a motel room with a hippie. I also realized what a different experience it is to travel by bus in the States as opposed to Europe. We spent upwards of six hours almost every weekend last year in Ireland on a bus, and the bus officials as well as the passengers were timely, professional, and courteous. We never encountered such collective rudeness as Dorcas experienced. Way to go, Bus Eireann!

There is your recommended reading. How did you like it?

In Dublin this past winter, I nearly went bonkers with loneliness. I thought, “If only we could see more friends during the week.”

Well.

Guess what I think now? “If only we could have several nights at home, just us.” Ha.

I’m being grateful for this round of sociabilities, because I know that in approximately a month and a half, I’ll be longing for this kind of thing again. But here’s what our schedule looked like the past few weeks:

Friday night: friends from Gabriel’s undergrad years come for supper (shish kebabs!)
Saturday night: Gabriel’s two younger siblings and Boris come for supper (grilled burgers and hotdogs) because the parents were out of town
Sunday: Lunch with friends down the street after church
Sunday night: Dinner with more friends down the street. Stay out until 11:30 and walk home on the dark roads under the starlit sky with sleeping baby in arms, thinking about how this is so peaceful and storing up the memories against the prospect of garish city nights this autumn.
Tuesday night: Campfire (mountain pies!) at friends’ house for supper.
Wednesday night: Prayer Meeting
Thursday night: Picnic with Gabriel’s work crew (grilled pork chops and sausages!)
Friday night: Supper at friends’ house (grilled chicken!)
Sunday: Seven friends over for lunch (grilled sausages!). Lots of good conversation–these were people we don’t get to see very often.
Sunday night: church.
Monday night: Gabriel goes to friend’s house to work on his car and their computer.
Tuesday night: Friend comes over so Gabriel can work on his computer.

The rest of the week looks like this:
Thursday night: Gabriel conducts choir practice.
Friday night: Friends over for supper (more shish kebabs!)
Saturday: Birthday party for Tamar, at her house.
Sunday: Lunch at friends’ house.

O Happy Medium, where art thou?

Also, now I understand why I didn’t have to go grocery shopping for a month—apparently we’ve been living off the good graces of our friends and their cooking.

Last week, the day after we got back from our big trip to the States, the young married ladies at church gave Bronwyn a baby shower.

Sisters Janelle and Carolyn. These girls know how to throw a party.

Jen and Sheila play “Guess the Poop.”

Just kidding. It was actually candy bars, but some looked a little too . . . realistic.

(The above photo and all the ones below were taken by Carolyn.)

They each gave money and a small gift for me or the baby. I felt so spoiled and undeserving.

Me and my girl.

Your daily dose of cuteness.

The baby shower left me feeling so blessed by our friends here, who welcomed me wholeheartedly into their lives just two and a half years ago. I treasure them a lot.

  • People like the couple who invited us for lunch after church yesterday, “just in case you feel like getting out of the house.” Now that’s an understanding soul, one who remembers what it was like to go overdue herself.
  • The fact that a friend of mine (another one WHO WAS DUE AFTER ME) has had her baby–I am very happy for her that she’s not pregnant anymore.
  • Life in the country. Right now, all I hear are birds singing and the occasional vehicle on the highway. I know if I step outside, there will be new grass, apple blossoms, and a freshly planted garden. Beautiful.
  • LOTS of rhubarb that a kind friend sent over last week. I chopped most of it for the freezer and have been pulling it out to make dessert and a few batches of rhubarb punch. Gabriel declares this is his new favorite drink, and since it’s so easy to make, I’ll share it with you: Cook 4 cups chopped rhubarb in about 1.5 quarts  of water. Strain out rhubarb when it’s falling apart (I like to use an old handkerchief as a strainer). Add sugar to taste (I use 3/4 – 1 cup) and enough water to make 2 quarts. Now, the fun part is you can add about 1 cup of any frozen juice concentrate you like. OR, and this is G’s favorite, blend up some old frozen strawberries that you put up before you were married and add that to make strawberry rhubarb punch. Delightful!

That’s what my brain feels like–mushy spaghetti, at that. But there are a few things I want to say.

1) Friday night we spent a delightful evening with friends, hearing about their lives and telling them about ours. One couple is soon moving further north to a farm where they plan to raise a small flock of sheep. Another just became ordained to the ministry in their church (how are we old enough to have friends who talk about “preaching on Sunday” and “going to ministers’ meetings”?). Another couple told us about their recent visit to The Taize Community in France and taught us some of the music they learned there. It touched a hungry part of my soul and made me wonder if I haven’t seriously been missing something in my worship habits.

2) This morning my friend Anita and I hit some garage sales, and was it ever worth it for me. I got a bouncy seat for the baby, a few toys, some very cute clothes, some Gordon Korman books for Gabriel’s funny bone, and a Dirt Devil vacuum cleaner–ALL for $20.00. I just have to say, garage sales are one part of America that beats Europe (Ireland at least) to a pulp. It’s the major reason I waited to buy most of our baby stuff until we came to Canada–I knew we could find high-quality items for much less than we’d pay in Europe.

3) Speaking of the baby…well, there really isn’t anything to tell. I’m still pregnant! My friend in Ireland who was due two weeks after me has already had her baby! (Not to whine, but HOW is that fair?) I’m happy for her and grumpy for me. This baby is apparently in no rush to see the world, and I know I should be savoring these last few days of peace and quiet.

4) Washing up the kitchen floor on hands and knees does not induce labor. Amen.

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