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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.



This chookawookums is giggling, babbling, rolling, and turning us into balls of mush on a daily basis.

Some Greg trivia:

He sleeps about 11 hours at night and takes two naps a day.

He eats three meals a day now. Two months ago I thought he’d never like solids, but now he eats like the sturdy baby boy he is.

Still no teeth!?

Zero interest in crawling (his sister was crawling and pulling herself up at this age). He’s happy to sit and watch the world pass him by. I can’t say I’m in a hurry for him to crawl; that milestone will mean I’ll have to sweep the floors more often.

Anything stringy or ropy is the world’s best toy for him. A string keeps him occupied for ages.

He weighs about 19 pounds.

Still loves his doorway jumper. And loves his daddy:

And we love him.

All photos by 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

Oh Gregory! You’re four (and a half) months old.

You weigh about 14 pounds and are in the 90th percentile for height.

You go to bed at 7:30-8:00 every night now, sleep until about 4:00 when you wake up to feed and go back to sleep until around 7:00. You still take a nap between almost every feed during the day.

You are so giggly. It’s so much fun to make you laugh and laugh. We were a little worried when you didn’t smile for your first six weeks, but you are definitely making up for it now.

You like watching your big sister play. You like being in the doorway jumper or playing on the floor. You also like being in your car seat (we can’t get over how different you are from Bronwyn) and almost always take a nap or are just happy when we go driving somewhere. You can also roll from your tummy to your back.

We still can’t really figure out who you look like. Definitely a Jantzi, but other than that you just seem to look like Gregory!

You’ve already had a mini haircut. You are kind of bald at the sides but the hair in the back was getting long and straggly. Mama said your hair looked like an old man’s hair. So one night Mom and Dad took a scissors to it — but they cut it too short, so now you look like an Amish old man who just got a haircut.

The following documents Mama’s pitiful attempt at getting a good shot of you and Bronwyn:

Ha. 🙂 Lunch and a nap made everything better.

Today we’re going to the embassy to complete your paperwork for your American passport application. Last time we were there, they told us they need a certified copy of our marriage certificate. Your uncle mailed it to us from Canada, but apparently it got lost because we never got it! So we ordered another one from the courthouse in South Carolina, and now that should be all we need to get your passport and American citizenship.

We can’t imagine life without you, Gregory!

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?

Gregory is growing so well. He has been an angel baby, sleeping and eating like clockwork. I can’t get over how different he is in personality from Bronwyn. Laid-back and patient are two qualities that describe him well. He hasn’t been as responsive as she was, but then he isn’t nearly as demanding either. He waited six weeks to grace us with a smile, but since then he’s made up for it with smiles, coos, and entire conversations with us.

I had him weighed and measured on Tuesday and he weighs twelve pounds and measures 23.5 inches long. Five and a half pounds is a pretty impressive weight gain; he jumped from the 9th percentile at birth to the 50th at eight weeks!

It’s hard to imagine our family without this little guy. Gabriel and he have been bonding a lot since exams are over, and it’s so good to see.

His Christmas present was this colour stacker/sorter. Bronwyn was intrigued with it. As you can see, Gregory isn’t too impressed yet.

Back to enjoying the rest of the “holidays”…ours lasts until Gabriel goes back to school. Pretty nice.


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.

If the last days and weeks and months of pregnancy are a soul-harrowing desert, the postpartum days when your mom comes to take care of you and your family are the proverbial balm in Gilead: restful, refreshing, and oh-so-comforting.

My mom has been here for the past two weeks. She has done laundry, cooked meals, effortlessly made delicious varieties of fresh bread, taken care of the babies, and inspired me to drive places in and around Dublin where I’ve previously been too scared to go.

I hope my children will always have memories of Grandma like this:

Unpacking (a whole suitcase of) treats from the States,

Newborn babies getting baths in the kitchen sink,

AND . . .

Big sisters learning to walk again. Seeing Bronwyn toddle around with the help of her grandma is enough to make me tear up. Thinking about my mom leaving on Tuesday is enough to make me feel like crying too, but we won’t think about that.

No, instead we’ll gaze on the miracle of a newborn and savor the smell of his skin after a bath and realize that every day he seems to look more like a Jantzi.

So on Tuesday I’ll have to get my big-girl shoes on, but until then you can believe I’m soaking up all the blessings of being a semi-spoiled youngest daughter. 😉



Today is my due date!

I am so happy and thankful that I’m no longer pregnant, though. 🙂 Our baby boy arrived early this past Friday morning, and we’re so in love with him already.

Gregory Shane Jantzi :: 6 lb. 5 oz. :: 19.5 in. :: 21 October 2011

So happy and thankful for our baby boy!


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