Friday, October 14, 2016

Finding Our Groove

As we approach five months as a family, we are finally starting to find our groove. It was been a lot of transition for each of us - moving to a new house/neighbourhood/school, new schedules, new routines, new personalities to accommodate. And, of course, this is all happening while we deal with mountains of paperwork. Paperwork to change my name, change our address, merge our banking, etc. And don't forget the boxes to unpack! We merged two houses into one and the boxes seem to be endless. Although, it finally feels like we are making progress. Yay.

The first while was pretty challenging. As anyone that has moved will know - it's tough to live in a house when nothing is organized or settled. It took time to wade through things and get the kitchen functional and clear enough boxes that we could walk through the living room without it feeling like a maze. And it was tough to get ahead of things when each night we would arrive home at 5:30pm, make dinner, eat and clean up, complete the daily Kumon assignment (more on that later). After getting Cody to bed, we would make lunches and get something prepped for dinner the next day and it would be after 10pm. Neither of us could keep up with that!

Our first step was to get a dishwasher as I previously posted. That has been a life saver. It definitely helps with the time spent in the kitchen. But, we were still finding it difficult to get everything done that needed to be done and be left with no down time for our family. Devin & I discussed the idea of me working less hours to allow some "breathing room". We liked the idea and when I proposed it to my boss, he liked it too.

I'm so blessed to work for such a wonderful husband/wife team. They treat me like family and have been very supportive and accommodating as life's circumstances come up. Marc agreed that I can start a half hour earlier and leave 90 minutes earlier - meaning I'm working one hour less per day. However, this means I can pick Cody up from school (no aftercare) and have time to get dinner ready and have Kumon done when Daddy comes home. It's only week 2 but we are noticing such a difference! We don't feel rushed all the time. Cody has time to be a kid - riding his bike or doing a craft after school. We eat dinner at a decent time and I'm not in the kitchen at 11pm!!

The real blessing in this new schedule is the one-on-one time it affords me with Cody. We are settling in to our new roles and really having fun together. There's the tough stuff - like reminding him to make his bed, flush the toilet and use soap when washing his hands. But then there's the fun stuff like singing songs in the car, making crafts and cooking together. There are many tender moments from this little red head and last night he looked at me and said "Am I making your heart explode?" Ha ha ha. Indeed, Cody. Indeed.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Our Wedding Video

When planning our wedding, there were so many decisions to make. The options are endless but everything comes with a price tag. Initially we were not going to do a video. It seemed like an "extra" that we didn't really need. However, Jo-Anne convinced me that I would regret not having one...especially with my television background.

After plans were underway, we decided to go for it. What's a few more dollars now when you're already spending so much!?! We are so glad that we did. The day was gone in the blink of an eye and we know there are tons of moments that we missed.

Thank you to Marty Lewis for capturing our day and producing this highlight video. Enjoy.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Happy Birthday Duaner

I thought I'd take a moment today to wish my friend Duane a happy birthday. You know how there are some people that come into your life and you instantly feel like you've known them forever? Duane is one of those people.

We met when I started working at the TV station many years ago. We worked some shifts together but where we really connected was when we were on the same team for a company-wide scavenger hunt. Duane (and his then-fiance Debby) drove us around in their minivan - frantically solving puzzles, taking photos and racing around London.

After that, we started to chat more during our shifts and over time Duane became like a brother to me. He has always been great to listen to my issue-de-jour and provide his insight and opinion. Insights and opinions that I value and trust. He was one of the first people I talked to when 9-11 happened, coached me through many relationship twists and turns, listened to family drama, and has made me laugh. A deep belly laugh. He also shared in my excitement - whether counting down to a trip, purchasing my first home or accepting my new position and leaving TV behind me.

He has removed a dead mouse from my kitchen drawer, helped me move and inspired & encouraged me when I went back to school. He loves my hyper-expressive face and pushing my buttons.

Perhaps most importantly, he put my nightmare to bed when he agreed to run the sound at our wedding. I had multiple dreams that I got to the end of the aisle there would not be any music. Or worse, I had to run over and push play myself! Well, Duane (with assistance from his lovely wife Debby) took care of the audio/visual stuff at our wedding and kept things running smoothly.

Imagine my horror when I discovered the slideshow Devin & I had spent hours to put together would not work on the system the Elm Hurst provided. This was despite checking about that very thing the week before. I was so upset to think we couldn't share this with our guests. At the height of my emotion, Duane calmly asked for a key to my house and the password for my computer so that he could go and get the original file and sort out the details. I was overwhelmed. Talk about friendship!

Happy birthday Duane. Hope it's a great one.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Handy Hubby

Have I mentioned how thrilled I am to have a handy hubby? Devin can do pretty much anything he puts his mind to and is knowledgeable in all the things that I'm not. LOL. Remember last year when he re-wired my Christmas tree star? This time he created a coffee nook/installed a dishwasher! 
When we purchased the house, we realized there was not a dishwasher but thought we could hand-wash until renovating next year. A few weeks into our new life and we noticed most of our time was spent washing and drying dishes :( A dishwasher was necessary for our sanity!

Since the kitchen was not designed to include a dishwasher (lame, I know!) Devin had to put his thinking cap on. I'm quite impressed by what we came up with. It involved designing and building a cupboard for the dishwasher - the bonus being a little coffee bar for all our java essentials. He even thought to add a pull out shelf for coffee mugs and the dishwasher soap!

I was quite thrilled as I watched him work - scribbling dimensions, measuring, building, installing. This guy is amazing! He knows what he's doing and he's a perfectionist. This probably sounds totally "1950's housewife" of me, but it was comforting to watch this project and know that my man can take care of me & our family.
The end result is a great little area in the kitchen where we can make our morning coffee AND store our dishes. The best part is, we put them in dirty and they come out clean. How cool is that?

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Love Letters

Rather than writing our own wedding vows, Devin & I stuck to the traditional vows. However, we did write secret love letters to each other that were read aloud during the ceremony. It was my favourite moment of the day!

Devin's letter to me:

To the one who found me.

Janice, the Lord works in amazing ways, last year he stirred your heart to try something you never thought you’d do or want….. to take a chance on one and a half men. And you had the courage to follow his calling with a man and his little red headed boy. 

It was nearly two years ago that I had prayed for the first time in my life that the Lord would show me His will for my life and provide me with the woman He knew I needed and that I would know without a doubt that it was His doing. Janice, you are that answered prayer. I have been swept off my feet by you. It has been one of the greatest experiences of my life in getting to know you and your family. 

I love how intentional you are in all that you do, how passionate you are for the things and people you love, your tenderness, sincerity, stunning beauty, and your character. But above all else, that you put God first in your life, for I know that if you have a good, strong relationship with the Lord, He will show you how to have a good strong relationship with me and Cody. 

I look forward to sharing all the days of my life with you, side by side, and to honor you and my family in all that I do. I love you forever and for always.

Love Devin

And my letter to him:

For many years, I was searching for what my heart yearned for. A husband to journey life with. A partner that would love me unconditionally and with intention. A connection far deeper than any I’ve experienced with another person.

However, I just didn’t seem to be able to make that connection. As I expressed in a 2013 blog post, I longed to drink from one deep well but was forced to satisfy this thirst with 1000 dixie cups.

When I met you, I knew that I had finally found the oasis in the desert. I found someone with a passionate heart for the Lord, a desire to be a wonderful husband and who is the most loving and caring Daddy I know. 

In the past year, God has shown His faithfulness in such big ways to me. My desire to be both a wife and a mom has been fulfilled in one fell swoop. He has provided all that I have desired but in much different packaging than I ever expected. 

You may have recognized the song I chose earlier this morning – Blessed Assurance. I have always loved this hymn, but in the past year, the chorus of this song has been on my heart and on my lips many many times. This is my story, this is my song. Praising my saviour all the day long.

Each of our lives has a story and this is mine. I am forever grateful to the author of this story. I can’t wait to see how it unfolds.

My heart is full and I am thrilled to spend the rest of our days together. I’m keeping you forever and for always.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Finally.... I do.

A perfect day. That is how I would describe our wedding day.

After months of planning the details - big and small - everything came together on May 22. It was an early morning wake up call for the girls - but, that was the trade off for having a morning ceremony. I had a quick bath in the luxurious tub in my room. Side note: Wow, I wish I had more opportunity to enjoy the elegance and grandeur of my room! It had a huge "living room" with beautiful tall ceilings/windows and a fireplace. The bedroom also had a similar window and a corner jet tub that was fantastic.

My long-time hair dresser Brenda and her co-hort showed up just before 6am to get started on taming our manes. After they arrived, it was a constant flurry of activity: Mom stopped by with some breakfast, the make up girl arrived and got to work, a number of texts, emails and Facebook messages kept my phone buzzing. Before I knew it, the photographer was there! It was time to get my dress on and get this party started.

From that moment, the rest of the day went at lightning speed, and I don't know that I recall everything that happened! People tell you that your wedding day will be a blur - and they were right!

Fun tidbit: I got a text from my new father-in-law that he checked at the front desk and the radar for 10am looked good. I thought that was random and only later realized that it had rained that morning and they weren't sure if we would be able to do the ceremony outside! I think it's better that I didn't know that :)

Before I knew it, it was time to finally walk down the aisle. I took Dad's arm and paused for a moment as I savoured the moment. I was surprised by how calm I was. I had waited a long time for this and yet it felt like the most natural moment in the world. I loved each step that I took - greeted by so many smiling faces. But the greatest smiles were the two waiting for me at the end of the aisle.

I must confess, I loved the ceremony. It was a perfect blend of tradition and our personalities. I'm so happy that we had both Dave Lane & Gord Gilmore be a part. I have known Dave since my teen years and am good friends with him and Laurie. Gord has been an important part of Devin's spiritual walk. So, we were thrilled to have a dual pastor service!

At Dave's suggestion, we used traditional marriage vows but included a love letter to each other. Other than Dave, no one (including us) had read the contents before that particular moment in the ceremony. It was my favourite moment of the day. It was important to us that Cody was included in the ceremony because I was making a commitment to him as well as to Devin. So, we wrote a love letter to Cody as well. What an incredibly special memory.

As I stood at the front of our friends and family, I tried to soak in the moment. There were points throughout the day I tried to do that - take a mental photo. I recall looking into Devin's eyes as we said our vows and listened to the beautiful, poetic words of his love letter and knowing that I had found a real treasure.

Despite the rain earlier in the morning, the sun had come out and was shining down on us. Shining down so much, it was actually getting kind of warm. I had been concerned that the May long weekend might be kinda chilly and my bare arms might leave me shivering. Nope. In fact, Cody took refuge behind Devin during the ceremony to get some shade from the hot sun.

Many times during the planning process, Devin & I commented that we would love to be a guest at this wedding! We knew that we would not be able to enjoy the atmosphere and experiences that we were creating for our guests. This was definitely the case, but I think everyone enjoyed the Sunday paper and coffee we provided.

When we started planning a brunch wedding, the ideas just all came together to have it on a Sunday morning, serve coffee and create a personalized newspaper for our guests while we had photos done. Quite honestly, creating the newspaper was the best part of the planning for me. It's a natural fit for my skill set and interests and allowed my creativity to flow. It was also a way for us to include some of our friends and family. I even found a website that would print on actual newsprint. Super fun!

We wanted to pair the newspaper with coffee - naturally. At first we looked into having Starbucks but soon discovered the only "experience" they could provide was a carafe of pre-made coffee being poured into cups. Not really what we were after. Fortunately my friend Kim suggested O-Joe Coffee after seeing them at her cousin's wedding. They were perfect! They created exactly the ambiance we were looking for.

As I mentioned, the day went by so fast. My only regret is that I didn't have a chance to see & talk to our guests more. Having a morning ceremony & brunch reception kept things on a tight timeline. Of course, you are bound to have moments that you would change when you look back on things, but overall I feel the day was pretty perfect. And, after all, it's not about the day but the lifetime that follows!

Post Script: It has taken me a long time to find some time to get my thoughts together from the big day. Selling my house, moving and becoming a wife & mom have taken priority! Stay tuned for some additional tidbits and photos :)

Friday, June 03, 2016

He Made You Special

It's funny how music can evoke such emotion. I have experienced this time and again, but it always amazes me.

Several weeks ago, Cody asked Devin why his ear was shaped the way that it is. (his right ear has a little fold-over on the top part) Devin told him that's the way God made him and that he is special. Those words immediately reminded me of a song my mom would sing to me when I was a little girl. I could remember most of the words to the chorus, so I sang it to Cody. He listened intently with a big smile on his face.

Those words lingered in my head for a few days until I Googled the song to see if I could find the rest of the lyrics. When I did, I was taken back in time to when I was about four years old. The memory of Mom singing this song to me was powerful as I felt so very special and loved. (the lyrics are so sweet).

Last night when getting ready for bed, Cody asked if I could sing the song about his ear. This made me chuckle but I agreed that yes, I would. "And" I added "there's another part to the song that I remembered". I sang it to him with as much love as my mom had sung it to me. I'm sure he was a bit confused as he saw a tear roll down my cheek, but I was just so grateful that I could share such a sweet moment with him.

The Lyrics:

When Jesus sent you to us,
we loved you from the start.
You were just a bit of sunshine,
from heaven to our hearts.
Not just another baby,
'cause since the world began
there's been something very special
for you in His plan.

That's why he made you special,
you're the only one of your kind.
God gave you a body
and a bright healthy mind.
He has a special purpose
that He wants you to find.
So He made you something special
you're the only one of your kind.