Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Ten Things I'm Thankful For ~ Wintry Cold!

Country roads...
Yes, take me home, right to the bottom of this street. 

Isn't this the most gorgeous photo above?

The sky is the most beautiful shade of blue, snow has freshly fallen, and with this lovely landscape, one is always fooled over just HOW COLD it really is outdoors!

Wow, with temperatures of "feels like" -35C the past two weeks, baby it's been COLD outside!

It's pretty though, isn't it? 

 And, so pretty to gaze out our windows at the brightness of the wintry cold.

Maybe I'm the only one who really loves this stuff, maybe not. The wintry bitter cold can be awful some days, but the typical eastern saying of; "bundle up" takes on a new meaning for people living here. Get your winter woolens out everyone, and wear them well.

This edition of my "Ten Things I'm Thankful For" features a bit of our "wintry cold" weather, matching up with winter activities and warmer indoor assorted moments.

Here's to another "TEN" things.... right here; 

- 1 - I'm thankful for weekly ice skating sessions in our local indoor rink, the noon hour time slot was recently offered to local homeschool families to go ahead and use to their heart's desires. 

Yes, there are hockey sticks galore most days, a little bit of figure skating practice, and the bonus of a very shiny, well polished surface to greet us when arriving.

- 2 - I'm thankful for organizing all of our Christmas decorations once more, taking my sweet time in performing this activity, all now neatly placed away and stored until next year.

It's amazing how many seasonal decor items we tend to own, those over time which tend to evoke a certain depths of emotion. How often do we rarely even take a few minutes to observe them, devoting any acknowledgement at all? Like the angel above for instance, a staple traditional item that's been in our family for many, many years now. Always, the "youngest" child would handle with care and place atop of our Christmas tree, with daddy hoisting them upward to complete the task. Certain Christmas tree color themes gathered over the years can do that too, confirming for me, that it's most definitely the "little things" that matter the most.

- 3 - I'm thankful for this daughter choosing to purchase her very own horse, and witnessing just how wonderful it has been for her to secure her daily visits and riding, at the barn where this lovely horse lady is living/boarding.

I'm also thankful for visiting "Old Navy", because they are a horse rider's dream store for winter clothing wear. They just had a huge clearance sale on their winter vests, and both of our girls were lucky enough to sail away with the last of their offerings. At a sale price of only 12.00 each, many riders at our barn were laughing over having purchased four or five apiece, but we were just pleased with one each ourselves. 

And, another daughter is tacking up, preparing for her ride with her favorite new horse "Aussie". 

Check out her new bright orange tote tray on the floor, the one she asked for at Christmas time, the one also filled to the brim and organized well, with her horse brushes and grooming supplies.

Not to be undone, this little gal has her own horse to ride, just so she doesn't feel left out. Actually, her mommy has been a "Kijiji" browser these days, noting what's new and interesting for baby. She came home last week with a wonderful FREE wooden baby sled, a rocking chair, and this (nominal fee) bouncing horse. 

Our house is certainly becoming more and more filled with "baby activity items". This one takes the cake with the sounds of cowboy singsongs, galloping hooves,  and neighing horse sounds which are turned on for most of her time spent exercising within it. She's like a bucking bronco in that thing, so fun to watch.

- 4 - I'm so very thankful for the past two years at this barn, where our girls have spent hundreds and hundreds of hours there! 

It's been a time to mourn this past few days, specially after learning our beloved barn has been sold. The owners are having health issues, so the stage was set when one surprising day, a total stranger appeared and asked if they might be interested in selling their 100+ acre equestrian farm. 

It was a no-brainer for them, and surely all of the girls were taken into consideration in the sale process this past three short weeks since the man appeared on their property! Lots of emotion and floods of tears have spilled over, however, a new chapter filled with adventure is slowly, very slowly falling open before us. 

As other barns have already been secured for all the horse boarders to move to over the next two months, the "riding team" has been offered to stay until September. That left our daughter able to breathe well, due to now having a horse boarding there herself, an upcoming wedding and so many other things taking shape in her life ahead. She knows she'll have another barn to move to, complete with all the other riding team members along for the journey forward, plus the coach with her horses she'll be keeping, and a few other close friends with their own horses to board there as well. 

With fewer horse rider lessons (all will be gone next month who aren't part of the show team), and less horse boarders over time, all of the remaining show team gals have been asked to come as frequently as they are able, to ride and keep all of the horses exercised, tend to the barn's upkeep, and ensure the chores are done. The barn is located just 2 km. away from us, a bike ride away in good weather, so "can you say our girls are smiling" over that? It's a little bittersweet right now.

They'll be doubling up weekly riding lessons, complete with daily coaching and riding to train the horses for show season ahead. We'll be marching into the "Trillium" show levels this year, a bit higher division for our girls, so all of the preparations seem to be falling into place. 

Still, the heart pangs just a bit, for the wonderful community we have been blessed with, the incredible support they all have been to our family in welcoming our girls there, and the horse showing advancement our girls have been privy to with the best coach anyone could ask for. We hope and pray her health improves, and that this is the perfect page turner to something special. It's a blessing to know she is still interested in coaching the girls elsewhere once she moves. Bonus.

- 5 - I'm thankful for more counter top blessings, with cheery notes and creative attempts to bless her family.

She tried to perform "free hand" with a bit of lattice work practice, but the rest were spiral and icing topped. Yum

I noticed a sign up at our local "Bulk Barn", advertising cake decorating classes this spring, so someone may just be taking the four week class with her friend. Won't that be great?

 - 6 - I'm thankful for that bloody awful bug having finally left my body! I'm hoping anyway. 

I have not been bedridden in years and years, but somehow three of us in recent weeks, contracted the worst cold/flu within our health limits.

Diffusing essential oils day and night, moving it around the 
house to keep it disinfected and airborne germs from spreading.

First, the chills and fever, followed by sinus aches, head cold, drainage into the lungs to create a bronchial cough so forceful, and our energy levels flattened to keep us heaving with great fatigue when moving about. Bed was just the best decision, and with sore eye sockets, there wasn't much else taking place outside of laying there.

Surgical masks appeared on everyone, and mom had to sleep in the guest room to avoid my hubby from contact with this "thing".

Garlic! The absolute key to kicking us forward this week. 
15 cloves in our Caesar salad dressing recipe! 

Thankfully, he never caught the bug, but let me tell you - this one came from the sickest place in the area, our church family! Yes, everyone seemed to be ill one Sunday morning, so we all leaned over and insisted my husband leave before he became exposed to more.

We never thought we'd end up suffering so much with this bug, but wow, it's been years and years since we've had to have daily naps, preferring bed to rising for almost two weeks altogether. Ugh! 

So, here's my yearly winter plea to all;

If you are sick, and even though you may still feel it your moral duty to ensure your family gets transported to attend church on Sundays, please consider the option of performing the unusual, and just opt to remain at home instead. 

Keeping your hearth and sickness burning in your own home rather than thoughtlessly extending your illness forward, even when attempts are made with the best intentions for a moral good - please try to consider possible outcomes toward innocent victims who cannot medically come into contact with your state of unwell being.

When you have to be sick, why not enjoy the view?

Oftentimes, it's just best to keep our unwell children at home as well, mostly to avoid also making older folks, or that newest parish baby, or even someone with an autoimmune issue suffer afterward.

And when I say "unwell or sick, or ill", please know there is a difference between a few sniffles to popping a few pills for suppressing that fever, pretending all is well with you and yours, or, gulping back spoonfuls of cough syrup to suppress that telltale cough, or sneezing rather grossly and blowing your nose nonstop through mass. We all especially love it when someone obviously has no tissue, and end up wiping their noses on their sleeves, or worse yet, rubbing their fingers over their drippings to dry themselves. Where, oh where do those fingers go afterward?

Sometimes, a family's weekend health welfare is just best left to spending time recovering at home, and observing instead the Sunday privately together there. 

Please remember to take the higher road, and seriously decide if your family's wellness matches the efforts to ensure all will be able to sit in a pew next to another unassuming victim, and not infest him/her instead with something that might endanger their very lives.

The stress levels have been HIGHER than HIGH here, in our attempts to protect my husband from contracting this thing, knowing he was on his way into respiratory rehabilitation once more, and he cannot be a tiny bit unwell to enter through the front doors for this wonderful lifesaving bootcamp, that ultimately we hope and pray, will offer him more days with us from his continued lousy medical prognosis. 

After my own illness, when this mama never gets sick like this, I will never, ever, have the same view from my pew, not ever again after that horrible Sunday where everyone knew, but no one cared enough to refrain from spreading their love around that day.

There are many fellow parishioner regrets coming forward in the form of apologetic telephone calls, (they just didn't think they'd say), especially after one of our priests gave a talk from the pulpit about how dangerous it is for some folks trying to blend in their midst each week, to become exposed to such things. A five day old baby also contracted the illness, plus two others suffering from respiratory illness, not to mention entire families who were down the same time as ours. Never again! Oh my! 

The health status of an entire parish family seriously matters to us this time of year, so we must refrain from even attending when there is suspicion of illness within the church building. There's something to say about a permanent dispensation for being able to choose this option, that's for sure.

~ Amen. 

- 7 - I'm thankful for thoughts of spring ahead, after hearing many birds out and about hiding in the barn nesting while our girls were last riding. 

I sure do miss my resident birdies this time of year when few are around to watch and listen to, but from time to time I'm still able to spot a pileated woodpecker, a downy woodpecker, and a few pigeons roosting noisily in the barn.

- 8 - I'm thankful for the tidiest desk I've had in recent days. It's amazing how well it looked for the two weeks were were down with our illness! Nice.

I guess that's the key, huh? No one uses the books when they are ill? Uh, no! I'd rather trade being up and about though, having a messy desk any day, than have a spotless one like this all of the time due to illness in our family.

So, after pondering this whole idea for some time, I did what came naturally, took out my camera when deciding a bit of mess does indeed manage to breathe much life into a family's home, definitely marking a sign and letting everyone know there are other loving people alive and well, diligently working on their vocations from day to day in our home. Yes! Life abounds here, illnesses - just leave and go away.

- 9 - I'm thankful for a house filled with guitar players! This should be most interesting to have three electric and three acoustic guitars for our three men to play together at home. Yes, they are jamming quite regularly, and don't sound that bad considering the volumes used at times with the guitars plugged into the amplifier!

Music is filling the air waves here folks. It's rather fun to watch them all playing their stringed instruments. 

My husband has again requested I consider leaving my craft room so he can make a music studio in it instead. I'm still giggling, and scratching my head over that one. 


...and more thankfulness for another guitar, Canucks hockey reminders, and Hobbit movie materials left on a young man's bedside.  Such a man this one, hardly a spot available on his night table, but it's loaded with interesting (to him) things.

- 10 - I'm thankful for more "little things", for a son who has been well trained, and who knows well how to tape up new hockey sticks by himself now, preparing them well for game day.

Both his special and beloved composite sticks broke at the same time, and thankfully there was a sale on similar composite sticks the next day, so he could quickly prepare and tape new ones up to use at his next hockey game. We are bartering the purchase of these (not so cheap) sticks, for his action filled snow blowing driveway duties. That's actually working out quite well. 

I remember many times watching our older boys wrapping up their sticks, twirling the tape around to get their precision lines flowing, and then binding all over top well row by row. And then, there comes the handle, perfectly padded up with tape to get a grip once the hockey gloves are on hands.

It's been like a walk down memory lane for sure, mostly as I never completely knew for a long, long time how creative this process really was for the boys regarding taping their sticks. It really matters...

So, once game day came, a couple new sticks gave this son's confidence levels a big boost, when he became the boy in red in front of the goalie this day.

And, there you go! Ten things that rendered an entire blog post, and loads of words to roll along with the photos uploaded here. Yes, I apologize for becoming rather 'wordy', though there are times when a few things need to be shared, noted, and passed along.

Are you passing your important and thankful things along? Do you have ten things you can count in this week, perhaps every day instead of once a week? Come along, and join me in saluting yet another ten, ten, ten only, special things I'm thankful for, in no particular order whatsoever.

Have a beautiful week everyone!

Our "Tintin" and his sister holding their nephew...

I want to share a fun photo at the end of this post. I fell in love with this image of our son kindly loving his sweet little nephew last summer. With his haircut and whimsical facial expressions, he was nicknamed "Tintin". 

Every time I see this photo, it just breaks a smile from me, and my heart warms up all wonderful and lovingly for him. How sweet these years are!