Sunday, 29 July 2007

Our new home

Our growing Gawthroupe family is moving into a new home. James and I have bought our first house, and so come September we will be moving up to Orangeville.

We hadn't been planning on moving this quickly, thinking we'd more likely move next spring. However, everything aligned just right and so we find ourselves moving in two months. We will certainly miss many of the friends we have made here, but we hope to keep in contact and visit often.

Our top reasons for loving this house:

1) A backyard! Colin is so at home in the great outdoors. If we have to stay inside for the day, he might throw anywhere from 5-10 tantrums as he finds himself frustrated with the confinement. He has never had any problems while wandering around outside. With a large deck for me to sit out on and a huge yard for him to run around in, hopefully it will make for a bit more peace at home.

2) An office space for James! James has been finding it hard to get work done at home, since Colin is such a Daddy's boy. Often he's been shutting himself up in the bedroom so that Colin isn't aware that he's home. Even though the workspace is in the basement, it will be a lot easier on the whole family.

3) A 5 minute walk to the main street and other shops! With only one car, I've often felt confined at home. With so many stores, rec centres and the library within such a short distance, getting out will be much easier.

Of course, we will greatly miss this fabulous location of where we're living now. If you haven't been to our place, we live right on Lake Ontario, with many parks and walking paths around us. The houses are beautiful (not to mention worth at least a million dollars each!) and the people are so friendly. I have always been one whose emotions are greatly lifted while in nature, and it will be hard leaving the water.

I am SO excited, however, about finally having a place to decorate, fix up, keep up, etc. I've restrained myself while in this apartment, as we didn't want to put too much money into a rental place. James has also kept my natural "fix-it" tendencies in check, since all repairs are covered by the apartment. Now I find myself waking early in the morning, swimming in ideas of how to make our new house into a home.

Here are a few photos - enjoy! We hope to see some of you at our new place.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Colin Tidbits

For those of you who don't regularly get to see us and our little guy, here are a few little gems from Colin's world:

His words: Help, clock, wallet, stop sign, basketball, socks. (Nothing like "food, drink, milk, yes, no, more," or anything like that!)

Pastimes: Reading, running, going down the slide (the big one, not the kiddy one!), plunking away on the piano, pushing his hippopotamus wagon or his own stroller. (Still no interest in regular toys.)

Favourite Books: "Marsupial Sue", "Love You Forever", "Goodnight Moon", "Pat the Bunny", "Punchinello and the Most Marvelous Gift", "Where the Wild Things Are".

Favourite Foods: Granola bars, carrots, crackers, whole apples, anything that's on your plate. Everything must be eaten by himself, with his fingers, while he holds a fork in the other hand.

His Songs: Although he doesn't sing the words, he loves to sing the melodies (using the syllable "ya-ya-ya") of: Frere Jaques, London Bridge is Falling Down, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Mary Had a Little Lamb, and pretty much anything else he hears us singing.

Funny bits: If he finds himself standing still, he likes to turn in circles in one spot. He loves to be chased around the apartment, always turning to make sure you're still following him. He likes to walk around with his eyes closed and a huge grin on his face. He has a huge belly laugh that gets going when he's being tickled. When about to do something he shouldn't, he stands very still in one spot for a moment, then looks up directly at you, smiles a devilish grin, and does it anyway. He loves playing hide and seek. He much prefers just to walk/run outside rather than play with toys and such. People comment all the time on how adorable he is - and he seems to know how to turn on that charm!

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Two lessons I've learned from Pregnancy

Most of you know how little I enjoy being pregnant. I thought finding out the sex of this baby might help in the connection, but truly, I'm just so exhausted and ill and in pain all the time that I can't wait for it to be over.

However, I can say I have learned to important lessons during this pregnancy, neither of which have anything directly to do with bearing children!

Lesson number one: Time Management.

Being ill has allowed me to reexamine what really needs doing around here, and what doesn't. General tidying - yes. We've all nearly broken our necks on stray toys, wayward shoes and floating dishes. Deep cleaning - no. So the bathroom didn't get a full scrub this week. Rinsing out the sink with my hand while I brush my teeth at least means I don't have to look at the dust. Dishes - yes. The only thing worse than day-old dishes is two-day-old dishes. And three-day-old dishes. It's never worth putting it off, and I cannot stand to start preparing a meal if my counter is cluttered with dishes. Meal planning - no. This was a hard one for me, as I love to experiment with cooking, creating new meal ideas for James and I. It really is one of my simple pleasures. However, I have realized that sometimes a quick nap/rest will do me much better, and if we eat ravioli from a can, a bowl of cereal, some crackers and a few grapes, well, at least we have food on the table and in our tummies. Naps - yes. Another tough one. I am a multi-tasker, and I still haven't found a way to multi-task during naps. I'm a busy-builder, project-maker, go-getter that thrives on a full schedule. But I have learned that drifting off on the floor during playtime with Colin doesn't really count as playtime. I may have been a 5-6 hour sleeper in the past, but now I need a good 9 hours at night, plus at least an hour or two in the afternoon. I am often still groggy, but at least I am able to strike a few things off the ever-growing to-do list!

Lesson number two: Clearing the Clutter

Trying to imagine how we'll fit another baby into our small apartment has opened my eyes to the vast amount of stuff we have! I feel as though the walls will burst at any moment. As we prepare to possibly move into a house in the not-too-distant future, I have one resolution - I will take LESS with me than I have now! Many people have the easy habit of moving into more space only to fill it with more stuff. Not me - no way. I'm making trips to thrift stores - not to buy, but to give away. I'm collecting all those wayward items we've borrowed over the years and returning them to their rightful owner (sorry to all those who are recipients of more stuff, courtesy us!) I'm being ruthless with garbage, filling bags and recycling bins. My sentimental attachment to things cannot be healthy, and I am attacking this "virus" vehemently!

And so, basking in this bright and cheery and positive attitude, I happily take away these lessons, praying this new knowledge will stick long past the next four months and into the next phase of my life!

Be Still...

"Be still, and know that I am God."

How often do we take a moment to just be still? Too often I'm rushing from one task to the next, dashing from one spot to another, rolling down a hill on which I gather more and more speed. Even reflective moments seem to have self-imposed time limits which allow my thoughts nothing more than guided flow.

Tonight I'm sitting still, with all the electronic noise turned off, and letting myself just be. I'm not even trying too hard to listen to anything specific. I'm not allowing my thoughts to be guided or interrupted. I'm taking as deep a breath as I can and being still.

It's not easy, but my mind and body are grateful, needing the moment of stillness. I cannot define how I am being helped - perhaps it is some sort of re-balancing within. But I have found truth in these words of wisdom. I read and study and ponder during "scheduled" times of the day, but the activity is always rushed to its close. Now I am learning how to really find truth.

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Looking for our first house

Yesterday was an exciting day for us - we all piled in the car and set out on our first house hunting day!

We have decided to try and buy in a town called Orangeville, about an hour north of Toronto. It's a great little place, that is just starting to be built up. All the stores you could possibly need on a daily/weekly basis are located there, but it doesn't have the congested feeling of a big city. There's a great congregation there that we could attend for church, made up of mostly young families and children.

The whole process should have made two cautious people like James and I nervous, but instead we found ourselves feeling confident in each decision we had to make.

Our first task was finding a real estate agent. Looking at houses for sale online, we chose a house we liked and called the agent listed for the property. She set up a few things for us to see yesterday, hence the trip up. Right from the beginning we developed a great rapport. She seemed knowledgeable, attentive, and she specializes in first time buyers. And as it turns out, we actually have met her before! We have a mutual friend, through Chrysler (James' work), who had hired us to film a television pilot for him, and this agent was there on the film set!

We looked at three houses - one was a definite no (the agent said she wouldn't even let us consider buying it), one was okay but needed some work, and the last was exactly what we are looking for. We weren't ready to buy a house our first day out, but it really gave our agent a chance to see what we like and what we don't, to help her in finding the perfect house.

Our second task yesterday was to get pre-approved on a mortgage. This we were really unsure about, because we have virtually no knowledge or experience in this area. However, things just seemed to work out for us, as we visited a mortgage broker with whom our agent's office works a lot. With no trouble at all, we were approved for what we needed, and we got a fantastic rate, well below what our bank could have offered. The broker was a straightforward type of guy, which we like when it comes to our money. But it also eased our minds as we noticed an entire shelf on his bookshelf devoted to different Christian books. Somehow it's easier to trust someone who is outwardly religious. Hopefully it is a sign of personal integrity also.

By the end of the day, we felt really good about the whole process. There were no hesitations or reserves lurking in the back of our minds. We are in no rush to buy, and we really feel like all the pieces are falling into their perfect places.

Girl's Camp

Last week I attended the Girl's Camp through our church. It was six days of roughing it: sleeping in a tent, cooking on a fire/Coleman stove, no showers, and only an outhouse for a bathroom. 60 girls between the ages of 12 and 18 came - that's 60 girls who went the week without electricity of any sort (although many still put on make up every day!)

I gave my first workshop ever - a 30 minute look at keeping high standards when watching/listening to different forms of media. I managed to keep most of the girls' attention most of the time - which is to be counted a success. It was exhilarating. I remember hearing different speakers give workshops when I was a youth, and although I don't remember them all, there are certainly bits and pieces that have stuck with me over the years. I'll probably never know for sure who I may have touched, but chances are good that a few of them were affected by the words I'd prepared.

The rest of the camp went off fairly well. We were rained out only one day - the first day of rain during Girl's Camp in nine years! The only unfortunate part of it was that two camp sites had decided not to put up shelters beforehand, and so we were left trying to do it in the pouring rain!

By Thursday (day 4) I was pretty exhausted and wasn't much help after dark. Missing my daily nap, plus rising early and getting to bed late had started to take it's toll on me. But I managed to push through, all the way to the final clean up on the last day.

Prank night was a blast - the tradition of the girls pranking the leaders continued, however we managed to get a few pranks in ourselves, foiling some of their ideas!

I missed my little family like crazy, and it took me a minute to recognize the silhouette of Colin when I walked in the door. He ran towards me and leaped into my arms - only to twist away and ask "out?" Apparently, he wanted to play outside and no one would take him out. Upon my explaining he couldn't go out right now, he promptly wiggled out of my arms and was off again. It was good to see a week of my being away didn't spoil his independent character!

All in all, the whole experience of being the Assistant Camp Director was fun and rewarding, but I sure am glad I'll have a six month old baby next year and won't be able to attend. They're looking for a new Director, and personally I think I need a few years to recuperate!